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51

Cautions in the choice of company.

[1] He that toucheth pitch, shall be defiled with it: and he that hath fellowship with the proud, shall put on pride. [2] He shall take a burden upon him that hath fellowship with one more honourable than himself. And have no fellowship with one that is richer than thyself. [3] What agreement shall the earthen pot have with the kettle? for if they knock one against the other, it shall be broken. [4] The rich man hath done wrong, and yet he will fume: but the poor is wronged and must hold his peace. [5] If thou give, he will make use of thee: and if thou have nothing, he will forsake thee.

[6] If thou have any thing, he will live with thee, and will make thee bare, and he will not be sorry for thee. [7] If he have need of thee he will deceive thee, and smiling upon thee will put thee in hope; he will speak thee fair, and will say: What wantest thou? [8] And he will shame thee by his meats, till he have drawn thee dry twice or thrice, and at last he will laugh at thee: and afterward when he seeth thee, he will forsake thee, and shake his head at thee. [9] Humble thyself to God, and wait for his hands. [10] Beware that thou be not deceived Into folly, and be humbled.

[11] Be not lowly in thy wisdom, lest being humbled thou be deceived into folly. [12] If thou be invited by one that is mightier, withdraw thyself: for so he will invite thee the more. [13] Be not troublesome to him, lest thou be put back: and keep not far from him, lest thou be forgotten. [14] Affect not to speak with him as an equal: and believe not his many words: for by much talk he will sift thee, and smiling will examine thee concerning thy secrets. [15] His cruel mind will lay up thy words: and he will not spare to do thee hurt, and to cast thee into prison.

[16] Take heed to thyself, and attend diligently to what thou hearest: for thou walkest in danger of thy ruin. [17] When thou hearest those things, see as it were in sleep, and thou shalt awake. [18] Love God all thy life, and call upon him for thy salvation. [19] Every beast loveth its like: so also every man him that is nearest to himself. [20] All flesh shall consort with the like to itself, and every man shall associate himself to his like.

[21] If the wolf shall at any time have fellowship with the lamb, so the sinner with the just. [22] What fellowship hath a holy man with a dog, or what part hath the rich with the poor? [23] The wild ass is the lion' s prey in the desert: so also the poor are devoured by the rich. [24] And as humility is an abomination to the proud: so also the rich man abhorreth the poor. [25] When a rich man is shaken, he is kept up by his friends: but when a poor man is fallen down, he is thrust away even by his acquaintance.

[26] When a rich man hath been deceived, he hath many helpers: he hath spoken proud things, and they have justified him. [27] The poor man was deceived, and he is rebuked also: he hath spoken wisely, and could have no place. [28] The rich man spoke, and all held their peace, and what he said they extol even to the clouds. [29] The poor man spoke, and they say: Who is this? and if he stumble, they will overthrow him. [30] Riches are good to him that hath no sin in his conscience: and poverty is very wicked in the mouth of the ungodly.

[31] The heart of a man changeth his countenance, either for good, or for evil. [32] The token of a good heart, and a good countenance thou shalt hardly find, and with labour.

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