Furthermore, we must make some discrimination
between favours received; for, as a matter of course,
the greater the favour, the greater is the obligation. But in deciding this we must above all give
due weight to the spirit, the devotion, the affection,
that prompted the favour. For many people often
do favours impulsively for everybody without discrimination, prompted by a morbid sort of benevolence or by a sudden impulse of the heart, shifting as
the wind. Such acts of generosity are not to be so
highly esteemed as those which are performed with
judgment, deliberation, and mature consideration.
But in bestowing a kindness, as well as in making
a requital, the first rule of duty requires us—other
things being equal—to lend assistance preferably to
people in proportion to their individual need. Most
people adopt the contrary course: they put themselves most eagerly at the service of the one from1
whom they hope to receive the greatest favours,
even though he has no need of their help.