Obrazy na stronie

« feldom that the great enjoy the sweet

nefs of Friendship, or have much re“ lish for the charms of being loved. “ They have not indeed esteem enough 65 for mankind, to be touched by their « affection. Prepossessed with a conceit, " that others owe every thing to them, “ they fancy that they owe nothing to “ others. They are not sufficiently ac" quainted with the value of a heart. “ Long accustomed to receive fictitious “ regards, they become insensible to real “ tenderness. The respect due to rank " they mistake for that which belongs “ to merit only. They are more sollici“ tous to procure homage, than to en“ gage attachment. Friendship being “ more sincere than adulation, and there“ fore less eager, less officious, appears “ to them a dry and barren thing. “ Friendship, that best resource under “all the chagrins of life, that delightful “ bond of society, is to their feeling an

« uneasy tie, and to their taste an infipid .6 pleasure.”

Is it necessary to say, that these remarks fand confirmed by a cloud of witnesses ? Have you not read of multitudes, who, fascinated by the smiles, and transported with the professions, of “ men of high “ degree,” long courted and long trusted them, till, disenchanted by their treachery or their caprice, they were forced, with the King of Israel, who knew them full well, to pronounce them “ A Lie?” You may believe he did not mean to apply so heavy a charge universally; and you may be assured we do not.

But if you ask, Why at all this pains to expose the worthlessness of the unprincipled Great, with whom but few of you, comparatively speaking, can have much connexion ; I answer, Because young men in particular situations have been often tempted by false ambition to give up

their time, their independence, and their integrity, for the precarious phantom of favour with those, whose attachment or confidence, even when purchased at so dear a rate, is only a transient humour, in which there is little sincerity, less zeal, and no steadiness: but these inconfiderate Youth, bewitched by a species of vanity, which not many in the same circumstances are endowed with sufficient strength of mind to resist, and relying on the most deceitful of all possessions, have sunk at length into the lowest fycophants, and the merest flaves; when, pray observe had they scorned such debasement, and bravely exerted their talents in different ways, they might have secured the most solid and permanent ad- . vantages, with the additional consciousness of dignity and virtue.

In short, though we readily acknowledge, that persons of eminence, who confer lustre on their condition, instead. of only receiving it thence, are worthy of double honour, and though we certainly think that you fhould behave to them accordingly, as occafion may offer, yet still we would advise you to feek the joys of Friendship chiefly among your fellows, in that happy nearness of rank, that unbought complacence, and unstudied communication of sentiment and kindness, with which Friendship must ever be defective and unsatisfactory.

You will take notice, Gentlemen, that I said, Nearness of rank; as not conceiving an exact equality requisite to the intercourse in question, though this has been frequently fupposed. They, alas ! are ill qualified for the most delicate and generous of all unions, who would measure their regards by so trifling a consideration as that of standing a little higher in the fcale of society. Spirits of true worth, and raised understanding, lose sight of such

disparity, wherever they see a correfpondent mind. Such disparity has, by fome wife men, been accounted even desirable; probably, as affording the means of greater usefulness on one side, while it fupplied the other with opportunities of giving comfort and relief under the ceremonies and cares attendant on places of elevation.

We know that Jonathan, in his choice of a Friend, overlooked a very wide dif-ference of condition. The fon and heir apparent of a king, pressed to his heart a

shepherd from the fold. “ The soul of *66 Jonathan was bound up in the soul of “ David, and Jonathan loved him as his 186 own soul.” The obscurity of David's station had not been able to suppress, cr hide, those extraordinary virtues and accomplishments, which were formed to kindle into a blaze the congenial bosom of the young prince : and this glorious youth preferred the sweets of such a Friendship to all the luxuries of a court,

Vol. II. .

« PoprzedniaDalej »