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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. X:
Dogmatic Treatises, Ethical Works, and Sermons.: Chapter XVII. The duties of youth, and examples suitable to that age, are next put forth.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

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, 108 that they may grow with our years. 109 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. 110 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. 111 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. 112 Moses, 113 also, and Jeremiah, 114 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.


Footnotes

12:108

Cic. de Off. I. 34.

12:109

Thus the Benedictine edition reads; most others have: “accrescant simul studia bonorum actuum.

12:110

Gen. xxii. 9.

12:111

Gen. xxxvii. 9.

12:112

Gen. xxxix. 12.

12:113

Ex. iv. 10.

12:114

Jer. i. 6.


Next: Chapter XVIII. On the different functions of modesty. How it should qualify both speech and silence, accompany chastity, commend our prayers to God, govern our bodily motions; on which last point reference is made to two clerics in language by no means unsuited to its object. Further he proceeds to say that one's gait should be in accordance with that same virtue, and how careful one must be that nothing immodest come forth from one's mouth, or be noticed in one's body. All these points are illustrated with very appropriate examples.

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