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NPNF2-10. Ambrose: Selected Works and Letters
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Chapter XIV.

Prudence is combined with all the virtues, especially with contempt of riches.

66. Prudence, therefore, works through all things, she has fellowship with all that is good. For how477477    Cic. de Off. II. 11. can she give good advice unless she have justice too, so that she may clothe herself in consistency, not fear death, be held back by no alarm, no fear, nor think it right to be turned aside from the truth by any flattery, nor shun exile, knowing that the world is the fatherland of the wise man. She fears not want, for she knows that nothing is wanting to the wise man, since the whole world of riches is his. What is greater than the man that knows not how to be excited at the thought of money, and has a contempt for riches, and looks down as from some lofty vantage-ground on the desires of men? Men think that one who acts thus is more than man: “Who is this,” it says, “and we will praise him. For wonderful things hath he done in his life.”478478    Ecclus. xxxi. 9. Surely he ought to be admired who despises riches, seeing that most place them even before their own safety.

67. The rule of economy and the authority of self-restraint befits all, and most of all him who stands highest in honour; so that no love for his treasures may seize upon such a man, and that he who rules over free men may never become a slave to money. It is more seemly that in soul he should be superior to treasures, and in willing service be subject to his friends. For humility increases the regard in which one is held. It is praiseworthy and right for the chief of men to have no desire for filthy lucre in common with Syrian traders and Gilead merchants, nor to place all their hope of good in money, or to count up their daily gains and to calculate their savings like a hireling.


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