Tuesday, 9 February, 1830

How unguarded men sometimes act, and those who seem to act with great caution and in the most secret manner are nevertheless frequently brought to light in spite of all endeavors to keep them concealed. Even when we act contrary to the known rules of morality or justice, we impose on ourselves a state of mind very unpleasant and disagreeable, calculated to sour our temper and becloud our disposition through the fear of being exposed. And for what do we do it? Probably for a mere momentary gratification and for this we incur days, months, and years of sorrow, pain, and real misery; and frequently permanent disgrace.

I have visited a young man today in this situation. His own mind is a continual torment to him from fear of being exposed, besides the pain he otherwise suffers. A man should value his own good opinion of himself. That is, he should act in every case so as to have a clear conscience and feel and know he has never violated any virtuous or moral obligation. It is or must be a poor satisfaction to an individual to receive the applause or confidence of those that surround him while he himself feels guilty of unexposed deeds of crime. Let your conduct on all occasions be such as you can approve and worthy to be esteemed.