I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to preach a series of messages on friendship at our church. As part of my study, I’ve been enjoying a book simply entitled Friendship by Hugh Black, published by Joshua Press.

Here are some of the quotes that I’ve enjoyed:

‘The religious life, in spite of all the unnatural experiments of monasticism and all its kindred ascetic forms, is pre-eminently a life of friendship. It is individual in its root, and social in its fruits. It is when two or three are gathered together that religion becomes a fact for the world. The joy of religion will not be hid and buried in a man’s own heart. “Come, see a man that told me all that I ever did” (John 4:29), is the natural outcome of the first wonder and the first faith. It spreads from soul to soul by the impact of soul on soul, from the original impact of the great soul of God.’

‘Christ’s ideal is the ideal of a kingdom, men banded together in a common cause, under common laws, serving the same purpose of love.’

‘The very existence of the church as a body of believers is due to this necessity of our nature, which demands opportunity for the interchange of Christian sentiment. The deeper the feeling, the greater is the joy of sharing it with another. There is a strange felicity, a wondrous enchantment, which comes from true intimacy of heart, and close communion of soul, and the result is more than mere fleeting joy. When it is shared in the deepest thoughts and highest aspirations, when it is built on a common faith, and lives by a common hope, it brings perfect peace. No friendship has done its work until it reaches the supremest satisfaction of spiritual communion.’

‘We cannot live a self-centred life, without feeling that we are missing the true glory of life. We were made for social intercourse, if only that the highest qualities of our nature might have an opportunity for development. The joy, which a true friendship gives, reveals the existence of the want of it, perhaps previously unfelt. It is a sin against ourselves to let our affections wither. This sense of incompleteness is an argument in favour of its possible satisfaction; our need is an argument for its fulfillment. Our hearts demand love, as truly as our bodies demand food.’

‘The divine meaning of a true friendship is that it is often the first unveiling of the secret of love. It is not an end in itself, but has most of its worth in what it leads to, the priceless gift of seeing with the heart rather than with the eyes. To love one soul for its beauty and grace and truth is to open the way to appreciate all beautiful and true and gracious souls, and to recognize spiritual beauty wherever it is seen.’