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Verse 13

That a man lay down his life for his friends - No man can carry his love for his friend farther than this: for, when he gives up his life, he gives up all that he has. This proof of my love for you I shall give in a few hours; and the doctrine which I recommend to you I am just going to exemplify myself. There are several remarkable cases, in heathen antiquity, where one friend offered his life for another. The two following will not stand dishonorably even in the book of God; became every thing loving and pure, in heathen, Jew, or Christian, must come from the God of love and purity.

When Cyrus had made war on the king of Armenia, and had taken him, his wife, and children, with Tigranes his son, and his wife, prisoners; treating with the old king concerning his ransom, he said, How much money wilt thou give me to have thy wife again? All that I have, replied the king. And how much wilt thou advance to enjoy thy children again? All that I can produce, answered the king. By reckoning thus, said Cyrus, you prize these at twice as much as you possess. Then, turning to Tigranes, he said, How much wilt thou give as a ransom, that thou mayest have thy wife? (Now Tigranes had been but lately married, και ὑπερφιλων την γυναικα , and loved his wife exceedingly.) He answered, I will indeed, O Cyrus, και της ψυχης πριαιμην , ransom her even with My Life, that she may be no longer in thraldom. See Xenoph. Cyrop. lib. iii. c.

The second example, which is too long to be inserted, is that affecting account of the friendship of Nisus and Euryalus, given by Virgil, in the ninth book of the Aeneis. These two friends, leagued together, had slain many of the Rutulians in a night attack: at last Euryalus was taken prisoner. Nisus, concealed in a thicket, slew several of the enemy's chiefs with his javelins: Volscens, their general, not seeing the hand by which his officers were slain, determines to wreak his vengeance upon his prisoner. Nisus, seeing his friend about to be transfixed with the sword, rushing out of the wood where he lay hidden, suddenly cries: -

Me! Me! adsum qui Feci! in Me convertite ferrum,

O Rutuli! MeA fraus omnis: - nihil Iste - nec ausus,

Nec potuit - Caelum hoc, et conscia sidera testor!

Tantum infelicem Nimium Dilexit Amicum

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