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The Friendship of Christ (a University Sermon)
Deuteronomy 12:13 ; Revelation 3:20
Your college days are preeminently days when you open the doors of your hearts and let new friends in. In these years you are generous, and ready to hear a knock, and to respond to it.
I. Never has the history of any human life been truly and fully related. I fancy that if such a thing could be, the record would be mainly of those who at different stages and periods have come into it. Many of them have come and gone, but some have remained. To let another human being into your life means far more than you can possibly imagine now. Let us consider what a true friendship means and how blessed it is.
( a ) First of all, there is in a true friendship a complete and joyous frankness. We go about disguised. Most of our intercourse with fellow-beings is altogether on the surface. In a true friendship all that we have dealt with in the outer court we take as ended. There the veils are torn; we are heart to heart.
( b ) A true friendship means also sympathy and tenderness. In its high estate it fears nothing from life or even from death. The friends who are together in the class-room today are going out to their encounter with the world, and in that one may succeed and the other may fail. But it is not upon the hazards of fortune that a true friendship turns. A true friendship is to be for solace and for cheer in all the relations and passages of life and death.
( c ) Also a true friendship is an education in trust, in magnanimity. Great friendships are not to be broken on mere suspicion. They are not even to be broken by fault, for all of us err. There is something in a high friendship which survives all that, and if life is a lesson in magnanimity, we shall learn it best from the dearest and noblest of our friends. This friendship cannot be broken by death.
II. But as Emerson says, true friendship demands a religious treatment. We are not to strike links of friendship with cheap persons where no friendship is. We are not to offer our burnt offerings in every place we see.
III. Whoever comes or goes, there is one Friend who continually knocks at the door of our hearts, and His friendship is all-sufficing. There are many who even in the crowd are lonely and loveless. It was for them that Christ died. It is their love that Christ is seeking. Remember that no one who has let Christ into his life ever repented of it.
IV. There is no such great mystery about conversion. You know already what it is to let some human being enter into your life. Everything is changed by it more or less. What could be better, happier, wiser for you than to open the door to this Seeker, this Knocker, this Beseecher? Let him in. Say to Him, say it to Him now in the silence of your souls, Come in Thou Blessed of the Lord: why standest Thou without?
W. Robertson Nicoll, The British Weekly, vol. xlv. p. 353.
Deuteronomy 12:13 . Exposition of this verse in Mark Rutherford's Revolution in Tanner's Lane, chap. XXIV.
References. XIII. 1-3. F. D. Maurice, Patriarchs and Lawgivers of the Old Testament, p. 274. XIII. 11. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. iv. p. 29. XIV. 21. R. F. Horton, The Hidden God, p. 65. C. J. Vaughan, Memorials of Harrow Sundays, p. 138. XV. 11. J. Keble, Miscellaneous Sermons, p. 41. J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Prophets, vol. ii. p. 218. XV. 15. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxiv. No. 1406. XVI. 1. C. S. Robinson, Simon Peter, p. 53. E. White, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv. p. 120. XII. 2. H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Sunday Lessons, vol. i. p. 416.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 12". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13