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A Looking-Glasse for Women, or, A Spie for Pride.

Anonymous ["T. H."]

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Note on the e-text: this Renascence Editions text was transcribed in November 2001 by Risa S. Bear, University of Oregon Library, from the 1644 edition. Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 2001 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only. Send comments and corrections to the publisher.

A Looking-Glasse 
W O M E N,
O R,
A Spie for Pride:
The unlawfulnesse of any outward adorning
   of any attire of Haire, either in laying forth
   the Haire, or in crisping of the Haire, or in 
   broidered Haire in all Women, but especi-
   ally in godly Women, declared fully by the 
Prov. 22.23. Buy the Truth, and sell it not.
Col. 2.6. As you have therefore received the lord Iesus Christ,
so walk you in him. 
London Printed for R. W. 1 6 4 4.

To the Christian R E A D E R.

IHave a long time sate down in my thoughts, to admire awhile, to see the strain of the world, how that there is nothing wanting in them to make up their destruction, they will take paines to be drunk, to whore, to cozen, to lie, to steale, to murder, to be proud, and a thousand sins more, which they are faithfull unto him to do who raignes in them as a prince, in all the Children of disobedience, yea, they would rather sink down presently into hell, then to leave one sin; and the reason is, because they walk according to the principles which rule in them.
  And truly, upon the sad consideration of this particular, to see and observe that wicked men should be so at every command to him in whom they serve, and do walk according to their own destruction.
  It caused me to consider, how that godly men and women had need to walk according to the pattern which Iesus Christ hath left us, who ruleth in all his Elect; as their only King, Priest and Prophet, and because my love is so dear vnto the Saints, that I would have them walk according to the rule which Iesus Christ hath left unto his Saints in his Word: It pleased the lord to stir up my heart to consider vpon the lawfulnesse, or unlawfulnesse of wearing any outward attire of haire in women, whether laying forth, or any other attire else, and found it by the Word to be utterly unlawfull, against the minde and rule of the Apostle Peter, and of the Apostle Paul; and one great reason which made me wave into this work, was, because that I saw many godly women do now adayes weare it, yea, those whom we call Ministers wives, who have given up their names vnto Christ both in heart and mouth, Covenanting to walk with Iesus Christ among his members, in all the known truths of God, as it shall be from day to day revealed unto them by his spirit from the Word of God.
  Therefore I finding this outward attire of any outward adorning of haire to be unlawfull in any woman whatsoever, but more especially among godly women. Considering likewise that many learned godly men have taken but little notice of it, who might have written far better then my weak capacity am able to understand.
  Considering likewise that any godly man or woman would not live in any known sin, if that they knew it: Vpon these three considerations it moved me to declare my minde touching the unlawfulnesse of laying forth the hair in women, and truly I should not have so fully declared my minde vnto the world, if I had not found the spirits of godly women affected to it so much as they are: Therefore desiring such whom it may concern, to accept of these few lines, or short epitomy, as the tenderings and earnings of my love unto all those that desire to live godly in this present evill world, and in their willing acceptation of it, will my love be requited, not looking at any gain hereby, except it be the calumnies and reproaches, which may be of my friends, as well as of my enemies, but I shall wave whatsoever comes by, as looking more at the good which I intended thereby, then at the evill which may come vpon it, desiring the Lord that he would direct all our hearts, both of men and women, so to vvalk, that vve may see Iesus Christ in all our vvalkings:
Your servant in Jesus Christ, 

T. H. 

A Looking-Glasse
W O M E N,
O R,
A   S P I E   for   P R I D E.

SIn commonly carries a faire glosse with it and I have observed that the divel, when he would present a sin unto any godly man or woman, he never presents it in the same shape as it is in its own nature, but maskes it over with some seeming pretence or colour for it, I could instance it divers wayes wherein he doth it; but because we are upon this subject only; namely to prove its utterly unlawful for any woman to go in any outward adorning of attire of haire, in laying it forth in any fashion whatsoever, under that seeming pretence of a covering, and that it was given to them for an ornament to deck themselves withall, which to say plainly, is but pride, and cometh from him who is the author of all sin.
  Therefore, I shall begin this worke from that portion of Scripture, which the Apostle Peter hath laid down as a pattern for every godly woman to walke by, which is out of the first of Peter 2.3. In these words, Whose adorning let it be, not that outward adorning, as of plaicing the haire.
  These words are a direction by the Apostle, setting forth the carriage of a Christian woman in her outward adorning toward the gaining in of an unbelieving husband, as if the Apostle should have said, you that have husbands in the state of nature, and you being in the state of grace, your conversation of life should be such, while they beholding of it being coupled with feare, might be wun without the word, by the coversation of the wife; which cannot be saith the Apostle in vaine, and outward adornings, and in the hidden man of the heart, but there will be such a conversation that every thing will be answerable unto it, both in your words, gesture, & attire, or outward adorning: as if he should have said, be your speech never so gracious, and your gesture never so meeke, yet if your outward adorning be light or gaudy, what a contradiction will here be, between light and darknesse, and we know that light and darknesse can never dwell together untill they be agreed, Amos 3.3.
  Now saith the Apostle, in the consideration of this, what a hinderance will it be in the drawing in of a yoke fellow here unto Christ, when as he shall see that you are halfe for God, and halfe for the world, when as he shall see your speech and gesture is after the minde of God, and your attire and outward adorning to be after the fashions of the world, which is contrary to the glorious sight of God; which once if the Lord be pleased to let it shine in men or women, it will shine in every part of their conversation, now you cannot see the glorious light of Gods truth to shine in your outward adorning of attire of haire, as in your speech and gesture, not that my meaning is that you should place any godlinesse in it, but that it may shew forth to the world that godlinesse is in you, and truly the apostle Paul would not have bid us, fashion not our selves according to the world, if that the Spirit of God by him had not put a difference both between our speeches and gesture, and outward adornings, to testifie unto the world that you are such whom he hath chosen out of the world.
  And truly those godly women that do use this outward adorning of laying forth the haire, a man can hardly know them from the women of the world, nay and moreover, to other godly Christian men, and women, that hear such as are Christians that do were it, they not knowing of them, they will be but unto them as seeming Christians; and they will ground it from this, that if the heart were stable and sound; their attire of laying forth their haire would not be light and gaudy, because that Christ saith, Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, Mat. 12.34. that is whatsoever cometh forth out of the heart from man or woman, either in word or action, it doth declare the heart to be more holy, or lesse holy, that is, seeming holy, or reall holy, and this was that which the Apostle James drove at, Jam. 2.17,18,19,20,21, that godly men should declare their faith by their works, as if he should have said, though it be not workes that you can be saved by, yet it is such that must give testimony to the world, that you are such whom the Lord hath bin pleased for to call from among them (that is) you cannot be a believer and a drunkard too, a believer and a proud person too, a believer and a wanton person too, in your words, gesture and attire, for this end he hath made a difference between you, and the world, that you should walke nore holier before him, which must be seen in your outward adorning, as well in your speech and gesture.
  Now that we may see the odiousnesse of this unlawfull attire, the better it will appeare in these foure particulars.
  First your outward adorning, or laying forth the haire, is a light attire, for the prophet Esay brings it in among the rabble of those particulars which made up a light gesture, as you may reade Esay 3.24.
  Secondly, laying forth of the haire, or any such like outward adorning, it is a vain attire, it is of no substantiall use, but to please the fancy, it is so far from drawing men to see God in you by it, as it provokes them more to lust, by seeing such weare it.
  Thirdly, it is a proud attire, it was brought in among those particulars of pride, in the place we mentioned before, Esay 3.24. as a judgement on those particularly that had misused their haire, in these words, Instead of well set haire baldnesse, as if the Lord should have spoke by the Prophet, you that have abused your haire, by taking more delight in it, then in me, I will take this Idoll out of your way, and instead of well set haire, place baldnesse.
  Fourthly, it is an unseemly attire, not befitting grave and holy women, and this will appeare also to be a truth, if we shall consider, if it be vnseemly for a woman for to go in mens apparrell, how much more it is unseemly for grave and holy Christian women to go in Strumpets attire, and take ye no exception, at this kinde of terme, for the Apostle Saint Paul speakes of the unseemlinesse of it, especially in godly women, as you may reade 1 Tim. 2.9. where it is said, that women adorn themselves in modest apparrell, with shamefacednesse, and sobriety, and he begins first with broidered haire, as if it were both an immodest, and a bold, and audacious attire, and do you not think because the Apostle speaks of broidered haire, and i being against laying forth the haire, that this is not to the purpose: I suppose it is, for it was that fashion of haire that those women did use in them dayes, as you know in every age fashions do alter, and this your laying forth the haire, though it be the fashion now, comes under that, and the Apostle would have reproved it as the other, if it had beene worne in them dayes, as an immodest attire, very unseemly becoming holy gracious women.
  Secondly, if we do but consider those dangerous inconveniencies which doth attend this outward adorning of attire of haire, it will appear unto you to be utterly unlawfull.
  First, in regard of themselves this outward adorning of attire of haire will prove very inconvenient, because it is one of the greatest instruments that Satan hath to set pride on worke; we commonly say a Peacocke is a proud creature, and our reason is not taken from the turning of his head, for so other creatures do, but from the variety of coulers of his feathers, which we suppose is the cause of the turning of his head, and hence comes that old phrase, to be as proud as a Peacocke, and truly such godly women that go in such gaudy attire, it must needs be a great instrument of stirring up of pride in them, because it is so neere unto the eye, and it will be most an end upon it.
  Secondly, this attire of laying forth the haire, it will be a dangerous inconvenience in regard of others, two wayes, either unto godly persons, or else unto wicked men.
  First, this kinde of outward adorning will be a very inconvenient attire in regard of godly men and women, and because it will be one great cause of their judging of them to be seeming holy, when as it may be they may be really holy, and so by this means it may cause the love that should be among the Saints, to be abated, and instead of love to grow strange unto each other.
  Secondly, this kinde of outward adorning of laying forth the haire is a very inconvenient attire, in regard of wicked men to, because it will rather provoke them to lust by beholding of such, then by seeing any thing in that attire to draw them unto any good.
  Now having discovered the unlawfulnesse of any outward adorning of attire of haire in all women, but especially among godly women, I now am come to answer these objections, which are seemingly made for it.
  The first objection is this, oh but your ground worke, which you have builded all this while upon, it is a rotten foundation, and not taken in that sence which you understand it for to be, for read you but the minde of the Apostle in the place of Peter 1.3.3 and you shall finde that his meaning is cleane contrary, in that he saith let not your conversation lie in your outward adorning of plaiting the haire, or of wearing apparell, but let it be in the hidden man of the heart, even the ornament of a quiet, and meeke spirit, implying thus much, not that we should not lay our haire out, but that we should not place any Religion in the plaiting of the haire, or any other adorning, but only in the hidden man of the heart.
  Answer, indeed in one sence it is understood so, because it was all the drift of the Apostle Peter to beat men from placing Religion in any thing here below, not onely in any outward thing, but in any thing that was corruptible, as in gifts or graces, or the like, but now if this were all the meaning of the Apostle here, then this place of Scripture would seeme to prove that a woman might wear her haire plaited, or gold, or any kinde of apparell, so that they did not place any Religion in it, which if this exposition should stand, then it would breake that rule which godly men holds, that one place of Scripture, if it be understoode a right, it never thwarts another, but this expostion doth two places of Scripture; first 1 Cor. 11.16. that of the Apostle Paul, Her haire is given her for a covering, now a woman cannot be said to be covered, when as it is broidered and plaited, or laid forth, aagain it contradicts that place which the Apostle speakes of in 1 Timothy in 2.9. where he saith, let women adorne themselves in modest apparrell with shame-fastnesse, and sobriety, not with broidered haire or gold, or pearles, or costly aray, but 10. ver. which becometh women professing godlinesse, and good workes, implying, that the outward adorning of laying forth the haire, is a very unbeseeming thing, becoming women professing godlinesse.
  Secondly, you may object and say my haire is not plaited nor crisped, but onely laid forth, and therefore all the conclusions which you draw from the Apostle Peters words is of no purpose, for he speaks not so much to me, as to those who weare their haire crisped or plaited, &c.
  I answer, the word plaited here used by the Apostle is taken for a generall expression, concluding all sorts in one terme, as if he should have said, let not your conversation be in your outward adorning, as plaiting of the hair, or any such like fashion, so that whatever fashion it be, either crisped or broidered, or plaited, or laid forth, if it come under the terme of an outward adorning, it is utterly unlawfull from the rule of the Apostle Peter, as you cannot deny but your attire of laying forth your haire; comes under the terme of outward adorning.
  Thirdly, you may object from the Apostles words 1 Cor. 11.16 that hair was given of God unto you for a covering, and you use it for no other end.
  Answer; first, that way you use it, it is but a seeming covering, and no reall covering, and it will appeare that it is rather an uncovering as you use it, then a covering, in that you take it out of its proper place, to hang it down in another place. Secondly, its against the rule of the Apostle so to do, for he saith you must be covered, or else you must be shorne; the Apostle doth not mean here, that your hair should only cover your head and ears, but that your clothes should cover your hair, and therefore this was the reason that men must have their hair cut, because men was to wear no clothes to cover their head, therefore saith the Apostle, if you wil not cover your heads, that part which is uncovered must be shorne or shaven, implying, that his meaning is, that their clothes should cover their haire. Thirdly, if you would have the meaning of the Apostle, that your hair should be given you for an outward covering, then by this rule it were unlawfull for any woman to wear any covering upon her hair, which to understand it so will be ridiculous. Fourthly, if you should take the Apostles meaning, that her hair was given her for an outward covering, then by this rule she might wear it of any fashion, so that it covers her head, though that it hang down all her neck, ears, and forehead, being tied up neatly, to which you will say this is like more unto a mad, frantick woman, then to a sober, grave, and holy woman. Fiftly, you[r] laying forth of your hair, cometh under that admonition, which the Apostle Peter gives of an outward adorning, for why may not that part of the hair be tied up as wel as all the rest, or why do you not let all the rest of your hair hang down about your head, as well as that?
  Fourthly, you may object [a]nd say, oh but my hair is given me for an ornament, and I take no pride in my laying it forth.
  Ans. I do not deny but that your hair is an ornament to your head, because the Lord created it for that proper place, but that your hair is given you as an ornament to deck your self withall, that is against the rule of both the Apostles, for that the Apostle Paul saith your hair is given you for a covering, and not to deck your self withall, and the Apostle Peter condemnes it for an outward decking, for if it had bin given an ornament to deck your selfe, the Apostle Paul, 1 Tim. 29. would not have condemned it, an unseemly attire, not befitting grave and holy women.
  Fiftly, you may object and say, though I have no absolute rule for it from the word of God, yet I have the examples of many godly grave and holy women for it.
  Ans. First you must never follow the example of any godly man or woman then their example is regulated by the word.
  Secondly,if you shall aske any of them upon what ground, they do were it, they can give you no Scripture for it, but one of these two reasons, or some other such like other carnal reasons, either they will say it was a fashion that i was brought up in from my parents, who went in the same fashion before me, or else they will say, why may not I wear it as well as such and such women, poor answers to satisfie conscience in such a case.
  Sixtly, you may object and say, why do you thinke they are all godly women, that goes close covered in their hair, or do you think that they be all but seeming Christians, as you terme them that layes their haire forth?
  Answ. I neither say they are the one or the other, but suppose a godly woman were walking with a wicked woman abroad, the godly woman she having her haire forth, the carnall woman she is close covered, you following of them, you meeting with a friend and say, I pray Sir do you know those two women that passed by us? Yes, saith he very well, I pray saith he, what is that woman that went in that modest attire? oh saith he she is a very carnall woman, and what is the other woman that had her hair forth? she is a very precious godly woman; good lack saith he, it did not appear so to me by her gaudy attire, well saith he, let the other carnall woman be vvhat she vvill she goeth more modester, then the other godly vvoman, so that even nature may teach women to be modester in their attire of haire, but more especially godly women.
  Seventhly, you may object and say, oh but all this while you have but drawn it out by consequences, that vvomens laying forth their hair is a sin, you have brought never a place of Sc[r]ipture against it, and therefore it may be your ovvn brain meaning more then the meaning of the Sc[r]ipture.
  Ans. Although there is no such place of Scripture, as this, thou shalt not lay thy hair forth, yet doubtles, though it vvas not spoken against by God himself, yet in so much as it vvas spoken against by the Apostle Paul, vvho had the Spirit of God; vvhatsoever he spoke then, vvas the minde of God had been a sin, but such a one as Paul, vvho had such a measure of the spirit, could not sin in such a case, as to speak his ovvn judgement vvhen it vvas not the mind of God, therefore it must needs be the minde of God, that laying forth of hair is unlawful, in that he used the apostle Paul & Peter to minde us of it.
  Eightly, you may object and say, oh, but my birth requires i[t], and the company I keep withall daily requires it or else, I shall not be fitting for such companie.
  Ans. first vvill you prefer your naturall birth before your spirituall birth? Secondly, if you can discerne vvhat a naturall birth requires in your attire of haire, why cannot you as well then discerne by the rule of the Apostle what a spirituall birth requires, which is plainly discovered to be against your laying forth the haire. Thirdly, as for the company you are with according to your ranke, you must not be guided more by their rule then by the patterne of the word, as the Lord hath put a difference betweene them, and you in their soules condition, so the Lord hath put a difference between you and them, in your attire.
  Ninthly, you may object and say, why may not I as well go in this attire of haire, as to go in gold and silver, seeing that is lawfull for me to do, if it be according to my ranke and place.
  Answ. For your gold and silver it is lawfull for to weare, by such persons in whom the Lord is so pleased to bestow this worldly wealth upon, as you may read in the booke of Exodus, and in Job 32.11. but they that weare their haire out, have no rule for it, but a flat rule against it.
  Tenthly, you may object and say, oh but God requires that our adorning should be decent and comely; and I never wore my haire but decent, civill, and comely.
  Answ. There can be nothing said to be dece nt and comely, which is displeasing unto God, and it is as undecent in Gods sight for a woman to weare their haire out, as it is undecent in mans sight for a woman to go in mans apparell, and surely the Apostle Paul and Peter would never have troubled themselves so much in speaking of it, if it had not been both displeasing unto God and man, nay the Lord would not threaten such a judgement on them for it, that did abuse their haire, as you may read Esay 3.24. instead of well set haire, baldnesse; read but out all the words in that verse, and you shall finde that in every particular wherein they offended, and displeased God, the Lord sent them a particular judgement for it, as you may read instead of sweet smell, a stinke, implying it was displeasing, & instead of beauty, burning or tanned, so that for every particular sin the Lord had a judgement for it; for no doubt that the Lord was not displeased with their naturall beauty, for then he should despise his own creature that he made, but that artificiall beauty which they put upon themselves, and so we must understand the Lord sent a judgement of baldnesse upon those women that had well set hair, not because it was his own workmanship, but because they abused their haire, &c.
  Eleaventhly, oh but this dressing in my haire becometh me more better then my dressing in cloathes doth, and therefore I weare, and for no other end.
  Answ. First, take heed that this fashion blinde not your eyes, that you cannot see the uglinesse in it, for pride and selfe love blindes one that they cannot see, that which another seeth in them to be unseemly.
  Secondly, do not perswade your selfe it is a seemly fashion best becomming of you, for if you do but look upon it, you are in your apparell more like an Hermaphrodite, that is to say halfe man and halfe woman, that is, when as you shall be like to a woman downward in your apparell, and you should be like to a man upward in your Hat, and haire.
  Thirdly, your wearing of hair forth is no such comely dressing, because it takes away that modesty, and shamefastnesse, which would if you were godly women appear in you, and to say the truth, those seeme to be more viragines or men like women that do weare it, then modest grave and holy women.
  Twelfthly, oh but you may say, though you may prove it is unlawfull for a woman to lay forth her haire, yet I hope it is not unlawfull for one to go close covered wearing some lockes of haire forth, doing it only for the setting forth of my person, as I do weare my dressing for that end.
  Answ. First, if it be unlawfull to do the greater, it must needs follow to be unlawfull to do the lesse, if it be unlawfull for a man to sweare a great oath it is as unlawful for a man to sweare a little oath, & my reason is this, becuase the least sin in Gods sight is as hainous to him as the greatest sin, because in the least do we blemish the Image of God, though in the greater sins it be in a greater degree, and truly a small sin given by a Saint unto God, is more hainous then a greater sin given by a wicked man, because he that doth not the will of God ignorantly shall not be excused, but he that knoweth how to do the will of God, and doth it not, he shall be left to be punished, without excuse: Luke 12.47,48.
  Secondly, to weare your locks forth, it comes under the same admonition as the Apostle Peter speakes of, and outward adorning, and under the Apostle Pauls rule of, an immodest Attire, not beseeming gracious holy women, professing godlinesse, and therefore utterly unlawfull.
  Thirdly, it is an object of pride, to set it a working in those that do weare it, though perhaps all present may not do it for that end, I instance thus: you will say it were a very unbeseeming thing for a man to pray unto God to give him power over his lust of uncleannesse, and yet you to see him daily to use lascivious pictures, and wanton gestures, truely it is one and the same case in godly women, who prayeth daily unto God for power over their sinnes, and among all the rest, prayeth against the sin of pride, and against all those Instruments which may be a means of stirring up of it in them, and yet shall daily Locke forth their haire, which is not onely as great an instrument to stir up pride in them, if there should be none, as it giveth cause unto other godly persons, to be but pride it selfe, and truely in conclusion, if there were no sin to be found in it, yet in so much as it hath been these many yeers, such a great [o]ffence given unto so many godly men and women, which by their wearing of it, hath been a great cause to Censure them, though it may be they never deserved it, if it were but onely upon this ground and none other, it were enough to beat you from your pleading for it, and to lay it down, as a thing both offensive unto God and man, and though your knowledge may be very much, I know Paul had as much as you, and yet his spirit came so low, as you may read, 1 Cor. 8.13. Wherefore if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, which was a greater matter to abstaine from that food which was so nourishing to his body, then for you to lay in your head of haire, or locke of haire, and to be close Covered, seeing you have a Rule, In case you give by any meanes any offence, to a weak Brother or Sister, and so by this meanes make them to offend that Great God, to whom be praise through Jesus Christ our Saviour and Redeemer, for ever world without end.


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