Chapter 8

On Guarding against Familiarity

Do not open your heart to everyone,(Ecclus. 8:19) but ask counsel of one who is wise and fears God. Be seldom with young people and strangers. Do not flatter the wealthy, and avoid the society of the great. Associate rather with the humble and simple, the devout, and the virtuous, and converse with them on such things as edify. Avoid undue familiarity with the other sex, but commend all good women to God. Desire to be familiar only with God and his angels, and do not seek the acquaintance of men.

We must live in charity with all men, but familiarity with them is not desirable. It sometimes happens that someone personally unknown to us enjoys a high reputation, but that when we meet him, we are not impressed. Similarly, we sometimes imagine that our company is pleasing, when in reality we offend others by our ill behavior.

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