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Book of Wise Sayings Selected Largely from Eastern Sources   By: (1843-1896)

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First Page:

BOOK OF

WISE SAYINGS

SELECTED LARGELY FROM EASTERN SOURCES

BY

W. A. CLOUSTON

Author of "Popular Tales and Fictions," "Literary Coincidences, and other Papers," "Flowers from a Persian Garden," etc.

"Concise sentences, like darts, fly abroad and make impressions, while long discourses are tedious and not regarded." BACON.

"Many are the sayings of the wise, In ancient and in modern books enrolled." MILTON.

LONDON PUBLISHED BY HUTCHINSON & CO.

AT 34 PATERNOSTER ROW 1893

PRINTED AT NIMEGUEN (HOLLAND) BY H. C. A. THIEME OF NIMEGUEN (HOLLAND)

AND

TALBOT HOUSE, ARUNDEL STREET LONDON, W.C.

TO

FRANCIS THORNTON BARRETT,

CHIEF LIBRARIAN, MITCHELL LIBRARY, GLASGOW,

THIS LITTLE BOOK,

WITH FRIENDLY GREETINGS,

IS INSCRIBED.

PREFACE.

Cynics may ask, how many have profited by the innumerable proverbs and maxims of prudence which have been current in the world time out of mind? They will say that their only use is to repeat them after some unhappy wight has "gone wrong." When, for instance, a man has played "ducks and drakes" with his money, the fact at once calls up the proverb which declares that "wilful waste leads to woful want"; but did not the "waster" know this well worn saying from his early years downwards ? What good, then, did it do him? Again, how many have been benefited by the saying of the ancient Greek poet, that "evil communications corrupt good manners"? albeit they had it frequently before them in their school "copy books." Are the maxims of morality useless, then, because they are so much disregarded?

When a man has reached middle age he generally feels with tenfold force the truth of those "sayings of the wise" which he learned in his early years, and has cause to regret, as well as wonder, that he had not all along followed their wholesome teaching. For it is to the young, who are about to cross the threshold of active life, that such terse convincing sentences are more especially addressed, and, spite of the proverbial heedlessness of youth, there will be found many who are not deaf to this kind of instruction, if their moral environment be favourable. But, even after the spring time of youth is past, there are occasions when the mind is peculiarly susceptible to the force of a pithy maxim, which may tend to the reforming of one's way of life. There is commonly more practical wisdom in a striking aphorism than in a round dozen of "goody" books that is to say, books which are not good in the highest sense, because their themes are overlaid with commonplace and wearisome reflections.

May we not find the "whole duty of man" condensed into a few brief sentences, which have been expressed by thoughtful men in all ages and in countries far apart? such as: "Love thy neighbour as thyself," "Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you." The chief themes of all teachers of morality are: benevolence and beneficence; tolerance of the opinions of others; self control; the acquisition of knowledge that jewel beyond price; the true uses of wealth; the advantages of resolute, manly exertion; the dignity of labour; the futility of worldly pleasures; the fugacity of time; man's individual insignificance. They are never weary of inculcating taciturnity in preference to loquacity, and the virtues of patience and resignation... Continue reading book >>




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