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Acts of Chastity in general.

The actions and proper office 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:102102Time videre unde possis cadere, et noli fieri perversa simplicitate securus.—St. Aug. 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 you take them by the ears. 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 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;103103Sp. Minucius Pontifex Posthumium monuit, ne verbis vitae eastimoniam non aequantibus uteretur.—Plut. de Cap. ex Inim Utilit. 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, was innocent, becoming voluntary, is made sinful.

7. They that have performed these duties and parts of chastity will certainly abstain from all exterior actions of uncleanness, those noonday 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 to the severals.

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