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that your manner partakes more of pride, or sourness, than of benevolence. If you wish to amend the faulty, surely this is not the way. Again, have you no faults of your own? Hardly will you pretend to absolute immunity in that respect. Well, then, ask your own hearts if you are willing to receive the same measure which you mete out to others. If you can bear, in all cases, to be told roundly of your own faults, even the minutest of them, then, and not otherwise, you may seem fairly entitled to the privilege of giving it off roundly to others. Then, and not otherwise, may you be at liberty to deal out your bitter pills, without any regard at all to gilding or sweetening them.
In short, (for many things must I leave unsaid,) any body that knows the world, might easily show that the family of the Vulgars is branched out into a great many divisions and subdivisions; one or other of which, embraces not a few, who would be very loth to own themselves members of that ungraceful household.
One remark more: an awkward air and gait, a blushing countenance and hesitating speech, are sometimes the coarse coverings of the opening, but unexpanded germ of genius; though a youth of this description always passes for vulgar with superficial observers, and is often made the butt of their ridicule.
Of friendship and the choice of friends.
"Give me the man, whose liberal mind
In the choice of friends, considerable regard is to be had to the qualities of the head. but a much greater still to those of the heart; for if that be radically wanting in integrity and honor, the more alluring is every
thing else in personal character, the more dangerous. Catiline, with the worst of hearts, was possest of personal accomplishments in a transcendent degree. He had the art of accommodating his manners and conversation to people of all tempers and ages. Cicero said of him, He lived with the sad severely, with the cheerful agreeably, with the old gravely, with the young pleas antly. All-accomplished as he was, the viciousness of his moral character was so much the more seductive, contagious, and pernicious to the community at large, and to the young especially. He easily insinuated himself into the friendship of the Roman youth, whom he corrupted and ruined."
Close intimacies, suddenly formed, often end in disappointment and disgust, and to the injury of one or other of the parties. It is a dangerous imprudence to trust any one as a friend, without good evidence of his being trust-worthy; without good evidence that he has neither a treacherous heart, a fickle temper, nor a babbling tongue. Often, very often, have the young, of both sexes, smarted under the consequences of such imprudence.
Equality in point of external circumstances, is not always a necessary preliminary to intimate and permanent friendship. The friendship between David and Jonathan, for unshaken fidelity and sublime ardor, has scarcely a parallel in history; yet the one was a shepherd of mean rank, whilst the other was of the blood royal, and heir apparent to a throne. But though it is not always necessary, that two close friends should be about equal in their worldly conditions, it is necessary that their deeds and offices of kindness be reciprocal; else, one becomes a patron, and the other a dependant. If one be greatly outdone by his friends in acts of kindness, or receive benefits at their hands which he can never repay, they will regard him as their debtor on the score of friendship, and himself must be wounded with the mortifying consciousness of bankruptcy in that respect. Hence there have been instances of proud-hearted men becoming the enemies, and even the destroyers, of their greatest benefactors, in order to rid themselves of a burdensome debt of gratitude.
One should be careful to shew as much fidelity, as much attention, as much kindness to his friend, as he would require of him in similar circumstances.
Between frail imperfect creatures, there cannot be perfect friendship; and when one discards a friend for some trifling negligence, for an ungracious expression, or for his not having added the hundredth to his ninetynine obliging acts; he is not worthy of having a friend, nor can he have one long.
It has been said that warm friends make warm enemies; but it is seldom so, except in cases of flagrant infidelity on the one side or the other. The truth is, very warm friendships, (unless in the domestic state,) are rarely lasting, by reason that they are above the ordinary tone of human nature; and therefore require much attention and a constant exchange of obliging offices, to keep them good. Whenever attention abates on one side or the other, such friendship experiences a chill, and gradually cools down at length to indifference; but no positive enmity necessarily follows...
The friendship between persons notoriously wicked, (if friendship it may be called,) naturally turns to fear. As they know they cannot trust one another, so they constantly harbor a mutual jealousy, bordering upon, and often ending in, downright hatred.
There is too much truth, generally speaking, in the following lines of Goldsmith:
"And what is friendship but a name,
A shade that follows wealth or fame,
When a man is unfortunate, it often happens that some of those whom he had most befriended while in prosperity, are the first to forsake, and even to censure and reproach him. The reason is plain: they forsake him because they think him a pigeon no longer worth the plucking; and they aggravate and blaze abroad his failings, to cover their own perfidiousness in forsaking him.
The book in the world that best unfolds the human heart, is the Bible. There we find a man of vast substance; as liberal as he was rich, and as pious as liberal.
A man who was "eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame;" who "was a father to the poor;" and whose charitable hand and consoling voice "made the widow's heart to sing for joy." While "the candle of the Lord shined upon his head," unbounded respect was paid him. The old as well as young, princes and nobles as well as peasants, did him obeisance. He had friends without number; close friends-friends determined never to forsake him in his-prosperity.
With unerring aim, and to answer the mysterious purpose of infinite wisdom, heaven's arrow was pointed at the bosom of this very man. In a single hour he fell from the height of prosperity, to the lowest depths of human wretchedness. Bereft of all his children at a stroke, reduced to poverty and need, covered from head to foot with disease, he sat upon the ground;left there to weep his woes by himself. His friends, as well as his fortune, had left him. They stood aloof, and with scorn rather than commiseration, eyed him askance. He called after them-Have pity upon me! have pity upon me!-but called in vain. Even the very few that drew near, ostensibly to comfort him, did but add grief to his sorrow. With rugged hands and unfeeling hearts, they tore yet wider his bleeding wounds; but poured in no balsam.
Suddenly, "the Lord turned the captivity" of this self same man, and even doubled the prosperity of his best days. And no sooner was that known, than his old friends who had forsaken him, came back. Then, and not till then-" came all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house." His good cheer restores him to their good liking.
Yet unfeeling as the world is, there are some in it, and I hope not a few, who are the same in the bleak night of adversity, as in the sunshine of prosperity.These, whether male or female, are of the right stamp. -Reader, hast thou a friend of this sort; one who had been thy father's or thy mother's friend in distress; one who has readily befriended thyself in time of utmost need? Then thou hast a pearl of inestimable worthlock it close to thy bosom.
It was one of the precepts of Pythagoras, "That a friend should not be hated for little faults." To which may be added, One of the greatest efforts of real friendship, is to tell a friend his faults; to do this requires uncommon fortitude; to do it properly, requires the mixture of sound discretion and genuine benevolence.
Of the importance of learning to say No.
A VERY wise and excellent mother, gave the following advice with her dying breath-" My son, learn to say, No."-Not that she meant to counsel her son to be a churl in speech, or to be stiff-hearted in things indifferent or trivial—and much less did she counsel him to put his negative upon the calls of charity and the impulse of humanity; but her meaning was, that, along with gentleness of manners and benevolence of disposition, he should possess an inflexible firmness of purpose-a quality beyond all price, whether it regards the sons or daughters of our fallen race.
Persons so infirm of purpose, so wanting in resolution, as to be incapable, in almost any case of saying No, are among the most hapless of human beings; and that, notwithstanding their sweetness of temper, their courteousness of demeanor, and whatever else of amiable and estimable qualities they possess. Though they see the right, they pursue the wrong; not so much out of inclination, as from a frame of mind disposed to yield to every solicitation.
An historian of a former and distant age, says of a Frenchman, who ranked as the first Prince of the Blood, that he had a bright and knowing mind, a graceful sprightliness, good intentions, complete disinterestedness, and an incredible easiness of manners; but that, with all these qualities, he acted a most contemptible part for the want of resolution; that he came into all the factions of his time, because he wanted power to resist those who drew him in for their own interest ;