A hideous skeleton!
A collection of bones!
A heap of dust!
(J. A. James, "Female Piety--The Young Woman's
Guide Through Life to Immortality")
"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty
that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive
jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be
known for the beauty that comes from within,
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is so precious to God." 1 Peter 3:3-4
How exquisitely is this put! How impressive the ideas
which are conveyed! It is the decoration of the soul
rather than of the body, about which Christian women
should be chiefly solicitous and concerned.
The soul is indestructible and immortal--so should its
ornaments be. What can jewels of silver or jewels of
gold do for the soul?
Can the diamond sparkle upon the intellect?
Or the ruby blaze upon the heart?
Or the pearl be set in the conscience?
Or the gorgeous robe clothe the character?
Or the flower wave over the holy nature?
No! The appropriate ornaments of the soul are truth,
holiness, knowledge, faith, hope, love, joy, humility;
and all the other gifts and graces of the Spirit--wisdom,
prudence, fortitude and gentleness. These are the jewels
with which the inner heart should be adorned. The outer
body is corruptible. Dust it is, and unto dust it shall return.
That beautiful woman glittering in all the profusion of
diamonds--the admiration and envy of the party or the
ball room--must before long be a mass of putrefaction
too ghastly to be looked upon--and then a hideous
skeleton, a collection of bones, a heap of dust!
And where will be the immortal spirit? Will it wear
the cast-off jewels of the body? O no! These remain,
rescued from the grasp of the 'king of terrors', but
only to ornament other bodies!
But turn now to that other female, the woman who,
regardless of the decoration of the body, was all
intent upon the beauty of the soul. Look at her,
who was clothed with the robe of righteousness
and the garment of salvation, and decorated with
the ornaments of a gentle and quiet spirit.
She too dies; but her indestructible and immortal
soul over which death has no dominion, goes not
unadorned into the presence of the Eternal; for the
jewels with which it decorated itself on earth are as
indestructible as its own nature, and go with it to
shine in the presence of God!