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Sincerity and Deceit.
At Dolus obfcuro gradientes aëre fepfit;
Let no Man go beyond, and defraud his Brother, in any Matter: for the Lord is the Avenger of fuch, Theffal. iv. 6.
SINCERITY and DECEIT.
T behoves thee to diftinguish between Deceit, and Diffimulation. Deceiving or impofing upon others to their Prejudice, is always and utterly unlawful. But that Sort of Diffimulation 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 abfolutely neceffary for Nature gives every one a Right to defend himself; and furely, Silence is a very innocent Defence.
By prudent Diffimulation, thou may'st fometimes parry, and put by many Injuries; and prevent many Affronts, which could fcarce be done without it.
Let thy Sincerity be ever accompanied with Prudence and Circumfpection. Thou art bound always to speak fincerely when thou dost speak: but thou art not bound always to speak.
Honefty ought to have Wisdom (tho' not ill Craft) for its Guard: for fince we are fallen into an Age full of Artifice; wherein Words, which were invented to exprefs our Thoughts, seem now to be applyed only to the concealing them with a good Grace; it must be confeffed, that Innocence had need of a Mask. And 'tis no lefs 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 wifely; yet fo fincereby, that thou needeft not fear the Examination of thy Purposes and Actions: and haft no Reafon to refufe Witneffes, even of thy very Thoughts, if fuch a Thing were poffible.
Subtilty and fly Carriage always caufeth Sufpicion; butWisdom purchaseth Refpect. Wherefore I would have thee know, that Clofeness of Heart, or difcreet Diffimulation in Matters of Confequence, is Wifdom; and it may be served without tricking ill Craft, by an Openness in Things of lefs Moment. But Sincerity, tho in itfelf a Virtue, yet may fometimes be as blameable as a Lie. That is, when thou useft it unreasonably: When thou speakest with Sincerity of Things. thou oughteft to be filent in, thou wilt offend thofe of whom thou fpeakeft: And thou wilt give them Caufe to accufe thee of Imprudence, Incivility, and Want of good Na
In all thy Dealings (where the Matter will bear it, and the Perfons concerned are fit for it) afe a kind of Opennefs and Freenefs. Such Behaviour
haviour will make others free to thee; and will! get thee the Report of upright Dealing: And then Men will negotiate more fincerely, and plainly with thee, which will make thy Tranfactions 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 difagree with thy Thoughts or Actions: And there fhould be nothing within thee, that gives thee the Lie.
Of all Things in the World give not thyfelf up to Lying. A Lyar is a most deteftable and moft miferable Wretch. He excludes himself from the Society of prudent and good Men; and moft horribly joineth himself to the Devil,.... yielding up himself to his bitter Bondage and Power.
Be always fo precifely true in whatsoever thou relateft of thy own Knowledge, that thou may'ft get an undoubted and fettled Reputation of Veracity: and thou wilt gain this Advantage by it, that every body will believe (without further Proof) whatsoever thou uttereft; be it never fo ftrange.
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 fhould always fpeak Truth. It will be the greatest Blind in the World: They'll not believe you, because they'll ftill look beyond it, to find out fome Piece of fine Craft; and come what will, you'll keep fafe, and incur no Blame.