Volume. XXXV, No. 44
Sunday, 02 May 2021

From the Pastor’s Heart: Dress? Code? (2)

William Perkins suggested two scriptural rules about the preparations of our clothes, dresses, or garments. 


The first rule is, “Our care for apparel, and the ornaments of our bodies, must be very moderate.” 


The second rule is: All apparel must be fitted to the body, in a comely and decent manner; such as becometh holiness, Tit 2:3


If it be here demanded, how we should thus frame and fashion our attire?  The answer is, by observing the rules of decency and comeliness, which are in number seven.  We have read up to number four from the previous article.  Today, we’ll begin with number 5.


Fifthly, men’s attire is to be framed and prepared, according to the ancient and received custom of the country, wherein they are brought up and dwell.  Touching this rule, it is demanded, whether, if a man see a fashion used in other countries, he may not take it up here, and use it?

Answer.  He may not. For God hath threatened to visit all such as are clothed with strange apparel, Zeph. 1:9.  And Paul taxeth it as a great disorder in the Church of Corinth, and even against nature, that men went in long hair, and women went uncovered, I Cor. 11,13,14.  And if this be so, then what disorder is that, when men of one country frame themselves to the fashions and attires, both of men and women of other nations?  This one sin is so common among us, that it hath branded our English people with the black mark of the vainest and most new-fangled people under heaven.  If a stranger comes into our land, he keeps his ancient and customable attire, without varying or alteration.  We, on the contrary, can see no fashion used, either by the French, Italian, or Spanish, but we take it up, and use it as our own.  [I am amused to think about your reactions to his thoughts as we live in the world connected by internet and sharing and exchanging lots of cultural features and even assimilated in many ways.]


Sixthly, the garments that we make to cover our bodies, must be such as may express the virtues of our minds; specially the virtues of Modesty, Frugality, Shame-fastness.  They should be as a book written with text letters, wherein, at the first, any man may read the graces that be in the heart.  Thus, Paul exhorteth women, that they array themselves with comely apparel, in shamefastness and modesty, not with broidered hair, etc. but as becometh women that profess the fear of God with good works, I Tim. 2:9,10.  And our Savior commandeth, that the light of our conversation, even in outward things should so shine unto men, that they seeing our good works, may glorify the Father which is in heaven, Matt. 5:16.


Seventhly, it must be framed to the example, not of the lighter and vainer sort, but of the gravest, and the most sober of our order and place, both of men and women.  We have no express rule in Scripture, touching the measure and manner of our apparel: and therefore the wise and grave precedents of good and holy men, that are of the same, or like degree with ourselves, ought to stand for a rule of direction in this behalf. To which purpose Paul exhorteth, Whatsoever things are pure, honest, of good report, if there be any virtue, etc. think of these things which ye have both learned and received, and heard, and seen in me, those thing do, Phil. 4:9.  Examples hereof we have many in the Word of God. Of John the Baptist, who had his garments of camels’ hair, Matt. 3:4. Of Elias, who is said to be a hairy man, in respect of his attire, and to be girded (as John was) with a girdle of leather about his loins, II Kings 1:8.  For these rough garments were the principle raiments of Prophets in those times and places, as we read, Zach. 13:4. And it was the ordinary fashion of the Jewish nation, to use goats-hair, nor only for the making of their apparel, but even of the curtains that were made for the use of the Sanctuary, Ex. 36:14.  If this rule were practiced, it would serve to cut off many scandalous behaviours in the conversations of men.  For now-a-days, men do strive who shall go before another, in the bravest and costliest attire; having little or no respect at all, to the examples of godly and sober persons of their degrees and places.   And this their excessive pride and vanity, is ordinarily maintained by unjust dealing, in lying and deceit, by covetousness, and unmercifulness to the poor; sins which are so greatly dishonourable unto God, that the very Earth whereupon men do live, can hardly endure the same. Wherefore those that fear God, and have a care to serve him in holiness and righteousness, ought to hate and detest these courses, renouncing the curious vanity of the world, and testifying the graces and virtues of their minds, unto men, even by their grave and sober gesture and habits of their bodies.


Section II: The second thing to be considered in the right use of apparel, is the wearing, and putting of it on. Touching which, two special rules are to be observed.


Rule 1. That we wear and put on our apparel, for those proper ends, for which God hath ordained the same. The ends of apparel, are specially these:


First, for necessity sake; that is, for the defending of the body from the extremity of parching heat, and pinching cold, and consequently the preserving of life and health.  This was the end, for which garments were first made after the fall.  And the reason of it is this: Whilst man was yet in the state of Innocency, before his fall, there was a perfect temperature of the air, in respect of man’s body, and so there was no need of garments; and nakedness was then no shame unto man, but a glorious comeliness.  Now after that Adam, and in him all mankind had sinned, vanity came upon all the creatures: and among the rest, upon the air a marvellous distemperature in respect of heat and cold.  For the remedy whereof, it was ordained that Adam should wear apparel: which God having once made and appointed, he hath ever since blessed it as his own ordinance, as daily experience showeth.  For, our attire which is void of heat and life, doth notwithstanding preserve man’s body in heat and life; which it could not do, if there were not a special providence of God attending upon it.


The second end of apparel, is Honesty. For to this end do we put it on, and wear it, for the covering and hiding of that deformity of our naked bodies, which immediately followed upon the transgression of our first parents: and in this respect also, were garments (after the fall) appointed by God, for the use of man.


It is objected, that Isaiah prophesied naked and bare-foot, Isaiah 20:2 and so did Saul, I Sam. 19:24.  I answer: first, that which the Prophet did, was done by commandment, as may appear in the second verse of that chapter.  For the Lord gave him commandment so to do.  Again, he is said to be naked, because he put off his upper raiment, which was sackcloth, or some other rough garment, that the Prophets used to wear; but it cannot be proved, that he put off that garment which was next his flesh and skin.


Concerning Saul, there be two answers given: One, that he put off his upper garment, as Isaiah did; for we are not to imagine, that he prophesied naked, it being so unseemly a thing, and even against the Law of Nature, since the fall.  The other answer, and that according to the true meaning of the text, is: that Saul, before the Spirit of Prophecy came upon him, had put on and worn this warlike attire, wherewith he went out to take David: but when the Spirit came upon him, then he put off his military habit, and went in other attire, after the manner and fashion of a Prophet, and so prophesied.  And therefore, whereas he is said to go naked, the meaning is, that he stripped himself of his armour; which both himself and his messengers used, in pursuing after David.


William Perkins

More Lively Hope



  • Ladies are specially invited to attend a unique event prepared by the IF on Sat, 8 May at 1.30pm in the church Hall.
  • Please be seated in your designated area in the Sanctuary and as directed by the Ushers & Welcomers.
  • Mother’s Day Brunch, Sat, 8 May.
  • Tithes & offerings to be done electronically.



  • Healing: Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore) & all others who are unwell.
  • COVID-19 pandemic & all affected including missionaries, pastors & God’s people in India, Laos, Cambodia & Indonesia.
  • Missions.
  • Journey mercies: Those who are travelling.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence for the past week.
  • Improving COVID-19 situation in Australia.
  • Journey mercies: all who have travelled.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041