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Deuteronomy 22

Deuteronomy 22:12, 5

12. Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself

12. Fimbrias facies tibi in quatuor oris operimenti tui quo operies te.

5. The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

5. Mulier non feret arma viri, nec induet vir muliebre vestimentum: quia abominatio Jehovae Dei tui est quicunque haec facit


12. This also was a part of, or accessory to, chastity, to have regard to modesty in dress; for since the thighs were then without covering, a door was thus opened to many improprieties, if the upper garments were not closed, and many, as if by accident, would have abused this, if it had been allowed, as an incentive to licentiousness; for we see that many rush into such excesses of lasciviousness, as to glory in their shame. God, therefore, would have the flaps of their gowns thus drawn together by ties or latchets, that not even by chance could those parts be uncovered, which cannot be decently or modestly looked upon. But if divine provisions were made even with respect to their garments, so that the elect people should cultivate decency, and diligently guard against everything immodest, it is abundantly clear that not only were adulteries condemned, but whatever is repugnant to purity and chastity. This passage is improperly referred to the fringes which were sewed to their garments to renew the recollection of the Law, since decency and delicacy are here alone regarded.

5. This decree also commends modesty in general, and in it God anticipates the danger, lest women should harden themselves into forgetfulness of modesty, or men should degenerate into effeminacy unworthy of their nature. Garments are not in themselves of so much importance; but as it is disgraceful for men to become effeminate, and also for women to affect manliness in their dress and gestures, propriety and modesty are prescribed, not only for decency’s sake, but lest one kind of liberty should at length lead to something worse. The words of the heathen poet are very true: 9797     The quotation is from Juvenal, Sat. 6:252:
   “Quem praestare potest mulier galeata pudorem,
Quae fugit a sexu.”

   The Fr. translation is forcible: “qu’une femme, qui contrefait le gendarme, et fuit son sexe, ne gardera nulle honte.”

“What shame can she, who wears a helmet, show,
sex deserting?”

Wherefore, decency in the fashion of the clothes is an excellent preservative of modesty.

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