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Chapter VI.—Virginity to Be Cultivated and Commended in Every Place and Time.

Further, the expression in Jeremiah,26322632    Jer. ii. 32. The author, in quoting from the LXX., slightly alters the text, so as to make it almost a command, instead of a question. The original has ἐπιλήσεται; in the text it is ἐπιλαθέσθαι. “That a maid should not forget her ornaments, nor a bride her attire,”26332633    Literally, breastband. shows that she should not give up or loosen the band of chastity through wiles and distractions. For by the heart are properly denoted our heart and mind. Now the breastband, the girdle which gathers together and keeps firm the purpose of the soul to chastity, is love to God, which our Captain and Shepherd, Jesus, who is also our Ruler and Bridegroom, O illustrious virgins, commands both you and me to hold fast unbroken and sealed up even to the end; for one will not easily find anything else a greater help to men than this possession, pleasing and grateful to God. Therefore, I say, that we should all exercise and honour chastity, and always cultivate and commend it.

Let these first-fruits of my discourse suffice for thee, O Arete, in proof of my education and my zeal. “And I receive the gift,” she said that Arete replied, “and bid Thallousa speak after thee; for I must have a discourse from each one of you.” And she said that Thallousa, pausing a little, as though considering somewhat with herself, thus spoke.

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