Proverbs 17:17

However we read this passage (see Exposition), we have before us the subject of true and lasting friendship. As is stated in a previous homily (see on ver. 9), this is founded on a common attachment to the same great principles, moral and religious; and also on a mutual esteem, each heart holding the other in a real regard. When such intelligent esteem ripens into strong affection, we have a result that deserves to bear the beautiful and honourable name of friendship. The true friend is one that "loves at all times," and he is a "brother born for adversity." A false or a weak friendship will not bear the strain which the changeful and hard experiences of life will put upon it; it will break and perish. But a true friendship, well founded and well nourished upon Christian truth, will bear all strains, even those of -


II. CHANGE OF VIEW AND OF OCCUPATION. Friendship usually beans in youth or in the earlier years of manhood; then will come, with maturity of mind and enlargement of knowledge and change of occupation, difference of view on things personal, political, literary, social. But true friendship will endure that strain.

III. REDUCTION. The loss of health; of property or income, and the consequent reduction in style and in resources; mental vigour with the lapse of time or from the burden of oppressive care and overwork. But faithfulness will triumph over this.

IV. PROSPERITY. One may ascend in circumstances, in social position; may be attended and even courted by the wealthy and the powerful; may have his time much occupied by pressing duties; and the friendship begun years ago, in a much lower position, may be threatened; but it should not be sacrificed.

V. DISHONOUR. It does occasionally happen to men that they fall into undeserved reproach. They are misunderstood or they are falsely accused; and the good name is tainted with some serious charge. Neighbours, casual acquaintances, those associated by the slighter social bonds, fall away; they "pass by on the other side." Then is the time tot the true friend to make his faithfulness felt; then he is to show himself the man who "loves at all times," the "brother born for adversity." Then he will not only remember where his friend is living, but he will identify himself with him in every open way, will stand by him and walk with him, and honour him, not reluctantly and feebly, but eagerly and energetically.

VI. DECLENSION. It may happen that one to whom we have given our heart in tender and loyal affection, between whom and ourselves there has existed a long and intimate friendship, will yield to temptation in one or other of its seductive and powerful forms. It may be that he will gradually decline; it may be that he will fall with some sad suddenness into serious wrong doing. Then will come to him compunction, humiliation, desertion, loneliness. All his ordinary companions will fall from him. It will be the extreme of adversity, the lowest deep of misery. Then let true friendship show its hand, offer its strong arm, open its door of refuge and of hope; then let the friend prove himself a "brother born for adversity."

1. Be worthy to love the best, that you may form a true friendship.

2. Ennoble your life and yourself by unwavering fidelity in the testing hour, when your friend is most in need of your loyalty.

3. Secure the abiding love of that Friend who is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." - C.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Few men enjoy from others the highest and truest form of friendship. There is, however, a higher friendship among men of principle, among men of virtue. Where godliness builds her house, true friendship finds a rest. Take this text and refer it to the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. THE ENDURANCE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST. He loved before time began. He loved you when time began with you. Since that day this Friend has loved us at all times. Consider the reality of Christ's love at all times. His love has never been a thing of mere words and pretensions. Consider the nature of the love of Christ, as accounting for its endurance and reality. His love sprang from the purest possible motives. Christ's love was a wise love, not blind as ours often is. He loved us knowing exactly what we were whom He loved. His love is associated continually with an infinite degree of patience and pity. He is so constant in His love, because He sees us as what we are to be. He is described as "born for adversity," the adversity of the fall, and of tribulation.

II. REFER THE TEXT TO THE CHRISTIAN. You have found Jesus Christ to be a true brother and a blessed friend; now let the same be true of you. If Christ be such a friend to us, what manner of people ought we to be towards Him? We should be friends that love Christ at all times.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. ADVERSITY IS THE COMMON LOT OF BROTHERHOOD. It comes sooner or later to all of us. It is a necessity of our nature. It is a wise appointment of God.

II. THE TIES OF BROTHERHOOD ARE FORMED FOR ADVERSITY. We are united in families for purposes of mutual succour.

III. ADVERSITY TENDS TO SANCTIFY THE INTERCOURSE OF THE BROTHERHOOD. Some of the most valuable of our lessons are taught us in our intercourse with one another.

IV. IN ADVERSITY WE ARE LED TO KNOW, IN AN ESPECIAL MANNER, THE PRESENCE OF THE ELDER BROTHER WITH THE BROTHERHOOD. Jesus became a brother in adversity. His sufferings and sorrows enabled Him to sympathise with us in all our struggles and troubles.



Friendship is no fiction; all history bears record to its reality. There are many relationships in this world dignified by the name of friendship which really do not deserve it, as, for example, acquaintanceship, the freedom to interchange visits of courtesy, and association in business. These pass for friendship; but they are only its shadows. The perfect friendship is a very exacting relation.

1. The first value of friendship is that it will give support in weakness, understanding amid evil reports, consolation in sorrow, and help in the bearing of burdens; and that is no friendship which breaks down under such demands. Trouble is a splendid thing for any man if it only sifts his friends; it saves him a deal of trouble in other ways. There is an admirable compensation about our existence.

2. The second service of a friend is that he is one to whom all our thoughts may be uttered, one to whom we may be absolutely sincere. Ordinarily, a man is only honest when he is alone; let another man come in, and hypocrisy begins. Our words are a kind of clothes to hide our real selves. But with a friend we are absolutely open; we do all our thinking aloud, we stand erect before him, and find in his mind a true picture of what we are. Such a friend is a masterpiece of nature.

3. A third service is that it affords us the possession of one soul to whom we may be tender without shame. See the tenderness between David and Jonathan, and between Achilles and Patroclus. When one man becomes dear to another they have both reached the goal of fortune. By a tender friendship the Divine part in us finds exercise.

4. The fourth service which friendship renders is that it helps us to know ourselves and to know God. When you enjoy friendship most it is in contrast to solitude, and you seek solitude again, in order to know what you have gained from your friend. You cannot reckon up a profit and loss account while you are in his company; you have to retire to your own soul's communion in order to ascertain your gain and loss thereby. Thus you have a compensation for intercourse with another soul by introspection of your own. Further, as the power that keeps the atoms together in one body is of God, the tie between your friend's heart and your own is of God, and you cannot let your consciousness of friendship deepen without deepening at the same time your consciousness of God.

(H. H. Snell.)

Love, while it remains essentially the same, appears tenfold more loving when its object has fallen from prosperity into poverty; as a lamp burning in daylight shines much more brightly in the darkness. Many will court you while you have much to give; when you need to receive, the number of your friends will be diminished, but their quality will be improved. Your misfortune, like a blast of wind upon the thrashed corn, will drive the chaff away, but the wheat will remain where it was. How very sweet sometimes is the human friendship that remains when sore adversity has sifted it!

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

The more we understand the world the better we comprehend the Bible. The Spirit that overshadowed its writers knew all the ins and outs of human hearts, all the mysteries of human guilt and grief.

I. THE IDEAL OF FRIENDSHIP. Every man cannot be a friend. Friendships cannot be willed, they must be made. They grow; they want resemblances. Earthly friendships have often some element of weakness in them. No man can know more of his brother without knowing the worst as well as the best of him. Friendship with Christ alone satisfies. Here is —

1. The test of friendship. "At all times." True only of Christ.

2. The preciousness of friendship.

3. The future of friendship.

II. THE IDEAL OF BROTHERHOOD. "A brother is born for adversity."

1. This is a unique fact.

2. It is a designed fact.

3. It is an adapted fact.To be a true brother, Christ must take account of the world as it is, and what word is there more expressive of life than this, "adverse things" — things that turn against us!

(W. M. Statham.)

That is not true friendship which is not constant; it will be so if it be sincere and actuated by a good principle. Those that are fanciful and selfish in their friendship will love no longer than their humour is pleased and their interest served, and therefore their affections turn with the wind, and change with the weather. Swallow-friends, that fly to you in summer, but are gone in winter; such friends there is no loss of. But if the friendship be prudent, generous, and cordial, if I love my friend because he is wise, and virtuous, and good, so long as he continues so, though he fall into poverty and disgrace, still I shall love him.

( Matthew Henry.)

Adversity, Becomes, Born, Brother, Friend, Loves, Loveth, Loving, Trouble
1. Contrasts between the Righteous and the Wicked

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Proverbs 17:17

     5661   brothers
     5691   friends, good
     5734   relationships
     5895   intimacy
     8298   love, for one another
     8304   loyalty

April 8. "A Merry Heart Doeth Good Like a Medicine" (Prov. xvii. 22).
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Prov. xvii. 22). King Solomon left among his wise sayings a prescription for sick and sad hearts, and it is one that we can safely take. "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." Joy is the great restorer and healer. Gladness of spirit will bring health to the bones and vitality to the nerves when all other tonics fail, and all other sedatives cease to quiet. Sick one, begin to rejoice in the Lord, and your bones will flourish like an herb, and your cheeks
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

September 12. "The Furnace for Gold; but the Lord Trieth the Hearts" (Prov. xvii. 3. )
"The furnace for gold; but the Lord trieth the hearts" (Prov. xvii. 3.) Remember that temptation is not sin unless it be accompanied with the consent of your will. There may seem to be even the inclination, and yet the real choice of your spirit is fixed immovably against it, and God regards it simply as a solicitation and credits you with an obedience all the more pleasing to Him, because the temptation was so strong. We little know how evil can find access to a pure nature and seem to incorporate
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Unrivalled Friend
A sermon (No. 899) delivered on Lord's Day morning, November 7th, 1869, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, by C. H. Spurgeon. "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."--Proverbs 17:17. There is one thing about the usefulness of which all men are agreed, namely, friendship; but most men are soon aware that counterfeits of friendship are common as autumn leaves. Few men enjoy from others the highest and truest form of friendship. The friendships of this world are
C.H. Spurgeon—Sermons on Proverbs

Its Meaning
Deliverance from the condemning sentence of the Divine Law is the fundamental blessing in Divine salvation: so long as we continue under the curse, we can neither be holy nor happy. But as to the precise nature of that deliverance, as to exactly what it consists of, as to the ground on which it is obtained, and as to the means whereby it is secured, much confusion now obtains. Most of the errors which have been prevalent on this subject arose from the lack of a clear view of the thing itself, and
Arthur W. Pink—The Doctrine of Justification

Religion a Weariness to the Natural Man.
"He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him."--Isaiah liii. 2. "Religion is a weariness;" such is the judgment commonly passed, often avowed, concerning the greatest of blessings which Almighty God has bestowed upon us. And when God gave the blessing, He at the same time foretold that such would be the judgment of the world upon it, even as manifested in the gracious Person of Him whom He sent to give it to us. "He hath no form nor
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

The Raising of the Young Man of Nain - the Meeting of Life and Death.
THAT early spring-tide in Galilee was surely the truest realisation of the picture in the Song of Solomon, when earth clad herself in garments of beauty, and the air was melodious with songs of new life. [2625] It seemed as if each day marked a widening circle of deepest sympathy and largest power on the part of Jesus; as if each day also brought fresh surprise, new gladness; opened hitherto unthought-of possibilities, and pointed Israel far beyond the horizon of their narrow expectancy. Yesterday
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Cæsarius of Arles.
He was born in the district of Chalons-sur-Saone, A. D. 470. He seems to have been early awakened, by a pious education, to vital Christianity. When he was between seven and eight years old, it would often happen that he would give a portion of his clothes to the poor whom he met, and would say, when he came home, that he had been, constrained to do so. When yet a youth, he entered the celebrated convent on the island of Lerins, (Lerina,) in Provence, from which a spirit of deep and practical piety
Augustus Neander—Light in the Dark Places

Letter xxiv (Circa A. D. 1126) to Oger, Regular Canon
To Oger, Regular Canon [34] Bernard blames him for his resignation of his pastoral charge, although made from the love of a calm and pious life. None the less, he instructs him how, after becoming a private person, he ought to live in community. To Brother Oger, the Canon, Brother Bernard, monk but sinner, wishes that he may walk worthily of God even to the end, and embraces him with the fullest affection. 1. If I seem to have been too slow in replying to your letter, ascribe it to my not having
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Twenty Second Sunday after Trinity Paul's Thanks and Prayers for Churches.
Text: Philippians 1, 3-11. 3 I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, 5 for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; 6 being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7 even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as, both in my bonds
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

How the Silent and the Talkative are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 15.) Differently to be admonished are the over-silent, and those who spend time in much speaking. For it ought to be insinuated to the over-silent that while they shun some vices unadvisedly, they are, without its being perceived, implicated in worse. For often from bridling the tongue overmuch they suffer from more grievous loquacity in the heart; so that thoughts seethe the more in the mind from being straitened by the violent guard of indiscreet silence. And for the most part they
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

"Thou Shall Keep Him in Perfect Peace, Whose Mind is Stayed on Thee, Because He Trusteth in Thee. "
Isaiah xxvi. 3.--"Thou shall keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee." All men love to have privileges above others. Every one is upon the design and search after some well-being, since Adam lost that which was true happiness. We all agree upon the general notion of it, but presently men divide in the following of particulars. Here all men are united in seeking after some good; something to satisfy their souls, and satiate their desires. Nay, but they
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

An Analysis of Augustin's Writings against the Donatists.
The object of this chapter is to present a rudimentary outline and summary of all that Augustin penned or spoke against those traditional North African Christians whom he was pleased to regard as schismatics. It will be arranged, so far as may be, in chronological order, following the dates suggested by the Benedictine edition. The necessary brevity precludes anything but a very meagre treatment of so considerable a theme. The writer takes no responsibility for the ecclesiological tenets of the
St. Augustine—writings in connection with the donatist controversy.

An Exhortation to Peace and Unity
[ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR] This treatise was first published in 1688, after Bunyan's death, at the end of the second edition of the Barren Fig Tree, with a black border round the title. It was continued in the third edition 1692, but was subsequently omitted, although the Barren Fig Tree was printed for the same publisher. It has been printed in every edition of Bunyan's Works. Respect for the judgment of others leads me to allow it a place in the first complete edition, although I have serious
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Nature of Justification
Justification in the active sense (iustificatio, {GREEK SMALL LETTER DELTA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER IOTA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER KAPPA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER ALPHA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER IOTA WITH OXIA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER OMEGA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER SIGMA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER IOTA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER FINAL SIGMA}) is defined by the Tridentine Council as "a translation from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons of God through the second Adam,
Joseph Pohle—Grace, Actual and Habitual

Concerning Justification.
Concerning Justification. As many as resist not this light, but receive the same, it becomes in them an holy, pure, and spiritual birth, bringing forth holiness, righteousness, purity, and all those other blessed fruits which are acceptable to God: by which holy birth, to wit, Jesus Christ formed within us, and working his works in us, as we are sanctified, so are we justified in the sight of God, according to the apostle's words; But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in
Robert Barclay—Theses Theologicae and An Apology for the True Christian Divinity

Many specimens of the so-called Wisdom Literature are preserved for us in the book of Proverbs, for its contents are by no means confined to what we call proverbs. The first nine chapters constitute a continuous discourse, almost in the manner of a sermon; and of the last two chapters, ch. xxx. is largely made up of enigmas, and xxxi. is in part a description of the good housewife. All, however, are rightly subsumed under the idea of wisdom, which to the Hebrew had always moral relations. The Hebrew
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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