Be not deceived - Do not impose on yourselves, and permit not others to do it.
Evil communications corrupt good manners - There are many sayings like this among the Greek poets; but this of the apostle, and which according to the best MSS. makes an Iambic verse, is generally supposed to have been taken from Menander's lost comedy of Thais.
Φθειρουσιν ηθη χρησθ 'ὁμιλιαι κακαι·
Bad company good morals doth corrupt.
There is a proverb much like this among the rabbins:
לרטיכא יכישי אוקרן רטיכא ותר יכישי אורי תרי
"There were two dry logs of wood, and one green log; but the dry logs burnt up the green log."
There is no difficulty in this saying; he who frequents the company of bad or corrupt men will soon be as they are. He may be sound in the faith, and have the life and power of godliness, and at first frequent their company only for the sake of their pleasing conversation, or their literary accomplishments: and he may think his faith proof against their infidelity; but he will soon find, by means of their glozing speeches, his faith weakened; and when once he gets under the empire of doubt, unbelief will soon prevail; his bad company will corrupt his morals; and the two dry logs will soon burn up the green one.
The same sentiment in nearly the same words is found in several of the Greek writers; Aeschylus, Sept. Theb. ver. 605: Εν παντι πραγει δ ' εσθ 'ὁμιλιας κακης κακιον ουδεν· "In every matter there is nothing more deleterious than evil communication." - Diodorus Siculus, lib. xvi. cap. 54: Ταις πονηραις ὁμιλιαις διεφθειρε τα ηθη των ανθρωπων· "With these evil communications he corrupted the morals of men."
Ταυτα μεν οὑτως ισθι· κακοισι δε μη προσομιλοπ
Ανδρασιν, αλλ ' αιει των αγαθων εχεο·
Και μετα τοισιν πινε και εσθιε, και μετα τοισιν
Ἱζε, και ἁνδανε τοις, ὡν μεγαλη δυναμις.
Εσθλων μεν γαρ απ 'εσθλα μαθησεαι· ην δε κακοισι
Συμμιχθῃς, απολεις και τον εοντα νοον.
Theogn. Sent., ver. 31-36.
Know this: Thou must not keep company with the wicked, but converse always with good men. With such eat, drink, and associate. Please those who have the greatest virtue. From good men thou mayest learn good things; but if thou keep company with the wicked, thou wilt lose even the intelligence which thou now possessest.
Be not deceived - By your false teachers, and by their smooth and plausible arguments. This is an exhortation. He had thus far been engaged in an argument on the subject. He now entreats them to beware lest they be deceived - a danger to which they were very liable from their circumstances. There was, doubtless, much that was plausible in the objections to the doctrine of the resurrection; there was much subtilty and art in their teachers, who denied this doctrine; perhaps, there was something in the character of their own minds, accustomed to subtle and abstruse inquiry rather than to an examination of simple facts, that exposed them to this danger.
Evil communications - The word rendered “communications” means, properly, a being together; companionship; close contact; converse. It refers not to discourse only, but to contact, or companionship. Paul quotes these words from Menander (in Sentent. Comicor. Greek p. 248, ed. Steph.), a Greek poet. He thus shows that he was, in some degree at least, familiar with the Greek writers; compare the note on Acts 17:28. Menander was a celebrated comic poet of Athens, educated under Theophrastus. His writings were replete with elegance, refined wit, and judicious observations. Of one hundred and eight comedies which he wrote, nothing remains but a few fragments. He is said to have drowned himself, in the 52nd year of his age, 293 b.c., because the compositions of his rival Philemon obtained more applause than his own. Patti quoted this sentiment from a Greek poet, perhaps, because it might be supposed to have weight with the Greeks. It was a sentiment of one of their own writers, and here was an occasion in which it was exactly applicable. It is implied in this, that there were some persons who were endeavoring to corrupt their minds from the simplicity of the gospel. The sentiment of the passage is, that the contact of evil-minded men, or that the close friendship and conversation of those who hold erroneous opinions, or who are impure in their lives, tends to corrupt the morals, the heart, the sentiments of others. The particular thing to which Paul here applies it is the subject of the resurrection. Such contact would tend to corrupt the simplicity of their faith, and pervert their views of the truth of the gospel, and thus corrupt their lives. It is always true that such contact has a pernicious effect on the mind and the heart. It is done:
(1) By their direct effort to corrupt the opinions, and to lead others into sin.
(2) by the secret, silent influence of their words, and conversation, and example. We have less horror at vice by becoming familiar with it; we look with less alarm on error when we hear it often expressed; we become less watchful and cautious when we are constantly with the frivilous, the worldly, the unprincipled, and the vicious. Hence, Christ sought that there should be a pure society, and that his people should principally seek the friendship and conversation of each other, and withdraw from the world. It is in the way that Paul here refers to, that Christians embrace false doctrines; that they lose their spirituality, love of prayer, fervor of piety, and devotion to God. It is in this way that the simple are beguiled, the young corrupted, and that vice, and crime, and infidelity spread over the world.
The susceptible, expanding mind of the child longs for knowledge. Parents should keep themselves well informed, that they may give the minds of their children proper food. Like the body, the mind derives its strength from the food it receives. It is broadened and elevated by pure, strengthening thoughts; but it is narrowed and debased by thoughts that are of the earth earthy. CT 121.1
Parents, you are the ones to decide whether the minds of your children shall be filled with ennobling thoughts or with vicious sentiments. You cannot keep their active minds unoccupied, neither can you frown away evil. Only by the inculcation of right principles can you exclude wrong thoughts. Unless parents plant the seeds of truth in the hearts of their children, the enemy will sow tares. Good, sound instruction is the only preventive of the evil communications that corrupt good manners. Truth will protect the soul from the endless temptations that must be encountered. CT 121.2
Let the youth be taught to give close study to the word of God. Received into the soul, it will prove a mighty barricade against temptation. “Thy word,” the psalmist declares, “have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” “By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.” Psalm 119:11; 17:4. CT 121.3Read in context »
Those who would have that wisdom which is from God must become fools in the sinful knowledge of this age, in order to be wise. They should shut their eyes, that they may see and learn no evil. They should close their ears, lest they hear that which is evil and obtain that knowledge which would stain their purity of thoughts and acts. And they should guard their tongues, lest they utter corrupt communications and guile be found in their mouths.14 AH 404.1
Resistance Is Weakened by Opening the Door—Do not see how close you can walk upon the brink of a precipice and be safe. Avoid the first approach to danger. The soul's interests cannot be trifled with. Your capital is your character. Cherish it as you would a golden treasure. Moral purity, self-respect, a strong power of resistance, must be firmly and constantly cherished. There should not be one departure from reserve; one act of familiarity, one indiscretion, may jeopardize the soul in opening the door to temptation, and the power of resistance becomes weakened.15 AH 404.2
Satan Would Eclipse the Future Glories—Satan has worked continually to eclipse the glories of the future world and to attract the whole attention to the things of this life. He has striven so to arrange matters that our thought, our anxiety, our labor might be so fully employed in temporal things that we should not see or realize the value of eternal realities. The world and its cares have too large a place, while Jesus and heavenly things have altogether too small a share in our thoughts and affections. We should conscientiously discharge all the duties of everyday life, but it is also essential that we should cultivate, above everything else, holy affection for our Lord Jesus Christ.16 AH 404.3Read in context »
There are ample reasons why there are so many nervous women in the world, complaining of the dyspepsia, with its train of evils. The cause has been followed by the effect. It is impossible for intemperate persons to be patient. They must first reform bad habits, learn to live healthfully, and then it will not be difficult for them to be patient. Many do not seem to understand the relation the mind sustains to the body. If the system is deranged by improper food, the brain and nerves are affected, and slight things annoy those who are thus afflicted. Little difficulties are to them troubles mountain high. Persons thus situated are unfitted to properly train their children. Their life will be marked with extremes, sometimes very indulgent, at other times severe, censuring for trifles which deserved no notice. 2SM 434.1
The mother frequently sends her children from her presence, because she thinks she cannot endure the noise occasioned by their happy frolics. But with no mother's eye over them to approbate, or disapprove, at the right time, unhappy differences often arise. A word from the mother would set all right again. They soon become weary, and desire change, and go into the street for amusement, and pure, innocent minded children are driven into bad company, and evil communications breathed into their ears corrupt their good manners. The mother often seems to be asleep to the interest of her children until she is painfully aroused by the exhibition of vice. The seeds of evil were sown in their young minds, promising an abundant harvest. And it is a marvel to her that her children are so prone to do wrong. Parents should begin in season to instil into infant minds good and correct principles. The mother should be with her children as much as possible, and should sow precious seed in their hearts. 2SM 434.2
The mother's time belongs in a special manner to her children. They have a right to her time as no others can have. In many cases mothers have neglected to discipline their children, because it would require too much of their time, which time they think must be spent in the cooking department, or in preparing their own clothing, and that of their children, according to fashion, to foster pride in their young hearts. In order to keep their restless children still, they have given them cake, or candies, almost any hour of the day, and their stomachs are crowded with hurtful things at irregular periods. Their pale faces testify to the fact, that mothers are doing what they can to destroy the remaining life forces of their poor children. The digestive organs are constantly taxed, and are not allowed periods of rest. The liver becomes inactive, the blood impure, and the children are sickly, and irritable, because they are real sufferers by intemperance, and it is impossible for them to exercise patience. 2SM 434.3Read in context »
You imagine that you cannot walk, or ride, or even exercise, and you settle into a cold, dead apathy. You are a grief and anxiety to your indulgent parents, and no comfort to yourself. You can rally, you can work, you can shake off this terrible indifference. Your mother needs your aid; your father needs the comfort you can give him; your brothers need a kindly care from their elder sister; your sisters need your instruction. But here you sit upon the stool of indolence, dreaming of unrequited love. For your own soul's sake, have done with this folly. Read your Bible as you have never read it before. Engage in home duties, and lighten the cares of your overburdened, overworked parents. You may not be able to do a great amount at first, but every day increase the task you set yourself. This is the surest remedy for a diseased mind and an abused body. 2T 325.1
If you possess earnestness and steadiness of purpose, your mind will come back, in a degree, to dwelling upon more healthful, pure subjects. Self-indulgence has degenerated by degrees into such a wantonness of will as knows not how to please itself. Instead of regulating your actions by reason and principle, you suffer yourself to be guided by every slight and momentary impulse. This makes you appear variable and inconstant. It is vain for others to seek to please you, for you could not please yourself, even if all your wishes were indulged. You are a capricious child and have become sick of yourself through very selfishness. 2T 325.2
This wretched state is the result of unwise sympathy and flattery. You have had a very good mind, but it has become unbalanced by being directed in a wrong channel. You now amount to little else than a blank in society. This need not be. You can do for yourself that which no one else can do for you. You have duties to perform, but you have so long yielded to a helpless condition that you imagine you cannot do them. The will is at fault; you have the power, but not the will. 2T 326.1Read in context »