Female Beauty in its Proper Perspective

Proverbs 11:22
       As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): In Asiatic countries the nose jewel is very common: to this the text alludes.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): It is taken for granted here that beauty or comeliness of body is as a jewel of gold, a thing very valuable, and, where there is wisdom and grace to guard against the temptations of it, it is a great ornament.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): Personal beauty is not a thing to be despised: it is a work of God, and none of His works are done in vain…Beauty is a talent, and has a power. Call it, if you will, a power like that of a sharp knife, dangerous in the hands of the weak or the wicked; but still it is a power, the gift of God, and capable of being ranked among the all the things that advance His glory. Like wealth or wisdom, or any other talent, it may be possessed by the humble, and employed for good. If the heart be holy and the aim true, personal beauty will enlarge the sphere and double the resources of beneficence. The same spread full sail may speed the ship on her course, or dash her on the rock of doom. If the beautiful be not also good, beauty becomes an object of disgust and a cause of ruin…When an impure character is clothed in corporeal loveliness, it is the spirit of darkness appearing as an angel of light. A beautiful woman who is proud, flippant, selfish, false, is miserable herself, and dangerous to others. It is a combination to be loathed and shunned.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Let us see things as the Bible shows them to us. If a fair, light-minded young woman should see her own face in this mirror, she might well start aside in horror. Beauty indeed is to be honoured, as the gift of God. Yet in itself, it is a fading vanity, Proverbs 31:30; and without discretion, it is as misplaced, as mis-becoming, as a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): We must remember that the exhortations of the Holy Ghost on the subject of dress are all addressed to women.

WILLIAM ARNOT: Women who have beauty above the average should be peculiarly watchful on that side, lest they sin and suffer there…The dress should be, in the first place, modest. In pure eyes, nothing is aesthetically beautiful which is morally awry.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): A modest woman is known by the modesty of her attire. If the clothing be vulgar or showy the heart is vain.

MATTHEW HENRY: The outward adorning of the body is very often sensual and excessive; for instance―when you dress with design to allure and tempt others, when your apparel is too rich, curious, or superfluous, when your fashions are fantastical, imitating the levity and vanity of the worst people, and when they are immodest and wanton. The attire of a harlot can never become a chaste Christian.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): What difference is there between the fashion parade and the dog show?

CHARLES BRIDGES: Lightness and fantastic garb in apparel is the very bush or sign hanging out, that tells a vain mind lodges within. The soul fallen from God hath lost its true worth and beauty; and therefore it basely descends to these mean things, to serve and dress the body, and take share with it of its unworthy borrowed ornaments, while it hath lost and forgotten God, and seeks not after Him, knows not that He alone is the beauty and ornament of the soul, and His spirit, and the grace of it, His rich attire. Learn then to value far beyond the beauty of face, the inner “ornaments” of grace, “which are in the sight of God of great price,” I Peter 3:4,5. Many a lovely form enshrines a revolting mind. All the charms of beauty are lost upon a foolish woman.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): She disgraceth the beauty of her body by a foolish and filthy soul.

MATTHEW HENRY: It is lamented that beauty should be so abused as it is by those that have not modesty with it. It seems ill-bestowed on them.

J. R. MILLER (1840-1912): Every woman wants to be beautiful. The secret of true beauty is stated in Proverbs 31:30: “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Some women sacrifice everything to win favour, to become popular. This word tells us how worthless, how empty and vain is the world’s favour. Nothing is worth striving for in womanhood, but pure, noble, lovely character. That is gotten only by being a Christian, by loving God and doing His will, and staying near Him all the time.

CHARLES BRIDGES: Let virtue, not beauty, be the primary object.

JAMES PILKINGTON (1520-1576): If women would learn what God will plague them for, and how; let them read the third chapter of the prophet Isaiah. And if they will learn what God willeth them to do, and be occupied withal, though they be of the best sort, let them read the last chapter of the Proverbs. It is enough to note it, and point it out them that will learn.

MATTHEW HENRY: Thus is shut up this looking-glass for ladies, which they are desired to open and dress themselves by; and, if they do so, their adorning will be found to praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.


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