ADVANTAGES

The second fruit of friendship, is healthful andsovereign for the understanding, as the first is forthe affections. For friendship maketh indeed a fairday in the affections, from storm and tempests; butit maketh daylight in the understanding, out ofdarkness, and confusion of thoughts. Neither isthis to be understood only of faithful counsel,which a man receiveth from his friend; but beforeyou come to that, certain it is, that whosoever hathhis mind fraught with many thoughts, his witsand understanding do clarify and break up, in thecommunicating and discoursing with another; hetosseth his thoughts more easily; he marshalleththem more orderly, he seeth how they look whenthey are turned into words: finally, he waxethwiser than himself; and that more by an hour’sdiscourse, than by a day’s meditation. It was wellsaid by Themistocles, to the king of Persia, Thatspeech was like cloth of Arras, opened and putabroad; whereby the imagery doth appear infigure; whereas in thoughts they lie but as inpacks. Neither is this second fruit of friendship, inopening the understanding, restrained only tosuch friends as are able to give a man counsel;(they indeed are best;) but even without that, aman learneth of himself, and bringeth his ownthoughts to light, and whetteth his wits as againsta stone, which itself cuts not. In a word, a manwere better relate himself to a statua, or picture,than to suffer his thoughts to pass in smother.

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