7 February, 2023

THROWBACK THURSDAY: ‘The True Standard of Dress’ (1866)

by | 19 January, 2023

This short essay, credited to “Mrs. Stowe,” likely will seem quaint to many readers. It appeared during Christian Standard’s first year of publication. (A short item about memorizing Old Testament books in order follows this one.) 

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‘The True Standard of Dress’ 

Aug. 4, 1866; p. 3 

We are always excessive when we sacrifice the higher beauty to obtain the lower one. A woman who will sacrifice domestic affection, conscience, self-respect, honor, to love of dress, we all agree loves dress too much. She loses the true and higher beauty of womanhood for the lower beauty of gems and flowers and colors. A girl who sacrifices to dress all her time, all her strength, all her money, to the neglect of the cultivation of her mind and heart, and to the neglect of the claims of others on her helpfulness, is sacrificing the higher to the lower beauty. Her fault is not the love of beauty, but loving the wrong and inferior kind. 

. . . You love dress too much when you care more for your outward adornings than for your inward dispositions, when it afflicts you more to have your dress torn than to have lost your temper; when you are more troubled by an ill-fitting gown, than by a neglected duty—when you are less concerned at having made an unjust comment, or spread a scandalous report, than having worn a passe bonnet—when you are less concerned at the thought of being found at the last great feast without the wedding garment, than at being found at the party to-night in the fashion of last year. No Christian woman, as I view it, ought to allow it to take up all of three very important things, viz: all her time, all her strength, all her money. Who ever does this, lives not the Christian but the Pagan life—worships not at the Christian altar of our Lord Jesus, but at the shrine of the lower Venus of Corinth and Rome. — Mrs. Stowe. 

(Image from the “The London and Paris ladies’ magazine” (1866) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.) 

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A little bit lower in that same column, on the same page, an item carried this headline: 

Books of the Old Testament 

The following if committed carefully to memory by the children, and repeated occasionally, will enable them during all their lives to keep in mind the order of the books of the Old Testament. Very few are able to keep the order without some help of this kind: 

The great Jehovah spake to us 
In Genesis and Exodus; 
Leviticus and Numbers see 
Followed by Deuteronomy. 
Joshua and Judges sway the land, 
Ruth gleans a sheaf with trembling hand; 
Samuel, and numerous Kings appear, 
Whose Chronicles we wondering hear; 
Ezra and Nehemiah now 
Esther the beauteous mourner show; 
Job speaks in sighs, David in Psalms, 
The Proverbs teach to scatter alms. 
Ecclesiastes then comes on, 
And the sweet Song of Solomon. 
Isaiah, and Jeremiah then 
With Lamentations takes his pen. 
Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea’s lyres 
Swell Joel, Amos, Obadiah’s. 
Next Jonah, Micah, Nahum, come, 
And lofty Habakkuk finds room. 
While Zephaniah, Haggai calls, 
Rapt Zechariah builds his walls; 
And Malachi with garments rent, 
Concludes the ancient Testament. 

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