Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Sermons
A Brother Born for AdversityAnon.Proverbs 17:17
Constancy in FriendshipProverbs 17:17
FriendshipW. M. Statham.Proverbs 17:17
Friendship in AdversityW. Arnot, D. D.Proverbs 17:17
Men's Friendship and Christ'sH. H. Snell.Proverbs 17:17
The Friend in NeedW. Clarkson Proverbs 17:17
The Unrivalled FriendProverbs 17:17
The Unrivalled FriendC.H. Spurgeon Proverbs 17:17
Fatherhood and SonshipW. Clarkson Proverbs 17:6, 21, 25
Light in the Head, Love in the HeartE. Johnson Proverbs 17:16-20
Use and NeglectW. Clarkson Proverbs 17:16, 24


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 -

I. DISTANCE.

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.

V. IT IS BY ADVERSITY THAT THE WHOLE BROTHERHOOD ARE GATHERED AT LAST INTO OUR FATHER'S HOUSE ABOVE.

(Anon.)

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.)

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