This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
I can find fault, replied I, with no part of the discourse, yet I would subjoin, that this custom is an instruction for kindness and good-will. For it is not lawful for any one that hath eaten sufficiently to destroy the remainder of the food; nor for him that hath supplied his necessities from the fountain to stop it up; nor for him that hath made use of any marks, either by sea or land, to ruin or deface them; but every one ought to leave those things that may be useful to those persons that afterwards may have need of them. Therefore it is not fit, out of a saving [p. 374] covetous humor, to put out a lamp as soon as we need it not; but we ought to preserve and let it burn for the use of those that perhaps want its light. Thus, it would be very generous to lend our ears and eyes, nay, if possible, our reason and fortitude, to others, whilst we are idle or asleep. Besides, consider whether to stir up men to gratitude these minute observances were practised. The ancients did not act absurdly when they highly reverenced an oak. The Athenians called one fig-tree sacred, and forbade any one to cut down an olive. For such observances do not (as some fancy) make men prone to superstition, but persuade us to be communicative and grateful to one another, by being accustomed to pay this respect to these senseless and inanimate creatures. Upon the same reason Hesiod, methinks, adviseth well, who would not have any meat or broth set on the table out of those pots out of which there had been no portion offered, but ordered the first-fruits to be given to the fire, as a reward for the service it did in preparing it. And the Romans, dealing well with the lamps, did not take away the nourishment they had once given, but permitted them to live and shine by it.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.