Two Brief Directions On Asking For Advice

On the subject of asking advice, let me give you two brief directions.

1. One is that you should consult only those whose advice is worthy of your attention. (I would add that only those who would give counsel according to the Scriptures are worthy of your attention).

2. The other is, that you should never consult anyone, after your decision is formed. It is nothing better than an insult to a friend to go through the formality of asking his advice, and subjecting him to the trouble of giving it — when your opinion is decisively made up, and you only wish him to sanction it. You cannot adopt this course without some danger; for if the individual whom you consult happens to reveal the secret, he must be a good-natured person indeed, not to be vexed at it. If he happens to advise you contrary to your predetermination, then you subject yourself to the unpleasant necessity of acting contrary to his opinion, after you had formally sought it. It is wise to seek counsel of proper people; but it should always be to assist one to form an opinion — not merely to strengthen it after it is formed.

– William Sprague