A Solemn Appeal

Chapter 4—Female Modesty

I have long been designing to speak to my sisters. They are not always careful to abstain from all appearance of evil. They are not all circumspect in their deportment, as becometh women professing godliness. Their words are not as select and well chosen as they should be for women who have received the grace of God. They are too familiar with their brethren. They linger around them, incline towards them, and seem to choose their society, and are highly gratified with their attention. SA 147.1

There is much jesting and joking and laughing indulged in by women professing godliness. This is all unbecoming, and grieves the Spirit of God. These exhibitions manifest a lack of true Christian refinement. These things indulged in do not strengthen the soul in God, but bring great darkness, drive the pure, refined, heavenly angels away, and bring those who engage in these wrongs down to a low level. SA 148.1

The sisters should encourage true meekness. They should not be forward, talkative, and bold, but modest and slow to speak. They should be courteous. To be kind, tender, pitiful, forgiving, and humble, would be becoming and well pleasing to God. If they occupy this position, they will not be burdened with undue attention from gentlemen. It will be felt by all that there is a sacred circle of purity around these God-fearing women, which shields them from any unwarrantable liberties. There is too much careless, loose, coarse freedom of manner by some women professing godliness, which leads to greater wrongs. Those godly women who occupy their minds and hearts in meditating upon themes which strengthen purity of life, which elevate the soul to commune with God, will not be easily led astray from the path of rectitude and virtue. They will be fortified against the sophistry of Satan, and prepared to withstand his seductive arts. SA 148.2

The fashion of the world, the desire of the eye, and the lust of the flesh, or vain glory, are connected with the fall of the unfortunate. That which is pleasing to the natural heart and carnal mind is cherished. If the lust of the flesh was rooted out of their hearts, they would not be so weak. If our sisters would feel the necessity of purifying their thoughts, and never suffer themselves to be careless in their deportment, which leads to improper acts, they would not be in danger of staining their purity. They would feel such an abhorrence of impure acts and deeds that they would not be found among the number who fall through the temptations of Satan, no matter who the medium might be whom Satan should select. SA 149.1

A preacher may deal in sacred, holy things, and yet not be holy in heart. He may give himself to Satan to work wickedness, and to corrupt the soul and body of his flock. Yet if the minds of women and youth professing to love and fear God were fortified with the Spirit of God; if they had trained their minds to purity of thought, and educated themselves to avoid all appearance of evil, they would be safe from any improper advances, and be secure from the prevailing corruption around them. The apostle has written concerning himself, “But I keep under my body, and bring it in subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:27. SA 149.2

If a minister of the gospel has not control of his lower passions; if he fails to follow the example of the apostle, and so dishonors his profession and faith as to even name the indulgence of sin, the sisters who profess godliness should not for an instant flatter themselves that sin and crime lose their sinfulness in the least because their minister dares to engage in them. Because men who are in responsible places show themselves to be familiar with sin, it should not lessen the guilt and enormity of the sin in the minds of any. Sin should appear just as sinful, just as abhorrent, as the word of God represents it to be, and the one who indulges in sin should, in the minds of the pure and elevated, be abhorred and withdrawn from, as they would flee from a serpent whose sting was deadly. SA 150.1

If the sisters were elevated, and possessed purity of heart, any corrupt advances, even from their minister, would be repulsed with such positiveness that they would never be repeated. Minds must be terribly befogged that can listen to the voice of the seducer because he is a minister, and therefore break God's plain and positive commands, and flatter themselves that they commit no sin. Have we not the words of John: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him”? What saith the law? “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” The fact of a man's professing to keep God's holy law, and ministering in sacred things, should he take advantage of the confidence his position gives him to indulge his passions, should, of itself, be sufficient to lead any woman professing godliness, to see that, although his profession was as exalted as the heavens, any impure proposal coming from him was the work of Satan disguised as an angel of light. I cannot believe that the word of God is abiding in the hearts of those who are so readily controlled, and yield up their innocency and virtue upon the altar of lustful passion. SA 150.2

My sisters, you should avoid even the appearance of evil. In this fast age, which is reeking with corruption, you are not safe unless you stand guarded. Virtue and modesty are rare. I appeal to you as followers of Jesus Christ, making a high and exalted profession, to cherish this precious, priceless gem, modesty. This will guard virtue. If you have any hope of being finally exalted to join company with the pure, sinless angels, and live in an atmosphere where there is not the least taint of sin, cherish modesty and virtue. Nothing but purity, sacred purity, will abide the day of God, stand the grand review, and be received into a pure and holy Heaven. SA 151.1

The least insinuations, come from whatever source they may, inviting you to indulge in sin, or to allow the least unwarrantable liberty with your person, you should resent as the worst of insults to your dignified womanhood. The kiss upon your cheek, at an improper time and place, should lead you to repel the emissary of Satan with disgust. If it is from one in high places who is dealing in sacred things, the sin, in such a one, is of tenfold greater magnitude, and should lead a God-fearing woman or youth to recoil with horror, not only from the sin he would have you commit, but from the hypocrisy and villainy of one whom the people respect and honor as God's servant. In his ministry he is handling sacred things, yet hiding his baseness of heart under a ministerial cloak. Be afraid of anything like this familiarity. You may be sure that the least approach to it is the evidence of a lascivious mind and a lustful eye. If the least encouragement is given in this direction; if any of the liberties mentioned are tolerated, no better evidence can you give that your mind is not pure and chaste as it should be, and that sin and crime have charms for you. You lower the standard of your dignified, virtuous womanhood, and give unmistakable evidence that a low, brutal passion has been suffered to remain in your heart. SA 152.1

As I have seen the dangers of, and the sins among, those who profess better things—a class who are not suspected of being in any danger from these polluting sins—I have been led to inquire, Who, O Lord, shall stand when thou appearest? Only those who have clean hands and pure hearts shall abide the day of his coming. SA 153.1

I feel impelled by the Spirit of the Lord to urge my sisters who profess godliness to cherish modesty of deportment and a becoming reserve, with shamefacedness and sobriety. The liberties taken in this age of corruption should be no criterion for Christ's followers. These fashionable exhibitions of familiarity should not exist among Christians fitting for immortality. If lasciviousness, pollution, adultery, crime, and murder, are the order of the day among those who know not the truth, and who refuse to be controlled by the principles of God's word, how important that those who profess to be followers of Christ and closely allied to God and angels, should show them a better and nobler way. How important that their chastity and virtue stand in marked contrast with that of the class who are controlled by brute passions. SA 153.2

I have inquired, When will the youthful sisters act with propriety? But I know there will not be any decided change for the better until parents feel the importance of greater carefulness in educating their children correctly. They should teach them to act with reserve and modesty. They should educate them for usefulness, to be helps, to minister to others, rather than to be waited upon and ministered unto. Satan has the control of the minds of the youth generally. Fond parents, your daughters are not always taught self-denial and self-control. They are petted, and their pride is fostered. They are allowed to have their own way until they become headstrong and self-willed, and you are put to your wits’ end to know what course to pursue, to save them from ruin. Satan is leading them on to be a proverb in the mouths of unbelievers, because of their boldness, their lack of reserve and want of female modesty. SA 153.3

The young boys are likewise left to have their own way. They have scarcely entered their teens before they are by the side of little girls about their own age, accompanying them home, and making love to them. And the parents are so completely in bondage through their own indulgence, and their mistaken love for their children, that they dare not pursue a decided course to make a change, and restrain their too fast children. SA 154.1

With many young ladies, the boys is the theme of conversation, and with the young men, it is the girls. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. They talk of those subjects upon which their minds mostly run. The recording angel is writing the words of these professed Christian boys and girls. How will they be confused and ashamed when they meet them again in the day of God. There are too many children who are a sort of pious hypocrites. The youth who have not made a profession of religion stumble over these hypocritical ones, and are hardened against any effort that may be made by those interested in their salvation. Oh! that we could arouse fathers and mothers to have a sense of their duty. Oh! that they would feel deeply the weight of responsibility resting upon them. Then they might forestall the enemy, and gain precious victories for Jesus. Parents are not clear in this matter. They should investigate their lives closely, analyze their thoughts and motives, and see if they have been circumspect in their course of action. They should closely watch, to see if their example in conversation and deportment has been such as they would wish their children to imitate. Have purity and virtue shine out in your words and acts before your children. SA 154.2

There are families where the husband and father has not preserved that reserve, that dignified, godlike manhood, which a follower of Jesus Christ should. He has failed to manifest kind, tender, courteous acts due to his wife, whom he has promised before God and angels to love and respect and honor while they both shall live. The girl employed to do the work may be free and somewhat forward in her attentions to dress his hair and be affectionately attentive, and he is pleased, foolishly pleased. And he is not as demonstrative in his attention and love as he once was to his wife. Be sure Satan is at work here. Respect your hired help, treat them kindly, considerately, but go no farther. Let your deportment be such that there will be no advances to familiarity from your help. If you have words of kindness and acts of courtesy to give, it is always safe to give them to your wife. It will be a great blessing to her, and will bring happiness to her heart which will be reflected back upon you again. Also, the wife may let her sympathies and interest and affection go out to another man beside her husband. He may be a member of the family, whom she makes a confidant, and to whom she relates her troubles, and, perhaps, her private family matters. She shows a preference for his society. SA 155.1

Satan is at the bottom of this; and unless she can be alarmed, and stopped just where she is, he will lead her to ruin. My sisters, you cannot observe too great caution in this matter. If you have tender, loving words and kindly attentions to bestow, let them be given him you have promised before God and angels to love, honor and respect, while you both shall live. Oh! how many lives are made bitter by the walls being broken down which inclose the privacies of every family, calculated to preserve purity and sanctity. A third person is taken into the confidence of the wife, and her private family matters are laid open before the special friend. This is the device of Satan to estrange the hearts of the husband and wife. Oh! that this would cease. What a world of trouble would be saved! Lock the faults of one another within your own hearts. Tell your troubles alone to God. He can give you right counsel and sure consolation, which will be pure, having no bitterness in it. SA 156.1

E. G. W.