A True Friend? {Quotable}

On friendship and hypocrisy…

If a man professes a great deal of love and friendship to another, reason teaches all men, that such a profession is not so great an evidence of his being a real and hearty friend, as his appearing a friend in deeds; being faithful and constant to his friend, in prosperity and adversity, ready to lay out himself, and deny himself, and suffer in his personal interest to do him a kindness. A wise man will trust to such evidences of the sincerity of friendship, further than a thousand earnest professions and solemn declarations, and most affectionate expressions of friendship in words.

And there is equal reason why practice should also be looked upon as the best evidence of friendship toward Christ. Reason says the same that Christ said in John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.”

There is a Christian that says not a great deal, yet in his behavior appears ready at all times to forsake the world, whenever it stands in the way of his duty, and is free to part with it at any time, to promote religion and the good of his fellow creatures; reason teaches that [this man] gives far the most credible manifestation of a heart weaned from the world…

Persons in the pang of affection may think they have a willingness of heart for great things, to do much and to suffer much, and so may profess it very earnestly and confidently; when really their hearts are far from it. Passing affections easily  produce words; and words are cheap; and godliness is most easily feigned in words than in actions. Christian practice is a costly laborious thing. The self-denial that is required of Christians, and the narrowness of the way that leads to life, doesn’t consist in words, but in practice. Hypocrites may much more easily be brought to talk like saints, than to act like saints.

{Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections}

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