- To judge one‘s character is to know his company
- The things having common qualities attract each other
- The cause of happiness
- Care regarding the choice of a company
- The dangers of being in a bad company
The best way of knowing a man is to know what company he keeps. A thief associates with a thief, and a saint with a saint. Righteousness can have no fellowship with unrighteousness. Light can have no connection with darkness and a believer with an infidel. Fire and water have a natural affinity to their own kind, and a natural aversion for each other. Water is attracted by water and two drops meeting together will readily become one; but when fire and water meet together they destroy each others. Tigers and deer, serpents and doves, lambs and wolves, lions and whales, never voluntary associate with each other. Light and darkness can never unite. So men of similar tastes and habits unite with each other and become friends. Therefore a man’s character, opinions, tastes and temper may be fairly gauged by the company he lives in.
Birds of the same feathers flock together. If a police man is to detect a thief or a felon, where will he search for him? He will no doubt search him among the haunts of wickedness. Since the police knows that a thief can be nowhere hut among thieves. A man is never so happy as when he finds himself in the company of those who are as he is. If a man found in the company of thieves says he is not so, who will believe his protestations, however fair he may be. His company will prove more than his professions. What did the husbandman in the Fable say to the stork, when he protested he was no crane? The husbandman said, “All that you say be true, I dare say, but this I know, that I have caught you with those who were destroying many crops, and you must suffer with the company in which you are taken.” Such is the case with everyone. A man is always judged by the company he keeps.
One should exercise great care in the choice of one’s companions. Our happiness or misery depends upon this choice. If a good man mixes with those who are bad and wicked, he is sure to lose his character whereas if a bad man comes into contact with the good and the virtuous, he will soon be one of them. It should, therefore, be the earnest endeavor of everyone to secure a good company since it is only there that character can be preserved and improved. It is the company on which the structure of a man’s career is built. Then, how important is the choice of associates. Even Jesus Christ was pronounced bad because his associates were bad men; since he showed himself, “the friend of publicans and sinners.” If we wish to make our lives happy and peaceful, we should have none for our companions but those who are good, wise and pious. To be among the good is to be good and among the bad is to be bad. Now let us determine what we shall be.