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15 Do not accuse others to excuse thyself; for that is neither generous nor just. But let sincerity and ingenuousness be thy refuge, rather than craft and falsehood : for cunning borders very near upon knavery. Wisdom never uses nor wants it. Cunning to the wise, is as an ape to a man.
16 A man in business must put up with many affronts, if he loves his own quiet. We must not pretend to see all that we see, if we would be easy. It were endless to ispute upon every thing that is disputable. A vindictive temper is not only uneasy to others, but to them that have it.
17 Avoid, all thou canst, being entrusted ; but do thy utmost to discharge the trust thou undertakest; for carelessness is injurious, if not unjust. The glory of a servant is fidelity, which cannot be without diligence, as well as truth.
18 Mix kindness with authority; and rule more by discretion than rigor. If thy servant be faulty, strive rather to convince him of his error, than to discover thy passion : and when he is sensible, forgive him. Let not thy children domineer over thy servants; nor suffer them to slight thy children.
SECTION II. 1 We are too careless of posterity; not considering that as they are, so the next generation will be. If we would amend the world, we should mend ourselves; and teach our children to be, not what we are, but what they should be. The country is both the philosopher's garden and library, in which he reads and contemplates the power, wisdom, and goodness of God. It is his food, as well as study; and gives him life, as well as learning.
2 The generality are the worse for their plenty. The voluptuous consumes it, the miser hides it; it is the good man that uses it, and to good purposes.
3 Act not the shark upon thy neighbor ; nor take advantage of the ignorance, prodigality, or necessity of any one; for that is next door to a fraud, and, at best, makes but an unblessed gain.
4 Never esteem any man, or thyself, the more for money; nor think the meaner of thyself, or another, for want of it; virtue being the just reason of respecting, and the want of it of slighting, any one. A man, like a watch, is to be valued for his goings.
5 They that show more than they are, raise an expectation they cannot answer ; and so lose their credit, as soon as they are found out. He that does good for good's sake, seeks
neither praise nor reward, though sure of both at last. Con tent not thyself that thou art virtuous in the general ; for one link being wanting, the chain is defective. If thou wouldst conquer thy weakness, thou must never gratify it. No man is compelled to evil; his consent only makes it his.
6 Great allowances are made for education and personal weaknesses ; but it is a rule with me,
- That man is truly religious, that loves the persuasion he is of for the piety, rather than the ceremony, of it.” They that have one end, can hardly disagree when they meet. At least their concern in the greater, moderates their value for, and difference about, the lesser things.
7 It is a sad reflection, that many men hardly have any religion at all, and most men have none of their own; for that which is the religion of their education, and not of their judgment, is the religion of another, and not theirs. To have religion upon authority, and not upon conviction, is like a finger-watch, to be set forwards or backwards, as he pleases that has it in keeping.
8 We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive, or gain by love and information. And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us, then, try what love will do; for if men do once see that we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but love gains; and he that forgives first, wins the laurel. If I am even with my enemy, the debt is paid ; but if I forgive it, I oblige him for ever.
9 “He that lives in love, lives in God,” says the beloved lisciple : and, to be sure, a man can live no where better. Love is above all; and when it prevails in us all, we shall all be lovely, and in love with God, and one with another.
10 The wise man is cautious, but not cunning ; judicious, but not crafty ; making virtue the measure of using his excellent understanding in the conduct of his life. The wise man is equal, ready, but not officious; has in every thing an eye to sure footing; he offends nobody, nor is easily offended ; and is always willing to compound for wrongs, if not forgive them
11 He is never captious, nor critical ; hates banter and jests ; he may be pleasant, but not light; he never deals but in substantial ware, and leaves the rest for the toy-pates, (or shops,) of the world ; which are so far from being his business, that they are not so much as his diversion.
12 He is always for some solid good, civil or moral : as to
make his country more virtuous, preserve her peace and liberty, employ her poor, improve land, advance trade, suppress vice, encourage industry, and all mechanical knowledge; and that they should be the care of the government, and the blessing and praise of the people,
13 It is the mark of ill nature, to lessen good actions, and aggravate ill ones. Some men do as much begrudge others a good name, as they want one themselves; and perhaps that is the reason of it. Nothing shows more the folly, as well as fraud of man, than clipping merit and reputation.
14 This envy is the child of pride; and mis-gives rather than mis-takes. It will have charity to be ostentation, sobriety, covetousness; humility, craft; bounty, popularity. In short, virtue must be design, and religion only interest. Nay, the best of qualities must not pass without a “but” to alloy their merit, and abate their praise. Basest of tempers ! and they that have it, the worst of men.
15 But just and noble minds rejoice in other men's success, and help to augment their praise. And, indeed, they are not without a love to virtue, that take a satisfaction in seeing her rewarded ; and such deserve to share her character, that do abhor to lessen it.
16 In all things reason should prevail : it is quite another thing to be stiff, than steady in an opinion. This may be reasonable, but that is ever wilful. Though there is a regard due to education, and the tradition of our fathers, truth will ever deserve, as well as claim the preference. Truth never lost ground by inquiry ; because she is, most of all, reasonable.
17 If all men were so far tenants to the public, that the superfluities of gain and expense were applied to the exigencies thereof, it would put an end to taxes, leave not a beggar, and make the greatest bank for national trade in Europe. I confess I have wondered that so many lawful and useful things are excised by laws, and pride left to reign free over them and the public.
18 It is but reasonable that the punishment of pride and excess should help to support the government; since it must otherwise inevitably be ruined by them. But some say, “It ruins trade,and will make the poor burdensome to the public;" but if such trade, in consequence, ruins the kingdom, is it not time to ruin that trade? Is moderation no part of our duty, and is temperance an enemy to government? 19 Is there no better employment for the poor than lux
ury? Miserable nation! What did they before they fell into these forbidden methods ? Is there not land enough in England for America] to cultivate, and more and better manufactures to be made ?
20 Have we no room for them in our plantations, about things that may augment trade, without luxury ? In short, let pride pay, and excess be well excised ; and if that will not cure the people, it will help to keep the government.
21 It is a dangerous perversion of the design of Providence, to consume the time, power and wealth, he has given us above other men, to gratify our sordid passions, instead of playing the good stewards, to the honor of our great Benefactor and the good of our fellow creatures.
22 When the poor Indians hear us call any of our family by the name of servants, they cry out, “ What! call brethren servants! we call our dogs servants, but never men.” The moral certainly can do us no harm, but may instruct us to abate our height and narrow our state and attendance.
23 Charity has various senses, but is excellent in all of them. It imparts, first, the commiseration of the poor and unhappy of mankind, and extends a helping hand to mend their condition.
24 I will not say these works are meritorious, but I dare say they are acceptable, and go not without their reward; though, to humble us in our fulness, and liberality too, we only give what is given to us to give, as well as to use: for if we ourselves are not our own, less is that so, which God has entrusted us with.
25 Next, charity makes the best construction of things and persons; and is so far from being an evil spy, a backbiter, or a detractor, that it excuses weakness, extenuates miscarriages, makes the best of every thing, forgives every body, serves all, and hopes to the end.
26 It moderates extremes, is always for expedients, labors to accommodate differences, and had rather suffer than revenge: and is so far from exacting the utmost farthing, that it had rather lose, than seek its own violently. As it acts freely, so zealously too; but it is always to do good, for it hurts nobody.
27 A universal enemy against discord, and a holy cement for mankind. And lastly, it is love to God and the brethren, which raises the soul above all worldly considerations; and as it gives a taste of heaven upon earth, so it is heaven, in the fulness of it, to the truly charitable here.
28. Would to God this divine virtue were more implanted and diffused among mankind, the pretenders to Christianity especially; and we should certainly mind piety more than controversy; and exercise love and compassion, instead of censuring and persecuting one another, in any manner what.
children. MY DEAR CHILDREN,
1 Not knowing how long it may please God to continue me among you, I am willing to embrace this opportunity of leaving you my advice and counsel, with respect to your Christian and civil capacity and duty in this world: and I both beseech you, and charge you, by the relation you have to me, and the affection I have always shown to, and indeed received from, you, that you lay up the same in your hearts, as well as your heads, with a wise and religious care.
2 I will begin with that which is the beginning of all true wisdom and happiness, the holy fear of God. Children, fear God; that is to say, have a holy awe upon your minds, to avoid that which is evil, and a strict care to embrace and do that which is good.
3 Prefer the aged, the virtuous, and the knowing; and choose those that excel, for your company and friendship, but despise not others.
4 Return no answer to anger, unless with much meekness, which often turns it away: but rarely make replies, less rejoinders; for that adds fuel to the fire. It is a wrong time to vindicate yourselves, the true ear being then never open to hear it. Men are not themselves, and know not well what spirits they are of; silence to passion, prejudice and mockery, is the best answer, and often conquers what resistance inflames.
5 Learn, and teach your children, fair writing, and the most useful parts of mathematics, and some business, when young, whatever else they are taught. Cast up your incomes and live on half; if you can, one third; reserving the rest for casualties, charities, portions.
6 The pomp, honor, and luxury of the world are the cheats, and the unthinking and inconsiderate are taken by them. But the retired man is upon higher ground, he sees and is aware of the trick, contemns the folly, and bemoans the deluded.