Abbildungen der Seite

lence fometimes proves the profoundeft Wisdom. The wise Zeno knew well, when, and where to hold his Peace ; and was no great Admirer of impertinent Table-Talk. But in all our Language, whenever it is necessary to say something, we ought to have a strid Regard to the Law of Kindness, the Advantage of our Neighbour, and the Glory of God, the Giver of this excellent Faculty, to distinguish us from Brutes.

III. FRIENDSHIP, the very Bond of civil Society, is preferable to every Thing else that seems profitable; whether it be Honour, Riches, or Pleasure. Perfect Friendship, says Aristotle, is to love our Friend more for his Benefit, than our own Advantage. Friends are the most valuable of Bleslings, in Socrates's Opi- nion. But he grossly deceives himself, as Homer says, that seeks for a Friend at Court, or tries him at a Feast. Rare Things are generally most esteem'd, and so ought a Friend, by that Rule of Scarcity. You'll be often forc'd to return a non eft invent us upon the strictest Enquiry. This puts me in Mind of the ingenious Sr. R. L'estrange's Question, What Country-men are Friends? As puzling, as it is pertinent. However, true Friendship, or the Law of Kindness, was accounted by the Philosphers, as the greatest Good of Fortune, and the leaft Subject to her Fickleness, or Inconftancy. There is not, under thé Canopy of Heaven, so valoable a Blessing as a true friend. First, it must be referr'd to God, who gives this Grace, as its chief Cause, End and Object, or the great Friend of the whole Universe: then to Man, as its Subject in the Concord, and Agreemcat he makes with


others, for the sake of Pleasure, Honesty, and Tranquillity of Mind, as well as Fidelity, Allistance, and Fellowship of humane Life. It is -a Communion of a perpetual good Will, fra. med by the perfect Habit of a long continu'd Love. This Love, as Tully observes, is a gene. TOUS Desire, to profit and pleasure another, without any Hope of Recompence : for, otherwise, it would be nothing but Trucking, or a meer Merchandise. It is making One Soul of Two, in Will and Affection, among real Friends, There is no Medium to be kept between them, nor Distinction made. The One must be wholly trusted, or wholly forsaken by the other. The One may justly think himself alone in the other's Company. The One is a second Self, and lives in the Other's Body, by a mutual Transformation. Both are but One in Conjunction, and Conformity of Manners, Defires and Passions, or Studies, Pleasures and Inclinations, by their friendly Society, Practice of Sincerity, or Profession of perfect Fidelity in Conversation. Their very Speech, Thoughts, and Hearts, are the Same. They affect the Sanenefs of Behaviour in all Respects. In fine, 'tis wonderful how they always cotton to all intents, and Purposes of Temper and Genius.

Likeness of Parts, Humour and Conditions, : makes their Love everlasting in Nature, Freedom, or Constancy. Their Dispositions are ever mutually conformable and unanimous. : They have no Occasion of changing, like Proteus, into diverse Shapes, to curry Favour with one another, by the Fiction. They cannot disguise themselves, like Courtiers, by Flattery or Dislimulation. They Dever mock one another, like Mimicks of State, or counterfeit their Failings, as courtly Sycoplants do, in Imitation of their Princes ; laugh


when they laugh, spit when they spit, &c. 'for
Fashion-Sake: as it is story'd of Alphonsus, King
of Arragon, who being a little wry-neck'd by
Nature ; his dissembling Favourites held their“
Heads on one side, to follow his Imperfection,
or flatter him by Art. But the Choice of a true
Friend, is a Matter of great Nicety and Spea,
Culation. He must be chosen for his Virtue,
Prudence, Integrity, Constancy, and Liberality: '
as Pythagoras rightly advises L'apTo morču pixos,
8575 ä'ers. A virtuous Person makes the best
Friend..A wise Man does not receive every
One into his Friendship, - without · Distin&tion.
It must be free, without Fraud, upon all Occa-'
sions. The truest Test of it, is in Adversity, as
Gold is try'd in the Furnace. Many pretend..
ed Friends may be none upon Tryal. The best
Way is to prove their Sincerity, before we
have Occasion for their Kindnefs; prove them
to love them, and not love them to prove them,
as Theophraftus admonishes. There are many'
Parasites in Prosperity, who are only Trencher-'
Friends, and go-off in a Bubble. Whereas it is
the indispensable Duty of real Friendship, to
succour one another in all Necessities, and com
fort one another in all Tribulations, with our
Goods, Persons or Counsels, by a perfect Sym-
pathy, and mutual Fellow-Feeling. A Plurali.
ty of Friends, is as ridiculous as impossible.
Plutarch observes, that to seek for a Swarm
of Friends, is to fall into a Wasp's Nest of E-
nemies, 'Tis remarkable, that the most excel-
lent Friendship hath always been practis’d on-
ly between Two Persons : wicness the famous and
faithful Examples of Jonathan and David, of
Achilles and Patroclus, of Pylades and Orestes, of
Ephenus and Everitus, and of Damon and Pythiais;
Such happy Couples as still profess’d the Law of

[merged small][ocr errors]

Kindness to one another, with the utmost Sina cerity, both upon Life and Death, in Hiftories too tedious to relate here more at large : not forgetting the Royal Pair we are now treating of, as the most glorious Instance of conjugal Wisdom, Kindness, Affability, Friendship and Affection. :

But to return to our virtuous Lady in the Text, who delights in the Law of the Lord. His sacred Word is always uppermost in her Mouth, as well as deepest in her Heart. The holy Scriptures are ingraven upon the Table of it, in vocal Characters of joy. She talks of nothing more than her Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter. Her Discourse is all fan&ify'd, and her Tongue consecrated to divine Service. She honours his holy Name, not only with the purest Thoughts, but the most joyful Lips, and greateft Love of Wisdom, Discretion, or Devotion of Soul. The Secrets of her Heart are throughly cleans'd by the blessed Spirit, and the Expressions of her Mouth purify'd to the Perfection of Piety. She thinks of nothiog more than Happiness; talks of little else but Futurity, and utters the wiseft Oracles of holy Living and Dying. In short, she behaves as if some of the Sibyls were still in Being, or the holy Bible was imprinted upon her Heart, by her prophetick Spirit, and the wonderful Revelations of her religious Mind. The Laws of Man likewise are her great Delight. Her Soul is inspir'd with universal Love and Kindness. She heartily wishes the Welfare of all Mankind in civil Society, and makes it the Business of her Tongue, to promote the Peace and Prosperity of a Nation, as well as Neighbourhood, by her amicable Discourses. She abominates all


Fa&ions, Fractions, or Animosities of Parties, between a rightful King and his people, the establish'd Church and its Members, or lawful Husbands and their Wives; which disturb the, settled Order of a publick Community, and de' feat the very End, either of Civil or Ecclesiastical Government. She constantly and kindly interposes, not in Will only, but in express Words of Wisdom, and the most agreeable Terms of .. Accommodation, as far as lies in the Power of her perswalive Tongue, to make up all Breaches, heal all Divisions, and reconcile all Differences, civil, national, or domeftick: that Right may take place again, and Peace be reftor'd in ftatu quo of Glory, as well as Truth, Justice, and 'Righteousness flourish in the Land, according to her elegant Discourses of the Law, or pallionate Desires of Love and Loyalty. Upon the whole Matter, she always plays the part of the trueft Peace-maker, or kindest Promoter of good Faith, and Preferver of publick Unanimity. * THIS prudent Lady, sometimes, exerts an the Faculties of her Speech, with the greatest Energy of Judgment, and Wisdom of Politicks. She squares her whole Life according to the Laps of her native Country, not only in Principle, but also in Pra&ice; as far as they are exactly subordinate, and duly subfervient to the higher powers of Heaven. She appears to be the most sincere Lover, as well as Admirer, of the supreme Law-Giver, either divine or humane, upon the justest Distinction between the Power, and the Right of making Laws for the common Good of Mankind. She knows, with perfect Satisfaction, that the Legisators of this. World, are only God's Vicegerents upon Earth ; and that their Appointments never ought to


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »