Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think on these things.
Sermons
Subjects for Christian StudyT. Croskery Philippians 4:8
The Bible the Great CivilizerCharles KingsleyPhilippians 4:8
The Contemplation of GoodnessW.F. Adeney Philippians 4:8
Think on These ThingsAlexander MaclarenPhilippians 4:8
The Life of Joy and PeaceR.M. Edgar Philippians 4:1-9
Afraid of JoyH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:4-8
Amusements in the Light of the GospelDr. Colborne.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian CheerfulnessJ. F. B. Tinling, B. A.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian JoyS. Martin.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian RejoicingC. Girdlestone, M. A.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian RejoicingDean Vaughan.Philippians 4:4-8
Christians Joyful in the LordCanon Chamneys.Philippians 4:4-8
Christ's NearnessMarcus Rainsford.Philippians 4:4-8
Constant Joy in God the Duty of ChristiansN. Emmons, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
JoyWeekly PulpitPhilippians 4:4-8
Joy a DutyPhilippians 4:4-8
Means of Christian JoyH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:4-8
No Joy in HeathenismH. J. W. Buxton, M. A.Philippians 4:4-8
No Joy in Infidelity or WorldlinessS. Martin.Philippians 4:4-8
Rejoicing in ChristR. J. McGhee, A. M.Philippians 4:4-8
Rejoicing in GodW. Nevins, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
Spiritual MindednessC. J. Deems, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
Sunshine: a Talk for Happy TimesMark Guy Pearse.Philippians 4:4-8
The Christian's JoyCanon Liddon.Philippians 4:4-8
The Duty of RejoicingH. Melvill, B. D.Philippians 4:4-8
The Happiness of ReligionPhilippians 4:4-8
The Motive for RejoicingJ. Hutchison, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
The Oil of JoyT. L. Nye.Philippians 4:4-8
The Sphere of Christian JoyCanon Liddon.Philippians 4:4-8
Three Elements of Christian CharacterJ. J. Goadby.Philippians 4:4-8
Uninterrupted Christian JoyH. Melvill, B. D., C. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 4:4-8
Why Christians are not JoyfulH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:4-8
Divine PeaceD. Thomas Philippians 4:7, 8
Avoid Doubtful ThingsT. Guthrie, D. D.Philippians 4:8-9
Categories of MoralityR. Finlayson Philippians 4:8, 9
Christian CharacterJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 4:8-9
Christian LifeJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 4:8-9
Christian RighteousnessJ. DaillePhilippians 4:8-9
Christian ThoughtJ. Hall.Philippians 4:8-9
CommendationArchbishop Whately.Philippians 4:8-9
Commendation Better than ScoldingLord Lytton.Philippians 4:8-9
Expansiveness of Christian LifeA. Macleod, D. D.Philippians 4:8-9
Faith in ActionR. J. Lynd, B. A.Philippians 4:8-9
False Measures of TruthB. Whichcote, B. D.Philippians 4:8-9
If There be Any PraiseSchleiermacher.Philippians 4:8-9
If There be Any VirtueProfessor Eadie.Philippians 4:8-9
Loyalty to TruthB. Kent.Philippians 4:8-9
Meditation and ActionV. Hutton Philippians 4:8, 9
New Truth UnwelcomeGoldsmith.Philippians 4:8-9
Praise from OthersJ. M. Hare.Philippians 4:8-9
PraiseworthinessB. Grant, B. A.Philippians 4:8-9
Purity InculcatedSchiller.Philippians 4:8-9
Soul PerfectionT. Guthrie, D. D.Philippians 4:8-9
Spheres of TruthW. Landells, D. D.Philippians 4:8-9
St. Paul's FarewellR. M. Stewart.Philippians 4:8-9
The Difficulty and Importance of Continuous ThoughtDean Vaughan.Philippians 4:8-9
The Esteem of OthersT. C. Upham, LL. D.Philippians 4:8-9
The Meditation and Practice of HolinessW. B. Pope, D. D.Philippians 4:8-9
The Moralities of ChristianityPhilippians 4:8-9
The Power of PurityF. W. Robertson, M. A.Philippians 4:8-9
The Transforming Power of ThoughtJ. Ogle.Philippians 4:8-9
ThoughtJ. W. Bray.Philippians 4:8-9
ThoughtsT. G. Horton, M. A.Philippians 4:8-9
Truth HathB. Whichcote, B. D.Philippians 4:8-9
Universality of TruthDr. Herman Masius.Philippians 4:8-9
Whatsoever Things are JustB. Kent., B. Kent.Philippians 4:8-9
Whatsoever Things are LovelyJ. G. Rogers, B. A.Philippians 4:8-9
Whatsoever Things are of Good ReportB. Kent.Philippians 4:8-9
The gospel does more than hold out a refuge to the guilty; it takes all who accept Christ under its supreme and exclusive direction. Therefore, in his parting words to his converts, the last counsel of the apostle is of a beautifully practical character: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are venerable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things."

I. SUBJECTS OF CHRISTIAN CONTEMPLATION. There is a certain order in the series here exhibited.

1. Things that concern us absolutely. "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are venerable."

(1) Things true. That is, true as opposed to false; for lying is, according to the apostle, a breach of the social contract (Ephesians 4:25). True as opposed to insincerity; true in speech, true in conduct. Things true stand at the head of the series, because the truth is the ground of all God's commands, and the ground of our obedience. The love of truth is the intellectual part of piety. It raises the moral temper and tone of the world. As it is by the truth we are sanctified, it is natural that things true should be the subject of constant Christian thought.

(2) Things venerable. A man is very much what he thinks; therefore make venerable themes the subjects of your deepest thought. Grave things strengthen and deepen Christian character and intensify Christian feeling. Character formed on such a basis will be dignified. "Acceptable to God and approved of men" (Romans 14:18).

2. Things that concern us relatively. "Whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure."

(1) Things just or righteous. Justice maintains right relations between man and man, holds the balance fairly between conflicting interests, co-ordinates the rights of each with all. Love of justice is the moral part of piety, as the love of truth is the intellectual part of it. Justice is peculiar in this respect, that there are no degrees of it, as there are degrees of goodness or generosity; for a man less than just is unjust. A man, again, may do a hundred kindly acts, but if he fail in one act of justice the blemish is fatal to character. There is, therefore, great need that Christian people should be just in all their acts. Religion does not exempt them from the laws which bind men of the world.

(2) Things pure. Not merely chastity, but purity in the widest sense. There must be pure thinking, pure reading, pure action. "Blessed are the pure in heart." Let the mind dwell on pure themes.

3. Things that suggest moral approbation from the outside. "Whatsoever things are lovely... of good report." The four things already mentioned describe their character in themselves. These two mark the impression made upon the world.

(1) Things lovely. They suggest the kindly graces of character. There is such a thing as being dignified, majestic, and venerable, but not lovely. A Christian ought not to be morose, unkind, or faultfinding. Nothing tends to injure the cause of religion more than an unlovely temper, an eye severe and unkind, a brow hard and stern. Yet the apostle gives only the fifth place to "things lovely," as if to indicate that personal kindness or good nature is not to supply the room of justice or purity.

(2) Things of good report. Things such as all men agree in commending - courtesy, urbanity, justice, temperance; purity, truth, respect to parents. Men of the world will not withhold their praise from men distinguished by these virtues. Christians ought to remember the words, "Let not your good be evil spoken of." They are to "walk in wisdom toward them that are without."

4. Things to be included in a larger category. "If there be any virtue, if there be any praise." This clause is thrown in as an after-thought, to cover possible omissions, for the subjects of Christian contemplation are endless.

(1) Virtue. The apostle never uses this old heathen term except in this place, but he seems to say that Christian people are not to neglect the study of that which is best in heathen conception,

(2) Praise. He had open despised the praise of men, but he concedes here that some consideration ought to be given even to what is worthy of praise among men.

II. THE DUTY AND ADVANTAGE OF CONTEMPLATING THESE THINGS. "Think on these things." I. The mind takes the stamp of what it thinks on. There is an assimilating process by which the graces or virtues we have specified are stamped deeply upon Christian character. It is with these graces as it is with Christ himself. He is the glass "in which we behold the glory of God, and so are changed into the same image from glory to glory."

2. There are blessed effects ,won the world. A life exemplifying the graces of holy living is the most likely to arrest the careless and the wicked. The living epistles of Christ are made to be known and read of all men. - T.C.







Finally, brethren, whatsoever things. We have here
I. ITS FEATURES.

1. Truth in word, etc.

2. Honour, integrity and purity in conduct.

3. Whatever is beautiful and praiseworthy in behaviour.

II. ITS MOTIVES. Apostolical.

1. Precept.

2. Example.

III. ITS ADVANTAGES.

1. The presence of the God of peace.

2. The peace He gives.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

A second time we have the conclusion of the whole matter. Before it was "finally, brethren, rejoice in the Lord." The whole history of conversion with all its preliminary struggles, the terrors and sorrows of repentance, the hopes and fears of faith, finds its issue and rest in this. But here is a second "finally." There is something beyond the exultation of deliverance through Christ; and that is the attainment of a perfect character in Him. We are urged —

I. TO FIX OUR FULL AND DETERMINATE THOUGHT UPON PERFECTION. The word is often used to signify due appreciation, and it bids us here with strong emphasis estimate rightly the place morality holds in the gospel.

1. It was the glory of the apostle's career to proclaim everywhere that for the sake of the sacrifice of the Cross the vilest transgressors repenting and believing in Jesus were assured of forgiveness and reputed as righteous. But it became the hard necessity of his life to have to defend it against perversion. The enemy everywhere followed him, sowing tares. The abuse which taught men to sin that grace might abound was the subject of his ceaseless protest. In the former part of this Epistle he had dwelt on the worthlessness of all good works as the ground of the sinner's acceptance: and because he had so utterly disparaged human goodness in the third chapter, he now in the fourth vindicates the claims of Christian godliness. On the way to the Cross think not of any good in yourself; on the way from the Cross think of all the obligations of holiness.

2. For all the provisions of grace have their issue in our moral perfection. Renouncing our own righteousness which is of the law, we are to attain a righteousness of faith, which in another sense must be "our own." Pardon is the removal of an obstruction to holiness. The grace of God that bringeth salvation teaches us to aspire to all good works.

II. TO PONDER ITS UNLIMITED VARIETY OF OBLIGATIONS.

1. The apostle exhorts us to train our minds to a high and refined sense of this. It is true that the regenerate are taught of God, and have the Spirit to guide them; but this is not to supersede the use of their own faculties. The Bible shows us "what is good" in its great principles, but leaves us to find out their illimitable application.

2. The object of this study is excellence according to all its standards. "Whatsoever things" suggests that every Christian virtue has its own unlimited field of study. What a boundless field, e.g., is truth.

3. The result of this constant study is the education of the spiritual taste into a high pitch of delicacy. The Christian's standard of truth, dignity, etc., becomes higher than that of other men. Here lies the secret of the difference between Christian and Christian, between careless professors who are always stumbling themselves, and a cause of offence to others, and the educated disciples who adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour. Receive this exhortation and you will come by degrees so accurate in your moral judgment as never to fail, and be in the best sense, "a law unto yourselves."

III. TO GIVE IT THE FERVENT DESIRE OF OUR MEDITATION. The "thinking" signifies that intent contemplation of perfection which feeds the soul's regenerate longing to attain it.

1. Mark with what exquisite skill the elements of perfection are combined into one lovely whole. We must look steadily at this assemblage of ethical graces until we are enkindled with its loveliness.

2. And as the Christian is exhorted to delight in the thought of perfection as the aggregate of all excellencies, so also he must make every individual principle the object of affectionate contemplation. How beautiful are truth, religious dignity, etc.

3. As the virtues of holiness are displayed in the Word of God, to think of them is to meditate on it. "O how I love Thy law." To the soul that hungers and thirsts after righteousness, the Bible is an everlasting delight.

4. Moreover, such an insatiate student delights to consider the lives of these who have gone before him in the narrow way — Christ the supreme standard and pattern of the result; Paul and others as examples of the process. Those who, like ourselves, have had to travel through all the stages of the ascent from sin to holiness leave their example for our encouragement. But while we imitate them we must aspire to Him.

IV. TO MAKE IT OUR PRACTICAL CONCERN. Let not thinking end, but turn your meditations to practice.

1. Generally there is to be nothing visionary in our religion. Hence the abrupt "do." There is a sentimental religion which thinks loftily and talks magniloquently about virtue, but ends there. Our religion must not be a barren homage to the saintly qualities of others. What man has been man may be, by the grace of God, even though the man may have been a Paul.

2. Every scriptural ideal of excellence may be realized in practice. The pagan writers had their noble ideals, but nowhere outside the Bible is there such a consummate standard as this. And then, again, the highest moralists who sate not at the feet of Jesus despaired of their own teaching, imperfect as it was, "unless indeed," as one said, "God should become incarnate to teach us." Christianity alone has the golden link between thought and practice.

3. As thinking must not terminate in itself, so practice must be the diligent regulation of our life according to all the principles of holiness. There is a sense, indeed, in which our religion from beginning to end is God's work; but the formation of Christian character is our own task under His blessing, and its perfection is conferred upon us, not as a gift simply, but as the seal upon our efforts, and their exceeding great reward.

4. We must work out our own salvation by governing our lives according to these holy principles particularly. If we would be perfectly true we must act out the truth in thought, word, and deed; so with dignity, etc.

V. TO THINK OF IT WITH THE PEACEFUL CONFIDENCE OF HOPE. There can be no encouragement more mighty than that the God of Peace shall be with us.

1. God will be with us animating our pursuit by the assurance of reconciliation. There is no spirit for the pursuit unless we know that the guilty past is pardoned. The heart must be enlarged if we would run in the way of His commandments; and don't narrow it and impede your progress by permitted sin.

2. God will be with us crowning our effort. Peace is the full sum of His heavenly blessing. "Great peace have they who love His law." Others may have a transient joy and superficial excitement.

(W. B. Pope, D. D.)

The finest specimen of a Christian is he in whom all the graces, like the strings of an angel's harp, are in the most perfect harmony. Therefore, we are to beware of cultivating one grace or attending to any one duty at the expense of others. That is possible; and never more likely to happen than in these days of recoil from mere speculative theology, and of busy, bustling benevolence. Treading in our Master's steps, we are to go about doing good; yet we may undertake so many works of Christian philanthropy as to trench on the hours that should be sacred to devotion. In seeking the good of others, we may so neglect the cultivation of our own hearts, and the duties we owe to our own families, as to have to cry with the man of old, They made me keeper of vineyards, and mine own vineyard I have not kept.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

The atmosphere is sometimes in such a peculiar state that the spectator, on coast or shore, looking abroad over the sea, cannot tell where the water ends and the sky begins; and as if some magician had raised them out of their proper element, and turned their sails into wings, the ships seem floating in mid-air. But occasionally no line of separation is more difficult to draw than that which lies between what is right and what is wrong. Whether such and such a business or amusement, pursuit or pleasure, is wrong, and one, therefore, in which no Christian should engage, is a question that, so far as the thing itself is concerned, may be difficult to answer. But it is not difficult to answer, so far as you are concerned, if you doubt whether it is right. The apostolic rule is, "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind;" and unless you are so, then, "what is not of faith is sin" — sin at least to you.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

The words are the parting counsel of the apostle. They come at the most solemn period of his life, and he was writing to the best-loved of the churches. Will he speak of the mysteries he saw and heard? Will he expound some profound doctrine? It is almost with a feeling of disappointment that we find these homely words.

I. Observe THE ENTIRENESS OF THE APOSTLE'S LANGUAGE. "Whatsoever things." It has sometimes been supposed that different regions of goodness might be separated from each other; religion from morality; truth from beauty. Paul recognizes no such distinction. He who furthers one truth incidentally furthers all others.

II. Note how ALL THE REGIONS OF GOODNESS FIT INTO EACH OTHER. Paul, trained in Greek learning, would be familiar with the classical debates respecting the true, the beautiful, and the good. The Greek asserted that the supreme object of pursuit was the beautiful. His soul was so enwrapt in sensuous beauty, that he could recognize the good only in it. The highest object of admiration to the Roman was what was just. So some think now that the highest good is only to be found in truth, scientific facts; others in the noble and self-denying; in the romantic aspect of things. Paul discourages no forms of goodness, and would welcome it whether in myth, legend, song, art, nature, domestic life.

III. THE TRUE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER CONSISTS NOT IN THE MERE ABSENCE OF EVIL BUT IN THE POSSESSION AND CULTIVATION OF THE GOOD. So dwell on "these things" as to make them your own. Your soul was made for them, and in nothing lower can it be happy. Only by thinking on them can their opposites be cast out. Darkness is only to be expelled by light, impurity by holiness, the love of sin by the love of God — in individuals or communities.

(R. M. Stewart.)

I.SHOULD BE COMPLETE ON EVERY SIDE.

II.INCLUDES EVERYTHING THAT IS EXCELLENT.

III.REQUIRES MUCH STUDY AND PRAYER.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

1. The sanctification of men is the true object of redemption (Galatians 1:4; Titus 2:14). For this Christ took our nature, was tempted in all points like as we are, and died. And as His salvation is not a common and earthly good, so the holiness to which He moulds us is not a common and natural perfection, but one singular and supernatural.

2. In these words the apostle opposes his doctrine to that of a false teacher, who insisted upon legal observances, which are much more easy and agreeable than the study of real virtue. He enforces whatsoever things are —

I. TRUE. This comes first, because before all things we shall embrace the Truth as disciples of Him who is "the Truth." Here should be the foundation of all our conduct. We must consider "things true" —

1. Which are not feigned, or invented to please, but which really subsist.

2. Such as are at the foundation firm and solid, not shadows or figures. Falsehoods of whatever kind are prohibited.

3. All vain and deceitful appearances are excluded. Our manner of life must be plain and simple, purged from the love of the world which, as a shadow, passes away.

II. VENERABLE — all that relates to the dignity of the high vocation to which God has called us, renouncing all frivolity and folly.

III. JUST.

1. What God commands us to render unto men, whether honour, deference, and obedience to our superiors in the state or the family; the guidance and protection of inferiors; friendship and assistance towards equals, or kindness towards all.

2. The laws and duties of the city and society in which we live, save when they conflict with conscience.

IV. PURE. We should be careful not only to preserve our bodies from pollution, but our hearts, tongues, eyes, dress, cultivating modesty, and avoiding every species of dissoluteness.

V. LOVELY. Although all virtues are excellent in themselves, yet some are more pleasing than others; even as we see amongst the stars, though all are beautiful, yet some shine with a brighter lustre. Among the virtues, sweetness of mind, courtesy, clemency, willingness to oblige, show with peculiar brightness.

VI. GOOD REPORT. Among actions which are good, some are held more specially in repute. St. Paul would have us give ourselves to them with especial care, because those who hold them in high esteem will love us better, and yield more readily to our religious influence. VII. That nothing may be omitted, the apostle adds, if there be ANY VIRTUE OR PRAISE. None of these Divine and beautiful flowers must be wanting. Indeed, it is not possible to have one in any degree of perfection without the others. They are sisters so firmly linked together that they cannot be torn asunder.

(J. Daille)

I. WHAT THESE MORALITIES ARE.Whatsoever things are —

I. TRUE.

1. In speech. We must be free from lying. This is when men, with a purpose to deceive, say what is false either by assertion (Acts 5:3) or promise (Proverbs 19:22). Lying is —

(1)Most contrary to the nature of God, who is truth itself.

(2)To the new nature (Ephesians 4:25, 26; Isaiah 63:8).

(3)To society, for commerce is kept up by truth.

2. In actions. We should keep the integrity of a good conscience (Psalm 32:2; 2 Corinthians 1:12). Sincerity and candour should be seen in all we do. Satan assaults you with wiles, but your strength lies in downright honesty (Ephesians 6:14; Isaiah 38:2-3).

2. Honest — grave and venerable, free from scurrility, lightness and vanity in word or deed. Religion is a serious thing, so should they be who profess it (1 Timothy 2:9-10; Titus 2:2).

3. Just. We must give every man his due, and defraud none of his right; whether

(1)superiors (Matthew 22:21),

(2)inferiors (Colossians 4:1),

(3)equals (Romans 13:8; Matthew 7:12).

4. Peace. Nothing obscene or unchaste should be seen or heard from a Christian (Ephesians 4:29; Ephesians 5:12).

5. Lovely. There are certain things which are not only commanded by God, but are grateful to men, such as affability, peaceableness, usefulness (Romans 45:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; Acts 2:46-47).

6. Of good report. There are some things which have no express evil in them, but they are not of good fame (1 Thessalonians 5:22; 1 Peter 2:12).

7. Virtue and praise, two things linked together. Many things in the world are praised which are not virtuous; such things are to be abhorred. But if there be any good thing even among the heathen, religion should be adorned with it.

II. IN WHAT MANNER DOTH CHRISTIANITY ENFORCE THEM.

1. It derives them all from the highest fountain, the Spirit of sanctification, by whom we are fitted for these duties (Ephesians 5:9; Galatians 5:22).

2. It makes them to grow out of proper principles.

(1)Faith in Christ (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 7:4).

(2)Love to God (Galatians 5:6; Titus 2:11-12).

3. It directs by the highest rule, God's mind revealed in His Word, the absolute rule of right and wrong.

4. It aims at the highest end, the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Philippians 1:11; Acts 24:14-16).

III. FOR WHAT REASONS.

1. Because grace does not abolish so much of nature as is good, but refines and sublimates it, by causing us to act from higher principles and to higher ends.

2. Because these conduce to the honour of religion. The credit of religion depends much on the credit of its professors (Ezekiel 36:20-21; 2 Samuel 12:14; 2 Peter 2:2; Titus 2:10).

3. Our peace and safety are concerned in it.(1) The world is least irritated by a good conversation (1 Peter 3:13; 1 Samuel 24:17).(2) When we do not bring trouble on ourselves by our immoralities, God takes us under His special protection (ver. 9).

4. These things grow from that internal principle of grace which is planted in our hearts by regeneration (Acts 26:20; Matthew 3:8).

5. All the disorders contrary to these limits and bounds by which our conversations are regulated, are condemned by the righteous law of God which is the rule of the new creature; and therefore they ought to be avoided by the good Christian (Matthew 5:19).

6. These moralities are not small things; the glory of God, the safety of His people, the good of human society, and the evidence of our own sincerity being concerned in them.Conclusion:

1. If religion adopts moralities into its constitution, we must not leave them out of our practice (Titus 3:8). Here is an answer to those who ask wherein must we be holy and obedient.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

These words come at the close of a noble delineation of Christian life. It is as if having unfolded tract after tract the vision suddenly expanded, and a sense of the boundlessness of that life came over the apostle, and then under the stress of that feeling he pours the fulness of his soul into one utterance, emphasizing its breadth by the six-fold repetition of "whatsoever things." As much as to say "all things conceivable, attainable, include them in your view of Christian life." Christian life is greater than any description of it, and no experience has yet exhausted it.

I. CHRIST IS LORD OVER THE KINGDOM OF TRUTH; THERE IS, THEREFORE, NOTHING IN THAT KINGDOM WHICH A CHRISTIAN MAY NOT ASPIRE TO POSSESS. Our enemies are surprised at this claim. Because we put the Cross in the centre they fancy there is nothing but the centre.

1. Some deny the originality of Christian truth, and say of some fragments of it, "It is in Seneca or Confucius." But whatever true things are in any of the wise teachers of the past, we shall not resent their being found anterior to Christ. They were in God before they were in them, and they have their place in the kingdom of truth of which Christ is the King, and of which we are now the heirs.

2. Detractors of another sort have put the stigma on the narrowness of our life. The large, full, free life is that which philosophy, art, science, literature, and travel make possible. But all things here are beforehand in Christ. They may not be classed as yet, but they belong to the kingdom of truth, and therefore to us.

3. Men who say that "It is all over with Christian life. It is an old-world story, a thing past and done. The real life — the life of the future — has its roots in material forces, and in the views, hopes, and aims to which these forces are giving shape." But whatever is here is part of the heritage of our life.

II. THE EARLIEST ACTINGS OF CHRISTIAN LIFE WERE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THIS EXPANSIVENESS.

1. Hardly was its voice heard among men than it began to bring the teaching of the lilies and the birds, and the sunshine and rain into its glad tidings. It no sooner stepped into heathen life than it commended the faith of centurions, Syro-Phoenician women, the endurance of Roman soldiers, and the self-denial of Grecian wrestlers and runners. It went after the waifs and strays of Jewish society.

2. While Christian life denounced the awful abysses that lay in the moral life of heathenism, it accepted whatever was Divine in its civilization. It recognized in it the working of the Divine Spirit, heard its poets preluding the song of Christian brotherhood in the words, "Ye are God's offspring"; saw the glory of Roman law; and in Greek wisdom questions which God had helped to formulate, and God's Son had come to answer. It asserted its inheritance in all the virtues of Greek and Roman life, and found an asylum for its slaves.

III. Another illustration of the expansiveness is that IT IS NOT PRESENTED TO US IN THE NEW TESTAMENT IN ITS DEVELOPMENTS, BUT IN ITS GERMS. It is leaven, seed, a new spiritual force, developing, penetrating, taking possession of, allying itself to all experiences, manners, customs, countries, races.

IV. LOOK AT THE EXPANSIVE CHARACTER OF THE BOOK BY WHICH CHRISTIAN LIFE IS FED. The Bible grows in the experience of the individual. It is a greater Book to the man than to the boy. It grows in the experience of the Church. It is not the Bible that changes, but the eyes that pore over it grow wider as they read. Something of this is due, to the fact that it is in the main a book of principles. In their expansion the Bible expands. New circumstances demand new aspects of truth, new applications of principle. And every new application is a discovery of the wealth that remains to be dug out of the Book of God.

V. THIS HAS A PRACTICAL BEARING ON THE ATTITUDE OF CHURCHES TO EACH OTHER.

1. No one Church, however venerable in age, or fresh with the dew of youth, has a monopoly of the good things of God. Let us covet earnestly each other's gifts — the fervour of the Wesleyan, the self-dependence of the Congregationalist, the ordered government of the Presbyterian, the beautiful worship of the Episcopalian.

2. And why should Church yearnings stop short here: think of the many things, great and good, in the social life of our country. We want the business habits, direct dealing, and honour among her commercial men; the free play and force of her public opinion, her respect for rights, her forbearance; the noble self-renunciation of her soldiers and sailors; the enthusiasm of her men of science, and the gravity of her lawyers.

(A. Macleod, D. D.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS A BUILDING UP OF CHARACTER.

1. It is more than belief of certain truths, the sustaining of certain religious emotions; it is the continuous working into the warp and woof of our life every good and excellent quality, until we arrive at the measure of and stature of the fulness that is in Christ.

2. Of course there must be a foundation, and a good one; but it is poor sort of work to be always laying foundations with so few buildings showing signs of growth, much less of completeness.

3. May not this partly account for the slow spread of the gospel? We can show many who have begun to build, but is that an inducement for others to begin also?

II. IT IS JUST BY THESE THINGS THAT WE ARE JUDGED BY THE WORLD.

1. It is very true that the world is not discerning in its judgments. It sees professors doing disreputable things and immediately exclaims, "There is your religion for you." With just as much justice as if after Satan had transformed himself into an angel of light, he again assumed his demoniacal form you were to say, "There's your angel for you."

2. But that is no excuse for giving the world occasion to speak slightingly of the gospel. And it is just by the neglect of things virtuous and praiseworthy that we provide worldlings with arrows to shoot at Christ's cause. What can the world think when men who profess to be sure of heaven grumble at everything that goes on in earth; when those who profess to have received mercy are unforgiving, close fisted, and hard to deal with.

3. It is not by our professions of faith that the world judges us: it cannot judge of the new birth, faith, the indwelling of the Spirit; but of the outer life it does judge, and has to some extent a right to judge. How watchful and prayerful we should be that it does not misjudge the Master through us? How careful we should be to be living epistles known and read of all men.

III. WE SHOULD LEARN OF ALL MEN WHATEVER IS VIRTUOUS OR PRAISEWORTHY IN THEIR LIFE. Let the Church learn punctuality and business habits from the merchant; the Christian, courtesy from the outward politeness of the man of the world; the Protestant, that zeal which is so self-sacrificing and the devotion that is so warm in the Roman Catholic or Mohammedan; the believer, patient and impartial study of truth from the man of science. From any and every quarter let whatsoever is of good report be welcomed.

IV. LET NONE IMAGINE, HOWEVER, THAT ANY EXCELLENCY OR VIRTUE CAN RE A SUBSTITUTE FOR FAITH IN CHRIST. Paul was a model of every natural virtue before his conversion, and yet none needed conversion more than he. The young man whom Jesus loved was the same. Paul counted his virtues loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and nothing but that knowledge will save your soul.

(R. J. Lynd, B. A.)

In the service of God there is employment for every faculty and function; they each have a mission for the Master. The power to think is the prerogative distinctly peculiar to man.

I. THOUGHT IS A DUTY. Thoughtlessness, and consequently ignorance, is what the Lord so pathetically lamented in His people Israel. "Israel doth not know; My people doth not consider." Thoughtlessness has wrought the ruin of our race. Isaac "meditated at eventide." Joshua was commanded to "meditate day and night in the statutes of the Lord." David was a diligent and talented thinker. "When I consider Thy heavens," etc.

II. SUBJECTS FOR THOUGHT. "Whatsoever things are true," etc. We are to think, but not at random. Definite thought alone is profitable. There are subjects worthy of winning the thoughts of thinkers the most profound.

(J. W. Bray.)

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.)

Think on these things and you will become —

I. BETTER. What a man thinks most about grows upon him. A youth may care very little about business; but presently he becomes interested in it, and it grows upon him until before middle age is reached he can scarcely think of anything else. It is so with the artist, with the pleasure seeker, and with the Christian. Let him think on "whatsoever things are true," etc., and the more attractive they will become; the larger place will they occupy in his heart, and the mightier will be their influence on his life. Beholding these things with an open face, he will be naturally, insensibly, gradually changed into the same image.

II. MORE CHARITABLE. One of our most common tendencies is to look at the weaknesses and shortcomings of our brethren — to let the thought of these things exclude the thought of their good qualities. Hence harsh judgments, suspicion, distrust. If, however, we would lay aside this tendency and "take account of" (R.V. marg.) whatsoever things are true, etc., in our neighbours — look upon their good instead of on their faulty side, we should think more kindly of them, our thoughts would influence our conduct, and we should be drawn towards them by a three-fold cord of love. And this is possible. There is much that is praiseworthy even in brethren who have been overtaken in a fault. Much of our unity, success, comfort as communities, depend on our cultivating this habit.

III. MORE HELPFUL. A man's power to help does not so much depend on his intentions as on his character and disposition. The presence of a good man — a man who has "thought on these things" until they have become part of himself, always acts like a tonic on weaker souls. It reproves their slowness, quickens their desires, and stimulates their efforts. Such a man is a means of grace.

(J. Ogle.)

Not the common word for think, but the reckoning, counting up, dwelling repeatedly on these things. It is not the bee's touching upon the flowers that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time upon them and drawing out the sweet. It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most on Divine truth that will prove the choicest, wisest, strongest Christian.

(J. Hall.)

How many persons are made and kept frivolous by an inability to prescribe the subjects on which their mind shall run! They would give, or fancy they would give, all that they possess for the power to say decisively but for one short hour, "This and but this shall be the subject of my thoughts." But they find that when they open their Bible the mind has flown away to some meditation of things present and transitory; when they kneel down to pray, even attention is absent, they cannot remember God's presence, much less can they wish the thing they profess to pray for. Such persons are good judges of Paul's precept, however little they may believe in the possibility of obeying it. For indeed it is a very dreadful thing, when we reflect upon it — a strong proof, were there no other, of our fallen and ruined state — that a man should thus sit at a helm of which he has lost the rudder, should thus be responsible for the conduct of a mind over which practically he has no control. And if that responsibility cannot be desired; if "out of the heart the mouth speaketh," if by the heart the path of life is chosen and the course of life shaped; in short, if, in every sense of the words, "out of the heart are the issues of life," and according to the life must be the eternal judgment of each one of us; how terrible must it be to be unable from a moral impotency to obey the charge "keep that heart with all diligence"; to be compelled to let thought drift whither it will, and yet to know that thought guides action, and action may destroy the soul.

(Dean Vaughan.)

Whatsoever things are true
1. God to maintain it.

2. Defence in itself.

3. Goodness to accompany it.

4. Liberty consequent upon it.

5. It is connatural to our principles.

6. The foundation of order.

7. The ground of human converse.

8. The bond of union.

(B. Whichcote, B. D.)

I. THE LONGEST SWORD; and then the Mahometans must have it; and before them the great disturbers of mankind, whom we call conquerors, as Alexander and Caesar.

II. IF THE LOUDEST LUNGS must carry it, then the Baal worshippers must have it from Elijah; for he had but one still voice; but they cry from morning to night.

III. If THE MOST VOICES; then the condemners of our Saviour must have it: for they all cry, Crucify, Crucify. Therefore these are false measures.

(B. Whichcote, B. D.)

I. Be true TO YOURSELVES — to your better nature. As Shakespeare says, "To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

II. TO YOUR NEIGHBOURS in —

1. Word.

2. Love.

3. Act.

4. Manner.

III. TO GOD.

1. To His claims.

2. To your promises.

3. In your hearts, for truth is required in the inward parts.

4. In your life, for there you may best glorify Him.

(W. Landells, D. D.)

Moral truth in its universality is like the pine tree. Societies have claimed the one for their own, as some naturalists have claimed the other for northern climes. But both are wrong. As to the pine, it is represented in all zones, from the cedars of Lebanon to the fir bushes of the Scandinavian mountain tops. There are particular trees, as there are certain forms of speculative and political truth, which can survive only in a limited region; the one being fitted only for a peculiar atmosphere, as the other is only adapted to circumscribed types of mind. But moral truth flourishes amongst all the mental productions of man, as the pine amongst the vegetation of the world. It must thrive everywhere, because suited to and intended for the world.

(Dr. Herman Masius.)

Men who have lived in traditional knowledge do not thank you for a new truth. It dazes and confounds their dim vision, which is unsuited to its reception. Their bewilderment at the light is similar to that of the cricket. As that creature lives chiefly in the dark, so its eyes seem formed for the gloominess of its abode; and you have only to light a candle unexpectedly, and it becomes so dazed that it cannot find its way back to its retreat.

(Goldsmith.)

A father found a favourite cherry tree hacked and ruined. He cried sternly to his son: "George, who did this?" He looked at his father with a quivering lip, and said: "Father, I cannot tell a lie: I did it." "Alas!" said the father, "my beautiful tree is ruined; but I would rather lose all the trees I have than have a liar for my son." The boy who feared a lie worse than punishment became the hero of his country, General Washington. Whatsoever things are honest — The word does not exactly mean what we call honest, but what is worthy of honour, revered, august, venerable, majestic. Think on whatever things you can look up to in persons, circumstances, and respect. Especially in social life, in the political world, in literature. Where there is no room for reverence there is no room for life. The name of God, the idea of worship, the solemnity of life, the immortality of the soul, the fact of death, the judgment seat — "think on these things," awful, venerable things l Then government, law, the State, the Church, the ruling powers and influences of society; the magistrate, holding "not the sword in vain, the minister of God to thee for good" — "think on these things," pray for them; cheek faction, uphold authority. Nor are the grand advances of science to be omitted from this catalogue. For these, we are to bless God. His hand is in them all. The astronomical accuracy that can calculate the moment of an eclipse a hundred years hence — the power of expediting communication, like lightning, to the ends of the earth — the triumph over winds and waves — the mighty faculty of the poet — the genius of history, the gift of eloquence — the prevention of disease, the alleviation of pain — the "rise up and walk" of medical skill — these, too, together with the awful and majestic in nature and art, whatsoever in mountain or sea or sky, whatsoever in painting or noble structure shows greatness of purpose, nobility of soul, and tends to bow our souls in admiration — "think on these things."

(B. Kent.)

observant of the rule of right — equal. The original signification of the term was custom — order — social rule, in opposition to the unmannered life of wild tribes, who are swayed by inclination, passion, caprice. There is a Divine order in this world, amid all our confusions. He who walks in that order walks in the way of the Lord. That is right, just. "There is none righteous." Christ is the "Just One." There is His righteousness; we must be clothed with it. "Looking unto Jesus" is the loving study of God's laws perfectly fulfilled in Him for us. Thus we are taught to repent of our deviations, i.e., sin, missing the mark, going out of the way. This leads us to acknowledge our weakness, and to cry mightily to God to bring us to Christ, "the Way." The brief description of Christianity in apostolic times was "that way," or "the way of the Lord," "the way of life." It is God's way of working, saving, ruling, pardoning, that we want to walk in — the way of righteousness. Think on the things in society that are conformed to this rule of order and right. There is the way of the righteous King. He walks there. There He takes delight. In the family, in the Church, in the State; whatever is upright, observant of right, and struggles against wrong-doing, fraud, injustice, is the finger of God. Consciously or unconsciously it is doing His work; the vindication of human rights against oppression, ignorance, superstition, the devil, is working for and with Christ. Take a large and ample range over society, discover the right, the lawful, the just, making head against the wrong, the false, the licentious; think of these things; pray for them, and see God's hand and way in them. Think on them; they are; God does not leave Himself without a witness; there are more signs of righteous government in the world than many of us suspect. They are about our path if we will but open our eyes, and observe, and desire to see them. There are flowers, and palms, and pools in the desert. "Think on these things."

Whatsoever things are pure, unsullied, akin to holy. "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself," etc. "Ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." "Some preach Christ...not sincerely." "Lay hands suddenly on no man...keep thyself pure." Thus the word has reference to what may and does defile; influences in the Church and the world which tend to stain our consciences; connivance at sin, excusing evil, insincere statements; having a bad motive underlying right conduct; preaching such a gospel as Paul rejoiced to know was preached, and yet not with cleanness of conscience. Timothy is to let the candidates for the ministry consider their motives; he is to study their conduct for a while, lest love of money, or of applause, of vulgar fame, or eccleciastical power and influence, should prove the determining influences, and thus he would be a partaker of other men's sins. This suggests the need of "the blood of sprinkling," that our actions, motives, powers, prayers, may be cleansed of all vile, base admixtures. A true Christian will bemoan nothing more feelingly than the constant detection of impure, low motive in his spiritual life. The apostle exhorts us to "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." In the intercourse of the world one is in constant danger of a certain miasma, the pollution of low, selfish, interested motive; it is drawn in naturally as the pure air; and unless we think of "whatsoever things are pure," and do like the Italian peasant, when the night comes on, get out of the low ground on to a hill above the reach of the miasma, we are in danger of losing the freshness and vigour of our spiritual life. When the day is over we should get us up to the mountains, and converse with our Lord concerning the conduct of the day, and ask Him to see "if there is any wicked way in us, and to wash us, not our feet only, but also our hands and our head." "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."

(B. Kent.)

It is a marvellous thing to see how a pure and innocent heart purifies all that it approaches. The most ferocious natures are soothed and tamed by innocence. And so with human beings there is a delicacy so pure that vicious men in its presence become almost pure; all of purity that is in them being brought out; like attaches itself to like. The pure heart becomes a centre of attraction, round which similar atoms gather, and from which dissimilar ones are repelled. A corrupt heart in an hour elicits all that is bad in us; a spiritual one brings out and draws to itself all that is best and purest. Such was Christ. He stood in the world the Light of the world, to which all sparks of light gradually gathered. He stood in the presence of impurity, and men and women became pure.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Live in purity, my child, through this fair life, pure from every vice and every evil knowledge, as the lily lives in silent innocence, as the turtledove amid the branches, that thou, when the Father downward gazes, mayest be His beloved object on earth, as the unconscious wanderer gazes on the lovely star of even; that thou, when the sun dissolves thee, mayest show thyself a pearl of purest whiteness, that thy thoughts may be as the rose's perfume, that thy love may be like a glowing sunbeam, and thy life like shepherd's song of evening, like the tones his flute pours forth so softly.

(Schiller.)

I. THE UNION OF STRENGTH AND BEAUTY IN CHRISTIAN CHARACTER.

1. The virtues of this verse are parts of one organic whole; they so hang together that the absence of one goes far to destroy the value of the other. This is especially true of "things honest and just." The world is compelled to respect truth, however lacking in grace. The addition of "things lovely" elevates the righteous into the good man: but the righteous man may be honoured and trusted though he is not admired or loved. The want of grace detracts from the symmetry of character; but in the moral world the beautiful has value only as underneath the outward charm there is the solid foundation of righteousness.

2. There is a certain beauty even about the most rugged forms of moral strength. It is a sign of incompleteness of character when a man takes pleasure in putting the truth in an offensive form, or in enforcing the right with a contempt for the feelings of others. There are those who have no desire to conciliate, and who are too assertive, yet there is in them a strength of principle, a manly resolution, an unflinching devotion to the right which is far more admirable than the amiability which is profuse in outward signs of kindness, but shrinks from the service which justice requires.

3. Still, when we think of things lovely, we refer to qualities by which the more severe attributes of character are softened. Standing alone they are a very poor possession. Those who employ all their art in order to have the outward clothing of gentleness, elegance, and grace have their reward. They are favourites of the social circle; and yet they may be lacking in the first elements of spiritual nobility. In the true Christian ideal the graces are only those elements which add tenderness and sweetness to the more masculine virtues which are essential to the toils and conflicts of this world of sin.

II. NOTE THE VARIETIES OF SPIRITUAL BEAUTY.

1. There is a tendency to find beauty only in the feminine virtues — gentleness, patience, compassion, sympathetic kindness — and to regard those of a more masculine character — courage, firmness, resolution — as belonging to another region. But this is to forget that God has made everything beautiful in its time and place. There is beauty in winter as well as in spring, in the scarred, weather-beaten rock, as well as in the smiling landscape. In God's works there is great variety, but everywhere beauty.

2. Can we not apply the same law to character? Would we have all men of the same character? Can we find the things that are lovely only in peaceful homes and gracious ministries, and not also where hard battles are fought and victories won for Jesus Christ? We recognize the loveliness of simple trust and absolute devotion in Magdalen in Gethsemane; but is there no beauty in the lofty heroism of Peter and John declaring that they would serve God rather than men? Barnabas seems to gather up in himself the things that are lovely, but do we find no spiritual beauty in the lion-like courage of Paul? So with Melanchthon and Luther. There is moral beauty in all — different in type, but alike in origin and end.

III. CONTEMPLATE THE THINGS THAT ARE LOWLY (Colossians 3:12-15). Here is indeed a galaxy of virtues, yet when we come to examine them we find that they all turn on one point — the conquest of self.

1. Selfishness is ugliness and deformity, because it is a violation of the Divine law. It may disguise itself, but when detected it is hated and despised. It is the foe of man, to be crushed by a Diviner force if we are to attain to spiritual beauty.

2. The first lesson we have to learn is humility and unselfishness. So only can we follow Christ. Where His Spirit reigns the life will have this primary condition of true beauty; although at times it may be lacking in features which correspond to the popular ideas of grace.

3. The word chivalry seems to embody most of the virtues included in the phrase of the text: reverence for God and for all that is godlike in man, sympathy for all goodness, pity for all weakness, courage to face all danger, generous consideration for others dictated by true respect for self. These are just the virtues which the Christian should strive by the grace of God to develop.

(J. G. Rogers, B. A.)

(εὔφημα), auspicious, sounding well, of good omen; silent deeds that, nevertheless, sound like a trumpet, and awaken our admiration, making us think better of human nature; things that come to us like good news, and "make our bones fat," and our eyes glisten, and our lips tremulous — "things of good report." Like the soldier at Balaclava, who dismounted calmly in the hurricane of the fight, that his officer might ride. Like those noble women who watched day and night over the sufferers at Scutari. The poetry of life — the sphere music — audible amidst the groans of creation. Not done to be reported well of, but done for love and dear honour's sake; and which can no more be hid than one can "hide the wind." Such was Joseph's conduct to his brethren; such David's when he found Saul asleep, and took his spear away only and a piece of his garment; such Stephen's dying prayer, "Lay not this sin to their charge"; such His glorious charge, "Begin at Jerusalem." Magnanimity, the Christian pilgrim, man or woman, accompanied by "Greatheart"; the rising above the level and routine of giving, doing, loving, into the stature of the man in Christ Jesus — these are things of good report. Think of them — think that you never experience such a thrill of pleasure as when you read of such things — then what must it be to do them! Think that the capacity to enjoy the recital argues the ability to do them. Think and be thankful that you live in a world where these noble things can be done; and you can do them, if you suffer not little mercenary motives to blind your eyes and freeze your sensibilities. "And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them;" there is a sounding deed! David refusing to offer to the Lord "that which cost Him nothing"; the centurion's, "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only"; Mary, with her alabaster box of ointment (and "this that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her"); Paul's, "though the more I love you, the less I am beloved" — "take back your runaway slave, Philemon, as a brother," and what he owes thee put down to me; that greatest deed in the history of the universe, how that when we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

(B. Kent.)

The clause is an emphatic and earnest summation. The term ἀρετή is only here used by St. Paul. In the philosophical writings of Greece it signifies all virtue, and not any special forms of it, as it does in Homer and others. The apostle nowhere else uses it — it had been too much debased and soiled in some of the schools, and ideas were often attached to it very different from that moral excellence which with him was virtue. It is therefore here employed in its widest and highest sense of moral excellence — virtus, that which becomes a man redeemed by the blood of Christ and tenanted by the Holy Spirit. From its connection with the Sanscrit vri — to be strong — Latin vir-vires-virtus; or with Αρης ἀριστος it seems to signify what best becomes a man — manhood, strength, or valour; in early times. But the signification has been modified by national character and temperament. The warlike Romans placed their virtue in military courage; while their successors, the modern degenerate Italians, often apply it to a knowledge of antiquities or fine arts. The remains of other and nobler times are articles of virtu, and he who has most acquaintance with them is a virtuoso, or man of virtue. In common English, a woman's virtue is simply and alone her chastity, as being first and indispensable; and with the Scotch formerly it was thrift or industry. An old act commands schools or houses of "vertue," in which might be manufactured "cloth and sergis," to be erected in every shire. Amid such national variations, and the unsettled metaphysical disquisitions as to what forms virtue and what is its basis, it needed that He who created man for Himself should tell him what best became him — what he was made for and what he should aspire to.

(Professor Eadie.)

We all consider what is thought of us by those around us as a substantial good. Trust in our uprightness of character, belief in our abilities, and the desire that arises from this to be more intimately connected with us, and to gain our good opinion — everything of this kind is often a more valuable treasure than great riches.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.)

The praises of others may be of use in teaching us, not what we are, but what we ought to be.

(J. M. Hare.)

The tendency of the love of commendation is to make a man exert himself; of the love of admiration to make him puff himself.

(Archbishop Whately.)

When the love of praise takes the place of love of praiseworthiness, the defect is fatal.

(B. Grant, B. A.)

A word of praise warms the heart towards him who bestows it, and insensibly trains him who receives it to strive after what is praiseworthy; and as our lesser faults may be thus gently corrected, by disciplining some counter merits to stronger and steadier efforts to outgrow them, so it is, on the whole, not more pleasant than wise to keep any large expenditure of scolding for great occasions. But let me be understood. By praise I do not mean flattery; I mean nothing insincere. Insincerity alienates love and rots away authority. Praise is worth nothing if it be not founded on truth.

(Lord Lytton.)

Links
Philippians 4:8 NIV
Philippians 4:8 NLT
Philippians 4:8 ESV
Philippians 4:8 NASB
Philippians 4:8 KJV

Philippians 4:8 Bible Apps
Philippians 4:8 Parallel
Philippians 4:8 Biblia Paralela
Philippians 4:8 Chinese Bible
Philippians 4:8 French Bible
Philippians 4:8 German Bible

Philippians 4:8 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Philippians 4:7
Top of Page
Top of Page