Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure…
While we recognize in the desire of esteem an innocent and highly useful principle, we must carefully guard against making the opinion of others the sole and ultimate rule of our conduct. Temporary impulses and peculiar local circumstances may operate to produce a state of public sentiment to which a good man cannot conscientiously conform. In all cases where moral principles are involved, there is another part of our nature to be consulted. In the dictates of an enlightened conscience, we find a code to which not only the outward actions, but the appetites, propensities, and affections, are amenable, and which prescribes the limits of their just exercise. To obey the suggestions of the desire of esteem, in opposition to the requisitions of conscience, would be to subvert the order of our mental constitution, and to transfer the responsibility to the supreme command of a mere sentinel of the outposts. Yet the operation of this principle within due limits is favourable to human well-being. It begins to operate early, long before the moral principles are fully brought out; and it essentially promotes a decency and propriety of deportment, and stimulates to exertion. Whenever a young man is seen exhibiting an utter disregard for the approbation of others, the most unfavourable anticipations may be formed of him; he has annihilated one of the greatest restraints on an evil course which a kind Providence has implanted within us; and exposes himself to the hazard of unmistakable vice and misery.
(T. C. Upham, LL. D.)
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.