Here is, 1. The danger that there is in the beginning of strife. One hot word, one peevish reflection, one angry demand, one spiteful contradiction, begets another, and that a third, and so on, till it proves like the cutting of a dam; when the water has got a little passage it does itself widen the breach, bears down all before it, and there is then no stopping it, no reducing it. 2. A good caution inferred thence, to take heed of the first spark of contention and to put it out as soon as ever it appears. Dread the breaking of the ice, for, if once broken, it will break further; therefore leave it off, not only when you see the worst of it, for then it may be too late, but when you see the first of it. Obsta principiis—Resist its earliest display. Leave it off even before it be meddled with; leave it off, if it were possible, before you begin.
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