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Title: Philippian Studies - Lessons in Faith and Love from St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians
Author: Moule, H. C. G. (Handley Carr Glyn), 1841-1920
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Lessons in Faith and Love from
St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians


H. C. G. MOULE, D.D.

Principal of Ridley Hall and Formerly Fellow of Trinity College

  "_Let us pray to God, that we may speak, think, believe, live,
  and depart hence, according to the wholesome doctrine and verities
  of His Word._"
        THE HOMILIES, i, 1.

Third Edition

Hodder and Stoughton
27, Paternoster Row


  OUTLINES OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.  (In the _Theological Educator_
  "AT THE HOLY COMMUNION."  Thoughts for Preparation and Communion.
  "THE PLEDGE OF HIS LOVE."  Thoughts on the Lord's Supper.
  THE NEW BIRTH.  A Brief Enquiry and Statement.
  THE CLEANSING BLOOD.  A Study of 1 John i. 7.
    With an Introduction by Rev. H. C. G. MOULE.
  "GRACE AND GODLINESS."  Chapters on Ephesians.
  "CHRIST IS ALL."  Sermons.
    COLOSSIANS in the _Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges_;
    and on the PHILIPPIANS in the _Cambridge Greek Testament_.
    Also on the ROMANS in the _Expositor's Bible_.
  "BETWEEN MY LORD AND ME."  A Card containing Morning and Evening
    Acts of Faith and Devotion.
  CHARLES SIMEON. (In _English Leaders of Religion_.)
  BISHOP RIDLEY ON THE LORD'S SUPPER.  A Reprint from the Original
    Edition, with Life of Ridley, Notes, Appendices, etc.,
    and Illustrations.
  "IN THE HOUSE OF THE PILGRIMAGE."  Hymns and Sacred Songs.








    "Thou the Way art, Thou the Prize
    That beyond the journey lies;
    Thou the Truth art, Thou the Guide,
    Gone before, yet at our side;
    Everlasting life below
    It is truly Thee to know:
  Such to Thy Saints wast Thou of yore;
  Unchangeable Thou art, and shall be evermore."


The plan and purpose of the following pages will be soon evident to the
reader.  The whole aim is towards edification.  What is said in the way
of historical introduction, what is done in the course of the chapters
in the way of rendering and grammatical explanation, all has this aim
in view.  The Epistle is handled throughout with the firm belief that
it is an Oracle of God, while that Oracle is conveyed through the mind
and heart of one of the greatest of the sons of men; and the
Expositor's aim accordingly is always, and above all things, to
expound.  To put it otherwise, his highest ambition is to call
attention to the sacred text, and let it speak.

May the Lord of the Apostle, of the Philippians, of ourselves, only
grant that His mercy may rest upon this poor contribution to the
exegesis of His inexhaustible Word.  May it be permitted to throw a
quiet light upon some of the treasures of this apostolic casket, to the
help, in any measures, of the disciples of our day.  Then will the
Expositor indeed give thanks to the Master at whose feet he lays his






    (PHIL. i. 1-11.)


    (PHIL. i. 12-20.)


    (PHIL. i. 21-30.)


    (PHIL. ii. 1-11.)


    (PHIL. ii. 12-18.)


    (PHIL. ii. 19-30.)


    (PHIL. iii. 1-11.)


    (PHIL. iii. 12-16.)


    (PHIL. iii. 17-21.)


    (PHIL. iv. 1-9.)


    (PHIL. iv. 10-23.)

"Holy Scripture is the Letter of God Almighty to His creatures; learn
God's heart in God's Words."

GREGORY THE GREAT, _Epist._, iv. 31.


O Gracious GOD and most mercifull Father, which hast vouchsafed us the
rich and precious iewell of thy holy worde, assist us with thy Spirit,
that it may be written in our hearts to our euerlasting comfort, to
reforme us, to renew us according to thine owne image, to build us up,
and edifie us into the perfect building of thy Christ, sanctifying and
increasing in us all heauenly vertues. Graunt this O heauenly Father,
for Iesus Christes sake.  Amen.

_From the_ GENEVA BIBLE, 1557.



Characteristics of the Epistle--The Bible is ever young--Littera
Scripta Manet--"This Same Jesus"--Philippi--How the mission church had
grown--Where was the Epistle written?--When was the Epistle
written?--"The word endureth"

The Epistle of St Paul to the Philippians is, to careful and loving
Bible-students, one of the fairest and dearest regions of the Book of
God.  It is true that the Christian who genuinely believes that "every
Scripture is God-inspired" (2 Tim. iii. 16), and who realizes that the
"Divine _Library_" is nevertheless, and from a higher point of view,
One _Book_ all through, will be always on the guard against a mistaken
favouritism in his Scripture studies.  He will strive to make himself
in some sense familiar with the whole Book, _as_ a whole, and to
recognize in all its parts the true Author's hand and purpose.  Yet it
is inevitable that in this supreme Book, as in other books, though all
parts are "co-operant to an end," all parts are not equally important
for the deepest needs of the reader.  The reader therefore will have to
be more familiar with some parts than with others.  Acquaintance with
the whole will indeed deepen insight into the part.  But it will not
supersede our study, loving and special, of the part which, in a degree
and manner peculiar to itself, "is able to make us wise unto salvation,
through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

The present simple Studies in the Philippian Epistle will accordingly
be pursued with the desire to remember as we go the whole scriptural
revelation of God and salvation.  But we shall also approach the
Epistle as a peculiarly precious Scripture in itself, containing in its
few short pages a rare fulness of messages and teachings, meeting the
inmost wants of the heart and the life.

Amongst the Epistles of St Paul Philippians shines out with singular
light and beauty.  In such a comparison we scarcely need consider the
great Epistles to Rome and Corinth; their large scale and wide variety
of topics set them apart.  Nor need we consider Hebrews, with its
difficult problem of authorship.  Looking at the other Epistles, each
with its own divine and also deeply human characteristics, we find
Philippians more peaceful than Galatians, more personal and
affectionate than Ephesians, less anxiously controversial than
Colossians, more deliberate and symmetrical than Thessalonians, and of
course larger in its applications than the personal messages to
Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.  Meanwhile it is as comprehensive almost
as it is brief.  It presents more than one important passage of
doctrine, some of these passages being revelations of the first order.
It is full of pregnant precepts for Christian character and conduct,
whether seen in the individual or in the community.  It discloses in a
way of the utmost interest and significance the circumstances and
experiences of the writer, and also, in a measure, of the readers.  And
the whole is suffused with a singularly sweet light of "joy and peace
in believing."  It is written by one who was, as he wrote, at once
resting and moving in the peace of God which passes understanding, and
in the love of Christ which passes knowledge; and what is felt in his
soul comes out inevitably on his page.  The letter, written in a
prison, and addressed to a mission-church always exposed to insult and
assault, yet seems in a wonderful way to call us "apart, to rest
awhile."  "A glory gilds the sacred page," the glory of the presence of
the Lord in all His majesty of Godhead and nearness of Manhood; in His
finished work, and living power, and wonderful coming again.  A
peculiar sort of joy, which is impossible without at least the
experience, if not the presence, of sorrow, rests and shines over the
whole.  It is the joy of the heart which has found at length "the
secret of the Lord," His hiding-place from the tyranny of circumstances
and time; the way how always to be of good cheer, naturally yet also
supernaturally, not by a hard-won indifference to life, but by living,
amidst everything external, "hidden with Christ in God."

Let us approach the beloved pages once again.  They can never wear out;
there will always prove to be "more to follow."  Perhaps we have loved
and pondered them for long years ourselves.  Perhaps we have heard them
expounded by voices silent now, "in days that never come again," in
chambers or in churches which we seem still to see, but which in fact
have passed from us very far away.  The heart is full and the eyes are
wet as we look back.  But the melancholy of the past has no permanent
place in Bible-study.  The Book is divine, immortal, and ever young.
He who was in it for our fathers is in it for us.  And since He is in
it, as He is in no other literature in the world, (because no other
literature is His Word Written,) therefore it springs up to us ever
new; it is always contemporary with every generation of believers.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus, and let us meet Thee in Thy Scripture now

A very simple "Introduction" will suffice for our present purposes.
These chapters make no pretension to be, in the technical sense,
critical.  I say next to nothing, for example, about the Authenticity
and Genuineness of the Epistle.  Let me only remind the reader that
from the early dawn of the literature of the Church we have
unmistakable testimonies to its existence as an apostolic Scripture.
Ignatius and Polycarp, quite early in the second century, shew us that
they have read it.  A little later, in the "Epistle of the Churches of
Lyons and Vienne" (A.D. 177),[1] it is quoted.  Clement of Alexandria,
and Irenaeus, and Tertullian, all in the second century, use it as "the
sword of the Spirit" to assert truth and confute error.  So it floats
down into the broad stream of the patristic literature at large.  Not
till the rise of an ultra-sceptical criticism in quite modern times was
Philippians ever seriously questioned as the work, in its integrity, of
St Paul.  And Baur's objections, all due to an _à priori_ theory, not
to an impartial literary enquiry, have been repudiated even by critics
even less orthodox than himself: Renan, for example.  It is quite as
certain, in a literary sense, that in Philippians we have the very
words and heart of St Paul as that we have Addison in the papers signed
C. in the _Spectator_, or Erasmus in the correspondence with Colet.

And what a thought of strength and joy this is to the believer of our
latter day!  _Littera scripta manet_.  How impressive is the permanence
of every written reflexion of the mind, and of the life!  Who has not
felt it, even in the reading of a private letter to himself, written
years and years ago?  We have St Paul speaking to us in this indelible
page as really as if we were seated with him in "his own hired house,"
and were _listening_ as he dictates to the friend beside him.  And as
we recollect this, we reflect that all he is saying, all he has thus
left written, is just so much testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ,
contemporary, direct, inspired.  When the words we are about to read
were written, scarcely thirty years had passed away since the Son of
Man died outside the gate of Jerusalem, and rose again.  Perhaps my
reader cannot look back over thirty years, perhaps not over twenty,
with conscious memory.  But I can; and beyond the thirty I can see a
long vista of the still earlier past.  Thirty years ago[2];--at that
time the great conflict between Austria and Prussia was preparing, the
issue of which was so long a step towards the unification of Germany.
I was then a master in a public school.  The discussions of the
impending war in our common-room, and the men who joined in them, are
very present still to my mind; certainly not the faintest haze of
mythical change or disproportion has had time to gather over those
scenes in the interval.  With some differences, no doubt, the world of
this day is yet essentially the same as the world of that day; I
certainly still, in my whole personal consciousness, am the man of that
day, only somewhat developed in experience.  Well, what the date of the
battle of Sadowa (Königgratz) is to me, such was the date of the
Crucifixion to St Paul, when he wrote from Rome to his dear converts at
Philippi.  And I venture to say that, while St Paul's tone about the
Lord of Calvary is of course immeasurably different in the highest
respects from what mine might be had I to speak of the makers of
European history of 1866, it is in one respect just the same.  It is as
completely free from the tone of legend unreality, uncertainty.  With
the same entire consciousness of matter of fact with which I might
write of the statesmen or generals of my early manhood, he writes of
One who, in _his_ early manhood, overcame death by death, and "shewed
Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs."

Only, there is this wonderful difference; that for St Paul the Jesus
Christ of recent history is absolutely One with the Jesus Christ of his
present spiritual experience.  The Man of the Cross is also, for him,
the Lord who is exalted to the throne of heaven, and is also so related
to the writer that Paul is "in Christ Jesus," with a proximity and
union which enters into everything.  "In Him" are included the very
actions of the disciple's mind and the experiences of his heart.  He is
the Lord who lives in the inmost being of His servant, and who yet is
also expected to return from the heavens, to transfigure the servant's
very body into glory.  The Christ of history, the Christ of the
soul--it was "this same Jesus" then; it is "this same Jesus" now.

  "Can length of years on God Himself exact,
  Or make that fiction which was once a fact?
  Fix'd in the rolling flood of endless years
  The pillar of the eternal plan appears;
  The raging storm and dashing wave defies,
  Built by that Architect who built the skies." [3]

For me and for my reader may the two aspects of "this same Jesus," the
historical and the spiritual, ever combine in one mighty harmony of
certainty; faith's resting-place to the end, "the rock of our heart,
and our portion for ever"; at once our peace and our power, in life and
in death, and through the eternal day also, in which we shall need Him
still in the experiences of heaven.

What shall we say of the place to which the Epistle was sent, and of
that from which it was written; and of the writer, the bearer, the
readers; and of the occasion and the time?

Philippi now, so travellers tell us, is a scene of beautiful and silent
ruin.  Near the head of the fair Archipelago, amidst scenery of
exquisite beauty, near the range of Pangaeus, now Pirnari, on the banks
of the quiet Gangas, lie the relics of the once busy city, visited only
by the herdsman and the explorer.  By it or through it ran a great road
from West to East, called by the Romans the Egnatian Way.  The double
battle of Philippi, B.C. 42, when the Oligarchy fell finally before the
rising Empire, made the plain famous.  Augustus planted a _colonia_ in
the town.  It thus became a miniature Rome, as every "colony" was.  It
had its pair of petty consuls (_duumviri_; the _strategoi_ of Acts xvi.
20) and their lictors (A.V. "serjeants," _rhabdouchoi_).  And it
faithfully reproduced Roman pride in the spirit of its military
settlers.  It had its Jewish element, as almost every place then had;
but the Jews must have been few and despised; their place of worship
was but a "prayer-house" (_proseuchê_), outside the walls, on the
river's bank (Acts xvi. 13).  We need not recount in detail the history
of the first evangelization (A.D. 52) of the difficult place.  We
recollect sufficiently the address to the pious Jewesses and
proselyte-women in the "prayer-house"; the conversion and baptism of
Lydia; the rescue of the poor girl possessed with the "spirit of
Pytho"; the tumult, and the trial before the duumvirs; the scourge, the
inner prison, the hymn at midnight, the earthquake, and the salvation
of the jailor's life and soul; the message sent through the lictors in
the morning, then the respectful approach of the magistrates
themselves, and the retirement of the Missionaries "to another city,"
along the Egnatian road.  It is enough now to remember, what the very
existence of the Epistle reveals to us, the growth and life of the
little mission-church planted amidst such storms, and in a climate, so
to speak, full of possible tempests at any hour.  In the Epistle, we
arrive at a date some nine years later than the first visit of St Paul.
Twice during that period, and perhaps only twice, we find him at
Philippi again; late in A.D. 57 (Acts xx. 1) and early (it was the
sweet spring, the Passover time) in A.D. 58; this last may have been a
visit arranged on purpose (in Lightfoot's words: _Philippians_, p. 60)
"that he might keep the Paschal feast with his beloved converts."  No
doubt, besides these personal visits, Philippi was kept in contact with
its Missionary between A.D. 52 and A.D. 61 by messages and by the
occasional visits of the Apostle's faithful helpers.  But on the whole
the Church would seem in a very large degree to have been left to its
own charge.  And what do we find as the issue when we come to the
Epistle?  A community large enough to need a _staff_ of Christian
ministers, "bishops and deacons," "overseers and working-helpers"
(_episkopoi kai diakonoi_); full of love and good works; affectionately
mindful of St Paul in the way of practical assistance; and apparently
shewing, as their almost only visible defect or danger, a tendency to
separate somewhat into sections or cliques--a trouble which in itself
indicates a considerable society.  If we may (as we may, looking at the
ordinary facts of human nature) at all estimate the calibre of
Philippian Christianity by the tone in which the Apostle addresses the
Philippians, we gather that on the whole it was a high tone, at once
decided and tender, affectionate and mature.  The converts were capable
of responding to a deep doctrinal teaching, and also to the simplest
appeals of love.  Such was the triumph of the mysterious Gospel over
place, and circumstance, and character; the lily flowered at its
fairest among the thorns; grace shone and triumphed in the immediate
presence of its "adversaries."

But the evil we indicated just above was present in the otherwise happy
scene.  When Epaphroditus crossed the mountains and the sea to carry a
generous gift of money to St Paul, risking his life (ii. 27) somehow by
dangerous sickness in the effort, he had to carry also news of
differences and heart-burnings, which could not but cloud the Apostle's
loving joy.  The envoy found it needful to speak also of the emissaries
of error who at Philippi, as everywhere, were troubling the faith and
hope of the believers; "turning the grace of God into lasciviousness";
professing a lofty spirituality, and worshipping their appetites all
the while.  And side by side with them, apparently, might be found
Pharisaic disputants of an older type (iii. 3, 18, etc.).

Such was the report with which Epaphroditus found his way from
Macedonia to Rome.  Where, in Rome, did he find St Paul, and at what
stage of his Roman residence?  Our answer must begin with affirming the
conviction that it _was_ to Rome, not elsewhere, that Epaphroditus
went.  The reader is aware that the Epistle itself names no place of
origin; it only alludes to a scene of _imprisonment_.  And this does
not of itself decide the locality; for at Caesarea Stratonis, in
Palestine, as well as at Rome, St Paul spent two years in captivity
(Acts xxiv. 27).  Some modern critics have favoured the date from
Caesarea accordingly.  They have noticed e.g. the verbal coincidence
between Herod's _praetorium_ (A.V. "judgment-hall") of Acts xxiii. 35,
and the _praetorium_ (A.V. "palace") of Phil. i. 13.  But Lightfoot[4]
seems to me right in his decisive rejection of this theory and unshaken
adherence to the date from Rome.  He remarks that the oldest Church
tradition is all for Rome; that the Epistle itself evidently refers to
its place of origin as to a place of first-rate importance and extent,
in which any advance of the Gospel was a memorable and pregnant event;
and that the allusion to "Caesar's household" (though it is not so
quite decisive as it might at first sight appear to be) "cannot without
much straining of language and facts be made to apply to Caesarea."

If now the Epistle was written from Rome, during the "two whole years"
of Acts xxviii. 30, at what point in that period may we think that the
writing fell?  Here again is a problem over which much thought and
labour has been spent.  A majority of opinions no doubt is in favour of
a date towards the end of the imprisonment, so that Philippians would
follow after Colossians and Ephesians.  It is held that (1) the tone of
the Epistle betokens the approach of a closing crisis for St Paul; and
that (2) it seems to indicate an already developed Christian mission
work at Rome, as if St Paul had worked there some while; and that (3)
Epaphroditus' visit cannot be adjusted with any probability if we do
not allow a good time for previous communications between Rome and
Philippi.  But here again Lightfoot's view commends itself to my mind
decisively.  He holds that Philippians was _the first_ of the "Epistles
of the Captivity," and was written perhaps within the first few months
of the "two whole years."  Two of his reasons seem adequate of
themselves to make this likely.  The first is, that St Paul's allusion
to the profound _impression made on the Roman Christians_ by his "bonds
in Christ" (i. 13, 14) goes well with the hypothesis of his recent
arrival as a prisoner for Christ's sake, but not with that of his
having been long present on the scene.  The other is that the great
doctrinal passage (iii. 4-9), where he repudiates "his own
righteousness" and commits himself to "the righteousness which is of
God by faith," is evidently akin to the group of Epistles to which
Romans belongs; and that it seems more likely that the divine Inspirer,
in His order of revelation, led His servant so to write while the
occasion for the writing of Romans was still comparatively recent, than
long after, when the different (though kindred) sides of saving truth
dealt with in Ephesians and Colossians had become prominent in his
teaching.  With reason, I think, Lightfoot "cannot attach any weight"
to the argument from Epaphroditus' visit, which may well have been
planned at Philippi before St Paul actually reached Rome, and planned
thus early on purpose, so as to reach him promptly there with the
collected gifts of love.  Nor are the allusions to a probable impending
crisis in the trial before the Emperor important for the date; for
quite early in the imprisonment it may well have seemed likely that the
case would be soon decided.  As for the comparatively advanced state of
Roman Christianity, the Epistle to the Romans is evidence enough that a
vigorous and extensive mission-church, however it was founded, existed
at Rome some years before St Paul arrived.

I will venture then to take it for granted that it was some time in
A.D. 61, or at latest early in A.D. 62, that Epaphroditus came, with
his collection and his reports, and struggled through his illness, and
then prepared to return to Macedonia, carrying this precious Letter
with him.  We seem to see the scene as he converses day by day with St
Paul, and as at length he takes his leave, in charge of this Message of
"faith and love."  We see a large chamber in one of those huge piles of
building, storey over storey, of which imperial Rome was full.  The
window looks perhaps north-westward, up the stream of the Tiber,
towards the distant hills of which Soracte is the most prominent.  The
sentinel, perhaps himself a convert to the Lord, sits motionless at a
little distance, chained to the Apostle.  The saints pray, converse,
and embrace; and then Epaphroditus descends to set out for Ostia, or
for Puteoli, on his way home to Philippi.

"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the Word of the Lord
endureth for ever."  The graves of the blessed ones who worked for the
heavenly Master then are more than eighteen centuries old now.  But the
Letter to Philippi is to-day as new as ever.  It is addressed to us,
that we too may "believe, unto life everlasting," on "that same Jesus."

[1] Preserved by Eusebius, _Hist. Eccl._, ii.

[2] Written early in 1896.

[3] Cowper, _Conversation_.

[4] _Philippians_ (ed. i.), p. 30, note.

  "Man, like the grass of morning,
    Droops ere the evening hour;
  His goodliness and beauty
    Fade as a fading flower;
  But who may shake the pillars
    Of God's unchanging Word?
  Amen, Himself hath spoken;
    Amen,--thus saith the Lord.


"I learned without booke almost all Paules Epistles, yea and I weene
all the Canonical!  Epistles, save only the Apocalyps.  Of which study,
although in time a great part did depart from me, yet the sweete smell
thereof I trust I shall cary with me into heaven."

      BISHOP RIDLEY, 1555.




The Apostle and his converts one--The possible isolation of
hearts--Union with and in Christ--Christ and the personality--Christ
the secret of intimacy--Is the secret ours?--Reserve in Christian

Let us begin our verbal study of the Letter which Epaphroditus carried
to Philippi.  We attempt first a translation of its first main section,
interspersed with an explanatory paraphrase.  This will be followed by
a brief meditation upon one of the main "Lessons in Faith and Love"
suggested by the section.

Ver. 1.  +Paul and Timotheus, bondservants of Christ Jesus, to all the
holy ones+ in union with +Christ Jesus who are living at Philippi,
Overseers, Workers, and all+.[1]

Ver. 2.  +Grace to you, and peace+--all the free favour of acceptance
and of divine presence, and all the repose which it brings, within you
and around you--from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Vers. 3, 4.  +I give thanks to my God+ (He is mine, as I am His) +over
my whole memory of you; always in each request of mine on behalf of you
all forming and expressing+ (_poioumenos_[2]) +that+ (_tên_) +request
with joy+;

Ver. 5.  +on account of your participation with me in regard of the
Gospel+, your active co-operation with me, by prayer, by work, by
gifts, in the Gospel work,

Ver. 6.  +from the first day up to this present.  For+ (the thought of
your long consistency suggests the assertion) +I am quite sure of just
this, that He who inaugurated+ (_enarkamenos_: the word has solemn,
ceremonial connexions) +in you the[3] good work will perfect it+, will
evermore put His finishing touches to it (_epitelesei_), up to +Christ
Jesus' Day+, the Day of His promised Return, and of our glorification
with Him.  But this is by the way; I return to my joy and my

Ver. 7.  thanksgivings over you: +Even as it is just that I+, I above
all men (_emoi_, emphatic, not _moi_), +should feel+ (_phronein_) +like
this over you all, on behalf of you all,[4] because of my having you in
my heart, as those who, alike in my imprisonment+ (_desmois_) +and in
the vindication and establishment of the Gospel+, the defence of it
against its enemies, the developement of its truths and its power in
the believing, +are copartners, all of you, of my grace+; my grace, the
grace granted me, the glorious privilege of suffering and of doing as a
Missionary of Christ.  Your loving, working sympathy has inextricably
united you and me, alike in my prison and in my apostolate.

Ver. 8.  Yes, I feel this in my inmost being.  +For God is my witness,
how I yearn+, as with a homesick affection (_epipothia_), +for you all,
in the heart+ (_splagchna_) +of Christ Jesus+; for to His members His
heart is as it were theirs; our emotions are, by the Spirit, in contact
with His.

Ver. 9.  +And+ what are those "requests" which I make for you with joy?
+This is my prayer, that your love+, in the fullest Christian sense,
but above all in the sense of your love to one another, +may abound yet
more and more+ in the attendant and protective blessing of +spiritual
knowledge+ (_epignôsis_) and all needed

Ver. 10.  +discernment; so that+, amidst life's many temptations to
compromises of conviction or inconsistency of spirit, +you may test the
things that differ+ (_ta diapherona_), sifting truth and holiness from
their counterfeits; +in order to be singlehearted+ (_eilikrineis_[5])
+and without a stumbling-block+, such as error and inconsistency so
easily lay in our further path, +against+, in view of, +Christ's Day+;
so that when that Day dawns you may be found to be not servants whose
time has been half lost for their Lord's work and will, but

Ver. 11.  rather those +who have been filled with the fruit+ (_karpon_,
not _karpôn_) of righteousness--the result, in witness and service, of
your reconciliation and renewal,[6] fruit which is borne +through Jesus
Christ+, the Procurer and the Secret of your fruit-bearing life, to
+God's praise and glory+, the true goal and end of all our blessings
and of all our labours.

So the Letter opens; with greeting, with benediction, and then with an
outpouring, of sympathies full at once of the warmest and tenderest
_humanity_ and of the inmost secrets of divine truth and life.  It is a
preamble beautifully characteristic not only of St Paul but of the
Gospel.  It illustrates from many sides the happy fact that there is
nothing which so effectually opens human hearts to one another as the
love of Christ.  We are all sadly familiar with the possibilities of
isolation between heart and heart.  Poets have written with eloquent
melancholy of our personalities as islands which lie indeed near
together, but in an unfathomable ocean, over whose channels no boat has
ever passed.  Schools of pessimistic thought have positively affirmed
that never really has one _ego_ found its way into another through the
hermetic seal of individuality; all that we seem to know of others is
but the action of our own mind within itself, occasioned by a blind
collision with a something not itself, which we can strike upon but can
never really know.  Such lucubrations are artificial, not natural; a
distortion of mysterious facts, not an exposition of them; the result
of an arbitrary selection from the data of our consciousness, and then
the treatment of the selection as if it were the whole.  Quite apart
from the Gospel, the facts of human intercourse are full of evidence to
wonderful and beautiful possibilities of insight and intercourse
between human spirit and spirit.  But if we want to read the best
possible negative to the gloomy dream of impenetrable isolation, we
must come to the Lord Jesus Christ.  We must make experiment of what it
is, in Him, to know and love others who are in Him too.  Then indeed we
shall find that we can, in the common possession of a living Lord who
dwells in our hearts by faith, see as it were from heart into heart, in
the warm light of His presence.  We shall find how wonderful is the
friendship with one another to which the friends of Jesus are called,
and for which they are enabled in Him.

"IN HIM": those words are the key to this deep, tender, healthful
union, and as it were fusion, of souls.  We have the truth which they
convey prominent already in the Philippian Letter.  It is addressed
(ver. 1) to "the holy ones in Christ Jesus."  That is to say, it comes
to men and women who, taken on their profession, assumed to be in fact
what they were denoted to be in baptism, were separated from self and
sin to God by their union in covenant and life with their Redeemer.  It
regards them as personalities so truly annexed by Jesus Christ, in the
miracle of converting grace, so articulated spiritually into Him, that
no language short of this wonderful "in Him" will worthily express
their relation to Him.  Later (ver. 11), they are regarded as so united
to Him that "the fruit of righteousness" which they are to bear in rich
abundance is to be borne only "_through_ Him"; He, the Vine, is the one
possible secret by which they, the branches, can possibly be productive
of the sweet cluster of "the fruit of the Spirit."  And between those
two places comes a sentence (ver. 8) where, just in passing, in a mere
allusion to his own experience, the Apostle takes for granted this
profound "continuity with Christ" in a peculiarly impressive way:

"I long after you all in the heart of Jesus Christ."  As we have seen
above, he regards himself (not as an Apostle but simply as a believer)
as so "joined unto the Lord" that, if I may dare so to expand the
phrase, the heart of Jesus Christ is the true organ and vehicle of his
own regenerate emotions.  The whole Scripture, and particularly the
whole Pauline Scripture, assures us what this does _not_ mean.  It does
not mean the least suspension or distortion of the humanity or of the
personality of Paul.  It means no absorption of his _ego_, and nothing
whatever _un_-natural in either the nature or the exercise of his
affections.  His "homesick longing" to see the dear Philippian people
again is quite as simple, natural, personal, as any longing he ever
felt in his boyhood for his home at Tarsus when he was absent from it.
Yes, but this personality, working so freely and truly in its every
faculty, is now, by the Holy Ghost, so put into spiritual contact with
the will and heart of Jesus Christ, who now "dwells in it by faith,"
that the whole action moves, so to speak, in the sphere, in the
atmosphere, of HIM.  The love which passes so freely through and out of
the believer to his brethren would not be what it is if the believer
were not "in Christ."  He is still all himself; nay, he is more than
ever himself, being in the Lord; for indeed that blessed union has a
genial and developing power upon its happy subject.  But such is that
power that it deeply qualifies the mental and spiritual action of the
being who enters into it; never violates but always qualifies.

The fact, the experience, of course transcends our analysis.  But it is
not beyond our faith, nor beyond our reception and inward verification.

  "Thy love, Thy joy, Thy peace,
      Continuously impart
      Unto my heart;
  Fresh springs that never cease,
      But still increase." [7]

Our immediate purpose meanwhile is not to discuss the believer's union
with his Lord, but to remark on this one precious result of it, the
opening of his inmost sympathies to the sharers of the same blessing.
We see that result displayed in all its brightness in this first
paragraph of the Epistle; and we shall see it to the end.  In the
particular case of St Paul and the Philippians it was indeed a
remarkable phenomenon.  Here on the one side was a man who, not very
many years before, had been the devotee of the Pharisaic creed, a creed
which tended powerfully not to expand but to annihilate every sympathy
which could touch "the Gentiles."  Here on the other side were people
whose life and thought had been moulded in the proud political and
national ideas of a Roman _colonia_; no kindly atmosphere for the
growth of affections which should be at once intense and comprehensive.
But these two unlikely parties are now one, in the strongest and most
beautiful union of thought and heart.  If we may use again a word
ventured just above, they are mutually (not confused but) fused
together.  Their whole beings have come into living touch, not on the
surface merely but most of all in their depths.  An interchange of
idea, of sympathy, of purpose has become possible between them in
which, while self-respect is only deepened and secured, reserve is
melted away in the common possession of the life and love of Jesus
Christ.  The Apostle writes to his friends as one whose whole soul is
open to them, is at their command.  His memory and reflexion are full
of them.  He not only prays and gives thanks for them but delights in
telling them that he is doing so.  He says without difficulty exactly
what he is sure of about them, and exactly what things he is asking for
them as yet more developed blessings.  Above all, the name of Him who
is everything to himself and to them flows from his heart with a holy
freedom which is impossible except where the parties in religious
intercourse are indeed "one" in Him.  Seven times in these eleven short
verses "Christ Jesus" is explicitly named; as the writer's Possessor;
as the Philippian saints' Life and Head; as the Giver to them, with His
Father, of grace and peace; as the Lord of the longed-for "Day," that
dear goal of hope; as the mighty Sphere of regenerate family-love; as
the Cause and Condition of the Christian's fruitfulness for God.  His
presence, as it were, moves in the whole message, in the whole
intercourse of which the message is the expression.  Writer and readers
perfectly "understand each other," for they both know Christ, and are
found in Him.

The same divine Cause tends always to similar effects.  Unhappily it
does not always act without obstruction--obstruction which need not be.
There are no doubt obstructions to its action which are inherent in our
mortality; things which have to do really with physical temperament, or
again with external circumstances which we may be helpless to modify.
But the Cause, _in itself, tends always_ to the effects visible in this
noble passage of Christian affection.  The possession and knowledge of
Jesus Christ, in spirit and in truth, tends always, by an eternal law,
to warm and open as well as to purify the human heart; to anchor it
indeed immoveably to God, but also to suffuse it with a gracious
sympathy towards man, and first and most of all towards man who is
also, in Christ, cognizant of the "free-masonry" of faith.

Let this be our first main Lesson in Faith and Love in our Philippian
studies.  The section which we have traversed is full of points of
interest and importance otherwise; but this aspect of it is so truly
dominant that we may rightly take it for the true message of the whole.
Let us welcome it home.  Let us question ourselves, in presence of it,
and before our Lord, first about our personal possession of the Cause,
and then about our personal manifestation of the effects.  Let us put
to our own hearts some very old-fashioned interrogations: _Am I indeed
in Jesus Christ?  Is He to me indeed Possessor, Lord, Giver of grace
and peace?  Is my life so lived and my work so done in contact with Him
that through Him, and not merely through myself, "my fruit is found"?
Is His promised Day the goal and longing of my heart, as I submit
myself to Him that He may perfect His work in me by the way, and watch
over myself that I may meet Him single-hearted and "without offence" at
the end?  Is He the pervading and supreme Interest of my life?  Is He
the inward Power which colours my thought and gives direction and
quality to my affections?_

No answer which a heart fully wakeful to God can give to such
deliberate inward questionings can possibly be an easy or
"light-hearted" answer.  The gladdest and most thankful utterance of
such a heart will carry along with it always the prayer, "Search me, O
God, and try my heart"; "Enter not into judgment with Thy servant."
Yet we are assuredly meant, if we are in Christ, so to know the fact as
to rejoice in it, and to be strong in it; we are invited, without a
doubt, so to know Him as to know we know Him, and to find in Him "all
our salvation, and all our desire."  Let us not rest till, in great
humility but with perfect simplicity, we so see Him as to leave behind
our doubts about our part and lot in Him, and, "believing, to rejoice."

And then let us covet the developement of those results of possession
of Christ, of union with Christ, which we have specially studied in the
opening section of our Epistle.  Let us welcome the Lord in to "the
springs of thought and will," with the conscious aim that He should so
warm and enrich them with His presence that they shall overflow for
blessing around us, in the life of Christian love.  I do not mean for a
moment that we should set ourselves to construct a spiritual mannerism
of speech or of habit.  The matter is one not of manufacture but of
culture; it is a call to "nourish and cherish" the gift of God which is
in us, and to give to it the humble co-operation of our definite wish
and will that it may be _manifested_ in the ways commended in His Word.
It is a call to desire and intend to "_adorn_ the doctrine of God our
Saviour," in the outcoming of His presence in us in our tone, temper,
and converse, towards those around us, and especially where we know
that a common faith and common love do subsist.

If I mistake not, there is far too little of this at present, even in
true Christian circles.  A  certain  dread of "phraseology,"  of
"pietism," of what is foolishly called "goody-goody," has long been
abroad; a grievously exaggerated dread; a mere parody of rightful
jealousy for sincerity in religion.  Under the baneful spell of this
dread it is only too common for really earnest Christians to keep each
other's company, and even to take part in united religious work, and to
be constantly together as worshippers, aye, perhaps as ministers of the
Word and Ordinances of Christ, and yet never, or hardly ever, to
exchange a word about HIM, heart to heart; still less to "speak often
one to another," and share fully together their treasures of experience
of what He is and what He has done for them.  The very dialect of the
Christian life has greatly lost in holy depth and tenderness, so it
seems to me, since a former generation in which this over-drawn fear
(it is a mere fashion) of "phraseology" was less prevalent.  It ought
not so to be.

Let us each for himself come closer to our eternal FRIEND, converse
more fully with Him, "consider HIM" much more than many of us do.  And
then we too shall discover that "our mouth is opened, our heart
enlarged," for holy converse with our fellow-servants, in that
wonderful interchange of souls which is possible "in the heart of Jesus

  "Oh days of heaven, and nights of equal praise,
  Serene and peaceful as those heavenly days,
  When souls, drawn upwards in communion sweet,
  Enjoy the stillness of some close retreat;
  Discourse, as if releas'd and safe at home,
  Of dangers past and wonders yet to come,
  And spread the sacred treasures of the breast
  Upon the lap of covenanted rest." [8]

[1] _Sun episcopois kai diakonois_.  I render the words as literally as
possible, not to discredit the distinctive functions of the Christian
ministry, but to remind the reader of the natural origin of the titles
by which Christian ministers are designated.  And it is important here
to remember that our word _bishop_, while derived from _episkopos_,
cannot properly translate it _as it is used in the New Testament_.  For
_episkopos_ is not used there as the special title of a superintendent
pastor set over other pastors.  Such superintendents, however the
office originated, are found in the New Testament, and early in the
second century are called distinctively _episkopoi_: but the term so
used is later, on any theory, than the origin of the office.  But I do
not purpose in these devotional chapters to discuss at length such a
question as that raised here.  The reader should by all means consult
Bishop Lightfoot's Excursus in his Commentary on this Epistle, _The
Christian Ministry_.  The views advanced in that essay were, as I
personally know, held by the writer to the last.

[2] The middle suggests a certain fulness of action.

[3] I think the definite article should be supplied in English; the
reference is to the work of works.

[4] I give both the possible renderings of _huper_.  Both would
certainly be in place, as he thought of them and prayed and gave thanks
for them.

[5] The derivation is doubtful, but the idea of the word in usage is
clearness, freedom from complication.

[6] With some hesitation I assign to _dikaiosune_ here the meaning of
the righteousness of justification, as in iii. 9.

[7] F. R. Havergal.

[8] Cowper, _Conversation_.


  "Yield to the Lord, with simple heart,
  All that thou hast and all thou art,
  Renounce all strength but strength divine,
  And peace shall be for ever thine."
        MME DE LA MOTHE GUYON, _translated by_ COWPER.




Disloyal "brethren"--Interest of the paragraph--The victory of
patience--The Praetorian sentinel--Separatism, and how it was met--St
Paul's secret--His "earnest expectation"--"Christ magnified"--"In my

St Paul has spoken his affectionate greeting to the Philippians, and
has opened to them the warm depths of his friendship with them in the
Lord.  What he feels towards them "in the heart of Christ Jesus," what
he prays for them in regard of the growth and fruit of their new life,
all has been expressed.  It is time now to meet their loving anxieties
with some account of his own position, and the circumstances of the
mission in the City.  Through this passage let us follow him now; we
shall find that the quiet picture, full of strong human interest in its
details, is suffused all over with the glory of the presence and the
peace of Christ.

Ver. 12.  +Now I wish you to know, brethren, that my position and
circumstances+ (_ta kat eme_, "_the things related to me_") +have come
out+, have resulted, +rather for the progress of the Gospel+ message
and enter-

Ver. 13.  prise, than otherwise; +so that my bonds+, my imprisonment,
with its _custodia militaris_, +are become unmistakable+ (_phanerous_)
as being +in Christ+; as due to no social or political crime, but to
the name and cause of the Messiah of Israel, the Saviour of the world.
This is the case in the +whole Praetorium+,[1] in all ranks of the
Imperial Guard, +and among other people in general+ (_tois loipois
pasi_[2]).  And

Ver. 14.  another result is[3] +that the majority+ (_tous plaionas_)
+of the brethren in the Lord+, the converts of the Roman mission,
+feeling a new confidence in connexion with my bonds+,[4] animated by
the fact of my imprisonment, realizing afresh the glory of the cause
which makes me happy to suffer, +venture more abundantly+, more
frequently, more openly, +fearlessly to speak the Word+, the message of
Christ, of the Cross, of Truth, of Life.  There is a drawback in this

Ver. 15.  welcome phenomenon: +some indeed actually+ (_kai_) +for envy
and strife, while others as truly+ (_kai_) +for goodwill, are
proclaiming the Christ+.  The latter[5]

Ver. 16.  are at work thus +from+ motives of love, love to the Lord and
to me His captive Messenger, +knowing+ that on purpose +for the
vindication+ (_apologian_) +of the Gospel I am posted+ (_keimai_, as a
soldier, fixed by his captain's order) here.  The former from

Ver. 17.  motives of +faction+, partizanship (_eritheia_) in a
self-interested propaganda of their own opinions, +are announcing the
Christ, not purely, thinking+ and meaning +to raise up+ (_egeirein_, so
read) +tribulation for+ me in +my bonds+; as so easily they can do, by
detaching from me many converts who would otherwise gather round me,
and generally by the mortifying thought of their freedom and activity
in contrast to my enforced isolation.  Shall I give way to the trial,
and lose patience and peace?  Must I?  Need

Ver. 18.  I?  Nay; +what matters it+ (_ti gar_)?  Is not the fiery
arrow quenched in Christ for me?  Is it not thus nothing to me?
Yes--yet not nothing, after all; for it brings a gain; it spreads the
Gospel so much further; so that to my "What matters it?"  I may add,
+Only, in every way+, fair or foul, +Christ is being announced; and in
this I rejoice, aye, and rejoice I shall+; the future can only bring me
fresh reasons for a joy which lies wholly in the triumphs of my Lord,
and can only bring fresh blessings to

Ver. 19.  me His vassal.  +For I know that I shall find+ (_moi_) this
experience +result in salvation+, in the access of saving grace to my
soul, +through your supplication+ for me, which will be quickened by
your knowledge of my trials, +and+ through a resulting +full supply+
(_epichorêgia_: the word suggests a supply which is ample) +of the
Spirit of Jesus Christ+; a developed presence in me of the Holy Ghost,
coming from the exalted Saviour, and revealing Him, and applying Him.
Such blessing will be exactly

Ver. 20.  +according to my eager expectation+ (_apokaradokia_) and
hope, that in no respect shall I be disappointed (_aiochunthêsomai_:
with the "shame" of a miscalculation), +but that in all outspokenness+
(_parrêsia_) of testimony, whether in word or deed, +as always, so also
now, Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by means of life or
by means of death+.

The passage is full of various points of interest.  It is interesting,
as we saw in our first chapter, in regard of the historical criticism
of the Epistle.  It gives a strong suggestion (I follow Lightfoot in
the remark) in favour of dating the Epistle early in the "two years" of
Acts xxviii.  For it implies that the fact of the Apostle's
imprisonment was a powerful stimulant to the zeal of the Roman
Christians; and this is much more likely to have been the case when the
imprisonment was still a new fact to them, than later.  St Paul's
arrival and first settlement, in the character (totally new in Rome, so
far as we know) of a "prisoner of Jesus Christ," would of itself give a
quickening shock, so to speak, to the believing community, which had
suffered, so we gather, from a certain decadence of zeal.  But when he
had been some time amongst them, and the conditions of the "hired
house" had become usual and familiar in their thoughts, it would be
otherwise; whatever else about St Paul might rekindle their ardour, the
mere fact of his imprisoned state would hardly do so.

The passage is further interesting as it indicates one particular
direction of the Apostle's influence upon the pagans around him.  It
was felt, primarily, "in all the Praetorium," that is to say, in the
large circle of the Imperial Life-guards.[6]  We gather here, with
reasonable certainty, that from the Life-guards were supplied, one by
one, "the soldiers that kept him" (Acts xxviii. 16); mounting guard
over him in turn, and fastened to him by the long chain which clasped
at one end the wrist of the prisoner, at the other that of the
sentinel.  It needs only a passing effort of imagination to understand
something of the exquisite trial to every sensibility which such a
custody must have involved, even where the conditions were favourable.
Let the guardian be ever so considerate and civil, it would be a
terrible ordeal to be literally never alone, night or day; and too
often, doubtless, the guardian would be not at all complaisant.  To
many a man, certainly to any man of the refined mental and moral nature
of St Paul, this slow fire of indescribable annoyance would be far
worse to endure than a great and sudden infliction of pain, even to
death.  It is a noble triumph of grace when such a test is well borne,
and turned by patience into an occasion for God.  When Nicholas Ridley,
for a long year and a half (1554-5) was committed at Oxford to the
vexatious domestic custody of the mayor and his bigoted wife, Edmund
and Margaret Irish, it must have been nothing less than a slow torture
to one whose fine nature had been used for years to the conditions of
civil and ecclesiastical dignity and of a large circle of admirable
friends.  And it was a spiritual victory, second only to that of his
glorious martyrdom (Oct. 16, 1555), when the close of that dreary time
found the once obdurate and vexatious Mrs Irish won by Ridley's life to
admiration and attachment, and also, as it would seem, to scriptural
convictions.[7]  But it was a still nobler result from a still more
persistent and penetrating trial when St Paul so lived and so witnessed
in the presence of this succession of Roman soldiers that the whole
Guard was pervaded with a knowledge of his true character and position,
evidently in the sense of interest and of respect.  It must have been a
course of _unbroken_ consistency of conduct as well as of openness of
witness.  Had he only sometimes, only rarely, only once or twice,
failed in patience, in kindness, in the quiet dignity of the Gospel,
the whole succession of his keepers would have felt the effect, as the
story passed from one to another.  As a fact, the "keeping power of
Christ" was always with him, and always used by him, and the men went
out one after another to say that here was a prisoner such as never was
before.  Here was no conspirator or criminal; his "bonds" were
evidently (ver. 13) due only to his devotion to a God whom he would not
renounce, and whose presence with him and power over him were visibly
shewn in the divine peace and love of his hourly life.

We can please ourselves if we will by imagining many a scene for the
exercise of that influence.  Sometimes the Saint would be left much
alone with the Praetorian.  Sometimes a long stream of visitors would
flow in, and for a whole day perhaps the two would scarcely exchange a
word; the Guardsman would only watch and listen, if he cared to do so.
Sometimes it would be a case where ignorant and ribald blasphemies
would have to be met in the power of the peace of God.  Sometimes a
really wistful heart would at once betray its presence under the Roman
cuirass.  Perhaps the man would attack the Apostle with ridicule, or
with enquiries, after some long day of religious debate, such as that
recorded in Acts xxviii., and the silent night would see St Paul
labouring on to win this soul also.

  "These ears were dull to Grecian speech;
    This heart more dull to aught but sin;
  Yet the great Spirit bade thee reach,
    Wake, change, exalt, the soul within:
  I've heard; I know; thy Lord, ev'n He,
  JESUS, hath look'd from heaven on me.

      *      *      *      *      *

  "A Christian, yes--for ever now
    A Christian: so our Leader keep
  My faltering heart: to Him I bow,
    His, whether now I wake or sleep:
  In peace, in battle.  His:--the day
  Breaks in the east: oh, once more pray!" [8]

The passage before us is interesting again because of the light it
throws on the very early rise of a separatist movement in the Roman
mission-church, and on the principles on which St Paul met it.
Extremely painful and perplexing the phenomenon was, though by no means
new in its nature to St Paul, as we well know.  It was a trouble
altogether from within, not from without.  The men who "preached Christ
of envy and strife" bore evidently the Christian name as openly as
their sincerer brethren.  They were baptized members of the community
of the Gospel.  And their evangelization was such that St Paul was able
to say, "Christ is preached"; though this does not mean, assuredly,
that there were no doubtful elements mingled in the preaching.  Now for
them, as for all the Roman Christians, he had every reason to regard
himself as the Lord's appointed centre of labour and of order.  There
he was, the divinely commissioned Apostle of Christ, at once the
Teacher and the Leader of the Gentile Churches; only a few short years
before he had written to these very people, in his inspired and
commissioned character, the greatest of the Epistles.  Yet now behold a
separation, a schism.  That such the movement was we cannot doubt.
These "brethren," he tells us, carried on their missionary efforts in a
way precisely intended to "raise up trouble" for him in his prison.
The least that they would do with that object would be not only to
teach much that he would disapprove of, but to intercept intercourse
between their converts and him; to ignore him altogether as the central
representative of the Church at Rome; to arrange for assemblies, to
administer Baptisms, to practise the Breaking of Bread, wholly apart
from the order and cohesion which he would sanction, and which he had
the fullest right to enjoin.  All this was a great evil, a sin,
carrying consequences which might affect the Christian cause far and
wide.  Is it not true that no deliberate schism has ever taken place in
the Church where there has not been grievous sin in the matter--on one
side, or, on the other, or on both?

Yet how does the Apostle meet this distressing problem?  With all the
large tolerance and self-forgetting patience which come to the wise man
who walks close to God in Christ.  No great leader, surely, ever prized
more the benefits of order and cohesion than did St Paul.  And where a
fundamental error was in view, as for example that about Justification
in Galatia, no one could meet it more energetically, and with a
stronger sense of authority, than he did.  But he "discerned things
that differ."  And when, as here, he saw around him men, however
misguided, who were aiding in the "announcement" of the Name and
salvation of Christ, he thought more of the evangelization than of the
breach of coherence, which yet most surely he deplored.  He speaks with
perfect candour of the unsound spiritual state of the separatists,
their envy, strife, and partizanship.  But he has no anathema for their
methods.  He is apparently quite unconscious of the thought that
because he is the one Apostle in Rome grace can be conveyed only
through him; that his authority and commission are necessary to
authenticate teaching and to make ordinances effectual.  He would far
rather have order, and he knows that he is its lawful centre.  But "the
announcement of Christ" is a thing even more momentous than order.  He
cannot stay to speak of that great but inferior benefit, while he
"rejoices, aye, and is going to rejoice," in the diffusion of the Name
and salvation of the Lord.

It is an instructive lesson.  Would that in all the after ages the
Church had more watchfully followed this noble precedent!  The result
would have been, so I venture to hold, a far truer and stronger
cohesion, in the long run, than we see, alas, around us now.

What was the secret of this happy harmony of the love of order and the
capacity for tolerance in the mind of St Paul?  It was a secret as deep
but also as simple as possible; it was the Lord Jesus Christ.  Really
and literally, Jesus Christ was the one ruling consideration for St
Paul; not himself, his claims, position, influence, feelings; not even
the Church.  To him the Church was inestimably precious, but the Lord
was more.  And all his thoughts about work, authority, order, and the
like, were accordingly conditioned and governed by the thought, What
will best promote the glory of the Lord who loved us and gave Himself
for us?  If even a separatist propaganda will extend the knowledge of
HIM, His servant can rejoice, not in the separatism, not in the unhappy
spirit which prompted it, but in the extension of the reign of Jesus
Christ in the human hearts which need Him.  Surely, even in our own
day, with its immemorial complications of the question of exterior
order, it will tend more than anything else to straighten the crooked
places and level the rough places, if we look, from every side, on the
glory of the blessed Name as our supreme and ruling interest.

This view of the supremacy of the Saviour in the thoughts of St Paul
about the Church leads us to a view, as we close, of that supremacy in
all his thoughts about his own life.  Our paragraph ends with the words
which anticipate a great blessing, a new developement of "salvation,"
in the writer's soul, in answer to the believing prayers of the
Philippians; and then comes the thought that this result will carry out
his dearest personal ambition--"that Christ may be magnified in my
body, whether by life or by death."  Let us take up those final words
for a simple study, before God.

"According to my eager expectation," my _apokaradokia_, my waiting and
watching, with outstretched head, for some keenly wished-for arrival,
or attainment.  Such is this man's thought and feeling with regard to
the "magnification" of Christ through his life and death.  It is his
"hope," it is his absorbing "expectation."  It is to him the thing with
which he wakes up in the morning, and over which he lingers as he
prepares to sleep at night.  It is the animating inner interest which
gives its zest to life.  What art is to the ambitious and successful
painter, what literature is to the man who loves it for its own sake
and whose books have begun to take the world, what athletic toil and
triumph is to the youth in his splendid prime, what the fact of
extending and wealth-winning enterprise is to the man conscious of
mercantile capacity--all this, only very much more, is the
"magnification of Christ in his body" to the prisoner who sits, never
alone, in the Roman lodging.  It is this which effectually forbids him
ever to find the days dull.  Its light falls upon everything; comforts,
trials, days of toil, hours of comparative repose, prospects of life,
prospects of death.  It quickens and concentrates all his faculties, as
a great and animating interest always tends to do; it is always present
to his mind as light and heat, to his will as rest and power.  It
secures for him the quiet of a great disengagement and liberty from
selfish motives; it continually drives him on, with a force which does
not exhaust him (for it is from above) in the ambition and enterprise
which is for Christ; giving him at once an impulse toward great and
arduous labours, and a patience and loving tact which continually
adjusts itself to the smallest occasions of love and service.

Reader, this is admirable in St Paul.  But after all, the ultimate
secret of the noble phenomenon resides not in St Paul but in Jesus
Christ.  "It pleased God to reveal His Son in me" (Gal. i. 15, 16).
The man had seen his Saviour with his whole soul.  And because of--not
the man who saw but--the Saviour who was seen, behold, the life is
lifted off the pivot of self-will and transferred to that of "the glory
of God in the face of Jesus Christ."  The same "revealing" grace can
lift us also.  We are not St Pauls; but the Jesus Christ of St Paul is
absolutely the same, in Himself, for us.  We will, in His name, place
ourselves in the way of His working, that He may so shew us His fair
countenance that we may _not be able not_ to live, quite really, for
Him as the enthralling Interest of life.

Let us look at the words again: "That Christ may be _magnified_," may
be made great.  In what respect?  Not in Himself; for He is already
"all in all"; "filling all things"; "higher than the heavens."  Such is
He that "no man knoweth the Son but the Father"; the mind of Deity is
alone adequate to comprehend His glory.  But He may be
magnified--relatively to those who see Him, or may see Him.  To eyes
which find in Christ only a distant and obscure Object, however sacred,
He may be made to occupy the whole field of the soul with His love and
glory.  As when the telescope is directed upon the heavens, and some
"cloudy spot" becomes, magnified, a mighty planet perhaps, or perhaps a
universe of starry suns; so it is when through a believer's life
"Christ is magnified" to eyes which watch that life and see the reality
of the power within.

Ah, have we not known such lives ourselves?  Has not the Lord been made
very near to us, and very luminous, in the face of father, mother,
brother, sister, friend, or pastor?  Have we not seen Him shining large
and near us in their holy activities, and in their blessed sufferings,
shedding His glory through all they were and all they did?  He has been
magnified to us by saints in high places, whose dignity and fame have
been to them only so much occasion for the exercise of their "ruling
passion"--the glory of Christ.  And He has been magnified to us also by
saints in comfortless cottages, imprisoned upon sick-beds in gloomy
attics, but finding in everything an occasion to experience and to
manifest the power of their Lord.  May He make it always our ambition
to be thus His magnifiers.  But may He keep it a really pure ambition.
For even this can be distorted into the misery of self-seeking; an
ambition not that Christ may be magnified, but that His magnifier may
be thought "some great one" in the spiritual life.

"In my _body_."  Because through the body, and only through it,
practically, can we tell on others for the Lord.  Do we speak to them?
Do we write to them?  Do we make home comfortable and happy for them?
Do we "meet the glad with joyful smiles and wipe the weeping eyes"?  Do
we travel to those who want us?  Do we nurse them?  Do we think for
them?  All has its motives in the regenerate spirit, but all has its
effect through the body.  Without brain, eyes, ears, lips, hands,
feet--how could we serve, how could we shine?  Our life would have no
articulation to others, nor our death.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye
present _your bodies_ a living sacrifice."  So be it, for writer and
for reader.  Then blessed will be our life, as day by day brings
ceaseless occasions for the pursuit of our dear ambition--"that Christ
may be magnified."


*** _En holô tô praitôriô_ (ver. 13).--The word _praitôrion_ occurs in
e.g. Matt. xxvii. 27.  Acts xxiii. 35, in the sense of the residence of
a great official, regarded as _praetor_, or commander.  The A.V. here
evidently reasons from such passages, and takes the word to mean the
residence at Rome of the supreme _praetor_, the Emperor; the
_Palatium_, the vast range of buildings on the Mons Palatinus which has
since given a name to all "palaces."  Bishop Lightfoot however has made
it clear (_a_) that such a use at Rome, by Romans, of the word
_Praetorium_ was probably not known; (_b_) that the word _Praetorium_
was a familiar word for the great body of the Imperial Life-guards; and
that it would probably be often so used by the (praetorian) "soldiers
who kept him."  On the whole it seems clear that, at Rome, the word
would denote a body, not a place.  It never appears as a name for the
great _camp_ of the Praetorians, outside Rome at the east.

[1] See note at the end of this chapter.

[2] The A.V. rendering "in all other _places_" is obviously due to the
belief that _praitôrion_ signified a place, not a body of men.

[3] I thus convey the force of _hoste_, across the break we have made
in the original sentence.

[4] Literally perhaps, "relying on my bonds," as a new _ground_ for
their assurance of the goodness of the cause.--It is possible to render
here, "the brethren, _having in the Lord confidence_, are, in view of
my bonds, much more bold," etc.  But the rhythm of the Greek is in
favour of our rendering (which is essentially that of A.V. and R.V.).

[5] I adopt here the order of the Greek clauses which is best attested.

[6] See note at the end of this chapter.

[7] I venture to refer to my book, _Bishop Ridley on the Lord's Supper_
(Seeley), pp. 54, 55, 72.

[8] See the close of the volume.


O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just
works do proceed; Give unto Thy servants that peace which the world
cannot give; that both our hearts may be set to obey Thy commandments,
and also that by Thee we being defended from the fear of our enemies
may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus
Christ our Saviour.  Amen.

_The Second Collect at Evening Prayer_.




He will be spared to them--Spiritual wealth of the paragraph--Adolphe
Monod's exposition--Charles Simeon's testimony--The equilibrium and its
secret--The intermediate bliss--He longs for their full
consistency--The "gift" of suffering

Ver. 21.  +For to me, to live is Christ+; the consciousness and
experiences of living, in the body, are so full of Christ, my supreme
Interest, that CHRIST sums them all up; +and to die+, the act of
dying,[1] +is gain+, for it will usher me in from an existence of
blessing to an existence of more blessing still.  +But+

Ver. 22.  +if living+ on, +in the flesh+, be my lot; if the present
suspense issues in my being acquitted at the Roman tribunal, +this will
prove to me+ (_touto moi_) +fruit of work+; it will just mean so much
more work for the Lord, and so much more fruit; I shall welcome it not
as being the best thing in itself, as if I chose mortal life for its
own sake, but because of its ceaseless opportunities for my Lord.  +And
which+ alternative +I shall choose, I do not know+, I do not
_recognize_ (_gnôrizô_, as one who seeks to be sure of the face of

Ver.  23.  a friend amidst other faces).  +Nay+ (_de_), +I am held in
suspense on both sides+;[2] +my+ personal +desire being[3] in the
direction of departing+, striking my tent, weighing my anchor
(_analysai_),[4] +and being with Christ+ (for this is what "departing"
means for us Christians, on its other side); +for it is far, far
better+, by far more preferable, _pollô mallon kreisson_--aye even than
a "life in the flesh" which "is Christ"!  +But+

Ver. 24.  then +the abiding by+ (_epimenein_) +the flesh+, the brave,
faithful, holding fast to the conditions of earthly trial, +is more
necessary+, more obligatory, more of the nature of duty as against
pleasure, +on account of you+, and your further need of me in the Lord.
And +feeling+

Ver. 25.  +confident of this, I know that I shall remain+--aye +and
shall remain side by side+ (_paramenô_) +with you all+, as your
comrade, your helper, +in order to your progress and joy in your
faith+;[5] so as to promote your growth in the exercise of loyal
reliance on your Lord, and in the deep joy which is the natural issue
of such

Ver. 26.  reliance; +so that your exultation may be overflowing in
Christ Jesus+, in your living union with Him, +in me+ (_en emoi_), "in"
whom you see a living example of your Lord's love, shewn to you +by
means of my+

Ver. 27.  +coming back to you again+.  +Only+, whether I am thus
actually restored to you or not, +order your life[6] in a way worthy of
the Gospel of Christ+ (above all, worthy of the unifying, harmonizing
power of the Gospel); +so that whether coming and seeing you, or+
remaining +absent, I may hear[7] about your circumstances+, your
condition, +that you are standing firm in One Spirit+,[8] in the power
of the One Strengthener, and, +with one soul+, one life and love, the
resultant of the One Spirit's work in you all, +wrestling side by
side+, with enemies and obstacles, +for [9]the faith of the Gospel+,
for the maintenance and victory of that reliance which embraces

Ver. 28.  the truth of Christ; +and refusing to be+ (_mê_) +scared out
of that attitude in anything by your+ (_tôn_) +opponents+, the
unconverted world around you.  +Such+ (_hêtis_) calm united courage +is
to them an evidence+, a sure token, an omen, +of+ the +perdition+ which
awaits the obstinate foes of holiness, +but to you of+ the +salvation+
which awaits Christ's faithful witnesses.  +And this, this+ condition
of conflict and courage, +is from God+; no mere blind result of
accidents, but His purpose.

Ver. 29.  Yes, +because to you there has been granted[10] as an+ actual
+boon--for the sake of Christ not only the believing on Him but also
the suffering for His sake+;[11] a sacred privilege when it is involved

Ver. 30.  loyalty to such a Master!  So you will be +experiencing+[12]
(_echontes_) +the same conflict in kind+ (_oion_) (as you wrestle side
by side for your Lord against evil) +as that which you saw in me+, in
my case, when I was with you in those first days (Acts xvi.), _and_
which _you now hear of in me_, as I meet it in my prison at Rome.

The translation of our present section is completed.  It has presented
rather more material than usual for grammatical remark and explanation;
constructions have proved to be complex, contracted, or otherwise
slightly anomalous; and points of order and emphasis have claimed
attention.  But I trust that this handling of _the texture_ has only
brought more vividly into sight the holy richness and brightness of
_the design_.  Sentence by sentence, we have been reading a message of
the first order of spiritual importance, as St Paul has spoken from his
own experience of the Christian's wonderful happiness in life and
death, and then, in his appeal to the Philippians, of the Christian's
path of love and duty.

Let us listen anew to each part of that precious message.

i.  The Christian's Happiness in Life and Death.

In Adolphe Monod's volume of death-bed addresses, his _Adieux à ses
Amis et à l'Eglise_, one admirable chapter, the second, is devoted to
the passage before us, Phil. i. 21-26.  From the borderland of eternity
the great French Christian looks backward and forward with St Paul's
letter in his hand, and comments there upon this divine possibility of
"Happiness in Life and in Death."  "The Apostle," he says, "is asking
here which is most worth while for him, to live or to die.  Often has
that question presented itself to us, and perhaps we, like the Apostle,
have answered that 'we are in a strait.'  But I fear we may have used
the words in a sense far different from St Paul's.  When we have wished
for death, we meant to say, 'I know not which alternative I ought most
to dread, the afflictions of life, from which death would release me,
or the terrors of death, from which life protects me.'  In other words,
life and death look to us like two evils of which we know not which is
the less.  As for the Apostle, they look to him like two immense
blessings, of which he knows not which is the better.  Personally, he
prefers death, in order to be with Christ.  As regards the Church and
the world, he prefers life, in order to serve Jesus Christ, to extend
His kingdom, and to win souls for Him.  What an admirable view of life
and of death!--admirable, because it is all governed (_dominiée_), all
sanctified, by love, and is akin to the Lord Jesus Christ's own view of
life and death.  Let us set ourselves to enter into this feeling
(_sentiment_).  Life is good; death is good.  Death is good, because it
releases us from the miseries of this life, but above all because, even
were life full for us of all the joys which earth can give, death bids
us enter into a joy and a glory of which we can form no idea.  We are
then to consider death as a thing desirable in itself.  Let us not shun
what serves to remind us of it.  Let all the illnesses, all the sudden
deaths, all that passes round us, remind us that for each one of us
death may come at any moment.  But then life also is good, because in
life we can serve, glorify, imitate, Jesus Christ.  Life is not worth
the trouble of living for any other object.  All the strength we
possess, all the breath, the life, the faculties, all is to be
consecrated, devoted, sanctified, crucified, for the service of our
Lord Jesus Christ.  This crucified life is the happy life, even amidst
earth's bitterest pains; it is the life in which we can both taste for
ourselves and diffuse around us the most precious blessings.  Let us
love life, let us feel the value of life--but to fill it with Jesus
Christ.  In order to such a state of feeling, the Holy Spirit alone can
transform us into new men.  But observe; it is not only that _our
spirit_ must be sustained, consoled, fortified; _the Spirit of God_
must come to dwell in us.  We often set ourselves to work on ourselves,
to set our spirit in order; this is well, but it is not enough.  We
want more.  Jesus Christ Himself must dwell in our hearts by the Holy

"My friends, let us reflect upon the character of the promises of the
Gospel, and we shall see how far we are from possessing and enjoying
them.  May God open the heavens above our heads; revealing all to us,
filling us with all wisdom, granting us to see that even here below we
may attain to perfect joy, while looking forward to possess hereafter
the plenitude of bliss and of victory.  May He teach us how to gather
up the blessings which the heavens love to pour upon the earth which
opens to receive them.  And so may He teach us to know that if earth is
able to bear us down and trouble us, it is unable to quench the virtues
of heaven, to annul the promises of God, or to throw a veil, be it even
the lightest cloud, over the love with which God has loved us in Jesus

"He being dead yet speaketh."  On his bed of prolonged and
inexpressible sufferings Monod, called comparatively early to leave a
life and ministry of singular fruitfulness and rich in interests, found
in Jesus the inexhaustible secret of this blessed _equilibrium_ of St
Paul.  And what a cloud of witnesses have borne their testimony to that
same open secret, as the most solid while most supernatural of
realities!  As I write, the memory comes up before me of a beloved
friend and kinsman, my contemporary at Cambridge, called unexpectedly
to die in his twenty-second year.  Life to him was full of the
strongest interests and most attractive hopes, alike in nature and in
grace.  He had no quarrel with life; it had poured out before him a
rich store of social and mental blessings, and a large wealth of
surrounding love, and the Lord Jesus, taking early and decisive
possession of the young man's heart, had only augmented and glorified,
not rebuked or stunted, every interest.  But a slight fever, caught in
the Swiss hotel, was medically mismanaged, and when perfect skill was
summoned in, it was too late.  His mother came to her son on his sofa
to tell him that he was not only, as he knew, very poorly; he was about
to die.  In a moment, without a change of colour, without a tremor,
without a pause, smiling a radiant smile, he looked up and answered,
"Well, to depart and to be with Christ is far better!"

So the young Christian passed away, exchanging life which was sweet for
death which, because of the life it would reveal, was sweeter.  And
"the veterans of the King" say just the same.  If ever a man enjoyed
life, with a vigorous and conscious joy, it was Simeon of Cambridge.
And till the age of exactly seventy-seven he was permitted to _live_
with a powerful life indeed; a life full of affections, interests,
enterprises, achievements, and all full of Christ.  Yet in that
energetic and intensely human soul "the _desire_ was to depart and to
be with Christ."  It was no dreamy reverie; but it was supernatural.
It stimulated him to unwearied work; but it was breathed into him from
eternity.  "I cannot but run with all my might," he wrote in the midst
of his youthful old age, "_for I am close to the goal_."

It is indeed a phenomenon peculiar to the Gospel, this view of life and
death.  It is far more than resignation.  It is different even from the
"holy indifference" of the mystic saints.  For it is full of warmth,
and sympathy, and all the affections of the heart, _in both
directions_.  The man who is the happy possessor of this secret does
not on the one hand go about saying to himself that all around him is
_maya_, is a dream, a phantasm of the desert sands counterfeiting the
waters and the woods of Eden.  He is as much alive in human life as the
worldling is, and more.  He cordially loves his dear ones; he is the
open-hearted friend, the helpful neighbour, the loving and loyal
citizen and subject, the attentive and intelligent worker in his daily
path of duty.  Time with its contents is full of reality and value to
him.  He does not hold that the earth is God-forsaken.  With his Lord
(Ps. civ.), he "rejoices in the works" of that Lord's hands; and, with
the heavenly Wisdom (Prov. viii.), "his delights are with the sons of
men."  But on the other hand, he does not banish from his thoughts as
if it were unpractical the dear prospect of another world.  He is not
foolish enough to talk of "other-worldliness," as if it were a selfish
thing to "lay up treasure in heaven," and so to have "his heart there
also."  For him the present could not possibly be what it is in its
interests, affections, and purposes, if it were not for the revealed
certainties of an everlasting future in the presence of the King.  "He
faints not," in the path of genuine temporal toil and duty, because "he
looks at the things which are not seen."

But now, what is the secret of the equilibrium?  We saw in our last
chapter what was the secret of the unruffled peace with which St Paul
could meet the exquisite trials occasioned by the separatist party at
Rome.  It was the Lord Jesus Christ.  And the secret of the far more
than peace with which here he meets the alternative of life and death
is precisely the same; it is the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has no
philosophy of happiness; he has something infinitely better; he has the
Lord.  What gives life its zest and charm for him?  It is, that life
"is Christ."  What makes death an object of positive personal "desire"
for him, matched, let us remember, against a "life" with which he is so
deeply contented?  It is, that "to depart" is to be with Christ, which
is "far, far better."  On either side of the veil, Jesus Christ is all
things to him.  So both sides are divinely good; only, the conditions
of the other side are such that the longed-for companionship of his
MASTER will be more perfectly realized there.

We might linger long over this golden passage.  It would give us matter
for more than one chapter to unfold adequately, for example, its clear
witness to the conscious and immediate blessedness in death of the
servants of God.  We may ponder long what it implies in this direction
when we remember that its "far, far better" means "better" not than our
present life at its worst but than our present life at its holiest and
best; for, as we have observed already, it is "far, far better" than a
life here which "is Christ."  Whatever mysteries attend the thought of
the Intermediate State, and however distinctly we remember that the
_disembodied_ spirit must, as such, be circumstanced less perfectly
than the spirit lodged again in the body, "the body of glory," yet this
at least we gather here; the believer's happy spirit, "departing" from
"this tabernacle," finds itself not in the void, not in the dark, not
under penal or disciplinary pain, but in a state "far, far better" than
its very best yet.  It is, in a sense so much better in degree as to be
new in kind, "with Christ."

  "Yes, think of all things at the best; in one rich thought unite
  All purest joys of sense and soul, all present love and light;
  Yet bind this truth upon thy brow and clasp it to thy heart,
  And then nor grief nor gladness here shall claim too great a part--
  All radiance of this lower sky is to that glory dim;
  Far better to depart it is, for we shall be WITH HIM." [14]

ii.  But even on this theme I must not linger now.  Not only because
"the time would fail me," but because we have to remember that _the
main_ incidence of the Apostle's thought here is not upon the
blessedness of death but upon the joy of duty, the "fruit of labour,"
in continued life.  He looks in through the gate, not to sigh because
he may not enter yet, but "to run with all his might," in the path of
unselfish service, "because he is close to the goal"--the goal of being
with Christ, to whom he will belong for ever, and whom he will serve
for ever, "day and night in His temple."  He "knows that he shall
remain, and that, side by side with" his dear converts at Philippi.
And his "meat is to do the will of Him that sent him, and _to finish_
His work."

The remainder of our chosen portion is altogether to this purpose.  He
has said enough about himself now, having just indicated how much
Christ can be to him for peace and power in the great alternative.  Now
his thoughts are wholly at Philippi, and he spends himself on
entreating them to live indeed, to live wholly for Christ; and to do so
in two main respects, in self-forgetting unity, and in the recognition
of the joy and glory of suffering.

"Only let them order their life in a way worthy of the Gospel of
Christ."  "_Only_"; as if this were the one possible topic for him now.
This will content him; nothing else will.  He "desires one thing of the
Lord"--the practical holiness of his beloved converts; and he cannot
possibly do otherwise, coming as he has just come from "the secret of
the presence," felt in his own experience.  Will they be watchful and
prayerful?  Will they renounce the life of self-will, and entirely live
for their Lord's holy credit and glory?  Will they particularly
surrender a certain temptation to jealousies and divisions?  Will they
recollect that Christ has so committed Himself to them to manifest to
the world that it is the "only" thing in life, after all, in the last
resort, to be _practically_ true to Him?  Then the Missionary will be
happy; his "joy will be fulfilled."

What pastor, what evangelist, what worker of any true sort for God in
the souls of others, does not know something of the meaning of that
"only" of the Apostle's?

Then he passes, by a transition easy indeed in the case of the
Philippian saints, to the subject of suffering.  In that difficult
scene, the Roman _colonia_, to be perfectly consistent, must mean, in
one measure or another, to suffer; it must mean to encounter
"adversaries," such open adversaries, probably, as those who had
dragged Paul and Silas to the judgment seat and the dungeon, ten years
before.  How were they to meet that experience, or anything resembling
it?  Not merely with resignation, nor even with resolution, but with a
recognition of the joy, nay of the "_gift_," of "suffering for His

Circumstances infinitely vary, and so therefore do sufferings.  The
Master assigns their kinds and degrees, not arbitrarily indeed but
sovereignly; and it is His manifest will that not all equally faithful
Christians should equally encounter open violence, or even open shame,
"for His sake."  But it is His will also, definitely revealed, that
suffering in some sort, "for His name's sake," should normally enter
into the lot of "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus."  Even in
the Church there is the world.  And the world does not like the
allegiance to Christ which quite refuses, however modestly and meekly,
to worship its golden image.  To the end, pain must be met with in the
doing here on earth of the "beloved will of God."

But this very pain is "a gift" from the treasures of heaven.  Not in
itself; pain is never in itself a good; the perfect bliss will not
include it; "there shall be no more pain."  But in its relations and
its effects it is "a gift" indeed.  For to the disciple who meets it in
the path of witness and of service for his Master amongst his fellows,
it opens up, as nothing else can do, the fellowship of the faithful,
and the heart of JESUS.

[1] Observe the aorist infinitive, _to apothanein_, of _the crisis_,
dying, contrasted with the present infinitive, _to zên_, of _the
process, living_.--It may be noticed that the renderings of Luther,
_Christus ist mein Leben_, and Tindale, _Christ is to me lyfe_, are
untenable, though expressing as a fact a deep and precious truth.  The
Apostle is obviously dealing with the characteristics, not the source,
of "living."

[2] _Sunechomai_: literally, "I am confined, restricted from the two
(sides)"; as if to say, "I am hindered as to my choice, whichever side
you view me from."

[3] Literally, "having the desire"; not "a desire," which misses the
point of the words.  He means that his _epithymia_ lies in one
direction, his conviction of call and duty in the other.  _The_ desire,
the element of personal longing in him, is for "departing."

[4] The Vulgate renders here, _cupio dissolvi_, as if _analysai_ meant,
so to speak, to "analyse" myself into my elements, to separate my soul
from my body.  But the usage of the verb, in the Greek of the
Apocrypha, is for the sense given in our Versions, and above; to "break
up," in the sense of "setting out."

[5] Literally, "your progress and joy of the faith."  The Greek
suggests the connexion of both "progress" and "joy" with "faith."  And
St Paul's general use of the word _pistis_ favours its reference here
not to the objective _creed_ but to the subjective _reliance_ of the
holder of the creed.

[6] _Politeuesthe_: literally, "live your citizen-life."  But in its
usage the verb drops all _explicit_ reference to the _politês_, and
means little more than "live"; in the sense however not of mere
existence, or even of experience, but of a course of principle and
order.  See Acts xxiii. 1, the only other N.T. passage where it occurs;
and 2 Macc. vi. 1, xi. 25.

[7] The words suggest to us that the Apostle might have written, more
fully and exactly, _hina idô_, _ean elthô_, _kai hina akousô_, _ean
apô_.  But it is best to retain in translation the somewhat lax
grammatical form of the Greek.

[8] The parallels, 1 Cor. xii. 13, Eph. ii. 18, strongly favour the
reference of _pneuma_ here to the Holy Spirit of God.

[9] It is of course possible to translate _synathlountes tê piotei_,
"wrestling side by side with the faith," as if "the faith" was the
Comrade of the believers.  But the context is not favourable to this;
the emphasis seems to lie throughout on the believers' fellowship _with
one another_.

[10] _Echaristhê_: the English perfect best represents here the Greek

[11] The Greek may be explained as if the Apostle had meant to write,
_echaristhn to uper Christou paschein_, and then freely inserted the
antecedent fact of _to pioieuein_.

[12] _Echontes_: the nominative participle takes us back grammatically
to the construction previous to the sentences beginning _hêtis eotin
k.t.a._; which sentences may be treated as a parenthesis.  I have
attempted to convey this in a paraphrase.

[13] _Adieux_, ed. 1857, pp. 10-12.

[14] From the writer's volume of verse, _In the House of the

  "Lord, we expect to suffer here,
    Nor would we dare repine;
  But give us still to find Thee near,
    And own us still for Thine.

  "Let us enjoy, and highly prize,
    These tokens of Thy love,
  Till Thou shalt bid our spirits rise
    To worship Thee above."


  "Our glorious Leader claims our praise
    For His own pattern giv'n;
  While the long cloud of witnesses
    Shew the same path to heav'n."




Dissensions incident to activity--Arguments for heart-union--"No
plunderer's prize"--"The name"--The tone of the great passage--What the
"Kenôsis" cannot be--It guarantees the infallibility--Doctrine and
life--"Only thou"

In the section which we studied last we found the Apostle coming to the
weak point of the Christian life of the Philippians.  On the whole, he
was full of thankful and happy thoughts about them.  Theirs was no
lukewarm religion; it abounded in practical benevolence, animated by love
to Christ, and it was evidently ready for joyful witness to the Lord, in
face of opposition and even of persecution.  But there was a tendency
towards dissension and internal separation in the Mission Church; a
tendency which all through the Epistle betrays its presence by the stress
which the Apostle everywhere lays upon holy unity, the unity of love, the
unity whose secret lies in the individual's forgetfulness of self.

Such dangers are always present in the Christian Church, for everywhere
and always saints are still sinners.  And it is a sad but undeniable fact
of Christian history that the spirit of difference, dissension,
antagonism, within the ranks of the believing, is not least likely to be
operative where there is a generally diffused life and vigour in the
community.  A state of spiritual chill or lukewarmness may even favour a
certain exterior tranquillity; for where the energies of conviction are
absent there will be little energy for discussion and resistance in
matters not merely secular.  But where Christian life and thought, and
the expression of it, are in power, there, unless the Church is
particularly watchful, the enemy has his occasion to put in the seeds of
the tares amidst the golden grain.  The Gospel itself has animated the
disciples' affections, and also their intellects; and if the Gospel is
not diligently used as guide as well as stimulus, there will assuredly be

Almost every great crisis of life and blessing in the Church has shewn
examples of this.  It was thus in the period of the Reformation, the
moment the law of love was forgotten by the powerful minds which were so
wonderfully energized as well as liberated by the rediscovery of eternal
truths long forgotten.  It was thus again in the course of the
Evangelical Revival in the last century, when holy men, whose whole
natures had been warmed and vivified by a new insight for themselves into
the fulness of Christ, were betrayed into discussions on the mysteries of
grace carried on in the spirit rather of self than of love.  "We that are
in this tabernacle do groan, being burthened."  The words are true of the
believing individual; they are true also of the believing Church.  That
which is perfect is not yet come.  In the inscrutable but holy progress
of the plan of God in redemption towards its radiant goal, it is
permitted that temptation should connect itself with our very blessings,
both in the person and in the community.  And our one antidote is to
watch and pray, looking unto Jesus, and looking away from ourselves.

It was thus in measure at Philippi.  And St Paul cannot rest about it.
He plies them with every loving argument for the unity of love, ranging
from the plea of attachment to himself up to the supreme plea of "the
mind that was in Christ Jesus" when He came down from heaven.  He has
begun to address them thus already.  And in the wonderful passage now
before us he is to develope his appeal to the utmost, in the Lord's name.

Ver. 1.  +If therefore+, in connexion with this theme of holy oneness of
love and life, +there is such a thing as comfort+, encouragement
(_paraklêsis_), +in Christ+, drawn from our common union with the Lord,
if +there is such a thing as love's consolation+, the tender cheer which
love can give to a beloved one by meeting his inmost wish, +if there is
such a thing as Spirit-sharing+,[1] +if there are such things as hearts+
(_splagchna_, _viscera_) +and compassions+, feelings of human tenderness
and attachment, through which I may appeal to you simply as a friend, and
a friend in trouble,

Ver. 2.  calling for your pity; +make full my joy+, drop this last
ingredient into the cup of my thankful happiness for you, and bring the
wine to the brim, +by being[2] of the same mind+ (_phronma_, feeling,
attitude of mind), +feeling+ (_echontes_) +the same love+, "the same" on
all sides, soul and soul together (_sympsychoi_) +in a+

Ver. 3.  +mind which is unity itself+.[3]  +Nothing+ (_muden_, implying
of course prohibition) +in the way of+ (_kata_) +personal or party
spirit;[4] rather+ (_alla_), +as regards your+ (_tu_) +humblemindedness+,
your view of yourselves learnt at the feet of your Saviour, +reckon[5]
each other superior to yourselves+; as assuredly you will do, with a
logic true to the soul, when each sees himself, the personality he knows
best, in the light of eternal holiness

Ver. 4.  and love.  +Not to your own+ interests +look+ (_skopountes_),
+each circle of you, but each circle[6] to those+

Ver. 5.  +of others also.  Have this mind+ (_phroneite_) in +you+, this
moral attitude in each soul, +which+ was, and is,[7] +also in Christ
Jesus+, (in that eternal Messiah whom I name already with His human Name,
JESUS; for in the will of His Father, and in the unity of His own Person,
it was as it were His Name already

Ver. 6.  from everlasting,) +who in God's manifested Being[8]
subsisting+,[9] _seeming_ divine, because He _was_ divine, in the full
sense of Deity, in that eternal world, +reckoned it no plunderer's
prize[10] to be on an equality with God+;[11] no, He viewed His
possession of the fulness of the Eternal Nature as securely and
inalienably His own, and _so_ He dealt with it for our sakes with a
sublime and _restful_ remembrance of others; far from thinking of it as
for Himself alone, as one who claimed it unlawfully would have done,

Ver. 7.  +He rather (_alla_) made Himself void by His own act+,[12] void
of the manifestation and exercise of Deity as it was His on the
throne,[13] +taking[14] Bond-servant's+ (_doulou_) +manifested being+
(_morphê_), that is to say, the veritable Human Nature which, as a
creaturely nature, is essentially bound to the service of the Creator,
the _bond_service of the Father; +coming to be+, becoming, _genomenos_,
+in men's similitude+, so truly human as not only to be but _to seem_
Man, accepting all the conditions involved in a truly human _exterior_,

Ver. 8.  "pleased _as Man with men_ to appear."  +And+ then, further,
+being found+, as He offered Himself to view, +in respect of guise+
(_schêati_), in respect of outward shape, and habit, and address, +as
Man+, He went further, He stooped yet lower, even from Humanity to Death;
+He humbled Himself, in becoming obedient+,[15] obedient to Him whose
Bondservant He now was as Man, +to the length[16] of death, aye+ (_de_),
+death of Cross+, that death of unimaginable pain and of utmost shame,
the death which to the Jew was the symbol of the curse of God upon the
victim, and to the Roman was a horror of degradation which should be "far
not only from the bodies but from the imaginations of citizens of

So He came, and so He suffered, because "He

Ver. 9.  looked to the interests of others."  +Wherefore also God+, His
God (_ho theos_), +supremely exalted Him+, in His Resurrection and
Ascension, +and conferred upon Him+, as a gift of infinite love and
approval (_echarisato_), +the Name which is above every name+; THE NAME,
unique and glorious; the Name Supreme, the I AM; to be His Name now, not
only as He is from eternity, the everlasting Son of the Father, but as He
became also in time, the suffering and risen Saviour of sinners.[18]  In
His whole character and work He is invested now with the transcendent
glory and greatness of divine dignity; every thought of the suffering
Manhood is steeped in the fact that He who, looking on the things of
others, came down to bear it, is now enthroned where only the Absolute
and Eternal King

Ver. 10.  can sit; +so that in the Name of Jesus+,[19] in presence of the
revealed majesty of Him who bears, as Man, the human personal Name,
Jesus, +every knee should bow+, as the prophet (Isa. xlv. 23) foretells,
+of things celestial, and terrestrial, and subterranean+, of all created
existence, in its heights and depths; spirits, men, and every other
creature; all bowing, each in their way, to the _imperium_ of the exalted

Ver. 11.  JEHOVAH-JESUS; +and that every tongue should confess+, with the
confessing of adoring, praising, worship (_exomologêsêtai_), +that Jesus
Christ is+ nothing less than +Lord+, in the supreme and ultimate sense of
that mighty word, +to God the Father's glory+.  For the worship given to
"His Own Son" (Rom. viii. 32), whose Nature is one with His, whose
glories flow eternally from Him, is praise given to Him.[20]

So closes one of the most conspicuous and magnificent of the dogmatic
utterances of the New Testament.  Let us consider it for a few moments
from that point of view alone.  We have here a chain of assertions about
our Lord Jesus Christ, made within some thirty years of His death at
Jerusalem; made in the open day of public Christian intercourse, and made
(every reader must feel this) not in the least in the manner of
controversy, of assertion against difficulties and denials, but in the
tone of a settled, common, and most living certainty.  These assertions
give us on the one hand the fullest possible assurance that He is Man,
Man in nature, in circumstances and experience, and particularly in the
sphere of relation to God the Father.  But they also assure us, in
precisely the same tone, and in a way which is equally vital to the
argument in hand, that He is as genuinely Divine as He is genuinely
Human.  Did He "come to be in Bondservant's Form"?  And does the word
Form, _morphê_, there, unless the glowing argument is to run as cold as
ice, mean, as it ought to mean, reality in manifestation, fact in sight,
a Manhood perfectly real, carrying with it a veritable creaturely {98}
obligation (_douleia_) to God?  But He was also, antecedently, "in God's
Form."  And there too therefore we are to understand, unless the
wonderful words are to be robbed of all their living power, that He who
came to be Man, and to seem Man, in an antecedent state of His blessed
Being was God, and seemed God.  And His "becoming to be" one with us in
that mysterious but genuine Bondservice was the free and conscious choice
of His eternal Will, His eternal Love, in the glory of the Throne.  "When
He came on earth abased" He was no Victim of a secret and irresistible
destiny, such as that which in the Stoic's theology swept the Gods of
Olympus to their hour of change and extinction as surely as it swept men
to ultimate annihilation.  "_He made Himself_ void," with all the
foresight and with all the freewill which can be exercised upon the
Throne where the Son is in the Form of the Eternal Nature.  Such is the
Christology of the passage in its aspect towards Deity.

Then in regard of our beloved Lord's Manhood, its implications assure us
that the perfect genuineness of that Manhood, which could not be
expressed in a term more profound and complete than this same _morphê
doulou_, Form of Bondservant, leaves us yet perfectly sure that He who
chose to be Bondservant is to us only all the more, even in His Manhood,
LORD.  Was it not His own prescient choice to be true Man?  And was it
not His choice with a prescient and infallible regard to "the things of
others," to "us men and our salvation"?  Then we may be sure that,
whatever is meant by the "made Himself void," _heauton ekenôsen_, which
describes His Incarnation here, one thing it could never possibly
mean---a "Kenôsis" which could hurt or distort His absolute fitness to
guide and bless us whom He came to save.  That awful and benignant
"Exinanition" placed Him indeed on the creaturely level in regard of the
reality of human experience of growth, and human capacity for suffering.
But never for one moment did it, could it, make Him other than the
absolute and infallible Master and Guide of His redeemed.

We are beset at the present day, on many sides, with speculations about
the "Kenôsis" of the Lord which in some cases anyhow have it for their
manifest goal to justify the thought that He condescended to be fallible;
that He "made Himself void" of such knowledge as should protect Him from
mistaken statements about, for example, the history, quality, and
authority of the Old Testament Scriptures.  I have said once and again
elsewhere[21] that such an application of the "made Himself void,"
_heauton ekenôsen_, of this passage (from which alone we get the word
Kenôsis for the Incarnation) is essentially beside the mark.  The Kenôsis
here is a very definite thing, as we see when we read the Greek.  It is
just this--the taking of "Bondservant's Form."  It is--the becoming the
absolute Human Bondservant of the Father.  And the Absolute Bondservant
must exercise a perfect Bond-service.  And this will mean, amidst all
else that it may mean, a perfect conveyance of the Supreme Master's mind
in the delivery of His message.  "_He whom God hath sent, speaketh the
words of God_."  The Kenôsis itself (as St Paul meant it) is nothing less
than the guarantee of the Infallibility.  It says neither yes nor no to
the question, Was our Redeemer, as Man, "in the days of His flesh,"
omniscient?  It says a profound and decisive yes to the question, Is our
Redeemer, as Man, "in the days of His flesh," to be absolutely trusted as
the Truth in every syllable of assertion which He was actually pleased to
make?  "_He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God._"

The dogmatic treasures of this wonderful passage are by no means
exhausted, even when we have drawn from it what it can say to us about
the glory of the Lord Christ Jesus.  But it is not possible to follow the
research further, here and now; this imperfect indication of the main
teachings about Him must be enough.

But now, in closing, let us remember for our blessing how this passage of
didactic splendour comes in.  It is no lecture in the abstract.  As we
have seen, it is not in the least a controversial assertion.  It is
simply part of an argument to the heart.  St Paul is not here, as
elsewhere in his Epistles, combating an error of faith; he is pleading
for a life of love.  He has full in view the temptations which threatened
to mar the happy harmony of Christian fellowship at Philippi.  His
longing is that they should be "of one accord, of one mind"; and that in
order to that blessed end they should each forget himself and remember
others.  He appeals to them by many motives; by their common share in
Christ, and in the Spirit, and by the simple plea of their affection for
himself.  But then--there is one plea more; it is "the mind that was in
Christ Jesus," when "for us men and for our salvation He came down from
heaven, and was made Man, and suffered for us."  Here was at once model
and motive for the Philippian saints; for Euodia, and Syntyche, and every
individual, and every group.  Nothing short of the "mind" of the Head
must be the "mind" of the member; and then the glory of the Head (so it
is implied) shall be shed hereafter upon the member too: "I will grant to
him to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down
with My Father in His throne."

What a comment is this upon that fallacy of religious thought which would
dismiss Christian doctrine to the region of theorists and dreamers, in
favour of Christian "life"!  Christian doctrine, rightly so called, is
simply the articulate statement, according to the Scriptures, of eternal
and vital facts, that we may live by them.  The passage before us is
charged to the brim with the doctrine of the Person and the Natures of
Christ.  And why?  It is in order that the Christian, tempted to a
self-asserting life, may "look upon the things of others," for the reason
that this supreme Fact, his Saviour, is in fact thus and thus, and did in
fact think and act thus and thus for His people.  Without the facts,
which are the doctrine, we might have had abundant rhetoric in St Paul's
appeal for unselfishness and harmony; but where would have been the
mighty lever for the affections and the will?

Oh reason of reasons, argument of arguments--the LORD JESUS CHRIST!
Nothing in Christianity lies really outside Him.  His Person and His Work
embody all its dogmatic teaching.  His Example, "His Love which passeth
knowledge," is the sum and life of all its morality.  Well has it been
said that the whole Gospel message is conveyed to us sinners in those
three words, "Looking unto Jesus."  Is it pardon we need, is it
acceptance, free as the love of God, holy as His law?  We find it, we
possess it, "looking unto Jesus" crucified.  Is it power we need, victory
and triumph over sin, capacity and willingness to witness and to suffer
in a world which loves Him not at all?  We find it, we possess it, it
possesses us, as we "look unto Jesus" risen and reigning, for us on the
Throne, with us in the soul.  Is it rule and model that we want, not
written on the stones of Horeb only, but "on the fleshy tables of the
heart"?  We find it, we receive it, we yield ourselves up to it, as we
"look unto Jesus" in His path of love, from the Throne to the Cross, from
the Cross to the Throne, till the Spirit inscribes that law upon our
inmost wills.

Be ever more and more to us, Lord Jesus Christ, in all Thy answer, to our
boundless needs.  Let us "sink to no second cause."  Let us come to Thee.
Let us yield to Thee.  Let us follow Thee.  Present Thyself evermore to
us as literally our all in all.  And so through a blessed fellowship in
Thy wonderful humiliation we shall partake for ever hereafter in the
exaltations of Thy glory, which is the glory of immortal love.

[1] _Koinûnia pneumatos_: "participation in the Spirit"; sharing and
sharing alike in the grace and power of the Holy Ghost.  I venture to
render _pneumatos_ as if it were _tou Pneumatos_, having regard to the
great parallel passage, 2 Cor. xiii. 14, _he koinônia tou hagiou
Pneumatos_.  With a word so great and conspicuous as _pneuma_ it is
impossible to decide by the mere absence of the article that the
reference is not to _the_ (personal) Spirit.  _Kurios_, _Theos_,
_Christos_, are continually given without the article where the reference
is definite; because they are words whose greatness tends of itself to
define the reference, unless context withstands.  _Pneuma_ in the N. T.
is to some extent a parallel case with these.

[2] _Ina_ . . . _phronute_: my English is obviously a mere paraphrase
here.  More exactly we may render, "make full my joy, so as to be," etc.;
words which come to much the same effect, but are less true to our common

[3] _To en phronountes_: a difficult phrase to render quite adequately.
We may paraphrase it either as above, or, "possessed with the idea, or
sentiment, of unity."  But the paraphrase above seems most satisfactory
in view of the similar phrase just before, _to auto phronête_.  This
phrase seems to echo that, only in a stronger and less usual form.  The
thought thus will be not so much of unity as the object of thought or
feeling as of unity as (so to speak) the substance or spirit of it.

[4] _Kata eritheian_: my long paraphrase attempts to give the suggestion
that the _eritheia_ might be either purely individual self-assertion or
the _animus_ of a clique.

[5] _Hêgoumenoi_: the participle practically does the work of an
imperative.  See Rom. xii. for a striking chain of examples of this
powerful and intelligible idiom.

[6] _Hekastoi_, not _hekastos_, should probably be read in the first
clause here, and certainly in the second.  By Greek idiom, the plural
gives the thought of a _collective_ unity under "each."

[7] The Greek gives no verb.  I have written "was, and is," in the
paraphrase, because the _limitation_ of the reference of our blessed
Lord's _phronêma_ to the pre-incarnate past is not expressed in the Greek.

[8] _En morphê_: _morphê_ is imperfectly represented by our common use of
the word "form," which stands often even in contrast to "reality."
_Morphê_ is _reality in manifestation_.

[9] _Uparchôn_: R.V. margin, "originally being."  The word lends itself
to such a reference, but not so invariably as to allow us to press it

[10] _Arpagmon_: the word is extremely rare, found here only in the Greek
Scriptures, and once only in secular Greek.  Strictly, by form (_-mon_),
it should mean, "_a process_ of plunder" rather than "an object of
plunder" (_-ma_).  But parallel cases forbid us to press this.  The A.V.
rendering here suggests the thought that our Lord "thought it no
usurpation to be equal with God, _and yet_ made Himself void," etc.  But
surely the thought is rather, "_and so_ made Himself void."  So sure was
His claim that, so to speak, with a sublime _un-anxiety_, while with an
infinite sacrifice, He made Himself void.

[11] _Isa Theô_: the neuter plural calls attention rather to the
Characteristics than to the Personality.--Through this whole passage we
cannot too distinctly remember that it occurs in the Scriptures, and in
the writings of one who was trained in the strictest school of Pharisaic
Monotheism.  _St Paul_ was not the man to use such terms of his Saviour
and Master had he not seen in Him nothing less than the very "Fellow of
JEHOVAH" (Zech. xiii. 7).

[12] _Eauton ekeôse_: _Heauton_ is slightly emphatic by position; I
attempt to convey this by the words "by His own act."

[13] See further below, pp. 98, etc.  [Transcriber's note: page 98 is
indicated in this text with "{98}".]

[14] _Labôn_: the aorist participle, in Greek idiom, unites itself
closely in thought with the aorist verb _ekenôse_ just previous.  The
resulting idea is not "He made Himself void, and then took," but "He made
Himself void _by taking_."  The "Exinanition" was, in fact, just
this--_the taking the form of the_ _doulos_: neither less nor more.

[15] Note again the aorist verb and aorist participle: _etapeinôse_ . . .

[16] The Greek, _mechri thanatou_, makes it plain that the Lord did not
_obey death_ but _obeyed the Father_ so utterly as even to die.

[17] Cicero, _pro Rabirio_, c. 5.

[18] Bishop Lightfoot has well vindicated this reference of the _onoma_
here.  I venture to refer the reader also to my commentary on
Philippians, in _The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges_.

[19] Not "the Name Jesus," but "the Name of, belonging to, Jesus."  The
grammar admits either rendering, but the context, if I explain it aright,
is decisive.  "The Name" is still the Supreme Name, JEHOVAH, as just
above.--"_In_ the Name" should be explained, in view of the context, not
of worship _through_ but worship yielded _to_ the Name.  See Lightfoot
for examples of this usage.

[20] Chrysostom brings this great truth nobly out in his homiletic
comments here (_Hom._ vii. on Philippians, ch. 4): "A mighty proof it is
of the Father's power, and goodness, and wisdom, that He hath begotten
such a Son, a Son nowise inferior in goodness and wisdom . . . like Him
in all things, Fatherhood alone excepted."  Nothing but the orthodox
Creed, with its harmonious truths of the proper Godhead and proper
Filiation of the Lord Christ, can possibly satisfy _the whole_ of the
apostolic language about His infinite glory on the one hand and His
relation to the Father on the other.

[21] In my _Veni Creator_ and _To my Younger Brethren_, and more recently
in a University Sermon quoted at the close of a little book published
Easter, 1896, by Seeley: _Prayers and Promises_.

  "Make my life a bright outshining
    Of Thy life, that all may see
  Thine own resurrection power
    Mightily shewn forth in me;
  Ever let my heart become
  Yet more consciously Thy home."
          MISS J. S. PIGOTT.


  "O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me,
    And all things else recede;
  My heart be daily nearer Thee,
    From sin be daily freed.

  "More of Thy glory let me see,
    Thou Holy, Wise, and True;
  I would Thy living image be
    In joy and sorrow too."
          H. B. SMITH, _from the German of_ C. LAVATER.




"Your own salvation"--Stars in the midnight sky--Truth and
holiness--The atonement and the indwelling--Mystery and need of the
indwelling--Indifference in God--Spiritual power shewn in
love--Aggression and witness--The witnesses and the martyr

We have just followed the Apostle as he has followed the Saviour of
sinners from the Throne to the Cross, and from the Cross to the Throne.
And we have remembered the moral motive of that wonderful paragraph of
spiritual revelation.  It was written not to occupy the mind merely, or
to elevate it, but to bring the believer's heart into a delightful
subjection to Him who "pleased not Himself," till the Lord should be
reflected in the self-forgetting life of His follower.

In the passage now opening before us we find St Paul's thought still
working in continuity with this argument.  He has still in his heart
the risks of friction at Philippi, and the need of meeting them in the
power of the Lord's example.  This will come out particularly in the
fourteenth and fifteenth verses, where he deprecates "murmurings and
disputings," and pleads for a life of pure, sweet light and love.  But
the line of appeal, though continuous, is now somewhat altered in its
direction.  The divine greatness of the love of the Incarnation has,
during his treatment of it, filled him with an intense and profound
recollection of the greatness of the Christian's connexion with his
God, and of the sacred awfulness of his responsibility, and of the
fulness of his resources.  So the appeal now is not merely to be
like-minded, and to be watchful for unity.  He asks them now to use
fully for a life of holiness the mighty fact of their possession of an
Indwelling God in Christ.  The details of precept are as it were
absorbed for the time into the glorious power and principle--only to
reappear the more largely and lastingly in the resulting life.

Ver. 12.  +So, my beloved ones+, (he often introduces his most
practical appeals with this term of affection: see for example 1 Cor.
x. 14, xv. 58; 2 Cor. vii. 1,) +just as you always obeyed+[1] me, obey
me now.  +Not+ (_mê_, the _imperative_ negative) as in my presence
only, influenced by that immediate contact and intercourse, +but now
much more in my absence+, ("much more," as my absence throws you more
directly on your resources in the Lord,) +work out+, develope, +your
own salvation+, your own spiritual safety, health, and joy, +with fear
and trembling+; not with the tortures of misgiving, not driven by a
shrinking dread of your gracious God, but drawn by a tender reverence
and solemn watchfulness, lest you should grieve the eternal Love.  Yes,
"work out _your own_ salvation"; do not depend upon _me_; take _your
own_ souls in hand, in a faith and love which look, without the least
earthly intermediation, straight to GOD and to Him alone.[2]  For
indeed He is near to you; far nearer than ever a Paul could be; "a very
present help," for

Ver. 13.  your safety, and for your holiness.  +For God it is who is
effecting+ (_energôs_) +in you+, in your very being, in "the first
springs of thought and will," +both your+ (_to_) +willing and your
effecting+, your carrying out the willing, +for His+ (_tês_) +good
pleasure's sake+; in order to the accomplishment through you of all His
holy purposes.  Here, in this wonderful immanence, this divine
indwelling, and in its living, operative power, you will find reason
enough alike for the "fear and trembling" of deepest reverence, and for
the calm resourceful confidence of those who can, if need be, "walk
alone," as regards dependence upon even an apostolic friend beside
them.  Live then as those who carry about with them the very life and
power of God in Christ.  And what will that life be?  A life of
spiritual ostentation?  Nay, the beautiful and

Ver. 14.  gentle opposite to it.  +Do all things without+, apart from
(_chôris_), in a definite isolation from, +murmurings and disputes+,
thoughts and utterances of discontent and self-assertion towards one
another, grudgings of others' claims, and contentions for your

Ver. 15.  own; +so that you may become+ (_genêsthe_), what in full
realization you scarcely yet are, +unblamable and simple+ (_akeraioi_,
"unadulterated"), single-hearted, because self-forgetting; +God's
children+ (_tekna_), shewing what they are by the unmistakable
_family-likeness_ of holy love; +blameless+ as such, true to your
character; +in the midst of a race+ (_geneas_) +crooked and distorted+,
the members of a world whose will always crosses the will of God who is
Love; +among whom you are appearing+, like stars which come out in the
gloom, +as luminaries+ (_phôstêres_), light-bearers, kindled by the
Lord of Light, +in the world+; in which you dwell; not of it, but in
it, walking up and down "before the sons of men" (Ps. xxxi. 19), that
they may see, and seek,

Ver. 16.  your blessed Secret; +holding out+ (_epechontes_[3]), as
those who offer a boon for acceptance, +the word of life+, the Gospel,
with its secret of eternal life in Christ; at once telling and
commending His message; +to afford me+, even me (_emoi_), +exultation,
in view of+ (_eis_) +Christ's Day+, in anticipation of what I shall
feel then; +because not in vain did I run, nor in vain did I toil+.[4]
But let me not speak of "toil" as if I sighed over a hard lot, or
wished to suffer less on your behalf.

Ver. 17.  +Nay, even if I am being poured out as a drink-offering+
(_spendomai_) +on the sacrifice and ritual+ (_leitourgia_) +of your
faith+--on you, so to speak, as you in faith offer yourselves a living
sacrifice to God[5]--+I rejoice, and I congratulate+ (_sugchairô_) +you
all+, on your faith and holiness, for which it was well worth my while
to die as your helper and example.  +And in+

Ver. 18.  +the same way+ (_to de aûto_) +do you too rejoice, and
congratulate me+,[6] as true partners with me in the martyr-spirit and
its joys.

Here let us pause in our paraphrasing version, and sit down as it were
to gather up and weigh some of the treasures we have found.

i.  We have had before us, in the whole passage, that ever-recurring
lesson, Holiness in the Truth, as Truth--"the Truth as it is in
Jesus"--is the living secret of Holiness.  We have still in our ears
the celestial music, infinitely sweet and full, of the great paragraph
of the Incarnation, the journey of the Lord of Love from glory to glory
by the way of the awful Cross.  May we not now give ourselves awhile
wholly to reverie, and feast upon the divine poetry at our leisure?
Not so; the immediate sequel is--that we are to be holy.  We are _to
act_ in the light and wonder of so vast an act of love, in the wealth
and resource of "so great salvation."  We are to set spiritually to
work.  We are to learn that all-important lesson in religion, the holy
and humble energy and independence which come to the man who "knows
whom he has believed," and is aware that he possesses "all spiritual
blessing" (Eph. i. 3) in Him.  We are to rise up and, if need be, walk
alone, alone of human help, in the certainty that Christ has died for
us, and reigns for us, and in us.  Our Paul may be far away in some
distant Rome, and we may sorely miss him.  But we have at hand Jesus
Christ, who "took Bondservant's Form," and obeyed even unto death for
us, and who is on the eternal throne for us, and who lives within us by
His Spirit.  Looking upon Him in the glory of His Person and His Work,
we are not only to wonder, not only even to worship; we are to work; to
"work out" our spiritual blessings[7] into a life which shall be full
of Him, and in which we shall indeed be "saved" ourselves, and help
others around us to their salvation.  In the "fear and trembling" of
those who feel the blissful awfulness of an eternal Presence, we are to
set ourselves, with the inexhaustible diligence of hope, to the
business of the spiritual life.  We are to bring all the treasures of a
manifested and possessed Redeemer to bear upon the passing hour, and to
let Him be seen in us, "Christ our Life," always formative and

ii.  We have here in particular that deep secret of the Gospel,
unspeakably precious to the soul which indeed longs to be holy--the
Indwelling of God in the believer.  It here appears in close and
significant connexion with the revelation of the love and work of the
Incarnate and Atoning Lord; as if to remind us without more words that
He who gave Himself for us did so not only to release us (blessed be
His Name) from an infinite peril, from the eternal prison and death of
a violated law, but yet more that He might bring His rescued ones into
an unspeakable nearness in Him to God.  His was no _mere_ compassion,
which could set a guilty captive free.  It was eternal love, which
could not be content without nearness to its object, without union with
it, without a dwelling in the very heart by faith.  As if it was a
matter of course in the plan of God, St Paul passes from the Cross and
the Glory of Jesus to the Indwelling of God in the Christian, and to
all the rest and all the power which that Indwelling is to bring.

"It is God who is working in you, effecting alike your willing and your
working; for the sake of His good pleasure."  These are words of deep
mystery.  They contain matter which has exercised the closest thought
of some of the greatest thinkers of the Church.  _Operatur in nobis
velle_; "He worketh in us to will."  How is this to be reconciled with
the reality, and in that sense the freedom, of the human will?  What
relation does it bear to human responsibility, and to the call to
watch, and pray, and labour?  Very soon, over such questions, we have,
in the phrase of the Rabbis, to "teach our tongue to say, _I do not
know_."  But the words appear _in this context_ with a purpose
perfectly simple and practical, whatever be their more remote and
hidden indications.  They do indeed intimate to us a reality and energy
in the divine sovereignty which may well correct those dreams of
self-salvation which man is so ready to dream.  But their more
immediate purpose is as simple as it is profound.  It is on the one
hand to solemnize the disciple with the remembrance of such an inward
_Presence_, and on the other hand to make him always glad and ready,
recollecting that such an inward _Power_ is there, altogether for his
highest good, and altogether in the line of the eternal purpose
(_eudokia_).  For the while at least let us drop out of sight all hard
questions of theoretical adjustment between the finite will and the
Infinite, and rest quite simply in that thought:--God is in me, working
the willing and the doing.  The willing is genuine, and is mine.  The
working is genuine, and is mine.  _My_ will chooses Him, and _my_
activity labours for Him; both are real, and are personally mine.  But
He is at the back; He is at "the pulse of the machine"; I, His personal
creature, am held in no less a hold than His, to be moulded and to be
employed; His implement, His limb.

Not very long ago I was in conversation with a young but deeply
thoughtful Christian, who, placed on a difficult social height, was
seeking with deep desire not only to "follow the Lamb whithersoever He
goeth" but to lead others similarly circumstanced to do the same.  I
was struck with the strong consciousness which possessed that heart,
that the religious life must inevitably be a weary and exhausting
effort on any other condition than this--"God working in us, to will
and to do."  "Ah, they all say that it is so hard; no one can really do
it; no one can keep it up.  But we must speak to them about the
indwelling Spirit of God, about the Lord's power in us; _then_ they
will find that it is possible, and is happy."

_Chôris emou_--"isolated from Me (John xv. 5)--_ye can do nothing_";
and what seems our "doing" will, in such isolation, be only too sorely
felt to be a weary toil.  But let us accept it as true, at the foot of
the atoning Cross, that the Indwelling of God in Christ is as much a
fact as our pardon and adoption in Him, and we shall know something of
the blessed life.  Only, we must not only accept it as true, but use
it.  "_Work out_--for it is God who is _working in_ you."

And, let us remember it once more, we shall learn in that quiet School
not only a restful energy but also that holy independence (_tên heautôn
sôtêrian_) which is, in its place, the priceless gain of the Christian.
Our spiritual life is indeed intended to be social in its issues--but
not at its root.  We accept and thankfully use every assistance given
us by our Lord's care, as we live our life in His Church; yet our life,
as to its source, is to be still "hidden with Christ in God."  We are
to be so related to Him, in faith, that our soul's health, growth,
gladness, shall depend not on the presence of even a St Paul at our
side, but on the presence of God in our hearts.  Let us cherish this
blessed certainty, and develope it into experience, in these strange
days of unrest and drift.  That secret independence will do anything
but isolate us from our fellows.  It will make us fit, as nothing else
could make us, to be their strength and light, in truest sympathy, in
kindest insight, in the fullest sense of loving partnership.  But we
must learn independence in God if we would be fully serviceable to man.

iii.  We have in this passage one of the richest and most beautiful
expressions found in the whole New Testament of that great principle,
that at the very heart of a true life of holiness there needs to lie
the law of holy kindness.  The connexion of thought between ver. 13 and
ver. 14 is deeply suggestive here.  In ver. 13 we have the power and
wonder of the operative Indwelling of God.  In ver. 14 we have depicted
the true conduct of the subjects of the Indwelling; and it shines with
the sweet light of humility and gentleness.  It is a life whose hidden
power, which is nothing less than divine, comes out first and most in
the absence of the grudging, self-asserting spirit; in a watchful
consistency and simplicity; in the manifestation of the
_child_-character, as the believer moves about "in the midst of" the
hard and most unchildlike conditions of an unregenerate world.  There
is to be action as well as patience; this we shall see presently.  The
disciple is to be aggressive, in the right way, as well as submissive.
But the first and deepest characteristic of his wonderful new life is
to be the submission of himself to others, "in the Lord, and in the
power of His might."  We have this aspect of practical holiness
presented to us often in the general teaching of the New Testament; but
seldom is it so explicitly connected as it is here with that other
spiritual fact, the presence in us of the divine _power_.  Perhaps our
best parallels come from the two other Epistles of the Roman Captivity,
Ephesians and Colossians.  In Ephesians, the third chapter closes with
the astonishing prayer that the Christian (the everyday Christian, be
it remembered) may be, through the Indwelling of Christ, "filled unto
all the fulness of God"; and then the fourth chapter begins at once
with the appeal to him to live "_therefore_" a life of "all lowliness,
meekness, longsuffering, and forbearance in love."  In Colossians we
have the same sequence of thought in one noble sentence (ver. 11) of
the first chapter: "Strengthened with all strength, according to the
might of His glory, _unto all patience and longsuffering, with
joy_."[8]  In all three passages comes out the same deep and beautiful
suggestion.  "The Lord is not in the wind" so much as in "the still
small voice."  Omnipotent Love, in its blessed immanence in the
believer's soul, shews its presence and power most of all in a life _of
love_ around.  It is to come out not only in self-sacrificing energy
but in the open sympathies of an affectionate heart, in the "soft
answer," in the generous first thought for the interests of others--in
short, in the whole character of 1 Cor. xiii.  The spiritual "power"
which runs rather in the direction of harshness and isolation, which
expends itself rather in censures than in "longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, and meekness," is not the kind of "power" which most accords
with the apostolic idea.  Nothing which violates the plain precepts of
the law of love can take a true part in that heavenly harmony.

  "On earth, as in the holy place,
  Nothing is great but charity." [9]

iv.  Meanwhile the "charity" of the saints is not by any means the mere
amiability which makes itself pleasant to every one, and forgets the
solemn fact that we who believe are the servants of a Master whom the
world knows not, the messengers of a King against whom it is in revolt.
The Philippian disciple was to renounce the spirit of unkindness, of
self; he was to live _isolated_ from (_chôris_) "murmurings and
disputings."  But he was not to hide the sacred Light, for the sake of
so-called peace, from the world around.  He was to "hold out the word
of life"; confessing his blessed Lord as the life of his own soul, and
so commending Him to the souls of his fellows.  He was to make this a
part of his very existence and its activities.  As truly as it was to
be his habit to live a life of sweet and winning consistency, it was to
be his habit to offer (_epechein_) the water of life to the parched
hearts around him, the lamp of glory to the dark and bewildered whom he
encountered upon the difficult road.  The truth and beauty of a _life_
possessed by Christ was to be the basis of his witnessing activities.
But the witness was to be articulate, not merely implied; he was to
"hold out _the word_ (_logon_) of life"; he was to seize occasion to
"give _a reason_ (_logon_) of the hope that was in him, with meekness
and fear" (1 Pet. iii. 15).  To be, in his way, an evangelist was to be
one main function of his life.  In benignant and gracious conduct he
was to be as a "luminary" (_phôstêr_), moving calm and bright in the
dark hemisphere of the world.  But he was to be a voice as well as a
star.  He was not only to shine; he was to speak.

Here is one of the passages, by the way, in which the Apostle assumes,
and stimulates, the "missionary consciousness" of the converts.  It is
remarkable that neither he nor his brethren have much to say in the
Epistles about the duty of enterprises of evangelization, as laid upon
all believers.  The stress of their appeals is directed above all
things on the supreme importance of holiness, at any cost, in common
life.  But a passage like this shews us how entirely they take it for
granted all the time that the Churches would never concentrate
themselves upon merely their own Christian life; they would go out
continually, with the beauty of holiness and with "the word of life,"
to bring the wanderers in, and to extend the knowledge of the blessed
Name.  So, and so only, would their Apostle feel, in his prison at
Rome, that his "running" (_edramon_) on the great circuit of his
evangelistic journeys, and his pastoral "toil" (_ekopiasa_) for the
souls of his converts, had not been thrown "into the void" (_eis to

So, and so only, would his life and death of sacrifice for them be
crowned with its perfect joy.  Let him see his beloved converts living
and speaking as indeed the Lord's _witnesses_, and then with what
inward "gladness" (_chairein_), with what a call for "congratulation"
(_sugchairein_) on their part, would he go out to death as the Lord's

[1] _Upêkousate_: the aorist.  It gathers into one thought the whole
recollection of his work at Philippi.

[2] "There is not the slightest contradiction here to the profound
truth of the Justification by Faith only; that is to say, only for the
merit's sake of the Redeemer, appropriated by submissive trust; that
justification whose sure issue is glorification (Rom. viii. 30).  It is
an instance of independent lines converging on one goal.  From one
point of view, that of justifying merit, man is glorified because of
Christ's work alone, applied to his case through faith alone.  From
another point, that of qualifying capacity, and of preparation for the
Lord's individual welcome (Matt. xxv. 21; Rom. ii. 7), man is glorified
as the issue of a process of work and training, in which in a true
sense he is himself operant, though grace lies below the whole
operation."  (Note on this verse in _The Cambridge Bible for Schools
and Colleges_).

[3] It is possible to render _logon xôeê epechontes_, "serving as life
(to the world)."  But it is unlikely.  See Philippians in _The
Cambridge Greek Testament_, Appendix.

[4] The aorists obviously are anticipatory; giving the review of the
past as he will then make it.  Cp. e.g. _kathôs epegnôsthên_, 1 Cor.
xiii. 12.

[5] "He views the Philippians, in their character of consecrated
believers (cp. Rom. xii. 1), as a holocaust to God; and upon that
sacrifice the drink-offering, the outpoured wine, is his own
life-blood, his martyrdom for the Gospel which he has preached to them.
Cp. Num. xv. 5 for the Mosaic libation, _oinon eis spondên_ . . .
_poisête epi tês holokautôseôs_.  Lightfoot thinks that a reference to
pagan libations is more likely in a letter to a Gentile mission.  But
surely St Paul familiarized all his converts with Old Testament
symbolism.  And _his own_ mind was of course full of it (Note here in
_The Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools_).--This and Rom. xv. 16 are
the only two passages where St Paul connects the language of
"sacerdotalism" with the distinctive work of the Christian ministry;
and both passages speak obviously in the tone of figure and, so to say,

[6] _Chairete_: _sugchairete_.  The form leaves us free to render
either _indicative_ or _imperative_.  But the latter is most likely in
the context.

[7] _Sôtêria_ must here include not only final glory but the whole
blessing possessed now and always in the _Sôtêr_.

[8] "Observe the holy paradox of the thought here.  The fulness of
divine power in the saints is to result primarily not in 'doing some
great thing' but in enduring and forbearing, with heavenly joy of
heart.  The paradox points to one deep characteristic of the Gospel,
which prepares the Christian for service by the way of a true
abnegation of himself as his own strength and his own aim." (Note on
Col. i. 11 in _The Cambridge Bible_).

[9] A. Vinet, _Hymn on the Crucifixion_, translated by C. W. Moule.

  "O thou who makest souls to shine
    With light from brighter worlds above,
  And droppest glistening dew divine
    On all who seek a Saviour's love,

  "Do Thou Thy benediction give
    On all who teach, on all who learn,
  That all Thy Church may holier live,
    And every lamp more brightly burn.

      *      *      *      *      *

  "If thus, good Lord, Thy grace be giv'n
    Our glory meets us ere we die;
  Before we upward pass to heav'n
    We taste our immortality."
            J. ARMSTRONG.


  "Puisse la même foi qui consola leur vie
  Nous ouvrir les sentiers que leurs pas ont pressés,
  Et, dirigeant nos pieds vers la sainte patrie
  Où leur bonheur s'accroit de leurs travaux passés,
  Nous rendre ces objets de tendresse et d'envie
  Qui ne sont pas perdus, mais nous ont devancés."
          A. VINET




Epaphroditus--The variety of Scripture--Contrasts in context--Henry
Martyn's letter--"The human element"--"His letters I have read"--The
two aspects of Scripture--Divine messages in human context--"Together
with them"

Ver. 19.  +But I hope in the Lord Jesus+, with an expectation
conditioned by my union with Him in all things, and with you in Him,
+promptly to send to you Timotheus,[1] that I too+, I as well as you,
who will of course be gladdened by his presence, +may be of good cheer,
getting+, through him, +a knowledge+ (_gnous_) +of your circumstances+
(_ta peri humôn_).  I send him, and not

Ver. 20.  another, +for I have+--at hand, and free to move--+no one
equal-souled+ with him,[2] +one who+ (_hootis_) +will genuinely take
anxious care about your circumstances+; the "care" which is not a weary
burthen, better cast upon the Lord (iv. 6), but a sacred charge,
undertaken in and for Him, and absorbing all the

Ver. 21.  thought.  +For all of them+ (_oi pantes_), all from whom I
could in this case select, +are bent on+ (_xêtousi_: cp. Col. iii. 1)
+their own interests, not the interests of Jesus Christ+; they plead
excuses which indicate a preference of their own ease, or reputation,
or affections, to a matter manifestly and wholly HIS.

Ver. 22.  +But the test through which he+, Timotheus, +passed+ (_tên
dokimên autou_) you remember (_ginôskete_, "you recognize," as you look
back); you know +that as child with father+ so +he with me+, in closest
companionship and sympathy, +did bondservice[3] for the Gospel+, _eis
to euaggelion_, "_unto_ it," for the furtherance

Ver. 23.  of its enterprise and message.  +So him then+ (_touton men
oun_[4]) +I hope to send, immediately upon+ (_hôs an_ . . . _exautês_)
+my getting a view of+ (_apidô_) +my circumstances+, my position with
regard to my trial

Ver. 24.  and its result.  +But+ (though I thus allude to external
uncertainties) +I feel sure, in the Lord+, in the light of union and
communion with Him, +that I too in person shall speedily arrive+, in
the track of this my messenger and forerunner.

Ver. 25.  +But I count[5] it obligatory+ (_anagkaion_), and not merely
a matter for hopes and personal satisfaction, +to send to you+, as I
now do, in charge of this Letter, another person, +Epaphroditus, my
brother, fellow-worker, and fellow-soldier+, a man who has toiled and
contended at my very side for the Lord and against the Enemy, +while he
is+ also +your missionary and ministrant[6] for my need+.  Yes, I feel
that I _ought_

Ver. 26.  to send him, and to send him _now_; +since he has been
suffering from home-sickness for[7] all of you+, (all, without
exception; his affection knows no party or partiality,) +and from the
distraction+ (_adêmonôn_) of over-wrought feeling, because you have
heard that he

Ver. 27.  fell ill[8] (_êsthenêse_).  +And+ so it was; +for he did fall
ill, almost fatally+ (_paraplêsion thanatô_).  +But our+ (_ho_) +God
pitied him+, sparing him the grief of broken hopes and purposes in the
Lord's work on earth, and the grief of being a cause of tears to you;
+and not only him but also me, that I might not have[9] sorrow upon
sorrow+.  For had he died, I should have had a sore bereavement, and
the sad consciousness that you, in a loving effort for my benefit, had
lost a beloved friend; and all this added to, heaped upon (_epi_ _c.
acc._), the antecedent pain of my captivity and the trials which it

Ver. 28.  +With the more earnestness therefore I have sent him,[10]
that seeing him you may be glad again, and that I may feel less
sorrow+, finding my imprisonment, and also my loss of this dear
friend's company, softened to my heart by the thought of your joy in

Ver. 29.  welcoming him back.  +Receive him therefore in the Lord+, in
all the union and sympathy due to your common share in Him, +with all
gladness, and+

Ver. 30.  +hold in high value such men as he is; because on account of
Christ's work he was at death's very door,[11] playing+ as it were the
+gambler with his life,[12] that he might+ (lit., "may") +supply your
lack+, do the service which you could not do, and so complete your
loving purposes, in regard +of the ministration+ you designed +for me+.

Our present section illustrates well the inexhaustible variety of
Scripture.  That pregnant Christian thinker, the late Dr John Ker, has
some good sentences on this subject: "What varieties are in the Bible,
side by side!  The Book of Ruth, with its pastoral quiet after the wars
of the Judges, like an innocent child which has crept between the ranks
of hostile armies; the intense devotion of the Psalms after the
speculative discussions of Job, and before the practical wisdom of
Proverbs; the gloom of Ecclesiastes, and then the sweetness of the Song
of Solomon, as sharply divided as the eastern morning which leaps from
the night, or, as an old Greek might have said, silver-footed Thetis
rising from the bed of old Tithonus; Isaiah's majestic sweep of eagle
pinion, with Jeremiah's dovelike plaint; the cloudlike obscurities of
Ezekiel, to be solved, as one might expect, by piercing light from the
sky; and the perplexities of Daniel, to be opened by the movements of
the nations."[13]

What a variety lies before us here!

  "Into the heaven of heavens we have presumed,
  And drawn empyreal air";

while the Apostle has told us (only fourteen verses above) how Christ
Jesus, in the glory of the Throne, in the Form of God, cared for us men
and for our salvation, and made Himself void, and took the
creature-nature, and died; and how He is now on the Throne again in His
Incarnation, to receive supreme and universal worship.  And then again
we came back to earth, yet so as to be led into the deep secrets of the
Lord in the inner life of His saints below; "God is working in you, to
will and to do, for His good pleasure's sake."  And then we have seen
this inner life expanding and shewing itself in the holy life without,
which shines as a star in the dark, and speaks like a voice from the
unseen.  And then again we have watched the Apostle's martyr-joy as he
thinks of dying for his Philippians, if need be.  Close upon all these
heights and depths now comes in this totally different passage about
Timotheus and Epaphroditus, with its quiet, practical allusions to
individual character, and to particular circumstances, and to personal
hopes and duties; its words of sympathy and sorrow; the dear friend's
agitated state of mind; his recent almost fatal illness; the mercy of
his recovery; the pleasurable thought of his restoration to the loving
circles at Philippi.

Nothing could be more completely different than this from the grand
dogmatic passage traversed a little while before, nor again from the
passages to follow in the next chapter, where the believer's inmost
secrets of acceptance and of life are in view, and his foresight of
glory.  We are placed here not in the upper heaven, nor before the
judgment-throne, nor in the light of the resurrection-morning.  We are
just in the "hired rooms" at Rome, and we see the Missionary seated
there, studying the characters of two of his brethren, and weighing the
reasons for asking them, at once or soon, to arrange for a certain
journey.  He reviews the case, and then he puts down, through his
amanuensis, for the information of the Philippians, what he thinks of
these two men, and what he has planned about them.

All is perfectly human, viewed from one side.  I or my reader may at
any time, in the course of life and duty, be called upon to write about
Christian friends and fellow-workers of our own in a tone neither less
nor more human and practical than that of this section.  In any
collection of modern Christian letters we may find the like.  I open at
this moment the precious volume of Henry Martyn's correspondence,
published (1844) as a companion to the Memoir.  There I read as
follows, in a letter to Daniel Corrie, dated Shiraz, December 12, 1811:
"Your accounts of the progress of the kingdom of God among you are
truly refreshing.  Tell dear H. and the men of both regiments that I
salute them much in the Lord, and make mention of them in my prayers.
May I continue to hear thus of their state; and if I am spared to see
them again, may we make it evident that we have grown in grace.
Affectionate remembrances to your sister and to S.  I hope they
continue to prosecute their labours of love.  Remember me to the people
of Cawnpore who enquire.  Why have I not mentioned Colonel P.?  It is
not because he is not in my heart, for there is hardly a man in the
world whom I love and honour more.  My most Christian salutations to
him.  May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
dearest brother.  Yours affectionately, H. MARTYN."

What is the difference in quality and character between this extract
and our present section of Philippians, or between it and many another
passage in the Pauline Epistles?  From one point of view, I repeat it,
none--none that we either can, or should care to, affirm.  Of the
letters compared, one is as purely human as the other, in the
simplicity of its topics, in its local and personal scope, in its
natural and individual manner.  I would add that, so far as we can
tell, the one was written under just as much or little consciousness of
a supernatural prompting as the other.  I feel sure that when St Paul
wrote thus (whatever might be his sense of an _afflatus_ at other
times, when he wrote, or spoke, or thought, abnormally) he "felt"
exactly as we feel when writing a quiet letter; he was thinking,
arranging topics, choosing words, considering the needs of
correspondents, just as simply as we might do.

And all this is an element inestimably precious in the structure and
texture of the Bible.  It is that side or aspect of the Bible which, at
least to innumerable minds, brings the whole Book, in a sense so
genuine, _home_; making it felt in the human heart as a friend truly
conversant with our nature and our life.  "Thy testimonies," writes the
Bible-loving Psalmist (Ps. cxix. 24), "are the men of my counsel,"
_an'shêy 'atsâthî_; a pregnant phrase, which puts vividly before us
"the human element" of the blessed Word, its varieties and
individualities, its _living_ voice, or rather voices, and the
sympathetic confidence which it invites as it draws close to us to
advise and guide.  How perfectly in contrast are the Bible on the one
side, with this humanity and companionship, and such a "sacred book" as
the Koran on the other, with its monotonous oracles!  Strange, that the
man-made "sacred book" should be so little _humane_ and the God-made
Book so deeply and beautifully so!  Yet not strange, after all.  For
God knows man better than man knows himself; and when He prepares a
Book of books for man, we may expect it to correspond to the deep
insight of Him who is Maker of both the volume and the reader.

For now on the other part we have to remember that this Book, so
naturally and humanly written, as to a very large proportion of its
contents, is yet God-made all through.  It is, in a sense quite
peculiar to itself, divine.  I quoted a passage from a letter of Henry
Martyn's just now, on purpose to place it beside this letter of St
Paul's, with a view to shewing the likeness of the two.  But are they
like in all respects?  No; they present a radical difference from
another side.  It is just this, that the biblical letter is not only
human as to its type and utterance; as to its message, it is
authoritative, it is from God.  Henry Martyn writes as a Christian man,
and it helps us spiritually to be in contact with his affectionate and
holy thoughts.  Paul writes as a Christian man, but also as "a chosen
vessel to bear the Name" of his Lord; as the messenger of the mind of
Christ; as he who received "his Gospel" "not of man, nor by man, but by
the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. i. 12).  From his own days to
these he has been known in the Church of God as the divinely
commissioned prophet and teacher.  Clement of Rome in the first century
refers to him as having written to Corinth by divine inspiration.[14]
Simon Peter, earlier than Clement, refers to Paul (2 Pet. iii. 16) as
the writer of "Scriptures," _graphai_: that solemn word, restricted in
the language of Christianity to the oracles of God.

The simplest and seemingly most naturalistic passage occurring in a
Pauline letter is a "Scripture"; and as such it speaks to me only not
like the utterances of a Martyn but with the voice of the Lord of the
Gospel.  "Paul, Paul--his letters I have read, but not always I agree
with him!"  So, according to the story, said a German literary visitor
in an Oxford common-room, fifty years ago; the words shocked the
Anglican company.  Very many people think with the German now, whether
or no they have really "_read_ Paul's letters."  But their thought is
not that of the Church of God; and the soul that will indeed make
experiment of what "Paul's letters" can be when they are read as
divine, and before God, will surely find itself in harmony in this
matter with the Church.  It will be little disposed to take up the cry
(true enough in itself), "Back to Christ," in that false sense which
discredits the servant's words as if the Master was not committed to
them.  "If they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also."

In a passage like the present therefore we feel the two elements or
aspects, the human and the divine, each real and powerful, and both
working in perfect harmony.  The human is there, not in the least as a
necessary element of error; rather as an element of delicate and
beautiful truth, the truth of justest thought and feeling.  The divine
is there, as the message from Christ Himself through His servant;
sacred, authoritative, binding on belief, giving solid ground for the
soul's repose.  We study here St Paul's watchful and unselfish
remembrance of the Philippians, in the case of Timothy and his mission,
and still more in that of Epaphroditus.  We recognize of course the
actings of a noble human heart, and we are right to do so.  But we find
more than this; we see JESUS CHRIST informing us, in the concrete
example of His servant, exactly how it behoves us, as His servants, to
feel and act under our responsibilities.  St Paul's thought and action
is "written for our learning."  True, the "learning" comes not as a
mere code, or lecture.  It takes the form of a living experience,
recorded, in the course of correspondence, by the man who is going
through it.  But the man is a vehicle of revelation.  He writes about
himself; but his Master is behind him, and is taking care that his
whole thought shall be the well-adjusted conveyance of a thought
greater than his own.

As we come to the incidental details of the passage, we find the same
double aspect of Scripture everywhere.  St Paul speaks about people who
are "seeking their own interests, and not the interests of Jesus
Christ" (ver. 21).  He says this quite naturally, and with a reference
quite local and in detail.  But on the other side the words are an
oracle; they convey the message of the Master of His people; they
implicitly claim _on His part_ that we shall seek not our own
interests, but His.  Again, quite in passing, the Apostle speaks of
this or that "hope" or "trust" as being formed "in the Lord."  He does
so with no conscious dogmatic purpose, surely; it is because it comes
as naturally to him to do it as for an ordinary correspondent to say
that he hopes to do this or that "if all goes well."  But in the
epistolary _Scripture_ these brief phrases have another side; they are
authority and oracle; they convey the mind of Christ about _our_ right
relations with Him; they tell _us_, from Him, that it is His will that
we too, as His, should form our hopes and plans "in Him," in conscious
recollection of our being His members.

St Paul speaks again of his human sensibilities.  He tells us of his
sorrows, and his longings for encouragement, and his thankfulness that
an aggravation of trial, "sorrow upon sorrow," has been spared him.  He
speaks of Epaphroditus, and of his generous carelessness of his own
health and life, and of the illness he had contracted, and of his
merciful recovery, and of his home-sick longing for Philippi, and of
his "bewilderment" of regret as he thinks of the Philippians' anxiety
about him.  All this is quite as naturally and "humanly" conceived and
written on St Paul's part as anything that I or my reader ever wrote
about joys and griefs, our own or of our friends.  But not one whit the
less is this all a message, an oracle, from our Lord Jesus Christ, in a
sense in which no letter of ours could possibly be such.  For it is a
"Scripture."  And so it tells me _from above_ that the free and loving
exercise of human sympathies is entirely according to the will of God;
that human tears and longings are in perfect harmony with holiness.  It
assures me that from one point of view it is right to speak of the
prolongation of the believer's life as a "mercy," even though "to
depart is to be with Christ, which is far better."  It assures me, let
me notice by the way, that bodily sickness is not by any means
necessarily a direct result or index of sinfulness in the sufferer.
There are those who think and say that it is.  But this is not the view
of the "chosen vessel."  He sees no sin in Epaphroditus' "falling ill,
nigh unto death," "drawing near, up to death."  It is for him only an
occasion for fresh gratitude and affection towards the sufferer, and
for deep thanksgivings to Him who in His mercy has granted the
recovery.  All this is not only an experience, recorded with beautiful
naturalness; it is a revelation, an oracle.  We learn by it, as by the
voice of Christ, that although "He took our infirmities and bare our
sicknesses," His servants do not therefore of necessity fail in either
faith or love when they suffer "in this tabernacle," and "groan, being
burthened."  Let them look indeed with great simplicity, in humble
faith, for the healing power of their Lord, whether or not it may
please Him to apply it through human agency.  But do not let them think
it an act of faith to dictate to Him, as it were, the necessity of
their physical recovery.  "If it be Thy will," is never out of place in
such appeals.  Faith can breathe its most absolute and restful reliance
into that "If."

We close the section of Timotheus and Epaphroditus.  We have given our
main thought to the light which it throws upon the nature of the
Scriptures, those blessed "men of our counsel."  We have scarcely
turned aside to think of the actual "men" of the passage; Timotheus,
and his self-forgetting devotion to the Lord and to St Paul, overcoming
the sensitiveness of a tender nature; Epaphroditus, at once brave and
affectionate, yearning for the old friends in the old scene, restless
in the thought of their trouble about him, yet ready to "throw his life
down as a die" in the cause of God and of His people.  But if we have
said little about them, it is not that we do not love their very names,
and feel our union with them.

  "Once they were mourning here below";

finding then, as we find now, that the day's burthen is no dream.  But
we shall see them hereafter, in the mercy of God, "changed and
glorified," yet the same, where there will be leisure to learn all the
lessons that all the saints can teach us from their experience of the
love of Jesus.

Meanwhile let us pray, with the Moravians in their beautiful Liturgy:

_Keep us in everlasting fellowship with our brethren of the Church
triumphant, and let us rest together in Thy presence from our labours._

[1] _Timotheon_ is slightly emphatic by its place in the Greek; as if
to say, "Though _I_ must still be absent, _he_ will soon be with you."

[2] Not "equal-souled _with myself_"; which would demand rather, in the
Greek, _oudena allon echô isopsychon_.

[3] Possibly, "_entered on_ bondservice," "_took up_ the slave's life,"
with a reference to Timothy's earliest connexion with St Paul (Acts
xvi. 1-3).  But the reference to the memories of _Philippi_ is much
more likely.  The aorist, _edouleusen_, will in this case gather up
into one the whole recollection.

[4] The _touton_ is slightly emphatic by position, for St Paul is about
to speak of other persons also, himself and Epaphroditus.

[5] _Êgêsamên_: I render the epistolary past by a present tense, which
is the English idiom.

[6] So I render _apostolon_, to represent something of the _sacredness_
attaching by usage to the word.  If I read aright, we have here an
instance of gentle pleasantry, quite in harmony with the gravity of the
Epistle at large.  He takes the Philippians' message of love and gift
of bounty as a sort of _gospel_ to himself, and so regards their
messenger as a _missionary_ to him.  So also with the word
_leitourgos_: its usual associations in New Testament Greek are sacred,
or at least solemn; and so St Paul seems to employ it here.
Epaphroditus was no mere agent; he was a "_ministrant_," commissioned
from a high quarter--the Philippians' love.

[7] _epeidê epidothôn ên_: the epistolary past (_ên_) is rendered in
accordance with English idiom.  _Epipothôn_ is perhaps too _heavily_
rendered above; but the phrase is certainly a little stronger than
_epepothei_ would have been.

[8] Perhaps it was an attack of Roman fever.

[9] _Ina mê_ . . . _schô_: lit., "that I _may_ not."  But the English
idiom asks for "might."  The Greek puts the past intention into what
_was_ its present aspect.

[10] _Epempsa auton_: the epistolary aorist.

[11] Quite literally, "up to death he drew near."  It is as if St Paul
had been about to write, _mechri thanatou êsthense_, and then varied
the expression by writing _êggise_.

[12] _Paraboleusamenos tê psychê_: so read, not _paraboleusamenos_
(which would mean, "taking evil counsel for his life," neglecting its
interests).  _Paraboleusamenos_ is a well-attested reading; the verb is
not found elsewhere, but the form is abundantly likely.  It would be
developed from the adjective _parabolos_, "reckless," connected with
the verb _paraballesthai_, "to cast a die."

[13] _Thoughts for Heart and Life_, by John Ker, D.D. (1888), p. 92.

[14] See Ep. i. _ad. Cor._, § 47: "Take up the Epistle of the blessed
Paul, the Apostle. . . .  He wrote to you in the Spirit (_pneumatikôs_)
about himself, and Cephas, and Apollos."

  "One family we dwell in Him,
    One Church, above, beneath,
  Though now divided by the stream,
    The narrow stream of death.

  "One army of the living God
    To His command we bow;
  Part of His host hath cross'd the flood,
    And part is crossing now."
          C. WESLEY.


O Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life; Grant us
perfectly to know Thy Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and
the life; that, following the steps of Thy holy Apostles, we may
stedfastly walk in the way that leadeth to eternal life; through the
same Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for St Philip and St James.




Doctrinal perils at Philippi--"Be glad in the Lord"--The true
Israel--An ideal legalist--Position and experience--The spiritual power
of holy joy--Acceptance and holiness--Atoning Cross and Risen Life

With the section just closed the Epistle reaches its middle point and
already looks towards its end.  We may lawfully think of St Paul as
pausing here in his dictation; he returns to it after some considerable
interval, with new topics, or rather with one important new topic, in
his mind.  Hitherto, if we have read him aright, we have seen him
occupied, from one side or another, with the thought of Christian Unity
at Philippi.  That thought has been either explicitly developed, as in
the close of the first chapter, and in the opening of the second, and
again in the passage embracing ii. 14-16; or it has been rather implied
than expounded.  The Apostle's assurances of love and prayer have been
often worded so as to suggest it.  The grand passage of doctrine, ii.
5-11, has been occasioned directly by it, and is made to bear
immediately upon it; the Lord's wonderful self-abnegation (if the word
may be tolerated) is revealed and asserted there, not in an isolated
way, but as it speaks to the believer of the spirit which should
animate _him_, and which will preclude jealousies and separations as
nothing else can.  And even the paragraph where Timotheus and
Epaphroditus are before us is tinged with the same feeling; what the
Apostle says about both these dear friends is so said as _to unite_ the
sympathies of the Philippians.

But he has more to speak of than this sacred call to union of spirit
and of life in Christ.  We gather that Epaphroditus, talking over the
condition of the Mission with his leader, had alluded to the presence
there of serious doctrinal perils, which must ultimately affect
Christian holiness.  That ubiquitous difficulty, the propaganda of
anti-Pauline Christian Judaism, had come on the scene, or was just
coming.  The teachers who affirmed, or insinuated, that Jesus Christ
could be reached only through the ceremonial law, were now to be
reckoned with.  The converts were disturbed, or soon might be
disturbed, by being told that proselytism to Moses, sealed by
circumcision, was a _sine quâ non_ in order to a valid hope of
salvation through the Gospel; that the man awakened from his paganism
must be at least something of a Jew to be anything of a Christian; that
the door was _not_ absolutely open between the sinner's soul and the
Saviour, to be passed through by the one step of a living trust in the

Let us remember that assertions like these, which to Christians now may
seem obviously futile, by no means necessarily seemed so then.  Then,
much more than now, pagan enquirers after JESUS would be sure to be
conscious that the true salvation offered was, in one sense,
emphatically a Jewish salvation.  It was the message which told of the
life and death, the person and work, of One who _was_, "after the
flesh," a Jew.  It was the announcement that the long hope of _Israel_
was fulfilled in Him.  Its terminology was full of words and ideas
altogether Jewish.  And its messengers--above all, for the Philippians,
St Paul--were Jews, of unmistakable nationality, training, and
(doubtless) appearance.  On a first view, on a hasty and shallow view
certainly, it may have seemed a quite natural incident in such a
message when some of its propagandists asserted that to reach this
Hebrew Deliverer and King the enquirer must form a connexion in
religion which should be definitely Hebrew.

It is conceivable that even yet, in the history of the Church, this
phase of error may in some form assert itself again.  We look in the
future, it may be in the near future, for the keeping to the old Israel
of promises which have never been revoked.  We believe that Rom. xi.
shall yet find its fulfilment, and that the "receiving of them again
shall be life from the dead" to the world.  In that great period of
blessing, the work of missions may (shall we not say, probably will?)
be very largely taken up by Hebrew Christians.  And if any of these,
like some of their predecessors of the first age, should have only a
distorted view of the Gospel of Christ, their intense national
character may tell not a little on the form of their message.  But this
is by the way.  All that is really before us here is the fact that--not
the open hostility of unconverted Jews but--the sidelong counter-action
of Judaistic Christians was threatening Philippi, and must be met by
the Apostle.

Nor was this, if we explain rightly the close of ch. iii., the only
such danger in the air.  The antinomian traitor was also within the
gates.  There were those who could assert that the Gospel, the Pauline
Gospel, the wonderful message of Justification by Faith only, and of a
life lived in the Spirit as its sequel, was the very truth they held
and rejoiced in; but they taught it so as to reason from it that
practical holiness did not matter; the justified, the accepted, the man
of the Spirit, lived in a transcendental religious region; he was not
to be bound in conduct by common rules.  Was he not in grace?  And was
not grace the antithesis of works?  Was not grace, before everything
else, the condonation of sin?  And the more it did that work, was it
not the more glorious?  "Shall we not continue in sin then, that grace
may abound?"  What does it signify, though the perishable and
burthensome body defiles itself?  The emancipated spirit of the
"spiritual" man lives on another plane; the sensual and the mystical
elements may approach, may run parallel, but can never meet.  The body
may sin; the spirit must be pure--if only the man is in grace.

Such assuredly were some of the conditions of error and evil to be
considered when on that far-off day, in his Roman chamber, St Paul
turned his soul again to Philippi, and asked his scribe to write.
There is a solemn comfort in the thought.  In our days of trial, when
again and again it is as it "the foundations were destroyed," it is
something to remember the awful mental and moral trials of the
apostolic age.  It was indeed an "age of faith"; but, as the other side
of that very fact, it was an age of clouds and darkness, from the point
not of "faith" but of "sight."  It had a glorious answer to the
tremendous questions that beset it.  But that answer was not human
reasoning, or material successes; it was the Lord Jesus Christ.  And so
it is for us to-day.

But now St Paul is at work; let us listen, and we shall hear how
promptly he brings that answer to bear in his letter to Philippi.[1]

Ver. 1.  For the rest (_to loipon_), my brethren, to turn now to
another topic, as I draw towards an end, let me give you this
comprehensive watchword +Be glad in the Lord+.[2]  +To write the same
things to you+, to reiterate that one thought, that CHRIST is our glory
and our joy, "+to me not irksome, it is safe for you+."[3]  Safe,
because there are spiritual dangers around you from which this will be
the best preservative; false teachings which can only be fully met with
the gladness of the truth of Christ.  +Beware of+,

Ver. 2.  keep your eyes open upon (_blepete_), +the "dogs,"+ the men
who would _excommunicate_ all who hold not with their half-Christian
Pharisaism and its legal burthens, but who are themselves thus
self-excluded from the covenant blessing.  +Beware of the evil
workmen+, the teachers whose watchword is "works, works, works," a
weary round of observances and would-be merits, but who are sorry
_work-men_ indeed, spoiling the whole structure of "Heaven's easy,
artless, unencumber'd plan."  +Beware of the concision+, the apostles
of a mere physical wounding, which, as enjoined according to their
principles, is nothing better than a mutilation (_katatomê_), a parody
of what circumcision was meant to be, as the sacrament of a preparatory
dispensation now terminated in its

Ver. 3.  fulfilment.  +For+ not they but +we are the circumcision+, the
true Israel of the true covenant, sealed and purified by our God; +we
who by God's Spirit worship+,[4] doing priestly service in a spiritual
temple[5] in a life, love, and power, which is ours by the presence in
us of the Holy Ghost, the promise of the Father; +and who exult+, not
in tribal, national, ceremonial prerogatives, but +in Christ Jesus+,
our refuge and our crown, our righteousness and glory, with an
exultation infinitely warmer than the legalist's can be, and meanwhile
pure, for its source is altogether not ourselves; +and who+, in Him,
+not in the flesh+,[6] not in self and its workings, +are confident+
(for confident we are, but it is a "confidence in self-despair," the
confidence of those who have been driven by self-discovery to Christ
alone).[7]  I speak with a general reference, of all true disciples;
but let me instance myself as a case peculiarly in point.  I speak thus,

Ver. 4.  +though having+ (_echôn_), I, myself (_egô_), from _their_
view-point, +confidence even in flesh+.  +Whoever else thinks of
confiding in flesh+, of building a legal standing-place on his
privilege and merit, +I+ may do so +more+ than he; for I have reached
the _ne plus ultra_ in that

Ver. 5.  direction.  +As for circumcision+,[8] I was an +eight-day+
child; no proselyte, operated upon in later life, but a son of the
Covenant; descended +from Israel's race+, one of the progeny of him who
was a prince with God (Gen. xxxii. 28); +of Benjamin's tribe+, the
tribe which gave the first God-chosen king to the nation, and which
remained "faithful among the faithless" to the house of David at a
later day; +Hebrew+ offspring +of Hebrew ancestors+,[9] child of a home
in which, immemorially, the old manners and the old speech were
cherished; _in respect of the law,[10] a Pharisee_--the votary of
religious precision, elaborate devotion, exclusive privilege, and
energetic prose-

Ver. 6, lytism; +in respect of zeal+, intense and perfectly sincere,
+persecuting the Church; in respect of the righteousness which+ resides
+in the Law+, as its terms are understood by the Pharisee, +found+
(_genomenos_) +blameless+.[11]  Such was my position.  I possessed an
ideal pedigree; full sacramental position from the first; domestic
traditions pure and strict; an absolute personal devotion to the cause
of my creed; the most rigorous observance of its rules; the most

Ver. 7.  efforts to maintain and extend its power.  +But the kind of
things which+ (_hatina_) +I felt+ (_moi ên_) so many _gains,[12] these
things I have come to consider_ (_hegemai_, perfect), +because of our+
(_ton_) +Christ+ (discovered at last in His glory, as the slain and
risen Jesus), just one +loss+, one +deprivation+; not merely a
worthless thing, but a ruinous one; a robbery of the true Blessing

Ver. 8.  from my soul.  +Aye more, I actually+ (_kai_) now +consider
all things+, from all points of view, all possessions, all ambitions,
+to be+ similarly +loss+, deprivation, +because of the surpassingness
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord+, because of the immeasurable
betterness of a spirit-sight of what HE is, in Himself, and as my own;
+because of whom+--on account of what He now was to me--+I suffered
deprivation+ (_exêmiôthên_) +of my all+ (_ta panta_), in the crisis of
my change; +and I consider it+ only +refuse+,[13] rubbish, that +I may
gain+[14] (in a blessed exchange of profit against loss, the loss of
what I thought my "gains") +Christ+, nothing less than HIM, my
boundless Wealth (_ploutos_

Ver. 9.  _anexichniaston_, Eph. iii. 8), +and be found+, at any and
every "time of finding" (Ps. xxxii. 7, Heb.) by the Holy One, +in Him+,
one with Him, in His precious merits and in His risen life, but now
especially in His merits; +not having a righteousness of my own, that
derived from the Law+, a title to acceptance drawn from my own supposed
perfect correspondence to the Law, +but that which+ comes +through
faith in[15] Christ+, through reliance wholly reposed in Him, +the
righteousness which is derived+ not from the Law but +from God+, coming
wholly out of His uncaused and sacred mercy, +on terms of our (_tê_)
faith+, conditioned[15]

Ver. 10.  to us by simply our accepting reliance; +in order to know
Him+, HIM, my Lord, with an intuition possible only to the soul which
accepts Him for its All; +and the power of His Resurrection+, as that
Resurrection assures His people of their justification (Rom. iv. 24,
25), and of their coming glory (1 Cor. xv. 20), and yet more as He, by
His life-giving Spirit, shed forth from Him the risen Head, lives His
"indissoluble life" (Heb. vii. 16) in His members; and +the partnership
of His sufferings+, that deep experience of union with Him which comes
through daily "taking up the cross," in His steps, for His sake, and in
His strength; growing into conformity (_summorthi-xomenos_, a present
participle) +with His Death+, drawn evermore into spiritual harmony
with Him who wrought my salvation out by an ineffable surrender

Ver. 11.  of Himself to suffer; if +somehow I may arrive+, along the
appointed path of the believer's obedience, +at the resurrection which
is out from the dead+ (_tên exanastasin tên ex nekrôn_: so read); "that
blessed hope" for all who sleep in Him, when their whole existence,
redeemed and perfected, shall leave the world of "the dead" behind for

Here is a piece of consecutive rendering and paraphrase longer than
usual.  And meanwhile the passage before us is one of extraordinary
fulness and richness, alike in its record of experience and its
teaching of eternal truths.  But it seemed impossible to break into
fragments the glorious wholeness of the Apostle's thought and
utterance.  And then, the utterance is so rich, so detailed, so
explanatory of itself, that I could not but feel that, for very much of
it at least, my best commentary was the closest rendering I could
offer, with a few brief suggestions by the way.

Drawing now to a close, I can only indicate, under one or two headings,
some main messages to the mind and soul.

i.  I gather from the connexion of the passage, as we have traced it,
the supreme importance of a true joy in the Lord, a true personal sight
of "the King in His beauty," in order to our spiritual orthodoxy.  Let
me quote again from the Prayer Book of the Moravians, from which I gave
one short extract in the last chapter.  In their "Church Litany," among
the first suffrages, occur these petitions: "_From coldness to Thy
merits and death.  From error and misunderstanding, From the loss of
our glory in Thee, Preserve us, gracious Lord and God._"  The words are
the very soul of St Paul, as it conveys the Spirit's oracle to us here.
St Paul dreads exceedingly for the Philippians the incursion of "error
and misunderstanding"; the advent of a mechanical rigorism of rule and
ordinance, and (as we shall see in later pages) the subtle poison also
of the specious antinomian lie.  How does he apply the antidote?  In
the form of an appeal to them to be sure to not to "lose their glory in
the Lord"; and then he writes a record of his own experience in which
he shews them how his own Pharisaic treasures had all been cast away,
or willingly given up to the spoiler; and why?  Not for abstract
reasons, but "because of the surpassingness of the knowledge of Christ
Jesus my Lord"; because of the irresistible and infinite _betterness_
of His discovered glory, seen in the atoning Cross and the Resurrection

Let us "arm ourselves likewise with the same mind."  We have countless
perils about us in our modern Christendom, things which only too easily
can trouble the reason and sway the will away from the one "hope set
before us."  Let us meet them, whatever else we do, with the Moravians'
prayer.  Let us meet them with obedience to the Apostle's positive
injunction, "Rejoice in the Lord."

ii.  The passage bids us remember the profound connexion between a true
"knowledge" of the Lord Jesus as our Atonement and a true "knowledge"
of Him as our Life and Power.  Both are here.  In ver. 9, so it seems
to me, any unprejudiced reader of St Paul's writings must see language
akin to those great passages of Romans and Galatians which put before
us the supreme question of our Justification, and which send us for our
whole hope of Acceptance before the eternal Judge, whose law we have
broken, to the Atoning Death of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In those
passages, demonstrably as I venture to think, the word "Righteousness"
is largely used as a short term for the Holy One's righteous way of
accepting us sinners for the sake of the Sinless One, who, in our
nature, was "made a curse for us," "made sin for us," "delivered for
our offences," "set forth for a propitiation," that we might be
"justified from all things" in our union with Him by faith.  If so,
this is the purport of similar phrases here also.  St Paul is thinking
here first of the discovered glory of Christ as the propitiation for
his sins, his peace with God, his refuge and his rest for ever against
the accuser and the curse.  That comes first, profoundly first.

But then we have also here the sequel truth, the glorious complement.
Here is Acceptance, wholly for Jesus Christ's most blessed sake.  But
this is but the divine condition to another divine and transcendent
blessing; it is revealed as the way in to a knowledge of this Lord of
Peace, a deep and unspeakable knowledge of Him, such as shall infuse
into His disciple the power of His Risen Life, and the secret of an
inward assimilation of the soul to the very principle of His Death, and
shall be the path whose end shall be His glory.

St Paul here bids us never put asunder what God hath joined together.
"Never further than the Cross, never higher than Thy feet"; there may
we be "found," "in Him"; unshaken by surrounding mysteries, and meekly
resolute against fashions of opinion.  Let us be recognized for those
who truly know for themselves, and truly commend to others, that
blessed "Justification by Faith" which is still, as ever, the Beautiful
Gate of the Gospel.

  "'Tis joy enough, my All in All,
    Before Thy feet to lie;
  Thou wilt not let me lower fall,
    And who can higher fly?"

But then let us be known as those who, accepting Christ Jesus as our
All for peace, (whatever we may have to "consider to be loss" that we
may do so,) have clasped Him also as our Hidden Life, our Risen Power,
our King within.

  "O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me,
    And all things else recede;
  My heart be daily nearer Thee,
    From sin be daily freed." [17]

Always at the atoning Cross;--yes, every day and hour; "knowing no
other stand" before the face of the Holy One.  Always receiving there
the Risen Life, the presence inwardly of the Risen One, the secret
power to suffer and to serve in peace;--yes, for ever yes; "to the
praise of the glory of His grace."

So, and only so, shall we live the life of real sinners really saved;
"worshipping by the Spirit of God, exulting in Christ Jesus, and
confident, but not in the flesh."

[1] The reader may be aware that Bishop Lightfoot's theory of the
connexion of thought at the beginning of ch. iii. is different from
that advocated here.  He thinks that St Paul dictated on continuously
_till the close of_ iii. 1, and was interrupted there, and then began
_de novo_ with iii. 2, entirely on another line.  In this view, the
words about "writing _the same things_ unto you" refer still to
_Christian unity_, on which St Paul was going to dilate further, but a
sudden pause occurred, and the theme was dropped.  With reverence for
the great expositor, I cannot but think this unlikely.  It assumes that
St Paul was curiously indifferent to the sequence of thought in an
important apostolic message, which assuredly he would _read over again_
before it was actually sent.  A theory which fairly explains the
passage, and meanwhile avoids the thought of such indifference, seems
to me far preferable.

[2] The words obviously may be rendered, "_Farewell_ in the Lord"; and
so some take them, explaining that St Paul was intending to close
immediately, and so wrote his "Adieu" here; but then changed his plan.
This is very unlikely however.  See below, iv. 4: _Chairete en Kuriô
pantote_.  The "always" there scarcely suits a formula _of farewell_,
while it perfectly suits an injunction _to be glad_.  And that passage
is the obvious echo of this.--A.V. and R.V. both render "rejoice,"
though R.V. writes "or, _farewell_" in the margin.  St Chrysostom in
his comments here explains the passage as referring to the Christian's
joy (_chara_).  The ancient Latin versions render _Gaudete_ (not
_valete_) in _Domino_.

[3] I thus render _rhythmically_ the rhythmical Greek (it is an iambic
trimeter): _emoi men ouk oknêron, humin d asphales_.  It is probable
that the words are a quotation from a Greek poet, perhaps a "comic"
poet; the "comedies" being full of neatly expressed reflexions.  For
such a quotation, probably from the "comedian" Menander, see 1 Cor. xv.
33: _phtheirousin êthê chrêsth homiliai kakai_: "_Ill converse cankers
fair morality._"

[4] The reading _pneumati Theou_ (not _Theô_) _latreuontes_ is to be

[5] _Datreuien_ means first to do servants' work, then to do religious
"service" (so almost always in LXX. and N.T.) and sometimes specially
_priestly_ duty (see e.g. Heb. xiii. 10).  This latter may be in view
here: we Christians, born anew of the Spirit, are the true _priests_,
and we little need to be made Jewish proselytes first.

[6] The _sarx_ in St Paul is very fairly represented by the word "self"
as used popularly in religious language.  It is man taken as apart from
God, and so man _versus_ God; then by transition it may mean, as here,
the products of such a source, the labours of the self-life to
construct a self-righteousness.  It is hardly necessary to say that, in
such contexts as this, where it stands more or less distinguished from
the _pneuma_, it is not a synonym for "the body."  Sins of "the flesh"
may be sins purely of the mind, as e.g. "emulation" (Gal. v. 20).

[7] I thus attempt to convey the emphasis of the words _ouk en sarki
pepoithotes_, which is not precisely as if he had written _en sarki_.

[8] _Peritouê_: a dative of reference, a frequent construction with St
Paul.  See Rom. xii. 10-12 for several examples together.

[9] See Trench, _Synonyms_, § xxxix., for the special meanings of
_Israêlitês_, the member of the Covenant-people; _Ebraios_, the Jew who
was true to his inmost national traditions; and _Ioudaios_, the Jew
merely as other than the Gentile.

[10] The article is absent; but context leaves no doubt of the special
reference here.

[11] In solemn contrast but with perfect consistency, from another
point of view--that not of the Pharisee but of GOD--he can point out
elsewhere that "no flesh" can possibly claim "righteousness" on the
ground of fulfilment of code and precept.  See especially Rom. iii. 19,
20.  But his business here is to meet the legalist on the legalist's
own ground.

[12] Notice the _plural_; as if, miser-like, he had counted his bags of
treasure.  And then see the contrasted _singular_, _Xêmian_: he finds
them all _one mass of loss_.

[13] _Skubala_: the Greek etymologists derived the word from _kusi
balein_, "to cast to dogs."  Otherwise it is traced to a connexion with
_skôr_, "excrement."

[14] Practically, he means "that I _might_ gain," in the past
transaction of conversion and surrender.  He thinks the past over again.

[15] Lit., "faith of," _pisteôs Christou_.  This use of the genitive
with _pistis_, to denote its object, is frequent.  Cp. e.g. Mark xi.
22; Gal. ii. 16, 20.

[16] Even as the benefit of food is conditioned to us by our (not
buying but) eating it.

[17] See the whole hymn (rendered from Lavater's _O Jesu Christe, wachs
in mir_) in _Hymns of Consecration_, 295.

  "We will dwell on Calvary's mountain
    Where the flocks of Zion feed,
  Oft resorting to that fountain
    Open'd when our Lord did bleed;
          Thence deriving
    Grace, and life, and holiness."
          _From the Moravian Hymn-book_.


  "I want that adorning divine
    Thou only, my God, can'st bestow;
  I want in those beautiful garments to shine
    Which distinguish Thy household below.

  "I want, as a traveller, to haste
    Straight onward, nor pause on my way,
  Nor forethought nor anxious contrivance to waste
    On the tent only pitch'd for a day.

  "I want--and this sums up my prayer--
    To glorify Thee till I die,
  Then calmly to yield up my soul to Thy care,
    And breathe out, in faith, my last sigh."



PHILIPPIANS iii. 12-16

Christian exultation--Christian confidence--"Not in the flesh"--"In
Jesus Christ"--The prize in view--No finality in the progress--"Not
already perfect"--The recompense of reward--What the prize will be

In a certain sense we have completed our study of the first section of
the third chapter of the Epistle.  But the treatment has been so
extremely imperfect, in view of the importance of that section, that a
few further remarks must be made.  Let us ponder one weighty verse,
left almost unnoticed when we touched it.

Observe then the brief, pregnant _account of the true Christian_, given
in ver. 3: "We are the circumcision, we who by God's Spirit worship,
and who exult in Christ Jesus, and who, not in the flesh, are
confident."  This is a far-reaching description of the true member of
the true Israel, the man of the Covenant of grace.

Note first its positive lines.  "_We worship_," "_we exult_," "_we are
confident_."  Every affirmation is full of divine principles of truth.
"_We worship_"; ours is a hallowed, dedicated, and reverent life.  It
is spent in a sanctuary.  Whatever we have to be, or to do, as to
externals; whether to rule a province, a church, a school, a home;
whether to keep accounts, or sweep a room; whether to evangelize the
slums of a city, or the dark places of heathenism, or to teach
language, or science, or music; whether to be active all day long, or
to lie down alone to suffer; whatever be our actual place and duty in
the world, "_we worship_."  "We have set the Lord always before us."
We have "sanctified Christ as LORD in our hearts" (1 Pet. iii. 15; so
read).  We belong to Him everywhere, and we recollect it.  We owe
adoring reverence to Him everywhere, and we recollect it.  Let us
reiterate the fact; ours is a hallowed life, for it belongs to a divine
Master; it is a reverent life, for that Master in His greatness is to
us an abiding Presence.  The fact of Him, the thought of Him, has
expelled from our lives the secular air and the light and flippant
spirit.  We are nothing if not _worshippers_.

Then, secondly, "_we exult_."  Ours is a life of gladness, so far as it
is the true Christian life.  Constantly and profoundly chastened by its
worshipping character, it is constantly quickened and illuminated by
this element of exultation.  The word is strong, _kauchômenoi_,
"exulting."  We observe that the Apostle does not say that we are
resigned, that we are at peace, that there is a calm upon us.  This is
true; but he says that "we _exult_."  The "still waters," the _mêy
m'nûchôth_ of Ps. xxiii. 2, are anything but stagnant.  They are a
lake; but it is a lake upon a river, like the fair waters of Galilee,
receiving and giving, and therefore alive with pure movement, while yet
surrounded by the "rest," _m'nûchâh_, which means repose not _from_
action but _underneath_ it.  "We exult."  Ours is not an autumn of
feeling; not a state of the soul in which the characteristics are the
sighs and starting tears of memory and apprehension.  It is an
everlasting spring, in which the mighty but temperate Sun of Salvation
is shining, and will not set; not parching but quickening all day long.
"We exult."  It is a happy life, not only with the happiness of a
cheerful contentment, beautiful as that is; ours is the happiness of
wondering discovery, and rich possession, and ever-opening prospects;
it is "quick and lively"; it is "exultation."

Then, "_we are confident_."  If I traced the bearing of this clause
aright, in the last chapter, we shall feel that the word _pepoithotes_
is meant to carry a _positive_ message.  It is not only that "we do not
rely on the flesh"; it is that "we are reliant, though not on the
flesh."  Even so, in the true idea of the Christian life.  "_We are
confident_."  We are not wanderers from one peradventure to another; we
are reliant, we are assured, we know where we are, and what we are, and
whither we are bound.  True, we, are intensely conscious of the limits
of our knowledge; it is only here and there that we can absolutely say,
"We know."  But then, the points where we _can_ say so are points of
supreme importance.  "We know that the Son of God is come."  "We know
that our sins are forgiven us for His name's sake."  "We know that all
things work together for good to them that love God."  "We know that if
our earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved, we have a building
of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; therefore
we are always _confident_."  And all this is summed up in the thought
that "we know WHOM we have believed, and that HE is able to keep what
we have committed unto Him."  Our certainty is a confiding certainty.
It does not reside in our courage, or our mental insight; it is lodged
in a Person, who is such that He claims our entire reliance on His
work, His word, Himself.

Then from its other side this wonderful verse gives us the cautions,
the negatives, of the Christian life; though even here it speaks the
language of the highest positive truth.  "We worship _by God's
Spirit_"; our reverence, our adoration, the hallowing and religiousness
of our lives, is not a form imposed from without; it is a power
exerting itself from within, having come to our poor hearts from above.
Assuredly we do not neglect or slight actions and rites of worship; He
who has made each of us soul and body, one man, does not mean us to
despise the outward and physical in devotion.  But we watchfully
remember that no such actions or rites are, for one moment, the soul of
worship, or its formative power.  _That_ soul and power is "God's
Spirit" only; the Holy Ghost dwelling in the renewed being, and
teaching the man "to cry Abba, Father," and "making intercession for
him with groanings which cannot be uttered," and "taking of the things
of Christ, and shewing it unto us."  We pray, and it is "in the Holy
Ghost."  We worship, and it is "in Spirit, and in truth."

Again, "we exult _in Christ Jesus_."  Our glad and animated happiness
lies in nothing short of HIM as its cause.  We are thankful for noble
religious traditions and institutions, and for holy parentage, and for
all which makes Christianity correspond in practice to its name.  But
we are watchful not to let even these blessings take the unique place
of "Christ Jesus" in our "exultation."  "In all things He must have the
pre-eminence."  Piety itself without Him, if it can be found, is not a
body but a statue.  All the privileges of the Church of God, without
Him, though we reverently cherish every teaching and every ordinance
that is Christian indeed, are but the frame without the picture, the
casket without the stone.

Then again, "_not in the flesh_ are we confident."  We have learnt a
deep distrust of everything which St Paul classes under that word
"flesh."  It is always offering itself to us, in one Protean shape or
another, to be our comfort and our repose.  Sometimes it takes the form
of our supposed usefulness and diligence; sometimes of our strict and
exemplary observances; sometimes, putting on a disguise still more
subtle, it sets before the Christian the depth, or the length, of his
spiritual experience.  Or it grows bolder, and is content with coarser
masks; it tempts us to a miserable reliance on some imagined betterness
when we compare ourselves, forsooth, with some one else.  I knew long
ago an old shepherd, in my father's parish, who based a hope for
eternity on the fact (if such it was) that he was never tipsy on a
Sunday.  We are amused, or we are shocked.  But this was only an
extreme type of a vast phenomenon, to be found lurking in countless
hearts, when God lets in the light; the "reliance" on our being
somehow, so we think, "not as other men are."  And from this whole
world of delusion, in all its continents and islands, the Lord calls us
away here by His Apostle.  He bids us migrate as it were to another
planet, laying our _whole_ confidence, not part of it, on HIM; let that
other world, our old world, roll along without us.

Christ presents to us Himself (as we follow out this rich Philippian
passage) as _all_ our Righteousness, in His precious justifying Merit,
offered for the acceptance of the very simplest faith.  And He presents
Himself as _all_ our Power, for deliverance and for service, in His
resurrection Life; coming to reveal Himself to us in the divine beauty
of His sufferings, His death, through which he has passed for us into
"indissoluble life" (Heb. vii. 16).  Our Righteousness--it is HE, "the
propitiation for our sins."  Our Sanctification--it is still HE, in
"the power of His resurrection, and fellowship with His sufferings, and
assimilation to His death."  Our Redemption, from the power of the
grave--it is still "this same Jesus," in union with whom alone we
"attain unto the resurrection which is out from the dead."

Even so, Lord Jesus Christ; let us thus be "found in Thee";
worshipping, exulting, confiding; resting on Thee, abiding in Thee,
with an accepting faith which only grows more simple and single as the
years move on and gather "since we believed."

  "Help us, O Christ, to grasp each truth
    With hand as firm and true
  As when we clasp'd it first to heart
    A treasure fresh and new;

  "To name Thy name, Thyself to own,
    With voice unfaltering,
  And faces bold and unashamed
    As in our Christian spring." [1]

But St Paul is again dictating, and we must follow.  He has confessed
and affirmed, once for all, his standing and fixity in the Lord, and in
Him alone.  Now he must emphasize another aspect of the living truth,
his progress in the Lord; the non-finality of any given attainment in
union with Him.

Ver. 12.  +Not as though I had already received+ (_elabon_) the crown
of accomplished glory, +or had been already perfected+, with the
perfection which shall be when "we shall be like Him, for we shall see
Him as He is."  +No, I am pressing on+ (_diôkô de_), as on the racer's
course, +if indeed+, if as a fact, in blessed finality, +I may seize+
(_katalabô_) +that+ promised crown +with a view to which[2] I was
actually+ (_kai_) +seized by Christ Jesus+, when in His mercy He as it
were laid violent hands upon me, to pluck me from ruin, and to
constrain me into His salvation and His service.  Yes, "I press on" to
"seize" that crown, with the animating thought that it was on purpose
that I might "seize" it that the Lord "seized" me; and that so every
stage in the upward and onward course of faith runs straight in the
line of His will whose mighty, gracious grasp is on me as I go.

Ver. 13.  (I speak the word of pause and of appeal, as if I could stand
by you, and lay my hand upon your arm,) +I+ (_egô_), whatever others
may think and do about _them_selves, +do not account myself+
(_emauton_, emphatic like _egô_) +to have seized+ the crown as yet; no,
one thing (_en de_)--my thoughts, my purposes, are all concentrated on
this _one_ thing--+the things behind forgetting+, as one experience
after another falls behind me into the past, +and towards the things in
front stretching out and onward+ (_epekteinomenos_), like the eager
racer, with head thrown forward and body bent towards his object,
seeking for more and yet more, in the grace and power of my unchangeable

Ver. 14.  Saviour, +goal-ward I press on+ (_kata skopon diôkô_), "not
uncertainly," with no faltering or divided aim, +unto+ (_eis_), till I
actually touch, +the prize+ (_brabeion_, 1 Cor. ix. 24), the victor's
wreath,[3] the prize +of+, offered by, made possible through, +the high
call of God+, the voice of His prevailing grace[2] coming from _the
heights_ (_anô_) of glory and leading the believer at length up
thither, +in Christ Jesus+; for through Him comes the "call," and its
blessed effect is to unite the "called," the converted, sinner _to_
Him, so that he lives here and hereafter in Him.  +So let all+

Ver. 15.  +us perfect ones+ (_hosoi oun teleioi_), with the perfection
not of ideal attainment but of Christian maturity and entirety of
experience, +be of this mind+; the "mind" of those who rest in Christ
immoveably for their acceptance, and press forward in Christ
unrestingly in their obedience, ever discovering fresh causes for
humility and for progress, as they keep close to Him.  +And if you are
diversely+ (_eterôs_) +minded in any thing+, if in any detail of theory
or statement you cannot yet see with me, +this also God shall unveil to
you+.  Sure I am that "the Spirit of God speaketh by me," and that
ultimately therefore you will, in submission to Him, see as I have
taught you.  But I am not therefore commissioned in this matter to
denounce and excommunicate; I lay the truth before you, and in love
leave it upon your reverent thoughts.  +Only, as to+

Ver. 16.  +what we have succeeded in reaching+,[5] so far as our
insight into Christ has actually gone, up to our full present light in
the Gospel, +let us step in the same path+ (_tô autô stoichein_[6]), on
the unchanging principles of faith, love, and holiness, and with a
watchful desire to cherish to the utmost a holy harmony of spirit and

Here, in suggestive contrast or complement to the section we studied
last, the Christian appears in full and energetic movement, animated
with a sacred discontent, repudiating all thought of finality in his
conformity to his Lord, and in his actual spiritual condition; running,
pressing on, remembering at every step that, although grace is present
in power, and glory is in view, still this is the journey, not the
home; the race, not the goal;

  _Nil actum reputans dum quid sibi restat agendum._

The passage contains of course much divine teaching in detail.  But two
main points come up conspicuously "for our learning."

i.  We have here a strong, and at the same time a most tender, warning
against all approaches to a theoretical "perfectionism."  Under that
word, as I am well aware, many varieties of opinion in detail may be
found.  And again, few who hold opinions commonly called perfectionist
like the word "perfectionism."  But I speak with practical accuracy
when I give that title to such views as on the whole affirm the
attainableness here below of a spiritual condition in which man needs
no longer confess himself as now a sinner, and in which his attention
tends to be drawn more to his perfectness than to his imperfections of
condition.  That such views are held, and strongly held, by many
earnest Christians, is a familiar fact.  As far as my own observation
goes, such views are not uncommonly attended, in those who hold them,
by a certain oblivion to personal shortcomings and inconsistencies; by
an obscuration of consciousness, and of conscience, more or less
marked, towards the sinfulness of ordinary, everyday violations of the
law of holiness in respect of "meekness, humbleness of mind,
longsuffering," sympathy, and other quiet graces.

In the present passage the Apostle's whole spirit moves in just the
opposite direction.  His complete repose in Christ as the Righteousness
of God for him, and then his deep nearness to his Lord as the Power of
God in him, alike seem not so much to banish as utterly to preclude any
thought about himself but that of his own imperfection.  He writes as
one whose very last feeling is that of complacency in his spiritual
condition.  I deliberately do not say "self-complacency"; for all
Christians would repudiate that word; I say, complacency in his
spiritual condition.  His spiritual _position_, in Christ, as he is
"found in Him," fills him with much more than complacency; it is his
glory and his boast.  But when he comes to speak of his spiritual
_condition_, the possessing thought is that all is imperfect and
progressive.  He has a perfect blessing; but he is an imperfect
recipient of it; he has "not attained."  He is deeply happy.  But he is
thoroughly humble.  As we read the passage, we feel very sure that the
man who wrote it would lie very tenderly and candidly open to reproofs,
and to painful truths told him about himself.  For his Lord, he is
ready to bear rejoicing witness to the whole world.  For himself, even
as in Christ, he holds no brief; nay, he takes the other part.

He has had a vision of absolute holiness which has completely guarded
him from the delusion of thinking that he is himself absolutely holy,
even in the fullest state of grace.  He is so genuinely "perfect" in
the sense of mature knowledge of his Lord that he is incapable of
thinking himself "perfected."

All the while, this does not for a moment leave him in the miserable
plight of acquiescing in sin because he knows he is still a sinner.  If
he were merely going by a theory, it might be so.  But he is going by
the Lord Jesus Christ; he is using HIM, daily and hourly, as not only
his always abasing standard, but as "all his salvation, and all his
desire"; as the infinitely blissful Object of his affections and of his
knowledge; as his _Summum Bonum_.  While Christ is fully this to the
Christian, he will be little likely on the one hand to say, "I am
perfect" (Job ix. 20); on the other he will be always seeking, in the
most practical of all ways, watching, praying, believing, for a closer
conformity and yet closer (_summorphixomenos_) to his Lord's bright

And at the back of all his thoughts about defect and progress will lie
the restful certainties to which no ideas of defect attach, and from
which the idea of progress is absent, because it is out of place--the
certainties of the Righteousness of God, "of peace with God through our
Lord Jesus Christ"; the being "found in Him."

ii.  The passage puts very distinctly before us the thought of the
Reward of Grace.  The writer is living, loving, working, in view of a
"prize," _brabeion_: he looks forward to the Master's hand as it will
extend the wreath of victory, and to His voice as it will utter the
longed-for words, "Well done, good and faithful Servant."  This same
man has laboured, in many an hour of public and private teaching, and
in many an inspired page, to emphasize the magnificent truth that grace
is grace; that God owes man nothing; that "all things are of God"; that
"to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the
ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness."  He well knows that
there is a side of truth from which the one possible message is the
Lord's own solemn question and answer (Luke xvii. 9), "Doth he thank
that servant?  I trow not."  The most complete and laborious service
cannot possibly outrun the obligation of the rescued bondservant to the
Possessor, of the limb to the blessed Head.  But then, this absolute
servitude is to One who is, as a fact, eternal Love.  The work is done
for a Master who, while His claims are absolute, is such that He
personally delights in every response of love to His love, of will to
His will.  His servant _cannot_ serve Him with a grateful heart without
thereby pleasing the heart of his Lord.  And so, at the close of the
day's work, while, from the side of law and claims, the Lord "doth not
thank that servant," from the side of love and of moral sympathy He
will welcome him in with "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter
thou into the joy of thy Lord."  And that holy "prize" does, and must,
prove a magnet to the Christian's will and hopes.  What is he looking
for?  Not an accession of personal dignity in heaven, but a word from
his beloved Master's heart.  There is nothing mercenary in this.  True,
it "has respect unto the recompense of reward."  But the "reward" is
what only love can give, and only love can take.  It is love's approval
of the service of love.

Much discussion has been spent upon the theory of reward, in the matter
of our service rendered to "our King who has saved us."  The theme no
doubt is one which admits of much interesting and important enquiry;
and it has many sides.  But after all the true philosophy of it lies in
"the truth as it is _in Jesus_."  Let the Christian be seeking the
reward of personal aggrandizement in heaven, "to sit on His right hand,
or on His left, in His glory"; and the motive is as earthly as if the
scene of its fulfilment were to be an earthly palace.  Let him be
seeking the "well done" of Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ has
redeemed him, and is dear to him; and he is in the line of the will,
and of the love, of God.

[1] Dr H. Bonar.

[2] _Heth ô katelêphthên_: grammatically we may render, "inasmuch as I
was seized"; cp. the Greek of Rom. v. 12; 1 Cor. v. 4.  But the
connexion of thought seems to be best met by the above rendering, which
is practically that of A.V. and R.V.

[3] _Stephanos_, as in 1 Cor. ix. 25, Rev. iii. 11, and often.
_Stephanos_ is properly the victor's wreath, _diadêma_ the king's crown
(Rev. xix. 12).--For a short essay on St Paul's use of athletic
metaphors see this Epistle in _The Cambridge Greek Testament_, Appendix.

[4] _Klêsis_, _kalein_, _klêtoi_, in the Epistles will be found
regularly to refer not to the general _invitations_ of the Gospel, but
to the actually prevailing power of God over the wills of His people.
See particularly 1 Cor. i. 23, 24, where the "call" is clearly
distinguished from the general proclamation, which alas so many
"Greeks" and "Jews" heard, but only to reject it.

[5] _Hephthasamen_: the verb seems always to indicate not merely
reaching, but reaching _with some difficulty_.  I attempt to express
this in the translation.

[6] There is good evidence for omitting the words _kanoni, to auto
phronein_.--_Stoichein_ is more in detail than _peripatein_: "to
_step_," not only "to walk."  See the Greek of Rom. iv. 12.

  "Sovereign Lord and gracious Master,
    Thou didst freely choose Thine own,
  Thou hast call'd with holy calling,
  Thou wilt save, and keep from falling;
    Thine the glory, Thine alone!
  Yet Thy hand shall crown in heaven
  All the grace Thy love hath given;
  Just, though undeserv'd, reward
  From our glorious, gracious Lord."
          F. R. HAVERGAL.


  "We are waiting, we are yearning for Thy voice
    Through the long, long summer day and winter night;
  We are mourning till Thou bid'st our souls rejoice,
    Till Thy coming turns our darkness into light:
        Come, Lord Jesus, come again;
        We shall see Thee as Thou art,
          Then, and not till then,
        In Thy glory bear a part;
          Then, and not till then,
        Thou wilt satisfy each heart."
          J. DENHAM SMITH.



PHILIPPIANS iii. 17-21

The problem of the body--Cautions and tears--"That blessed hope"--The
duty of warning--The moral power of the hope--The hope full of
immortality--My mother's life--"He is able"--The promise of his coming

The Apostle draws to the close of his appeal for a true and watchful
fidelity to the Gospel.  He has done with his warning against Judaistic
legalism.  He has expounded, in the form of a personal confession and
testimony, the true Christian position, the acceptance of the believer
in "the righteousness which is of God by faith," and the sanctification
of the believer through union with his Lord and in an always growing
communion with Him.  Throughout this deep and most tender argument has
run everywhere the truth with which it began, that the sure antidote to
the spiritual errors in question is "joy in the Lord."  The glad use of
Jesus Christ in His personal glory and perfection, as He merited for
us, and as we abide in Him--this is the way.

Already another class of mistake and danger has risen before his mind,
and occupies it now exclusively.  From ver. 12 onward, if I read the
passage aright, he has been thinking not of the legalist only, who
opposed and denounced his doctrine of grace and faith, but of the
school or schools which rather would applaud it--and then distort it.
There was the teacher who would assert a premature and delusive
personal perfection, proclaiming himself so close to Christ that he had
already reached the holy goal.  And there was the teacher who would
reason so upon the perfectness of the atoning merits as to disclaim the
need of seeking with all his soul a personal conformity to the Lord of
the Atonement.  Such a man would conceivably affirm for himself an
experience of intense spiritual insight, a communion with God profound
and direct, an exaltation into a celestial atmosphere of consciousness;
while yet, and on his own avowed theory, he was living a life in which
sin was allowed to reign in his mortal body, What did it matter?  The
spirit soared and expatiated in a higher region.  The true man lived in
the world above, "commercing with the skies"; it was but the body, soon
to perish, which went its own way, and might be allowed to do so, for
it could never be other than the uncongenial burthen of the real man.

Such theories, as all are aware, were largely developed and widely
spread in the sub-apostolic age.  The word Gnosticism, so familiar to
the reader of the early history of thought in and around the Church,
reminds us of this; for while many Gnostics were severe ascetics,
others were practical libertines; and the divergent practices sprang
from one deep source of error, dishonour of the body.  To both schools,
spirit was good, matter was evil.  By both therefore the body was
viewed not as a subject of redemption, but as a barrier in its way.
The one aimed to wear out the barrier, to help it to disappear.  The
others left it, as they thought, alone; leapt, as they thought, over
it; as if they could pursue a spiritual life which should be
irrespective of the body's hopeless evils.

The embryo, at least, of this latter type of thought was beyond doubt
apparent in St Paul's day, and had begun to be felt at Philippi.
There, in that loving and beloved community, the plague had begun, or
at least the infection was imminent.  "Many walked" (perhaps not
actually at Philippi yet, but they might soon come) in the foul broad
road which they asserted to be clean and narrow.  Very probably they
used the terms of the Pauline Gospel, and said much of grace, and
faith, and the Spirit, and the things above.  But none the less they
were the victims of an awful self-delusion; teachers whose doctrine led
downwards to the pit.  To them he comes at length, explicitly and
finally.  In view of them he places before the Philippians once more
the fact of his own and his brethren's examples, and then the
sanctifying power of that blessed hope, the Redemption of the Body.

Ver. 17.  +United imitators of me become ye, brethren+; taking me, your
long-known guide in the Lord, for your moral pattern, and strengthening
your mutual cohesion (_summimêtai_) by so doing (an appeal prompted not
by egotism or self-confidence, but by single-hearted certainty about my
message and my purpose); +and mark+, watch, in order to tread in their
steps,[1] +those who so walk as you have us+, me and my
missionary-brethren, +for a model+; those whose practical conduct in
human life and intercourse (_peripatein_), seen among you day by day in
its wholesomeness and truth, plainly reproduces what you remember of
ours.  There is need for this attention, and for this

Ver. 18.  discrimination.  +For there are many men walking+, pursuing a
line of conduct and practice, +whom I often used to tell you of+, in
the days of our direct intercourse, +but+ (_de_) +now tell you of
actually+ (_kai_) +with cries and tears+ (_klaiôn_), (so much has the
evil grown, in extent and in depth, so awfully apparent are its issues,
for this world and the world to come,) +as the enemies+, _the_ personal
enemies (_tous echthrous_), as if in a bad pre-eminence, +of the Cross
of our+ (_tou_) +Christ+, that Cross of whose virtues they can say
much, but whose power upon the soul they utterly ignore; +of+

Ver. 19.  +whom the end is perdition+, ruin of the whole being,[2]
final and hopeless; +of whom the god is the belly+, (the sensual
appetites, the body's degradation, not its function,) while they claim
an exalted and special intimacy with the Supreme; +and their+ (_he_)
+glory+, their boast to see deeper and to soar higher than others, +is
in their shame; men whose mind is for+ (_phronouten_) +the things on
earth+, not, as they dream, or as at least they say, for the things of
an upper and super-corporeal world.  No; their subtle doctrine of
spirit and body--what is it when tested in its issues?  It is but a
philosophy of sin; a gossamer robe over the self-indulgence which has
come to be the real interest of the theorist, the real occupation of
his will.  All is really, with them, of the earth, earthy.  Far other
is the doctrine we have learned, and have striven to exemplify, at the
feet of Christ.

Ver. 20.  For our city-home, the seat of our citizenship, and of the
conduct which it demands and inspires,[3] +subsists in the heavens+, is
always there, an antecedent and abiding fact (_huparchei_), on which we
are to act in life; in that heavenly world, where the Lord is, and for
which He is training us; the eternal Country of this eternal City and
Home; +out of which+ (city)[4] +we are actually+ (_kai_) +waiting for,
as our Saviour+, in the full and final sense, the +Lord Jesus Christ,
who will+

Ver. 21.  +transfigure+--not annihilate, not cast away as essentially
evil, but wonderfully change in its conditions, and so in its guise, in
its semblance (_schêma_)--+the body of our humiliation+, this body, now
inseparably connected with the burthens and abasements of our
mortality, _humbling_ us continually in the course of its necessities,
and of its sufferings, but not therefore, in its essence, other than
God's good handiwork; +to be conformed+, with a resemblance based on an
essential assimilation (_summorphon_, _morphê_), +to the body of His
glory+, as He resumed His blessed Body when He rose, and as He wears it
now upon the Throne, and in it manifests Himself to the happy ones in
their bliss; +according to+, in ways and measures conditioned only by,
+the forth-putting+ (_energeia_) +of His ability actually to subdue to
Himself all things that are+ (_ta panta_).

So the great passage, the pregnant chapter, ends.  As it began so it
closes--with Jesus Christ.  With Him His servant can never have done;
"Him first, Him midst, Him last, and without end."  Jesus Christ is the
present joy, and the everlasting hope.  His perfected righteousness is
the believer's actual deep safety and repose.  His unsearchable riches
of personal grace and glory are the constant animation and ever-rising
standard of the believer's spiritual progress.  He is the eternal
Antidote to our fears, and also to our sins.  He is the infinite
Contradiction to the least compromise, under any pretext, with evil;
and He is this, among other ways, by being Himself "that blessed Hope";
"the Lord Jesus Christ, which is our Hope" (1 Tim. i. 1); so that the
prospect of His Return, and of what He will do for us, and for Himself
(_eautô_), when He returns, is to be our mighty motive in the matter of
practical, aye of bodily, cleanness and holiness of life.

The whole passage now before us is strongly characteristic of the New
Testament way of dealing with sin.  In the first place, there is no
lack of urgent and explicit warning.  The moral and spiritual evil is
labelled unmistakably.  It is pointed out as a danger not hypothetical
but actual; not floating in the air, but embodied in lives and
influences: "_Many persons walk_ whom I tell you of with tears as the
enemies of the cross of Christ."  And of these persons, as such, it is
unflinchingly said that their end is _atôleia_, "ruin," "perdition";
dread and hopeless word.  In all this lies a lesson for our day.  In
many quarters the solemn utterance of warning is now almost silent; it
is regarded as almost unchristian to warn sinners, even open sinners,
to do anything so much out of the fashion as "to flee from the wrath to
come," "the wrath which is coming upon the children of disobedience."
But this is not the apostolic way, nor the Lord's way.

Yet this passage, this heart-searching appeal, while it deals with
warning, does not end with it.  Its strongest and chosen argument is
not fear but hope; not perdition but "the coming again of our Lord
Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him."  St Paul has to
guard the Philippians against a most subtle form of sensual temptation,
a masterpiece of the Enemy.  In passing, and with bitter tears, he
points to the gulph where that path ends.  In closing, and with his
whole heart, he points to the coming Lord in His benignant glory, and
to the unutterable joy of our being then, finally and even in our
material being, transfigured for ever into His likeness.

For our own blessing, and for that of others, let us follow this
example.  Whether in the pulpit to a listening throng, or in more
individual approaches to other men, or when we turn in upon ourselves,
and, like the Psalmists, speak to our own souls, in the most secret
possible hour, let us seek to speak thus.  Let us not take an opiate
against the ideas of judgment, wrath, perdition--unless, with our
Bibles quite open, we are quite sure that such things are only dreams
of a past religious night.  Let us take urgent heed, above all for
ourselves, lest we _lose faith in the warnings_ of God.  But all the
while let us present to ourselves, and to others, as the great argument
of all for saying "No" to specious sin, "that blessed Hope."  Let us
consider Jesus Christ, till He shines upon us in something of the glory
of His Person and His Work.  Let us wait for Him from heaven.  More and
more, as the years roll, and the suns set, and "that day" is
approaching, let us take our place among those who "love His
appearing."  And as for our bodies, and His call to be pure in body as
in spirit, let us continually remember that "the body is for the Lord,
and the Lord for the body" (1 Cor. vi. 13).  Let us not merely try to
reason down temptation, or to order it down, in the name of abstract
rightness, or of concrete peril.  Let us recollect as a glorious fact
that the body is the purchased property of the Lord Jesus; that He
cares for it, as His dear-bought possession; that He can, by His own
Spirit, sanctify it now, through and through; and that He is coming,
perhaps very soon indeed, to "transfigure it to be conformed to the
body of His glory."

The whole genius of the Gospel tends to connect together, as closely as
possible, holiness and happiness.  They are to act and react in
manifold ways in the Christian life.  Holiness lies at the root of
happiness, as its deep condition.  But also happiness, from another
point of view, waters the root of holiness, and expands its flowers,
and brings its sweet fruit to fulness.  "The joy of the Lord is your
strength"--your strength to say to temptation a "No" which shall be
entirely willing and simple.  Never shall we so tread down the tempter,
and the traitor, as when we are "rejoicing in Christ Jesus," and "in
the hope of the glory of God."

Then let us cultivate this blessed secret.  Let us prove the power of
Christ loved and looked for.  In a very special sense let St Paul teach
us here to apply to our present needs the force of a heavenly future,
the future of His coming, and of our meeting Him and being transfigured
by Him.  In many directions, in the Church, this rule is being
practised now with great earnestness, and with happy issues; the
looking for the Lord's Return is indeed a reality to many.  But in many
directions it is otherwise.  Christian thought and labour too often
seem to limit themselves to the sphere of the present, and to forget
that the goal of the Gospel is not a state of social _bien-être_
developed by philanthropy under the auspices, so to speak, of Christ,
but an immortality of holy power and service, won for us by His merits,
prepared for us by His exaltation, while we are prepared for it by His
Spirit working in us.  Again and again we need to remember this.  The
Gospel showers along its path, upon the mortal life of man, personal
and social blessings of the philanthropic kind which nothing else can
possibly bring down.  It makes to-day infinitely important by
connecting it with the eternal to-morrow.  But the path is towards that
to-morrow.  "We look at the things not seen, for the things which are
not seen are eternal."  We "desire a better country, that is, an
heavenly."  "It doth not yet appear what we shall be; we shall be like
Him, for we shall see Him as He is."

Much current Christian teaching practically tends to drop immortality
very nearly out of sight.  The Lord's Return, the heavenly Life, "the
liberty of the glory of the sons of God"--these topics are either
little mentioned, or treated too much as luxuries and ornaments of the
Gospel.  But it was not so for the Lord Jesus, and for His Apostles.
And we shall find that to follow Him and them in this, as in other
things, is best.  It "hath the promise of the life that now is, and of
that which is to come."  Their doctrine of the future is much more than
an antidote to death.  It is the mighty animation of life.  It makes
altogether for present purity, and righteousness, and self-sacrificing
love, in the concrete circumstances of this generation.  It is the
thought in which alone man can live his true life _now_, as a being who
is made "to glorify God--and to enjoy Him fully _for ever_."

As a matter of fact, no human life is so true, full, and beautiful as
that which is at once assiduously attentive to present duty and
service, and full of the everlasting hope.  Such lives are being lived
all around us.  Which of my readers has not known at least one such?
For me, one among many shines out in my heart radiant with a brightness
all its own; it is the life of my blessed Mother.  She has now been a
great while with the Lord, on whom she so long believed.  But the
impression of what that "conversation" was is not only indelible; it
lives and moves, as fresh to-day as ever.  It was a busy life--the life
of a wife, a mother of many sons, a friend of many friends, the
pastor's help-mate in a poor parish.  It was a life of minute and
devoted attention to every duty, large and little.  It was a life of
warm and ready sympathies, and manifold interests.  But it was a life
all the while of divine communion, and of an unwavering "hope full of
immortality."  Dear to that heart indeed were husband, children,
friends, neighbours, suffering and sinning world.  Very fruitful was
that life for individual and social blessing, just such as the
philanthropist seeks to convey.  Side by side with my Father, who
laboured incessantly through a long life for God and man, and for men's
health as well as their salvation, my Mother lived for others in all
their present needs.  But the springs of what she was, and did, were
within the veil.  And the choice and the longing were always, in
perfect harmony with every strong human affection, directed towards
heaven  She did indeed "wait, as for her Saviour, for the Lord Jesus
Christ."  And the whole result, for those whom that life affected, was
a deep, strong evidence of Christianity.  In her we saw the Gospel
beautify the present by lifting the veil of the blessed future.  We
recognized the reality of Jesus Christ now by converse with one who so
much desired the sight of His glory _then_.

As we draw to an end, let us take up the closing words of our
paragraph, and read them as a special "lesson of faith."  St Paul is
telling us of a change yet to pass over us, over these our bodies,
altogether inconceivable in kind and degree.  They are to be
"transfigured into conformity to the body of our Saviour's glory."
Yes, it is inconceivable; in modern parlance, it is "unthinkable."
"How can these things be?"  Well, Scripture does not invite us to
"conceive" it, to "think" it, in the sense of thinking it out.  It
helps us indeed elsewhere (1 Cor. xv.) with intimations and
illustrations, up to a certain point; but this is not to explain, or to
ask us to explain.  What it does is something better; it invites us to
trust a personal Agent, who understands all that He has undertaken, and
who is able.  "How can these things be?"  Not according to this or that
law, principle, or tendency, which we can divine.  No; but "according
to the mighty working whereby HE is able to subdue all things unto

The method of the Bible is to give us ample views of what Jesus Christ
is, and then (not before) to ask us to trust Jesus Christ to DO what he
says He can.  He says, "I will raise you up at the last day."  And He
does not go on to explain.  He says nothing in detail of His _modus
operandi_.  We are in absolute ignorance of it, as much as the
Christians of five, or ten, or eighteen centuries ago.  We do not know
how.  But we know Him.  And He has said, "I will"--and has died and
risen again.

Shall we not rest here?  It is good ground.  "I know whom I have
believed; and am persuaded that He is able."

And what is true of His power and promise in this great matter of our
resurrection and our glory, is true of course all round the circle of
His undertakings.  "He can subdue all things."  And therefore, not only
death, and the grave, and the mysteries of matter, but also our hearts,
our affections, our wills.  He can "bring every thought into captivity"
to the holy rule of His thought.  He can "subdue our iniquities."  And
he can subdue also all that we know as circumstance and condition;
making the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.  How, we may
be wholly ignorant beforehand; only, "according to the mighty working."

Lastly, it is _heautô_,[5] "unto HIMSELF."  What a word of rest and
power!  Our expectation of His victories in us and for us does not
terminate upon ourselves; it is never safe to terminate things there.
It rises and rests in Himself.  Our glorification, body and soul, is,
ultimately, "unto Him"; therefore the prospect, and the desire, are
boundlessly right and safe.  "To subdue all things _unto Himself_"; so
as to serve Him, to promote His ends, to do His will.  Our absolute
emancipation from all the limitations of both moral and material evil
is "unto Himself."  Emancipation on this side, it is an entire and
eternal annexation on the other.  The being will be fully liberated
that it may fully serve--"day and night in His temple."

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus."  Come, to our full and final salvation.
Come, that we, the beings whom Thou hast made, and remade, may enjoy
"the liberty of the glory" (Rom. viii. 21) for which we were destined
in Thy love.  Come, that we may be for ever happy, and strong, and
free, in that wonderful world of the resurrection.  Come, that we may
meet again with exceeding joy the beloved ones who have gone before us,
and all Thy saints, and may with them inherit the everlasting kingdom.
But oh come yet more for Thyself, and for Thy glory, and to take Thy
full possession.  "Subdue all things," Lord Jesus, "unto Thyself."
Subdue our death for ever, that our endless life may be, in all its
fulness, spent for Thee.

  "For Thou hast met our longings
    With words of golden tone,
  That we shall serve for ever
    Thyself, Thyself alone;

  "Shall serve Thee, and for ever,
    Oh hope most sure, most fair;
  The perfect love outpouring
    In perfect service there." [6]

[1] _skopeite_: _skopein_ usually has reference to the attention which
results in avoidance; so Rom. xvi. 17: _parakalô skopein tous ta
skandala poiountas kai ekklinate k.t.l._  But here obviously the
"looking" is for imitation.--The Philippians knew St Paul's teaching,
and in his attached leading disciples among them they could _see_ it

[2] Cp. Matt. vii. 13; Rom. vi. 21; 2 Cor. xi. 15; Heb. vi. 8; 1 Pet.
iv. 17.

[3] I thus attempt to give the meaning of _politeuma_, so far as I
understand it.  The R.V. renders it "_citizenship_," and
"_commonwealth_" in the margin.  The usage of the word in Greek
literature amply justifies either, and either well suits the general
context.  The Apostle means that Christians are citizens of the
heavenly City as to their _status_, and are therefore "obliged by their
nobility" to live, however far from their home, as those who belong to
it, and represent it.  What seems lacking however in the rendering of
the R.V. is the idea of _locality_, which (to me) was clearly present
to St Paul's mind in his use of _politeuma_ here.  The proof of this
lies in the words _ex ou_ just below; not _ex ôn_ (_ouranôn_) but _ex
ou_ (_politeumatos_): I can find _no proof_ of the assertion (Moulton's
_Winer_, p. 177) that _ex ou_ is a mere equivalent for _hothen_, and so
may refer to the plural _ouranoi_.  The rendering "_seat_ of
citizenship" seems fairly to represent _politeuma_ thus.--The A.V.
"_conversation_" (Lat. _conversatio_, "intercourse of life") probably
represents an impression of the translators that the Apostle is as it
were echoing i. 27, _axiôs tu euaggeliou politeuesthe_.  But the
imagery here is different, and definite.

[4] See note just above on _ex ou_.

[5] Perhaps read _auta_.  But the translation must remain the same.

[6] F. R. Havergal.


"Now the Christians, O King, as men who know God, ask from Him
petitions which are proper for Him to give and for them to receive; and
thus they accomplish the course of their lives.  And because they
acknowledge the goodnesses of God towards them, lo! on account of them
there flows forth the beauty that is in the world."--_Apology of
Aristides, about_ A.D. 130; _translated by_ MRS RENDEL HARRIS.




Euodia and Syntyche--Conditions to unanimity--Great uses of small
occasions--Connexion to the paragraphs--The fortress and the
sentinel--A golden chain of truths--Joy in the
Lord--Yieldingness--Prayer in everything--Activities of a heart at rest

Ver. 1.  +So, my brethren beloved and longed for+, _missed_ indeed, at
this long distance from you, +my joy and crown+ of victory
(_stephanos_), +thus+, as having such certainties and such aims, with
such a Saviour, and looking for such a heaven, +stand firm in the Lord,
beloved ones+.

The words are a link of gold between the passage just ended and that
which is to follow.  They sum up the third chapter of the Epistle into
one practical issue.  In view of all that can tempt them away to alien
thoughts and beliefs St Paul once more points the converts to Jesus
Christ; or rather, he once more bids them remember that in Him they
are, and that their safety, their life, is to stay there, recollected
and resolved.  There is the point of overwhelming advantage against
error, and against sin; and only there.  "Standing in the Lord," in
remembrance and _in use_ of their vital union with Him, they would be
armed alike against the pharisaic and the antinomian heresy.
Counterfeits and perversions would be seen, or at least _felt_, to be
such while they were thus in living and working contact with the
REALITY.  There, with a holy instinct, they would repudiate utterly a
merit of their own before God, and a strength of their own against sin.
There, with equal inward certainty, they would detect and reject the
suggestion that they "should not surely die," though impurity was
cloaked and loved.

But the words we have just rendered look forward also.  St Paul is
about to allude, for the last time, and quite explicitly, to that blot
on the fair Philippian fame, the presence in the little mission Church
of certain jealousies and divisions.  One instance of this evil is
prominent in his thoughts, no doubt on Epaphroditus' report.  Two
Christian women, Euodia[1] and Syntyche, evidently well-known Church
members, possibly officials, "deaconesses," like Phoebe (Rom. xvi. 1),
were at personal variance.  Into their life and work for Christ (for
workers they were, or however had been; they had "wrestled along with
Paul in the Gospel,") had come this grievous inconsistency.  Somehow
(modern experiences in religious activity supply illustrations only too
easily) they had let the spirit of self come in; jealousy and a sense
of grievance lay between them.  And out of this unhappy state it was
the Apostle's deep desire to bring them, quickly and completely.  He
appeals to them personally about it, with a directness and explicitness
which remind us how homelike still were the conditions of the mission
Church.  He calls on his "true yoke-fellow," and on Clement, and on his
other "fellow-labourers," to "help" the two to a better mind, by all
the arts of Christian friendship.  But surely first, in this verse, he
leads not only the Philippians generally but Euodia and Syntyche in
particular up to a level where the self-will and self-assertion must,
of themselves, expire.  "Stand firm in the Lord."  In recollection and
faith surround yourselves with Jesus Christ.  The more you do so the
more you will find that so to be in Him is to "be of one mind in Him."
In that PRESENCE self is put to shame indeed.  Pique, and petty
jealousies, and miserable heart-burnings, and "just pride," die of
inanition there, and heart meets heart in love, because in Christ.

It is not guaranteed to us, I think, that we shall certainly be brought
here on earth to perfect intellectual agreement by a realized union
with Christ all round.  Such agreement will certainly be promoted by
such a realization; we all know how powerfully, in almost all matters
outside number and figure, feeling can influence reasoning; and to have
feeling rightly adjusted, "in Him that is true," must be a great aid to
just reasoning, and so a great contribution to mental agreement.
Thomas Scott, in his _Force of Truth_, (a memorable record of
experience,) maintains that vastly more doctrinal concord would be
attained in Christendom if all true Christians unreservedly and with a
perfect will sought for "God's heart" (and mind) "in God's words."[2]
But it is a law of our present state, even in Christ, that "we know in
part"; and while this is so, certain discrepancies of inference would
seem to be necessary, where many minds work each with its partial
knowledge.  It is otherwise with "_the spirit_ of our mind," the
attitude of will and affection in which we think.  In the Lord Jesus
Christ _this_ is meant to be, and can be, rectified indeed, as "every
thought is brought into captivity" to Him.  If so, to "stand firm in
Him" is the way of escape out of all such miseries of dissension
(whether between two friends, or two Churches, or two enterprises) as
are due not to reasoning but to feeling.  "In Him" there is _really_ no
room for envy, and retaliation, and "the unhappy desire of becoming
great," and the eager combat for our own opinion _as such_.  "Standing
firm in Him" the Euodias and Syntyches of all times and places _must
tend_ to be of one mind, one attitude of mind (_phronein_).  So far as
they are, in a sinful sense, not so "minded," it is because they are
half out of Him.

But now St Paul comes to them, name by name.  What must the tender
weight of the words have been as they were first read aloud at Philippi!

Ver. 2.  +To Euodia I appeal+ (_parakalô_),[3] +and to Syntyche I
appeal, to be of the same mind, in the Lord+; to lay aside differences
of feeling, born of self, in the power of their common union in
Christ.[5]  +Aye+ (read

Ver. 3.  _nai_, not _kai_), +and I beg thee also+, thee in _thy_ place,
as I seek to do in mine, +thou genuine yoke-fellow,[5] help them+
(_autais_)--these sisters of ours thus at variance, +women who+
(_aitines_) +wrestled along with me+, as devoted and courageous
workers, +in the+ cause of the +Gospel+, when the first conflicts with
the powers of evil were fought at Philippi; yes, do this loving
service, +with Clement[6] too, and my other fellow-workers, whose names
are in the Book of Life+; the Lord's own, "written in heaven," His for

Wonderful is the great use of small occasions everywhere in Scripture.
Minor incidents in a biography are texts for sentences which afford
oracles of truth and hope for ever.  Local and transitory errors, like
that of the Thessalonians about their departed friends, give
opportunity for a prophecy on which bereaved hearts are to rest and
rejoice till the last trumpet sounds.  The unhappy disagreement of two
pious women at Philippi is dealt with in words which lead up to the
thought of the eternal love of God for His chosen; as if the very
unworthiness of the matter in hand, by a sort of repulsion, drove the
inspired thought to the utmost height, without for one moment diverting
it from its purpose of peace and blessing.  And now, in the passage
which is to follow, the thought still keeps its high and holy level.
It says no more indeed of the Book of Life.  But it unfolds in one
sentence after another the manifestation here below of the eternal life
in all its holy loveliness.  It invites Euodia, and Syntyche, and us
with them, to the sight of what the believer is called to be, and may
be, day by day, as he rejoices in the Lord, and recollects His
presence, and tells Him everything as it comes, and so lives "in rest
and quietness," deep in His peace; and finds his happy thoughts
occupied not with the miseries of self-esteem and self-assertion, but
with all that is pure and good, in the smile of the God of peace.

The passage now to be translated has surely this among its other
precious attractions and benefits, that it stands related to what has
gone just before.  The precepts and promises are not given as it were
in the air; they are occasioned by Euodia and Syntyche, or rather by
what they have suggested to St Paul's mind, the crime and distress of
an unchristian spirit in Christians.  It is with this he is dealing.
And he deals with it not by an elaborate exposure of its obvious wrong,
but by carrying it into the sanctuary of holiness and peace, there to

With this recollection let us read the words now before us.

Ver. 4.  +Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say+ (_erô_),
+Rejoice+; I have said it above, as my antidote-word to every subtle
error; I come back (_palin_) to say it again, as my antidote to
self-will.  Your

Ver. 5.  +yieldingness+, your selflessness, the spirit which will yield
in _anything_ that is only of self, for Christ's sake, +let it be known
to all men+, let it be proved a reality in real life, by all and sundry
who have to do with you; +the Lord is near+, always beside you, to

Ver. 6.  know, to love, to elevate, to calm.[8]  +About nothing be
anxious+ (_merimnate_); _never_ let yourselves be burthened and
distracted _as those who are alone from your Lord_; +but in
everything+, however great, however little, +by your+ (_tê_) +prayer+,
your whole worshipping approach to Him, +and your+ (_tê_)
+supplication+, your definite petitions of Him, +with thanksgiving+,
thanks at least for this, that you have Him to speak to and to trust,
+let your requests be made known towards our God+ (_pros ton Theon_),
with perfect simplicity of detail, putting aside all the mysteries of
prayer in the

Ver. 7.  recollection that He bids you pray.  +And+, and thus, not
anyhow, but thus, in adoring, trusting communion with Him, +the peace
of God+, the innermost tranquillity caused by contact with Him,
breathed by His Spirit into ours, the peace +which transcends all
mind+, for no reasoning can explain and define its nature and its
consciousness, +shall+ (it is nothing less than a promise) +safeguard+,
as garrison, as sentinel (_phrourêsei_), +your hearts+, in all their
depths of will, affection, and reflexion, +and your thoughts+, the very
workings of those hearts in detail, +in Christ Jesus+.  In Him you are,
as your Fortress of rest and holiness; and, while there you rest, this
sacred keeper watches the door; the peace of God is sentinel.

Such was to be the condition for the true play of the inner life; such,
not in a dream but at Philippi, were to be their "hearts and thoughts,
in Christ Jesus"; thus happy, gentle, unanxious, prayerful, thankful,
all the day.  And now, what is to be the matter for such conditions,
the food for such thinking and such willing?  There is to be no vacuum,
called peace.  These "hearts and thoughts" are to be active,
discursive, reflective; "reckoning," "calculating," "reasoning out"
(_logixesthai_) innumerable things--all with a view, of course, to the
life-long work of serving God and man.

Ver. 8.  For, +finally, brethren, all things that are true, all things
that are honourable+, serious, sacred, venerable, self-respectful, +all
things that are righteous+, as between man and man in common life, +all
things that are pure+, clean words, clean deeds, +all things that are
amiable+, gracious, kindly; for manner as well as matter falls under
the will of God; +all things that are sweet to speak of+, things
prompting a loving and noble tone of conversation; +whatever virtue
there is+, truly so called, not in the pagan sense of self-grounded
vigour, even in right directions, but in that of the energy for right
which is found in God; +and whatever praise there is+, given rightly by
the human conscience to deeds and purposes of good; +these things think
out+, reckon, reason on (_logixesthe_).  Let _right_ in all its
practical, all its noble forms, be the subject-matter of your
considering and designing activities within.  Strong, not in yourselves
but in your Lord's presence and His peace, use His strength in you to
work out every precept of His Word, every whisper of His Spirit, every
dictate of the conscience He has given.

Then follows one word of a more personal kind; it is no egotism, but as
if he would remind them amidst these great generalities of principle
that they well knew a human life which strove to realize them in

Ver. 9.  +The things you learnt+ of me, +and received+ as revealed
truth from me, and +heard and saw in me, these things practise+
(_prassette_), make them the habits of your lives; and so +the God of
peace+, Author and Giver of peace within, and of harmony around, +shall
be with you+; your Companion and Guardian, "Lord of the Sabbath" of the
soul, secret of the true unity of the group, and of the Church.

Thus we read over again this golden chain of "commandments which are
not grievous" and "exceeding precious promises."  Few passages of equal
length, even in St Paul's Epistles, at once invite more attention to
details of language and convey richer spiritual messages.  Very
passingly and partially I have noted the more important details of word
and phrase, in the course of the translation.  It remains to say not
what I would but what I can, in brief compass, upon the messages to the
Christian's soul.

Let us be quite practical, and let our study take the simplest form.
In this wonderful paragraph let us not only wonder; let us take its
sentences as revelations of fact.  Here the Holy Spirit through the
Apostle sets before us some of the intended facts of the normal
Christian life.  These precepts were not meant to dissolve into bright
dreams; they were to be obeyed in Philippi then, and in England now;
they were spoken for not ideal but actual human beings, the rank and
file of the followers of the Lord.  These promises were not meant to be
met with an aspiration, followed by a sigh.  They were to be received
and used, as certainties of the grace of God, "before the sons of men."

Come then to the paragraph once again, to study it with real life in
immediate view, and in the full consciousness of our own sin and
weakness.  Here are some of the normal "possibilities of grace," not
for the strong and holy but for the very weak, for those who know that
"in their flesh dwelleth no good thing," but who come to Jesus, and (if
only for very fear and need) stay by Him.

Here then is the fact, first, that the Christian life, as such, is to
be, and may be, a life of "joy in the Lord always."  Such is "the Lord"
that He is indeed able to be a perpetual cause of joy.  The believer
has but to recollect HIM, to consider HIM, to converse with HIM, to
make use of HIM, in order to have in himself (not _of_ himself) "a well
of water, springing up unto eternal life."  "In joy and sorrow, life
and death, His love is still the same"; for HE is still the same; and
the believing man is His.

He will henceforth covet, and cultivate, this life of holy "joy in the
Lord always."  It is not a boisterous mirth; it is pure and chastened;
but it _is joy_.  It is an unfigurative happiness, a deep practical
cheerfulness, full of health for him who has it, and a most powerful
secret for influence over those who have to do with him.  Think of the
track of light left behind by lives of holy joy which we have watched!
It was good to be near them.  The very things and places round them
were warmed and beautified by them.  And their source and strength lay,
not in the believer, but in "the Lord"; therefore the way is open for
us too; we may be bearers of such sunshine too, happy and making happy.

  "By influence of the light divine
  Let thy own light to others shine;
  Reflect all heaven's propitious rays
  In ardent love and cheerful praise." [9]

Again, here is the fact that the normal Christian life is, as such, a
life of "moderation known unto all men," in the controlling calm of the
nearness of the Lord.  The meaning of this "moderation" (_to epieikes_)
we have seen; it is that blessed facility, that unselfish yieldingness,
which is not weakness at all but the outcome of the meekness of a heart
which Christ has overcome.  It is the instinctive spirit, where He is
in full command of thought and will, when personal "grievances" cross
us, when our personal claims are slighted, our feelings disregarded,
and even our legitimate rights overridden.  Of course more
considerations than one have to be taken as to our action when our
rights are overridden.  We have to ask whether our yielding will be
helpful or hurtful _to others_; we have even to ask whether to yield
may not do harm to the invader.  But these questions, if honestly
asked, stand clear of the spirit of self; they regard others.  And
wherever they can be so answered as to leave us free to yield in view
of others, we, if Christians indeed, living really our Christian life,
shall find it quite possible, in the Lord Jesus, to let our
"yieldingness be known unto all men," in the deep calm of "the Lord at
hand."  Yes, this can be so, in the most complicated life, and with the
most irritable character, if we will fully "receive the grace of God"
(2 Cor. vi. 1).  And the "all men" who "know" it will note it, and will
recognize, sooner or later, the Master in the servant.

Yet again, the normal Christian life is given here as a life free from
care, from that miserable anxiety, _merimna_, which blights and withers
human happiness far and wide, whether it comes in the form of a weight
of large responsibilities or of the most trifling misgivings.  "Be
careful for nothing"; "care-ful" in the antique sense of the word;
"burthened with care."  In the modern sense of careful, no one should
be more careful than we; "faithful in the least," "shewing all good
fidelity in all things," "walking circumspectly," accurately, _akribôs_
(Eph. v. 15), "pleasing the neighbour for his good unto edification,"
"whether we eat or drink, doing all to the glory of God," "watching and
praying always."  But in the other sense we are, we positively are,
enjoined to live "without carefulness"; to take pains, but in peace; to
work and serve, but at rest within; to "provide," to think beforehand
(_pronoeisthai_, Rom. xii. 17), but in the repose of soul given by the
fact that with the morrow will come the Lord, or rather that He will
walk with us and lead us into it.  It is a great triumph to live such a
life; but it is His triumph, not ours.  Let us leave Him free (may the
word be used in reverence?) to win it; to "do this mighty work," to
"bear our burthen daily" (so we may render Ps. lxxviii. 19).  Nothing
will much more glorify Him in eyes that notice our daily walk than to
see us always taking care, yet always unanxious while we take it.

  "In the calm of sweet communion
    Let thy daily work be done;
  In the peace of soul-outpouring
    Care be banish'd, patience won." [10]

The sweet hymn leads us straight to the next point.  The normal
Christian life, according to this paragraph, is a life of perpetual,
habitual, converse with God, converse about everything.  And such
converse has everything to do with the unanxious life.  The man who
would be unanxious is to cultivate the practice of reverent,
worshipping (_proseuchê_), thankful, _detailed prayer_; so shall he
enter into peace.  Here is a large subject; it is inexhaustible; from
every aspect prayer is wonderful; and there are many kinds and types of
prayer, as regards the act and exercise of it.  But the all-important
thing to remember here is that we are called _to pray_ as the great
means to a divine unanxious peace; and that we are called to pray in
the sense of "making our requests known _in everything_."  Shall we, in
the grace of God, set ourselves to do it?  Shall we remember the
presence of the Hearer, and "practise the Presence"?  Shall we act upon
it?  More, and more, and always more, shall we really "_in everything_"
turn to Him, and tell Him?  Thought is good, but prayer is better; or
rather, thought in the form of prayer is, in ten thousand cases, the
best thought.  Let us make it a rule, God helping, "in everything"
which calls for pause, for consideration, for judgment, to pray first
and then to think.  Innumerable futile thoughts will thus be saved,
thoughts made fruitless by a hurry of spirit, or a heat, or a hardness,
which puts all our view out of order.  We shall indeed need to take
pains.  For while nothing is simpler in idea than the act of speaking
to the unseen Friend, nothing is more easy, alas, to let slip in
practice.  But the pains will be infinitely worth the while; it will be
all applied at the right point.  Wonderful result, guaranteed here by
the Hearer of prayer; His "peace shall safeguard our hearts and our
thoughts, in Christ Jesus," in the living Sanctuary of security and
strength.  There all our powers shall be active, yet at rest; dealing
with a thousand things, yet always conditioned by Him who is "the One
Thing Needful."  Unity will lie at the heart of multiplicity; Christ
will rule life from the centre.

Lastly, the normal Christian life, thus conditioned, is a life whose
mental energies (_logixesthe_) are fully at work, always gravitating
towards purposes and actions true, pure, gracious, virtuous,
commendable; "sowing the fruit of righteousness in peace," at the side
of "the God of peace."  True, the man may have many things to think of
which are either perfectly secular in themselves (he may be a servant,
he may be a man of business, he may be a physician, he may be a
minister of state); or which are evil in themselves (he may be an
investigator, or a judge, of crime).  Nevertheless, this will not
deflect the true current of the mind.  These "thinkings" will all find
place and direction in the "thought" which remembers that the thinker
is the Lord's, and that in his _whole_ life he is to be true to the
Lord's glory and the good of man.  "The God of peace will be with him"
wherever he goes, whatever he does; deep below the surface, but so as
to control the whole surface all the while.

Such is the Christian life, where the Christian "stands firm in the
Lord."  It was thus at Philippi.  In the early generations of the
Church (let the _Apology of Aristides_ alone be adequate witness) it
was thus, to a degree and to an extent most memorable, in at least very
many Christian circles.  It is thus still, in many an individual life.
But is it in any sense whatever thus in the rule and average or even
earnest Christian lives?  Is it thus in ours?

"Henceforth, let us _live_--not unto ourselves, but unto Him who died
for us, and rose again."  To Him, in Him, by Him, we are bound to live
so (Rom. viii. 12, _opheileta_), we are able to live so.  Let us
"present ourselves to God" (Rom. vi. 13), watching and praying, and it
shall be.

  "Two arms I find to hold Thee fast,
    Submission meek and reverent faith;
  Held by Thy hand that hold shall last
    Through life and over death.

  "Not me the dark foe fears at all,
    But hid in Thee I take the field;
  Now at my feet the mighty fall,
    For Thou hast bid them yield." [11]

[1] So certainly read, not _Euodias_, which would be a man's name, a
contraction of Euodianus.  Euodias as a fact is not found in
inscriptions.  Euodia on the other hand is a known feminine name; and
the words just following ("help these women") make it practically
certain that the two persons just named were both female converts.
(_Euodian_ of course may be the accusative of either _Euodias_ or

[2] _Cor Dei in verbis Dei_; Gregory the Great's noble description of
the Bible, in a letter to the courtier Theodoras, begging him to study
daily "the Letter of the heavenly Emperor."

[3] "I exhort," R.V.  A slightly tenderer word seems better to
represent _parakalein_ in this personal connexion.  "I beseech" (A.V.)
is _perhaps_ rather too tender.

[4] "As a curiosity of interpretation, Ellicott (see also Lightfoot, p.
170) mentions the conjecture of Schwegler, that Euodia and Syntyche are
really designations of _Church-parties_ [the imagined Petrine and
Pauline parties], the names being devised and significant
[Euodia='_Good-way_,' Orthodoxy; Syntyche='_Combination_,' of Gentiles
and Jews on equal terms].  This theory of course regards our Epistle as
a fabrication of a later generation, intended as an _eirenicon_.  'What
will not men affirm?'"  (Note on ver. 2 in _The Cambridge Bible for

[5] We know nothing for certain of this person.  Lightfoot suggests
that it was Epaphroditus, whom St Paul would thus commission not only
orally but in writing, as a sort of credential.  One curious and most
improbable conjecture is that it was _St Paul's wife_.  Renan (_Saint
Paul_, p. 148) renders here _ma chère épouse_.

[6] Perhaps the bishop of Rome of a later day.  So Origen and Eusebius.
But we cannot be certain of the identity.

[7] "Cp. Rev. iii. 5, xiii. 8, xvii. 8, xx. 12, 15, xxi. 27; and Luke
x. 20.  And see Exod. xxxii. 32, 33; Ps. lxix. 28, lxxxvii. 6; Isa. iv.
3; Ezek. xiii. 9; Dan. xii. 1.  The result of the comparison of these
passages with this seems to be that St Paul here refers to the Lord's
'knowledge of them that are His' (2 Tim. ii. 19: cp. John x. 27, 28),
for time and eternity.  All the passages in the Revelation, save iii.
5, are clearly in favour of a reference of the phrase to the certainty
of the ultimate salvation of all true saints . . . so too Dan. xii. 1
and Luke x. 20.  Rev. iii. 5 appears to point in another direction (see
Trench on that passage).  But in view of the other mentions of the
'Book' in the Revelation the language of iii. 5 may well be only a
vivid assertion that the name in question _shall be found_ in an
indelible register. . . .  Practically, the Apostle here speaks of
Clement and the rest as having given illustrious proof of their part
and lot in that 'life eternal' which is 'to know the only true God, and
Jesus Christ whom He hath sent' (John xvii. 3).--The word '_names_'
powerfully suggests the individuality and speciality of divine love."
(Note in _The Cambridge Bible for Schools_.)

[8] I think the Apostle has in mind Ps. cxix. 151, where the Septuagint
version has _su eggus ei, Kurie_.  He is thinking of "the secret _of
the Presence_" (Ps. xxxi. 20).  We need not shut out the calming
thought of the Lord's approaching _Return_; but it does not seem to be
the leading thought here.

[9] Bishop Ken.

[10] G. M. Taylor, in _Hymns of Consecration_, 349.

[11] _In the House of the Pilgrimage_.


  "Is thy cruse of comfort wasting? rise and share it with another,
  And through all the years of famine it shall serve thee
      and thy brother.

  "Is thy burthen hard and heavy? do thy steps drag wearily?
  Help to bear thy brother's burthen; God will bear both it and thee.

  "Is the heart a living power? self-entwin'd, its strength sinks low;
  It can only live in loving, and by serving love will grow."
          E. RUNDLE CHARLES.




The Philippian alms--His sense of their faithful love--He has received
in full--A passage in the Scriptural manner--The letter closes--"Christ
is preached"--"Together with them"

The work of dictation is nearly done in the Roman lodging.  The
manuscript will soon be complete, and then soon rolled up and sealed,
ready for Epaphroditus; he will place it with reverence and care in his
baggage, and see it safe to Philippi.

But one topic has to be handled yet before the end.  "Now concerning
the collection!"  Epaphroditus, who had brought with him to Rome the
loving alms of the Philippian believers, must carry back no common
thanks to them.  All honour shall be done by the Lord's great servant
to those who have done the Lord this service in him; they shall know
how it has rejoiced and warmed his heart; they shall be made very sure
that "inasmuch as they have done it to" their Missionary "they have
done it to" their KING.

We do not know how much the money amounted to.  It was not improbably a
substantial sum.  Among the contributors might be Lydia, whose means
may well have been comfortable; and the Keeper of the Prison would be
by no means a beggar: what gratitude to St Paul glowed in both those
hearts!  But not in theirs only; the rank and file of the mission would
do all that love could do for the man who had manifested JESUS to them.
And when that is the spirit, the liberality will often be surprising.
Not long ago in one of our North American missions a small meeting of
poor Christian Indians apologized for the scantiness of their
collection for _missionary objects_; it was worth only £7; they would
do better the next time!

But small or large, the Philippian gift was precious with the weight of
love.  And no doubt it was exceedingly useful practically.  It would
secure for the imprisoned missionary many alleviating personal
comforts, and part of it would probably be spent upon the work of
evangelization in Rome and its neighbourhood; for then as now work
inevitably meant expense.

Ver. 10.  +But+, to turn now from teaching to thanking--+I rejoice+
(_echarên_: the English present best gives the point of the
"epistolary" aorist) +in the Lord+, in our union of heart and life with
Him, +greatly, that now at length+, after an interval which was no
fault of yours, +you have blossomed, out[1] into+ loving +thought on my
behalf+.  +With a view to this+ (_eph ô_), this effort to aid me, you
+were, I know+ (_kai_), +taking thought+ (_ephroneite_), even when you
made no sign; +but you were at a loss for opportunity+ for the
transmission; no bearer for your bounty could be spared, or found.

Ver. 11.  +Not that I speak thus in the tone of need+ (_kath
usterêsin_), as if I had been wondering, and fretting, and suspecting
you of forgetfulness or of parsimony; no, I have been in a happier mood
than that; +for I, for my part+ (_egô_: slightly emphatic), have learnt
(_emathon_: our perfect tense best gives this aorist) +to be, in my
actual circumstances, self-sufficing+ (_autarkês_); "carrying with me
all I have"; independent, not of grace, but of surroundings.

Ver. 12.  +I know both+ (_kai_, not _de_) +how to run low,[2] and how
to run over+, as I do now, with your bounty; and both experiences need
a teaching from above if they are to be rightly borne.  +In everything
and in all things+, in the details and in the total, I have been let
into the secret, I have been initiated into the "mystery,"[3] +of being
full fed and of being hungry, of+

Ver. 13.  +running over and of coming short.  For all things I am
strong in Him who makes me able.+[4]

But not even this joyful testimony to the enabling presence of his Lord
must divert his thought from the loving act of the Philippians.  He
seems about to dilate on the glorious theme of what he can be and do in
Christ; the wonder of that experience on which he entered at the crisis
detailed in 2 Cor. xii. is surely powerfully upon him; the "My grace is
sufficient for thee"; the sense of even exultation in weakness and
imperfection, "that the power of Christ may overshadow" him.  But all
this leaves perfectly undisturbed his delicate sympathy with the dear
Macedonian converts.  And so he will assure them that no spiritual
"sufficiency" can blunt the sense of their generous kindness.

Ver. 14.  +Yet you did well+, you did a fair, good deed, +when you
joined together+ (_sunkoinônêsantes_) +in participating in my
tribulation+, with the partnership of a sympathy which feels the
suffering it relieves.  +But you

Ver. 15.  +know+, (to add a thought on your previous bounties, which
may as it were correct (_de_) the thought that I needed this last
bounty to assure me of your love,) you know, +Philippians,[5] that in
the beginning of the Gospel+, in the early days of the mission in your
region, +when I left Macedonia+, parting from you on my way south, in
order to quit Macedonia (Roman Northern Greece) for Achaia (Roman
Southern Greece), _viâ_ Thessalonica and Beroea,[6] +no church
participated with me+, helped me in my labours, +in the matter of
giving and taking+, (they giving and I taking the needed monetary aid,)
+but you alone+.  But

Ver. 16.  you did so; +because even in Thessalonica+; even when I was
still there, in a place which was but ninety miles away,[7] and in the
same province still; twice over (_kai hapax kai dis_) +you sent+ aid
+to my need+, within the few weeks which I spent at Thessalonica.

Again he will not be misunderstood.  This warmly expressed gratitude
may conceivably be mistaken for an indirect petition, "thanks for
favours to come."  So with sensitive delicacy he pursues:

Ver. 17.  +Not that I am in quest of+ (_epizêtô_: almost, "I am hunting
for") +the gift+, the mere sum of money, in and for itself; +but I am
in quest of the interest that is accumulating to your account+;[8] I am
bent upon just such a developement of your generosity as will win from
the heavenly Master more and yet more of that supreme reward, His own
"Well done, good and

Ver. 18.  faithful."  +But+ (he is still anxious, lest this too should
be mistaken for a personal bid for more) +I have received in full+
(_apechô_); you have amply discharged love's obligations, in the gift
now sent; +and I run over+; the largeness of your bounty makes an
overflow.  +I have been filled full, in accepting from Epaphroditus
what+ came +from you; an odour of fragrancy, a sacrifice acceptable,
pleasing to God+, to whom you have really presented what you have sent
to the man who serves Him--this evidence of your sacrifice to Him of
yourselves and your possessions, a burnt offering (Lev. i. 9) of
surrender, a peace offering (Lev. ii. 2, iii. 5) of thanksgiving.[9]  I

Ver. 19.  requite you; +but my God shall fill up every need of yours+
(_pasan chreian_, not _p._tên chr._), making up to you in His own
loving providence the gap in your means left by this your bounty, and
enriching you the while in soul, +according to+, on the scale of, +His
wealth, in glory, in Christ Jesus+.  Yes, He will draw on no less a
treasury than that of "His glory," His own Nature of almighty Love, as
it is manifested to and for you "in Christ Jesus," in whom "all the

Ver. 20.  Fulness dwells."[10]  +But now to our God and Father+, to Him
of whom I and you are alike the dear children, +be the glory+, the
praise for this and for all like acts of His children's love, +for ever
and ever+; "to the ages of the ages," the endless cycles of eternal
life, in which shall it be fully seen how He was the Secret of all the
holiness of all His saints.  _Amen_.

So the utterance of thanks for a loving and liberal collection closes.
Here is another case of the phenomenon we have seen already--the
beautiful skill with which a local and personal incident is used as the
occasion for a whole revelation of grace and truth.  We can easily
imagine a gift like that which came from Philippi acknowledged with a
few cordial words which would adequately express gratitude and
pleasure, but would otherwise terminate wholly in themselves.  How
different is this paragraph!  Throughout it, side by side, run at once
the most perfect and delicate human courtesy and considerateness, and
suggestions of eternal and spiritual relations, in which "the gift"
touches at every point the heart of the Lord, and the promises of
grace, and the hope of glory.  This message of thanks gives us, just in
passing, such oracles of blessing as, "I can do all things in Him that
strengtheneth me," and "My God shall supply all your need."  It is on
one side a model of nobility and fineness of human thought and feeling,
on the other an oracle of God.  This is just in the manner of
Scripture.  "Never book spake like this Book."

Now the close comes.  The greetings which those who are one in the Lord
cannot but send to one another in His name, have to be spoken, and then
the scribe's pen will rest.

Ver. 21.  +Salute every saint in Christ Jesus+, every holy one of your
circle, holy because in Him; pass the greetings round from my heart to
each member of the Church.  And as I write, the Christians now around
me, my personal friends upon the spot, must send their message too;
+there salute you all the brethren who are with me+.  And not they
only, but all the believers of the Roman mission, represented around me
in my chamber as I dictate, do the same; and among them one class asks
to join with special warmth; +there+

Ver. 22.  +salute you all the saints, but particularly those who belong
to+ (_oi ek_) +the household of the Emperor+ (_kaisaros_); the
Christians gathered from the retainers of the Palace; peculiar in their
circumstances of temptation, and quickened thereby to a special warmth
of faith and love.[11]

Nothing is left now but the final message from the Lord Himself; the
invocation of that "grace" which means in fact no abstract somewhat but
His living Self, present in His people's inmost being, to vivify and to

Ver. 23.  +The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.[12]

The voice is silent; the pen is laid aside.  In due time the papyrus
roll, inestimable manuscript, is made ready for its journey.  And
perhaps as it now lies drying the Missionary and his brethren turn to
further conversation on the beloved Philippian Church, and recall many
a scene in the days that are over, and which are now gliding far into
the past of the crowded years; and they speak again of the brightness
of Philippian Christian life, and the shadows that lie on it here and
there; and then, while the Praetorian sentinel looks on in wonder, or
perhaps joins in as a believer, they pray together for Philippi, and
pour out their praises to the Father and the Son, and anticipate the
day of glory.

It is all over now; it all happened very long ago.  But though that
blessed group of our elder brethren "are all gone into the world of
light" these many more than eighteen hundred human years, that Letter
is our contemporary still.  "The word of God _liveth_ and _abideth for
ever_" (1 Pet. i. 23); it is never out of date, never touched by the
pathetic glamour of the past, with the suggestion of farewells, and
waxings old, and vanishings away.  To us to-day, so near the twentieth
century, the Epistle to the Philippians is immortal, modern, true for
our whole world and time.

And what is its secret, its elixir of undying life?  It is the Name of
Jesus Christ.  It is that these pages are the message of "the chosen
Vessel" about that Name.

Our studies in the Epistle shall close with that reflexion.  The
incidental topics and interests of the document are numerous indeed;
but the main theme is one, and it is Jesus Christ.  From first to last,
under every variety of reference, "Christ is preached."

Let me quote from a Sermon preached many years ago, the last of a
series in which I attempted to unfold the Epistle to a Christian
congregation in the beloved Church of Fordington, Dorchester, then my
Father's cure and charge.

"The mere number of mentions of the Saviour's name is remarkable.  More
than forty times we have it in this short compass; that is to say, it
occurs, amidst all the variety of subjects, on an average of about once
in every two or three verses.  This is indeed perfectly characteristic,
not of this Epistle only but of the whole New Testament.  What the
Apostles preached was not a thing but a Person; Christ, Christ Jesus,
Christ Jesus the Lord.

"But let us not look only on this frequency of mention.  Let us gather
up something of what these mentions say 'concerning the King.'

"The writer begins with describing himself and his associates as the
servants, the absolute bondmen, _of Jesus Christ_.  And truly such
servants witness to the worthiness of their Master.

"He addresses those to whom he writes as saints, as holy ones, _in
Jesus Christ_.  Their standing, their character, their all, depends on
Him; on union with Him, on life in Him.  Without Him, apart from Him,
they would not be saints at all.

"The writer speaks of his imprisonment at Rome; the subject is full of
Jesus Christ.  'My bonds _in Christ_' is his remarkable description of
captivity.  And the result of that captivity was, to his exceeding joy,
just this, amidst a great variety of conditions in detail, including
some exquisite trials to patience and peace: '_Christ_ is being
preached'; 'that _Christ_ may be magnified in my body, whether by life
or death.'  He is kept absolutely cheerful and at rest; and the secret
is Jesus Christ.

"He has occasion to speak of his trial, with its delays, and its
suspense between life and death.  The whole is full of Jesus Christ.
'To me to live is _Christ_'; He fills, and as it were makes, life for
me.  'And to die is gain'--why?  Because 'to depart and to be with
_Christ_ is far, far better.'  The dilemma in which he stands (for he
is 'in a strait betwixt the two') is a dilemma between Christ and
Christ, Christ much and Christ more, Christ by faith and Christ by

"He dwells, in various places, on the life and duties of the
Philippians.  His precepts are all this, in effect--Christ applied to
conduct.  'Let your life-walk be as it becometh the Gospel of
_Christ_'; 'Filled with the fruit of righteousness which is through
_Jesus Christ_'; 'It is granted to you not only to believe in _Christ_
but also to suffer for His sake.'

"In particular, he has to press on them the homely duty of practical
self-forgetfulness.  He takes them for model and motive to the heaven
of heavens, and shews them 'Christ Jesus' there, as for us men and for
our salvation He prepares to come down, and comes.  'Let this mind be
in you,' as you contemplate the original Glory, the amazing
Incarnation, the atoning Death, of _Christ Jesus_.

"He expresses hopes, intentions, resolutions, as to his own actions.
All is still 'in Jesus Christ.'  'I trust in _the Lord Jesus_ to send
Timotheus,' 'I trust in _the Lord_ to come myself shortly.'

"Does he speak of the believer's joy?  'We rejoice in _Christ Jesus_,'
'Rejoice in _the Lord_ alway, and again I say, Rejoice.'  Does he speak
of pardon and of peace?  'I counted all things but loss that I might
win _Christ_, and be found in Him, having the righteousness which is of
God by faith.'  Does he speak of knowledge, and of power?  'That I
might know _Christ_, and the power of His resurrection, and the
fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death';
'I can do all things in _Christ_ which strengtheneth me.'

"He speaks of a holy immortality, of eternal glory, and of pleasures
for evermore.  It is no vague aspiration; it is a sure and certain
hope; and it is altogether in Jesus Christ.  'Our home, our
citizenship, is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour,
the Lord _Jesus Christ_, who shall change the body of our humiliation
into likeness to the body of His glory, according to the working
whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto--Himself.'

"He bids his beloved converts stand fast; it is 'in _the Lord_.'  He
bids them be of one mind; it is 'in _the Lord_.'  He bids them be
always calm, always self-forgetting; '_the Lord_ is at hand.' He
assures them of an all-sufficient resource for their every need; 'My
God shall supply all, according to His riches, in glory, in _Christ

"His last message of blessing brings together their inmost being and
this same wonderful Person; 'The grace of our Lord _Jesus Christ_ be
with your spirit.  Amen.' . . .

"What a witness it all is to the glory of our beloved Redeemer; to the
majesty of His Person; to the fulness and perfection of His Work; to
the solidity, the sobriety, the strength, of the faith which is in Him!
There is no inflation or rhetoric in the language of the Epistle about
Him.  Glowing with love, it is all clear and calm.  Yes, for Christ
Jesus is not a phantom of the fancy; a hope floating on the thick waves
of a wild enthusiasm.  He is an anchor, sure and steadfast.  Blessed
are they who ride secure on the deep, held fast by Him.

"The Epistle witnesses to Him as to a Treasure worth all our seeking,
at any cost; infinitely precious to our joyful finding; infinitely
deserving of our keeping, of our holding, our 'apprehending,' as He in
His mercy has laid hold of us, and will keep hold of us, even to the
end; 'unto the day of Jesus Christ.'  As then, so now;

  'He help'd His saints in ancient days
    Who trusted in His name;
  And we can witness to His praise,
    His love is still the same.'

"May the Spirit bring home to our spirit this great witness of the
Epistle; it has its perfect adaptation to each heart, to every life, to
every hour.

"Then hereafter we shall give God thanks yet better for 'Philippians,'
as we too enter, late or soon, into that world where the Apostle, and
Timotheus, and Epaphroditus, and Euodia, and Syntyche, and Clement, and
the saints of Caesar's household, have so long beheld the Lord.  In
that land of light we, who have believed, shall rest with them.  We
shall know them.  In the long leisure of endless life we shall enjoy
their company, amidst the multitudinous congregation of the just made
perfect.  There we shall understand how, under the infinite differences
of our earthly conditions, the one Hand led them and led us along the
one way of salvation to the one end of everlasting life.  Above all, we
there, with them, shall know JESUS CHRIST, even as we are known.  There
we, with them, shall realize how to Him, and to Him alone, from all His
servants, from Hebrew, and Roman, and Philippian, and Englishman, and
African, from ancients and moderns, wise and ignorant, of all kinds and
times, was due the whole praise of their whole salvation.

    'Conflicts and trials done
    His glory they behold,
  Where JESUS and His flock are one,
    One Shepherd and one fold.'"

[1] _Anethalete to huper emou phronein_.  Literally, "_you shot forth_
(as a branch) _thought in my behalf_."  (The English perfect best
represents this aorist.)  The phrase is unmistakably pictorial,
poetical.  If I read it aright, it is touched with _a smile_ of gentle
pleasantry; the warm heart comes out in a not undesigned quaintness of

[2] _tapeinousthai_ is used in classical Greek of the falling of a
river in drought.  Perhaps such an image is present in the language

[3] _Memuêmai_: the verb whose root is that of _mysterion_,
_mysterium_, "mystery."  In the Greek world "mysteries" were systems of
religious belief and practice derived, perhaps, from pre-Hellenic
times, and jealously guarded from common knowledge by their votaries.
Admission into their secrets, as into those of Freemasonry now, was
sought by people of all kinds, from Roman consuls and emperors
downwards; with the special hope of freedom from evil in this life and
the next.  St Paul's use of this phenomenon to supply language for
Christian experience is beautifully suggestive.  The knowledge of the
peace of God is indeed an _open_ secret, open to "whosoever will"
"learn of Him."  But it is a secret, a mystery, none the less.

[4] The word _Christô_ should be omitted from the reading, though
perfectly right as a note or explanation.--The _iochus_ is the
forth-putting of the _dunamis_--the _action_ of the _faculty_.  He is
ready to act (or to bear) in a power always latent, always present,
through his union with his Lord.  The "all things" so met are, of
course, the all things of the will of God, the choice of the Master for
the servant in the way of circumstance and trial; not the all things of
the mere wish or ambition of the servant.

[5] _Philippêsioi_: the Greek form represents a Latin _Philippenses_,
by which the residents in the _Roman "colony"_ would call themselves.
So _Corinthiensis_ means not a born Corinthian but a settler at
Corinth.--Greek tends to represent a Latin syllable -_ens_ by -_ês_: so
_Klêmês_, _Clemens_.

[6] See Acts xvii. 1-15.

[7] On the Egnatian road.  He made three stages of the distance;
Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica.

[8] _Ton karpon ton pleonazonta eis logon hymôn_.  I venture to render
these words as above, as a monetary phrase, relating to principal and
interest.  It is true that _karpos_ is not found used in the sense of
interest, for which the regular word is _tokos_.  But it would easily
fit into the language of the money-market.  And St Chrysostom's comment
here seems to show that he, a Greek, understood it thus: _horas hoti
ekeinois ho karpos tiktetai_ (_tokos_).

[9] For _osmê euôdias_ see Eph. v. 2.  The phrase is common in the
Septuagint to render the Hebrew "savour of rest," the fume of the altar
pictorially represented as smelt by the Deity.

[10] This reference of _doxa_ seems better than that which would
connect it only with the eternal future, the glory of heaven, and make
the sentence mean that He would hereafter requite them there.  He would
indeed do so.  But the phrase _plêroun pasan chreian_ hardly suggests
that thought here.

[11] "Bishop Lightfoot . . . (_Philippians_, pp. 171-178) has shewn
with great fulness of proof that 'the household of Caesar' was a term
embracing a vast number of persons, not only in Rome but in the
provinces, all of whom were either actual or former slaves of the
Emperor, filling every possible description of office more or less
domestic.  The Bishop illustrates his statements from the . . . burial
inscriptions of members of the 'Household' found . . . near Rome. . . .
These inscriptions afford a curiously large number of coincidences
_with the list in Rom. xvi._ . . .  Amplias, Urbanus, Apelles,
Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Patrobas, Philologus. . . .  Bishop Lightfoot
infers from this whole evidence the great probability that the 'saints'
greeted in Rom. xvi. were, on the whole, the same 'saints' who here
send greeting _from_ Rome. . . .  Their associations and functions, not
only in the age of Nero but in the precincts of his court, and probably
(for many of them) within the chambers of his palace, give a noble view
in passing of the power of grace to triumph over circumstances, and to
transfigure life where it seems most impossible" (Note in _The
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges_).  See also the writer's
commentary on the Ep. to the Romans (_Expositor's Bible_), pp. 423-425.

[12] Read _meta tou pneumatos huôn_, not _m. pantôn humôn_.


ACTS xxviii. 16, 31

"Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept
him. . . .  preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things
which concern the Lord Jesus Christ."

  (THE SOLDIER loquitur.)

  Father, the dawn is near! the shield
    Of Luna sinks remote and pale
  O'er Tiber and the Martial field;
    The breeze awakes; the cressets fail:
  This livelong night from set of sun
  Here have we talk'd: thy task is done.

  But yesterday I smil'd or frown'd
    To watch thy audience, soon and late,
  With scroll and style embattl'd round
    In barbarous accents ply debate;
  While this would chide, and that would start
  Sudden, as sword-struck in the heart.

  I laugh'd aside, or, tir'd, withdrew
    From the strange sound in waking dreams
  To Umbrian hills--the home I knew--
    The cottage by Mevania's streams:
  'Twas hush'd at length: the guests were flown,
  And thou wast left and I alone.

  Thou hast forgiven (I know thee now)
    The insults of this heathen tongue;
  The taunting questions why and how;
    The songs (oh madness!) that I sung:
  Thou hast forgiv'n the hateful strain
  Of dull defiance and disdain.

  Thy gaze, thy silence, they compell'd
    My own responsive: aw'd I stood
  Before thee; soften'd, search'd, and quell'd;
    The evil captive to the good:
  Half conscious, half entranc'd, I heard
  (While the stars mov'd) thy conquering word.

  These ears were dull to Grecian speech,
    This heart more dull to aught but sin;
  Yet the great Spirit bade thee reach,
    Wake, change, exalt, the soul within:
  I've heard; I know; thy Lord, ev'n He,
  JESUS, hath look'd from heaven on me.

  Thou saw'st me shake, and (spite of pride)
    Weep on thy hand: so stern thy truth:
  I own'd the terrors that abide
    Dread sequel to a rebel's youth:
  But soon I pour'd a happier shower
  To learn thy Saviour's dying power.

  Ah, speechless, rapt, I bent, to know
    Each wonder of that fateful day
  When midst thy zeal's terrific glow
    He met thee on the Syrian way:
  I saw, I felt, the scene: my soul
  Drank the new bliss, the new control.

  Father, the dawn is risen! the hour
    Is near, too near, when from this hand
  Thy chain must fall--from yonder tower
    Another guard must take my stand:
  The City stirs: I go, to meet
  The foe, the world, in camp and street;

  A Christian--yes, for ever now
    A Christian: so our Leader keep
  My faltering heart: to Him I bow,
    His, whether now I wake or sleep:
  In peace, in battle, His:--the day
  Breaks in the east: oh, once more pray!


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