1800’s to 2020 a lot has changed admittedly. From basic fashion to more bigger stuff like technology, engineering and medicine. Church institutions, infrastructure, worship procedure, all these have faced lots of changes.
But the tradition of the Sabbath has not changed, and not just the tradition but the meaning or the understanding of what Sabbath worship is.
“Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep,” the Lord says, “for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you” (Exodus 31:13). Some will seek to place obstacles in the way of Sabbath observance, saying, “You do not know what day is the Sabbath,” but they seem to understand when Sunday comes, and have manifested great zeal in making laws compelling its observance.—The Kress Collection, 148 (1900). LDE 124.2
Isaiah 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
While everything else would change, the tradition of the Sabbath is eternal. This should speak to us about the reflection and meaning of the Sabbath. It is, so to say, a holy congregation going to meet and fellowship with God. To rest with God as with the Angels and the Heavenly Host.
Many need instruction as to how they should appear in the assembly for worship on the Sabbath. They are not to enter the presence of God in the common clothing worn during the week. All should have a special Sabbath suit, to be worn when attending service in God’s house. While we should not conform to worldly fashions, we are not to be indifferent in regard to our outward appearance. We are to be neat and trim, though without adornment. The children of God should be pure within and without. Testimonies For the Church, vol. 6, 355
If we would take our minds back to the Israelites preparing for the presence of God before the Mount, there was a lot of preparation and most of it was spent in cleaning their camps, shaving, doing laundry and making sure the place of the meeting was spotlessly clean. For us, this means taking the extra time during preparation to ensure the clothes to use are clean, ironed if need be and ready for use on Sabbath.
All who meet upon the Sabbath to worship God should, if possible, have a neat, well-fitting, comely suit to wear in the house of worship. It is a dishonor to the Sabbath, and to God and His house, for those who profess that the Sabbath is the holy of the Lord, and honorable, to wear the same clothing upon the Sabbath that they have worn through the week while laboring upon their farms, when they can obtain other. Review and Herald, January 23, 1900
Ladies are admonished to ensure their dressing is not too revealing or too much of the world being in God’s presence.
If there are worthy persons who, with their whole heart would honor the Lord of the Sabbath, and the worship of God, and who cannot obtain a change of clothing, let those who are able, donate to such a Sabbath suit, that they may appear in the house of God with cleanly, fitting apparel. Those who expend means on costly apparel and extra fixings, can by a little self-denial exemplify pure religion, by simplicity of clothing, and then use the means they have usually expended needlessly in aiding the poor to obtain neat and modest apparel. The Health Reformer, February 1, 1872
And some men who profess to be Christians view the matter of dress in the same light. They assemble with God’s people upon the Sabbath, with their clothing dusty, and soiled, and even with gaping rents in them, and placed upon their persons in a slovenly manner. This class, if they had an engagement to meet a friend honored by the world, and they wished to be especially favored by him, would exert themselves to appear in his presence with the best apparel that could be obtained; for this friend would feel insulted were they to come into his presence with hair uncombed, and garments uncleanly, and in disorder. Yet these persons think that it is no matter in what dress they appear, or what is the condition of their persons, when they meet upon the Sabbath to worship the great God. They assemble in His house, which is as the audience-chamber of the Most High, where heavenly angels are in attendance, with but little respect, or reverence, as their persons and clothing indicate. Their whole appearance typifies the character of such men and women. Selected Messages, Book 2, 475