In the eighth verse of the fourth chapter of Philippians Paul writes: "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." The impressiveness of this statement of the apostle is its finality and completeness. Paul writes this epistle to the Philippians from a Roman prison, near the close of his earthly career; and out of the depth and fulness of the marvelous experience that had been given him he prefaces this outline of the things that are to engage our thinking by the word "finally." Its finality rests upon the fact that our thinking first of all shall center in the things that are true; then from this center of truth the thought shall radiate out into the channels of human experience, taking in in its scope the things that are honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.

After a little thought it appeals to one that the things which are true include all these other things; that the one who is holding to the thought of truth must be living likewise in the thought of the things which are honest, just, and so on. Without any doubt this is the apostle's outlook, that the truth does include all these things; and the wisdom and finality of Paul's statement seem to rest in this, that he sees that Truth in itself is absolute; but that the truth in its application in human experience and its adaptation to human affairs becomes relative. So, as he recognizes and remembers that the thing which we think determines what we are that the ideals which we hold before us are the things into which we grow he sees that our thought must place before itself the ultimate ideal of absolute Truth. He has learned further that, in the words of our text-book, we must "emerge gently from matter into Spirit;" that we must keep before us and hold as the central fact of being the "spiritual ultimate of all things," but that we must "come naturally into Spirit through better health and morals and as the result of spiritual growth" (Science and Health, p. 485). Apparently it is to mark the elements and the qualities of thinking, to indicate the ideals of human experience which mark the way from our present human view-point to the spiritual ultimate of things, that he enjoins us to hold before us likewise the human ideals of things that are honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. This in its practical application will mean that in our reading we shall set before us the best in the world's thought and literature, and in our daily association shall form our friendships with those who will help us to higher ideals or whom we can help.

April 9, 1910

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