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IF YOU wish to be great, be honest. The first step toward greatness is to be honest, for without honesty you can never hope to be great. No man has ever been too honest. “He that walketh uprightly, walketh surely; but he that perverteth his ways shall be known” (Proverbs 10:9). Honesty is the best policy. But no man can be upright amid the various temptations of life unless he is honest for the right’s sake. You should not be honest from the low motive of policy, but because you feel the better for being honest. Then lay the foundations of a character broad and deep. Build them on a rock and not on sand. The rains may then descend, the floods rise, and the wind blow, but your house will stand. But establish a character on loose dealings, and lo! some great tempest will sweep it away.

Some, in their greed to accumulate, practise secret frauds and imagine there is no harm in it so they be not detected. But in vain will they cover up their transgressions. For God, who knows the secret thoughts of the heart, sees it to the bottom, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). It pays to be honest.

God grant that each reader of this little book will be strictly honest with all men and honest before God. It is my earnest desire to eradicate the impression so fatal to many a young man, that one can not live by being perfectly honest. This is a sad mistake. Every one, rich or poor, great or small, young or old, should be strictly honest, truthful, and upright in his dealings. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

There are men who choose honesty as a soul companion. They live in it and with it and by it. They embody it in their actions and lives. Their words speak it; their faces beam it; their actions proclaim it; their hands are true to it; their feet tread its path; they are full of it; they love it, as God loves it; they believe it is of God. It makes them beautiful men; yea, more noble men, great, brave, righteous men. Honesty, peerless queen of principles! how her smile enhalos the men who love her! How ready they are to suffer for her, to die for her! They are martyrs. See them—what a multitude!—some at the stake, some in stocks, some in prison, and some on the cross. But they are all sustained. They smile on their foes. They have peace within.