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think it could not subsist without the most endearing and improving friendship. It is affirmed, I think, of some ancient lawgivers that, in order the more intimately to connect the idea of friendship with marriage, they forbad all gifts between man and wife; thereby signifying that, as they were in effect one, all should belong to each of them, and that they had nothing to divide or give. And indeed the very terms marriage and friendship may very properly be considered as synonymous; and most certainly would be so in every instance, if the original dictates of nature were not perverted in the most shameful man
What worse than brutes must they be who, thus connected, have no tenderness, good-will, and esteem for each other! Instinct and reason unite to form this friendly connection, to confirm and improve it, and to carry it to its highest perfection.
The relation too between parents and children is most favourable to friendship. Equality indeed is wanting here, but there is every other imaginable consideration to balance the ae
Both parties are the same flesh and blood; and consanguinity surely is a natural ground of friendship. The instinctive kind of affection implanted in their breasts towards each other is so strong, that it is almost impossible for them, were they ever so willing, to eradicate it from their breasts. With what fondness do parents clasp their young offspring in their arms! And with what eagerness do children cling about their parents, as their best and never-failing benefactors ! And the innumerable tender offices which result from this instinctive affection in early life, lay a foundation for the noblest and most durable friendship, when the understanding of children fully opens, and they advance towards maturity. How strange then would it be, if parents and children were not friends!
The same may be said, with some little variation, of the relation between brothers and sisters. These derive from one stock, and are of one blood. And if this connection has not so much of instinct in it as the former, it has nevertheless, very strong affection in it. And then the circumstance of equality gives it the advantage in regard of friendship above that of parents and children. In short, it is generally considered as a relation that almost necessarily begets friendship: and therefore when peace and good-will are said to prevail between particular persons, they are often described by the figurative language of brethren.
Indeed servants on some accounts may not seem within the line of friendship, but on others they are. Inferiority of character and condition requires some degree of distance and reserve on the one part, and humility and reverence on the other. But all this may very well consist with friendship, for equality of station and circumstances is not necessary, though it may be favourable to it. As to nature, which is the main thing, there is an equality here. And between the condition of servants and children there is no great distance. For the heir as long as he is a child, says the apostle, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all a. But if we consider the purpose for which a servant is introduced into a family, namely, that of as, sisting it and making it happy, and adů to that the other circumstances of continuance, intercourse, and mutual interest, which we shall enlarge more upon hereafter, this relation will be found to lay a good ground for friendship. And instances there have been not a few of servants, who after a time have become almost as natural to a family as the children of it. Service then, undertaken and rendered in a proper manner and with right views, is a good opening to friendship.
And then as to persons, whether related or not, who are inmates or sojourners in a family, their situation surely is favourable to what we are recommending. It throws them into a connection that fails not to draw out to view what will either attach people to, or prejudice them against, one another. Nor will this relation, the result of voluntary agreement, long continue, if aversion prevails. And as to those who occasionally visit the family, they are usually either acquaintance, or relations and friends.-- Relation then is a natural and proper ground of friendship. So is,
II. Character. In which I include the ideas of features, temper, sentiment, manners, circumstances, and religion. A similarity in these particulars naturally begets friendship. And such similarity is more likely to be met with in families than elsewhere.
Between parents and their children there is often a likeness in person and features, and this is a circumstance which hath
a Gal. iv. 1,
rather a tendency to excite complacency than aversion. The very notion of another's resembling ourselves shall insensibly beget a predilection in our breasts in their favour.
But temper has an immediate and powerful influence on all friendly attachments whether moral or religious. Now among relations there is frequently if not always a resemblance in natural disposition. For temper depends a good deal on the construction of the body, and the temperament of the animal spirits : and these in children who derive from the same parents are generally very similar. Hence we often find good-nature, sprightliness, and vivacity running through a whole family, and distinguishing them from others in the same manner as do the features of their countenance. And surely this is no inconsis derable inducement to friendship.' How can it possibly be otherwise than that a good-natured family should love one another ! And indeed be the prevailing temper that marks their characters what it may, it will be likely to beget attachment.
Similarity of sentiment too has a great influence in producing and establishing friendships. Two people who think alike on most subjects, ou communicating their ideas, will instantly conceive an esteem and affection for each other. The kindred souls, cast as it were in one mould, will unite, and with passionaté fondness embrace: a remarkable instance of which we have in David and Jonathanı. Now though in families there is sometimes a diversity of sentiment, yet it is more generally otherwise. And though the nearest relatives do not always possess the like natural abilities, nor are always alike pious, yet, be the cause what it may, whether education, intercourse, or prepossession in each other's favour, it most commonly so happens that there is a uniformity of sentiment in families respecting matters civil, moral, and religious.' And how much this contributes to domestic friendship I need not say.
Similarity also of manners must not pass unnoticed. By manners here I mean external behaviour. And this
every one knows by his own feelings has a kind of mechanical effect to create attachment or aversion. The countenance, language, attitude, and address of one man, shall almost instantly produce a pleasing or painful sensation in another that observes hima And these are as various as men's modes of thinking, their edu
eation, and the kind of company they keep. But the general outlines of them, which may be classed under the ideas of urbanity or gentleness, and rusticity or plainness, are very nearly similar in the several members of a family. The like cast of behaviour runs through the whole house. And this tends to beget union, and so to promote the interests of domestic friendship. Were families usually to consist of persons whose manners are totally dissimilar, the effect would be distance, reserve, and disgust: but the contrary being the case, this no doubt is a circumstance favourable to friendship. As is also a similarity in their condition or mode of subsist
Friendships are seldom contracted between persons in exalted and in low stations of life. People so circumstanced are at too remote a distance to converse with that freedom, confidence, and pleasure which the cordiality of friendship demands. But in families there are no obstructions of this sort to the union we are recommending. Their mode of life is very nearly
Or if there is a difference, as there no doubt is and ought to be, between the condition of parents and children, and that of masters and servants; it is by no means so considerable as to create prejudices at all inimical to friendship. On the contrary, being all embarked as it were on board the same ves, sel, living upon the same general plan, and faring much after the same manner; there is little or no cause for discontent and envy, those miserable passions which too often tear asunder the most agreeable connections.
But it is religion, as we shall hereafter more largely shew, that contributes most to domestic friendship. Indeed, it is not every family that is religious : por can it be said of those families which are so, in every instance, that each member of them is religious. Yet when real piety prevails in the breasts of those who preside, it very often diffuses itself, like the ointment poured on Aaron, among the inferior branches of the house. And a similarity of character in this respect cannot fail of being a ground of the most cordial and permanent friendship. In such families there will be no difference of opinion in what is essential to religion, and of consequence no disputes on those matters that will divide and alienate them from one another. Their tempers will be all meliorated and softened, and their conduct free from those immoralities and follies which are the bane of friendship and love.
III. Vicinity comes next to be considered, as a ground or reason of domestic friendship.
Remoteness of situation is a great obstruction to friendship. Indeed it cannot subsist at all between people that never saw one another, and have no opportunity of exchanging sentiments and passions. The ingenuity of mankind, it is true, hath devised means to remedy, in a degree at least, this inconvenience. By the medium of epistolary correspondence, persons at the remotest distance are enabled to communicate their ideas to each other, and so to fan the flame of mutual affection. And it must be acknowledged that temporary absence has sometimes a happy effect to sharpen the edge of friendship, and, by putting love to the trial, to heighten and improve it. But, in the ordinary course of things, it is the immediate presence of a friend, and personal intercourse with him, that excites and keeps alive this generous passion.
Now family connections afford these incitements to friendship in the most agreeable manner.
Brothers and sisters who dwell under the same roof have no occasion to take tedious journies to see each other, they are not obliged to ransack their me, mories to revive the idea of one another's virtues, nor are they under the necessity of committing to writing, or entrusting to a messenger, the tender sentiments they wish to communicate. Growing together like a cluster of cherries from the same bough, and in continual contact, they cannot fail of being fond of one another. Their persons, their actions, their amiable qualities, and every thing about them that is adapted to excite esteem and love, are in full view. They see one another morning, noon, and night, most familiarly converse with one another, and are ever at hand to bear one another's troubles, to assist one another's labours, and to partake of one another's pleasures. Embers heaped together will keep alive a long time, but separated quickly go out; so frequent intercourse cherishes and improves friendship, but distance cools and destroys it: or if that is not the case, long absence creates sadness and melancholy. But family-intimacy is an antidote to these evils, and supplies every imaginable motive and mean to promote mutual harmony and love.