The Health Reformer


August 1, 1871

Fashionable Life


A life of fashion takes from the simplicity and attractive beauties of nature. Our artificial habits deprive us from enjoying the natural, and unfit us for practical life. How can Christian mothers, in the education of their children, follow in the steps of the multitude, and bow at the shrine of fashion? HR August 1, 1871, par. 1

To live fashionably is an expensive, as well as thankless, life. Much time and means are squandered merely to create sensation in fashionable society, which the Master has intrusted to his professed people, with which to bless the needy, and to advance his cause. Garments are prepared with much labor and great expenditure of means, to beautify the person, and make the outward appearance beautiful; yet, notwithstanding all this artificial adornment, they poorly compare with the beauty of the simplest flower of nature. HR August 1, 1871, par. 2

The Redeemer of the world, in giving his lessons of trust to his disciples, points them to the lilies of the field, and says, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” The great amount of needless toil to make the outward appearance attractive by artificial decorations is frequently at the sacrifice of health. After all the preparations that variety and pride can suggest, those who thus adorn themselves cannot bear comparison, in all their costly array, to the simple, natural lily of the field. HR August 1, 1871, par. 3

I would impress upon Christian mothers the necessity of being awake to the fact that every act of their lives is telling upon the future of their children, and is forming their characters to be swayed by the customs of society, or is giving them correct views of truth and right principles, as the basis of their actions. Many Christian mothers feel compelled, through false views, to fall into the customs of society, and the tide of fashion. With their mature experience they may be better able to withstand the current of fashionable life, and avoid its downward and vicious tendencies; but in adorning their houses, and in arraying their children according to the custom of fashionable society, they are giving examples to their children, and surrounding them with an influence, that is calculated to foster pride, vanity, and selfishness, and they are swept in with the current of fashion, drifting, drifting, away from true goodness and away from God. HR August 1, 1871, par. 4

How many precious hours are occupied by parents in the education of their children for fashionable miseries, for lives that are worse than lost. How much more profitable would be the lessons given to their children of the wonderful works of God in nature, seen in the simple, yet delicate, beautifully tinted flowers. Parents can teach their children that all the display and costly adornings cannot compare in beauty and glory to one of God's modest flowers. The minds of children should be led to see the hollowness of fashionable life. HR August 1, 1871, par. 5

Parents should overcome desires of living for appearance. They should rather devote time to make their children happy at their homes, that they may love the society of their parents; making them their confidants and advisers, and enjoying useful employment, acquiring a taste for the natural, rather than the artificial. We should imprint upon our children's minds that they are not their own, to go, and come, and dress, and act, as they please. They are God's property, purchased by the sacrifice of the life of Christ; and their life is not to be idled away in indolence, or in seeking their own pleasures. If they possess personal attractions, and rare natural abilities, greater care should be taken in their education, lest these endowments be turned to a curse, and are so used as to disqualify them for the sober realities of this life, and, through flattery, and vanity, and love of display, unfit them for the better life. HR August 1, 1871, par. 6

Our children should be carefully instructed in regard to their own being, and the obligations, relations, and duties, of life. They should be taught that their life is not to be wasted in vanity, folly, and pride; for God has given them life to be improved. They should teach them that they have a place to fill, a part to act, and object to gain. They should educate them not to be carried, but to bear burdens, to deny self, and to practice self-control. HR August 1, 1871, par. 7

Mothers, the time devoted by many of you, with busy fingers and wearied eyes, diligently working in trimming, or in embroidering a skirt or dress, to attract admiration and envy by those who cannot have these extras, is poorly spent. In the end it will prove to you like the apples of Sodom, beautiful without, but ashes within. You are, in thus devoting time and means for display, teaching your children to love these things. “As the twig is bent, the tree inclines.” As your sons and daughters become older, approaching manhood and womanhood, you mourn that their minds are frivolous, and absorbed in their pleasures, in fashionable dress, and outward display, while they have but little sense of their obligations to their parents, or to their God. They frequently have a positive disrelish for useful labor, or to lighten the burdens borne by their parents. HR August 1, 1871, par. 8

The seed that the parents have sown in the hearts of their children has sprung up, and is yielding an abundant harvest. The lessons they have taught their children are put into practical use. They are what their parents made them. They do not possess moral worth, or noble independence. They follow in the wake of fashion, and live to be petted, and flattered, and admired. Outward show is the ambition of their worse than useless lives. HR August 1, 1871, par. 9

Our children should be instructed that they may be intelligent in regard to their own physical organism. They can at an early age, by patient instruction, be made to understand that they should obey the laws of their being, if they would be free from pain and disease. They should understand that their lives cannot be useful, if they are crippled by disease. Neither can they please God if they bring sickness upon themselves by the disregard of nature's laws. HR August 1, 1871, par. 10

Many professedly Christian parents follow the example of the multitude in their conformity to the world. Parents, you have taken the responsibility of bringing children into the world, without any voice of theirs, and you are responsible for the lives and souls of your children. They have the attractions of the world to fascinate and allure. You can educate them so as to fortify them against its corrupting influence. You can train them to bear life's responsibilities, and to realize their obligations to God, truth, and duty, and the bearing that their actions will have upon their future immortal life. Many needless things are made of the first importance, even by Christian parents, in the education of their children. A close investigation, enlightened by the Spirit of God, would reveal to these parents that a great share of the burdens and fatigue of life they suffer, God has not bound upon them; but they gather them upon themselves in doing the very things God has expressly forbidden them to do. HR August 1, 1871, par. 11

“And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Many professed Christian parents, in order to gratify their children, labor, and expend means, wear away their strength, and even sacrifice their lives, in order to have their children keep pace with fashion. As I have seen these parents worrying, and complaining of trials, and temptations, and darkness, and gloom, fretting their way through life, carrying their unnecessary load of care, I have been reminded of the words of Christ to the Pharisees, “Ye tithe mint and rue, and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment, and the love of God.” HR August 1, 1871, par. 12

There is a natural tendency with all to be sentimental, rather than practical. In view of this fact, it is important that parents, in the education of their children, should direct and train their minds to love truth, duty, and self-denial, and to possess noble independence, to choose to be right, if the majority choose to be wrong. Our children who are receiving an education at school, should become intelligent in regard to their own bodies, the habitation God has given them, and bring their knowledge to bear upon their every-day life, that they may become intelligent in regard to the relation their eating, dressing, and walking, sustain to life, health, and happiness. HR August 1, 1871, par. 13

If they preserve to themselves sound constitutions and amiable tempers, they will possess true beauty that they can wear with a divine grace. And they will have no need to be adorned with artificials, for these are always expressive of an absence of the inward adorning of true moral worth. A beautiful character is of value in the sight of God. Such beauty will attract, but not mislead. Such charms are fast colors; they never fade. HR August 1, 1871, par. 14

Parents, here is a work before you. You may preserve your health by being less anxious for the outward, beautifying the person with artificial adornings, and devote your precious time to the adorning and beautifying of the mind. You may, in the fear of God, take up your neglected duty, and train your children to form characters for Heaven. The inspired apostle contrasts the inward adorning with the outward, artificial display, and pronounces it not corruptible. The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit he declares is of great price in the sight of God. If we are clearly told what God values, we shall be inexcusable if we continue to love display, to idolize our bodies, and to neglect to cultivate the inward adorning and perfect beautiful characters that God can approve. HR August 1, 1871, par. 15

E. G. W.