It is not Enough that God Know us to be Chaste: we must Seem So Before Men. Especially in These Times of Persecution we must Inure
Perhaps some (woman) will say: "To me it is not necessary to be approved by men; for I do not require the testimony of men: [261] God is the inspector of the heart." [262] (That) we all know; provided, however, we remember what the same (God) has said through the apostle: "Let your probity appear before men." [263] For what purpose, except that malice may have no access at all to you, or that you may be an example and testimony to the evil? Else, what is (that): "Let your works shine?" [264] Why, moreover, does the Lord call us the light of the world; why has He compared us to a city built upon a mountain; [265] if we do not shine in (the midst of) darkness, and stand eminent amid them who are sunk down? If you hide your lamp beneath a bushel, [266] you must necessarily be left quite in darkness, and be run against by many. The things which make us luminaries of the world are these -- our good works. What is good, moreover, provided it be true and full, loves not darkness: it joys in being seen, [267] and exults over the very pointings which are made at it. To Christian modesty it is not enough to be so, but to seem so too. For so great ought its plenitude to be, that it may flow out from the mind to the garb, and burst out from the conscience to the outward appearance; so that even from the outside it may gaze, as it were, upon its own furniture, [268] -- (a furniture) such as to be suited to retain faith as its inmate perpetually. For such delicacies as tend by their softness and effeminacy to unman the manliness [269] of faith are to be discarded. Otherwise, I know not whether the wrist that has been wont to be surrounded with the palmleaf-like bracelet will endure till it grow into the numb hardness of its own chain! I know not whether the leg that has rejoiced in the anklet will suffer itself to be squeezed into the gyve! I fear the neck, beset with pearl and emerald nooses, will give no room to the broadsword! Wherefore, blessed (sisters), let us meditate on hardships, and we shall not feel them; let us abandon luxuries, and we shall not regret them. Let us stand ready to endure every violence, having nothing which we may fear to leave behind. It is these things which are the bonds which retard our hope. Let us cast away earthly ornaments if we desire heavenly. Love not gold; in which (one substance) are branded all the sins of the people of Israel. You ought to hate what ruined your fathers; what was adored by them who were forsaking God. [270] Even then (we find) gold is food for the fire. [271] But Christians always, and now more than ever, pass their times not in gold but in iron: the stoles of martyrdom are (now) preparing: the angels who are to carry us are (now) being awaited! Do you go forth (to meet them) already arrayed in the cosmetics and ornaments of prophets and apostles; drawing your whiteness from simplicity, your ruddy hue from modesty; painting your eyes with bashfulness, and your mouth with silence; implanting in your ears the words of God; fitting on your necks the yoke of Christ. Submit your head to your husbands, and you will be enough adorned. Busy your hands with spinning; keep your feet at home; and you will "please" better than (by arraying yourselves) in gold. Clothe yourselves with the silk of uprightness, the fine linen of holiness, the purple of modesty. Thus painted, you will have God as your Lover!


[261] Comp. John 5:34; 1 Corinthians 4:3.

[262] Comp. 1 Sam. xvi. 7; Jeremiah 17:10; Luke 16:15.

[263] See Philippians 4:5, 8; Romans 12:17; 2 Corinthians 8:21.

[264] See Matthew 5:16; and comp. de Idol., c. xv. ad init.

[265] Matthew 5:14.

[266] Matthew 5:15; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16; xi. 33.

[267] See John 3:21.

[268] Supellectilem.

[269] Effeminari virtus.

[270] Comp. Exodus 32.p>[271] Exodus 32:20.

chapter xii such outward adornments meretricious
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