Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love - It is difficult to give a simple translation of the original: τῃ φιλαδελφιᾳ εις αλληλους φιλοστοργοι . The word φιλαδελφια signifies that affectionate regard which every Christian should feel for another, as being members of the same mystical body: hence it is emphatically termed the love of the brethren. When William Penn, of deservedly famous memory, made a treaty with the Indians in North America, and purchased from them a large woody tract, which, after its own nature and his name, he called Pennsylvania, he built a city on it, and peopled it with Christians of his own denomination, and called the city from the word in the text, φιλαδελφια , Philadelphia; an appellation which it then bore with strict propriety: and still it bears the name.
The word φιλοστοργος , which we translate kindly affectioned, from φιλος and στοργη , signifies that tender and indescribable affection which a mother bears to her child, and which almost all creatures manifest towards their young; and the word φιλος , or φιλεω , joined to it, signifies a delight in it. Feel the tenderest affection towards each other, and delight to feel it. "Love a brother Christian with the affection of a natural brother."
In honor preferring one another - The meaning appears to be this: Consider all your brethren as more worthy than yourself; and let neither grief nor envy affect your mind at seeing another honored and yourself neglected. This is a hard lesson, and very few persons learn it thoroughly. If we wish to see our brethren honored, still it is with the secret condition in our own minds that we be honored more than they. We have no objection to the elevation of others, providing we may be at the head. But who can bear even to be what he calls neglected? I once heard the following conversation between two persons, which the reader will pardon my relating in this place, as it appears to be rather in point, and is worthy of regard. "I know not," said one, "that I neglect to do any thing in my power to promote the interest of true religion in this place, and yet I seem to be held in very little repute, scarcely any person even noticing me." To which the other replied: "My good friend, set yourself down for nothing, and if any person takes you for something it will be all clear gain." I thought this a queer saying: but how full of meaning and common sense! Whether the object of this good counsel was profited by it I cannot tell; but I looked on it and received instruction.