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and found in all times and places a peaceful and sweet companion.” — “Letters of Stevenson,” vol. i. p. 232.

Possibly the meditations first ripened epigrammatically in these “Fruits of Solitude" were simply reconsidered and broadened out in the “Advice to his Children,” which Penn published in 1699. The same spirit, with something more of religious warmth in it, is carried to the latter, and the essence of the teaching is the same. It is a far finer and purer teaching of righteousness for its own sake than was at all common in the age to which William Penn belonged.



(From William Penn's “Fruits of Solitude.") Lend not beyond thy ability, nor refuse to lend out of thy ability ; especially when it will help others more than it can hurt thee.

Frugality is good, if liberality be joined with it. The first, is leaving off superfluous expenses ; the last, bestowing them to the benefit of others that need. The first without the last, begins covetousness; the last without the first, begins prodigality: both together make an excellent temper.

Hospitality is good, if the poorer sort are the subjects of our bounty ; else too near a superfluity.

Love labour: for if thou dost not want it for food, thou mayest for physic.

The receipts of cookery are swelled to a volume; but a good stomach excels them all; to which nothing contributes more, than industry and temperance.

" Let nothing be lost,” said our Saviour: but that is lost that is misused.

Choose thy clothes by thine own eyes, not another's. If thou art clean and warm, it is sufficient; for more doth but rob the poor, and please the wanton.

Never marry but for love: but see that thou lovest what is lovely.

He that minds a body and not a soul, has not the better part of that relation; and will consequently want the noblest comfort of a married life.

Between a man and his wife, nothing ought to rule but love. Authority is for children and servants; yet not without sweetness.

Choose a friend as thou dost a wife, “ till death separate


Be not easily acquainted : lest, finding reason to cool, thou makest an enemy, instead of a good neighbour.

Be reserved, but not sour; grave, but not formal; bold, but not rash; humble, but not servile; patient, not insensible; constant, not obstinate; cheerful, not light; rather sweet, than familiar; familiar, than intimate; and intimate with very few, and upon very good grounds.

If thou hast done an injury to another, rather own it, than defend it. One way thou gainest forgiveness; the other, thou doublest the wrong and reckoning.

If thou thinkest twice, before thou speakest once, thou wilt speak twice the better for it.

Better say nothing, than not to the purpose.

In all debates, let truth be thy aim ; not victory, or an unjust interest : and endeavour to gain, rather than to expose, thy antagonist.

Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders, than from the arguments of its opposers.

It is wise not to seek a secret; and honest, not to reveal one.

Only trust thyself, and another shall not betray thee.

Openness has the mischief, though not the malice, of treachery.

It is not enough that a thing be right, if it be not fit to be done. If not prudent, though just, it is not advisable. He that loses by getting, had better lose than get.

Knowledge is the treasure, but judgment the treasurer, of a wise man.

He that has more knowledge than judgment, is made for another man's use, more than his own.

Where judgment has wit to express it, there is the best orator.

If thou wouldst be obeyed, being a father, being a son, be obedient.

It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.

Rarely promise. But, if lawful, constantly perform.

Be not fancifully jealous ; for that is foolish: as, to be reasonably so, is wise.

If we would amend the world, we should mend ourselves ; and teach our children to be, not what we are, but what they should be.

It is not how we leave our children, but what we leave them.

Patience and diligence, like faith, remove mountains.

Never give out while there is hope : but hope not beyond reason; for that shows more desire than judgment.

Do good with what thou hast, or it will do thee no good.

Seek not to be rich, but happy. The one lies in bags, the other in content; which wealth can never give.

If thou wouldst be happy, bring thy mind to thy condition, and have an indifferency for more than what is sufficient.

Have but little to do, and do it thyself: and do to others as thou wouldst have them do to thee: so, thou canst not fail of temporal felicity.

A man, like a watch, is to be valued for his goings.


He that prefers him upon other accounts, bows to an idol.

We should not be troubled for what we cannot help: but if it was our fault, let it be so no more. Amendment is repentance, if not reparation.

Virtue is not secure against envy. Men will lessen, what they will not imitate.

Dislike what deserves it, but never hate ; for that is of the nature of malice.

Not to be provoked, is best : but if moved, never correct till the fume is spent : for every stroke our fury strikes, is sure to hit ourselves at last.

They that censure, should practice : or else, let them heave the first stone, and the last too.

Nothing needs a trick, but a trick ; sincerity loathes


Passion is a sort of fever in the mind, which ever leaves weaker than it found us.

But being intermitting, to be sure it is curable with


Be not provoked by injuries, to commit them.
Tempt no man; lest thou fall for it.

Opportunities should never be lost, because they can hardly be regained.

Affect not to be seen, and men will less see thy weak


We have a call to do good, as often as we have the power and occasion.

Do what good thou canst unknown; and be not vain of what ought rather to be felt than seen.


TO HIS CHILDREN. Fear God; show it in desire, refraining and doing ; keep the inward watch, keep a clear soul and a light heart. Mind an inward sense upon doing any thing. When you read the Scripture, remark the notablest places, as your spirits are most touched and affected, in a common-place book, with that sense or opening which you receive ; for they come not by study or in the will of man, no more than the Scripture did ; and they may be lost by carelessness and over-growing thoughts, and businesses of this life; so in perusing any other good or profitable book, yet rather meditate than read much. For the spirit of a man knows the things of a man, and with that spirit, by observation of the tempers and actions of men you see in the world, and looking into your own spirits, and meditating thereupon, you will have a deep and strong judg. ment of men and things. For from what may be, what should be, and what is most probable or likely to be, you can hardly miss in your judgment of human affairs; and you have a better spirit than your own in reserve for a time of need, to pass the final judgment in important matters.

In conversation, mark well what others say or do, and hide your own mind, at least till last, and then open it as sparingly as the matter will let you. A just observance and reflection upon men and things give wisdom; those are the great books of learning seldom read. The laborious bee draws honey from every flower. Be always on your watch, but chiefly in company; then be sure to have

your armor on ; speak last and little, but to the point; interrupt none; anticipate none. Read Prov. x. 8, 13. Be quick to hear, slow to speak

you, and

your wits about

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