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A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 1 by Clarkson

To adorn themselves in modest apparel


It

may now be observed that from these religious persons, habited in this manner, in opposition to the fashions of the world, the primitive Quakers generally sprung. George Fox himself wore the plain grey coat that has been noticed, with alchymy buttons, and a plain leather girdle about his waist. When the Quakers therefore first met in religious union, they met in these simple clothes. They made no alteration in their dress on account of their new religion. They prescribed no form or colour as distinguishing marks of their sect, but they carried with them the plain habits of their ancestors into the new society, as the habits of the grave and sober people of their own times.

SECT. II.

_But though George Fox introduced no new dress into the society, he was not indifferent on the subject--he recommended simplicity and plainness--and declaimed against the fashions of the times--supported by Barclay and Penn--these explained the objects of dress--the influence of these explanations--dress at length incorporated into the discipline--but no standard fixed either of shape or colour--the objects of dress only recognized, and simplicity recommended--a new Era--great variety allowable by the discipline--Quakers have deviated less from the dress of their ancestors than other people._

Though George Fox never introduced any new or particular garments, when he formed the society, as models

worthy of the imitation of those who joined him, yet, as a religious man, he was not indifferent upon the subject of dress. Nor could he, as a reformer, see those extravagant fashions, which I have shewn to have existed in his time, without publicly noticing them. We find him accordingly recommending to his followers simplicity and plainness of apparel, and bearing his testimony against the preposterous and fluctuating apparel of the world.

In the various papers, which he wrote or gave forth upon this subject, he bid it down as a position, that all ornaments, superfluities, and unreasonable changes in dress, manifested an earthly or worldly spirit. He laid it down again, that such things, being adopted principally for the lust of the eye, were productive of vanity and pride, and that, in proportion as men paid attention to these outward decorations and changes, they suffered some loss in the value and dignity of their minds. He considered also all such decorations and changes, as contrary both to the letter and the spirit of the scriptures. Isaiah, one of the greatest prophets under the law, had severely reproved the daughters of Israel on account of their tinkling ornaments, cauls, round tires, chains, bracelets, rings, and ear-rings. St. Paul also and St. Peter had both of them cautioned the women of their own times, to adorn themselves in modest apparel, and not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array. And the former had spoken to both sexes indiscriminately not to conform to the world, in which latter expression he evidently included all those customs of the world, of whatsoever nature, that were in any manner injurious to the morality of the minds of those who followed them.

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