As it appears that stores of food and provisions are requisite to man, it is but prudent to let them con­sist of various descriptions, so that some at least may escape, though others chance to spoil.

Again, in the pressure of his transactions he requires money, which is the guardian of equity and the minor arbitrator of life:* for by reason of its costliness and rarity, and the weight and compact­ness of its composition, a little of this is equivalent to a great deal of commodities; and hence it is that we are exempted from the necessity of transporting goods to a distance from place to place: whereas, if there were no such thing as money, we should be obliged to take commodities to market, however far removed.*

Next, as to property, it may be considered either with respect to income, or with respect to keeping, or with respect to expenditure.

I. Income is of two kinds — one proceeding from means which depend on the control of the individual, as professions; the other, from means beyond the reach of will, as inheritances and gifts.* Of the first, which is termed profit, the sources are three, as many dignitaries of the faith have laid it down — farming, trade, and profession. Shāfei* holds trade to be the best of the three. Bāürdy gives the preference to farming; whereupon the later writers have mostly remarked, that since in this age property is generally questionable,* and falsehood prevails among mankind, trade is far from being a safe choice, and farming may easily be better; but in the previous age, lawful property was more abundant, and honesty and piety more general; and therefore it was that they then decided for the superiority of trade.* Fur­ther, the wise have said that no dependence is to be placed on trade; for it presupposes capital, and capital is liable to decline.

Now there are three things to be avoided in profit: 1. Iniquity, as when any thing is gained by imposi­tion, or change of weight and measure. 2. Infamy, as wine-dealing,* buffoonery, jesting, and all that tends to debase. 3 Vileness, as filth-clearing, hide-tanning, and all that involves exclusion from the higher professions.

Professions are either necessary, (as agriculture,) or unnecessary, (as gold-working,) and may all be reduced to three heads — noble, mean, and indif­ferent.* The noble are those which have to do with the intellectual power; being the professions of the well-born and well-bred.* Of these the principal are of three kinds: 1. Those which depend on the quality of mind; as with statesmen. 2. Those which depend on attainment and merit; as book-making, rhetoric, astronomy, conveyancing, and sur­veyancing. 3. Those which exercise the strength and courage; as riding, tactics, strategy, &c. The mean professions are likewise of three sorts: 1. Those which are repugnant to the general interest; as magic, witchcraft, engrossing;* and these are the professions of the worst classes. 2. Those which are incompatible with mental excellence; as wine-selling, dance-playing, dice-playing;* and these are the professions of the volatile classes. 3. Such as produce physical loathsomeness; as polling, tanning, filth-clearing, &c.; which last class indeed, in the eye of reason, are not repulsive; nay, it is indispensable to the regulation of worldly affairs that there should be a class so employed; — contrary to the two first, which are repulsive to reason.*

When settled in any profession, we ought to aim at its distinctions and perfections, and not rest con­tent with labouring for any trivial purpose. For we may be assured that no station in the world is better than affluence, and that the best method of obtaining it consists in such a profession as comprehends equity, and is not far removed from temperance and refinement. Also, that all property which comes to hand by means of violence, or intimidation, or infamy, or baseness, however large it may be, is tainted and unblest: from such, both in law and reason, we are bound to turn aside. On the other hand, what­ever is obtained by honest profit, small though it may be, brings a blessing with it.

II. In giving away property there is a moderation to be observed; and all ostentation, or assumption, or display of expenditure, should be avoided alto­gether. The outlay should invariably be less than the income; and strict regard should be paid to times of pressure, as droughts, scourges, pestilences, &c. And here it is advisable to have part of our property in money and specie, and part in lands, establish­ments, and stock, in order that if any thing occur to unsettle one kind, it may be made up in another.*

III. Expenses are of three sorts: 1. Such as we are bound to make in obedience to God and the ordinances of his law; as alms, oblations, vows,* &c. 2. Such as we are pleased to make in token of our munificence, our favour, or our respect; as presents, appanages, &c. 3. Such as we are com­pelled to make in order to procure advantage or avert injury; as, under the first, gifts offered to the prince for the attainment of our purposes and the success of our undertakings,* and likewise all dis­bursements for purposes of food and clothing for the family; under the second, the sacrifice of portions of property to oppressive and ignorant persons, for the safeguard of fortune and honor.

In the first sort, four things are to be observed: 1. That whatever we give be given in the fulness of zeal and good-will, and never the least regretted either in word or thought. For it would be the height of folly, when God, from the treasury of his bounty, has given a fortune to one of his servants, subject to the expenditure in a particular manner of an insignificant fraction, for him to consider the condition as burdensome to discharge. 2. That he spend it simply to the eye of God, and do not mix up the act with any meaner motive, lest thereby it be rendered null and void. 3. That he bestow the bulk of it on such as make a secret of their poverty; like those described in Scripture, From their extreme abstinence the ignorant man would declare them to be rich. 4. That, as far as in him lies, he give his alms in secret: for the ostentation of repute is folly, and appears to arrogate a return; whereby, perhaps, disappointment is the only one laid up even for him who would else be entitled to a better. We find it among the dicta, “Charity that is concealed appeaseth the wrath of God.” And again, “The best of alms is that which the right hand giveth and the left knows not of.” From the refuge of revela­tion we also have it, that when the just and holy God created the ground, it trembled and could not rest; whereupon he created the mountains to keep it still. At this the angels marvelled, and inquired whether any created thing were stronger than a mountain? He told them, Yes, fire. Again they asked whether any thing were stronger than fire? He told them, Yes, water. Any thing stronger than water? Yes, wind. Any thing stronger than wind? Yes, alms concealed, which the son of Adam giveth, so that the right hand gives and the left knows it not. Of this the influence is greatest of any; for it averteth the scourge that is ready to fall.*

In the second description, five things are also to be observed: 1. Expedition; for if long looked for, perchance the gratification may only balance, or even not balance, the pain of delay. 2. Secrecy; that he may be safe from the ruinous results of dis­covery.* 3. That he count it for trifling, even though it be much; for such is the feeling of the well-informed and high-minded. 4. That the gift be immediate and without postponement; for the length of a promise is its oblivion, and the waste of preceding presents. 5. That it be conferred on a proper object; otherwise it is sowing the sea-shore: and the proverb tells us,

“To give where you should use your sword, were worse
Than were to stab where you should use your purse.”

In the third description, three* things are to be observed: Moderation; — although in what may be meant as a safeguard from injury, the advisable course is to incline to excess; in as far as it may give greater security for life, property, and honor.* For the generality of natures have retained no trace of propriety or justice, but are overrun with cupidity, covetousness, envy, and malice. And therefore we shall be more in the way of preserving honor by squaring our expenses to the opinions of the many, than to the dispositions of the few: and it cannot be questioned but munificence is in favour with the many.