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that of wasting one's substance; for he who is ruined by his own agency is a hopeless case indeed,1 and to waste one's substance seems to be in a way to ruin oneself, inasmuch as wealth is the means of life. This then is the sense in which the term Prodigality is here understood.1. [6]

Now riches are an article of use; but articles of use can be used either well or ill, and he who uses a thing best is he who possesses the virtue related to that thing; therefore that man will use riches best who possesses the virtue related to wealth; and this is the liberal man. 1. [7] But the use of wealth seems to consist in spending and in giving; getting wealth and keeping it are modes of acquisition rather than of use. Hence the liberal man is more concerned with giving to the right recipients than with getting wealth from the right sources and not getting it from the wrong ones. Virtue is displayed in doing good rather than in having good done to one, and in performing noble acts rather than in avoiding base ones; 1. [8] but manifestly doing good and acting nobly go with giving, while having good done to one and avoiding base actions go with getting. Again, gratitude is bestowed on a giver, not on one who refrains from taking; and still more is this true of praise. 1. [9] Also it is easier not to take than to give: men are more reluctant to give away what belongs to them than to refrain from taking what belongs to someone else. 1. [10] Again, it is those who give whom we call liberal; those who refrain from taking2 are not praised for Liberality but rather for Justice, and those who take3 are not praised at all. 1. [11] And of all virtuous people the liberal are perhaps the most beloved, because they are beneficial to others; and they are so in that they give.1. [12]

Acts of virtue are noble, and are performed for the sake of their nobility; the liberal man therefore will give for the nobility of giving. And he will give rightly, for he will give to the right people, and the right amount, and at the right time, and fulfil all the other conditions of right giving. 1. [13] Also he will give with pleasure, or at all events without pain; for virtuous action is pleasant, or painless—it certainly cannot be painful. 1. [14] One who gives to the wrong people,4 or not for the nobility of giving but from some other motive, will not be called liberal, but by some different title; nor will he who gives with pain, for he would prefer the money to the noble deed, which is not the mark of a liberal man.1. [15]

Consequently the liberal man will not take money from a wrong source either, since one who holds wealth in low esteem is not the man to make improper gains. 1. [16] Nor yet will he be fond of asking favors, for one who confers benefits does not readily accept them. 1. [17] But he will acquire wealth from the proper source,

1 ἄσωτος, ‘prodigal,’ means literally ‘not saved,’ ‘in desperate case.’

2 i.e., those who refrain from taking more than their due.

3 i.e., those who take what is their due.

4 The ms. text gives ‘to the wrong people,’ but cf. 1.12, l.25 ὀρθῶς.

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