Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure…
I. THAT WE SHOULD AIM AT PERFECT INTEGRITY OF CHARACTER.
1. Christian graces are commonly grouped together in the Scriptures. The reason is, that they have all one root and originating source; and where one exists the rest may be looked for.
2. Some there are who are satisfied with few excellencies, forgetting that, though remarkable for one or two virtues, their character may still be egregiously defective. It may be distorted and disproportionate, like fruit that is ripe only on one side, or like trees with half their branches withered.
3. It is easy to cultivate those virtues which are most congenial with our natural temperament, most opportune to our immediate circumstances, or most frequent in our circle of friends. But of these we may be the least careful, while we should bestow all possible diligence to bring up those graces to which we are least prone, or which are least popular.
4. This apostle would have us lacking nothing.
II. IN THE ACQUISITION OF A PERFECT CHARACTER, THE PROPER DIRECTION AND CONTROL OF THE THOUGHTS IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE. Thoughts are either indicative of character, or formative of it. Our thoughts partly result from our disposition, and partly create it. In the former light they may serve as a test of our real state to ourselves. But mainly we would speak of the thoughts as tending to form character. Such thoughts are those voluntary ones which we choose to indulge.
1. Thoughts create images: images produce desires: desires influence the temper and direct the will: the will displays itself in overt action.
2. What thoughts should we indulge?
(1) Things of truth: of honesty, i.e., honour ableness, respect worthiness: of justice: of purity: of amiability, or such as win the esteem and love of others: and of good report.
(2) Meditate on truth, especially Christian truth. Think of everything, in your deportment, which is becoming to the dignity of a Christian character.
3. How to think of these things.
(1) In deliberate meditation: in the avoidance of whatever would awaken contrary thoughts.
(2) Think of these things with ardent love of them, with strenuous and prayerful effort after their attainment, and the exemplification of them in your con duct.
(3) By such training and cultivation of the thoughts may we expect to grow in grace; by the neglect of it, we shall decline in our piety and perhaps make shipwreck of faith.
(T. G. Horton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
WEB: Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.