« AnteriorContinuar »
your friends. When upon proper S ERM. grounds you have formed a connection,
i XVII. bé flow of believing any thing against the friend whom you have chosen. Remember, that there is among mankind a spirit of malignity, which too of ten takes pleasure in disturbing the socia ety of those who appear to enjoy one another. The feripture hath warned us, that there is a whisperer who fepas rateth chief friends; there is a false witness who foweth discord among brethren. Give not therefore a ready ear to the officious infinuations of those who, under the guise of friendly concern, come to admonish you, that you ought to stand on your guard against those whom they see you disposed to trust. Consider; whether, under this fair appearance, there may not lurk fome secret envý and rivalry, or fome concealed intereft. Chase not every flying report. Suffer not the poison of jealousy easily to taint yout mind, and break your peace. A wide difference there is between that weak credulity which allows itself to be ima posed upon blindly, and that dark and
SER M. suspicious spirit which is always inclined XVII.
to the evil side. It forms part of the character of a wise and good man, that he is not prone to take up à reproach against his neighbour. .
In the sixth and last place, let me exhort you not to desert your friend in danger or distress. Too many there are : in the world, whose attachment to those they call their friends is confined to the day of their prosperity. As long as that continues, they are, or appear to be, affectionate and cordial. But as soon as their friend is under a cloud, they begin to withdraw, and to separate their interests from his. In friendships of this fort, the heart, assuredly, has never had much concern. For the great test of true friendship, is constancy in the hour of danger, adherence in the season of distress.--When your friend is calumniated, then is the time, openly and boldly to espouse his cause. When his situation is changed, or his fortunes are falling, then is the time of
affording affording prompt and zealous aid. When S E R M. fickness or infirmity occasion him to be neglected by others, that is the opportunity which every real friend will seize, of redoubling all the affectionate attentions which love suggests. These are the important duties, the sacred claims of friendship, which religion and virtue enforce on every worthy mind.—To show yourselves warm, after this manner, in the cause of your friend, commands esteem, even from those who have personal interest in opposing him. This honourable zeal of friendship, has, in every age, attracted the veneration of mankind. It has consecrated to the latest posterity the names of those who have given up their fortunes, and have even exposed their lives, in behalf of the friends whom they loved ; while ignominy and disgrace have ever been the portion of them, who deserted their friends in the evil day. Thine own friend forsake not.
SER M.Wise Man in the text, is accompanied XVII.
with this remarkable expression; not only thine own friend, but also, thy father's friend for fake not. These words bring back to our remembrance the days of former years ; and suggest a sentiment, which cannot but touch every feeling heart. Thiné own friend may be dear; thy father's friend ought to be facred. As long as life remains in åny human bréast, the memory of those antient ties should remain, which connécted us once with our father, and out father's house. Thy father has perhaps, long ago, gone down to the dust. But when you récal the innocent days ofchild. hood and youth; when you think of those family transactions which once gladdened your hearts; your father's friend, in the midst of these, will rise to your témembrance. There was a time when you accosted him with respect, or looked up to him with fondness, and was made happy by his kindly notice. Does such a one now survive, and shall he not receive from you some portion of filial
feverence and honour ? To diffegard s E R M. and neglect him; is to Iputri yout fa- , XVI: ther's memory; is to insult the ashes of hith who now deeps in the grave; is to transmit yourselves to those who shall succeed you, as unfeeling and base. Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not.
I HAVE pointed out some of the chief duties which belong to virtuous friendship; and some of the principal means by which this facred bond should be preserved unbroken; this holy flame should be kept alive in the human breast. The spirit, and sentiments, which I have studied to inspire, are such as virtue breathes, and such as true piety should increase. It is thus we fulfil that great law of love, which our divine Master taught. It is thus we prepare ourselves for those happy regions, there charity never faileth; where, in the presence of the God of love, eternal and invariable friendships unite together all the blessed; friendships,