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Wickedness, condemned by her own witness, is very timorous, and being pressed with conscience, always forecasteth evil things: for fear is nothing else but a betraying of the succours which reason offereth. A wise man will fear in every thing. He that contemneth small things shall fall by little and little. A rich man beginning to fall is held up of his friends; but a poor man being down is thrust away by his friends: when a rich man is fallen, he hath many helpers; he speaketh things not to be spoken, and yet men justify him: the poor man slipped, and they rebuked him; he spoke wisely, and could have no place. When a rich man speaketh, every man holdeth his tongue, and look, what he saith they extol it to the clouds; but if a poor man speak, they say, what fellow is this? Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not so many as have fallen by the tongue. Well is he that is defended from it, and hath not passed through the venom thereof; who hath not drawn the yoke thereof, nor been bound in it's bonds; for the yoke thereof is a yoke of iron, and the bands thereof are bands of brass; the death thereof is an evil death. My son, blemish not thy good deeds, neither use uncom fortable words when thou givest any thing. Shall not the dew assuage the heat? so is a word better than a gift. Lo! is not a word better than a gift? but both are with a gra£10 uS. Imall. Blame not before thou hast examined the truth; understand first, and then rebuke. If thou wouldst get a friend, prove him first, and be not hasty to credit him; for some men are friends for their own occasions, and will not abide in the day of thy trouble. Forsake not an old friend, for the new is not comparable to him: a new friend is as new wine; when it is old, thou shalt drink it with pleasure. A friend cannot be known in prosperity; and an enemy cannot be hidden in adversity. Admonish thy friend; it may be he hath not done it; and if he have, that he do it no more. Admonish thy friend; it may be he hath not said it; or if he have, that he speak it not again. Admonish a friend; for many times it is a slander; and believe not every tale. There is one that slippeth in his speech, but not from his heart: and who is he that hath not offended with his tongue? Whoso discovereth secrets loseth his credit, and shall never find a friend to his mind. Honour thy father with thy whole heart, and forget not the sorrows of thy mother; how canst thou recompense them the things they have done for thee? There is nothing so much worth as a mind well instructed. The lips of talkers will be telling such things as pertain not unto them; but the words of such as have understanding are weighed in the balance. The heart of fools is in their mouth, but the tongue of the wise is in their heart. To labour, and to be content with that a man hath, is a sweet life. Be in peace with many; nevertheless, have but one counsellor of a thousand. Be not confident in a plain way. Let reason go before every enterprise, and counsel before every action.
The latter part of a wise man's life is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices, and false opinions, he had contracted in the former. Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent. Very few men, properly speaking, live at present, but are providing to live another time. Party is the madness of many for the gain of a few. To endeavour to work upon the vulgar with fine sense, is like attempting to hew blocks of marble with a razor. Superstition is the spleen of the soul. He who tells a lie is not sensible how great a task he undertakes: for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one. Some people will never learn any thing; for this reason, because they understand every thing too soon.
There is nothing wanting to make all rational and disinterested people in the world of one religion, but that they should talk together every day.
Men are grateful in the same degree that they are resentful,
Young men are subtle argners : the cloak of honour covers all their faults; as that of passion all their follies.
Economy is no disgrace: it is better living on a little, than outliving a great deal.
Next to the satisfaction I receive in the prosperity of an honest man, I am best pleased with the confusion of a rascal.
What is often terned shyness is nothing more than refined sense, and an indifference to common observations.
The higher character a person supports, the more he should' regard bis minutest actions.
Every person insensibly fixes upon some degree of refinement in his discourse, some measure of thought which he thinks worth exhibiting. It is wise to fix this pretty high, although it occasions us to talk the less.
To endeavour all our days to fortify our minds with learning and philosophy, is to spend so much in armour, that we have nothing left to defend.
Deference often shrinks and withers as much upon the approach of intimacy, as the sensitive plant does upon the touch of a finger.
Men are sometimes accused of pride, merely because their accusers would be proud themselves, if they were in their places.
People frequently use this expression, “ I am inclined to think so and so;" not considering, that they are then speaking the most literal of all truths.
Modesty makes large amends for the pain it gives the persons who labour under it, by the prejudice it affords every worthy person in their favour.
The difference there is betwixt honour and honesty seems 'to be chiefly in the motive. The honest man does that from duty, which the man of honour does for tlie sake of character.
A liar begins with making falsehood appear like truth, and ends with making trutlı itself appear like falsehood.
Virtue should be considered as a part of taste; and we should as much avoid deceit, or sinister meanings in discourse, as we would puns, bad language, or false grammar.
Deference is the most complicate, the most indirect, and the most elegant of all compliments.
He that lies in bed all a summer's morning loses the chief pleasure of the day: he that gives up his youth to indolence undergoes a loss of the same kind.
Shining characters are not always the most agreeable ones. The mild radiance of an emerald is by no means less pleasing than the glare of the ruby.
To be a rake, and to glory in the character, discovers at the same time a bad disposition, and a bad taste.
How is it possible to expect, that mankind will take advice, when they will not so much as take warning?
Although men are accused for not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps as few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold, which tlie owner knows not of.
Fine sense and exalted sense are not half so valuable as common sense. There are forty men of wit for one man of sense ; and he that will carry nothing about him but gold, will be every day at a loss for want of ready ehange.
Learning is like mercury, one of the most powerful and excellent things in the world in skilful hands ; in unskilful, most mischievous.
A man, should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong; which is but saying in other words, that he is wiser to day than he was yesterday.'
Wherever I find a great deal of gratitude in a poor mən, I take it for granted there would be as much generosity if he were a rich man.
Flowers of rhetoric in sermons or serious discourses are like the blue and red flowers in corn, pleasing to those who come only for amusement, but prejudicial to him who would reap the profit.
It often happens, that those are the best people, whose characters have been most injured by slanderers : as we usually find that to be the sweetest fruit, which the birds have been pecking at. The eye of the critic is often like a microscope; made so
very fine and nice, that it discovers the atoms, grains, aud minutest particles, without ever comprehending the whole, comparing the parts, or seeing all at once the harmony.
Men's zeal for religion is much of the same kind as that which they show for a football : whenever it is contested for, every one is ready to venture their lives and limbs in the dispute; but when that is once at an end, it is no more thought on, but sleeps in oblivion, buried in rubbish, which no one thinks it worth his pains to rake into, much less to remove,
Honour is but a fictitious kind of honesty; a mean but a necessary substitute for it in societies who have none : it is a sort of paper credit, with which men are obliged to trade; who are deficient in the sterling cash of true morality and religion.
Persons of great delicacy should know the certainty of the following truth: there are abundance of cases which occasion suspense, in which whatever they determine they will repent of the determination : and this through a propensity of human nature to fancy happiness in those schemes which
it does not pursue.
The chief advantage, that ancient writers can boast over modern ones, seems owing to simplicity. Every noble truth and sentiment was expressed by the former in a natural manner; in word and phrase simple, perspicuous, and incapable of improvement. What then remained for later writers, but affectation, witticism, and conceit?
CHAP. VIII. What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason ! how infịnite in faculties ! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!
If to do, were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces. He is a good divine who follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than to be one of the twenty to follow my own teaching.