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confidence it was reckoned treasonable to withhold any thing, whether it did or did not concern her. A friend who would require or encourage such confidence, will in all probability violate it; the love of such a person will soon be turned to enmity and strife; and then, whatever has been so imprudently communicated will be unkindly disclosed, and turned to reproach. It is an admired rule of a Roman orator, that “ a man should live with his enemy in such a manner as might leave room for him to become his friend ; and with his friend in such a manner that, if he became his enemy, it should not be in his power to hurt him.” At all events, if your friend should prove fickle, or treacherous, whatever she may know of your own weaknesses, and however unkindly she may expose and exaggerate them, take care you never put it in her power to divulge the secrets of others.
There is another particular in which prudence is an important adjunct to friendship; that is, in reference to our claims on others for the admiration of our friend. A man who is always noisily lauding his companion, defending him through thick and thin, and quarrelling with every one who does not entertain exactly the same opinion of him, is much more likely to do him harm than good. A friendship which makes the least noise, is both the most substantial, and the most useful ; and a friend who is prudent is to be preferred to one who is zealous. “He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.”
Faithfulness and constancy are justly reckoned the most essential qualifications of friendship.
Whatever, therefore, is committed to its con fidence, should be regarded as a sacred deposit : an angry expression may be forgiven, a quarrel may be made up; but a betrayal of confidence is such a violation of friendship, that it can never be thoroughly repaired. The same external kindness may be kept up, and even a real affection may be cherished; but confidence is for ever gone. It has been happily compared to letting a bird go out of the hand, which is soon far beyond the reach of pursuit.
THE FOES WHO ONCE WERE FRIENDS. 66 When rival nations, great in arms,
Great in power, in glory great,
And breathe a temporary hate-
And the tried contest ends :
The foes who once were friends.
Each distant hint, that seems to mean
Which hardly bears to lurk unseen-
“ That Power alone who form'd the soul,
And bade the springs of passion play,
And make them yield to concord's sway;
Whose touch the mountain bends,
The foes who once were friends."
But faithfulness in friendship has another province—the difficult and delicate attainment of letting our friend see his faults and errors, and being willing to be taught by him to discern our own. Where esteem prevails in the formation of friendship, a sort of beau ideal is formed in the mind, and every endeavour is made to bring the beloved object up to the standard. There is a possibility and danger of becoming fastidious, and discouraging exertion by producing despondency of attaining the standard of excellence. But the opposite danger is far more common: it arises when affection has the predominance, and we consent to love a friend with all his faults, rather than put ourselves and him to the pain of correcting them. This is but a refined species of selfishness, and inconsistent with a due regard to the best interests of the beloved object. Perhaps the best way to qualify ourselves for the office of faithfully and kindly administering admonition or reproof to those we love, is to cherish humility and vigilance ; this will make us at once sensible of our own defects ; candid, but not conniving at those of others; and willing and thankful to receive the counsels of friendship.
Among other qualifications for such connexions, must be enumerated something like equability, or evenness of temper and behaviour. Many persons are variable as an April day; sometimes they are inexpressibly agreeable, and at others exceedingly repulsive; sometimes full of warmth and affection, and anon, without any reasonable ground for the change, cold, sullen, reserved, and full of ill humour and passion. Such vicissitudes of temper unfit the individual for steady friendship. It is not, therefore, the part of wisdom to choose such an one for an intimate companion ; but as we cannot always discern at once the character of others, and as we have certainly more power to control and regulate our own temper than that of any other person, it is highly desirable habitually to cultivate and maintain self-discipline. To be guided by principle rather than impulse, is to be uniformly fitted to discharge the duties of friendship, and to deserve the affection of a steady and consistent friend.
It has already been observed, that constancy is the test of friendship ; and it is very pleasing to witness it, originating perhaps in early life, in companionship and similarity of circumstances, but founded on mutual esteem, made subservient to the best interests of both parties, and carried on with steadiness through growing years, varying circumstances, long separations, and new family connexions. Such a friendship has interwoven in it anticipations of immortality, and it is made conducive to preparation for it.
THE YOUNG FEMALE CONTEMPLATING MATRI
The subject of this chapter is one of no small importance, difficulty, and delicacy. It is entered upon with some hesitation, with much seriousness, and with earnest desires that some useful hints and cautions may be suggested to the young reader, which may avail for her safe and happy guidance in so momentous an affair.
According to the wise and benevolent arrangements of Providence, it is the ordinary lot of young females to form connexions in life, and to enter upon its more active and specific domestic duties, as heads of families and parents. Perhaps almost every girl at an early period looks forward to such a connexion with interest and ambition. It is exceedingly to be regretted that so important a matter, instead of being regarded with the sober-mindedness that it demands, should be made the subject of idle, frivolous jesting; and that the attention of young persons in general should be directed to it at far too early an age, and in a very improper and