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ance; because a Forwardness to oblige is a great Grace upon our Kindness, and that which doubles the intrinfick Worth of it.
3. It is the Obfervation of the wife King of Ifrael, Woe to bim, that is alone! For, if he falleth, be hath not another to help him up: And this Obfervation is verified upon none fo much, as upon him that is deftitute of Friends, who, when he is under a Perplexity of Affairs, where a Determination is dubious, and yet of uncommon Confequence, cannot fetch in Aid from another Perfon, whofe Judgment may be greater than his own, and whofe Concern he is fure is no lefs. Every Man, in his own Affairs, is found to be lefs cautious, than a prudent Stander-by: He is generally too eagerly engaged, to make juft Remarks upon the Progrefs and Probability of Things; and, in fuch a Cafe, nothing is so proper as a judicious Friend, to temper the Spirits, and moderate the Purfuit; to give the Signal for Action, to prefs the Advantage, and ftrike the critical Minute. Foreign Intelligence may have a Spy in it, and therefore fhould be cautiously received; Strangers (I call all fuch, except Friends) may be defigning in their Advice, or, if they be fincere, by miftaking the Cafe, they may give wrong Measures; but, now, an old Friend has the whole Scheme in his Head. He knows the Constitution, the Disease, the Strength and the Huinour of him he affifts; what he can do, and what he can bear; and therefore none fo proper as he to prescribe; to direct the Enterprife, and fecure
the main Chance.
4. But, among all the Offices of Friendship, there is none that comes up to our aiding and affifting the Soul of our Friend, and endeavouring to advance his fpiritual State, by Exhortations and Encouragements to all Virtue, by earneft and vehement Diffuafions from all Sin, and efpecially by
kind and gentle Reproofs, where there is Reason to prefume an Offence has been committed. This is to peculiarly the Duty of a Friend, that there is none befides fo duly qualified for it. The Reproofs of a Relation may be thought to proceed from an Affectation of Superiority; of an Enemy, from a Spirit of Malice; and of an indifferent Perfon, from Pride or Impertinence, and fo be flighted: But when they come from one, who loves us as his own Soul, and come armed with all the tender Concern, that an unfeigned Affection isknown to dictate, they muft of Course take Effect, and become irrefiftible. Self-Love, like a falfe Glafs, generally reprefents the Complexion better than Nature has made it :-Men have no great Inclination to be prying into their own Deformities, and have fuch Unwillingness to hear of their Faults, that whoever undertakes the Work, had Need have
ftrong Prepoffeffion in his Favour; and therefore the Friend, that alone is qualified for it, acts the Part of a Flatterer, and betrays the Offender into Security, when he fees him commit Things worthy of Blame, and yet filently paffes them by : Open Reproof, fays the wife Man, is better than fuch fecret Love; for faithful are the Wounds of a Friend, but the Kiffes of an Enemy are deceitful.
But though we are required to admonish our Triend, when we fee him do amifs, yet the Man
in which we are to do it, will require our utmoft Care, and fhew our Skill and Address, as well as our Love and Efteem for him. A Word, fitly Spoken, fays Solomon, is like Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver: As an Ear-Ring of Gold, and an Ornament of fine Gold, fo is a wife Reprover upon an obedient Ear: What Gracefulness there is in Colours judiciously chofen, and rightly put together; what Agreeableness there is in the most valuable Metals, fo appofitely placed, as to add to each other's Luf
tre; what Beauty arifes from the richeft and choiceft
But though we are allowed, in this Manner, to reprove the Faults of our Friend, yet are we to remember, that this is to be done in private: And that no Care must be wanting, on our Parts, to conceal them from the Knowledge of others. And believe me, it is a great and noble Thing to cover the Blemishes, and excufe the Failings of a Friend; to draw a Curtain before his Errors, and to display his Perfections; to bury his Weakness in Silence, and proclaim his Virtues upon the Houfe-Top. This, as one expreffes it, is an Imitation of the Charities of Heaven, which, when the Creature lies proftrate in the Weaknefs of Sleep, spreads the Covering of Night and Darkness over it, to conceal it in that Condition: But as foon as our Spirits are refreshed, and Nature returns to its Morning Vigour, God then bids the Sun rife, and the Day fhine upon us, both to advance and fhew our Activity.
Thefe are fome of the Duties or approved Qualities of Friendship, viz. to be faithful in our Profeffions, zealous in our Services, prudent in our Advices, and gentle in our Reproofs to our Friend; to be dumb to his Secrets, filent to his Faults, and full of the Commendations of his Virtues : And, where these are mutually practifed, there is lefs Danger of the remaining Duty, which is Contancy, or fuch a Stability and Firmnefs of Friendship, as overlooks and paffes by all thofe leffer Failures of M 2 Kindness
Kindness and Refpect, that, through Frailties incident to human Nature, a Man may be fometimes guilty of, and yet ftill retain the fame habitual Good-will, and prevailing Propensity of Mind to his Friend, that he had before. Alas! there is no expecting the Temper of Paradife in the prefent Corruption of the World. The best of People cannot be always the fame, always awake and entertaining. The Accidents of Life, the Indifpofitions of Health, the Imperfections of Reafon must be allowed for, nor muft every ambiguous Expreffion, or every little Chagrin, or Start of Paffion be thought a fufficient Caufe of Difunion. Ointment and Perfume, fays the wife Man, rejoice the Heart; fo does the Sweetness of a Man's Friend: Whereupon it follows, thine own Friend, and thy Father's Friend, forfake not: To part with a tried Friend, and one that is grown old, as it were, in the Service of the Family, befides the Injuftice done him, is both unreasonable Levity, fuch as argues a Mind governed by Caprice only; and egregious Folly, fuch as prodigally cafts away one of the greatest Bleffings of human Life: For a faithful Friend is a frong Defence; and he, that hath found fuch an one, bath found a Treafure. And, as nothing can countervail a faithful Friend, fo, when we have. once entered into that Relation, I know of nothing that fhould diffolve it, but either downright Malevolence, or incorrigible Vice. Thefe indeed ftrike at the Fundamentals, and make a Correfpondence impracticable: But, even when the Cafe comes to this unhappy Pafs, there is ftill a Decency in the Manner of our Difunion, and Prudence feems to direct, that we should draw off by Degrees, rather than come to an open Rupture.
From what has been faid on this Subject, it feems plainly to follow, that every one is not qualified to enter into the Relation of Friendship,
wherein there is Occafion for Largenefs of Mind, and Agreeableness of Temper; for Prudence of Behaviour, for Courage and Conftancy, for Freedom from Paffion and Self-conceit. A Man, that is fit to make a Friend of, must have Conduct to to manage the Engagement, and Refolution to maintain it He muft ufe Freedom, without Roughness; and oblige, without Defign. Cowardice will betray Friendship, and Covetousness will ftarve it Folly will be naufeous; Paffion is apt to ruffle; and Pride will fly out into Contumely and Neglect: And therefore to conclude with the Wifdom of the Son of Syrach, in relation to the Choice of a Friend, If thou wouldst get a Friend, fays he, prove him first, and be not hafty to credit him; for fome Man is a Friend for his own Occafion, and will not abide in the Day of thy Trouble: As, again, fome Friend is a Companion at the Table: In thy Profperity he will be as thyfelf; but, if thou be brought low, he will be against thee, and hide himself from thy Face. Wherefore prove thy Friend first, and be not hafty to credit him.
6. Between Superiors in Rank, Fortune, Abilities, &c. and their respective Inferiors.
OWEVER we are born alike, and derived all from the fame Original, yet, when we come into the World, there are certain Rights and Privileges, either natural or acquired, that occafion an Inequality, and give one Man a Superiority over another. As all Titles of Honour rofe originally from the Field, and were the Royal Rewards of martial Adventures and Atchievements, though in After-ages difpenfed to fuch, as had merited for their civil Conduct; fo the common Confent of Mankind has always accounted them bonourable, and that the Perfons, where they refide, M 3 whether