Tag Archives: Friend

“Do you want an unfailing friend?” by J.C. Ryle

“Do we want an unfailing friend? Such a friend is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The saddest part of all the good things of earth is their instability. Riches make themselves wings and flee away; youth and beauty are but for a few years; strength of body soon decays; mind and intellect are soon exhausted.

All is perishing. All is fading. All is passing away. But there is one splendid exception to this general rule, and that is the friendship of Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus is a friend who never changes. There is no fickleness about Him: those whom He loves, He loves unto the end. Husbands have been known to forsake their wives; parents have been known to cast off their children; human vows and promises of faithfulness have often been forgotten.

Thousands have been neglected in their poverty and old age, who were honoured by all when they were rich and young. But Christ never changed His feelings towards one of His friends. He is ‘the same yesterday, today, and forever.’ (Heb. 13:8.)

The Lord Jesus never goes away from His friends. There is never a parting and good-bye between Him and His people. From the time that He makes His abode in the sinner’s heart, He abides in it forever.

The world is full of leave-takings and departures: death and the lapse of time break up the most united family; sons go forth to make their way in life; daughters are married, and leave their father’s house forever.

Scattering, scattering, scattering, is the yearly history of the happiest home. How many we have tearfully watched as they drove away from our doors, whose pleasant faces we have never seen again!

How many we have sorrowfully followed to the grave, and then come back to a cold, silent, lonely, and blank fireside! But, thanks be to God, there is One who never leaves His friends! The Lord Jesus is He who has said, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’ (Heb. 13:5.)

The Lord Jesus goes with His friends wherever they go. There is no possible separation between Him and those whom He loves. There is no place or position on earth, or under the earth, that can divide them from the great Friend of their souls.

When the path of duty calls them far away from home, He is their companion.

When they pass through the fire and water of fierce tribulation, He is with them.

When they lie down on the bed of sickness, He stands by them and makes all their trouble work for good.

When they go down the valley of the shadow of death, and friends and relatives stand still and can go no further, He goes down by their side.

When they wake up in the unknown world of Paradise, they are still with Him.

When they rise with a new body at the judgment day, they will not be alone.

He will own them for His friends, and say, ‘They are mine: deliver them and let them go free.’ He will make good His own words: ‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:20.)

Look round the world, and see how failure is written on all men’s schemes. Count up the partings, and separations, and disappointments, and bereavements which have happened under your own knowledge.

Think what a privilege it is that there is One at least who never fails, and in whom no one was ever disappointed! Never, never was there so unfailing a friend as Jesus Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1878/2013), 327-328.

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Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Friendship, J.C. Ryle, Jesus Christ, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

“Your Lord and your brother and your friend” by Jonathan Edwards

“Whatsoever there is or can be desirable in a friend, is found in Christ, and that to the highest degree that can be desired.

Would you choose for a friend a person of great dignity? It is a thing taking with men to have those for their friends who are much above them; because they look upon themselves honoured by the friendship of such. Thus, how taking would it be with an inferior maid to be the object of the dear love of some great and excellent prince.

But Christ is infinitely above you, and above all the princes of the earth; for He is the King of kings. So honourable a person as this offers Himself to you, in the nearest and dearest friendship.

And would you choose to have a friend not only great but good? In Christ infinite greatness and infinite goodness meet together, and receive lustre and glory one from another. His greatness is rendered lovely by His goodness.

The greater any one is without goodness, so much the greater evil; but when infinite goodness is joined with greatness, it renders it a glorious and adorable greatness. So, on the other hand, His infinite goodness receives lustre from His greatness.

He that is of great understanding and ability, and is withal of a good and excellent disposition, is deservedly more esteemed than a lower and lesser being, with the same kind inclination and good will. Indeed goodness is excellent in whatever subject it be found; it is beauty and excellency itself, and renders all excellent that are possessed of it; and yet most excellent when joined with greatness.

The very same excellent qualities of gold render the body in which they are inherent more precious, and of greater value, when joined with greater than when with lesser dimensions. And how glorious is the sight, to see Him who is the great Creator and supreme Lord of heaven and earth, full of condescension, tender pity and mercy, towards the mean and unworthy!

His almighty power, and infinite majesty and self-sufficiency, render His exceeding love and grace the more surprising. And how do His condescension and compassion endear His majesty, power, and dominion, and render those attributes pleasant, that would otherwise be only terrible!

Would you not desire that your friend, though great and honourable, should be of such condescension and grace, and so to have the way opened to free access to Him, that His exaltation above you might not hinder your free enjoyment of His friendship?

And would you choose not only that the infinite greatness and majesty of your friend should be, as it were, mollified and sweetened with condescension and grace; but would you also desire to have your friend brought nearer to you?

Would you choose a friend far above you, and yet as it were upon a level with you too? Though it be taking with men to have a near and dear friend of superior dignity, yet there is also an inclination in them to have their friend a sharer with them in circumstances. Thus is Christ.

Though He be the great God, yet He has, as it were, brought Himself down to be upon a level with you, so as to become man as you are, that He might not only be your Lord, but your brother, and that He might be the more fit to be a companion for such a worm of the dust.

This is one end of Christ’s taking upon Him man’s nature, that His people might be under advantages for a more familiar converse with Him, than the infinite distance of the divine nature would allow of.

One design of God in the gospel, is to bring us to make God the object of our undivided respect, that He may engross our regard every way, that whatever natural inclination there is in our souls, He may be the centre of it; that God may be all in all.

But there is an inclination in the creature, not only to the adoration of a Lord and Sovereign, but to complacence in some one as a friend, to love and delight in some one that may be conversed with as a companion. And virtue and holiness do not destroy or weaken this inclination of our nature.

But so hath God contrived in the affair of our redemption, that a divine person may be the object even of this inclination of our nature. And in order hereto, such an one is come down to us; and has taken our nature, and is become one of us, and calls Himself our friend, brother, and companion.

Psal. cxxii. 8. ‘For my brethren and companions’ sake, will I now say, Peace be within thee.'”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Excellency of Christ,” The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1. Ed. Edward Hickman (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1834/1998), 1:688. The sermon may be read here in its entirety.

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