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instincts be so ennobled as is conformable to thy gracious and paternal intentions towards us! Might wisdom and virtue, might the light of religion direct and guide us all in this, and lead us all to the pera fection and happiness whereof we are capable! How many unjust and criminal complaints of human misery would not then be done away! How fatisfied, how blessed should we not then be in the social and chearful enjoyment of thy bounties !

How greatly facilitate to ourselves by mutual affection and friendship our progress on the way of duty and virtue, and how much more certainly and completely reach the end of our being! O God, do thou send the spirit of love, of pure and generous love, into our hearts! Open them to the charms of virtuous friendship. Enable us clearly to perceive and intimately to feel its great value; and purify us from all low, selfish inclinations and passions that are in opposition to it. O God, to approach nearer to thee, the father of fpirits, and to unite ever closer the one to the other, is what all intelligent, fensible beings are perpetually striving after, is also longed for by human spirits! May we ever be becoming more susceptible of this happiness in both respects, and be ever drawing more felicity from this fource of life. Bless to that end the contemplations we now propose to begin upon it. Strengthen our reflections, and enable them to penetrate us with vir: tuous, generous sentiments and feelings. For this


we present our supplications to thee, as the votaries of thy son Jesus, our ever blessed deliverer and lord; and, firmly relying on his promises, address thee farther as he prescribed : Our father, &c.

PROV. xviii. 24.

There is a friend that ticketh closer than a brother.

CHRISTIANITY has frequently been reproached

as unfavourable to friendship, since it does not expressly inculcate it; prescribing indeed to its.followers benevolence, towards all, universal kindness and brotherly love, but not discriminate friendship. Friendship, however, is not properly a duty, not an indispensable obligation for all; it is not to be commanded, like justice and general kindness; its rise,' its direction very frequently depends on circumstances and incidents that are not in our own power; and even very intelligent and worthy persons, of a fensible and friendly heart, may and often muft, without any fault of theirs, forego the happiness of friendship, I mean strict and cordial friendship. At the same time it must be confessed, that the more a man opens his heart to universal benevolence, to philanthropy and brotherly love, those great commandments of


the christian law; the more he allows himself to be, governed by the spirit of them : so much the more adapted and disposed will he be to even the most noble and most exalted friendship. Nay, friendship would be a very general virtue, and the whole fociety of christians a band of friends intimately united together, if they all inviolably conformed to the precepts of that doctrine which they confess, and suffered themselves to be animated by its spirit.

Of this, what we know of the founder of christianity and of its primitive confessors, will not allow us to doubt. When we see Jesus repay the gentle, tender, affectionate disposition of his disciple John with distinguished affection and confidence, when we fee this disciple so often leaning on his breast, and hear him continually called the disciple whom he loved, when we see our Lord selecting the house of his friend Lazarus as his place of refuge and recreation; when we hear him say to his attendants, “ Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go to awake him;" when he afterwards hastens to his grave, weeps at the fight of his body, and the beholders exclaim, “ See how he loved him!” how can we entertain the least doubt of the friendly disposition of Jesus, or think that such a disposition is at variance with his spirit and his doctrine? - And the connection that subsisted between Jesus and his disciples and followa ers in general, certainly presents us with an example of the most generous friendship. How. indulgent, , how affectionate, how familiar, was his converse with


them! How great his concern for them! « If ye seek me,” said he to the guards who came to feize him, " then let these go their way.” It is recorded of him, that, “ having loved his own, he loved them unto the end." And, when he was shortly to be separated from them, how he soothed, comforted, encouraged them! How he seemed entirely to for. get himself and his most important concerns, in his attention to them! How tenderly he takes leave of them at the last fupper, and enjoins them the commemoration of him! How he bears them in mind even during the whole course of his sufferings, and in the last fad scene of them interests himself in their welfare! And how he hastened, as it were, on his resurrection from the dead to fhew himself to them, and to dry up their tears! Was not this friendship, was it not the most exalted friendship? -- And the first christians, who, animated and inspired by the {pirit of christianity, were but one heart and one foul, who had all things, as it were, in common, who were daily of one accord together : did they not compose a band of the most intimately connected friends, cemented together by the love of God and the love of Jefus and the love of each other?

No, christianity is by no means unfavourable to real, virtuous friendship. It, on the contrary, inspires us with all the dispositions, incites us to all the actions, and makes us ready for all the sacrificeswherein the characteristics and the glory of friendship confift. Only we must learn how properly to under.




stand and appreciate it.

And this is the purport of my present discourse. In it I will inquire with you into the value of friendfhip, one of the greatest bles ings of life. To that end I will first shew you,

how friendship should be constituted in order to have a great value; then, wherein the value of it confifts; and, lastly, how we should behave in regard to it, in order that it may be and procure to us what it is capable of being and procuring to us.

This will enable us to feel the truth of Solomon's sentence which we have taken for our text: “ There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."

Friendship, what a facred, what a venerable name, - and how abused and profaned! Now the most captivating garb of virtue: now the mask of vice. Now the indiffoluble band of generous and noble souls : and now the most dangerous snare of the betrayer of innocence. Here the parent of truth, of frankness, of sincerity; there the disguise of the most artful treachery, and the deepest cunning. One while a powerful incentive to the fairest and most magnanimous atchievements ; at another, the sordid means of prosecuting and attaining the most felfifh designs. And all this while, real friendship still maintains her station and supports her dignity. She preferves the exalted place she has obtained among

the virtues and prerogatives of human nature, among the sources of our felicity. But not every thing which bears her name, not every thing that borrows her garb, is she herself. Let us therefore, for her vin


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