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Friendship.

Friendship.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. A. L. STONE, D. D.,


.... THERE IS A FRIEND THAT STICKETH CLOSER THAN A BROTHER. — Prov. xviii. 24.
BY REV. A. L. STONE, D. D.,


.... THERE IS A FRIEND THAT STICKETH CLOSER THAN A BROTHER. — Prov. xviii. 24.

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 08, 2014
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FRIEDSHIP. BY REV. A. L. STOE, D. D., .... THERE IS A FRIED THAT STICKETH CLOSER THA A BROTHER. — Prov. xviii. 24. WE speak a very tender and sacred word when we call one our "brother." But a brother may not be a friend. All the household ties may be complete upon a heart that yet feels that it has not one friend. The in- timacies of the home may be coupled together, leaving this heart unmated. And where love is not denied, the love that is rendered us in the natural ties scarce seems to us the tribute of the free heart. It is mixed with in- stinct. It comes not so much as a matter of choice, because the eye has seen and the heart has felt a charm that cannot be resisted, but as a matter of natural instinc- tive prompting, quickened by common blood, strength- ened by common interest. It may not be a personal homage when those who are cradled together are found content with one another's so- ciety. ature has joined them rather than elective affec- tion. The fellowship is close often rather hy force of habit than by clinging tenderness and mutual sympathy. The heart wants more than this. It wants one upon 16 182 FRIEDSHIP. whom it can bestow its love and esteem, to whom it can impart all its confidence, and from whom it can receive the same, as a voluntary offering, the expression of a
 
good will which it has won not by blood, but by its own qualities, not the dictate of nature, but the full, free choice of the heart. Sometimes this want is supplied within the circle of the home, not as the fruit of nature, but above nature. More frequently, perhaps, I had almost said more nat- urally, this intimate friendship is with one outside the home, the soul exercising its liberty, finding its happi- ness in giving without the constraint of nature, and crav- ing in return that which is spontaneous and uncon- strained. It would love and trust, not of debt, but of free will. Give me a friend. _I__am not myself till I have a ^iend. My nature is locked up ; my friend has the key. Till he open, how can I know, how can another know, what my heart is capable of? I am restricted, stifled, suppressed. I do not grow up and out to the light and the air. I do not think my own thoughts, nor speak my own language, nor warm into true, loving, and genuine confidence till my friend come. If I have no friend, I shall be likely to remain unexpressed, and so to be less and less what I might be. My friend carries my devel- opment beyond all my old consciousness of capacity. What does a stranger or a mere acquaintance do for my truer self? He takes a careless greeting, a light courtesy, a civil word, a touch of my listless hand. Is this all I have to give ? Is this all I am ? FEIEDSHIP. 233 What a transformation one hour of intercourse with a friend effects ; how my heart opens ; how I venture down for its deepest mysteries, and lead them up to day; how I dismiss the shyness that kept the sanctuaries of my soul veiled ; how the soul itself walks forth like Adam in the garden, unrobed but not afraid, meeting in the paradise
 
of friendship no eye that brings a blush ; how I speak what my lips never uttered before ; how I feel what my heart never felt before; how the hidden fountains at this breath of spring — the rigid frost all dissolved — well up and pour forth their fre^h, unchecked streams ; how my nature revels in this genial clime, whose brightness is the face of my friend ! Is this myself? I knew it not. I should never have known it but for this touch of friend- ship's magic wand. It is not my old solitary self. It is my occult, my begotten, my possible self, and I come into actual and demonstrative being in this natal hour. I was never fully born until now, and knew no complete maternity till I knew the cherishing nurture of friendship. How much, then, do I need that friendship itself should do for me ? If I can put into speech all that my soul, in its deepest asking, wants of a true friend, what shall I plead for? I want a friend that shall meet the craving of my heart for a perfect loveliness and beauty. I cannot be satisfied with loving fair and beautiful things that are inanimate. The rose is perfectly beautiful in its way. My heart springs toward the faultless arch and brilliant coloring of the rainbow ; the wooded lake, far away from the 184 FEIEDSHIP. hauuts of men, and unvexed by the intrusion of human life, is quietly and exquisitely lovely. I admire these charms of nature ; I stand fascuiated with gazing upon them; I pronounce their loveliness without a blemish, but I am alone while with them. There is no tenderness in my love, no warmth of sympathy in it; there is no exchange of soul. My taste is educated and refined, but I have seen no face that answers back to mine.

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