A Treatise of Human Nature
interest, yet the general rule carries us beyond the original principle, and makes us extend
the notions of modesty over the whole sex, from their earliest infancy to their extremest
old-age and infirmity.
Courage, which is the point of honour among men, derives its merit, in a great measure,
from artifice, as well as the chastity of women; though it has also some foundation in
nature, as we shall see afterwards.
As to the obligations which the male sex lie under, with regard to chastity, we may
observe, that according to the general notions of the world, they bear nearly the same
proportion to the obligations of women, as the obligations of the law of nations do to
those of the law of nature. It is contrary to the interest of civil society, that men should
have an entire liberty of indulging their appetites in venereal enjoyment: But as this
interest is weaker than in the case of the female sex, the moral obligation, arising from it,
must be proportionably weaker. And to prove this we need only appeal to the practice and
sentiments of all nations and ages.