Song of Solomon 5 v 16
by Rev J.C. Ryle, Curate of Exbury, situated in the New Forest, Hampshire, from 1841 till 1843
A friend is one of the greatest blessings on earth. Tell me not of money: affection is better than gold; sympathy is better than lands. He is the poor man who has no friends.
This world is full of sorrow because it is full of sin. It is a dark place. It is a lonely place. It is a disappointing place. The brightest sunbeam in it is a friend. Friendship halves our troubles and doubles our joys.
A real friend is scarce and rare. There are many who will eat, and drink, and laugh with us in the sunshine of prosperity. There are few who will stand by us in the days of darkness--few who will love us when we are sick, helpless, and poor--few, above all, who will care for our souls.
Does any reader of this paper want a real friend? I write to recommend one to you this day. I know of One "Who sticketh closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24). I know of One who is ready to be your friend for time and for eternity, if you will receive Him. Hear me, while I try to tell you something about Him.
The friend I want you to know is Jesus Christ. Happy is that family in which Christ has the foremost place! Happy is that person whose chief friend is Christ!
Do we want a friend in need? Such a friend is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Man is the neediest creature on God's earth, because he is a sinner. There is no need so great as that of sinners: poverty, hunger, thirst, cold, sickness, are all nothing in comparison. Sinners need pardon, and they are utterly unable to provide it for themselves; they need deliverance from a guilty conscience and the fear of death, and they have no power of their own to obtain it. This is the need the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to relieve. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." 1 Timothy 1:15