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On Christian Doctrine In Four Books by St. Augustine

Chapter 49. But I shall select examples of the majestic style from their treatment of aà

49. But I shall select examples of the majestic style from their treatment of a subject which both of them have touched. Both have denounced the women who colour, or rather discolour, their faces with paint. And the first, in dealing with this topic, says: |Suppose a painter should depict in colours that rival nature's the features and form and completion of some man, and that, when the portrait had been finished with consummate art, another painter should put his hand over it, as if to improve by his superior skill the painting already completed; surely the first artist would feel deeply insulted, and his indignation would be justly roused. Dost thou, then, think that thou wilt carry off with impunity so audacious an act of wickedness, such an insult to God the great artifices? For, granting that thou art not immodest in thy behaviour towards men, and that thou art not polluted in mind by these meretricious deceits, yet, in corrupting and violating what is God's, thou provest thyself worse than an adulteress. The fact that thou considerest thyself adorned and beautified by such arts is an impeachment of God's handiwork, and a violation of truth. Listen to the warning voice of the apostle: 'Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.' Now can sincerity and truth continue to exist when what is sincere is polluted, and what is true is changed by meretricious colouring and the deceptions of quackery into a lie? Thy Lord says, 'Thou can't not make one hair white or black;' and dost thou wish to have greater power so as to bring to nought the words of thy Lord? With rash and sacrilegious hand thou wouldst fain change the colour of thy hair: I would that, with a prophetic look to the future, thou shouldst dye it the color of flame.| It would be too long to quote all that follows.

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