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Let thy friend be such that, even as he willeth to correct thee, so he may receive correction; and even as he willeth that thou shouldest leave all things for love of God, even so again it may content him that thou forsake him for the service of God.
'But tell me, if a man know not how to love God how shall he know how.to love himself; and how shall he know how to love others, not knowing how to love himself? Assuredly this is impossible. Therefore when thou choose thee one for friend (for verily he is supremely poor who hath no friend at all), see that thou consider first, not his fine lineage, nor his fine family, not his fine house, not his fine clothing, nor his fine person, not yet his fine words, for thou shalt be easily deceived. But look how he feareth God, how he despiseth earthly things, how he loveth good works, and above all how he hateth his own flesh, and so shalt thou easily find the true friend; if he above all things shall fear God, and shall despise the vanities of the world; if he shall be always occupied in good works, and shall hate his own body as a cruel enemy. Nor yet shalt thou love such a friend in such wise that thy love stay in him, for [so] shalt thou be an idolater. But love him as a gift that God hath given thee, for so shall God adorn [him] with greater favour. Verily I say unto you, that he who hath found a true friend hath found one of the delights of paradise; nay, such is the key of paradise.'
Thaddaeus answered: 'But if perchance a man shall have a friend who is not such as thou hast said, O master? What ought he to do? Ought he to forsake him?'
Jesus answered: 'He ought to do as the mariner doth with the ship, who saileth it so long as he perceiveth it to be profitable, but when he seeth it to be a loss forsaketh it. So shalt thou do with thy friend that is worse than thou: in those things wherein he is an offence to thee, leave him if thou wouldst not be left of the mercy of God.'