That is the best virtue that stands
not upon others' judgment but upon one's own conscience; as
the apostle says -- "Our glory is this. . .the testimony of our
conscience" and again -- "Let every man prove his own
work, and so shall he have glory in himself only, and not in
Comparing virtue to a human body,
she is described thus: her mouth is wisdom and understanding, and
she has the knowledge of spiritual hymns. Her heart is acquainted
with Scripture and sound doctrine and benevolence and kindness; and
as without this last there is no living, so without that other is
never any salvation. Yea, for, from that, all her excellences have
birth. She has also for feet and hands the manifestation of her good
works. She hath a soul too -- godliness. She hath likewise a bosom
of gold, and firmer than adamant, even fortitude; and all may be
taken captive more easily than that bosom may be riven asunder. And
the spirit that is in the brain and heart is charity.
Virtue, being a gift of God, can
only be obtained of Him who alone has the power of giving it.
The two highest virtues are:
first, to avoid sins, that they should never be done and to
amend them when they have been committed. The second is to refer
everything to God, to consider nothing to be our own, to do nothing
out of regard to men's opinion but to what God wills.
Sts. Augustine and Chrysostom