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CHAP. I. 1. PAUL and Timotheus, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at PhiS lippi, with the bishops and deacons, Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus
3 Christ, I thank my God upon every mention of you,
4 Always in all my prayers making supplication for you
5 all with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the
6 first day until now: Being persuaded of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect
7 it until the day of Jesus Christ, As it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, who were all partakers of my grace, both in my bonds,
8 and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for you all, with the
CHAP. I. Ver. 1. Servants—St. Paul, writing familiarly to the Philippians, does not style himself an apostle. And under the common title of servants, he tenderly and modestly joins with himself his son Timothy, who had come to Philippi not long after St. Paul had received him, Acts xvi. 3, 12. To all the saints—The apostolic epistles were sent more directly to the churches, than to the pastors of them; with the bishops and deacons—The former properly took care of the internal state, the latter of the externals of the Church, \ Tim. iii. 3—8; although these were not wholly confined to the one, neither those to the other. The word hishops here includes all the presbyters at Philippi, as well as the ruling presbyters: the names bishop and presbyter, or elder, being promiscuously used in the first ages.
V. 4. With joy—After the epistle to the Ephesians, wherein love reigns, follows this, wherein there is perpetual mention of joy. The fruit of the Spirit is love, jog. And joy peculiarly enlivens prayer. The sum of the whole epistle is, I rejoice, Rejoice ye.
V. 5. The sense is, I thank God for your fellowship with us in all the blessings of the gospel, which I have done from thefirst day of your receiving it until now.
V. 6. Being persuaded—The grounds of which persuasion are set down in the following verse. That he who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it until the day of Christ—That he, who having justified, hath begun to sanctify you, will carry on this work, till it issue in glory.
V. 7. As it is right for me to think this of you all—Why? He does not say, "Because of an eternal decree:" or, " Because a saint must persevere:" but, Because I have you in my heart—I bear you the most grateful and tender affection: Because ye were all partakers of my grace—That is, sharers in the afflictions, which God vouchsafed me as a grace, or favour, ver. 39, 30, both in my bonds, and when I was called forth to answer for myself, and to confirm the gospel. It is not improbable, that, after they had endured that great trial of affliction, God had sealed them unto full victory, of which the apostle had a prophetic sight.
V. 8. / long for you withthe bowels of Jesus Christ—In Paul, not Paul lives, bat Jesus Christ. Therefore he longs for them, with the bowels, the tender* ♦less, not of Paul, but of Jesus Christ.
9 bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more, in all knowledge and in
10 all spiritual sense, That ye may try the things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere and without offence
11 unto the day of Christ, Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Christ Jesus, to the glory and praise of God.
12 Now I would ha^re you know, brethren, that the things concerning me have fallen out rather to the furtherance
j.3 of the gospel: So that my bonds in Christ have been made manifest in the whole palace, and to all others:
J'i And many of the brethren, trusting in the Lord through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word without fear.
} 5 Some indeed preach Christ even through envy and
16 strife; but some through good will. The one preach Christ out of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add
17 affliction to my bonds: But the others out of love, know
18 ing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What
V. 9. And this I pray, that your love—Which they had already shewn, may plound yet more and more—The fire which burnt in the apostle, never says, It is enough: in knowledge and in all spiritual sense—Which is the ground of all spiritual knowledge. We must be inwardly sensible of divine peace, joy, love; Otherwise we cannot know what they are.
V. 10. That ye may try—By that spiritual sense, the things that are excellent .—Not only good, but the very best; the superior excellence of which is hardly discerned, but by the adult Christian: that ye may he inwardly sincere—Having a single eye to the eery best things, and a pure heart, and outwardly without offence—Holy, unblamable in all things.
V. 11. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God—Here are three properties of that sincerity which is acceptable to God. 1. It must bear fruits, the fruits of righteousness, all inward and outward holiness, all good tempers, words, and works, and that so abundantly, that we may be filled with them: 2. The branch and the fruits must derive both their virtue and their very being, from the all-supporting, all-supplying root, Jesus Christ: 3. As all these flow from the grace of Christ, so they mast issue in the glory and praise of God.
V. 12. The things concerning me—My sufferings, have fallen out rather to the furtherance, than (as you feared) the hindrance of the gospel.
V. 13 My bonds in Christ—Endured for his sake, Jiave been made manifest— Much taken notice of, in the whole palace—Of the Roman emperor.
V. 14. And many—Who were before afraid, trusting in the Lord through my ionds—When they observed my constancy, and safety notwithstanding, are more bold. ,
V. 15, 16.. Some indeed preach Christ out of contention—Envying St. Paul's success, and striving to hurt him thereby; not sincerely—From a real desire fp glorify God, but supposing—Though they were disappointed, to add more affliction to my bonds—By engaging the Romans against me.
V. 17. But the others out of lose—To Christ and me: knowing—Not barely supposing, that I am set—Literally, I lie: yet stilt%oing forward in hi* work, He remained at Rome, as an ambassador in a place where he is employed on an important embassy.
then? still every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yea, and will
19 rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation, through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of
20 Jesus Christ: According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall be ashamed in nothing, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also, Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if
22 I am to live in the flesh, this is the fruit or my labour,
23 and what I should choose, I know not. For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart and to be
24 with Christ, which is far better. But to remain in the
25 flesh is more needful for you, And being persuaded of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you
26 all, for your furtherance and joy of faith: That your rejoicing for me may abound through Christ Jesus, by
27 my presence with you again. Only let your behaviour be worthy of the gospel of Christ, that whether I come and see you, or be absent, I may hear concerning you, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving
28 together for the faith of the gospel, And in nothing
V. 18. In pretence—Under colour of propagating the gospel; in truth—With a real design so to do.
V. 19. This shall turn to my salvation—Shall procure me a higher degree of glory, through your prayer—Obtaining for me a large supply of the Spirit.
V. 20. As always—Since my call to the apostleship, in my body—However it may be disposed of. How that might be, he did not yet know. For the apostles did not know all things; particularly in things pertaining to themselves, they had room to exercise faith and patience.
V. 21. To me to live is Christ—To know, to love, to follow Christ, is my life, my glory, my joy.
V. 22. Here he begins to treat of the former clause of the preceding verse. Of the latter he treats, chap. ii. 17. But if I am to live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour—This is the fruit of my living longer, that I can labour more. Glorious labour! Desirable fruit! In this view, long life is indeed a blessing. And what I should choose, I know not—That is, if it were left to my choice.
V. 23. To depart—Out of bonds, flesh, the world, and to be with Christ—In a nearer and fuller union. It is better to depart: it is far better to be with Christ.
V. 25. I know—By a prophetic notice, given him while he was writing this, that I shall continue some time longer with you—And doubtless he did see them after this confinement.
V. 27. Only—Be careful for this, and nothing else, standfast in one spirit— With the most perfect unanimity, striving together—'with united strength and endeavours, for the faith of the gospel—For all the blessings revealed and promised therein.
V. 28. Which—Namely, their being adversaries to the word of God, and to you the messengers of God, is an evident token—That they ate in the high road to perdition, and you in the way of salvation,
terrified by your adversaries, which is to them an evident
token of perdition, but to you of salvation. This also is $9 of God. For to you it is given with regard to Christ,
not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him: 30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now I I. 1. hear to be in me. If there be then any consolation
in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the
2 Spirit, if any bowels of mercies; Fulfil ye my joy, that ye think the same thing, having the same love, being of one
3 soul, of one mind. Do nothing through strife or vain
glory, but in lowliness of mind, esteem each the others etter than themselves. Aim not every one at his own
5 things, but every one also at the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 Who being in the form of God, counted it no act of
7 robbery to be equal with God; Yet emptied himself,
V. 29. For to you it is given—As a special token of God's love, and of your being in the way of salvation.
V. 30. Having the tame kind of conflict with your adversaries, which ye saw in me—When I was with you, Acts xvi. 13,19, &c.
CHAP. II. Ver. 1. If there be therefore any consolation—In the grace of Christ, if any comfort—In the love of God, if any fellowship of the Holy Ghost; if any bowels of mercies—Resulting therefrom; any tender affection towards each other.
V. 2. Think the same thing—Seeing Christ is your common head; having the same love—To God, your common Father: being of one soul—Animated with the same affections and tempers, as ye have all draak into one Spirit; of one mind—Tenderly rejoicing and grieving together.
V. 3. Lo nothing through contention—which is inconsistent with your thinking the same thing, or vain-glory—Desire of praise, whieh is directly opposite to the love of God; but esteem each the others better than themselves— (For every one knows more evil of himself, than he can of another.) Which is a glorious fruit of the Spirit, and an admirable help to your continuing of 0ne soul.
V. 4. Aim not every one at his own things—Only. If so, ye have not, bowels of mercies.
V. 6. Who being in the essential form, the incommunicable nature of God, from eternity, (as he was afterward in the form of man, real God, as real man,) counted it no act of robbery—(That is the precise meaning of the words.) No invasion of another's prerogative, but his own strict and unquestionable right, to be equal with God—The word here translated equal, occurs in the adjective form,' five or six times in the 'New Testament, Matt. xx. 12, Luke vi. 34, John v. 18, Acts xi. 17, Rev. xxi. 16; in all which places it expresses, not a bare resemblance, but a real and proper equality. It here implies both the fulness and the supreme height of the Godhead; to which are opposed, he emptied and he humbled himself.
V. 7. Yet—He was so far from tenaciously insisting upon, that he willingly relinquished his claim. He was content to forego the glories of the Creator, and to appear in the form of a creature: nay, to be made in the likeness of the fallen creatures; and not only to share in the disgrace, but to suffer the punishment due to the meanest and vilest among them all. He emptied timself—Ot that divine fulness, which he received again at his exaltation. taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness '8 of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, 9 the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above
10 every name, That at the name of Jesus every knee might bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and
11 those under the earth: And every tongue might confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, in the glory of God the Father.
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and
13 trembling. For it is God that worketh in you according
14 to his good pleasure, both to will and to do. Do all
Though he remained full, John i. 14, yet he appeared as if he had been empty, for he veiled his fulness from the sight of men and angels. Yea, he put only veiled, but, in some sense, renounced the glory which he had before the world began; taking—And by that very act emptying himself; the form of a servant—Theybrm, the likeness, the fashion, though not exactly the same, are yet nearly related to each other. The form expresses something absolute; the likeness refers to other things of the same kind; the fashion respects what appears to sight and sense; being made in the likeness of men—A real man, like other men. Hereby he took the form of a servant.
V. 9. And being found in fashion as a man—A common man, without any peculiar excellence or comeliness, he humbled himself—To a still greater depth; becoming obedient—To God, though equal with him ; even unto death —The greatest instance both of humiliation and obedience; yea, the death of the cross—Inflicted on few but servants or slaves.
V. 9. Wherefore—Because of his voluntary humiliation and obedience. He humbled himself; but God hath exalted him—So recompensing his humiliation, and hath given him—So recompensing his emptying himself, a name which is above every name— Dignity and majesty superior to every creature.
V. 10. That every knee—That divine honour might be paid in every possible manner by every creature, might bom—Either with love or trembling, of those in heaven, earth, under the earth—That is, through the whole universe.
V. 11. And every tongue—Even of his enemies, confess that Jesus Christ is Lord—Jbhov A H: not now in the form of a servant, but enthroned in the glory ef God the Father.
V. 12. Wherefore—Having proposed Christ's example, he exhorts them to secure the salvation which Christ has purchased: As ye have always—Hitherto, obeyed— Both God and me his minister: Now in my absence—When ye have not me to instruct, assist, and direct you, work out your own salvation—Herein let every man, aim at his own things, with fear and trembling—With the utmost care and diligence.
V. 13. For it is God—God alone, who is with you, though I am not; that worketh in you according to his good pleasure—Not for any merit of yours. Yet his influences are not to supersede, but to encourage our own efforts. Work out your own salvation—Here is our duty: for it is God that worketh in yoa-r-Here is our encouragement. And, O! what a glorious encouragement, to have the arm of Omnipotence stretched out for our support and our succour!
V. 14. Do all things—Not only without contention, ver. 3, but even without murmurings and disputings—Which are real, though smaller hindrances of