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that is, from his own possessions, not because he thinks it is a noble thing to do, but because it is a necessary condition of having the means to give. He will not be careless of his property, inasmuch as he wishes to employ it for the assistance of others. He will not give indiscriminately, in order that he may be able to give to the right persons and at the right time, and where it is noble to do so. 1. [18] But the liberal man is certainly prone to go to excess in giving, so as to leave himself the smaller share; for it is a mark of a liberal nature to be regardless of self.1. [19]

In crediting people with Liberality their resources must be taken into account; for the liberality of a gift does not depend on its amount, but on the disposition of the giver, and a liberal disposition gives according to its substance.1 It is therefore possible that the smaller giver may be the more liberal, if he give from smaller means. 1. [20] Men who have inherited a fortune are reputed to be more liberal than those who have made one, since they have never known what it is to want; moreover everybody is specially fond of a thing that is his own creation: parents and poets show this. But it is not easy for a liberal man to be rich, since he is not good either at getting money or at keeping it, while he is profuse in spending it and values wealth not for its own sake but as a means of giving. 1. [21] Hence people blame fortune because the most deserving men are the least wealthy. But this is really perfectly natural: you cannot have money, any more than anything else, without taking pains to have it.

1 Or (accepting Bywater's emendation) ‘and this is relative to his substance.’

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