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Lest, however, any should imagine, that this unhappy catastrophe had arisen from the cowardice or imbecility of his beloved friends, he immediately takes occasion to celebrate their military prowess and valour, in terms of the highest commendation:-“From the blood of the slain, “ from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jona“ than turned not back, and the sword of Saul “ returned not empty: they were swifter than
eagles, they were stronger than lions.”
Having then declared the greatness of their mutual love and affection in life, “they were
lovely in their lives,” he falls upon an idea of the utmost tenderness, yet which seemed to afford some kind of melancholy pleasure and consolation to his distressed mind: “They were “ lovely,” says he, “ in their lives, and, in " their death, they were not divided;" intimating, that though they were unhappy in falling so immaturely, yet they were at least happy in this respect, that they fell together; that “in “ their death they were not divided.”
And having now summoned, as a chorus of beauteous móurners, the afflicted daughters of Israel, “to weep over Saul, who clothed them “ in scarlet and put ornaments of gold upon “ their necks;" he takes his last leave of his
poor departed friend, Jonathan, in so pathetic and moving a manner, as would raise pity and compassion, even in the breast where they had been strangers before:-“ How are the mighty “ fallen in the midst of the battle ! O Jonathan, " thou wast slain in thy high places ! I ain dis“ tressed for thee, my brother Jonathan! Very “ pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, 'passing the love of wo
How art the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished !".
The words of the text thus explained, obviously led me to consider,
First, The blessings and advantages of a wellgrounded Christian friendship,
Secondly, The misery and misfortune of being deprived of it.
And, thirdly, To offer a few words of consolation to those, who, like David, mourn in anguish over the memory of the friend they loved.
By friendship, I would be understood to mean a reciprocation of esteem and affection, founded on a similitude of virtuous and amiable qualities :-I say, virtuous and amiable qualities : for though, I well know, there are what are called friendships, founded on very different principles; such as a similitude of vicious inclinations, a regard to self-interest, or an insidious hypocrisy ; yet I would no more dignify these with the sacred name of friendship, than the wretched associations of midnight ruffians to assassinate, or of lawless banditti to plunder.
The first advantage of a virtuous friendship is, that it increases our happiness, by adding to the enjoyments of life.
Man is formed for society, and he cannot be happy without it. The first emotion our hearts feel, is the desire of attaching themselves to some other heart; says an amiable writer* The riches of Golconda, or the pleasures of paradise, would be alike tasteless, if they were to be possessed, like the treasures of the miser, without a sharer. Nay, even the very misanthrope himself cannot enjoy his gloomy and peculiar species of happiness, without society: for, though he wishes not to communicate pleasure to any, yet he must himself want the only joy he is capable of feeling, that of giving vent to his maligrant spleen, if placed in a state of solitude. # March, of Lambert
It is not, however, in the crouds that surround us that we are to look for the happiness arising from friendship. The greater part of the world are as incapable as they are undeserving of friendship. We must, therefore, look for nearer and better associates, to share with us the blessings of life. Some, nature has provided for us, at our entrance into life, under the various ties of cognation : others we provide for ourselves, who are united to us by affinity, or the stronger bands of a similitude of sentiments and inclinations. And from these it is we receive an increase of happiness, in every blessing we enjoy. For whilst, as it were from a common center, we diffuse the beams of pleasure on the small circle of friends that surround us, we, at the same time, share their enjoyments, and receive an additional warmth, from the reflected irradiations of love and esteem.
A second advantage of friendship is, that it lessens misery, by dividing our griefs.
Griefs we all must have. Some, the wisdom of God has annexed to our being, and others, the villainy of man will ever take care that we shall not want. It is, therefore, of all consolations the greatest, to have a friend, who will
share * Gray.
share with us in our sorrows, and is ever ready “ to weep with them that weep.” We therefore naturally fly to the ear of friendship on such occasions, and find an incredible relief in pouring forth the tale of distress. Nay, when our breasts throb with anguish, and the burden of sorrow is too heavy for us to bear, we find it become lighter even by the sympathy of indifferent per
And how much greater, then, must be the alleviation, when the balm of friendship, that medicine of life, as the Son of Syrach elegantly calls it, is added to the common sympathy of humanity! Nor is it in the misfortunes of life only, that we feel the advantage of a sincere friend: "on some fond breast even the
parting soul relies *.” The hand of friendship will equally cherish and support us, in the last great trial of nature, and in the hour of death. For, to borrow an expression of the poet's, Friendship, like hope, travels through,
nor quits us when we die.”
A third advantage of friendship is the benefit of sincere and necessary advice.
The language of St. Paul, on another occasion, may, not unfitly, be applied to the present: