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thought in which he hath been followed by all the essayers upon FRIENDSHIP, that have written since his time. Sir Francis Bacon has finely described other advantages, or, as he calls them, fruits of Friendship; and, indeed, there is no subject of morality which has been better handled and more exhausted than this. Among the several fine things which have been spoken of it, I Thall beg leave to quote fome out of a very ancient author, whose book would be regarded by our modern wits as one of the most thining tracts of morality that is extant, if it appeared under the name of a Confucius, or of any celebrated Grecian philosopher: I mean the little apocryphal treatise, intitled The wisdom of the Son of Sirach. How finely has he described the Art of making Friends, by an obliging and affable behaviour ! And laid down that precept, which a late excellent author has delivered as his own, • That we should have many well-wishers, but · few FRIENDS.' “Sweet language will multiply “ FRIENDS; and a fair speaking tongue will in“.crease kind greetings. Be in peace with
many, nevertheless have but one Counsellor « of a thousand*.” With what prudence does he caution us in the choice of our Friends ! And with what strokes of nature (I could almost say of humour) has he described the behaviour of a treacherous and self-interested Friend ! “ thou wouldest get a Friend, prove him first, “ and be not hafty to credit him: for some man “ is a Friend for his own occasion, and will
* Ecclus vii. 5. 6.
“not abide in the day of thy trouble. And “ there is a Friend, who being turned to enmity “ and strife, will discover thy reproach.” Again, “ Some Friend is a companion at the table, and “ will not continue in the day of thy affliction : “ but in thy prosperity he will be as thyself
, and “ will be bold over thy servants. If thou be “ brought low he will be against thee, and hide “ himself from thy face*.” What can be more strong and pointed than the following verse ? “ Separate thyself from thine enemies, and take “heed of thy Friends.” In the next words he particularises one of those fruits of Friendship which is described at length by the two famous authors above-mentioned, and falls into a general elogium of Friendship, which is very just as well as very sublime. “A faithful Friend is a “ strong defence ; and he that hath found such “ an one, hath found a treasure. Nothing doth “ countervail a faithful Friend, and his excel
lency is unvaluable. A faithful Friend is the “ medicine of life; and they that fear the Lord « shall find him. Whoso feareth the Lord shall “ direct his Friendship aright; for as he is, so “ shall his neighbour (that is his Friend) be
also f.” I do not remember to have met with any saying that has pleased me more than that of a Friend's being the medicine of life, to express the efficacy of Friendship in healing the pains and anguish which naturally cleave to our existence in this world; and am wonderfully pleased with the turn in the last sentence, that a • Ecclus vi. 7 & feqq. + Ibid. 15-18.
virtuous man shall as a blessing meet with a Friend who is as virtuous as himself. There is another saying in the same author, which would have been very much admired in an heathen writer: “ Forsake not an old Friend, for the “ new is not comparable to him: a new Friend “ is as new wine; when it is old thou shalt drink “ it with pleasure *.” With what strength of allusion, and force of thought, has he described the breaches and violations of Friendship ?“ Whoso casteth a stone at the birds frayeth “ them away; and he that upbraideth his Friend, “ breaketh Friendship. Though thou drawest a “ sword at a Friend, yet despair not, for there
may be a returning to favour. If thou haft
opened thy mouth against thy Friend fear not, “ for there may be a reconciliation; except for
upbraiding, or pride, or disclosing of secrets, “or a treacherous wound; for, for these things
every Friend will depart t.” We in this and several other precepts in this author, those little familiar instances and illurtrations which are so much admired in the moral writings of Horace and Epictetus. There are very beautiful instances of this nature in the following passages, which are likewise written upon the same subject : “ Whoso discovereth “ secrets, loseth his credit, and shall never find “ a Friend to his mind. Love thy Friend, and be “ faithful unto him ; but if thou bewrayest his “ secrets, follow no more after him: for as a man hath destroyed his enemy, so hast thou * Ecclus ix. 10.
Ibid. 20, 21, 22.
“ lost the love of thy Friend; as one that letteth “ a bird
go out of his hand, so halt thou let thy “ Friend go, and shalt not get him again : follow “ after him no more, for he is too far off ; he is
as a roe escaped out of the snare. As for “ wound it may be bound up, and after reviling “ there may be a reconciliation ; but he that be“ wrayeth secrets, is without hope *.”
Among the several qualifications of a good Friend, this wise man has very justly singled out constancy and faithfulness as the principal: to thefe, others have added virtue, knowledge, discretion, equality in age and fortune, and as Cicero calls it, Morum comitas, a pleafantness of temper. If I were to give my opinion upon fuch an exhausted subject, I should join to these other qualifications a certain equability or evennefs of behaviour. A man often contracts a Friendship with one whom perhaps he does not find out till after a year's conversation; when on a sudden some latent ill-humour breaks out upon him, which he never discovered or suspected at his first entering into an intimacy with him. There are several persons who in some certain periods of their lives are inexpressibly agreeable, and in others as odious and detestable. Martial has given us a very pretty picture of one of this fpecies, in the following epigram:
Difficilis, facilis, jucundus, acerbus es idem,
EPIG. xlyü. 12.
* Ecclus xxvii. 16, & feqq.
In all thy humours, whether grave or mellow,
thee, There is no living with thee, nor without thee. It is very unlucky for a man to be entangled in a friendship with one, who by these changes and vicissitudes of humour is sometimes amiable, and fometimes odious: and as most men are at some times in an admirable frame and disposition of mind, it should be one of the greatest talks of wisdom to keep ourselves well when we are so, and never to go out of that which is the agreeable part of our character.
C* By Addison, dated it seems from Chelsea. See final Note to N° 7, and N° 121, on Capital LETTERS.
... At the Theatre Royal, Drury - Lane, May 15, a Comedy called The Fortune Hunters, or Two Fools well met.” Y. Wealthy, Mr. Wilks ; Maria, Mrs. Oldfield; Sir W. Wealthy, Mr. Bullock; Tom Wealthy, Mr. Mills; Mr. Spruce, Mr. Norris ; Mr. Shamtown, Mr. Pack; Littlegad, Mr. Bowman ; Lady Sly, Mrs. Powell; Sophia, Mrs. Cox; and Mrs. Spruce, by Mrs. Bicknell. Spect. in folio.
* May 17. “ The Scornful Lady,” for the benefit of Mr. Bickerstaff; and on Friday May 18, the Tragedy of CEDIPUS. Cdipus by Mr. Powell; Adrastus by Mr. Booth; Creon by Mr. Keene; Hæmon by Mr. Mills ; Te. resias by Mr. Boman; Phorbas by Mr. Husband; Ægeon by Mr: Cory; Ghost by Mr. Elrington ; the Four Citie zens by Mr. Lee, Mr. Norris, Mr. Bullock, and Mr. Peck; Jocasta by Mrs. Knight ; Euridice by Mrs. Bradshaw. Note, The tickets given out for the ROVER will be taken for this Play. Ibidem. N°68.