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decorous, safe, and honourable, that they should be your friends and counsellors,—of course, taking it for granted that they have worthily discharged the trust reposed in them by your parents ; and, as has already been hinted, you should not readily admit a suspicion to the contrary.
It may also be right to give you a caution against insensibly gliding into a tender intimacy with any member of the family. Should you have property, it is possible that some interested motive may influence the proposal; should you have none, it is likely that the parents may object to their son seeking a portionless bride, and that they may reflect on you as taking an ungenerous advantage of circumstances, to win his affections. If neither of these objections should exist, it is very possible that the sentiment in both parties may have originated in the mere circumstance of continual proximity, and without that decided preference which is essential to permanent and growing attachment. Should the most distant advances of such a kind be perceived, it will be desirable that you should seek the counsel of some judicious and disinterested friend—that
you should enter into no engagements whatever without the full knowledge and concurrence of the family—and that you should, if practicable, immediately quit the house and society of the young man, and reserve to both parties an unfettered opportunity of proving the reality and strength of the preference professed.
Young persons who have experienced kindness from guardians, or other friends not sustaining the paternal character and claims, should through life
cherish feelings of gratitude, and if possible, should requite to their families the benefits formerly received.
Religion is needful to sweeten and sanctify every lot in life; but the female orphan should be especially reminded of the gracious consolations and invitations of Scripture, and of the obligations upon her to seek an interest in them. 6. Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth ?" Jer. iii. 4. “ When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." Psa. xxvii. 10. “In Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.” Hos. xiv. 3.
Early Friendships.--"Friendship,” it has been justly observed, “is a strong and habitual inclination in two persons to promote the good and happiness of one another. Friendship is composed of love and esteem ; where either of these is wanting, it cannot exist. We should soon be ashamed of loving one whom we cannot esteem, and on the other hand, however sensible we may be of the good qualities of a person, and however we may respect and even reverence him on account of them, nothing like equal friendship can exist without an affectionate good-will to the
person, and a freedom and intimacy of communication."
Friendship has been happily called “the medicine of life,” to express its efficacy in healing the pains and anguish which naturally cleave to our existence in a world like this; and continuance is one of the characteristics of genuine friendship. “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Trouble is the test of friendship, for “prosperity gains friends, but adversity tries them;" and if all professed friends who cannot endure this test are to be excluded from the list, the number who really deserve the character will be found sadly reduced. Such are the observations of age and experience, but they will scarcely be admitted by youth, with its lively feelings and glowing expectations.
That all the benefits of friendship may be realized, and that its young votaries may be spared those painful disappointments which result from groundless expectations and misplaced attachments, a few remarks on the choice of friends, and the conduct to be maintained towards them, may not be unsuitable.
Friendship must be select in its choice and objects. We should undoubtedly cherish good-will to all, and, if we make ourselves tolerably agreeable, we may perhaps possess the good-will of many ; but the unrestricted intimacy and confidence of friendship must be confined within a much smaller circle.
A school girl forms, or fancies she does, an ardent attachment for almost every companion she meets, and dignifies it with the name of inviolable friendship; but on what is it founded ? On a few hasty professions, insincere compliments, or the disclosure of some insignificant affairs which are not worth knowing, or which ought not to have been made known. The young companions extol each other on being “all heart, and perfectly unreserved." They walk about arm-in-arm, whispering; they consider the presence of a third person as an intolerable intrusion. In absence they send letters crossed
rule to say,
and crossed again with trumpery professions and insignificant tattle; and they pronounce themselves inseparable friends. But in time it comes out that there are neither mental nor moral excellences to sustain esteem; or some jealousy or competition arises between the parties, and ardour sinks into indifference, perhaps gives place to alienation and disgust. This is the history of the birth, life, and death, of nine hundred and ninety-nine in a thousand hasty connexions. It suggests the wisdom and propriety of proving and trying, before you adopt and trust a friend. For the young, ardent, and inexperienced, it may be a safe and salutary
“Let esteem precede affection in the formation of your friendships." If there are sterling excellences on which it can rest, and the circumstances of age, station, pursuit, temper, and proximity, place two persons in the way of intercourse, they possess the elements of friendship, and there is little doubt that affection will grow and mature, and the union be permanent.
Friendship should be steady,' not capricious. Let not one who is worthy, be slighted or displaced by a new rival; nor, though you have a right to look for estimable qualities in your friend, be so unjust to her and to yourself as to expect perfection. You do not possess it' yourself: your temper is not always the same, nor is your conduct always free from blame, and yet you expect to be loved and borne with. Exercise the same candour towards your friend, and do not regard every deviation from perfection as an act of deliberate and atrocious guilt, or suppose that every little change of countenance, or failure of attention, necessarily
expresses alienation of affection, or involves a forfeiture of friendship. Those who are so unreasonable in their requirements, do not deserve, and are not likely long to possess a friend.
Let your friendship be generous and disinterested. Let the person herself be the object of friendship, not her adventitious circumstances of dignity, wealth, or family connexions, by which you might expect to advance some interest of your own. True friendship immediately banishes envy and selfishness under all their disguises. If you can for a moment grudge at the superior excellency of your companion, or at her greater success, prosperity, or fame, be assured you are yet a stranger to true friendship. One advantage resulting from a virtuous and honourable connexion is the stimulus it furnishes to improvement; but then this emulation is totally apart from envy. You will endeavour to imbibe and copy the excellences of your friendnot that you may excel or equal her, but because you see in her example how lovely they are, and you feel also that her excellences being in a sense made over to you, lay you under an obligation to reciprocate something equivalent.
Youthful friendships especially need the bridle of discretion. Where a real oneness of heart exists, there will, and there ought to be great freedom and openness of communication ; but there is no reason for it to degenerate into imprudence, or that it should at all involve the affairs of others. Family circumstances have sometimes been disclosed in a very unwarrantable and injurious manner, by one of the younger members of the family having an intimate friend, from whose