1 Corinthians 15:33
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
I. IT IS DANGEROUS TO OUR CHARACTERS. To have the same attachments and dislikes, the same pursuits and aversions, has always been esteemed the foundation of friendship; similarity of disposition, of sentiments, of manners, is the usual bond which unites companions together. The world forms its judgments by general rules; when it sees a man a frequent spectator of the excesses of the vicious, it takes for granted that he is a partaker also, and an approver of them.
II. IT WILL HAVE A PROPORTIONABLE PERNICIOUS INFLUENCE ON OUR FORTUNES. Reputation has been always looked on as the surest step to wealth and preferment. Whoever wishes to advance himself esteems a good character as useful, if not essential, to that end, and is as anxious to preserve it as the miser to preserve his gold. Let the ambitious, the covetous, those who aspire after dignity or wealth, think of this, and if they have no better motive for declining the society of the vicious, let them decline it as they have regard to the gratification of their favourite passion; let them be restrained by their interest, if they have lost their virtue. Bad company may likewise hurt our advancement in life another way, as it usually involves us in idleness and extravagance, and leads as to dissipate, or, at least, to neglect to improve, the provision bequeathed us by our ancestors.
III. IT IS DANGEROUS TO OUR QUIET. As he who takes a viper frequently to his bosom, though he may awhile escape with impunity, will one time or other certainly repent of his rashness; so let, that man beware who has made choice of a confirmed vicious character for his intimate, for however strong in appearance his attachment be, if appetite or interest invite, he will certainly sting him to the heart. Can any reliance be placed on him who lives in a continued state of disobedience and ingratitude to his Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer, that he will not, when any imaginary pleasure or profit may accrue to him by it, betray or even ruin his fellow-creatures? But if, added to this state of rebellion towards God, he has been known in his general commerce with his brethren to be false and treacherous, is it not the height of folly in any individual to expose his family and affairs to his machinations, under the vain hope that he should belie his general conduct to be true to him alone?
IV. IT IS PREJUDICIAL TO OUR MORALS, AND OF CONSEQUENCE DANGEROUS TO OUR ETERNAL SALVATION. Man is by nature prone to imitation; this is observed by every wise parent, and turned as much as possible to their children's advantage by every good one. What we are taught, however wise, virtuous, and prudent, will have little effect on us if it be contradicted by what we see. If a young person perceives that vice is no exclusion from the countenance and familiarity of those whom he has been accustomed to honour, it cannot but greatly diminish the abhorrence in which he has been taught to hold it. It is the property of vice to endeavour to draw over to its party all who come within its influence — the libertine, the drunkard, and all the other votaries of profligacy, have ever taken delight to render others as wicked as themselves; to compass this point they spare no arguments, no solicitations — the sons of virtue, I fear, are not half so anxious to make converts as the children of darkness to make apostates.
(G. Haggitt, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.