Page images
PDF
EPUB

Wise men lay up knowledge.

may not a little man do a great deal of good ? It is
possible “the wisdom of a poor man” may start a
proposal which may “save a city”—serve a nation !

A single hair, applied to a flyer that has other
wheels depending on it, may pull up an oak, or pull
down a house.

COTTON MATHER.

THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

T was the wisest saying of the wisest man,

the fear of God is the beginning of

wisdom. Holiness, then, is the introduction of all wisdom, so it shall be the first of my advice. Fear God, and if holiness give know

ledge, knowledge will give thee happiness, long life, riches, and honour. Length of days is in the right hand of wisdom, and in her left hand are riches and honour. How exalted a thing, then, is religion, which is the mother of so great blessings, and who will pity thy complaints for the want of any of these, if they be obtained by the pleasure of that which will also crown thee with heaven, an holy life; be pious, and thou art all these; fear God, and thou shalt not fear man or devil, for it will set thee above the reach of fortune or malice.

EARL OF BEDFORD.

The wise in heart will receive commandments.

The end of learning is to know God.

Flattery is a fool's wisdom.

AGAINST FLATTERY.

Flatterers are thieves in disguise.

AKE care thou be not made a fool by

flatterers, for even the wisest men are abused

by these. Know, therefore, that flatterers are the worst kind of traitors; for they will strengthen thy imperfections, encourage thee

in all evils, correct thee in nothing; but so shadow and paint all thy vices and follies, as thou shalt never, by their will, discern evil from good, or vice from virtue. And because all men are apt to flatter themselves, to entertain the additions of other men's praises is most perilous. Do not, therefore, praise thyself, except thou wilt be counted a vainglorious fool; neither take delight in the praises of other men, except thou deserve it, and receive it from such as are worthy and honest, and will withal warn thee of thy faults ; for flatterers have never any virtue; they are ever base, creeping, cowardly persons. A flatterer is said to be a beast that biteth smiling; it is said by Isaiah in this manner :-My people, they that praise thee, seduce thee, and disorder the paths of thy feet; and David desired God to cut out the tongue of a flatterer. · But it is hard to know them from friends, they are so obsequious and full of protestations; for as a wolf resembleth a dog, so doth a flatterer a friend. A flatterer is compared to an ape,

A flatterer is either a rogue or a fool.

Self-praise is no honour.

Buy the truth, and sell it not.

who, because she cannot defend the house like a dog,
labour as an ox, or bear burdens as a horse, doth
therefore yet play tricks, and provoke laughter. Thou
mayest be sure that he that will in private tell thee
thy faults is thy friend, for he adventures thy dislike,
and doth hazard thy hatred; for there are few men
that can endure it, every man for the most part
delighting in self-praise, which is one of the most uni-
versal follies that bewitcheth mankind.

SIR WALTER RALEIGH.

THE HEIGHT OF HONOUR.

They that praise thee, seduce thee.

Be not wise in thine own eyes.

No man to offend
Ne'er to reveal the secrets of a friend ;
Rather to suffer, than to do a wrong,
To make the heart no stranger to the tongue;
Provoked, not to betray an enemy,
Nor at his meat I choke with flattery;
Blushless to tell wherefore I wear my scars,
Or for my conscience, or my country's wars ;
To aim at just things; if we've wildly run
Into offences, wish them all undone ;
'Tis poor, in grief for a wrong done, to die-
Honour to dare to live, and satisfy.

MASSINGER.

Before honour is humility.

Choose your friends with care.

ON THE CHOICE OF FRIENDS.

[graphic]

A man is known by the company he keeps.

HERE is nothing more becoming any wise

man than to make choice of friends, for by

them thou shalt be judged what thou art. Let them, therefore, be wise and virtuous, and none of these that follow thee for gain ; but

make election rather of thy betters than thy inferiors, shunning always such as are poor and needy; for, if thou givest twenty gifts, and refuse to do the like but once, all that thou hast done will be lost, and such men will become thy mortal enemies.

Take also special care that thou never trust any friend or servant with any matter that may endanger thine estate, for so shalt thou make thyself a bond-slave to him that thou trustest, and leave thyself always to his mercy ; and be sure of this, thou shalt never find a friend in thy young years whose conditions and qualities will please thee after thou comest to more discretion and judgment, and then all thou givest is lost, and all wherein thou shalt trust such a one will be discovered. Such, therefore, as are thy inferiors will follow thee but to eat of thee, and when thou leavest to feed them they will hate thee; and such kind of men, if thou preserve thy estate, will always be had. And if thy friends be of better quality than thyself,

True friends are tried by adversity.

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.

Keep sound wisdom and discretion.

A friend sticketh closer than a brother.

thou mayest be sure of two things: the first, that they
will be more careful to keep thy counsel, because they
have more to lose than thou hast; the second, they
will esteem thee for thyself, and not for that which
thou dost possess. But if thou be subject to any
great vanity or ill, then therein trust no man; for every
man's folly ought to be his greatest secret. And,
although I persuade thee to associate thyself with thy
betters, or at least with thy peers, yet remember always
that thou venture not thy estate with any of those great
ones that shall attempt unlawful things; for such men
labour for themselves, and not for thee; thou shalt be
sure to part with them in the danger, but not in the
honour; and to venture a sure estate in present, in
hope of a better in future, is mere madness: and
great men forget such as have done them service
when they have obtained what they would, and will
rather hate thee for saying thou hast been a means of
their advancement than acknowledge it.

When thou shalt read and observe the Stories
of all Nations," thou shalt find innumerable examples
of the like. Let thy love be to the best, so long as
they do well; but take heed that thou love God, thy
country, thy prince, and thine own estate before all
others : for the fancies of men change, and he that
loves to-day hateth to-morrow; but let reason be thy
schoolmistress, which shall ever guide thee right.

SIR WALTER RALEIGH.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Better an open enemy than a false friend.

« PreviousContinue »