He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
I. WHAT IS MEANT BY WALKING WITH THE WISE?
1. It means, to converse with the writings of the wise.
2. To choose wise persons for our companions and to lose no opportunity of receiving their advice and instruction. Providence may appoint a good man's station amongst sinners, either for a trial of his integrity, or to give him opportunity to use his best endeavours to reclaim them. Civil communities, so absolutely necessary for mankind, are composed of good and bad in such a variety of degrees that there are few good without some bad qualities, and few bad without some good ones. Men are disposed to seek society and to form acquaintances, larger or lesser, for their worldly concerns and for their mutual satisfaction and entertainment. This general inclination, or instinct, operates freely and variously, and for the most part it induces men to seek those who are of a like character and disposition with themselves.
II. THE INFLUENCE AND EFFICACY WHICH SUCH CONDUCT HATH TOWARDS THE ATTAINMENT OF WISDOM. Conversation hath a considerable share in forming the tempers and manners of men. Their behaviour and their moral and religious dispositions depend much on the company they keep. The influence which the behaviour and discourse of others hath upon us may be ascribed to two causes.
1. A desire of being agreeable to those with whom we are familiar.
2. To the force of example. And the nearer the example is the more force it acquires.
(John Jortin, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.