Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
This proverb is described by Edward Irving as forcibly expressing the effect of religious converse and communion by a beautiful figure, which also not inaptly represents the way in which the effect is produced. Iron sharpeneth iron by removing the rust which has been contracted from their lying apart; so intercourse between friend and friend rubs down the prejudices which they have contracted in their separate state. And as the iron, having removed the rust which entered into the good stuff of the blade, and hindered its employment for husbandry or war, straightway applies itself to the metallic substance, brings it to a polish and to an edge, shows its proper temper, and fits it for its proper use, so the intercourse of friends having removed the prejudices which were foreign to the nature and good conditions of each, proceeds, in the next place, to bring out the slumbering spirit which lay hid, to kindle each other into brightness, and prepare each other for action.
Parallel VersesKJV: Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.