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Sincerity and Deceit.

At Dolus obfcuro gradientes aëre sepfit,
Et multo nebulæ circum transfudit amicu.

Let no Man go beyond, and defraud his Brother,

in any Matter: for the Lord is the Avenger of fuch, 1 Theffal. iv. 6.




T behoves thee to distinguish between

Deceit, and Diffimulation. DeceivI

ing or imposing upon others to their Prejudice, is always and utterly un

lawful. But that sort of Diflimulation which means no Ill; or is no other than Concealment of one's Mind, is not only lawful, but in many of the Affairs of Life absolutely neceffary: for Nature gives every one a Right to defend himself; and surely, Silence is a very innocent Defence, | By prudent Disfimulation, thou may'st fometimes parry, and put by many Injuries; and prevent many Affronts, which could scarce be done without it.

Let thy Sincerity be ever accompanied with Prudence and Circumspection. Thou art bound always to speak sincerely when thou dost speak: but thou art not bound always to speak.


L 4

Honesty ought to have Wisdom (tho' not ill. Craft) for its Guard: for fince we are fallen in.. to an Age full of Artifice; wherein Words, which were invented to express our Thoughts, seem now to be applyed only to the concealing them with a good Grace; it must be confefled, that Innocence had need of a Mask. And 'tis no less imprudent to lay, open thy Heart to those that are always upon the Watch; than it would be to march quite naked among Enemies whom we could neither offend, nor defend ourselves from.

I would have thee deal wisely; yet fo sincerely, that thou needest not fear the Examination of thy Purposes and Actions: and hast no Reafon to refuse Witnefies, even of thy very Thoughts, if such a Thing were possible.

Subtilty and fly Carriage always causeth Sulpicion; but Wisdom purchaseth Respect. Wherefore I would have thee know, that Closeness of Heart, or discreet Diffimulation in Matters of Consequence, is Wisdom; and it may be served without tricking ill Craft, by an Openness in Things of less Moment. But Sincerity, tho* in itfelf a Virtue, yet may sometimes be as blameable as a Lie. That is, when thou useft it une reasonably: When thou speakest with Sincerity of Things thou oughtest to be filent in, thou wilt offend those of whom thou speakest : And thou wilt give them Cause to accuse thee of Imprudence, Incivility, and Want of good Nature.

In all thy Dealings (where the Matter will bear it, and the Persons concerned are fit for it) se a kind of Openness and Freeness. Such Behaviour will make others free to thee; and will get thee the Report of upright Dealing: And then Men will negotiate more sincerely, and plainly with thee, which will make thy Transactions easy,


Truth and Sincerity ought to be Mistress not only of thy Heart and Mind, but also of all that appears in thee, or comes from thee. That is, thy Words ought never to disagree with thy Thoughts or Actions: And there should be nothing within thee, that gives thee the Lie.

Of all Things in the World give not thyself up to Lying. A Lyar is a molt detestable and moft miferable Wretch. He excludes himself from the Society of prudent and good Men; and most horribly joineth himself to the Devil,.. yielding up himself to his bitter Bondage and Power.

Be always so precisely true in whatsoever thou relateft of thy own Knowledge, that thou . may'st get an undoubted and settled Reputation of Veracity: and thou wilt gain this Advantage by it, that every body will believe (without further Proof) whatsoever thou utterest; be it. never fo strange.

Hold to Truth; and it will make thee fafe, and easy. One that was going Ambaffador to Venice, begged of Sir Harry Wotton Advice how he might carry himself among those superfine Politicians. Sir Harry told him he should always speak Truth. It will be the greatest Blind in the World: They'll not believe you, because they'll still look beyond it, to find out some Piece of fine Craft; and come what will, you'll keep safe, and incur no-Blame, LS


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