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BE VERY, very careful in choosing your friends and prefer friends who will benefit you to those who will not. Choose your company for profit just as you do your books. This is as much a matter of habit as anything else.

We are known by the company we keep: for when unrestrained, we are prone to choose and associate with those whose manners and dispositions are agreeable and congenial to ours; hence, when we find persons frequenting any company whatsoever, we are disposed to believe that such company is congenial to them, not only in regard to their intellectual capacities and accomplishments, but also in regard to their moral disposition and their particular manner in life.

Good company improves not only our manners but also our minds. If our companions are pious, they will improve our morals; if they are polite, they will tend to improve our manners; if learned, they will add to our knowledge and correct our errors. On the other hand, if they are immoral, ignorant, vulgar, their impress will most sorely be left upon us. It therefore becomes a matter of no trivial concern to select and associate with proper company while avoiding that which is certainly prejudicial. We should seek the company of those who are known to possess superior merit and natural endowments; for then, by being assimilated in manners and disposition, we rise. Whereas by associating with those who are our inferiors in every respect, we become assimilated with them and thereby become degraded.

Upon the whole, much care and judgment are necessary in selecting that company which will be profitable. Good company is that which is composed of intelligent and well-bred persons—persons whose language is chaste and good, whose sentiments are pure and edifying. We should value persons, not according to the wealth or position that has come to them by accident, but rather according to the respect in which they are held. The habit of associating with those who are highly esteemed will win you respect also.