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[54] It was to his son that Philip gave this lesson; but let us all take it diligently to heart.

That liberality, therefore, which consists in personal service and effort is more honourable, has wider application, and can benefit more people. There can be no doubt about that. Nevertheless, we should1 sometimes make gifts of money; and this kind of liberality is not to be discouraged altogether. We must often distribute from our purse to the worthy poor, but we must do so with discretion and moderation. For many2 have squandered their patrimony by indiscriminate giving. But what is worse folly than to do the thing you like in such a way that you can no longer do it at all? Then, too, lavish giving leads to robbery;3 for when through over-giving men begin to be impoverished, they are constrained to lay their hands on the property of others. And so, when men aim to be kind for the sake of winning good-will, the affection they gain from the objects of their gifts is not so great as the hatred they incur from those whom they despoil.

1 (1) gifts of money,

2 Julius Caesar was a striking example of this.

3 Cicero evidently had in mind such instances as Sulla, Caesar, Antony, and Catiline—alieni appetens, sui profusus (Sall., Cat. V).

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