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that is against looseness and profaneness in his opinion, and do not like the folly of the licentious, who yet like licentious practice best.
Count. x. To love them for some parts of godliness only, while some other essential part will not be endured (of which before).
Count. x 1. To love them in a kind fit only, as Saul with tears professed to do his son David; but to have no habitual constant love.
Count. x11. Lastly, to love godly men a little, and the world and fleshly interest more; to love them only so as will cost them nothing ; to wish them fed, but not to feed them, and to wish them clothed, but not to clothe them, and to wish them out of prison, but not to dare to visit them for fear of suffering themselves. He that hath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up the bowels of his compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him : surely if the love of his brother were in him, the love of God had been in him. But he that hath no true love to his brother, that will only love him on terms that cost him little, and not give and suffer for his love. All these are deceiving counterfeits of love to the children of God.
Tit. 6. Cases and Directions for Intimate, Special Friends.
Quest. 1. ‘Is it lawful to have an earnest desire to be loved by others? Especially by some one person above all other?”
Answ. There is a desire of others’ love which is lawful, and there is a desire which is unlawful.
I. It is lawful, 1. When we desire it as it is their duty, which God himself obligeth them to perform, and so is part of their integrity, and is their own good, and pleaseth God; so parents must desire their children to love them, and one another, because it is their duty, and else they are unnatural and bad; and husband and wife may desire that each other discharge that duty of love which God requireth, and so may all others. 2. It is lawful also to desire for our own sakes to be loved by others; so be it, it be, (1.) With a calm and sober desire, which is not eager, peremptory, or importunate, nor overvalueth the love of man. (2.) According to the proportion of our own worth ; not desiring to be thought greater, wiser, or better, than indeed we are, nor to be loved erroneously by an overvaluing love. 3. When we desire it for the benefits to which it tendeth, more than to be valued and loved ourselves; as, (1.) That we may receive that edification and good from a friend, which love disposeth them to communicate. (2.) That we may do that good to our friends, which love disposeth them to receive. (3.) That we may honour and please God, who delighteth in the true love and concord of his children. II. But the unlawful desire of others' love to us, is much more common, and is a sin of a deeper malignity than is commonly observed. This desire of love is sinful, when it is contrary to that before described; as, 1. When we desire it over eagerly. 2. When we desire it selfishly and proudly, to be set up in the good opinion of others; and not to make a benefit of it to ourselves or them; but our own honour is more desired in it, than the honour of God. 3. When we desire to be thought greater, wiser, or better than we are, and to be loved with such an overvaluing love; and have no desire that the bounds of truth and usefulness should restrain and limit that love to us which we affect. 4. When it is an erroneous, fanciful, carnal, or lustful esteem of some one person, which maketh us desire his love more than others. As because he is higher, richer, fairer, &c. This eager desire to be overloved by others, hath in it all these aggravations. }. It is the very sin of pride, which God hath declared so great a detestation of For pride is an overvaluing ourselves, for greatness, wisdom, or goodness, and a desire to be so overvalued of others. And he that would be overloyed, would be overvalued. 2. It is self-idolizing; when we would be loved as better than we are, we rob God of that love which men should render to him, who can never be overloved, and we would fain seem a kind of petty deities to the world, and draw men's eyes and hearts unto ourselves. When we should be jealous of God's interest and honour, lest we or any creature should have his due, this proud disposition maketh people set up themselves in the estimation of others, and
they scarce care how good or wise they are esteemed ; nor how much they are lifted up in the hearts of others. 3. It is an injurious insnaring the minds of others, and tempting them to erroneous opinions of us, and affections to us; which will be their sin, and may bring them into many inconveniencies. It is an ordinary thing to do greater hurt to a friend whom we value, by insmaring him in an inordinate love, than ever he did or can do to an enemy by hating him. Quest. 11. “Is it lawful, meet or desirable to entertain that extraordinary affection to any one, which is called special friendship, or to have an endeared, intimate friend, whom we love far above all others ?" Answ. Intimate, special friendship is a thing that hath been so much pleaded for by all sorts of men, and so much of the felicity of man's life hath been placed in it, that it beseemeth not me to speak against it. But yet I think it meet to tell you with what cautions and limits it must be received, and how far it is good, and how far sinful; (for there are perils here to be avoided, which neither Cicero, nor his Scipio and Laelius were acquainted with). I. 1. It is lawful to choose some one well qualified person, who is fittest for that use, and to make him the chief companion of our lives; our chiefest counsellor and comforter, and to confine our intimacy and converse to him in a special manner above all others. 2. And it is lawful to love him not only according to his personal worth, but according to his special suitableness to us, and to desire his felicity accordingly, and to exercise our love to him more frequently and sensibly (because of his nearness and presence) than towards some better men that are further off. . The reasons of such an intimate friendship are these, I. No man is sufficient for himself, and therefore nature teacheth them to desire an helper. And there is so wonderful a diversity of temperaments and conditions, and so great a disparity and incongruity among good and wise men, towards each other, that one that is more suitable and congruous to us than all the rest, may on that account be much preferred. 2. It is not many that can be so near us as to be ordimary helpers to us: and a wiser man at a distance or out of reach, may be less useful to us, than one of inferior worth at hand. 3. The very exercise of friendly love and kindness to another is pleasant: and so it is to have one to whom we may confidently reveal our secrets, to bear part of our burden, and to confirm us in our right apprehensions, and to cure us of wrong ones. 4. And it is no small benefit of a present bosom friend, to be instead of all the world to us; that is, of common, unprofitable company: for man is a sociable creature, and abhorreth utter solitude. And among the common sort, we shall meet with so much evil, and so little that is truly wise or good, as will tempt a man to think that he is best when he is least conversant with mankind. But a selected friend is to us for usefulness instead of many, without these common incumbrances and snares. 5. And it is a great part of the commodity of a faithful friend, to be assisted in the true knowledge of ourselves: to have one that will watch over us, and faithfully tell us of the sin, and danger, and duty, which we cannot easily see without help, and which other men will not faithfully acquaint us with. II. But yet it is rare to choose and use this friendship rightly; and there are many evils here to be carefully avoided. The instances shall be mentioned anon in the Directions, and therefore now passed by. Quest. 111. ‘Is it meet to have more such bosom friends than one?” Answ. 1. Usually one only is meetest: 1. Because love diffused is often weak, and contracted is more strong. 2. Because secrets are seldom safe in the hands of many. 3. Because suitable persons are rare. 4. And though two or three may be suitable to you, yet perhaps they may be unsuitable among themselves. And the calamities of their own disparities will redound to you; and their fallings out may turn to the betraying of your secrets, or to some other greater wrong. 2. But yet sometimes two or three such friends may be better than one alone. 1. In case they be all near and of an approved suitableness and fidelity. 2. In case they be all suitable and endeared to one another. 3. If a man live ‘per vices’ in several places, and his friends cannot remove with him, he may have one friend in one place, and another in another, and so many will be but as one that is constant. 4. And in case that many may add to our help, our counsel and comfort, more than to our danger, hurt, or trouble. In all these cases many are better than one. Quest. Iv. “Is it fit for him to take another bosom friend who hath a pious wife 2 And is any other so fit to be a friend, as he and she that are as one flesh?’ Answ. When a wife hath the understanding, and virtue and fidelity fit for this sort of friendship, then no one else is so fit, because of nearness and united interests. The same I say of a husband to a wife. But because that it seldom falls out that there is such a fitness for this office, especially in the wife, in that case it is lawful and meet to choose a friend that is fit indeed, and to commit those secrets to him which we commit not to a wife: for secrets are not to be committed to the untrusty, nor wise counsel to be expected from the unwise, how near soever. And the great writers about this special friendship, do think that no woman is fit for it, but men only; but that conclusion is too injurious to that sex. Quest. v. ‘Is it agreeable to the nature of true friendship to love our friend not only for himself, but for our own commodity? And whether must he or I be the chief end of my love and friendship !” Answ. 1. Indeed in our love to God, he that is the object is also our chief and ultimate end, and we must love him more for himself than for ourselves. And yet here it is lawful subordinately to intend ourselves. 2. And our love to the commonwealth, should be greater than our love to ourselves, and therefore we may not love it chiefly for ourselves. 3. And if our bosom friend be notoriously better than we are, and more serviceable to God and to the common good, we should love him also above ourselves, and therefore not chiefly for ourselves. 4. But in case of an equality of goodness and usefulness, we are not bound to love our most intimate friend more than ourselves; and therefore may at least equally love him for ourselves, as for himself. And if we are really and no