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Surely, Commineus might have made the same judgment also, if it had pleased him, of his second master, Lewis 'the Eleventh, whose closeness was indeed his tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras is dark, but true, Cor ne edito, “ Eat not the heart." Certainly if a man would give it a hard phrase, those that want Friends to open themselves unto, are cannibals of their own hearts. But one thing is most admirable, (wherewith I will conclude this first fruit of Friendship,) which is, that this communicating of a man's self to his friend, works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halfs : for there is no man that imparteth his joys to his Friend, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his Friend, but he grieveth the less. So that it is in truth of operation upon a man's mind of like virtue, as the Alchymists use to attribute to their stone for man's body, that it worketh all contrary effects, but still to the good and benefit of nature: but yet, without praying in aid of alchymists, there is a manifest image of this in the ordinary course of nature : for in bodies union strengtheneth and cherisheth any natural action; and on the other side, weakeneth and dulleth any violent impression; and even so it is of minds.
The second fruit of Friendship is healthful and sovereign for the understanding, as the first is for
the affections: for Friendship maketh indeed a fair day in the affections from storm and tempests ; but it maketh day-light in the understanding, out of darkness and confusion of thoughts. Neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel which a man receiveth from his Friend: but before
you come to that, certain it is, that whosoever hath his mind fraught with many thoughts, his wits and understanding do clarify and break up in the communicating and discoursing with another; he tosseth his thoughts more easily, he marshalleth them more orderly, he seeth how they look when they are turned into words. Finally, he waxeth wiser than himself; and that more by an hour's discourse, than by a day's meditation. It was well said by Themistocles to the King of Persia ; " That speech was like cloth of Arras opened and put abroad ; whereby the imagery doth appear in figure, whereas in thoughts they lie but as in packs." Neither is this second fruit of Friendship, in opening the understanding, restrained only to such Friends as are able to give a man counsel (they indeed are best); but even without that a man learneth of himself, and bringeth his own thoughts to light, and whetteth his wits as against a stone, which itself cuts not. In a word, a man were better relate himself to a statue or picture, than to suffer his thoughts to pass in smother.
And now, to make this second fruit of Friendship complete, that other point which lieth more open, and falleth within vulgar observation, which is faithful counsel from a Friend. Heraclitus saith well in one of his enigmas ; “ Dry light is ever the best.” And certain it is, that the light that a man receiveth by counsel from another, is drier and purer than that which cometh from his own understanding and judgment, which is ever infused and drenched in his affections and customs; so as there is as much difference between the counsel that a Friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend, and of a flatterer: for there is no such flatterer, as in a man's self; and there is no such remedy against flattery of a man's self, as the liberty of a Friend. Counsel is of two sorts; the one concerning manners, the other concerning business. For the first; the best preservative to keep the mind in health, is the faithful admonition of a Friend. The calling of a man's self to a strict account is a medicine sometimes too piercing and corrosive. Reading. good books of morality, is a little flat and dead. Observing our faults in others, is sometimes unproper
for our case. But the best receipt (best, I
say, to work, and best to take) is the admonition of a Friend. It is a strange thing to behold, what .gross errors, and extreme absurdities, many (espe
cially of the greater sort) do commit, for want of a friend to tell them of them, to the great damage both of their fame and fortune: for, as St. James saith, they are as men “ that look sometimes into a glass, and presently forget their own shape and favour.” As for business, a man may think, if he will, that two eyes see no more than one; or that a gamester seeth always more than a looker-on; or that a man in anger is as wise as he, that hath said over the four-and-twenty letters; or that a musket may be shot off as well upon the arm, as upon a rest; and such other fond and high imaginations, to think himself all in all. But when all is done, the help of good counsel is that which setteth business straight; and if any man think that he will take counsel, but it shall be by pieces, asking counsel in one business of one man, and in another business of another man, it is well, (that is to say, better perhaps than if he asked none at all): but he runneth two dangers; one, that he shall not faithfully be counselled; for it is a rare thing, except it be from a perfect and entire friend, to have counsel given, but such as shall be bowed and crooked to some ends, which he bath that giveth it. The other, that he shall have counsel given, hurtful and unsafe, (though with good meaning) and mixed; partly of mischief, and partly of remedy: even as if you would call a physician, that is thought good,
for the cure of the disease you complain of, but is unacquainted with your body; and therefore may put you in a way for present cure, but overthroweth your health in some other kind, and so cure the disease, and kill the patient. But a friend that is wholly acquainted with a man's estate, will beware, by furthering any present business, how lie dasheth upon other inconvenience; and therefore rest not upon scattered counsels, for they will rather distract and mislead, than settle and direct.
After these two noble fruits of Friendship, (peace in the affections, and support of the judgment) followeth the last fruit, which is like the pomegranate, full of many kernels; I mean aid, and bearing a part in all actions and occasions. Here the best way to represent to the life the manifold use of Friendship, is to cast and see how many things there are, which a man cannot do himself; and then it will appear, that it was a sparing speech of the an
" that a friend is far more than himself.” Men have their time, and die many times in desire of some things, which they principally take to heart; the bestowing of a child, the finishing of a work, or the like. If a man have a true friend, he may rest almost secure, that the care of those things will continue after him: so that a man hath as it were two lives in his desires. A man hath a body, and that body is confined to a place; but
tients to say: