« EelmineJätka »
quantity of salt, to season it. The king, suspecting how they had acted, ordered that they should immediately go and pay for it; then, turning to his attendants, he said, “This is a small matter in itself, but a great one as it regards me; for a king ought ever to be just, because he is an example to his subjects; and, if he swerves in trifles, they will become dissolute. If I cannot make all my people just, in the smallest things, I can, at least, shew them it is possible to be so."
Some years since, resided in a country village a poor but worthy clergyman, who, with the small stipend of 401 per annum, supported himself, a wife, and seven children. At one time walking and meditating in the fields, in much chistress, from the narrowness of his circumstances, he stumbled on a purse of gold. Looking round, in vain, to find its owner, he carried it home to his wife, who advised him to employ at least, a part of it in their present difficulty: but he conscientiously refused, until he had used his utmost endeavours to find out its former proprietor, assuring her, that honesty is always the best policy. After a short time, it was owned by a gentleman who lived at some little distance, to whom the clergyman returned it, with no other reward than thanks. On the good man's return, his wife could not help reproaching the gentleman with ingratitude, and censuring the over-scrupulous honesty of her husband; but he only replied, as before, honesty is the best policy. A few months after this, the curate received an invitation to dine with the aforesaid gentleman; who, after hospitably entertaining him, gave him the pre- . sentation to a living of 3001 per annum, to which he added a bill of 501 for his present necessities. The curate, after making suitable acknowledgments to his benefactor, returned with joy to his wife and family, acquainting them with the happy change in his circumstances; and adding, that he hoped she would now be convinced that honesty was the best policy; to which she readily assented.
One day, when a vacant see was to be filled, the synod observed to the Emperor Peter the Great, that they had none but ignorant men to present to his majesty. “Well, then,” replied the czar, “you have only to pitch upon the most honest man: he will be worth two learned
Previous to Dr. Goldsmith's publishing his Deserted Village, the bookseller had given him a note for one hundred guineas for the copy, which the doctor mentioned a few hours after to one of his friends; who observed, it was a very great sum for so short a performance. “In truth,” replied Goldsmith, “I think so too; I have not been easy since I received it; there. fore I will go back, and return him his note:? which he absolutely did, and left it entirely to the bookseller to pay him according to the profits produced by the sale of the piece, which turned out very considerable. Honesty is the best policy.
In the last war in Germany, a captain of cavalry was ordered out on a foraging party. He put himself at the head of his troop, and marched to the quarter assigned him. It was a solitary valley, in which hardly any thing but woods could be seen. In the midst of it stood a little cottage; on perceiving it, he went up, and knocked at the door: out comes an ancient
Hernouten (better known in this country by the name of Moravian Brethren), with a beard silvered by age. “Father,” says the officer, " shew me a field where I can set my troopers a foraging:” “Presently,” replied the Hernou
The good old man walked before, and conducted them out of the valley. After a quarter of an hour's march, they found a fine field of barley. “There is the very thing we want,” says the captain. “Have patience for a few minutes," replied his guide: “You shall be satisfied.” They went on, and, at the distance of about a quarter of a league farther, they arrived at another field of barley. The troop immediately dismounted, cut down the grain, trussed it up, and remounted. The of. ficer, upon this, says to his conductor, “ Father, you have given yourself and us unnecessary trouble : the first field was inuch better than this." “Very true, Sir,” replied the good old man, “but it was not mine." -This stroke (says my author, and that justly) goes directly to the heart. I defy an atheist to produce me any thing once to be compared with it. And, surely, he who does not feel his heart warmed by such an example of exalted virtue, has not yet acquired the first principles of moral taste..
Mr. Addison, in a letter to a friend, makes the following declaration. "Believe me when I assure you, I never did, nor ever will, on any pretence whatsoever, take more than the stated and customary fees of my office. I might keep the contrary practice concealed from the world, were I capable of it, but I could not from my. self; and I hope I shall always fear the reproaches of my own heart more than those of
all mankind.” This reflected great honour on Mr. Addison's integrity.
“ TRUE honour, though it be a different principle from religion, yet is not contrary to it. Religion embraces virtue, as it is enjoined by the laws of God; honour, as it is graceful and ornamental to human nature. The religious man fears, the man of honor scorns to do an ill action. The latter considers vice as something that is beneath him, the other as something that is offensive to the Divine Being; the one as what is unbecoming, the other as what is forbidden."
But what mistaken notions have some men of honour! They establish any thing to them selves for a point of honour, although it is contrary both to the laws of God and of their country. “Timogenes was a lively instance of one actuated by false honour. T'imogenes would smile at a man's jest who ridiculed his Maker, and at the same time run a man through the body that spoke ill of his friend. Timogenes would have scorned to have betrayed a secret that was entrusted with him, though the fate of his country depended upon the discovery of it. Timogenes took away the life of a young fellow in a duel, for having spoken ill of Belinda, a lady whom he himself had seduced in her youth, and betrayed into want and ignominy. After having ruined several poor trades. men's families who had trusted him, he sold his estate to satisfy his creditors; but, like a man of honour, disposed of all the money he
could make of it in paying off his play debts, or, to speak in his own language, his debts of honour."
Virtue and honour were deified among the antient Greeks and Romans, and had a joint temple consecrated to them at Rome; but af. terwards each of them had separate temples, which were so placed, that no one could enter the temple of honour without passing through that of virtue ; by which the Romans were continually put in mind, that virtue is the only direct path to true glory. Plutarch tells us, that the Romans, contrary to their usual custom, sacrificed to honour uncovered; perhaps to denote that, wherever honour is, it wants no covering, but shews itself open to the world. Dr. South observes, that princes may confer honours, or rather titles and names of honour. But they are a man's own actions which must make him truly honourable; and every man's life is the herald's office, from whence he must derive and fetch that which must blazon him to the world; honour being but the reflection of a man's own actions shining bright in the face of all about him, and from thence re. bounding upon himself.
The Spanish historians relate a memorable instance of honour and regard to truth.
A Spanish cavalier, in a sudden quarrel, slew a Moorish gentleman, and fled. His pursuers soon lost sight of him, for he had, unperceived thrown himself over a garden wall. The owner, a Moor, happened to be in his garden, was addressed by the Spaniard on his knees, who acquainted him with his case, and implored concealment. " Eat this,” said the · Moor (giving him half a peach:) .“ you now know