« EelmineJätka »
till some time after the engagement had become general. With his characteristic forecast and activity of (what may not improperly be called) practical imagination, he had made arrangements to meet every probable contingency. All the shrouds and sails of the ship, not absolutely necessary for its immediate management, were thoroughly wetted and so rolled up, that they were as hard and as little inflammable as so many solid cylinders of wood; every sailor had his appropriate place and function, and a certain number were appointed as the firemen, whose sole duty it was to be on the watch if any part of the vessel should take fire : and to these men exclusively the charge of extinguishing it was committed. It was already dark when he brought his ship into action, and laid her alongside the French L'Orient. One particular only I shall add to the known account of the memorable engagement between these ships, and this I received from Sir Alexander Ball himself. He had previously made a combustible preparation, but which, from the nature of the engagement to be expected, he had purposed to reserve for the last emergency. But just at the time when, from several symptoms, he had every reason to believe that the enemy would soon strike to him, one of the lieutenants, without his knowledge, threw in the combustible matter ; and this it was that occasioned the tremendous explosion of that vessel, which, with the deep silence and interruption of the engagement which succeeded to it, has been justly deemed the sublimest war incident recorded in history. Yet the incident which followed, and which has not, I believe, been publicly made known, is scarcely less impressive, though its sublimity is of a different character. At the renewal of the battle, Captain Ball, though his ship was then on fire in three different parts, laid her alongside a French eighty-four; and a second longer obstinate contest began. The firing on the part of the French ship having at length for some time slackened, and then altogether ceased, and yet no sign given of surrender, the first lieutenant came to Captain Ball and informed him that the hearts of his men were as good as ever, but that they were so completely exhausted, that they were scarcely capable of lifting an arm. He asked, therefore, whether, as the enemy had now ceased firing, the men might be permitted to lie down by their guns for a short time. After some reflection, Sir Alexander acceded to the proposal, taking of course the proper precautions to rouse them again at the moment he thought requisite. Accordingly, with the exception of himself, his officers, and the appointed watch, the ship’s crew lay down, each in the place to which he was stationed; and slept for twenty minutes. They were then roused; and started up, as Sir Alexander expressed it, more like men out of an ambush than from sleep, so co-instantaneously did they all obey the summons! They recommenced their fire, and in a few minutes the enemy surrendered; and it was soon after discovered that during that interval, and almost immediately after the French ship had first ceased firing, the crew had sunk down by their guns, and there slept, almost by the side, as it were, of their sleeping enemy.
[Mr. Coleridge continues his interesting narrative through the remainder of Sir Alexander Ball's life. He dwells upon the noble services he performed in the two years' siege of Valetta, in the island of Malta, his amazing kindness to the Maltese ; his wisdom as the governor of the island when it became a British possession; and the unexampled confidence which he enjoyed from the Maltese, who looked upon him as a father.]
28.-THE MEASURES AND OFFICES OF FRIENDSHIP.
JEREMY TAYLOR. (JEREMY TAYLOR, Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dr ore-one of the most eloquent of the great Divines of the Church of England—was the son of a barber at Cambridge. He was born in 1613. He says himself that he was “solely grounded in grammar and mathematics by his father.” In his thirteenth year he was admitted a sizar of Caius College, Cambridge. By a sizar was then understood a poor student, who performed humble offices in the college. Out of this rank have come some of the most eminent of our scholars. Very early he obtained the patronage of Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury; who placed him at All Souls' College, Oxford, and nominated' him, by a stretch of authority, Fellow of that College. In 1637 he was appointed to the Rectory of Uppingham; but his living was sequestrated in the Civil Wars. For some years he suffered poverty and imprisonment; he kept a school; he was a dependant upon private bounty. But he laboured unremittingly; he preached and he published. Upon the Restoration, in 1660, he was nominated by the king to his Irish Bishopric. Here he resided for seven years, discharging his duties with the most exemplary industry, and endeavouring to win all men to his fold by unremitting love. His period of prosperity was not of long duration. He died of a fever in 1667, in his fifty-fifth year. The character of Taylor's writings which was given by his successor, Dr. Rust, in his funeral sermon, is not an exaggeration :—They “ will be famous to all succeeding generations for their greatness of wit, and profoundness of judgment, and richness of fancy, and clearness of expression, and copiousness of invention, and general usefulness to all the purposes of a Christian.” Reginald Heber, the admirable Bishop of Calcutta, has prefixed an excellent biography of Jeremy Taylor to the valuable edition of his works in 15 vols. There is also a complete edition sold at a moderate price, in three large volumes, printed by Mr. Childs of Bungay.]
You first inquire, how far a dear and perfect friendship is authorised by the principles of Christianity?
To this, I answer ; that the word “friendship,” in the serise we commonly mean by it, is not so much as named in the New Testament; and our religion takes no notice of it. You think it strange ; but read on before you spend so much as the beginning of a passion or a wonder upon it. There is mention of “friendship with the world," and it is said to be “enmity with God ;” but the word is nowhere else named, or to any other purpose, in all the New Testament. It speaks of friends
but by friends are meant our acquaintance, or our kindred, the relatives of our family, or our fortune, or our sect; something of society, or something of kindness, there is in it; a tenderness of appellation and civility, a relation made by gifts, or by duty, by services and subjection; and I think I have reason to be confident, that the word “friend” (speaking of human intercourse) is no otherwise used in the Gospels, or Epistles, or Acts of the Apostles : and the reason of it is, the word friend is of a large signification ; and means all relations and societies, and whatsoever is
But by friendships, I suppose you mean the greatest love, and the greatest usefulness, and the most open communication, and the noblest sufferings, and the most exemplar faithfulness, and the severest truth, and the heartiest counsel, and the greatest union of minds, of which brave men and women are capable. But then I must tell you that Christianity hath new christened it, and calls this charity. The Christian knows no enemy he hath ; that is, though persons may be injurious to him, and unworthy in themselves, yet he knows none whom he is not first bound to forgive, which is indeed to make them on his part to be no enemies, that is, to make that the word enemy shall not be perfectly contrary to friend, it shall not be a relative term, and signify something on each hand, a relative and a correlation ; and then he knows none whom he is not bound to love and pray for, to treat kindly and justly, liberally and obligingly. Christian charity is friendship to all the world; and when friendships were the noblest things in the world, charity was little, like the sun drawn in at a chink, or his beams drawn into the centre of a burning-glass ; but Christian charity is friendship expanded like the face of the sun when it mounts above the eastern hills : and I was strangely pleased when I saw something of this in Cicero ; for I have been so pushed at by herds and flocks of people that follow any body that whistles to them, or drives them to pasture, that I am grown afraid of
any truth that seems chargeable with singularity: but therefore I say, glad I was when I saw Lælius in Cicero discourse thus :-“Amicitia ex infinitate generis humani quam conciliavit ipsa natura, contracta res est, et adducta in angustum ; ut omnis charitas, aut inter duos, aut inter paucos jungeretur.” Nature hath made friendships
and societies, relations and endearments; and by something or other we relate to all the world ; there is enough in every man that is willing to make him become our friend ; but when men contract friendships, they inclose the commons ; and what nature intended should be every man's, we make proper to two or three. Friendship is like rivers, and the strand of seas, and the air-common to all the world ; but tyrants, and evil customs, wars, and want of love, have made them proper and peculiar. But when Christianity came to renew our nature, and to restore our laws, and to increase our privileges, and to make our aptness to become religion, then it was declared that our friendships were to be as universal as our conversation ; that is, actual to all with whom we converse, and potentially extended unto those with whom we did not. For he who was to treat his enemies with forgiveness and prayers, and love and beneficence, was indeed to have no enemies, and to have all friends.
So that to your question,“ how far a dear and perfect friendship is authorised by the principles of Christianity," the answer is ready and easy : it is warranted to extend to all mankind; and the more we love, the better we are ; and the greater our friendships are, the dearer we are to God. Let them be as dear, and let them be as perfect, and let them be as many as you can ; there is no danger in it; only where the restraint begins, there begins our imperfection. It is not ill that you entertain brave friendships and worthy societies ; it were well if you could love and if you could benefit all mankind; for I conceive that is the sum of all friendship.
I confess this is not to be expected of us in this world; but as all our graces here are but imperfect, that is, at the best they are but tendencies to glory, so our friendships are imperfect too, and but beginnings of a celestial friendship by which we shall love every one as much as they can be loved. But then so we must here in our proportion ; and indeed that is it that can make the difference; we must be friends to all, that is, apt to do good, loving them really, and doing to them all the benefits which we can, and which they are capable of. The friendship is equal to all the world, and of itself hath no difference ; but is differenced only by accidents, and by the capacity or incapacity of them that receive it.
Nature and religion are the bands of friendships ; excellency and usefulness are its great endearments : society and neighbourhood, that is, the possibilities and the circumstances of converse, are the determinations and actualities of it. Now when men either are unnatural or irreligious, they will not be friends : when they are neither excellent nor useful, they are not worthy to be friends ; when they are strangers or unknown, they cannot be friends actually and practically ; but yet, as any man hath any thing of the good, contrary to those evils, so he can have and must have his share of friendship.
For thus the sun is the eye of the world ; and he is indifferent to the negro, or the cold Russian, to them that dwell under the line and them that stand near the tropics, the scalded Indian, or the poor boy that shakes at the foot of the Riphean hills. But the fluxures of the heaven and the earth, the conveniency of abode, and the approaches to the north or south respectively, change the emanations of his beams; not that they do not pass always from him, but that they are not equally received below, but by periods and changes, by little inlets and reflections, they receive what they can. And some have only a dark day and a long night from him, snows and white cattle, a miserable life, and a perpetual harvest of catarrhs and consumptions, apoplexies and dead palsies. But some have splendid fires and aromatic spices, rich wines and well-digested fruits, great wit and great courage ; because they dwell in his eye, and look in his face, and are the courtiers of the sun, and wait upon him in his chambers of the east. Just so is it in friendships ; some are worthy, and some are necessary; some dwell hard by, and are fitted for converse; nature joins some to us, and religion combines us with others ; society and accidents, parity of fortune, and equal dispositions, do actuate our friendships : which of themselves and in their prime disposition, are prepared for all mankind according as any one can receive them. We see this best exemplified by two instances and expressions of friendships and charity: viz., alms and prayers ; every one that needs relief is equally the object of our charity ; but though to all mankind in equal needs we ought to be alike in charity, yet we signify this severally and by limits and distinct measures : the poor man that is near me, he whom I meet, he whom I love, he whom I fancy, he who did me benefit, he who relates to my family, he rather than another : because my expressions, being finite and narrow, and cannot extend to all in equal significations, must be appropriate to those whose circumstances best fit me: and yet even to all I give my alms, to all the world that needs them ; I pray for all mankind, I am grieved at every sad story I hear ; I am troubled when I hear of a pretty bride murdered in her bridechamber by an ambitious and enraged rival ; I shed a tear when I am told that a brave king was misunderstood, then slandered, then imprisoned, and then put to death by evil men : and I can never read the story of the Parisian massacre, or the Sicilian vespers, but my blood curdles, and I am disordered by two or three affections. A good man is a friend to all the world ; and he is not truly charitable that does not wish well, and do good to all mankind in what he can. But though we must pray for all men, yet we say special litanies for brave kings and holy prelates, and the wise guides of souls, for our brethren and relations, our wives and children.
The effect of this consideration is, that the universal friendship of which I speak must be limited, because we are so. In those things where we stand next to immensity and infinity, as in good wishes and prayers, and a readiness to benefit all mankind, in these our friendships must not be limited ; but in other things which pass under our hand and eye, our voices and our material exchanges.; our hands can reach no further but to our arm's end, and our voices can but sound till the next air be quiet, and therefore they can have intercourse but within the sphere of their own activity ; our needs and our conversations are served by a few, and they cannot reach at all; where they can, they must, but where it is impossible, it canpot be necessary. It must therefore follow, that our friendships to mankind may admit variety as does our conversation ; and as by nature we are made sociable to all, so we are friendly: but as all cannot actually be of our society, so neither can all be admitted to a special, actual friendship. Of some intercourses all men are capable, but not of all ; men can pray for one another, and abstain from doing injuries to all the ild, and be desirous to do all martkind good, and love all men : now this friendship we must pay to all, because we can ; but if we can do no more to all
, we must show our readiness to do more good to all, by actually doing more good to all them to whom we can.
A good man is the best friend, and therefore soonest to be chosen, longer to be retained ; and indeed never to be parted with, unless he cease to be that for which he was chosen.
For the good man is a profitable, useful person, and that is the band of an effective friendship. For I do not think that friendships are metaphysical nothings, created for contemplation, or that men or women should stare upon each other's faces, and make dialogues of news and prettinesses, and look babies in one another's eyes. Friendship is the allay of our sorrows, the ease of our passions, the discharge of our oppressions, the sanctuary to our calamities, the counsellor of our doubts, the charity of our minds, the emission of our thoughts, the exercise and improvement of what we meditate. And although I love my friend because he is worthy, yet he is not worthy if he can do me no good; I do not speak of accidental hinderances and misfortunes by which the bravest man may become unable to help his child; but of the natural and artificial capacities of the man. He only is fit to be chosen for a friend, who can do those offices for which friendship is excellent. For (mistake not) no man can be loved for himself ; our perfections in this world cannot reach so high; it is well if we would love God at that rate; and I very much fear that if God did us no good we might admire his beauties, but we should have but a small proportion of love towards him; all his other greatnesses are objects of fear and wonder, it is his goodness that makes him lovely. And so it is in friendships. He only is fit to be chosen for a friend who can give counsel, or defend my cause, or guide me right, or relieve my need, or can and will, when I need it, do me gooil : only this I add, into the heaps of doing good, I will reckon, loving me, for it is a pleasure to be beloved ; but when his love signifies nothing but kissing my check, or talking kindly, and can go no further, it is a prostitution of the bravery of friendship to spend it upon impertinent people who are (it may be) loads to their families, but can never ease any loads ; but my friend is a worthy person when he can become
astead of God, a guide or a support, an eye or a hand, a staff or a rule.
Can any wise or good man be angry
I choose this man to be my friend, because he is able to give me counsel, to restrain my wanderings, to comfort me in my sorrows; he is pleasant to me in private, and useful in public; he will make my joys double, and divide my grief between himself and me? For what else should I choose ? For being a fool and useless ? for a pretty face and a smooth chin? I confess it is possible to be a friend to one that is ignorant, and pitiable, handsome and good for nothing, that eats well, and drinks deep, but he cannot be a friend to me; and I love him with a fondness or a pity, but it cannot be a noble friendship.
Plutarch calls such friendships "the idols and images of friendship.” True and brave iriendships are between worthy persons; and there is in mankind no degree of worthiness, but is also a degree of usefulness, and by every thing by which a man is excellent I may be profited : and because those are the bravest friends which can best serve the ends of friendships, either we must suppose that friendships are not the greatest comforts in the world, or else we must say, he chooses his friend best, that chooses such a one by whom he can receive the greatest comforts and assistances.
This being the measure of all friendships ; they all partake of excellency, according as they are fitted to this measure : a friend may be counselled well enough, thougt his friend be not the wisest man in the world ; and he may be pleased in his society, though he be not the best natured man in the world ; but still it must be, that something excellent is, or is apprehended, or else it can be no worthy friendship ; because the choice is imprudent and foolish. Choose for your friend him that is wise and good, and secret and just, ingenuous and honest; and in those things which have a latitude, use your own liberty ; but in such things which consist in an indivisible point make no abatements; that is, you must not choose him to be your friend that is not honest and secret, just and true to a tittle ; but if he be wise at all, and useful in any degree, and as good as you can have him, you need not be ashamed to own your own friendships ; though sometimes you may be ashamed of some imperfections of your friend.
But if you yet inquire, further, whether fancy may be an ingredient in your choice? I answer, that fancy may minister to this as to all other actions in which there is a liberty and variety. And we shall find that there may be peculiarities, and little partialities, a friendship improperly so called, entering upon accounts of an innocent passion and a pleased fancy ; even our blessed Saviour himself loved St. John and Lazarus by a special love, which was signified by special treatments; and of the young inan that spake well and wisely to Christ it is affirmed, Jesus loved him, that