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OF THE FIRST CLAss of SPECIAL VIRTUES connected witH
THE DUTY OF MAN Tow ARD's HIMSELF.
The special virtues which regulate our desire of external advantages, have reference either to bodily gratifications, or to the possessions which enrich and adorn life.
The virtue which prescribes bounds to the desire of bodily gratification, is called TEMPERANCE. Tit. ii. 11, 12, the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. 1 Pet. ii. 11. as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. 2 Pet. ii. 9, the Lord knoweth how ...... to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement
to be punished; but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness.
Under temperance are comprehended sobriety and chastity, modesty and decency.
SoBRIETY consists in abstinence from immoderate eating and drinking." 1 Thess. v. 8, let us, who are of the day, be sober. 1 Pet. i. 13.
* Abstinence in diet, says a biographer of Milton, was one of his favourite virtues, which he practised invariably through life, and availed himself of every opportunity to recommend in his writings. He is reported to have partaken rarely of wine or of any strong liquors. In
wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober. iv. 7. the end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. v. 8. be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. Esther i. 8. the drinking was according to law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.
The opposites of this virtue are drunkenness and gluttony; instances of which may be seen in Noah, Gen. ix. Lot, Gen. xix. and Benhadad, 1 Kings xx. 16. Prov. xx. 1. wine is a mocker. xxi. 17. he that loveth wine...... shall not be rich. xxiii. 3, &c. be not desirous of his dainties, for they are deceitful meat. v. 20, 21. be not among winebibbers, among riotous eaters of flesh—. v. 29–32. who hath woe? who hath sorrow 2 who hath contentions 2 who hath babbling 2 who hath wounds without cause ? who hath redness of eyes? they that tarry long at the wine. Isai. v. 11, 12. woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink..... but they regard not the work of Jehovah. v. 22. woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine. xxviii. 1, 3, 7, 8, woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim—.
In his Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, the following passage occurs: “How great a virtue is temperance, how much of moment through the whole life of man! Yet God commits the managing so great a trust, without particular law or prescription, wholly to the demeanour of every grown man.’ Prose Works, I. 298. Again, in Paradise Lost:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - well observe
See also Samson Agonistes, 542, &c. and the second elegy to Deodati. In the Apology for Smectymnuus, he vindicates himself with some indignation against the charge of being a sackdrinker, which one of his opponents had brought against him. He concludes his defence with the following sentence. ‘For the readers [of the book in which the accusation appeared]. if they can believe me, principally for those reasons which I have alleged, to be of life and purpose neither dishonest nor unchaste, they will be easily induced to think me sober both of wine and of word; but if I have been already successless in persuading them, all that I can further say will be but vain; and it will be better thrift to save two tedious labours, mine of excusing, and theirs of needless hearing.' Prose Works, I. 126.
Ezek. xvi. 49. behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, Julness of bread. Luke xxi. 34, take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. Rom. xiii. 13. let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness. I Cor. vi. 10. nor drunkards...... shall inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. v. 21. drunkenness, revellings, and such like......shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Hos. iv. 10. they shall eat, and not have enough. vii. 5, in the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine. Habak. ii. 15. woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink. Eph. v. 18. be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but—. 1 Pet. iv. 3, 4, the time past of our lives may suffice us...... when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, eaccess of wine, revellings, banquetings ...... wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same ea cess of riot.
Allied to sobriety is watchfulness. Matt. xxiv. 42. watch therefore; Jor ye know not what hour your lord doth come. See also xxv. 13. xxvi. 41. Mark xiii. 35. v. 37. what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch. Luke xii. 37. blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching. xxi. 36. watch ye therefore and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass. Col. iv. 2. continue in prayer, and watch—. 1 Thess. v. 6. therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 1 Pet. v. 8. be sober, be vigilant. Rev. iii. 3. if therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come upon thee as a thief in the night. xvi. 15. blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked. In most of these passages it appears that the watchfulness spoken of refers less to the sleep of the body, than to the lethargy of the mind.
The opposite to this is an excessive love of sleep.” Prov. xx. 13. love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty.
* Milton's habit of early rising is mentioned by all his biographers. In summer he rose at four, in winter at five; or if he remained in bed beyond these hours, he employed a person to read to him from the time of his awaking. He has left the following account of of his mode of living during his early years in the Apology for Smectymnuus. “Those morning haunts are where they should be, at home; not sleeping, or concocting the surfeits of an irregular feast, but up and stirring, in winter often ere the sound of any bell awake men to labour or devotion; in summer as oft with the bird that first rouses, or not much tardier, to read good authors or cause them to be read, till the attention be weary, or memory have its full fraught: then with useful and generous labours preserving the body's health and hardiness to render lightsome, clear, and not lumpish obedience to the mind, to the cause of religion, and our country's liberty, when it shall require firm hearts in sound bodies to stand and cover their stations, rather than to see the ruin of our protestation, and the inforcement of a slavish life.' Prose Works, I. 220.
CHAstity consists in temperance as regards the unlawful lusts of
/ the flesh; which is also called sanctification. 1 Thess. iv. 3. this is
the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from
jornication. Rev. xiv. 4. these are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins: these are they which follow the Lamb.
To chastity are opposed all kinds of impurity; effeminacy, sodomy, bestiality, &c. which are offences against ourselves in the first instance, and tending to our own especial injury.” I Cor. vi. 15, 16. know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take, &c.—? what, know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body?–. v. 18. Jee fornication : every sin that man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body. See also Prov. vi. 24, &c. Gen. xxxviii. 9, 10. the thing which he did displeased the Lord. Exod. xxii. 19. whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death. Lev. xviii. 22, 23. thou shalt not lie with mankind. Deut. xxiii. 17. there shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor, &c. xxvii. 21. cursed is he that lieth with any manner of beast. Prov. ii. 16. to deliver thee from the strange woman. v. 3, &c. the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb. vi. 24. to keep thee from the evil woman. See also v. 32. vii. 25. let not thine heart decline to her ways. ix. 18. he knoweth not that the dead are there—. xxii. 14. the mouth of strange women is a deep pit. See also xxiii. 26, 27. xxx. 20. such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness. 1 Kings xiv. 24, there were also sodomites in the land. Rom. xiii. 13. not in chambering and wantonness. 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, be not deceived; neither fornicators... nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind... shall inherit the kingdom of God. v. 13, &c, the body is not for fornication, but jor the Lord, and the Lord for the body, Eph. v. 3–5. fornication and all uncleanness...let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints..... nor filthiness....which are not convenient...for this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person .... hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
* The same enemy of Milton who was alluded to in a preceding page as charging him with intemperance in drinking, also accuses him of licentiousness, and of frequenting ‘play-houses and the bordelloes.' The imputation is thus repelled: “Having had the doctrine of Holy Scripture, unfolding those chaste and high mysteries, with timeliest care infused, that the body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body, thus also I argued to myself, that if unchastity in a woman, whom St. Paul terms the glory of man, be such a scandal and dishonour, then certainly in a man, who is both the image and glory of God, it must, though commonly not so thought, be much more deflowering and dishonourable; in that he sins both against his own body, which is the perfecter sex, and his own glory, which is in the woman; and that which is worst, against the image and glory of God, which is in himself. Nor did I slumber over that place expressing such high rewards of ever accompanying the Lamb, with those celestial songs to others inapprehensible, but not to those who were not defiled with women, which doubtless means fornication, for marriage must not be called a defilement. Thus large I have purposely been, that if I have been justly taxed with this crime, it may come upon me, after all this my confession, with a tenfold shame; but if I have hitherto deserved no such opprobrious word or suspicion, I may hereby engage myself now openly to the faithful observation of what I have professed.’ Apology for Smectymnuus. Prose Works, I. 226. See also the noble passage in Comus, 418–475.
MoDESTY consists in refraining from all obscenity of language or action, in short, from whatever is inconsistent with the strictest decency of behaviour in reference to sex or person. Deut. xxv. 11, 12. when men strive together, &c. Job xxxi. 1. I made a covenant with mine eyes, &c. 1 Cor. xi. 10. for this cause ought the woman to have power on her head, because of the angels. Heb. xii. 28. we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. 2 Kings iv. 15. when he had called her, she stood in the door. The same ideas of womanly decorum existed even among the Gentiles. Thus Homer introduces Penelope: