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Christ's blood's our balsam; if that cure us here,
176 Few things by wisdom are at first believ'd; An easy ear deceives, and is deceiv’d: For many
truths have often pass'd for lies, And lies as often put on truth's disguise: 180 As flattery too oft like friendship shows, So them who speak plain truth we think our foes. No quick reply to dubious questions make; Suspense and caution still prevent mistake. When any great design thou dost intend,
185 Think on the means, the manner, and the end :
All great concernments must delays endure; Rashness and haste make all things unsecure; And if uncertain thy pretensions be, Stay till fit time wear out uncertainty; igo But if to unjust thing, thou dost pretend, Ere they begin let thy pretensions end. Let thy discourse be such that thou may’st give Profit to others, or from them receive. Instruct the ignorant; to those that live Under thy care good rules and patterns give : Nor is't the least of virtues to relieve Those whom affli&tions or oppressions' grieve. Commend but sparingly whom thou dost love; But less condemn whom thou dost not approve. Thy friend, like flatt’ry, too much praise doth wrong, And too sharp censure shows an evil tongue : But let inviolate truth be always dear To thee; ev’n before friendship truth prefer. Than what thou mean’st to give still promise less : Hold fast the pow'r thy promise to increase. 206 Look forward what's to come, and back what's past, Thy life will be with praise and prudence grac'd : What loss or gain may follow thou may'st guess, Thou then wilt be secure of the success : Yet be not always on affairs intent, But let thy thoughts be easy and unbent : When our minds' eyes are disengag’d and free, They clearer, farther, and distinctly see;
They quicken sloth, perplexities untye, 215
'235 To rise, whose raising unsecure remains. They whoin desert and favour forwards thrust, Are wise when they their measures can adjust. When well at ease, and happy, live content, And then consider why that life was lent. 240 When wealthy, show thy wisdom not to be To wealth a servant, but make wealth serve thee.
Tho' all alone, yet nothing think or do
OF JUSTICE. 'Tis the first sanction Nature gave Each other to assist in what they can ; Just or unjust this law for ever stands; All things are good by law which she commands. The first step, man towards Christ must justly live, Who to us himself, and all we have, did give. 6 In vain doth man the name of Just expect, If his devotions he to God neglect. So must we rey'rence God, as first to know Justice from him, not from ourselves,do:h flow. 10 God those accepts who to mankind are friends, Whose Justice far as their own pow'r extends ; In that they imitate the Pow'r divine; The sin alike on good and bad doth shine; And he that doth no good, altho' no ill, 15 Does not the office of the just fulfil. Virtue doth man to virtuous actions steer ; 'Tis not enough that he should vice forbear: We live not only for ourselves to care, Whilst they that want it are deny'd their share. 20 Wise Plato said the world with men was stor’d, That succour each to other might afford; Nor are those succours to one sort confin'd, But sev'ral parts to sev'ral men consign'd.