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51

Of the choice of friends and counsellors.

[1] Every friend will say: I also am his friend: but there is a friend, that is only a friend in name. Is not this a grief even to death? [2] But a companion and a friend shall be turned to an enemy. [3] O wicked presumption, whence camest thou to cover the earth with thy malice, and deceitfulness? [4] There is a companion who rejoiceth with his friend in his joys, but in the time of trouble, he will be against him. [5] There is a companion who condoleth with his friend for his belly' s sake, and he will take up a shield against enemy.

[6] Forget not thy friend in thy mind, and be not unmindful of him in thy riches. [7] Consult not with him that layeth a snare for thee, and hide thy counsel from them that envy thee. [8] Every counsellor giveth out counsel, but there is one that is a counsellor for himself. [9] Beware of a counsellor. And know before what need he hath: for he will devise to his own mind: [10] Lest he thrust a stake into the ground, and say to thee:

[11] Thy way is good; and then stand on the other side to see what shall befall thee. [12] Treat not with a man without religion concerning holiness, nor with an unjust man concerning justice, nor with a woman touching her of whom she is jealous, nor with a coward concerning war, nor with a merchant about traffic, nor with a buyer of selling, nor with an envious man of giving thanks, [13] Nor with the ungodly of piety, nor with the dishonest of honesty, nor with the held labourer of every work, [14] Nor with him that worketh by the year of the finishing of the year, nor with an idle servant of much business: give no heed to these in any matter of counsel. [15] But be continually with a holy man, whomsoever thou shalt know to observe the fear of God,

[16] Whose soul is according to thy own soul: and who, when thou shalt stumble in the dark, will be sorry for thee. [17] And establish within thyself a heart of good counsel: for there is no other thing of more worth to thee than it. [18] The soul of a holy man discovereth sometimes true things, more than seven watchmen that sit in a high piece to watch. [19] But above all these things pray to the most High, that he may direct thy way in truth. [20] In all thy works let the true word go before thee, and steady counsel before every action.

[21] A wicked word shall change the beast: out of which four manner of things arise, good and evil, life and death: and the tongue is continually the ruler of them. There is a man that is subtle and a teacher of many, and yet is unprofitable to his own soul. [22] A skillful man hath taught many, and is sweet to his own soul. [23] He that speaketh sophistically, is hateful: he shall be destitute of every thing. [24] Grace is not given him from the Lord: for he is deprived of all wisdom. [25] There is a wise man that is wise to his own soul: and the fruit of his understanding is commendable.

[26] A wise man instructeth his own people, and the fruits of his understanding are faithful. [27] A wise man shall be filled with blessings, and they that see shall praise him. [28] The life of a man is in the number of his days: but the days of Israel are innumerable. [29] A wise man shall inherit honour among his people, and his name shall live for ever. [30] My son, prove thy soul in thy life: and if it be wicked, give it no power:

[31] For all things are not expedient for all, and every kind pleaseth not every soul. [32] Be not greedy in any feasting, and pour not out thyself upon any meat: [33] For in many meats there will be sickness, and greediness will turn to choler. [34] By surfeiting many have perished: but he that is temperate, shall prolong life.

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