These precepts, however, apply to our children: in ourselves the accident of birth and our education no longer admits of either mistakes or advice; we must deal with what follows.
Now we ought to fight against the first causes of evil: the cause of anger is the belief that we are injured; this belief, therefore, should not be lightly entertained.
We ought not to fly into a rage even when the injury appears to be open and distinct: for some false things bear the semblance of truth.
We should always allow some time to elapse, for time discloses the truth.
Let not our ears be easily lent to calumnious talk: let us know and be on our guard against this fault of human nature, that we are willing to believe what we are unwilling to listen to, and that we become angry before we have formed our opinion.
What shall I say? we are influenced not merely by calumnies but by suspicions, and at the very look and smile of others we may fly into a rage with innocent persons because we put the worst construction upon it.
We ought, therefore, to plead the cause of the absent against ourselves, and to keep our anger in abeyance: for a punishment which has been postponed may yet be inflicted, but when once inflicted cannot be recalled.