Sivut kuvina

" We see, here, through a glass darkly:" our prospect of things is so obscured by prejudices, passions, and intervening shades of one kind or other, that we seldoin see them in their

proper colours, or natural positions. It is, therefore, of the utmost consequence, to have a faithful friend at hand, who will guard us from the dangers we are every moment incurring, who will point out our true interest to us, who will divest us of our hurtful prepossessions, and who will take the pains to lead us out of the paths of crror and delusion,

And, if this advice be so necessary and useful in our temporal interests, it is still more so in our eternal ones. We have all of us many temptations in life to encounter; we have many dangerous and insidious adversaries; we have a feeble and pliant portion of reason; we have headstrong and ensnaring passions; we have a heart, deceitful above all things; a tongue, prompt to utter, and a hand ever too ready to execute, what is wicked or dishonourable. Happy the man, therefore, who has found that counsellor of a thousand, who will stand his friend in such dangers, and take the part of his soul, against the world, the flesh, and the devil; who will stop his arm, when uplifted to swallow the poison of corruption; who will support his steps, when




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tottering on the brink of perdition ; who will rouse his slumbering faculties, and invigorate his languishing piety; who will point out to him the deformity and danger of sin, and, like a guardian angel, beckon him forward to the gate of heaven. These are noble offices of friendship indeed; as much exceeding those, which are commonly practised as the soul is more noble than the body, or the circle of eternity exceeds the span of life. Too seldom, indeed, they are thought of in this age of folly, when, by a preposterous kind of computation, temporal interests are thought of more value than eternal ones, a mortal and frail body preferable to an immortal soul. Yet a wise heathen thought them of so much consequence, that he expressly includes, in his definition of friendship, a consent in divine, as well as human matters *, and lays it down, as an indispensable duty of friendship, both to give and receive advice in both.

: A fourth advantage of friendship arises from an union of abilities and


The powers of man are inadequate to his necessities, when single and solitary. His wants, therefore, as well as his natural inclinations, * Divinarum humanarumque rerum consensio.

Cicero de Amicitia.


drive him to seek for society, and his weakness will as strongly incline him to seek for the support of friendship in tliat society : for, without such a support, he would, like an insulated 'column, be unable to sustain the shocks and outrages of men, and the changes and chances of the world. But when he is conscious that he has a friend, who will share with him in all dif'ficulties, who will stand by himn with united heart and strength, he will prosecute the business of life with firmness and vigour, and, therefore, will seldom fail of success. It happened, indeed, otherwise, to the unfortunate friends, who were the subject of David's lamentation. They fought with united hearts and hands, yet fought unsuccessfully. This, however, will rarely be the case. And even with respect to them, we cannot doubt but that Saul must have received unspeakable comfort from reflecting that his faithful and beloved son was engaged in the same cause with himself, and that Jonathan had no less pleasure in knowing that he was defending the life of a parent, who would never leave him or forsake him: and, though finally they failed of the just rewards of their valour, to answer the 'wise designs of providence, in transferring the kingdom to another family, yet they had, at least, this reward of their piety, that they escaped the misery of a survival, which, on either

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side, must have been bitter and excruciating : .“ in their death they were not divided."

This leads me to consider, secondly, The misery and misfortune of being deprived of a sincere and well-grounded friendship.

And here, I am sensible, I must enter upon a task little agreeable to the tender feelings of 'évery human breast. For few, I fear, there are among us, so completely happy, as never to have felt the bitter pangs of such a separation from those we loved. The wound of anguish, will, therefore, naturally bleed afresh, and the stream of sorrow be renewed, at the recollection of so painful an event. Yet it is a recollection sometimes necessary, and always useful, if we have the wisdom to apply it to its proper purpose, that is, if we are taught by it to number our own days, and to apply our hicarts unto wisdom.

To see a man, who is the most perfect stranger to us, sunk under the power and tyranny of death, and stripped, in one moment, of every joy and comfort in life, is a sight shocking enough to human nature, on account of the ncar relation we bear to him, as one of our fellow-creatures. To see a neighbour under the same circumstances, is still more shocking, because of our familiarity and acquaintance with him. But when the connection comes nearer home to ourselves; when we see the friend we loved, lying pale and breathless before us, insensible of all the pleasure he could once give or receive; when, for example, the lielpless orphan weeps over the grave of an affectionate parent, or, what is more shocking to humanity, when the disconsolate parent is doomed to see the order of nature, as it were, inverted, and to follow a beloved child to his long home, withered in his prime, and blasted like an untimely flower; or when, again, the mournful widow, deprived of a, faithful partner, is compelled to water her solitary couch with her tears, or an afflicted husband to lament over the ashes of a beloved wife: these are circumstances of misery and distress, which neither language is able to express, nor imagination to conceive.


And we have, in such circumstances, not only the misery of losing the friend we loved, but we have also the misfortune of being deprived of all the advantages of a well-founded friendship. For where is then, the chearful companion, to share with us in the innocent and virtuous joys of life? Where is the faithful hand, to support us in the changes and chances of fortune? Where is the friendly counsellor, to advise and


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