Obrazy na stronie

By the way, this recalls to our remembrance the very beautiful story of three Friends, one of whom being about to die, and having nothing to leave but an old mother, and a daughter unmarried, bequeathed them to the other two, who were in better circumstances; with an express desire that one might cherish the ancient parent, and the other portion the young woman, whom he was to fee pro{perously married ; or, if he lived not to discharge that agreeable office, the first was to have the pleasure of performing it. Bequests fo extraordinary, failed not to draw fufficient ridicule on the testator, from vulgar minds; but the heirs accepted them with much contentment. However, he who received the young woman having died some years after, the only surviving Friend took her under his care, and in a short time disposed of her in wedlock, the same day with an only daughter of his own, settling upon her an equal share of his fortune. Here, it will be allowed,

was an illustrious display of Friendship on all sides : but to me, the sentiment of him who made the will appears the most glorious, as manifesting the most exquisite sense of the claims which belong to that elevated relation, and the most obliging reliance on the worth of the executors, Their generous hearts he measured by the noble feelings of his own, which told him,, that, if the situations had been reversed, he would have been happy to undertake and fulfil the charge he now gave. But to return to our Saviour:

Who has not heard of his frequent and familiar visits to the family of Lazarus, of his singular attestation to the piety of Mary, of his friendly, admonition to the: anxious Martha, and of the tender fym. pathy he showed for both at the grave of their excellent brother, whom he literally terms their and his Friend? But why ghe discriminating affection we fpeak of is not inculcated by any precept of the

Gospel, may be easily accounted for ox principles in which all are agreed. How fhould that be made the object of a command, which is purely a matter of free choice, and fo delicate in its nature as to render the meeting with those who are qualified for it, altogether uncertain? The institution of Christ was designed to enlarge the hearts of men beyond that contracted policy of states, and those partial regards for individuals, which had warped and engrossed them; to inspire universal benevolence, and establifh among mankind a general brotherhood, to which the peculiar and appropriated alliance under confideration is, if not duly balanced, in fome danger of proving unfavourable. But still wherever the charitable and comprehensive virtues, implanted and propagated by our Holy Faith, have taken the deepest root, there the best Friendships: will not fail, if other circunstances concur, to be cultivated with the greatest advantage. Of the primitive believers,

into whole bofoms the Spirit of their Master had descended with full force, we are expressly told, that “ they were #6 of one heart, and of one soul; neither " said any of them that aught of the “ things which he possessed were his own, « but they had all things common." Perhaps it would be difficult to describe the power, and empire of Friendship in tronger words.

If you look into the history and writings of St. Paul, in whom the gentle and the heroic affections which adorned the Author of our Religion, appear to have been eminently united, you cannot but observe that he breathed the very fame of Friendship for those who were his more immediate associates and auxiliaries in the cause he had espoused. And then, if you look back into the Old Testament, of which the moral tendency co-incides per fectly with that of the New, you will find this high relation both exemplified

and celebrated with the utmost beauty, as we remarked on a former occafion.

· But, alas! while we reflect on thefe things, we cannot help feeling some difcouragement in our attempts to recom'mend a connexion which is now so seldom beheld in its primeval splendour, and of which the present selfish and inglorious system of diffipation and luxury leaves us so little room to hope that it can now be often realized in its full extent. Do ye, however, wifh to poffefs the sureft means of mitigating your misfortunes, of relieving your anxieties, of solving your doubts, of doubling and exalting your pleasures; of disentangling, multiplying, and brightening your ideas; of regulating, and maturing your judgements and imaginations ; of being admonished with good - nature when you are wrong, and animated when you are right with generous praise; of obtaining faithful advice when you want it most, without superior airs of wisdom,.

« PoprzedniaDalej »