John Calvin Complete Commentary - Philippians 4:8 - 4:8

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - Philippians 4:8 - 4:8


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8.Finally What follows consists of general exhortations which relate to the whole of life. In the first place, he commends truth, which is nothing else than the integrity of a good conscience, with the fruits of it: secondly, gravity, or sanctity, for τὸ σεμνόν (240) denotes both — an excellence which consists in this, that we walk in a manner worthy of our vocation, (Eph_4:1,) keeping at a distance from all profane filthiness: thirdly, justice, which has to do with the mutual intercourse of mankind — that we do not injure any one, that we do not defraud any one; and, fourthly, purity, which denotes chastity in every department of life. Paul, however, does not reckon all these things to be sufficient, if we do not at the same time endeavor to make ourselves agreeable to all, in so far as we may lawfully do so in the Lord, and have regard also to our good name. For it is in this way that I understand the words —

If any praise, (241) that is, anything praiseworthy, for amidst such a corruption of manners there is so great a perversity in men’ judgments that praise is often bestowed (242) upon what is blameworthy, and it is not allowable for Christians to be desirous even of true praise among men, inasmuch as they are elsewhere forbidden to glory, except in God alone. (1Co_1:31.) Paul, therefore, does not bid them try to gain applause or commendation by virtuous actions, nor even to regulate their life according to the judgments of the people, but simply means, that they should devote themselves to the performance of good works, which merit commendation, that the wicked, and those who are enemies of the gospel, while they deride Christians and cast reproach upon them, may, nevertheless, be constrained to commend their deportment.

The word, προσφιλὢ καὶ εὔφημα however, among the Greeks, is employed, like cogitare among the Latins, to mean, meditate. (243) Now meditation comes first, afterwards follows action.



(240) The word σεμνὸν means that which has dignity connected with it. Hence σεμνὸς and μεγαλοπρεπη; are joined together by Aristotle, as quoted by Wetstein, and in 2Ma_8:15.” — Storr. See Biblical Cabinet, vol. 40, p. 178, note; Ed.

(241)Clermont copy reads here, εἴ τις ἔπαινος,If there be any praise of knowledge. Instead of ἐπιστήμης, the Valesian readings have παιδείες, with which the Vulg. Latin, agrees, reading, If there be any praise of discipline, ( disciplinae as does also the Ethiopic, and two ancient Commentators mentioned by Dr. Mills.” Pierce. Ed.

(242) “Bien souuent on loue;” — “ frequently they praise.”

(243) Like the Latin terms cogitare, meditari the Greek μελετᾷν signifies to contemplate a thing, with the view of, finding means for effecting it.... According to this view, ταῦτα λογίζεσθε, in the passage before us, will be equivalent to ταῦτα ποιεῖν λογίζεσθε, ‘ to do these things,’ — ‘ diligence to do them.’” Storr. See Biblical Cabinet, vol. 40, p. 180 Note. Ed.