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Have you never had occasion to obferve those little pitiful guards, stratagems, and modes of imposition, commonly practised on both sides by the persons I refer to, and often at the very instant that he who saw not through the farce, would fancy them to be the kindest Friends in the world? How contemptible and wretched ! .
Or, fuppofing thein linked together in a more confidential alliance, by means of some particular object which they are jointly pursuing, would you be surprised if they engaged in plans or measures fo dishonourable, that they could not but inwardly reproach one another for the ignominy of their conduct, and, on separating, say each to himself concerning his partner " He is a Knave”?
Go, ye unworthy men, and be proud of such a Friendship, if you can!
- Even in the common intercourse of som ciety, a man of feeling is apt to be shocked at the discovery of deceit or diffimus lation. The honest heart shrinks back from every kind of commerce, in which it cannot indulge its propensity to esteem. and affiance. Talk to it of throwing itself open to the false or the hollow, and. it turns away with indignant contempte Be the manners ever so smooth, the talents ever so captivating, or the address ever so fine; if the morals are unsound, if the character is doubtful, something: within will whisper to him whom the world has not yet corrupted, Stand upon your guard against such an associate : but: if a person has proved himself a cheat, or a dissembler, they must be insensible, or infatuated, with a witness, who can think of making him a friend..
Prudence says, you should not trust a drunkard with your secret, nor a gamester with your estate, nor a hackneyed courtier
with your intereft, nor an artful debauchee with your fifter, your wife, or your principles, nor a ralh man with your safety, nor a passionate or a capricious man with your peace and comfort, nor a foolish man with aught you value, nor any man with your reputation who disregards his own. But, if this be true, can you want farther demonstration to be convinced, that every one of these is incapable of Friendship? Can you believe, that those who are under the power of fancy or ap, petite, of fashion or humour, may yet be depended on for their fidelity, discretion, or constancy, in a cause which requires the greatest? Can you believe, that those who have betrayed others, will certainly never betray you; that those will offer the best counsels, who habitually follow the worst; or that they, who are ready to make the most improper compliances with such as they call their Friends, will not look for any from you, should you admit them to familiarity?
* It must here be remembered, as a maxim of main importance on this article, and a maxim uniformly inculcated by the most admired moralists from the days of antiquity, that no Friendship can bind you to do an ill thing, or justify you in doing it. Why? Because the obligations to duty at large are prior and superior to all the ties of that particular relation, as indeed they are to those of every other one, how respectable foever it may be within its proper boundaries. Nor should it be forgotten, that, as the immediate operations of Friendship are necessarily confined to a narrow sphere, namely, the individual to whom they point, so they must be always subordinate to the pursuit of more extensive interests, those of our family, of our country, of our religion, of mankind : and, if the deareft Friend we have on earth, should solicit or tempt us to transgress, on his account, or any account, a clear law of Nature, or a plain dictate of conscience, he must be denied,
he must be withstood to his face. I appeal to yourselves. “ Whether we ought “ to obey God, or man, judge ye.” OR this ground, and none I think can be more solid, or more comprehensive, may we not finally conclude with the fullest evidence, that it will be impossible for you to “ hold fast your righteousness," and maintain at the same time a close Friendship with corrupt men, since they will be frequently demanding, or expecting from you compliances irreconcilable to Virtue, so that you must either renounce her or them? But need you to be told, that you had better break with all the world than with your Maker, or yourselves?
In whatever view then we consider this matter, it will still be found, that a mutual, prevailing, and permanent sense of goodness is the only invariable centre of the union in question; and that the unfanctified leagues and fashionable intima