Our Faithful Friend and Companion
George Mylne, 1862
What is friendship without companionship? The chief benefit of a friend is that he is our companion too.
What a delicate thing is companionship, in the full meaning of the word — the companionship of heart and mind! It is not to be bought with gold, nor to be secured by any outward circumstances whatever. Men may belong to the same family — and not be companions. They may work together for years in the same profession, and at the very same desk — they may walk together, travel together, sleep in the same room — and yet not be companions . Who can tell how heart is knit to heart, and mind to mind — how spirit finds congeniality in spirit — to make companionship? It is beyond all common rules — independent of all outward similarity, nay even of all mental likeness. It often follows the very rule of contraries . Human companionship is a very capricious thing, after all.
Companionship means that men are much in one another's company — that it is one of their chief pleasures to be much together. The more they are, by choice, together — the more may they be called companions. "There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24. This applies most chiefly to Jesus; but it is descriptive of companionship in general, as of that which comes most near to the man in the fellowship of life. There may be, in human companionship, a friend that sticks closer than a brother, or a sister. But there is no human companionship so sweet, or yet so close, as when we have a brother, or sister, friend, and companion, all in one.
Jesus is, in very deed, the companion of His people — born to be, fitted to be, the companion of them — each and every one. Human companionship has its limits , and that of a very narrow description. No man can have many companions; but Jesus is the true companion of the millions of millions of the redeemed. There is not a saint on earth, however poor in his circumstances — however much he may be despised by the world, or however little known to the Church; however much he may be oppressed in body, or troubled in experience — that may not claim as his Companion, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Oh Believer, do you repose on the companionship of Jesus?
Men are often separated from their choicest companions. Circumstances may arise to set them thousands of miles apart. Even under ordinary circumstances they may be weeks, or months, without seeing each other. But not so Jesus and His people. True, there may be clouds, to cause an apparent separation — but Jesus still is there — He cannot be far away. Says He, "Truly, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world!" Matthew 28:20.
Human companions are often absent from us at the time when we most require their presence — in the day of sickness, or the hour of trial. But the Companion of companions has said, "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine! When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!" Isaiah 43:1-3. "I am with you to deliver you." Jeremiah 1:8.
Human companions cannot accompany us when we leave the world. But one has said of the great Companion, "Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil — for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4. Oh Believer, is there any moment when you may not rely on the presence of your faithful Friend?
Human companionship has its limits in the degree of nearness, to which one heart can draw near to another. There are bounds, which no human fellowship can pass. Community of thought and feeling must stop somewhere. You cannot possibly make two hearts, one heart; nor two minds, one mind. The fondest earthly companions must still be separate in their existence — you cannot make two human persons, one. How different it is with the companionship of Jesus!" He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit." 1 Corinthians 6:17.
Jesus moves in the inner man of the heart . He is at home there. It is His habitation. He is one with the renewed soul, which is of the very essence of the divine nature. Believers are the temples of the Holy Spirit — their new heart is one with the Spirit. The Spirit is one with Christ, and Christ is one with the spirit. How, then, can the saints fail to be one with Christ in all holy companionship!
No man can be born a companion to another — for companionship is a thing of the heart. But every child of God is, at the time of his conversion, born a companion of Jesus. It cannot be otherwise, for he is born one with Christ — his new heart being a very portion of the heart of Jesus — his new mind a portion of the mind of Jesus. He is new-born into a community of thought and purpose, of interest and home — a perfect community with Jesus. Is not Jesus, then, the natural, the inevitable companion of the new-born soul?
How sweet to feel the heart-and-soul-companionship of Jesus! To feel that Christ and we are not twain, but one! To feel that our heart, and the heart of Jesus are melted into one! Earthly companions cannot know each other's minds, except they tell them. But Jesus moves in the very heart. Our very springs of thought are deep laid in the companionship of Jesus. There is not a spiritual perception that flits across the mind, but it is the common property, as it is the joint sensation, of the great Companion of our hearts. The companionship of Jesus and the saints is the sweet, and inevitable consequence of their unity with each other.
Believer, may you not repose on the companionship of Jesus? May you not be sure that He loves your company? The needle is not more surely drawn to the magnet, than the heart of Jesus is to yours. He cannot do otherwise than love to be with you — to be always with you — never to be absent from you. There is a holy, a loving necessity, on the part of Jesus, to be ever in your company. You are a very portion of Himself — how can He but flow to you? You are of His very nature — how can he but assimilate with you? It were violence to the heart of Jesus to be separated from you; to have this companionship dissolved would be to undo the law of the kingdom — to subvert the principle of the divine nature. Then, Christian reader, may you and I repose upon Jesus as a faithful Companion!
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