Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
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Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
 
On Dress
By John Wesley (1703–1791)
 
From Sermon lxxxviii.

I CONJURE you all who have any regard for me, show me before I go hence that I have not laboured, even in this respect, in vain for near half a century. Let me see, before I die, a Methodist congregation, full as plain dressed as a Quaker congregation. Only be more consistent with yourselves. Let your dress be cheap as well as plain, otherwise you do but trifle with God, and me and your own souls. I pray, let there be no costly silks among you, how grave soever they may be. Let there be no Quaker linen, proverbially so called, for their exquisite fineness; no Brussels lace, no elephantine hats or bonnets,—those scandals of female modesty. Be all of a piece, dressed from head to foot as persons professing godliness; professing to do everything, small and great, with the single view of pleasing God.
  1
  Let not any of you who are rich in this world endeavour to excuse yourselves from this by talking nonsense. It is stark staring nonsense to say “Oh, I can afford this or that.” No man living can afford to waste any part of what God has committed to his trust. None can afford to throw any part of that food and raiment into the sea, which was lodged with him on purpose to feed the hungry, and clothe the naked. And it is far worse than simple waste, to spend any part of it in gay or costly apparel. For this is no less than to turn wholesome food into deadly poison. It is giving so much money to poison both yourself and others, as far as your example spreads, with pride, vanity, anger, lust, love of the world, and a thousand foolish and hurtful desires, which tend to pierce them through with many sorrows. And is there no harm in all this? O God, arise, and maintain Thine own cause! Let not men or devils any longer put out our eyes, and lead us blindfold into the pit of destruction!  2
  I beseech you every man that is here present before God, every woman, young or old, married or single, yea, every child that knows good from evil, take this to yourself. Each of you, for one, take the Apostle’s advice; at least, hinder not others from taking it. I beseech you, O ye parents, do not hinder your children from following their own convictions, even though you might think they would look prettier if they were adorned with such gewgaws as other children wear! I beseech you O ye husbands, do not hinder your wives! You, O ye wives do not hinder your husbands, either by word or deed, from acting just as they are persuaded in their own minds. Above all, I conjure you ye half-Methodists, you that trim between us and the world, you that frequently, perhaps constantly, hear our preaching, but are in no further connection with us; yea, and all you that were once in full connection with us, but are not so now; whatever ye do yourselves, do not say one word to hinder others from recovering and practising the advice which has been now given! Yet a little while, and we shall not need these poor coverings; for this corruptible body shall put on incorruption. Yet a few days hence and this mortal body shall put on immortality. In the meantime, let this be our only care, to put off the old man—our old nature, which is corrupt, which is altogether evil—and to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. In particular, put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercies, kindness, gentleness, long-suffering. Yea, to sum all up in one word; put on Christ; that when He shall appear, ye may appear with Him in glory.  3
 
 
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