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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Chapter 50. Ambrose again, inveighing against such practices, says: |Hence arise these incentives to viceà

On Christian Doctrine In Four Books by St. Augustine

Chapter 50. Ambrose again, inveighing against such practices, says: |Hence arise these incentives to viceà

50. Ambrose again, inveighing against such practices, says: |Hence arise these incentives to vice, that women, in their fear that they may not prove attractive to men, paint their faces with carefully-chosen colours, and then from stains on their features go on to stains on their chastity. What folly it is to change the features of nature into those of a painting, and from fear of incurring their husband's disapproval, to proclaim openly that they have incurred their own! For the woman who desires to alter her natural appearance pronounces condemnation on herself; and her eager endeavours to please another prove that she has first been displeasing to herself. And what testimony to thine ugliness can we find, O woman, that is more unquestionable than thine own, when thou art afraid to show thyself? If thou art comely why dost thou hide thy comeliness? If thou art plain, why test thou lyingly pretend to be beautiful, when thou can't not enjoy the pleasure of the lie either in thine own consciousness or in that of another? For he loves another woman, thou desires to please another man; and thou art angry if he love another, though he is taught adultery in thee. Thou art the evil promptress of thine own injury. For even the woman who has been the victim of a pander shrinks from acting the pander's part, and though she be vile, it is herself she sins against and not another. The crime of adultery is almost more tolerable than thine; for adultery tampers with modesty, but thou with nature.| It is sufficiently clear, I think, that this eloquence calls passionately upon women to avoid tampering with their appearance by deceitful arts, and to cultivate modesty and fear. Accordingly, we notice that the style is neither subdued nor temperate, but majestic throughout. Now in these two authors whom I have selected as specimens of the rest, and in other ecclesiastical writers who both speak the truth and speak it well, -- speak it, that is, judiciously, pointedly, and with beauty and power of expression, -- many examples may be found of the three styles of speech, scattered through their various writings and discourses; and the diligent student may by assiduous reading, intermingled with practice on his own part, become thoroughly imbued with them all.
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