It was Sabbath morning, a very special day, when about fifty candidates were I to be baptized, thus publicly acknowledging their faith in the Lord Jesus, and their adherence to the standards of the advent message. In looking over this happy company, one could see that all were in accord with the principles of dress reform. Some of the Bible workers had labored faithfully with these sisters to persuade them to change their garments, and were rewarded by seeing that the candidates had discarded all jewelry, and were wearing clothing conforming to Christian standards.
However, one of the candidates was somewhat belated; and when she arrived, the pastor greeted her at the door. To his surprise, she was wearing a number of pieces of jewelry. He spoke tactfully to her on the subject, and in the 'course of the conversation which followed she expressed herself as greatly surprised to learn that the laying aside of jewelry was part of our standard, as she had been given to understand by the inexperienced Bible worker who labored with her, that she was conversant with all points of our doctrine and wholly prepared for baptism. This point of truth, being presented thus unexpectedly just as she was about to receive baptism, so upset her that she refused to go forward, and immediately left the church.
The Bible worker's reason for withholding instruction on this point was due to the fact that when she herself accepted this message, she was not instructed in regard to ornaments. However, after she became a member, she saw the light on this subject and accepted it. Therefore, she supposed that those she was working with would do likewise.
Of course it was lack of experience, and perhaps. training, that led this Bible worker to follow such a course in instructing new candidates. It was a bitter disappointment and an embarrassing experience, however, to see the woman for whom she had labored, leave the church that Sabbath morning without taking the final step. Undoubtedly this woman would be a church member today had the Bible worker faithfully discharged her duty by fully instructing her before the day set for baptism.
As Bible workers, we should be able to say with Paul that we are pure from the blood of all men, for we have not shunned to declare "all the counsel of God." Acts 20:26, 27. Solemn is our responsibility; for we stand between the living and the dead, and the suppression of truth may mean the loss of a soul, the value of which eternity alone can estimate.
Some may ask, "Why could not the minister have baptized this woman even though she had not surrendered on the point of jewelry?" Consider the reaction on the part of the other candidates, who had been instructed on this point, and who had yielded to the requirements of heaven. Would it not have militated against the standard and brought in confusion?
Furthermore, it would have been an injustice to this woman herself to have baptized her without informing her of the standard which we hold. There is always someone in the church to approach the new member with the question, "Why the jewelry?" Such a course would tend to break down confidence, and leave a question in the mind as to whether or not there might be other points of doctrine which had been withheld.
As Bible workers we should, in the fear of God, proclaim the standard to our inquirers without any reservation. After we have faithfully discharged our duty in this respect, we can leave the results with the Lord. We read in "Fundamentals of Christian Education," pages 288, 289:
"As the truth is brought into practical life, the standard is to be elevated higher and higher, to meet the requirements of the Bible. This will necessitate opposition to the fashions, customs, practices, and maxims of the world. Worldly influences, like the waves of the sea, beat against the followers of Christ to sweep them away from the true principles of the meekness and grace of Christ; but they are to stand as firm as a rock to principle. It will require moral courage to do this. . . . We are not to elevate our standard just a little above the world's standard; but we are to make the line of demarcation decidedly apparent."