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Moreover, as Thucydides1 says that he is a wise man who will not venture to incur odium except for matters of the highest concernment, so, when we do undertake the ungrateful office of censor, it ought to be only upon weighty and important occasions. For he who is peevish and angry at everybody and upon every trivial fault, acting [p. 153] rather with the imperious pedantry of a schoolmaster than the discretion of a friend, blunts the edge of his reprehensions in matters of an higher nature, by squandering, like an unskilful physician, that keen and bitter but necessary and sovereign remedy of his reproofs upon many slight distempers that require not so exquisite a cure. And therefore a wise man will industriously avoid the character of being a person who is always chiding and delights in finding faults. Besides that, whosoever is of that little humor that animadverts upon every trifling peccadillo only affords his friend a fairer occasion of being even with him one time or another for his grosser immoralities. As Philotimus the physician, visiting a patient of his who was troubled with an inflammation in his liver, but showed him his forefinger, told him: Sir, your distemper is not a whitlow. In like manner we may take occasion now and then to reply upon a man who carps at trifles in another, —his diversions, pleasantries, or a glass of wine,—Let the gentleman rather, sir, turn off his whore and leave off his dicing; for otherwise he is an admirable person. For he who is dispensed with in smaller matters more willingly gives his friend the liberty of reprimanding him for greater. But there is neither child nor brother nor servant himself able to endure a man of a busy inquisitive humor, who brawls perpetually, and is sour and unpleasant upon every inconsiderable occasion.

1 II. 464.

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