I Corinthians 15:33
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
RICHARD STEELE (1629-1692): Of all the temptations to which the young are exposed, none is more fatal and pernicious than evil company.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): It is a difficulty with some to know how to behave towards unconverted relations: if you do not go to them, they will say you are precise; if you do, and are faithful, they will soon show you they have [had] enough of your company: this sends a godly person home mourning; and then there comes a thought, Shall I speak to them any more, or let them go to the devil? This is not like parting from your friends by death, but burying them alive; when dead, we know we must submit, but to part from friends, those we loved, and thought to have lived with till we came to heaven, this is mournful indeed.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): You will never stand in the faith unless you are careful about your relationships.
JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): Particularly let young people examine their manner of company keeping, and the round of diversions in which, with their companions, they have allowed themselves.
WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): Your heart takes to a companion who has been accidentally thrown in your way; you should not yield to that inclination merely because it works within you. The beasts that perish do so, and therein they never err: they associate with their kind, and are never corrupted by the company that they keep. Their instincts are perfect as they come from the Creator’s hands: it is safe to trust them. But there is a bias to evil in a human heart; it must be watched and thwarted, if we would avoid error now and escape perdition at last. It is not for us to let our hearts have their own way in the selection of companions; on that choice depend interests too great to be safely left to chance.
RICHARD STEELE: Let not former acquaintance only be thought a sufficient foundation for after friendship; for he might be very innocent at school, who is now very vicious and profane. Let no accomplishments of wit or learning, breeding or fortune, engage your heart to an intimacy with any who despise or ridicule a life of serious religion and strict virtue; for the more agreeable they are in other respects, so much the more fatal is their converse likely to be.
RICHARD CECIL (1748-1810): I fell into a mistake, when a young man, in thinking that I could talk to men of the world on their own ground, and could thus win them over to mine. I was fond of painting, and so I talked with them of that subject. This pleased them: but I did not consider, that I gave a consequence [an importance] to their pursuits, which did not belong to them; whereas I ought to have endeavoured to raise them above these, that they might engage in higher. I did not see this at the time, but I now see it to have been a great error.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Nothing is more dangerous than associating with the ungodly.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The smiling daughters of Moab did more mischief to Israel than all Balak’s frowning warriors. All Philistia could not have blinded Samson if Delilah’s charms had not deluded him. Our worst foes will be found among our ungodly friends. Those who are false to God, are not likely to be true to us…Be careful of your companions. Choose the best you can; then follow them no farther than they follow Christ. Let your course be entirely independent of every one else.
THOMAS FULLER (1608-1661): It is best to be with those in time we hope to be with eternity.
C. H. SPURGEON: A man is known by the company he shuns as well as by the company he keeps.
WILLIAM ARNOT: Your character goes far to determine the company that you will keep; and the company that you keep goes far to mould your character…“He that walketh with the wise shall be wise,” Proverbs 13:20. If he is wise he will walk with them, and to walk with them will make him wiser. To him that hath wisdom to choose the wise as his companions, shall be given more wisdom, through their converse and example.
RICHARD STEELE: Begin, therefore, no friendship with any, until you have a worthy character of them from a judicious hand or have had a sufficient time and opportunity to be satisfied of their seriousness from your own observation.
C. H. SPURGEON: Aye, but do not write “friend” yet; wait a wee bit, until you know more of him; just see him, examine him, try him, test him, and not till then enter him on the sacred list of friends. Be friendly to all, but make none your friends until they know you, and you know them.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Be not much in that company, that will neither give nor take good.
RICHARD STEELE: Herein you must be resolute: two or three positive denials will free you from their solicitations, whereas easiness and compliance will strengthen their importunity, and when once you are entangled in the snare of evil company, you will find it very difficult to disengage yourself.
WILLIAM ARNOT: When people cling to unprofitable and dangerous associates, it is because they take what they like without asking counsel of God, not because they asked counsel and failed to obtain it―“a companion of fools shall be destroyed,” Proverbs 13:20. It is God’s voice; He speaks in mercy; hear ye Him. Forsake the foolish and live.