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Chapter XVII.

The duties of youth, and examples suitable to that age, are next put forth.

65. Since it has been made sufficiently plain that there will be punishment for wickedness and reward for virtue, let us proceed to speak of the duties which have to be borne in mind from our youth up,108108    Cic. de Off. I. 34. that they may grow with our years.109109    Thus the Benedictine edition reads; most others have: “accrescant simul studia bonorum actuum. A good youth ought to have a fear of God, to be subject to his parents, to give honour to his elders, to preserve his purity; he ought not to despise humility, but should love forbearance and modesty. All these are an ornament to youthful years. For as seriousness is the true grace of an old man, and ardour of a young man, so also is modesty, as though by some gift of nature, well set off in a youth.

66. Isaac feared the Lord, as was indeed but natural in the son of Abraham; being subject also to his father to such an extent that he would not avoid death in opposition to his father’s will.110110    Gen. xxii. 9. Joseph also, though he dreamed that sun and moon and stars made obeisance to him, yet was subject to his father’s will with ready obedience.111111    Gen. xxxvii. 9. So chaste was he, he would not hear even a word unless it were pure; humble was he even to doing the work of a slave, modest, even to taking flight, enduring, even to bearing imprisonment, so forgiving of wrong as even to repay it with good. Whose modesty was such, that, when seized by a woman, he preferred to leave his garment in her hands in flight, rather than to lay aside his modesty.112112    Gen. xxxix. 12. Moses,113113    Ex. iv. 10. also, and Jeremiah,114114    Jer. i. 6. chosen by the Lord to declare the words of God to the people, were for avoiding, through modesty, that which through grace they could do.


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