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thut ministered to my wants : for he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had beard that he had been sick: for indeed he was sick nigh unto death ; but God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that when ye see him again ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation : because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life to supply your lack of service towards me." Chap. ii. 25—30. The matter is here dropped, and no farther mention made of it till it is taken up near the conclusion of the epistle as follows: “ But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound : every where and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound, and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding, ye have well done that ye did communicate with my affliction,
Now, ye Philippians, know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me, as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift; but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you."
.” Chap. iv. 10–18. To the Philippian reader, who knew that contributions were wont to be made in that church for the apostle's subsistence and relief, that the supply which they were accustomed to send to him had been delayed by the want of opportunity, that Epaphroditus had undertaken the charge of conveying their liberality to the hands of the apostle, that he had acquitted himself of this commission at the peril of his life, by hastening to Rome under the oppression of a grievous sickness ; to a reader who knew all this beforehand, every line in the above quotations would be plain and clear. But how is it with a stranger? The knowledge of these several particulars is necessary to the perception and explanation of these references; yet that knowledge must be gathered from a comparison of passages lying at a great distance from one another. Texts must be interpreted by texts long subsequent to them, which necessarily produces em. barrassment and suspense. The passage quoted from the beginning of the epistle contains an acknowledgment on the part of the apostle, of the liberality which the Philippians had exercised towards him ; but the allusion is so general and indeterminate, that, had nothing more been said in the sequel of the epistle, it would hardly have been applied to this occasion at all. In the second quotation, Epaphroditus is declared to have “ ministered to the apostle's wants,” and “to bave supplied their lack of service towards him ;” but how, that is, at whose expense, or from what fund he“ minis tered," or what was “ the lack of service” which he supplied, are left very much unexplained, till we arrive at the third quotation, where we find that Epaphroditus “ ministered to St. Paul's wants," only by conveying to his hands the contributions of the Philippians: “I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you:” and that “ the lack of service which he supplied" was a delay or interruption of their accustomed bounty, occasioned by the want of opportunity : “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.” The affair at length comes out clear, but it comes out by piecemeal. The clearness is the result of the reciprocal illustration of divided texts. Should any one choose therefore to insinuate, that this whole story of Epaphroditus, or his journey, his errand, his sickness, or even his existence, might, for what we know, have no other foundation than in the invention of the forger of the epistle ; I answer, that a forger would have set forth his story connectedly, and also more fully and more perspicuously. If the
epistle be authentic, and the transaction real, then every thing which is said concerning Epaphroditus and his commission, would be clear to those into whose hands the epistle was expected to come. Considering the Phi. lippians as his readers, a person might naturally write upon the subject, as the author of the epistle has written ; but there is no supposition of forgery with which it will suit.
No. II. The history of Epaphroditus supplies another observation : " Indeed he was sick, nigh unto death ; but God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” In this
passage, no intimation is given that Epaphroditus's recovery was miraculous. It is plainly, I think, spoken of as a patural event. This instance, together with one in the Second Epistle to Timothy (" Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick”), affords a proof that the power of performing cures, and, by parity of reason, of working other miracles, was a power which only visited the apostles occasionally, and not at all depend upon their own will. Paul undoubtedly would have healed Epaphroditus if he could. Nor, if the power of working cures had awaited his disposal, would he have left his fellow-traveller at Miletum sick. This, I think, is a fair observation upon the instances adduced ; but it is not the observation I am concerned to make. It is more for the purpose of my argument to remark, that forgery, upon such an occasion, would not have spared a miracle ; much less would it have introduced St. Paul professing the utmost anxiety for the safety of his friend, yet acknowledging himself unable to help him ; which he does, almost expressly, in the case of Trophimus, for he “left him sick;" and virtually in the passage before us, in which he felicitates himself upon the recovery of Epaphroditus, in terms which almost exclude the supposition of any supernatural means being employed to effect it. This is a reserve which nothing but truth would have imposed.
Chap. iv. 15, 16. “Now, ye Philippians, know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me, as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.”
It will be necessary to state the Greek of this passage, because our translation does not, I think, give the sense of it accurately.
Οιδατε δε και υμεις, Φιλιππησιοι, ότι εν αρχη του ευαγγελιου, ότε εξηλθον απο Μακεδονιας, ουδεμια μοι εκκλησια εκοινωνησεν, εις λογον δοσεως και ληψεως, ει μη υμεις μονοι» ότι και εν θεσσαλονικηκαι άπαξ και δις εις την χρειαν μοι επεμψατε.
The reader will please to direct his attention to the corresponding particulars ότι and ότι και, which connect the words εν αρχη του ευαγγελιου, οτε εξηλθον απο Μακεδονιας, with the words εν θεσσαλονικη, and denote, as I interpret the passage, two distinct dona. tions, or rather donations at two distinct periods, one at Thessalonica, άπαξ και δις, the other after his departure from Macedonia,ότε εξηλθον απο Μακεδονίας.* I would render the passage, so as to mark these different periods, thus : « Now, ye Philippians, know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I was departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me, as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. And that also in Thessalonica ye sent once and
* Luke ii. 15. Και εγενετο, ως απηλθον απ' αυτων εις τον ουρανον οι αγγελοι,
" as the angels were gone away,” i. e. after their departure, οι ποιμενες ειπον προς αλληλους. Μatt. xii. 43. Όταν δε το ακαθαρτον πνευμα εξέλθη απο του ανθρωπου, when the unclean spirit is gone, i. e. after his departure, diepχεται. John xiii. 30. “Οτε εξηλθε (Ιουδας) « when he was gone,” i. e. after his departure, λεγει Ιησους. Acts x. 7. ώς δε απηλθεν ο αγγελος ο λαλων τω Κορνηλιφ, “ and when the angel which spake unto him was departed,” i. e. after his departure, φωνησας δυο των οικετων, &c.
again unto my necessity.” Now with this exposition of the passage compare 2 Cor. xi. 8, 9.:“I robbed other churches, taking wages of them to do you service. And when I was present with you and wanted, I was chargeable to no man; for that which was lacking to me, the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied.”
It appears from St. Paul's history, as related in the Acts of the Apostles, that upon leaving Macedonia he passed, after a very short stay at Athens, into Achaia. It appears, secondly, from the quotation out of the Epistle to the Corinthians, that in Achaia he accepted no pecuniary assistance from the converts of that country; but that he drew a supply for his wants, from the Macedonian Christians. Agreeably whereunto it appears, in the third place, from the text which is the subject of the present number, that the brethren in Philippi, a city of Macedonia, had followed him with their munifcence, ότε εξηλθον απο Μακεδονιας, when he was departed from Macedonia, that is, when he was come into Achaia.
The passage under consideration affords another circumstance of agreement deserving of our notice. The gift alluded to in the Epistle to the Philippians is stated to have been made" in the beginning of the gospel." This phrase is most naturally explained to signify the first preaching of the gospel in these parts ; viz. on that side of the Ægean sea. The succours referred to in the Epistle to the Corinthians, as received from Macedonia, are stated to have been received by him upon his first visit to the peninsula of Greece. The dates therefore assigned to the donation in the two epistles agree; yet is the date in one ascertained very incidentally, namely, by the considerations which fix the date of the epistle itself; and in the other, by an expression (“the beginning of the gospel") much too general to have been used if the text had been penned with any view to the correspondency we are remarking.
Farther, the phrase, “ in the beginning of the gospel," raises an idea in the reader's mind that the gospel had been preached there more than once. The