Front Page Titles (by Subject) Remedies against certain sins and special vices, and first against bodily lust.: Chap. xxxii. - The Manual of a Christian Knight
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Remedies against certain sins and special vices, and first against bodily lust.: Chap. xxxii. - Desiderius Erasmus, The Manual of a Christian Knight 
A Book Called in Latin Enchiridion Militis Christiani and in English The Manual of the Christian Knight, replenished with the most wholesome precepts made by the famous clerk Erasmus of Rotterdam, to which is added a new and marvellous profitable Preface (London: Methuen and Co., 1905).
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Remedies against certain sins and special vices, and first against bodily lust.
Hitherto have we verily opened and declared (howsoever it be done) common remedies against all kind of vices. Now we shall assay to give also certain special and particular remedies, how and by what means thou oughtest withstand every vice and sin, and first of all how thou mayst resist the lust of the body. Than the which evil there is none other that sooner invadeth us, neither sharper assaileth or vexeth us, nor extendeth larger nor draweth more unto their utter destruction. If at any time therefore filthy lust shall stir thy mind, with these weapons and armour remember forthwith to meet him: first think how uncleanly, how filthy, how unworthy for any man whatsoever he be that pleasure is which assimuleth and maketh us, that be a divine work, equal not to beasts only, but also unto filthy swine, to goats, to dogs, and of all brute beasts, unto the most brute, yea which farther forth casteth down far under the condition and state of beasts Weapons against bodily lust., us which be appointed unto the company of angels and fellowship of the deity. Let come to thy mind also how momentary the same is, how impure, how ever having more aloes than of honey. Aloes is a bitter thing and is put for bitterness. And on the contrary side how noble a thing the soul is, how worshipful a thing the body of a man is, as I have rehearsed in the rules above. What the devil’s peevishness is it that for so little, so uncleanly tickling of momentary pleasures to defile at one time both soul and body with ungodly manners? To profane and pollute that temple which Christ hath consecrate to himself with his blood? The incommodities of bodily lust. Consider that also what an heap of mischievous incommodities that flattering pleasant pestilence bringeth with him. First of all it pulleth from thee thy good fame, a possession far-away most precious, for the rumour of no vice stinketh more carenly than the name of lechery: it consumeth thy patrimony, it killeth at once both the strength and also the beauty of the body, it decayeth and greatly hurteth health, it engendereth diseases innumerable and them filthy, it disfigureth the flower of youth long before the day, it hasteth or accelerateth reviled and evil favoured age, it taketh away the quickness and strength of the wit, it dulleth the sight of the mind, and grafteth in a man as it were a beastly mind, it withdraweth at once from all honest studies and pastimes, and plungeth and souseth a man everywhit in the puddle and mire be he never so excellent, that now he hath lust to think on nothing but that which is sluttish, vile, and filthy: and it taketh away the use of reason which was the native property of man, it maketh youth mad, peevish, and slanderous, and age odious, filthy, and wretched. Be wise therefore and on this wise reckon with thyself name by name, this and that pleasure came so evil to pass, brought with her so much loss, so much disworship, dishonour and dishonesty, so much tediousness, labour and disease: and shall I now, a fool most natural, devour that hook wittingly? Shall I again commit that thing whereof I should repent of fresh? Refrain thyself by the example of other men. And likewise refrain thyself by the example of other men, which thou hast known to have followed voluptuous pleasures filthily and unfortunately. On the other side courage and bold thyself unto chastity by the examples of so many young men, of so many young and tender virgins nourished up delicately and in pleasures: And (the circumstances compared together) lay against thyself thy sluggishness, why thou at the last should not be able to do that thing which such and such, of that kind or sex, of that age, so born, so brought up were and yet be able to do? Love as much as they did, and thou shalt be able to do no less than they did. Think how honest, how pleasant, how lusty and flourishing a thing is pureness of body and of mind, the most of all maketh us acquainted and familiar with angels, and apt to receive the Holy Ghost: for verily that noble spirit, the lover of pureness, so greatly fleeth back from no vice at all as from uncleanliness, he resteth and sporteth him nowhere so much as in pure virgins’ minds. Set before thine eyes how ungoodly it is The ungoodly office of lovers., how altogether a mad thing to love, to wax pale, to be made lean, to weep, to flatter, and shamefully to submit thyself unto a stinking harlot most filthy and rotten, to gape and sing all night at her chamber window, to be made to the lure and be obedient at a beck, nor dare do anything except she nod or wag her head, to suffer a foolish woman to reign over thee, to chide thee: to lay unkindness one against the other, to fall out, to be made at one again, to give thyself willing unto a quean, that she might mock, kocke, mangle and spoil thee. Where is, I beseech thee, among all these things the name of a man? Where is thy beard? Where is that noble mind created unto most beautiful and noble things? Consider also another thing with thyself, how great a flock of mischiefs voluptuousness (if she be let in) is wont to bring with her. Other vices peradventure have some acquaintance with certain virtues, filthy lust hath none at all, but is annexed and alway coupled with those sins that be greatest and most in number. Let it be but a trifle or a light matter to follow queans, yet is it a grievous thing not to regard thy father and mother, to set at naught thy friends, to consume thy father’s good in waste, to pluck away from other men, to forswear thyself, to drink all night, to rob, to use witchcraft, to fight, to commit murder, to blaspheme. Into which all and grievouser than these, the lady pleasure will draw thee headlong, after thou once hast ceased to be thine own man, and hast put thy wretched head under her girdle. Ponder moreover how this life vanisheth away faster than smoke, less of substance than a shadow, and how many snares death pitcheth for us, laying await in every place and at all seasons. Here and at this point it shall profit singularly, to call to remembrance and that name by name Sudden death., if that sudden death hath taken away any sometime of thine acquaintance, of thy familiar friends, of thy companions, or else of them which were younger than thou: and most specially of them which in time passed thou hast had fellows of filthy pastime. And learn of another man’s peril to be more ware and circumspect. Remember how deliciously they lived, but how bitterly they departed: how late they waxed wise, how late they began to hate their mortiferous and deadly pleasures. The straitness of the extreme judgment. Let come to remembrance the sharpness of the extreme judgment, and the terrible lightning of that fearful sentence never to be revoked, sending wicked men into eternal fire, and that this pleasure of an hour, short and little, must be punished with eternal torments. In this place weigh diligently in a pair of balances, how unequal a change it is for the most filthy and very short delectation of lust, both to lose in this life the joy of the mind The joys of pure mind is much sweeter than is the pleasure of sin., being much sweeter and more excellent, and in the life to come to be spoiled of joys everlasting. Moreover with so shadow-like and little vain pleasure to purchase sorrows never to be ended. Finally if it seem a hard thing to despise that so small delectation for Christ’s sake, remember what pains he took upon him for the tender love he bare to thee. And beside the common injuries of man’s life, how much of his holy blood shed he, how shameful, how bitter death suffered he, and all for thee. And thou of all those things unmindful crucifiest again the son of God, iterating afresh those mad pleasures which caused and compelled thy head and lord unto so cruel torments. Then according to the rule above rehearsed, call to mind how much of benefits he heaped on thee The benefits of God., when as yet thou haddest deserved nothing at all: for the which although no sufficient or like recompense can be made of thy part for the least, yet desireth he again none other thank but that thou, after his example, shouldest refrain thy mind from deadly and mortal pleasures, and turn thee unto the love of infinite goodness and of infinite pleasures and beauty. Venus is the goddess of love and she is put for love. Cupydo is the god of love, and is also put for love. Compare together these two, Venus and two Cupydes of Plato, that is to say honest love and filthy love, holy pleasure and uncleanly pastime, compare together the unlike matter of either other. Compare the natures, compare the rewards: and in all temptations, but namely when thou art stirred to filthy lust Here is a good note for every christian man., set to thee before thine eyes thy good angel, which is thy keeper and continual beholder and witness of all things thou doest or thinkest, and God ever looking on, unto whose eyes all things are open, which sitteth above the heavens and beholdeth the secret places of the earth: and wilt not thou be afraid before the angel present and even hard by thee, before God, and all the company of heaven looking on and abhorring, to commit a thing so abominable and filthy that it would shame thee to do the same thing in the presence of one vile man? This thing I wouldest thou shouldest think as it is indeed. And if it were so that thou haddest eyes much sharper of sight than hath a beast called lynx Lynx is a beast of most purest sight among all beasts., or much clearer than hath the eagle, yet with these eyes in the most clearest light that could be, couldest thou not behold more surely that thing which a man doeth before thee, than all the privy and secret parts of thy mind be open unto the sight of God and of his angels. Obstinacy of a froward mind springeth of bodily lust. This also count in thy mind when thou art overcome of bodily lust, of two things the one must follow, either that voluptuousness, once tasted, so shall enchant and darken thy mind, that thou must go from filthiness to filthiness, until thou clean blinded shall be brought in sensum reprobum, that is to say, into a lewd and reproved judgment: and so, made obstinate and sturdy in evil, canst not, no truly not then, yield up filthy pleasure when she hath forsaken thee, which thing we see to have happened to very many, that when the body is wasted, when beauty is withered and vanished, when the blood is cold, when strength faileth, and the eyes wax dim, yet still continually they itch without ceasing. And with greater mischief are now filthy speakers than before time, they have been unshameful livers, than which thing what can be more abominable and monstrous? The other is, if peradventure it shall happen thee by the special favour of God to come again to thyself. Then must that short and fugitive pleasure be purged with very great sorrow of mind, with mighty and strong labour, with continual streams of tears: how much more wisdom therefore is it not to receive at all the poison of carnal pleasure, than either to be brought into so uncurable blindness, or else to recompense so little, and that also false pleasure, with so great grievance and dolorous pain. Moreover thou mayst take many things of the circumstance of thine own person, which might call thee back from voluptuous pleasure. A priest. Thou art a priest, remember that thou art altogether consecrate to things pertaining unto God: what a mischievous deed, how ungoodly, how unmeet, and how unworthy it should be to touch the rotten and stinking flesh of an whore with that mouth wherewith thou receivest that precious body so greatly to be honoured, and to handle loathsome and abominable filth with the same hands wherewithal (even the angels ministering to thee and assisting thee) thou executest that ineffable and incomprehensible mystery. Now these things agree not, to be made one body and one spirit with God, and to be made one body with an whore. If thou be learned. If thou be learned, so much the nobler and liker unto God is thy mind, and so much the more unworthy of this shame and rebuke. A gentleman. If thou be a gentleman, if thou be a prince, the more aperte and open the abomination is: the grievouser occasion giveth it unto other inferiors to follow the same. If thou be married A married man., remember what an honest thing is a bed undefiled. And give diligence (as much as infirmity shall suffer) that thy wedlock may counterfeit the most holy marriage of Christ and his church, whose image it beareth: that is to wit, that thy marriage may be clean barren in uncleanliness, and plenteous in procreation: for in no kind of living can it be but very filthy to serve and be bound to uncleanly lusts. If thou be a young man A young man., take good heed busily that thou pollute not unadvisedly the flower of thy youth, which shall never spring again: and that thou cast not away upon a thing most filthy thy best and very golden years, which flee away most swiftly, and never return again: beware also lest now through the ignorance and negligence of youth, thou commit that thing which should grudge thee hereafter by all thy whole life Filthy pleasure leaveth behind her sting in our minds., the conscience of thy misdeeds ever persecuting thee with those his most bitter, most grievous and sharp stings, which when pleasure departeth she leaveth behind her in our minds. If thou be a woman A woman., this kind nothing more becometh than chastity, than shame, and fear of dishonesty. If thou be a man A man., so much the more art thou meet and worthy of greater things, and unmeet and unworthy of these so lewd things. If thou be old An old man., wish thou haddest some other man’s eyes to behold thyself withal, that thou mightest see how evil voluptuousness should become thee, which in youth verily is miserable and to be bridled, but in an old fool verily wonderful and monstrous, and also even unto the very followers of pleasure, a jesting and mocking stock. Among all monsters none is more wonderful than filthy lust in age. Against the lechery of old men and women. Oh dotypol, oh too much forgetful of thyself: at the least way behold at a glass the hoar hairs and white snow of thy head, thy forehead furrowed with wrinkles, and thy carrion face most like unto a dead corpse: David was so old that he could get no heat in his limbs; then brought the Israelites unto David Abisac a fair young maid which lay with him and kept him warm: he knew her not, she remained a pure maid. By her is signified wisdom, a thing most meet for age: all filthiness and uncleanness laid apart. and now at the last end when thou art come even unto the pit’s brink care for other things more agreeable unto thy years: at the leastway that which became thee to have done before time (reason moving thee) do now, thy years putting thee in remembrance or rather compelling thee. Even now pleasure herself casteth thee off, saying, neither I now am comely unto thee, neither yet thou meet or apt unto me. Thou hast played enough, thou hast eaten enough, thou hast drunk enough, it is time for thee to depart, why holdest thou yet so fast and art so greedy on pleasures of this life, when very life herself forsaketh thee. Now it is time for that mystical concubine Abysac that once she may begin to rest in thy bosom, let her with holy rage of love heat thy mind, and with the embracings of her keep thee warm and comfort thy cold members.