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Contemplate thy powers, contemplate thy wants and thy connections; so shalt thou discover the duties of life, and be directed in all thy ways.
Proceed not to speak or to act before thou hast weighed thy words, and examined the tendency of every step thou shalt take; and so shall disgrace fly far from thee, and in thy house shall shame be a stranger; repentance shall not visit thee, nor sorrow dwell upon thy cheek in this or many lives to come.
The thoughtless man bridleth not his tongue; he speaketh at random and is entangled in the foolishness of his own words.
As one who runneth in haste and leapeth over a fence may fall into a pit on the other side, which he doth not see; so is the man that plungeth suddenly into any action before he hath considered the consequences thereof, and the compensation which The Law will exact.
Hearken therefore to the voice of Consideration; her words are the words of wisdom, and her paths shall lead thee to safety and truth.
The first step towards being wise is to know that thou art born mortally ignorant; and if thou wouldst not be esteemed foolish in the judgment of others, cast off the folly of being wise in thine own mortality.
As a plain garment best adorneth a beautiful woman, so a decent behaviour is the greatest ornament of inner wisdom.
The speech of a modest man giveth lustre to truth, and the diffidence of his words absolveth his error.
He relieth not on his mortal wisdom; he weigheth the counsels of a friend, and receiveth the benefit thereof.
He turneth away his ear from his own praise, and believeth it not; he is the last in discovering his own perfections.
Yet, as a veil addeth to beauty, so are his virtues set off by the shade which his modesty casteth upon them.
But behold the vain man, and observe the arrogant; he clotheth himself in rich attire, he walketh in the public street, he casteth round his eyes, and courteth observation.
He tosseth up his head, and overlooketh the poor; he treateth his inferiors with insolence, his superiors in return look down on his pride and folly with laughter.
He despiseth the judgment of others; he relieth on his own opinion, and is confounded.
He is puffed up with the vanity of his imagination; his delight is to hear and to speak of himself all the day long.
He swalloweth with greediness his own praise, and the flatterer in return eateth him up.
This instant is thine; the next is in the womb of futurity, and thou knowest not what it may bring forth; maturity of the unborn is in the keeping of the Law.
Each future state is that thou hast created in the present.
Whatsoever thou resolvest to do, do it quickly. Defer not till the evening what the morning may accomplish.
Idleness is the parent of want and of pain; but the labour of Goodness bringeth forth pleasure.
The hand of diligence defeateth want; prosperity and success are the industrious man's attendants.
Who is he that hath acquired wealth, that hath risen to power, that hath clothed himself with honour, that is spoken of in the city with praise and that standeth before the king in his counsel? Even he that hath shut out idleness from his house, and hath said, "Sloth, thou art mine enemy".
He riseth up early, and lieth down late; he exerciseth his mind with contemplation, and his body with action, and preserveth the health of both.
The slothful man is a burden to himself, his hours hang heavy on his head; he loitereth about, and knoweth not what he would do.
His days pass away like the shadow of a cloud, and he leaveth behind him no sign for remembrance.
His body is diseased for want of exercise, he wisheth for action, but hath not the power to move; his mind is in darkness; his thoughts are confused; he longeth for knowledge, but hath no application.
He would eat of the almond, but hateth the trouble of breaking its shell.
His house is in disorder, his servants are wasteful and riotous, and he runneth on toward ruin; he seeth it with his eyes, he heareth it with his ears, he shaketh his head and wisheth, but hath no resolution; till ruin cometh upon him like a whirlwind, and shame and repentance descend with him to the grave. Yet shall come a day when from the Heavens thy Soul returneth and shall gather up the dust and animate it.
The oak that now spreadeth out its branches toward the heavens was once but an acorn in the bowels of the earth. Endeavour to be first in thy calling, whatever it may be; neither let anyone go before thee in well-doing; nevertheless, do not envy the merits of another but improve thine own talents.
Scorn also to depress thy competitor by any dishonest or unworthy method; strive to raise thyself above him only be excelling him; so shall thy contest for superiority be crowned with honour, if not with success.
By virtuous emulation the spirit of man is exalted within him; he panteth after fame, and rejoiceth as a racer to run his course.
He riseth like the palm-tree in spite of oppression; and, as an eagle in the firmament of heaven, he soareth aloft, and fixeth his eye upon the glories of the sun.
The examples of eminent men are in his vision by night; and his delight is to follow them all the day long.
He formeth great designs, he rejoiceth in the execution thereof, and his name goeth forth to the ends of the world.
But the heart of the envious man is gall and bitterness; his tongue spitteth venom; the success of his neighbour breaketh his rest.
He sitteth in his cell repining; and the good that happeneth to another is, to him, an evil.
Hatred and malice feed upon his heart, and there is no rest in him.
He feeleth in his own breast no love of goodness, and therefore believeth his neighbour is like unto himself.
He endeavoureth to depreciate those that excel him, and putteth an evil interpretation on all their doings.
He lieth on the watch and meditateth mischief; but the detestation of man pursueth him, he is crushed as a spider in his own web.
Put a bridle on thy tongue; set a guard before thy lips, lest the words of thine own mouth destroy thy peace.
Let him that scoffeth at the lame take care he halt not himself; whosoever speaketh of another's failings with pleasure shall hear of his own with bitterness of heart.
Of much speaking cometh repentance, but in silence is safety.
A talkative man is a nuisance to society, the ear is sick of his babbling, the torrent of his words overwhelmeth conversation.
Boast not of thyself, for it shall bring contempt upon thee; neither deride another, for it is dangerous.
A bitter jest is the poison of friendship, and he that cannot restrain his tongue shall have trouble.
Furnish thyself with the proper accommodations belonging to thy condition; yet spend not to the utmost of what thou canst afford, that the providence of thy youth may be a comfort in thine old age.
Let thine own business engage thine attention; leave the care of the state to the governors thereof.
Let not thy recreations be expensive lest the pain of purchasing them exceed the pleasure thou hast in their enjoyment.
Neither let prosperity put out the eyes of circumspection, nor abundance cut off the hands of frugality; he that too much indulgeth in the superfluities of life shall live to lament the want of its necessaries.
From the experience of others do thou learn wisdom; and from their feelings correct thine own faults.
Trust no man before thou hast tried him; yet mistrust not without reason, for it is uncharitable.
But when thou hast proved a man to be honest, lock him up in thine heart as a treasure, regard him as a jewel of inestimable price.
Refuse the favours of a mercenary man: they will be a snare unto thee; thou shalt never be quit of the obligation.
Use not today what tomorrow may want; neither leave that to hazard which foresight may provide for, or care prevent.
Yet expect not even from prudence infallible success: for man knoweth not what the night may bring forth.
The fool is not always unfortunate, nor the wise man always successful; yet never had a fool thorough enjoyment; never was a wise man wholly unhappy.
It behoveth thee, therefore, O child of calamity! early to fortify thy mind with courage and patience, that thou mayest support, with a becoming resolution, thine allotted portion of human evil.
As a camel beareth labour, and heat, and hunger, and thirst, through deserts of sand, and fainteth not; so the fortitude of man shall sustain him through all perils.
A noble spirit disdaineth the malice of fortune; his greatness of Soul is not to be cast down.
He hath not suffered his happiness to depend on her smiles, and therefore with her frowns he shall not be dismayed.
As a rock of the seashore he standeth firm, and the dashing of the waves disturbeth him not.
He raiseth his head like a tower on a hill, and the arrows of fortune drop at his feet.
In the instant of danger, the courage of his heart sustaineth him, and the steadiness of his mind beareth him out.
He meeteth the evils of life as a man that goeth forth into battle and returneth with victory in his hand.
Under the pressure of misfortunes his calmness alleviates their weight, and his constancy shall surmount them.
But the dastardly spirit of a timorous man betrayeth him to shame.
By shrinking under poverty, he stoopeth down to meanness; and by tamely bearing insults he inviteth injuries.
As a reed is shaken with the breath of the air, so the shadow of evil maketh him tremble.
In the hour of danger, he is embarrassed and confounded; in the day of misfortune he sinketh, and despair overwhelmeth his Soul.
Yet for all reasonable desires, for all honest endeavours, His benevolence hath established in the nature of things a probability of success.
The uneasiness thou feelest, the misfortunes thou bewailest: behold the root from whence they spring, even thine own folly, thine own pride, thine own distempered fancy.
Murmur not therefore at the dispensation of God, but correct thine own heart; neither say within thyself, if I had wealth, or power, or leisure, I should be happy; for know that all of them bring to their several possessors their peculiar inconveniences.
The poor man seeth not the vexations and anxieties of the rich, he feeleth not the difficulties and perplexities of power, neither knoweth he the wearisomeness of leisure; and therefore it is that he repineth at his own lot.
But envy not the appearance of happiness in any man, for thou knowest not his secret griefs.
To be satisfied with a little is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches increaseth his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not.
Yet if thou sufferest not the allurements of fortune to rob thee of justice, or temperance, or charity, or modesty, even riches themselves shall not make thee unhappy.
But hence shalt thou learn that the cup of felicity, pure and unmixed, is by no means a draught for mortal man.
Goodness is the race which God hath set him to run, and happiness the goal; which none can arrive at till he hath finished his course and received his crown in the mansions of eternity.
These blessings if thou possessest and wouldst preserve to old age, avoid the allurements of Voluptuousness, and fly from her temptations.
When she spreadeth her delicacies on the board, when her wine sparkleth in the cup, when she smileth upon thee and persuadeth thee to be joyful and happy — then is the hour of danger, and let reason stand firmly on her guard.
For if thou hearkenest unto the words of the Adversary, thou art deceived and betrayed.
The joy which she promiseth changeth to madness, and her enjoyments lead on to diseases and death.
Look round her board, cast thine eyes upon her guests and observe those who have been allured by her smiles, who have listened to her temptations.
Are they not meagre? Are they not sickly? Are they not spiritless?
Their short hours of jollity and riot are followed by tedious days of pain and dejection. She hath debauched and palled their appetites, and they have now no relish for her nicest dainties; her votaries are become her victims as the just and natural consequence which God hath ordained, in the constitution of things, for the punishment of those who abuse His gifts.
But who is she that with graceful steps, and with a lively air, trippeth over yonder plain?
The rose blusheth in her cheeks, the sweetness of the morning breatheth from her lips; joy, tempered with innocence and modesty, sparkleth in her eyes, and from the cheerfulness of her heart she singeth as she walketh.
Her name is Health: she is the daughter of Exercise who begot her on Temperance; their sons inhabit the mountains that stretch over the northern regions of San Ton Hoe.
They are brave, active, and lively, and partake of all the beauties and virtues of their sister.
Vigour stringeth their nerves, strength dwelleth in their bones, and labour is their delight all the day long.
The employments of their father excite their appetites, and the repasts of their mother refresh them.
To combat the passions is their delight; to conquer evil habits, their glory.
Their pleasures are moderate, and therefore they endure; their repose is short, but sound and undisturbed.
Their blood is pure, their minds are serene, and the physician findeth not the way to their habitations.
But safety dwelleth not with the sons of men, neither is security found within their gates.
Behold them exposed to new dangers from without, while a traitor lurketh within to betray them.
Their health, their strength, their beauty, their activity, have raised desire in the bosom of lascivious Love.
She standeth in her bower, she courteth their regard, she spreadeth her temptations.
Her limbs are soft and delicate, her attire is loose and inviting, wantonness speaketh in her eyes, and on her bosom sits Temptation. She beckoneth them with her finger, she wooeth them with her looks, and by the smoothness of her tongue she endeavoureth to deceive.
Ah! Fly from her allurements, stop thine ears to her enchanting words. If thou meetest the languishing of her eyes, if thou hearest the softness of her voice, if she casteth her arms about thee, she bindeth thee in chains for ever.
Shame followeth, and disease, and want, and care, and repentance.
Enfeebled by dalliance, with luxury pampered, and softened by sloth, strength shall forsake thy limbs and health thy constitution. Thy days shall be few and those inglorious; thy griefs shall be many, yet meet with no compassion.