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TEXT: PROV. XVII. 17.
A friend loveth at all times.'
PERHAPS you may wonder at finding friendship set down as one of the helps which God offers you
Christian life. It is just because we may make it a help, and yet so often make it a hindrance, that we will try and think over this text to-day.
Now there are two things to be thought of—first, how to choose your friends; next, how to keep them.
To begin with, as to choosing your friends. Too often, a girl is apt to make friends by chance, with the first person who speaks pleasantly to her or
does her some passing kindness; but this is not always wise : that person may not be a safe friend for her to have.
The first question I should like you toask yourself in making friends with any one, either a girl of your own age or some one older, is this, Will they help me or hinder me in doing right ?' They may be very kind
able to help you in getting on in the world, yet they may laugh at you for doing what is right; they may lead you out of the narrow path into the broad road which leadeth to destruction. One who would do this would be no true friend to you —not such a friend as the text speaks of as loving at all times.'
I would have you choose, then, for your friends those who love and serve the same Master, those who will encourage you in doing right, and who will love you well enough to tell you when you do wrong.
A friend like this will, indeed, be a help and not a hindrance to you in doing God's work.
Next, as to keeping your friends. You
must try and help them in your turn; you must be constant to them, love them as much when far away as when near. God has put us into this world to help each other; and what is sweeter than helping those we love ?
Over and over again in the Bible we read of friendship; of Jonathan, whose love for David was 'passing the love of women;' of our blessed Lord Himself, who not only called all His disciples friends, but who chose for His especial friend the beloved disciple John, who ‘leaned on His breast at supper.' With such examples as these before you will you think lightly of friendship, and fancy it doesn't matter whom
choose for your friends, although they may make such a difference in your life ? No; rather pray that God will help you to choose your friends wisely, and make both them and you faithful followers of Him who is to each one of us the best and truest Friend.
Help me, Lord, I beseech Thee, to choose for my friends those who love and serve Thee, those who will help and not hinder me in my way to Heaven. Make me a true and faithful friend to them. Teach me to help them in difficulty, to comfort them in sorrow, and to bring them nearer to Thee. Teach me to do them good, not evil ; to speak the truth to them in love. May I never be a stumbling-block to them in the narrow road, and thus may we come together to Thine everlasting kingdom who art our best and truest Friend. Amen.
True friends help each other,
Gladly give and take;
For sweet friendship's sake.