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By Arthur Vess

      The average wedding ring would cost about $525.00. [In 1955] At least from one-third to one-half of the average church membership is made up of married women. Just as the women are recognizing that they have "equal rights" with the men in smoking cigarettes, just so, the married men are awakening to the fact that they have the same right (?) to protection by the charm of the wedding ring, which is supposed to keep away the opposite sex, and keep them true to their companions after marriage. Since the wedding ring has such a moral power over the married women in keeping them pure (?), they would naturally insist that their husbands wear the same label of protection. This combination of married women and men will bring those who do, or will soon wear the ring, up to about three-fourths of our membership. Of course, those so in love to get married will not want to put off "cheap rings" on those they love, nor wear such cheap things to protect them (?) from going astray after other lovers. This means that men will purchase rings, both for themselves and for their betrothed, in keeping with their dignity and devotion. (A converted jeweler told me that a ring selling for $10, usually cost the jeweler about 50 cents, -- some dignity, matrimony commercialized.)

      If rings keep married people pure, they should have the same good effect on single people, -- a great discovery (?), the delinquency cure (?).

      Let us figure a little. Jewelers tell us that the plain wedding band costs about $15.00. The jeweled bands cost from $60.00 to $125.00. A very low average would run about $25.00 per ring. In a denomination of 30,000 members, the wedding rings would run about $500,000; in a church of 60,000 members, the rings would -- run about $1, 000,000; in a church of 90,000, the wedding bands would amount to about $1,500,000. In the more modern and "worldly" churches their wedding rings would cost from $5,000,000 to $300,000,000. In other words, our holiness churches would pay out from one-half a million to three hundred million dollars for charms to keep them true to their supposed Christian companions, and to protect them from roughnecks who do not know the difference between pure and impure wives, except by the wedding band. Is it possible that we are going to tolerate and support customs of such enormous cost to keep our supposed Christian wives and husbands from capturing or being captured by other lovers? Where does the "blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses from all sin" come in? Has it "lost its power?" Where has the "grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" any power to keep us from sin, if we have to wear the same marital charms as the world or heathen to whom we send the Gospel of Jesus Christ? It begins to look like they are heathenizing us, instead of our christianizing them. What could be done with the millions sacrificed to our matrimonial god, the wedding ring?

      But you reply, "But many or most of those who belong to my church do not wear the wedding ring." But if we allow it to one person, we shall have to allow it to all. Please remember that a great Church, with its millions of members and billions of dollars, once was as much opposed to jewelry of all sorts as the most spiritual churches are today; and that those most spiritual will soon be where that Church is now, if we let loose and let go. If you permit the wedding ring, you stand with the millions of worldly church members who desecrate their millions to vanity and pride, while their preachers are unconverted and often atheistic, their members lost, their services cold and dead. They began to let down in the "non-essentials" until they have no "essentials" left. Take warning and beware.

      Let us explode a few more bubbles of folly by good sound reasoning. If wedding rings are essential for the women, the men who are out in the world and exposed more than the women, should have at least one or more rings. From physiological reasons and customs, a man can cover his sins much easier than the woman. Custom makes it easier for men to escape punishment and embarrassment. Therefore all men everywhere should be protected with rings so large and conspicuous that all women will sit up and take notice of their virtue, radiating out through their rings instead of their personalities? What wonderful protection. (?) Yes, yes, all men who may stray from home and virtue, should be "ringed," just as the hog which chances to stray from his pasture must be ringed to keep him from rooting up his master's crop or lawn. You say, "such folly." We say, "Amen," for hogs and men. If rings will keep married people pure, our unmarried surely need them. If those who have loving companions need them, what about those who have none? If we permit the wedding rings, we shall have no testimony against the class rings, lodge rings, and all other forms of vanity and waste.

      Think of the churches and schools which could be builded and maintained with money spent on our own vanity. Think of the missionaries who could be supported around the world with cash wasted on vain professors. Think of the war widows and orphans, and the starving, freezing millions the world over who are dying for bread. Is there not some power to keep our husbands and wives pure, other than heathen charms, in order that this money might be spent for starving souls and bodies of multitudes the world around? But, of course, we do not want to be narrow or unreasonable in our pleas and demands for human souls and bodies. We would not want to risk or rob our Christian (?) husbands and wives of their protection and purity just for the mere souls and bodies of poor underprivileged heathen, or our fellow citizens. However, if our husbands and wives could find enough grace or something to keep them pure, then those millions could be diverted into other channels. But if they just cannot keep pure without their rings, it would be folly to rob them of their purity just for the heathen. We are trying our best to be reasonable? I Kings

      18:27. We do not want to be narrow and strain at the "gnat" of a ruined world and forget the virtue of our husbands and wives, so dependent on the wedding ring. "Bear with me a little in my folly" and "narrowness.'" If I could prove to you that our wives and husbands could be devout and scriptural in their standards, and at the same time save millions for our lost and dying, would you lift truth up a little in your estimation. for the sake of Christ and souls? Make a canvass with me of those whom you know and trust as most spiritual. Do we not find that those most in love with Christ and souls are least interested in and bound by the customs and ways of men? Who is it that keeps the home fires alive on our altars and the light shining in distant lands? Is it not those so narrow as to dare to travel the "narrow way" whatever others do or think? Or, is it those more liberal and worldly-minded in their standards, interests, and allowances? Before Almighty God, demand an honest answer, and transformed conduct. But you reply, "We are not so narrow as to condemn others for their judgment and conduct." Your wisdom should make you very gracious in tolerating those not so wise. No one can accuse others of being foolish and narrow until they credit themselves as being wise and broad. "The wisdom of the world is foolishness with God," and the wisdom of God is foolishness with the world. Of course, we shall not yet think of demanding or side tracking this matrimonial money for the salvation and education of our children, and of multitudes around the world, if it will unduly expose or destroy the love, loyalty, and marital virtue of our own helpless husbands and wives? We want to be considerate -- not narrow. It is better to be narrow and deep than broad and shallow.

      Yes, another suggestion. Why not inform the poor heathen that they are making an awful mistake in giving up their rings and other idols, and exposing themselves to lust and vice? But our most faithful missionaries tell us that the heathen do not know any better than to give up their rings and low morals when they get saved. Why not send them more rings and teach them to be broad and liberal like many of their American brothers? and sisters? Or, better, have them come over and teach us, while we pay the bill with ring money? Of course, the heathen might reply, "We have tried rings and all such things, and we only fell into deeper immorality and sin; so we have decided to give up all and try Christ in His simplicity and holiness. Give us Christ and you may have the rings and all such things! If the churches filled with rings and all such things are so worldly and dead spiritually, why not stop up the "loophole" lest we come to this place of torment and folly? Do you know a spiritual church which is filled with wedding rings? Is so, join it. Do not try to drag the rest of us down with you.

      The salvation we offer to all men cost the blood and suffering of the Son of God. Can we not give up the trifling things of time in order to invest all in the salvation of men? Five hundred thousand dollars would support five hundred missionaries one full year. Think of the churches it would build and support here in our land! It would support two thousand students for one whole year in preparation for sending salvation around the world. Add to this the cost of all the other follies and vanities which go along with wedding rings and all such things, and you will multiply many times the amount taken from the Kingdom of God's Son to which you and I profess to belong. "I'm going through; I'll pay the price whatever others do. I'll take the way with the Lord's despised few; I'm going through, Jesus, I'm going through." What about you?

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   Preface To The Third Edition


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