but it is also seen with
princes: in their case also men much below them in station do not expect to be their
friends, nor do persons of no particular merit expect to be the friends of men of
distinguished excellence or wisdom.
It is true that we
cannot fix a precise limit in such cases, up to which two men can still be friends; the
gap may go on widening and the friendship still remain1
; but when one becomes very remote from the other, as God is
remote from man, it can continue no longer.
rise to the question, is it not after all untrue that we wish our friends the greatest of
goods? for instance, can we wish them to become gods? for then they will lose us as
friends, and therefore lose certain goods, for friends are goods.2
If then it was rightly said above3
that a true friend wishes his friend's good for that friend's
own sake, the friend would have to remain himself, whatever that may be; so that he will
really wish him only the greatest goods compatible with his remaining a human being. And
perhaps not all of these, for everybody wishes good things for himself most of all.
Most men however, because they love honor, seem to be more desirous of receiving than of
bestowing affection. Hence most men like flattery, for a flatterer is a friend who is your
or pretends to be so, and to love you more than you love him; but to
be loved is felt to be nearly the same as to be honored, which most people covet.
They do not however appear to value honor for its own
sake, but for something incidental to it. Most people like receiving honor from men of