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BISAC: Religion / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth
Modesty, the flower of manners, the honor of our bodies, the grace of the sexes, the integrity of the blood, the guarantee of our race, the basis of sanctity, the pre-indication of every good disposition; rare though it is, and not easily perfected, and scarce ever retained in perpetuity, will yet up to a certain point linger in the world, if nature shall have laid the preliminary groundwork of it, discipline persuaded to it, censorial rigor curbed its excesses—on the hypothesis, that is, that every mental good quality is the result either of birth, or else of training, or else of external compulsion.
But as the conquering power of things evil is on the increase—which is the characteristic of the last times—things good are now not allowed either to be born, so corrupted are the seminal principles; or to be trained, so deserted are studies; nor to be enforced, so disarmed are the laws. In fact, (the modesty) of which we are now beginning (to treat) is by this time grown so obsolete, that it is not the abjuration but the moderation of the appetites which modesty is believed to be; and he is held to be chaste enough who has not been too chaste. But let the world’s modesty see to itself, together with the world itself: together with its inherent nature, if it was wont to originate in birth; its study, if in training; its servitude, if in compulsion: except that it had been even more unhappy if it had remained only to prove fruitless, in that it had not been in God’s household that its activities had been exercised.