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are, they are likely to be the more successful. If in any situation of life, we hope to possess complete happiness, we may depend on receiving modifications. If, in any person, we trust to find nothing but perfection, we may be assured that, on longer acquaintance, we shall meet with disappointments. In the case of friendship, this admonition is the more necessary to be given, as a certain warmth and enthusiasm belong to it, which are apt to carry us beyond the bounds o nature. In young minds, especially, a disposition of this kind is often found to take place. They form to themselves romantic ideas, gathered perhaps from fictitious histories of the high and heroic qualities which belong to human nature. All those qualities they ascribe, without reserve or limitation, to the person with whom they wish to enter into intimate friendship; and on the least failure appearing, alienation instantly follows. Hence many a friendship, hastily perhaps contracted, is as hastily dissolved, and disgust succeeds to violent attachment.
Remember, my friends, that a faultless character on earth is a mere chimera. Many failings you experience in yourselves. Be not surprised when you discover the like in others, of whom you had formed the highest opinion. The best and most estimable persons are they, in whom the fewest material defects are found; and whose great and solid qualities counterbalance the common infirmities of men. It is to these qualities you are to look in forming friendships; to good sense and prudence, which constitute the basis of every respectable character; to virtue, to good temper, to steadiness of affection; and according to the union of those dispositions, esteem yourselves happy in the friend whom you choose.
In the second place, I must admonish you not to be hurt by differences of opinion arising in intercourse with your friends. It is impossible for these not to occur. Perhaps no two persons were ever cast so exactly in the same mould, as to think always in the same manner on every subject. It was wisely contrived by Providence, that diversity of sentiment should take place among men, on purpose to exercise our faculties, and to give variety to human life. Perpetual uniformity of thought would become monotonous and insipid. When it is with regard to trifles that diversity or contrariety of opinion shows itself, it is childish in the last degree, if this become the ground of estranged affection. When from such a cause there arises any breach of friendship, human weakness is then discovered in a mortifying light. In matters of serious moment, the sentiments of the best and worthiest may vary from those of their friends, according as their lines of life diverge, or as their temper and habits of thought present objects under different points of view. But, among candid and liberal minds, unity of affection will still be preserved. No man has any title to erect his own opinions into an universal and infallible standard, and the more enlarged that any man's mind is, the more readily he will overlook differences in sentiments, as long as he is persuaded that the mind of his friend is upright, and that he follows the dictates of conscience and integrity.
IN the third place, It is material to the preservation of friendship, that openness of temper and manners, on both hands, be cultivated. Nothing more certainly dissolves friendship, than the jealousy
which arises from darkness and concealment. If your situation oblige you to take a different side from your friend, do it openly. Avow your conduct; avow your motives; as far as honour allows, disclose yourselves frankly; seek no cover from unnecessary and mysterious secrecy. Mutual confidence is the soul of friendship. As soon as that is destroyed, or even impaired, it is only a show of friendship that remains. What was once cordial intimacy, degenerates first into formal civility. Constraint on both sides next succeeds; and disgust or hatred soon follow. The maxim that has been laid down by certain crooked politicians, to behave to a friend with the same guarded caution as we would do to an enemy, because it is possible that he may one day become such, discovers a mind which never was made for the enjoyments of friendship. It is a maxim which, not unreasonably I admit, may find place in those political and party friendships, of which I before spoke, where personal advancement is always in view. But it is altogether inconsistent with the spirit of those friendships, which are formed, and understood to be nourished, by the heart.
THE fourth advice which I give is, To cultivate, in all intercourse among friends, gentle and obliging It is a common error to suppose, that familiar intimacy supersedes attention to the lesser duties of behaviour; and that, under the notion of freedom, it may excuse a careless, or even a rough demeanor. On the contrary, an intimate connection can only be kept up by a constant wish to be pleasing and agreeable. The nearer and closer that men are brought together, the more frequent that
the points of contact between them become, there is the greater necessity for the surface being smooth, and every thing being removed that can grate or offend. Let no harshness, no appearance of neglect, no supercilious affectation of superiority, occur in the intercourse of friends. A tart reply, a proneness to rebuke, a captious and contradictious spirit, are often known to embitter domestic life, and to set friends at variance. In those smaller articles of behaviour, where men are too apt to be careless, and to indulge their humour without restraint, the real character is often understood to break forth and show itself. It is by no means enough, that in all matters of serious interest, we think ourselves ready to prove the sincerity of our friendship. These occur more rarely. The ordinary tenor of life is composed of small duties and offices, which men have occasion daily to perform; and it is only by rendering daily behaviour agreeable, that we can long preserve the comforts of friendship.
In the fifth place, Let me caution you not to listen rashly to evil reports against your friends. When upon proper grounds you have formed a connection, be slow of believing any thing against the friend whom you have chosen. Remember, that there is among mankind a spirit of malignity, which too often takes pleasure in disturbing the society of those who appear to enjoy one another. The Scripture hath warned us, that there is a whisperer who separateth chief friends; there is a false witness who soweth discord among 'brethren. Give not therefore a ready ear to the officious insinuations 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 some secret envy and rivalry, or some concealed interest. Chase not every flying report. Suffer not the poison of jealousy easily to taint your mind, and break your peace. A wide difference there is between that weak credulity which allows itself to be imposed upon blindly, and that dark and suspicious spirit which is always inclined to the evil side. It forms part of the character of a wise and good man, that he is not prone to take up a 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 interest from his. In friendship of this sort, 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 prompt and zealous aid. When sickness 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