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We have seen a writer, who carries his praise of the character we are surveying, so far as to intimate, that its participation's are capable of impressing on difficulty, hardship, and fadness, fomething sweet and engaging beyond all that can be found 'in a pleasurable lot. In truth, I am perfuaded, that a man of sentiment rarely feels himself so deserving of respect, as when tenderly touched with the misfor'tunes of a Friend, and earnestly employed to relieve them ; nor have I any doubt, but the more ftrenuous his efforts are in such a cause, and the sharper his sufferings, his heart will fwell with the happier 'consciousness, and look down with the greater superiority on whatever is deemed by men of the world most magnificent or voluptuous. Beatific Friendship, celestial Power ! how pre-eminent are the pleasures inspired by thee above all that Vice or Folly can boaft! The latter, it is well known, cannot bear reflection : the former, it is equally certain, cannot only support the strictest, but are renewed, improved, and heightened by it; and the soul applauds her choice, even when she fuffers most severely from any distress which befalls her partner : the pain the endures on that account is by thy divine fpirit consecrated into virtue, and sublimed into enjoyment. What dignity, what felicity, must have elated the soul of Pythias, when, without application on the part of his Friend, he offered himself as hostage, under forfeiture of his life, if the other did not return on a certain day, from visiting his family, to suffer the unprovoked vengeance of a tyrant! What heroic and rapturous sensations must have fired in their turn the breast of Damon, when he flew on the wings of zeal to ransom the life of the man who preferred his safety to his own! Glorious contention! How much unlike the miserable competitions of modern effeminacy and disipation !
While the generosity natural to Young Men ftill prompts them to entertain exalted ideas of Friendship, they are too apt to be driven by their paffions into an eager pursuit of pleasure, amusement, variety, and fame, among crowds. To sparkle in the view of numerous spectators, as persons of taste in what relates to gaiety and figure, is frequently their highest: wish. With this aim they are led to court a large acquaintance; and many others being as idle and as vain as themselves, they find no difficulty in widening the circle of their companions. As they chuse with little nicety, and proceed with little moderation; as novelty is soon exhausted, and contest is for ever arising where the prizes are but few; it often happens, that before they have advanced very far, they are weary, disappointed, mortified. The human heart is not formed to be long at ease in the midst of tumult and rivalship. Fatigued and chagrined, time after time, our youthful adventurers are willing to retreat from
the bustle, and to enjoy a Friend or two in private. But how seldom do they pitch on those who can compensate the vexation they have undergone in so tiresome and fruitless a course, by helping them to iinprove their experience, and turn their feet into the paths of peace and true glory! On the contrary, the very men they have selected for their chief favourites, are generally disposed to lead them, by their conversation and example, yet farther astray, and to harden them against every salutary conviction, in those languid pauses of indulgence and ambition, with the hopes of new and higher delight in the same way. Thus are they trained on to fresh folly and disappointment: those friendly affections, which should be their solace, are only the occasion of more misery; and life is worn away without satisfaction, and without significance. How different the case of him who, having learned early to make a right choice, can from the hollowness of popular objects, and the joftlings of the.
giddy throng, take refuge among a few individuals qualified to advise, cherish, and comfort him in the best manner; to aid his virtue when it shakes, and by their approbation to confirm its victories !
It is a well-known remark, that the different periods of rational life have their respective and peculiar advantages. In the number of those which youth has over age, may we not reckon its being so much more easily pleased ? At least we may question, whether the benefits acquired by greater experience and maturer reflection often countervail the loss of this happy facility. In many instances, we are sure, the observation of Solomon holds true, that “ he who increaseth knowledge in“ creaseth forrow.” Those of the clearest
discernment in men and manners find · the fewest characters to their taste; and
while the raw and the undistinguishing can take infinite pains to attract and seem attracted wherever they converse, persons