He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
The subject of companionship and its consequences is one of deep interest and constant application to all stages of life; but it concerns especially the young. There are few matters about which the young should be more careful, and there are few about which many of the young are more careless. Companionship is a human necessity. Man seeks for it by an instinct of his nature, as certainly and irrepressibly as whales go in schools, fish in shoals, cattle in herds, birds in flocks, and bees in hives. Companionship, in itself, is not an evil thing, but a good. But it may be sadly perverted, and thus become bad, and the source and spring of untold badness. Men can turn good to evil. The very best of God's things may be perverted. And men, young and old, have perverted companionship. We are made or marred according to our choice of companions. In Solomon's thought was only the companionship of living men. There is now also a companionship in books, and thus mind with mind. The character of book companionship resembles closely that of living men. In forming human companionships some seem scarcely to exercise any choice at all. They allow themselves to drift. As a rule such persons gravitate towards the bad. Many choose those who, at first meeting, make an agreeable impression on them. The only real basis of true love is the knowledge of personal qualities which command love. You should never make a companion of one you do not know. The text speaks of possible companionships under two classes — the wise and the foolish. By the "wise" is not meant the "learned "; nor the cute, the clever, the capable man of business. By the "wise" is meant the good, the man who places the spiritual above the material, God over and above self; the man who would rather be right than what is called successful. By "fools" is not meant the intellectually weak and silly; nor the merely thoughtless, the giddy, the frivolous. By "fools" is meant all who are morally and spiritually without God, and thus, openly or secretly, wicked. We are left free to choose our companions from among the wise and the fools But we are not without guidance. We have reason, and conscience, and the Word and Spirit of God. The results we reap from our companionships will correspond with the choice we make. The reaping mentioned here is the result of the principle of assimilation. The associate of the wise will be assimilated to them. The very choice of the spiritually right, and good is an evidence of wisdom at the start. In such fellowship a right and God-pleasing character is built up. The companion of the frivolous and the wicked soon learn their ways, and become conformed to their character. Surely moral contamination is more to be dreaded than physical, You must have a companion. Receive, I beseech you, the best of all — our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Parallel VersesKJV: He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.