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Christ is preached.`.
13 gospel; So that my bonds on account of Christ || live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour;
yet what I should choose I know not. For 23 I am in a strait between the two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; for this would be far better: Nevertheless to 24 remain still in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that 25 I shall remain and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy, in the 'faith; That 26 your glorying in Jesus Christ, may abound" through my coming to you again.
are known through the whole palace, and in 14 all other places; And that many of the : brethren in the Lord, growing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the 15 word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even through envy and strife; and some also 17 through good will. Some preach him from love, knowing that I am appointed for the 16 defence of the gospel. But others from contention, not sincerely, thinking to add affliction 18 to my bonds. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, 19 yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this will end in my deliverance through your prayer, and through the supply of the Spirit 20 of Jesus Christ; According to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed; but that with all freedom of speech, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, 21 or by death. For to me to live is to the honour 22 of Christ, and to die will be gain. And if I
Only let your conduct be becoming the 27 gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: 28 which is to them an evident token of perdition; but to you of salvation, and that of God. For to you it hath been graciously given in 29 respect to Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the 30 same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER I. I We learn what a special blessing it is to be brought into the fellowship and participation of the gospel, and should excite the most lively gratitude. Paul had been the honoured instrument of first preaching Christ at Philippi; and the great head of the church had crowned his labours with great suc Many were effectually called by grace, and became united in the order and bonds of the gospel, having their pastors to watch over and feed them, and their deacons to take the management of their charitable contributions, and afford relief to the necessitous. How natural is it to desire that grace and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, may abound towards such. With what pleasure
did the apostle think on these his spiritual children; and while he sent up his praises to God on their account, mingled therewith his petitions for them. How must it rejoice the heart to experience the good work of grace begun, and to be assured of its continuance, until perfected in the day of Christ! Yet such experience and assurance do not render exhortations and cautions unnecessary, or fervent prayers, useless. Paul still requests that their love might more abound, and that they might be filled with the fruits of righteousness, that so they might display more of the mind of Christ, honour more the glorious gospel, and win others to the love of the Saviour and faith in him.
2. We learn also to admire and adore the wisdom of divine
13. The palace. The word signifies the judgment-hall, where the Pro-Spirit, see verse 25. tor heard and decided causes; but was applied to his whole house, and to that of the emperors. See Peirce's note. Paul's defence of himself, and of the gospel which he preached, (which being a new thing,) became the subject of discourse in the palace, and in the whole city.
14. And that many, &c. Seeing his firmness and constancy, many christian brethren assumed confidence, and boldly preached the gospel.
15-17, Through envy, &c. At my success, or with a design to form a party against me; but others from hearty good will to me and the gospel. The 16th and 17th verses are transposed after Griesbach and all the oldest and best mss. -Am appointed for, &c.— -And that nothing will encourage me more than the success of this cause.--Not sincerely, &c. But with bad motives, desiring to increase my afflictions and sorrows,
18-20. Christ is preached, &c. And whatever be the motives of men, the knowledge of his uame will spread abroad.- For I know. By the Holy Y y 3
Whether by life, &c. That Christ would be honoured in and by him, whether he was to live or to die, was his desire and hope. 21-24. To live is Christ. His honour is the end of my life; to preach and serve him in the gospel; but to die would be my own unspeakable gain. See 2 Cor. v. 8. Of whatever benefit his services and sufferings might be to men; it would be far better as to himself to depart and to be with Christ in glory. Peirce explains verse 21, “Christ is my gain in life and death;" but the context opposes it.
25, 26. And joy in the faith. That I may be a helper of your joy, when I am delivered and come to you again.
27, 28. Only let your, &c. I only at present say to you, let your conduct, &c.- -For the faith, &c. For the truths of the gospel against all unbelievers and persecutors. Which is to them. Which courage and confidence in maintaining the faith, they will think an evident token of your perdition; to you it will be a token of salvation and that of God. Some explain that these 355
providence, which often accomplishes its own designs of grace and mercy, as well as of judgment, by circumstances and events which to us seem directly opposed. Who could have thought that the imprisonment of Paul, would have been effectual to the spread and success of the gospel! This event, to the eye of sense, seemed to put a bushel over this burning and shining light; and yet this brought him to Rome, and his bonds on account of Christ became known in the Palace of Cæsar, and in all quarters. His constancy, courage, prudence, and holy wisdom, inspired some christian brethren with boldness in preaching the gospel, without fear. Some did this from love to Christ, and to precious souls; but others from strife and envy of the apostle's fame and usefulness. How noble and generous is his language! “What then? Christ is preached, and I therein do rejoice and will rejoice." May we constantly feel such a spirit, that the name of our Lord Jesus may ever be glorified.
3. We are taught by the experience of the apostle, to what a high degree, faith, hope, love and submission may be carried! Self
things will prove to them, your adversaries, that they deserve perdition for rejecting the gospel for which you suffer.
29, 30. To suffer for his sake. A privilege conferred on you, as it will enhance your future reward.-Ye saw in me, &c. When I was first with you. Acts xvi. 12, 22, &c.
CHAP. II. 1-4. Any comfort in Christ. This hypothetical manner of speaking is designed more forcibly to impress the particulars on their hearts.
-In Christ, for those who suffer for him; any consolation for the love of christian brethren; any fellowship in spirit from the same views, faith, and hope; any bowels and mercies among you towards me. Fill up my joy, &c.
– Minding this one thing, &c. For this punctuation, see Grotius and Dr. Middleton. He inculcates the exercise of christian affection, concord, and union.-Esteeming others, &c. Treating them in such a manner as to show your esteem.— –His own things, &c. ́ His own talents, gifts, &c. lest he be filled with pride; but rather regard the gifts, &c. of others, and promote their welfare, imitating Christ.
Abasement of Christ. mind, esteeming others better than yourselves: Not regarding every man his own things only, 4 but every man the things of others also.
For let this mind be in you, which was in 5 Christ Jesus also: Who, existing in the form of 6 God, did not think it robbery to be equal with God, Yet made himself of no account, taking 7 on him the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; And, being found in fashion 8 as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
6-8. Did not think it, &c. After reading and thinking much on this -verse, and on the unusual terms, agtayμov nmoaro, I have adopted the common version. Dr. S. Clark and others would render, "Did not eagerly desire to be as God, &c.;" and refer the clause to what follows, as descriptive of his humiliation. Had it referred to the former, they think the Greek would have been Xai oux agrayμov nynoajeros, &c. But see Luke xi. 13, where we have the same construction in the original. Admitting this version, it would only refer to his intention, as to the state in which he would exist, or appear among men,Taking on him the form, &c. The "form of a servant"-"the likeness of men and the fashion of a man," must and cannot but signify, that he was really a man, and really a servant;"
love may be swallowed up in the love of Christ, and his servants may become indifferent to this life from a realizing faith of a better. How happy is it when to live is Christ; when his honour and glory are the great ends we propose, while we are in the body! Assuredly, such will find that to die is their unspeakable and everlasting gain. Far better, far better it is for all good men to depart and be with Christ, than to remain here; yet are they willing to remain, so long as they can be of service to their fellow-men, and as their Lord and Saviour judges it proper. And for such to remain as are favoured with special gifts for the edification and enlargement of the church, is Christ, is in itself a peculiar mercy. Paul knew that he should be continued a while longer for the furtherance of the gospel, and the joy of believers in the faith of it. While we are in mercy spared, and live, let it be our concern to conduct ourselves as becometh the gospel; and if we are called to suffer for the name of Christ, let us esteem it our glory, and as a token for good, that as we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.
and "existing in the form of God" must, by parity of reason, signify that he was, is, and ever will be, a divine person, God blessed for ever. Peirce explains the form of God to be his resemblance of him in majesty and glory, and in dominion and power; and others refer it to all the appearances of God to the patriarchs, which they consider were made by our Lord. I have no doubt that it was the same divine person who appeared to the patriarchs, and to the Jews, that afterwards assumed human nature, and in that nature had the form, and performed the office of a servant; but I can form no conception of a creature possessing majesty and glory, dominion, and power, so as to justify the expression of his existing in the form of God. Peirce would support his notion by explaining "the form of a servant" to signify, that he only appeared as a servant, not that he was such in reality. See Is. xlii. 1. Does not our Lord uniformly speak of himself as sent, and as doing the will of him that sent him? And is he not, in this very passage said "to become obedient to death, &c.?" Was it to the Jews or to Pilate that he rendered this obedience, or was it not to the Father? I have not noticed the gloss of Socinians, who explain this passage to mean, that Jesus being possessed of the power of working miracles, may be said to be in the form of God; and his not using this power means, his humbling himself, &c. This is so manifestly weak, not to say absurd, as to deserve no notice. First, that the power of work. ing miracles ever resided in or could be exerted, according to the will and pleasure of man, may be justly denied. Again, this notion gives no proper sense to the various terms of the text, and is a mere hypothesis to support a system. And it may be added, that it is wholly irrelevant to the design of the apostle. For what amazing humility would there be in a man not arrogating to himself the form of God, but being a servant, appearing like what he was, a man? The passage proves then that our Lord "existed in the form of
Exhortation to peace.
9 Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and || good comfort also, when I know your affairs.
bestowed on him a name which is above every
For I have no man likeminded with him, who 20
Yea, and if my blood be poured out upon the sacrifice and public offering of your faith, 18 I joy, and rejoice with you all. And in the same manner do ye also joy, and rejoice with But I trust in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I may be of
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER 1. 1. We are taught the glory and grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and how we
a servant," which consisted in "his being made in the likeness of men," in his incarnation; and in this incarnate state be humbled himself still more by "becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Here is humility indeed!
9-11. Highly exalted him. The Father, in reward of his humiliation and death, exalted him to his own right hand, to enjoy the glory which he had with him before the world began; and he was honoured with a title, that of Saviour, a name which is above every name, and as the Saviour of sinners, he is to receive homage and worship, from angels and men; from men now living on the earth, and from those in the state of the dead. I consider all intelligent beings as intended, whether good or evil; and that all are subject to him as Lord and king; and this subjection, as well as the whole work of Jesus, is to the glory of God the Father. See Is. xlv. 23. Rom. xiv. 1.
12-16. With fear, &c. Peirce would connect these words with the obedience which they rendered to the apostle; but considering the importance of their own salvation, I cannot but think the common construction preferable; nor do I see either the necessity or justice of deserting the usual sense of “salvation," and sinking it to mean only “welfare.”—To wild and to do, &c. This working must be understood as being in a way consistent with the exereise of men's own rational powers, presenting such motives to the mind, and in such a clear light, as induces it both to choose the way of salvation exhibited, and to perform all the duties required.—Of his own, &c. This is
should desire to resemble him in mind and spirit. Who can conceive the dignity of Christ as a divine person! possessing the form,
mentioned to encourage them in labouring to secure their own salvation, and to caution them against offending God, lest he should withhold his inward operation, which I consider to mean the work of his Spirit and grace.Do ye shine, &c. Comp. Matt. v. 14.The word of life. The gospel which promises life, and is the instrument of imparting it to the soul, and of guiding to the enjoyment of eternal life. By attending to these directions the apostle would see the fruits of his ministry, and be assured he had not laboured in vain.
17, 18. Sacrifice and, &c. The apostle considers their "faith," as a sacrifice and public offering presented to God; and declares, that if his blood was to be shed and poured out as a drink-offering, to accompany their sacrifice, he would joy and rejoice with them all; and exhorts them to do so too, as thereby a further testimony to the truth of what he had preached would be afforded. Paul was always a martyr in spirit. Acts xx. 23, &c.
19-24. May be of good comfort, &c. From hearing of your christian behaviour and of your salvation.————All seek their own things, &c. Probably the apostle had desired some others of the christian brethren to undertake this journey; but from a regard to their own ease and comfort they had refused, thus minding their own things, &c.
25-30. Your messenger, &c. The Philippians showed their respect to Paul by sending to Rome Epaphroditus, with money to supply his wants. While there he was sick, and in great danger; but God mercifully restored
A. D. 63. He warns them against judaizing teachers ; show's that he had more reason to glory as to the law than most others, but that he had renounced all his privileges for Christ, &c.
FINALLY, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, is not indeed 2 grievous to me, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil-workers, beware of the 3 concision. For we are the circumcision, who worship God with our spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the
the nature, and perfections of the Godhead! How glorious must he be; and jointly with the Father and Holy Spirit, the object of all homage, worship and praise? Yet what love, condescension and grace, did this adorable person exercise towards us! When he came into the world, he did not come in his majesty, nor appear as a divine person, but divesting himself of this glory, made himself of no account, taking on him the form of a servant, and being made in the likeness of men, he humbled himself yet more, becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross. O let us often reflect on this amazing subject and view in our thoughts, the man Jesus extended on the cross, and pouring forth his soul in agonies and blood, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins and iniquities? And let us rejoice that he who was crucified and slain, is now so gloriously exalted, and has a name given him, which is above every name; and in this name let us trust and hope, and offer up our praises and requests. O like him may we be humble, willing to be, do, and suffer every thing calculated to promote the divine glory.
2. We should learn also to suffer the affectionate word of exhortation, and be diligent in the use of all the means of grace. It is pleasant to have to commend christian brethren for their obedience; and such will be ready to receive every good word of advice and follow it. We should not sink into spiritual sloth, but work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Having been called to the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ, we should aim to be blameless, doing every command, and performing every duty, without murmuring and disputing. And as we are surrounded by a perverse race of sinners,
him. It is probable, from the last verse, that the fatigues be endured in his journey, and his various labours in the gospel, brought on his disorder.
CHAP. III. 1. Rejoice in the Lord. In him as your Saviour, and in the privileges you enjoy in him.—The same things, &c. Which I taught you when I was with you; or as Peirce suggests, which I have ordered Epaphroditus to deliver to you.
2. Of dogs. Of Jewish teachers, who would tear and devour you, and who, in fact, were only seeking their own gain. See Is. lvi. 10, 11. Revel. xxii. 15. The Jews gave this name to the Gentiles, and Paul retorts it on themselves. Concision. They gloried in being the "circumcision;" but the apostle refuses to allow them that name, and gives them the name of concision, a mere cutting of the flesh.
3. We are the circumcision, &c, We have what was signified by circumcision, Rom. ii. 28, 29.-No confidence, &c. Our religion is inward and spiritual not consisting in outward privileges and distinctions.
4-6. Though I might, &c. If any might trust in such privileges, surely
flesh. Though I might have confidence even 4 in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he may have confidence in the flesh, I have more: Circumcised the eighth 5 day, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, per- 6 secuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is by the law, blameless. But what 7 things were gain to me, those I counted loss for the sake of Christ. Yea doubtless, and I 8
we should shine by the light of a christian temper and a holy conduct, as lights in the world. By the comfort we have in Christ, by the consolation of his love, and the fellowship of his Spirit, and the knowledge of his will, let us glorify him; depending on God to work in us, both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. Especially let us hold forth, by a resolute and consistent profession, the word of life, that others may be instructed and saved; and then ministers will not have run in vain, nor laboured in vain.
3. Who can but admire such characters as Paul and Timothy? To what a sublime height did the gospel raise the mind and hope of the apostle? He not only considered himself as ready to be sacrificed, but speaks of that stroke by which his blood was to be poured out as an occasion of joy, and calling for the congratulation of his friends!· When in this danger, he was willing to resign his friend Timothy, though he had no other like-minded; and sent him to comfort and build up the believers at Philippi. How disgraceful was it to those who sought their own ease, and safety, rather than the good of souls! How much honour it reflects on the people at Philippi, that they showed their respect to Paul in his bonds by sending Epaphroditus, to minister to his wants; and this messenger of their love and liberality, seems to have been wholly devoted to God and his service. His sickness occasioned great sorrow to the apostle; and his recovery excited his gratitude. The brethren ought to receive such with joy, and hold them in reputation, who are ready to expose themselves to any hardships for the good of souls and the glory of God. Such characters are the glory of the churches of Christ.
I might; and even more than those teachers who now trouble you. Hebrew of, &c. By long uninterrupted descent, and by language, in opposition to the Hellenists.A Pharisee. And of course very strict both as to ceremonies, and the traditions of the elders-Persecuting, &c. Paul only mentions this as a proof of his zeal; and if others made zeal a ground of confidence, he surely might, who had discovered it in such a manner. -Blameless. If by the law we understand the moral as included, Paul could never speak in this manner; but if he meant the ceremonial only, what he states was no doubt just and true, and it is to ceremonial and ritual observances to which the whole context refers, and in which the Jews placed their confidence and glory.
7-11. Were gain to me, &c. The things which I then considered as my gain, or the surest grounds of confidence in respect to acceptance with God, I counted loss, &c.—Have suffered the loss. Having been enlightened to understand the gospel, and blessed with the excellent knowledge of Christ Jesus, as my Lord and Saviour, I do still count all my Jewish privileges as re
Paul's holy zeal
Sinful conduct of some.
count that all things are loss for the excellency || Let us, therefore, as many as are perfect, be 15 of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: thus minded: and if in any thing ye be other
wise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already 16 attained, let us walk therein. °
Brethren, be joint imitators of me, and mark 17 those that walk so as ye have us for an example. For many walk, of whom I have told 18 you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; Christ; Whose end is destruction, whose god 19 is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things. But our 20 citizenship is in heaven; whence we look also for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who will change our vile body, that it may be 21 of like form with his glorious body, according to the mighty working by which he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved and I longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, that I might gain 9 Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is by the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the 10 righteousness which is of God by faith: That I might know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, 11 being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might come to the resur12 rection of the dead. I do not say that I have already attained, or am already made perfect: but I follow after, if indeed I may apprehend that for which I have been apprehended also 13 by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and stretching forth to those things which are be14 fore, I press towards the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER III. 1. We find how zealous the apostle was against false teachers, who endeavoured to pervert the gospel of Christ, and to lead men to trust in themselves or their
fuse, as things to be thrown away; nor do I regret that I have suffered the loss of them, when I consider that it was that I might gain Christ, &c.Mine own righteousness. As consisting in a blameless observance of all the Mosaic rites, and in which I once trusted; but that which is through faith in Christ, &c. See Rom. i. 17; iii. 19–26.—Power of his resurrection. In confirming my faith in him, and hope of salvation through him.Fellowship of his, &c. Not only in deriving spiritual blessings from them, but in suffering for his sake, and being actually conformed to him, by my own crucifixion. -If by any means, &c. The apostle doubtless had in his thoughts, the resurrection of the just, who will rise first, and their bodies be made like Christ's glorious body, and they will then be rewarded according as they have served him here. The apostle's language, "if by any means," implies no doubt, but only describes the ardour of his own mind, in pursuing the objects before him. Attained, &c. All I wish to be, or enjoy, "or am already made perfect," as I confidently hope to be; but as one who hath started in a race, I follow after, &c.—Apprehend that, &c. That degree of excellence and holiness, usefulness, and conformity to Christ, for which I was in so remarkable a manner apprehended by Christ.
13. One thing I do, &c. This occupies and fills my mind, and engages all my energies.Forgetting those, &c. Like the athletes, or racers, who reflect not on the space run, but who look on what is before them.
14. I press towards, &c. Peirce, whom Macknight follows, renders, "I follow along the mark," that is, along the course, which was marked out. This version is flat, and that exorç signifies a mark and goal, see Schleusner. -The prize of, &c. Of eternal life and blessedness, which is the design of the high calling of God, &c. and it is for this I am running.
16. by the same love, let us mind the same thing. Mss. Griesb. outward privileges. Such he styles dogs, evil-workers, the cision profligate Jews, who, while they professed faith in Christ, were the real enemies of his name and holy cause. Paul could boast
15. Be thus minded. Regarding no outward privilege as a ground of our acceptance, but esteeming every thing of this kind as refuse for the sake of Christ, and seeking to be found in him, &c.—If in any thing, &c. If from your want of instruction, or from the weak state of your faith, you should differ, I have confidence that God will discover your error, and bring you to think and act as I do.
16. Let us walk therein.
As far as we have attained in knowledge, let us walk, &c. The last words, "by the same rule, &c." are wanting in many mss. either in whole or in part, and Griesbach rejects them.
17. For an example. How, bolily and unblamably must the apostle have lived, when he could thus recommend his own example.
18, 19. Many walk, &c. Many teachers, and particularly those Judaizers, who infested various churches, who, while they professed respect for Christ, were in reality the enemies of his cross, and of the doctrines and the holy precepts of the gospel; as indeed their practice proved, being addicted to gluttony and shameful profligacy, only minding earthly things; and for them destruction is prepared.
20, 21. Citizenship, &c. They mind earthly things; but we heavenly, as we are citizens of heaven, whence we are expecting the Saviour, &c.— Our vile body. Vile as infected by sin, and as destined to return again to dust. This he will change indeed, and make like his own glorious body, according to the working, &c.
CHAP. IV. ). My brethren, &c. With Griesbach and others I join this verse to the preceding Chapter, as forming a proper conclusion. Things being as I have stated, do you, who are my joy and crown now, and who will be so hereafter, stand fast in the Lord.