A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
I. Of all the external circumstances which mould our life and character, our daily companionship may be said to be among the most potent, and the Bible utterances are very strong on this subject. Sometimes they dwell specially on the causes that draw men together, assuming that like chooses like, and that a man may in fact be known by his associates. But more frequently the texts warn us rather of the consequences of intimacy than of the causes of it. They warn or exhort about companionship because we become, as they assume, what our companions are; because men who live together in close contact and communion mould each other, as iron sharpeneth iron.
II. It is probable, indeed, that we should all direct our life, and choose our companionship, more carefully if we duly considered the long results of these things; if we remembered that in moral relations, as in other matters, it is not easy to start afresh when we please and unencumbered. Friendships are two-edged tools, which may open up for you the way to life or the way to death.
III. There is no more certain support to the weak or the young than the feeling of nearness to some friend whom they know to be strong and pure, earnest for what is right and a hater of evil. Our companionship with such an one is like living continually in a pure and healthy pasture, and as the nearest earthly resemblance to walking with God in Christ, as we hope in our perfection to walk with Him hereafter. These are the true servants of Christ, and they only have the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
J. Percival, Some Helps for School Life, p. 155.
References: Proverbs 13:20.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 1st series, p. 355; Outline Sermons to Children, p. 75.
Proverbs 13:21The expectation of concealment, and therefore of impunity, encourages the great mass of men in the sins which they commit. But you may take the very case in which, of all others, it would seem as though sin had been committed with impunity—the case in which a sin is finally pardoned for the sake of the Redeemer—and prove with the greatest accuracy of demonstration that nothing can be more unfounded than the expecting to escape all consequences in escaping the first. There is a perfect possibility—to use the very lowest word—that the man who commits a sin and afterwards repents and is forgiven, may have to bear a burden, through all his after-days on earth, which is distinctly the entailment or consequence of that sin; and with so fatal a power may his transgressions act on every moment of his eternity, that he shall occupy for ever a lower station in the glorified Church than would have been his had the transgression not been wrought.
II. There is something very peculiar in the expression, "evil pursueth the sinner." It is as though it hunted him with the greatest pertinacity, tracking him through the various scenes of life, and then, when perhaps he has all the appearance of having evaded his enemy, and seems, as it were, effectually concealed, the enemy darts upon him suddenly, exacting all its punishment. You cannot think of evil pursuing, and then finding out, a man without thinking of that man as apparently armed against detection: for there is something in the expression which indicates search on the part of the sin, and therefore concealment on the part of the sinner. So that it may be at a moment when there is no remembrance of what has been done, or at least no apprehension of being called to a reckoning, that the crime reappears in the form of vengeance, and proves with what unwearied hostility it has followed the offender.
III. We believe it to be equally true that sins wrought after conversion are not suffered to pass unpunished, however they may be pardoned through the propitiation of Christ. If God is to show displeasure at the iniquities of His own people as well as of His enemies, it must be shown in this life; and hence we suppose it is true that "those whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth," not only because the chastisements prepare for glory, and, therefore, prove love, but also because chastisements are consequences of sin in those whom God loves, and must be experienced on this side of the grave.
H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1792.
References: Proverbs 13:22-25.—R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. i., p. 355. Proverbs 13:24.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 1st series, p. 359.
A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.
He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.
The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.
Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.
The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.
Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.
A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.