9. Never indulge a suspicious disposition. Many persons destroy their own peace, and gain the ill-will of others, by the exercise of this unhappy temper. You have no right to think others dislike you, until they have manifested their dislike. Accustom yourself to repose confidence in your associates. It is better to be sometimes deceived, than never to trust. And if you are always jealous of those around you, be sure you will soon alienate their affections. In your intercourse with others of your own age and sex, be willing always to advance at least half way, and with those whose habits are very retiring, you may even go farther. Many persons of sterling worth have so low an opinion of themselves, as to doubt whether even their own equals wish to form an acquaintance. “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.” Always put the best construction upon the conduct of others. Do not attach more meaning to their language and conduct than they properly express. If at any time you really believe yourself slighted, take no notice of it. Yet be careful never to intrude yourself into society where you have good reason to believe your company is not desired.
10. Be cautious in the formation of intimate friendships. Christians should always regard one another as friends. Yet peculiar circumstances, together with congeniality of sentiment and feeling, may give rise to a personal attachment much stronger than the common bond which unites all Christians. Of this, we have a most beautiful example in the case of David and Jonathan. This appears to be a perfect pattern of Christian friendship. They both doubtless loved other pious people. But there was existing between them a peculiar personal attachment. Their souls were “knit together.” Friendships of this kind should not be numerous, and the objects of them should be well chosen. Long acquaintance is necessary that you may be able to repose unlimited confidence in the friend to whom you unbosom your whole heart. Form no such friendships hastily. Think what would have been the consequence if David had been deceived in this friend. He would most certainly have lost his life.
11. Before going into company, visit your closet. Pray that the Lord would so direct your steps that you may do all things for his glory; that he would enable you to spend the time profitably to yourself and others; that he would keep you from evil speaking, levity, and foolish jesting, and every impropriety; and that he would enable you to exert a religious influence over those with whom you may meet. Be assured, if you go out without observing this precaution, you will return with a wounded soul.
Your affectionate Brother.
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly; seeketh not her own; is not easily provoked; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”—1 Cor. 13:4-7.