(1.) Respect paid to superiors, those to whom we owe particular deference and distinction.
(2.) It is sometimes, in Scripture, used to denote real services: Honor thy father and mother (Ex 20:12);" that is, not only show respect and deference, but assist them, and perform such services to them as they need. By honor is also understood that adoration which is due to God only: "Give unto the Lord the honor due unto his name (Ps 29:2)."
(3.) Specifically, it is used to denote the testimony of esteem or submission, by which we make known the veneration and respect we entertain for any one on account of his dignity or merit. The word is used in general for the esteem due to virtue glory, reputation, and probity. In every situation of life, religion only forms the true honor and happiness of man. "It cannot arise from riches, dignity of rank, or office, nor from what are often called splendid actions of heroes, or civil accomplishments; these may be found among men of no real integrity, and may create considerable fame; but a distinction must be made between fame and true honor. The former is a loud and noisy applause; the latter a more silent and internal homage. Fame floats on the breath of the multitude; honor rests on the judgment of the thinking. In order, then, to discern where true honor lies, we must not look to any adventitious circumstance, not to any single sparkling quality, but to the whole of what forms a man; in a word, we must look to the soul. It will discover itself by a mind superior to fear, to selfish interest, and corruption; by an ardent love to the Supreme Being, and by a principle of uniform rectitude. It will make us neither afraid nor ashamed to discharge our duty, as it relates both to God and man. It will influence us to be magnanimous without being proud; humble without being mean; just without being harsh; simple in our manners, but manly in our feelings. This honor, thus formed by religion, or the love of God, is more independent and more complete than what can be acquired by any other means. It is productive of higher felicity, and will be commensurate with eternity itself; while that honor, so called, which arises from any other principle, will resemble the feeble and twinkling flame of a taper, which is often clouded by the smoke it sends forth, but is always wasting, and soon dies totally away" (Blair, Sermons, Serm. 33).
(4.) The term "honor" is also used to denote the personal quality of magnanimity, especially in relation to truth and fidelity. Among men of the world, the "sense of honor," so called, takes the place of conscience; perhaps it might more justly be said that it is conscience, regulated, however, by the personal pride of the individual. Coleridge remarks that wherever "genuine morality has given way, in the general opinion, to a scheme of ethics founded on utility, its place is soon challenged by the spirit of HONOR. Paley, who degrades the spirit of honor into a mere club-law among the higher classes, originating in selfish convenience, and enforced by the penalty of excommunication from the society which habit had rendered indispensable to the happiness of the individuals, has misconstrued it not less than Shaftesbury, who extols it as the noblest influence of noble natures. The spirit of honor is more, indeed; than a mere conventional substitute for honesty; but, on the other hand, instead of being a finer form of moral life, it may be more truly described as the shadow or ghost of virtue deceased; for to take the word in a sense which no man of honor would acknowledge may be allowed to the writer of satires, but not to the moral philosopher. Honor implies a reverence for the invisible and super sensual in our nature, and so far it is virtue; but it is a virtue that neither understands itself nor its true source, and therefore often unsubstantial, not seldom fantastic, and often more or less capricious. Abstract the notion from the lives of lord Herbert of Cherbury, or Henry the Fourth of France, and then compare it with 1 Corinthians 13 and the Epistle to Philemon, or, rather, with the realization of this fair ideal in the character of St. Paul himself. This has struck the better class even of infidels. Collins, one of the most learned of our English deists, is said to have declared that, contradictory as miracles appeared to his reason, he would believe in them notwithstanding if it could be proved to him that St. Paul had asserted any one as having been worked by himself in the modern sense of the word miracle; adding, 'St. Paul was so perfect A gentleman, and a man of honor!' I know not a better test. Nor can I think of any investigation that would be more instructive where it would be safe, but none, likewise, of greater delicacy from the probability of misinterpretation than a history of the rise of honor in the European monarchies as connected with the corruptions of Christianity, and an inquiry into the specific causes of the inefficacy which has attended the combined efforts of divines and moralists against the practice and obligation of dueling." Of the merely worldly sense of honor, Carlyle remarks, sharply enough, that it "reveals itself too clearly as the daughter and heiress of our old acquaintance, Vanity" (Essays, 2, 74). Montesquieu remarks that what is called honor in Europe is unknown, and of course unnamed, in Asia; and that it would be difficult to render the term intelligible to a Persian." See Montesquieu, Spirit of Laws, bk. 3, ch. 8; Coleridge, Friend, p. 377.