A warm and disinterested friendship is perhaps the genuine source of all our perfections: no onewhose heart is too cold for such an attachment, can have made much pro. gress in virtue.
We must have some kind ear to listen to our tale of joy or sorrow, some well known eye to beam on us the glance of ap. probation, some friendly tongue to give us the word of encouragement, or we should languish in the path of life, and drop into the grave, without having performed one useful action, or conceived one gene. rous thought.
But he, who- has a friend to watch his progress, and applaud his endeavours, is capable of every thing that is great or praise. worthy. Man requires applause to urge him on in the path of excellence, and what applause is likely to be so powerful, as that of a sincere friend, who knows our character, and is acquainted with all our motives.
It is much to be lamented, that we so seldom meet with instances of strong and lasting friendship. Acquaintances are formed every day; they may be attended with a portion of esteem, or even possess a slight tinge of friendship; but where shall we see the spectacle of a pure, disinterested, and permanent attachment ?
Damon and Pythias, it is said, were ready to die for one another; and their story has been handed down with an eclat that would not have accompanied it, had such a friendship been less uncommon.
Wt’e frequently find those who would die to save themselves from poverty or infamy; now and then we hear of those who would meet death with firmness, to save the life of a lover or a mistress; but where is the man that would die for his friend? Sublime friendship, that would be thy glory !
Despairing of seeing this noble fortitude and disinterestedness of mind in the men of the present day, if we examine the more ordinary kinds of friendship, we shall find that disappointment is their constant attendant.
It is the usual tendency of social intercourse to divest the mind of those impressions of respect, which are alone the true and firm basis of friendship, and to induce, in their place, an improper and dangerous familiarity.
In the early stages of friendship, overjoyed with having found a mind to our liking, we expect every pleasure from uniting ourselves to it ;
We exert ourselves to please, and we succeed. We gain the good opinion of the person whom we would make our friend; and had we prudence, this might become the basis of a sweet and lasting union. But human frailty cannot long hold out;
We grow tired of those continued exertions; we neglect those civilities and endearing attentions we were at first so eager to show; we seek to pre. serve the enjoyment, without the pains that attended the attainment; And can our failure be a subject of wonder?