Monday, 20 December 2010
Friendship : Wisdom from Ecclesiasticus
I remember as a young enthusiastic Christian thinking that the Apocrypha ( that is the writings found between the Old Testament and the New Testament in some Bibles such as the Common Bible and the Jerusalem Bible.)should be treated as either 100% God inspired or rejected completely as false teaching.
The Westminster Confession of Faith states:
“The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.”Despite that the Apocrypha has much wisdom in it.
Through reading the books of people such as A.W.Tozer, C.S.Lewis, the Church Fathers or John Stott we can gain great benefit, likewise from reading the Apocrypha we can also can gain great wisdom. When I first became a Christian I had a friend who used to say when reading certain Christian books: 'Eat the meat and spit out the bones'. My thanks to Romanos my Eastern Orthodox from America who originally posted this on his blog.
A kindly turn of speech multiplies a man's friends,
and a courteous way of speaking invites many a friendly reply.
Let your acquaintances be many,
but your advisors one in a thousand.
If you want to make a friend, take him on trial,
and be in no hurry to trust him;
for one kind of friend is only so when it suits him
but will not stand by you in your day of trouble.
Another kind of friend will fall out with you
and to your dismay will make your quarrel public,
and a third kind of friend will share your table,
but not stand by you in your day of trouble:
when you are doing well he will be your second self,
ordering your servants about;
but if ever you are brought low he will turn against you
and will hide himself from you.
Keep well clear of your enemies,
and be wary of your friends.
A faithful friend is a sure shelter,
whoever finds one has found a rare treasure.
A faithful friend is something beyond price,
there is no measuring his worth.
A faithful friend is the elixir of life,
and those who fear the Lord will find one.
Whoever fears the Lord makes true friends,
for as a man is, so is his friend.
Ecclesiasticus 6:5-17 Jerusalem Bible
Prick an eye and you will draw a tear,
prick a heart and you will bring its feelings to light.
Throw stones at birds and you scare them away,
revile a friend and you break up friendship.
If you have drawn your sword on a friend,
do not despair; there is a way back.
If you have opened your mouth against your friend,
do not worry; there is hope for reconciliation;
but insult, arrogance, betrayal of secrets, and the stab in the back—
in these cases, any friend will run away.
Ecclesiasticus 22:19-22 Jerusalem Bible