"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold."
Here are two things which are more valuable and which we should covet more than great riches: To be well spoken of: A name (that is, a good name, a name for good things with God and good people) is rather to be chosen than great riches; that is, we should be more careful to do that by which we may get and keep a good name than that by which we may raise and increase a great estate.....To be well beloved, to have an interest in the esteem and affections of all about us; this is better than silver and gold. Christ has neither silver nor gold, but he grew in favour with God and man. This should teach us to look with a holy contempt upon the wealth of this world, not to set our hearts upon that, but with all possible care to think of those things that are lovely and of good report.
"Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman."
Ruth 3:10-11He commended her, spoke kindly to her, called her his daughter, and spoke honorably of her, as a woman of eminent virtue. She had shown in this instance more kindness to her mother-in-law, and to the family into which she had matched, than in any instance yet. It was very kind to leave her own country and come along with her mother to the land of Israel, to dwell with her, and help to maintain her. For this he had blessed her.
"A good name is better than precious ointment."
Ecclesiastes 7:1That the honor of virtue is really more valuable and desirable than all the wealth and pleasure in this world. A good name is before good ointment (so it may be read); it is preferable to it, and will be rather chosen by all that are wise. Good ointment is here put for all the profits of the earth (among the products of which oil was reckoned one of the most valuable), for all the delights of sense (for ointment and perfume which rejoice the heart, and it is called the oil of gladness), and for the highest titles of honour with which men are dignified, for kings are anointed. A good name is better than all riches, that is, a name for wisdom and goodness with those that are wise and good—the memory of the just; this is a good that will bring a more grateful pleasure to the mind, will give a man a larger opportunity of usefulness, and will go further, and last longer, than the most precious box of ointment; for Christ paid Mary for her ointment with a good name, a name in the gospels, and we are sure he always pays with advantage.
"Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
1 Peter 2:12He exhorts them further to adorn their profession by an honest conversation. Their conversation in every turn, every instance, and every action of their lives, ought to be honest; that is, good, lovely, decent, amiable, and without blame: and that because they lived among the Gentiles, people of another religion, and who were inveterate enemies to them, who did already slander them and constantly spoke evil of them as of evil-doers. "A clean, just, good conversation may not only stop their mouths, but may possibly be a means to bring them to glorify God, and turn to you, when they shall see you excel all others in good works. They now call you evil-doers; vindicate yourselves by good works, this is the way to convince them.
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil."
1 Thessalonians 5;21-22When we are satisfied that any thing is right, and true, and good, we must hold it fast, and not let it go, whatever opposition or whatever persecution we meet with for the sake thereof... We should therefore abstain from evil, and all appearances of evil, from sin, and that which looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it. He who is not shy of the appearances of sin, who shuns not the occasions of sin, and who avoids not the temptations and approaches to sin, will not long abstain from the actual commission of sin.
"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets."
Luke 6:22-23Such usage as this seems hard; but blessed are you when you are so used. It is so far from depriving you of your happiness that it will greatly add to it. It is an honor to you, as it is to a brave hero to be employed in the wars, in the service of his prince; and therefore rejoice you in that day, and leap for joy. Do not only bear it, but triumph in it. For, "You are hereby highly dignified in the kingdom of grace, for you are treated as the prophets were before you, and therefore not only need not be ashamed of it, but may justly rejoice in it, for it will be an evidence for you that you walk in the same spirit, and in the same steps, are engaged in the same cause, and employed in the same service, with them. "You will for this be abundantly recompensed in the kingdom of glory; not only your services for Christ, but your sufferings will come into the account: Your reward is great in heaven. Venture upon your sufferings, in a full belief that the glory of heaven will abundantly countervail all these hardships; so that, though you may be losers for Christ, you shall not be losers by him in the end."