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(17) A DEBT OF HALF A CENT

Once a merchant lent half a cent to a man who then took a long time repaying him. The merchant went to the man to ask him to clear the debt sooner. To go there, he had to pay two cents as ferry fare to cross a wide river. The debtor was not at home when he arrived there. On his trip back, he had to pay as much again. It amounted to four cents in total.

For a debt of half a cent, the merchant lost four cents. Moreover, he got very tired from his journey. He lost a great more than what he stood to gain. As a result, he was sardonically laughed at.
So are the people at large.

To seek a little fame and gain, people will spare no pains to bring ruin upon what should be their greater concern. They seek self-preservation at the expense of morality. Consequently, they will earn a bad name in this life and suffer retribution in the hereafter.

17债半钱喻
往有商人,贷他半钱,久不得偿,即便往债。前有大河,雇他两钱,然后得渡。到彼往债,竟不得见。来还渡河,复雇两钱。为半钱债,而失四钱,兼有道路疲劳乏困。所债甚少,所失极多,果被众人之所怪笑。

世人亦尔,要少名利,致毁大行。苟容己身,不顾礼义,现受恶名,后得苦报。

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