The Friend in Need
Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

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.

Parallel Verses
KJV: A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

WEB: A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity.

Men's Friendship and Christ's
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