Two things are here recommended to us, in dealing with others, as likely means to gain our point:—1. Patience, to bear a present heat without being put into a heat by it, and to wait for a fit opportunity to offer our reasons and to give persons time to consider them. By this means even a prince may be persuaded to do a thing which he seemed very averse to, much more a common person. That which is justice and reason now will be so another time, and therefore we need not urge them with violence now, but wait for a more convenient season. 2. Mildness, to speak without passion or provocation: A soft tongue breaks the bone; it mollifies the roughest spirits and overcomes those that are most morose, like lightning, which, they say, has sometimes broken the bone, and yet not pierced the flesh. Gideon with a soft tongue pacified the Ephraimites and Abigail turned away David’s wrath. Hard words, we say, break no bones, and therefore we should bear them patiently; but, it seems, soft words do, and therefore we should, on all occasions, give them prudently.
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