CHAPTER VI. OF THE CHOICE OF FRIENDS.
The following conversation of Socrates with Critobulus may teach us how we ought to try friends, and with whom it is good to contract friendship:—“If we were to choose a friend,” said Socrates to him, “what precaution ought we to take? Ought we not to look out for a man who is not given to luxury, to drunkenness, to women, nor to idleness? For with these vices he could never be very useful to his friend nor to himself.” “That is certain,” answered Critobulus. “Then,” said Socrates, “if we found a man that loved to live great, though he had not an estate to support the expense, and who having daily occasion to employ the purses of his friends should show by his actions that whatever you lend him is so much lost, and that if you do not lend him he will take it ill of you, do you not think that such a man would be very improper to make a friend of?” “There is no doubt of it,” said Critobulus. “And if we found another,” continued Socrates, “who was saving of what he had, but who, on the other hand, was so covetous that it would be quite unfit to have anything to do with him, because he would always be very ready to receive and never to give again?” “In my opinion,” said Critobulus, “this would be a worse friend than the former. And if we should find a man who was so carried away with the desire of enriching himself that he applied his mind to nothing else, but getting all he could scrape together?” “We ought not to have anything to do with him neither,” answered Critobulus, “for he would be good to no man but himself.” “If we found a quarrelsome man,” continued Socrates, “who was every day like to engage all his friends in new broils and squabbles, what would you think of him?” “That he ought to be avoided,” answered Critobulus. “And if a man,” said Socrates, “were free from all these faults, and were only of a humour to desire to receive kindnesses, but never to concern himself to return them, what would you think of him?” “That neither he, too, would be proper to make