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· you, will be the more grievous, and your own the more un
welcome, because you must part with him. These and abundance of sore afflictions are the ordinary fruits of too strong affections : and it is no rare thing for the best of God's servants to profess, that their sufferings from their friends who have overloved them, have been ten times greater than from all the enemies that ever they had in the world.
And to those that are wavering about this case, Whether only a common friendship with all men according to their various worth, or a bosom intimacy with some one man, be more desirable,' I shall premise a free confession of my own case, whatever censures for it I incur.' When I was first awakened to the regard of things spiritual and eternal, I was exceedingly inclined to a vehement love to those that I thought the most serious saints, and especially to that intimacy with some one, which is called friendship. By which I found extraordinary benefit, and it became a special mercy to my soul. But it was by more than one or two of the aforementioned ways, that the strict bond of extraordinary friendship hath been relaxed, and my own excessive esteem of my most intimate friends confuted. And since then I have learned, to love all men according to their real worth, and to let out my love more extensively and without respect of persons, acknowledging all that is good in all; but with a double love and honour to the excellently wise and good; and to value men more for their public usefulness, than for their private suitableness to me; and yet to value the ordinary converse of one or a few suitable friends, before a more public and tumultuary life, except when God is publicly worshipped, or when public service inviteth me to deny the quiet of a private life: and though I more difference between man and man than ever, I do it not upon so slight and insufficient grounds as in the time of my unexperienced credulity: nor do I expect to find any without the defects, and blots, and failings of infirm, imperfect, mutable man.
Quest. x. What qualifications should direct us in the choice of a special bosom friend ?'
Answ. 1. He must be one that is sincere and singlehearted, and not given to affectation, or any thing that is much forced in his deportment; plain, and open-hearted to you, and not addicted to a hiding, fraudulent, or reserved carriage.
2. He must be one that is of a suitable temper and disposition; I mean not guilty of all your own infirmities, but not guilty of a crossness or contrariety of disposition. As if one be in love with plainness of apparel, and frugality in diet and course of life, and the other be guilty of curiosity, and ostentation, and prodigality ; if one be for few words and the other for many; if one be for labour, and the other for idleness, and frequent interruptions ; if one be for serving the humours of men, and the other for a contempt of . human censure, in the way of certain duty ; these disparities make them unfit for this sort of bosom friendship.
3. He must not be a slave to any vice: for that which maketh him false to God, and to betray his own soul, may make him false to man, and to betray his friend.
4. He must not be a selfish person ; that is, corruptly and partially for himself, and for his own carnal ends and interest. For such an one hath no true love to others, but when you seem cross to his own interest, his pleasure, wealth, or honour he will forsake you ; for so he doth by God him
5. He must be humble, and not notably proud. For pride will make him quarrelsome, disdainful, impatient, and quite unsuitable to a humble person.
6. He must be one that is thoroughly and resolvedly godly : for you will hardly well centre, any where but in God; nor will he be useful to all the ends of friendship, if he be not one that loveth God, and holy things, and is of a pious conversation : nor can you expect that he that is false to God, and will sell his part in him for the pleasure or gain of sin, should long prove truly faithful unto you.
7. He must be one that is judicious in religion, that is, not of an erroneous, heretical wit; nor ignorant of those great and excellent truths, which you should oft confer about; but rather one that excelleth you in solid understanding, and true judgment, and a discerning head, that can teach you somewhat which you know not; and is not addicted to corrupt you with false opinions of his own.
8. He must be one that is not schismatical and embodied in any dividing sect; for else he will be no longer true
to you, than the interest of his party will allow him; and if you will not follow him in his conceits and singularities, he will withdraw his love, and despise you: and if he do not, yet he may endanger your stedfastness, by the temptation of his love.
9. He must be one that hath no other very intimate friend, unless his friend be also as intimate with you as with him ; because else he will be no further secret and trusty to you, than the interest or will of his other friend will allow him.
10. He must be one that is prudent in the management of business, and especially those which your converse is concerned in; else his indiscretion in words or practice, will not suffer your friendship to be long entire.
11. He must be one that is not addicted to loquacity, but can keep your secrets; otherwise he will be so untrusty as to be incapable of doing the true office of a friend.
12. He must have a zeal and activity in religion and in all well-doing; otherwise he will be unfit to warm your affections, and to provoke you to love and good works, and to do the principal works of friendship, but will rather cool and hinder you in your way.
13. He must be one that is not addicted to levity, inconstancy and change; or else you can expect no stability in his friendship. .
14. He must not much differ from you in riches, or in poverty, or in quality in the world. For if he be much richer, he will be carried away with higher company and converse than yours, and will think you fitter to be his servant than his friend. And if he be much poorer than you, he will be apt to value your friendship for his own commodity, and you will be still in doubt, whether he be sincere,
15. He must be one that is like to live with you or near you, that you may have the frequent benefit of his converse, counsel, example, and other acts of friendship.
16. He must be one that is not very covetous, or a lover of riches or preferment; for such an one will no longer be true to you, than his mammon will allow him. : 17. He must be one that is not peevish, passionate and impatient; but that can both bear with your infirmities, and
also bear much from others for your sake, in the exercise of his friendship
18. He must be one that hath so good an esteem of your person, and so true and strong a love to you, as will suffice to move him, and hold him to all this.
19. He must be yet of a public spirit, and a lover of good works, that he may put you on to well-doing, and not countenance you in an idle self-pleasing and unprofitable life. And he ought to be one that is skilful in the business of your calling, that he may be fit to censure your work, and amend it, and direct you in it, and confer about it; and it is best for you if he be one that excelleth you herein, that he may add something to you (but then you will not be such to him, and so the friendship will be unequal).
20. Lastly, there must be some suitableness in age and sex. The young want experience to make them meet for the bosom friendship of the aged (though yet they may take. delight in instructing them, and doing them good). And the young are hardly reconcilable to all the gravity of the aged. And it must not be a person of a different sex, unless in case of marriage. Not but that they may be helpful to each other as Christians, and in a state of distant friendship; but this bosom intimacy, they are utterly unfit for, because of unsuitableness, temptation and scandal.
Directions for the Right Use of Special Bosom Friendship..
Direct. 5. 'Engage not yourself to any one, as a bosom friend, without great evidence and proof of his fitness in all the foregoing qualifications. By which you may see that this is not an ordinary way of duty or benefit, but a very unusual case. For it is a hard thing to meet with one among many thousands, that hath all these qualifications : and when that is done, if you have not all the same qualifications to him, you will be unmeet for his friendship, whatever he be for yours. And where in an age will there be two that will be suited in all those respects? Therefore our ordinary way of duty is, to love all according to their various worth, and to make the best use we oan of every one's grace and gifts, and of those most that are nearest us: but without the partiality of such extraordinary affection to any
one above the rest. For young persons usually make their choice rashly, of one that afterwards proveth utterly unmeet for the office of such a friend, or at least, no better than many other persons ; nay, ten to one, but after-experience will acquaint them with many that are much wiser, and better, and fitter for their love. And hasty affections, are guilty of blind partiality, and run men into sin and sorrow, and often end in unpleasant ruptures. Therefore be not too forward in this friendship.
Direct. 11. “When you do choose a friend, though he must be one that you have no cause to be suspicious of, yet reckon that it is possible that he may be estranged from you, yea, and turn your enemy.' Causeless jealousies are contrary to friendship on your part; and if there be cause, it is inconsistent with friendship on his part. But yet no friendship should make you blind, and not to know that man is a corrupt and mutable creature ; especially in such an age as this, wherein we have seen, how personal changes, state-changes, and changes in religion, have alienated many seeming friends. Therefore love them, and use them, and trust them, but as men, that may possibly fail of your expectations, and open all your secrets, and betray you, yea, and turn your enemies. Suspect it not, but judge it possible.
Direct. III. 'Be open with your approved friend, and commit all your secrets to him, still excepting those, the knowledge of which may be hurtful to himself, or the revealing of them hereafter may be intolerably injurious to yourself, to the honour of religion, to the public good, or to any other. If you be needlessly close, you are neither friendly, nor can you improve your friend enough to your own advantage. But yet if you open all without exception, you may many ways be injurious to your friend and to yourself; and the day may come which you did not look for, in which his weakness, passion, interest, or alienation, may trouble you by making all public to the world. · Direct. iv. Use as little affectation or ceremony with your friend as may be'; but let all your converse with him be with openness of heart, that he may see that you both trust him, and deal with him in plain sincerity. If dissimulation and forced affectation be but once discovered, it