Company: Delightful or Disgusting?

The prolific heretic, Richard Baxter correctly observes the pernicious potential of growing too familiar with wicked company:

“The like danger there is of the familiar company of lukewarm ones, or the profane. At first, you may be troubled at their sinful or unsavoury discourse, and make some resistance against the infection; but, before you are aware, it may so cool and damp your graces, as will make your decay discernible to others! First, you will hear them with less offence; and then, you will grow indifferent what company you are in, and then, you will laugh at their sin and folly; and then you will begin to speak as they; and then you will grow cold and seldomer in prayer, and other holy duties; and, if God prevent it not, at last, your judgments will grow blind, and you will think all this allowable” (Richard Baxter).

Alexander Pope writes:

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
That to be hated needs but to be seen;
But seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Scripture states:

“You who love Jehovah, hate evil. He keeps the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 97:10).

“By Your Precepts I know; so then I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104).

“I hate the halfhearted; but I love Your Law” (Psalm 119:113).

“O Jehovah, do not I hate those hating You? And am I not detesting those rising against You? I hate them with a perfect hatred; they have become my enemies (Psalm 139:21-22).

“I have hated the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked” (Psalm 26:5).

“I have hated those keeping worthless idols; but I trust in Jehovah” (Psalm 31:6).

“I will set no wicked thing before my eyes; I have hated the work of those who turn aside; it shall not fasten upon me” (Psalm 101:3).

“Deal with Your servant by Your mercy; and teach me Your Statutes. I [am] Your servant; make me consider, and I will know Your Testimonies. [It is] time for Jehovah to work; they have broken Your Law. Therefore, I have loved Your Commands, more than gold, even fine gold. Therefore, I count wholly right all the Precepts; I have hated every false way. Your Testimonies [are] wonderful; so my soul keeps them. The entering of Your Word gives light, giving discernment to the simple. I opened my mouth and panted; for I longed for Your Commands” (Psalm 119:124-131).

“As for the saints in the earth, they [are] the excellent ones; all my delight [is] in them” (Psalm 16:3).

“O Jehovah, I cry to You; hasten to me; give ear to my voice when I cry to You. Let my prayer be established before You [as] incense; the lifting up of my hands [as] the evening sacrifice. O Jehovah, set a guard to my mouth; keep watch on the door of my lips. Do not let my heart turn aside to [any] evil thing, to practice deeds in wickedness with men who practice iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies. Let the righteous strike me; [it is] a mercy; and he rebuking me, [it is] oil of the head, let not my head refuse [it]; for yet my prayer also [shall be] against their evils. Their judges have been dashed against the rock; they shall hear my words for they are pleasant. As when one plows and tears the earth, so our bones are scattered at the mouth of Sheol. But my eyes [are] on You, O Jehovah, my Lord; in You I take refuge; do not make my soul naked. Keep me from the hands of the trap they laid for me, and from the snares of the workers of evil. Let the wicked fall into their own nets at the same time; I even shall pass by” (Psalm 141:1-10).

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