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we stand better or worse in the estimation of our neighbours for all we do and are. Our professions, our principles, our deeds, our words, even our manners and methods, - all these leave impressions on the mind concerning ourselves. What men think of us is the sum-total of these impressions, and constitutes our “name,” our reputation. The character of a good man is constantly creating an atmosphere about him in which he will be able to walk freely and happily. It is indeed true that some good men seriously injure their reputation by some follies, or even foibles, which might easily be corrected and which ought to be avoided; but, as a rule, the life of the pure and holy, of the just and kind, is surrounded by a radiance of good estimation, as advantageous to himself as it is valuable to his neighbours. … At “the day of one’s birth” there is rejoicing, because “am man is born into the world.” And what may he not become? what may he not achieve? what may he not enjoy? But that is a question indeed. That infant may become a reprobate, an outcast; he may do incalculable, deplorable mischief in the world; he may grow up to suffer the worst things in body or in mind. … But when a good man dies, having lived an honourable and useful life and having built up a noble and steadfast character, he has won his victory, he has gained his crown; and he leaves behind him memories, pure and sweet, that will live in many hearts and hallow them, that will shine on many lives and brighten them. At birth there is the possibility of good, at death there is a certainty of blessedness and blessing. … Reputation is not the very best thing of all. Character stands first. It is of vital consequence that we be right in the sight of God, and tried by Divine wisdom. The first and best thing is not to seem but to be right and wise. … How dear to us is the good name of our parents, or our children, of our intimate friends! … How much weightier are the words of the man who has been growing in honour all his days, than are those of either the inexperienced and unknown man, or the man whose reputation has been tarnished! The Pulpit Commentary, Ecclesiastes p. 184, Ecclesiastes 7: 1, (W. Clarkson) Gold Nugget 277 Character Stands First http://www.goldnugget.posterous.com