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Proverbs 18:22-24 - Homilies By E. Johnson

Love in different relations

I. CONJUGAL LOVE . ( Proverbs 18:22 .) The blessing of a good wife. "Young men's mistresses; companions for middle age; and old men's nurses" (Lord Bacon). On the choice of a with none but a recluse or a pedant would pretend to lay down infallible precepts or counsels. But every man who has been happy in the married relation will recognize his happiness as among the chiefest of blessings from above. It is indeed a good that is found, cannot be inherited nor deserved.

II. COMPASSION . ( Proverbs 18:23 .) Here, as so often, the duty is suggested by means of a dark picture of the opposite, of its neglect. The rich man who "against the houseless stranger shuts the door," or who, like Dives, fares luxuriously while Lazarus lies in sores at his gate,—these revolt the heart and may more move the conscience than declamations on the positive duty. When chilled by the coldness and severity of selfish man, let the poor and afflicted turn to the "God of all compassion," and to the revelation of him in the "good Samaritan," in Jesus Christ.

III. FRIENDSHIP . ( Proverbs 18:24 .)

1 . The spurious friendship. The more correct rendering of the first half of the verse seems to be, "a man of many companions will prove himself to be worthless." Mere agreeableness may be a surface quality, may spring more from variety than anything else, will soon wear out, cannot be counted on. Number counts for little in friendship.

2 . The genuine friendship. More tenacious than the mere natural love of kindred, because founded on the affinity of soul with soul. All the purest types of earthly affection and friendship are but hints of the eternal love of him who calls the soul into espousal, friendship, and eternal communion with himself.—J.

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