Thursday, November 20, 2008

True Friend

Of a thousand whom ye know, one be your friend
- Prophet Solomon

Then said Matthew, ‘Then shall we not be able to love anyone.’

Jesus answered, ‘Verily I say unto you, that is not lawful for you to hate anything save only sin, insomuch that ye cannot even hate Satan as creature of God, but rather than as enemy of God. Know ye wherefore? I will tell you. Because he is a creature of God and all that God hath created is good and perfect. Accordingly, whoso hateth the creature hateth also the creator.

But the friend is a singular thing, that is easily found, but is easily lost. For the friend will not suffer contradiction against him whom he supremely loveth.

Beware, be ye cautious, and choose not for friend one who loveth not him whom ye love. Know ye what friend meaneth? Friend meaneth naught but physician of the soul. And so, just as one rarely findeth a good physician who knoweth the sickness and understandeth to apply the medicines thereto, so also are friends rare who know the faults and understand how to guide unto good.

But herein is an evil, that there are many who have friends that feign under earthly pretext, and what is worse, there are friends who invite and aid their friend to err, whose end shall be like unto their villainy. Beware that ye receive not such men for friends, for that in truth they are enemies and slayers of the soul.

Let thy friend be such that, even as he willeth to correct thee, so he may receive correction, and even as he willeth that thou shouldest leave all things for love of God, even so again it may content him that thou forsake him for the service of God.

But tell me, if a man know not how to love God how shall he know how to love himself, and how shall he know how to love others, not knowing how to love himself? Assuredly this is impossible.

Therefore when thou choose thee one for friend, see that thou consider first, not his fine lineage, not his fine family, not his fine house, not his fine clothing, not his fine person, not his fine words, for thou shalt be easily deceived. But look how he feareth God, how he despiseth earthly things, how he loveth good works, and above all things shall fear God, and shall despise the vanities of the world; if he shall be always occupied in good works, and shall hate his own body as a cruel enemy.

Nor yet shalt thou love such a friend in such wise that thy love stay in him, for so shalt thou be an idolater. But love him as a gift that God hath given thee, for so shall God adorn him with greater favour. Verily I say unto you, that he who hath found a true friend hath found one of the delights of paradise: nay, such is the key of paradise.’

- The Gospel of Barnabas, Chapter 85-86.

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