[Outer Court, Temple]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 24: Morning


Thy friend put in thy bosome: wear his eies

Still in thy heart, that he may see what's there.

If cause require, thou art his sacrifice;

Thy drops of bloud must pay down all his fear:

   But love is lost, the way of friendship 's gone,

   Though David had his Jonathan, Christ his John.

     Put your friend in your heart. Wear his eyes there that he may see what is in your heart. If cause requires, you are his sacrifice; your drops of blood must underwrite all his fears. But love is lost, the way of friendship is gone, [even] though David had his Jonathan and Christ, his John.1

     True friends, colleagues and teammates join in partnership. You should know what your friend feels in a situation, understand the action he may take. Mutually share your thoughts and feelings. What a person does with this knowledge of his friend and how he uses the feelings confirms the true relationship. Close friends reveal their private thoughts and concerns to one another. Not just for something to talk about or in friendly competition, not just to share and console, but to help, to do what the other can not do alone. One friend will help another reach a goal that he does not share. He knows why it is important because his friend expressed his reasons and motives. If it becomes a question of living or dying, a friend would venture his "life, wealth and sacred honor" for the friend in peril. The closer the friendship; the more at risk.

     When the life requires sacrifice, love is lost and brought permanently to an end. The way of that friendship is gone forever, even though David once had his Jonathan, who endangered his life to save David, and Christ had his John for a time. Jonathan and Christ changed the outcome for their friends and David and John venerated them.

1 For commentary on David and Jonathan, see  1 Samuel 18:1, 3; 19:1, 2, 4, 7; 20;
2 Samuel 1:4, 5, 17; 21:7, 21; for Christ and John, John 21:20. Contrary, but not contradictiory, to "Though lovers be lost, Love shall not, And Death shall have not dominion," Dylan Thomas. [Return]

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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