« ZurückWeiter »
reports), placed the adulteress amidst her kindred naked, and shaved her head, and caused her husband to beat her with clubs through the city. The Gortynæans crowned the man with wool, to shame him for his effeminacy; and the Cumani caused the woman to ride upon an ass, naked and hooted at, and for ever after called her by an appellative of scorn, rider upon the ass 8:” all nations, barbarous and civil, agreeing in their general design, of rooting so dishonest and shameful a vice from under heaven.
The middle ages of the Church were not pleased that the adulteress should be put to death": but in the primitive ages, the civil laws, by which Christians were then governed, gave leave to the wronged husband to kill his adulterous wife, if he took her in the fact': but because it was a privilege indulged to men, rather than a direct detestation of the crime, a consideration of the injury rather than of the uncleanness, therefore it was soon altered, but yet hath caused an inquiry, Whether is worse, the adultery of the man or the woman?
The resolution of which case, in order to our present affair, is thus : in respect of the person, the fault is greater in a man than in a woman, who is of a more pliant and easy spirit, and weaker understanding, and hath nothing to supply the unequal strengths of men, but the defensative of a passive nature and armour of modesty, which is the natural ornament of that sex. “ And it is unjust that the man should demand chastity and severity from his wife, which himself will not observe towards herk,” said the good emperor Antoninus : it is as if the man should persuade his wife to fight against those enemies, to which he had yielded himself a prisoner. 2. In respect of the effects and evil consequents, the adultery of the woman is worse, as bringing bastardy iuto a family, and disinherisons or great injuries to the lawful children, and infinite violations of peace, and murders, and divorces, and all the effects of rage and madness. 3. But in respect of the crime, and as relating to God, they are equal, intolerable, and damnable: and since it is no more permitted to men to have many wives, than to women to have many husbands, and that in this respect their privilege is equal, their sin is so too. And this is the case of the question in Christianity. And the Church anciently refused to admit such persons to the holy communion, until they had done seven years' penances in fasting, in sackcloth, in severe inAictions and instruments of charity and sorrow, according to the discipline of those ages.
i Cod. de adulteriis, ad legem Juliam, l. 1. et Cod. Theod. de adulteriis, c. placuit.
Apud Aug. de adulter. conjug. Plut. conjug. præcept.
Acts of Chastity in general.
The actions and proper offices of the grace of chastity in general, are these.
1. To resist all unchaste thoughts: at no hand, entertaining pleasure in the unfruitful fancies and remembrances of uncleanness, although no definite desire or resolution be entertained.
2. At no hand, to entertain any desire ', or any fantastic, imaginative loves; though by shame, or disability, or other circumstance, they be restrained from act.
3. To have a chaste eye and hand" : for it is all one with what part of the body we commit adultery: and if a man lets his eye loose, and enjoys the lust of that, he is an adulterer. “ Look not upon a woman to lust after her.” And supposing all the other members restrained, yet if the eye be permitted to lust, the man can no otherwise be called chaste, than he can be called severe and mortified, that sits all day long seeing plays and revellings, and out of greediness to fill his eye, neglects his belly, There are some vessels, which if you offer to lift by the belly or bottom, you cannot stir them, but are soon removed, if
It matters not, with which of your members you are taken and carried off from your duty and severity.
4. To have a heart and mind chaste and pure; that is, detesting all uncleanness; disliking all its motions, past actions, circumstances, likenesses, discourses : and this ought
Casso saltem delectamine amare quod potiri non licet. Poeta. Patellas luxuriæ oculos, dixit Isidorus. 'Aagndovas evgórw, alius quidam. m Time videre unde possis cadere, et noli fieri perversâ simplicitate securus.
to be the chastity of virgins, and widows, of old persons and eunuchs especially, and generally of all men, according to their several necessities.
5. To discourse chastely and purely“; with great care declining all indecencies of language, chastening the tongue, and restraining it with grace, as vapours of wine are restrained with a bunch of myrrh.
6. To disapprove by an after-act all involuntary and natural pollutions : for if a man delights in having suffered any natural pollution, and with pleasure remembers it, he chooses that, which was in itself involuntary; and that which, being natural, wás innocent, becoming voluntary, is made useful.
7. They that have performed these duties and parts of chastity, will certainly abstain from all exterior actions of uncleanness, those noon-day and midnight devils, those lawless and ungodly worshippings of shame and uncleanness, whose birth is in trouble, whose growth is in folly, and whose end is in shame.
But besides these general acts of chastity, which are common to all states of men and women, there are some few things proper to the severals.
Acts of Virginal Chastity.
1. Virgins must remember, that the virginity of the body is only excellent in order to the purity of the soul; who therefore must consider, that since they are in some measure in a condition like that of angels, it is their duty to spend much of their time in angelical employment: for in the same degree that virgins live more spiritually than other persons, in the same degree is their virginity a more excellent state. But else it is no better than that of involuntary or constrained eunuchs; a misery and a trouble, or else a mere privation, as much without excellency as without mixture.
2. Virgins must contend for a singular modesty; whose first part must be an ignorance in the distinction of sexes, or their proper instruments; or if they accidentally be in
Sp. Minucius Pontifex Posthumium monuit, ne verbis vitæ castimoniam non æquantibus uteretur. Plut. de cap. ex inim. utilit.
structed in that, it must be supplied with an inadvertency or neglect of all thoughts and remembrances of such difference; and the following parts of it must be pious and chaste thoughts, holy language, and modest carriage.
3. Virgins must be retired and unpublic: for all freedom and looseness of society is a violence done to virginity, not in its natural, but in its moral capacity; that is, it loses part of its severity, strictness, and opportunity of advantages, by publishing that person, whose work is religion, whose company is angels, whose thoughts must dwell in heaven, and separate from all mixtures of the world.
4. Virgins have a peculiar obligation to charity : for this is the virginity of the soul; as purity, integrity, and separation is of the body: which doctrine we are taught by St. Peter : " Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart ferventlyo.” For a virgin, that consecrates her body to God, and pollutes her spirit with rage, or impatience, or inordinate anger, gives him what he most hates, a most foul and defiled soul.
5. These rules are necessary for virgins, that offer that state to God, and mean not to enter into the state of marriage : for they that only wait the opportunity of a convenient change, are to steer themselves by the general rules of chastity.
Rules for Widows or vidual Chastity. For widows, the fontinel of whose desires hath been opened by the former permissions of the marriage-bed, they must remember,
1. That God hath now restrained the former license, bound up their
eyes and shut up their heart into a narrower compass, and hath given them sorrow to be a bridle to their desires. A widow must be a mourner; and she that is not, cannot so well secure the chastity of her proper state.
2. It is against public honesty to marry another man, so long as she is with child by her former husband : and of the same fame, it is in a lesser proportion to marry, within the year of mourning; but anciently it was infamous for her to marry, till by common account the body was dissolved into its first principle of earth.
o 1 Pet. i. 22.
3. A widow must restrain her memory and her fancy, not recalling or recounting her former permissions and freer licenses with any present delight: for then she opens that sluice, which her husband's death and her own sorrow. have
4. A widow, that desires her widowhood should be a state pleasing to God, must spend her time as devoted virgins should, in fastings, and prayers, and charity.
5. A widow must forbid herself to use those temporal solaces, which in her former estate were innocent, but now are dangerous.
Rules for married persons, or matrimonial Chastity.
Concerning married persons, besides the keeping of their mutual faith and contract with each other, these particulars are useful to be observed P.
1. Although their mutual endearments are safe within the protection of marriage, yet they that have wives or husbands, must be, as though they had them not; that is, they must have an affection greater to each other, than they have to any person in the world, but not greater than they have to God: but that they be ready to part with all interest in each other's person rather than sin against God.
2. In their permissions and license, they must be sure to observe the order of nature, and the ends of God.
“ He is an ill husband, that uses his wife as a man treats a harlot 9," having no other end but pleasure. Concerning which our best rule is, that although in this, as in eating and drinking, there is an appetite to be satisfied, which cannot be done without pleasing that desire ; yet since that desire and satisfaction was intended by nature for other ends, they should never be separate from those ends, but always be joined with all or one of these ends, “ with a desire of children, or to avoid fornication, or to lighten and ease the cares and sad
? Nisi fundamenta stirpis jacta sint probè, Miseros necesse est esse deinceps posteros. Eurip.
9 Non debemus eodem amico uti et adulatore; nec eâdem uti uxore et scorto. Plut. conjug. precept.