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Among the goods which are external to man honour holds the first place, above wealth and power.
It is that which we especially give to God, it is the highest reward which we can bestow on virtue, and it is what men naturally prize the most.
And since he is not only worthy of great things, but also holds himself worthy of them—or rather, indeed, of the very greatest things—it follows that there is some one object which ought most especially to occupy him.
Now this object is honour, for it is the very greatest of all external goods.
We honour our parents, from whom we received our earthly being, and to whom we owe our bringing-up and preparation for the battle of life.
Here we touch upon the distinctive characteristic of Christian morality as distinguished from pagan ethics.
For he who holds himself thus worthy beyond his real deserts is a fool, and no man possessed of any virtue whatsoever can ever be a fool or show want of understanding.
He, on the other hand who holds himself worthy of less than his merits is little-minded, no matter whether the merits which he thus underrates be great, or moderate, or small.
The Apostle bids us give honour to whom honour is due, and so, to withhold it or to show dishonour to whom honour is due is a sin against justice, and entails the obligation of making suitable restitution.
If we have simply neglected our duty in this respect, we must make amends by more assiduously cultivating the person injured by our neglect.