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I would say that it was considered a virtue especially when being compared with incontinence. The things which should be avoided with regard to character are vice, incontinence and brutality. To be brutal is rare, since it means to exceed so much in vice that one is hardly even human. The incontinent man is disposed to do what he knows is bad because of his passions. The continent man knows that his desires are bad but does not follow them because of reason.
Yes because it is considered a temporary state, and virtue is a state involving decision.