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IN object and plan this book is similar to one published by 
the author four years ago on the Epistle of James. His 
aim has been to produce such an exposition of the Epistle to 
the Philippians as might be of service to Christian readers 
generally, and might at the same time, so far as was possible 
in a work of which the other was the main purpose, give some 
special help to students of the original. The larger part of 
the volume, accordingly, consists of lectures, in which the 
Epistle is expounded, section by section, with the fulness of 
illustration, and directness of practical application, belonging 
to homiletical treatment, and without the exhibition of the 
processes of exegesis to any greater extent than might reason- 
ably be expected to interest readers of fair intelligence. To 
the lectures are appended a revised translation of the Epistle, 
and notes on the Greek text. These notes have been placed 
in a part of the book by themselves, — an arrangement which 
seems to the author preferable on various grounds to that 
adopted in some similar works, of having the remarks on 
points of grammar scattered throughout the book as footnotes. 
The lectures were, in substance, delivered from the pulpit 
in the ordinary course of Sabbath ministration. They have 
since, however, been re-\mtten ; and, in the course of tran- 
scription, such changes have been made, by omission, conden- 
sation, or expansion, as seemed needful in view of publishing 

viil Preface. 

them. In all of them the author's endeavour has been, so 
to set forth clearly what appeared to him to be the precise 
meaning of the Divine Word, and so to illustrate the practical 
bearings of the truth, as to ' edify the body of Christ.' 

In the revised translation, his aim has been to exhibit, with 
as little divergence as possible from the Authorized Version, 
the exact sense of the original, according to the most approved 
text. The text which has been followed is that of EUicott. 
The translations of Alford, Conybeare, and Ellicott have been 
carefully compared. 

The notes on the Greek Text embrace a reference, more or 
less full, to everything in the grammatical construction of the 
Epistle which seemed to the author to call for special com- 
ment. Brief discussions of various other questions than those 
strictly grammatical will also be found in this part of the 
volume. It appeared the natural place for everything con- 
nected with the processes of exegesis which it seemed de- 
sirable to say, but which could not satisfactorily be included 
in the lectures. 

In studying the Epistle, the author has used the aid of 
Calvin, Beza, Bengel, Peirce, Storr, De Wette, Wiesinger, 
Schenkel, Braune and Hackett, Meyer, Van Hengel, Alford, 
Ellicott, Eadie, and Lightfoot. To Meyer, Ellicott, Eadie, 
and Lightfoot, his obligations are particularly great. Of the 
less strictly critical expositions of the Epistle, he has derived 
most advantage from the Lectures of the learned and eloquent 
Huguenot, Jean Daillc ; from the characteristically thoughtful 
and earnest little book of Dr. Vaughan ; and from the charming 
treatise of Neandcr. 

At the end of the volume is given a translation of Polycarp's 
letter to the Christians of Philippi, — which seems to form a 
suitable appendix to an exposition of Paul's Epistle to that 

Preface. ix 

church, as affording a most interesting glimpse of their spiritual 
condition half a century, or thereby, after the apostle had gone 
to his reward. The translation has been made from the text 
of Jacobson {Paircs Apostolici, Oxford, 1847); and has been 
compared with the versions of Cave, Wake, and Chevallier, 
and with that given in the Ante-JS/icene Christian Library. 

The author has to acknowledge, with very hearty thanks, 
the kindness of his friend, the Rev. David Kinnear, B.A. 
Lond., of Dalbeattie, who has aided him in the revision of 
the proof-sheets. 

2 Wellesley Place, Glasgow, 
April I, 1S75. 


Introduction, .... 

Lect. I. — Address and Salutation, . 

II. — Pleasant Memories and Brigh 

III. — Prayer for Spiritual Discernment, 

IV. — The Gospel in Rome, 
V. — Sufferings turning to Salvation, 

VI. — The Saint's Life — Christ, 

VI 1. — The Saint's Death — Gain, 
VIII. — A Strait betwixt Two, 

IX. — Conversation becoming the Gospel, 
X. — Stedfastness for Christ, 

XI. — Christian Concord, . 

XII. — The Great Example, 
XIII. — Working out our own Salvation 
XIV. — Lights in the World, 

XV. — ^Joy in Prospect of Martyrdom, 
XVI, — Mission of Timothy, 
XVII. — Mission of Epaphroditus, . 
XVIII. — Joy in the Lord, 
XIX. — ^Justification by Faith, 

XX. — The Saint's Aspirations, . 
XXI. — Pressing toward the Mark, 
XXII. — True Wisdom proved by Godliness, 
XXIII. — Wise Choice of Examples, 



Chap. i. I, 2, 

,, i. 



,, i. 

9-1 1, 


>j i- 



M '• 

19, 20, 


,, i. 

21, 1st 



,, i. 

21, 2nd clause, 


,, i. 



,, i. 

27, 1st 



,, i. 



,, ii. 



,, ii. 



,, ii. 

12, 13, 


,, ii. 



,, ii. 

17, 18, 


,, ii. 



,, ii. 



,, iii. 



,, iii. 



,, iii. 

10, II, 


,, iii. 



,, iii. 

15, 16, 


,, iii. 





Lect. XXIV. — The Saint's Citizenship and Hope, Chap. iii. 20, 21, 320 

XXV. — Stedfastness in the Lord, . . ,, iv. i, 

XXVI. — Brotherly-Kindness, . . . ,, iv. 2, 3, 

XXVII. — Prayerfulness and the Peace of God, ,, iv. 4-7, 

XXVIII. — Summary of Duty, . . . ,, iv. 8,9, 

XXIX. — Christian Contentment, . . . ,, iv. 10-13, 

XXX. — Christian Liberality and its Reward, ,, iv. 14-23, 
Revised Translation of the Epistle, 
Notes on the Greek Text of Chapter i.. 

>> »» >> I^M 

>> »» »> III., 

» > > > > » 1 ^ • > 

Appendix. — Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, 






THE town of Philippi was situated in the east of Mace- 
donia, on the banks of a Httle river called the Gangites, 
and about ten miles from the shore of the Archipelago. It had 
its name from the famous Macedonian king Philip, father of 
Alexander the Great, by whom the old to^^'n on the site was 
enlarged and fortified. Various circumstances combined to 
make the place prosperous. The plain around is well watered 
and fertile ; and in ancient times gold and silver mines were 
worked in the neighbourhood ^^'ith considerable success. The 
chief importance of the town, however, arose from its standing 
on the great highway from Asia to Western Europe. The 
mountains, which for a long distance form a natural v.-all, sink 
down here and allow a passage, steep, but not seriously diffi- 
cult. It was no doubt this advantage of position which led 
Philip to fortify the town. For the same reason also the neigh- 
bourhood was chosen by Brutus and Cassius as the scene of 
the event which mainly has given Philippi celebrity in secular 
histor}', the great battle between the republican armies com- 
manded by them, and the forces of Mark Antony and young 
Octavianus Caesar, aftens'ards the Emperor Augustus, which 
decided the question who should rule the civilised world. 


2 Lectures on Philippians, 

In memory of his victory, Augustus constituted the town 
what the Romans called a colony. To this attention is drawn 
in the Acts of the Apostles (xvi. 12), the fact being there re- 
ferred to evidently as one of some moment in its bearings on 
the progress of the kingdom of Christ in Philippi. Paul, in the 
course of his missionary travels, had visited other towns enjoy- 
ing this particular privilege, in speaking of w^hich, however, the 
sacred historian makes no mention of it ; but at Philippi the 
apostle was to some extent personally affected by influences 
peculiar to a colony. A Roman colony bore no close resem- 
blance to anything kno^vn by the name in modern times. It 
w^as constituted by a formal enactment of the supreme authority 
at Rome ; and might be described as a garrison of Romans in 
a conquered territor}'. To the colonists, frequently veteran 
soldiers whom their general desired to reward, a portion of the 
land in the neighbourhood of the town selected was given as 
their property. They retained the much-prized privilege of 
Roman citizenship. Their chief duty was ta guard the empire 
from revolts of the vanquished, and from incursions of the 
barbarians. Politically, a town invested with this character 
Aras a kind of miniature of the metropolis. The traveller who 
passed through a colony heard the Latin tongue, saw the in- 
signia of Roman power, and was under Roman law in the 
strictest sense. The pride of Roman citizenship met him 
everywhere. Bearing these things in mind, we see why it 
was that the heartless owners of the poor slave girl, whom 
Paul had healed of her insanity, thus putting an end to their 
wicked gains, made their charge before the magistrates in this 
particular form : ' These men, being Jews, do exceedingly 
trouble our city, and teach customs which are not lawful for 
us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans'' (Acts xvi. 
20, 2 1 ). The fury of the people too, on hearing this accusation, 
is thus explained ; and also the intensity of the fear of the 
magistrates, when they learned that Paul and Silas were them- 
selves Roman citizens, and remembered that in their dealings 

hitrodnclion. 3. 

with tlicm one of the most cherished privileges of the citizen- 
ship, immunity from bo(Hly chastisement, had been violated. 
In more than one jxissage of this Ej)istle, moreover, the 
ai)0stle's language seems to have been moulded by the remem- 
brance that he was writing to persons who lived in a Roman 

At a time, and from causes, of which no record is left to us, 
Philippi fell into decay, or suffered sudden destniction. Its 
site has long been a wilderness, — no memorial of the busy life 
of old presenting itself to the traveller, except the vague out- 
lines of the city walls, and of some of its houses, and over all 
the area fragments of marble columns and heaps of rubbish, 
overgrown by thorns and briars. 

The chief interest which Christians have in Philippi, arises 
from the fact that it was the first place in Europe where the 
gospel was preached, at least by the lips of an apostle. On 
Paul's second great missionary tour, about twenty years after 
the ascension of our Lord, he had come down to Troas, a town 
on the Asiatic shore of the Archipelago, from which, on a clear 
evening, a point in Europe can be seen, the towering promon- 
\Qxy of Athos, in Macedonia. Immediately around the apostle 
lay the scenery of the noblest poem of heathen antiquity, that 
which tells of the wars of Troy. To Paul, a man of fine general 
culture, who could gain the ear of the polished Athenians by 
quoting what ' certain of their own poets had said,' the plain of 
Troy could not be without interest. But zeal for the progress 
of the kingdom of Christ was the great missionary's consuming 
passion ; his heart was full of pity for fellow-men living and 
dying in darkness and sin ; and the Trojan war was, after all, a 
very little matter for him who knew himself set in the high 
places of the field, to fight the battles of the Lord. Retiring 
to rest, perhaps after a glimpse of distant Europe, certainly 
with the spiritual needs of Europe before his heart, he received 
from God in the night a command to arise and pass over. In 
a vision, a man of Macedonia stood beside him, and entreated 

4 Lectures on Philippians. 

him, saying, * Come over into Macedonia and help us/ Re- 
joicing in the prospect of new labours and new successes, unde- 
terred by the prospect of new sufferings, Paul and his company, 
in obedience to the heavenly vision, at once set sail from Troas 
to take possession of Europe for Christ. After a prosperous 
voyage of two days they landed at Neapolis, the port of Philippi, 
and immediately went up to the town. The work, the success, 
and the persecution there are familiar to all. 

To the church then founded, and which may well have still 
comprised among its members I.ydia, and the jailor, and the 
slave girl, was addressed the Epistle before us. It was written 
during Paul's im.prisonment at Rome,^ the period in his history 
to which the last verses in the Acts of the Apostles bring us, — 
probably, judging from various statements in the Epistle, to- 
wards the close of the imprisonment, in the end of a.d. 62, or 
beginning of a.d. dTi-) ^^^ thus about eleven or twelve years 
after his first visit to Phihppi.^ During those years he had re- 
visited the town at least twice. 

* By some scholars it has been thought that the Epistle was written during 
the apostle's imprisonment at Caesarea, before he was sent to Rome. The 
only argument of any plausibility in support of this view is found in the fact 
that, in the 13th verse of the 1st chapter, he speaks of his 'bonds in Christ' 
being 'manifest in all the prcetorinni' (rendered in our version * palace') ; 
and, in Acts xxiii, 35, we are told that at Caesarea he was lodged in * Herod's 
pratorium * ( 'judgment hall '). But the use of this word in the Epistle accords 
equally well with the apostle's position at Rome, designating either the 
camp in which he lived, or rather (see the Lecture on the passage) the 
brigade of troops from which his sentries were taken. On the other hand, 
the reference in iv. 22 to 'Caesar's household,' while it accords perfectly 
with the idea that he was writing in Rome, does not suit Caisarea at all, 
without great forcing. The allusions in the Epistle, too, to expectations of 
a speedy termination of the imprisonment, either by release or by condemna- 
tion to death, lead our thoughts at once to Rome. Indeed, the whole tone 
of the letter appears to be in perfect congniity with the common opinion 
that it was written there ; whilst, on any other view, something unnatural 
in its tone in various places will be felt. 

' I)r Lighlfoot has devoted a long chapter of the Introduction to his 
Commetitary on Philippians to a discussion of the order in which the 

Introdtiction, 5 

Regarding the condition of the Philippian church, we know 
nothing except from intimations in this Epistle. It is evident 
that the Christians there had been subjected to persecution 
more or less severe, but had clung firmly to the faith of Christ. 
To Paul himself they were knit in singularly close affection. 
The unusual warmth and uninterruptedness of their love to 
him, as compared with that of some of the other churches he 
had planted, may perhaps be accounted for partly by the few- 
ness of Jews among them. Unbelieving Jews and Judaizing 
professors of Christianity were the apostle's most virulent 
calumniators and opponents. Now, in Philippi, which was not 
to any great extent a commercial town, and thus held out few 
inducements to foreigners to settle there, the Jewish community 
was not numerous. This is shown by the fact that at the time 
of Paul's first visit they seem to have had no synagogue, but on 
the Sabbath merely held a prayer-meeting by the river-side. 

The love of the Philippian Christians to the apostle showed 
itself in deeds. Again and again they had, out of their poverty, 
contributed money for his relief in times of special need ; and 
the immediate occasion of his writing this letter was his send- 
ing back to them Epaphroditus, who had come to Rome from 
Philippi with a gift from the church. At Rome, Epaphroditus 
had thrown himself into evangelistic work under the apostle's 
direction ; and this with such intense devotion, that his physical 
strength gave way, so that * for the work of Christ he was nigh 
unto death.' But God restored him, and on his recovery he 
returned home bearing with him this Epistle. 

epistles of the captivity were written. In this he opposes the view of the 
vast majority of biblical scholars, that those to the Ephesians, Colossians, 
and Philemon, which evidently belong to one group, were written early in 
the imprisonment, and that to the Philippians late, — maintaining that the 
case was exactly the reverse. His argument is characteristically candid 
and able ; yet the ordinary opinion still appears to me the more probable. 
The strong expectation which we find in the Epistle to the Philippians, of a 
speedy termination of the imprisonment, seems to point decidedly to a late 
date, later considerably than that of the others. 

6 Lectures on Philippians. 

In its contents this letter has some resemblance to the 
first to the other great Macedonian church, that of Thessa- 
lonica. We find in it little of the abstract reasoning which is 
so prominent in the Epistle to the Romans, and nothing of that 
stern reproof which abounds in the Epistles to the Galatians 
and the Corinthians. The church at Philippi was evidently 
well instructed, sound in the faith, and distinguished by strength 
and beauty of Christian character. Here, accordingly, the 
apostle writes less as a theological teacher, or an ecclesiastical 
ruler, than as a Christian friend to Christian friends ; and hence 
the view here given us of his own personal religious life, of the 
grace and tenderness, as well as the strength, of that most noble 
character, is peculiarly full and peculiarly refreshing and help- 
ful. ' Strangely full of joy and thanksgiving amidst adversity, 
like the apostle's midnight hymn from the depth of his 
Philippian dungeon, this Epistle went forth from his prison at 

As we should anticipate in a letter of the kind now described, 
there is but little of methodical arrangement. We have a 
simple natural outflow of religious feeling, — comforting, no 
doubt, to the writer himself, who thus opened his heart to his 
friends ; edifying, strengthening, and refreshing to the Philip- 
pians ; and eminently fitted, through the divine blessing, to 
give wisdom and encouragement to all generations of readers. 
*To all ages of the church — to our own especially — this 
Epistle reads a great lesson. While we are expending our 
strength on theological definitions or ecclesiastical rules, it 
recalls us from these distractions to the very heart and 
centre of the gospel — the life of Christ, and the life in 
Christ. Here is the meeting-point of all our differences, the 
healing of all our feuds, the tme life alike of individuals and 
churches.' ^ 

' Mr. r.ullock, in Smith's Duti<nary of the Bible; article, 'Epistle to 
the rhilippiaiis.' 
* Dr. Lighlfoot. 

Litroduciion. 7 

Into the condition of the church of Phih'ppi, about half a 
century after the apostle wrote his Epistle, we have an inte- 
resting and most pleasing glimpse through an extant letter to 
them from Polycarp, pastor of the church at Smyrna. "^ His 
friend, Ignatius of Antioch, condemned to death for his religion 
by the Emperor Trajan, had been taken to Rome, to be thrown 
to wild beasts in the amphitheatre. On his way he passed 
through Philippi, and there was most kindly received by the 
brethren, and escorted by them on his journey. The interest 
in this noble martyr for Christ, which was thus awakened in 
their minds, led apparently to an application from them to 
Polycarp for copies of some letters which Ignatius had written 
during his journey. These he sent to them, and along with 
them, according to another request which they had made, a 
letter of counsel from himself. The martyrdom of Ignatius 
falling somewhere between a.d. 107 and a.d. 116, the date of 
this letter cannot be put later than a.d. 120. At that time the 
church evidently retained much of its pristine earnestness and 
spiritual beauty. Polycarp refers to serious flaws, of which 
he had heard, in the character of certain members ; but the 
brethren generally were still conspicuous for Christian excel- 
lence. He congratulates them on their affectionate attention 
to Ignatius and other suffering servants of Christ. He 're- 
joices that the sturdy root of their faith, well reported of from 
early days, still endures, and bears fruit unto our Lord Jesus 
Christ.' He ' has confidence that they are well versed in the 
Scriptures.'- This is certainly a very pleasant last glimpse of 
the church so dear to the Apostle Paul. The last glimpse it 
is. In ecclesiastical records of a later time the name of Philippi 
is occasionally mentioned, but nothing in connection with it to 

' A document which professes to be a letter to the Philippians from 
Ignatius has also come down to us. There is the strongest reason, how- 
ever, for regarding it as spurious, a composition of a later age. 

* The whole letter, which on various grounds well repays perusal, will 
be found at the end of the present volume. 

8 Lechires on Philippians. ^ 

show whether the professed followers of Christ there continued 
to ' adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour.' Among the 
ruins of the city there have been found only the scantiest 
Christian remains. * Of the church which stood foremost 
among all the apostolic communities in faith and love, it may 
literally be said, that not one stone stands upon another. Its 
whole career is a signal monument of the inscrutable counsels 
of God.' ^ 

That the Epistle to the Philippians is a genuine composition 
of Paul, there is the amplest evidence, external and internal. 
Even the destructive criticism of the modem sceptical school 
has scarcely ventured to assail its Pauline authorship, — only two 
or three voices having been heard professing doubt or denial ; 
and the arguments put forth in support of the hostile position 
have been frivolous and forced in the highest degree, wholly 
insufficient to establish even any approach to a plausible case. 
The mode of reasoning, indeed, adopted by Baur, the principal 
objector, and Schwegler, his admiring disciple, is so utterly 
and obviously absurd, that it is often difficult to believe men of 
such learning and ability to have really intended their arguing 
to be taken as serious. The words of Dean Alford are not 
extravagant, that the objections which have been oftered to 
the genuineness of this Epistle afford *an instance of the 
very insanity of hypercriticism.' 

* Dr. Lightfoot. 



* Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in 
Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons : 
2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from 
the Lord Jesus Christ.' — Phil. i. i, 2. 

THE Epistle begins, as the letters of the ancients usually 
did, with an announcement of the name of the writer, 
and of the persons addressed. Here, at the very outset, an 
evidence presents itself that Paul had full confidence in the 
love and obedience of the Philippians. In most of his letters 
he appends to his name his official designation 'aposde,' 
and in some he finds himself compelled even to maintain by 
argument in the body of the Epistle the reality and complete- 
ness of his apostolic authority. Here, as in the Epistles to the 
other prominent Macedonian church, that of Thessalonica, the 
ofiicial title is not employed, plainly because he knew that no 
such assertion of his rightful claim to be heard ^\'ith deference 
and obedience was at all needed. 

With his o^vn name he associates in the superscription that of 
'Timotheiis' or Timothy. This eminent evangelist, and dear 
friend of the apostle, was well known to the Philippians. He 
had been with Paul and Silas when the church was founded ; 
and during the eleven or twelve years intervening between that 
time and the date of the Epistle, had paid several visits to the 
to\Mi. In the Epistle, too, Paul speaks of sending him again 
speedily. The introduction of his name was therefore very 
natural. It was, however, only a courtesy. The letter, as re- 
gards its substance, is Paul's alone, and carries with it full 

lo Lectures on Philippians. [ch. t. 

apostolic authority. You will observe that the very first 
words of the 3d verse, which begins the letter proper as distin- 
guished from the mere heading and salutation, are plainly 
Paul's alone : * I thank my God.' The same mode of expres- 
sion continues throughout j and where Timothy is referred to, 
he is spoken of in the third person : ' I trust in the Lord Jesus 
to send Timotheus shortly unto you' (ii. 19). 

The designation ' servants of Jesus Christy is a modest and 
beautiful one. James, the brother of the Lord, similarly begins 
his letter : ' James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus 
Christ.' You feel that, in its connection, the phrase suggests 
official position in the church ; but only suggests it. It is in 
itself quite general, describing all who, by taking Christ as their 
Master and Lord, have entered into true freedom. 

' To all the saitits in Christ Jesus ivhich are at Philippi.^ AA'e 
have here a most instructive paraphrase for ' church.' Accord- 
ing to the true idea of a church, you see, ' church members ' and 

* saints ' are exchangeable terms. The radical thought in the 
name ' saints,' or ' holy ' persons, as it is employed in Scripture, 
is consecration, separation to the special service of God. A 
reader goes back at once instinctively to this primar)^ idea, 
when he finds it stated that the official garments of the Jewish 
priests, and the vessels used in the sanctuary services, were 

* holy.* In the prayer recorded in the 17th chapter of John, 
the Lord said, speaking of those whom God ' had given Him,' 

* For their sakes I sanctify myself — set myself apart as 
High Priest, to offer up an all-sufficient sacrifice for sin — 
'that they also might be sanctified through the truth.' His 
consecration was to the intent that His people also might be 
consecrated. Here enters the thought of purity of soul, for 
true acceptable service can be rendered to God only by him 
who is consecrated, not simply by certain external symbols, but 
by the anointing of the {quickening and purifying Spirit. Be- 
lievers in Christ are by their Saviour's grace separated from the 
world to serve God, and this by the absolute devotion of their 

vr.K. I.] Address and Saliilaiion. ii 

whole nature. Our secular life, our business and recreation, 
Christ would have us make holy, as really as the hours we 
spend in the house of public worship, or in any definite, formal 
religious service. As the prophet has it, * Upon the bells of 
the horses should be Holiness unto the Lord, and every pot in 
Jerusalem and in Judah should be holiness unto the Lord of 
hosts.* Among true believers * no man liveth to himself, and 
no man dieth to himself; for whether we live, we live unto the 
Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord ; whether we 
live therefore or die, we are the Lord's.' 

It is of the very highest importance that this truth should 
be most seriously pondered by us. We are apt to think of a 
Christian as one who accepts certain doctrines and performs 
certain formal services. But the purpose of God in revealing 
to us the truth, and appointing religious ordinances, was that 
men's whole being should, through the influence of the truth 
and of the ordinances, be made saintly. ' Christ loved the 
church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and 
cleanse it with the washing of water by the word ; that He 
might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having 
spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy 
and without blemish.' His prayer was, ^ Sanctify \k\tn\ through 
Thy truth; Thy word is truth.' The only really satisfying 
proof that the gospel has been truly, intelligently, cordially 
believed, — that the means of grace have been savingly effi- 
cient, — is holiness of character. If we were as profoundly 
impressed with the conviction of this fact as its importance 
claims, dear friends, would there not be change in the hfe of 
all of us? Would not the issue of 'searchings of heart' in 
some of us be a sense that the needful radical change is still 
lacking, church-goers though we all are, and most of us church 

Paul tells us the secret of true saintliness in the addition he 
makes to the simple word ' saints,' — ' /;/ Christ Jesus.' Out of 
Christ none are saints ; but all genuine believers are saints, 

12 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. i. 

because they are 'in Him/ members of His mystical body, 
and thus have within them the pulsations and working of His 
life. And the more that by faith we draw from His life, ever 
the more are we saintly. The thought of the union of Chris- 
tians to their Lord is one most precious to them all ; for in that 
union they recognise the spring of all spiritual happiness and 
strength. The Apostle Paul dwells everywhere upon this 
union with manifest and exceeding delight. The frequency 
with which the expression *in Christ' occurs in his letters, 
strikes every attentive reader, and shows the constancy of his 
joy and gratitude that he lived and moved ' in Him.' In the 
course of our examination of this Epistle we shall find many 
passages giving opportunity for illustrating the subject in vari- 
ous aspects. 

In the address ' to all the saints which are at Philippi,' we 
see the warmth of the apostle's affection for his friends there. 
Similarly, we have at the end of the letter, * salute every saint 
in Christ Jesus.' It is as if he said, ' I wish every one of you 
individually to feel that he is dear to me.' It is not impro- 
bable that another thought also was meant to be suggested to 
his first readers by the mention of them all. There are several 
indications in the letter, more or less distinct, that Paul had 
been pained by learning of some alienations of feeling among 
certain of the prominent members of the church. These 
brethren, I apprehend, could hardly help hearing him say to 
them in the * all,' ' I have ardent brotherly love for every one 
of you, because I have good reason to think of you as all in 
Christ, and all loved by Him : should you not all love one 
another ? ' 

To the mention of the church generally, the apostle appends 
^with the bishops and deacons^ It is not his custom thus to 
specify the office-bearers in the headings of his letters, and 
various reasons have been suggested for his doing so here. 
By some expositors it has been thought that Paul wished in 
this way to acknowledge special liberality on the part of the 

vi:r. I.] Address and Salutation, i 


office-bearers, in contributing to the gift which Epaphroditus 
had brought to Rome ; by others, that there had been evi- 
dence of a disposition among some of the private members 
of the church to disregard the legitimate authority of their 
spiritual rulers, and that by this reference the apostle desired 
to give the office-bearers his support, as holding their position 
by the law of Christ. Either of these suppositions may be 
tme ; we cannot tell. But you may remember that when ' it 
pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church (of 
Jerusalem), to send chosen men of their own company to 
Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, they ^vTOte letters by them 
after this manner, — The apostles and elders and brethren 
send greeting' (Acts xv. 22, 23). Now it is in every way 
probable that the church of Philippi had by Epaphroditus, 
along with their pecuniary gift, sent Paul also a letter, 
which, like the letters just referred to, may have had in 
the heading some special mention of the office-bearers, 
thus, — ' The brethren at Philippi, with the bishops and dea- 
cons, send greeting.' The employment by Paul, in his reply, 
of the same words, may possibly then mean nothing more 
than that, in a letter which, to some little extent, had the 
character of a formal acknowledgment of money received, 
he courteously accepted the givers' own way of describing 

It is obviously probable in the highest degree, that, in a 
passage where the warmth and delicacy of his love have led 
the apostle to speak expressly of ' all the saints,' his special 
mention of the office-bearers leaves out "no class of them. Now, 
throughout the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, we find 
very frequent reference made to ' elders,' as the principal office- 
bearers in the church ; as essential, indeed, to the full regular 
organization of a Christian society. Paul and Barnabas, we are 
told, * ordained elders in every church' (Acts xiv. 23). It is evi- 
dent, therefore, — the deaconship being well known as a distinct 
office from that of the elder, — that, if all the office-bearers of the 

14 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

church of Philippi are mentioned in the verse before us, then 
' bishop ' is simply another name for ' elder/ This conclusion 
is supported by abundant evidence in other parts of the New- 
Testament. The most distinguished recent Episcopalian ex- 
positors of Scripture, such as Bishop EUicott, Dean Alford, 
and Canon Lightfoot, admit that, beyond all reasonable dis- 
putation, in the primitive church the office of ' bishop ' was 
identical with that of ' elder ' (or ' presbyter,' the Greek equi- 
valent of 'elder'); and that, however early episcopacy in the 
prelatical sense may have appeared, it does not find support 
in the New Testament. I need not here go at length into the 
proofs of this position. It is perhaps well to remark, however, 
that in our English version some of these proofs are hidden. 
Thus, when Paul, having from Miletus ' sent to Ephesus, and 
called the elders of the church,' enjoined on them to * take 
heed to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost had made 
them overseers' (x\cts xx. 17, 28), — this last word is the same 
which is usually rendered ' bishops,^ and from which the w^ord 
'episcopacy,' and, indeed, in a more remote way, the word 
' bishop ' itself also, are derived. Again, when Peter says, 
' The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an 
elder. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the 
oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly' (i Pet. v. 
I, 2), — the expression ' taking the oversight ' is, strictly, 'acting 
as bishops.^ 

The earliest Christian churches, as you know, were composed 
of persons who had been trained in Judaism. The arrange- 
ments of the synagogue were therefore naturally followed in 
various respects in their meetings, and, in particular, the officers 
chosen by the authority of the apostles to regulate their affairs 
were named ' elders,' like the rulers of the synagogue. Among 
tlie Greeks, tlie word to which 'bishop' corresponds, and which 
according to its derivation means ' overseer,' was a finniliar 
one, being the name given to government officials charged with 
certain duties. When Christianity entered the Gentile world, 

VEK. I.] Address a7id Sahitaiion. 15 

then, iliis name, familiar to the ear, came somehow, not un- 
naturally, to be given to the rulers of the churches, as well as 
the name * elders,' which, as applied to rulers, was strange to 
the Cireeks. 

In all parts of the church a certain precedence naturally, 
ind with apostolic sanction,^ fell to those of the * elders,' or 
' bishops,' who not merely discharged the function of ruling, 
but also had the gift of teaching, and therefore ' laboured in 
the word and doctrine.' One of these, no doubt, generally had 
the presidency in the meetings of the ' presbytery,' or body of 
elders. That from this presidency, or moderatorship, among 
equals, there should arise, in course of time, and that no long 
course, the system of prelatical episcopacy, in which the bishop 
and the presbyter belong to distinct orders of the ministry, 
will not seem wonderful to any one who has either carefully 
read history, or studied the workings of human nature around 
him and within him. 

Of the institution of the office of * dcaco7i^ a narrative is 
given in the 6th chapter of Acts, where we are told that on 
account of ' a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews ' 
in the church at Jerusalem, ' because their widows were 
neglected in the daily ministration,' the people were asked by 
the apostles to choose ' seven men of honest report, full of the 
Holy Ghost and wisdom,' whom they might ' appoint over this 
business,' — and that, an election having been accordingly held, 
the men chosen were brought to the apostles, and set apart to 
their special work by prayer and the imposition of hands. 
These seven are not called 'deacons';' but there can" be no 
reasonable doubt, from the nature of their duties, that we 
have here, in fact, the origin of this office. The duties of the 
deacons were chiefly to take charge of the money contributed 
by the brethren for the relief of the poor members, and to see 
to its judicious and equitable distribution. From the com- 
paratively late and, so to speak, occasional origin of this office, 

^ I Tim. V. 17. 

1 6 Lect2ircs on PJiilippians. [ch. i. 

and from the fact that when Paul speaks of having left Titus 
in Crete to 'set in order the things that were wanting, and 
ordain elders in every cit}'' (Titus i. 5), no mention is made 
of deacons, we may perhaps fairly conclude that the deacon- 
ship, while a most useful and honourable office, is yet not 
absolutely essential to the regular organization of a church, as 
the eldership is. In almost every Christian society, however, 
there -will be found a fulfilment of the Lord's words, ' The 
poor ye always have with you ;' and if the church is at all 
faithful to her calling, she will always ' remember ' her poor. 
By some means, therefore, the work of the deacon must be 

The announcement of the name of the wTiter and of the 
persons addressed is followed, as was usual in the letters of the 
ancients, and as we find almost always in the apostolic Epistles, 
by an affectionate salutation. The highest form of the Chris- 
tian life, my brethren, is seen when energetic love is fully 
pervaded by a spirit of gentleness and sympathy, exhibiting 
itself in true politeness to all of all social positions, and in little 
things as well as great, according to the broad apostolic pre- 
cept, * Be pitiful, be courteous.' The apostles themselves rose 
in conduct to this height, enforcing precept by example. Their 
letters, written in the midst of arduous and harassing work, yet 
show diligent attention to all the kindly courtesies of social life. 
The last chapter of Romans, which is almost wholly taken up 
with greetings and expressions of personal affection, deserves 
more study, because it is fitted to give more instruction as to 
how peace and joy are to be maintained in beauty and sweet- 
ness in Christian intercourse, than many believers seem to 

The salutation to the Philippians is that which, in various 
forms, occurs most freciuently in the letters of the apostles. 
How beautiful it is 1 How rich in holy affection ! Good wishes 
for the temporal welfare of friends have their own place. John, 
writing to * the wcU-bclovcd Gaius,' expresses his desire * that 

vi.R. 2.] Address and SaliUation, 17 

he may prosper and be in health, even as his soul prospcreth.* 
But this ' prospering of the soul ' must always stand first in a 
Christian's wishes. If we know Christ, — then, as our chief 
desire for ourselves is growth in the beauty and strength and 
blessedness of religion, so for others, and specially for those 
who are personally dear to us, our most earnest wish and 
I)rayer must be, that ^ grace and peace ' may be given to them, 
and that ever more and more; that the Lord would * remember 
them with the favour which He beareth unto His people, and 
visit them with His salvation, that they may see the good of 
His chosen, that they may rejoice in the gladness of His 
nation, that they may glory with His inheritance.' 

From '■graced the free favour of God, come all our blessings. 
In its use in the salutation, 'peace' being named separately, 
the chief reference is, no doubt, to the manifestation of the 
divine favour in the bestowal of the enlightening and sancti- 
fying influences of the Holy Ghost. You remember the state- 
ment of Luke, that the child Jesus ' grew, and waxed strong in 
spirit, filled with wisdom ; and the grace of God was upon Him.' 
Every day revealed in Him new excellences. The lovely bud 
of a perfectly holy childhood was seen opening into the glorious 
flower of a perfectly holy manhood. There was not here trans- 
forming grace. None was needed for Him who, from the be- 
ginning, ' knew no sin.' Yet the use of the word is plainly 
analogous to what we find in the apostolic salutation, in so far 
as it refers specially to holy beauty. Grace to transform the 
naturally sinful into the likeness of the sinless Jesus, this is 
what is asked of God — for the words are really a prayer — in 
the salutation. 

The meet companion of such * grace' is '■peace^ also given 
through the free favour of God, — peace springing from the 
knowledge of His love in Christ, 'peace passing all under- 
standing, keeping the heart and mind through Christ Jesus.' 
An Eastern, when he enters a house, says, ' Peace be to this 
house,' as thoughtlessly as we commonly say ' Good morning* 


1 8 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

to a casual acquaintance whom we meet on the street. Our 
I^ord taught the apostles and the seventy disciples to employ 
the familiar salutation with depth of meaning, thinking, while 
they uttered it, how alone true peace could come to the house, 
and prajang that God would send it. ' Into whatsoever house 
ye enter, first say. Peace be to this house : and if the son of 
peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it ; if not, it shall 
return to you again.' Think you not that the courtesies of 
Christians should always have reality of significance ? If the 
spirit of our Master filled us, diffusing its genial power through 
the whole being, and ever in bright activity, would not blessing 
go forth from us, through the energy of prayer, even at the 
slight touches of social kindliness, as virtue went out from the 
hem of the Lord's garment? I doubt not that, with the 
apostle's affectionate ' Peace be unto you,' it was so. 

The prayer of the salutation is presented to ' God our Father^ 
— Him ' from whom cometh down every good gift, and every 
perfect gift.' How broad and stable is the ground of confidence 
for us, exhibited in that sweet name * Father ! ' He who * of 
His own will begat us with the word of truth ;' who 'hath sent 
forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, 
Father ; ' who has told us that, if earthly parents, ' being evil, 
know how to give good gifts unto their children, much more 
shall He, our Father which is in heaven, give good things to 
them that ask Him,' — this God, my brethren, will certainly 
not leave unregarded any petition of His children. ''And 
the Lord Jesus Christ^ who 'humbled Himself and became 
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,' in order 
that a way might be opened by which, consistently with the 
glory of the divine character, 'grace and peace' might be be- 
stowed on men, — will He, now possessing ' all power in heaven 
and in cartli,' fail to employ it to bestow 'grace and jx'ace' on 
longing hearts, or to answer the cry of loving Christian souls 
for the quickening of those who are dear to them ? 

\' !•: Rs. 3 - 8. ] / ^Icasant Memories and Bright Hopes. 1 9 



* I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always, in every 
prayer of mine for you all, making request with joy, 5 P^or your fellow- 
ship in the gospel from the first day until now ; 6 Being confident of 
this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will 
perform it until the day of Jesus Christ : 7 Even as it is meet for me 
to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart ; inasmuch as 
both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, 
ye all are partakers of my grace : 8 For God is my record, how greatly 
I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.' — Phil. i. 'y-'i. 

THIS first paragraph^ or, more exactly, sentence, of the 
letter proper, introduces us at once to the peculiarity of 
the apostle's style, which in all his writings is very marked. 
Where style of expression has not been by definite eff"ort con- 
formed to certain rhetorical principles, but is to a considerable 
extent natural, it of necessity corresponds to the characteristics 
of a man's mind and heart ; just as the particular nature of a tree 
expresses itself in specialty of form, in the regular beauty, for ex- 
ample, of the poplar and the palm, or the irregular beauty of the 
oak and the cedar. Now an examination of Scripture proves 
that divine inspiration wrought in entire harmony with indi- 
vidual temperament, with free action of thought and play of 
feeling ; and thus we have most obvious differences of style 
among the sacred writers. Whilst all pervaded and guided by 
the Holy Ghost, David, Isaiah,, and Ezekiel, Paul, James, and 
John, have yet such decided individualities, that even a cur- 
sory reader cannot fail to observe them. This genuine human 

20 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. i. 

element in the Word of God, appealing as it does to our 
brotherly sympathies, has somewhat to do with the winning 
influence of the book over all candid souls. ^ 

In Paul, extraordinary intellectual power was associated with 
singular liveliness of spirit and singular tenderness of affection; 
and his style accords with this. His reasonings are couched 
occasionally in a rigid logical form ; and now and again the 
most exquisite poetic thought takes the most perfect regularity 
of poetic expression, as in the wonderful psalm of love in the 
13th chapter of First Corinthians, or the closing verses of 
the great chapter on the resurrection in that Epistle. But, 
as a rule, his sentences, laden with precious truth and holy 
emotion, are long and complicated, and thus not unfrequently 
hard of interpretation. We see in the writer's mind one 
weighty thought pressing for expression after another so fast, 
that no time is given for full separate exhibition ; and ever 
and anon a gush of warm feeling comes in, in a strong cur- 
rent, swaying the sentence in a direction different from that in 
which at first apparently it had tended. One who studies the 
apostle's writings with anything of the sympathy which Chris- 
tian faith gives, feels growing delight that, through this very 
contortedness of the style, he is brought into such close con- 
tact with so great a soul, — so admitted into fellowship as to 
witness the private workings of an intellect of such force and 
vivacity, and of a heart so generous and tender. 

The j)aragraph now before us, which, as has been said, 
excellently illustrates the apostle's peculiar style, is an ascrip- 
tion of thanks to God for the spiritual prosperity of the Philip- 
pian church. It brings before us the feelings of a godly 
minister on the retrospect of his connection with a godly con- 

It is tlic apostle's usual practice to begin his letters with a 
thanksgiving. He delights to recognise good in those to whom 

' This point is illustrated at some length in the introductory paragraphs 
of the Lecture on chap. iii. 2-9, 

VERS. 3 - S. ] Pleasant lilcmorics and Bright Hopes. 2 1 

he writes, oven in cases where there may be also much to re- 
])rove ; and lie wins his way to their hearts by beginning with 
the good. In melancholy contrast stands out the Epistle to 
the Galatians, where immediately after the salutation comes 
the sad stern ' I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him 
that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel, 
which is not another ; but there be some that trouble you, and 
would pervert the gospel of Christ.' 

In a Christian, the natural outflow of gladness is in thanks 
to our Fatlicr in heaven, from whose kindness come all the 
agencies of true happiness. Alas, Christian brethren, that we 
so often show the new nature to be as yet so feeble within us, 
by forgetting to raise our hearts in gratitude to Him ! Yet 
more distinctively Christian is it, when the heart gives thanks 
for the good of others. The tendency of sin is to disintegrate 
society, to make men isolated in spirit, self absorbing their 
interest The natural heart, as it comes increasingly under 
the power of worldliness, tends ever to less and less sympathy 
with others, less sadness through their sorrows, less pleasure 
through their happiness. The influence of Christianity is 
entirely in the other direction. Love is its essence, and love 
involves sympathy, 'rejoicing with them that rejoice, and weep- 
ing with them that weep.' Most of all distinctively Christian, 
absolutely distinctively Christian, is the spirit which we find 
exemplified by the apostle here, joy and thankfulness chiefly 
for the spiritual good of others. There are many who from 
natural kindliness of heart, not altogether blighted as yet by 
the withering power of sin, will join Christians in feeding the 
hungry, and clothing the naked, and building hospitals for the 
diseased; but to whom the news of a religious awakening brings 
no pleasure, who feel no interest whatever in eff"orts to extend 
the knowledge and power of the gospel. To the true believer 
in Christ, no pleasure is higher than that aftbrded by evidence 
of the progress of the Saviours kingdom. He delights to 
know that the children in the orphanages of Rajpootana have 

2 2 Lectures 071 Philippians. [ch. i. 

been saved from the wretchedness of the famine, and are 
lovingly fed and clothed ; but his chief happiness in thinking 
of them is to know that they are under influences fitted, 
through the divine blessing, to bring them into the faith and 
love of Christ, and thus ' save their souls from death.' ^ 

This paragraph of thanksgiving to God falls into two parts : 
first, an expression of gratitude for the past history of the 
Philippian church, which is contained in verses 3-5 ; secondly, 
an expression of gratitude for the assured hope the apostle has 
in regard to their future, which occupies the 6th and 7th verses. 
The 8th verse is a kind of appendix to the paragraph. 

It is usually, as here, in thanksgivings that Paul uses the 
appropriating expression, ^ 7ny God! The naturalness of this, 
in the acknowledgment by a Christian of blessings which 
have been bestowed on him personally, is obvious. Looked 
at in connection with the subject of the present thanksgiving, 
the progress of Christ's kingdom at Philippi, the ^ my' well 
illustrates the broadening, liberalizing influence of Christianity, 
its tendency to slay the selfishness of the human heart. Intense 
as is the happiness felt by every child of God in the knowledge 
that he himself * has passed from death unto life ;' yet, if there 
be any whose joy in the gospel rests exclusively ^ or anything 
like exclusively, on the thought of its having become ' the 
power of God unto salvation' to them personally, they have 
not as yet learned more than the elements of the truth which 
the Holy Spirit teaches the saints. Growth towards the 

* With the particulars of the illostrative case here referred to, the con- 
gregation to whom the lecture was delivered were familiar ; but for some 
who may read it a word of explanation may perhaps be desirable. After a 
terrible famine in Rajpootana a few years ago, several hundreds of desti- 
tute orphans were taken by the missionaries labouring in the district to 
their various stations, there to be cared for till they should be able to pro- 
vide for themselves. Much interest was awakened in these poor children 
throughout the United Presbyterian Church, with which the mission is 
connected; and many members assumed the responsibility of supporting 
l)articular orphans, adopting them in a measure. 

VKR. 3-1 Pleasant Memories and Bright Hopes. 2 


' measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ' is in nothing 
more marked than in increasing delight, and increasing 
gratitude as for a personal blessing, to see the advancement 
of the glory of the Saviour all around, through the quickening 
of dead souls and the ripening of Christians in piety. In the 
fact that God is leading others to know Him as their covenant 
God, the wise believer sees ground for always new thankfulness 
and joy that so gracious a God is Ids God. He knows that 
the widening of the range of blessing brings no diminution of 
individual blessing. To each Christian God is as fully and satis- 
fyingly his God as if there were no others in the covenant. 

* I thank my God,' says the apostle, * upo7i every remem- 
brance of you ^ — more exactly, ' on all my remembrance of you,' 
— an expression which may perhaps gather up, so to speak, 
into one head or sum the times when he is conscious of this 
feeling of gratitude, and may therefore be equivalent to ' upon 
every rem.embrance of you,' but appears much more naturally 
to mean, ' on the ground of all I remember regarding you.' He 
had still vividly before him * the kindness of their youth, the 
love of their espousals' to the Saviour. He remembered the 
sweet outflow of love from the * opened heart' of Lydia, when 
'she besought' him and his company, 'saying, If ye have 
judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and 
abide there,' — and that her warm and active affection represented 
the spirit of the believers generally. With this good beginning, 
he knew that their history since had on the whole accorded. 
He had heard, and on his occasional visits seen, that know- 
ledge, humility, and self- discipline were found among the 
members of the church ; that their life was governed by ' a 
spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind ;' that they 
* walked in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy 
Ghost.' Thus, ' on the ground of all his remembrance of 
them,' the apostle, their spiritual father, ' thanked his God.' 
Ah, my brethren, how rare in any age has been such a chiurch ! 
How sweet to the pastor must always be such a memory ! 

24 Lectures on Philippians. [cH. i 

The 4th verse tells us the form in which Paul's thankful- 
ness found expression, — in gladness of heart as he prayed for 
them : ' always^ in every prayer of 7tiinefor you all, making request 
with Joy. ^ The force of these last words is a little obscured 
through the omission by our translators of an article, the exact 
rendering being * making the request with joy ;' or, still more 
precisely, retaining, as in the original, the same word used in 
the first part of the clause, * offering the prayer with joy.' 

The mode of expression assumes that the Philippians did 
not need to be informed that the apostle often presented special 
prayer to God for them. He tells them what was his state of 
feeling in these prayers; but the fact of the prayers being offered 
is taken as a matter of course. The responsibility which rests 
upon a minister mth reference to the spiritual welfare of his 
people, and the affections which arise out of the relations and 
intercourse between him and them, cannot but lead every 
spiritually-minded minister to bear his flock often on his heart 
before God. 

When, as in the case before us, a minister sees God's blessing 
plainly resting on his work, then his sense of gratitude impels 
him with peculiar power to prayer. The proper and healthful in- 
fluence of gratitude to God for any gift is to send us to our knees 
to express our trust in Him for the time to come, and to ask 
yet larger proofs of His kindness. In our relations to human 
benefactors the case stands othenvise. Sincere thankfulness 
for the kindness of a friend may often reasonably and becom- 
ingly lead us to resolve that, because his goodness to us has 
already been so great, we shall abstain from asking anything of 
him in the future. But one grand end of God in all His gifts 
to His moral creatures is, that through the course of thought 
and feeling into which the gifts are fitted to lead them, there 
may be j)roduccd a spirit, ever deepening, of childlike depend- 
ence upon Him. ' I am the Lord thy God,' He says, * which 
brought thee out of the land of Egypt ; open thy mouth wide, 
and I will fill it.' True Christian wisdom is to obey this 

VERS. 4, ^^Plcasant I\Icmorics and Brio;Jit Hopes. 25 

gracious command, and on mercies past to build up a sure 
hope of new and more wondrous mercies to come. * The 
Lord hath been mindful of us ; He will bless us.' * I will take 
the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.' 

Prayer oftered when thankfulness thus si)ecially occui)ies the 
heart — 'calling upon the name of the Lord' for further 
mercies, when * the cup of salvation,' which He has bestowed, 
is felt to be even now in the hands of the petitioner — will 
evidently have gladness as its distinctive characteristic. This, 
accordingly, is what Paul points to as showing his thankfulness 
on the retrospect of the religious history of the Philippians, — 
the fact that he presents his petitions for them * with joy. ^ We 
are all sometimes called on to * wrestle ' with God, like Jacob, 
in the night, and, with darkness all around, to * watch for the 
morning' with weary hearts. But in the apostle's prayers for 
the Philippians he felt himself in the light. He saw his 
Father's face, ^^^th its smile of ineffable love. God had already 
shown mercy, and this in regard to the very matter on which 
his entreaty bore. His prayer, above all things, for his dear 
Philippians was, that they might 'grow in grace.' Now he 
knew that they had been * growing in grace.' Was it not most 
reasonable that he should 'make his request with joy'? 

The 5th verse exhibits the ground of the apostle's thankful- 
ness and joy. It expands the mention which he has made of 
his ' remembrance ' of the Philippians, specifying the fact 
respecting them which it gave him such pleasure to look back 
upon.^ His gratitude and joy were ^for their fellozuship in the 
gospeP — rather, 'with regard to the gospel' — 'from the first day 
until no7u.^ 

In the I St verse we found Paul using the word * saints' as 

' As regards its precise connection with the rest of the sentence, this 
clause might be looked on as exactly parallel to ' on all my remembrance 
of you,' and as expressly intended to be an exposition of it. The mode 
of construction is the same in both. Considering the inartificial character 
of the apostle's style, however, the immediate connection is perhaps rather 
with 'joy.' Practically, the force of the clause is the same, either way. 

26 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. i. 

equivalent to * church.' We have here another very suggestive 
expression. The PhiHppian church was, and it is perfectly 
plain that the apostle considers that every church which is at 
all satisfactorily to fulfil the purposes of its existence will be, a 
body of persons bound together in ^fellowship with respect to the 
gospel^ or ''for the furtherance of the gospeU The church at 
Philippi was an association for advancing the influence of the 

The '■fellowship' of these brethren was, first and funda- 
mentally, with Christ. They had been brought, in the measure 
of their faith, into unity of view and unity of will with Him ; 
and therefore with Him, guided by His wisdom and sustained 
by His strength, were exerting themselves in His cause. They 
had learned to regard sin in the light in which He regards it. 
Wherever and in whatever form it showed itself, in them- 
selves or in others, they saw it to be exceedingly evil, utterly 
and only evil. By this oneness of view with their Lord they 
were naturally impelled to oneness, or ' fellowship,' of action. 
They felt it to be most reasonable that if He, to overthrow sin, 
gave Himself up to death, and now is ever pleading through 
His Spirit with gospel hearers, knocking at the door of their 
hearts, all who think with Him should join Him in His work 
of love. 

In Him, too, they had ' fellowship in relation to the gospel ' 
with each other. The advancement of each other's piety and 
spiritual peace was with them an object of definite pursuit. 
They prayed for each other's advancement, and, in their inter- 
course, were mutually helpful with regard to the concerns of 
the soul, as well as those of the outward life. They co-operated 
also for the extension of the gospel. Not merely did each in 
his own sphere endeavour, by consistency of character and by 
direct effort, to bring 'them that were ignorant and out of 
the way' into the light and holiness and joy of true religion, 
but they associated themselves in various ways for such effort. 
They remembered that the wise and loving Saviour had sent 

VKR. 6.] Plcasa7it Afcniorics and Jh'ii^Jit Hopes. 27 

forth His apostles and His seventy disciples 'by two and two,' 
for their mutual stimulus and support in missionary labour. 

Still further, this 'fellowship' was with all Christians. They 
bore on their hearts before their Father all * the brotherhood,' 
the whole ' household of faith ;' and, as opportunity served, they 
gave Christian brethren encouragement and aid, looking with 
especial interest to those who were actively engaged in labour 
for the gospel. To their friend Paul, for example, they had 
recently, as repeatedly in former years, sent such pecuniary 
help as their circumstances permitted. The noble veteran of 
gospel warfare, now in prison 'for the word of God and the 
testimony of Jesus Christ,' had been greatly cheered by this 
proof of their love to him for the Master's sake. 

In speaking of their 'fellowship regarding the gospel,' he 
had no doubt in his mind all the forms of communion which 
have been mentioned ; and all his remembrances of the Philip- 
pians brought it up before his view, for its affection and energy 
had been seen ^from the first day until now.' 

In the next verse the apostle continues his statement of the 
ground of his 'joy' in praying for them, and of his thankful- 
ness to God respecting them. ' I can present my petition for 
your spiritual advancement with the brightness of full hope,' 
he says, ^ being confident of this very thing, which is the object of 
my prayer, that He ivhich hath begim a good work in you, will 
perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.^ 

Every work of God is 'very good.' With special intensity 
of significance is this attribute ascribed to His work of saving 
grace, in which He makes sinful men ' good ' by enabling 
them to reflect His own image. The long and faithful con- 
tinuance of the brethren at Philippi in their ' fellowship with 
respect to the gospel,' gave most convincing evidence that 
divine grace had ^ begun' this supremely ^good wo?'k' in them; 
and Paul believed that that same grace would still ^perform it,' 
' bring it to completeness.' God does not do things by halves ; 
and all those who through the dealings of His Spirit are led 

28 Lechi7'es on Philippians. [ch. i. 

to give themselves to Christ, are through the continued influ- 
ence of the Spirit sustained in faith and holiness unto full 
salvation. *^he gifts and calling of God are without repent- 
ance.' As certainly as the ' inheritance incorruptible, and un- 
defiled, and that fadeth not away,' is ' reserv^ed in heaven ' for 
the saints, so certainly they 'are kept by the power of God 
through faith unto salvation.' ' I give unto My sheep eternal 
life,' said the Lord Jesus, 'and they shall never perish, neither 
shall any pluck them out of My hand. My Father which gave 
them Me is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them 
out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are One.' 

Having the happy conviction, then, from all he knows of 
the Philippians, that not in name only, but in truth, they have 
given themselves to the Lord, Paul is confident that the 
' Author of their faith ' will be its ' Finisher ; ' that the ' good 
work ' which has been ' begun ' in them by divine grace, will 
be carried on ' until the day of Jesus Christ' The Christian 
knows that death will be for him the gate of life, seeing that 
' to depart ' will be ' to be with Christ.' But, according to the 
teaching of Scripture everywhere, the body is essential to 
complete humanity. So long, therefore, as the spirits of the 
saints remain disembodied, their condition is imperfect, even 
though they enjoy the highest happiness of which a disem- 
bodied human spirit is susceptible. The time of their perfec- 
■" tion in the fullest sense begins at the second coming of the 
Lord, when the pure spirit will be united again to what it will 
recognise as in some true sense the old companion of its earthly 
y joys and sorrows, but now ' fashioned like unto Christ's glorious 
body.' To that advent of the Lord in majesty, to bring the 
probationary history of our earth to a close, to subject His 
foes to utter overthrow, and to introduce His people into the 
fulness of eternal life, all imperfection for any of the elements 
of their nature for ever behind *them, — to this sublime scene, 
as you know, Scripture continually directs our thoughts. In 
the representations of the divine Word, death, which we are 

VER. 6.] Pleasant Memories and Bri^^ht Hopes. 29 

apt to keep so prominently before our minds, passes com- 
])aratively out of view, as but a stage in our progress towards 
the experiences of that great day. We should breathe a brighter 
and freer atmosphere, my brethren, if in this matter we followed 
the leadings of the Spirit more closely than we generally do. 
The first impulse of many of us, if we were expressing the 
thought of the verse before us, would be to write, 'Ood will 
carry on the good work //// death.' If we ponder the matter 
carefully, we shall see that the apostle's language reveals a soul 
less absorbed in the thought of self, and more occupied with 
that of the glory of the Saviour and the blessedness of the 
whole church, than ours, — a soul, therefore, which was more 
likely to ' rejoice in the Lord alway.' 

In considering the many precious assurances given in Scrip- 
ture, that all who cordially accept Christ as their Saviour will 
certainly be saved, it is of the highest importance that we bear 
in mind the perfect compatibility with these assurances, and, 
indeed, the absolute necessity, of diligence, and watchfulness, 
and prayer, 'to make our calling and election sure.' The per- 
severance of the saints is a perseverance in faith and holiness. 
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Christ's people secures 
for us success in our struggle with sin; but His teaching enables 
us to see in this no reason for carelessness and indolence, but 
a most powerful reason for diligence, seeing that the contest 
may be maintained with such assured hope. The children of 
God feel that no argument could by possibility be stronger 
than that which Paul exhibits elsewhere in this Epistle — 
* Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling ; for it 
is God which worketh in you both to will and to do, of His 
good pleasure.' 

In the portion of this long and somewhat complicated para- 
graph, or sentence, which we have already examined, we have 
seen that the apostle thanks God on two grounds, — on account 
of his remembrances of the Philippians, and on account of 
the happy future which he can confidently anticipate for 

30 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. i. 

them. He has given us, too, his reasons for the pleasure he 
felt both in the retrospect and the prospect. His thought 
may therefore be held as completely exhibited. But his 
delight in thinking of their history, and in telling them of 
his affection for them, is such, that his heart still dwells on 
the subject; and in the yth verse he goes back again to 
speak of their character and of his feelings regarding them, 
expanding in an interesting way his previous statements. He 
says, ' Even as it is meet — reasonable, due to you— for 7?ie to 
think this of you all.' How admirable a Christian society 
that of Philippi must have been, brethren, when the wise 
apostle, with ample opportunities of judging, could say ex- 
pressly that he had vaHd reasons 'to think this' — to enter- 
tain confidently the very best hopes — ' of them all.' Alas, 
how few ministers could venture safely even to approach such 
a statement regarding the spiritual condition of those under 
their care ! 

The ground on which rested the ^ meetness' that Paul 
' should think this of them,' was the abundant evidence he had 
seen of their Christian character. Instead, however, of the 
bare statement of this ground, ' because I have observed such 
satisfactory- proof of your being Christians,' we have here a 
characteristically Pauline deviation from regularity in the form 
of expression. The same facts which have proved to him the 
piety of the Philippians have led him to become attached to 
them, to give them a warm place in his great loving heart. 
Now this thought comes rushing into the sentence in place of 
the cold, quiet statement that he knows their character. ' It is 
meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in 
?ny heart, inasmuch as ye all are partakers of my grace ' — or, 
* as being all partakers ivith me of my grace' You see that 
these words must all be taken together, and that the logical 
force of the ' because ' is found in the last part ; not in the 
simple 'I love you,' but in 'I love yo\x as well-proi'cd felloiv- 

VI :r. 7.] Pleasant Memories and Bright Hopes. 3 1 

By some expositors the other words of the clause, which by 
our translators arc attached to the latter |)art, are joined to the 
former, — thus, * I have you in my heart, both in my bonds and 
in tlie defence and confirmation of the gosjjel, as being all 
])artakers of my grace ;' that is, * Both in my prison and when 
actively engaged in preaching the gospel, I feel a warm affec- 
tion for you, as being my fellow-Christians.' The original will 
bear this connection of the words ; but it seems to me greatly 
inferior in ])oint and force to that adopted in our version. 
Accepting the latter, therefore, as setting forth the meaning of 
the apostle, you observe that in these words he specifies the 
spheres in which the fellowship of the Philippians with him in 
divine favour and help, their being ' partakers with him of 
God's grace,' had been seen. They had, like Paul, laboured 
for Christ, and also, like Paul, siiffered for Him. 

Very naturally in a letter from the prison, the ^bonds' come up 
first to the apostle's mind. By the contribution which, through 
Epaphroditus, they had sent to the apostle, to alleviate the 
troubles of his imprisonment, they had practically evinced their 
sympathy — in the full sense of the word, their ' fellow-feelin<^' — 
with the persecuted saint. They had suffered with him in heart, 
' remembering him that was in bonds, as bound with him.' Such 
sympathy could come only from the teaching of divine ^ grace.' 
But there had been among these brethren not merely sympathy 
with suffering Christians, but personal experience of sufferino- 
for the gospel. * Unto you it is given,' says the apostle in the 
last verses of this chapter, ' to suffer for Christ's sake ; having 
the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in 
me.' Can we recognise God's 'grace' in such suffering? By 
nature men can see in suffering only an evil, and therefore, if 
it be looked at in relation to God, only a manifestation of His 
anger. The Christian learns to take another view. In afflic- 
tion of every kind he sees a most efficient form of gracious 
Fatherly discipline. Suffering directly for Christ the Divine 
Spirit enables him to count, in a special manner, a *gift of 

32 Lectures on Philippians, [cH. i. 

grace.' Such is the very expression of Paul in the words quoted 
a moment ago, * Unto you it is given in grace ' (for the word in 
the original means this, being the verbal form of that employed 
in the passage before us) ' to suffer for Christ's sake.' The men 
whom a general, at the critical moment of a great battle, spe- 
cially appoints to hold the key of his position, or whom, in the 
assault of a besieged city, he sends on a * forlorn hope,' are, by 
his choice of them for peril and probable suffering, marked out 
as in his judgment ' the bravest of the brave.' Their comrades, 
even while rejoicing in their hearts, it may be, that the selec- 
tion has left themselves out, feel that those on whom the choice 
has fallen are honoured. Similarly, is there not * grace' shown 
in the choice made by the ' Captain of salvation,' when in His 
providence He calls this soldier of the cross, and that, to suffer 
or die under the standard ? In the old persecuting times in 
our country, men who * bore in their bodies the marks of the 
Lord Jesus,' in limbs crushed by the iron boot or torn by 
the rack, — looking back in after days upon the patience which 
the Saviour had given them amid their anguish, and the 
increase of spiritual wisdom and energy which had come 
through the trial to themselves, and to some extent also to 
others, could not but esteem the suffering for Christ as a * gift 
of grace.' When under sentence of death, good Bishop Ridley 
wrote thus to his relatives : ' I warn you all, my beloved kins- 
folk, that ye be not amazed or astonished at the kind of my 
departure or dissolution \ for I assure you I think it the most 
honour that ever I was called unto in all my life. And there- 
fore I thank God heartily for it, that it hath pleased Him to 
call me, of His great mercy, unto this high honour, to suffer 
death willingly for His sake and in His cause ; unto the which 
honour He called the holy prophets, and His dearly beloved 
apostles, and His blessed chosen martyrs.' And when the end 
came, and Latimer and he were burned at the same stake, — 
whilst the persecutors could see only the flame which consumed 
the flesh, the faith of the martyrs could discern for themselves 

vi:r. 8.] Plcasa)i! Memories aiid Bright Hopes. 33 

a chariot of fire waiting to bear them home to their Lord, and 
for their country a fire of pious zeal h'ghted uj), which all the 
arts of the wickeil one should never be able to put out. There 
was i;reat * grace ' there. 

The Philippians had also, like Paul, been bold and success- 
ful ' /// the defence and conjirmation of tJie gospel^ — that is, in 
maintaining its divine authority against gainsaycrs, and in 
establishing its influence over the minds and hearts of those 
who had in some degree accepted it. Each of them had felt 
himself called upon, in his sphere, and according to his abilities, 
to be a missionary of the cross. Their souls, rejoicing in the 
gracious invitation, * Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are 
heavy laden, and I will give you rest,' had heard also, as an in- 
junction following on the invitation, ' And let him that heareth 
say, Come ;' and ' the love of Christ had constrained' them to 
obey. They felt that the opportunity to work for their Saviour, 
by carrying the light of life to their fellow-men, was a precious 
'gift of grace/ and they found that, in the work, all needed grace 
to guide and support was bestowed upon them abundantly. 

Alike as sufferers for Christ, then, and labourers for Him, 
they had proved themselves to have ' like precious faith' with 
Paul, and to be led and sustained by the same Spirit pf 
glorious power who had enabled Paul to go through his 
wonderful evangelistic labours, and bear his extraordinary 
trials. Manifestly ' partakers with him in his grace,' recipients 
with him of the love and help of his Father in heaven, they 
were loved by him as brethren ; and he could not but offer his 
petitions for them ' with joy,' entertaining a firm persuasion 
that He who had * begun a good work in them would perform 
it until the day of Jesus Christ' 

The 8th verse contains an earnest confirmation of what the 
apostle has just said. ' Strong as my language is respecting my 
love for you, there is no exaggeration in it; for God is ?ny record j 
haiu greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.^ 

''Record'' here means 'witness.' In the older English the 


34 Lectures on Philippians. . [ch. i. 

word had not its meaning limited to testimony committed to 
writing, as commonly now, but was applied to testimony 
generally, and sometimes, as here, to the witness who gave it.^ 
The fact that the apostle, writing under the inspiration of the 
Holy Ghost, here makes a solemn appeal to the Searcher of 
hearts with respect to the truth of his assertion, — and the case 
is only one of several which occur in his Epistles, — shows, in 
opposition to the view of the members of the Society of 
Friends, and of some other small bodies of Christians, that our 
Lord's prohibition of swearing, given in the Sermon on the 
Mount, does not refer to all oaths, but merely to all of a par- 
ticular kind. All appealing to God in a careless state of mind, 
on subjects of no moment, in forms or under circumstances 
calculated to weaken in ourselves and others reverence for 
God, — this is utterly hateful to Him. ' The Lord will not hold 
him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.' But whilst an 
oath on the lips of a man whose condition of heart is in no 
accordance with his solemn words of appeal, is a glaring insult 
to the Majesty of heaven ; yet a reverential oath honours, not 
dishonours, God. The example of our Lord Himself, and 
His inspired servants, proves that, consistently with His law, 
an oath may be taken in a court of justice, — and now and again 
elsewhere, when a Christian, bearing fully in mind the weighty 
importance of his words, believes that a solemn appeal to God 
will advance the interests of Christ's kingdom. The earnest- 
ness and solemnity of the apostle in the case before us are to 
be explained, no doubt, by his conviction that a lively impres- 
sion, on the part of the Philippians, of his love for them, would 
give special force to his advices and pleadings and warnings 
throughout the letter. 

* God is my record,' he says, * kow greatly I long after you 

* In the Authorized Version there are many instances of its use in the 
sense of ' testimony,' particularly in tiie phrase * bear record.' In the sense 
of * a witness,' which it has in the present passage, it occurs also in Job 
xvi. 19 and 2 Cor. i. 23. 

VKR. 8.] Pleasant Memories and Ih'io/il I /opes. 35 

<?//' — * how eagerly I desire to be permitted, in God's provi- 
dence, to see you again ; and, at the same time, how intense is 
my yearning for your prosperity, your growth in the beauty and 
strength and joy of reh'gion.' And this ' longing ' was ' in the 
bowels 0/ Jesus Christ' Among the ancients, the imagined 
bodily seat of the affections, which with us is the heart, was 
the bowels. Thus we have frequently in Scripture such ex- 
pressions as 'bowels of mercies,' 'bowels of compassion,' — 
where we should say, ' a heart full of mercy, full of com- 
passion.' Paul's statement, then, is that his longing love for 
the Philippians was 'in the heart of Jesus Christ.' The ex- 
pression is a remarkable one, very strong and startling. It 
shows us how real, and thorough, and lively, was the apostle's 
conviction of the union of Christians to their Lord. By the 
teaching of the word of Christ, made vital through the 
quickening energy of the Spirit of Christ, the believer, in the 
measure of his faith, has oneness of mind and heart with the 
Saviour, judges as He judges, loves as He loves, desires as He 
desires. ' Christ liveth in the Christian,' for * he that is joined 
unto the Lord is one spirit;' and thus, in all holy emotion and 
afifection in the followers of Christ, we see the action of His 
life and love. Thus the apostle's longings were ' in the heart 
of Jesus Christ.' 

You see then, brethren, by immediate inference,, that our 
calling as Christians is to be, every one of us, a revelation or 
word of Christ, an epistle of Christ, ^-ritten in characters so 
large and fair as to be known and read of all men. If the 
union between the Lord and His people be so real and so 
intimate that, in as far as our faith is intelligent and lively, His 
spiritual life pervades us, and our affections are ' in His heart,' 
then plainly, seeing that ' out of the heart are the issues of 
life,' Christ-like beauty of character, Christ-like energ}^ and 
patience, should be visible in every department of our conduct. 
As a matter of fact, then, does your life, does my life, truthfully 
represent the life of Christ ? This is the practical question on 


6 Lectures on Philippiaiis. [ch. i. 

the subject for us. What impression of the Saviour's ' heart ' 
is likely to be made on those around who are strangers to 
Him, by our lives, which, if our Christian profession mean 
anything, it declares to be ' issues ' from His heart ? Men 
hear of a vast hidden lake of purest water far up among the 
mountains. They judge by the streams whether the report is 
true. If, where they have been told that they will find a 
stream from the great lake, they come only on a dry channel ; 
or, if there be water, find the water bitter, — what will their 
judgment of the lake be ? 

To no feature of character did our Lord Himself more ex- 
pressly draw attention, as rightly exhibiting His spirit to the 
world, than to that so fully and beautifully displayed by the 
apostle in the passage before us, — love to the Christian brother- 
hood. 'This is My commandment,' He said, 'that ye love 
one another as I have loved you.' ' Hereby shall all men 
know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.' 
How is it with us, brethren, in this respect ? We have often 
sat together at the table of the Lord, declaring our close union 
to each other, through our common union to Him, — declaring 
that * we, being many, are one bread and one body, for we are 
all partakers of that one bread.' Now, in daily life, what 
tender interest do we ' show in each other ? Do we find and 
display happiness in each other's happiness, and sorrow in 
each other's sorrow ? Are the poor and the sick of the brother- 
hood objects of our care ? Are we really exerting ourselves, 
as God gives us opportunity, to strengthen the tempted among 
us, to guide the perplexed, to raise the fallen, to ' bear each 
other's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ ' ? All of us, 
dear friends, will find much cause for deep abasement, if we 
honestly put to ourselves such questions as these. Are there 
not some of us to whom Paul's words in this verse regarding 
his love to the brotherhood — and that a love * in the heart of 
Christ' — would be totally unintelligible, if they were to read 
them only by the light of their own personal experience ? 

vtR. 9.] Prayer for Spiritual Discermncnt. 



And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in know- 
ledge and in all judgment ; 10 That ye may approve things that are 
excellent ; that ye may be sincere, and without offence, till the day of 
Christ ; 1 1 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by 
Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.' — Phil. i. 9-1 1. 

OF the paragraph extending from the 3d verse to the 
8th, which is indeed one long and somewhat com- 
plicated sentence, the main statement, as we have seen, is that 
made at the beginning, that the apostle prayed for his Philip- 
])ian converts with thankfulness and joy, — the grounds of these 
feelings being exhibited in the remainder. The short section 
to which we now come tells us what the particular petition was 
which, in the prayer referred to, he usually offered up for them. 
The spiritually-minded reader feels himself pass easily from the 
close of the previous section into this. The 'longing' of 
Christian love so naturally takes the form of prayer, that no 
connection can be conceived more legitimate and direct than 
this, ' I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ,' * and 
this I pray.' And the Hearer of prayer ^satisfieth the longing 

* This is my prayer, then,' says Paul, ' that your iot'e may 
aboufid yet more a fid more in knowledge and i?i all Judgment.^ 
Love he has already mentioned to be conspicuous in the Philip- 
pian church. Their fellowship with Christ, with each other, 
with all good men, for the advancement of the power of the 
gospel, yielded him the most exquisite delight Now that this 


8 Lectures on Philippiafis. [en. i. 

love, already so ardent, may grow, may have every defect and 
disfigurement removed from it, and everything given to it 
which can increase its strength and beauty, — this is his chief 
petition to God for them. Thus the queenly position of Love 
among the graces is set before us. Knowledge and judgment, 
you see, in themselves so admirable, the apostle speaks of as 
merely her servants or possessions, in which it is desirable that 
she should 'abound.' Faith and hope are, in their degree, 
powerful and fair ; but it is hers to wear the crown and sway 
the sceptre, theirs to lay tribute at her feet. Love is the 
grand sanctifying, ennobling, beautifying principle of the Chris- 
tian soul. It is, in truth, itself the sum of moral excellence ; for 
all forms of holy feeling and holy action are but various mani- 
festations of love to God and to man. ' Love is the fulfilling 
of the law.' ' The end of the commandment is love, out of a 
pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.' 
' God is love,' and therefore to be full of love is to be like 

Now love to God, and the sincere and unselfish love to man, 
with which love to God is always associated, spring from know- 
ledge of God, and of man's real relations to God. It is impos- 
sible, consistently with the nature of things, that it should be 
otherwise. A heart which is in darkness, filled with grievous 
misconceptions of God and of happiness — and such is every 
human heart by nature — cannot love God, nor unselfishly love 
man. It is ' faith,' the intelligent and cordial belief of divine 
truth, that ' worketh by love.' The gospel of Jesus Christ ex- 
hibits to us the divine character in so winning an aspect, that 
when we thus see God we cannot but love Him, and with 
Him those who through His grace are in spirit like Him, — 
cannot but heartily sympathize too in His pitying love for the 
world. The Philippians, then, being distinguished by love, had 
of necessity no little Christian knowledge. 

But growth is the law of s})iritual life, as of natural. The 
new man in Christ has his infancy, his youth, his manhood. 

\'i:r. 9.] Prayer for Spiritual Discernment. 39 

And such is the mutual dependence of the elements of Chris- 
tian character, that it is of the highest importance that alt 
of them should grow. If one member of the new man be 
stunted in its development, then the whole body suffers. When 
' the whole body, fitly joined together, and com[)acted by that 
which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working 
in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, 
unto the edifying of itself in love,' — it is then that full spiritual 
health reigns. 

It is specially important that knowledge grow ; for this, the 
knowledge of divine truth, received through faith, is the root 
from which all Christian character springs. Plainly, therefore, 
the more widely and deeply that the root sends out its tendrils, 
the more fully that it draws from the soil of truth the nourish- 
ment which is fitted to sustain the trunk and the branches, 
ever the stronger and healthier is the tree, able the more 
triumphantly to endure the blasts of temptation, and continu- 
ally the lovelier in leaf and the richer in fruit. God, then, 
would have His people advance in Christian knowledge. He 
would have us not always to be content with the food of babes, 
who, whilst in a measure knowing the truth, are yet ' unskilful 
in the word of righteousness ;' but to seek the ' strong meat, 
which belongeth to them that are of full age.' We are to 
'follow on to know the Lord,' — to seek that the light which 
the Spirit has kindled in our souls may wax brighter and 
brighter. Ignorance is not, as has sometimes been foolishly 
and wickedly taught, the mother of devotion, but the mother 
of sin and superstition. Real living Bible Christianity has 
nothing to conceal. She says to all forms of investigation 
and inquiry, as Philip said to doubting Nathanael, ' Come and 
see.' The prayer of the apostle, then, is that the love of his 
dear converts at Philippi may, in ever-increasing abundance, 
possess knowledge as its basis, root, nourishment. 

That love should be accompanied by large knowledge is of 
the highest importance also, in order that her impulses may 

40 Lectures on Philippians. [cH. i. 

be wisely directed, — that she may work towards the best ends 
by the most judicious means. BHnd love fails in any sphere of 
action. A true-hearted boy, who finds his mother suddenly 
made a widow, and his young sisters and himself fatherless, 
and sees want coming on with fierce visage and rapid steps 
like an armed man, is impelled by his love to the dear ones 
around him to rush at once into the midst of the struggle of 
life ; and in the place, and with the weapons, of a full-gro\vn 
man, give the enemy battle. The love and the zeal are most 
beautiful and admirable, yet those among the onlookers who 
have experience of the world's difficulties, cannot but fear that 
the young hero may soon be brought home from the battle- 
field wounded and bleeding and despondent. He needs train- 
ing. His love must have the knowledge of men and things 
along with it, before it is likely to reach its aim. So with 
Christian love generally, going forth to do work for God and 
man in the world. Having talents entrusted to us by God to 
lay out for Him, we must strive — by the study of our powers 
and opportunities, temptations and dangers ; by the considera- 
tion of present circumstances, and by cautious forecast ; by 
carefully looking in and out, and at all things in the light of 
God's word — to become wise and successful spiritual traffickers.-^ 
Like those men of Issachar who came to Hebron to make 
David king, we should *have understanding of the times, to 
know what Israel ought to do,' — thus not having knowledge 
merely, but knowledge fused into wisdom. We should * walk 
circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, understanding what 
the will of the Lord is.' For thus directing a Christian's love to 
God and man into the best channels, it is evident that know- 
ledge beyond, as well as within, the sphere of what, in the 
ordinary limited sense, is called religious truth, is likely to be 
of no small service. The man who has most fully used his 
opportunities of obtaining general as well as biblical knowledge, 

> Accordin{^ to a precept ascribed l)y early writers to our Lord, yUivix 
rfa.xx^lra.1 ioxi/Aoi^ ' Be yc ajjproved money-changers.' 

vi.K. lo.] Pyaycr for Spiritual Discernment. 41 

;uul ill whom true Christian wisdom, contemplating all the 
knowledge in its relations to God and the gospel, thus trans- 
mutes it all into religious knowledge, — this man, if love be 
strong within him, is the most likely to leave the mark of his 
love deep and broad on the sphere which God has given him. 

I have spoken of knowledge as being both the support and 
the director of love. That this latter relation is chiefly in the 
apostle's mind here, is shown by the words he adds, * and ifi 
all judgmcfity — that is, * in all moral perception,' ' in an accurate 
and delicate moral discernment, suited for all the phases and 
emergencies of life.' It is possible to know general principles 
in a measure, and yet to fail often to see their true and full 
application, as particular cases present themselves. That the 
Philippians may have this faculty, is what the apostle now 
entreats of God. 

His exact meaning is explained by his next words, ' that ye 
may approve things that are excellent.'' This clause does not 
contain another petition co-ordinate with that of the 9th 
verse, as might very naturally be supposed from the English 
version ; but sets forth the object for which growth in know- 
ledge and judgment is entreated, — the introductory '■thaf 
meaning ' to the end that.' From a little ambiguity in two of 
the words employed by the apostle, the clause may mean 
either, as our translators have given it in the text, ' that ye 
may approve things that are excellent;' or, as they have given 
it in the margin, ' that ye may try things that differ.' It is 
of no great moment which of these renderings be adopted, 
because, as you will see, the approval of the excellent is 
simply the spiritual act to which the trying of the things that 
differ is intended to lead. On the whole, the marginal trans- 
lotion seems to me more pointed and forcible, and on various 
grounds preferable. 

The apostle's prayer then is, * that the love of the Philippians 
may be accompanied with abundant knowledge, and with all 
delicate moral perception, to the end that they may try or test 

42 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

— so as to distinguish — things which differ.' His reference 
in '■things which differ'' is not to virtue and vice, the service 
of God and the service of Satan. With respect to these, the 
PhiHppians had decided clearly and irrevocably long ago, for they 
were already Christians, eminent Christians. They shunned 
darkness, and loved light. In this clause of his prayer, Paul 
has in his mind, I apprehend, the faculty of distinguishing 
Christian virtue from all counterfeits ; of seeing, in an apparent 
conflict of duties, what present duty really is ; of discerning 
where excess begins in that which, up to a certain point, is 
innocent or useful ; of deciding accurately which of two ways 
of pursuing Christian work is the better; of avoiding moral 
pitfalls, however carefully covered over; of habitually saying 
and doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, 
and thus steadily growing ever liker Christ. 

In the case of the 'new man in Christ,' with respect to 
spiritual discrimination, just as in the ordinary life of man, it 
is ' by reason of use ' that we ' have our senses exercised to 
discern both good and evil.' When offered food, a child takes 
palatableness only into account, and will as readily eat, if it be 
pleasant to the taste, what is unwholesome or even poisonous, 
as what is most nourishing. The power of discriminating, so 
as ' to refuse the evil and choose the good,' comes by experi- 
ence. Now the skill which experience, to a great extent un- 
sought, thus gives in the physical sphere, must, in the spiritual, 
be sought by definite pursuit. Observation and reading, the 
reading particularly of the biographies of eminent Christians — 
and especially the Bible biographies, which have an absolute 
truthfulness seldom even approached in others, — these will 
supply materials, the thoughtful and prayerful consideration of 
which will produce acuteness of moral perception. There are 
Christians in whom natural delicacy of feeling and accuracy of 
judgment, fostered by various helpful surroundings, give, from 
the very beginning of their religious life, a faculty of spiritual 
discrimination which acts almost with the readiness and cer- 

vr.R. lo.] Prayer for Sf^i ritual DisccriiDicnt. 43 

tainty of an instinct. These are rare; but no believer, who is 
NviUing to be observant and thoughtful and prayerful, will fail 
to grow ever more acute in moral judgment. Let us cultivate 
this faculty with diligence, my brethren. The degree in which 
it is possessed determines very largely the beauty of a Chris- 
tian's character, and the breadth and depth and permanence of 
his influence for good. 

To this point the apostle directs attention in his next words. 
* My desire for your growth in delicacy of moral perception,' 
he says, * is mainly with a view to a further object, to the intent 
that yc ffiay be sincere, and witJioiit offenre, till the day of Christ^ 
All knowledge and wisdom in regard to religion are fitted to 
exert practical power over the affections and life, and fail of 
their grand use where this is wanting. * Be ye doers of the 
word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves ; for 
whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth 
therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, 
this man shall be blessed in his deed.' Now if a man have 
the faculty of sound moral discrimination, and permit his clear 
views to act legitimately on his heart, the whole man will evi- 
dently be ' sincere,^ ' pure,' * free from mixture ' or contamina- 
tion with what is base ; so that, according to what is not impro- 
bably the primitive sense of the word used in the original, he 
might with safety be ' tested in bright sunlight.' His soul, 
regulated by the absolutely harmonious will of God, will itself 
be free from all discords. He will cherish * singleness of heart, 
fearing God.' To maintain any approach to a spirit like this, 
needs, in such a world as that we live in, the exercise of in- 
tense and constant vigilance. Some of us have seen the 
glorious blue of the Rhone, as it leaves the Lake of Geneva. 
A little way do\\Ti, we have seen the Arve, loaded with mud, 
rush into the same channel. We have watched the two streams 
flow side by side, each in its own division of the channel, as if 
the pure could not permit the impure to mingle with it. But 
the earthly insinuates itself fully at last, and the river flows on, 

44 Lectures on Philippiayis. [ch. i. 

its colour still blue, but sadly changed from the heaven-like 
blue of its beginnings. Have we not often mourned, brethren, 
to see something like this in a Christian life — the hue of earth 
spreading itself lamentably over the hue of heaven ? Faith in 
Christ brings the water from ' the upper springs,' to make the 
stream pure and sweet ; but the muddy and bitter water from 
the world ever presses in, to mar and pollute. But ' love, 
abounding in knowledge and in all judgment,' can keep the 
stream clear, so that it reveals itself truly as a branch of the 
' pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, which proceed- 
eth out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.' 

A Christian whose soul is, in any considerable measure, 
' sincere,' through accurate and influential perceptions of moral 
right and wrong, will evidently, in the degree of his * sincerity,' 
be in his life ' ivithoiU offence' — that is to say, will not ' stumble' 
in religion ; for at the time oui" version of the Bible was made, 
'offend' and 'offence' meant, respectively, 'stumble,' and 
' stumbling ' or ' stumbling-block.' The man of ' sincere ' 
heart will maintain a steady Christian walk ; and thus his in- 
fluence will in nothing tend to produce unsteadiness, spiritual 
inconsistency, in other believers ; but will always stimulate them 
to ' adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour ' by a blameless 
and useful life.^ In this way the aims of love, the grace from 
the mention of which the thoughts of the apostle in the para- 
graph took their start, and which he regards as rightful ruler 
of the nature, will be furthered on every side. 

And all this ' ////' — or rather ' against,' ' in view of — ' the day 
of Christy — 'keeping its solemnities much before the mind.' 
The fact that this is the second reference we have met with in 
the first ten verses of the Epistle to the great day of Christ's 
second advent, shows impressively with what vividness and 

* The original word rendered * without offence' may mean also * without 
causing offence,' or 'stumbling,' in others. The former meaning is, beyond 
(|uestion, I think, that primarily intended by the apostle here ; but, of 
course, the thought of intluence on others naturally suggests itself also. 

vi:r. I 1.1 Prayer for Spiritual Disccnuncnt. 45 

constancy it was present to the thoughts of the ai)Ostle. The 
< oming of the Lord was to him no mere article of an orthodox 
creed, no mere necessary constituent of a complete confession 
of faith. It stood out before him as intensely real. The 
thought of it coloured his whole being. Glowing love to Him 
who, in His first coming, had suffered and died, that even for 
one who was *a persecutor, a blasphemer, and injurious,' there 
might be saving mercy ; and a vivid realizing faith in His 
second coming, His glorious appearing to raise the dead, and 
judge the world, and introduce His people into the full 
blessedness and glory of salvation, — these were plainly the mov- 
ing springs of this great Christian's life. He * looked' with the 
intensest yearnings of his strong soul ' for that blessed hope ;' 
and those eager longings gave ardour to his prayers and efforts, 
both for himself and his converts, that ' their whole spirit and 
soul and body might be preserved blameless unto the coming 
of our Lord Jesus Christ.' You and I, my friends, if we truly 
believe the testimony of God, have similar anticipations with 
the apostle. We, too, expect to see ' the judgment set, and the 
books opened.' According to our profession, we have 'turned 
to God to serve Him, and to wait for His Son from heaven.' 
' Wherefore, beloved, seeing that we look for such things, let 
us be diligent, that we may be found of Him in peace, without 
spot and blameless.' 

In the apostle's description of the character which, in his 
prayer, he asks God to produce in the Philippians through in- 
creasing delicacy of spiritual perception, he has mentioned 
'sincerity' or 'purity' of soul, and its legitimate issue in the 
life, a consistent Christian course, free from stumbling and 
from anything fitted to be a stumbling-block to others. Some- 
thing more has yet to be said. Not merely does he desire to 
see them ' without offence,' but distinguished growingly by 
Christian activity and devotedness, ' bei?ig filled with i/ie fruits,^ 
or, according to a more approved reading, ^ fndf,' ^ of rig/il- 
cous;i€ss.' ^ RighteousTiess' here may designate either holiness 

46 Lecher es 07z Philippia7is. [ch. l 

of heart or holiness of life. If the former be the meaning, 
then the sense of the whole phrase, ^ the fruit of righteousness^ 
is, *the fruit (holiness of life) which springs from righteousness,' 
' righteousness ' being regarded as the root or tree. If the 
other be the meaning, then the sense is, ' the fruit which 
is, consists in, righteousness,' — piety of soul being at once 
naturally thought of as the root or tree. The force of the 
passage is obviously quite the same either way, the difference 
having reference merely to the mode of conceiving the figure. 
The ' fruit ' spoken of is seen in lives marked by holy love and 
energy and patience. 

With such fruit the apostle desires to see the Philippians 
^ filled^ laden on every bough. He would have them impelled 
by the mercies of God to ' present their bodies living sacrifices, 
holy, acceptable unto God,' feeling this to be their * reasonable 
service.' He longed to see them, in every department of their 
lives, manifestly ' transformed by the renewing of their minds,' — 
' hungering and thirsting after righteousness,' — urged by the 
sweet constraint of the love of Christ to 'give all diligence to 
add to their faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to 
knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to 
patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly-kindness, and to 
brotherly-kindness charity.' In looking for an example illus- 
trative of the meaning of this clause of the apostle's prayer, the 
Philippians, I doubt not, would think, next to the life of the 
Lord Jesus, of the life of Paul himself. As they glanced back 
over his history, and saw him ' posting o'er land and ocean 
without rest,' thirsting to carry the glad tidings of salvation to 
poor sinners of the Gentiles, until, *by the power of the Spirit 
of God, from Jenisalem and round about unto Illyricum, he had 
fully preached the gospel of Christ;' as they recalled how 
devotedly he followed in the footsteps of his Master, earnest, 
prayerful, i)atient, loving, * becoming all things to all men, that 
by all means, he might save some;' as they thought of him in 
his present circumstances, now 'such an one as Paul the aged,' 

\i.K. I I.J Prayer for Spirilnal DisccDiDiciU. 47 

a prisoner, and uncertain whether his imi)risonment might not 
end in a cruel death, yet contented and cheerful, labouring 
chligently for Christ in the ways open to him, encouraging the 
lirelhren in Rome, and writing letters of comfort and instruc- 
tion to the churches he had founded, — they felt that they knew 
what ' to be filled with the fruit of righteousness ' meant. 

' The fruit of righteousness ' can be produced only through 
the gracious operation of God. The tendency of our fallen 
nature, left to itself, is to depart ever further from the produc- 
tion of good fruit All the mere earthly influences of every 
kind, material, intellectual, and moral, which a creature like 
man, in a state of depravity, could conceive of as likely to give 
him advancement, have in turn, or unitedly, been brought 
into play in the history of the world ; and, so far as regards 
moral and spiritual elevation, the result of them all, left to 
themselves, has always been a total failure. It is evident, then, 
that special heavenly influences are needed. ' The fruit of 
righteousness ' is indeed expressly called by the apostle else- 
where ' the fruit of the Spirit,' whose help is given to us, as he 
states here, ' by Jesus C/ifist.^ Only through the Lord's media- 
tion are any of the treasures of salvation bestowed upon us. 

The apostle appends ' tmto the glory and praise of God.^ This 
may be connected specially with the statement that 'the fruit 
of righteousness is by Jesus Christ,' or generally with the whole 
prayer ; the latter part, ' that ye may be sincere, and without 
off'ence, filled with the fruit of righteousness,' being, one may 
suppose, as nearest, most prominent in the writer's mind. This 
latter connection is perhaps the preferable ; but obviously the 
sense is substantially the same either way. 

The grand ultimate purpose of all God's doings, the end in 
which is summed up all good, is ' the praise of His glory,' 
the manifestation of His own infinite excellence. No other 
adecjuate end, indeed, can be imagined. The sublimest reve- 
lation made of the glory of God, is seen in His work of grace 
through the incarnation and sufferings and mediatorial reign of 

48 Lectures 07i Philippians. [ch. i. 

His Son. Now the chief element in the salvation which God 
offers us in Christ is holiness, likeness in character to Himself. 
The Lord 'gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from 
all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous 
of good works.' Plainly, then, the measure in which Christians 
are * sincere and without offence, being filled with the fruit of 
righteousness,' will be the measure in which in them the ' glory' 
of divine grace is made manifest. 

' Praise' which the apostle adds to * glory,' designates the 
recognition and acknowledgment of the glory. The glory of 
God is revealed, whether men open their eyes to see it or not. 
But the highest life of moral creatures depends on their recog- 
nition of this glory ; and therefore over growing recognition, 
which means growing life, growing holiness, growing spiritual 
beauty, our loving Father rejoices. 

The aim of God in His dealings with us, then, is His own 
' glory and praise.' His working within us is to produce by 
His Spirit, through the faith of the gospel of His Son, such 
happiness and such loveliness of character as shall clearly evince 
His love and wisdom and power, and bring men generally to 
recognise His ineffable excellence, and, by their ' knowing the 
only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent,' enter 
into * eternal life.' His people, having, in the measure of the 
intelligence and liveliness of their faith, oneness of thought and 
will with their lieavenly Father, learn to rejoice supremely in 
recognising and seeing the recognition of His perfections, and 
to pray and labour with definite aim for the widening and 
deepening of such recognition. But this attainment is not 
reached at once. The heart, narrowed by sin, has first to be 
* enlarged ' by the influence of the Divine Spirit, through the 
training of religion, before there is full room for affections and 
longings so subHme. Of the young believer's spiritual happi- 
ness the most prominent element is joy simi)ly that he is saved ; 
of the eminently mature Christian's, that his salvation is ' to the 
praise of the glory of God's grace.' 

VERS. 1 2- 1 8.] The Gospel in Rome. 49 


' Hut I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which hap- 
pened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the 
gos]:>el; 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, 
and in all other places ; 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, 
waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the 
word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and 
strife ; and some also of good will. 16 The one preach Christ of con- 
tention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds ; 17 But 
the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. 
18 \\Tiat then ? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or 
in truth, Christ is preached \ and I therein do rejoice, yea, and wiH 
rejoice.' — Phil. r. 12-18. 

THE apostle now, with the freedom of style belonging to a 
friendly letter, passes away to a new subject. He pro- 
ceeds to give the Philippians some news regarding the eftect 
of his imprisonment upon the progress of the gospel in Rome, 
and his feelings in connection with the state of things which 
he describes. In the communication brought to him from 
the church of Philippi by Epaphroditus, they had expressed, 
no doubt, as was natural, besides warm sympathy with him in 
his suflferings, anxiety also respecting his prospects, and fear 
lest, through his being in bonds, the work of Christ in the 
metropolis of the world should in various ways be seriously 
obstructed Being enlightened Christians, they knew that the 
trouble which, in the providential arrangements of God, had 
come upon the apostle, was good for him, and would in its 
ultimate issues be for the divine glory ; but they might reason- 
ably enough doubt whether its immediate result would not be 


50 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

to hinder the growth of the church. Not merely was there a 
clog on the freedom of movement of the great missionary him- 
self; but it might easily be supposed that his being under per- 
secution would seriously dispirit the Roman Christians, and 
prevent them from engaging vigorously in work for the Saviour. 
But Paul tells them in the paragraph before us that it was not 
so. ' To relieve your anxiety,' he says, ' and to deepen your 
conviction that Jesus is Head over all things to the church, 
which is His body, — so that the gates of hell shall certainly 
not prevail against it, — / would ye should understand, brethren, 
that the things ivhich hap_pe?ted unto me have fallen out rather unto 
the furtherance of the gospel \hdSi unto the obstruction of it.' 

The first result of God's gracious intervention to ' make the 
wrath of man ' in this matter ' praise Him,' was that the cause 
of Paul's imprisonment became extensively known, — ' so that 
my bonds in Christ are matiifest in the palace, and in all other 
places^ The original word rendered '■palace^ is one employed 
with a considerable variety of meaning, and its exact force 
here is somewhat doubtful. The view of the meaning adopted 
by our translators, in common with many other interpreters — 
* palace,' or, as it is given in the margin, ' Caesar's court ' — is 
to some extent supported by the salutation at the close of the 
Epistle, sent from * them that are of Caesar's household.' To 
most modern expositors of the Epistle, however, it seems more 
probable that in the passage before us the word denotes the 
camp of the Emperor's body-guard, — a brigade or rather small 
army, known by the name of the Prcetorian Cohorts, which was 
constituted by the P^mperor Augustus. By his successor 
Tiberius, a large camp was constructed for them on the north 
of the city, whore the main body was i)ermancntly stationed. 
A certain portion, however, were always on duty around the 
emperor's person, and for them there were barracks connected 
with the palace, which was within the city, on the Palatine 
Hill. , It belonged to the official duty of the commander of 
the Praetorian guards to keep in custody all accused persons 

VKR. 13.] The Gospel in Rome. 51 

who were to be tried before the emperor himself; and accord- 
ingly when Paul, having appealed from the provincial governor 
Festiis to Caesar, was taken to Rome, it was into the hands of 
tliis great officer that he was given over by the centurion 
Julius, who had brought him from Palestine. The commander, 
influenced, no doubt, by the report wliich Julius gave respecting 
his prisoner, granted Paul considerable liberty. Still, in ac- 
cordance with regular Roman usage, he was night and day 
chained by the arm to the arm of a soldier. 

The words in the verse before us may be taken to indicate, 
in a general v»ay, where the apostle lived at Rome, seeing that 
in the neighbourhood of his place of abode his bonds would 
naturally become most * manifest' By some — our translators 
apparently among the number, from their rendering here — it 
has been supposed that he was quartered in the barracks or 
small camp adjoining the palace. But Luke, in the Acts of 
the Apostles (xxviii. 30), tells us that Paul ' dwelt in his own 
hired house.' Now it appears exceedingly improbable that 
such a house could be obtained within the enclosures of the 
imperial palace. Or, if we suppose the date of this Epistle to 
be later than the time covered by the reference in Acts, and 
that the apostle was no longer in a house of his own, but in 
more rigid confinement, still it seems very unlikely that a 
prisoner to whom in the eyes of the Roman ofificials no par- 
ticular distinction could attach, should be lodged in the palace 
buildings. The same difficulties do not lie in the way of our 
supposing his place of residence to have been within the great 
Praetorian camp outside the city. There may have been houses 
included within it which could be rented. There, in all likeli- 
hood, I think, or at least in that neighbourhood, he lived. The 
immediate reference in the words before us, however, may be, 
and, as it seems to me, from the ordinary' use of the term 
employed in the original, really is, not local but personal. 
They designate, I think, neither a palace nor a camp, but 
mean 'in all the Praetorian brigade.' 

52 Lectures on Philippia7is. [CH. i. 

Among the Praetorlaii guards, then, Paul's ' bonds in Christ 
were manifest^ — or, more exactly, ' his bonds were manifest in 
Christ,' ' were well known as being in connection with Christ.* 
* In connection with Christ,' at least — and this most vaguely 
and variously conceived — was, no doubt, the form in which the 
cause of his imprisonment would present itself to many of 
those of whom he speaks ; yet the full and precious force of 
the ''in Christ' is to be held fast here, as elsewhere; for the 
apostle exhibits the matter in the aspect in which he himself 
delighted to view it It was through his union to Christ that 
the bonds were on his limbs, — badges, therefore, not of slavery, 
but of true freedom. It was because, being ' in Christ,' he was 
prompted by the Spirit of Christ to earnest effort for the exten- 
sion of the gospel, that he had been imprisoned ; and it was 
because, being 'in Christ,' he was sustained by the Spirit of 
Christ, that the bonds were borne with patience, and became 
instruments of glorifying God. Paul felt that in this * in Christ' 
were summed up all the forms of the connection between the 
Saviour and His people, all the relations borne to Him by holy 
hearts and holy deeds. 

It is not unreasonable to suppose that a considerable number ' 
of the Praetorian soldiers felt an interest in the apostle from the 
very beginning of his residence in Rome. It can hardly be 
doubted that, in conversation with officers of the brigade, 
Julius, whom all that is told us of him shows to have been a 
man of candour and generosity, spoke of his singular prisoner, 
his evident intellectual power, his pure and lofty character, his 
prophecies during the voyage, and his miracles during the stay 
at Malta.i The other prisoners, too, who had been in the 
ship, could scarcely fail to talk of their extraordinary com- 

' There is probability in the view maintained by Wieseler, Howson, 
and Alford, that the * Augustan Cohort,' or, as the Authorized Version has 
it, ' Augustus* band,' in which Julius was a centurion (Acts xxvii. i), was a 
portion of the Prwtorian Brigade. In this case, we may suppose that on 
his arrival in Rome he was quartered in the camp of the Praetorians, and 
thus had frequent opportunities of intercourse with the other officers. 

vi:r. 13.] TJic Gospel in Rome . 53 

])ani()n in such a way as to direct special attention to him. 
Then during the two years or more in which the apostle lived 
among the Praetorians, — whatever was the particular system 
according to which the soldiers relieved each other in the 
special charge of the prisoners, — a great number must certainly 
have been brought more or less into contact with him, and 
some, probably many, must have had times of the very closest 
companionship. Under these circumstances, the influence of 
his character and wisdom could not but become deeply and 
widely felt throughout the brigade. His life among them was 
one on which so strong a light beat that nothing could well 
remain concealed ; he had no privacy, no solitude, day or night, 
except that solitude which every Christian heart can make for 
itself, even in the midst of bustle, for communion with God. 
Studying him by this light, seeing his purity, his patience, his 
gentleness and kindness, the soldiers felt that assuredly he was 
no criminal in the ordinary sense of the word, and that no 
charge could for a moment be sustained against him, except 
the charge of sincerely, lovingly, constantly, unflinchingly, 
serving that unseen God, that unseen Saviour, to whom he so 
frequently prayed. If that was a fault, no soldier who ever for 
a single day or a single night was linked to Paul's arm could 
doubt that he was guilty there. His bonds, then, were ' mani- 
fest to be in Christ.' 

' In all other places^ also, the true cause of his imprisonment 
was manifest, or rather, ' to all the rest,' that is, to all that knew 
anything of the imprisonment. To every one who was aware of 
the fact that Paul was in bonds, it was plain that these were ' in 

The Philippians, then, might reasonably cast off a great part 
of their burden of anxiety respecting the apostle's position. He 
was a prisoner indeed, but the real cause of his imprisonment 
was widely and well understood ; and thus, in various ways, 
honour was brought to the gospel, and to the Saviour whom 
the gospel reveals. 

54 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. i. 

But, further, ^ many^ — more exactly, 'most' — ^ of the brethren 
in the Lord, waxing co7ifide7it by my bonds, are much more bold to 
speak the word without fear ^ 

It seems fair to infer, from the way in which the apostle 
makes this statement, that in the early church the regular state 
of things in a healthy congregation was that every member, 
according to his opportunities, ' spake the word of the Lord.' 
Then, as now, for obvious reasons, there were ministers, per- 
sons specially charged with the duty of ' labouring in the word 
and doctrine.' But here, you observe, Paul says that * most of 
the brethren^ — that is, undoubtedly, according to the usual 
meaning of the word in the New Testament, ' most of the Chris- 
tians,' 'most of the members of the church' — were engaged in 
evangelistic work ; and, plainly, his only regret is that he had 
to say * most,' not ' all' In any person who obtained a cure 
of a bodily disease commonly counted incurable, you would 
think it the dictate of natural humanity to bring the name of 
the physician or of the medicine as widely as possible before 
the attention of all persons similarly diseased ; so, surely, it is, 
for the new' man in Christ, at once obviously dutiful and most 
natural, to publish the glorious power and grace of the Divine 
Physician of souls among all who do not know Him. In 
heathen countries, where missionaries are labouring, this is 
the general and immediate effect of conversion to God. The 
young believer tells eagerly and everywhere, 'what a dear 
Saviour he has found.' In a country like ours the conditions 
of the question of duty, so far as regards private conversations 
on religion, are considerably different, through the common- 
ness of a Christian profession. Among a large proportion of 
our people, what is needed in religion is not news, but advice ; 
not glad tidings of a Deliverer hitherto unheard of, but solemn 
and earnest pleading regarding the importance of accepting a 
salvation known about since childhood. Now this fact, of 
necessity, to some extent limits a Christian's sphere of evan- 
gelistic effort, because news of interest will be welcomed from 

VKR. 14.] The Gospel in Rome. 55 

any one, advice on matters of moment and delicacy only 
from a friend, and not always from him. It is true that you 
may believe even many a professing Christian to have been so 
neglectful of his i)rivilcges as to need news of Christ ; yet if 
this be assumed, and the assumption acted upon, there is great 
risk that, through wounded sensitiveness, a strong barrier of 
pride and obstinacy may at once be thrown up against the power 
of the truth. Still it is manifestly the duty of all Christians, 
wherever it is within their power, to * speak the word ' to 
those who are, clearly and admittedly, * ignorant and out of 
the way,' and to others, wherever their relations to them and 
their opportunities allow. But, alas ! my brethren, that same 
state of things to which I have already alluded, the common- 
ness, and, indeed, all but universality, in our country, in certain 
classes of society, of a Christian profession, so that great mul- 
titudes call themselves Christians who give little evidence of 
genuine change of heart, deadens the sense of duty even 
among true believers. The tendency of ' the law of sin in the 
members ' is ever to make us satisfied with being on no lower 
level of Christian activity than our professing Christian neigh- 
bours. Ah, how different from His spirit, whose * meat it was 
to do the will of Him that sent Him, and to finish His work !' 
The church of Christ in Rome, regarding the spiritual energy 
of w^hich Paul here gives information to the Philippians, had 
been in existence probably for many years. Among the 'Jews, 
devout men, out of every nation under heaven,' who were in 
Jerusalem at the ever-memorable Pentecost, and who heard 
the glad tidings from the lips of the apostles, we find mention 
made of ' strangers of Rome.' There is every likelihood that 
some of these were convinced of the Messiahship of Jesus, 
and that on their return home they foraied themselves into 
an association for Christian worship and work. Paul's great 
Epistle to this church was written about three years before his 
arrival among them ; and at that time, as w^e learn from him, 
their * faith was spoken of throughout the whole world.' Most 

56 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. i. 

of these Christians were, no doubt, poor men, and thus, amid 
the teeming population of Rome, the ' speaking of the word of 
God,' to which their faith prompted, was probably in most 
cases altogether unnoticed by the officers of the government; 
or, if noticed, was regarded with contempt. Still, it would 
seem that, knowing how fierce a flame of jealousy and anger 
might at any moment, through some casual circumstance, be 
lighted up in the hearts of their despotic and suspicious rulers, 
they had carried on their work with not a little fear. But now, 
as Paul tells the Philippians, ^ the brethren waxed bold through 
his bonds' By his sufferings for preaching the word they had 
their boldness in preaching it increased. This paradox is simply 
a special form of what is constantly seen in the church. In 
the Christian, when called to suffer, ' tribulation,' which to the 
unregenerate man appears simply a destroyer of joy, 'worketh 
patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.' The 
observation, too, of suffering well endured by other believers, 
strengthens faith. Thus, through the sight of Paul in bonds 
for serving Christ, and tranquil under his bonds, the brethren 
in Rome had their delight in God, and their devotedness to 
Him, increased. The faith which saw in Paul's chains evi- 
dences of a moral kingliness, a kingliness which would by and 
by have its glory manifested, seeing that ' it is a faithful say- 
ing. If we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him,' — 
faith like this among the Roman Christians could not but 
spur them on to labour manfully and unflinchingly in Christ's 
service. Thus it comes that ' the blood of the martyrs is the 
seed of the church.' Not only are the actual sufferers person- 
afly ennobled in spirit through their sufferings ; but others, too, 
are enlightened, quickened, strengthened. In the persecution 
which arose after the murder of Stephen, * they that were scat- 
tered abroad went everywhere preaching the Word.' Through 
persecution it was that warm religious life was maintained in the 
Piedmontese valleys ; so that when in our own day, in the pro- 
vidence of God, Italy was opened to the gospel, the Waldenses 

VI :r. 14.] The Gospel in Rome. 57 

were ready to enter in rejoicingly and proclaim the truth. 
And to the long and intensely cruel persecution of the Chris- 
tians in Madagascar is largely due, according to the view of 
those who have had the best opportunities of judging, the 
marvellous progress of the cause of Christ in that island, both 
during the dark days and since. * Out of the eater cometh 
forth meat, and out of the strong cometh forth sweetness.' 

The secret of all this is told in the little phrase of the 
apostle, * in the Lord' This seems to belong to the words 
which follow, rather than, as our translators have supposed, to 
that which precedes, — his statement being, therefore, that 

* through his bonds the brethren waxed confident in the Lord.' 
The natural man, the man who himself is ' out of Christ,' can 
see, as he looks at Paul in his imprisonment, only the chains, 
and the possibilities of a violent death. But the man who is 

* in Christ,' however clearly he may see these, sees also the 
spiritual grandeur of work for the Saviour, such as had brought 
the apostle into bonds, — the spiritual grandeur of suffering for 
the Saviour, if such be His appointment, — the sympathy of Christ 
with the sufterer, and the serenity of heart which the sense of that 
sympathy brings, — the growth of religious strength and beauty 
through the affliction, — and the glorious issue of all, when ' to 
him that overcometh Jesus gives to sit with Him in His throne, 
even as He also overcame and is set do^\•n with His Father in 
His throne.' Is it wonderful that the man who, with the eye 
of faith, sees these things, should ' wax confident in the Lord 
by the apostle's bonds,' and be ' much more bold to speak the 
word without fear ' ? 

But the persons who were preaching the gospel in Rome, 
and this to some extent under a stimulus given by their 
knowledge of Paul's position, were yet under the influence of 
strangely divergent motives. ' Some^ indeed,' the apostle says, 
referring here evidently to persons distinct from the ' brethren ' 
mentioned in the 14th verse, ^preach Christ even., strange as it 
may seem, of envy and strife, and (rather " but ") some also of 

58 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

good will, — from hearty interest in my happiness, and in the 
progress of the Saviour's kingdom. The one ^dxty preach Christ 
of contention (more exactly " factiousness "), not sincerely^ — not 
\\ith purity or singleness of purpose, — supposing to add afflic- 
tion to my bonds ; but the other party of love to me, knowing 
that I a7n set for the defence of the gospel — that I am Christ's 
apostle, commissioned to maintain His truth against all gain- 

Those last spoken of are plainly the * brethren ' before men- 
tioned. They loved the apostle, both for his Master's sake 
and for his own. They knew that he was ' set for the defence 
of the gospel,' and that his heart was in his great work. They 
saw, therefore, that the evidence of sympathy with him which 
would yield him the richest comfort, would be effort to extend 
the knowledge and power of the truth so dear to him. Ad- 
miration and affection for the honoured ' prisoner of Jesus 
Christ ' thus acted as a spur to them in the work to which 
gratitude and love to their Saviour of itself impelled them. 
We understand this party and their motives without any 

But who were the others? We find that throughout the 
whole of Paul's apostolic course his most virulent opponents 
were Jews. It is most probable therefore that the persons here 
referred to, belonged to his * kinsmen according to the flesh.' 
They were professedly Christian Jews, too ; for unbelievers 
would in no sense have ' preached Christ,' as it is said by the 
apostle that these did. The unbelieving Jews hated Paul, 
who, in early life regarded as an eminent defender of Pharisaic 
Judaism, had now for many years, and with extraordinary 
energy and success, 'preached the faith which once he de- 
stroyed;' but they hated Jesus of Nazareth more. Paul's 
bitterest and most unwearied antagonists were Jews who had 
embraced Christianity, but, understanding the spirit of their 
new religion only very imperfectly, believed that all Christians 
should observe the rite of circumcision and the other ordinances 

VKRs. 15-17.] The Gospel i)i Rome. 59 

of the old covenant. To this class, we may reasonably sup- 
pose, belonged the men whom Paul here describes to the 
Philippians as 'preaching Christ through envy and factious- 
ness.' The doctrines of some of these Judaizing teachers were 
exceedingly, and indeed ruinously, erroneous. Of those, for 
example, who visited the Galatians, the errors were such that, 
as it would seem from the tone of the apostle's letter to that 
church, persons who fully admitted the false teaching 'fnistrated 
the grace of God,' placing themselves in a position in which 
'Christ profited them nothing,' 'was of no effect to them,' 
' was dead in vain.' It may be questioned whether Paul 
would have said of such teachers as these, that they ' preached 
Christ ' at all ; and it can hardly be even questioned, that 
under no circumstances would he have 'rejoiced' in their 
preaching, as in the i8th verse he says he did in the preaching 
even of his opponents at Rome. But, no doubt, there were 
other Judaizers in the early church, of views less divergent 
from truth, but who also disliked Paul keenly, in consequence 
of the steady and uncompromising opposition he maintained at 
all times to the slightest infringement of the full spiritual liberty 
of believers. Such, perhaps, were those in the church at 
Corinth, whose motto or watchword was ' I am of Cephas.' It 
appears to me most likely that the persons of whom the apostle 
speaks in the passage before us were, mainly at least, of this 
class, — Christian Jews, who had an imperfect view of ' the 
liberty wherewith Christ hath made His people free,' but 
whose teaching diverged less from pure Christian doctrine than 
that of some others. Whatever their doctrines, however, they 
were men of whose hearts the gospel had but slightly laid hold. 
The apostle's language respecting them need not be taken to 
mean that, in his judgment, they were all wholly destitute of 
real love to Christ ; but they certainly were, at the least, de- 
plorably misguided. 

The hatred of these teachers to Paul, and even the mode 
in which it was on the present occasion displayed, will not 

6o Lecticres on Philippians. [ch. i. 

appear strange to careful students of history. Calvin, in his 
comment on this passage, remarks, * Paul certainly says nothing 
here which I have not myself experienced.' It was natural 
that Jews, members of a nation which had for many centuries 
enjoyed singular proofs of the divine favour, should, even when 
they became Christians, be most reluctant to admit the thought 
that the religion introduced by Jesus — Himself one of their 
race, and the Messiah promised to their fathers and longed for 
by their fathers as ' the Consolation of Israel ' — set aside the 
ordinances of the Old Economy, and everything which could 
suggest any superiority before God of the Jew over the Gentile. 
When we think of this, and when we remember how deplorably 
common bitter hatreds, arising from sectarian rivalries, have 
been throughout the whole history of the church, it will not 
seem to us very wonderful that these men felt such hostility to 
Paul, — sublimely noble and exquisitely amiable though his 
character was. 

They expected by their conduct, the apostle says, ^ to add 
affliction to his bonds,' or ' to make his bonds gall him.' In the 
opinion of some expositors, the reference in these words is 
to outward trouble, the belief of Paul's opponents being sup- 
posed to have been that, by preaching the glory of Jesus as 
' Messiah the Prince,' the rightful King of all hearts, they 
might arouse the jealousy of the emperor, whose anger would 
naturally vent itself on Paul, universally known as the most 
prominent Christian in Rome. This view seems in a high 
degree unlikely. It is true that Herod's jealousy, awakened 
by a rumour that the long-expected * King of the Jews' was 
bom, prompted the massacre at Bethlehem; and that Pilate's 
timidity led him, against his own convictions, to crucify Jesus, 
through fear lest, if he spared one who * made himself a king,' 
the charge of 'not being Ccesar's friend' should be believed by 
his tyrannical master. It is true, too, that at Thcssalonica, where 
the Jews constituted, as they do still, a large and influential 
part of the community, the accusation against the Christians 

VKR. 1 8.] The Gospel in Rome. 6i 

that * these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that 
there is another king, one Jesus/ * troubled the people and the 
rulers of the city,' so that they took certain judicial measures 
against them. IJut it was obvious enough that, if the anger or 
fears of the emperor himself were once aroused by hearing that 
a * king of the Jews' was much spoken of in the city, not Paul 
merely, nor even merely the Christians generally, but the Jews 
in Rome, as a race, would be in much danger. For genera- 
tions their national expectations of a Messiah had been well 
known ; and a heathen tyrant would not be likely to discrimi- 
nate, in a moment of fury, between those who hoped for a king 
still to come, and the Christians who believed He had come. 
The obviousness of the hazard that they themselves would 
share in the sufferings of any persecution, was such that we 
cannot think this to have been the aim of the Jewish opponents 
of the apostle. The thought which first suggests itself, I should 
suppose, to most readers, that they hoped by their preaching 
to draw away converts to their peculiar views, and lower 
Paul's influence, and in this way, as they imagined, through 
annoyance, intensify the sufferings of his imprisonment, is very 
much more natural, and satisfies all the requirements of the 

In their thoughts regarding the result of their conduct on 
the feelings of the apostle, however, these men were mistaken. 
For the object of their dislike says, ' What then ? ?wtzoithsta?id- 
ing, re cry iva}\ 7uhcthcr in pretence, or in truth^ — whether by way 
of cloak for unworthy aims, or in sincerity of interest, — ' Christ 
is preached; a?id I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.'' The 
apostle rejoiced that, whatever the motive influencing the 
preachers, Christ was preached. He believed that, ' while the 
full and symmetrical truth as it is in Jesus will do far more 
good, and good of a far higher type, than any fragmentary 
view, yet such is the vitality and power of Christian truth, that 
its very fragments are potent for good.' ^ To a world of sin 

^ Henry Ward Beecher. 

62 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

and sorrow were brought by these preachers the glad tidings of 
great joy, that a Divine Saviour had died to put away sin by 
the sacrifice of Himself, and now, living and glorified, was in- 
viting all the ' labouring and heavy laden' to ' come unto Him, 
and find rest to their souls.' Thus, through the gracious work- 
ing of the Divine Spirit, who made even wTath to praise Him, 
the gospel approved itself to this soul, and to that, as ' the 
power of God unto salvation.' From the efforts of envy and 
mahgnity came 'glory to God in the highest, and on earth 
peace.' 'Therein' Paul 'rejoiced,' as well he might. Yet, 
under the circumstances, how few even of true beHevers would 
have been able to do this ! How exquisite is the apostle's self- 
forgetfulness, and singleness of eye to his Saviour's glory ! 

His joy, however, and the fact that it was most reason- 
able, must not lead us for a moment to suppose that the 
motive by which a labourer in the vineyard of Christ is actuated, 
is of little importance. The case is far otherwise. Than 
the condition of an un-Christian minister of Christ, — a man 
who professionally proclaims, ' Ho, every one that thirsteth, 
come ye to the waters,' while his own soul remains parched, 
— who with the lips calls on men to ' submit themselves to 
God,' while his own heart is in rebellion against God, — than 
such a condition can any more melancholy in every aspect be 
conceived ? Whatever outward forms of ' call' to the pastoral 
ofhce may be desirable, and whatever measure of ability, and of 
literary and theological acquirement, certain it is that the great 
essential qualification for the 'ministry of reconciliation' is per- 
sonal spiritual acquaintance with the ' reconciUation,' and con- 
sequent love for souls, and longing for their salvation. Where 
this is wanting, a ministerial life is an elaborate and continued 
lie, hardening and deadening the soul ; and wherever, in any 
degree, worldly ambition, or other mere earthly motives, mingle 
with desire for the good of man and the glory of God, in that 
degree is a cloud brought certainly over a minister's happiness, 
and in most cases over his usefulness. 

vr.R. 1 8.] T/ic Gospel in Rcmie, 63 

Still in the fact that, from whatever motives, * Christ is 
preached,' Paul rejoices, *^<rrt, and will rejoice.^ In these last 
words wc seem to see his strong soul crushing down all rising 
feeling of personal vexation at the unscru[)ulous antagonism to 
which he was exposed. ' They may hate and try to distress 
me, and nature may at times lift her voice within me in indig- 
nation ; yet through all, by God's help, I will rejoice in the 
progress of the gospel.' 

How painful a contrast, dear brethren, to the large-hearted- 
ness of the apostle in this joy is exhibited in the sectarian 
jealousies which are so rife throughout the church, and have 
been all down its history ! Paul knew that personal dislike to 
himself, and a consequent wish to annoy him, had much to do 
in inducing the men of whom he speaks to preach the gospel ; 
yet, suppressing the natural feeling of irritation by the force of 
a sanctitied will, he delights to think that, through any stimu- 
lus, the v/ay of salvation is made known to sinners. How 
often, on the other hand, have we seen Christians allow them- 
selves to suspect, and frown upon, and see no good in certain 
forms of Christian work, simply because those engaged in them 
belonged to another section of the church, or because the 
work was carried on in modes not recognised in ' the traditions 
of the elders ' ! Very few influences, if any, have acted more 
powerfully against the progress of the kingdom of love than 
the * evil eye' towards each other of the subjects of the King 
of love. The spirit showed itself very early. 'John said. 
Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, and we 
forbade him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus 
said unto him, Forbid him not ; for he that is not against 21s, 
is for us.' Let us ask God, my friends, that throughout the 
whole church, whenever the natural impulse is felt to ' forbid ' 
a worker for God, * because he followeth not with us,' a sense 
of the heavenly wisdom and love of the Saviour's answer may 
be felt also, with a force unknown in the past. 

64 Lectures on Pkilippians. [ch. i. 



* For I know that this shall turn to my salvation, through your prayer, and 
the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 According to my earnest 
expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that 
with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in 
my body, whether it be by life, or by death.' — Phil. i. 19, 20. 

THE apostle goes on now to state the reason for the 
'rejoicing' of which he has spoken in the close of the 
1 8th verse. He might have said, truthfully, 'For I have so 
fully learned to make the manifestation of the glory of God 
in Christ my chief object of desire, that I am glad to hear of 
the showing of the way of life to sinners, whatever hostility 
preachers of Christ may entertain to me personally, and what- 
ever loss of influence, or suffering of any kind, they may bring 
upon me.' But he puts his reason in a somewhat different 
form, — one calculated to remind his readers that the troubles 
of God's people, whilst they may serve to show forth the glory 
of God in many other ways, are certainly always intended and 
fitted to glorify Him by increasing the holiness and hopeful- 
ness of the sufferers themselves ; that afflictions are among the 
'all things' — ay, hold a most important place among the 'all 
things ' — which are made to ' work together for good to them 
that love God.' 

* / know^ says the apostle, ' that this shall turn to my salva- 
tion^ The reference of ' this ' is not altogether obvious. Our 
first thought is that, like the ' therein ' of the previous verse, 
it refers to the fact that * every way, whether in pretence or in 

vi:r. 19.] Sufferings tuniinc]^ to Salvat{o7i. 65 

truth, Christ is preached.' Now it is true that this would 
ultimately bring advantage to Paul. To his influence, in a 
large measure, the energy shown by the Christians at Rome in 
publishing the gospel was undoubtedly due, wicked and dis- 
tressing as the feeling was towards him of some of the preachers. 
The work was therefore to some extent his work, an 'occu- 
pying ' of his ' five talents ;' and in the day of Christ this would 
be fully acknowledged. But whilst thus the first clause of the 
verse would be intelligible enough, supposing the reference to 
be to the preaching of Christ, yet it does not seem possible, 
on this view of the meaning, to find any satisfactory con- 
nection between the clause and what follows, particularly the 
20th verse. Another reference, however, natural in itself, and 
which gives to the whole paragraph a clear and consistent 
sense, is not far to seek. Looking back to the close of the 
1 8th verse, you will see that the apostle's emphatic declaration 
there, when fully exhibited, is, ' Yea, and therein will rejoice, 
fiot2vithstandi?ig the hatred to me by which so??ie of the preachers 
are actuated.' The thought of that hatred is most vividly 
present to his mind, and to the minds of all intelligent readers; 
and to it, therefore, I have no doubt, the ^ this' points, — ' the 
opposition I have spoken of,' — the idea, however, widening 
out before him, most naturally, into ' my condition of suffering ' 

Now he '■ knows,' he says, that this state of trouble w^ll ' turn 
to his salvation.'' Such, through God's kindness, will be the 
result of what his opponents intended should ' add affliction to 
his bonds.' 

The salvation provided in Christ is radically a spiritual 
salvation. It extends, indeed, to all the elements of our 
nature, being an emancipation of the whole man from the 
bondage of death ; but the condition of the body follows that 
of the soul. In a sense, we enter into salvation at conversion ; 
for ' he that believeth on Christ hath everlasting life,' and the 
attainment of everlasting life is salvation. But the word is 


66 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

generally in Scripture applied to the state of perfect purity and 
beauty and blessedness for the whole nature, which ' the day 
of Christ ' will bring in, — the ' salvation ready to be revealed 
in the last time.' Now all God's providential dealings with 
His people, whether for the time they be pleasant, or, as 
with Paul at Rome, ' not joyous, but grievous,' are intended 
by Him as a training for salvation, — an education in that 
'knowledge of God and of His Son Jesus Christ' which *is 
life eternal,' — a discipline fitted to ripen the flower of holy 
character, which will be fully opened in its glorious beauty in 
heaven. By the measure in which we avail ourselves of this 
training, our salvation will be affected. All who reach heaven 
will be perfectly happy there from the very first, happy up to 
the full measure of their capacities of enjoyment ; because, 
being ' pure in heart,' they will * see God ' as fully as their natures 
can see Him. But the eyes of those who below availed them- 
selves but little of the light of tnith, — who looked at God but 
seldom, — these eyes, even in heaven, will be able to look at 
Him only from afar ; whilst those whose eyes have been much 
accustomed to the light here, will stand in the foremost circles, 
and there with ravished hearts gaze on the infinite glory. All 
the attainments in the knowledge of God which even the most 
diligent student can make here, are but the faintest fore- 
shadowing of our knowledge hereafter ; but those who, under 
the teaching of God, have profited most here, will begin fore- 
most yonder. The servant who with his pound has gained 
ten pounds by trading, receives authority over ten cities ; his 
companion, who, having the same money given him, has 
earned only five pounds, receives authority only over five 
cities. Nay, whilst to some will be * ministered an abundant 
entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ,' others will be saved only as ' through fire,' 
rescued from a conflagration, as it were, by the hair of the 
head, with tlie smell of fire still on their garments. Remem- 
bering these things, my brethren, ' what manner of persons,* 

VER. 19-] Su(fcr{n(^s turniug to Salvation. 6^ 

think you, * ought we to be, in all holy conversation and god- 
liness,' — how earnest in prayer and effort, that from the training 
given us by (iod in providence we may obtain sjjiritual profit, 
everything which befalls us thus * turning to our salvation'! 

How, then, shall we obtain this spiritual profit? The 
apostle tells us. His expectation was that his troubles would 
give him wisdom and strength ' through the supply of the Spirit 
of Jesus Christ^ — that is, either * through the supply, by the 
Spirit, of all needed help,' or ' through the supply by God of 
the Spirit,' in whose indwelling are found all wisdom and 
energy. The meaning is substantially the same. The Holy 
Ghost, * the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father,' 
is several times spoken of in Scripture as the ' Spirit of Christ,' 
Thus, * Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of 
His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' ' If any man 
have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.' 'The 
])rophets inquired and searched diligently, searching what, or 
what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them 
did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, 
and the glory that should follow.' This designation is em- 
ployed here very naturally, for the apostle is thinking of the 
bestowment of the supremely excellent * gift ' which Jesus, 
having ' led captivity captive,' has * received for men, yea, for 
the rebellious.' ' It is expedient for you,' said He, 'that I go 
away ; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto 
you ; but if I depart, / will send Him unto you.' 

To this divine Agent are due alike the origination and the 
support of spiritual life. It is He who clears away the mists 
of prejudice, enabling the sinner to see clearly the terrible 
truth of his guilt and danger, — He who opens the eyes to see 
the forgiving grace of God in Christ, and sheds peace and 
love over the heart. And in the regenerate soul He dwells, — 
not fitfully, as an uncertain lodger, now here, now there, — but 
as in a permanent abiding place, a home, which He loves to 
make beautiful and happy. Spiritual wisdom and strength and 

68 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

joy are all from Him. Only through Him, therefore, are men 
taught rightly to estimate the respective importance of things 
seen and things unseen : so that, on the one hand, prosperity 
shall not puff them up, or lead them to seek their rest in the 
enjoyments of this world ; and, on the other hand, adversity 
shall not unduly depress, as if all that is valuable were with- 
drawn. Thus it is '■ through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus 
Christ ' that the occurrences of life ' turn to our salvation.' 

The figures under which the influence of the Spirit is de- 
scribed to us in Scripture, set forth with much fulness and 
clearness the all-pervasiveness of His action on the souls of 
God's chosen. Jesus 'baptizes with the Holy Ghost a?id with 
fire^ — to bum up the chaff within us, and to light up in our 
souls a genial flame of love. Again, believers are ' bom of 
water and of the Spirit,' — being thus cleansed from pollution, 
and having all the thirst of the soul quenched. Again, 'Ye 
have an unction from the Holy One,' — being thus set apart to 
do the work of ' kings and priests unto God ;' or, as athletes, 
made in the whole man lithe and active, to wrestle success- 
fully with the difficulties and temptations of life, and to ' run 
with patience the race set before us.' When our attention is 
turned to the gTeatness of the work of the Spirit, my brethren, 
all of us must feel that, in our thoughts on religion, and in our 
prayers and praises, we have not honoured this glorious and 
gracious Divine Person as we should. Are there not some of 
us to whom thoughts of Him have been such strangers that it 
would almost seem as if, like those disciples of John the Baptist 
whom Paul found in Ephesus, they had ' not so much as heard 
whether there be any Holy Ghost ' ? 

Paul tells his Philippian friends that * the supply of the Spirit 
of Jesus Christ' will be obtained for him ''through their prayer^ 
Our Lord said, ' If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts 
unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father 
give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him!' For this supreme 
blessing Paul did habitually *ask' God. Powerful aid, how- 

vi:r. 10.] Sii If crings turnijii^ to Salvation. 69 

ever, was given !iim by the prayers of his friends for him ; 
and this liclp is here, with beautiful courtesy and gratitude, 
made ])romincnt. It is not unlikely, I think, that in these 
words there is an allusion to some statement in the letter 
of the rhilippians, which, no doubt, had accompanied their 
gift sent through Epai)hroditus, regarding their remember- 
ing the apostle before God. Certainly there is in them a 
delicate entreaty that they will do this — such entreaty as 
he had long before expressly made to the Thessalonians, — 
* Brethren, pray for us I ' How sweet and helpful such a 
friendsltip as this, Christian brethren ! The apostle prayed for 
his converts, and they for him ; and thus both were richly 
blessed. Delighting to know that the Lord Jesus was pleading 
for them all, they rejoiced to be permitted to cast, each of 
them, by intercessory prayer, his little grain of incense into the 
divine High Priest's censer. Paul believed, with full energy, 
that prayer is the grandest of all the powers which we have of 
helping each other. To believe this heartily and operatively, 
is the greatest evidence that in a man's soul the powers of the 
unseen world have triumphed over those of the seen. Do you 
and I thus believe ? Beyond doubt, my brethren, the feeble- 
ness of this conviction among Christians is the great cause 
that the church is so impure, so dead in spirit, and that, in this 
nineteenth century of gospel light, the world still to so deplor- 
able an extent lies in darkness and wickedness. ' Thus saith 
the Lord God, / w ill yd for this be inquired of by the house of 
Israel^ to do it for them. I will increase them with men like a 
flock. As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her 
solemn feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of 
men ; and they shall know that I am the Lord.' Were a cloud 
of ardent intercessory prayer to rise from the hearts of God's 
people, it would break in so abundant a shower of blessing 
that the church would be like ' a watered garden ; ' yea, that 
over the whole earth 'the wilderness and the solitary place 
would be glad, the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose.' 

70 Lectures on Philippians. [cH. i. 

The introductory words of the 20th verse, to which we now 
come, — ' according to my earnest expectation and my hope^ — ap- 
pear to indicate a twofold connection between it and the 19th. 
This verse illustrates the mode in which the apostle expected 
the position he was placed in * to turn to his salvation ;' and it 
accounts for his statement that he ^k?iew^ his circumstances would 
so result. There is no more trustworthy knowledge than that 
afforded by intelligent Christian hope. ' Hope' is a much stronger 
word, as used in Scripture, than as we commonly employ it in 
ordinary life. It denotes a confident anticipation ; and thus, in 
the two words by which the apostle here describes his state of 
feeling, we have something of an advance from assurance to 
yet intenser assurance. He has an ' eager longing,' such as is 
shown by one who, with rapt attention, stretches forward from 
some post of observation, watching to see in the distance a 
friend whom he knows to be coming to cheer and help him,' — 
yea, he has a ^ firm, confident hope,' ' that in not/wig he shall 
be ashamed^ or ' put to confusion.' ' My Saviour, in whom I 
have gloried, will fulfil all His promises ; will enable me to do 
whatever work, and to bear whatever trials, He may in His pro- 
vidence call me to ; and will thereafter take me to be with Him 
for ever in heaven. There will come to me no shame. This 
is my trust.' 

How vividly in this the judgment of the ' new man in Christ' 
contrasts with that of the world ! One can imagine a friend of 
Paul's earlier days saying to him, ' Put to shame ! Your posi- 
tion now might well put you to shame. Look back to the 
hopes regarding you, which those who knew and loved you 
cherished in your youth. Think of the prospects which your 
abilities opened for you of achieving for yourself dignity, and 
influence, and wealth. And now, through your fanatical 
devotion to the cause of this Nazarene, your name is execrated 
i)y the chiefs of your nation, and you are a poor man, waiting 

' Sucli is the ex.ict thouj^ht conveyed by the somewhat peculiar word of 
the original, rendered by 'earnest expectation.' 

VKK. 20. 1 Suffcr'nigs turjiiuQ; to Salvatio7i. 71 

in chains a sentence which may perhaps send you to a bloody 
death. Surely you have enough here to put you to confusion.* 
Paul's answer we hear in such words as those of his fellow- 
apostle Tcter, — ' If any man suffer as a Christian, Ut him not be 
ashamdiy but let him glorify Ood on this behalf.' In shame, as 
clearly as in anything, the divergence of men's judgment from 
the standard of tnith and wisdom is seen. Adam was ashamed, 
not because he had sinned, but because he knew himself to be 
naked ; and ah, how evident the spirit of our fallen father is in 
all of us by nature, how sadly visible often even in Christians ! 
How prone we are to feel more shame for being detected in 
wrong-doing than for the wrong-doing itself, — for being poor in 
pence than being poor in piety, — for acting contrary to the 
laws of fashion than for violating the laws of God, — for doing 
what fools will laugh at than for conduct which wise men might 
well weep over ! Paul was not ashamed of his bonds, and 
knew that his hope was one which never would make hira 
ashamed. He believed that in everything he would be enabled 
to * magnify' his Saviour, and that, in the heart of the man to 
whom God gave grace to do this, shame had no rightful place, 
but exultant ' hope of the glory of God.' 

' My hope,' he says, 'is that Christ shall be inagnified in my 
body, whether it be by life or by death.'' After ' that in nothing 
I shall be ashamed,' we might have expected the clause to take 
the form, ' but that I shall magnify Christ' The little variation 
actually employed, by which the Saviour is placed in the fore- 
ground, illustrates, you observe, in an incidental and interesting 
way, the apostle's ruling feeling. He would everywhere have 
himself out of view, that onlookers may ' see no man save 
Jesus only.' The substitution for ' in me ' of ' in fny body,' is 
also very natural. The thought of his sufferings has evidently 
been with considerable prominence before his mind throughout 
the preceding passage, — the thought of his ' bonds,' to which 
the hostile preachers ' supposed ' by their conduct ' to add 
affliction,' and which doubtless by many were expected, through 

72 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. i. 

their depressing influence, to make him feel 'ashamed.' It 
seemed, moreover, not at all improbable that the end of his 
imprisonment might be a cruel death. Most naturally, then, 
his thoughts take this form, — * Blessed be God, who enables 
me to cherish an assured confidence that in this body of mine, 
imprisoned, chained, worn with suffering, yet " a temple of the 
Holy Ghost," the glor}' of my Saviour shall be made manifest — 
and this, whether it be by life or by death. If continued life be 
appointed me, then God will give me energy of spirit still to 
spend my strength in preaching the gospel of my Redeemer's 
glorious grace ; and through my very bonds and infirmities He 
will be magnified ; for His power, I know, will rest upon me, to 
sustain and comfort. And when death comes, then, too. His 
grace will bring Him glory. While the frail tabernacle of the 
body perishes, the soul will enjoy the confident anticipation of 
new and wondrous life and strength and blessedness, seeing 
that to depart will be to be with Him. Thus, according to my 
hope, Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by 
life or by death.' 

His expectation is, that Christ's glory will be manifested in 
Him * with all boldness,^ — more exactly, and more suitably to 
the passive form of the clause, ' in all boldness,' that is, ' in the 
evident presence and strength of this element of character.' In 
the bearing of Christians towards the world, at all points where 
it asserts its antagonism to Christ, it is especially by ' boldness ' 
that we * magnify Christ.' Nature, as the apostle has already 
hinted, is disposed to yield to a feeling of ' shame,' when our 
religion is derided, and insult heaped on its professors. But, 
relying on the good Spirit, whose influences the Saviour is 
willing to shed forth on him richly, Paul believes that * in 
nothing he will be ashamed ; but, on the contrary, that in his 
being enabled to display full boldness of speech and action, 
and this in all circumstances, the grace and power of Christ 
will be gloriously attested.' 

His hope in this matter is sustained by memory : * as al7c>ays, 

VKR. 20.] Suff'crl?ij^s hirning to Salvation. 73 

so ncnv also.'* As he bore in mind how before Felix he had 
been strengthened so boldly to 'reason of righteousness, temper- 
ance, and judgment to come,' that the governor * trembled,' — and 
before Agrippa so fully to speak * the words of tnith and sober- 
ness,' that the king said, ' Almost thou persuadcst me to be a 
Christian,' — the apostle felt encouraged to believe that similar 
support would always be given him to avert faintheartedness. 

You and I, my brethren, are exposed, as Paul was, to temp- 
tations to be ' ashamed ' of Christ. They do not present them: 
selves to us quite in the same form as to him, but they are real 
and strong. The world hates vital Christianity now, as it did 
in the first age. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how 
He said, ' The servant is not greater than his lord ; if they have 
persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.' Profession of 
Christianity the world tolerates in our time, — rather smiles 
upon, indeed, than othenvise, as respectable, — but Christ reveal- 
ing Himself in His people it hates, sneers at, opposes in many 
ways. No truly spiritual man can be altogether overpowered 
by this antagonism ; but his boldness may be very far from 
unflinching. The reflection of a Christian in any degree of the 
type of Paul will be, * My Saviour, from eternity the Brightness 
of the Father's glory and the express Image of His Person, was 
not ashamed to make Himself, for my sake, of no reputation, 
and take upon Him the form of a servant, — to endure the 
contradiction of sinners against Himself, — to bear scorn, and 
buff'etings, and death ; and, because for a few years I may be 
exposed, for His sake, to the ridicule and dislike, or, it may 
be, even the bitter and active hostility of His enemies, shall I 
be ashamed of Him or His cause ? God forbid 1 He helping 
me, Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life 
or by death.' 

74 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 


* For to me to live is Christ.' — Phil. i. 21, ist clause. 

THIS verse gives the ground for the apostle's statement 
immediately preceding, ' Christ shall be magnified in 
my body, whether it be by life or by death / by life^ for ' to me 
to live is Christ ;' by death, for * to me to die is gain.' To the 
first part of the sentence I wish to draw your attention now. 

It is plain, from the antithesis, that the meaning of ''to live^ 
here is not, as often in Scripture, ' to have spiritual life/ con- 
sidered simply by itself, — that life to which there comes no 
death, according to the great word of the Lord, 'Whosoever 
liveth and believeth in Me, shall never die.' The word is to 
be taken in its ordinary sense of ' physical existence.' But the 
physical life of the apostle, ' the life which he lived in the 
flesh,' as he elsewhere designates it, was interpenetrated by the 
higher life of love to God and rest in Him, and was thus made 
truly vital to the noblest ends. This is substantially what he 
means by saying, 'To me to live is Christ,' — the mode of 
expression, however, being such as to indicate, with the utmost 
terseness and point, that that higher life is only 'in Christ.' 
Whether we think of its source, or its nourishment, or its ob- 
jects, we see everywhere the Saviour. The apostle means that 
his supports, his joys, his aims in life, are all exhibited, all 
summed up, in the one word ' Christ^ He means that, if we 
ask what is the spring of his hai)piness and of his patience, 
what is the secret of his abounding energy, what is the object 
of his supreme love, what is the purpose to which he devotes 

VKR. 2 1.] TJic Sai)i{s Life — Christ. 75 

his mental and bodily powers, that one word answers all 
the questions. That Paul intended his words to be taken 
with this fulness of significance, will not be doubted by any 
one accjuainted with his history and writings. These supply a 
most ample commentary on his statement here ; and it seems 
to me that an interesting and satisfactory mode of expounding 
the passage will be to try to gather together the most prominent 
of the illustrations given in that great commentary. If intelli- 
gently and candidly gone into by us, an examination of what, 
with this most illustrious Christian, personal Christianity meant, 
is surely well fitted, through the influence of the Blessed Spirit, 
to be helpful to us in regard to our own religious life. 

^\'^len Paul said, ' To me to live is Christ,' he meant that for 
him to live wxs faith in Christ. He says, 'This is a faithful say- 
ing, and worthy of all acceptation ' — words evidently expressive 
of the deepest personal conviction — ' that Christ Jesus came 
into the world to save sinners.' ' God forbid that I should 
glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!' *I know 
whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to 
keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.' 
He felt himself to be a sinner, 'the chief of sinners.' He felt, 
and testified, that 'the wages of sin is death.' But he knew, 
and rested in the knowledge, that ' the gift of God is eternal 
life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Recognising in Jesus a 
Saviour all - sufficient, strong with the strength of Godhead, 
tender with the sympathy of manhood ; holding His invita- 
tions to be sincere, ' If any man thirst, let him come unto 
Me and drink ;' ' Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are 
heavy laden, and I will give you rest;' convinced that God's 
honour is pledged to the certain, complete, everlasting salva- 
tion of all who believe in Jesus, — Paul renounced every other 
refuge, cast his burden on the Lord, and trusted absolutely 
in Him. 

It was his resolution, too, humble but firm, to maintain this 
confidence. The pardoning, saving grace of God in Christ he 

76 Lectures on PJiilippians, [ch. i. 

knew to be a rock on which he could stand safe amid the 
sweUing waters of judgment ; for whom the Lord loveth, He 
' loveth to the end.' * Who shall separate us from the love of 
Christ ? ' is the apostle's cry of holy exultation. * I am per- 
suaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principali- 
ties, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor 
height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to 
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our 

Paul's faith in Christ had regard to' Him, not merely as a 
Saviour from the * ^\Tath to come,' but as a Helper and De- 
liverer in all circumstances now, for this also he saw to be 
included in His promises. He that did the greater would not 
leave the less undone. When the clouds of trouble overspread 
the sky, thick and dark, — when 'the sea wrought and was 
tempestuous,' — the apostle, remembering that ' the government 
was upon His shoulder' who once hung upon the cross for us, 
could entertain the fullest assurance that all was well, and 
could ' hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.' 
In the dreariness of desertion, at a time of utmost need, by 
earthly friends whom he had loved and confided in, he could 
still trust in the Lord, — still believe that ' He\% the same yester- 
day and to-day and for ever,' — still bear testimony, loud and 
clear, that none who look to Him are put to confusion. ' At 
my first answer, no man stood with me, but all men forsook 
me : I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Not- 
withstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, 
that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all 
the Gentiles might hear ; and I was delivered out of the mouth 
of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil 
work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom ; to 
whom be glory for ever and ever.' In times of bereavement 
by death, he was enabled to raise his weeping eyes and bleed- 
ing heart to Him who had compassion on the widow at Nain, 
and who wept at the grave of Lazarus. Believing that Jesus 

VER. 2 1.] TJic Sainf s Life — Christ. yj 

died and rose again, he knew that 'even so them also which 
sleep in Jesus will (iod bring with Him.' In personal illness 
and pain he was strengthened to be patient, nay, even to ' glory 
in his infirmities, that the power of Clirist might rest upon him.' 
And when the darkness of the valley of the shadow was already 
around him, — when the roar of the river was already sounding 
in his ear, — for even thus far his writings enable us to follow 
him, and see his religious experiences ; — sweet and clear, above 
the noise of the waters, was heard by him the voice of Jesus, 

* Fear not, for I am with thee ; be not dismayed, for I am thy 
God : when thou passest through the waters, I will be with 
thee.' ' I am now ready to be offered,' says the man of God, 

* and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a 
good fight ; I have finished my course ; I have kept the faith. 
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that 

The apostle's statement means further, that for him to live 
was ioz'e to Christ. 

This springs immediately from faith in Him. We see Him 
by faith to be true God, the only worthy object of the supreme 
affection of His creatures, — and we cry, 'Whom have we in 
heaven but Thee ? and there is none upon earth that we desire 
besides Thee.' We see Him to be God revealing Himself in a 
light of surpassing amiableness and mercy, ' full of grace and 
truth ; ' for our sakes humbling Himself to a created nature, to 
a life of lowliness and hardship, to the endurance of association 
with sinners, and of the contradiction of sinners against Him- 
self, to a death of pain and shame, — and believing this, we 
cannot choose but love Him, who * loved not His life unto the 
death ' for us, but ' washed us from our sins in His own blood, 
and made us kings and priests unto God.' 

How intense was Paul's affection for the Saviour, is obvious 
to every reader of his history or ^vritings. We cannot help 
seeing that the utterance of his heart, written legibly on all the 

78 Lectures on PJiilippia^is. [cH. i. 

' issues of life,' is, ' This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend.' 
In his exquisitely beautiful prayer for his converts at Ephesus, we 
have the feelings of his own heart towards Jesus most vividly 
delineated : ' For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and 
earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches 
of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the 
inner man ; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith ; that 
ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to com- 
prehend, with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and 
depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which 
passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness 
of God.' 

From Paul's love to Christ sprang of necessity love to 
Christians, — a feature of his character which strikes even the 
most cursory observer. All who were dear to Jesus were dear 
to him. To his eyes a halo of beauty and attractiveness shone 
around every believer, however poor or mean in the esteem of 
the world. 

It was natural, too, for one who so loved the Saviour, that his 
desires should go out with strong yearning towards that day, 
as a supremely happy day, when he should see Him he loved 
no longer ' as through a glass, darkly,' but * face to face.' To 
Paul this expectation was emphatically ' that blessed hope.' 

Again, the statement before us means that for Paul to live 
\i2i% fellowship with Christ. 

God's moral creatures can have true life, wisdom and energy 
and beauty of spirit, only through communion with Him. We 
feel instinctively that the very highest grandeur of character is 
at once intimated and explained, when we read of Enoch and 
of Noah, that they * walked with God.* Jesus said to His dis- 
ciples, ' He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, 
he it is that loveth Me ; and I will love him, and will manifest 
Myself to him. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch 
cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more 

vi:r. 2 1.] The Sain Cs Life — Christ. 79 

can ye, except ye abide in Me.' Here was the secret of Paul's 
^|)i^itllal power. He 'abode in Christ.' * I live,' he says, 'yet 
not I, but Christ livcth in me;' * When I am weak, then am I 
strong,' for ' the Lord said unto me. My grace is sufficient for 
thee, for My strength is made j^crfcct in weakness.' Christ's 
life in the believer acts in accordance with the laws of our 
mental and moral constitution ; and thus it is in the measure in 
which we intelligently and lovingly commune with Him by the 
prayer of faith, that through Him we are wise and strong and 
happy. The frequency with which the expression 'in Christ' 
meets the readers of Paul's writings, shows how vividly the 
great apostle ever had before his heart Christ in His union to His 
saints, how real a thing this union was felt by him to be, and how 
influential. To those who do not love Christ, — to not a few, 
alas ! one cannot but fear, even of professing Christians, if they 
would define to themselves their feelings on the subject, — such 
words as Paul employs regarding fellowship with the Saviour, 
must seem unintelligible utterances of fanaticism. He speaks in a 
tongue which is strange to the men of the world, — the language 
of heaven. If there were a country where all the inhabitants 
were born blind, a visitor who should tell them of the beauties 
of nature which the light revealed to him would be heard with 
derision. Even so, ' the natural man receiveth not the things 
of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him ; neither 
can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.' 
* The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him ;' and they 
know what it is to enter by faith into the presence of their 
divine Father, to hear their Saviour's voice, and to rejoice in 
the light of His countenance. Blessed, thrice blessed are they, 
my brethren, who know from personal experience that Paul's 
most impassioned declarations on this head are but the words 
of truth and soberness. Blessed are their eyes, — for they see 
the Altogether Lovely. 

Yet once more, the apostle's words intimate that for him to 
live was devotion to the service of Christ. 

8o Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

The modes in which love shows itself vary, of necessity, ac- 
cording to the relation between him who loves and the object 
of his affection. Love to Christ, which, as we have seen, inevi- 
tably results from true faith in Him, finds its proper manifesta- 
tion in obedience ; for in Him faith recognises the Supreme Lord. 

* If ye love Me,' He Himself said to His disciples, 'keep My 
commandments.' His commandment is that His people be holy. 
His aim in giving Himself for us was, ' that He might sanctify 
and cleanse the church \\4th the washing of water by the word; 
that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not hav- 
ing spot or wrinkle, or any such thing ; but that it should be 
holy and without blemish.' In the Apostle Paul, accordingly, 
we see the most earnest and persistent effort after conformity of 
character to the will of God. Impelled by the mercies of God, 
he presented his whole life, in all its relations, as a sacrifice of 
thanksgiving, holy and acceptable, feeling this to be ' reasonable 
service.' He strove prayerfully and vigilantly to be no longer 

* conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of his 
mind.' Amid the profoundest humility and sense of remaining 
sin, he could yet truly say, ' I keep under my body, and bring 
it into subjection :' ' This one thing I do, — forgetting those 
things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things 
which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the 
high calling of God in Christ Jesus.' 

WTiile thus ardently longing and striving for advancement in 
personal holiness, he had an intense zeal also for the promo- 
tion of the kingdom of his Lord in the world. This indeed 
was to his contemporaries, and is to us in reading the record of 
his life, the most conspicuous feature of his character. His 
glowing love to his Saviour aroused in him a great love and 
pity for his fellow-men, for whom, as for himself, the Saviour 
died. A sublime passion for the salvation of souls possessed 
his heart, and gave form to his life ; so that, devoting himself 
unrestingly to missionary labour, ' from Jerusalem and round 
about unto lilyricum he fully preached the gospel of Christ.' 

VKR. 2 1.] TJic SainCs Life — CJirist. 8 1 

I'roni the discharge of the commission which Christ had given 
him no temptation attracted him, no persecution daunted him. 
' Preaching Christ, warning every man, and teaching every man 
in all wisdom, that he might present every man perfect in 
Christ Jesus,' he 'aj^proved himself in all things as a minister 
of God, in much i)atience, in afflictions, in necessities, in dis- 
tresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in 
watchings, in fastings, — by pureness, by knowledge, by long- 
sutTcring, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 
by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of 
righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and 
dishonour, by evil report and g:ood report.' ' I go bound in 
the Spirit unto Jerusalem,' he said to the elders of Ephesus, 
' not knowing the things that shall befall me there, save that 
the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and 
afflictions abide me ; but none of these things move me, 
neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish 
my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received 
of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.' 
How single-minded and absolute this devotion ! 

We have thus examined in some detail the character of the 
Apostle Paul. Love to Christ, rooted in faith in Christ, 
nourished by fellowship with Christ, bore rich fruit of devotion 
to the glory of Christ. This was what he meant by saying, 
* To me to live is Christ.' And certainly, as the connection 
intimates, by such a life the grace and power of Christ were 
gloriously 'magnified.* 

Such, in substance. Christian brethren, whatever variety there 
may be in form, is the life to which you and I are called. We 
have not Paul's wonderful natural endowments ; but the grace 
which made him morally and spiritually the man he was, is 
offered to us as freely and abundantly as it was to him. 
Nothing but our own narroNMiess of heart prevents any of us 
from being able to say, out of as full an experience as the 
apostle, ' I can do all things in Christ, who strengtheneth me.' 


82 Lectures on PJiilippians. [ch. t. 

All of us who are truly His, are in some degree living a life 
which in its main features resembles Paul's ; for the faith that 
unites to Christ certainly awakens love to Him, leads into 
fellowship, impels to service. Let it be the earnest prayer of 
us all, and the object of constant thoughtfulness and vigilance 
and effort, that our lives may be made ever more and more truly 
sublime. Without Christ, in whom alone God is so known 
that the knowledge gives peace and impels to devotion, we 
have no adequate object of life. Without Him, our highest 
energies remain unexercised, our grandest capacities unsatisfied. 
Without Him, the thought and love and purpose of an im- 
mortal spring up and are exercised, with no conscious or 
ennobling bearing on immortality, but only to waste and perish. 
* To each one of us now He is, if we will, — if we will, He will 
be for ever to each, — the Eternal Truth, wherein thought can 
never find its limit ; the Uncreated Beauty, whereof affection 
can never tire ; the Perfect Rule, whereunto each created will 
may perpetually conform itself, yet never exhaust its task.' ^ 
Dear friends, may God grant to every one of us to be able to 
say with growing fulness of significance, ' To me to live is 
Christ ! ' 

1 Dr. Liddon. 

VKR. 2 1.] The Saint" s Death — Gain. 83 


* To me to die is gain.' — Phil. i. 21, 2d clause. 

TO any person at all familiar with the apostle's wTitings, it 
is evident that this was with him a deep and most in- 
fluential conviction. It often comes before us, and in none of 
his letters more distinctly and emphatically than in the second 
to Timothy, which was written very shortly before his martyr- 
dom, and when he was in full expectation of it, — the time 
therefore when, if ever, doubts and fears might have been ex- 
pected to take possession of him. * I am now ready to be 
oftered,' he says there, * and the time of my departure is at 
hand. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteous- 
ness.' It was with him a conviction, in the strict sense of the 
term, — not an impression merely, but a judgment, to which he 
had been brought by the careful examination of evidence ; a 
judgment of which a man so intelligent as Paul, and so candid 
toward himself as well as toward others, could not but fre- 
quently re-test the grounds, and which thus, when the time of 
severest trial came, bore the strain. 

This conviction did fwt rest on observation or speculation. 
Observation and instinctive feeling would lead a man to hold 
death as the very reverse of * gain,' as a very great and frightful 
evil. Death is emphatically and pre-eminently, as he is named 
in the book of Job, ' the king of terrors / and his sceptre casts 
a broad shadow, dark, and chilling, and bHghting. ' Through 
fear of death' men are ' subject to bondage.' Even when viewed 
altogether apart from religious considerations, there is very 

84 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. i. 

much in and about death to scare the imagination, to alarm 
the mind, and to revoh the heart. It takes us away from the 
world and the friends we know, from the work and the pleasures 
which we understand and are interested in ; and sends us out 
into a state of existence of which we have no experience, and 
in regard to which we can form no distinct conception. Its 
usual precursors are all of a kind calculated to alarm and dis- 
tress, — sickness and pain, restlessness and debility ; and its 
effects on the body are such as deeply to humiliate. 

Our hearts shrink from the thought of death, as utterly and 
awfully unnatural, wholly alien and opposed to our original 
nature. The deepest instincts of our being echo the teaching 
of Scripture, that God made — that God cannot but have made 
— man to live^ not to die. It is natural to hate death and to 
fear death, just because death is unnatural. No thoughtful 
person, I should suppose, ever stood by a dead body, ever 
attended a funeral and heard the earth rattle on the coffin-lid, 
without feeling this. That of the friend we knew and loved, a 
friend, it may be, whose mind had been full of noble thoughts, 
whose heart had glowed with warm and tender affections, — a 
friend with whom but a few days ago, but yesterday perhaps, 
we had pleasant and elevating converse, — all that to-day remains 
with us should be a mass of inanimate clay, and even this soon 
necessarily, for the comfort and welfare of the living, to be 
taken away and laid in a pit in the earth, there as we know to 
moulder to dust ; — all this is wholly repugnant to the instincts 
of our hearts, utterly unnatural. And that the same shall cer- 
tainly one day happen to us^ — that the pulses now so full of life 
shall be still, the eye now so bright be dim, the limbs now so 
active be motionless, — that over our fixed unanswering features, 
as we lie cold in the coffin, some who love us will weep, — that 
we too, like the generations before us, shall be laid away in the 
churchyard, — that our i)lace in the world, which knows us now 
so well, shall know us no more for ever, — and that in the course 
of a very few years, while the great world goes on as before, 

VF.R. 2 1.] The Saint's Death — Gaiti. 85 

buying and selling, planting and building, mairj'ing and giving 
in marriage, as if we had never lived, or never died, we shall 
be utterly forgotten, utterly unthought of, by all the dwellers 
beneath the skies, except when some careless, casual eye reads 
our name upon a tombstone ; — how hard it is for us, brethren, 
to realize all this, to present it vividly to our minds as a fact ! 
Even taken simply by themselves, too, how full of dreariness 
such thoughts are ! The dreariness, and the difficulty of 
realization, bear testimony that death is not that for which 
we were made. 

Yet we know this is the destiny of every one of us. Death 
' hath passed upon all men.' An element of uncertainty 
mingles with every other calculation and expectation regarding 
our life, but with this expectation none. * At midnight, or at 
cock-crow, or in the morning,' it may be, — in old age, when 
' the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men bow 
themselves, and the grasshopper is a burden, and desire 
faileth ; ' or in the prime of our years, while full of work, and 
strength, and hope ; or in the pleasant dawn of existence, for 
oh, how often with his keen sickle the stem reaper cuts down 
the green corn as well as the ripe ; — but certainly * the silver 
cord shall be loosed, and the golden bowl broken, the pitcher 
broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern ; ' 
certainly * the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the 
spirit shall return unto God who gave it.' With impartial foot 
the king of terrors enters the halls of the great and the cottages 
of the poor, and, ' changing their countenances, sendeth them 
away.' There is no discharge in this war. 

Think, too, of the solemn inevocableness of death. Many 
of the steps we take in life may be retraced. Many of our 
efforts may be repeated. The failures of a man of wisdom and 
energy are rounds of the ladder by which he mounts to success. 
But there is no repetition of death. If our lives, considered as 
a preparation for death, have been a failure, then we can have 
no success for ever. We cannot return to live them over again 

86 Lectures on PJiilippians. [ch. i. 

more wisely. The gate of the invisible world opens only inward. 
' It is appointed to men once to die,' — ' once^^ — no more. 

It is certain, my brethren, that mere observation would lead 
us to say that 'to die,' instead of being 'gain' to us, will be a 
very great and terrible loss. 

And mere human speculation^ even in the very wisest and best, 
has never even approached a cofiviction that in any way death can 
bring gain. Strong desire, groping out in the darkness after a 
peace and a satisfying wisdom which life had never given them, 
this is all that we find even in a Socrates, or a Plato, or a Cicero.^ 

^ The utterances of the wiser heathen on the subject of death are exceed- 
ingly touching. Euripides can ask — 

T/j oTJsv ll TO ^JJk (£*£» IffTI XXT^ClVlTv, 

To xccT^aviTv Se ^rjv ', — 

' Who knows if living be not death, and dying life ? ' Yet this remains 
for him, in Dr. Lightfoot's words, only a 'sublime guess.' The poet 
could give no answer to his ' Who knows?' Socrates can say that, if a 
certain view of death be true, then death is xip^og Sxvfida-iov, * a wondrous 
gain ;' yet, a very little after, all he can attain to is — "AkXa yap Hav upa 
aTtivai, ifco) ftlv ccroSa.vovfJiivcti^ vf^tv Vi (^luffofj^'ivoif o'roTipoi oi hfji-uv 'ip^ovTxi iiri 
cifitivov Tpayfia, aJ>jXov <ravri "rXiiv n tu Bsu, — ' The hour of departure 
has come, for me to die, and you to live. Which is the better to go to, 
God alone knows ! ' Cicero, after speaking of the grounds on which he 
deems a future life probable, has, after all, to come to the acknowledgment 
of a dreary uncertainty, — ' Quod si in hoc erro, qicod amnios hominum im- 
mortales esse credam, lubenter errOy — ' If I err in my belief that the soul of 
man is immortal, I err with pleasure.' The love of Tacitus, following 
Agricola into the darkness, can but say, — * Si qtiis piorum manibus locus ; 
sif ut sapientihus placet, non cum corpore extinguuntiir viagnce animte ; 
placide quiescas,^ — * If there is any place for the shades of the good, — if, 
as sages think, great souls perish not with the body, — rest in peace.' 
Hadrian, passing away from the world he knew, sings — 

* Animiila vagiila, blandida^ 
Ilospes comesqtte corporis, 
Qtue nunc abibis in loca. 
Pal I id ul a, rigida, nitdula ? ' 

* Poor little fluttering, pleasing sprite, 
My bosom's friend and guest, 
To what strange region wilt thou take thy flight, 
Pale, naked, and distressed ? ' 

VKR. 2 1.] The SainCs Death — Gain. 87 

On this dark background, thcn^ of human fear, and ignorance, 
and impotence, how briglitly shines the glory of divine grace 
in the cahii, firm, intelligent Christian convictioni, * To me to 
die is gain ! ' 

This brings me to observe that this conviction of Paul's did 
rest on faith in Christ as the Conqueror 0/ death. In all men, 
probably, even those who do not in any degree enjoy the light 
of Christianity, the causes of aversion to death, and to thinking 
of death, include not merely love of present friends, and occu- 
pations, and pleasures, but a certain * dread of something after 
death.' At all events, wherever any knowledge of divine reve- 
lation has come, this particular element is always present, I 
believe, in the fear of death, more or less definitely and promi- 
nently, — conscience assenting to the Bible statements regard- 
ing sin, its reality, and its deserts. The only adequate expla- 
nation of the existence of death in the world is afforded by the 
Bible doctrine, that death is ' the wages of sin.' The entrance 
of what is utterly monstrous and unnatural in the universe of 
God, rebellion against God's will, has brought the frightful 
evil of death with it as its curse, its legitimate doom. Death 
is the 7iHiges of sin, wages which all of us have earned, and 
which are due to us therefore in justice, under the administra- 
tion of the aftairs of the world by a righteous God. And in 
the fact that physical death ushers into an. eternity where lies 
the second death, is found its intense awfulness. The deep 
darkness of the death we see is caused mainly by the shadow 
of the death we cannot see. 

Now the glorious tidings of the gospel are, that Christ has 
borne the curse, or, in the singularly forcible language of the 
apostle in Galatians, has been ' made a curse,' in our room. 
For the overthrow of death was not a matter for the simple 
exercise of divine power. With Job, we ' know that the Lord 
can do everything,' — ever}-thing but contradict His own nature, 
deny Himself, bring dishonour on His character and govern- 
ment. But, according to the teaching of Scripture, the endur- 

88 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

ance by the Son of God of the punishment of sin, in room of 
men, was needful, if, consistently with the honour of the Divine 
Ruler, man was to be saved. This overwhelmingly impressive 
evidence was given to the moral universe of God's hatred of 
sin, and determination to maintain the majesty of His law. 
The Son of God humbled Himself to be a Man, a Man of 
sorrows, a dpng Man. In infinite love the Divine Father gave 
His Son to death ; in infinite love the Divine Son gave Himself 
■to death, for the life of the world. ' All we, like sheep, have 
gone astray ; we have turned every one to his own way ; — and 
the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.' ' He bare 
our sins in His own body on the tree.' As the Champion of the 
race whose nature He had assumed, Jesus entered the realm 
of the king of terrors, met him face to face on his o\vn ground, 
grappled with him, vanquished him, stripped him of his spoils, 
and proved the completeness of His victory by rising from the 
grave, ascending into heaven, and sitting down at the right 
hand of God, to wield all power, ' quickening ' — giving life to 
— ' whom He will.' ' Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished 
death,' says the apostle to Timothy. The form of death in- 
deed remains for the Christian, but only the form. All who 
by faith have accepted the life which Jesus offers, find it im- 
perishable ; and that the severance of soul from body is but a 
gloomy archway, leading from the sphere of partial enjoyment 
of this life to the sphere of its fulness. Where such faith exists, 
then, my brethren, in Christ the Conqueror of death, — in that 
soul evidently, in the measure of the intelligence and liveHness 
of the faith, the conviction will be present and sustaining, 
* To rae to die is gain.' With instinctive fear the saint may 
shrink back from dying, from the weakness and weariness and 
pain of dissolution ; but death he will not fear. * Thanks be 
unto God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus 
Christ ! ' 

Let me observe yet again, with reference to the apostle's 
conviction here stated, that // stood in the very closest relation to 

vi:r. 2 1.] The SainCs Death — Gam. 89 

the resolution in the other clause of the versCy * To rnc to live is 

Death, as the Bible employs the term, is a very comprehen- 
sive evil, and life a correspondingly comprehensive blessing. 
Death includes all the consc(iuences of sin, moral and sj)iritual 
debasement and wretchedness, as well as i)hysical pain and 
dissolution. The unchristian man, even whilst he has physical 
life, and is doing the work and enjoying the pleasures of the 
world, is yet, in God's sight, * dead in trespasses and sins,' 
being 'alienated from the life of God.' Now the blessing 
which Christ offers to us is life in the fullest and grandest sense, 
in opposition to all the elements and forms of death. And 
this blessing — this salvation — whilst it has various aspects, is 
yet one and indivisible. No element of it can by possibility 
be enjoyed by any one who is unwilling to accept it as a whole. 
The two main aspects or elements of this eternal life, whether 
as partially enjoyed here or fully hereafter, are holiness and 
happiness. Now in the resolution of the apostle, ' To me to 
live is Christ,' confirmed as it was by the whole tenor of his 
course, you see that there was a hearty welcoming of spiritual 
life, a longing and effort to do the will of Christ through the 
teaching and help of the Spirit of Christ. This man, then, was, 
in the full Bible sense, ' alive unto God,' and could, on good 
grounds, expect that 'to die would be gain' to him, as ushering 
him into the glorious fulness of the eternal life in heaven. No 
one who is not resolved, ' To me to live shall be Christ,' can 
reasonably expect that to him ' to die will be gain ; ' because he 
has no evidence at all that he has ' passed from death unto 

Thus far of the conviction. We must now go on to look for 
a little at i\\tfact itself, that to the Christian ^ to die is gain ^ 

Any knowledge we have on this matter is, of necessity, de- 
rived simply from divine revelation. But God has graciously 
given us in His revelation abundant light. ' Blessed be the 
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to 

90 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

His abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, 
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inherit- 
ance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, 
reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God 
through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last 
time.' ' They which receive abundance of grace and of the 
gift of righteousness shall reign in life by Jesus Christ/ ' I 
reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy 
to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us,' 
when *the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to 
Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads,' — when 
' they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing 
shall flee away.' The Scriptures teach that at death all that is 
burdensome, everything of dreariness and fear and bitterness, 
is taken away from the believer in Christ for ever. In the 
state of existence into which death introduces him there are no 
anxieties, no failures, no disappointments, no misunderstand- 
ings, no jealousies, nothing either within or without to sadden. 
In the better land, toil and fatigue are unknown. * Blessed 
are the dead which die in the Lord, that they may rest from 
their labours.' Yet is the rest not that of inactivity, but of 
a full activity made joyous by constant strength and buoyancy. 
* They serve God day and night in His temple,' and in His 
presence ever * renew their strength,' so as to * mount up with 
wings as eagles, to run and not be weary, to walk and not 
faint.' Sin and sorrow and death have passed away, and God 
has ' made all things new.' 

There arc few detailed descriptions of the heavenly life in 
Scripture ; and these are obviously, to a very large extent, 
figurative. The language of earth could not reveal the won- 
ders of heaven ; neither could our minds and hearts, at the 
present, bear a full revelation of * the exceeding and eternal 
weight of glory.' But all the powers of human language are 
brought into play, — all the most suggestive images of earth are 
employed, — to impress us with the conviction that beauty, and 

VKR. 2 1.] The Sai)ifs Death — Gain. 91 

sweetness, and love, and joy, which will perfectly satisfy all 
our capacities of happiness, capacities ever expanding through- 
out eternity, — this is what 'God hath prepared for them that 
love Ilim.' Is not this *gain'? 

Tiiink of the change in relation to knowledge. The spring 
of all true beauty and excellence in God's moral creatures is 
knowledge of Him. The natural man regards Him as an 
austere Master, whose work is drudgery, and His wages unsatis- 
fying, — one whom it is not desirable to know, because impos- 
sible to love or to please. From this wilful ignorance of 
God's true character come, of necessity, sinful affections and 
a sinful life. But the Christian knows God as He has revealed 
Himself in Christ, merciful and gracious, possessed of every 
excellence in infinite perfection, and in the gospel displaying 
His perfections in a light of the most sublime and tender 
grace to man. In him who begins thus to know God, the 
heart becomes full of strong yearnings to know more. The 
believer prays for * the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the 
knowledge of God,' ' that he may be able to comprehend, with 
all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and 
height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth know- 
ledge.' He feels that the grand central pursuit of his life 
should be growth in the knowledge of God, — the attainment 
of clearer views and livelier impressions of His excellences, — 
wisdom to trace His goings more distinctly and rejoicingly in 
creation and providence and redemption. He feels that all 
study should, in its degree, be with him study of God. But 
we find, at the same time. Christian brethren, that as a matter 
of fact the energy of our spirits in this pursuit often flags. 
Remaining depravity weighs the spirit down; and bodily weak- 
ness, too, is felt as a heavy clog. Languor steals upon the 
senses, so that he who would search and soar, ' mounting up 
with wings like the eagle,' finds himself fettered to a load of 
clay. Now depravity, and all the encumbering influences of 
the mortal body, are left behind at death. Death rends the 

92 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. i. 

veil, and breaks the fetters, and ushers the spirit, so long con- 
fined to the gloomy twilight of an earthly prison, into glorious 
light and liberty. Then, dear friends, shall we have know- 
ledge to a degree, and in modes, of which now we cannot 
even form any conception. Being then perfectly ' pure in 
heart,' we shall ' see God ' no longer darkly, as by a mirror, 
but face to face. Our spirits will apprehend his excellences 
not slowly, indirectly, inferentially, as now, but by a direct 
intuition, far more certain, and distinct, and satisfying, than is 
now the action of the eye or any bodily sense. We shall no 
longer have to content ourselves with gathering pebbles on the 
shore of the great ocean of truth, but shall soar over its waters 
with bold untiring wing, or fearlessly plunge into their depths, 
and, with unfailing success, explore their wonders. We shall 
know then * even as we are known.' Say, brethren, for those 
who, through grace, are enabled to cherish such hopes, is not 
* to die, gain ' ? 

Again, think of the change in relation to holiness. Through- 
out the believer's life here it is sadly manifest that depravity, 
though dethroned and maimed, is not yet slain. Even in our 
pursuit of good aims, even in our holiest religious services, 
how much of sin enters to mar the good ! Now the ' law of 
sin ' which, in so many ways, ' wars against the law of the 
mind,' and lamentably often * brings us into captivity,' is * in 
the members.' The appetites and distempers of the present 
mortal body give rise to many spiritual distempers and per- 
versities. Around us, too, whilst we are here, lies the world, 
full of temptations ; and our great adversary, the devil, is ever 
striving, with his subtilty and malignity, to bring us under the 
power of these temptations. Yonder, * the spirits of just men ' 
are ' made perfect.' From the moment of death every desire 
is pure, every aim is noble ; and the noble aims are all attained 
in fulness. Even in this world, the believer, contemplating 
his Saviour with affection and confidence, is changed by the 
Spirit into His image, ' from glory to glory.' Yonder, up to 

VKR. 2 1.] TJlc Saint^ s Deatk — Gain. 93 

the fullest capabilities of our nature, * wc shall be like Him, 
for we shall see Him as He is.* 

Yet again, think of the change in relation to society. Our 
hai)pmess here is, in large measure, (lci)en(lent on pleasant 
companionship. To many of us Ciod has granted the enjoy- 
ment of friendships both sweet and helpful. Many of us He 
has, in His kind providence, linked in such close relation- 
ships as involve frequent intercourse, with those who are at the 
same time kinsfolk in Christ Jesus, and cheer and aid us by 
holy fellowship. Yet great numbers of those with whom we 
have to associate have no sympathy with us in our deepest 
loves and longings ; and even in those who have such sym- 
pathy we find many incongruities and hardnesses, much which 
is calculated to mislead and enfeeble us, rather than to en- 
lighten and invigorate. How apt, too, are jealousies and petti- 
nesses to becloud all the friendships of earth, even friendships 
between wise Christians ! Our Supreme Friend is known by 
us here only through faith ; our communication with Him is 
through the secret influences of His Spirit, enabling us to ap- 
prehend with mind and heart the manifestations He makes of 
His glory and grace in His Word and ordinances ; and our 
faith is so weak, even at the best, that we see Him but by 
passing glimpses. Death, dear brethren, will introduce us into 
a world where all are friends, true and wise, and full of un- 
varying, exulting, rejoicing sympathy in all our aspirations. 

It has been often questioned whether any portion of the 
happiness of heaven comes from human friendship, or whether 
the absorption of the saints in the contemplation of the glory 
of Christ, and the enjoyment of His love, will not be such as 
to prevent even the recognition of the friends of earth. ' This 
latter supposition could only be adopted in consequence of 
imperfect views of the nature of the mind, and the working of 
its affections. The love of Christ does not cast out, but en- 
hances and purifies, love to our fellow-creatures. It will be 
true in heaven, as on earth, that *' Every one who loveth Him 

94 Lee her es on Philippians, [ch. i. 

that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of Him." '^ The 
deep instincts of our hearts, my brethren, are sounder guides 
in matters of this kind than any mystic speculation. I cannot 
but believe that our ardent longings to see and know again be- 
loved ones taken away from us by death, are not the fruit of 
depravity, or folly, or weakness, but implanted in us by God, 
and are thus, with regard to all who have fallen asleep in 
Christ, a kind of prophecy of joyous recognitions, and friend- 
ships resumed, never again to be broken, in that happy land 
where, to the full, God ' satisfieth the longing soul.' What 
sweeter assurance, too, is found in the Word of God than that, 
while the glorified 'rest from their labours, their works do 
follow them ' .? They ' follow them,' to minister to their joy, — 
and how otherwise than through recognition ? The Christian 
friend in glory rejoices to welcome him with whom on earth 
he had affectionately pleaded to seek the Saviour. The 
minister with delight sees this and that church member whom 
he had taught the way of life, and for whom he had wrestled 
with God in prayer, enter in by the gates of pearl. The 
mother feels as if a new blessedness were added even to 
heaven, when, beholding in the New Jerusalem the child 
whom it had been her chief anxiety to train for Christ, she 
knows that her ' works have followed' her. 

Along with those thus bound to us by ties formed on earth, 
holy angels also will be our companions in heaven, and all the 
good of all generations of the world's history, all who have 
' washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the 
Lamb.' And our association with all this ' goodly company ' 
will be eternal. 

But, amid the enjoyments of the society of heaven, He 
whom faith makes to the believer here his Supreme Friend, 
beyond all comparison the dearest, the most trusted, the most 
influential, will there also be supreme in his affections and 
interest, ay, loved and delighted in far more intensely than 
' Dr. Henderson, of Galashiels. 

\ KR. 2 1.] The Saint's Death — Gain. 95 

here, because far better known, 'seen as He is.' With Him 
we shall have intercourse direct and personal, so close and 
satisfying, that even the most intimate communion with Him, 
with which we arc privileged on earth, shall seem then, in 
memory, to have been absence, — for, 'whilst we are at home 
in the body, we are absent from the Lord.' Knowing, then, 
Christian brethren, as we do, how ravishing is the view which, 
in hours of spiritual elevation, the children of God have of 
their Lord even here, — knowing, as we do, that the joy of 
fellowship with Him even here is ' unspeakable and full of 
glory,' — * how shall we conceive of that flood of unimaginable 
ecstasy which shall fill and overflow all our dilated spirits, 
when faith shall be exchanged for vision, and distant love for 
present and personal communion ! What pleasure beyond 
description shall it not inspire in souls like those of the just 
made perfect, — souls divinely sensitive to the impressions of 
whatever is truly great, and good, and fair, — to contemplate 
directly, without a mirror, distinctly, without a veil, the vivid 
revelation which shall then be made of the excellence and 
loveliness of the glorified Immanuel, — to gaze upon His sacred 
Person, now refulgent with unearthly splendours, yet bearing the 
traces, conspicuous still, of the tremendous conflict He once 
endured for His redeemed, nor therefore, in their esteem, the 
less majestic or less lovely for these illustrious scars, — to dwell 
upon the nearer and more impressive exhibitions which, through 
that sacred Person, He shall make before the glorified im- 
mortals, of His transcendent character, uniting all that is 
august and lovely in the attributes of Deity with all that is 
great and fair in those of a perfect humanity !' ^ 

If thus then, my friends, death be for the believer the gate 
by which he passes from ignorance and sin and trouble into 
perfect purity and blessedness, this is certainly 'gain' to him, 
incalculable gain. 

The connection in which the apostle makes the present 
' John Brown Patterson, of Falkirk. 

g6 Lecttcres on Philippians. [cH. i. 

statement implies, you will remember, that by a Christian's 
death Christ is glorified. * My earnest expectation and my 
hope,' Paul says, ' is that Christ shall be magnified in my 
body, whether it be by life or by death ; by life, if that be 
granted to me, for to me to live is Christ ; by death, for to me 
to die is gain.' ' When I, who once blasphemed the name of 
Jesus, and slew His servants, am by His grace introduced into 
the ineffable joys of heaven, and this through the very instru- 
mentality of deaths which sin brought on man as a curse, but 
which the Saviour'' s love and power have made the gate of life, — 
angels and the members of the church triumphant, and Chris- 
tian friends left behind, will see one proof more that " Worthy 
is the Lamb that was slain to receive riches, and honour, and 
strength, and glory, and blessing." ' 

It is easier, very much easier, to believe the general proposi- 
tion that to the Christian death is gain, or to believe that to 
the Apostle Paul death was gain, than to have, with regard to 
ourselves, the same calm, restful conviction that it will be so, 
which, with regard to himself, the apostle had and expresses 
here. Lack of such a conviction is a grave defect in a believer ; 
not merely because, through subjection in this matter to 'the 
spirit of bondage,' he falls far short of attaining the fulness of 
peace which the religion of Jesus is fitted to give, but because 
a most potent means of * magnifying Christ' is wanting to him. 
In a world like this, where nature so fears death, few things 
testify more impressively of the power of divine grace, than 
composure of spirit in view of meeting the last enemy, where 
this composure is manifestly intelligent and associated with 
humility. Let us then strive, dear friends, to ' lift up the hands 
which hang down.' In the mode of our departure from the 
world, indeed, we can never rejoice. If it might be so, we 
would rather * not be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mor- 
tality might be swallowed up of life.' We shudder instinctively 
at the thouglit of the gloomy passage. Yet it is true that for all 
believers divine grace has discrowned the king of terrors, has 

vi:r. 2 1.] The SainCs Death — Gain. 97 

changed the curse into a 'gain,* — yea, * hath abolished diCSiih' 
* What shall we then say to these things,' dear friends, — 
to these * exceeding great and precious' assurances, and to 
our frequent lapses, notwithstanding, under the 'spirit of 
bondage, again to fear'? 'Lord, we believe; help Thou our 
unbelief,' Progress in superiority to the fear of death will 
be made by Christians, partly by direct effort with that aim 
in view, through meditation on the promises on this subject 
given in Scripture, and prayer for lively faith in these pro- 
mises ; but mainly by steady, prayerful endeavour to advance 
in general Christian wisdom, and beauty, and energy. A life 
of growing faith and usefulness will, by God's blessing, yield 
ever growth of hope. As a Christian is able to see more and 
more distinctly that ' through Christ, who strengtheneth him,' 
he is, like Paul, * fighting a good fight,' the clearer ever will 
grow the joyous conviction that for him, as for Paul, ' there is 
laid up a crown of righteousness,' — that for him, as for Paul, 
' to die will be gain.' 

98 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 


* But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour : yet what I shall 
choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire 
to depart, and to be with Christ ; which is far better : 24 Nevertheless to 
abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And having this confi- 
dence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all, for your fur- 
therance and joy of faith ; 26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant 
in Jesus Christ for me, by my coming to you again.' — Phil. i. 22-26. , 

THE apostle's statement of his conviction that death will 
be ' gain ' to him, suggests that it is his desire, perhaps 
his prayer, to die. The case has another aspect, however, 
and to it his thoughts now turn. Death, whilst it would bring 
an unspeakable accession of holiness and blessedness, would 
remove him from the sphere of ' labour in the gospel.' He 
would no longer be able to teach, and counsel, and comfort his 
Christian brethren, or to carry the knowledge of Christ to the 
darkened. Now his heart was enthusiastically in this work ; 
his mental vigour was as yet undiminished ; and of his physical 
energy a considerable measure yet remained to him, notwith- 
standing all his toils and sufferings. He might therefore 
reasonably think that, if his life were prolonged, he would still 
be of service in the world. Thus he was brought into per- 
plexity. When he looked at his own interests by themselves, 
he could not but desire * to depart, and be with Christ ;' when 
he looked at the church and the world, it seemed that he was 
still needed here. As he mused on the matter, this impression 
of his being needed here yet a while deepened into a convic- 
tion. He felt confident, therefore, that he would be left on 

\i:r 2 2.] A Strait betwixt Two, 99 

earth, and meekly and lovingly acquiesced in the divine will. 
Such is the substance of the paragraph which comes before us 

Tiic use by the apostle, in the 2 2d verse, of the expression, 
' live in the Jfes/t,^ whilst in the first clause of the preceding 
verse he had employed the simple ' live ' in precisely the same 
sense of ordinary physical life, shows that the intermediate 
clause had taken some such form in his mind as this : * For 
me to die is gain ; because when I die, I shall for the first time 
fully live, having the energies of my soul fully exercised, and 
my capacities of happiness fully satisfied, in the service and 
fellowship of my God and Saviour in heaven.' With this 
thought before his mind, of spiritual life in its heavenly com- 
pleteness, he naturally, when coming back to speak of the 
ordinar)' life of earth, describes it by its distinguishing peculi- 
arity as life * /;/ the flesh' 

* Supposing, then, that I live in the flesh, this is tJie fruit of 
my labour' Our venerable translators — admirable, as a rule, 
alike for the accuracy and the force and beauty of their render- 
ings — have here, I think, introduced some obscurity into the 
passage, by giving their language a definiteness not found in 
the original. I question whether, to any of us, the words, 
' this is the fruit of my labour,' in their connection, convey 
any distinct meaning ; whilst a literal translation is intelligible 
enough, — ' This is for me ' — that is, ' means, or implies for 
me,' a terse mode of expression, similar to that used in the 
preceding verse, ' To me to live is Christ' — ' fruit of labour.' 

Paul intimates here, in the first place, that continued life 
means for him continued * labour.'' To this his constitutional 
energy impelled him ; but he felt, also, that without sin he 
could not cease from labour, so long as God gave him strength 
for it. Nothing which God makes is without a work to do. 
His inanimate and irrational creatures never fail to do their 
work. The sun unceasingly invigorates and gladdens the 
world. The air, heated by his beams, drinks up water from 

lOO Lectures on PJiilippians, [ch. i. 

the sea. The clouds journey far inland, bearing their precious 
burden of rain. The mountain ridges receive the treasure, 
and streams and rivers diffuse it far and wide, making the 
earth fruitful and fair. 'All things are full of labour.' To 
God's moral creatures is given the sublime privilege that not 
blindly, through the action of material laws, but consciously, 
by resolutions of their own, they may fulfil the end of their 
existence ; and in this privilege, enjoyed by them alone, is in- 
volved the possibility that they alone may fail to fulfil that end. 

To work^ then, according to the faculties which God has 
given us, and the openings and calls of His providence, — this 
is your duty and mine. The ringing music of the blacksmith's 
hammer ; the watchful eye and steady hand of the man at the 
wheel ; the busy fingers tending the powerloom ; the mer- 
chant's careful supervision of every department of his business, 
— ^all this accords with the will of God, who has made a world 
for work, not for idlers. ' Seest thou a man diligent in his 
business ? He shall stand before kings : he shall not stand 
before mean men.' ' If any man will not work, neither shall 
he eat.' The man who lives as if life were meant for indolence 
and frivolity, is not merely treasuring up for himself far more 
true weariness of spirit than ever comes from a life of labour, 
but is grievously offending God. 

Work is the law of the new life in Christ Jesus, too. ' Son, 
go work to-day in My vineyard.' In that vineyard our heavenly 
Father, who gives the command, is Himself the Great Hus- 
bandman. The manifestation of God's life is holy beneficent 
activity : ' My Father worketh hitherto.' Here is our example. 
The highest conceivable honour for God's creatures is to be 
* labourers together with Him.' The Christian feels that his 
work as a Christian is, by holy devotedness and holy patience, 
to * show forth the praises of Him who hath called him out of 
darkness into His marvellous light,' — to grow ])ersonally in 
likeness of character to Him, and to be earnest and persistent 
in effort for the advancement of the Saviour's kingdom. And 

VKR. 2 2.] A Strait bctiuixt Two. loi 

as this is duty, so is it the direction in which 'the love of 
Christ constraincth us' to turn our energies. Day after day, 
then, according to his opportunities and his measure of faith, — 
and be it observed that the perception of faculties and oppor- 
tunities, as well as the diligent use of them, is largely propor- 
tioned to the measure of faith, — day after day the believer who 
has spiritual health is busy in his Father's vineyard, jilanting, 
pruning, watering, — diligently and prayerfully endeavouring to 
promote beauty and strength of character in himself and in 
others. The light of his Father's countenance makes his labour 
gladsome. * Thou mcetcst him that worketh righteousness.' 

But what if a Christian cannot work, in the ordinary sense 
of the word ? What if disease have laid hold upon him, life- 
long pain and weakness and weariness perhaps, secluding him, 
and forbidding exertion ? Then thus, in providence, God has 
shown him what is his great appointed work, — to * humble 
himself under the mighty hand of God,' to bear meekly, and 
by faith and patience prove the power of divine grace to give 
restfulness of heart even in a furnace. How exquisite are 
Milton's musings, when in great measure laid aside, through 
blindness, from his former modes of Christian activity : — 

' Doth God exact day labour, light denied ? 
I fondly ask ; but Patience, to prevent 
That murmur, soon replies, — " God doth not need 
Either man's work, or His o\\ti gifts ; who best 
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best ; His state 
Is kingly ; thousands at His bidding speed, 
And post o'er land and ocean without rest : 
They also ser\'e, who only stand and wait.'" 

Ay, and as regards influence on others, too, my brethren, 
multitudes could tell that the sight of holy endurance in a sick- 
room has often stirred them for good more powerfully, per- 
haps, than anything else ever did. 

This last remark leads naturally to our consideration of the 
apostle's further statement on the subject. Not merely does 
he say that, ' if he live in the flesh, this means labour,' but that 

I02 Lectures on Philippians. [cH. i. 

it means ^ fruit of labour' — success in the work to which God 
calls him. 

As a rule, honest, hearty labour of every kind succeeds more 
or less. A sensible, industrious, frugal, persevering worker in 
any department of the labour of common life usually secures at 
least ' a competent portion of the good things of this life.' 
' The hand of the diligent raaketh rich.' Yet there are often 
failures. Shipwreck overwhelms the vessel, or fire consumes 
the factory, on which prosperity depended ; or disease suddenly 
and lastingly enfeebles ' the hand of the diligent,' which was 
' making rich.' A Christian, when calamities of this kind come 
upon him, recognises in them a reminder given by God that 
there is higher wealth, and nobler work, than that which has to 
do merely with this world ; and is thus, by the outward loss, 
helped towards a more full and hearty devotion of his energies 
to the prosecution of that nobler work, and the acquisition of 
that higher wealth. 

In the spiritual sphere there is always ' fruit of labour,' 
though very often neither as, nor where, nor when we look for 
it All earnest prayerful effort after personal spiritual advance- 
ment succeeds, for * this is the will of God, even our sanctifi- 
cation.' Fruit of this kind is yielded, too, by every Christian 
effort to benefit others. Through all conscientious labour 
to quicken other souls, the soul of the labourer himself is 
quickened. With regard to the direct effect of Christian 
labour for the good of others, we cannot say that in every 
case even the most wise, persistent, prayerful dealing will 
succeed. Yet even where there is little or no visible fruit, still 
the conscientious worker has abundant ground of encourage- 
ment. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, 
' So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into 
the ground ; and should sleep, and rise, night and day, and the 
seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how ; for the 
earth bringcth forth fruit of herself, first the blade, then the 
ear, after that the full com in the ear : but when the fruit is 

VKR. 2 2.] A Si rail betwixt Two. 103 

brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because 
the harvest is come.* Ministers and other Christian labourers 
casually learn, long after, of spiritual good done through their 
work on occasions when, for anything that appeared at the 
time, or immediately afterwards, it might have seemed that 
they had been * spending their strength for nought.' Thus the 
cheering belief grows in their minds, that many may * arise up' 
in that day, and * call them blessed.' The seed may lie long in 
the ground inactive, exposed to summer heats and winter frosts, 
and then quickening may come, in connection, perhaps, with 
some altogether new agency. The old agency, by which the 
seed was deposited in the ground, may be wholly unthought of 
by all concerned here below ; but God has marked all the 
steps, and by and by ' he that sowed and he that reaped shall 
rejoice together.' 

Let us be of good courage then, brethren, in our Christian 
work. Especially let me plead with believing parents, labouring 
in a field peculiarly interesting and important, fiever to despond, 
— bearing in mind how clear and definite are alike the com- 
mand and the promise, * Train up a child in the way he should 
go, and when he is old he will not depart from it' Remember 
the mother of John Newton. In his infancy, she made it her 
great business to ' bring him up in the nurture and admonition 
of the Lord.' She died when he was only seven years old. A 
few years aftenvards he went to sea, and ultimately became 
connected with the African slave trade. Vice of every kind 
gained dominion over him. But he could not shake off the 
remembrance of his mothers teachings and prayers. Though 
dead, she still spoke to him. At last, as you know, he gave 
himself to the Lord ; and for many years exercised a very great 
influence for good by his ministry, an influence which is in 
considerable measure maintained by his excellent wTitings on 
practical religion. ' Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou 
shalt find it after many days.' ' He that goeth forth and 
weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again 

I04 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves mth him.' * Blessed are 
ye that sow beside all waters ; ' for * the work of righteousness 
shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and 
assurance for ever.' 

This, then, is what Paul sees, by faith, to counterbalance the 
influence of the reflection, ' To me to die is gain.' ' If I live 
in the flesh, this means for me fruit of labour.' Hence arises 
difficulty of decision, as he goes on to tell the Philippians. In 
reading the statement of his dilemma, we seem to hear him mus- 
ing aloud ; and to a thoughtful Christian there is something 
very touching, and at the same time in various ways very help- 
ful, in standing near this illustrious servant of God, and listening 
to the abrupt sentences which show the course of his reflec- 
tions. * To me to die is gain.' * But if I Hve in the flesh, 
that means for me fruit of labour.' ' And, therefore,^ what I 
shall choose, — whether I shall choose life or death, so as de- 
finitely to long and pray for it, — I wot not ^ * For (or, according 
to another reading, "but," in opposition to "knowing" which 
to choose) / am in a strait bettvixt the two, having, on the 
one hand (as shown before by the word " gain "), my desire 
towards departing and being with Christ, which is far better ; but, 
on the other hand, to abide iti the flesh is more needful 07i your 

The word translated '■to depart' is properly ' to unloose,' the 
figure being that of a ship unfastened from her moorings to set 
sail, or of a tent taken down, that the occupant may move 
onward on his journey. Having travelled through the ^vilder- 
ness of this world so long, the apostle was very willing to give 
up his tent life, and go over the river to the promised Canaan 
and its * city which hath foundations.' He ' knew that, if his 
earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, he had a build- 
ing of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the 
heavens.' He knew, too, tliat 'to depart' was '■to be with 
Christ J and thus was ''far better^ — or, still more strongly, for 
* * Yet,' of the Authorized Version, is an unhappy rendering. 

VKRS. 23, 24.] A Strait betwixt Two. 105 

the language swells out, under the impulse of the apostle's 
feeling, into a peculiar fulness, 'better by very far' — than to 
remain here. 

The one grand thought in his mind, you observe, connected 
with departure, is that thus he shall be introduced into the imme- 
diate presence of his Saviour. As he says elsewhere, he is * will- 
ing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the 
Lord' In looking forward to heaven, he seems to see Christ 
alone. ' He does not say, " It is better to depart and to be 
with holy angels, and spirits of the just, than to have to con- 
tend here with the ignorance and wickedness of men, to bear 
with the infirmities of the weak, or at best to take counsel with 
those who know only in part, and are sanctified but in part. 
It is better to go and drink of the river of life, and eat the fruits 
of Paradise, and wear the crown of glory-, and strike the notes 
of praise and gladness on the harps of heaven, than to abide 
here to be the scorn of the ungodly, the sport of persecution, 
to wander having no certain dwelling-place, and to be publish- 
ing the off"ers of salvation to incredulous and ungrateful men." 
He might have said all this, and more than this ; but it is all 
summed up or exceeded by what he does say, "To depart and 
to be with Christ is far better." '1 

Some Christians have held the doctrine, that between death 
and the resurrection the soul continues in a state of uncon- 
sciousness, in a sleep or torpor. To this they are led by the 
admitted inability of man to conceive how our spirits can act, 
except through a body. But have we really any greater ability 
to understand how our spirits do act through the body ; how, 
while the nerves convey tidings from the eye and the ear to 
the brain, the immaterial soul sees and hears thereby ? The 
relation of soul and body to each other is, in fact, so utter a 
mystery to us, that no views regarding it could with safety be 
applied to affect the exposition even of very uncertain Scripture 
statements. But it is difficult to see how a candid mind 
' Dr. Henderson, of Galashiels. 

io6 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

can discern any approach to uncertainty in some references 
to the state of the soul after death. For instance, our Lord's 
declaration to the dying thief, ' Verily I say unto thee, To-day 
shalt thou be with Me in Paradise,' was surely something more 
than a promise that that day he should sink into unconscious- 
ness, and after, it might be, many ages, awake to a sense of 
being with his Lord in blessedness and glory. The teaching 
of the passage before us seems to me equally clear. Paul says 
that he felt himself ' in a strait,' hemmed in by conflicting 
motives and feelings, so that he found it difficult to decide 
whether he should definitely long for life or death. Had there 
been any thought in his mind of a time of unconsciousness 
following death, I can hardly suppose that for a man of his 
principles and temperament there would have been any ' strait.' 
His decision would have been clear and unhesitating, — ' Better, 
immeasurably better, to remain here, enjoying communion with 
my Lord, and labouring in His service, than to pass into a 
torpor, in which I can neither hold fellowship with Him, nor 
in any way consciously magnify Him.' There is broad and 
firm scriptural ground, my brethren, for the precious doctrine 
set forth in the familiar words of the Westminster Divines, 
that ' the souls of believers are at their death made perfect in 
holiness, and do immediately pass into glory.' Indeed it is 
mainly, I apprehend, with reference to the period between 
death and the resurrection that the apostle, writing to Timothy, 
makes the statement that ' our Saviour Jesus Christ hath 
brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.' The 
teaching of the Old Testament regarding the future life 
generally was dim ; yet, through the study of its statements, 
the Jewish church, with the exception of the small sect of 
rationalists called Sadducees, had come, before the birth of 
our Lord, to accept fully the doctrines of the immortality of 
the soul and the resurrection of the body. But the inter- 
mediate state lay for them in entire darkness. On it sweetly 
and satisfyingly has fallen ' light through the gospel.* 

vi:ks. 23, 24.] A Strait betwixt Two, 107 

* To depart and be with Christ' was 'better by very far' than 
remaining in this world of ignorance, and sin, and trouble. 
Looking at the matter, then, merely as it affected himself per- 
sonally, the apostle could have no hesitation as to which should 
be the definite object of his wishes. It was most natural and 
reasonable that he should * have his desire towards departing.' 
But when his thoughts turned to regard the cause of his Master 
in the world, doubt entered, very grave doubt. The balance 
of personal advantage was clearly on the side of death; but the 
balance of real needfulness seemed on the side of life, in the 
interest of the churches. ' On your account'' — the Philippians 
representing here, of course, the churches generally to which 
he stood in the tender relation of spiritual father — * my abiding 
in the flesh is more needful.^ 

Of struggle between liking and a sense of duty — between 
'desire' and a conviction of what is 'more needful' — between the 
attractions of what is obviously good for oneself and call to do 
what is, in the first instance, specially good for others — every 
soul of any strength and nobleness has experience every day. 
But how peculiarly sublime the sphere of the apostle's present 
struggle ! How strong and clear the faith which led him into, 
and sustained him in, this 'good fight' ! 'Led him into' it, I 
have said, for you will see that an intelligent desire of death 
cannot have root except in a bright and lively faith, any 
more than a desire or sense of the needfulness of living to 
preach the gospel. On both sides of the 'straitening' you 
find the basis to be a vivid and profoundly influential convic- 
tion of the life of Christ ; and that, ' because He liveth. His 
people live also,' guided and sustained in holy activity here, 
and blessed with the full glory and joy of eternal life with Him 

Believing that for the sake of the churches it was 'more 
needful ' for him to stay than to go, — that is to say, that work 
had yet to be done for the consolidation and extension of the 
church, which seemed to devolve more fitly on him than on 

io8 Lecticres on Philippians, ' [ch. i. 

any other, — the apostle had a strong impression that God 
would leave him still here for a while : ' And /laving this canfi- 
dence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all, for 
your furtherance and joy of faith.'' It is plain, from the con- 
nection in which this ' / know ' occurs, that the apostle does 
not here speak of knowledge by revelation, and consequently 
of absolute certainty. It was simply through his ' having the 
confidence,' or strong conviction, that his continued life was 
needful for his brethren below, that he ' knew ' continued life 
would be appointed him. That he regarded this issue of his 
present circumstances, in fact, as only highly probable, is sho^\Ti 
further on in the Epistle by his expressing some doubt ' how 
it will go with him,' — whether he may not be * offered ' (by 
martyrdom) ' upon the sacrifice and service of the faith of his 
Christian brethren' (ii. 17, 23). As regards what actually did 
happen, the opinion of biblical scholars is somewhat divided. 
The view entertained by most, however — on good grounds, as 
it seems to me — is that the apostle's expectation was fulfilled ; 
that he was released from that imprisonment during which he 
wrote the Epistle, and spent some years in visiting the churches 
and in missionary labour, — his martjTdom occurring at the 
close of a second imprisonment. 

The principle on which Paul's 'having this confidence, I 
know ' is based, is evidently this — that, God having a plan of 
life for each of His people, no one of them will pass away so 
long as any work remains for him to do. The best let many 
opportunities slip, no doubt. Much work might have been 
done for Christ which was not done. But the time for it has 
passed. When death comes, God intimates thereby, that of 
work which was peculiarly allotted to this servant, — work which 
could be best done by him, — there is no more. When a young 
minister is removed by death, after a period of labour seem- 
ingly only long enough to stir the hearts of Christian ob- 
servers with high hopes of his being greatly useful, — when a 
pious young mother is withdrawn from helpless children, on 

VERS. 25, 26.] A Strait betwixt 7\uo. 109 

whose Christian training her heart was set, — not sadness only, 
but wonderment and dismay, often take possession of bereaved 
hearts. Is not the assurance which we hear from Paul, in the 
passage before us, a very comforting and helpful one in cases 
like these, — that, in any deep sense of the word ' premature,* 
no Christian dii's prematurely 1 

The apostle has said, * I know that I shall continue with you 
all, for your furtherance and joy of faith ^^ — that is, 'for the 
increase of your faith in intelligence, liveliness, and constancy, 
and consecjuently your advancement in joy through its means.' 
His warm heart delights to dwell on this object ; and thus in 
the 26th verse he pictures to himself and his readers, for his 
refreshment and theirs, the happy spiritual condition into which 
they would be brought by the 'furtherance' he hoped to be 
permitted to give them ; * that your rejoicing 7nay be fnore abun- 
dant in Jesus Christ for jne, by my comitig to you again.' The 
meaning of the first part of this clause seems rather to be this — 
* that your matter (or subject) oi glorying may abound in Jesus 
Christ through me.' 

The key-note of this Epistle is * joy in the Lord.' To this, 
as its tone of rest, the melody always returns ; and the trained 
spiritual ear can hear it throughout as the foundation of the 
harmony. In the present place, as I have indicated, the par- 
ticular form of the thought is ' glorjing,' or ' boasting,' as the 
word is rendered in many places. This is an expression with 
which all readers of Paul's Epistles are familiar, but which 
ver}' seldom presents itself in any other of the Xew Testament 
\\Titings. Saul, the Pharisee, had ' made his boast of the law,' 
which he imagined himself to keep perfectly, — and therefore to 
merit eternal life as his wages. It was natural that in Paul, 
the believer in Jesus Christ, the man who recognised in him- 
self *■ the chief of sinners,' there should be a specially intense 
revulsion from this baseless glorying. Over against the old 
' boast,' the offspring of sin and self-ignorance, he delighted 
now to set * glorying in the cross of Christ.' The summary of 

no Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

his preaching was, ' He that glorieth, let him glory in the 
Lord.' Gladness which springs from knowledge of the Re- 
deemer's power and grace, and which, from a lively sense of 
the dignity and the security connected with its grounds, pro- 
claims itself in language and conduct evincing exultant con- 
fidence in Him, — a holy trust, triumphing over the power of 
all that the world, and the flesh, and the devil, can bring 
against it, — this is what the apostle means by Christian * glory- 
ing.' ' In Christ,' he found on every side ' matter of glorying ' 
— in his infirmities and tribulations, no less than in the number 
and spiritual progress of his converts. Whatever brought out 
evidence of the power and goodness of his Saviour, — in that 
he exulted. 

You see, then, what he means here in his hope that to the 
Philippians ' uiatter of glorymg might abound through him by his 
comijig to thefn again.^ Strength and beauty of Christian cha- 
racter, energy to do and patience to bear their Lord's will, 
eminence in faith and hope and love, — this was what their 
spiritual father desired to see abounding in his children ; — 
proof of all kinds that their Lord was * working in them to will 
and to do,' and thus giving them ever ampler grounds, in their 
own experience, for triumphant delight in Him. The apostle 
trusted that this would be given to them ' through hi?n ' (Paul) 
as an instrument ; but, as he reminds them by his favourite 
expression, matter of true glorying can exist, or increase, only 
'/// Christ Jesus,' — only for those who, through union to Him, 
enjoy His guiding and sustaining influences, and have indeed 
His life acting in them. 

vi:r. 27.] Conversation bccoinijig the Gospel. i 1 1 



* Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.' — 

Phil, i, 27, ist clause. 

T \ ^ITH the free discursiveness of a familiar letter, Paul 
V V passes now for a time from the mention of his o\\'n 
circumstances and spiritual experiences, to exhort his Philip- 
pian friends to cultivate earnestly those Christian graces which 
their position at the time most severely tested, — stedfastness, 
love, and humility. Of these duties, he speaks from the 27th 
verse of this chapter down to the i6th of the next. The sec- 
tion is introduced by a great comprehensive precept, of which 
all that follows is but a detailed illustration, — ^ 0?ily iet your 
conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.^ 

The word ' conversation,^ as employed in modem English, 
designates one element of our social life, the interchange of 
thought by speech ; but at the time our version of the Bible 
was made, it meant ' a course of life or conduct ' generally ; 
and wherever it occurs in the Bible, which it does often, 
this is its meaning. The line of thought will in most cases 
lead readers of any intelligence instinctively to give the 
word something like its correct force ; except perhaps in 
2 Pet ii. 7, where, in the statement that 'just Lot was 
vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked,' there 
may be a risk of its being taken in the modem sense, 
which covers only a portion of the meaning. In the 
passage now before us the word employed in the original is not 
that usually rendered * conversation,' but one which gives an 

1 1 2 Lecher es on Philippians. [cii. i. 

interesting peculiarity of colouring to the general idea of 
' course of life.' It denotes specifically ' life as citizens.^ * Our 
citizenship is in heaven/ says the apostle further on in the 
Epistle (iii. 20), — for such is his statement, the word there trans- 
lated ' conversation ' being a sister form of that which occurs 
here ; and his present injunction is that his readers should, 
even whilst as yet out in the wilderness, or at least at a distance 
from the centre of the city, where the King's palace stands, re- 
member ever their privileges and responsibilities, and live as 
* children of Zion ' — persons enrolled among the citizens of 
the city of God. This thought has evidently a special fitness 
and force in a letter addressed to the Christians of Philippi, — 
who, living in a Roman colony, saw everyvvhere pride in the 
possession of the most illustrious earthly citizenship, and had 
themselves witnessed the assertion of its privileges by Paul and 
Silas, when Paul said to the Serjeants and the jailor, ' They 
have beaten us openly, uncondemned, being Romans, and 
have cast us into prison ; and now do they thrust us out 
privily ? Nay, verily ; but let them come themselves and fetch 
us out.' 

The gospel being the charter of the sublime citizenship 
enjoyed by Christians, the apostle calls on his readers to 
discharge the functions connected with their privilege in a 
manner such as ' beco7neth the gospel of Christ,^ — as elsewhere 
he calls on us to ' walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we 
are called,' to * walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,' to 
' walk worthy of God who hath called us unto His kingdom 
and glory.' A glance at the prominent features of the gospel 
will enable us at once to see the outlines of the character 
which ' becometh ' those who believe it. 

The gospel is a divine message which assumes the paramount 
importance of our spiritual relations to God; and, consequently, 
a ' com'crsation ' becotning it must be one in which our spiritual 
interests are always regarded. By nature, being ' carnally- 
minded,' governed by the intluences of the lowest — the animal 

VKR. 27.] Ccmversation becoming the Gospel, 113 

— element of our being, which ought to be subject, not 
sovereign, we think little about our souls. We dislike reflec- 
tion, because we find it to awaken doubts and fears. Thus 
we are in great measure strangers to ourselves. Now Christ, 
whilst offering salvation for the whole man, offers it through 
the moral nature. The body follows the condition of the 
soul. Hence the tone ringing through all the instructions and 
promises of the gospel is, * What shall it profit a man, if 
he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' 
Accordingly, a life becoming this gospel will certainly be one 
in which, at all times, the soul's interests are regarded and 
treated as of foremost moment. Alas, then, dear brethren, 
how very ////becoming the gospel the lives of many who call 
themselves Christians are ! Might not one reasonably suppose 
diforgdfulness of the interests of the soul to be the key to very 
much of their affections and conduct ? Let us think how the 
case stands with ourselves. 

Again, the gospel is a divine message of grace; and there- 
fore a conversation becomifig it will be o?ie in which happiness 
and gratitude are manifested. 'Good tidings of great joy,' — 
trustworthy news of forgiveness for sinners, free and full, — this 
is the gospel. Now what will accord with the belief of this ? 
The heart will be lightened of a heavy burden, will it not ? 
The eye, bright with joy and thankfulness, will see a new 
beauty shed over the whole world. 

• Sweet as home to pilgrim weary, 

Light to newly opened eyes, 
Water-springs in deserts dreary, 
Is the rest the cross supplies. ' 

Afflictions may come, yet there will be no murmuring, for rest 
is given by the assurance that ' He who spared not His own 
Son, but delivered Him up for us all, shall with Him also 
freely give us all things.' As the lark springs at dawn from its 
dewy nest, and soars to heaven's gate, pouring out its song of 
praise, so with the Christian soul, mounting up on the wings of 


114 Ledtcres on Philippzajis. [ch. i. 

faith and hope. Life will be a song of praise, — sometimes 
modulating into a plaintive minor, yet still praise. In the 
prison at Philippi, at midnight, their backs bleeding from the 
scourge, Paul and Silas sang praises to God ; and the calm, 
peaceful tone of the Second Epistle to Timothy shows us that a 
visitor to the apostle, in the last dreariest time of his earthly 
career, would have seen light in the prison-house then also. 
The body, worn with suffering, and exposed perhaps to the 
cold and damp of a dungeon, needed the protection of ' the 
cloak left at Troas ' (how pathetic a request that is for him who 
has ears to hear !) -, the apostle saw the time of his departure 
by martyrdom to be at hand ; yet how brave, how confident, 
and restful, and happy, the noble heart is ! * I am ready to be 
offered,' — ' and the Lord shall deliver me from every evil 
work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom : to 
whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.' How well 'becom- 
ing the gospel of Christ ' is such repose of soul in Him, — how 
impressive an evidence of the reality and power of religion ! 

Further, — the gospel reveals an open way of access to God ; 
and hence a conversation becoming it will be a life of child- 
like reliafice on God, and comnmnion with Him. The root 
of all sin is the desire to be independent of God : * Father, 
give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.' Every 
unconverted man acts as if he were independent, and, under 
one disguise or another to his own mind of the monstrous 
folly, tries to believe himself independent. In regard to 
outward things, however, the delusion of independence often 
fails. In seasons of sudden distress, when the soul is stirred 
to its depths by mortal fear or by bitter sorrow, the sense 
of impotence and dependence forces itself on the heart, 
and out of these depths comes a cry to God. The careless, 
sin-loving sailor drops, in the darkness of night, from the 
slippery shrouds into a stormy sea; the slumbering landsman, 
who went pniycrlcss to rest, is roused from his dreams to find 
his house on fire, and the flames roaring around him even in 

vi:r. 2/.] Conversation dcconiinQ the Gospel. 1 15 

the bed-chamber : ah ! brethren, in times like these, when the 
truest and deepest nature will have her own, then comes forth 
an ngonized ajipeal to tlic mercy of God. When Jonah's 
heathen mariners were afraid, beoiuse the Lord had sent out a 
great tempest into the sea, they * cried every man unto his 
god ; ' and the shipmaster said unto Jonah, * What meanest 
thou, O sleeper ? Arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God 
will think upon us, that we perish not.' With the unbeliever, 
however, this sense of dependence is only occasional, and of 
partial reference. In the Christian it is habitual, and universal 
in its sweep. The gospel, as we have seen, exhibits the in- 
terests of the soul as of supreme importance ; and in regard to 
its welfiire the Christian feels his dependence on God to be as 
absolute as with reference to outward safety and comfort. He 
feels his need of the influences of the Holy Spirit, to enlighten 
and quicken, sanctify and comfort. He sees that Jesus has 
rent the veil, and opened a way by which through faith he may 
enter into the Most Holy Place, and with acceptance hold 
fellowship with God. He enters, and asks, and receives. He 
finds it ineffably sweet to pour out his heart before his Father ; 
and thus, as his knowledge and faith of the gospel grow, prayer 
becomes increasingly habitual to him, until it may be said of 
him that ' he dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, 
abiding under the shadow of the Almighty.' To speak of a 
prayerless Christian is to say that which is self-contradictory, as 
if one spoke of a dutiful and affectionate child who habitually 
shunned his father. 

Again, the gospel is a revelation of God^s hatred of sin; and 
therefore a conversation becoming it imist be one of earnest arid 
persistent struggle agaijist sin. God has not left Himself without 
a witness in man to the claims of the divine law ; but, amid 
the din of earthly excitements, the still small voice of conscience 
is often unheard. When in revelation the Holy Spirit leads us 
to Sinai, and proclaims to us the exceeding broad command- 
ment, ' Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 

1 16 Lectures 07i Philippians. [ch. i. 

and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and vA\ki all 
thy mindj and thy neighbour as thyself,' — then, looking in 
upon our hearts, and round upon our lives, and comparing 
them with God's standard, we cannot but cry, ' Unclean, 
unclean;' for *we are all as an unclean thing, and all our 
righteousnesses are as filthy rags ; and our iniquities, like the 
wind, have taken us away.' When He leads us to think of the 
misery of the world, too, — of pestilence and war, of sickness and 
pain, of bereavement and disappointment and remorse, of the 
mysteriousness and frequent agony of death, and of the revealed 
and anticipated torments of hell, — and shows us that all these 
are the direct and legitimate results of sin, we feel the lesson to 
be a most impressive one. Yet, brethren, weighty as these 
teachings are, the man who with candour and intelligence and 
faith considers the gospel of Jesus Christ, contemplates His life 
of lowliness and hardship, sees His agony and bloody sweat, 
hears His cry of desolation, ' My God, My God, why hast Thou 
forsaken Me ? ' and knows all this to be because of sin, — ^^-ill 
feel that no other lesson on the reality of sin, and its hateful- 
ness in God's sight, can even compare with this. What ' con- 
versation,' then, will 'become' belief in this gospel? Surely, 
through the blessed influences of the gracious Spirit, shed forth 
abundantly by the exalted Saviour, the matchless love of 
Bethlehem, and Gethsemane, and Calvary will ' constrain' the 
believer to shun sin and follow holiness. He will be pure in 
feelings and in life. He will be sober-minded, remembering 
that ' the fashion of this world passeth away,' and therefore not 
allowing his affections to be exclusively engrossed by any 
earthly good, but * setting them' supremely ' on the things that 
are above.' He will be characterized by a superiority of soul 
to everything low and sensual, to everything selfish and mean, — 
by a freedom from petty views and sinister ends, — by a relish 
and love of everything really great and good. In his inter- 
course with the world there will be no envy or malignity in his 
spirit, but love, sincere and wise and active. He will doubtless 

VER. 27.] Conversation becovting the Gospel. wj 

not be perfect here ])elow, for * the law of sin in the members 
will still war with the law of the mind ;' but he will keep 
absolute holiness before him as the goal of his effort and the 
subject of his fervent j)rayers ; and in his heart and life the 
power of the new nature over the old will grow stronger and 
stronger, so that he will be ever a more legible and impressive 
* epistle of Christ.' 

Yet once more, — the gospel of Jesus Christ is needed by, and 
intended for ^ the world; and hence a conversation becomiw^ it unit 
be one distinguished by zeal for its diffusion. At every point we 
find the universality of the destiny of the gospel set forth. It 
was because ' God so loved the world, that He gave His only- 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life.' Accordingly, Jesus is declared 
to be the ' propitiation for the sins of the whole world.^ Exalted 
to God's right hand, He has received * all power over all flesh, 
to quicken whom He will' And His commission to His 
servants is to ' go into all the world, and preach the gospel to 
roery creature^ The leaves of the tree of life are * for the 
healing of the nations.' To every son of the first Adam, who 
fell and lost paradise for us, the second Adam, the Lord from 
heaven, offers Himself as the guide to a more glorious paradise 
above, — where there shall be no fall, for they that have once 
through His grace entered in, * go no more out.' Now the 
work of making the gospel known to those for whom thus it is 
adapted and intended, has been confided to Christians. Still, 
indeed, the Saviour Himself, who ' began both to do and to 
teach,' when He was on earth, carries on His work of grace, 
now that He is at the Father's right hand; but this chiefly 
through stimulating and blessing the labours of His servants. 
As we have seen, ' Go ye and preach the gospel' is the com- 
mission ; which, whilst having doubtless a special force for 
ministers, is yet, in its spirit, addressed to all Christians. ' Let 
him that heareth' — every one who knows of the refuge provided 
for the labouring and heavy laden — ' say. Come.' The silent 

1 1 8 Lechcres on Pkilippiafzs. [ch. i. 

influence of a holy life, whereby the Christian ' shines as a light 
in the world, holding forth the word of life,' is in itself a very 
great evangelistic power. But more than this is due to the 
Saviour. Andrew finding his brother Simon, Philip finding his 
friend Nathanael, and saying to him, ' We have found the 
Messiah,' — these exhibit the working of the true Christian 
spirit, and are models for all time. The believer is called to 
definite effort, according to his opportunities, for the deepening 
and broadening of religious life in his brethren, and for the 
instruction of ' them that are ignorant, and out of the way.' 
According to the measure of his faith he will delight in this 
work, and ^vill grow uise in winning souls. He will give, too, 
as God has prospered him, liberally and gladly, to help forward 
the great cause. Thus, hearing his Father say, ' Son, go work 
to-day in my vineyard,' he will obey. 

Such then, brethren, an examination of the prominent 
features of the gospel of Christ, the charter of citizenship in the 
city of God, shows to be the kind of ' conversation,' or life, 
which * becometh' a person who has by faith accepted that 
gospel as his charter, as * the power of God unto salvation' for 
him. He will regard the interests of the soul as of chief im- 
portance, — he will be full of thankfulness and peace, — he will 
walk with God in filial fellowship, — he will grow ever liker 
Christ in holy beauty and holy energy, — and by effort and 
liberality he will show his oneness of will with the Saviour, 
whose desire and work it is to overthrow sin and wretchedness, 
and establish everywhere the kingdom of peace and truth and 

The apostle, you observe, introduces his great comprehen- 
sive precept by the word * only,' thus setting forth its import- 
ance, and, at the same time, linking it on to the statements 
which have preceded. * I have told you of a struggle in my 
mind between the desire to live and the desire to die. I have 
told you that, on the whole, looking at the condition of the 
church and of the world, my desire is to live ; and my expec- 

VER. 27.] Convey satio7i bccoining the Gospel. 119 

tation that God will spare me yet a while, to cheer you and 
other Christians, and to carry the knowledge of Christ to 
regions still in darkness. lUil whether I live or die, bear in 
mind that one thing is of transcendent im[)ortancc for you, of 
immeasurably greater moment than your seeing my face and 
hearing my voice again in this world, — this one thint^, that your 
conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ. Thus 
God will be glorified in you and through you ; thus the 
testimony of the Sj)irit will grow always more distinct and 
comforting to your hearts, that you are indeed citizens of 
heaven ; thus you will be spiritually useful to your fellow- 
believers, and also to them that are without ; and thus to me 
abundant reward will come for all my labours and sufferings 
on your behalf.' 

1 20 Lecttcres on Philippia7is. [ch. 



' Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ : that 
whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your 
affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together 
for the faith of the gospel ; 28 And in nothing terrified by your adver- 
saries ; which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of 
salvation, and that of God. 29 For unto you it is given in the behalf 
of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake; 
30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be 
in me.' — Phil. i. 27-30. 

THE great comprehensive precept with which this para- 
graph begins has already been illustrated with consider- 
able fulness. We proceed now to examine what follows. 

The paraphrase with which the last Lecture closed, ended 
with these words, 'Thus' (by your maintaining a conversa- 
tion becoming the gospel) ' abundant reward will come to me 
for all my labours and sufferings on your behalf.' This 
thought the apostle brings out in the next clause. It is obvi- 
ously a very natural one, considering the close relations which 
existed between him and the Philippians ; and that in the 
earlier part of the letter he had spoken so fully and warmly 
of his affection for them. ' That whether I come a?id see you^ 
or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, — tidings such as 
shall gladden my heart.' The apostle's mode of expression, as 
you will notice, has a little irregularity, — his meaning being 
evidently, ' that, whether I come and see you, or be absent 
and hear of you, either way I may come to know' — what 

VKR. 2 7-] Slcdfastncss for Christ. 121 

Now comes a statement of what it is that he wishes always 
to find in tliem, — eminence in stedfastness and mutual love. 
These were the elements of a ' conversation becoming the 
gosi)el,' which had been most vividly before his mind in giving 
them the injunction ; no doubt because, whilst being of vital 
importance in any circumstances, they were those which the 
particular circumstances of the Philippians placed most in 
peril. ' My desire is, that I may hear of your affairs to this 
effect, that ye stand fast.'' Throughout the passage the figure 
of a contest is employed. ' You have spiritual enemies, viru- 
lent and powerful. The world and the flesh and the devil are 
all at war with you. See that, in the struggle, you stand fast. 
Neither apostatize nor compromise. Be not attracted by any 
temptation, nor daunted by any persecution, from your post in 
the army of the Captain of salvation, or from faithful, unflinch- 
ing discharge of your duty there, — however exposed the post 
may be, and however trying the duty. Take unto you the 
whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the 
evil day, and, having done all, to stand.' 

' And, to this end, see that ye be in one spirit.'' From various 
hints given in the Epistle, we see that dissensions had arisen 
among some members of the church at Philippi. News of 
these had greatly pained the apostle, both on account of his 
affection for the persons immediately concerned, and his in- 
terest in the progress of the cause of Christ, which these 
quarrels could not but impede. In one case, perhaps from 
the notorietv of the dissension, or the evil which had been 
wrought by it in particular, he judged it needful to address 
the parties by name, and plead with them to ' be of the same 
mind in the Lord' (iv. 2). In the passage before us, he ap- 
peals to the members of the church generally to ' stand fast in 
one spirit' of holy love and devotion, — as in an atmosphere 
which should penetrate, stimulate, and sustain them all, and in 
which they should feel themselves bound closely to each other 
through their common ardour of love to God. The more ac- 

122 Lectures 071 Philippians. [ch. i. 

curately we know ourselves, my brethren, the more clearly we 
shall see that this is a state of feeling in the spirit of man which 
can be produced only by the indwelling of the Spirit of God. 

This oneness of 'spirit' — unity of view and feeling with 
regard to the highest matters — should bring about also, the 
apostle intimates, a oneness of ' mind^ or ' soul.' That you 
may understand with precision his meaning here, I must direct 
your attention for a moment to a particular New Testament 
representation of the constitution of man, on which his lan- 
guage is based. Sometimes in Scripture, as commonly among 
ourselves, man is spoken of as consisting of a body and a soul, 
in which case ' soul ' is used in the widest sense. Sometimes, 
however, we have three constituents mentioned or alluded to, 
— the body, soul, and spirit.-^ According to this division, the 
' soul ' comprehends only those energies and capacities of mind 
and heart which have to do with the world known by our 
bodily senses ; whilst the ' spirit ' is that grandest power of a 
rational being, by which it can apprehend the idea of God, 
and hold communion with Him, — by which, through faith, it 
can live under the influences of an unseen world. The * spirit,' 
which should be the governing principle, holding the whole 
nature under a firm and healthful sway, is in man by nature, as 
you know, brethren, darkened, enfeebled, dethroned, through 
sin ; and the ' soul,' unhappily freed from the rule of its rightful 
director, tends to become ever more and more subject to the 
lowest element of our constitution — the appetites of the body. 
Through the light and strength given by God's Spirit, and thus 
only, our spirits can take their rightful dignity and rule. But 
even in saints, in whom, through this divine influence, the 
spirit does hold sway, the government is far from perfect. 
The * soul ' but too often breaks away from its authority, and 
yields itself to the power of carnality. In the very forming 
and carrying out of plans for the extension of the Redeemer's 
kingdom this may show itself. For instance, where combined 
' See, for exampk^, i Thess. v. 23 and Ilcb. iv. 12. 

VER. 27.] Stcdfastncss for CJn'ist. 12 


action is desirable, incongruities and rei)iignanccs of natural 
temperament may be so given way to, that sound judgment 
and right feehng are for a time vanquished ; and legitimately 
divergent opinions regarding the best modes of doing the 
Lord's work may be maintained with a discourtesy and viru- 
lence very much calculated to do the work of Satan. Carnal 
tempers, such as act in the ways I have indicated, often take 
to themselves the noble name of * conscientiousness ;' and in 
the plausibility of this name lies their strongest entrenchment 
and chief hazard for Christians. None the less for the name 
are they really carnal, and tend to maintain the power of sin in 
the world ; ' for the wrath of man worketh not the righteous- 
ness of God.' 

In the passage before us, Paul calls on his readers to struggle 
against this evil tendency of their nature ; and, by the connec- 
tion of clauses, he shows at the same time how alone it can be 
overcome. In the measure in which believers are really * in 
one spirit^ and stand fast therein — in common simplicity and 
ardour of faith in the one Lord, and attachment to His cause, — 
will there be found also ' oneness o( soul,^ subjection of natural 
discordances, and sweetening of all social relations, through the 
power of Christian love. In the delightful account we have in 
Acts, of the church of the first days in Jerusalem, we are told 
that ' they were all Jilkd with the Holy Spirit, and spake the 
word of God with boldness ; and' — being 'in one spirit,' through 
the indwelling of the Divine Spirit in fulness — ' the multitude of 
them that believed were of one heart and of one souP (Acts iv. 
31, 32). One of the most cheering facts with regard to the 
state of religion in our own time is the obvious and rapid 
growth, in many sections of the church, of a conviction that, 
in so far as Christ's people are not manifestly one — not by 
any means necessarily in formal organization, but in sincere 
aftection, — in so far as there is anywhere among them alienation 
or mutual thwarting, instead of mutual help, — they are doing 
much to prevent the world from seeing that the gospel comes 

1 24 Lectures on Pktlippians. [cii. i. 

from God, who ' is love.' It is, my brethren, when the church 
shall be * fair as the moon ' with holy beauties, the beauties of 
love, that she shall be ' terrible as an army with banners ' to 
Satan and his hosts, — then, not till then. 

The apostle hopes to hear, regarding his dear Philippians, 
that, under the sweet constraint of the ' one spirit,' they are 
* with one soul striving together' — fighting shoulder to shoulder, 
giving mutual support and cheer — ^for the faith of the gospel.' 
These last words might mean * for evangelical doctrine ; ' in 
which case the whole expression, * Strive together for the faith 
of the gospel,' would be equivalent to Jude's ' Contend for the 
faith which was once delivered unto the saints' (Jude 3). Paul's 
general mode of using the word ' faith,' however, makes it more 
probable that he means here rather ' faith in the gospel.' 
' Strive together for the maintenance and advancement in your- 
selves and your fellow-Christians, and for the diffusion among 
those who as yet do not know Christ, of faith in the precious 
truth which is the power of God unto salvation to every one 
that believeth.' 

This * good fight of faith ' is of necessity a hard one, alike as 
regards the Christian's personal character and his efforts to 
extend his Lord's kingdom. It is a very difficult thing for us, 
amid the constant and obtrusive presence of the seen and 
tangible, to live habitually under the influence of a vivid real- 
izing beHef in the transcendent importance of what is invisible 
and spiritual. All of us have something — many, no doubt, 
have much — of the spirit of Thomas, — 'Except I see^ I will 
not believe.' Consider, in addition, the element of depravity, 
a strong natural bias in every one of us against the unseen 
God, and the peculiarities of life in Christ, — further, in some 
persons the hardening, the bent of the whole man towards evil, 
which had been produced by a wicked life, — in many, too, the 
secularizing power of perhaps unavoidable close and frequent 
intercourse, even after conversion, with unsympathizing asso- 
ciates. When you take opposing influences like these into 

VE R . 28.] Sted/astncss for Ch rist. i 2 5 

consideration, you cannot hut feci that tlic Christian's struggle 
to live under * the powers of the world to come,' must be in 
every case hard, — in some, from temperament and circum- 
stances, intensely severe. In striving, too, for the extension of 
' the fiiith of the gospel,' this 'good fight' cannot but be a very 
hard one. Here also, as in the case of our own personal 
battle, the depravity of the human heart, sustained by the in- 
numerable surrounding influences of a depraved world, and 
backed by the craft and power of Satan, — this is the foe. In 
various ways, my brethren, you and I have had ample experi- 
ence of the strength of this opponent. We feel that of our- 
selves we could do nothing against him. But the Captain of 
salvation bids us *be of good cheer.' He has ' overcome the 
world,' and by Him ' the prince of this world is cast out.' We 
* can do all things in Christ who strengtheneth us.' * The 
weapons of our warfare' will approve themselves 'mighty 
through God to the pulling down of strongholds.' 

Every true disciple of Christ, and every healthy Christian 
association, are, to some extent, engaged in this ' good fight ' 
against the influences of the world, ' for the faith of the gospel ;' 
and are therefore naturally objects of dislike to the world, — a 
dislike which, under certain circumstances, deepens down into 
hatred, and shows itself in active hostility. ' Witnesses ' for 
God always, like those of the Apocalypse, ' torment them that 
dwell on the earth' (Rev. xi. 10). The church of Philippi — 
eminent, as the whole tenor of this Epistle shows, for holy 
beauty and energy — could not escape the antagonism of the 
\vicked ; and evidently, when the apostle wrote, there had been 
for a time some kind of positive persecution. The ' adversaries ' 
of whom he speaks in the 28th verse were probably heathen, 
there being no allusion in the Epistle leading us to think that 
in Philippi Jews were numerous or influential. We cannot 
suppose that in a Roman Colony there \vas any formal avowed 
persecution by the government, the Emperor not having yet 
issued an edict expressly against Christians. But, without this, 

126 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

there might easily be endless annoyances, — harassing lawsuits 
on false accusations, impoverishment of trades-people through 
the withdrawment of custom, and the like ; and probably it 
was to troubles of this sort that the Christians were exposed. 
To persecution in some form believers living among heathen 
were constantly liable. Apart altogether from hostility on really 
religious grounds, hostility which availed itself of the popular 
dislike to the new religion must often have been aroused by 
mere worldly selfishness. Just as among ourselves a wide- 
spread revival of religion might be expected to diminish the 
profits of the keepers of gin-palaces and other haunts of 
vice, and thus excite in them bitterness of spirit ; so among 
pagans, almost universally given up to cruelty, licentiousness, 
and every form of self-indulgence, Christianity cannot gain any 
considerable strength without materially affecting the income 
of many classes who live by * wages of unrighteousness.' The 
real cause of the nominally religious outbreak against Paul at 
Ephesus, you remember, was that the ' craft ' by which certain 
traders on superstition * had their wealth,' ' was in danger to 
be set at nought ;' and of his scourging and imprisonment in 
this very town of Philippi, the true explanation was to be found 
in the fact that some wicked men ' saw that the hope of their 
gains was gone.' No doubt these cases were representative of 
very many. 

Whatever the particular nature of the persecution, Paul calls 
on his spiritual children to be ^m notJwig terrified^ by their 
adversaries, — ' whichj says he, ' is to them an evident tokefi of 
perdition, but to you of salvation.^ The reference of ' whicJi' is 
to * your being in nothing terrified by their opposition.' ' The 
fact, — for, as I know it to have been hitherto, so I believe it 
will continue to be a fact, — that their bitterest hostility does 
not drive you away from your faith and confession of Christ, is 
a distinct proof to them, if they would only candidly consider 
the matter, that, should they persist in their opposition to the 
gospel, they shall in the end perish miserably, whilst to you 

VER. 28.] Stcdfastncss for Christ, 127 

shall 1)0 f^Tantcd a glorious salvation. A thoughtful observer 
will sec plainly that your patience comes from a spring above 
nature, and may most reasonably and certainly infer that, if 
God is helping you to bear meekly and bravely now. He will, 
beyond question, deliver you in the end, and punish with utter 
destruction those who, in oi)posing you, are j)lainly oj)posing 
Him.' The thought is exhibited by the apostle to the Thessa- 
lonians somewhat more in detail than here. ' Your patience 
and faith,' he says to them, * in all your persecutions and 
tribulations that ye endure, is a manifest token of the righteous 
judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the king- 
dom of God, for which ye also suffer ; seeing it is a righteous 
thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble 
you, and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lx)rd 
Jesus shall be revealed from heaven' (2 Thess. i. 4-7). Proof 
of the distinctest kind met the persecutors fully in the face, of 
the impiety and madness of their conduct \VTiether any at 
Philippi or Thessalonica yielded to the power of this evidence, 
we are not infomied ; but in many instances it has been felt 
by persecutors. The arrow has been ' sharp in the heart of the 
King's enemies.' The conviction has gone home that, under 
superficial incongruity, there must be a profound reality of con- 
nection in John's words, — ' in tribulation and the ki?igdojn and 
patience of Jesus Christ' (Rev. i. 9) ; and that no declaration 
could be a more reasonable one than that of the Lord, * Because 
thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also ivill keep tJiee ' 
(Rev. iii. 10). 'Calmness in the presence of danger and death, 
— the invincible might of unresisting weakness, — the prayer for 
their enemies of sinking martyrs, — the eye of faith beaming 
even from the dust with the reflection of things not seen, — such 
a spectacle has been known to abash the fury of earth and hell, 
as the sudden effulgence of the Shekinah itself, of the " Spirit 
of glory and of God resting" on God's servants, and before all 
their foes marking them for His.' ^ One can hardly doubt that 
* Dr. John Lillie, of Kingston, New York. 

[28 Lectures on PJiilippia7is. [ch. i. 

* the pricks' of conscience against which Paul had 'kicked' 
before the Lord appeared to him on the way to Damascus, had 
been mainly caused by his remembrance of the wonderful 
demeanour of Stephen during his mart)Tdom. The good 
missionary, Tvlr. Ellis, states that when he visited ^Madagascar 
in 1862, after the death of the persecuting queen, he asked the 
Christians often, to what they thought must chiefly be ascribed 
the astonishing increase in their numbers during their time of 
terrible suffering; and that in reply they mentioned, among 
other influences, ' an indescribable feeling of interest in the 
Christians, or sympathy with them in the injustice and cruelty 
which they suffered, impressing some with a feeling that there 
must be something important connected with Christianity. 
The patient and most uncommon conduct of the Christians 
under such trials — not cursing their persecutors, but praying 
for them ; not seeking to be revenged, but to convert — affected 
the minds of many.' 

Amid the troubles which the Philippians suffered, the 
thought could scarcely but sometimes rise in their minds, — 
' While it certainly seems to us that in the patience, and per- 
sistent adherence to the faith of the gospel, with which we are 
enabled to bear our persecution, we see evidence that God is 
with us, and therefore confirmation of the belief we have been 
taught to cherish, that in His good time we shall receive com- 
plete deliverance, — yet, after all, may we not be deceiving 
ourselves ? Is not the very fact that we are encompassed 
with distresses on account of religion perhaps a proof that 
God does not care for us, and that in the whole matter we 
are fundamentally in error?' It can hardly be doubted that, 
amid the fires of sore trial, faithless thoughts like these have at 
times shot across the hearts of even the most enlightened and 
devoted servants of the Lord Jesus. An anticipatory answer 
to such the apostle gives in the emphatic words with which the 
28th verse closes : * Your boldness under persecution is to 
your adversaries an evident token of perdition, but to you 

VERS. 29, 30.] Stcdfastncss /or Christ, 129 

of salvation, — and that of God' * You arc to consider the 
patience as certainly bestowed by Him, and therefore as a 
token from Him of the issue of the contest.' 

Proof of this assertion is exhibited in the verses which 
follow : * For unto you it is ^ven in the behalf of Christy not only 
to beliei'e on Ilim^ but also to suffer for His sake, — having the 
same conflict ichich ye sa7a in Me, and no7i> hear to be in me.^ 
Here he tells them that their sufferings for religion, far from 
being a ground of doubt respecting God's love, were in tnith a 
mark of His special affection and esteem ; and illustrates this 
' hard saying' by alluding to the likeness between their circum- 
stances and his own, — a reference eminently fitted, from the 
great love and admiration they felt for him, to convince and 
to cheer them. ' You may well believe that the boldness 
you are strengthened to display is a token from God of your 
ultimate deliverance and triumph, because it is indeed, — diffi- 
cult as it may be, impossible for mere nature, to believe this, — 
it is indeed from His special love to you that you have been 
brought into your position of trial. I know that you love and 
honour me as your spiritual father, and believe me to be a true 
apostle of Christ, loved and honoured by God. Now you saw, 
when I was with you at the first, what kind of conflict \vith the 
hostility of evil men I had to endure, — and how the earthquake, 
and the glorious conversion of the jailor, bore testimony to 
God's gracious presence with me in the midst of persecution. 
You hear, too, now, that, being in prison in Rome, and per- 
haps, for aught that yet distinctly appears, about to be put to 
death, I am still called on to maintain a similar struggle. Now 
I hold this to be a kindness and an honour shown me by God 
in His providence. To you likewise it has been given in 
God's grace, not only to believe on Christ, — that is the founda- 
tion boon of saving grace, and therefore common to you Nxith 
all God's children, — but also to suffer for Him. Be assured, 
then, that since God has appointed you this conflict, and that 
as a mark of His favour, His purpose is to ripen and beautify 



o Lectures on Philippians. [ch. i. 

your religious character thereby, and at the right time give 
victory and rest ; and in His sustaining grace now you have an 
earnest of the grace which will bring full deliverance.' 

The word in the beginning of the 29th verse, rendered ^ it is 
given^ is one strongly expressive of loving bestowal. It is the 
same with which Paul closes that sublimely conclusive question 
in the 8th chapter of Romans, ' He that spared not His own 
Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with 
Him also freely give us all things?' It is the same also which 
is employed in the next chapter of this Epistle, where we are 
told of Jesus that ' God hath highly exalted Him, and given 
Him a name which is above every name.' 

In the account of the gift there is a little irregularity of 
composition, very characteristic of the apostle's style. '/;? 
behalf of Christ ' is a phrase which obviously suits * to suffer,' 
but hardly ' to believe.' It was, no doubt, intended to be con- 
nected immediately with ' to suffer ;' but the thought entered 
of mentioning faith, ' the gift of God ' to all Christians, and 
thus showing more clearly the specialty of grace enjoyed by 
the Philippians in being permitted also to suffer for their Lord. 
Thus the sentence takes the form it has ; and for clearness the 
'in His behalf is repeated at the end, where somewhat need- 
lessly our translators have substituted for it ''for His sake.'' 

The 'grace' of suffering for the Saviour has been already 
spoken of by the apostle in the 7th verse, where he describes 
the Philippian believers as, with regard to his 'bonds' as well 
as his ministerial devotedness, ' partakers of his grace.' Some 
illustration of the thought was given to you in the Lecture on 
that passage, and therefore a mere word or two further will 
suffice here. All true believers, my brethren, have some ex- 
perience of trouble through the antagonism of the world to 
Christ. In this subjection to aftliction for His sake, to help 
on the cause for which He suffered, — the cause of the world's 
emancipation from si)iritual slavery, and from all the other 
forms of bondage which that has brought with it, — there is evi- 

VKRS. 29, 3o] Stcdfdstncss for Christ. 131 

dently an clement of likeness to Him. The severer the trial, 
this likeness to Him is ever more manifest, — and the more 
distinct and gladdening therefore may the assurance grow of 
ultimate deliverance and triumph — the assurance that, having 
union with Him in the afttictions of His time of lowliness, 
there will be union also in the glory of His exaltation. For 
it is a faithful saying, * If we suffer, we shall also reign with 
Him.' The Philii)i)ians might well 'rejoice,' then, as the 
apostles did, in being, according to that exquisite expression 
of Acts (v. 41), 'counted worthy to suffer shame for Christ's 
name,' — obtaining grace to receive disgrace, — being honoured 
to endure dishonour — for their Lord. Their suffering for Him, 
and the strength He gave them to suffer patiently, were 'an 
evident token of salvation,' — a clear proof that in His good 
time God would take them away from all struggle and pain 
and fear, to join the happy company of those 'which came out 
of great tribulation, and are before the throne of God, and 
serve Him day and night in His temple,' — who 'hunger no 
more, neither thirst any more, neither doth the sun light on 
them, nor any heat ; for the Lamb which is in the midst of the 
throne feedeth them, and leadeth them unto living fountains of 
waters ; and God wipeth away all tears from their eyes.' 

132 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. 11. 



* If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if 
any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my 
joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, 
of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory ; but 
in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the 
things of others.' — Phil. ii. 1-4. 

THESE four verses constitute, in the original, only one 
sentence, though our translators give it in the form of 
three. This breaking up of the one was perhaps unavoidable, 
because in English, from the structure of the language, long 
sentences are apt to be obscure ; but it is to be somewhat 
regretted, as hiding the fact that in the apostle's mind all the 
clauses stood in intimate relation to each other. 

The connection of the passage with the preceding section, 
marked by ' therefore^ is close and obvious. ' Seeing the tran- 
scendent importance of your maintaining a conversation be- 
coming the gospel of Christ, and that, in the position in which 
you are placed as persecuted Christians, there is a special need- 
fulness for your " standing fast in one spirit," thus supporting 
and comforting each other, — see that there be perfect concord 
among you.' This is the main connection ; but in the intro- 
ductory clauses there is also a most natural reference to the 
allusion made, in the immediately preceding verse, to the 
apostle's own sufferings, and the hearty sympathy with him 
which the similarity of the position of the Philippians to his 
was fitted to excite in their minds. 

VERS. 1,2.] Christ ia7i Concord. 133 

The central precept of the paragraj)h is that given in the 2(1 
verse, *///<// ye he like-minded^ — that is, not, as a reader of the 
Enghsh version might perhaps naturally understand the ex- 
pression, * that ye be like-minded with me Paul,^ but, * that ye 
have concord among yourselves.' This is expanded in the 
following clauses of the verse, which set forth the constituent 
elements of Christian concord. A glance at these, therefore, 
will bring the precept clearly before us. 

'•JLiving the same love^ may mean 'having affection to the 
same object,' — love in common to God and His cause. This, 
however, appears to come in in the next clause ; and therefore 
the apostle's thought here seems rather to be of love to each 
other, * mutual and all-pervading love.' ' Let the same atmo- 
sphere of affection, of sincere and active brotherly kindness, be 
breathed by every one of you.' * Brotherly kindness,' — that is 
the Christian idea. Believers are all, through God's grace. His 
children, and therefore ought to cherish in a high degree the 
mutual aftection and trustfulness we expect to find pervading 
the members of a family, who have so many common objects of 
love and interest. The apostle's exhortation in this clause is, 
that the members of the Philippian church should all cultivate 
mutual love ; so that whilst, of necessity, in the large circle 
there would be included many small circles, of persons whom 
temperament or circumstances drew to each other with peculiar 
closeness, yet each believer should feel himself bound to 
every other by cords of true and warm affection. Paul 
would have the relations among the members of the church 
such that none of the household of faith should feel him- 
self treated as a stranger or an outcast, unrejoiced with in 
joy, and unwept with in sorrow ; but each should know that, 
through sympathy and prayer and help, his burdens were 
lovingly borne by his brethren. All true Christians have the 
brotherly spirit in some measure. If in any man special affec- 
tion for ' the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty,' because 
they are His sons and daughters, be utterly wanting, then cer- 

134 Lectures on PJiilippians. [cH. ii. 

tainly he himself knows not that precious ' secret of the Lord 
which is with them that fear Him,' the secret of His Father- 
hood in Jesus Christ. But, ah ! my brethren, how feeble this 
love is generally, — how easily mastered by separating influ- 
ences of conventionality, temperament, divergence of view on 
worldly matters, or on non-essentials in religion ! 

Among the members of a congregation the tie should 
evidently be felt to be peculiarly strong; and to the prevalence 
of brotherly love will correspond, to a considerable extent, 
general congregational life and health. But even among fellow 
church members, unhappily, the separating powers, which are 
of the world, seem often to have more sway than the uniting 
power, which is of Christ. In many cases, too, such as in a 
congregation in a great city, that frequent free and close inter- 
course, which has much to do with the maintenance of ordinary 
family love, is impossible, except among small sections of the 
congregation. This fact makes it all the more incumbent on 
such members as have the opportunity, to associate themselves 
in the carrying out of the various schemes of Christian eff"ort 
connected with the congregation. One of the most valuable 
secondary results of Sabbath schools, Dorcas societies, and 
other agencies of Christian instruction and benevolence, is the 
formation of friendships among Christians, and this under 
circumstances specially calculated to bring out the Christianity 
into most invigorating influence upon the friendship. I have 
no doubt that, as a rule, the strongest and the most beautiful 
and spiritually operative brotherly love is to be found among 
those believers who are brought into association in the way of 
eff'ort to advance the cause of Christ. 

The words which follow, and which are given in our version 
in two clauses, * being of one accord, of one mimf,^ seem rather to 
go together as one clause, thus, ' with united — or accordant — 
souls minding the one thing.' The basis of Christian concord 
is here exhibited to us, — oneness of view with respect to all 
matters of vital moment. In common, Christians see God's 

VERS. I, 2.] Christian Concord. 135 

supreme right to their love and obedience, — have faitli in 
Clirist, recognising the completeness of His work, the fulness, 
freeness, and tenderness of His grace, — and feel it to be the 
boundcn (hily, the * reasonable service' to Christ, of all who 
know the gospel, to use every effort to send it on, and to send 
it in, to the darkened at home and abroad. Having this one- 
ness of view, Christians will also, in the degree in which they 
yield their hearts up to the power of the common faith, have a 
substantial oneness of disposition and resolution. The defmite- 
ness of the form of the original — which is exactly rendered 
by the translation just given, * with accordant souls minding 
the one thing ' — suggests, as it seems to me, something more 
than is brought out by the Authorized Version, ^ of one niind.^ 
' The one thing' is an expression which, in such a connection 
as the present, has for every intelligent believer a clear, well- 
defined significance. The advancement of the kingdom of 
Christ in ourselves, through growth in the beauty and the 
strength of godliness, — in the church, through the increase of 
wisdom, and purity, and zeal, — in the world, through the 
universal and successful proclamation of the gospel, until 
* voices be heard in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this 
world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ,' 
— the apostle would have his readers with accordant souls to 
mind this one thing. 

We are now in a position to distinguish clearly the features 
of the ' concord,' the ' being like-minded^ which is enjoined in 
the central precept of the paragraph, and of which the two 
that we have been considering form an expansion. Brotherly 
loz'e, springing from commo?i faith in the great cardinal truths 
of religion, and producing mutual helpfidness in the service of 
Christ, — this is the spirit which the apostle desires to see 
reigning in a Christian association. Christian love cannot 
flourish apart from Christian energy. A monastery is the 
veriest hot-bed of jealousies, and envies, and every fomi of dis- 
cord ; and the more closely a congregation or a denomination 

136 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

approaches the character of a monastery in inactivity and use- 
lessness, the more open will it be to the inroads of a spirit of 
dissension. But when believers 'mind the one thing,' — when 
intelligently and zealously they strive to further the kingdom 
of Jesus Christ in themselves and others, not devoting their 
attention, except in a very subordinate measure, and merely as 
means to an end, to the advancement of their particular '-ism,' 
but minding simply the o?te thing, — and this 'with accordant 
souls,' not allowing peculiarities of temper or temperament to 
distract or alienate, — here is Christian concord in its strength 
and beauty. 

Looking back, you observe a peculiar tenderness in the 
mode in which the apostle appeals to the Philippians to culti- 
vate this grace. He says, '- Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like- 
minded.' ' I have great delight in you. All these years, and 
never more than now, in scenes of trial and of temptation to 
despondency, I have found the thought of the faithful church 
at Philippi a spring of comfort. Now I pray you, brethren, fill 
up my joy — make the cup of my delight in you full to the 
brim — by loving each other fervently.' How strikingly and 
beautifully is here illustrated the elevation of the apostle's 
character, — that is, of such a character as yours and mine, my 
brethren, ought to be — as yours and mine would be, if we cast 
away self-will, and surrendered our hearts to the power of 
Christian faith and love in the same degree as Paul ! The 
apostle is a prisoner, and knows not but that his imprisonment 
may end, perhaps very soon, with a violent death, — but how 
secondary a position his own circumstances seem to hold in 
his thoughts ! The earnest entreaty of the fettered prisoner to 
his friends who are in freedom, is that they will care for their 
own highest welfare by loving each other ; and the tidings that 
will ' fill his joy full' are, that discord is known no more among 
them. The only boon he craves is their adornment with the 
holy beauty of love. 

This appeal for their concord, as a kindness to himself, is 

VERS. I, 2.] CJiristian Concord. 137 

presented with a solemnity and fervid intensity evincing both 
the ardour of his love for them, and liis sense of the momentous 
importance of the matter in hand : * If there be any consolation 
in Christy if any comfort of hri'c, if any fcllo7uship of the Spirit^ 
if any Iwwcls and mercies' In this reference to the religious 
experiences of the Philippians, the facts adverted to are admir- 
ably calculated to show the reasonableness at once of pitying 
him in his i)rison, and of that love to each other, and mutual 
burden-bearing, which is the mode of exhibiting pity for him- 
self that he longs to see in them. Each allusion is, to a 
thoughtful Christian heart, like the stroke of a rod of divine 
power, calling out a stream of sympathy and affection. 

The ' If^ at the beginning, does not imply doubt in the 
aposde's mind, any more than in such a sentence as * If Jesus 
died for you, is it not reasonable that you should live to 
Him ? ' But you feel that, in a sentence like this before us, 
of fervid entreaty, the form of a simple supposition has a 
peculiarly solemn impressiveness. * If in Christ — in your know- 
ledge of Him and fellowship with Him — you find any consola- 
tion amid the distresses of life ; if from love — from cherishing 
love to Christ and His people, and knowing that Christ and 
His people love you — there come to you any comfort ; if you 
have any communion with the Holy Spirit, and, through His 
enlightening and quickening influences, have obtained peace 
and joy and holy impulses ; if thus your enjoyment of con- 
solation in Christ, your experience of comfort from love, have 
produced in yourselves, by the blessed energy of the Spirit, 
bowels and mercies — a heart full of compassion : — I beseech 
you by all your Christian privileges, all your comforts and 
hopes and spiritual experiences, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be 
like-minded.' ' Prove, I pray you, by giving love and comfort 
to each other, and thus giving love and comfort to me, that 
you have drunk deeply of the Spirit of Him who has loved and 
comforted you.' Such I apprehend to be the meaning. 

Such pleading as this, my friends, shows us clearly the in- 


8 Lectures 07i Philippia^is. [ch. ii. 

tensity of the apostle's anxiety for the ending of all dissensions 
among his brethren, and for the growth of sincere and active 
affection. It shows us how deep his conviction was of the 
evil \\TOught by division among Christians, — that it injured the 
religious life of the believers themselves most seriously, and that 
it was a very great obstacle to the progress of the gospel without. 
The ideal of the Christian church has been set before us by 
our Lord in His great High-priestly prayer — ' That they all may 
be one ; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they 
also may be one in Us ; I in them and Thou in Me ; that they 
may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know 
that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast 
loved Me.' In the degree in which this condition of things is 
approached, are all the ends of the church gained, — believers 
sustained and spurred on in their Christian course, and un- 
believers compelled to take knowledge that a kingdom is 
among them which is regulated by power from heaven. Thus 
comes ' glory to God in the highest,' through the manifestation 
of ' peace on earth.' But oh, my brethren, throughout her 
whole history how far has the church been from answering to 
the ideal ! How lamentable in our own time are the jealousies, 
and heart-burnings, and open dissensions, in congregations, 
and in and between denominations, — the bitter wranglings in 
church courts, — the angry denunciations of Christian brethren 
on platforms and from the press, — the envenomed private 
quarrels between persons professing godliness ! Can we marvel 
that men of the world look on with derision, and with keen, 
sarcastic irony quote the language of the first days, ' Behold 
these Christians, how they love one another ! ' 

In the 3d and 4th verses the sources of discord are exhibited 
to. us, and the means of drying these up. * Let nothing be done 
through strife'' — more exactly, 'factiousness, party spirit' — ^ or 
vainglory ; but in ioiuiiness of mind let each esteem other better than 
themselves. Look not every man on his oivn things^ but ruery man 
also on the things of others.'' The great causes of dissension in 

VKRs. 3, 4.] Christian Concord. 139 

societies of any kind arc tliose here indicated by the apostle, 
factiousness, vainglory, and self-seeking, * looking' solely 'on 
one's own things.' They are generally all present, in varying 
])roj)orlions. In a congregation, or association of churches, 
some ' Diotrcplics, who lovcth to have the pre-eminence,' takes 
up a certain position in regard to doctrine, ritual, or general 
church administration. Clear evidence may be shown to him 
that it is a wrong position, and one the maintenance of which 
will certainly produce dissension ; yet even if he sees it to be 
wrong, vanity — indisposition to sacrifice his repute for wisdom, 
and firmness, and power of management — induces him to hold 
to it. Others conscientiously, perhaps most of them, join 
themselves to him. Thus a party is formed, and the spirit of 
fiiction begins to act. Partisanship takes the place of brotherly 
kindness. Sympathies which ought to go forth broadly to the 
church of Christ, have their range narrowed down to a little 
section of brethren, who agree on certain tritles. Those to 
whom Jesus said, ' This is My commandment, that ye love one 
another as I have loved you,' are seen ' desirous of vainglory, 
provoking one another, envying one another.* One matter 
after another, almost wholly unconnected with the original 
cause of difference, is made a party matter ; and feeling be- 
comes ever more deeply and widely embittered. The war 
spreads to the right hand and to the left, enfeebling spiritual 
life, causing thoughtful Christians everywhere intense pain, and 
driving the enemies of God further away from Him. 

' Seeing then,' says Paul, ' that discord, and all the evils it 
brings with it, are plainly due to vanity, and party spirit, and 
exclusive regard to what are, or are supposed to be, one's own 
interests ; the means of preventing it will obviously be found 
in earnestly and prayerfully cultivating a spirit opposed to all 
these. Instead of factiousness and vainglory, in hwlhiess of 
mind kt each esteem other ^ better tha?i themselves. Instead of 

' 'Other' here, as several times in the Authorized Version, is plural. 
See, for example, Josh. viii. 22, and the 3d verse of the 4th chapter of 

140 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

regarding self-interest only, looJz every ma?i also o?i the things of 

An unregenerate man, whether he be simply indifferent to 
religion, or the votary of a false religion, is proud. The 
essence of sin is arrogant self-assertion against God ; and it 
follows most naturally that the sinful heart will be self-asserting 
against man also. A soul which, through pride, has broken 
away from the orbit that God made it to revolve in, and has 
become a ' wandering star,' cannot but, through the impulse 
of the same pride, seek to be itself the centre of a system. 
' Lowliness of mind' is therefore a distinctively Christian virtue. 
Energetic, honest, sober, a man may be through other in- 
fluences than those which stand connected with the knowledge 
of Christ ; but truly humble, never. This element of character 
enters only when, in the light of God, we see our ignorance, 
and folly, and feebleness, and guilt ; and learn also, through 
the example of the Lord, the sublime beauty and dignity of 
humbling ourselves in self-sacrificing love. ' Learn of Me,' He 
says, ' for I am meek and lowly in heart ; and ye shall find rest 
unto your souls.' ' If I, your Lord and Master, have washed 
your feet, ye ought to wash one another's feet' He * took 
upon Him our flesh, and suffered death upon the cross, that 
all mankind should follow the example of His great humility.' ^ 

Being Christ-like, as the apostle illustrates in detail in the 
wonderful paragraph which follows that now before us, true ' low- 
liness of mind' has nothing in common with meanness of spirit. 
Whilst it recognises facts as they are in human nature, it in- 
volves essentially a profound respect for man's possible self, — 
self changed, as — blessed be God's name ! — it will be, and is 
even now from '■ glory to glory ' becoming, in all true believers, 
into the likeness of Christ. Neither is this spirit in any 
measure allied to despondency. The truth which awakens it is 

this Epistle. In the age wlicn our translation was made, this form was 
employed for the phiral as freely as * others.' 

' Collect of the Church of England, for the Sunday before Easter. 

VERS. 3,4.] Christian Concord. 141 

the gospel, the tidings of love. Thus the very same light 
which reveals to us our own destitution of anything to be 
proud of, shows us abundant ground to ' glory in the Lord/ 
Discerning our own guilt, we see at the same time that * the 
blood of Jesus Christ, (iod's Son, cleanscth us from all sin.' 
Convinced that we know nothing of ourselves as we ought to 
know, we find also that ' we have an unction from the Holy 
One, and know all things.' Recognising our own utter weak- 
ness, we discover likewise that we * can do all things in Christ, 
which strengtheneth us.' Christian humility leads a man to 
' abide in Christ,' and thus to possess all he needs. Says wise 
and good Sir Matthew Hale, on a retrospect of many years, 
during which he had been called on to occupy himself with 
great affairs, and, in circumstances of peculiar difficulty, had 
* adorned the doctrine of God his Saviour,' — ' I can call my 
own experience to witness that, even in the external actions 
and incidents of my whole life, I was never disappointed of the 
best guidance and direction, when, in diffidence of my oun 
ability to direct myself, or to grapple with the difficulties of 
my life, I have with humility and sincerity implored the direc- 
tion and guidance of the divine wisdom and providence.' 

This ' lowliness of mind ' leads ^ each to esteem other better than 
thcjnselves.^ A similar precept to the present is given by the 
apostle to the Romans, when he enjoins them to 'be kindly 
affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honour pre- 
ferring one another ; ' and to the Ephesians, when he calls on 
them to ' submit themselves one to another in the fear of God.' 
Peter, too, says, ' All of you be subject one to another, and be 
clothed with humility.' ^ The basis of this mutual ' subjection' 
is exhibited in the passage now before us. ' Submit to each 
other, as each esteeming the other to be better than himself,' — 
'superior to himself in important respects. This does not at 
all imply that there should be blindness to one's o^^^l abilities 
and attainments, or to the deficiencies of others. "We are 
' Rom. xii. lo ; Eph. v. 21 ; I Pet. v. 5. 

142 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

bound to struggle earnestly against our natural tendencies to 
undervalue our neighbours, and * think more highly of ourselves 
than we ought to think ; ' but excess in the other direction, not 
very common certainly, but which does occasionally show itself 
in certain temperaments, is also injurious. Some approach to 
really accurate knowledge of our own powers and those of the 
persons with whom we associate, is needful for our rightly filling 
the place of Christian usefulness which God has assigned us, 
and helping our brethren to fill theirs. ' My humility,' says 
Luther, ' is not of so foolish a kind as to make me desirous of 
concealing the gifts God has bestowed on me.' Says Paul, * In 
nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, thotigh I be 
nothifig.^ These last words show where Christian humility lies. 
There may be a consciousness of knowledge and power, but 
there is a profound conviction at the same time that these are 
wholly through the gracious working of God's Spirit, in one 
personally unworthy and impotent. It is felt that acuteness 
and learning and Christian activity are, as Luther has it in the 
words I have quoted, ' gifts of God,' — and * where is boasting 
then ? It is excluded.' 

The spirit of Christ will lead us, however great may be our 
powers, and however beautiful our character, in comparison 
with the powers and characters of those around us, to endea- 
vour to serve them in love, ' to please our neighbour for his 
good to edification,' to 'bear one another's burdens.' It will 
lead us to ^ look not every man on his own things, but every 
man also o?i the things of others,^ — to cherish and manifest 
a spirit of unselfishness in regard to all things, — to be con- 
siderate, active, self-denying, for the good of others, feeling 
them and ourselves to be in a bond of brotherhood. Jesus, 
infinitely glorious in dignity and holiness, humbled Himself for 
your sake and mine. The * Lord of all,' He became * the 
Servant of all.' ' The Son of man came, not to be mini- 
stered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for 

VERS. 3. 4-] Christian Concord, 143 

But a Christian, as he grows in spiritual wisdom, will not 
merely see ever more clearly the dutifulness and beauty of self- 
sacrificing consideration for others, but abundant ground, too, 
for Wsttrmini^ others better than himself.' Increasing self- 
knowledge brings increasing self-loathing. With growing purity 
and beauty, there is a deeper sense of the vileness of remain- 
ing impurity. His ignorance, too, the degree in which his 
attainments are below what his privileges might have led him 
to, his dulness of spiritual apprehension, his lack of spiritual 
energy, — these come more distinctly before his mind. Thus 
he cherishes a lowly opinion of himself. Others he cannot 
know as he knows himself; and * the charity which always ac- 
companies true humility leads him to attribute what seems to 
be good in other men to the best principle which can reason- 
ably be supposed to have produced it ; while it leads him, from 
his necessary ignorance of their motives, to make allowances for 
their defects and failings, which he cannot make for his own.' ^ 
John Howe, certainly one of the very wisest and best men 
of his age, says, ' Perhaps the reason why, in some disputable 
points, I have seen further than some of my brethren, is because 
their more elevated minds have been employed on greater and 
nobler objects, which has prevented their looking so minutely 
into these particular questions.' It is very interesting to see, 
in the case of our apostle himself, how, as he ripened in 
spiritual excellence, his ' lowliness of mind,' in his judgment of 
himself, as compared with others, finds always stronger expres- 
sion. In the First Epistle to the Corinthians we find him 
describing himself as 'the least of the apostles,' — in the con- 
siderably later written Epistle to the Ephesians, as * less than 
the least of all saints,' — and in the still later First Epistle to 
Timothy, as * the chief of si?mersJ 

Another fact, too, which is fitted to lead a thoughtful person 
to 'esteem others better than himself,' is that, however little 
which is estimable or admirable may be in their character at 

^ Dr. John Bro\^Ti. 

144 Lectures 07i Philippiajis. [cH. ii. 

present, there are in them the grandest possibilities of holy 
character, and of fitness for some form of the work of Christ. 
The wild, brawHng street -boy may yet be a Bunyan ; the 
careless, dissolute young sailor, a Newton; the self-righteous 
bigot, a Paul. 

VERS. 6, 7.] The Great Example. 145 


' Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus : 6 Who, being 
in the form of Go<l, thought it not robbery to be equal with God ; 7 
But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of 
a servant, and was made in the likeness of men : 8 And being found 
in fashion as a man, lie humbled Himself, and became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly 
exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name : 
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in 
heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; il And that 
every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of 
God the Father.' — Phil. ii. 5-1 1. 

IN this singularly interesting and important paragraph, the 
apostle enforces the preceding counsels to the cultivation 
of self-denying love, by the argument strongest of all to the 
heart of every Christian, the example of the Lord Jesus. 

The first fact in the history of the Lord to which he refers is, 
that God condescended to become ma?i : ' ic/io, being in the form of 
God, thought it 7iot robbery to be equal zuith God ; but made Him- 
self of no reputation, and took upon Him the forni of a serva?itj 
and zuas made in the likeness of 7nen.^ 

You will observe that the word 'nature' is not employed 
here, but ^form^ The probable reason appears, when we 
think of the apostle's immediate object in referring to the 
Saviour, which, as we have seen, was to set Him forth as an 
example for us of kind and self-sacrificing consideration for 
others. Now we cannot change our nature, or assume an 
additional nature. We are, and must remain, simply human. 
In the Lord's taking human nature into association with the 

146 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

divine, therefore, there is nothing even approximately imitable' 
by us. But as regards the surrender for the good of others of 
wealth, ease, rank, repute, or life, there is a possibility, at an 
infinite distance, of Christians following their Lord. It is to 
these points, accordingly, in which there is an analogy between 
the case of Christ and that of His people, that Paul adverts. 
He presents the argument, you remember, very similarly, in 
calling on the Corinthians to be liberal givers for the relief of the 
poorer brethren. ' See that ye abound in this grace,' he says, 
*for ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He 
was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through 
His poverty might be rich.' As, in that passage, he presents 
voluntary self-impoverishment for the sake of others as the 
aspect of our Lord's work of love suitable for his exhortation, 
— so, in the verse before us, somewhat more generally, seeing 
that self-sacrificing love generally is the subject of appeal, the 
renunciation for our sakes of ineffable greatness and glory is 
made prominent — His leaving His original divine glory of 
manifestation and surroundings for the lowliness of humanity. 
The possession of the natures of which the manifestations are 
respectively glory and lowliness, is of course implied. 

You gather from what has been said, that ^for?n ' here is to 
be taken in its widest sense, as the mode in which a nature 
reveals itself, or has its characteristics exhibited. When we 
are told, then, that, 'being' — from eternity — *in the form of 
God,' Christ * took upon Him thefor7n of a servafit ' of God, 
the contrast is between the glory of the Supreme King and the 
lowliness of a subject. 

The word which our translators have rendered by ' robbery ' 
is of doubtful interpretation. According to the usage of the 
Greek language, it may be taken in either of two senses, 
closely allied, yet giving the clause very different bearings. 
It may mean *the act of grasping,' or it may mean 'an object 
grasped, or to be grasped,' for acquisition or retention. This 
double signification may be illustrated by the use of our own 

VERS. 6, 7.] The Great Exafuple. 147 

Englisli word *rnj)turc,' a word of very similar meaning. We 
speak of tlie * capture ' of a ship ; and again, the crew of the 
conciuering vessel will call the taken ship herself * our capture.' 
In the vast majority of cases in which words of this kind arc 
employed, the context prevents the slightest risk of ambiguity ; 
but the present happens to be one in which a good consistent 
meaning, pertinent to the apostle's purpose, is obtained on 
either view. Our translators, with many other interpreters, 
adopt the first sense, * the act of grasping ;' and the statement 
thus yielded is, that * Christ, being in the enjoyment of the 
glory of God, therefore thought it no pillaging or robbery to 
be equal with God, — but, nevertheless, made Himself of no 
reputation.' Here the clause is an amplification of the men- 
tion of our Lord's original dignity, which heightens the force 
of the subsequent statement of condescension. According to 
the other use of the word, the statement made is, that, 'though 
in the form, or glor}% of God, yet He did not reckon this 
equality with God as an object to be graspingly retained,' — or, 
more generally, * did not count it as of supreme importance.' 
The work of love seemed to him a greater thing than the 
manifestation of power and dignity. Here, you observe, the 
clause, which on the former view continued the statement of 
the Lord's original dignity, now introduces the account of His 
condescension. On the whole, considering the connection in 
which the apostle makes the statement, and various little 
points in the mode of expression in the original, it seems to 
me that the latter sense is that which he intended : ' Being 
in the form of God, still He did not consider His being on 
a parity with God as a possession to be graspingly retained, — 
or, as of supreme value, — but made Himself of no reputation.' 
On this view of the meaning, the phrase ^ to be equal with 
God'' is virtually equivalent to the previous 'being in the form, 
or glory, of God.' On the view adopted by our translators, 
there seems to be an advance from the idea of 'form' to 'nature.' 
On either interpretation of the clause, as you see, the doc- 

148 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. 11. 

trine of our Lord's tnie and supreme divinity is most clearly- 
taught, in the one case expressly, in the other by most distinct 
implication. That any mere creature should be spoken of as 

* in the form of God ' — taking these words in any natural or 
adequate sense — is utterly inconceivable ; and to exhibit, as 
an evidence of sublime condescension, the not reckoning 
equality of glor}^ with God the Father to be a possession of 
supreme value, would plainly be totally unmeaning, unless this 
equality of glory were a true and rightful possession. 

* Being in the form of God,' then, ' He yet esteemed not His 
equality with God as a possession to be graspingly retained ; 
/v//,' on the contrar}', ' made Himself of my reputation.^ Our 
translators have here slightly paraphrased, the exact meaning 
of the original words being ' emptied Himself,' — not of the 
nature of God (this is impossible ; essentially, everlastingly. He 
is God), but of the ' form,' the glory in mode of manifestation. 
The glor)^ in which He had been revealed to angels in heaven, 
— the glory in which, at times, in His pre-incarnate state, He, 
under all the economies the Revealer of God, had shown Him- 
self to man, as at Sinai, or to Isaiah, when he * saw the Lord 
sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled 
the temple,' — of this glory He * emptied Himself.' 

This He did by ' taking upon Himself the form of a sen\int.^ 
These last words standing in obvious and very striking anti- 
thesis to ' the form of God,' we are not to think of the word 
' sercanV here as intended to bring before us the humbleness 
even among men of the position He assumed in this world, — 
to which He Himself adverts in such statements as ' The Son 
of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,' and 

* I am among you as he that serveth.' This thought of lowli- 
ness among men comes after^vards, as we shall see. At this 
point 'servant of GoiV is the idea, the contrast being simply 
between the glory which is the * form,' or manifestation, of the 
supreme King of the universe, and the lowliness which is the 
' form ' of a subject or servant of the Divine King. 

VKRS. 6, 7-] The Great Exa^nple. 149 

How the Son of God took the form of a servant the apostle 
explains in the next clause, — * bein^ made in the likeness of men* 
* Of men,' you observe, not * of a man ;' for the thought of the 
race, to be whose representative He assumed our nature, is 
before the apostle's mind. Again, the humanity of the Saviour 
was indeed a true humanity, not a mere shadow ; but it 
was not mere humanity. To keep the absolute uniqueness of 
Christ's Person before our minds, therefore, and thus the 
thought of His infinite condescending grace, Paul introduces 
the word ^/ikenessJ 

Thus, dear brethren, we have the mystery of mysteries set 
before us, * without controversy great,' — * God manifest in the 
flesh.' Our Redeemer is * God over all, blessed for ever,' 
infinite, eternal, immutable, — the I AM, the essentially living 
One. Take away from our faith the doctrine of our Lord's 
true divinity, and our hope of deliverance through Him is 
found baseless. There could then be no atonement for our 
sins ; for there would be no true right or power of self- 
surrender for such a work, and no adequate value in the 
ransom paid. There could then be no trusting to the 
Saviour's care, no expectation of His sympathy, no prayer 
to Him ; for there would be no omniscience, omnipresence, 
omnipotence, and a true Saviour needs all these. But the 
truth stands fast that * The Word was God.' Yet, ' being in 
the form of God,' He 'emptied Himself of this glory. It is 
true that in His life on earth He exhibited sublime wisdom, 
holiness, and power ; and that once even in His bodily appear- 
ance something of the glory of heaven was revealed, * His face 
shining as the sun, and His raiment white as the light,' — so that 
the witnesses could testify, ' We beheld His glory, such glory 
as beseemed the Only-begotten of the Father.' Still in His com- 
mon life it was possible — it was easy — not to see the Saviour's 
heavenly beauty and majesty. No visible diadem of celestial 
glory glittered on His brow, to mark Him out as the King of 
kings. No jewelled breastplate, with Urim and Thummim, 

150 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. 11. 

indicated Him to be the world's great High Priest. ' For our 
sakes He became poor.' And the obvious evidences of His 
humanity bUnded most men to the significance of His wisdom 
and character and works. They would not allow the thought 
to enter their minds, or at least to fi.nd permanent lodgment 
there, that this Man,, whose life in many things was so similar 
to their own, — who hungered and thirsted, — who toiled and 
grew weary, — who went in and out among them so humanly, — 
could be essentially, or in any material respect, different from 
themselves. Most striking is the fact recorded in His history, 
that until His resurrection His own brothers, who for many 
years had lived their daily life by His side, did not believe 
on Him. He ' emptied Himself of His glory. 

But we must pass on now to consider the second fact regard- 
ing Him which the apostle mentions. This is that, as man. 
He went down into the depths of humiliation : ' And being found 
in fashion as a maft, He humbled Hi7nself, afid became obedient 
nnto death, eve?t the death of the cross.' We pass here, you see, 
to the view of another evidence of our Lord's condescending 
grace. The first was the incarnation : we come now to the 
humiliations, even as compared with other men, to which, 
having assumed our nature, the God-man yielded Himself for 
our redemption. To the hearts of most Christians, probably 
of all, this second evidence is even more impressive than the 
former. In contemplating the incarnation, — the step from the 
*form of God' into the conditions of a finite nature, — we cannot 
see clearly for the glory of the heavenly light. Infinity meets 
us in the foreground, and thus a haze drapes for us the whole 
picture of that act of immeasurable moral grandeur. In the 
life of the man Christ Jesus on the earth, infinity is in the back- 
ground ; and just because He has 'emptied Himself of His 
glory, we have more distinct and influential impressions made 
upon us. 

The Lord comes before us now, then, ' /;/ fashion as a man.^ 
By ^fashion' are intended outward guise, demeanour, and mode 

VER. 8.] The Great Example. 1 5 r 

of life. Still, you observe, as before in the word * likeness/ the 
apostle would remind us of the uniciueness of the Saviour's 
Person. Prominence given to the similarity to man, in places 
where we should expect simple mention of the real humanity, 
suggests, by contrast, the aspects o{ dissitnilariiy. 

Throughout the whole passage the idea oiiisihle manifestation 
is prominent, the apostle having it before his mind to point to 
the cuidcnce of the Saviour's self-sacrificing grace. Thus we 
have already had the ^ fonn of God' contra.'^ted with ' ihtform 
of a servant.' The same idea appears again here in the some- 
what remarkable expression, ' being /^;//;/^ in fashion as a man.' 
We are led to think of seekers and beholders. When the angels, 
who from their creation had known Him and worshipped Him 
' in the form of God,' sought Him at Bethlehem, in the wilder- 
ness, or in Gethsemane, — in what condition did they ' find ' Him 
whom they adored as their Creator, and Sustainer, and King? 
When we are roused by the Divine Spirit to seek the Light 
and Life of men, and are thus led to contemplate Jesus with 
profoundest interest, — what do we 'find' in looking at His earthly 
life ? We find no outward grandeur or glory, no abundance of 
outward comfort. We find one who among His fellow-men 
was conspicuous as a Sufferer. ' He hiunbled Himself^ — and 
this by ' becoming obedient^' obedient even ' 7mto death,' and that 
* the death of the cross. ^ 

The fact that the God-man became ^ obedient^ to God, proves 
of itself, even were there no other evidence, the reality of His 
humanity. Subjection, dependence, is conceivable only in a 
created nature. This expression brings the suitableness of the 
Lord's conduct as an example clearly before us, too. What He 
did and bore on earth, He did and bore as a servafit of God, 
— a member of the class to which all Christians profess to 

Consider, then, to what the spirit of obedience led our Fore- 
runner. And, in doing this, bear in mind the truth which, as 
we have just seen, is implied in His being obedient — a truth 


Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

which, I fear, is often but very dimly before us, — that He was a 
real man, — that He felt pain as really as you and I do, — that the 
wants caused by poverty were as real privations and trials for 
Him as they would be to you and me, — that He yearned for the 
love and esteem of his fellow-men as you and I do, and this 
^\ith a purity and unselfishness of interest in absolute perfec- 
tion, of which there is often sadly little in our hearts. Having 
this nature, then. Christian brethren, ^ the Man, God's Fellow,' 
was a * Man of Sorrows.' How manifold were the springs of 
distress which showed themselves in His experience ! Poverty 
and hardship, hatred and contempt, bereavement by death, and 
yet sorer bereavement by desertion, of dear and trusted friends, 
— what source of human sadness was wanting to Jesus, except 
a consciousness of sin ? In the pathetic language of prophetic 
Scripture, ' He became a stranger unto His brethren, and an 
alien unto His mother's children. Reproach broke His heart, 
and He was full of heaviness ; and He looked for some to take 
pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but He found 
none. He gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to 
them that plucked off the hair. He was despised and rejected 
of men, and we hid, as it were, our faces from Him.' 

And, after thus suffering, He died. He who was ' holy, harm- 
less, undefiled, separate from sinners,' received the ' wages of 
sin.' The Prince of life yielded up His life. And this by * the 
death of the cross.'' Of all the modes of inflicting death which the 
ingenuity of cruelty has devised, crucifixion is one of the most 
painful — perhaps absolutely the most painful. From descrip- 
tions and pictures, all of us are, to some extent, acquainted with 
the nature of this punishment. The cross consisted of a strong 
upright post, not so high as is generally represented in pictures, 
— not more than from six to seven feet, — with a transverse beam 
near the top, and a small projecting piece about half-way up. 
To this cross, probably after it had been placed in the ground, 
the condemned person was secured ; being made to rest in a 
measure on the middle projection, with his hands fastened to 

VER. 8.] The Great Exa7)2plc, 153 

the transverse beam by large bolts or nails driven through 
them ; and, in the case of our Lord at least, though the general 
usage is somewhat uncertain, the feet also were similarly nailed. 
The partial resting of the body on the jjrojection I have men- 
tioned, somewhat lessened the torture which would have been 
occasioned by the suspending of the whole weight on the nails 
driven through the hands ; but made it more lingering. From 
this account it will be plain that this mode of death was one of 
intense and protracted anguish. An interesting and impressive 
relic of the feelings of old times regarding the physical suffer- 
ing caused by crucifixion is found in our own language ; for 
when, to express the utmost intensity of pain, we select the 
word ' excruciating,' as the very strongest our tongue supplies, 
we are, according to the etymological meaning of the word, 
likening the pain to that endured upon a cross. No vital organ 
being directly injured in this mode of punishment, death was 
commonly slow, awfully slow ; whilst the laceration of parts so 
exquisitely sensitive as the hands and feet, the pressure on 
the wounds, and the rapidly increasing fever of the whole sys- 
tem, caused unutterable agony. And this, men and brethren, — 
this your divine Saviour endured for you. Oh that every one 
of us were enabled to join, with all the energies of his being, 
in that richest, deepest tone of the loving praise of heaven, — 
* Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and 
riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and 

Besides its painfulness, crucifixion was a punishment to which 
the idea of disgrace attached also in a particular degree. The 
Jews regarded a crucified person as accursed. It is true, indeed, 
that in their own penal code this cruel punishment had no 
place, nor any at all resembling it. Had Jesus suffered directly 
under a Jewish sentence. His death would have been by ston- 
ing. But, with them, after stoning, the corpses of the very 
Worst of malefactors were suspended publicly on a tree or 
post ; and crucifixion was regarded as equivalent to an exposure 

154 Lectures 071 Philippiaiis. [ch. ii. 

of this kind, — an exposure which was held to be a public declara- 
tion that the curse of God had come do^v^l on a rebel against 
His law. Thus, my brethren, ' Christ hath redeemed us from 
the curse of the law, being made a curse for us ; for it is written, 
Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.' Among the 
Romans also, by whom our Lord was crucified, this punish- 
m.ent was regarded as utterly ignominious and degrading. In 
their use it was all but exclusively limited to slaves, — a class by 
them, as generally by slave-holding nations, looked upon with 
the utmost contempt, as scarcely at all possessed of the rights, 
or entitled to the sympathies, of humanity. Thus, in being 
condemned to the cross, Jesus was held up as an outcast from 
society, — 'a worm and no man, a reproach of men and despised 
of the people.' I can hardly help thinking that before Paul's 
mind, as with adoring wonder he wrote his ' even the death of 
the cross,' the contrast between his own position and the 
Saviour's was prominent. By Roman law, under no circum- 
stances could a Roman citizen be crucified. ' Let the very 
name of the cross,' says Cicero in one of his speeches, ' be far 
away, not only from the body of Roman citizens, but from their 
very thoughts, eyes, ears.' ^ Now Paul was a Roman citizen. 
In the very town to which he was now writing, his citizenship 
had brought him the amplest apologies from the magistrates 
for having even beaten him with rods. And to the shameful 
punishment of the cross, which no man in the world would dare 
to inflict on him, — him whom his profoundly tender conscience 
called ' the chief of sinners,' — to that the holy Son of God had 
humbled Himself for his redemption. * Behold what manner of 

The thought of the condescension in which the Saviour's love 
revealed itself being before the apostle's mind throughout the 
whole passage, he gives prominence to the spirit of obedience in 
which He suffered : * He became obedient unto death, even the 
death of the cross.' In His voluntarily assumed position as *a 

1 Pro Rab. 5. 

VERS. 9- II-] The Great Exa7uplc. 155 

servant' of (iod, He had a great work assigned Him; — and 
' He was faithful to Him that appointed Him.' * His meat was 
to do the will of Him that sent Him.' His whole life was one 
unbroken act of obedience, ' fulfilling,' as the representative 
Man, * all righteousness.' And since, of His apjiointcd work, 
dying constituted an essential i)art — dying on the cross, — He 
shrank not even from this. He * had a baptism to be bap- 
tized with,* and He ' was straitened till it was accomplished.' 
The aspiration of His soul was ever, * Not My will, but Thine, 
be done;' and, whithersoever the path led which God had 
marked out for Him, * He stedfastly set His face to go,' — even 
to the darkness of Gethsemane, to the pain and shame and 
dreary desolation of Calvary. Then^ at last, came the cry of 
triumph, * It is finished.' 

This brings us to the third fact regarding the Saviour, of 
which the apostle makes mention — namely, that i7i racard of 
His obedience He 7cas croicned with glory and honour : ' Wherefore 
God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a 71a me which 
is above every name ; that at the natne of Jesus every knee should 
bow, of things in heaven, and things ifi earth, a fid things under 
the earth ; and that every tofigue should confess that Jesus Christ 
is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.^ The ancient oracle 
has been fulfilled, ' Behold, My Serv-ant shall be exalted, and 
extolled, and be very high.' ' The God of peace hath brought 
again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the 
sheep,' ' and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly 
places, far above all principality and power and might and 
dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this 
world, but also in that which is to come, and hath put all 
things under His feet.' The Father, who in the economy of 
redemption represents the majesty of the Godhead, has in- 
vested the Mediator \vith this gloiy and power, in attestation 
of perfect satisfaction with the work of atonement, — and for the 
carr}'ing out to completion of the great purposes of His grace, 
through the mission of the Spirit, and the providential adminis- 

156 Lectures on Philippians. [cii. 11. 

tration of the affairs of the world with a view to the triumph of 
the gospel. In the connection, however, in which the apostle 
introduces his statement of the Lord's exaltation here, as part 
of an enforcement of the precept of the 4th verse, he is evi- 
dently looking to Him specially as our Forerun?ier, — his im- 
mediate design being to exhibit this general principle of the 
divine government, that God marks and rewards all subjection 
of the heart to the spirit of self-sacrificing love and holy obedi- 
ence. He who was ' in the form of God, took upon Him the 
form of a servant : and being found in fashion as a man. He 
humbled Himself, and became obedient ; wherefore God also 
hath highly exalted Him.' ' We see Jesus for the suffering of 
death crowned with glory and honour.' 

By * 7iame^ in this passage, is meant, according to a most 
natural and familiar usage, ' title and dignity.' We say of John 
Howard, that by philanthropy he has gained for himself an 
undying ' name.' ' The word of God came to Nathan, saying. 
Go and tell David, My servant. Thus saith the Lord, I have 
been with thee, and have made thee a name like the name of 
the great men that are in the earth' (i Chron. xvii. 8). The 
universal confession spoken of in the nth verse, 'that Jesus 
Christ is Lord,' makes it not improbable that, in employing the 
word ' name,' the apostle had in his mind the title of ' Lord,' 
as summing up the authority and glory to which the Saviour 
was raised. Similarly, you remember, Peter, in the great 
sermon at Pentecost, called upon ' all the house of Israel ' to 
*■ know assuredly that God had made that same Jesus whom 
they had crucified, both Lord and Christ.* This name ' is 
above ez^ery najueH Our Redeemer's position and glory are in- 
finitely higher than that of the very highest of mere created 
beings. ' To which of the angels said God at any time, Sit on 
My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool ? ' 

The purpose of God, in bestowing this power and glory, was 
* that at (more exactly, *' in ") the ?tame 0/ Jesus every knee should 
boza, of things iu heaven^ and things in earthy and things under 

VERS. 9-1 1.] The Great Example. i 57 

the earth ; ami i/uit ci'cry ionj^dc s/iou/d cott/css that Jesus Christ is 
Lord' The expression ' in the tiamey often used in Scripture 
in various connections, has some variety of signification. The 
general idea, however, is ' in recognition or acknowledgment ' 
of him who is named, — the name being, so to speak, the 
element or atmosphere within which an act referred to is per- 
formed, or a command put forth as authoritative. When 
David says, * O God, Thou art my God ; I will lift up my 
hands in Thy name,' — his meaning plainly is, * Recognising in 
Thee the only God, the only Fountain of life and strength and 
joy, I will raise my hands to Thee in prayer.' To the lame 
man at the gate of the temple Peter said, ' In the name of 
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk,' — that is, * Acknow- 
ledging Him as the Source of the power which is about to 
be manifested, I give thee this command.' Similarly, in the 
passage before us, ''Every knee^ is to ^ bow^ in profoundest 
homage, '/';/ recognition of the poiuer ami majesty of Jesus' The 
name ^Jesus' has manifestly a special force here, through the 
contrast between its former association with lowliness and 
suffering — its former subjection to derision and scorn, — and the 
present glory of Him who bears it. * The stone which was set 
at nought of the builders, is become the head of the comer.' 

By the rendering of our translators, ' that at the name of 
Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in 
earth, a?id things under the earth,' is set forth the subjection to 
Christ of the whole universe — all the creatures of God, rational 
and irrational, animate and inanimate. In some form, all of 
them shall acknowledge His sway. In the same way, the 
Psalmist calls upon every thing that God has made — ' the 
angels, the sun and moon, stormy wind fulfilling His word, 
fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, creeping 
things and flying fowl, young men and maidens, old men and 
children ' — to * praise the name of the Lord.' ^ The bold 
figure, too, of the inanimate creation ' bowing the knee,' has 

* Ps. cxlviii. 

158 Leciicres on Philippians. [ch. 11. 

Old Testament analogies, in ' the floods ' and ^ the trees of the 
field ' ' clapping their hands.' ^ This wide view of the meaning 
of the apostle's statement gives a perfectly clear and satisfac- 
tory sense. His reference, however, may be to moral beings 
merely, — ' of those in heaven, and those on earth, and those 
under the earth.' The conscious acknowledgment of Christ 
which appears to be most naturally suggested by the second 
part of the statement, ' that every tongue should confess,' 
renders this view perhaps on the whole the more probable. 
In this case, if the language be other than a rhetorical expan- 
sion — not intended to be pressed in its details — of the general 
idea ' moral beings everyAvhere,' — we must think, under the 
various classes respectively, of angels and the spirits of de- 
parted saints, of men still living on earth, and of Satan and his 
hosts, and the souls of lost men, whose appointed abode is 'the 
abyss.' ^ Willingly or unwillingly — through joyful surrender to 
His grace, or through the experience of His wrath and the con- 
viction of utter overthrow — all moral beings, in heaven, and 
earth, and hell, shall ' bow the knee ' to Christ, and ' confess 
Him to be Lord.' 

In the loth and nth verses there is a distinct allusion to 
a passage in Isaiah, — 'Thus saith the Lord that created the 
heavens ; God Himself that formed the earth, — I have sworn 
by Myself, that unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue 
shall swear' (Isa. xlv. 18, 23). The application of such words 
to Jesus, by an inspired servant of Him who says, ' I am the 
Lord ; that is My name ; and My glory will I not give to 

^ Ps. xcviii. 8 ; Isa. Iv. 12. 

* See Luke viii. 31 ; Rev. ix. 11. For 'the deep' of the English Ver- 
sion, in the former of these passages, and * the bottomless pit ' of the 
latter, and of several other places in Revelation, the word in the original is 
the same, — that from which our English 'abyss ' comes. * The deep,' in 
Luke, is far from a happy translation, as hiding the connection with the 
fuller teaching of Revelation on the subject, and probably suggesting to 
many readers an unreal connection with the subsequent fate of the swine, 
which perished in ' the deep ' of the lake. 

VERS. 9-1 I •] The Great Example. 159 

another,' is a most explicit testimony to the supreme divinity 
of our Lord. 

But since, in the economy of redemption, the Son is subject 
to the Father, the grand end of the universal homage to Jesus 
is '■the glory of God the Father.' The Lord's own prayer was, 
* Father, glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee.' 
To no other end can the Absolutely Wise and Holy One work, 
than the manifestation of His own excellences, and their recog- 
nition by His moral creatures, — for in this is summed up all 
good. The creation, maintenance, and administration of the 
universe are ' for His own glory.' But unspeakably the fullest 
exhibition of His excellence is in the provision which He has 
made for saving sinful men, through the mediation of His Son. 
Here His wisdom and His holiness, His justice and His love, 
shine forth in unparalleled splendour. The subjection of all 
creatures, therefore, to the authority of the Mediator bet^veen 
God and men, and the triumphant testimony thus given to the 
complete success of the mediation, — this most signally re- 
dounds to the glory of Him who ' so loved the world, that He 
gave His only-begotten Son ' to be its Redeemer. 

Looking back now over the whole of this wonderful para- 
graph, you see its sublime fitness to serve the purpose of 
illustration and argument which immediately led to its intro- 
duction by the apostle. In the first verses of the chapter he 
had appealed, with intense earnestness, to his dear spiritual 
children at PhiHppi, to increase and abound in love, one 
toward another,' shunning factiousness and self-seeking, and 
cultivating a sincere and tender regard for the interests of their 
brethren. This appeal is taken up again in the 5th verse, and 
sent home with transcendent power to the heart and con- 
science of every believer : ' Let this 7?iifid be i?i you, ivhich was 
also in Christ Jesus, — who, being in the form of God, made 
Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of 
a servant, and became obedient to death, even the death of 
the cross,' — ail from love to you. * If, to save you. He thus 

i6o Lecher es on P Jiilippians. [ch. ii. 

humbled Himself, is it not most reasonable that you, His 
brethren, blessing Him for His love, should yourselves show 
to each other the same spirit of true and self-sacrificing affec- 
tion ? ' 

All conceivable intensities and activities of love are summed 
up in the record of the work of Christ, 'who gave Himself for 
us.' ' Hereby perceive we love,^ because He laid down His life 
for us, — and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.' 
These words of the Apostle John are evidently, in substance, 
equivalent to Paul's here ; for self-sacrifice is the central ele- 
ment referred to in ' the mind which was in Christ Jesiis^ 
Believers are not unfrequently invited by their Lord, in His 
providence, to place themselves in positions where they may 
be called on literally to ' lay down their lives for the brethren.' 
And, blessed be God, not a few Christians, all down the history 
of the church, have been ready to respond to the summons. 
John Howard, voluntarily making a voyage in a plague-ship, 
and taking up his abode in a plague-hospital, with the full 
expectation of death, but in the hope that, by carefully noting 
the peculiarities of the disease, and leaving papers on the 
subject, he might provide the physicians of Europe with 
materials which would perhaps enable them somewhat to stay 
the ravages of the awful destroyer, — is, in his grand self-forget- 
fulness, the type of a glorious band whom God has strength- 
ened. Many a humble man and woman, who, simply through 
the impulse of Christian love, have, at imminent risk to their 
own lives, cared for their brethren, by nursing them in infec- 
tious diseases, or bringing them aid in other circumstances of 
peril, — many such, * never heard of half a mile from home,' 
will be honoured by the Master ' in that day ' with a smile of 

' Our translators render this passage (i John iii, i6), * Hereby perceive 
we the love of God.' The last two words are a supplement, unnecessary 
and not very happy. The apostle's thought seems to be, ' In this we 
have the knowledge of love ' — of the nature and working of this heavenly 

VER. 5.] The Great Example. 161 

specially tender love, as He says to them, 'Inasmuch as ye 
did it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it 
unto Me.' 

A])art, however, from calls to self-devotion, even to death, 
in such ways as I have indicated, — calls which, of necessity, 
come but occasionally in most lives, — opportunities fjresent 
themselves continually for some self-surrender in the cause of 
love, some sacrifice of time or ease or personal inclination. 
So far as his own conscience was concerned, it was to Paul a 
matter of indifference what he ate or drank ; yet, as you re- 
member, he says, * If meat make my brother to offend, I will 
eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother 
to offend.' Here, in regard to what might seem comparatively 
trifling, was real self-sacrifice for love's sake, — the working of 
the same * mind which was also in Christ Jesus.' Similarly, 
my brethren, let ours be the love which * seeketh not her own.' 
If there be anything in your daily life or mine calculated to 
lead others astray, — if, by some sacrifice of personal ease or 
liking, we can alleviate any distress of others, remove any 
stumbling-block out of their way, or gain any true good for 
them, — let us not hesitate to follow the dictate of the royal law 
of love. Our natural selfishness will often struggle vigorously 
with the impulses of conscience ; yet, if our souls at all ' prosper 
and be in health,' one thought will tell in the controversy 
with ever fuller power, — ' If my Saviour died for me, surely I 
may, in some small measure, die daily in self-denial for my 

1 62 Lectures on Philippia7is. [ch. ii. 



' Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence 
only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salva- 
tion with fear and trembling : 13 For it is God which worketh in you 
both to will and to do, of His good pleasure.' — Phil. ii. 12, 13. 

THE profoundly interesting and important doctrinal pas- 
sage just examined has been introduced by the apostle, 
as we have seen, for the purpose of enforcing some advices 
which he had given regarding religious feeling and conduct. 
In the verses now before us he resumes his strain of practical 
counsel, — which all his candid readers are prepared, through 
the impressiveness of the great truths he has so eloquently 
recalled to their minds, to receive with peculiar readiness of 

Yet, however ready they be, the work of persistent effort 
after holiness is a hard one, and most repulsive to the old 
nature, which still, even in believers, has lamentable strength. 
Observe, then, how affectionately and winningly the apostle 
leads his dear Philippians to the view of their duty. He 
calls them ' my bclcrced^ a name which must have carried to 
their hearts a strong argument for thoughtfulness and diligent 
attention to his counsel. He stimulates them, too, by a kindly 
mention of the fact that, in past days, they had ''always obeyed^ 
him, or rather Christ speaking through him. In the designa- 
tion * beloved,' and in this pleasant reminder of former fulfil- 
ment of duty, their hearts could not but recognise a powerful 
appeal to this effect, — ' Bethink you of your spiritual father's 

VKR. 12.] Workina^ Old otir otvn Salvation. 163 

long, warm, unchanging interest in you, and of his unwearied 
and self-sacrificing exertions for your welfare. Remember the 
stripes, and the inner prison, and the stocks. Think of the 
afiection which now, in tlie midst of his own anxieties and 
suflerings as a prisoner in Rome, has led him to write to you, 
that you may be cjuickened and comforted. Jxt his love 
ai)j)eal to you with power, on behalf of a continuance of 
that spiritual diligence, your habitual exhibition of which, 
hitherto, in obedience to his precepts, has been so pleasing 
to him.' 

Such a sketch as the apostle has given of the humiliation 
and the glory of the Lord Jesus, supplies an argument of in- 
tense and manifold cogency in support of any appeal to the 
believing heart to follow Him. It was immediately to illus- 
trate self-sacrifice for the sake of others that the apostle spoke 
of the great 'mystery of godliness;' and even had such not 
been the connection, no Christian could ever read how * He 
who was in the form of God made Himself of no reputation, 
and, being found in fashion as a man, became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross,' without having this thought 
prominent in his mind, — ' and all this was in self-sacrifice for 
7ne.^ The glad tidings of the Saviour's glory, too, — of the 
* name which is above every name,' — have this thought for 
the essence of their gladdening power, — 'This also \'s,for me; 
because He liveth I shall live, rejoicing in His glory, and, 
through His measureless grace, taken to sit with Him in His 
throne.' The remembrance of His love sweetly constrains us 
to long to do His will ; and the thought of Him as our Fore- 
runner, who has passed through the struggles of earth to 
triumph and blessedness, and from the scene of His glory 
cares tenderly for us, gives the richest encouragement in effort 
to do His will. No ' wherefore,^ then, could be more natural — 
none to a thoughtful follower of Christ could be so effective, — 
as that with which the apostle here introduces his practical 
counsel. The form of the precept, too, accords in a singularly 

164 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

complete way with the nature of the argument. A very broad 
surface is so exposed, that the * wherefore ' presses upon it with 
full power at every point. The Son of God, by His incarna- 
tion and sufferings and death, meritoriously wrought out salva- 
tion for you ; and now, seated on the mediatorial throne, He 
looks down on you with brotherly affection, and is willing to 
do everything which is needful to bring you into the full 
enjoyment of salvation. Surely, then, if He has thus cared, 
and still thus cares, for you, it is most reasonable that you 
should care for yourselves, — most reasonable that, alike from 
grateful love to Him, and from regard to your own highest 
interests, you should, in the appointed way of persistent faith 
and prayer and struggle with temptation, * work out your own 

The injunction, * Work out your own salvation^ does not 
mean, ' Elaborate for yourselves a righteousness such as shall 
deserve heaven, — by expiation, by obedience, earn for your- 
selves salvation as your wages.' This is impossible work, — 
altogether hopeless. Blessed be God, it is work which there 
is no need to attempt. ' By one offering He hath perfected 
for ever them that are sanctified.' * The gift of God is eternal 
life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Yet, with the most 
abundant evidence present that a * sure foundation ' has been 
laid, and that ' other foundation can no man lay,' in how many 
ways does the proud heart of man, averse to accepting ' the 
righteousness of God which is by faith,' endeavour to ' work 
out salvation ' in this sense — ' to lay another foundation ' — to 
make eternal life wages instead of a gift. All down the ages, 
brethren — with system and against system — amid Pharisaic 
and Roman Catholic avowals and amid Protestant denials — 
how abundantly formalism has been accepted as a basis for 
the hope of heaven ! By tithing mint and anise and cummin, 
and frequently washing the hands, — by pattering over some 
Latin words, and wearing a shirt of coarse hair, — by sitting in 
a pew on a Sabbath, and at certain seasons going through the 

VER. 12.] Working out otir own Salvation, 165 

outward rites of what, to the true believer in Christ, is the 
communion, — vast multitudes have ever been persuading them- 
selves that by means like these they are purchasing the favour 
of God. The creed of their lips may speak of salvation through 
grace, but the creed of their hearts acknowledges only salva- 
tion through works. Of all such foolish ones, the Lord Jesus 
has exhibited a representative in the man who prayed thus 
with himself, 'God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men 
are.' You know the issue. He went down to his house un- 
justified. * The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.' The 
prayer acceptable in His sight is, * God, be merciful to me, a 
sinner.' * For every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, 
and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.' 

In order to see what Paul does mean by the precept under 
consideration, it is needful to have clearly before us the Bible 
idea of salvation. By nature, through the belief of what is false 
regarding the matters on which it is of supreme importance 
that he should know and believe what is tnie, man's affections 
are alienated from God and holiness, and with his alienated 
affections his life accords. This is spiritual death ; and the 
legitimate end of it is ' the second death.' Now the salvation 
offered to us in Christ Jesus is deliverance from all this, — from 
ignorance, from depravity, from the wrath to come. Salvation, 
then, you observe, whilst in its fulness a future blessing, is in its 
beginnings a blessing of the present ; and no one who has not 
these beginnings here, in * a clean heart ' and a life of obedi- 
ence through the constraint of the love of Christ, has any 
ground to look for the full salvation by and by. It is of alto- 
gether . inestimable importance, Christian brethren, that we 
have clear views on this subject. Salvation does not mean 
merely the enjoyment of heaven after death ; nor, looked at 
as a present blessing, merely the comfort which springs from 
the expectation of heaven after death. Unspeakably precious 
as these are, yet the sublimest element in Christ's salvation, 
the grandest boon which even God can bestow upon His 

1 66 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

creatures, is conformity of spirit to His will — likeness of cha- 
racter to Him. This belongs, essentially and prominently, to 
the scriptural idea of salvation. Yet how seldom, compara- 
tively, do we look at this aspect ! If asked what was the object 
of our Lord's sufferings and death, would the answer that 
occurred first to us, as if springing from a heart which cherished 
the thought as its most precious treasure, be that it was to 
make us holy, ' to redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto 
Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works ' ? I fear 
that with many this would come in, if at all, only in a secondary 
way. We know, indeed, that Christ Jesus was manifested to 
destroy all the works of the devil ; but often the chords of our 
souls vibrate far more sensitively to the touch of the thought 
of peace, than to that of the thought of holiness. Our moral 
perceptions have been so dimmed by the fall, that even when 
divine grace has given us the heavenly eye-salve, we are slow in 
coming to see clearly how awful, how utterly monstrous, a thing 
sin is. But the light does grow brighter for all true believers. 
The repulsiveness of sin is more distinctly seen. The longing 
for holiness increases in intensity. Blessing God not less 
ardently than at the outset of his Christian life, for the assur- 
ance that Christ * hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,' 
the believer learns to feel also with growing intelligence and 
intensity the sweetness of the assurance that * His name is 
called Jesus, because He saves His people from their sins.'' 
Among all the hopes respecting the future life, this becomes 
more definitely and steadily the supremely influential, that, 
* when Christ shall appear, we shall be like Him ; for we shall 
see Him as He is.' ' And every man that hath this hope in 
Him, purifieth Himself, even as He is pure.' 

It is of the highest moment, however, to bear in mind that 
whilst the measure in which the two grand spiritual elements of 
salvation are enjoyed and rightly appreciated by Christians is 
far from uniform, yet in every Christian, from the moment of 
his experiencing the new birth, both are present ; and the only 

VKK. I 2.] JVor/cifio^ out 02cr own Salvalion. 167 

tnistworthy evidence of a man's being in Christ, and therefore 
having a real basis for />(acf, is his l)eing, in character, like 
Christ. The same faith which justifies, sanctifies. The faith 
\vhi( h introduces to eternal Ufe is itself vital, and reveals its 
life by works : * Wherefore, work out your own salvation.' 

In the injunction before us, the apostle assumes that his 
readers have in truth, according to their profession, accepted 
Jesus as their Saviour. The whole Kpistle is addressed to */>^ 
S(n'/i/s in C/irist Jcsus^ which are at Philii)i)i.' To unconverted 
Jews the Lord Himself on one occasion, you remember, em- 
ployed the word ' work ' in connection with the attainment of 
salvation, but in this way : ' This is the work of (iod,' — regard- 
ing which they had put a question to Him, — ' that ye Miei'e 
on Him whom He hath sent.^ That is the first lesson in the 
school of spiritual wisdom. In the passage before us, as I 
have said, Paul assumes that the first lesson has been learned, 
and that his readers are ' in Christ ' through faith. His teach- 
ing here — the second lesson — relates to the needfulness of 
bearing in mind the inexpressible importance of the moral ele- 
ment in salvation, and strenuously exerting ourselves, through 
prayerful, resolute, persevering effort in resistance to tempta- 
tion, and in the prosecution of God's service, to carry forward 
to completeness the likeness of character to God which has begun to 
be formed in us. These last words, I think, exhibit in a para- 
phrase the apostle's meaning in * Work out your own salva- 
tion,' if I rightly apprehend it. 

Analyzed, the injunction calls upon us to study the will of 
God, that, by thoughtfulness and inquiry regarding Christian 
duty, we may see ever more clearly the grandeur of our voca- 
tion, and keep its sublime aims steadily before us. It calls on us 
to 'fghi the good fight of faith ' valiantly, — to prove, in action, 
our understanding of this paradox, that by none is the spirit of 
the gospel of peace truly apprehended, in whom its energy is 
not revealed as a gospel of war, war without compromise or 
cessation, against all seducing and perverting influences, — to 

1 68 Lechcres on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

* put on the whole armour of God, that we may be able to 
stand against the wiles of the devil.' It calls on us, too, to 
carry the war into the enemy's domain^ — to be diligent in effort 
to extend the kingdom of Christ, by striving, as far as our 
powers and opportunities permit, to strengthen Christian 
brethren, to instruct the ignorant, and warn the unwary, to 
leave the world holier and happier than we found it. 

While thus enjoining here, in the widest way, the cultivation 
of holiness, the apostle had also, I think, a special Christian 
duty before his mind. It was, you remember, whilst setting 
forth the importance of active and self-sacrificing affection 
among Christians, that he was led, by way of enforcement, to 
remind his readers of the great example of such love, in the 
life and death of our Saviour. In the 14th verse, which im- 
mediately follows the passage at present before us, we have the 
same subject referred to, — 'Do all things without murmurings 
and disputings.' Clearly, therefore, as it seems to me, he had 
it prominently in his thoughts in writing the present inter- 
mediate precept also, and would suggest to us here that 
brotherly love is a most important element of spiritual life — of 
' salvation ' on its moral side. This is gospel teaching every- 
where. ' God is love,' and Christians prove themselves His 
children by bearing His image. A man destitute of love is as 
yet unsaved. 'He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.' 
■ An apt illustration of the two points on which thus far I have 
had occasion to speak, the impossibiHty of ' working out our 
own salvation' in one sense, and the needfulness of doing this 
in another sense, is afforded by the history of the rescue of 
Israel at the Red Sea — a rescue in which the thoughtful Chris- 
tian recognises distinctly a typical sketch in outline of his own 
spiritual deliverance. By the wilderness, and the mountains, 
and the sea, the people are shut in ; and behind them is 
Pharaoh in close pursuit, with his great and well-equipped 
army. If we look simply at man's valour or wisdom, resistance 
and escape are equally and utterly hopeless. The cry of Israel 

VER. 12.] Working otit our oivn Salvation. 169 

to Moses is, * IJccausc there were no graves in Kgypt, hast thou 
taken us away to die in the wilderness?' But Moses said to 
them, ' I'ear ye not : stand still, and sec the salvation of the 
Lord, wliich He will show you to-day. The Lord shall fight 
for you, and ye shall hold your peace.' At this point, you 
observe, they are called to ])e 'r^\va\AQ. spectators of 'the salvation 
of the Lord,' looking on with adoring wonder at the mighty work 
which only the Divine Hand could accomplish, — the opening 
of a i)athway for thcni through the midst of the great waters. 
But afterwards, for the ' Stand still and see,' comes a command 
to display energetic activity. ' The Lord said unto Moses, 
Speak unto the children of Israel, that iki^y go forward. And 
the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea^ So with 
you and me, dear brethren. The expiation of guilt, ' the work- 
ing out of our salvation ' meritoriously, could be achieved only 
by the God-man ; and our part is to ' stand still,' and * behold 
the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.' 
But now when, by the Lord's propitiatory sufferings and death, 
a way, broad and clear, has been opened for us through the 
midst of the waters of avenging judgment, His command, loud 
and explicit, to every one of us is that, by persistent, growing 
faith and holiness, we ' go forward.' 

To his precept, ' Work out your own salvation,' the apostle 
attaches two hints in regard to the manner in which, if there is 
to be success, the effort to obey it must be made. In the first 
place, the work must be carried on perseveri?igly, under all cir- 
cumstances^ — ' tiot as in 7ny prese?ice only, but now much more in 
my absence.^ We naturally read these words in our version in 
connection with ' as ye have always obeyed ;' but the more pro- 
bable connection, judging both from the sense, and from the 
particular negative particle employed in the original, is with 
the precept, — thus, ' Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always 
obeyed — so, not as in my presence only, but now much more 
in my absence, work out your ow^n salvation.' ' When I was 
with you, your respect and love for your teacher naturally 

170 Lectures on Philippia7is. [ch. ii. 

pleaded with you to follow that course of life which you knew 
to be pleasing to him. But, in truth, what / think of you is a 
very small matter. The relations of highest importance are 
between you and God. I am now absent from you, but He is 
always with you. By faithful and earnest persistence in well- 
doing, then, show that not only, or mainly, regard for me is 
powerful in your hearts, but reverence and love for Him. And 
seeing that you have not now the impulse and help given by 
my presence and teaching, be all the more thoughtful and 
watchful.' The observation of all of us, brethren, shows this 
hint of the apostle to his friends in Philippi to be one which, 
in some form, is always needed. Ah, what multitudes who, 
when influences around were favourable, seemed steadily enough 
setting their faces Zionward, have, when placed in other cir- 
cumstances, turned back to destruction ! How many boys and 
girls, who, in their quiet Christian country homes, felt an in- 
terest in the gospel, and in the service of Christ, have, when 
removed to the temptations of a city, forgotten that, though the 
eye of their pious father or mother was no longer upon them, 
yet God saw them ; and have entered the paths of the destroyer, 
growing reckless of character, reckless of eternity ! How 
needful for us to have ever before our hearts the remem- 
brance that ' he that endureth to the end shall be saved,' and 
he only ! 

But further, the apostle calls on his readers to ' work out 
their own salvation' with anxious solicitude and self -distrust. 
This, judging from his use of the expression in other places, is 
pretty exactly what he means by '■with fear and trembling.^ He 
would not have Christians walk in the darkness of sorrow, and 
dread, and all but despondency. His teaching everywhere, 
and specially in this Epistle, is the very reverse, — that we 
should be children of light, and peace, and joy. The ' fear 
and trembling' he desires to see, then, are such as are perfectly 
compatible with obedience to his precept elsewhere in the 
Epistle, — 'Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say. Rejoice.' 

VER. 1 3.] Jl'or^ino out our oiun Salvation. i 7 i 

Indeed, they stand in llic relation of handmaids to this joy. If 
a man attemj)t to 'work out his salvation' in a spirit of self- 
dependence — of confidence in his own strength or wisdom, — 
there will certainly he failure, and lack of spiritual peace. Where 
there is a deep sense of the greatness of the work and of per- 
sonal insufhciency for it, and the vigilance and prayerfulness 
which such a conviction is fitted to awaken, — there we have the 
apostle's * fear and trembling.' A soul thus exercised * rejoices 
alway ' in the midst of its fear, — * the peace of Ood, which 
passeth all understanding, keeping the heart and mind, through 
Christ Jesus.' * Watch and pray,' therefore, brethren, ' that ye 
enter not into temptation.' * Seeing that ye call on a Father 
who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every 
man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear ' — 
' fear lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any 
of you should seem to come short of it.' 

By his introductory * Wherefore^ Paul had referred to the 
history of the Saviour's work of love, as exhibiting a most 
powerful argument in support of the precept, 'Work out your 
own salvation with fear and trembling.' In the 13th verse the 
precept is followed up by the presentation of another argument 
closely allied, and not less cogent, found in the fact that God 
is the Author and Sustainer of all spiritual life ; ''for it is 
God 7uhich worketh in you both to will and to do, of His 
good pleasure.^ Our translators have here needlessly weakened 
somewhat the expression of the thought, by using different 
words, ' 7c>ork ' and ' do,^ whilst in the original the same verb, 
one kindred to that in the previous verse rendered ' work out,' 
is employed. The apostle's statement is, ' It is God which 
worketh in you both to will and to work' 

The teaching of Scripture everywhere is, that men are by 
nature destitute of spiritual energy, power to love God and 
to desire to do His will. We are in bondage to depravity. 
' Whosoever committeth sin,' said the Master, ' is the s/ave of 
sin.' According to another figure, even stronger, we are by 

172 Lecttc7^es on Philippians. [cH. 11. 

nature * dead in trespasses and sins,' — as utterly incapable of 
holy activity as a corpse of moving its limbs and doing the 
work of life. But the believer in Christ Jesus loves God, 
desires to serve Him, does serve Him. This is * glorious 
liberty,' ' eternal life.' Now this spiritual energy possessed by 
the man who has the faith of the gospel, is wholly from God. 
'■ Faith is not of ourselves ; it is the gift of God.' Not merely 
has He given us the gospel, but, by an influence graciously 
exerted on the soul, He sends home the conviction that the 
gospel is true. The Bible contains a full and clear communi- 
cation of His will regarding everything which we need to know 
for salvation ; and the evidence that it is His word is such as 
will convince any mind truly candid : but by nature our souls, 
instead of being candid, are so beclouded by wilful prejudice, 
that, left to ourselves, no one of us would with seriousness and 
openness of heart consider the truth. We have mental faculties 
sufficient to apprehend the meaning of the Bible, and the force 
of the proof that God is its Author ; but the alienated will 
refuses to bring these into play on the subject. But God, 
through His Spirit, induces men to examine and think honestly, 
— to see the truth and feel its force. Thus He ' breathes into 
us the breath of life.' And the life He gives is sustained also 
constantly and solely by Him. Spiritually, as physically, ' in 
Him we live and move and have our being.' He * worketh in 
us to wiir that which accords with His will. But even when 
enabled to ' will,' — 'how \.q perfor7n that which is good we find 
not.' The old nature impedes us, and throws up stumbling- 
blocks at every turn. * We are not sufficient of ourselves, to 
think anything as of ourselves.' But our gracious Father 
* worketh in us to work.^ Knowledge and wisdom, resolution 
and power to resist, resolution and power to wage war against 
the wickedness of the world, and to do somewhat for the 
extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, — these He gives. * Our 
sufficiency is of God.' 

He does these things * of His good pleasure^ — ' in fulfilment 

VFR. 13.] M'orking 02it 07ir own Salvation. 173 

of His free sovereign purpose of grace.' The ultimate cause 
of the enjoyment by Christians of spiritual life, is His spon- 
taneous kindness. There is nothing in us by nature to attract 
the adectionate interest of a holy Being, everything to avert it. 
Death is wages, fully earned; but 'eternal life is the y;ift of 
God,' the gift of free grace. ' Blessed be the God and l-ather 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual 
blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as He hath 
chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world ; having 
predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ 
to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will :' * that, 
according as it is written, He that glorieth, let Him glory in 
the Lord.' 

The ^For^ by which the apostle connects this verse with the 
precept of the preceding, shows us the legitimate bearing on 
man's conduct of the truth that, for the origination and support 
of spiritual life, we depend absolutely on God. Mere nature 
is apt to regard the doctrine that strength for holy purpose and 
action is only from above, from Him who ' worketh all things 
after the counsel of His own will,' as standing in antagonism 
to the other doctrine that, if we are to be saved, we must 
* strive — agonize — to enter in at the strait gate,' and press 
along the narrow way. In such a judgment as this, most 
important elements in the question, relating both to the cha- 
racter of God and the character of man, are left out of view. 
The light of the Divine Spirit reveals, not antagonism, but the 
most exquisite accord. His connection is : ' Work ; for it is 
God which worketh in you both to will and to work, of His 
good pleasure.' *What therefore God hath joined together, 
let not man put asunder.' Did the command and its appendix 
run thus, — ' Work out your own salvation, for there is no help 
from above ; all dependence is entirely on yourselves,' — every 
man who has real self-knowledge would feel that the case was 
an utterly hopeless one. Every believer knows from experience 
that, ' as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide 

1 74 Lee her es on Philippiajis. [ch. ii. 

in the vine, no more can we, except we abide in Christ ; for 
without Him we can do nothing.' But the assurance that God, 
the infinitely wise, and powerful, and holy, and loving, imparts 
to us spiritual wisdom and desires and energies, stimulates to 
vigorous effort. Hope nerves the arm, and wings the feet. 
The calm quiet words of the Divine Saviour, ' He that abideth 
in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit,' are 
as a well-spring, a brook in the way, to the weary servant of 
God. A draught of its living water gives him new strength 
and buoyancy, so that he ' lifts up the hands which hang down, 
and the feeble knees.' No thoughts with regard to the Chris- 
tian life, either in retrospect or in prospect, are more healthful 
than those which gather round Paul's ' Not I, but the grace 
of God.' 

VER. 14.] Lights in the World. 175 


* Do all things without murmurings and disputings ; 15 That ye maybe 
blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst 
of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in 
the world : 16 Holding forth the word of life ; that I may rejoice in 
the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in 
vain.' — Phil. ii. 14-16. 

THE exact connection of thought bet^veen the injunction 
with which this paragraph opens and the preceding 
passage, is not altogether clear. The view we take of it will 
be mainly determined by our judgment with regard to the re- 
ference of the * murmurings and disputings.^ These may be 
against God, — the uprising, particularly under persecution, or 
affliction generally, of a rebellious will, and the intellectual 
restlessness naturally associated with such rebellion. In this 
case the connection is with the immediately preceding verse, — 
the thought of the duty of cordial and entire submission to the 
will of God, alike with regard to action and endurance, being 
suggested by the statement there made of our absolute depend- 
ence on Him. To this view of the apostle's reference some 
support is given by an allusion he makes, as we shall see, in 
the 1 5th verse, to the wickedness of ancient Israel, whose per- 
versity showed itself most prominently in ' murmurings ' against 
God. On the whole, however, it seems to me more probable 
that the precept is a prohibition of ' murmurings and dis- 
putings' against men — ^jealousies and dissensions among the 
Philippians themselves. This view of the meaning brings the 
injunction into natural connection with the whole strain of 

1 76 Lectures on Philippians. [cH. 11. 

counsel from the beginning of the chapter. It accords, too, 
better than the other, as it appears to me, with the prominence 
given in the present paragraph to the thought of the healthful 
influence on the world of a holy Christian life ; for murmurings 
and disputings of brethren against each other are observed by 
those around, and thus obstruct the beneficial power of Chris- 
tian example, whilst risings of will and thought against God 
may be secret, and oftenest are. 

In ' all things ' — ecclesiastical procedure, ordinary business, 
social intercourse of every kind — ' murmurings and disputings ' 
are forbidden, and quietness, gentleness, and courtesy enjoined. 
The fact that such is a Christian's duty belongs to the elements 
of religious knowledge, — ' for this is the message that ye heard 
from the beginning, that we should love one another,' and 
with love to one another ' murmurings and disputings ' are 
evidently inconsistent. But ah, brethren, how slow is our pro- 
gress towards steady obedience ! Living in a world where 
blustering and self-assertion are very largely employed to gain 
men's ends, and often prove for a time not inefficient aids, 
how apt even believers are to drift with the current, — to give 
way to unhallowed tempers, — ay, to bring jealousy and anger 
into the consideration and discussion of matters immediately 
concerning the kingdom of God ! How apt we are to forget 
that 'the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of 
God ! ' Persistent and prayerful effort to give obedience to 
the apostle's precept here, by always avoiding arrogant and 
angry language, would both prevent much injury to the 
cause of God in the world, and exert a bracing influence on 
our OUT! spiritual life. Energetic endeavours to keep the 
tojigiie under restraint, have an invigorating power over the 
whole nature. A man of violent temper, who, when the gust of 
passion comes over his heart, has Christian wisdom and power 
of will enough to * keep the door of his lips,' will find, not 
merely that he is saved from speaking words which might 
cause him and others sorrow, but that, through prayerful, per- 

VERS. 15, 16.] Lights in the World. 177 

severing strugi^'lcs of this kind, the jjovvcr of tlic evil spirit 
within him is broken, — as certainly as, in cases where passion 
finds free utterance, the jiower of the demon steadily grows. 
* Do all things,' then, hretliren, 'without murmurings and dis- 

The ai)Ostle proceeds in the rest of the jjassage to set forth 
his object in giving this ])recept. This was twofold. First 
and chietly, that, through adornment with the holy beauties of 
love, the Philippians might exert a winning influence over the 
society in which God's providence had placed them, leading 
the heathen around to recognise in Christianity ' the power of 
God and the wisdom of God.' Secondly, that, through their 
growth in Christian loveliness and usefulness, there might be 
stored up for himself, as their spiritual father^ an exquisite joy, 
to be realized fully in the ' day of tlie Lord.' In mentioning 
each of these objects, the apostle plainly exhibits a powerful 
argument for obedience to the precept, — the one addressing 
itself to the regard felt by the Philippian Christians for the 
honour of their Lord and the welfare of men, the other to their 
personal affection for him whom God had made the instrument 
of ' turning them from darkness to light.' 

The first object is that, by beauty and completeness of 
Christian character, the members of the Philippian church may 
act powerfully on the world on behalf of Christ : ' that ye may 
be'' — rather 'approve yourselves,' 'come out' from the trial 
which is found in the excitements, irritations, and seductions 
of the world — ' blameless and harmless, the sofis of God without 
rebuke^ in the midst of a crooked and perverse 7iation, ainong 
whom ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of 

Influence on others by example being prominent in the 
apostle's mind, he naturally puts ' blameless ' first — ' living a life 
which no one can justly reproach.' Yet here, as always, he 
desires to keep his spiritual children in mind that purity of the 
7i'hole nature, blamelessness through the study and powerful 


1 78 LecitLres on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

action of holy affectio7is^ is alone beautiful in God's sight. He 
would therefore have them ^ harfuless' too, — or rather, ' simple,' 
' guileless,' ' single-hearted,' literally, ' free from mixture or 
adulteration.' The original word is the same which is rendered 
by 'simple' in a passage in the Epistle to the Romans, where 
Paul says, ' I would have you wise unto that which is good, and 
i"/;////^ concerning evil' (Rom. xvi. 19). Such was Nathanael, 
of whom the Lord said, ' Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom 
is no guile !' Very great prominence is given in Scripture to 
this grace of simplicity^ oneness of purpose, directness of aim, 
freedom from by-ends. In the measure in which the faith of 
a Christian is lively and intelligent, the will of God, as made 
known in Scripture, will be his rule of judgment and action, 
and thus his moral life will be simple and stable. There will 
be no double dealing either with himself or with the world, but 
sincerity and candour, his words and deeds according with his 
real views and feelings. ' Guileless ' and ' simple ' are, in the 
ordinary use of language among us at present, generally em- 
ployed in the sense of ' unsuspicious, not given to think evil of 
others.' This is included in the Scripture idea of 'simplicity' 
of character. Christian love 'believeth all things, hopeth all 
things.' The view which we take of the people we meet in 
the world is not a little due to reflection, in the optical sense 
of the word. We are very apt to think we see in others 
what we know to be in ourselves ; and thus the selfish and 
deceitful man is much more likely to see selfish and deceitful 
men around him, than the man is whom divine grace has 
made loving and truthful. But Christian ' guilelessness * is 
perfectly compatible with great shrewdness and sagacity. The 
believer, while he keeps his own affections and aims single, 
may see very clearly the duplicity of some with whom he has 
to do, and guard himself against its effects. He will not wear 
his heart on his sleeve, for the birds of the air to peck at. He 
will never consciously say or act that which is false ; but he 
will not open up all his thoughts and feelings to every one. 

VERS. 15, 16.] Li<rhts in the World. 179 

He will (hoosc his seasons and his listeners. The Lord's 
precept to His apostles railed upon them, whilst being * harm- 
less * — ' guileless,' the same word as that emj)loyed in the 
passage before us — * as doves,' to be at the same time * wise 
as serpents.' 

The connection between * simi)lirity' of spirit and * doing all 
things without murmurings and disi)utings,' is not far to seek. 
When, in reference to anything, a man shows jealousy and ill- 
temper, it is made thereby very plain that he has not that 
entire singleness of aim to do the will of God, to which Christ 
calls His people. Ah, brethren, if, as the apostle has it in the 
2nd verse of this chapter, we ' with accordant souls minded the 
one thifiij^,'' to how great an extent would the jealousies and 
heartburnings which at present disfigure our ecclesiastical and 
our ordinary social life be mere memories ! Controversy, no 
doubt, is at times lawful and needful ; and in some controversies 
the tones of stern, solemn denunciation ought to be heard. 
He who is the '■ Lamb of God ' is no less the ' Lion of the tribe 
of Judah.' The same voice which said, * Come unto me, all 
ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,' 
said also, ' Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.* 
But this sternness was * His strange work.' His delight was 
in the ' still small voice ' of pity and grace, as it was fore- 
shown of Him by the prophet, — ' He shall not cry, nor lift up, 
nor cause His voice to be heard in the street : a bruised reed 
shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not 
quench.' Let this, too, be the joy and the habitual practice of 
His brethren ! 

Continuing his statement of the object he had in view in 
giving the precept of the 14th verse, the apostle goes on, — 
* that ye may approve yourselves the sons^ — or rather, simply, 
without the article, ' children ' — ' of God without rebuke, in the 
midst of a crooked and perverse nation ' — more exactly, ' genera- 
tion.' The language of this clause is moulded after that of a 
verse in the great ' Song of Moses,' given in the 32nd chapter 

1 80 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

of Deuteronomy. According to the famous Greek version of 
the Old Testament called the Septuagint, which was extensively 
used in the days of our Lord and His apostles, and which is 
often quoted in the New Testament, the latter part of the 5th 
verse of that chapter is rendered in a way of which the trans- 
lation runs thus, ' children worthy of rebuke, a crooked and 
perverse generation.' Of these words Paul here makes a most 
interesting and suggestive application. Israel, through cove- 
nant privilege God's 'children' in a special sense, and, as 
such, called upon to exhibit simplicity, uprightness, rectitude 
of character, the product of a will aiming straight at compliance 
with the will of their heavenly Father, had, in fact, shown the 
utmost contortedness, the utmrost 'crookedness and perversity' 
of spirit and of life, — a character twisted at all points, through 
prejudice and aversion- to the will of God. They had thus, in 
truth, lived not as ' children of God,' but as depraved, uncon- 
verted men, the enemies of God. * Now,' says the apostle to 
the Philippians,. ' you have all around you the wicked world, to 
whose ways unhappy Israel conformed, — men and women whose 
religion is a gross superstition, and their feelings and conduct 
godless and vicious,. — " a crooked and perverse gefieraiion.^' You 
are placed ^^ in the midsf^ of these men and women of crooked 
character, that you may set them an example of straightness, 
holy directness of purpose. As Christians, you enjoy the 
sublime dignity of being " children of God.'" See to it, then, 
that, as such, ye be in- all things " without rebuke,'^ so that 
your character may speak on behalf of God among those 
who surround you. Israel, called to be children, themselves 
lived perversely. My earnest desire for you, dear friends, is, 
that through avoiding miirmurings and disputings, and cultivat- 
ing a spirit of simplicity and gentleness, you may truthfully 
exhibit the image of your Father, who " is love," and win men's 
hearts to Him.' 

This counsel is addressed to you and me, my brethren, as 
fully as it was to the Philippians. Placed, as really as they 

VERS. 15, 16.] Lights in the World, 181 

were, * in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation/ may 
we have grace from above to be thoughtful and vigilant, and 
much given to prayer, that we may approve ourselves 'chil- 
dren of God without rebuke,' showing them, clearly and win- 
ningly, in blamclessness, earnestness, and beauty of character, 
our Father's likeness ! IJy inconsistencies in the life of pro- 
fessed children of God with the obvious moral requirements of 
the gospel, immeasurable harm is done to religion. When 
piety seems all reserved for the Sabbath and the sanctuary, — 
when at home there is harshness, and in business frequent 
evidence of keen and unscnipulous worldliness, — when the 
declaration, implied in presence at the communion table, that 
' the world is crucified unto us, and we unto the world,' is 
followed during the week by a manifestly dominant interest in 
the vanities and indulgences of the world, — when men and 
women, who in name * fear the Lord,' in practice * serve other 
gods,' — can the great multitude who, with regard to religion 
as to ever)'thing else, will not study abstract principles, but 
form their judgments according to embodiments, be expected 
to think otherwise than that religion is a thing of emptiness, a 
name merely, altogether devoid of power? MVoe unto you, 
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye make clean the out- 
side of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of 
extortion and excess.' 

The thought of responsibility for the power of example, 
which, as we have seen, is suggested by * in the midst of a 
crooked and perverse generation,' is explicitly brought out by 
the apostle in his next clause, — ' among w}w?n ye shine as ligJiis 
in the world, holding forth the word of life. ^ These words may 
be taken as an injunction, ' among whom shine ye.' The \'iew 
of the meaning given by our translators, however, is at least as 
natural. Paul appears to be, with a little variation, repeating, 
perhaps consciously, the statement of the Lord in the Sermon 
on the Mount, where He tells His hearers what is their calling 
as His disciples, — * Ye are the light of the world' (Matt. v. 14). 

1 82 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. il 

'Being placed,' the apostle says, 'in the midst of godless 
men and women, you are, according to your profession, the 
illuminators of these darkened ones, and this by holding forth 
to them the word of life^ — that is, ' by bringing impressively and 
winningly before them the gospel of Jesus Christ, which, when 
received by faith into any soul, shows itself the incorruptible 
seed of true life, even that life eternal, which is to know the 
only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent' 

The original word employed by the apostle here for ' lights'* 
is not the form in ordinary use, but one which strictly means 
'light-givers,' 'luminaries.' As it is that found in the Greek 
translation of the Old Testament, in the ist chapter of Genesis, 
for the ' lights in the firmament of the heaven,' k seems pro- 
bable that the apostle had this image specially in his mind. 
The Lord Jesus is our spiritual Sun, the ultimate Source of all 
our light and heat. His followers, like the moon, can but 
reflect the light which they receive from the Sun ; yet when, 
like the moon at the full, they ' walk in brightness,' the dark- 
ness around is helpfully dispelled, and many have cause to 
'rejoice in that light.' To shed this kindly radiance is the 
vocation of believers. One great end for which, instead of 
being taken away at once to heaven on accepting Christ, they 
are left ^ in the world^ is, that the gloom in which sin has 
enshrouded it may, to some degree, be broken in upon by the 
beams from their holy character ; and that men may be led by 
the beauty of the lunar rays to open their minds and hearts to 
the full glorious light of the Sun. This is our calling, Chris- 
tian brethren, and in a measure all true followers of the Saviour 
fulfil it ; for to believe the gospel is to become ' light in the 
Lord.' ' But,' as has been finely said, 'it is with believers as it 
is with the new moon in the heavens. There is at first only 
a sharp and narrow surface of light ; and not unfrequently 
there may be seen, embosomed in the luminous outline, the 
large dark shadow of the old nature. But the imperfect circle 
is gradually filled up, till there is presented at last a broad 

VERS. 15, 16.] Li'o/ifs In the World, 183 

and complete surface of light. They appear clothed with the 
sun.' * 

In his statement of the way in which Christians * shine,* — 
by * holditii:; forth the word of life^' — the apostle passes from the 
image of the luminary, and adopts one somewhat of this kind, 
— a herald of the King of kings, holding out to public view a 
scroll, on which is inscribed, in great letters, a proclamation of 
mercy, a promise of everlasting life to all that believe in Jesus. 
The primary reference here is evidently, from the tenor of the 
whole passage, to that proclamation of the truth and power 
of the gospel which, to all who are willing in any degree 
to attend, is made by completeness of Christian character, — 
by the exhibition of spiritual energy and sweetness and 
patience. Nothing ' holds forth the word of life ' more im- 
pressively than a life manifestly governed by that word. A 
Christian of this type is himself a gospel, an ' epistle of Christ,' 
written in letters so large and fair, that even those who run 
can scarce but read. Such a distinct Christian life, a life 
explicit and conWncing to all observers as a ' confession of 
Christ,' is the legitimate fruitage from the seed of truth re- 
ceived by the soul. Scripture knows nothing of invisible 
religion. ' Men do not light a candle and put it under a 
bushel, but on a candlestick ; and it giveth light unto all that 
are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that 
they, seeing your good works, may glorify your Father which 
is in heaven.' 

But to * hold forth the word of life ' implies not merely quiet, 
consistent beauty of character, but definite action for the ex- 
tension of the kingdom of Christ. Every believer has heard 
his Father say, ' Son, go work in my vineyard,' and is in some 
way busy among the vines. His faith has given him oneness 
of purpose with Christ, — who died, and who reigns, to over- 
throw sin. By lip, then, as well as by the eloquence of holy 
living, the saint endeavours to speak for Christ, as God gives 
^ Dr. Smith, of Biggar. 

184 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

him ability and opportunity — be it to his little children by his 
own fireside, or to assembled thousands. He ' cannot but 
speak the things ' which grace has taught him, and given him 
to experience. He delights, too, to send the truth to multi- 
tudes whom personally he cannot reach, by aiding in the sup- 
port of agents for the enlightenment of the darkened at home 
and abroad. Through them he endeavours to ' go into all the 
world, and preach the gospel to every creature,' — and He who 
' seeth the end from the beginning,' recognises in His servant's 
sympathy and prayers and gifts for missions, a true ' holding 
forth of the word of life ' everywhere. 

Looking back over the clauses, you see now, my brethren, 
who they are that show themselves ' children of God without 
rebuke.' They are the ' blameless and single-minded,' who 
aim ever to be ' perfect, even as their Father which is in 
heaven is perfect.' Like their Father, too, they are full of the 
energy of love, ceaseless in beneficent activity, difiusers of 
genial light and heat, as beseems children of the ' Father of 
lights, from whom cometh down every good gift and every 
perfect gift.' 

The passage closes with a reference, most natural and 
beautiful in the relations which existed between Paul and the 
Philippians, to his own joy in ministerial success, as an object 
which he had in view in thus pleading with them to cultivate a 
lofty Christian character, — an object, too, the thought of which 
might reasonably be expected, from their great love to him, to 
serve somewhat as a stimulus to spiritual diligence. * Do all 
things without murmurings and disputings, that ye may approve 
yourselves children of God without rebuke, — that I ?fiay rejoice 
in the day of Christy that I have not run i?i vain, neither laboured 
in vain.'' The apostle had * nm^ with the eagerness of a racer 
at the Isthmian or Olympic games, — the prize he sought, the 
souls of men. He had ^ laboured^ with strenuous and perse- 
vering diligence, — the wages he sought, the souls of men. 
* God grant,' was ever the fervent cry of the noble heart, full of 

VER. 1 6.] Li'o Ills in Ihe World. 185 

love and i)ity fur his fcllow-mcn, — ' (lod grant that I may not 
run in Tain, nor lal)our /'// 7v//;/, hut may have abundant cause 
to rejoice/' He did not look for the joy other than very i)ar- 
tially here below. To the eye of men, the results of work for 
Christ have, at the present, murh that is obscure and confused. 
But * /// t/ie Jay of Christ^ all will be clear. All the rii)e grain 
will be gathered into the garner of God. Many who below 
had deemed their work profitless, * going forth,' year after 
year, 'weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come 
again with rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.* Of the 
work of every labourer in the field of the great Husbandman 
there will then be a full and gracious acknowledgment ; and 

* he that sowed and he that reaped shall rejoice together.' 

* See to it, then,' the apostle says here to his beloved Philip- 
pians, ' that you give me ever fuller reason to believe that I 
shall find you on that day where my heart desires to find you, 
and where the gospel, truly believed and loved, will place you. 
See to it that, when I rest from my labours, my works follo^v 

1 86 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 


* Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and ser\'ice of your faith, I joy, 
and rejoice with you all. i8 For the same cause also do ye joy, and 
rejoice with me.' — Phil. ii. 17, 18. 

THE link connecting these verses with that immediately 
preceding appears to be of this kind, — ' I have spoken 
of my ministerial life as a running zxi^ a labouring for the salva- 
tion of my fellow-men j but think not that I regret this toil. 
Nay, even though I be called on in this cause to die a martyr's 
death, I will go forward to it gladly, and call on you, my con- 
verts and friends, to rejoice with me.' 

The thought of suffering a violent death in the cause of 
Christ is exhibited under a peculiar form, interesting and 
beautiful, — ^being offered (more exactly, "poured out"^) upon the 
sacrifice and service of your faith.^ With certain of the sacri- 
fices under the law of Moses there was presented also an 
offering of wine, which was poured on or around the altar. 
To this usage the apostle makes allusion. The ' faith ' of the 
Philippians he sees lying on the altar of God as a sacrifice. 
His own exertion for their spiritual good, the ' running ' and 
the * labouring ' which he has just spoken of, is naturally re- 
presented as his * service^ or ' priestly work,' connected with 
this oblation. It might be the will of God — circumstances 
seemed to render it not improbable that soon, in His provi- 
dence, it might be shown to be His will — that, to complete 

' The same word occurs also in 2 Tim. iv. 6, ' I am now ready to be 
off'cred' — * poured forth as a libation.' 

VEK. 17.] Joy in Prospect of Marlyrdom. 187 

the sacrifice, the apostle's blood should be shed in martyrdom ; 
and he says that, if it should be so, he would make the liba- 
tion with joy, and trusted that his Christian friends would 
through grace be enabled to rejoice with him. Such appears 
to be the thought exhibited in these verses. The idea set 
forth in our Authorized Version, of the shedding of the 
apostle's blood as a libation or drink-offering ' upon the sacri- 
fice,' is distinct and impressive. There is some doubt, how- 
ever, whether the drink-offerings of the Mosaic ritual were 
poured on the victim. You see, too, that ^ sacrifice and sen'ice^ 
stand together. Now it seems impossible to give a definite 
significance to * on the priestly service connected with your 
faith,' without bringing confusion into the figure. It is pro- 
bable, therefore, though we give up with reluctance the clear 
and lively picture suggested by * upon the sacrifice,' that the 
apostle's meaning is rather, * If in addition to the sacrifice of 
your faith, and my priestly service connected with it, I be 
offered as a libation,' — a rendering which accords with a very 
frequent use of the original word translated 'upon.' 

Proceeding now to illustrate the apostle's statement some- 
what more fully, I invite your attention, in the first place, to 
the sacrifice. The Jewish sacrifices were of two kinds, some 
intended for propitiation, some to express gratitude. To the 
latter of these classes only has the self-consecration of true 
Christians an analogy. Our blessed Lord has, through the 
offering of Himself, once for all, ' perfected for ever ' all them 
that put their confidence in Him ; and ' there remaineth ' — 
there is needed — ' no more sacrifice for sin.' But ' to offer 
the sacrifice of praise to God continually, giving thanks to His 
name,' * to do good and to communicate,' ' to present our 
bodies living sacrifices,' is the duty of all Christians, and their 
delight in the measure of the intelligence and liveliness of their 
faith, for ' with such sacrifices ' — sacrifices of gratitude for His 
infinite love manifested to us in the unspeakable gift of the 
great propitiatory sacrifice — * God is well pleased.* 

1 88 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

All sacrifices involve this as one essential element, that 
some possession deemed valuable is voluntarily given up. In 
modern use, indeed, apart from the language of theology, this 
thought is the only one intended when the word is employed, 
— as, for example, when we say that a man has gained a posi- 
tion of influence by the sacrifice of half his fortune, that a kind 
father has sacrificed his time to help his son in his studies, or 
the like. 

The apostle's statement, then, in the words, ^ the sacrifice of 
voiir faith ^ is, when developed, to the effect that faith in Christ 
is a voluntary surrender to God, in a spirit of love and thank- 
fulness, of something which by nature we deem very precious. 
To some it may seem strange to call faith a sacrifice. To 
speak of becoming a missionary to the heathen, or of giving 
money for religious purposes, as a sacrifice, seems to them an 
intelligible statement ; but scarcely such an expression as we 
have here. Yet, plainly, the apostle does call faith a sacrifice ; 
and, in truth, my brethren, it is the great fundamental sacrifice 
made by a Christian. Faith is not love, or zeal, or liberality ; 
but these all arise out of faith, and defect in those sacrifices 
always corresponds to defect in this. A test is evidently pre- 
sented here by which we may try what we call and think our 
faith. A very large number of us consider that we have faith 
in Christ. Now, can we all deliberately and honestly say that 
our faith is a sacrifice 1 Do we really in it surrender anything 
which we greatly valued ? Did it cost us a struggle to give 
God our faith ? Does it now cost us a struggle to keep giving 
God our faith ? If we have no consciousness of anything like 
this, is there not reason to fear that what we call our faith is 
something distinct in kind from that state of mind and heart in 
the Philippians of which the apostle here speaks? May we 
not reasonably suspect that our 'faith' is but a bare, cold, 
uninterested assent to doctrine ? — something, therefore, which 
cannot by possibility save ; for the faith by which God's grace 
introduces men into eternal life must be itself an energy of the 

VER. 17.] ypy in Prospect of Martyrdom. 189 

soul, — a living power, not a torj)or. All faith in Christ worthy 
of the name, all faith whi( h lays hold firmly of men's affec- 
tions, and thus becomes the governing power of the soul, — 
and no other faith than this is saving, — involves struggle. 
God has provided a Saviour who has done all that was needed 
to Oj)en up a way by which, consistently with the glories of the 
divine character and administration, mercy might flow forth to 
man, for pardon and for adornment with spiritiml beauty; and 
He asks from you and me, as our thank-offering for this in- 
effable manifestation of kindness, childlike acceptance of His 
gracious declarations, and absolute reliance on Christ. Such 
faith is a sacrifice. Tliere is nothing that the natural heart 
would not sooner give to God than this ; for it involves a 
renunciation of pride, which is the natural heart's dearest pos- 

Entering into this part of the subject a little more particu- 
larly, which its great importance claims, I obsen-e that true 
faith in Christ is a sacrifice, inasmuch as it involves renuncia- 
tion of the pride of reason. Our reason loves to elaborate for 
herself, to combine and compare, to draw conclusions and 
weave theories ; and when she has reached any conclusion 
which is, or seems, true and important^ then, surveying her 
gains, she delights to say, like Nebuchadnezzar as he looked 
out upon his palaces and ramparts, ' Is not this great Babylon, 
that I have built ? ' But the gospel revelation comes, bring- 
ing with it sufficient evidence that it is from God, and, as being 
from Him, not offering itself to our feeble reason to be so 
dealt with as that we may choose some of its statements and 
set aside others, and, by combining those we choose, obtain 
some product which reason may complacently call her o^ti, 
and rejoice in as water of life drawn by her own hand from 
her own wells of wisdom and salvation. No, — God's revela- 
tion claims to be believed — to have ' faith ' put in it — simply 
and wholly. 

Again, the principal statements of the gospel are, in them- 

190 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

selves, of such simplicity that a little child may, in a measure, 
apprehend them, — in such a measure as intelligently to believe 
them ; whilst, at the same time, at all points they touch and 
stretch out into the infinite, so that the boldest and strongest 
thinker finds himself no more able to ^(?;/zprehend them in all 
their bearings and ramifications than the little child is. 

The absolute authority of the gospel, and its simplicity, and 
its mysteries, are all hateful to the arrogance of intellect. Faith 
is therefore a sacrifice. 

This particular form of pride naturally takes prominence in 
proportion to the activity and success of intellectual speculation 
in other spheres than that of religion; and at no period, pro- 
bably, has it been more intense and obvious than in our own 
day. It has been fostered especially by the amazing progress 
of the natural sciences. Instead of feeling gratitude to God 
for the kindness which has led men on to such advances in 
physical comfort and physical means of usefulness, and being 
brought to submit all the more joyfully to the rule of the Creator 
of that nature which we are every day finding to be more 
and more wonderful, the proud heart of man comes to defy 
the command, ' Believe the gospel as a child, and glory in the 
cross of Christ.' To the arrogance of intellect it seems hard — 
unendurable — that the race who, by the skilful and energetic 
exertion of their powers of mind, have been able to make the 
elements draw their cars, and carry their messages, and paint 
their pictures, should, in religion, have simply and implicitly 
to believe a ' Thus saith the Lord.' Ah, brethren, it was the 
thought that the mystic tree in the garden was ' to be desired 
to make one 7vise'' — the thought that men might ^ be as gods, 
knowing good and evil' — which brought about the beginning of 
sin in the world ; and this same thought has no little part in 
maintaining sin's existence and power ! So long as men, seek- 
ing after wisdom, fail to see that the only true wisdom for God's 
creatures is childlike rest in His wisdom, — so long will the 
gospel of Christ be to them 'foolishness.' 

VER. 17.] Joy in Prospect of Martyrdom. 191 

Again, — faith in Christ is a sacrifice, because it involves 
renunciation of thf pride of sc/frii^/iteousness. To any one who, 
with attention and candour, cither observes the world, or 
scnitinizes his own heart, it is plain that there is great pronc- 
ness among men to dream that they can earn eternal life. This 
tendency, as is natural, is esj)erially strong in the class of 
j)ersons who, through (iod's providence, have been by social, 
cduciitional, and religious influences, fenced in from the com- 
mission of gross outward sins. The Pharisees, in our Lord's 
time, were representatives of great numbers in all ages. The 
language of the heart in persons situated like ourselves is very 
apt to be something of this kind, ' I am a respectable industri- 
ous man, — I never defrauded any one, — I have no impurity of 
life to reproach myself with, no cruelty, no oppression, — I am 
not unkind to the poor, — I attend church regularly, and read 
the Bible, and train my children to say their prayers, and at the 
stated seasons partake of the communion ; * and, as we com- 
placently thus recount our excellences to our souls, our inward 
thought is, ' What more can God reasonably expect ? ' We do 
not definitely deny the doctrine of the cross ; we have been too 
well taught from our childhood for that ; but we quietly put it 
away in a comer, never to be looked at, or turned to practical 
account. You remember the man who stood and prayed, 
saying, ' God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are.' 
My brethren, we condemn this man, and marvel at his self- 
ignorance ; and, even while thus condemning and marvelling, 
we are very apt to go and do likewise. Now with such a 
spirit the gospel of Christ will not suit ; for the reality and uni- 
versality of sinfulness, and of utter inability to satisfy the claims 
of the divine law, — this, and, by consequence, the absolute 
gratuitousness of salvation, are of the very essence of gospel 
doctrine. The very first work of the Divine Spirit, in His 
function as the * Comforter,' the Diffuser of true peace, is to 
* convince the world of sin.' So long as we reckon ourselves 
whole, we shall plainly have no care for the help of the great 

192 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. ii. 

Physician. So long as we count ourselves ' just persons, who 
need no repentance/ we shall have no real, deep-reaching faith 
in Christ, or love to Him, — the Christ who ' died for our sins,' 
because sin, our sin, was so evil a thing, and is now ' exalted 
to give repentance and forgiveness of sins.' Ah, brethren, this 
is one of the great soul-destroyers, — this pride of self-righteous- 
ness. To the chief priests and elders of the people, who 
' trusted in themselves that they were righteous,' Jesus said, 
' Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and harlots go into 
the kingdom of God before you,' — and this, plainly, simply 
because these were more open to the sense of sin, and to the 
conviction that ' the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin 
of the world,' was the very Saviour for them. You see that 
cordial faith in Christ as the Saviour of sinners — of those who 
merit God's wrath, and are utterly unable to deliver themselves 
— is in the fullest sense a sacrifice^ a surrender of something 
which the carnal heart reckons very precious. 

But yet once more, — faith in Christ is a sacrifice, because it 
involves renimciaiion of the pride of self-will. To a spirit of 
arrogant determination to continue sinning, to persist in follow- 
ing our own will instead of submitting to God's, the gospel, if 
at all understood, must be an object of intense dishke; for 
every thoughtful mind feels that, whatever else the cross may 
mean, it certainly intimates God's hatred of sin, so that no one 
can accept salvation through Christ without being led thereby 
to strive against sin. A religion of decency is popular ; but a 
religion which searches the thoughts and intents of the heart, 
and has for its aim to purify and elevate these, is hateful to the 
carnal mind, — and such a religion is Christianity. No man 
can look at Christ upon the cross without seeing the eyes of 
the Son of God — ' eyes that are as a flame of fire' — penetrating, 
burning into his very soul. Our depraved hearts have much 
ingenuity in explaining away truth, and making it powerless ; 
but wherever the doctrine of Christ is apprehended and believed 
in its fulness, a stable barrier is thereby raised up in the way of 

VF.R. 17.] Joy i)i Prospect of Martyrdom. 193 

wilful violation of the law of (iod. The unconverted gospel 
hearer feels instinctively that, if he were steadily to contemplate 
the trutii that ' Christ Jesus gave Himself for us, to redeem 
us from all iniquity,' he could not be at ease in sin. He 
feels that faith in Christ is a root from which, inevitably, devo- 
tion of life to the service of Christ will spring. Therefore, if 
he be resolved to cleave to sin, he will, as far as he can, avoid 
thinking of Christ with anything like fulness or candour, lest 
he should be led into faith in Him. He will choose the dark- 
ness rather than the light, mainly because he does not want to 
see the cross, and those deep, pathetic, penetrating eyes of the 
Divine Sufferer, in which shines, indeed, ineffable love to sinners, 
but absolute and everlasting hatred of sin. 

Considering then, brethren, how firm is the hold which these 
various forms of pride have on us by nature, and that Christian 
faith involves a renunciation of them all, you see how fitly 
chosen is the apostle's language, when he speaks to the Philip- 
pians of the ' sacrifice of their faith,' 

We must now look at the priestly '■service'' connected with the 
sacrifice. The New Testament recognises but one priest in the 
strict sense of the word — the * one Mediator between God and 
men,' who, through His atoning sacrifice on Calvar}', and His 
intercession in heaven, obtains acceptance for all them who 
come unto God by Him. In nothing does Popery more 
distinctly prove itself to be an antichrist, than by ascribing to 
its ministers the powers of the ' one Mediator,' the ' Priest for 
ever.' But, by a figurative application of the name, Christians 
are sometimes in the New Testament represented as priests, in 
the general sense of persons solemnly, and by a sacred unction 
— the ' unction from the Holy One ' — set apart from the world 
for the service of God. Believers are ' an holy priesthood, to 
offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.' 
Such a spiritual sacrifice was the ' faith' which the Philippians 
presented to God. In speaking of this faith, however, the 
apostle, as you see, introduces a variation of the ordinary 


194 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

figure, to bring out the relation which divine grace had con- 
stituted between him and them. His labours and prayers for 
them had been blessed by God to their conversion, and subse- 
quent advancement in religious knowledge and vigour and 
happiness. Thus his work had been a kind of priestly service 
for them. Through the spiritual energy given them from 
heaven, they brought faith and love as a free-will offering to 
God ; and the apostle's part in the work, his teachings and 
pleadings and prayers, in the retrospect of which from his 
prison in Rome his heart found much delight, might be said 
loosely to correspond with the priestly act of laying the offering 
on the altar. In his pleadings with them in God's name, and 
in his pleadings for them with God in prayer, he stood, as it 
were, between them and God, doing in Christ a priest's work. 
The apostle employs exactly the same image, in a yet more 
explicit way, in a passage in the Epistle to the Romans, where 
he speaks of ' the grace that was given to him of God, that he 
should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, minister- 
ing the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles 
might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost' 
(Rom. XV. 15, 16). 

Taking Paul as an example, then, you see. Christian 
brethren, how comprehensive is the work of him who, through 
the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit, is anointed a 
priest unto God. He is called on to present on the altar his 
whole life, by serving God in personal holiness, and also striv- 
ing earnestly to bring other men to the Lord, and to help on- 
ward his fellow-believers. Our duty is, first, like the Philippians, 
offering the faith of our minds and hearts, then to ' present our 
bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,' — then to 
consecrate to Him our social influence, and thus, if it please 
Him to give His blessing, doing, like Paul, priestly service to 
others. Observe that all this priestly work belongs as a duty 
to all Christians. Each Philippian, as really and as fully as the 
apostle, was bound to seek the conversion and confirmation of 

VEK. 17.] Joy m Prospect of Marty rdojn. 195 

other souls, and thus * present ' them to (iod. Ministers and 
other otlice -hearers in the duirt h of Christ have pccuhar 
opportunities and consefjuent responsibilities ; but their priest- 
hood is only such as is commcjn to all who, having been 
* called out of darkness into God's marvellous light,' are thus, 
most reasonably, set apart *to show forth His praises.' The 
(juestion of the carnal heart is that of Cain, 'Am I my 
brother's keejier?' for the tendency of sin is ever to isolate 
men, and enwrap them in a robe of selfishness. But, Christian 
brethren, * this is the message which you and I have heard, 
that we should love one another, — not as Cain, who was of 
that wicked one, and slew his brother.' Wherefore, ' let him 
that heareth say. Come,' remembering that ' he which con- 
verteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul 
from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.' 'They that 
be wise shall shine, as the brightness of the firmament, and 
they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and 

The apostle thought it not at all unlikely that the course of 
God's providence might soon show it to be His will that he 
should close his ministerial relations to the Philippians and his 
other converts, by enduring a violent death. This would be, 
as it were, his ^ being offered^ or 'poured forth,' — the libation, 
or drink-oftering, by which his ' priestly service,' connected 
with their ' sacrifice of faith,' should be completed. ' If it be 
so,' he says, ' and vividly presenting to my mind the prospect, 
I joy.^ How sublime this is ! How magnificent a proof of the 
sustaining power of Christian faith I — in some respects, perhaps, 
all the more impressive to a thoughtful mind, from the fact 
that the apostle was not at the time in immediate and definite 
anticipation of martyrdom. That after all the fluctuations of 
thought and feeling regarding possible escape are over, after a 
servant of Christ is condemned to death for conscience' sake, 
and sees the scaftbld or the stake now certainly before him, he 
should be calm, cheerful, thankful and happy, — this bears most 

196 Lectures on PJiilippians, [ch. ii. 

stirring testimony to the Saviour's grace. But to hear, as we 
do in this passage, a man of transcendent truthfulness, eminently 
accurate in his knowledge of his own heart, and careful in his 
choice of language, telling us — while he is still busily occupied 
with his Master's work — while a violent death, though far from 
improbable, is still an uncertainty, and therefore he has not as 
yet been called to rally all the energies of the new nature to 
support him at the one point of awful trial, — ' If I be offered 
upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy,' — the evi- 
dence given here of the general sustaining power of faith seems 
to me almost more striking than that afforded in the other case. 
William Tyndale, the grandest figure, perhaps, take him all in 
all, of the English Reformation — a man of Pauline strength of 
character and singleness of devotion to the work which God 
had given him to do — suffered martyrdom in circumstances of 
such seclusion that we know scarcely anything more than the 
mere fact. But no information of his demeanour in the dungeon 
of Vilvorde could possibly either tell us more of his character, 
or speak more weightily for Christ to any one who has ears to 
hear, than these words, written years before, in his Preface to 
The Parable of the Wicked Mamfnon, — ' Some man will ask, 
peradventure, why I take the labour to make this work, inas- 
much as they will bum it, seeing they burned the gospel. I 
answer. In burning the New Testament they did none other 
thing than that I looked for ; 7to inore shall they do if they 
bum me also^ if it be God's will it shall so be. NevertJieless^ 
in translating the New Testament I did my duty, and so 
do I now, and will do as imich more as God hath ordained me 
to do: 

The sources of Christian *joy,' in the anticipation of mar- 
tyrdom, are twofold. One is the confident hope of being 
introduced by death into heavenly blessedness and glory, — 
for the martyr a blessedness peculiarly exquisite, and a glory 
peculiarly sublime, seeing that ' it is a faithful saying, If we 
suffer, we shall also reign with Him.' In a passage familiar to 

VER. 1 8.] Joy in Prospect of Martyrdom, 197 

us all, and written very shortly before his death, Paul cxj)licitly 
sets fortii the siii)i)ortin}; power of the hope of heaven, — * I am 
now ready to be offered, and the time of my dcjjarture is at 
hand. 1 ienceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteous- 
ness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at 
that day.' He knew that the executioner could do nothing 
except to the body, and that the same stroke of the sword by 
which the body was mutilated, would set the sj>irit free to go 
to * be with Christ.' Another source of joy, even richer and 
deeper than this, for the believer who looks forward to his 
being * offered,' is the knowledge that, in many ways, glory will 
accnie to God from the martyrdom. Paul felt well assured 
that thereby * Christ would be magnified.' The Greeks of old 
delighted to tell how Phidippides — fleetest of foot among his 
countrymen — having borne himself gallantly in the great fight 
at Marathon, darted from the field immediately after victory 
was secure, ran to Athens, related his tidings to the Fathers of 
the city, closing with the words, ' Rejoice ye, as we rejoice,' 
and then, utterly exhausted by wounds and toil, fell down dead 
before them. The entire sinking of the thought or care of 
self in joy over the safety and glory of his native land was 
very beautiful. Yet the noblest feelings which arise out of any 
of the relations of man to what is earthly and visible, make but 
a feeble approach to the grandeur of spirit of him who * joys ' 
to think of dying a cruel death, that the unseen God, the God 
whom he knows by faith only, may thereby be glorified. Paul 
believed that * out of the eater would come forth meat ; and out 
of the strong, sweetness,' — that from the place of his martyrdom 
there would exhale a rich fragrance of Christ, which would 
bring spiritual joy to many souls ; — and therefore he would 
gladly * endure all things for the elect's sake, that they also 
might obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with 
eternal glory.' 

He has something more to say, however, in the verse before 
us, regarding feelings connected with his mart}Tdom : ' I joy. 

198 Lectures on PJiilippimis. [ch. ii. 

and I congratulate you all^ — for this seems to be the force of the 
expression rendered in our version, ' rejoice with you all.^ ' For 
the same caused he continues, ''joy ye also, and congratulate me.'' 
He would have his friends, as well as himself, to enter so fully 
into oneness of spirit with Christ — so perfectly to subordinate 
their earthly affections to their love for their Saviour, and in- 
terest in His cause — as to esteem the death of their spiritual 
father, in a way which would signally magnify Christ, as a 
source of joy. He 'congratulates' them, and would have 
them 'rejoice,' and by, in their turn, ' congratulating him,' stir 
him up to still higher joy. * Think, dear friends,' he says, if 
we may expand the thought a little, ' of the wide-spread con- 
viction which may be produced in Rome of the truth of our 
religion, by the sight of such composure and elevation of spirit 
as I know God's grace will enable me to exhibit in dying, — 
think of the chariot of fire and horses of fire which the eye of 
faith can see hovering over the scene of blood, to bear the 
martyr home, — think of the blessedness which awaits me 
yonder. Would your love desire to keep me back from use- 
fulness and from happiness like this ? Is it not reasonable 
that I should congratulate you, whose souls are so precious in 
Christ's sight, that for your sakes, for your furtherance in 
wisdom and holiness. He exposes even His apostles to suffer- 
ings and death, — and that you should congratulate me on the 
privilege of being called to die in the service of Him who died 
for me ? ' Ah, brethren, this was a very difficult task which 
the apostle imposed on the loving Philippians. They could 
well understand how, when * devout men carried Stephen to 
his burial,' they ' made great lamentation over him ; ' but 
Paul's teaching that, in such a case, the voice of 'joy' should 
mingle with the ' lamentation ' of nature, and ring out more 
loudly and clearly than the voice of sorrow, must have seemed 
to them * an hard saying.' The prospect of losing him who 
had been Christ's messenger to them, to lead them into peace, 
and whose life seemed so needful for the confirmation and ex- 

VER. 1 8.] Joy m Prospect of Martyrdom. 199 

tension of Christianity among the Gentiles, could not but 

appear to them a very gloomy one. At the first, 

* They could hear no an(;cl.H singinf;. 
See no brightness through the cloud.' 

But gradually, we may believe, they attained at least to com- 
l)0sure of spirit in view of this bereavement, — to childlike 
ac(iuiescence in their Father's will, (irowth in faith made the 
'hard saying' more intelligible. They came to understand 
that, through divine grace, it is a possible thing for a bereaved 
heart, even amid the deepest natural sorrow from the sense of 
personal loss, to look up to God with profoundcst thankful- 
ness. * All things are possible to him that bclicveth.' 

200 Lec hires on Philippians, [ch. ii. 



' But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I 
also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20 For I have 
no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For 
all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. 22 But 
ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath 
served with me in the gospel. 23 Him therefore I hope to send pre- 
sently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. 24 But I trust 
in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.' — Phil. ii. 19-24. 

AT this point, with the freedom of a familiar letter, the 
apostle passes on to a new subject, — his intention to 
send to them Timothy and Epaphroditus. I shall draw your 
attention at present to the first part of the passage, in which 
he speaks of sending Timothy. Paraphrased a little, this is 
his statement : ' But, passing from these matters, I hope, rely- 
ing on the kindness of the Lord Jesus — who knows that in the 
interests of His kingdom I have formed the desire — to send 
Timothy to you shortly, for your solace and help, and that I 
also may be cheered by hearing from him, on his return to me, 
of your condition. I name him, because I have no man with 
me like-minded with him, who will with genuine interest care 
for your state. For all the persons whom I might othenvise 
have chosen, are seeking the furtherance of their own matters, 
not of Christ's. But ye know the proof of trustworthy character 
which he has given, in that, as a son serves his father, he has 
served with me for the advancement of the gospel. Him 
therefore I hope to send, immediately on my seeing how my 
own affairs are to stand, as regards the issue of my trial. But 
I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.' 

VKRS. 19-24.] Mission of Timothy. 201 

You will observe that, in the 2oih verse, where our version 
has * I have no man hke-minded, who will naturally care for 
your state,' I have, in this paraj)hrasc, for ^naturally' substi- 
tuted * with genuine interest.* Such is the exact force of the 
original word, — * genuinely,* as opposed to * spuriously,' to 
everything like pretenre and duplicity. Hy * naturally* our 
translators, I think, meant ' with the affection which beseems 
the new nature, the spirit becoming those who are brethren in 

The apostle, in this passage, as you see, exhibits to us two 
sharply-contrasted types of Christian profession. We have, 
first, unspiritual professors : * all seek their oicn, not the things 
which are Jesus Christ's^ In making this statement, the apostle 
has not before his mind the Christian church in Rome gene- 
rally, nor even its more prominent members or ministers. 
Such a supposition is disproved by his mode of speaking re- 
garding these brethren elsewhere in the Epistle, particularly by 
what he says in the 14th and 17th verses of the ist chapter, 
* Many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my 
bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear,' 
and this * of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the 
gospel.' Looking at the connection in which the statement 
before us stands, its reference must be simply to those of the 
professing Christians within Paul's reach at the time, of whom 
he might naturally have thought as suitable messengers to the 
church of Philippi, — that is to say, probably, the men, in all 
likelihood few in number, who had personal acquaintance with 
that church, and at the same time had aptness to teach and 
comfort and advise. Whether among those at this time in 
his thoughts w^ere any whose names are kno\\'n to us, from 
the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, as having been more 
or less closely associated with him in travel and preaching, 
we have no means whatever of determining. 

Of these the apostle declares that * all seek their cum, not the 
things li'hich are Jesus Christ's.' Taken rigidly, in fulness of 

202 Lectures 07t Philippiaiis. [ch. ii. 

meaning, these words describe unregenerate persons, enemies 
of God. Indeed, no language could with more exactness ex- 
hibit the grand contrast of character between men of the world 
and believers, than these, that the one class ' seek their own 
(things or interests)/ the other ' those of Jesus Christ.' I 
think it, however, exceedingly unlikely, all things considered, 
that, in the case before us, — or even in the somewhat similar 
but yet stronger statement made in another Epistle regarding 
Demas, * Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present 
world' (2 Tim. iv. 10), — Paul meant his words to be taken as 
intimating a definite judgment that the character of the persons 
spoken of was funda7?ie?itally worldly, and thus that they had 
utterly apostatized in heart from Christ. ' Whosoever is bom 
of God,' says the Apostle John, ' cannot sin, because he is bom 
of God,' — that is, from the very nature of the new life the will 
is turned toward holiness, so that fully conscious and deliberate 
violation of the law of God is impossible. But with this fact is 
quite compatible the same apostle's other statement, ' If we 
say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is 
not in us ;' the ground of the compatibility being expressly set 
forth by Paul, ' If I do that / would not, it is no more I that 
do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.' As in a river, whilst the 
current is carrying the great body of the water on to the sea, 
yet a strong wind may arrest the progress of the water on the 
surface, or even to some extent reverse its direction ; so, while 
the current of a true Christian's character is toward confomiity 
to the divine will, yet the strong blasts of temptation can in- 
fluence it not a little. The deplorable strength of tendency to 
self-deception which remains even in a Christian heart, often 
leads it to tolerate or even love what, when shown to it in true 
colours by the Divine Spirit, it shrinks from with utter ab- 
horrence. And the sinful state of feeling may continue for a 
long time. David was for many months hardened in gross sin, 
in the matter of Uriah ; and even amid the brighter light, and 
more abundant spiritual influences, of Christianity the same 

VERS. 19-24.] Mission of Timothy. 203 

may be, — long seasons of torpor or backsliding, particularly 
tlirougli the subtle power of those insidious sins which some- 
what resemble virtues, and take their name — such as faithless 
cowardice, calling itself wholesome discretion ; or avarice, 
under the name of prudence. Our apostle, then, I apprehend, 
in the statement before us, simj)ly mentions as a fact that, at 
the time he wrote, the professing Christians to whom he refers 
were so obviously under the power of world) iness in some 
form — })robably enough the comparatively refined form of the 
desire of self-display as religious teachers in the metropolis of 
the world — as to make it unlikely that they would be willing to 
go to Philippi on a Christian mission, or that, if they under- 
took it, they would throw themselves into their work heartily 
and effectively. This is all he says. Whether this character 
was with them superficial and temporary, or pervasive and per- 
manent, he was not called on to decide. 

I suppose that, however often we have read this Epistle, 
yet most of us never come to this statement without a feeling 
of wonderment crossing our minds. That any professing 
Christians of the first age should be described as grievously 
unspiritual, and particularly persons so prominent in the church 
that the aposde could think of them as in some respects fitted 
to be his representatives to the church at Philippi, — this strikes 
us as something altogether unnatural. Our astonishment 
springs from a misconception regarding the character of the 
primitive church, which to some extent has hold of us all, 
through a vague impression that the exquisite outflow of Chris- 
tian love at Jerusalem, of which the earlier chapters of Acts 
tell us, lasted all through the first ages, and had its counter- 
part in every congregation. A study of the Epistles is fitted to 
give us a different idea ; convincing us that, almost from the 
very outset, Satanic subtlety, and human depravity and weak- 
ness, began to mar what divine grace had made so beautiful. 
The same evil influences wrought in the primitive church which 
work in the church stilL Alas, brethren, it would not surprise 

204 Lectttres on Philippians, [ch. ii. 

us greatly to hear Paul, if he were to revisit the earth in our 
time, say of a large number of the present race of church 
members, and of a considerable proportion, at least, of those 
who bear office, ' They seek their own, not the things which 
are Jesus Christ's.' In the wide-spread and manifold evi- 
dence, even, it may be, in the very management of the affairs 
of the church of Christ, of self-seeking, leading to jealousies 
and envies, paltrinesses and wickednesses, — in the seemingly 
exclusive, or all but exclusive, devotion of so many who 
have named the name of Christ to money-making or mere 
worldly pleasure, — in the frequent indisposition among church- 
goers to give liberally, or even at all, of their money, or their 
time, or their thoughts and labour, to Christian work, so that 
our foreign missions, and at home our Bible societies. Sabbath 
schools, town missions, and other religious agencies, are imper- 
fectly supported, and fall far short of doing the good they 
might do, — we see, I fear, too plain reason to think it likely 
the apostle would speak so, to be much surprised. It would 
not surprise us greatly to find him, in a letter sent to warn a 
modem congregation of his intention to visit them, saying, ' I 
fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would ; 
lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, 
whisperings, swellings, tumults ; and that I shall bewail many 
which have sinned already, and have not repented of the 
uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness, which they 
have committed.' Now, seeing that this language is actually 
employed by the apostle with reference to professing Christians 
in his own day,^ you see that the moral and spiritual tone of 
the primitive church, taken generally, was, perhaps, not greatly 
different from that of the church as it exists among ourselves. 
Might it not reasonably excite surprise, think you, — ought we 
not to be most deeply abased, — that this is all we can say, 
with any show of truth ? The inheritors of the religious 
teaching and holy examples of eighteen centuries of Chris- 

^ 2 Cor. xii. 20, 21. 

VERS. 19-24.] Missiofi 0/ Tif}wi/iy. 205 

lianity — ci^litccn centuries of the dispensation of the Holy 
Si)irit ; living in a land where Christianity is the religion uni- 
versally professed, and where its influence has largely purified 
and elevated the general tone and habits of even worldly 
society ; — should we not he profoundly hunihled that all which 
can be asserted of the j>rofessing church of Christ, — of any 
average congregation, for examjjJe, like our own, — is that pro- 
bably it is not greatly worse, morally and spiritually, than the 
church of Rome or of Corinth, whose members had the 
sensual seductions of heathenism all around them, and had 
their religious steadiness and purity opposed by every influ- 
ence of general society, and in many cases, no doubt, by the 
influence of nearest kinsfolk ? Ah, Christian brethren, when 
we think of our religious light and privileges, and, above all, 
when we consider the sublime self-sacrifice for us, through which 
we have been redeemed, — to us well belong shame and confu- 
sion of face, because of so many of us the apostle's words may 
be spoken — alas ! because of ail of us, to some extent, it may 
be truly said, that ' we seek our own, not the things which are 
Jesus Christ's.' 

How partial among us, through this prevalence of un spiritu- 
ality, is the enjoyment of Christian peace ! How lamentably 
rare is that influence of consistent holy example, which should 
be the church's most powerful evangelistic instrument I To 
how deplorable an extent are Christians withheld from active 
exertion in the service of Him whom they call Lord, or 
enfeebled in such work if they undertake it ! To this last 
point, you observe, the apostle specially adverts, stating that, 
through want of spirituality, the persons of whom he is speak- 
ing could not, ' with genuine or natural interest,' care for the 
Philippians. True and wami piety is the cardinal qualification 
for religious work. It is a great power, even standing alone ; 
and where this is wanting, the very finest combination of other 
qualifications is, after all, but a beautiful body without a soul. 
Personal religion, true healthy spiritual life, is the only prin- 

2o6 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

ciple of true healthy religious activity. A non-religious worker 
in any department of religious labour, — a person taking part 
in any of the agencies]of that church which the Lord purchased 
with His own blood, who himself has no saving knowledge of 
this Lord, — this is a monstrosity, a thing awfully unnatural in 
God's universe. And yet, alas, my brethren, in this world, 
which man's sin has in many things made an unnatural world, 
it is to be feared that there are not a few such monstrous 
things ; and that, in that day when the secrets of all hearts 
come to be revealed, many who have long, and to the eye of 
men respectably^ held office in the Christian church, and in 
various ways taken part in Christian work, will be found cast- 

With these unspiritual professing Christians the apostle in the 
passage before us contrasts the character of Timothy. This 
eminent evangelist was a native of Lycaonia, in the centre of 
Asia Minor. Faithfully and lovingly taught by his mother, a 
pious Jewess, to long and look for the Messiah promised to 
the fathers, he was led, on Paul's first visit to those regions, 
to recognise in Jesus of Nazareth the great Deliverer, and to 
give Him his heart. On the apostle's second visit, four or five 
years afterwards, finding Timothy highly commended by the 
Christians of the district, he took him as his companion, to 
give such aid in missionary work as a very young man could, 
and to be trained for full efficiency as a preacher of the cross. 
From that time onward we find him in constant connection 
with the apostle, either as his companion, or as carrying on 
some separate ministerial work which Paul had entrusted to 
him. Of his character, as seen so closely and under very 
testing circumstances during many years, the apostle gives his 
judgment in the passage before us; and calls on the Philippians 
to attest the accuracy of that judgment from their own know- 
ledge, for Timothy had been among Paul's companions on his 
first visit to Philippi, and had perhaps been there several times 
afterwards : ' Ye know the proof of him^ that^ as a son with the 

VERS. 19-24.] Mission of Timothy. 207 

father^ he hath scncd with me in the fi^ospel! This mutual 
affection and esteem continued unbroken. The very last 
words of the great apostle which have come down to us, are 
those written to Timothy from his prison at Rome, when 
martyrdom was very near, — in which he calls him his * dearly 
beloved son,' and entreats him to ' do his diligence to come 
unto him sliortly.' 

The j)raise given to Timothy in the present passage is very 
high. His work and his dangers had been similar to those of 
Paul himself ; and his persistent stedfastness from the begin- 
ning, in encountering them, proves faith to have very quickly 
become mature in the young disciple. Another young man, 
you remember, who had previously been associated with Paul 
in the same way, John Mark, cousin ^ of Barnabas, and probably 
the Mark who wrote the second Gospel, left the apostle and 
Barnabas in Pamphylia, and * went not with them to the 
work' (Acts XV. t^V). He, like Timothy, was a man of true 
piety; yet the energy of his young faith yielded for a time under 
the pressure of the fear of toil and peril. But Timothy was 
enabled to stand firm. The relations, too, which, in the carry- 
ing on of his Christian work, he bore to the apostle, whilst in 
the most important respects they were fitted to be a great 
support and stimulus to him, yet in others added, or at least 
by many a man would have been felt to add, to the difficulty 
of his position. Where two or more men are called to labour 
together in arduous and delicate work, all of them having a 
deep sense of personal responsibility, difficulties of necessity 
constantly arise, which an isolated worker does not encounter. 
And in a kind of work, such as any of the forms of ' labour in 
the gospel,' in which success depends largely on the existence of 

^ The original word in Col. iv. lo, rendered in our version 'sister's 
son,' really means, beyond doubt, 'cousin.' Some scholars think there 
is reason to believe that, in the older English, the expression 'sister's 
son ' was occasionally used in the sense of ' cousin, ' like the similar word 
* Geschwistcrkind ' in German. 

2o8 Lecher es on Philippians. [CH. ii. 

affection and confidence between the labourers and those whom 
they desire to influence for Christ, it is obvious that singular 
watchfulness, self-restraint, largeness of spirit, delicacy of feel- 
ing, are needed in men working conjointly. Hence the pro- 
verbial rarity of thoroughly comfortable colleagueships in the 
ministry. In the case of Paul and Timothy, however, the 
difficulties were, so far as appears, completely overcome ; and 
this was due to admirable qualities in both. The grand 
simplicity and unselfishness, the mellow Christian wisdom, the 
exquisite patience and gentleness, of the apostle, fitted most 
pleasantly in with a charming meekness, and humility, and 
unselfishness, and affectionateness, in his young friend; so that 
the relation they bore to each other was one greatly and, no 
doubt, growingly helpful to both. The apostle saw with delight 
the maturing grace of his beloved companion ; and Timothy's 
heart was ever full of thankfulness to God for giving him such 
a friend. How full and satisfying the testimony of the apostle 
is, — how gladdening, as the evidence that amid all his sufferings 
and sorrows — some of the bitterest of them, as we have already 
seen, from un spiritual and disappointing associates — this affec- 
tion between him and Timothy remained so firm, and was so 
sweet to him ! '•As a son with the father^ he says, — or yet more 
beautifully, according to the exact meaning of the original, ' as 
a son serves his father,' — * so he with vie has served unto the 
furtherance of the gospel^ — the first clause bringing out, by the 
comparison, the relation between Paul and Timothy; the second, 
instead of precisely finishing the comparison, passing off, with 
much elegance and delicacy, to exhibit their common relation 
to God, as an elder and a younger participant in that glorious 
service which is perfect freedom. With all becoming filial love, 
and trust, and veneration for his spiritual father the apostle, 
— thus Timothy, journeying on through life by Paul's side, 
together with him served God. 

The character of Timothy is certainly a very beautiful one, 
— one which all the right-minded among us cannot but most 

VERS. 19-24.] Mission of Timothy. 209 

earnestly desire to see mirrored in ourselves, and all who arc 
dear to us. Now wc are told expressly regarding him, more 
fully, 1 think, than with reference to any other New Testament 
saint, what was the mode of early training through which, by 
the blessing of (»od, he became the man we fmd him. To 
this, for a little, I will turn your thoughts, as the most fitting 
and i)roritable prat tical close to our meditations on the present 
paragraph. In Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy, he men- 
tions that 'the unfeigned faith which was in him, had dwelt 
first in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice,' and that 
* from a child he had known the Holy Scriptures.' It is i)lain, 
then, you see, that, for the i)roduction of this character on 
which we have been looking with such admiration, (iod had 
blessed /(7r^;//<7/ teaching and influence, and particularly /rtrr^wAz/ 
training in the Bible. The duty of prayerful, thoughtful, 
hopeful religious education of children is therefore, I think, 
that which a study of the life and character of Timothy is 
most fitted to commend to the consideration of Christian 

Of all societies known among men, a family is that which has 
the strongest, tenderest, and most sacred bonds. Its ties are 
those by which God, herein displaying the unsearchable riches 
of His love in Christ, binds believers to Himself; for He is our 
Father, and all we are brethren. In no other relation among 
men does nature excite so warm an affection for those ^vith whom 
we are associated, and so deep an interest in their welfare ; in 
none, therefore, does grace originate so ardent a desire that 
their souls may 'prosper and be in health.' If, then, men and 
women who are not specially bound together by any earthly ties, 
feel themselves impelled by their common needs, their common 
longings, their common mercies, to constitute such a church 
as meets in the house of public worship ; surely natural affection, 
purified and ennobled by the influences of grace, should con- 
stitute every professing Christian family — the very infants of 
which, remember, are by baptism members of the great visible 


210 Lectures on Philippia7is. [ch. ii. 

community of saints — a ' church in the house,' for instruction 
and discipHne and common worship. 

The position that in a household there should be religious 
teaching, seems to me one so self-evident, as not at all to 
call for proof. Truth, understood and believed, being the 
instrument of conversion, — and growth in clearness and breadth 
of view, and in liveliness of faith, being the means of growth in 
likeness to God, — advancement in religious knowledge is one 
of the principal objects in our association as a church, and 
our exercises in. the sanctuary ; and the case is precisely similar 
with the ' church in the house.' There must be teaching, and 
this obviously by the parents. To take children regularly to 
church, and to give them opportunities of religious instruction 
at day schools. Sabbath schools, and Bible classes, is well ; 
but parents who think on the matter, must feel convinced 
that, while these are most valuable auxiliaries, yet not one of 
them, nor all of them combined, can be a satisfactory substitute 
for their teaching. To them God in His providence has said, 
' Take this child and nurse it for Me, and I will give you your 
wages ; ' and specially from them at the last will be demanded 
an account of this stewardship. They cannot strip themselves 
of this responsibility. No wise parent, therefore, will think that 
all the teaching of his children can or should be handed over to 
others, — the more especially as he knows that the bond which 
nature has knit between parents and children, and all the holy 
and beautiful affections which hover round it, give to parental 
instruction a force that cannot be possessed by any other. 

If parents are to. discharge this duty of teaching, they 
must themselves, according to their opportunities, be students 
of the truth to be taught A religious teacher, whether in a 
wide or narrow sphere, will certainly fail to build up those 
whom he professes to instruct, in that Christian wisdom from 
which holiness and comfort spring, unless he be himself a 
faithful student. Only conscientious learners can be success- 
ful teachers. We never know how much we need to know, — 

VERS. 19-24.] Mission 0/ Timothy. 211 

how little WL' know clearly and exactly, — how much that wc 
thought we knew well, was laid hold of by the mind but 
loosely and vaguely, — till wc are called ui>on to teach others. 
One good reason, I am afraid, my brethren, why teaching by 
parents is far from being so common as it should be, is that 
many professing Christian parents, when they attempt it, find 
themselves culpably ignorant of divine truth — more ignorant 
than their pride of heart permits them to acknowledge even to 
themselves ; and one grand advantage which would accrue 
from a general, persistent, and faithful discharge of the duty 
of parental instniction, would be the manifest advance of the 
elder people themselves in the knowledge of the Word of 

That teaching may be successful, it must be painstaking 
and thorough ; not contenting itself with a mere parrot repe- 
tition of words, but resting not till every step taken be under- 
stood, so far as the various ages and capacities of the members 
of the family admit It must be kindly and earnest, too ; not 
seeming to be a burden or a ?n€re duty to the teacher, or so 
conducted as to be a burden and a weariness to the taught, 
but welcomed by both as a privilege. The real desire of the 
parents must be, and must be felt to be, to wnn to Christ the 
souls which nature has made the most dear to them. Ah, 
brethren, can worse be said of unspirituality, than that it brings 
men into the position of * not naturally caring for ' the souls 
even of their own children ? Above all, such teaching, to be 
successful, must be conducted in the spirit of prayer, — under a 
deep sense of the insufficiency of all human instrumentalities, 
left to themselves, and with earnest wTestlings for the gracious 
influences of the Spirit. Where special prayer, however brief, 
with the family, for a blessing on the instruction, forms a part 
of the service, the force of the teaching will be intensified 

Besides such teaching of the household collectively, a wise 
parent will, at suitable seasons, take the members of the family 

212 Lectures on Philippians. [en. it. 

apart, and deal with them individually, plainly, earnestly, and 
affectionately, regarding their spiritual position and prospects. 
Such private appeals may be ' as nails fastened in a sure place,' 
whereby all the truth taught is secured by God to the soul 
for evermore as a saving power. 

In the teaching of their children, a Christian father and 
mother will lovingly and judiciously co-operate. But let me 
specially remind believing mothers — the Eunices of my audi- 
ence — that, while their children are at the most susceptible 
age, the mother's influence and opportunities are commonly 
both particularly great. Innumerable Christians, many of them 
eminent in the service of their Master, have traced their con- 
version to the teaching and prayers of a mother. To mention 
but one recent instance, — the biographer of the illustrious 
General Havelock says : * His religious impressions were trace- 
able to the influence and the efl"orts of his mother, when he 
was a little boy. It was her custom to assemble her children 
for reading the Scriptures and prayer in her own room. Henry 
was always of the party whenever he was at home from school ; 
and in course of time he was expected to take the reading, 
which he generally did. It impressed him ; and, under these 
pleasant circumstances, he knew, like Timothy, the Holy Scrip- 
tures from a child.' May God multiply such mothers ! 

VERS. 25-30.] Mission 0/ Epap/irodilus. 213 


' Vet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, 
and companion in labour, and fellow-soldier, but your messenger, and 
he that ministered to my wants. 26 For he longed after you all, and 
was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. 
27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death : but God had mercy on 
him ; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow 
upon sorrow. 28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when 
ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. 
29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness ; and hold 
such in reputation ; 30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh 
unto death, not regarding^ his life, to supply your lack of service 
toward me.' — Phil. ii. 25-30. 

IN this paragraph the apostle goes on to say that, whilst, as 
he has mentioned, he purposes soon to send Timothy to 
Philippi, and hopes to visit the church himself also before very 
long, yet he has thought it needful to send Epaphroditus to 
them at once. This intimation is followed by a statement of 
his reasons for doing so ; and the section closes with an appeal 
to the Philippians to regard Epaphroditus, and all similarly 
devoted servants of Christ, with high esteem and warm affection. 
In reading the section carefully, with its detailed exhibition 
of the character and feelings of Epaphroditus, and particularly 
the closing appeal, it is difficult to resist the impression that 
on some ground, which he does not state, Paul felt a little 
doubt whether the Philippians, in welcoming Epaphroditus, for 
whom they evidently cherished a warm and tender affection, 
might not have at the same time in their hearts, for some 
reason, a certain feeling of disappointment. It may be that 

214 Lectures on Philippia7is, [ch. ii. 

they had asked the apostle, should he be still prevented from 
personally visiting them, to send them one of his most trusted 
helpers for a time ; and when Epaphroditus, one of the mem- 
bers of their own congregation, was sent back as in some sort 
Paul's deputy, a measure of disappointment might be felt, 
through the proverbial blindness, in a prophet's own country, 
to his claims and excellences. Supposing an anticipation of 
this to have been in Paul's mind while wTiting, the structure of 
the whole passage is explained. By the mention previously 
of his own hope to visit them, and of his intention to send 
Timothy, the most honoured and loved of all his companions, 
as soon as possible, the way is most skilfully prepared for the 
intimation regarding Epaphroditus ; and now, in speaking of 
Epaphroditus, the apostle makes it evident that, having during 
his stay in Rome proved himself a most efficient and in every 
way admirable assistant, and been admitted to his closest 
friendship, he could with fulness of knowledge and of sym- 
pathy exhibit the apostle's views and wishes to the Philippian 

The only thing in the language of the passage which seems 
to claim a word of explanation, is the use of the /^i"/ in one or 
two places with reference to the sending of Epaphroditus, 
whilst, as is clear from the whole passage, he was in fact the 
bearer of the Epistle. ' I supposed it necessary to send to you 
Epaphroditus, — for he longed after you all, and ivas full of 
heaviness;' and 'I sent him therefore the more carefully.' This 
is the idiom of the original language, — a letter-writer transporting 
himself in imagination to the time when his letter would be 
read, and when the course of feelings and doings which were 
present at the time of writing would have become past. We, 
on the other hand, generally keep our modes of expression in 
accordance with the actual time of writing, so that we should 
naturally say here, ^ I thi?ik it necessary to send to you Epa- 
phroditus, — for he has been longing after you all, and is full of 
heaviness,' and * I send him therefore the more carefully.* 

vp:rs. 25-30.] AIissio7i of Epaphroditjis. 215 

Of Mpaphroditus \vc know nothing except what is mentioned 
here, and — regarding one point a httie more fully — in the i8th 
verse of the 4th chapter of this Epistle. An Epaphras is 
spoken of in the Epistle to the Colossians, and in that to 
Philemon ; who by some has been supposed to be the same 
person here referred to. This, however, is unlikely. The one 
name, indeed, may be only a short form of the other, and the 
character ascribed to Epaphras is very similar to that given to 
Epaphroditus ; but both names, or forms of the name, were 
very common ; and Epaphras is expressly said to have been 
a member of the Colossian church,^ whilst everything told us 
of Epaphroditus leads us to think that his ordinary place of 
residence was Philippi, — from which he had come to Rome, 
bringing to Paul such pecuniary aid as the church there could 

The apostle here, in sending him back, speaks of him as his 
^brother.'' How sweet a term for 'fellow-Christian' this is, 
dear friends, — how suggestive of lofty dignity, precious privi- 
lege, holy character I It brings before our minds at once the 
family of God, and all the sweet and elevating affections to 
which the ' new birth ' gives rise. ' Of His own will the Father 
of lights begat us with the word of truth ; ' and believers, being 
thus all children of the same God, necessarily, in the measure 
of the clearness and liveliness of their faith, feel themselves to 
be brethren of each other. 

But the apostle has more to say of Epaphroditus than that 
he is a member of this glorious family. He exhibits conspicu- 
ously the features of character which should distinguish its 
members. The life of the household of God should be, ac- 
cording to the will of their Father, full of holy and beneficent 
activity. Said the divine Elder Brother, ' My Father worketh 
hitherto, and I work ; ' and to every member of the family the 
Father's command is, ' Son, go work to-day in My vineyard.' 
Epaphroditus had heard the call, and, as opportunity was 

^ Col. iv. 12. 

2 1 6 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

given to him, he laboured in his Father's service. In Rome 
he evidently engaged heartily and efficiently in Christian work 
under the apostle's direction, and is therefore described as his 
^companion in labour? 

Still further, however. In a world which loves darkness 
rather than light, effort to diffuse light will of necessity bring 
hatred and opposition ; so that the labourers have also to be 
soldiers. As, under good Nehemiah, when repairing the walls 
of Jerusalem, ' the builders had every one his sword girded by 
his side, and so builded,' so must it be also with those who are 
rearing up the wall of the spiritual city of God. The modes 
of opposition are different under different circumstances, but 
the spirit of keen hostility is never wanting. Now, as in 
Nehemiah's days, ' when the Arabians, and the Ammonites, 
and the Ashdodites, hear that the walls of Jerusalem are made 
up, and that the breaches begin to be stopped, then are they 
very wroth, and conspire all of them together to come and to 
fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.' Epaphroditus, 
preaching the gospel in Rome, had to encounter contempt 
and peril, both among Jews and heathen. But, as we may 
fairly conclude from the hearty and approving way in which 
the apostle calls him his ^fellow-soldier^ he was * not ashamed 
of the testimony of our Lord, nor of Paul His prisoner, but 
was partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the 
power of God.' He proved his readiness to ' endure hardness, 
as a good soldier of Jesus Christ,' believing it to be a faithful 
saying, ' If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him ; 
if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.' 

Looking back now over the three terms employed by the 
apostle, * brother? ' compa7iion in labour^ and ''fellow-soldier^ 
you see that they are arranged in an ascending scale, from a 
simple statement of companionship in religion up to a state- 
ment of companionship in endurance of severe tests of sincerity 
and devotedness in religion. * I send to you Epaphroditus, 
one whom I have found to be a Christian energetic and brave, 

VKRS. 25-30.] Mission of Epaphroditus. 

2 I 

— one to whom I am bouiul hy the closest ties, through com- 
munity of aspirations and sympathies, community of Christian 
labour, community of clanger and suffering in the cause of our 
common Lord.' 

The riiilippians also had special relations to Kpapliroditus, 
and special cause to esteem him. These the af)Ostlc exhibits 
over against his own. * On the one hand, he is mine in 
brotlierhood, and companionship in labour and suffering, — 
but, on the other hand, yours as agent in beneficence,' — ^ your 
messerii^i'r and {your) minister to my want 5.^ Here, certainly, 
was a relation fitted to bind the Phiiippians and Kpai)hroditus 
together, and both to Paul, in the closest bonds. In the 
spirit so honoured by Christ — so Christlikc — of caring for a 
righteous man ' in the name of a righteous man,* the Philif)- 
pians had sent P^paphroditus to bear to the apostle in his 
imprisonment their pecuniary contributions for his support, 
and to discharge to him all such services as might be within 
his power. Most faithfully and lovingly — his whole heart in 
the work — had he executed his commission. Paul's estimate 
of the sacredness and dignity of the work, and of the single- 
ness and consecration of heart with which it had been done, 
are indicated, as it seems to me, by the terms he employs. 
The word rendered ^ he that 7ninistered^ is commonly employed 
of priestly service, or of the service of angels, and thus natur- 
ally carries with it the same suggestion of sacred and honour- 
able office as our own word ' minister.' Again, — the term here 
translated, according to its original sense, ^ messenger,^ is that 
usually rendered * apostle,' and from which indeed the English 
word 'apostle' comes; and therefore, I think — even when 
used as here, rather loosely — it must always have conveyed to 
the minds of the early Christians some such idea of venerable- 
ness as is in our minds when, for example, we speak of John 
Williams as the 'apostle' of the South Seas. Epaphroditus, 
Paul's * brother and companion in labour and fellow-soldier,' 
was ' the apostle and minister of the Phiiippians for the supply 

2i8 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

of Paul's need;' and thus, from his relations to both, he was 
certainly a most fit and natural deputy from Paul to his 
brethren at Phihppi. 

Epaphroditus had been very ill in Rome. ' He was sick, nigh 
u7ito death.^ To the young believer it often and most naturally 
presents itself as a strange thing that affliction is not altogether 
withdrawn from Christ's people. Is not affliction an element 
of death, — and have not Christians * passed from death unto 
life ' ? The mature believer also sees mystery very near ; but 
he knows, at least, that the subjection of the saints to trouble 
is not an isolated anomaly connected with God's mode of 
saving them, but fits in with the entire plan. The grandest 
element of Christ's salvation is the emancipation of the moral 
nature, which is our glory, from the debasing thraldom of sin. 
Now here, as in all His actings on our souls, we have no 
violent convulsion — no sudden substitution of a complete or 
perfectly holy nature for our former sinful selves, such as we 
can scarcely conceive compatible with the maintenance of a 
sense of personal identity. We have a gradual process, — a 
growth. The heart, the will, ' out of which are the issues of 
life,* receives the heavenly seed of holy desire, to develope 
according to its kind, under the influence of the refreshing 
rain of heaven, and the genial beams of the Sun of righteous- 
ness. A most important form of the tillage is affliction. 
' Every branch that beareth fruit,' the Great Husbandman 
*purgeth, that it may bring forth more fruit.' Surely, then, 
* Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, O Lord, and 
teachest out of Thy law ! ' 

By affliction our Father leads lis into deeper seriousness. Even 
a Christian is apt, amid the frivolities of earth, to find the 
great realities which faith has revealed to him growing dim to 
his view. His heart and conscience, made so tender by the 
good Spirit aforetime, are prone to be in no small measure 
hardened again by the passage of secular thoughts and affec- 
tions. The power over him of God's word and ordinances is 

VKRS. 25-30.] Missio7i of lipaphroditiis. 219 

apt to grow feebler. Now nfilirtion is the great rloud-dis- 
l)eller for the spiritual nature. Jieforc its breath the mists 
whi( h hid (lod and eternity from us disapi)car, so that the 
vanities a.ssume their true littleness, and the realities stand 
out once more in their impressive grandeur. From the dis- 
tracting noises of the world, whirh drown the 'still small 
voice,' (lod, through atthction, lovingly leads His children out 
into the wilderness, that there He may commune with them 
alone, and * speak comfortably to them, giving them their 
vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of 
hope. ' 

Aflliction gives much Jiclp^ too, in serious self study. The 
heart is ' deceitful above all things,' and even the Christian 
knows very little of himself. Affliction lets down a blazing 
torch for him into the depths of his nature ; and he sees many 
things which he little expected to see. He finds his faith 
weak where he thought it strong, his views dim where he 
thought them clear, his pride stubborn where he thought it 
broken. Thus afflictions of every kind are trials — testing 
and revealing agencies, — that the believer may know himself, 
and be led to cry to his Father for wisdom and strength. 

Such a case as that of Epaphroditus — where, from an im- 
portant field of Christian labour, a workman, very efficient 
and seemingly much needed, is laid aside by long and severe 
sickness, or, it may be, removed permanently by death — has 
obviously special difficulties of its own, with relation to Christ's 
administration of His kingdom of grace. This good man has 
been brought across the sea, and through manifold dangers, 
to succour the aged apostle, and cheer him by undertaking in 
his room some portion of the work which, through God's 
providence, he is prevented from doing personally. He has 
begun this work most successfully, and the weary heart of 
the noble old soldier of Jesus Christ is finding great comfort 
in this loving and energetic friend, — when the Lord's own 
hand suddenly prostrates him utterly, and the shadow of death 

2 20 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

falls upon him. How often we ourselves have felt the diffi- 
culty, my brethren, — when a wise Christian father was taken 
away from his children at the very time they were about fully 
to face the temptations of life, and seemed most to need his 
watchful, prayerful, guiding love, — or a young minister at home, 
or missionary abroad, who appeared to us to have been by 
grace polished with singular completeness as a shaft to pierce 
the heart of the King's enemies, is removed at the very out- 
set of his work ! All such cases have peculiarly impressive 
teaching for those who have ears to hear. I doubt not that 
Epaphroditus, as he lay on his bed of pain and weariness, 
was taught by his sickness, as Milton by the blindness which 
severed him from his old modes of work, that 

* God doth not need 
Either man's work or His own gifts,' — 

that even those instruments which He has made and fitted 
most perfectly for His work may at any moment be broken, 
whilst yet ' the Word of God liveth and abideth for ever,' — 
that He Himself is the All-efficient, and most rightfully claims 
all the glory. 

Severe as the illness of Epaphroditus was, it was not unto 
death. * God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on 
me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.^ The earnest 
cry of the apostle to the great Giver and Sustainer of life was 
heard ; so that upon the trouble which he already had, as a 
prisoner, compassed inevitably with various sources of distress, 
there was not laid the additional and very heavy sorrow which 
the death of this beloved and most helpful friend would have 
caused. In mercy to Epaphroditus himself, too, the recovery 
came. I can imagine a little wonderment occurring for a 
moment to some readers, at this part of the apostle's state- 
ment. Is not this he who told us but a short time ago, that, 
for the believer, ' to depart is to be with Christ, which is far 
better'? Can he then, with justice, call it a manifestation of 

VERS. 25-30-] Mission of Epaphrodilus. 221 

mercy to tliis eminent servant of Christ, that, after having 
endured very much of tlie bitterness of death — after having 
passed far through the dreariness of the valley of the sharlow — 
he should yet be withheld from entering on that * far better* 
lot, antl should be brought back to the perplexities, and sins, 
and sorrows of this earthly life ? 

In answer, it may be said that the Christian in full spiritual 
health, knowing that God makes * all things work together for 
good to them that love Him,' will hold all providential deal- 
ings, whatever be their aspect to the eye of sense, as mercies; 
and therefore * praise will continually be in his mouth.' At 
midnight, in the inner prison, their backs bleeding from unjust 
stripes, Paul and Silas ' sang praises to God.' If from illness 
a Christian recovers, he will praise God for the mercy of 
restoration ; if he dies, he passes out into the sphere of the 
full, glorious, unclouded manifestation of divine mercy. 

But though this is true and important, yet, as an answer, it 
is plainly inadequate ; for when Paul uses the expression * God 
had mercy on Epaphroditus,' as simply equivalent to an inti- 
mation of the fact that ' Epaphroditus recovered from his 
illness,' he obviously leads us to suppose, not merely that 
Epaphroditus was ready to acquiesce in either issue, and count 
it a mercy, but that this particular issue was desired and prayed 
for by him as a mercy. It was natural and right that it should 
be so. And the little difficulty is solved by a moment's con- 
sideration. Christianity proves itself to have the same Author 
as man, by according in everj'thing with our original nature — the 
nature which God gave us, — opposing itself only to the per- 
versities, the secondary superinduced nature, due to sin. Now 
our instincts lead us to love life; and the convictions and 
aftections which belong to the purest and loftiest spirituality 
give strength to this instinctive longing. The love to God and 
man which the cordial acceptance of the gospel awakens, 
prompts to ardent desires and earnest efforts for the advance- 
ment of the kingdom of Christ. Thus, looking at the powers 

22 2 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. ii. 

and opportunities we have here to exercise influence for Christ, 
the Christian feels, as none other can, the inestimable precious- 
ness and nobleness of life. It argues therefore not elevated 
spirituality, but spiritual morbidness, spiritual ignorance and 
cowardice, if, so long as God continues power to serve Him, 
longings and prayers for speedy death be allowed to occupy 
the heart, — desire of the personal happiness and rest which 
heaven will give gaining more influence than the desire of use- 
fulness, the desire of ' serving our generation by the will of 
God.' A 'good soldier of Jesus Christ' will not be wishful 
to quit his post, so long as the Captain of salvation continues 
with him the means of maintaining it. It was natural, then, 
and right, for Epaphroditus, stricken down by illness in the 
midst of important labours, and while full of strength and hope, 
to wish and pray for prolonged life. 

As the years flit on, and loved ones pass away before us to 
heaven, and the infirmities of age show themselves, 'the keepers 
of the house trembling, and the strong men bowing themselves/ 
— or, in earlier life, when months and years of feebleness, and 
weariness, and pain, bring home the sad conviction of perma- 
nent incapacity alike for the work and the pleasures of earth, — 
it becomes natural then, and reasonable, to have the patriarch's 
' I would not live alway ' much before the heart. In cases like 
these, the Divine Captain is, in His providence, intimating His 
purpose to withdraw the soldier from his post; and, by turning 
the longings alike of nature and of grace toward the peace and 
the energy of the other life. He meetens the soul for the change. 
* I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far 
better,' says the war-worn veteran of the faith, now ' such an 
one as Paul the aged;' — but mark, he is ' in a strait betwixt 
two ' in his feelings on this matter even yet, and, so long as 
any duty remains for him to do, he would rather stay to do it. 
Still, at the shouting of the Lord's adversaries, the old soldier's 
eye flashes, and with renewed ardour he girds on his sword 
again, and takes his place, to defend the cause and the friends 

VERS. 25-30.] Mission of lipaphroditiis. 223 

of Him he loves; .md a^ain his Ijalllc-rry rings out loud and 
clear. 'To abide in the llesh is niore needful for you: and 
having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue 
with you all, for your furtherance and joy of faith.' 

When the prayer of Kpaphroditus was heard, and he came 
back from the gates of the unseen world, we cannot doubt that 
it was to enter on a life of even more devotedness than he had 
before shown. An enemy of God may sometimes take up 
again the weapons of his unholy warfare, even after being by 
the divine mercy restored from severe illness ; for if, as our 
Lord tells us, even the sight of a man returned from the dead 
would not work faith in those who refuse to hear Moses and 
the proi)hets, no doubt such an approach to resurrection in 
one's own experience as was granted to Epaphroditus may fail. 
But it may safely be declared impossible that an earnest, active 
Christian like Epaphroditus could be dealt with as he was, and 
not be a more profoundly spiritually-minded man, and more 
resolute to * work while it is called to-day,' than he had ever 
been. He blessed Him 'with whom are the issues from death,' 
and dedicated his renewed life to His glory. 

Observe the glimpse which we have here of the spiritual 
training through which God brought His illustrious servant 
Paul, — a glimpse fitted to bring the apostle nearer to us, and 
give his example and his teaching greater power over us. The 
points in which the apostles differed from ordinary believers — 
the inspiration and miraculous power which they received to 
qualify them for their peculiar work — sometimes, I think, hide 
from us a little the fact that,, as men by nature sinful, but 
guided onward and upward by divine grace, their spiritual ex- 
perience was, in all important respects, similar to that of other 
believers. You see here, that though, as regards signs and 
wonders as well as energy and success, Paul was * not a whit 
behind the very chiefest apostles,' — though at Ephesus, as we 
read, ' special miracles were wrought by the hands of Paul, so 
that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or 

224 Lectures 07i Philippians, [cH. 11. 

aprons, and the diseases departed from them/ — yet the disci- 
pHne of spending days or weeks by the sick-bed of a dear 
friend, of anxiously watching the varying pulse, of wrestling 
with God for mercy, of seeing with trembling alternations of 
hope and fear the slow return of life, — this precious discipline 
could not be withheld from Paul. When the idolaters of 
Ephesus were to be convinced that the kingdom of God was 
come nigh to them, then a handkerchief from Paul's body 
could at once bring health to the diseased ; but when Paul 
himself, and his helpers, were, through the teaching of afflic- 
tion, to have their spiritual life beautified and strengthened, 
then Epaphroditus had to languish in sore illness, and from the 
bank of the dark river come back by slow stages, — and Tro- 
phimus had to be ' left at Miletum sick.' 

One of the apostle's reasons for sending Epaphroditus to 
Philippi was the intense desire of Epaphroditus himself to 
revisit his home and friends : ' For he longed after you ail, and 
was full of heavi?iess because that ye had heard that he had been 
sick.'' There are probably not a few among us, who from our 
own experience can illustrate this statement, — recalling how, 
after a severe illness away from home, amid the nervous weak- 
ness of convalescence an intense longing took possession of the 
heart to see again the kind faces which had smiled on us in 
childhood, and hear the old familiar tones of love. The par- 
ticular form which the feeling took in the case before us was 
such as to show a very gentle and amiable character. Epa- 
phroditus knew that many among the PhiHppian Christians 
cherished a lively affection for him ; and, being aware that they 
had heard of his illness, he knew that there would be among 
them much grief and anxiety. Under these circumstances, it 
seemed to him as if he could not have comfort of spirit again 
in returning to his evangelistic work, until he and his friends 
had once more looked each other in the face. There was here 
a certain womanly tenderness, which some men would have 
called weakness. Paul does not call it such, and evidently 

VERS. 25-30.] Mission of Rpaphroditus. 225 

docs not think it lie knew the manly robustness of 
spirit, tile decision and energy and devoledness, wliidi had 
made Kpaphroditus his honoured 'companion in labour and 
fellow-soldier;' and to liim, I doubt not, the clement of soft- 
ness and sweetness, brought out in the languor of the recovery, 
exhibited a new charm. 

Not merely did Kpaphroditus long to return to Philippi, but 
the aj)ostlc himself thought it every way desirable. How beau- 
tifully the tenderness of his character also is illustrated in this 
little paragraph ! * God had mercy on him,' he says, ' and not 
on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon 
sorrow. / send him therefore the more carefully^ that when ye see 
him iii:;ain ye may rejoice^ and that I may be the less sorroiuftiC 
*■ I feel it such a blessing to myself to have Kpaphroditus back 
again from the edge of the grave, that I cannot but wish you, 
his Philippian friends and mine, to be sharers in my satisfac- 
tion, through resuming i>ersonal intercourse with him. You 
will be made glad, I know ; and though I shall greatly miss 
his kind and aftectionate attentions to me, and his pleasant 
Christian converse, yet it will gratify me much to feel that his 
return has gratified you. The dreariness of my imprisonment 
will remain, yet it will seem less gloomy to me, — I shall be the 
less sorrowful, — through my knowledge that you are happy in 
his society.' How exquisite is this Christian courtesy ! 

In the 29th and 30th verses the apostle exhibits the duty 
of the Philippians towards Kpaphroditus. ' Receive hijn therefore 
in the Lord with all gladness^ and hold such in reputation ; 
because for the work of Christ he was nigh utito deaths — not 
regarding his life, to supply your lack of sennce toward me.'' To 
our ears these last words have somewhat of a reproachful 
sound ; but it is evident from the whole tone of the context, 
both here and in a passage in one of the Kpistles to the Cor- 
inthians, where similar words occur,^ that the apostle has no 
thought of reproach in using them. He simply means to show 

^ I Cor. xvi. 17. 

2 26 Lectttres on Philippians. [ch. it. 

how much he owes to Epaphroditus, and to commend him to 
the love of the PhiHppians, by mentioning his having with 
affectionate soUcitude rendered to the aged prisoner those 
personal services which the other Philippians would, no doubt, 
according to the testimony of their whole conduct, gladly have 
rendered, but were by absence prevented. 

In these verses, you see, the apostle states a fact regarding 
his friend's illness, which had naturally drawn out his sympathy 
with peculiar intensity. The illness was directly traceable to 
his devotion to the Master's service. The particular way in 
which it was brought on is not mentioned. The cause might 
be exposure or over-exertion on the journey by land and sea 
to aid the apostle, or in his attendance on him, or in preach- 
ing the gospel in Rome ; but, be this as it may, certainly in 
some way it was ^for the work of Christ ' that ' he was nigh 
unto death.' It is not by any means impossible that some- 
thing of imprudence, in the way of undue exposure or labour, 
had aided in bringing on the illness. It very frequently is so 
in such cases ; and it is exceedingly probable, I think, that if 
Paul recognised anything of this kind, the same wise and 
watchful affection which led him to enjoin on his zealous 
young friend Timothy some consideration of his delicate con- 
stitution and * often infirmities,' might prompt also a quiet 
word of caution to Epaphroditus. But the soul of the faithful 
old servant of Christ was refreshed by the sight of the impru- 
dence of holy devotedness. His heart had been distressed by 
seeing some, of whom he had hoped well, ' seeking their own 
things, not those which are Jesus Christ's ;' and the fervour of 
zeal, and grand self-forgetfulness, of Epaphroditus came to him 
like a draught of cold water in a thirsty land. 

The fact that * for the work of Christ ' Epaphroditus had 
incurred his affliction, evidently gave him a very strong claim 
on the love and veneration of all the followers of Christ. It 
behoved the Philippian church, therefore, to ' receive him in the 
Lord with all gladness ' — not merely to give him the welcome 

VF.RS. 25-30.] Mission of npaphrodilus. 227 

of a friend, but to rejoice over him with fervent brotlierly 
afVection, as one in whom the transforming power of the grace 
of Christ liad been signally shown, — and to ^ hold' very speci- 
ally*/// reputation' him and all who, like him, glorified the 
Redeemer by self-sacrificing zeal in His cause. Knowing the 
warm-hearted IMiilippians as he did, Paul could have no doubt 
that the reception of his messenger would be indeed * with all 
gladness.' You remember the enthusiastic welcome which 
was accorded among us a year or two ago to the brave young 
American who had encountered innumerable perils to carry 
aid to the illustrious missionary pioneer of Central Africa, 
David Livingstone. We felt as if in helping the noble old 
man, whom all of us had come to think of as a personal 
friend, he had helped ourselves. We know what pleasure 
and sense of honour would be felt if Florence Nightingale 
presented herself under our roof, or under the roof of any 
true-hearted countryman of those wounded soldiers of the 
Crimea, for whom she cared so wisely and lovingly, and who 
kissed her very shadow on the wall, as she passed through 
the wards of the hospital. Somewhat like this would be the 
position of Epaphroditus on his return to Philippi, The 
knowledge of his heroism and self-devotion in the cause of 
the Saviour they loved, and this in discharging the duties of 
a ministry for the relief and comfort of their dear friend and 
spiritual father the apostle, could not but lead them to feel it 
a peculiar privilege and honour to be permitted to welcome 
him once more among them. 

No one, I think, my friends, can attentively read the para- 
graph we have now examined, and that immediately preceding, 
without feeling that they supply fine illustrations of the exqui- 
site beauty of the Apostle Paul's character. How gloriously 
free, unreserved, and unselfish his commendations of Timothy 
and Epaphroditus, and how tender and loving the heart from 
which they came ! And even with these friends, so dear and 
so needful to him, the aged servant of Christ, worn with 

2 28 Lectures on Philippiaiis. [ch. in. 

labour and suffering, is willing, 'for the work of Christ,' to 
part, — and to be left alone ! This is he who aforetime ' was 
a persecutor, a blasphemer, and injurious' — who 'entered into 
every house, and, haling men and women, committed them 
to prison,' because they did not think in religion as he did. 
Let us praise the power of divine grace, brethren ; — and let 
us 'be followers together of him,' in the sweetness of spirit, 
and self-sacrificing zeal for all that is true and beautiful and 
good, to which ' the love of Christ constrained him ! ' 

VER. I.] Joy in the Lord. 229 


' Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord, To write the same things to 
you, to nie indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.' — I'll 1 1.. iii. i. 

EVANGELICAL religion, my brethren, is often charged 
with making men gloomy and morose, — averse to 
sharing in the innocent pleasures of life, and prone to frown 
on the enjoyments of others, simply because they are enjoy- 
ments. Beyond doubt, this accusation is very widely enter- 
tained by the carnal heart, as a plausible ground for resistance 
to the claims of the gospel. To the young especially, who 
feel themselves impelled by the warmth and buoyancy of their 
nature to every form of delight, Christianity thus misconceived 
cannot but be in the highest degree repulsive. This charge 
against religion finds some seeming support in the demeanour 
of a considerable number of Christians, in whom, from defec- 
tive views of duty, the gospel is not permitted freely to exert 
its sweetening and beautifying power on a naturally ungenial 
temper. But such persons grievously misrepresent the spirit 
of the religion they profess. Many of us, I trust, know from 
our own experience that the truth as it is in Jesus, cordially 
and intelligently received, is a perennial spring of joy for the 
believer himself, and of sympathy with all true and innocent 
happiness in others. Jesus, in His humiliation, was a ' Man of 
sorrows,' because He bore the weight of the world's guilt, and 
* it pleased the Lord to put Him to grief;' but when the bitter 
work of expiation was finished, then He was * anointed with 
the oil of gladness.' Christians, His brethren, are ' quickened 
together with Him.' They are sharers in this new life of 

230 Lecttcres on Philippians, [ch. hi. 

triumphant gladness. Their burden is removed, and they 
have entered into 'glorious liberty.' They know, indeed, the 
seriousness of life, and thus their happiness is tinged with 
gravity ; but for that very reason it is deep, and broad, and 
lasting. In a world like this, where death is the one great 
certainty, any joy which is not tempered with seriousness can 
be only like the crackling of a fire of thorns, where speedily 
again all is cold and dark. 

The verse before us is one of many passages of Scripture 
which proclaim happiness to be the regular and becoming 
tone of the believing heart. Nothing in the language em- 
ployed by the apostle needs lengthened explanation. The 
introductory word ' Finally ' leads us to expect the close of the 
Epistle to be near. As a matter of fact, we have nearly the half 
yet before us. It is reasonable to suppose, therefore, that some 
circumstance led Paul to write more than he had intended. 
At this point we shall have occasion to look a little more 
closely when we come to the consideration of the next verse, 
which introduces a new subject. 

Our idiomatic use of the phrase ' rejoice in ' leads us naturally 
to take the apostle's precept here, ' Rejoice in the Lord^ as 
meaning, ' Rejoice in the contemplation and experience of His 
excellences.' In reality, the sense is somewhat more general 
than this. '/;/ the Lord'' exhibits the thought of vital union to 
the Saviour, — dearest of all thoughts to the Christian, and 
which by this phrase Paul, as you know, delights to set forth 
in regard to every department of the believer's inner and outer 
life. He had urged the Philippians, two verses before, to 
receive Epaphroditus ' in the Lord,' — ' with the spirit which 
union to the Saviour produces and sustains.' So here ' Rejoice 
as Christians.^ ' Being in the Lord, be full of gladness, for a 
Christian ought to be happy ; but see to it always that your 
sources of joy are in the Lord, — such as become saints.' 

In the course of the Epistle, the apostle has again and again 
expressed his desire that his readers might have spiritual 

VER. I.] Joy in the Lord, 2 


joy ;' but a sense of its importance so impresses him that he re- 
turns to the suljject here, — as we shall find him doing once more 
in the 4th verse of the next chapter, — V^r,' says he, *io lurite the 
same thin\^s to you^ to nw indeed is not j^ria'ous, but for you it 
is safe' The natural tendency of a mind so energetic and 
originative as Paul's was to expatiate ever in fresh fields ; hut 
he knew it to be in many cases ^ safe' — eminently salutary — for 
his readers, that he should keep certain truths much before 
their minds, and therefore Christian love made it ^ tiot ^rievous^ 
•to him to do this. The apostle here indirectly gives a hint not 
unnecdcd in our time, I think, by both ministers and congre- 
gations. The greater the freshness with which divine truth 
can be illustrated, the better always, because thus interest is 
maintained ; but it must never be forgotten that the same 
truth, substantially, which nourished our souls last year — the 
same truth, substantially, which nourished the souls of Paul 
and the Phili[)pians — must sustain us this year also, and on to 
death, and through death. However much a Christian may be 
interested in various lines of religious speculation, yet he lives 
spiritually through the loving, believing contemplation of those 
grand central verities which have become the commonplaces 
of our religious knowledge. ' To say the same things ' to 
their hearers, then, unaltered essentially, whatever variety and 
newness there be in form, will not be 'grievous' to earnest 
ministers of Jesus Christ, because for their hearers it is ' safe.' 
The craving for novelty and originality, which is particularly 
apt to beset both preachers and hearers in an age like ours, so 
full of sensationalism in life and in literature, passes very easily 
from the innocent into the morbid ; and is often, really, one 
cannot but fear, the outcome of repugnance to the soul- 
humbling ' faith once delivered to the saints.' It was not a 
sign of health or of wisdom, when the Israelites said of the 
manna which they had been eating for forty years, ' Our soul 
loatheth this light bread.' 

^ Generally, in chap. i. 25, 26 ; in special connections, ii. iS, 2S. 

232 Lcdicres on PJiilippians, [ch. hi. 

Having thus glanced at the meaning of the verse generally, 
we shall go on now to consider the force of the apostle's pre- 
cept somewhat more in detail. 

To an unregenerate man the happiness of Christians is un- 
intelligible. It belongs to a sphere with which he has no 
acquaintance. He sees, to a certain extent, the restraints 
which religion imposes ; but of its blessed communion with 
God he sees and can apprehend nothing. Its hopes appear to 
him visionary; and point to a kind of future life for which he 
has no desire. His heart knows that the pleasures of the- 
world do not yield him full satisfaction, and cries out more or 
less articulately for some nobler and better happiness ; but 
the mists which natural alienation from God has gathered 
around him prevent him from seeing that the cup of salvation, 
offered him by Jesus, holds the water of life which can slake 
his soul's thirst. He cannot think the * yoke ' of Jesus to be 
' easy,' and His ' burden ' to be ' light,' and that to bear this 
* yoke ' and * burden ' is, in truth, rest. ' The natural man 
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are 
foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they 
are spiritually discerned.' 

But the man who, through faith, is ' in the Lord,' and thus, 
taught by His indwelling Spirit, has true wisdom, sees ever 
more clearly, if there be in him any approach to vigorous 
religious vitaUty, the reasonableness of his being happy. Even 
if at times he is not happy, still he feels that a Christian ought 
to be happy. Nothing in God's universe certainly is so fitted 
to produce and sustain gladness of spirit as the boundless, 
unwearying, tender love of the Saviour. Out in the world we 
found that the springs and streams might be named ' Marah,' 
because the water was bitter ; but in Christ our hearts are 
satisfied with blessing. * With joy we draw water out of the 
wells of salvation.' Gently and tenderly, not harshly reminding 
us of our rebellion and folly, but cheering our hearts with looks 
and tones of comfort, He has led us home, — away from the 

vi:r. I.] Joy in the Lord. 233 

wilderness of our wanderings and woe to the city that He has 
l)uili for our security. And the citizens of the spiritual Zion 
may well ' he joyful in their King.' What city, dear friends, is 
hkc unto our city? ' IJeautiful for situation, the joy of the 
whole earth, is Mount /ion.' * (ilorious things arc spoken of 
the city of (iod.' ' He hath called her walls Salvation, and 
her gates Praise.' From her towers Christ's i)eople can see the 
billows of Satan's warfare rushing on in wild fury, but broken 
on the walls and scattered into thin foam. Within the walls is 
peace, and *j)rosperity within her palaces.' Through the 
midst of the city flows the river of life ; and on cither side of 
the river are seen the fiir-stretching branches of the tree of life, 
whose fragrance is wafted through every street, and whose 
leaves are for the healing of the nations. The Saviour King 
Himself abides among us. You have seen His face and heard 
His voice, have you not, Christian brethren? In His relations 
to us He shows matchless tenderness and condescension. He 
mingles kindly with His people. To all our petitions His ear 
is open ; to all our wants His bounteous hand. We find His 
law to be a simple one, — that we should desire and strive after 
all that is noble and beautiful and good — that we should be 
pure, and loving, and patient, and godly. Love for Him makes 
the law pleasant to us ; and we learn every day to love it more 
and more for its own excellence. Thus * His yoke is easy, 
and His burden light.' His service is * glorious liberty.' In 
the sorrows of life we never look in vain to Him for sympathy, 
tender and brotherly, — for He remembers the old time when 
He Himself dwelt out in the wilderness, and when He wept 
at the grave of His friend. When the weakness and folly of 
our days of wandering come back upon us for a time, and 
we sin, — we find Him no hard, avenging taskmaster, but a 
gracious Lord. ' The people that dwell in Zion are forgiven 
their iniquity.' Our gracious Redeemer, as ye know, dear 
brethren, is to us in all things a light, a glory, and a defence. 
In every danger, and perplexity, and sorrow, here rests our 

2 34 Lectures 07t Philippiaiis. [ch. hi. 

confidence, that * The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Law- 
giver, the Lord is our King, — He will save us.' It is certainly- 
reasonable, my friends, that all who are ' in the Lord' should 
rejoice in His goodness. 

We have perfect security, too, that His kindness will be co7i- 
tirmed to us. Xo power can pluck us out of our Saviour's 
hand ; for, in Him, with ineffable goodness is conjoined an 
infinite greatness — a power, and wealth, and wisdom, which 
pass knowledge. This is ' the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord 
mighty in battle.' 'His name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, 
the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.' 
In Him, to the truest and tenderest sympathy of a man who 
has struggled and suffered as we have, are united all the per- 
fections of supreme Godhead. We have many and bitter 
spiritual enemies ; but if we be ' in the Lord,' we cannot by 
possibility be permanently vanquished. The plan of defence 
is conceived by His wisdom 'whose understanding is infinite ;' 
all the details are carried out, and the human and other 
instrumentalities controlled, by Him 'whose eyes run to and 
fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the 
behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him ;' and the ends 
are certainly and gloriously secured by His power who ' doeth 
according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the 
inhabitants of the earth.' * Have we not known, have we 
not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator 
of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary;' and 
that He, this everlasting God — who 'was made flesh and 
dwelt among us, full of grace and truth,' — that He is the 
Saviour in whom we are called to trust ? ' Beautiful ex- 
ceedingly are the feet of them who say unto Zion, "Thy God 
reigneth.'' ' 

Your security is perfect^ Christian ; — and for ez'er. The law of 
death throws a shadow over all mere earthly friendship and 
))rotection and joy; but they that are 'in the Lord' may rejoice 
in the knowledge of unending love and care. Jesus died for 

VER. I.] Joy in the Lord. 235 

sin once ; but having, by His glorious resurrection, proved 
Himself the Prince of Life, He is now 'alive for evermore,' — 
alive for evermore as the God-man, our Kinsman Redeemer. 
His immortality is the immortality of His goodness and of 
His greatness. There will be no change throughout eternity 
in His full desert of the warmest love and gratitude and 
devotion of His people. Whom He loveth, He ' loveth to 
the end!' And through this undying love, ' because He liveth,' 
all who are in Him * live also,' in holiness and joy kindred 
to His, — and this for evermore. We must leave the Zion 
beloNv indeed, but the gracious Saviour has built for us a far 
more glorious Zion above. Thither ' shall come the ran- 
somed of the Lord, with songs and everlasting joy upon their 
heads.' The joys which we find so sweet in Zion here, are 
but faint foretastes of those which are provided for us there. 
Here Sve know in part;' there * we shall know even as also 
we are known.' Here we see but dimly, through faith. Him 
whom our souls love ; there, face to face, we shall * behold the 
King in His beauty,' we shall be ravished with the ' open 
vision' of ' the Altogether Lovely.' Here on earth, even in 
Zion, are found sin and its constant shadows, death and sorrow ; 
but by the river of life yonder there is * nothing that defileth,' 
and, consequently, ' no more death, neither sorrow, nor cr}'ing, 
neither any more pain.' The King's sers'ants there ' serve 
Him day and night in His temple;' and He ' wipes away all 
tears from their eyes.' 

Certainly, my brethren, a Christian has good grounds for a 
happiness infinitely transcending all the pleasure which can be 
yielded by any advantages of the world — 'a joy unspeakable 
and full of glory.' He may well say, * I will greatly rejoice in 
the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God ; for He hath 
clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered 
me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh 
himself with ornaments, and as a bride adometh herself with 
her jewels.' 

236 Lectures on Philippiajis. [cii. iii. 

The intelligent believer finds every day new sustenance for 
spiritual happiness in the view of God's doings without, as well 
as in his growing experimental acquaintance with saving grace. 
' In the Lord/ we know His Father as our Father. The divine 
dealings toward us, therefore, of every kind, we recognise as 
Fatherly dealings. Thus, in the contemplation of providence, 
there is for us an unfailing source of joy. In the days before 
our spiritual enlightenment, when, 

' In blindness, we remained unconscious of the guiding, 
And things provided came without the sweet sense of providing,' 

— the pleasure which prosperity brought us was of a low cha- 
racter, belonging largely indeed, in many cases, to the mere 
animal nature. It ' perished with the using.' Now, the natural 
satisfaction which outward comforts bring is pervaded and 
glorified by the thankfulness of hearts rejoicing in their Father's 
goodness. This joy tends to become ever deeper and richer, 
with growing spiritual wisdom and experience. The voice of 
praise in the new man becomes ever more distinct and ringing, 
— ' Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits ; 
who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies.' 
But adversity may come. Clouds may gather, and hide the 
sun. Anxiety, pain, bereavement, may be appointed to us. 
True ; but the fact that a Father has appointed the trouble, that 
the clouds have been gathered by a Father s word, will prevent 
despondency, and maintain peace. He has sent the affliction 
to us for the purposes of wise and gracious discipline ; and He 
makes * all things to work together for good to them that love 
Him.' Joy, in the sense of buoyant delight, may scarce be 
possible, seeing that * no chastening for the j)resent seemeth to 
be joyous, but grievous.' Eminently lofty faith can reach even 
to this point. Paul speaks of himself in one place as ' sorrow- 
fiil, yet alway rejoicing ;* and in another, as * filled with comfort, 
exceeding joyful in all his tribulation.' But, tliough such a 
sublime height as this may be rarely attained by the children 

VER. I. "I Joy in the Lord, 237 

of God, when in sore trial, yet the heart of every beh'cver who 
is in si)iritual hcaltli will * rest in the Lord, and wait patiently 
for Ilini.' It is with the Christian soul as with the ocean, — 
the wildest tempests ruflle only the surface ; the depths are 

The ordinary innocent enjoyments of life obtain ' in the 
Lord* a new charm. He who began His miracles by contri- 
buting to social pleasure, does, in truth, for His people, every- 
where and at all times, change the water into wine — the common 
into the noble, refreshing, brightening. To think of our 
capacities of joy, and the means of gratifying those capacities, 
as given by Him who ' gave Himself for us,' and whom the 
faith of a simple, loving, Christian heart can see looking down 
with a smile of love on all really innocent pleasure, — this 
glorifies even the delights of earth. Friendship has an added 
sweetness, — nature a new and glorious beauty, as when on a 
landscape which lay in gloom the sunlight breaks forth, — study 
a satisfaction altogether peculiar, in that now all intellectual 
improvement is felt to be polishing a shaft for the Master's 

But the Christian has a source of joy all his own, immeasur- 
ably deeper and more satisfying than any which are only of the 
earth, — in the service of Christ, and in seeing the progress of 
His kingdom. Next to the ineffable delight of seeing Jesus as 
our own Saviour, is the delight which fills the believer's heart 
in helping others to see Him as theirs. * What is our joy,- or 
crown of rejoicing?' says Paul to His converts in Thessalonica, 
— ' Are not even ye ? ' To be permitted to take part in the 
Saviour's great work of overthrowing the sin and wretchedness 
of the world, and preparing a people for His praise and for 
eternal blessedness, — to guide a wanderer into the way of 
peace, — to hear a prodigal, for whom we have prayed and with 
whom we have pleaded, cry, ' I will arise and go to my Father,' 
— Oh, my brethren, how sublime an honour this is, — how- 
exquisite a privilege ! The news, too, of the progress of the 


8 Lecher es on PJiilippians. [ch. hi. 

gospel, through the efforts of other labourers, is ' good tidings 
of great joy' to the earnest servant of Christ. It gladdens his 
heart to look abroad and see the name of his Saviour magnified. 
All praise to Him, my brethren, that this joy is given to us so 
largely in these days, — that in so many lands, and in so many 
languages, the heralds of the cross are making their proclama- 
tion of grace, — that the trumpet call rings so loudly in the ear 
of the church, 'Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory 
of the Lord is risen upon thee,' — that even now sanguine hope 
sees the strongholds of Satan tottering to their fall ! 

The reasons for the indisputable fact that 7na}iy Christians 
have but little experience of spiritual joy ^ are various. In some, 
the defect is in a great measure due to tempera?He?it. Of this 
class the Apostle Thomas may be taken as a type, — a man 
evidently by natural constitution moody, prone to look on the 
worst side of things, unable often to see springs of happiness 
which God had opened very near him. In many, as all our 
lunatic asylums bear witness, this nervous tendency to reHgious 
melancholy developes into positive insanity. There occurs 
at once to every mind the case of Cowper, — a Christian not 
merely signally gifted, but whose walk was eminently ' close 
with God,' yet much of whose life, and in particular its closing 
years, were spent in the darkness of utter despair. The care 
of a wise physician, and the watchful love of friends, may be of 
some service to this class of joyless Christians. But with some, 
as "with Cowper, the darkness remains unbroken, till death, the 
final and perfect cloud-dispeller for all who love Christ, brings 
relief. Oh, how kind a friend he whom nature calls ' the last 
enemy' approved himself, when 

* Woke the poet from the dream his life's long fever gave him, 
Beneath those deep pathetic Eyes, which closed in death to save him ! 

. . . No type of earth can image that awaking, — 
Wherein he scarcely heard the chant of seraphs, round him breaking, 
Or felt the new immortal throb of soul from body parted, 
But felt those Eyes alone, and knew, "J/j/ Saviour ! uoi deserted! " ' 

In other believers, again, spiritual gloom is caused by de- 

VER. I.] Joy ill iJic Lord, 239 

fcctive apprehetision of the fulticss atid frccness of the f^ospel. The 
'glorious liberty of the children uf Ciod' is by these but par- 
tially understood, so that, whilst at times rejoicing in the air 
of freedom, they ever and anon fall back under * the spirit of 
bondage, again to fear.' If in Christians thus imperfectly 
enlightened there be a lively imagination, which brings with 
vividness before them * the terrors of God, setting themselves 
in array against them,' the distress of soul is often very ter- 
rible. The experiences of Luther and of Bunyan, in the 
earlier years of their religious life, afford illustrations. In 
cases of this kind, where the nature is at all really healthy, 
growing knowledge of God and of His gosj)el gives emanci- 

But yet again, — in a lamentably large number of instances, 
the want of joy in religion is due to feeble spirituality, and 
indulgence in sin. Worldliness, perhaps, like a killing para- 
site on the trees of the wood, has wreathed itself round the 
energies of the soul, stifling and deadening. Or the pleasures 
of social life have stolen away the time once given to com- 
munion with God in prayer, and to kindly visits, ' in the 
behalf of Christ,' to the sick and poor. Desire of self-grati- 
fication in some form has for a time gained dominion ; and 
the result is the loss of joy. Mists inevitably rise from a soul 
which is cherishing sinful desire, and hide the face of God. 
We all know the circumstances under which David had to 
pray, ^Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.' It is well 
for a believer who has thus forgotten himself and his Saviour, 
when positive gloom takes possession of him. There is reason 
to hope that repentance, and the opening of his heart again 
to the cheering beams of the Sun of Righteousness, are at 
hand. In the sadness there is evidence that the Spirit is 
resuming the discharge of His mission as the Comforter, by 
* convincing of sin.' Far more really melancholy is the con- 
dition of those who have allowed themselves to come down 
into a state of simple indifference, — the heart lacking alike 

240 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

' the joy of the Lord,' and pain, through the sense that this 
joy is lacking. 

The verse now before us represents it as a duty of believers 
to be happy. Here, as in other places of his writings, the 
apostle gives 'Rejoice in the Lord ' distinctly as an injunc- 
tion. In such a connection, the word 'duty' or 'injunction' 
sounds strangely to us. We ask, ' Is this, then, a matter of 
the will?' The case of joy in this respect is closely analogous, 
I apprehend, to that of faith and love, neither of which is 
immediately dependent on the will, but both of which are 
expressly enjoined as duties. 'This is God's commandment,^ 
says the Apostle John, ' that we should believe on the name 
of His Son Jesus Christ, — and love one another, as He gave us 
commandment.' The imjuediate practical force of these words 
of John is, no doubt, this, — ' God commands us to examine, 
with seriousness and candour, the evidence that Jesus is His 
Son, and the Saviour of the world. Examined in such a 
spirit, the evidence will certainly produce conviction; and 
one fruit of the truth believed will certainly be a sincere and 
strong affection to the Christian brotherhood.' Similarly the 
precept, ' Rejoice in the Lord,' means practically, ' Have your 
thoughts much occupied with the blessedness, and glory, and 
security, of the relations into which faith has brought you 
with the Lord ; try, by thoughtfulness and prayer, to live 
in an atmosphere of childlike trustfulness in your heavenly 
Father ; in seasons of peculiarly strong temptation to gloom, 
direct your minds with peculiar intensity to the " exceeding 
great and precious promises " of the Divine Word. Thus your 
souls will be filled with joy.' The injunction, like all God's 
injunctions, is a most reasonable one. 

The duty is an important one, too. The tone of the apostle 
here and elsewhere brings this out very clearly. Nothing is 
more calculated to commend the gospel to those around us, 
than proof that its influence on the hearts which receive it is 
to make ihcm bright and happy. This commendation is, of 

VKK. I.] Joy in the Lord, 241 

course, specially iini)rcssivc, wlicrc outward circumstances arc 
of a kind naturally tending to sadden. When, in deep poverty, 
or on a bed of pain, a Christian is contented, calm, joyous ; 
there is here *an epistle of Christ' written in letters so large 
and fair, that even careless observers can hardly help reading 
its testimony to the reality and i)Otcncy of divine grace. 
Where the lights of this world have been in so large a mea- 
sure withdrawn, it must be plain that such brightness of heart 
can come only through a beam of sunshine straight from 
heaven to that heart. P'or the spiritual progress- of the be- 
liever himself, too, it is of ver)' much moment that he 'rejoice 
in the Lord.' Nehemiah's statement holds true for all time : 
* The joy of the Lord is your strength' W^e know the power 
of happiness, of a genial, buoyant spirit, in carrying forward 
the ordinary work of life. In the work of the spiritual life — 
resistance to temptation, and earnest labour for the Master — 
there is no sustaining power to be compared with joy. Walk- 
ing in darkness, enveloped in spiritual gloom, we move slowly, 
stumble, fall. In the sunshine, we press forward with bounding 
step in the way of God's commandments, ' running, and not 
weary ;' — wherefore, ' O house of Jacob, come ye and let us 
walk in the lieht of the Lord.' 

242 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 



* Beware of dogs ; beware of evil workers ; beware of the concision, 3 For 
we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice 
in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I 
might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh 
that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more : 5 Circum- 
cised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, 
an Hebrew of the Hebrews ; as touching the law, a Pharisee ; 6 Con- 
cerning zeal, persecuting the church ; touching the righteousness 
which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, 
those I counted loss for Christ, 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all 
things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my 
Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count 
them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in Him, not 
having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is 
through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by 
faith.' — Phil, iii, 2-9. 

THE power of Jesus over the hearts of His people, my 
brethren, is, as you know, the power of Godhead 
sweetly linked in everlasting union with that of human brother- 
hood. 'The Word that was God became flesh and dwelt 
among us, full of grace and truth.' The sympathy of the 
Brother who once struggled and suffered and felt weak and 
weary, as we do, is very sweet to us. In seasons when the 
night of sorrow and fear gathers dark around us, how it 
strengthens to feel the warm, kind hand of the human Saviour 
taking hold of ours to lead us, — the human Saviour, who has 
divine power and wisdom ! To this peculiar power in the in- 
carnate Word, the personal Revelation of God, there is some- 

VERS. 2-9.] y ustijicatioji by Faith. 243 

thing similar in the written word or revelation of (iod. It is 
easy to conceive that the IJible might have consisted wholly of 
direct divine utterances, such as those which the old j>rophets 
introduced by their * Thus saith the Lord,' — with the writers 
simply mechanical organs of communication. Men's own 
thoughts, indeed, in regard to a promised revelation of (iod's 
will, would jjrubably have anticipated such a liible. I>ut the 
tenderness of the divine love — the willingness of our heavenly 
Father to care for all the needs of His children — is seen in 
the fact that, in a very large part of Scripture, human feeling 
plainly pulsates freely, while yet all is of God. This feature is 
particularly marked in the letters of the apostles ; and every 
thoughtful reader knows the winningness of influence thus 
given to them. The teaching which is so divine, and yet 
so human, draws us to love it, as the Divine Man Himself 
draws us. 

A person seriously impressed with the importance of religion 
is like a man who finds himself called upon by matters of the 
highest moment to undertake a long and difficult journey, 
through countries wholly different in every respect from any 
with which his previous life has made him acquainted. He 
has, perhaps, accurate maps and carefully written sketches of 
the physical and political geography of the lands through which 
he has to pass. Still, how satisfying for him to meet a traveller 
who has personally accomplished the journey, and faithfully 
relates his experiences ! Now the apostolic letters, taken to- 
gether, and comparing one part with another, may be regarded 
as a kind of journal of travel, a diary of pilgrimage, from the 
City of Destruction to the Celestial City. We find set before 
us in them, with the utmost liveliness and fulness of detail, the 
aims, the failures, the successes, the hopes and fears and 
difficulties, of men naturally like ourselves depraved, but re- 
generated by that same grace which is freely ofi"ered to us. 
All the points of the route, and all the varieties of experience 
connected with them, come successively into view, — Valleys of 

244 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

Humiliation and of the Shadow of Death, Delectable Moun- 
tains and Plains of Beulah, — battles with the prince of evil, and 
hours of rest in the House Beautiful. This precious record 
does not, indeed, introduce us actually into the golden city, but 
it brings us to the very gates, — and the gates are ajar, to give 
us a glimpse of the glory. Nay, we seem even to hear the joy- 
bells already ringing for the welcome of the new citizen about 
to enter, — ' I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my 
departure is at hand. Henceforth there is laid up for me a 
crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, 
shall give me at that day.' But whilst this diary of spiritual 
travel, as I have called it, is thoroughly human, most really and 
honestly setting forth the movements of these men's souls, yet 
it is not less truly divine. Just here lies its perfect adaptation 
to our circumstances. It is most fully and winningly man's, 
and yet also most certainly and satisfyingly God's. The spirits 
of the apostles speak to us, and at the same time everywhere, 
through them, the Spirit of God. The diary of the pilgrims is 
the King's authorized and perfect guide to the way. 

No passage in the writings of the apostles, I think, better 
illustrates that most interesting feature of divine revelation of 
which I have been speaking, than the paragraph now before 
us. In reading it, every Christian is sensible that, in his heart, 
deep interest in the spiritual struggles of his fellow-man Paul 
stands side by side with thankful acceptance of the profound 
and precious divine teaching. 

You observe that in the 2d verse an entirely new subject is 
introduced, and this with a suddenness which, I think, you can 
hardly help feeling to be somewhat startling. Throughout the 
paragra})h, too, a reader is conscious of a quicker movement in 
the language than in the previous verses, indicating, it is natural 
to suppose, excitement of feeling in the writer. Taking these 
facts in connection with the apparent intimation in the ' Finally' 
of the I St verse, that at that point the apostle had nearly ended 
what he meant to say to his Philippian friends, whilst in fact 

VERS. 2-9.] y list ificai ion hy Faith. 245 

almost liair the letter is yet before us, — it seems not improbable 
that, just after that ist verse had been written, Paul received 
information of some fresh outbreak of hostility to pure Chris- 
tianity on the part of his Judaizing opponents in Rome, those 
of whom, he has said in tlie first chapter that they 'preached 
Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction 
to his bonds;' or possibly of their i)estilent activity in some 
other church, — and that he was thus led to warn the Philip- 
pians against the ix)ison of such men's teaching. 

The great thought illustrated in the passage is that humility — 
the absence of self-righteousness — renunciation of confidence in 
everything except divine grace — is of the essence of vital, sav- 
ing religion. The most satisfactory mode of treatment, there- 
fore, may be, perhaps, to glance first at the subject generally, 
and then, with the principles clearly before our minds, to 
examine the details of the apostle's statement. 

The grand fundamental truth of morals, my brethren, is that 
God's will is absolutely perfect, and therefore that, in His 
creatures, goodness is simply harmony of will w^ith Him. Only 
on this principle, accepted as a basis, can a character truly 
beautiful and noble be reared. Wherever divergence enters — 
any thought of the possession of wisdom to construct for our- 
selves, without the teaching of God, a satisfactory plan of life, — 
there are folly and sin. You remember that, in the Lord's 
great parabolic picture of sin and grace, desire to be indepen- 
dent of God, and the fancy that a scheme of life of man's 
own invention can yield happiness, are exhibited as the spring 
of sin. * A certain man had two sons, and the younger of them 
said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that 
falleth to me.' The root of all sin, you see, and thus of all 
misery, is pride — resolution to assert against God a claim to 

Accordingly, God's plan of salvation for men — which has as 
its great aim our moral renovation, the lifting of us up into a 
new sphere of thought and feeling — has at every point what is 

246 LecttL7^es on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

calculated to lead us to view God alone as the Fountain of 
wisdom, and strength, and happiness. The gospel proclaims 
explicitly everywhere that, from the nature of things, God must 
have all the glory of man's deliverance, and that only those 
who cordially consent that it should be so can be delivered. 
So long as we dream of being in any measure independent of 
Him, we keep ourselves beyond the sweep of salvation. ' God 
resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.' 

The claim of the divine law is, that man should render to 
God perfect obedience, or suffer death as the penalty of dis- 
obedience. Our whole race has sinned, and thus become 
liable to the penalty. But the Son of God, freely given by His 
Father, freely giving Himself, has assumed our nature, and as 
our Substitute — accepted as such by His Father, who in the 
scheme of redemption sustains the majesty of the Godhead — 
has fulfilled all the law's requirements, — living a true human life 
of holy obedience, as we were bound to do, and dying the 
death of pain and shame which we deserve to suffer. To all 
who believe the gospel, and are thus led to place their con- 
fidence in Christ, God, of His infinite mercy, imputes this 
perfect righteousness of the Saviour — reckons it as theirs — 
treats them as if they had themselves been righteous, like their 
Representative. This is the great doctrine of justification by 
faith. You see how humbling it is to man. The faith through 
which we obtain justification involves an acknowledgment of 
the reality and exceeding evil of our sin, and of our own utter 
helplessness. We come to God confessing that the robe of our 
personal character is but ' filthy rags,' in which we dare not 
stand in His sight ; and we receive from Him the ample, stain- 
less, fragrant robe of the Redeemer's righteousness. 

Now the same pride that leads men to their life of sin 
naturally [prompts them to resist the claims of the gospel, which 
offers them, on such terms, deliverance from the curse and 
power of sin. Most naturally also, in a vast multitude of cases 
where Christian teaching is to some extent accepted, the 

VKRS. 2-9.] yustificatlon by Faith. 247 

accci)tancc is, tlirough tlic sclf-dccciving energy of the heart, 
of teaching so modified as to leave pride still room for exercise, 
and, just in so far, to remove from God's mesfJage the element 
which makes it the * gospel,* the word of glad tidings to ruined 
men. In persons who, from temperament or circumstances, 
have been awakened to a sense of the reality and ill-desert of 
their sin, the question 'How shall I be saved?' sometimes 
takes the form of ' What shall I endure for salvation ? ' As the 
heathen asks, ' Wherewithal shall I come before the Lord, and 
bow myself before the High God ? Shall I give my first-bom 
for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my 
soul?' so, under Romish Christianity, penances and ascetic 
austerities are resorted to as a propitiation for guilt. The pride 
of self-righteousness is gratified by the thought that the sinner 
does something for himself to supplement the atoning work of 
Jesus ; but foul dishonour is thus cast on the perfect sacrifice 
of Calvary. Among those who, like ourselves, have been 
brought up under the influences of Protestantism, the opposi- 
tion of the carnal nature to the humbling work of the gospel 
much more frequently takes the form of a desire to do some- 
thing meritorious, ' that we may inherit eternal life.' It is 
greatly to be feared, dear brethren, that a very large number 
of professing Christians satisfy themselves with the outward 
decorum of religious service, — their inward thought, not acknow- 
ledged definitely to themselves, yet really being in God's sight, 
* We are quiet, moral, church-going people ; and what more 
could God reasonably expect ? ' Ah, friends, this is folly, fatal 
folly ; and ' the day shall declare it.' A hope resting on any 
fancied righteousness of our own is utterly baseless ; and ' when 
the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow and 
beat upon that house, it must fall, — and great shall be the fall 
of it.' When the Lord God Mays judgment to the line and 
righteousness to the plummet, the hail shall sweep away the 
refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place, 
and men's covenant with hell shall be disannulled, and their 

248 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

agreement with hell shall not stand.' But the righteousness of 
Christ, which God counts as the righteousness of every man 
who believes in Christ, is the ' rock of ages.' Whoso has built 
here, will find, in the hour of fiercest tempest, that his dwelling 
stands secure. 

Let us proceed now to look at the details of the paragraph. 
The warning against being turned away from the simplicity of 
Christian faith by the perverting words of Judaizing teachers, 
with which it begins — and which, as I have already said, was 
not improbably called forth by the apostle's receipt of some 
news just when he had reached this part of the letter — is 
expressed very tersely and pointedly, and in language of stern 
indignation against these men. In using '///^' in each clause 
of the 2nd verse, though given in our translation only in the 
last, — ' Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware 
of the concision,' — he not merely shows that he has a well- 
defined class of persons in his mind, but assumes that his 
Philippian readers would know at once to whom he referred. 

He depicts the character of these teachers by the name 
' dogs'^ — as our Lord, you remember, called Herod the tetrarch 
'that fox.' The dog, so valued and loved among us, as 
man's faithful and affectionate companion and helper, seems 
never to have been similarly regarded in the East. Most of 
the dogs seen in an Eastern town are masterless curs, ever 
annoying passers-by, and seeking their food amid the offal of 
the streets. Impudence and disgusting impurity of life are 
therefore the ideas which rise first to the mind of an Oriental 
in connection with the dog, — among the Jews apparently the 
latter idea especially. With this force, for example, you re- 
member, the Apostle John in the Apocalypse, in speaking of 
exclusion from the city of God, says, ' Without are dogs ' 
(Rev. xxii. 15). In calling these Judaizing teachers by this 
name, then, Paul intimates seemingly that a considerable 
number of them had already, by some forms of moral im- 
purity, proved the tendency of their system — as of every system 

vi:r. 2.] Jtistijlcation by Faith. 249 

which draws away men from spiritual religion — to be to prac- 
tical wi( kedness. There may not improbably also be another 
thought here. We know that the Jews were in the habit of 
calling the heathen 'dogs,' as the Mohammedans do Christians 
now. Our Lord, for a most gracious end, once adoi)tcd this 
usage, when, in testing the faith of a Gentile woman. He said, 
*It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it 
unto the dogs.' Now, in the verse before u.s, apparently, Paul, 
by his application of the word, intimates that those who would 
subject Christian converts from heathenism to the Jewish 
ritual were, by the ignorance they thus displayed of the spirit 
of Christianity, almost placing themselves outside of the pale 
of the true spiritual Israel, into which those despised Gentiles 
had entered by faith. This idea he brings out expressly in the 
next verse. 

The apostle further describes the teachers, without a figure, 
as ^ the ei'il ivorkers^ — labourers, professedly, in the service of 
the Lord Jesus, but really wicked, aiming to subvert rather 
than to establish the truth. 

Then he points out the foolish and untenable character of 
their peculiar doctrine, by giving them, as a sect, the derisive 
name of ^ the concision' — that is, 'the cutting, or mutilation.' 
They gloried in calling themselves 'the circumcision' — the 
circumcised — the bearers of the seal of God's covenant with 
Abraham. But in trj-ing to impose the yoke of the ritual of 
a preparatory typical system on all who came to Christ, they 
showed that they wholly misunderstood the relations to each 
other, and the real spirit, both of Judaism and Christianity, 
and relied on some mystical power of mere outward services. 
For a class of men like this the apostle deemed the name 
' circumcision,' with its hallowed spiritual associations, alto- 
gether unsuited ; and therefore, by a little play on the word, 
well imitated in our version, he calls them ^ the concision,' or 
' cutting,' — a name with which nothing sacred stood connected. 
They were the sect of ' the cutters of the flesh,' — nothing more. 

250 Lectm^es on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

The spirit of these false teachers has always been active in 
the Christian church, though the particular form against which 
Paul was called on to contend has long passed away. Popery 
so loads religion with ritual and earthliness, as to make it 
exceedingly difficult for its votaries to have true fellowship with 
the Saviour. In the Church of England, at present, a more 
exact analogy is exhibited to the struggle which the Apostle 
Paul, and the other enlightened servants of Christ in the first 
age, had to maintain with the Judaizers, than has perhaps ever 
been seen since those days. A considerable proportion of the 
ministers of that church approach Romanism more or less 
closely in opinion and practices. These are very active, both 
in the towns and country districts, undermining Protestant 
sentiment, neutralizing evangelical effort, poisoning the minds 
of the people with the pestilent doctrines of priestly pre- 
rogative and sacramental grace, fascinating the young with 
flowers and music, shows and ceremonies, and all the beauty 
and splendour of a gorgeous ritualism. With this host of 
Romanizers, corresponding in many respects, very exactly in 
spirit and aim, to Paul's Judaizing opponents, the evangelical 
ministers and members of the church, aided by their Non- 
conformist brethren, have to do battle ; and they most reason- 
ably claim our prayers, that they may be endued with needful 
wisdom and energy, and that their efforts may be crowned 
with success. 

In Scotland, the Reformation was far more thorough than 
in England, eschewing all such compromises between Popery 
and scriptural simplicity as are found in the system of the 
Church of England, and have opened the way for the state of 
things to which I have referred. Thus we are in no great 
danger of being brought into any struggle precisely similar to 
that now carried on in England. But the hazard of formalism 
— of unconsciously regarding the outward means of grace as of 
necessity carrying with them efficient saving grace — is great 
with us, as in every section of Christ's church. 

VER. 3-] J^istification by Faith. 251 

In the 3(1 verse the apostle states his reason for the emjihatic 
condemnation he has, in the 2n{l, given of the doctrine of the 
Judaizers. This, which, as I have exjjlained, has been per- 
haps already hinted at in the application to them of the term 
* dogs,* is that all Christians, Jews and (ientiles alike, — all who 
rejoice in the fuHllment of the promise which cheered the 
patriarchs, — are, simj)ly as being Christians, of the tnie Israel, 
the true seed of Abraham. 'J'he particular form in which this 
reason is couched has been determined by the name last given 
to the misleading teachers, ' the concision.^ ' For^ says the 
apostle, ' we are the circumcision,'' — * 7U€,' all believers in Jesus 
Christ, you the Gentiles and I the Jew equally, — * 7«:'///V// luor- 
ship God in the spirit^ understanding that the service of the 
heart is alone acceptable to Him, and that outward forms are 
pleasing to Him only in so far as they are expressive of this, or 
tributary to it, — ''and rejoice (rather, ^^giory'^) in Christ Jesus^ 
ever delighting to set forth to our own souls, and to all around, 
His excellences. His perfection as Mediator, — ' and hare no con- 
fidence in the flesh,' being sensible of the utter folly of resting 
any hope on ceremonies, or on any works of ourselves or of 
our fellow-men ; for ^ flesh ' here, as very frequently, in its 
obvious contrast with 'spirit,' designates what is external 

According to a slightly different reading of the original text 
in this verse, one which has the support of the great majority 
of the most ancient manuscripts, the first part of the apostle's 
description of the true Israel is, ^ which worship by the Spirit of 
God,' instead of * which worship God in the Spirit.' There is 
here no substantial difference of meaning. The truth, how- 
ever, is brought into prominence, that the spirit of man can 
rise from the control of the deadening influences of sin into 
true healthfulness of delight in God's love and service only 
through the energy of the Divine Spirit. As in the old creation 
' the Lord God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life, 
and he became a living soul,' — so in the new. But for the 

252 Lectures 07i Philippiaiis. [ch. hi. 

breath of the Spirit of God, man would continue ' dead in tres- 
passes and sins.' And the sustenance as well as the origina- 
tion of spiritual life is wholly His. 

The truths which the apostle has stated, — that God's ' peculiar 
people,' His Israel in the only sense which implies salvation, 
are the spiritually-minded, and that any teaching which tends 
to produce confidence in '■ the flesh,' that is, in anything ex- 
ternal, is false, — he proceeds to illustrate in a very lively way, 
by a reference to his own religious history. ' I have said that 
the true circumcision, the real heirs of the promises made to 
the patriarchs, are all those who, exulting in Christ as their 
Mediator, have no confidence in the flesh. I say this to you 
with fullest earnestness, — though, be it observed, I do not look 
at the matter from the position of a stranger to the common- 
wealth of the natural Israel, in whom jealousy might perhaps 
be supposed to awaken such thoughts ; but, if there were any 
soundness in the principles of these teachers, / might myself 
have cojifidence in the flesh also, as supplementary to the media- 
tion of Christ. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof 
he might trust in the fleshy I more.^ He felt that in regard to 
legal standing he could say at least as much for himself as any 
other Jew, and in some particulars probably more than any 

He goes on to catalogue the goods which, in the days before 
he knew the Saviour, he had supposed to make him rich, — to 
rehearse the facts which he had deemed to give him an im- 
pregnable position of honour and safety before God and man, 
for time and for eternity. In the first place, he ' had Abraham 
to his father,' and was of the purest blood of the chosen race. 
He had been ' circumcised tJie eig/ith day,^ according to the com- 
mand given to Abraham for all his descendants, and renewed 
in the law of Moses. He was born, then, of parents who kept 
the law ; and, further, these not proselytes from heathenism or 
descendants of proselytes, for he was ^ of the stock of Israel;^ 
and this in an honourable tribe, one of the two which had re- 

VERS. 4, 5.] Jusiijication by Faith. 253 

maincd faitliful to the house of David, and in which something 
of loyalty to their Divine King had continued after it had died 
out among the northern ten, — ^ of the tribe of Bcttjamin,^ He 
was o{ pure Jewish blood, too ; not, for example, like Timothy, 
whose mother was a Jewess, but his father a Greek. The 
tables of Paul's genealogy showed him to be of unmixed race, 
* an llcbmv of the Jlcbrncs^ — an Israelite spnmg from Israelites. 
It is not imi)robal)le that in this last expression there is also a 
reference to a distinction which was made in Paul's days be- 
tween two classes of Jews, and which is alluded to again and 
again in Acts, — for instance, when we are told that the ap- 
pointment of the seven deacons was occasioned by *a murmur- 
ing of the Grecians against the Hebrews' (Acts vi. i) — that is, 
of those Jews who, being natives of foreign countries, spoke 
only Greek, against those, mainly but not exclusively natives 
of Palestine, who retained the language which represented the 
Hebrew of their fathers. Paul, though born in Tarsus, a city 
where Greek was spoken, had been educated in the Hebrew 
metropolis, under a most distinguished Hebrew teacher; he 
spoke Hebrew fluently (Acts xxi. 40) ; and his quotations 
from the Old Testament are frequently in such a form as to 
show that he was familiar with it in the original language, and 
translated for himself. By calling himself 'a Hebrew of the 
Hebrews,' then, the apostle may naturally be supposed to inti- 
mate, not merely that he was of pure Jewish extraction, but 
that he had inherited from his parents, and from the whole line 
of his ancestors, a strong affection for the national language 
and religion and manners. Thus far then of his lineage. On 
this head certainly no Jew could have more ' confidence in the 
flesh ' than Paul. 

But what of His personal character? Here also he felt 
that, if he chose to assume the position of his opponents, and, 
as he elsewhere expresses it, to ' speak as a fool,' he could say 
much for himself, — as much certainly as any of his ' brethren 
after the flesh,' and far more than most. ' As touching the huvy 

2 54 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

his views of its sacredness and importance were shown by his 
having become ' a Pharisee^ a member of the ' most straitest 
sect' of the Jews. ' Concerning zeaV for the ancient faith, as 
understood by the scribes and Pharisees, what higher could be 
said — what more conclusive evidence of ardour given — than that 
he had been well kno^vn as ^persecuting the church ' of Christ, 
' making havoc ' of it, * entering into every house, haling men 
and women and committing them to prison,' and ' breathing 
out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the 
Lord ' ? Still further, however. History tells us that a man may 
loudly profess his devotion to certain religious principles, and 
even be a persecutor on behalf of them, while yet they have 
no power over his private conduct. But it was not so with 
Paul. He not merely, as a Pharisee, made an orthodox pro- 
fession, and, as a persecutor, showed his zeal against those 
who differed from him in opinion, but, ' touching the righteous- 
ness which is in the law' — such supposed righteousness as con- 
sists in obedience to precepts regarding outward conduct, 
while the heart may entertain a spirit of rebellion with respect 
to ' the weightier matters of the law,' being full of pride and un- 
charitableness, — 'touching this righteousness,' he was ^ bla?ne- 
/ess.'* The omission of no observance, however trivial, could 
justly be laid to his charge. He could boldly say before 
Agrippa, ' My manner of life from my youth, which was at the 
first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews, 
which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that, 
after the most straitest sect of our religion, I ' — not merely 
professed myself, but — ' lived a Pharisee.' 

Such is the apostle's list of the facts about himself, regarding 
which he had once delighted to say to his soul, ' Soul, thou 
hast much goods laid up,' — the grounds on which he had 
thought that he might most justly claim the favour of God. 
The list sounds much as if you or I were to say something of 
this kind : ' I am of a good Presbyterian stock. One of my 
ancestors fought at Bothwell Bridge for " Christ's crown and 

VERS. 6, 7.] ynstification by Faith. 255 

covenant," and another died as a martyr in the same cause in 
the Grassmarkct of Edinburgh. There have been several 
ministers in my line, and many elders. I was baptized in a 
Presbyterian church, attended the Sabbath school, and became 
a communicant when I was eighteen. I have always attended 
the church regularly, kept up family worship, and lived a 
decorous life. I am well read in sound theology ; hold rigidly 
in my opinions by the Westminster Confession ; and have now 
and again taken a part in controversies about election, or the 
extent of the atonement.' This is all well, very well, — so far as 
it goes. But if you or I be in any degree looking to these 
things — to any of them, or to all of them taken together — as 
a ground of hope for eternity, we are, in so far, occupying a 
religious position corresponding very exactly with that of Paul 
before his conversion to Christ. Let us hear, then, what he 
ultimately thought about the pure Hebrew birth, and legal 
immaculateness, which were once his pride. 

' JV/iat things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.^ 
His conception of the relations between himself and God had 
in those old days been essentially mercantile ; for this is the 
basis of all self-righteousness. The advantages of which he 
has given an inventory had all been mentally entered by him 
in a kind of religious account-book as ' gains,' facts distinctly 
to his ' credit.' But when the truth and the beauty of the 
gospel were, by God's mercy, brought clearly before him, then 
he set them down as ^ Loss,' — ^ for Christ,^ 'on account of 
Christ ' — that is, because it was plain to him now that salvation 
was to be found only in Christ, and that therefore anything which 
kept a man back from Christ, or weakened his hold of Christ, 
was a positive and great spiritual detriment. It is important 
to note carefully the sense in which the statement is made. 
Paul's connection by birth with the covenant nation, — the care- 
ful religious education which his parents had given him, — 
and the pure morality which he had been enabled to maintain 
in his life from the beginning, — were in themselves great 

256 Lectures on Philippians. [cH. iii. 

advantages, for which, I doubt not, he praised God to the end 
of his life. Very few earthly blessings can be even compared 
with that of godly parentage, and those influences of a well- 
ordered home which keep the young from ' knowing the depths 
of Satan.' Vice always tends to harden the heart against God ; 
and though divine grace may bring men back, and has brought 
men back, from very grievous wanderings, yet evil memories, 
and evil imaginings, make the spiritual struggles of such in 
most cases peculiarly hard. As has been finely said, * This is 
one of the sorest trials of a renewed life, that it is built over 
dark dungeons, where dead things may be buried but not for- 
gotten, and where through the open grating rank vapours still 
ascend.'^ But while this is true, it is also true that, as occurred 
in the apostle's case, the very privileges which, in their own 
nature, are fitted to prepare men for the gospel and lead them 
to Christ, may be so abused by the carnal heart as to be made 
sustenance for self-righteousness. Wherever this has been the 
case, wherever a man has in any degree thought of Christian 
parentage, and propriety of life, as the purchase-money of the 
favour of God, — then, if he ultimately yield himself to Christ, 
he cannot but, in looking back upon his history, call his very 
privileges ' loss,' in so far — but only in so far — as they had kept 
him back from Christ. 

' Yea doubtless^ and I count all things but loss, for the excellency 
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.'' We naturally put 
emphasis on ' all things,' and take the statement to mean, ' I 
esteem everything in the world worthless in comparison with 
the saving knowledge of Christ' Such is, indeed, the feeling 
of every believer. His love and admiration of his Saviour are 
so strong, that all which nature values appears to dwindle utterly 
in the presence of the Lord. * The kingdom of heaven is like 
unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had 
found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, 
and bought it.* In the present passage, however, the meaning 

' Dr. John Ker. 

VERS. 7, 8.] ytistification by Faith. 257 

is somewhat dilTerent. * I^ss' is to be taken, as its being put 
in the 7th verse in express contrast wiili 'gain' shows, not 
loosely, as ecjiiivalent to 'valueless,' but strictly, as positive 
detriment, positive lessening of good. Then, as is sufficiently 
plain in the original, the emphasis is really on * county as con- 
trasted with ' counted ' of the previous verse ; and the unem- 
phatic ^ all tliim^s^ simply refers to the 'what things were gain 
to me' already mentioned, and would be made clearer to an 
English reader by such a rendering as ' them all,' ' all of them,' 
— all things which, in his days of darkness, the apostle had 
reckoned 'gains' religiously. 'I have said that I counted these 
things loss because of Christ. But I can say more than that. 
I have now had proof of Christ for many years, and I have 
never seen any cause to think that the comparative estimate I 
formed of Him, and of all other grounds of hope for eternity, 
was an untrue one; but abundant confirmation every day of its 
soundness. As I have counted them loss in the past, then, so 
I count them all loss still.' 

And this ^for the exceiieftcy^ — ' because of the pre-eminence' — 
' of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord.'' How natural and 
beautiful the appropriating ' ?ny ' is here ! One pictures the 
apostle lifting his eye to heaven, and pouring out his heart in 
a word of wondering praise: ^ Me — who was a persecutor, a 
blasphemer, and injurious ; who trusted in myself that I was 
righteous, and despised Thee — Thou, O gracious Saviour, hast 
Thyself led into that knowledge of Thee which brings with it 
all holiness and all joy, the knowledge of Thee as my Lord.' 
* This is life eternal,' said the Redeemer in His High-priestly 
prayer, ' that they may know Thee, the only true God, and 
Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.' Such knowledge certainly 
has a 'glory which excelleth.' 

In the words which follow, Paul, still looking back over his 
spiritual history, seems to gather up the account of his convic- 
tions and feelings into the statement of one great decisive act of 
choice, — the choice made in conversion, and ratified every day 


258 Lectures on Philippia7is. [ch. hi. 

since : ^ for whom I have suffered the loss of all things^ more 
exactly given thus, ' because of whom, or for whose sake, I was 
subjected to the loss of them all.' The reference in the last 
words is still to his old grounds of religious trust. We might, 
indeed, understand ' all things ' in a wider sense at this point ; 
for an allusion to the fact, which no doubt the Philippians 
knew, that for Christ he had given up his early friendships and 
associations, and most brilliant prospects of rising to distinc- 
tion among his countrymen, would be not at all unnatural, as 
showing the intensity of his feelings regarding the Saviour. 
But the course of thought leads us rather to take the more 
limited reference. The apostle, you observ^e, keeps still some- 
what to the mercantile representation which he has already 
used ; but ' loss ' comes in now in a different way. ' Feeling 
what I was wont to deem my gains to be in truth loss, in that 
they had kept me back from the only Saviour, — hearing God 
declare that all other trust must be put away by those who 
would be saved through His Son, — I was constrained by sound 
calculation to lose all.' Sound calculation it was, true wis- 
dom ; as when the captain of a ship of war, in hot pursuit of a 
prize of the highest value, does not hesitate to lighten his 
vessel, and thus secure the capture, by casting overboard 
much that is valuable. For observe how he goes on, * I was 
constrained to lose all, that I may win Christ.^ He knew 
that this one ' gain ' meant ' unsearchable riches.' 

Mark the object of his desire, — not a doctrine, not a phi- 
losophy, not a course of observances, but ' Christ,^ — to have 
Him, the God -man, as his Saviour, Friend, Brother. Our 
hearts, my brethren, need a personal object of religious love 
and adoration. The cry of the soul from its depths is never, 
* lVhath:i\e I in heaven?' but ' Whom have I?' We need 
a personal object of knowledge, so admirable that, the more 
we know, the more we esteem and venerate, — so amiable that, 
the more we love, the ampler ever seems the wealth of love- 
ableness, — so enduring, that we can admire and love for ever- 

VKR. 8.] yustification by Faith, 259 

more. This longing finds its answer in Christ. The Infinitely 
Admirable, the Altogether Lovely, * the same yesterday, to- 
day, and for ever,' presents Himself to all ages and all coun- 
tries with the gracious invitation, * Come unto Me, all ye that 
labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' To 
know Him, and dwell with Him, and enjoy rest in His love, — 
this was the desire of the apostle. 'To win Christ' is, in the 
exquisite language of good old Bishop Hall, * to lay fast hold 
upon Him, to receive Him inwardly into our bosoms, and so 
to make Him ours, and ourselves His, that we may be joined 
to Him as our Head, espoused to Him as our Husband, incor- 
porated into Him as our Nourishment, engrafted in Him as 
our Stock, and laid upon Him as a sure Foundation.' To 
* win ' such glory and blessedness as is summed up in words 
like these, and which can be attained only by those who 
renounce all grounds of confidence for salvation except Christ, 
is it not most reasonable, my brethren, that a man should cast 
away everything wherein he trusted ? Can he do other than 
wholly disesteem his old * gains,' ' cou?iting tJiem but dung, that 
he may win Christ ' ? 

But it is not easy — it is very hard — for the soul to come 
to this point. The gate is a strait gate. To part with 
many worldly possessions or pleasures would be comparatively 
an easy thing. But in renouncing any thought of merit in 
connection with the very surrender of all things for Christ, 
lies the great difficulty. Did men feel that by giving up all 
things they earned salvation, so that they might possess Christ, 
and also with Him a pride of heart in their own surrender as 
hanng deserved Him, the sacrifice would be light. But to 
cast away all, and yet know that Christ is to us simply and 
absolutely ' the gift of God,' — this is felt by the pride of the 
natural heart to be very hard. But when Christ reveals to us 
His beauty, the heart yields. When the Divine Spirit shows 
clearly 'the treasure hid in the field,' then the finder, 'for joy 
thereof, goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that 

26o Lecher es on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

field.' 'For joy thereof,' — there lies the secret of true self- 
surrender. Because Jesus loved us, we love Him, and delight 
to honour Him by singleness of trust and devotion. The 
freeness of the divine gift is now one great impelling motive 
to give up all that we may Svin' Him. This sounds as a 
paradox, but it is true, as many other seeming paradoxes are 
found in Christian experience to be. 

In the 9th verse, the apostle goes on to describe more fully 
the object of his eager desire. * I was constrained, by sound 
judgment, to give up all my old grounds of trust, that I may 
win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteous- 
ness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of 
Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.^ From the be- 
ginning Paul had believed in his responsibiHty to God. The 
Old Scriptures had taught him this ; and their voice was dis- 
tinctly echoed by conscience, as it is to all who do not wilfully 
deafen themselves. He believed that God was his King and 
Judge, to whom he owed implicit obedience, and to whom 
he would have to answer for the use he made of his life, his 
faculties, his opportunities. He believed that God had given 
to man His law, Israel possessing it in a very full form through 
revelation, and even the Gentiles having its outlines ' written 
in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness.' In his early 
life he had thought that he could keep and did keep this 
law perfectly. In his heart he said, ' God, I thank Thee that 
I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers. 
I fast twice in the week ; I give tithes of all that I possess.' 
But, by and by, it became clear to him that God's command- 
ment is * exceeding broad,' reaching vastly farther, and search- 
ing vastly deei)er, than he had conceived. He had taken into 
his consideration only the outward life, and even here only 
the required absence of positive transgression, not the required 
presence of constant positive activity in God's service. Now 
he saw that * God desireth truth in the inward parts' — perfect 
purity and consecration of the heart, 'out of which are the 

VER. 9.] Jiistification by Faith. 26 1 

issues of life' It was j)lain to him that, when (iod in judg- 
ment 'made intjuisition ' respecting spiritual obedience, he 
had nothing to i)lead. 'I'he supposed ' righteousness of his 
own^ 7vhich was of' — derived from keeping — Uhe law^ was a 

But divine mercy offered him salvation in a way which, with 
sublime completeness, exhibits in one view (iod's abhorrence 
of sin, and determination to sustain the dignity of His law, 
and, at the same time, the infinite richness and tenderness of 
His love and pity. The Son of God has, as the Representa- 
tive Man, wrought out, by His holy life and His atoning 
death, a perfect righteousness ; and this God is willing to 
reckon as if it were the personal righteousness of every one 
who sincerely believes in His Son. This perfectly and eter- 
nally sufficient righteousness is thus enjoyed by men through 
the faith of Christ' Or, as the apostle goes on to put it a 
little more fully, in contrast with the supposed and utterly 
insufficient righteousness which is 'of the law,' this is ^of God' — 
devised and bestowed by Him, — and * by faith ' — more exactly, 
' on, resting on faith,' not in any degree as a meritorious con- 
dition, but as a needful antecedent. Those who believe in 
Christ are regarded by God as ' in Him ' — vitally united to 
Him ; and therefore, though personally unworthy, they are 
yet safe for eternity, through the all-glorious righteousness of 
the God-man, their Representative and Head. 

The object of the apostle's longing is now clearly before us : 
' I suffered loss, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him ' 
— ' that whenever and however my relations to God be tested, 
especially when I am sought for in the great day of final 
account, I may be found not standing alone, as claiming to 
be judged by myself, but in Him, and thus sheltered from all 
danger ' — ' not having mine own righteousness, which is of the 
law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteous- 
ness which is of God by faith.' 

Dear friends, the sketch of Paul's spiritual history which we 

262 Lechires on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

have now been studying, ought to have profound interest for 
every one of us, and to suggest most serious reflections. We 
are * men of like passions ' with him, — equally liable, at the 
least, to self-deception and self-righteousness. The great day 
to which he looked forward awaits also you and me. * The 
judgment shall be set, and the books opened.' Then * who 
shall abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when 
He appeareth ? ' Blessed, surely, are they who have ' the 
witness of the Spirit with their spirits' that, having renounced 
all vain confidence, they are ' in Christ,' and are thus enabled 
to cherish an intelligent hope that in that day they shall be 
* found in Him, having the righteousness which is of God ! ' 
' If God be for us, who can be against us?' 

VER. lo.] The Saint's Aspirations. 263 



'That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the 
fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death ; 
II If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.' 
— Phil. iii. lo, ii. 

THE connection of these words with the preceding verses 
is obviously intimate. They exhibit further objects of 
desire, which the apostle had in view in longing to be ' found 
in Christ, not having his own righteousness, which was of the 
law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteous- 
ness which is of God by faith.' As were the aspirations of this 
great Christian, such, in the measure of their faith, are those of 
all true believers. The subject for our consideration now, 
then, is the Christian's chief aims. 

I do Hot know that there is any passage of Scripture which, 
more clearly and strikingly than this, exhibits the peculiarities 
of vital religion, as contrasted with the views and purposes of 
man by nature. The transcendentalism, as we may call it, of 
genuine Christianity — its passing out beyond the range of 
merely natural thought and desire into a totally new and 
strange sphere — is here very prominent. Speak to a non- 
Christian man of any intelligence and elevation of sentiment 
about the benefit you obtain from Christ's moral teaching, 
and of your aim, as a Christian, to diminish the crime and 
wTetchedness which abound around us ; and he will under- 
stand, and, to some extent, sympathize with you. But say that 
your aims are to ' know Christ, and the power of His resurrec- 

264 Lechcres ofi Philippians, [ch. hi. 

tion, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conform- 
able to His death/ and that you believe this knowledge to be 
' life eternal ; ' then worldly wisdom can but stand by and 
wonder that sane men should thus babble in an unknown 
tongue. The man who can intelligently and sincerely say 
things like these has evidently undergone a radical change of 
mind and heart. It is plain that, while in this world, yet in 
some most important respects he is not ^it. His own feeling 
is, that previously he had seen everything in a false and dis- 
torting light, — that the highest things had seemed to him but 
shadows, and only the lowest things real ; as, to one looking 
down from a hill-side into the mirror of a lake's calm bosom, 
the world appears inverted, the heaven with its glories below 
him and unreal, and the earth on which he stands the highest 
thing of all. Now, lifting his eyes, he sees things as they are, 
— the heaven above the earth, and as real. Faith brings us 
out into God's light, and by it we see the proportions and 
relations of objects truly. Every real Christian is in some 
degree, the exact degree in which his religion has gained con- 
trol over him, a spiritual man, as distinguished from a carnal 
or sensual. The highest of his faculties are in exercise, — 
those by which we are enabled to know and hold fellowship 
with God. The nobler affections have obtained mastery in 
him over the lower, making these their servants, their ' hewers 
of wood and drawers of water.' We pass into this state of 
mind and heart above nature by the action upon us of a 
power above nature. Of ourselves, we have no moral energy 
to step or to stay beyond the sphere of carnality. By nature 
we revel in it, and cannot indeed conceive of any higher type 
of life. We become and are kept spiritual by the inworking 
and indwelling of God's Spirit. ' Ye are not in the flesh, but 
in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you : if 
any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.' 

The spiritual man's aim, then — the aim to which the gracious 
working of the Holy Ghost impels — is ''to know Christ.' This 

VER. lo.] The Saint's Aspirations, 265 

may be regarded as the sum of the bchevcr's aims, of which 
the other statements tliat follow but present special asi)ects. 

The Apostle Paul was a man of extraordinary abilities, and 
evidently also a devoted student- His temperament was such 
as to lead him to interest himself in knowledge of every kind ; 
and probably no line of intellectual research followed by any 
in his day was altogether strange to him. Now in the earlier 
part of this paragraph we have the judgment to which the 
Divine Spirit guided him, as to the most important department 
of knowledge. Such, he says, is * the excellency ' — the pre- 
eminence — * of the knowledge of Christ,' that, in comparison 
with it, all other knowledge, and indeed everything else in the 
world, is to be regarded as worth nothing. Everything else, in 
so far as it keeps a man back from this, is to be regarded as a 
positive * loss.' However interesting or useful any knowledge 
may be, looked at by itself, yet here it ' has no glory, by reason 
of the glory that excelleth.' These little lights fade away from 
view, like the stars at the advent of the sun. Real knowledge 
of all kinds is, when wisely used, good and profitable to men ; 
real knowledge of all kinds may be tributary, too, in a high 
degree, to our advancement in this knowledge : but, stating 
the case in the simplest and barest form, to know everjthing 
else and not to know Christ brings infinite loss ; whilst to 
know Christ, even if nothing else be known, brings infinite 
gain, for he who knows Christ knows the great secret, the 
secret of the chief good. He has found the ' pearl of great 
price,' and ' to sell all that he hath, and buy it,' is true wisdom. 

That knowledge of Christ of which the apostle here speaks 
as his aim is, I need hardly say, distinct from knowledge about 
Christ — distinguished as a whole from its part, as a temple from 
its foundation. As there can be no temple without a founda- 
tion, but may easily be a foundation on which no temple is 
reared ; so we cannot know Christ without knowing the truth 
about Him. But it is possible — alas, one cannot but fear that 
it is sadly common — to know much truth about Christ, and yet 

266 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

not to know Him as Paul did and strove to do always more 
perfectly. Saving knowledge of Christ has heat as well as 
light. It fills and influences the whole soul, — not the mind 
only, but the affections. ' The excellency of the knowledge of 
Christ Jesus my Lord,' — there you have its nature set forth. 
It is essentially appropriating. ' To know Jesus as mine, my 
Saviour, my Elder Brother, my Prophet, Priest, and King ; 
whose promises are bread of life to me ; whose laws are of 
absolute and sweet obligation to me ; whose grace is my con- 
stant trust,' — this is what Paul means. 

Such knowledge brings with it moral excellence ; because to 
Him whom thus we know we grow like in character, through 
the transforming power of love. * Beholding the glory of the 
Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to 
glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.' It brings with it happiness 
too ; for, knowing the excellences of his Saviour — holding com- 
munion by faith with a Friend infinitely faithful, and wise, and 
powerful, who says to him, * I will strengthen thee, I will help 
thee, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteous- 
ness' — it cannot but be that the believer will * rejoice with joy 
unspeakable and full of glory.' 

It is reasonable, then, — and, as a matter of fact, it belongs 
to the essence of vital religion, — that the great aim of the 
disciple of Christ should be ' to know Him ' experimentally 
and growingly. Saving faith is simply spiritual knowledge of 
Christ. ' By His knowledge,' says Jehovah — that is, ' by the 
knowledge of Himself — 'shall My righteous Servant justify 
many.' One element in the new state of spirit produced by 
the beginning of this knowledge, in the cordial belief of the 
gospel, is always strong longing to know more of Him, to have 
ever fuller experimental acquaintance with His character. And as 
the glory of that character 'passeth knowledge,' the joyous study 
of the saints throughout eternity will still be * to know Christ.' 

Proceeding to describe his aim somewhat more in detail, 
the apostle speaks of his longing * to know the power of Christ s 

VER. lO.] The Sainfs Aspirations. 267 

resurrection.^ It is j)lnin from the ronnertion in which these 
last words occur, that they do not mean what, taken by them- 
selves, they might mean, ' the divine power slunvn in the 
Saviour's resurrection,' — as we read in the Kpistle to the 
Ephesians of * the working of (iod's mighty power, which He 
^Tought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead' (Kph. 
i. 19, 20). The reference here is plainly to the ^ \)Oyf(tT exerted 
by Christ's resurrection,' or, as the older Knglish versions have 
it, * the virtue of His resurrection.' This 'virtue' or * power' 
is manifold, present and future. According to the apostle's 
line of thought, however, his reference must be supposed to be 
to what is experienced in the present life. Now we read that, 
as Christ * was delivered for our offences,' so He * was raised 
again for our justification' (Rom. iv. 25). In His resurrection 
the divine seal was attached to the charter of grace, attesting 
the completeness of the great work of mediation. The risen 
and glorified Saviour still discharges needful functions as our 
High Priest, too, presenting the blood of atonement in the 
Most Holy Place, and interceding for His people. When God 
forgives our sins, and accepts us as righteous, then we experi- 
ence as really the power of the Saviour's resurrection as the 
power of His death. Justification, however, was spoken of by 
the apostle in the preceding verse, whereas we appear to be 
here at a further stage, amid the spiritual aims and efforts of 
the Christian life, the life of a man already justified. Paul's 
thought, I doubt not, in ' knowing the power of His resurrec- 
tion,' is personal experience, through growing holiness and 
consequent happiness, of the fulfilment of the Saviour's 
gracious declaration, ' Because I live, ye shall live also.' 

When Jesus rose, and ascended to sit down at His Father's 
right hand. He ' received gifts for men,' and ' all power over 
all flesh, to quicken — give life to — whom He would.' This 
life of holy blessedness which He bestows is kindred to His 
own, — nay, it is in truth the life of the Head stirring in the 
members. * We live, — yet not we, but Christ liveth in us.' 

268 Lectures on Philippiaris. [ch. hi. 

The power of Christ's resurrection is to give resurrection to 
the spirits of His chosen now, as well as to their bodies by and 
by. To the eye of faith, how vivid a picture, or rather, how 
dark and gloorny a shadow, is a dead body of a dead soul, — a 
soul which in the midst of a world where myriads of agencies 
are appealing to us from every side on behalf of God, to con- 
template Him, to learn His will, to pray for His help, yet sees 
not, hears not, breathes not, — a soul which is utterly insensible 
alike to the tender touch of divine love, and the stern stroke 
of divine anger, — a soul ' dead in trespasses and sins ! ' Very 
varied is the aspect of the spiritually dead. Sometimes we see 
moral corruption so gross, and manifest, and repulsive, that we 
hurry away from the loathsome sight ; sometimes, on the other 
hand, such a sweet tenderness and lovingness of nature, such a 
fulness of generous impulses and manly energies, that one 
finds it all but impossible to believe that aspiration after God's 
glory, the only breath of true life, can be wanting there. 

* He who hath bent him o'er the dead, 
Ere the first day of death is fled, 
Before decay's effacing fingers 
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers ; 
And marked the mild angelic air, 
The rapture of repose that's there, — 
The fixed, yet tender traits that streak 
The languor of the placid cheek ; 

Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour, 
He still might doubt the tyrant's power, — 
So fair, so calm, so softly-sealed, 
The first — last — look, by death revealed.' 

Yet this is death, no less really than where the sad ravages of 
corruption are obvious to the senses. So is it with the soul. 
Wherever love to God is not the ruling motive of action, there 
is death ; and life can be seen there only through a resurrec- 
tion. Blessed be the Prince of Life, dear friends, who is 
willing to quicken us into 'newness of life' with Himself! 

vi:r. io.] The Sat tit's Aspirations. 269 

JJy an earthquake, it may he — a shaking of the nature — a con- 
vulsion of the whole man — the 'great stone' of prejudice, of 
careless unconcern and carnal security, with which dei>ravity 
has closed the door of our sepulchre, and which the world and 
the world's prince have sealed with their signet, is rolled away ; 
the heavenly light of conviction 'of sin, and righteousness, and 
judgment,' pierces the darkness of the tomb ; Jesus cries with 
a loud voice, 'Come forth ;' and he who was dead comes forth, 
bound hand and foot, indeed, with grave-clothes, yet alive, 
through the quickening energies of the Spirit of Christ, who 
has already taken up His abode within him. Such is the 
soul's resurrection. A life has begun which, by the terms of 
the covenant, can never end, — the life which is sustained by 
spiritually ' eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son 
of man.' The soul of the regenerate man enjoys peace with 
God, and his desires and efforts are directed towards likeness 
of character to God. This is real life. As yet, however, the 
spiritual resurrection is imperfect, for ' the law of sin in the 
members wars with the law of the mind.' But the energy of 
the life already received is seen in such strong longings as the 
apostle breathes out here for more complete fellowship in the 
spirit of life with Him who said, ' I seek not Mine own will, 
but the will of the Father.' We long, if we be Christians, to 
have all our faculties exercised to discern and to accomplish 
whatever may redound to the glory of our Creator and Re- 
deemer ; to give up to His service, in the sphere in which He 
has placed us, our wealth, our talents, our time, our influence ; 
to have our whole life, in all its relations, pervaded by religion. 
To advance towards this attainment is to experience ever more 
fully ' the power of Christ's resurrection,' by having fellowship 
with Him in His life. 

Further, the apostle longs ' to know the fellowship of His 
sufferings, being ?nade conformable unto His death.^ The ren- 
dering ^ being made conformable' has scarcely that exquisite 
felicity which usually characterizes our wonderful translation. 

270 Lectures on Philippians, [cH. iii. 

The particular word here found in the original does not occur 
anywhere else in the New Testament ; but a closely-allied form 
does twice, — in the 29th verse of the 8th chapter of Romans, 
where it is translated 'conformed/ and in the 21st verse of this 
present chapter, where the rendering is ' fashioned like unto.' 
Either of these is decidedly preferable for exactness to ' made 

It is not easy to determine with precision the idea intended 
in this part of the verse, — the condensation of the language in 
'fashioned like unto His death' rendering it obscure. The 
construction of the original, however, shows this at least dis- 
tinctly, that the ' knowing the fellowship of Christ's sufferings,' 
and the ' being fashioned like unto His death,' stand in the 
closest connection with each other — the latter seemingly being 
almost equivalent to the former, only that the thought is ex- 
pressed with more intensity. On the whole, I think that the 
longing of the apostle set forth here is somewhat to this effect, 
— that he may be cast in that Christ-like mould of feeling and 
character with which, through its antagonism to the wickedness 
of the world, suffering is necessarily connected — that character,' 
the natural result of the exhibition of which, in its perfect 
beauty in the midst of sinners, was their murder of God's Holy 
One. For suffering, looked at simply by itself, the apostle 
does not long. Such aspirings belong to the spirit of pure 
fanaticism and folly. But he longs for the character of which, 
in this world, sufferings are an inseparable adjunct, — ay, and 
the sufferings themselves, in so far as they evince the growing 
possession of this character, he will welcome with thankfulness, 
— a martyr's death itself, if God so appoint. 

Now here, you see, brethren, we have one of those para- 
doxes, or apparent self-contradictions, which meet us every- 
where in religion. We have just had the believer's yearning 
for fellowship of life with Christ ; and now we have substan- 
tially the same yearning thrown into the form of a desire for 
fellowship in suffering atid death. But you see how it is. The 

VER. lo.] The SainCs Aspirations. 271 

Christian, brought out of darkness into (iod's marvellous light, 
was, as he presented himself to us in the former clause, looking 
out into the light ; and wc saw a full, free, direct out-throwing 
of the heart's desire to go forward, ever forward, into the light. 
Now he turns and faces the darkness ; and we have the thought 
moulded by the sight of the darkness. 'I'he paradoxes in re- 
ligion arc caused by its having to do with facts so unnatural — 
so directly opposed to the nature of things as constituted by 
God at the first — as wickedness and misery. Sin is the great 
anomaly in God's world, my brethren. It might well seem an 
utter self-contradiction, a violation of all law and order, that 
the Prince of Life — the possessor of a life independent and 
essential, from whom all life springs, through whom and in 
whom all life subsists — should die ; yet this was, in truth, the 
highest act of the highest divine law of love, for the restoration 
in the moral universe of the order which had been overthrown 
by sin. The true paradox, the true lawlessness, was that man, 
made to live, should wilfully have died, — should wilfully have 
chosen the defilement of sin, and the curse of the grave. The 
Prince of Life died that, in accordance with law and order, He 
might give life to dead men. Now, according to the eternal 
covenant of love, Christ's people are so indissolubly united to 
Him, that we died with Him, and rose with Him, — and this in 
regard to both the grand elements of salvation, deliverance from 
the guilt and curse of sin, and deliverance from its power. As 
regards deliverance from guilt, — when ' Jesus was delivered for 
our offences, and was raised again for our justification,' we so 
died in Him, in the sight of God, that the law has no longer 
any claim upon us for punishment ; and we so rose in Him, as 
to pass out into the sphere of full blessed acceptance with God, 
and adoption into His family. As regards sanctifi cation, — we 
live through the fellowship of Christ's life ; and yet at the same 
time, being in a wicked world, we have ' a fellowship of His 
sufferings, being fashioned after the likeness of His death.' It 
is plain from many passages in the Apostle Paul's ™tings, that 

272 Lechires on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

this was a conjunction of thought in which he took great 
delight. He ' always bore about in the body the dying of the 
Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest 
in his body.' 

One element of the Saviour's sufferings in which all true 
believers have fellowship with Him, was pain caused by the 
sight of abounding sin. When you remember the genuineness 
of the Lord's humanity, and the consequent reality of His 
impressibleness by His surroundings, you will see how pungent 
a source of distress this must have been to Him. Ah, brethren, 
for a holy soul, a soul that throbbed with an unceasing and 
absolute devotion to the divine will, to live for three-and- 
thirty years in the midst of a world like this, and in close 
intercourse with its people, — a world where blasphemy, and im- 
purity, and falsehood, and cruelty, walk abroad unblushingly, 
and obtrude themselves on every eye and ear, — what a vast 
sum of anguish there was here for the Lord ! Apart altogether 
from the direct hostility of men to Himself, and from those 
mysterious agonies caused by the hiding from Him of His 
Father's countenance, — the Man Christ Jesus, simply because 
He was situated among sinful men, could not but be ' a Man 
of sorrows.' Now all His people have fellowship with Him in 
this suffering. If a man have no experience of the kind, no 
loathing at the sight of sin, no distress at the thought of the 
dishonour done to God, and the misery brought upon them- 
selves, by the wickedness of the wicked, then certainly he is 
not a Christian. Every true believer knows something of the 
experience of the Psalmist, — * Rivers of waters run down mine 
eyes, because they keep not Thy law.' Contentment with a 
sinful world belongs to the spirit of Satan, not of Christ. To 
be so brought out into the light of God, then, and so pervaded 
by its glorious radiance, that the sight of moral darkness shall' 
cause ever intenser distress, — this is the behever's longing 
and aim. 

This pain in Christians has a side — the saddest side — of 

VER. lo.] The Sainfs Aspirations. 273 

which Jesus could know nothing. We, His people, loathe 
our (nvn sins, and pray that we may loathe them more. Our 
life with Christ is maintained by dying daily to sin, by painful 
struggle, through the energies of the Divine Spirit within us, 
against the power of remaining depravity. Though Jesus had 
no sin, yet in pain at the siglit of the evil in our own hearts 
and lives we have tnie fellowshij) with Him ; for the si)ring of 
the hatred is that reverence and love to God which reigned 
in Him. 

But the sufferings of Christ included also direct inflictions 
through the hatred of the 7uicked. The opposition of the 
Lord to sin was so direct and complete, that all who loved 
sin could not but hate Him. Those who lived in the dark- 
ness, and loved the darkness rather than the light, shrank 
from and abhorred that glory of heavenly light in the Saviour's 
character which revealed the intensity of their own darkness; 
and it was but natural that by the children of darkness the 
incarnate Light should be crucified. Now, as He 'was. Chris- 
tian brethren — hated by the world — so are we, in the measure 
in which we too are children of light. * If we were of the 
world, the world would love his o\\ti ; but because we are not 
of the world, but Christ hath chosen us out of the world, 
therefore the world hateth us.' Remember the word which 
He said unto us, ' The servant is not greater than his Lord : 
if they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute yoiL* 
From the nature of things, it must be so. The contrast 
between sin and genuine holiness is far too decided and pro- 
minent a thing, — it bears at ever\' turn far too strongly and 
piercingly on matters in which the heart is most interested, — 
to be treated, in the intercourse of men, as a thing of indiffer- 
ence. The stake, and the scaffold, and the thumbscrew, torture 
and death for religion, are eminently natural results of the 
meeting of two forces as mutually repugnant as fire and water. 
And though, in God's kind providence, and through the in- 
direct working of Christianity, the world does not bum nor 


2 74 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

crucify for religion in this our age and countr}', yet it hates 
Christianity and Christians just as really as of old. Moral 
light and moral darkness, moral life and moral death, cannot 
co-exist in mutual love. If any professing Christian among 
us, then, has no sense of this opposition — an opposition 
subtle, it may be, but real and strong, — if he feels himself 
quite at home, an honoured and thoroughly welcome friend, 
in the circles of those who are unmistakeably mere children 
of this world, — he has very great reason to fear that the 
darkness has thus lovingly received the professed light of the 
world, simply because there is no light in him. The profession 
of Christianity may be respectable in the eyes of the world, 
but a really Christian life the world hates. The truth stands 
all down the ages, till the consummation of the probationary 
history of our earth, that ' the friendship of this world is enmity 
with God. 

Such, then, I apprehend, brethren, is the meaning of the 
apostle's statement that he aspires to ' know the fellowship of 
Christ's sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.' 
His longing is, that he may sorrow over the existence of sin 
as the Saviour did ; and that his opposition to sin may be so 
clear and sharp as to bring down the world's hatred, as the 
Saviour's was and did. This is to be * conformed to Christ's 

The Christian life, then, you see, must be a life of serious- 
ness. It is a happy life — the only happy life — because it is 
life with and in Him who, having risen triumphant from the 
grave, was 'anointed with the oil of gladness.' But God and 
sin, heaven and hell, are realities far too solemn to permit it 
to be a life of frivolous gladness. And the happiness of those 
who have fellowship of life with Christ, is none the less deep 
and broad and lasting, because they have fellowship also in 
His sufferings, and their life is, in considerable measure, ' con- 
formed to His death.' 

In the nth verse, the apostle sets forth the object of hope, 

VER. II.] The Saint's Aspirations. 275 

with a view to which it was that he resolutely and prayerfully 
strove to 'know Christ' ever more fully, *ancl the power of 
His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffcrinj;s, being 
conformed unto His death :' '// by any means I mi]^ht attain 
unto the resurrection of the dead! ' Resurrection of the dead^ is 
in itself a j)hrase expressive of the destiny of all men, believers 
and unbelievers alike ; for, as Paul testified before P'elix, ' the 
unjust' as well as 'the just' shall rise again (Acts xxiv. 15). 
In such a passage as the present, however, exj>ressive of 
Christian aims and aspirations, the general term is very 
naturally emj)loyed with the special force of * resurrection 
and glorious life with Christ.* This special application occurs 
often in the New Testament, — as, for example, in our Lord's 
contrast between ' the children of this world ' and those 
* who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and 
the resurrection from the dead ' (Luke xx. 34, 35). In 
the apostle's hopes this word gathered up all that his soul 
longed for, — perfect freedom for ever from sin and sorrow ; 
knowledge of Christ up to the fullest measure of his capa- 
cities of knowledge ; perfect experimental acquaintance with 
the power of His resurrection, through perfect fellowship 
of life ^^^th Him ; the ineffable and everlasting blessedness 
of being with Him and like Him, ' sitting with Him in 
His throne, even as He hath sat down with His Father in 
His throne.' This is the glory of 'the children of the resur- 

''If by any means^ is expressive of intense desire, — and at 
the same time here of the profoundest humility and sense of 
unworthiness to attain the object of desire. In so far as a 
certain degree of doubt appears to enter into the meaning of 
the phrase, we may feel some little surprise. At first sight this 
may seem to conflict with the sublime confidence which has 
shown itself in the first chapter, in ' To me to die is gain,' and 
which we meet also ever and anon in the other Epistles, — for 
example, in ' Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 

276 Lectures on Philippimis, [ch. in. 

righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give 
me at that day.' ' But,' says the eminently wise and holy 
Neander, ' these are discrepancies which belong to the essence 
of Christian life. When the Christian looks to his Redeemer, 
— to the grace of redemption assured to him, — to the unchange- 
able word of promise, — the end to which all his struggles are 
directed appears to him as an object of undoubted certainty. 
On the other hand, when he examines his life by the standard 
of divine hoHness, his confidence finds no firm foundation, 
defects and defilement everywhere presenting themselves to his 
view, — and all this, the more he has really advanced in holiness, 
for thus his spiritual insight has become keener, through the 
power of the Holy Spirit, to apprehend the ideal pattern of 
divine holiness, in its application to the duties of his life — to 
test, by reference to this, his inner and outward life — and to 
prove its nakedness and shortcomings. Hence the fluctua- 
tion in Paul's expressions.' You remember the language 
employed by the apostle in writing to the Corinthians : * I 
keep under my body, and bring it into subjection ; lest that 
by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself 
should be a castaway' (i Cor. ix. 27). In its suggestion of a 
measure of doubt, this is somewhat similar to his words in 
the verse now before us, — but much stronger and more 

Dear brethren, let us "hear a most important lesson read to us 
in the employment of such language regarding himself by so 
illustrious a servant of Christ. We all find in ourselves a 
proneness at times, through the deceitfulness of the heart, to 
self-complacency and listlessness in religion. Paul endeavoured 
habitually to feel himself engaged in a life struggle — called on 
to * work out his own salvation with fear and trembling.' But 
while cherishing this state of mind — and because he cherished 
this state of mind, for here again one of the paradoxes of the 
Christian life presents itself — he had much joyful assurance of 
salvation. Only those who keep vividly before them the 

VER. II.] The SainCs Aspiratio7is. 277 

spiritiuil hazards connected with life in this world, and who, 
full of sclf-distmst, are vi^'ilant, prayerful, and strenuous in 
effort after holiness, arc likely to have brightness of hope. 
The ' if by aqy means I may attain,' and ' henceforth there is 
laid u]) for nie,' are bound closely together. 

2 yS Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 


* Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect : but I 
follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am ap- 
prehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have 
apprehended : but this one thing I do, — forgetting those things which 
are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 
I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in 
Christ Jesus. ' — Phil. iii. 12-14. 

AT this point the apostle suddenly turns aside, to give a 
caution against most serious error. In opposition to the 
soul-destroying formalism and self-righteousness of the Judaiz- 
ing preachers, he has enjoined on the Philippians to ' glory in 
Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh ;' and in 
support of his injunction has reminded them how he himself, 
having in unusual measure those grounds of confidence in 
which the misleading teachers believed, had renounced all of 
these, ' that he might win Christ, and be found in Him, not 
having his own righteousness, but that which is through the 
faith of Christ.' Now there was a hazard that recoil from 
formalism might be into moral indifference and indolence, the 
precious truth that believers are 'complete in Christ' being 
turned by the wicked ingenuity of the carnal heart into an 
instrument of religious sloth. Nay, it might be made even 
a direct incitement to sin ; and there were, in fact, in apostolic 
times, as probably in all ages of the church since, persons who 
thus abused the doctrines of grace to their own destruction, 
saying, * Let us continue in sin, that grace may abound.' Into 

VERS. 12-14.] Prcssincr toward tlie Mark, 279 

such blaf>i)homoiis antinomianism il was at least as likely that 
some of the Philippians might be led away as into Jewish 
formalism, — situated as they were in the midst of the moral 
abominations of heathenism. Against this danger, then, Paul 
now— in the paragraph extending from the 12th verse to the ist 
verse of the next chapter — affectionately and earnestly warns 
them ; beginning in the way which the sketch of his spiritual 
history given in the previous section naturally suggested, by 
an account of his own convictions respecting the importance 
of a holy character, and his efforts springing from these con- 
victions. The course of thought passes easily from the state- 
ment of his longings and aims as a Christian, given in the loth 
and nth verses, to the description of struggle, 'following after, 
pressing toward the mark,' which we have here. 

The word * apprehend,' as used in these verses, has its 
original meaning, * to lay hold of with the hand,' — a sense 
scarcely retained by us in modern English, except in regard 
to a constable who ' apprehends ' an evil-doer. * Attained,' in 
the beginning of the 12 th verse, is not a very happy rendering, 
because it suggests a reference to the ' attain ' of the previous 
verse, whilst in the original these are two quite distinct words ; 
and because it hides the real connection with the 'apprehends' 
which follow, the original word being merely a simpler form of 
that translated 'apprehend,' and almost identical in meaning. 
Of ' but this one thing I do,' you will see, from the italics in your 
Bibles, that the original has only ' but one thing,' — this ' one 
thing' being evidently contrasted with the foolish and arrogant 
statements regarding attained perfection, which some made 
about themselves, but which Paul could not make. From the 
connection of thought, the mind instinctively supplies ' I do,' 
* I know,' ' I can say of myself,' or the like. The clause, as 
found in our version, is often quoted as exhibiting the need of 
concentration — of a 'united heart' — for success in the struggles 
of the Christian life. This perhaps lays a stress on the ^ one 
thing' which it was hardly intended to bear; but the truth is 

28o Lectures on PJiilippians. [ch. hi. 

directly and most vividly suggested by the whole of the apostle's 
statement here. 

Throughout the passage, the apostle has before his mind his 
favourite image for the illustration of the efforts of the Christian 
life, a race run for a prize, — one of those races, for example, 
which formed part of the famous Olympic and Isthmian 

Paraphrased a little, the statement in these verses is as fol- 
lows : ' I have told you, brethren, that, at the great turning- 
point of my hfe, I was led by the gracious Spirit to give up all 
my old grounds of trust, that I might win Christ, and be found 
in Him. But one act is not the whole of Christianity. Accept- 
ance of Christ by faith is the starting-point of a new life. Do 
not misunderstand what I have said to you, therefore, by 
supposing me to think either that in my decisive act of self- 
renunciation for Christ I laid hold of the goal of my appointed 
race, and was thus ready at once to receive the prize, or that 
since then I have been spiritually perfected. It is not so ; but 
I press on, if that I may lay hold of that for which also I was 
laid hold of by Christ Jesus, on the day of marvellous grace 
when He appeared to me on my journey to Damascus. 
Brethren, there are some who seem to think of themselves that 
they have laid hold of the goal already ; but I assuredly do 
not count myself to have done this. One thing, however, I 
do ; forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching 
forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the 
mark, for the prize which belongs to the heavenly calling 
wherewith God calls us in Christ Jesus.' 

The first general truth set forth in this passage is, that the 
holiness of a Christian is ittiperfect so lo?ig as he is on earth. 
You and I, brethren, know ourselves to be very far from 
having reached entire conformity in heart and life to the will 
of our heavenly Father. Others, perhaps, may not see very 
marked defects in us ; we may be habitually characterized by 
purity, sobriety, uprightness, patience, and benevolence; we 

VERS. 12-14.] Pressing toward the Ma rk. 2 8 1 

may be diligent in availing ourselves of the public and private 
means of grace ; we may be actively engaged in efforts to 
extend the Redeemer's kingdom ; we may hear at times with 
cheering distinctness ' tlie witness of the Spirit with our spirits 
that we arc children of God ; ' — yet, trying ourselves by the 
standard which (}od has given us in the character of His Son, 
we find every day abundant cause to acknowledge sin. Some- 
times candid self-examination makes us almost despond. In 
such moods, the testimony of Paul in the passage before us is 
fitted to comfort, by giving us the assurance that even the most 
illustrious servants of Christ have had similar consciousness of 
imperfection. Studying the apostle's life, we see so bright and 
steady a glow of holy zeal, and mark everywhere a spirit so 
pure, and generous, and self-sacrificing, and patient, that it 
hardly occurs to us to class him among the sinning and 
struggling believers to whom we know ourselves to belong. 
But here you have his own witness, — after the greater part of 
his noble life was spent, — after he had become the spiritual 
father of many churches, — after he had written some, probably 
most, of those Epistles which display such sublime spiritual 
wisdom, — after the signal expression of the divine favour to him 
in his rapture to Paradise had been for many years a memory, 
— ' I am not yet perfect ; I count not myself to have laid hold 
of the goal.' 

You remember also that detailed and most pathetic state- 
ment made by him in Romans : ' I know that in me, that is, in 
my flesh, dwelleth no good thing : for to will is present with 
me ; but how to perfomi that which is good I find not. For 
the good that I would I do not ; but the evil which I would not, 
that I do. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, 
evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God, 
after the inward man : but I see another law in my members, 
warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into 
captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members. O 
wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body 

282 Lectures on Philippia7is. [ch. hi. 

of this death?' (Rom. vii. 18, 19, 21-24.) The language em- 
ployed by Paul in these verses, and also in other parts of that 
section of the Epistle to the Romans from which they are 
taken, is so strong in the confession of imperfection, that 
many expositors have regarded the passage as descriptive, not 
of his experiences as a Christian, but of the struggles, in the 
days before his enlightenment, between natural conscience 
and corrupt inclination. The great preponderance of opinion, 
however, among evangelical students of the Epistle, has been 
in favour of the view that his experience as a believer is that 
exhibited, — most justly, as it seems to me, whether we examine 
the passage itself, or its connection with the context. ' Delight 
in the law of God after the inward man ' could never be ascribed 
to the unregenerate ; whilst every word of the confessions is 
echoed by the most spiritually-minded of God's children. 

It is true that sometimes, amid the glow of first love, a 
young Christian feels as if violation of the law of God were 
henceforth an impossibility for him. While the words of 
gracious welcome are still ringing in the ear of the returned 
prodigal, and the kiss of love still warm on his lips, he cannot 
but think that nothing will ever lead him to disobey, or even 
for a moment forget, so good a Father. But he soon finds that 
* the law of sin in the members brings him into captivity.' 
He discovers that, as the fulness of the bliss which belongs to 
the salvation given him in Christ is reserved for heaven, so is 
it also with the perfect holiness. Lazarus, though alive by the 
grace and power of the Son of God, feels his limbs encumbered 
with the grave-clothes. Says good John Newton, when a well- 
tried soldier of Jesus Christ, ' I would not be the sport of vain 
imaginations ; but this evil is present with me. My heart is 
like a highway, like a city without walls or gates. I sometimes 
compare my words to the treble of an instrument, which my 
thoughts accompany with a kind of bass, or rather anti-bass, in 
which every rule of harmony is broken, every possible com- 
bination of discord and confusion is introduced, utterly incon- 

VERS. 12-14.] Pressing toiuard the Mark. 283 

sistcnt with, and contradictory to, the intended melody. Ah, 
what music would my praying and my preaching often make in 
the ears of the Lord of Hosts, if He listened to them as they 
arc mine only ! I would not be influenced by a principle of 
self on any occasion ; yet this evil I often do. I see the base- 
ness and absurdity of such conduct as clearly as I see the light 
of the day. But the Lord knows how this dead fly taints 
and spoils my best services, and makes them no better than 
specious sins. I would not cleave to a covenant of works ; 
yet even this I do. It is the main pleasure and business of 
my life to set forth the necessity and all-sufficiency of the 
Mediator between God and men, and to make mention of His 
righteousness, even of His only. But here, as in everything 
else, I find a vast difference between my judgment and my 
experience. I am invited to take the water of \\{^ freely^ — yet 
often discouraged because I have nothing wherewith to pay 
for it Ah, how vile must the heart be that can hold a parley 
with such abominations, when I so well know their nature and 
their tendency ! Surely he who finds himself capable of this, 
may without the least affectation of humility (however fair his 
outward conduct appears) subscribe himself less than the least 
of all saints, and of sinners the very chief.' ^ 

I believe, my brethren, that all Christians, in the measure of 
their true self-knowledge, will recognise, in this autobiographical 
sketch of Newton's spiritual condition, something very like a 
sketch of their own. The position that Christian perfection 
can be, and not unfrequently has been, attained on earth, has 
indeed been held by some ; but whenever the theory, as enter- 
tained by men of evangelical faith and saintly character, is 
carefully examined, the difference between them and evan- 
gelical believers generally, resolves itself always into one of little 
more than words. It becomes plain that by * perfection ' they 
mean simply maturity of Christian character, not entire freedom 
from defect. 

^ Cardiphonia, — Fifth Letter to a Nobleman. 

284 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. in. 

As has been already said, one practical result of reflection 
on this subject should be to sustain Christians, when tending 
to doubt the reality of their faith on the ground that it does not 
produce in them all the spiritual fruits they desire. We cannot 
be too deeply humbled on account of the many proofs we daily 
see that sin dwells in us ; but we must not give up our hope 
that we are among the ' sanctified in Christ Jesus,' simply be- 
cause we are not better than the Apostle Paul. 

In seeking comfort here, however, it is of essential moment 
that, in closest connection with the doctrine of Christian im- 
perfection in the present state, we look also at the other great 
general truth exhibited in the verses before us. This is, that 
vital religion impels to ardent longing and persistent effort after 
progress in holiness. 

' Our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ gave Himself for 
us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto 
Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.' It is plain, 
as a matter of fact, that men are not freed * from all iniquity ' 
at the moment of conversion. Consideration of the divine 
character, then, will lead any thoughtful person to expect that 
all God's deahngs with His people will be of the nature of 
moral discipline, and that the Christian life will be one of 
progress in spiritual energy and beauty — in freedom from the 
bondage of depraved inclinations, in the strength of holy affec- 
tions, in singleness of devotion to the divine will. Such is 
the representation constantly given in Scripture of the life of 
the child of God. ' The way of the wicked is as darkness ; 
but the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth 
more and more unto the perfect day.* As regards the power 
of the gospel, when received by fiiith, to gain commanding 
influence over the nature, * The kingdom of heaven is like 
unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures 
of meal, till the whole was leavened.* From the nature of 
the great saving change which is effected by the Spirit of 
God through the faith of the truth, new desires are awakened 

VERS. 12-14.] Pressing toward the Ma rk. 285 

in the soul, the tendency of which, as God gratifies them, and 
the sweetness of the blessing He bestows is felt, is to grow 
constantly stronger. Now fellowship with God, and likeness 
to God, which are the objects of these desires, are inexhaustible 
sources of blessedness. Thus progress is the law of the new 

But the mode of this progress does no violence to any of 
the elements of our moral nature. God works out His gracious 
purpose, not through some physical impulse, under which we 
are altogether passive, but through the renewal of our wills. 
Exposed, then, as the Christian is while here, with a heart 
but partially sanctified, to the abundant temptations of the 
world, and to the influence of our great spiritual foe, it is 
plain that progress will not be without effort and struggle 
on our part. The duty of diligence and persistence in such 
effort is every^vhe^e most affectionately and earnestly set before 
us in the word of God. In such injunctions the bodily exer- 
tions of warfare and of races are often referred to by way 
of illustration. Thus we are called on, as you remember, to 
* fight the good fight of faith,' ' taking to us the whole armour 
of God, and standing in the evil day;' and to May aside 
every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and 
run with patience the race set before us.' In the present 
passage, as has been already mentioned, the image of the 
race is made use of; and by two or three bold lines the pic- 
ture of one of the great competitions which gathered crowds 
of spectators from all parts of the world, and success in which 
was prized as one of the highest honours attainable by a 
Greek, is with much liveliness set before us. Dense all around 
the course is a vast multitude of interested faces, 'a great 
cloud of witnesses.' Near the starting-point, which is also the 
goal, sits the judge, with a garland of olive leaves in his hand 
— the prize of victory. The competitors are already round 
the distance -post, and have the goal before them. Of the 
ground already passed over you see that they have no thought. 

2 86 Lectures on Philippimis, [ch. hi. 

Their keen attitude, with the upper part of the body thrown 
forward — ' reaching forth,^ as if eager even to anticipate the 
swift limbs — shows that every energy of will and frame is 
concentrated on the effort to lay hold of the goal. Such is 
the scene. 

The aim of spiritual progress, the * mark ' or goal of the 
race, is perfection. ' Not as though I were already perfect^ 
says the apostle. No Christian can accept anything lower 
than this as his aim. The new man in Christ feels instinc- 
tively that, when God gave His Son to save men from sin, the 
salvation was to be perfect, — that His ^ exceeding great and 
precious promises ' have been granted to us to the intent 

* that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature^ 
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through 
lust,' — that therefore the thought of contentment with con- 
formity merely to what the world deems a fair standard of 
morality, is a glaring insult to Him. If we are true believers, 
my brethren, our aim, from the impulses of the divine life 
within us, cannot but be to be * perfect, even as our Father 
which is in heaven is perfect.' 

Perfection, in the absolute sense of the word, can be ascribed 
to God alone ; in whom infinite capabilities of holiness are 
exercised with infinite completeness. Throughout eternity, 
the knowledge and the powers of angels and redeemed men 
will be growing ; and with the growth of capability for the 
service of God will be the actual increase of such service. 
Thus for ever the moral creatures of God in glory will be 

* pressing toward the mark,' ' reaching forth unto those things 
which are before.' In a lower sense of ' perfection,' however — 
as relative to our faculties and capacities — 'the souls of believers 
are at their death made perfect in holiness.' This relative 
perfection, though, as a matter of fact, not reached till death, 
is evidently the goal before the apostle's mind, in speaking of 
the persistent spiritual efforts of his life, — perfect conformity 
in everything to the will of God, to the image of Christ. The 

VERS. 12-14.] Prcsshig toivard the Mark. 287 

chiltl of (iod longs to have everything that defileth removed 
from his heart and hfe, and to have everytliing present in his 
heart and life which will * adorn the doctrine of God his 
Saviour.' Tliis is the character which he keeps steadily before 
him, and towards which he makes advances. In the measure 
of the intelligence and liveliness of his faith, he endeavours to 
hve a Christlike life ; and, though falling very far short of his 
ideal, yet he does, on the whole, succeed in employing all the 
departments and doings of his life, the secular as well as the 
strictly religious, as instruments for helping him to become 
always more Christlike. * Infinite as are the varieties of life, 
so manifold are the paths to saintly character ; and he who has 
not found out how, directly or indirectly, to make ever}'thing 
converge towards his soul's sanctification, has as yet missed the 
meaning of this life.*^ 

The spirit which secures progress is one of willingness to 
*^ forget the things which are behind^ and thus have the way 
clear for the desires and energies freely to ' reach forth unto 
those things which are before.^ It is true that the remembrance 
of our past life has great moral uses. The remembrance 
of sins is fitted to humble, — of mistakes, to suggest wiser 
courses, — of mercies, to encourage. But, with weak hearts 
like ours, the influence of memor)^ is often perverse. As we 
recall past failures, we tend to despondency ; whilst the re- 
membrance of past seasons of spiritual happiness, or of activity 
in the service of the Lord, may be made to minister most 
unsound comfort in times of backsliding. In so far as ' things 
which are behind ' exert over us, in any degree, power in such 
directions, it is well — it is needful, if our souls are to ' prosper 
and be in health' — that we ^forget those things.' The latter of 
the two tendencies which I have mentioned is evidently most 
prominent before the apostle's mind, — the tendency to find 
satisfaction in remembering how vigorously in some former 
days we rowed against the current of worldly influence, while 
1 F. W. Robertson, of Brighton. 

288 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

now we are but indolently dipping the oars, and therefore 
drifting down the stream. The counsel of heavenly wisdom 
is, * Bear ever in mind that the current against you is strong 
and constant, so that to relax effort is to go dowTiward. If 
you rest at the oar to muse complacently on what you have 
gained, you are meantime rapidly losing all the gain. Strenu- 
ously and perseveringly, then, bend to the oar; and count 
nothing gained till all be gained.' Such, the apostle tells us 
here, was his habitual feeling and practice. He put out of 
his view the past spiritual struggles of his life, from so many 
of which he had come out ' more than conqueror through Him 
that loved him,' and by which the powers of his great soul had 
been brought into sweet 'captivity to the obedience of Christ' 
These struggles and \-ictories are all behind him now ; and his 
one thought is of progress. 

Paul felt that God had given him most powerful motives^ 
thus to seek spiritual advancement with singleness of aim. 
One of these was found in his knowledge of the purpose which 
Jesus had in view, in His gracious dealings towards him. It 
was most reasonable that he should ' follow after, if that he 
might apprehend that for which also he was apprehended of 
Christ Jesus. ^ The grace of that never-to-be-forgotten day, 
when the Saviour's hand arrested him in his course of mad- 
ness and sin, — the grace of the sublime self-sacrifice of Beth- 
lehem and Calvary, by which He had prepared the way for 
that wondrous arrestment, — to what end was it? Jesus 'gave 
Himself for you and me, brethren, and now gives us His 
Spirit, and compasses us with the influences of His tender 
mercy, — for what ? Certainly, dear friends, no power over the 
heart, constraining to holy obedience, can be conceived, equal 
to the simple knowledge that the object of Christ's loving- 
kindness is * to purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous 
of good works.' 

With the power of gratitude the force of holy ambition joins 
itself, to impel to earnest, persistent effort in the Christian race. 

VFRS. 1 2-14.] Pressing toward the Mark. 289 

Before the believer's eye is set * the prize of the hi^h cal/ini^ of 
God in Christ Jesus.' This pri/.e is ' the crown of life, which 
the Lortl liath promised to them that love Him,' — the perfect 
holy blessedness of heaven. Every follower of Christ feels the 
animating influence of this hope. When at times the heart 
grows weary in the spiritual struggle, a glimpse through faith of 
the ' diadem of beauty ' revives the flagging energies. The 
changes and sorrows of the ])ilgrim life can be patiently borne 
by those who are enabled with full confidence to ' look for a 
city which hath foundations.' When divine grace gives wisdom 
to * have respect unto the recompense of the reward,' * the re- 
proach of Christ ' will be esteemed ' greater riches than the 
treasures' of the world. The human soul of the Lord Jesus 
Himself was strengthened to bear the weight of atoning suffering 
by the contemplation of the blessedness to come. 'For the joy 
that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the 
shame.' In the passage before us the apostle does not describe, 
but vividly suggests, the immeasurable preciousness of the 

* prize ' which divine grace offers, for Jesus' sake, to those who 

* endure unto the end.' It is 'the ])uzq of — connected with, 
belonging to — the high callifig of God.' The glorious origin of 
the operations and influences by which Christians have been 
brought into their position and character, leads up to the 
thought of a transcendent grandeur of destiny. Our calling is 
in every point of view a * high ' or * heavenly calling.' 1 The 
invitation and gracious influences are from heaven ; and by 
them God 'calls us unto His kingdom and glory' (i Thess. 
ii. 12). 

You will observe great encouragement for the struggling 

believer in the language here employed, ^^^len he feels most 

deeply his own impotence, and when, in the light of the 

glory of the promised reward, he sees most clearly his un- 

worthiness, — how cheering to remember that he has not entered 

on the race unsummoned ! The ' calling ' by God implies a 

' Compare Heb. iii. i. 

290 Lechtres on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

promise of all needed guidance and help ; and with His aid 'all 
things are possible.' This calling is ' iti Christ Jestis,^ too, in 
whom all God's words and ways to us are full of mercy. In 
their connection here, these words sound like the voice of Jesus 
Himself, saying to His people, in the midst of their wrestling 
and fear, ^ Be of good cheer ; I have overcome the world.' 

Let us lay the teaching of this passage of Scripture to heart, 
my brethren. Progress is of the essence of vital religion, and 
is indeed the grand a.nd only satisfying evidence of vitality. 
But true believers not unfrequently feel, through certain results 
of real progress, as if they were not making progress. With 
the increase of spirituality comes a constantly distincter ap- 
prehension of the glorious completeness and beauty of the 
standard of Christian holiness, in the character of the Lord 
Jesus ; and thus, constantly, also, a more vivid sense of the 
believer's own shortcomings. The growing light reveals more 
painfully to the heart — which is becoming ever more sensitive — 
the depth of darkness still remaining in the comers and 
crannies of the nature and life. Candid questioning of the 
soul respecting the existence of a sincere longing for progress, 
will show how the matter really stands with us. There can be 
no strong and persistent yearning for advance in likeness to 
the Master, except in true believers. And wherever such 
longings are found, that Christian is making actual progress, 
whether he himself can clearly see it or not It is very likely 
that those of his fellow-Christians who have opportunities of 
observing him closely, see satisfying proof of his advance. 

In no believer, probably, is increase of wisdom and devoted- 
ness altogether equable ; but this affords no ground for doubt- 
ing that progress is the law of spiritual life, and that this 
progress must at some intervals, longer or shorter, become 
visible, — any more than the seeming reflux, for a few moments, 
of a flowing tide, gives reason to doubt that, on the whole, the 
sea will gain on the land till the time of high water. No man 
has a right to conclude that his neighbour is not a true 

VERS. 12-14.] Pressing Iowa rci the Ma rk. 2 9 1 

Christian, l)ccaiisc he sees what appears to him a step back- 
ward in some parti( ular, or on some occasion. i)n the other 
hand, it is exceedingly hazardous for any man to try to per- 
suade himself that he is making spiritual progress on the whole, 
if candour compel him to admit that he can see nothing but 
retrogression in details. The only safe course is resolutely, 
persistently, and prayerfully, * forgetting those things which are 
behind, to reach forth unto those things which arc before.* 
There is, as we have seen, no standing still. Listlessness 
means loss. * From him that hath not ' gain, * shall be taken 
away even that which he hath.' Let us then, my brethren, 
* press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God 
in Christ Jesus.' Thus, through grace, we shall be enabled to 
'grow up into Him in all things which is the Head, even 
Christ.' Thus, having put forth ' the blade,' we shall in due 
course put forth ' the ear,' and at last * the full com in the ear,' 
which God will gather into His heavenly gamer. 

292 Lectures on Pkiltppians. [ch. hi. 


' Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded ; and if in any- 
thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 
16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the 
same rule, let us mind the same thing.' — Phil. iii. 15, 16. 

THE apostle has spoken of his personal convictions re- 
garding the needfulness of progress in spiritual wisdom 
and strength and beauty, and of his longings and struggles to 
make progress. In the section beginning with the verses now 
before us, and extending to the ist, or perhaps the 3d, verse of 
the next chapter, he applies what he has said on this subject 
to the purpose of exhortation, as exhibiting the convictions 
and the kind of life which ought to be found in all Christians. 

He begins by an appeal to his readers to embrace, and 
hold firmly, the same vieivs which he did, in regard to the duty 
of persistent effort after progress in holiness. * Let us therefore^ 
as many as be perfect, be thus 7ninded.' The phrase ^be nmided^ — 
which in this respect, as in every other, excellently represents 
the original word — has a wide range of reference, pointing not 
unfrequently to the action of the affections, more directly than 
to that of the judgment. But in this place the 'God shall 
reveal,' which occurs in the latter part of the verse, shows 
distinctly that the writer is thinking mainly of convictions of 

The words * as many as be pcrfccf startle us somewhat at first, 
— appearing as they do to contradict universal Christian experi- 
ence, the experience set forth by the apostle himself only three 

VER. 15.] True Wisdoyn proved by Godliness, 293 

verses before, where he says that he did not suppose himself 
to be 'already perfect.' It becomes i)lain, however, on a little 
consideration, that the word, instead of being employed, ac- 
coriling to our common usage, and as it is emjiloyed in the 
1 2th verse, to designate entire freedom from moral defect, is 
intended to bear a considerably modified meaning. We find 
on examination that ^perfect ' not unfrequently in the New 
Testament describes simply a maturity — a rii)eness and rich- 
ness of knowledge, or character, or both — such as might be 
supposed to mark the full-grown man, as contrasted with the 
babe in Christ. The naturalness and obviousness of this, 
for those among whom the apostolic writings were first circu- 
lated, will be evident, when I mention to you that the same 
Greek word which is translated ' perfect,' often means nothing 
more than * full-grown,' or * come to man's estate.' Thus, in 
the Epistle to the Hebrews (v. 14), 'Strong meat belongeth 
to than that are of full age;^ and in the First Epistle to the 
Corinthians (xiv. 20), ' In malice be ye children, but in under- 
standing be men.^ No doubt the apostle's meaning in the 
place before us, then, is, ' Let us, as many as are mature, be 
thus minded, — hold firmly those views of duty which I have 
just expressed.' 

From the nature of the case, we must suppose maturity in 
knowledge to be in his thoughts ; for a reference to maturity 
in character would, in this passage, have little pertinence or 
force, — implying, as it plainly would, that the persons addressed 
did already hold with a firm grasp those views of duty which 
the apostle is enjoining. The whole tone of his exhortation 
appears to presuppose a likelihood that the character of some 
to whom he speaks is as yet but imjnature. But there is much 
pertinence and force in a reference to maturity in k?icnuledge^ — 
seeing that, as we gather from the connection of the passage 
with the previous part of the chapter, he means by this espe- 
cially emancipation from the bonds of legalism, and keen per- 
ception of the completeness of justification through faith in 

294 Lectures on Philippians. [cH. iii. 

Christ. Now recoil from trust in fancied obedience to the law 
of God as a way of salvation, might be into disregard of that 
law as a rule or guide of life. As the apostle has already 
hinted in the verses preceding the present, and states explicitly 
in the i8th and 19th, there were some in his time who thus 
abused the precious doctrines of grace to their own ruin. It 
was therefore highly needful that those of the Philippians who, 
with regard to the way of reconciliation with God, had put 
away childish things, and attained a manly clearness and 
breadth of view, should have very distinctly brought before their 
minds the duty of showing also manly wisdom and strength 
and energy in the service of God. It was of supreme moment 
for them to understand that for full Christian ' maturity ' is 
required knowledge — vital, influential knowledge — that the 
object of the Lord's self-devotion for us was not merely ' to 
deliver us from the wrath to come,' but to accomplish an end 
grander even than this, — to save us from the power of sin, and 
make us in character like Himself 

We have seen that the use of the word ^perfect' in the sense 
which it evidently bears here, 'mature,' is not unfrequent. 
Still Paul's choice of this particular term, so very shortly after 
he had earnestly disclaimed belief in his being personally 
* perfect' in the stricter sense, seems strange. But a probable 
explanation is not far to seek. The apostle has already pro- 
minently in his thoughts the antinomian abusers of evangelical 
doctrine, of whom, as has been said, he comes to speak ex- 
pressly in the i8th and 19th verses. He has turned the minds 
of his readers to them by the emphasis — not perceptible in our 
version, but very marked in the original — with which, in the 
beginning of the 13th verse, he has spoken of his own personal 
convictions : ' Brethren, I at least do not count myself to have 
apprehended,' — the thought being plainly suggested, 'whatever 
others may think regarding themselves.' Now we know from 
statements in the early Christian fathers, that, in the age immedi- 
ately following that of the apostles, the antinomians had special 

VER. 15.] TrncWisdoju proved by Godliness. 295 

delight in summing up their claims to manly ripeness of know- 
ledge by calling themselves * the i)erfect.' If we suppose, then, 
what is every way likely, that already in Paul's days this was 
a favourite word with them, you will see at once the point and 
force which would be recognised by the apostle's readers in 
his use of the term here : ' Let us — as many as have attained 
to that manly liberty through the knowledge of Christ, which 
those men claim for themselves, and speak of with such jjride — 
prove that we have true spiritual wisdom, by not subjecting 
ourselves, as those foolish ones have done, to another form of 
cnishing slavery, but devoting ourselves joyfully and earnestly 
to that loving service of God which is the only real freedom.' 

Brethren, if you and I intelligently hold the creed which we 
profess, then we are among those whom the apostle here 
speaks of as * perfect.' The Christian church was for many 
ages kept by Popish falsehood in bondage, or in a constant 
childhood ; but the churches of the Reformation are churches 
of men, of freemen. We glory in the cross of Christ, in justifi- 
cation by faith, in a full salvation through divine grace. Now 
I have no reason to suppose that, with this creed, any of us 
have consciously adopted antinomian views. That heresy, so 
repulsive to all healthy Christian feeling, so utterly offensive 
indeed to ordinary good sense, has never had any hold on our 
Scottish churches. Yet I fear there may be not a few of us 
who have far from a clear and impressive view of the transcen- 
dent importance of personal holiness, and of the prominence 
which this has in God's salvation. We are all prone to think 
more of happiness, of pardon and peace, than of purity and 
godliness. Now, in truth, ih^ primary element in eternal life 
is beauty and strength of character. As Christian wisdom 
ripens, conviction of the surpassing grandeur of this element in 
the great gift of God grows clearer and firmer ; and of the hope 
of being with Christ for ever in heaven the chief preciousness 
is more and more felt to lie in the assurance that then, up to 
the fullest capabilities of our nature, * we shall be like Him, for 

296 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

we shall see Him as He is.' ' Let us therefore,' my brethren, 
' as many as be perfect, be thus minded.' 

The apostle proceeds to give a promise of divine enlighten- 
ment on moral subjects for those who see aright the importance 
of persistent effort after holiness : ' and if in anything ye be 
otherwise minded, God shall rrceal even this (or this also) unto 
yon.'' The introductory ''and'' intimates that the exhortation 
of the former clause is here assumed to have been followed, — 
* and, supposing that, on the whole, you are thus minded, then.' 
''Otherwise'' means, 'otherwise than as accords with those 
great principles of duty which have been spoken of as exem- 
plified by me.' The word is therefore simply a mild way of 
saying ' wrongly.' The matters referred to are minor points, 
details in the bringing into practice of convictions respecting 
the importance of a holy life. In a world where interests and 
relations are so complex, where knowledge both of facts and of 
principles is often so difficult to attain, and where, even so far 
as attained, it is frequently in so great a degree coloured and 
vitiated by feeling, it is to be expected that Christians, even 
when sincerely pressing on to ' apprehend that for which they 
have been apprehended of Christ Jesus,' should many times 
choose a mistaken course. The mists that shrouded the earth 
before the dawn do not take their flight at the very first touch 
of the morning sun. But before his waxing strength they dis- 
appear. So will it be, the apostle says, with moral mists. 
From differences of temperament, education, and circumstances 
of many kinds, the rate of progress in moral intelligence varies 
greatly among Christians ; but in all who are honestly striving 
to become like their Master, there will be the advance which, 
in the first chapter of the Epistle, Paul says he supplicated for 
his Philippian friends, * in knowledge, and all delicacy of 
spiritual perception, so as to distinguish things which differ' 
(i. 9, 10). 

The truth here exhibited, that a sincere servant of God will, 
through divine grace, grow in spiritual wisdom — his light waxing 

vi:r. 15.] True Wisdom proved by God I i)icss. 297 

brighter and brighter until the glories of the jierfect day break 
upon him, — is faniihar to every student of the Iiil)le. * The 
secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will 
show them His covenant.* ' If any man be willing to do the 
will of (Jod, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of 

Various considerations show that a pious man — a man on 
whose heart such convictions have been impressed as those 
which Paul tells us in the preceding verses had been impressed 
on his — is in the most favourable circumstances for receiving 
more and more enlightenment in religious truth. For one 
thing, his piety leads him to think jtiucli about religion^ and to 
avail himself of all means of knowledge on the subject. By 
native temi)erament, and the influence of circumstances, men 
are led to choose very varied lines of study ; but no one is 
drawn by nature to a candid, unprejudiced contemplation of 
the grandest of all subjects, the character and will of God. 
By nature we * do not like to retain God in our knowledge,' — 
we say, ' Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of 
Thy ways.' So long as we love to disobey God, the thought 
of Him brings us pain, and will therefore naturally be shunned. 
As lawless men prowl at midnight rather than at noon, so those 
whose hearts are alienated from God *love darkness rather than 
light, because their deeds are evil.' Such men, in studying 
God's works, stop at second causes. In looking at the move- 
ments of the world, they recognise the hand of emperors, and 
generals, and statesmen, but not of God. They feel no interest 
in reading the word of God ; and if habit, or superstition, or 
respect for the opinion of neighbours, lead them to His house, 
they find no enjoyment there, and hear and remember as little 
of the truth as possible. But a man whose aim is to serve God, 
finds ever)thing which relates to Him to be of profoundest 
interest. Love and admiration for his divine King lead him 
to meditate with delight on His character and ways, — to pursue 
with eagerness the study of the revelation which He has given 

298 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

of Himself, — and to watch with attention and thoughtfulness the 
working among men around him of different moral principles, 
and different modes of carrying out the same principle. Every- 
thing which can give him light on difficult duty, or exhibit to 
him a new aspect of the motives to holy obedience, he is eager 
to search into. Thus he is obviously in a fair way to grow 
always spiritually wiser. 

Again, tJie mind and heart of a man 7vho is in earnest pursuit 
of holiness^ are in a state fitted to apprehend divijte truth — a state 
of spiritual sensitiveness, of sympathy or community of feeling 
with God, By the faith of God's truth, as known to some 
extent, the desire of holiness has been awakened ; and, accord- 
ing to the beautiful system of action and reaction which pre- 
vails throughout the Christian life, as this desire strengthens and 
is followed out, susceptibiUty to all influences calculated to 
increase moral and spiritual wisdom grows continually. When 
longings after spiritual strength and nobleness are wanting, the 
words in which God has made known His will remain mere 
words — destitute of life and illuminating power ; and though 
there may be a pure morality, as regards the relation of man to 
man, yet to all lessons, from every quarter, on our moral rela- 
tions to God, the eye is blind, the ear deaf, the mind dull. If 
a non-Christian man were to express the thoughts which occur 
to him, when he hears believers speak of the inmost and most 
precious verities and experiences of the Christian life — of 
fellowship with God, of love to God, of obtaining strength and 
comfort tlirough prayer, of living under heavenly influences, of 
everything, in short, which pertains to the motives and modes 
of spiritual morality, — he would acknowledge that words like 
these convey no definite meaning to him. As a man entirely 
destitute of ear for music, finds in the sublimest strains of 
Handel or Beethoven no special significance or sweetness ; so 
to the eternal harmonies of the loftiest truth the souls of those 
who are alienated from the life of God are utterly dull. To 
the man who is minded, like the Apostle Paul, to * press toward 

VER. 15.] True Wisdom proved by Godliness. 299 

the mark, for the pri/c of the high calling of God,' the melody 
comes home with full sweetness and power. Or, to take 
another illustration,— on common paper the sunlight falls and 
leaves no trace, — on the prepared paper of the j)hotographcr, 
made sensitive by certain chemical applications, the light so 
acts as to leave that distinct impression of friends and scenes 
which is so familiar to us all. So on a soul which has no 
yearnings after holiness the light of the Sun of righteousness 
falls but makes no mark, — on a soul prepared and made 
sensitive by holy love, God's pictures of sj^iritual beauty are 
printed indelibly ; and by and by, when Christ shall appear, 
His image will be reproduced perfecUy in His people. 

In all this, my brethren, — in the disposition which a sincerely 
pious man has to study divine truth with attention and interest, 
and in the power of spiritual apprehension which his desire of 
holiness gives him, — we recognise the working of God Himself, 
God the Holy Ghost, through whom alone we can have true 
wisdom and holy desire. It is at His creative word, 'Let there 
be light,' that the darkness of ignorance and prejudice flies 
away, — at His command that the chaos of wicked thoughts, 
proud imaginations, and despairing fears, is changed into a 
scene of smiling beauty. And as the Christian life thus begins 
through His agency, so by Him it is sustained — by Him 
ever}' movement towards progress in knowledge and godliness 
prompted, supported, regulated, and made successful. Of 
the work of this divine Agent, you observe, Paul here speaks 
expressly : * If, whilst you have on the whole sound views of 
Christian duty, there be yet here and there some point of which 
your apprehension is imperfect, God will reveal to you that also^ 
The * that also ' implies, ' as to His gracious instruction are to 
be ascribed all the attainments you have already made.' By 
* rrc'eaP here, Paul evidently does not mean such supernatural 
communications of truth as were made to the prophets, apostles, 
and other inspired teachers of the church ; for his statement 
refers to Christians generally. He designates by it that guid- 

300 Lectures on Philippiaiis. [ch. hi. 

ance into all needed truth which the Divine Spirit gives by 
means of the seriousness and candour of inquiry, and spiritual 
sensibility, of which I have already spoken, — by blessing the 
believer's study of the Bible, converse with fellow-Christians, 
observation of men and things around, reading and thought on 
history and philosophy. The Christian, having asked the 
direction of the Holy Spirit, knows that he has received it, 
though His guidance be commonly indistinguishable from the 
workings of his own judgment ; and of all his progress in 
spiritual wisdom he ascribes the glory to God. 

The apostle's word ' rojeal^ as thus applied, is well fitted to 
remind us of the general truth that God is very near us, and 
constantly acting directly upon and around us. The tendencies 
of scientific thought in our day are strongly toward hiding 
this, — giving prominence to secondary causes, instead of to the 
God who works through them. Scripture would have us every- 
where discern the hand of 'the living God.' You see a Chris- 
tian busy with his Bible. Looking up, he tells you, ' I have 
been consulting some marginal references ; and have obtained 
a new and most comforting view of the meaning of the verses 
I have been studying.' Now no doubt it was the marginal 
references which guided our friend to his knowledge ; but the 
apostle tells you here that ' God revealed the truth to him.' 
The marginal references were only God's instruments ; and a 
wise man lifts his eyes from the instruments to the ever-gracious 
Lord. This closeness of relation to God spiritually, all believers 
recognise ; less so, not in creed, but in our feelings and prac- 
tically as regards prayer, the closeness of the relations to Him 
of our physical life. We know a great deal more of natural 
science now than the Hebrew believers did three thousand 
years ago ; and this advance is to be rejoiced in, for accurate 
knowledge of any subject worth knowing at all is a good thing. 
But those old Hebrews saw God and heard God everywhere ; 
and if we allow our science to blind us and deafen us to Him — 
to put away our sense of His nearness, and of our constant 

VER. 1 6.] Tnic Wisdom proved by Godliness. 301 

dependence on Ilim, — then assuredly we permit our knowledge, 
or the influence on puljlic feeling of the knowledge around us, 
to aftect most injuriously our spiritual vigour, and beauty, and 
joy. Christian happiness and Christian strength are always 
most fully experienced when our I'ather's hand is ever seen 
and ever felt, — when in the thunder we hear the voice of the 
Lord — in the sunlight and the shower see our Father in heaven 
' making His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and 
sending rain on the just and on the unjust ' — and in the joys of 
harvest behold Him 'opening His hand,' and suj)plying the 
need of His creatures. 

The 1 6th verse, in the form in which we have it in our 
version, — ^ Nrccrihekss, whereto 7ve have already attained, let us 
7valk by the same riile^ let us mind the same thing,' — appears 
to be an injunction that, in so far as believers *see eye to eye,* 
they should cherish and display their unity. Most thoughtful 
readers, I should suppose, have felt difficulty in seeing natural- 
ness in the occurrence of this precept in the passage. It is 
in itself a most important precept ; but it does not seem to 
lie in the line of the apostle's remarks, not standing in close 
or easy connection either with what precedes or what follows. 
The fact is, however, that the injunction is not one to unity. 
The diligent examination which has been made, since the time 
our translators did their work, of the ancient manuscripts of 
the New Testament, has shown that in all probability the last 
words of the verse, from * rule ' onwards, do not belong to the 
original text, but have slipped in from the glosses or comments 
of transcribers. The precept, therefore, is really this, ' Never- 
theless^ (or 'But,' 'Only'), ''whereto we have attained, let us 
walk by the same^ — these closing words being an emphatic 
way of sa)ing, ' by that ' — namely, ' that to which we have 
attained,' — a kind of condensation of ' by it, and not by other 
principles or rules.' You will see, at once, that the connec- 
tion of this with what immediately precedes is very close and 
natural and important. The apostle has said, ' Let us all 

302 Lechtres ofi Philippians. [cH. iii. 

cherish convictions of the needfulness of progress in holiness ; 
and if you honestly do this, then, supposing that on any par- 
ticular point of moral duty you should have defective views, 
God, through His Spirit, will make truth on this also known 
to you.' Now he proceeds thus, — ' But let us all see to it, — 
for this is the matter of chief moment, and is an essential 
condition of our obtaining such growth in spiritual enlighten- 
ment as I have spoken of, — that we try honestly to guide our 
lives by the light we have already attained to.' This counsel 
again leads most naturally to the course of remark in the 
following verses, in which the important influence on Christian 
conduct of a wise choice of examples is pointed out. 

You observe that the apostle states his precept in a way 
to show expressly that he laid it down for himself as well as 
his readers : ' Whereto we have attained, by the same let us 
walk.' ' This is a principle,' he says, ' of universal validity in 
the Christian life. Notwithstanding all the abundant revela- 
tions which God has granted me, I am still struggling forward, 
like yourselves, into fuller light on grace and on duty. Let us 
remember, then, dear brethren, that it is a necessary condition 
for us of fuller light, that each of us apply faithfully to his own 
life the measure of insight which has been imparted to him.' 
We all feel how winning this inclusion of himself in the same 
class as his readers is. Caesar's soldiers said, ' He never sends 
us into hot battle, — he always leads us.' Christian counsels, 
too, are likely to have a peculiarly imperial power, when they 
take the form ' Come,' not ' Go.' 

That the man who will obtain fuller knowledge of the will 
of God is the man who conscientiously and prayerfully strives 
to do that will, so far as he yet knows it, — is a truth which 
underlies all the teaching of Scripture regarding the nature and 
possibility of spiritual progress. It is ' by the truth ' that we 
are to be ' made free ' from the thraldom of depraved desire ; 
and the knowledge that He whom the Father heareth always 
has prayed, ' Sanctify them through Thy truth,' brings with it 

VFR. i6.] Tnic Wisdom proved by Godliness. 303 

tlic assurance that all who, looking to Jesus as their Strength, 
are heartily struggling for emancipation, will have granted to 
them ever a firmer and fuller apprehension of the emancipating 
truth. The light will grow towards the * perfect day.' (iod's 
dealings in this respect, in the dispensation of His grace, accord 
with what we see every day in the physical sj)here. Within 
certain limits, the exercise of power tends to bring more i>ower. 
*To him that hath is given.* To the 'shatirs' who run before 
the king of Persia — as * Elijah girded up his loins, and ran 
before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel ' — practice from child- 
hood has given such activity of limb, that they can keej) pace 
for many hours with a fleet horse. The swing of the heavy 
hammer makes the muscles of the blacksmith's arms ' strong 
as iron bands.' Similarly, *if a man be willing to do the will 
of God,' which is the legitimate exercise of such religious 
knowledge as he has, * he shall know of the doctrine ' further. 
The believer who, * whereto he has attained, walks by the 
same,' will find his * attainment ' increasing continually. For 
the man who fills his sphere of light with spiritual vigilance — 
strenuous opposition to the temptations of the world, and the 
flesh, and the devil — earnest effort, according to opportunity, to 
extend the kingdom of truth and righteousness, — the illumi- 
nated circle will steadily widen. 

On the other hand, a gift of God unused is withdrawn. 
' From him that hath not ' interest on the entrusted talent, 
* shall be taken away even that which he hath.' The indolent 
become feeble. The arm of the Eastern ascetic, drawTi up 
over the head and kept rigid there, gradually grows powerless 
and withered. So with knowledge in religion. If the man 
who knows the truth be not heartily and perseveringly * a 
doer of the word' he knows, his knowledge, as a spiritual 
power, peace-giving and strengthening, ebbs away. As an 
intellectual perception, yielding material for thought and de- 
bate, it may remain and even increase ; but, spiritually, such 
a man is always growing darker. 

304 Lectures on Philippians. [cH. iii. 

You feel, my brethren, that the precept of the apostle here 
is one of vast importance ; one, too, with which, in a world like 
this, it is exceedingly hard faithfully to comply. Every one of 
us fails to ' walk ' perfectly in accordance with that knowledge 
of duty ' whereto he has attained ;' and the consciences of 
some of us may testify, if we question them unflinchingly, that 
our life is very far indeed below even our own conception of 
what it ought to be. Natural indolence and perversity press 
heavily on our convictions, to prevent them from rising to 
full operative vigour. The world — that is to say, practically, 
the people we associate with in business and privately, and 
the newspapers and books we read, for these form a very 
influential part of our society, — the world has a scheme of 
life of its own, a doctrine of proprieties, which leaves out 
much, and — unless here and there perhaps for Christians alto- 
gether exceptionally situated — opposes itself to not a few things 
that the servant of Christ knows to be in harmony with the 
will of his Master. * Walking,' as we do, reasonably and 
rightly, in accordance with this doctrine of proprieties, where 
it is not inconsistent with the ' doctrine of Christ,' — we are all 
in great hazard of continuing for some distance in accordance 
with it, even where, as we have a more or less definite con- 
sciousness, it diverges from the line of true and noble Christian 
morality. The peril is especially great in circumstances like 
those of most of us, — where our * world ' consists very largely of 
professing Christians, to whom, not unnaturally, we look for 
help, rather than hindrance, in our endeavours to perform 
Christian duty. Behind all the other influences calculated 
to prevent in believers conformity of practice to conviction, 
too, is the ' prince of this world,' with his subtlety and power 
and malignity ; whom nothing gratifies more — for he knows 
that nothing serves his interests more — than a low-toned life 
in those who have * named the name of Christ.' 

If, then, dear friends, the direction of our affections and the 
features of our life are at all adequately to accord with our 

vi:r. 1 6. 1 True Wisdom proved by Godliness. 305 

knowledge of duty, — if, * whereto we have attained,' we are at 
it all to 'walk by the same,'— then, i)lainly, there must be a 
girding up of the loins of our mind' — resolution, watchful- 
ness, and ])rayer. Let us seek to live in close and constant 
fellowship with (iod, in * the secret of His tabernacle.' Let us 
* abide in Christ,' — remembering that He * is made of God to 
us ' no less our * sanctification ' than our justifying ' righteous- 
ness.' Thus *thc joy of the Lord shall be our strength.' Kach 
of us will be enabled to * unite his heart,' gathering up all its 
energies, and sending them out in the one direction, to do the 
will of (iod. We shall hear our Saviour's voice behind us, 
saying, * This is the way, walk ye in it ;* and we shall have 
grace given to walk therein, turning neither to the right hand 
nor to the left. We shall receive of Him growing delicacy of 
sj)iritual apprehension, and growing firmness to follow His 
word, given through the Bible and the conscience, and to 
leave thoughts of mere expediency and carnal policy to those 
who know nothing higher. 


;o6 Lectures 07i Philippiayis. [ch. hi. 


* Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so, as 
ye have us for an ensample. i8 For many walk, of whom I have told 
you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of 
the cross of Christ : 19 Whose end is destruction, whose god is their 
belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.' — 
Phil. iii. 17-19. 

THE apostle has been impressing upon his readers the 
needfulness of having clear views with regard to the 
importance of personal holiness, and of persistent effort to 
maintain a practice accordant with such views. In the passage 
before us, continuing his observations on this subject, he directs 
their thoughts to the influence of example. He points out to 
them that many to whom, as assuming no little prominence in 
the church, they might naturally look for practical illustration 
of the moral principles of Christianity, lived in a way wholly 
opposed to the spirit of the gospel ; and calls upon them to shun 
taking such persons as models, and, instead, to imitate his own 
character, and that of others who, like him, plainly strove to 
follow ' whatsoever things were true, and honourable, and just, 
and pure, and lovely, and of good report' Of the immoral 
teachers he gives a description, in some detail, in the i8th and 
19th verses; and we shall perhaps best attain a clear view of 
the force of the whole passage by examining this description 
first, and then, with it in our minds, going back to consider 
what is said in the 17th. 

* Many walk^ the apostle says, ' of wJioyn I have told you 
ofteUy and now tell you even weepings that they are the enemies of 

VERS. 1 8, 19.] U'/sl' Choice of Exa^nples. 307 

thf cross of Christ : whose etui is destruction^ whose j!;od is their 
belly\ and ichose ^a^lory is in their shame^ icho mind earthly things.' 
You feci that the word ' icaik ' sounds somewhat oddly in its 
connection here. You expect to find an adverbial phrase 
attached to it, — * wickedly,' for example, or ' in such a way as 
to prove themselves enemies of the cross.' Paul probably 
intended at first to construct his sentence so, but, by the 
relative clause he inserts, was led to express himself a little 

The Philippians doubtless had no difficulty in knowing to 
whom Paul referred in this description. During his visits to 
them he had ' to/d them often ' of this class of men ; and the 
intensity of feeling with which he writes on the subject — for he 
' no7C' tells them rcen weeping^ — suggests a likelihood that the 
perversities which had pained him formerly, had grown yet 
more pronounced and notorious. We can only conjecture who 
these men were ; but the probabilities, as it seems to me, tend 
all in one direction. They were plainly persons whom, from 
their position, Christians might not unnaturally be expected to 
regard as models of character. They had some prominence in 
the church therefore, and in all likelihood, as indeed I have 
already assumed by using the designation a little ago in speak- 
ing of them, were teachers who itinerated among the churches. 
The apostle's language suggests also that the class he alludes 
to was a well defined one, probably by peculiarities of doctrine. 
Now the Judaizing opponents of Paul, whom he mentions so 
frequently in his letters, and to whom he has referred in the 
beginning of this chapter in terms of just and indignant severity, 
do not answer to the description here. Arrogant, self-seeking, 
unspiritual they were ; but we have no reason to think of them 
as men of flagrantly immoral lives, such as the verses before us 
appear to ascribe to the class of teachers here meant. One can 
scarcely doubt, all things considered, that the reference is to 
abusers of the doctrines of grace, who said, ' Let us do evil, 
that good may come.' As has been pointed out to you in pre- 

3o8 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

vious lectures, these seem to have been before the apostle's 
mind from the 13th verse. His beloved flock at Philippi was 
exposed to the attacks of two bodies of ' grievous wolves,' — 
those who would have them look on keeping God's law as, to 
some extent, a means of earning eternal life as their wages ; 
and those who would have them disregard the law as a rule of 
conduct. Their watchful shepherd, endeavouring lovingly to 
guard them against both, passes most naturally and wisely from 
the exposure of legalism in the beginning of the chapter to the 
exposure of antinomianism here. 

Now, my brethren, you and I are not likely to encounter 
persons exactly of the kind described by the apostle in these 
verses. Immoral teachers of religion there may be, though — 
thanks be to God for it I — very greatly fewer than our fathers 
knew. Much defective and even false theology, too, is taught 
from the pulpit and the press ; the ultimate tendency of which, 
no doubt, as of everything which turns away the soul from the 
pure gospel of Jesus Christ, is towards immorality. But direct 
and conscious teaching of immorality, under the name of 
Christianity, must in our day be altogether exceptional, if it 
exist at all. Still, dear friends, this most melancholy state- 
ment, by one of Christ's inspired servants, respecting the cha- 
racter of many professing Christians of his time; and his solemn 
declaration of the awful end to which that character, if main- 
tained, would certainly bring them, — ^have most impressive 
teaching for us. If we have ears to hear, the apostle is heard 
warning us of the need of prayerfulness, self-study, and spiritual 
vigilance ; seeing how little the mere profession of religion 
ensures an elevated morality, or a well-founded hope of eternal 
life. These men — persons plainly of considerable mark in the 
church, and possessed of attractions of some kind, such as 
might not improbably gain them a number of admirers, even in 
a pure and intelligent Christian community like that of Philippi 
— lived a life not only divergent from that which the gospel, 
understood and believed, is calculated to form \ but in many 

VERS. 1 8, 19.] Wise CJioicc of Examples. 309 

respects, as \vc shall immediately see in detail, directly op- 
jtoscd to it. J.ct us * watch and pray, that we enter not into 

The men of wliom Paul s])caks, differed, he tells us, from 
genuine Christians with regard to the very first principle of 
religion. The object of their worship was not the same. 

The true believer has taken the living God — the (iod who 
made him, who sustains him, who sent His Son to save him — to 
be his God. It was not so once. By nature he had grievous 
misconceptions of the divine character. According to his tem- 
perament and his training, he regarded God as stern and cold, 
destitute of pity and tenderness, a Being whom it was im- 
jiossible to please or to love ; or as weakly indulgent and 
placable, ready, because of His boundless mercy, to overlook 
misconduct in His creatures, and welcome them all at last to 
peace and heaven. On either view, there was no motive to 
think of God with interest and reverence, or to endeavour to do 
His will. But, having ' learned Christ,' the believer sees God 
in Him to be the Infinitely Admirable, the 'Altogether Lovely.' 
He counts it most reasonable that, with all his energies, he 
should serve the God who gave him those energies, — the su- 
premely True, and Holy, and Kind. The love and fellowship 
of his heavenly Father are felt by him to satisfy all his capacities 
of happiness ; and therefore, while many say, ' Who will show 
us any good ?' his cry is, * Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy 
countenance upon us. Whom have I in heaven but Thee ? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. My 
flesh and my heart faileth ; but God is the strength of my heart, 
and my portion for ever.' 

But of the men — professing Christians — to whom the apostle 
here refers, he says that their ^ god is their belly J Sensuality 
had dominion over them. The living God expresses His will 
that we should be * temperate in all things,' and should ' have 
no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather 
reprove them ;' and declares that ' no drunkard, nor unclean 

3 TO Lectures on Philippians. [cH. iii. 

person, shall inherit the kingdom of God.' But the desires of 
the flesh invite to self-indulgence, — to gluttony, revelling, 
drunkenness ; to gaudiness, extravagance, immodesty of dress ; 
to impurity of speech and conduct. This call these persons 
habitually obeyed, thus clearly showing that practically, what- 
ever their professions, bodily appetite was their god, their 
supreme ruler. The heathen whom the King of Assyria 
settled in central Canaan, after he had removed the ten tribes 
to the far east, were troubled and terrified by lions ; and, with a 
view to propitiate Him who had sent the wild beasts against 
them, petitioned their king for the services of a priest of Israel, 
to ' teach them the manner of the God of the land.' ' Then 
one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria 
came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should 
fear the Lord. Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, 
and put them in the houses of the high places.' So ' they 
feared the Lord, and served their onm gods^ Ah, my brethren, 
would that we could think of this conjunction of formal 'fear- 
ing ' of Jehovah with ' serving,' by the devotion of heart and 
life, men's ' own gods,' as having belonged only to old days ! 
Would that we could regard Paul's sketch of nominal Chris- 
tians, ' whose god is their belly,' as having suitableness merely 
to the past ! 

Again, — a true Christian has learned to look with any measure 
of satisfaction, as regards his character, only on roidences of 
growing accordance with the will of God. His great hope is 
that, 'when Christ shall appear, he shall be like Him;' and 
meantime he rejoices greatly in any proof that he is being 
gradually changed by the Divine Spirit into his Saviour's image. 
That change he regards as ' from glory to glory ;' and he can 
esteem nothing in character as truly a grace, or a beauty, or a 
glory, which does not stand in vital connection with a holy 
will. Sin his heart loathes as shameful, the only really shame- 
ful thing in God's universe. 

But the abusers of the doctrines of divine grace in Paul's 

VERS. 1 8, 19.] Wise Choice of Examples, 311 

days felt \^/ory in their s/iame,' Alas, how many followers of 
these men wc meet! The tradesman, 'professing godliness,' 
boasts of his 'smart' tricks in business — within the letter of his 
country's law, but utterly opposed to the spirit of true rectitude; 
and marvels that any should not admire him, or should supfKJse 
the Sermon on the Mount to have anything to do with business. 
The husband and father, whose name is on a communion roll, 
associates by choice with godless companions, grows neglectful 
of the ordinances of religion, spends for the good of the publican 
what would feed and clothe his poor half-naked, half-starved 
wife and children ; — and exults that ' he is no bigot, but has a 
religion which lets a man enjoy himself.' 'These are raging 
waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame.' 

Further, — the true Christian has come to see — and this with a 
distinctness and vividness influencing powerfully his feelings 
and his life — that man icas made for an end higher than any 
which the pursuits^ and speculations, and ejijoyments of earth 
present. He feels that there are elements in his nature which, 
to a candid thinker, show as clearly that he was not meant by 
his Creator to live simply for this world, as that he was not 
meant to browse with the ox, or grovel with the serpent. The 
grand purpose of the Word of God he recognises to be, to show 
him the objects which are suited to occupy his loftiest powers, 
and to satisfy his capacities of spiritual happiness. Accordingly, 
he has ' set his affections on things which are above,' and lives 
more or less fully under ' the powers of the world to come.' 
Heaven is as real to his apprehensions as earth, and, in the 
proportion of his faith, more influential over his heart In the 
business of this life to which God's providence has called him 
he is diligent and faithful ; and glad and grateful if he prosper 
in it. But he measures the worth of worldly prosperity, and 
the strength of the world's claim to occupy his thoughts 
and his time, by other standards than those of earth. He 
knows that ' the world passeth away, and the lust thereof : but 
he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.' Hence pro- 

3 1 2 Lechcres on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

sperity of the soul — prosperity as regards his relations to the 
unseen world — appears to him immeasurably the more im- 
portant ; and he desires very earnestly that success in worldly 
matters may not injure him spiritually, but may be turned by 
him to such account as, in every way, to glorify God. Worldly 
adversity, bereavement, personal affliction, may give him pain, 
perhaps much pain ; yet he knows adversity to be very far from 
the worst thing which could befall him. He knows that the 
trial comes from Him who, ' though He was rich, yet for our 
sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich,' 
— who, being ' the Prince of Life,' yielded Himself to suffering 
and death, that we might live for ever. Poverty and suffering 
sent by this Saviour to His people he cannot doubt to be sent 
in love, to contribute to spiritual and enduring wealth and 

Now the professing Christians at present before the apostle's 
mind are said by him to ' mind earthly things.^ This statement 
has a very wide range of reference. The form of expression in 
the original shows that the clause is not co-ordinate with the 
descriptions of character we have already considered, — as the 
third term in a series ; but rather stands by itself, as an exhibi- 
tion of depraved thought and feeling generally, summing up 
the others, and including more. A vast multitude of profess- 
ing Christians who can persuade themselves that the features 
previously mentioned are not found in their character — that 
it cannot be said of them, in any strict use of the words, that 
'their god is their belly,' or that they 'glory in their shame,' — will 
find that they cannot speak boldly with respect to this feature. 
They are decorous livers, honest too, and kindly, — but they 
' mind earthly things,' — they have their thoughts and their 
affections occupied exclusively, or supremely, with the interests 
of this world. To make mohey, or to spend it, — to become 
learned, or famous, or influential, — to go through life peaceably 
and pleasantly, — to gain in one way or another self-gratification, 
— this is their aim, and nothing more than this. God, and 

VERS. 1 8, 19.] Wise Choice of Examples. 313 

holiness, and heaven, arc ideas whicli have little power over 
them. Tiicy hear of thcni on Sahhatli, and the words arc pro- 
minent in the creed whi( ii they j)rofess and imagine themselves 
to hold ; — but they ' mind earthly things.' These it is that 
occupy their thoughts, and are the objects of their real desires. 
For these it is that they live, for these that they run risks, for 
these that they make sacrifices. It is of earthly advantages 
and joys alone that every one of this unhappy class of j^ersons 
says to his soul — the soul which God made to be nourished 
by fellowship with Himself, — * Soul, thou hast much goods laid 
up ; take thine ease.' 

All whose character exhibits the features we have been con- 
sidering — all who are sensual and worldly — are, the apostle 
tells us, ' enemies of the cross of Christ.^ They may declare 
their admiration of the Lord Jesus, and specially of His self- 
sacrifice for men. They may, in words, ' glory in the cross of 
Christ.' They may, at the communion table, profess to * show 
forth His death' as the ground of their hope for eternity. 
Those immediately referred to by the apostle counted them- 
selves the great assertors of the sublime power of the cross, as 
setting men free from the bondage of fear and superstition, 
and introducing them into * glorious liberty.' Yet, in truth, 
they were its * e?ie?nies,^ In the cross we have the most explicit 
and impressive declaration which even God could give, of His 
hatred of sin. The grand purpose of the Lord Jesus in His 
self-devotion to death for us — a purpose most distinctly made 
known by Him. and obvious to every gospel hearer who is 
willing to allow the truth to enter his soul — was * that He might 
redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a pecu- 
liar people, zealous of good works.' He has most distinctly 
taught us that every man who desires to be saved through 
Him, must himself, in a sense, ' take up the cross, and bear it 
after Him,* — must 'know the fellowship of His sufferings, being 
conformed unto His death.' Now such persons as those 
whom Paul describes here, show by their lives that they have 

314 Lectures 07i Philippians. [cH. iii. 

no sympathy with these lessons of the cross, — no spiritual 
apprehension of them, nor desire for any. Instead of dying 
with the Saviour to sin, they manifestly live to sin. Boasting 
of liberty, they are, in truth, 'the slaves of corruption ; for of 
whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.' 
Instead of denying themselves, and, for the glory of God and 
the eternal interests of the soul, bearing the cross of self- 
restraint with respect to the seductions of this world, they give 
up their hearts to this world, ' minding earthly things.' There 
can be no doubt, therefore, that they hate the spirit and the 
teaching of Calvary. They are 'enemies of the cross of Christ' 
Nay more. The cross has many other foes, — multitudes 
who denounce, deride, and in every way avowedly oppose it. 
But its worst enemies, in the eyes of God, the most influential 
for evil, the least likely ever to become its friends, are professed 
believers in the doctrines of the cross who yet ' mind earthly 
things.' This fact is brought out by the apostle in the little 
word ^ the,^ — '■the enemies of the cross.' These are the enemies 
by pre-eminence. None do such harm to the cause of the 
cross — the cause of truth and love and peace, — as those who, 
calling themselves Christians, live for this world only. ' What 
are these wounds in Thine hands ? ' ' Those with which I was 
wounded in the house of My friends.' Men who, with the lip, 
' glory in the cross of Christ,' but, with the voice of their lives, 

* glory in their shame,' ' crucify the Son of God afresh, and put 
Him to an open shame.' 

And if they persist in their hostility of heart to that cross, 
through which alone is salvation, then, says the apostle, their 

* end is destruction' God hates sin, and will overthrow it. His 
grace, if we will accept it, will overthrow the sin in us by 
which we are oppressed ; and thus save us. But if we resolutely 
cleave to our sins, then not even the grace of God can save us. 
Consistently with His own nature and with ours, God cannot 
make us happy without making us holy. And no doom will 
be so awful as that of the professed friend of the cross who is 

VERS. iS, 19.] Wise Choice of Examples. 315 

really its enemy. Wherever the gospel comes, it comes as a 
power ; and if a man will not open his heart, that, entering in, 
it may show itself in his case as 'the power of (iod unto salva- 
tion,' then his accjuaintance with it cannot but render his 
^destruction' more terrible. The word of (iod is always 
* quick and powerful.' It makes the heart tender, humble, and 
contrite, — or harder. It brings into a state of acceptance with 
God, — or it renders the condemnation more awful. If a man 
will resolutely dwell in darkness, he must, of necessity, self- 
destroyed, go out at last into the ' outer darkness, where shall 
be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 

There were ^ rnany^ professing Christians, the apostle says, 
who * walked ' in the way he has described, — ^journeying on, in 
the paths of worldliness and sensuality, towards the ' dark moun- 
tains ' where men's feet ' stumble.' Consideration of the posi- 
tion in which the church is placed in our age and country, my 
brethren — when some degree of Christian profession is helpful 
to social respectability, and somewhat aids a man to get rich — 
might lead us to think it likely that, if inconsistency of life 
was not uncommon in the despised and persecuted church of 
the first days, it will be yet more sadly common now. Any 
spiritually -minded observer will find deplorably conclusive 
evidence that with such an anticipation the facts accord. The 
very liveliest Christian charity cannot refuse to see that, of 
members of the church of Christ, ' many walk as enemies 
of the cross of Christ.' Hence arises a great peril for the 
beauty and stability of the character of other professors. The 
proverbially powerful influence of example is not felt merely 
where models are definitely chosen. We are all apt to take 
colour from association, even where no intention is further 
from our minds than that of imitating. To mingle daily with 
persons who call themselves servants of Christ, partake with us 
of the symbols of the Lord's dying love, profess to seek the 
guidance of the same Divine Spirit to whom we look for direc- 
tion, and to cherish the same ' blessed hope ' which sustains 

3 [6 Lectures 07i Philippians. [ch. hi. 

and stimulates us — and who yet maintain a conformity to the 
principles and practices of * them that are without,' by * mind- 
ing earthly things,' — it is impossible, my brethren, that this 
can be without serious spiritual danger. Intercourse with low- 
toned professors will inevitably lower our own tone of feeling, 
unless, conscious of the hazard, we set ourselves to resist, by 
earnest prayer for strength and wisdom, and by thoughtful 
consideration of t\it pnncij>/es which express themselves in the 
lives of those around us. 

It is of very high importance, too, that, by choice and atten- 
tion, we bring the influence of good examples to act upon us. 
You know that our calling, as Christians, is to be in character 
like God, like Christ. This supreme example, then, it becomes 
us to have habitually before our minds, according to the con- 
stant injunction of Scripture : ' Be ye followers (imitators) of 
God, as dear children, and walk in love, as Christ also hath 
loved us, and hath given Himself for us.' It is exceedingly 
helpful also, however, to study the example of eminent servants 
of Christ, men conspicuous for devotedness and wisdom, 
energy and patience. In all merely human examples there 
are defects, and therefore they need to be compared always 
with the perfect standard of holiness in the character of the 
Lord Jesus. But the very fact that a man, obviously of high 
spirituality, has reached that spirituality through severe struggle, 
and has still to maintain a warfare with depraved tendencies, 
gives his example a certain peculiar power and suitableness 
for us. Hence such Scripture exhortations as ' Be not slothful, 
but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit 
the promises ; ' * Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have 
spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example.' 

The apostle's mind, then, being full of the thought of the 
many bad examples by which the Philippians were liable to be 
influenced — the example of men ' whose end was destruction,' 
— nothing was more reasonable or natural than that he should 
say to them, ' Mark (as an example) the perfect man, and be- 

VER. 17.] JFzsc CJioicc of Examples. 3 i 7 

hold tlic upright, for the end of that man is peace.' But 
when he says, '' Jic follinvers toj^d/icr — a Ixxly of imitators — 
0/ mt\ and mark — for imitation — ihcm which walk so, as ye 
haTe us — myself and my (:omj)anions— /<;/' an cnsampkj — a 
little difliculty may perhaps be felt as to how the selection of 
himsi'lf as an example is altogether consistent with the pro- 
found Christian humility by which he was distinguished. A 
very slight consideration of the circumstances of the case will 
remove any such difficulty. Christian humility does not imply 
blindness to what the Spirit of God has wrought in our 
character. On the contrary, the voice of this sweet grace 
enters in to bear a most important part in the harmony of the 
believer's song of grateful praise for increasing evidence of en- 
lightenment, and purity, and usefulness, through divine teaching 
and support. The summary of a Christian's judgment of him- 
self, if he be in real spiritual health, will always be, as good 
John Newton has it : ' I have ever to confess, with sorrow, that 
I am far from being what I ought to be, and far from what I 
wish to be ; but also — blessed be God's name ! — to testify that 
I am far, very far, from what I once was.' Whilst, however, 
we not merely may, but should, with gladness and gratitude, 
recognise the success which, ' through Him that loveth us,' we 
have in our struggles with sin ; it is commonly, for reasons 
which every student of his own heart knows well, wisest and 
safest to speak of our knowledge on this head to God only. 
But even of this there is * a time to speak ' to our fellow-men. 
In some circumstances a reference by a Christian to what God 
has A\TOught in his character, and an appeal to others to ' be 
followers together of him,' may be signally wise, and perfectly 
accordant with profound humility. Such were the circum- 
stances in which the Apostle Paul was placed, when writing to 
the Philippians, Corinthians, Thessalonians, and other churches 
he had been the instrument of raising among the heathen. In 
the society among which the members of these churches lived, 
immorality was universal — and this, shameless, flagrant, loath- 

T 8 Lectures 07i Philippians. [ch. hi. 

some, beyond what persons brought up as we have been can 
almost conceive. Moral truths which to us are elementary, 
were to those Christians wholly new and strange. They 
needed to be taught morals as children ; and as picture- 
teaching is commonly most effective with children, so with 
them — exposed not merely to the influences of a frightfully 
corrupt world, but to the misleading doctrines and example of 
many wicked professedly Christian teachers, such as those 
whom Paul describes in the passage now before us — no lesson 
on the Christian life could well be in every way so satisfactory, 
so easily understood, so full, so likely, from the great love they 
had for the apostle, to be welcomed and thoroughly learned, 
as this picture lesson, 'Be ye followers together of me, and 
mark for imitation those which walk so, as ye have us for an 
ensample.' ' For many of the details of duty, each of you 
must be left to think out prayerfully for himself what it is that 
his position specially requires ; but, as regards all the broad out- 
lines of duty, I can safely urge you to imitate me. Admitting, 
with sorrow and abasement, the existence of many flaws and 
faults of character, still I know that the kind of life I lead — and 
Silas, and Timothy, and Luke, and the other dear brethren 
whom you have seen associated with me — is on the whole that 
which faith in Christ legitimately produces, and on which He 
looks down with approval. Think of our mode of life, then, 
as you remember it ; and take note of those among yourselves, 
or among teachers who visit you, that walk so as ye have us 
for an example or type, — an example, I say, for in all of us 
the type is truly one, the image of Christ, reflected in each 
more or less fully.' 

If ever a mere man lived who could, without misleading, 
point to himself as an example of holiness, it was the Apostle 
Paul. The beauty and grandeur of his character are illustrated 
everywhere in his history and his letters. It is most manifest 
that he * gave all diligence to add to his faith, virtue ; and to 
virtue, knowledge ; and to knowledge, temperance ; and to tern- 

VER. 17.] Wise Choice of Examples. 319 

perancc. patience ; and t'- -^ 1 to godliness, 

brotherly kindness; and t.y ..' Lw..; ^.i.iii^— - v.' Atcvery 
point his life contrasted most markedly v^ .: of the men 

described in the i8th and 19th verses. It is beyond all ques- 
tion that tfu living God^ tfu God and Fatfur of our Lcrd Jfsus 
Christy was his God ; and that his bodily appftita were his sir- 
ranis, not his lords. He * kept under his body, and brought 
it into subjection.* * So fought he, not as one that beateth the 
air.' His whole life was eminently and most obviously that 
of a spiritual man, — to whom * earthly things ' were important 
chiefly in their bearings on the heavenly. Having renounced 
for Christ's sake the most attractive prospects of distinction 
and wealth among his countrymen, he pursued with unswerving 
devotion the great work of glorif)-ing God through the e.\ten- 
sion of the Redeemer's kingdom ; and in his work was enabled 
even to 'glory in his infirmities, that the power of Christ 
might rest upon him.' No candid observer could entertain a 
moment's doubt that for Paul ' to live was Christ.' It was 
plain, too, that in his judgment the central fact in the history 
of Christ's mediatorial work was His death. The apostle lored 
and gloried in the cross ; and meekly accepted all its teaching. 
How exquisitely the spirit of horror of sin and at the same 
time tender pity for sinners — the same spirit which led Jesus 
to the accursed tree for us, — ^breathes from this very passage, 
where we see Paul ' even weeping ' over men's sins !^ May you 
and I. my brethren, have ears to hear him saWng to us, ' Be 
ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ I ' 

* In his Life of Dr. John I>uncan (p. 197, note^. Dr. David Brown, 
speaking of good Dr. Kidd of Aberdeen, says : * I remember faxm once 
meeting in the street a person who made a religkiiis |XQ£essian, >■ a, 
state of intoxication, and the laughing-stock of a crowd. The Doctor 
marked one fellow jeering at a great rate ; and, l»«M™g up his 5ta5" before 
him, cried out in the hearing of the crowd . who were awed by his cobs- 
manding look, — "Many walk of whom I have told you oAen, aad aow 
tell you — not lau^ng; sir, not LAUGHLJfG, hat—tm'pdmf^, Aot tbej are the 
enemies of the cross of Christ.'* ' 

320 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 


* For our conversation is in heaven ; from whence also we look for the 
Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ : 21 Who shall change our vile body, 
that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the 
working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.' — 
Phil. iii. 20, 21. 

THE word ^conversation^ as I have had occasion to men- 
tion in a previous lecture, meant, at the time when 
our translation of the Bible was made, not simply^ as now, 
' the exchange of thought by speech,' but ' a course of life or 
conduct ' generally. The force of the statement here, then, 
supposing our version to exhibit with precision the apostle's 
meaning, is this, — ' Our life is such, in flower and fruit, as to 
show, more or less clearly, that its roots are " hid with Christ 
in God," — such as to prove that our " affections are set on the 
things which are above," that our thoughts and our longings 
are habitually in heaven.' The reference in ^ our' is, in this 
case, to the apostle and those Christian teachers who lived as 
he did ; and the argument in support of the precept of the 
17th verse, 'Be followers together of me, and mark them which 
walk so, as ye have us for an ensample,' is thus completed in 
full form, — ' for, whilst many pretentious teachers, who seek to 
draw you after them, lead a base life, minding earthly things, 
we try, in God's strength, to live a heavenly life, — and this is 
plainly what the beliefs and hopes of Christians require.' 

It is very doubtful, however, whether the original word here 
rendered ' conversation ' was intended by the apostle to have 
this meaning. Its primary sense is * country,' or ' one's relation 

VER. 20.] TJic SaijiCs Citizaiship and Hope. 321 

to his country,* * citizenship.' Now this meaning suits ex- 
cellently tile aj)ostle's course of thought. To the Philip- 
pians too, who, living in a Roman colony, were very familiar 
with the great privileges connected with citizenship in the 
imperial city, the thought, * Our citizenshij), as Christians, is in 
heaven,' could not but be a sj)ecially interesting, impressive, 
and gladdening one. It is |)robabIe, therefore, that the ai)Ostle, 
when, in writing to these Philii)pians, he chose this particular 
word, which he uses nowhere else, intended it to be taken in 
its primary meaning. In this case, the reference does not 
seem to be specially to Paul and other earnest-minded teachers, 
in contrast with the teachers who lived unholy lives, but to true 
Christians generally ; and the course of thought in the whole 
passage is this, — ' Follow me, and those who live like me. I 
need to warn you thus, for there are teachers whose conduct 
proves too plainly that their hearts are set supremely on the 
present world. Now this is the very opposite of the spirit 
which believers should cherish, for our citizenship is in 

In these verses Paul brings evidence that the persons whose 
views and conduct he has sketched were wholly unsuited to be 
examples to believers in Christ, by mentioning a few prominent 
facts regarding the position and expectations of Christians, 
with which the features of character he has described were 
utterly incongruous. The men he has spoken of ' minded 
earthly things ; ' but every intelligent Christian knows himself 
to be a ^citizen of heaven^ and therefore, by immediate infer- 
ence, called on to ' set his affections on the things which are 
above.' Those men's ' god was their belly,' and their ' glory 
was in their shame.' True believers, on the other hand, 
knowing their body to be a '■vile body' — a 'body of humilia- 
tion ' — feel, that instead of making it, or any of its organs, in 
any sense or degree a *god,' it becomes them to struggle 
vigorously against the lusts which by nature reign in their 
members. At the same time, being well assured that their 

32 2 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

bodies as well as their souls are in union with Christ, and 
that the Lord, at that coming for which they ' look ' as their 
'■ blessed hope,' will ' change their vile body, that it may be 
fashioned like unto His glorious body^ they see it to be reason- 
able and needful that the body should be honoured in a true 
and rational way, by being devoted ' as an instrument of 
righteousness unto God' — adorned with purity and sobriety — 
consecrated to the Redeemer, to labour in His cause and to 
bear His cross. With men ' whose end was destruction,' those 
who 'looked for the Lord Jesus Christ as a Saviour'' for their 
whole being, could certainly have nothing in common, morally 
or spiritually. 

' Citizenship ' is a not uncommon representation in Scripture 
of the portion of Christians. To the Ephesian believers Paul 
says, ' Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow- 
citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;' and 
the Hebrew Christians are spoken of as having ' come ' — evi- 
dently as members of the community — 'unto Mount Sion and 
unto the city of the living God.' 

This citizenship ' is in heaven.^ It is true that ' the earth is 
the Lord's,' and that by and by there shall be ' great voices in 
heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the 
kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.' But meantime a 
usurper has much power here ; and, so long as ' the world lieth 
in wickedness,' no loyal subject of the Divine King can count 
it his home. Even here, indeed, all whose names are ' written 
in the Lamb's book of life,' the register of the citizens of 
heaven, enjoy, in a measure calling for devoutest gratitude, 
many privileges of their citizenship. But, as the citizen of 
Rome, while proud of the dignity and glad of the safety his 
position gave him anywhere in the civilised world, yet thought 
of the metropolis itself as the place where alone he could have 
the full benefit of all the powers and immunities of ' this free- 
dom,' — with similar feelings the Christian regards heaven. 
There the citizens ' see their King in His beauty,' and experi- 

VER. 20.] The SainCs Citizenship and Hope. 323 

ence the full blessedness and glory of their relations to Him, 
and to each other. 

This i)ariii iihir representation of the believer's relation to 
heaven suggests to him with much liveliness the thought of 
^^ congenial society which awaits him there. If you or I were 
called by business to be much abroad, among people of a 
foreign tongue, foreign manners, foreign feelings, our hearts — 
if they be true, honest, manly hearts — would turn often with 
strong longing to our own country, our own city ; primarily 
because here is our home, our dear family circle ; but to some 
extent also, because here all the people around us, simply as 
our countrymen, our townsmen, brought up under similar 
influences with ourselves, have on many matters a community 
of sentiment with us which we should seek in vain elsewhere. 
Now, when a member of the heavenly commonwealth looks 
out from earth towards his own glorious land, the range of 
his very warmest and tenderest thoughts of congenial society 
there — his expectation of the delights of the home circle — 
extends to all within the gates of pearl ; for ' fellow-citizens 
with the saints ' is but another description of ' the household 
of God,' children of one Father, and thus all brethren. 

In this world, a Christian, however situated, — even if his 
dwelling be in the midst of a great community, — is, in large 
measure, a solitary man. To some of my younger hearers this 
may appear a strange statement. But, my young friends, if 
God spare you long, and the course of life lead you through 
the ordinary experiences of men, you will by and by know that 
loneliness is mainly a matter of the heart, and may be more 
felt in a crowd than on a wild Highland moor. To many a 
man no wilderness could be so dreary, no desert so stony- 
hearted, as a large city. To gaze on the flood of busy life 
which surges along a leading thoroughfare, and, as no doubt 
in every great city there are not a few who do, to feel one- 
self isolated in spirit from all the throng, — to know that no 
heart in all the city beats lovingly for us, that no joy there is 

324 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

increased by our presence, or would be even for a moment 
interrupted by our absence or our death, — this is loneliness 
indeed. Now I do not say that the position of Christians 
generally, while they remain on earth, is altogether like this. 
We have believing friends near us, and many of us are linked 
with such by ties which permit frequent and delightful fellow- 
ship. Blessed be God for these great mercies ! Yet, at the 
same time, it is true that every spiritually-minded person often 
feels himself alone. The citizen of heaven is in a foreign land 
here, and cannot escape the difficulties and trials which natu- 
rally connect themselves with life in a foreign land. Taught 
by divine grace to be in heart not of the world, we yet neces- 
sarily live in it, and are compelled to associate with many who 
have no sympathy with us in the warmest affections and most 
ardent yearnings of our souls, — to whom, indeed, the very 
language of vital religion is utterly strange. Among Chris- 
tians themselves, too, there are many things, — dissimilarities 
of natural temperament, social influences of various kinds, 
unhappy tendencies to exaggerate the importance of minor 
differences of opinion, and the like, — which make full, joyous, 
trustful, loving brotherhood and sympathy a rare flower even 
in the garden of the church. Even at his best estate, the 
pilgrim Zionward finds that he is ' wandering in the wilderness 
in a solitary way.' 

But in our own heavenly land, fellow-Christians, there are 
none but friends. Jarrings, and rivalries, and alienations, have 
no place there. The community of interests among all the 
citizens is perfect. There God reveals Himself to His people 
in modes and in a measure of which in our present state we 
cannot even form any conception, — assured only that our 
hearts shall be ravished with the view of His glory. Jesus, 
* whom, having not seen, we love,' dwells among His people 
there, and admits them to closest and most endearing inter- 
course and fellowship. I'hey * walk with Him in white ;' they 
*sit with Him in His throne.' Angels, too, will be our sweet 

V i: R . 20.] T/ic Salni's Citizenship and IF ope. 325 

associates. They who rejoiced over us, when we were repent- 
ing sinners, will rejoice with us at our entrance into glory. 
They who delight to be our * ministering sjurits ' here, will 
delight to be our conii)anions yonder. There we shall meet 
again, and enjoy intimate communion with all the children of 
God whom we have known and loved below, — our many dear 
and precious friends in Christ, with whom * we took sweet 
counsel, and walked to the house of (Jod in company.' The 
Christian parent or child, husband or wife, brother or sister, 
over whose deathbed we hung in anguish, — whose removal 
seemed to quench the light of our household happiness, — we 
shall see them and dwell with them there. Many too we shall 
find there, and in their friendship find unmingled pleasure, be- 
tween whom and us on earth their sin or ours had introduced 
coldness and distrust. Paul and Barnabas have no sharp con- 
tendings yonder. Luther and Zuingli dwell there in unity, — for 
they ' dwell in God,' and ' God is love.' All the good of every 
age and cHme — freed from everything which, while they lived 
on earth, was fitted to avert confidence or arouse dislike, and 
clothed with every holy beauty which can make friendship 
sweet and helpful, — these, with the cherubim ^nd the seraphim, 
are the inhabitants of the city of God, rejoicing ever in the 
sunshine of their Divine King's complacent smile. 

The thought of the perfect security enjoyed by the saints 
above, is another very delightful one, which most naturally 
rises in a Christian's mind, when thinking of heaven as a city, 
or organized commonw^ealth, of which he is a citizen. 

In this happy country of Britain, where, through God's good- 
ness, we have learned to honour our laws, and thus for many 
generations, whilst enjoying the utmost personal freedom com- 
patible with the general wellbeing, have possessed the inestim- 
able blessing of a strong executive government, we seldom 
think of the greatness of the privilege of security which thereby 
we have as citizens. Through the completeness of it, and, in 
consequence, our want of acquaintance practically with any- 

326 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. hi. 

thing else, we fail to notice it, or adequately to prize it. But 
to a traveller, or to any peace-loving inhabitant, in almost any 
part of Africa, or of Central or Western Asia, or in the hill 
districts of Greece or of Spain, one of the most prominent of 
all longings is for a power that will give safety to person and 
property ; and the most pleasant thought connected with cities, 
where alone in those regions anything of the advantages of effi- 
cient government is obtained, is that of security. Now, though 
our earth is a province of the dominions of God, it is in re- 
bellion; and thus practically the loyal subjects of the King here 
find themselves in a land of anarchy. We cannot feel at ease. 
Every bush may hide a lurking foe. A Roman citizen, jour- 
neying in remote barbarous or semi-barbarous countries, which 
were nominally under the sway of his emperor, might sometimes 
by his very citizenship, the dignity of which he was so proud, 
and which elsewhere gave him so many immunities, be brought 
into peril, — if discontent with the distant government prevailed 
around him. So with a citizen of heaven placed among the 
sinners of the earth, and the 'principalities and powers of 
darkness ' which have much sway on the earth. To mislead 
him, to injure him, to lower his spiritual tone, seems to them 
something of a victory over his country and his King. 

But the name of ' the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem,' 
brings with it the thought of perfect freedom from danger, per- 
fect rest from anxiety. * They that hurt and destroy' can never 
enter there. The great adversary, who so often, out here in the 
wilderness, proves that he has power to assail us — so often, 
alas ! with no little success, — cannot set foot in heaven. He 
cast himself down thence long ago, — never to return. The 
seductions of the world and the flesh, which here, like wild 
beasts, lie in wait for us at our tent-doors, crouching for the 
spring, dare not draw near the holy city. As Satan, 'the prince 
of this world,' has no entrance yonder, so neither can anything 
enter fitted to serve his ends. There we shall sing with a ful- 
ness of meaning unapproached below, ' Blessed be the Lord, 

VER. 20.] The SamCs Citizenship and Hope. 327 

who hath not given our souls for a i>rcy. Our soul is escaped 
as a bird out of the snare of the f(jw'ler. 'i'he Lr>rd hath done 
great tilings for us, whereof wc are glad.' 

Knowing themselves to have so glorious a 'citizenship,' but 
being for the j)resent in a strange land, believers are sustained 
by a ' blessed hope.' To this the apostle goes on to direct the 
attention of his readers. ' Our citizenship is in heaven, — -from 
whence also wc look for the Saviour^ the Lord Jesus Christy — or 
rather, ' from whence we ' — sharply contrasted here with those 
before mentioned, * whose end is destruction ' — * look for a 
Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.' 

The second coming of Christ, His advent to raise the dead 
and judge the world, is always exhibited in Scripture as for 
every wise soul the supremely influential fact of the future, and 
as the object of the most ardent longings of the Christian heart. 
The great spur to energetic service of God is the thought that 
* when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then we also shall 
appear with Him in glory.' The great support in trouble is the 
consideration that, ' when His glor}' shall be revealed, we shall 
be glad also with exceeding joy.' Conversion is ' turning to 
God, to serve Him, and to wait for His Son from heaven;' and 
Christians are naturally described, therefore, as persons who 
'love the appearing of the Lord.' 

By any one who considers the subject, it can hardly be 
doubted that this grand event holds a far less prominent posi- 
tion in the thoughts of most Christians in our day than it did 
in those of the apostles, and, as is evident from the tone of 
their writings, they desired that it should do in those of their 
readers. Is this because our affection for the Saviour is less 
lively, — because we have a less intense longing to be with Him? 
Whatever the reason, the fact, I think, is certain. In the mind 
of the modern church, as exhibited in sermons and religious 
literature, the death of the individual has, to a great extent, 
taken the place which in the church of the first days was occu- 
pied by the Lord's personal advent. Now, however much it 

328 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

may seem to us that this is practically the same thing, — and 
however influential the thought of death will assuredly be on all 
who look it fairly in the face, — yet is it not reasonable to sup- 
pose that our religious life must suffer as really, though not to the 
same degree, by altering the relative prominence given to the 
articles of our faith in Scripture, as by believing positive error ? 
No truth can exert on the mind and heart exactly the same in- 
fluence as another. Now it seems plain that the Divine Spirit 
would have Christians to keep before their souls the day with 
which for them no ideas can be connected but those of happi- 
ness, — the day when the Redeemer shall appear in glory, and 
all His redeemed ones, gathered together, shall be perfectly, 
publicly, and simultaneously glorified with Him. If, then, the 
place of prominence in a believer's mind, which should be held 
by this ' blessed hope,' be occupied by the time of his own 
death, — a time, considered simply in itself, not attractive but 
repulsive, round which, even for those who fully know that the 
sting has been taken away, some gloom will hang, and which in- 
troduces into a blessedness, ineffable indeed, yet but preparatory 
to that which remains to be revealed, — this substitution cannot 
but in various ways have an injurious effect. Its influence can 
hardly but strengthen the tendency, of which it seems to be 
itself in some measure an expression, to gather in the soul's 
thoughts and yearnings round herself, instead of sending them 
out fully, joyously, lovingly, to the Saviour. It can scarcely be 
questioned, I think, that the doctrines of pre-millennialism — seri- 
ously erroneous doctrines, as it appears to me — have obtained 
their present wide acceptance mainly through a natural and 
extreme reaction, in the minds of Christians of an ardent and 
affectionate temperament, from the tone of thinking and feeling 
which has put the Lord's glorious appearing so far out of view. 
And the best thing one can desire, in regard to the contro- 
versy which the prc-millennialists have stirred up, is that it may 
lead the church generally to give the great fact of the future its 
primitive and proper place in their contemplations and hopes. 

VER. 2 1.] The Saint's CitizensJiip and Hope. 329 

In the passage before us, the ai)0.stlc, in sjicaking of the hope 
of the Saviour's coming, turns the tliouglit-) of his readers spe- 
cially to the change which His love and power will then effect 
on the IhhiU's of believers. This, as has been already mentioned, 
and briefly illustrated, is obviously to show the sin and folly of 
those ' whose god was their belly,' and * whose glory was in 
their shame.' 

The expression employed in the Authorized Version, * our 
vile body,' — that is, according to the primitive meaning of the 
word ' vile,' ' our body of little value,' as in Jeremiah we read 
of ' vile figs,' and in James of ' vile raiment,' — is not by any 
means a happy one, being both inaccurate as a translation and 
in itself untrue. However lamentably often made to minister 
to moral worthlessness, the body is in itself most precious, as 
an instrument admirably adapted for the service of God. The 
most literal rendering of the apostle's words in this clause is the 
best, — '■ 7i'ho shall change the body of our humiliation, that it 
viay be fashioned like unto the body of His glory! Our present 
body belongs to * our humiliation,' and is in various respects 
its exponent. In its tendencies to nourish certain forms of 
immoral desire, and in its infirmities, diseases, and mortality, 
it bears clear testimony to the fall of man. But the Lord, 
who has taken upon Him our nature, not for a time only, but 
for ever, and whose glory accordingly is manifested in heaven 
under a human form, will, at His coming, change the bodies of 
His people, fashioning them like unto that ' body of glory.' Of 
its sublime beauty the three chosen disciples had an anticipatory 
glimpse, when the Lord ' was transfigured before them, and 
His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment became shining, 
white as the light.' Fashioned like unto this body, dear friends, 
will be yours and mine, if we are truly His brethren ; ' for whom 
God did foreknow. He also did predestinate to be ' — as regards 
their whole being — ' conformed to the image of His Son.' ' We 
know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for 
we shall see Him as He is.' 'Behold, what manner of love!' 

330 Lectures on Philippians. [cH. iii. 

With such a prospect as this before us, we may surely well say, 
' O death, where is thy sting ? O grave, where is thy victory ? 
Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our 
Lord Jesus Christ !' 

Heathen philosophers could reach some hope of a future 
life ; but in their views of that life the body had no place. It 
seemed to them only a temporary and somewhat degrading 
companion of the soul. But Scripture assumes throughout 
that the body is no mere drapery, — no mere accidental asso- 
ciate of what thinks and feels, — but essential to complete 
humanity. It was only the body of Jesus that for three days 
lay in Joseph's tomb ; yet the angel said to the women, 'Come, 
see the place where the Lord lay.' Plainly then, in some true 
sense, that sacred body was the Lord Jesus. And when He 
arose in His complete humanity, soul and body, a pledge 
was therein given that His redeemed too shall in their com- 
plete nature one day stand before God ; for not partially, but 
wholly, according to the covenant of love, we are united to 
our Lord, and share His glory. Wherefore, ' if we believe that 
Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in 
Jesus will God bring with Him.' The soul will recognise the 
old associate of its earthly joys and sorrows. There will be in 
the risen man a full sense of personal identity, as regards the 
whole nature, with him who once * yielded his members as 
instruments of unrighteousness unto sin,' but was led by the 
Divine Spirit to ' yield them as instruments of righteousness 
unto God.' Yet how different the whole man will be, — how 
gloriously different ! The body, ' sown in corruption,' shall be 
'■ raised in incorruption,' — free from pain and disease, from 
decay and mortality. ' The eyes of Jacob shall no more be 
dim for age ; Mephibosheth shall not be lame in his feet ; nor 
shall the senses of Barzillai be dull and languid ;'i for alike age 
and infirmity are unknown to the ' children of the resurrection.' 
' Sown in the dishonour ' of uncomeliness, it shall be * raised in 

* Boston. 

VKK. 2 1.] The Saint's Citizenship and Hope. 3 3 r 

the glory' of perfect and unending beauty, * fashioned like unto 
the body of Christ's glory.' * Sown in weakness,' it shall be 
'raised in j)ower' — power to serve the Lord unwearyingly day 
and night in His temple, and to bear the 'exceeding and 
eternal weight of glory.' ' Sown a natural body ' — a body fitted 
for the uses of earth, — it shall be * raised a spiritual body ' — a 
dwelling suited in everything for the holy and happy spirit, an 
instrument exquisitely adai)ted for prosecuting the pursuits of 
heaven, and ministering to its pure and exalted joys. 

To our human reason there are difticulties, very serious 
difficulties, in the doctrine of resurrection. The body laid in 
the grave decays, and its elements enter into new organisms, 
which in their turn perish and nourish others. Thus, in the 
course of the generations, the same elements may, to some 
extent, have entered into the composition of many human 
bodies. Whence then shall come each body complete ? Yet 
is such a difficulty greater than those which meet us in the 
facts of our present life ? I know, from the clear demonstra- 
tions of science, that not a particle of my present bodily frame 
was in the body I had as a child; but I know at the same time 
as certainly, from the testimony of consciousness, that I, the 
man, am the same who was then a child, and that for the deeds 
done in the body then I still am responsible. Shall I deem it a 
greatly more wonderful thing than this, that, through the power 
of God, I shall stand at His bar at the last in a body which, 
fully and satisfyingly, I shall recognise as my own ? In regard 
to the one matter, I believe the testimony of science and con- 
sciousness, though seeing only very dimly into the hoiv. In 
regard to the other, should I hesitate to believe the testimony 
of God in His word ? — or, compassed as I am by mystery in 
this present life, would it not be most irrational in me to allege 
the existence in the Bible of statements which human philosophy 
cannot see all round and all through, as a ground of doubt 
whether the testimony of God really be found in the Bible ? 

However great the difficulties may be, an answer completely 

332 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. hi. 

satisfactory to every Christian mind is made to all objections 
and doubts on this head, in the apostle's last words in the 
passage before us, — ' according to the working whereby He is 
able' — or, 'according to the working of His power' — ^ ei'en to 
subdue all things unto Himself.' Christ, as Mediator, has 
received of His Father ' all power in heaven and in earth,' and 
this ' to put all enemies under His feet.' The full belief of 
this belongs to the basis of reasonable peace, in our thoughts 
of our relation to God : for our salvation is solely ' in Christ,' 
and if there be any foe of His and ours whom He cannot 
conquer, then by that foe we may be utterly and for ever 
oppressed. But we are left in no uncertainty on this matter 
of transcendent moment, Christian brethren. The Son of God 
can fail in nothing ; and as He ' was manifested to destroy 
the works of the devil,' those works shall be destroyed, — every 
one of them. Among those works is death, — and Christ's 
people shall certainly rejoice, at the last, in the complete 
emancipation of every element of their nature from the thral- 
dom of this tyrant. ' When Christ shall have put down all 
rule and all authority and power — for He must reign till He 
hath put all enemies under His feet, — the last enemy shall be 
destroyed, death.' ' For this corruptible must put on incor- 
ruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when 
this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal 
shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass 
the saying that is written. Death is swallowed up in victory.' 

Every Christian sees in his own spiritual life — in the reason- 
able peace, and the holy longings, of a soul which by nature 
was * dead in trespasses and sins ' — evidence of the victory of 
his Saviour over death; and finds his faith thus ever stronger to 
anticipate with full confidence the day of complete redemption 
— entire * deliverance from the bondage of corruption into the 
glorious liberty of the children of God.' It is plain to him 
that, 'according to the working,' already manifested, ' of Christ's 
power to subdue' his hard heart 'to Himself,' nothing is im- 

VKR. 2 1.] The SainCs Citizaiship and Hope. y^i 

possible to liis Lortl. The resurrection of the body is, after 
all, but a little thing compared with the resurrection of a 
dead soul. Those who even here, as with trustfulness and love 
they 'behold the glory of their Lord,' 'are changed' spiritually 
* into the same image, from glory to glory,' need have no 
difficulty in expecting a time when ' the body of their humilia- 
tion' too shall be 'fashioned like unto the body of His glor)',* 
— and thus in fulness, ' as they have borne the image of the 
earthy, they shall also bear the image of the heavenly.' 

334 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 



* Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, 
so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.' — Phil. iv. i. 

THE division into chapters has not been very happily 
made here. The ' therefore'' which introduces the verse 
before us, shows plainly that the injunction, ' Stand fast in the 
Lord,' is closely connected with what precedes, as the practical 
application. It would consequently have been better had this 
verse, at least, been attached to the 3rd chapter. Again, the 
2nd and 3rd verses appear to be a kind of appendix to the ist, 
applying the general rule there given to a special case. With 
them ends the important section of the Epistle which began 
with the 2nd verse of the 3rd chapter, and which is, in its 
nature, something of an episode, or digression. In the 4th 
verse, the apostle returns to the point he had reached in the 
I St verse of the previous chapter, and reiterates the precept 
there given. With this reiteration the 4th chapter would most 
naturally have begun. 

' Therefore'' has been held by some to point back over the 
whole of the episodical section of which I have spoken. In 
this case, the apostle's meaning would be, — ' Vou are ex- 
posed, on the one hand, to the influence of some active and 
plausible teachers, who would have you substitute entirely, 
or partially, faith in ritual and your own works for faith in 
Christ, — on the other hand, to that of persons who tell you 
that, because we are saved through faith in Christ alone, a 
holy life is a matter of no account. See to it, therefore, that 

VKR. I.] S led fastness in the Lord. 335 

yc ^^ stand fast in the Lord^'' — maintaining,', by prayer and firm 
resistance to self righteousness, a sjjirit of absolute childlike 
dependence on Him; and proving that you are in Him, and 
understand the nature of His salvation and of saving faith, by 
living a godly life.' This reference to both parts of the pre- 
vious discussion would, I think, have been the most natural, 
but for the word ''so' — ''So stand fast in the Lord.' This 
particle seems to connect the injunction specially with the 
immediately preceding verses, and thus with the second part 
of the discussion ; for the force of the * so ' is, apj)arently, *as 
becomes persons who are citizens of heaven, and entertain 
such glorious hopes.' Whilst the apostle, therefore, glances, 
no doubt, at the whole ground occupied in his previous obser- 
vations, yet, in enjoining the Philippians to ' stand fast in the 
Lord,' the thought of holiness is mainly in his mind. ' See to 
it that, through thoughtfulness, and vigilance, and prayer, 
your character be such as, with growing clearness, to evince 
spiritual union with the Lord.' 

The union between Christ and His people, to which the 
phrase ' in the Lord'' points, and which is the spring of all the 
Christian's joys and hopes, is of a twofold character, legal and 
spiritual. By His Father's appointment, and His own ineffable 
love, Jesus was so identified, as it were, with those He came 
to save, as to be treated, not according to His deserts, but 
theirs, — wounded and bruised, subjected to grief and to death, 
in their room ; whilst they are so identified with Him, as to 
be treated, not according to their own deserts, but to His, — 
introduced, for His sake, into glory, and honour, and eternal 
life. This legal union is the fundamental blessing of the Chris- 
tian salvation. All the others rest upon it. The spiritual union 
is what may be described as the community of spiritual life 
— of thought, and affection, and enjoyment — existing between 
Christ and believers. This is produced by the influence of 
the Holy Spirit, through the operation on our souls of that 
same faith of the gospel by which, according to God's ap- 

2)2,^ Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

pointment, we enter actually into the legal relation of union 
to our Saviour — or, in other words, are justified. Christ's 
mind and heart are unfolded in His word ; and, by the con- 
stitution of our moral nature, become our mind and heart, in 
proportion as we understand and believe the word. The 
believer, in so far as he is a believer, has the same views and 
the same desires as his Lord. ' He that is joined to the Lord 
is one spirit.' ' If any man be in Christ,' says the apostle in 
another place, 'he is a new creature.' The meaning of his 
exhortation in the verse now before us then, I apprehend, is, 
* Let the fact that you are new creatures be so indisputable 
as to prove that you are in Christ, — let the flower bloom so 
beautifully as to leave no room for doubt regarding the exist- 
ence and healthy vigour of the unseen root.' 

How the life of Christ in a true believer, through the spiritual 
union, will reveal itself, the candid reader of Scripture can be 
in no doubt. The new man feels himself sweetly constrained 
to 'cease to do evil,' and to 'learn to do well.' He is impelled 
by the mercies of God to ' present his body a living sacrifice, 
holy, acceptable unto God;' feeling this to be 'reasonable 
service,' and that anything else, on the part of a being like 
man, who has a body, and lives an outward life, would be an 
insult to the Father of our spirits and the Former of our 
bodies. He is no longer ' conformed to this world,' but 
' transformed by the renewing of his mind.' He loves his 
fellow-men, and cares for them with an interest which regards 
eternity as well as time. Honour and manliness, courtesy and 
gentleness, in all his dealings, reveal a heart made generous 
and tender through the knowledge of the love of Christ. His 
life, in all its relations, is regulated by reverence and affection 
for his Saviour ; so that he is a legible ' epistle of Christ,' 
telling all around who do not wilfully close their eyes, of the 
grace and power of his Lord. By such a life as this — a holy 
Christlike life, at home and with strangers, in business and in 
recreation, with servants and with superiors — a man is shown 

VER. I.] S ted fastness in the Lord. 337 

to be 'in Christ.* It is true that the most spiritually-minded 
Christian, so long as he is on earth, will fall far short of per- 
fectly exhibiting the Christian c har.icter ; but no man who 
does not earnestly and prayerfully aim at exhibiting it per- 
fectly, has any right to believe himself to be ' in Christ.' And, 
the nearer the approach made, the clearer and more comforting 
always is the evidence. * Stand fast in the Lord,' then, dear 
brethren. no temptation attract you — let no persecution 
daunt you — from that consistent beauty and energy of godli- 
ness by which faith approves itself sincere. 

Strong arguments in support of the apostle's injunction are 
found in the statements he has made in the verses immediately 
preceding, — to which he directs attention by his ^ t/ierefore^ 
and ^ so.'' 'Seeing that, as Christians, your position is one of 
such dignity, and your hopes are so lofty, — stand fast in the 
Lord with the energy and persistency beseeming persons who 
regard themselves as citizens of heaven, and look for their 
Saviour to introduce them into the full blessedness and glory 
of His kingdom.' The citizenship of heaven carries responsi- 
bility with it. A member of an illustrious community may 
reasonably be expected to guard the honour of the community, 
— to increase the respect felt for it, if this be in his power, and, 
at least, to abstain from everything which will reflect discredit 
upon it. A nobleman, even if he be in spirit a mean man, is 
strongly bound by his position to what the traditions of his 
class call honourable conduct. When a native of Great 
Britain, or of any other country distinguished by Christian 
civilisation, travels in a foreign land, he should feel — and, 
in innumerable instances, no doubt, does feel — that the re- 
putation of his country is, to some extent, in his keeping ; 
and the sense of this will co-operate with other influences to 
restrain him from what is mean or cruel. Now the citizens of 
heaven have the most illustrious dignity which can be enjoyed 
by any creature ; and this dignity has been bestowed upon 
them, not from any desert on their part, but simply through 


338 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

the kindness of their King. Ardent gratitude for His good- 
ness, then, dear brethren, should certainly lead us to be 
vigilant in regard to our character, that thus glory may accrue 
to Him. The men of the world, the strangers to Christ, 
know that we claim to hold close relations with heaven. Let 
them be compelled to acknowledge that there is in us a purity 
and nobleness of sentiment and life, such as mere earthly in- 
fluences are insufficient to produce. The life of every Chris- 
tian should be like the fragrant breeze which, in tropical 
waters, tells the mariner, while still far out at sea, that the 
land from which it comes is a land of pleasant forests and 
gardens, where ' the spices flow forth.' It should testify, truth- 
fully and clearly, of the sweetness and grace of heaven. 

The apostle has drawn particular attention to the fact that 
Christians expect the Saviour, at His appearing, to change the 
* bodies of their humiliation ' — the bodies in which, at the pre- 
sent, fleshly lusts exert such power, and which are subject to 
pain, and disease, and death, — and to make them like the^body 
in which His own mediatorial glory manifests itself. This ex- 
pectation should give a deep sense of responsibility for our 
treatment of the body, as an instrument of our moral nature. 
My body is not loosely or temporarily connected with me. 
As I am an embodied thinking being now, so I shall be an 
embodied thinking being throughout eternity. The lips, then, 
which are to sing the high praises of our King above, — the 
limbs which are to be employed in serving Him day and 
night in His temple, — dare we use these as the instruments 
of frivolity or vice ? * What, know ye not that your body is the 
temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, — which ye have of 
God ; and ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price ? 
Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which 
are God's.' 

There can be no doubt that, in all by whom such views 
regarding their present position, and such expectations re- 
garding their future, as the apostle here speaks of, are intelli- 

vi:r. I.] SUdfastness in the Lord. 339 

gently and vividly cherished, these views and hopes arc fitted 
to exert very stroni^'ly an elevating influence on the heart and 
life. * Kvery \wx\\ that hath this hoj)e in Christ/ says the 
Apostle John, * purifieth himself, even as Christ is pure.' In 
the measure of its liveliness, the hope holds uj) before the soul 
a noble ideal of character. Any man who really and intelli- 
gently regards himself as a citizen of heaven, and hopes for 
holy blessedness — the full enjoyment of this citizenshijj — after 
death, must often have before his mind heaven, and the moral 
features of its inhabitants. In common life, the life of buying 
and selling, of strifes and frivolities, men and women naturally 
form low conceptions both of what they may be and of what 
they should be. A character of fair outward resi>ectability, 
but destitute of all real nobleness — of all high and generous 
aims, — is ver)' apt to appear sufficient. To all who are unre- 
generate, however much there may be in their spirit which is 
beautiful and amiable, still something far below the highest 
capabilities of man always does seem sufficient But as the 
spear of Milton's Ithuriel had the power, by its touch, of 
making evil spirits stand forth in their native blackness and 
uncomeliness, however skilfully they had disguised themselves 
as angels of light ; so the Christian's sense of his relation to 
heaven reveals to his heart the essential vanity and despicable- 
ness of any form of life which is alien from the will of God. 
The application of the touchstone question, ' How would such 
conduct answer in heaven ? How would such conduct become 
one who hopes for heaven, and deems himself a citizen of 
heaven ? ' — this shows things as they are. 

The ideal of character which in this way is brought and 
kept before the believer, is no mere abstraction, but is em- 
bodied in his Lord. He knows that the destiny of the 
Christian is to be, in the fullest sense of the wonderful words, 
up to the highest capabiHties of humanity ' conformed to the 
image of God's Son.' His expectation is that, when the 
Saviour shall appear * to change the body of our humiliation. 

340 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

that it may be fashioned like unto the body of His glory,' the 
soul then re-united to the body will be a perfectly Christlike 
soul. As, through the wondrous art of the photographer, the 
light of the sun of our firmament can print an image of beauty 
on paper which was once but filthy rags, so the light of the 
glory of grace will one day imprint the image of Jesus on the 
hearts of all His redeemed ones, — hearts which, by nature, 
were * deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.' Now 
what the ' open vision ' of the ' Altogether Lovely ' will effect 
perfectly in that day when * we shall see Him as He is,' the 
partial vision enjoyed in the present state accomplishes in some 
degree. Here, on earth, with love, and confidence, and hope, 
* beholding the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same 
image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.' 

The belief in our being citizens of heaven through faith in 
Christ Jesus, and the expectation of being with Him and like 
Him for ever there, are, beyond question, eminently fitted, 
through the blessing of the Holy Ghost, to beautify and ennoble 
the character. Holiness is the proper fruit of intelligent Chris- 
tian hope. ' Therefore, my brethren, so stand fast in the Lord.' 

This most important injunction is sent home to the hearts 
of the Philippians with peculiar power by the apostle's tender 
words of endearment. He begins the verse by calling them 
his ^brethren dearly beloved and longed for,' his ^Joy and 
crown;' and he ends it, lingering most touchingly on the 
thought of his delight in them, with the repetition of his first 
epithet, * my dearly beloved.' It is as if he said, ' By our 
brotherhood in Christ — by the ardent love I have for you, and 
have in many ways proved — by my joy and glorying in your 
Christian stedfastness and beauty hitherto — and by the hopes I 
have been led to cherish of rejoicing and glorying in you in 
the day of Christ, — I beseech you to stand fast in the Lord, 
my dearly beloved.' You feel that pleading of this kind, 
falling on the ears of men who knew how true Paul was in 
all things, could not fail to be profoundly influential. 

VLK. I.] Stcdfastness in the Lord. 341 

' My joy and crcnvn * exhibits a thouj^ht very familiar to the 
apostle. 'I'he Vr(/7f'// ' is not here the diadem of royalty, but 
the garlaiul of victory. He has in his mind, as so often, the 
famous public athletic games of the (ireeks, — which the diligent 
training, and the strenuous and persevering exertion, needed to 
gain the * corruptible crown ' of laurel, and the intensity of joy 
felt by the victors, rendered an admirable illustration of the 
Christian life, whether as regards the spiritual j)rogress of the 
believer himself, or his work for the salvation of others. The 
apostle believed that he would be enabled to * rejoice in the 
day of Christ, that he had not run in vain ' as a minister of 
Christ. He believed that the Lord would place around his 
brow an unfading garland of honour, of which each soul that 
had been quickened, comforted, strengthened by him, would 
be, so to speak, a spray or leaf, — ' for,' says he to the Thessa- 
lonians, * what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? 
Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at 
His coming? for ye are our glory and joy.' And even noWy 
from his confidence in the Christian character of the Philip- 
pians, as of many of his other converts, and his vivid anticipa- 
tion of their welcome by the Master on the great day, he felt 
them to be ' his joy and crown.' In Nero's prison, aged, worn 
with trouble, manacled, uncertain whether he might not soon 
be led forth to death by the executioner, he knew himself to 
be yet in truth, as a successful minister of Christ, a conqueror, 
wreathed with amaranth. The emperor in his palace was, in 
heart, weary and wretched. The prisoner was restful and 
happy. The glitter of the emperor's power and grandeur 
would very soon pass away, and be as a dream. His prisoner 
was already invested with a glor)' which, recognised in this 
world only by those whose eyes had been opened to discern 
spiritual things, should yet be manifested before the universe, 
— for * they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the 
firmament ; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the 
stars for ever and ever.' 

;42 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 


' I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same 
mind in the Lord. 3 And I entreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, help 
those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement 
also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book 
of life.' — Phil. iv. 2, 3. 

IN these verses we have an interesting ghmpse of several 
prominent members of the Philippian church, and of the 
apostle's wise and affectionate dealings with them as their 
spiritual father. Paul had learned, probably from Epaphro- 
ditus, that between Euodias (or rather, more exactly, Euodia) 
and Syntyche, two of the female members, there had unhappily 
arisen a quarrel or coldness, which, as we may infer from his 
reference to it in this public letter, had become well known 
among the brethren, and had in various ways done harm to 
the good cause. They were both excellent women, and, as 
the apostle remembered, had shown their zeal in former years, 
when he himself was labouring for Christ in their city, by 
working diHgently along with him. The position of influence 
in the church which we may reasonably suppose them to have 
thus acquired, made their dissension peculiarly painful to the 
right-minded. At the same time, it gave them a peculiarly 
strong claim on the friendly offices of their brethren, to bring 
about a reconciliation. Accordingly, the apostle not merely 
appeals to Euodia and Syntyche themselves to return to 
sisterly affection, but also requests a brother in the church, 
whom he calls ' true yoke-fellow,' to do what may be in his 
power to remove difficulties out of their way. 

VERS. 2, 3.] Brotherly- Kindness. 343 

It is not necessary to seek for any close connection of 
thought between this reference to the quarrel of these good 
women aiul the preceding context. A familiar letter allows 
much freedom in passing from one subject to another; and 
towards the close, in particular, observations of an isolated 
kind arc to be looked for. In the case before us, however, it 
appears to me most natural to regard these verses as some- 
what closely connected with that immediately preceding. The 
a|)Ostle has called on his dear children at Philij)pi to ' stand 
fast in the Lord.' Whilst he writes the words, he feels his 
heart burdened with the thought of the dissension between his 
two friends, as a f)ainful illustration of the way in which be- 
lievers may fiiil to * stand fast in the Lord ' clearly and firmly ; 
and thus, really, though not formally put as such, we have in 
the verses before us a practical application to a special case of 
the general counsel given in the ist verse. 

The passage, then, suggests to our minds the transcendent 
importance of the grace of love, as the grand evidence of our 
* standing fast in the Lord.' * God is love.' To be without 
love, therefore, is to be without God ; whilst * he that dwelleth 
in love, dwelleth in God.' Love is the chief purifying and 
ennobling element of Christian feeling. Under its genial influ- 
ence, faith and hope — spiritual wisdom and strength and joy — 
flourish in luxuriance. This fact is strikingly brought out in a 
prayer of Paul for the other great Macedonian church, that of 
Thessalonica, — * The Lord make you to increase and abound in 
love one towards another, and towards all men, to the end He 
may stablish your hearts unb/ameable in holiness.' 

To the importance of ' brotherly-kindness,' the love which it 
becomes Christians to cherish ' especially to them who are of 
the household of faith,' the reference made by the aposde to 
the relations between Euodia and Syntyche draws our atten- 
tion particularly. Christians are, in a sense altogether peculiar, 
the family of God. From the far country of sin, into which 
as prodigals we had wandered, our Father's gracious influence 

344 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

has brought us home \ and now, not merely through the fact 
of our being His moral creatures, but by the new spiritual 
birth, we are ' sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty.' All 
His ' sons and daughters ' are our brothers and sisters ; and 
' every one that loveth Him that begat, loveth him also that is 
begotten of Him.' Discerning in all our fellow-believers some- 
thing of those qualities which, as they appear in infinite per- 
fection in the character of our common Father, have won for 
Him our supreme love ; we find ourselves drawn to them by 
common sympathies and interests, with respect to the matters 
which have come to be felt by us as of greatest moment. 
Wherever there is true love to God, next to it, and necessarily 
resulting from it, stands love to the godly. This affection of 
complacency and delight is an image of that ineffable love 
which reigns between the Father and His Eternal Son ; for the 
prayer of Him whom the Father heareth always was, 'that 
they may be one, as we are, I in them and Thou in Me, — that 
they may be made perfect in one.' Surely, my brethren, when 
we think of this wondrous ideal of brotherly love, and look 
abroad on the Christian church as it is, we have much reason 
to hide our faces in shame ; for, ' whereas there is among us 
envying and strife and divisions, are we not carnal, and walk 
as men ? ' 

The law of brotherly love is not far to seek, nor difficult to 
bear in mind. 'A new commandment I give unto you,' said 
the Lord, in the last tender hour of communion with His 
sorrowing disciples, ' that ye love one another as I have loved 
you.' This commandment was old in its general principle, 
old as the first inculcation of religious duty ; but it was ' new,' 
sublimely new, in its example, showing with a new clearness 
the vastness of the breadth and the length of the love required, 
' as I have loved you,' — new, too, in the motive exhibited to en- 
force it, * because I have so loved you.' But who is — who can 
be — sufficient for these things ? Who can love like Him who 
left the bosom of His Father to dwell as a servant among sinful 

VERS. 2, 3.] Brotherly- Kindness. 345 

men, and sufTcr and die for their salvation? Yet in kind our 
love may resemble His ; and with such love our fmite hearts 
may he full. The drop they contain may be kindred to the 
ocean of His love. 'I'he practical application of the Lord's 
rule by the Christian heart will always be somewhat on this 
wise : when the icy fingers of worldliness chill the soul, and 
the whisper rises, 'Have I not loved my brother enough?' 
answers the still small voice of conscience, * Hast thou loved 
him as thy Saviour has loved thee ? Hast thou done for thy 
brother what your common Elder Brother has done for thee ? * 
The remembrance of the love of Christ is the only thing which 
can sustain brotherly love in vigorous exercise ; and in exact 
proportion as our spirits go on to know more of the love which, 
in its fulness, 'passeth knowledge,' does its image on earth 
become brighter and truer. 

To the cultivation of love to the brotherhood very peculiar 
importance is attached in Scripture. It is constantly set before 
us as the most distinct evidence of the possession of vital re- 
ligion. ' We know,' says the Apostle John, ' that we have 
passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. 
He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. If we love 
one another, God dwelleth in us.' The Master Himself tells 
us, * By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye 
have love one to another.' In the early days of the church, 
nothing so impressed ' them that were without ' as the strong 
mutual affection of the believers in Christ. The observers 
said with wonderment, ' Behold these Christians, — how they 
love one another ! ' In our time, alas ! brotherly love has in 
many waxed cold ; and, in so far as the church has thus lost its 
great ornament, the world has been deprived of one main 
quickening power. Not till the daughter of Zion arrays her- 
self again in the 'beautiful garments' of brotherly-kindness, 
w^ll she convince the world that her Lord is He whose name 
is love. 

The ground of the dissension bet^veen Euodia and Syntyche is 

34^ Lectures on Pkilippians. [ch. iv. 

not mentioned. It was possibly something altogether frivolous, 
for even mature Christians act sometimes like silly children. 
Perhaps, however, seeing that they were both active servants 
of Christ, the origin of the coldness was some difference of 
opinion with respect to the best modes of carrying on the 
'Lord's work. In an unguarded soul, zeal often opens the 
door to unholy anger. When men believe themselves to be 
' doing a great work,' their enthusiasm tends to produce im- 
patience. When thwarted, or, as they think, unreasonably 
hindered, their souls strike fire against the obstacles, and, tor- 
menting themselves at the disappointment, they are apt to 
break out in language they will regret afterwards. To a 
thoughtful mind, perhaps no element in the character of Jesus 
more impressively shows that character to be absolutely unique, 
than His sublime equanimity, while prosecuting so great a 
work with so great enthusiasm, counting it His ' meat,' and 
pouring into it all the energies of His life. ' He is as serene 
and even in all His hindrances from foolish unreasonable men, 
and in all troubles of every kind, as if He had nothing great 
on hand to do. He is clothed with an armour of holy 
patience, through which no weapon can pierce. He is never 
disheartened, fretted, or ruffled.' ^ 

Whatever the ground of dissension, their wise friend Paul 
can have but one advice to them, with regard to their relations 
to each other. To the Colossians he gives it very fully, in this 
form: ' Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, 
bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, 
long - suffering ; forbearing one another, and forgiving one 
another, if any man have a quarrel against any ; even as 
Christ forgave you, so also do ye ; and above all these things 
put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness,' In the 
present passage, his entreaty is that his dear friends would * be 
of the same mind.^ This is not by any means an injunction to 
have the same views on everything. Differences of tempera- 

' Bushneil. 

VKR. 2.] Brotherly- Kindness. 347 

ment, training, intellectual power, arfiuiremcnts, and surround- 
ings, might render that, or even any very close approach to it, 
impossible. Paul's favourite phrase, which follows, explains 
the thought. His wish is that they should 'be of the .same 
mind /// the Lord' 'I'hey are to 'endeavour to keep the unity 
of the Spirit in the bond of peace,' — to remember the tran- 
scendent importance of the matters in which their views accord, 
— to consider how utterly unsuited quarrelling or coldness is 
for those who are united ' in the Lord,* — and therefore, with 
regard to any matter on which they fail to see eye to eye, to 
* agree to differ,' and follow out their separate views lovingly 
and with mutual helpfulness. The praise which Christian lives 
send up to heaven cannot be a song in unison ; but it may be 
and should be a song in harmony, which is far richer and 
deeper than unison. 

How gloriously catholic and tolerant is the love to us of our 
divine Elder Brother ! Glance at His relations to those He 
gathered round Him during His earthly life. There were many 
varieties of temperament, many different degrees of capacity 
for clearness and breadth of view, many varied measures of 
natural Icveableness, among His followers ; but for all of them 
— for Peter, the frank, ardent, impulsive ; for John, the medi- 
tative, poetical, spiritual; for Thomas, the slow-minded, moody, 
difficult to influence but immediately through the senses ; for 
Martha, the bustling and practical ; for Mary, whose one desire 
was to sit at her Lord's feet and drink in His words ; for all, 
differing in everything except love to Him, His heart had 
ample room. He loved them all. You and I too should 
embrace with warm brotherly affection all who give evidence 
of loving our common Lord, whatever differences there may 
be in many things. But imperfectly sanctified humanity is 
deplorably prone to sectarianism. Hardly had the nations 
which had sat in darkness begun to see the great light, before 
rancorous dissensions saddened the hearts of the apostles and 
primitive teachers, — nay, before they found their own names 

34^ Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

employed as instruments to bring dishonour on the name of 
their Lord, and 'Paul,' 'Apollos,' and 'Cephas,' rung out as 
the gathering cry for the battle of sects. Even Christianized 
human nature loves to be angry, when with any plausibility it 
can flatter itself that it ' does well to be angry,' and is 'jealous 
for the Lord God of hosts.' But the spirit of Christ is 
eminently an unsectarian spirit. It is natural and not wrong 
that the love of a believer's heart should go forth with 
special intensity to those of his brethren whose souls are 
most kindred with his own. Jesus, though He loved all 
His ' little children,' had yet a specially tender love for Peter 
and James and John ; and even of this inner circle there 
is one who is called with emphasis ' the disciple whom Jesus 
loved.' But there is something far wrong, when any Chris- 
tian's love is hedged in by denominational bounds or eccle- 
siastical forms, by points of criticism or peculiarities of 
temperament. For all who ' love the Lord Jesus in sincerity,' 
our hearts should have room, as His has. And the nearer 
that,- by the gracious influence of His Spirit, we are brought 
to Him, the nearer continually we shall be brought to each 

No attentive reader can fail to be struck with the mode in 
which Paul intervenes between Euodia and Syntyche, to set 
them at one again. For one thing, he makes not the slightest 
reference to the particular cause of dissension. In a vast pro- 
portion of cases, attempts at reconciliation will be more likely to 
succeed, if the original matter of difl'erence be allowed to sleep 
among dead things, than if it be roused to life and subjected 
anew to examination. Again, — from his apostolic authority, 
and the nature of his relation to the church of Philippi in par- 
ticular, Paul might most reasonably have been * much bold in 
Christ to enjoin them that which was convenient ; yet for love's 
sake he rather beseeches them.' He beseeches them separately 
too. Possibly the one was more to blame than the other for 
the origin or the continuance of the coldness ; but the apostle 

VER. 3.] Brothcrly-Kindyiess. 349 

treats them with exactly the same consideration : * / besfcch 
Euoifiti, — and I beseech Syntyche.' 

In tlic 3r(l verse he goes on to ask a friend of influence 
among the believers at Thilippi to help the ladies he has been 
pleading with to come to a reconciliation. ' And' (or, accord- 
ing to a better supported reading, yea^ introducing another 
request which, yet more clearly than the preceding, shows 
Paul's earnestness of feeling with regard to the matter in hand) 
*/ entreat thee also^ true yoke-fe/hnv, help those women which 
Liboured icith me in the ^(^ospel.^ The rendering of our translators 
here is, if not inaccurate, at least likely to mislead. It seems 
to mean, ' Help my female fellow-labourers' generally, whereas 
the apostle's request really refers simply to Euodia and Syn- 
tyche, and to his wish that their coldness should be brought to 
an end, — ' Help them ' — to be of the same mind in the Lord, — 
* seeing that they laboured with me in the gospel.' 

It thus appears that women were zealous and efficient 
workers for Christ at Philippi. These two ladies had ^laboured 
with Paur — 'shared with him in his strenuous contendings,' 
for the primary reference of the original word is to athletic 
contests — * in the gospel.' This fact accords exactly — and the 
obviously undesigned coincidence is very interesting — with 
the account given in Acts of the first visit of the apostle to 
Philippi, when, as you remember, the gospel was first pro- 
claimed to, and accepted by, women. ' On the Sabbath we 
went out of the city by a river-side, where prayer was wont to 
be made, and sat down and spake unto the women which 
resorted thither ; and a certain woman named Lydia heard us, 
whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the 
things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was bap- 
tized, and her household, she besought us, saying. If ye have 
judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, 
and abide there, — and she constrained us' (Acts xvi. 13-15). 
Lydia, Euodia, and Syntyche, appear to have been represen- 
tatives of a very large class of women in the early church, who 

350 Lectures on Philippians, [CH. iv. 

not merely for themselves ' chose that good part which should 
not be taken away from them/ but also ' did what they could ' 
to bring others to choose it. Again and again we find special 
mention made of such, — for example, ' Mary, who bestowed 
much labour on us ;' ' Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in 
the Lord ; ' * the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the 
Lord.' It was obviously felt by the believers generally, that 
Christ's call was not simply to the enjoyment of peace in Him, 
but to exertion, as in His providence He gave opportunity, for 
the extension of His kingdom ; and that women had their 
sphere of Christian work, which they could fill better than men. 
In all society they of necessity exercise an extensive and power- 
ful influence ; they have peculiarly free access to their own sex ; 
and for ministrations in time of trouble, when the heart is 
frequently most open to religious impressions, they have a 
special aptitude. To do efficient service to the Master, it is 
not, as a rule, either necessary or desirable that women should 
step out of the domestic and quiet social spheres within which 
it is plainly the will of God that they should ordinarily move. 
Any mode of action which brushes off the beautiful bloom of 
female modesty and gentleness is not likely to commend the 
gospel. The wise female Christian worker will always resemble 
her already named, who, while ' labouring much in the Lord,' 
remained ever, for all who knew her, 'the beloved Persis.' Few 
features in the Christian life of our own time are more pleasing 
than the activity of pious women, and the sweet and beautiful 
womanliness with which they commonly do their work. 

The friend to whom Paul addresses himself in the 3rd verse 
is requested by him to ' help ' Euodia and Syntyche to become 
reconciled. The duty might be felt by these good women to 
be a hard one. Even if they both clearly saw the sinfulness 
of their dissension, and longed for the pleasant intercourse of 
former days, pride was apt to interpose obstacles. A thoroughly 
discreet friend of both, on the spot, could do not a little, in 
various ways, to smooth the path to unity. This is a form 

V K K . 3 . ] Jh'otJicrly- Kindness. 3 5 i 

of Christian work, my brethren, to which (iod in His providence 
may occasionally call you or me. None needs more delicacy 
of handling' ; anil, from consciousness of this, and a fear lest 
throngii interference the alienation be widened, and the 
friend who interfered brought in to share somewhat of its dis- 
comforts, there is j)erhaps no field of Christian love from the 
cultivation of which believers generally are more prone to 
shrink. But none, when lovingly and prayerfully tilled, yield 
richer fniits. It cannot but be, that on efforts to restore 
interrupted brotherly afiection, the Saviour who said, ' This is 
My commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved 
you,' looks down with peculiar tenderness and complacency. 

Regarding the person addressed as * true yoke-fellow^ there 
have been various conjectures. A common use of the original 
word in classical writers is in the sense of 'spouse.' By some 
interpreters, accordingly, it has been thought that the apostle 
here refers to his wife, — supposed by them to have been at this 
time, for some reason, living at Philippi, and, both from her 
relation to him, and her own character, a person of influence 
among the Christians there. This view is in no wise natural ; 
hardly accords, to say the least, with the grammar of the 
original ; and is inconsistent with Paul's language elsewhere, — 
all his allusions to his own position leading us to believe either 
that he had never been married, or that he was a widower. 
Others again have thought of the husband of Euodia or Syn- 
tyche. This also seems wholly unnatural. Had such been 
the reference intended, the language employed would almost 
certainly have been more specific ; and besides, after such dis- 
tinct evidence of the apostle's determination to remain entirely 
impartial, as we have had in ' I beseech Euodia, — and I be- 
seech Syntyche,' an appeal for aid to a person inevitably inte- 
rested on the one side is utterly improbable. There can be 
little doubt, I think, that Paul here addresses an eminently 
pious and judicious member, and probably office-bearer, of the 
Philippian church, who, from some circumstances unknown to 

352 Lectures on Philippians. [cii. iv. 

us, was specially fitted to help the apostle in his endeavour to 
reconcile the sisters in Christ who were unhappily at variance. 
But in a letter superscribed ' To all the saints in Christ Jesus 
which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons/ 'true 
yoke-fellow ' seems a curiously indefinite way of addressing an 
individual member, bishop, or deacon, however prominent. 
This very early suggested to some interpreters the thought 
that perhaps Synzygus, or Syzygus, the original word rendered 
' yoke-fellow,' was in this case a proper name, on which Paul 
plays with a little affectionate pleasantry, — ' true, genuine 
Synzygus,' — ' Yoke-fellow, whose character accords with thy 
name.' This view seems to me highly probable. It is evident 
to any student of Paul's writings in the original that he loved 
an occasional play upon words ; and in one case at least he 
plays upon a proper name. * Onesimus ' means 'profitable;' 
and the apostle says to Philemon, ' I beseech thee for my son 
Onesimus, — which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but 
now profitable to thee and to me.' The fact that Synzygus is 
not known to occur elsewhere as a proper name, presents no 
difficulty whatever in the way of our holding it to be such in 
the passage before us, — considering how small a proportion the 
names preserved in extant literature must bear to those which 
were actually in use. The word is certainly one quite likely to 
have been employed as a name ; just as, among ourselves, we 
find such surnames as Friend, Dear, Goodfellow, Goodman, 
and the like, more or less common. The view that we have 
here a proper name, removes all indefiniteness from the ad- 
dress ; gives a peculiar pointedness to the epithet 'true' or 
' genuine ; ' and accounts perfectly for the use of this particular 
word Synzygus, or ' yoke-fellow,' which occurs nowhere else in 
Paul's writings, or indeed in the New Testament. 

The thought of the loving and efficient aid which the apostle 
had received in his work at Philippi from Euodia and Syntyche, 
brings with it pleasant memories of other helpers ; and to 
these, most naturally, he makes now a brief reference, — ' with 

VER. 3.] Brotherly- Kindness. 353 

CUmmt alsOy and wi(h other my fe/Iaiu- labourers,* In the latter 
part of the first century there was a distinguished minister of 
the church in Rome, nameil Clement, the writer of two letters 
to the church of Corinth, which are still extant With him 
early tradition identified the Clement mentioned here. There 
is nothing impossible, or improbable, in the supposition that 
they were the same. But the name was by no means an un- 
common one. 

Clement had perhaps held some kind of acknowledged 
precedence among the helpers of Paul in Christian work ; 
and thus we find the others alluded to more generally, * with 
my other fello7u-labourcrs^* — as we might name a minister, 
and add ' with his elders,' or name the superintendent of 
a Sabbath school, and add * with the teachers.' But though 
not naming them, the apostle well remembered them and 
their earnest work, and gives his impression of them here 
in words signally fitted to gladden their hearts, and cheer them 
on to continued exertion in the Lord's service, — ' whose names 
are in the book of life.' Having had ample opportunities of 
judging of them, Paul felt convinced that their profession of 
faith in Christ expressed a reality, — that they had in truth 

* passed from death unto life,' and were safe for ever. Their 
zeal and perseverance in the service of Christ proved to him 
that what the Lord, employing the same figure used here, had 
said of the seventy disciples, was true of these brethren also, — 

* their names were ^\Titten in heaven.' ' This honour have all 
the saints ; ' and earnest and patient continuance in well-doing 
gives assurance of it with growing distinctness, both to the 
Christian himself and to spiritual observers of his life. 

By the figure of a book, in which the names of God's people 
are recorded, is plainly and most gladdeningly set before the 
believing heart the perfect knowledge He has of all them that 
are His, and thus the certainty that to every one of them His 

* exceeding great and precious promises ' will be fulfilled. This 
image presents itself pretty frequently, both in the Old Testa- 

354 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. iv. 

ment and the New. The thought specially intended seems to 
be of a register of the citizens of the heavenly city.^ This is, 
in the amplest sense, a ' book of life.' Those who are ' written 
among the living in Jerusalem' have true 'Hfe' in Christ even 
here, while as yet afar in the wilderness. Yonder its strength, 
and beauty, and blessedness are enjoyed in fulness. And this 
enjoyment is for ever. The life is ' eternal life.' They that 
dwell in the city of God ' go no more out.' 'Their sun shall 
no more go down, neither shall their moon withdraw itself; for 
the Lord shall be their everlasting light, and the days of their 
mourning shall be ended.' 

^ The use of this particular image here may not improbably have been 
suggested to the apostle by the reference he had made a few verses before 
(iii. 20, — see the exposition of the first clause) to the fact that the believer's 
* citizenship is in heaven. ' 

VER. 4.] Pray erf Illness and the Peace of God. 



* Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your modera- 
tion be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for 
nothing ; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanks 
giving, let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace 
of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and 
minds through Christ Jesus.' — Phil. iv. 4-7. 

WITH this paragraph, as we have already seen, the 
4th chapter ought to have commenced ; because the 
singularly interesting and important digression which began 
with the 2nd verse of the 3rd chapter, ends with the 3rd verse 
of the present, and the interrupted line of exhortation is 
resumed here. The transition occurs very naturally. The 
apostle has been speaking of a dissension between two hon- 
oured members of the church of Philippi, such as was cal- 
culated to cause all the brethren discomfort. In connection 
with this, as it seems to me, there rises in his mind again the 
thought of those troubles from the hatred of unbelievers, by 
which the Philippian Christians were tried, and on which he 
has touched more than once in the ist chapter, particularly at 
the close. The whole tenor of the present paragraph, I think, 
shows that, whilst its precepts and assurances are most im- 
portant and precious to the people of God under any circum- 
stances, yet, as addressed to the first readers of the Epistle, 
they were specially intended to guide and cheer them as a 
persecuted church. 

The opening injunction, * Rejoice i?i the Lord,' was fully con- 
sidered on occasion of its former occurrence, in the ist verse 

356 Lectures on Philippians. [cH. iv. 

of the 3rd chapter. But there are interesting additions here. 
'■ Rejoice alway.^ * Though your position may be such as to 
cause nature only pain, yet rise by faith above nature into 
joy. Even if the billows of trouble sweep wildly around, and 
threaten to overwhelm you, look up to Him who " sitteth upon 
the flood, yea, who sitteth King for ever;" who "is mightier 
than the mighty waves of the sea," and in a moment can by 
His word bring a great calm ; — look up to Him, and be glad 
in Him.' This precept the apostle knew to be one which, to 
many of the members of a persecuted church, would at first 
seem impracticable, — indeed, almost paradoxical. To his own 
heart also, I apprehend, just as he was writing or dictating 
the * Rejoice alway,' there came a sudden depression, — the 
weakness of nature, amid the trials of the prison, sending a 
sense of weariness and sorrow over him. But grace triumphed 
in a moment, — and to a spiritual ear how grand are the simple 
words of the voice of triumph, — how stimulating to the suf- 
fering Philippians, — * and again I say ' (more exactly, ' will 
say'), ^ Rejoice!^ As regards the momentary struggle in Paul's 
heart between nature and grace, of which, as I have said, I 
think these words give us 'an interesting glimpse, the pas- 
sage reminds us of one in the ist chapter: 'Some preach 
Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add afflic- 
tion to my bonds, but others of love. What then? Not- 
withstanding, every way, whether in pretence or in truth, 
Christ is preached, and I therein do rejoice, — yea^ and will 

' Rejoice in the Lord ; and, that you may do this, commit 
your way wholly to Him. Towards your foes show the for- 
bearance of a wise, loving, well-governed spirit, not returning 
evil for evil. Let all men with whom you come into contact 
find this to be your habitual course. May not the sight of a 
character so strange and heavenly have a blessed influence 
over some of them, and give you the exquisite joy of bringing 
souls to your Lord — of making those who were your enemies 

VLK. 5.] Praycrfuhicss and the Peace 0/ God. 357 

brethren in Him? Hut, liowcvcr this may be, leave tlie 
wrong ilonc you to be dealt witli by the Lord. His coming 
is near, and He will do all things well. In regard to all your 
wants and anxieties, too, of every kind, speak to God in 
prayer, and His peace will keep your hearts and minds in 
Christ Jesus. 'I'hus you will rejoice in the Lord alway.' 
Such appears to mc to be the connection of thought in the 

By 'moderation,' in the 5th verse, is meant, as the para- 
phrase just given has already suggested to you, not temperance 
in the gratification of our desires generally, but specially tem- 
perance or self-restraint in our relations to others, abstinence 
from anger, harshness, vengeance. Elsewhere in the New 
Testament, where the original word occurs, the rendering is 
'gentleness,' 'clemency,' 'patience,' any one of which is pre- 
ferable to this ambiguous 'moderation.' The exact idea is 'a 
considerate and forbearing spirit.' The apostle would have 
us make allowances for the ignorance and weakness of others, 
knowing how much and constant need we stand in of having 
allowances made for ourselves, both by God and man. Taken 
generally, his precept here calls upon us, for example, in our 
business dealings, to remember that human laws, however 
carefully devised, may ever and anon, if rigidly enforced, act 
unjustly and cruelly ; and to guide ourselves therefore, in every 
case, by the broad principles of equity in the sight of God. 
Similarly, in our judgment of the conduct of men, it en- 
joins upon us to take a kindly view, wherever this is pos- 
sible, never believing evil of them until we cannot help it. 
In the case which seems to be at present specially before 
Paul's mind, that of a person who is ' persecuted for righteous- 
ness' sake,' he would have the sufferer to form the mildest 
judgment he can respecting the procedure and character of 
his enemy ; to remember and pity the melancholy darkness 
of soul which prompts the persecution ; and, even if he be in 
a position to avenge himself, to withhold his hand, and leave 

358 Lectures on PJiilippians. [cri. iv. 

the matter with the Lord Jesus. When He comes to judg- 
ment, all wrongs will be righted.^ 

The suffering believers might well be patient, considerate, 

and forbearing, — for, says the apostle, * The Lord is at hand.' 

Whether looked at simply by themselves, or in their logical 

connection with the context, these words might very naturally 

be [taken to mean that Christ is ever ready to sustain and 

deliver His people, ' nigh unto all them that call upon Him,' 

* a very present help in trouble,' — not like such gods as the 

Philippians had worshipped in their days of darkness, of 

which their votaries, through sad experience of neglect, were 

compelled to believe, as Elijah derisively reminded the priests 

of Baal, that, at the very time their aid was needed, they 

might be 'pursuing, or in a journey/ But the general usage 

of the New Testament points decidedly to that other meaning 

which I have already indicated, — ' The adz'ent of the Lord is 

at hand.' As James has it, ' The coming of the Lord draweth 

nigh.' 2 The promise of the Saviour Himself is, ' Behold, I 

come quickly.' 

At first sight, declarations like these from the Lord and 
His inspired apostles startle us, through their apparent incon- 
sistency with what we know to have subsequently happened. 
Eighteen centuries have gone by. The world has continued 
* buying and selling, planting and building, marrying 'and 
giving in marriage.' The 'sign of the Son of man' has not 

' In the Epistle of James, v. 9, — ' Grudge not one against another, 
brethren, lest ye be condemned : behold, the Judge standeth before the 
door,' the 5th verse finds a very complete parallel, — the only difference 
being that there the reference is to relations between believers, whilst here, 
as I apprehend, the apostle is thinking mainly of the relations of Chris- 
tians to * them that are without. ' 

■ The author having had occasion, in his Lectures on the Epistle of 
jfameSy to discuss, in connection with the passage quoted above, the same 
somewhat difficult question suggested by the words of Philippians now 
before us, — the two following paragraphs are, in substance, transferred 
from that work. The same is the case also with a paragraph on another 
branch of the same subject, in a previous lecture. 

VER. 5.] Praycrfulncss and the Peace of God. 359 

yet appeared in the sky. Scoffers say, * Where is the promise 
of His (oming? for since the fathers fell asleep all things con- 
tinue as they were from the beginning of the c rcation.' How 
then could the Saviour's second advent be predicted in those 
old days as then near? Because thus the eye of Ood sees it 
The Apostle Peter, you will remember, answers the question 
in this way, telling us that when ' some men count the Lord 
slack concerning His promise,' they leave out of their com- 
putation this element, that with Him *a thousand years are 
as one day.' God's 'soons' and * quicklies ' are not to be 
estimated by our imj^atient reckonings. * Ethiopia shall soon 
stretch forth her hands unto God,' comes sounding to us over 
the distance of three thousand years, — and how very partially 
is it yet fulfilled! 'Near' and 'distant' are relative terms. 
For the little child, whose limbs soon grow weary, the friend's 
house is far away, which for his father is but a step from home. 
So to the child, reckoning by his life, an event seems long 
past, far away in a hoar}' antiquity, which to the man on whom 
have come the snows of many winters, and who reckons by 
his life, seems to have occurred but yesterday. Now faith, in 
the measure of its vigour, enables us to see things in the light 
of God, giving us oneness of view with Him. When, then, 
our aposde says, ' The Lord is at hand,' he speaks as one who 
has been taught to reckon according to the years of the life- 
time of the Most High — unbeginning, unending. On the 
same principle, you remember, in another place, he estimates 
the Christian's affliction — affliction extending perhaps over 
threescore years and ten — as ' but for a moment,' because the 
standard by which he computes is the ' eternal ' duration of 
the ' weight of glory ' which is to follow. 

That such is the true explanation of ' nigh,' ' soon,' ' quickly,' 
* at hand,' in this connection, is shown by the fact that our 
Lord and the apostles tell us in other places of various things, 
of a kind requiring what men call a long time, which are to 
happen before His coming. Paul, too, finding that the Thes- 

360 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. iv. 

salonians had misconceived the principle of the reckoning, 
expressly cautions them against their error, as a dangerous 
one. * Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, 
that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither 
by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the 
day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any 
means' (2 Thess. ii. 1-3). Yet the church should always feel 
her Lord's coming to be near ; and when her faith is lively, 
and her love glowing, she does. As, under the clear Eastern 
sky, a range of lofty mountains, which is yet many days' jour- 
ney distant, seems almost at hand ; so, in the pellucid atmo- 
sphere of faith, the great towering event of the future, dwarfing 
all else, seems close above us. In seasons of elevated spiritu- 
ality we feel the advent to be near. Chronologically, perhaps 
many years, as men reckon, may yet be to elapse ; but faith 
sees Him coming 'like to a roe or a young hart leaping on 
the mountains of spices.' And when the grand event has 
happened, brethren, and we look back upon it from the 
eternity of blessedness and glory, we shall see ever more 
clearly — for we shall understand the reckoning ever more 
perfectly — how exactly the Lord fulfilled His promise, * Be- 
hold, I come quickly.' The suff"ering Christians of Philippi 
might well cultivate * moderation ' of spirit and conduct with 
respect to their persecutors; we, too, in every trouble and 
alarm, may well 'be patient, and stablish our hearts,' — for 
' the liOrd is at hand,' — * the Judge standeth before the door.' 

As we have seen, the substance of the 5th verse is this, — 
' In your trouble from persecutors, cast your burden on your 
Lord, — who will soon come, to introduce His people into the 
fulness of rest' The transition from this to the precept of the 
6th is simple and natural : ' Remember, too, that your Father 
in heaven cares for you with tender love, — wherefore in all 
your difficulties and needs of every kind, go to Him by prayer.' 

By the '■And'* which begins the 7th verse it is shown that 

VER. 6.] Praycyfulncss and tJic Peace of God. 36 1 

the 6th and 71)1 belong closely to each other; and it is very 
important to notice this. The i)recej)t and the promise, 
which are felt by all of us to be most beautiful and [precious 
separately, have yet a singularly exciuisite loveliness in the 
connection originally given them by the Spirit. 

The precept subdivides itself into a negative and a positive 
injunction. The negative is, ^ Be careful for twihinj^' In 
illustrating this, I must begin by obviating a natural miscon- 
ception. Through alteration, since the time our translation 
of the Bible was made, in the shade of meaning attached to 
some English words, the rendering here, — and that other, of 
substantially the same original words, in the Sermon on the 
Mount, * Take no thought,' — inadequately represent the mind 
of the Spirit. Indeed, though at the time correct, according to 
the force given to ' thought ' and ' careful,' they are now posi- 
tively misleading. Literally understood, they appear to enjoin 
what is impracticable, and, even if it were practicable, would 
be a breach of Christian duty, — for the purpose of Christianity 
is the very opposite of making men thoughtless or careless. Its 
direct object is to lead to constant and intense thought and 
care regarding the interests of the soul ; and its principles 
legitimately lead also to thought and care in regard to the in- 
terests of this life. Scripture distinctly enjoins, indeed, and 
that in very emphatic terms, that we should * provide for our 
own, specially for those of our own house,' and that we should 
* provide things honest (or honourable) in the sight of all men.' 
Now this involves much of thought and care. The teachings 
of our religion, properly understood, give no discouragement, 
much encouragement, to diligence and discretion in every part 
of our life, and to all prudent worldly forethought, such as is 
exhibited in life-assurance and similar ways, — always provided 
that we remember to ' sttV first the kingdom of God, and His 

The truth is, that the force of the word which our translators 
have rendered by ' thought ' and * care,' is * division^ or distrac- 


62 Lectures on Philippians. [cH. iv. 

tion, of mind/ — such anxiety as is fitted to draw the mind 
away from God, distracting the Christian soul, making the 
earthly doubts and fears oppose but too effectually the heaven- 
ward longings, and rendering the believer for the time almost a 
' double-minded man.' ' In regard to nothing, have distracting 
anxiety,' — this is the apostle's precept. The Philippian Chris- 
tians, like the great majority of Christians in all ages, were most 
of them poor, struggling hard for daily bread. They were ex- 
posed, as all of us are, to disease and pain and bereavement. 
They were liable, like ourselves, to be at times misjudged and 
calumniated. And, living as they did among a heathen popu- 
lation, they were exposed to forms of persecution of which, 
through God's kind providence, we know nothing. ' Let none 
of these things move you,' says Paul, — ' let none of them cause 
you tumult or distraction of soul. Never let your hearts be 
tossed with anxiety, like a ship driven hither and thither by 
the unruly billows.' 

All of us, brethren, know by experience the power of worldly 
anxieties, of one kind or another, to enfeeble our religious 
energies, and diminish our religious enjoyments. We go to 
pray ; and when our thoughts and desires should ascend to 
God, these anxieties call them down, and drag them another 
way. We go to hear the word of God ; and these anxieties, 
like the birds of the air in the parable, pick up the good seed 
almost before it reaches the ground. They haunt us in the 
closet, in the pew, at the communion table. They keep us 
from truly approaching God at all, or, if we enter His presence, 
it is with 'the loins of our mind' sadly ungirded — with the 
garments of our spirits dragging loosely, and sweeping after 
us the dust of the world. ' If, then,' says the apostle, * you 
desire to live a life of elevated spirituality, of holy happiness 
and full usefulness, let nothing cause you distracting anxiety.' 

The noblest system of heathen philosophy regarded an 
equability of mind, imperturbable alike by the troubles and 
the allurements of the world, as the highest state of the soul. 

VF.R. 6.] P raycrf Illness and the Peace of God. 363 

But philosophy could furnish no adequate motive power for 
attaining this ccjuabilily. It could only state the theory, and 
exhibit its importance. And, as was to he anticipated, human 
nature had its own way against philosophy. liut the apostle 
of Jesus Christ can supply tlic missing link. He f:an not 
merely tell us to be trancjuil, but show us liow the tranquillity 
is to be attained, and maintained. 

Let us now, then, look at the positive side of the prece[)t : 

* In nrryt/iirii^, by prayer and supplication^ luith thanks- 
^vingy id your requests be made known unto God.' It is 
true that all our circumstances, and all our thoughts and 
feelings regarding them, are already ^ knoian unto God.'' He 

* compasseth our path and our lying down, and is accjuainted 
with all our ways ; and understandeth our thought afar off.' 
Still, in regard to every blessing. He loves ' to be inquired of, 
to do it for us.' In infinite wisdom and kindness He com- 
mands us to ' ask,' that we may ' receive.' Imagine that a 
mother among us were able to know, and to anticipate, all the 
troubles of her child, and did fully anticipate them, so that 
the child never came to her with any request, — do you think 
the life of either would be made happier by this, — that the 
sweetness of the blessed relation between mother and child 
would be by either more fully experienced ? Do you suppose 
that such freedom from the need of expressing his affectionate 
dependence on his mother, and trust in her, would be for the 
good of the child ? I know that the heart of every mother 
here responds at once with an unhesitating * God forbid that 
such should be the relation between me and my child ! ' So 
we might conceive the system of relations between God and 
His people such that prayer was not called for. But what 
Christian does not feel that such a system would lack what 
his heart knows to be inexpressibly precious ? What man of 
prayer would be willing to give up the joy of asking His 
Father, even if he knew that blessings both temporal and 
spiritual would come to him abundantly without asking ? 

364 Lectures on Philippians, [cii. iv. 

* Prayer and supplication ' are several times spoken of to- 
gether by Paul. The difference in meaning between the 
original words so translated seems to be, that the former is 
general, * a devotional approach to God,' — the latter, particular, 
' a special petition for the divine help.' ' By prayer, and, in 
this exercise, not merely by general and, it may be, vague 
entreaty, but by definite petition regarding the matter which at 
the time burdens your hearts, let your desires — thus becoming 
always, in the measure of your spiritual enlightenment, your 
'''•requests'''' — be made known unto God.' Has there not been 
commonly, in our Scottish type of religion, think you, my 
brethren, too little of the particularity in prayer, which Paul 
here enjoins ? In reverence, as we have thought, for the 
glory of God, have we not allowed ourselves to miss some- 
what of a clear view of the glory of His Fatherly tenderness, 
as wiUing to listen lovingly to the tale of all our difficulties 
and wants ? Has not heart been taken out of our devotional 
exercises sometimes by the generality to which we have thought 
it dutiful and becoming to confine ourselves ? Would it not 
really honour God more, then, and would it not bring very 
much more comfort to ourselves, if we fully laid out the 
specialties of our position before Him ? To want of this, I 
believe, is to be ascribed not a little of spiritual feebleness 
and spiritual gloom. 

Observe the range of proper subjects of prayer — proper sub- 
jects of special petition, — ' i?i everything.^ The antithesis to 
the first clause of the verse, * Be careful for nothing^ is direct 
and complete. And, no doubt, there is a particular reference 
here, as there, to temporal matters — persecution, poverty, and 
the like, — such as tended to arouse distracting care, and tempted 
to the despondency, or the sternness and vengefulness, against 
which the precepts of the immediately preceding verses have 
been directed. A distinctive feature in the religion of the 
Bible, as compared with every system which has spnmg up in 
the corrupt heart of man, is the completeness with which it 

VKR. 6.] Praycrfiiljicss and tJic Peace of Cod. 365 

embraces every clement of our nature. A thoughtful heathen 
could rise to a wistful and vague idea that perhaps his soul 
might live for ever, — that the bird might soar to i)urer air and 
sing exultantly, when its prison cage, the body, was destroyed ; 
but an immortality of the body itself never entered his wildest 
dreams. The ' babbler ' on Areopagus was deemed by the 
Athenians to set forth strange gods, when * he preached to 
them Jesus and the resurrection.* The gospel recognises the 
body as essential to complete man, — not, as the sages of old 
would have it, an accidental companion, whose society degrades 
the soul. At the right hand of the Father, Jesus sits, in fashion 
as a man ; and, by and by, the bodies of His people shall be 
made like to His glorious body. Surely, then, when the Father 
watches over the sleeping dust of His saints, we may feel well 
assured that He will watch over their outward interests while 
they live, and hear and honour their prayers regarding the 
troubles and difficulties connected with the affairs of this world 
as lovingly as the petitions which bear immediately on their 
spiritual interests. The truth is, indeed, that, just because the 
body holds so important and influential a place in our nature, 
we cannot draw a sharp line of distinction between our spiritual 
and our outward interests. Our spiritual life and our visible 
life act constantly and most powerfully on each other. As 
we have seen in examining the negative precept, the troubles 
of our daily course — the difficulties, often of a most trifling 
kind, which yet tend so much to fret — aff"ect our religious feel- 
ings strongly, and constitute indeed a most important part of 
the discipline by which God trains His children to spiritual 
wisdom. We may confidently look, surely, for His gracious 
answer to all prayers for guidance and support, in connection 
with any form of this discipline. 

But do we not often forget this most blessed and consoling 
truth, dear friends ? The wants which we consider strictly 
spiritual we carry to the throne of grace ; but in the cares of 
this world — in the disappointment of cherished hopes, the 

366 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

thwarting of carefully devised plans, the anxieties of narrow 
income — do we not frequently nurse our depression, failing to 
remember the glorious breadth of the invitation and injunction, 
' In everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be 
made known unto God ' ? Can we trust Him with our eternal 
welfare, and not with the care of our life here ? * Consider the 
lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do 
they spin j and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all 
his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God 
so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow 
is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O 
ye of little faith ? ' ' Our Father which art in heaven, give us 
this day our daily bread.' In regard to every department of 
our life, my brethren, the fervent prayer of a righteous man 
availeth much, and will bring down showers of blessing, in 
views cleared, obstacles removed, and desires furthered, so far 
as it shall serve for God's glory and the true good of the 
petitioner. Our Father's providence knows no distinction of 
great, to be cared for, and minute, to be disregarded. He 
who '■ stretched out the heavens as a curtain,' is the same who 
preserves the sparrows, and numbers the hairs of our heads. 
' In everything^ then, let your desires be made known unto 
God,' — for whatever interests His people interests Him. 

Further, the apostle enjoins upon us to offer our petitions 
* with thanksgiving.^ No true prayer lacks this. It is generally 
expressed, and always implied. The renewed heart cannot 
but pour out its utterances of gratitude to Him who ' crowneth 
us with loving-kindness and tender mercies;' and in the thanks- 
giving, we obtain encouragement for the supplication. * The 
Lord hath been mindful of us ; He will bless us.' The great 
general ground of thanksgiving is always present with us, — the 
love of God in Christ, which permits us to look on Him against 
whom we had sinned, as our Father, and to approach Him 
with filial confidence. However the believer may be situated, 
too, and whatever the nature of his petitions may be, he has 

VKR. 6.] P ray erf Illness and ihc Peace of God. 367 

always soinctliing special to thank Ooil for. In sore affliction, 
a Christian rightly cxurcnscd — whilst he feels very deeply that 
certainly his position is 'for the i)resent not joyous, but 
grievous,' and asks Ood for the lightening of His hand, if this 
be consistent with His will — feels, at the same time, joy and 
gratitude in the depths of his soul, in the knowledge that in 
sending such discij)line * God dealcth with us as with sons, 
chastening us for our profit, that we may be made partakers of 
His holiness.' He is always sensible, too, however severe his 
trial may be, that it is not so severe as it might have been, and 
as it would have been had he received his deserts at God's 
hand. The rod of kindness has been employed, not the 
'scorpions' of stern judgment. When Jenisalem was over- 
thrown, and God's covenant people were scorched with the 
flames of divine anger, they could still say, ' It is of the Lord's 
mercies that we are not consumed.^ When prayer is sent up in 
an hour of sore temptation, there may well be special thanks- 
giving for strength already received, and for the guidance and 
impulse aftbrded by the earnest warnings of the Word, and its 
* exceeding great and precious promises.' And even when, in 
the very saddest sense, a Christian's cry to God is * out of the 
depths,' — even when he has fallen into grievous sin, — still, 
surely, he has great cause of thanksgiving, that he has not been 
allowed to run on in sin, but has been led to the mercy-seat to 
seek forgiveness. 

We have now examined with considerable fulness the 
apostle's double precept. It is very important for us always to 
bear in mind that the contrast he exhibits is between prayer- 
fulness and anxiety^ not between prayerfulness and exertion. 
The sincere and intelligent offerer of prayer is always one who, 
at the same time, thoughtfully and watchfully and vigorously 
exerts himself for the attainment of the end he desires. He 
knows that God blesses labour, not indolence. To say * Give 
us this day our daily bread,' and at the same time to let the 
hands hang down in sloth, — to say ' Lead us not into tempta- 


68 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

tion,' and at the same time to go needlessly into positions 
where former experience has shown us that we are in temp- 
tation, — this is but to insult God. No one ought to be so 
impelled to effort, or so sustained in effort, as he who has com- 
mitted his way unto the Lord, and looks up for direction and 
support. No logical connection is more direct and complete 
than that which the apostle exhibits earlier in the epistle, 
' Work, for it is God which worketh in you.' 

As has been already remarked, the connection between the 
6th and yth verses, shown by the ' A7id^ which introduces the 
7 th, is very close and very beautiful. * Be careful for nothing ; 
but in everything by prayer let your requests be made known 
unto God; and — doing this you will find that — the peace of God^ 
which passeth all understandings shall keep your hearts and minds 
through Christ Jesus. ^ 

Within our hearts by nature, my brethren, there is rioting 
and turbulence, the will warring with the conscience, the fleshly 
lusts stifling the spiritual aspirations, and over all the dark 
shadow of a * fear that hath torment' ' There is no peace, 
saith my God, to the wicked.' Amid all the joys we have, the 
thought, more or less definite, of sin and its deserts will still 
enter, to mar happiness. This thought is ever a skeleton at 
the feast, a bitter in the cup of sweet, a blighting shadow on the 
flowery path. So long as there is dissension in the depths of 
our hearts, — so long as we carry about with us a half-acknow- 
ledged conviction that we must have been made for some end far 
higher and nobler than any we have attained, or are even aim- 
ing at, that ' the wages of sin is death,' and that we have earned 
them, — we cannot by possibility have true, satisfying peace. 

But when faith sees the grace of God in Christ, then comes 
spiritual rest. Jesus * is our /^^^^.' The billows of self-reproach 
and anguish of conscience, even in their hour of wildest com- 
motion, obey His voice, saying, 'Peace, be still.' When our 
iniquities, like embattled hosts, array themselves against our 
peace, faith's firm utterance of the name in which she trusts, 

VKK. 7-] Praycrf Illness a7id the Peace of God. 369 

' The Ix)rd our Righteousness/ can put their terrors all to 
tlight This sweet trancjuillity of spirit is 'the peace of God ^ — 
given by His grace, and essentially akin to the ineffable peace 
of His own nature. 'The fruit of the Spirit* of Him who 
^ rests in His loi'c^ is, most naturally, * love, joy, peace.' 

Those to whom the apostle wrote were already Christians. 
To some extent, therefore, they had experience of spiritual 
peace. But the connection in which he places his sweet 
assurance here, reminded them most helpfully of the nature 
and the needful sustenance of their happiness. * Let your 
hearts have ever a vivid sense of the Fatherly relation to you 
of God in Christ ; and seek close and constant communion 
with Him. Thus your '' peace shall be as a river." To 
" pray without ceasing " is the secret of ability to *' rejoice 
evermore." God "will keep the man in perfect peace whose 
mind is stayed on Him." ' Such is evidently the apostle's 
teaching ; and the experience of all generations of true be- 
lievers, my brethren, has proved its truth. Amid the sorest 
buffetings of the storms of adversity, they who, through the 
energy of faith, are enabled ' in rceryt/iing, by prayer and sup- 
plication, with thanksgiving, to let their requests be made 
known unto God,' find breathed over their spirits a holy calm. 
Childlike trust like that of the shipmaster's little son, in the 
familiar story, who had no fear, * because his father was at the 
helm,' will never fail to bring similar childlike rest. 

This spiritual rest ^ passeth all understanding.^ To the natural 
man it is an utter mystery-. He may read of it in the Bible, 
or hear believers tell of their experience of it, but the words 
convey to his mind no distinct impression. No mode or 
amount of explanation could give a man, deaf from his birth, 
a clear apprehension of the sweetness of Handel's rendering of 
' He shall feed His flock like a shepherd ; ' or a man blind from 
his birth, a clear apprehension of the glory of the sun, and the 
beauty of nature which the sun lights up ever}-\vhere. Similarly 
the unbeliever cannot by possibility see the splendours of the 

2 A 

370 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

Sun of righteousness, or understand why Christians * rejoice 
in that light,' — cannot by possibiHty know the peace which 
Christ's ' Httle flock ' have in hearing the voice of their good 
Shepherd, and following Him. ' The natural man receiveth 
not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness 
unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are 
spiritually discerned/ 

Even to believers themselves, too, this peace * passeth all 
understanding ; ' and this, doubtless, is the thought mainly in 
the apostle's mind here. Its nature is transcendently sublime, 
and its preciousness immeasurable. It flows from ' the love 
which passeth knowledge,' and which * does exceeding abun- 
dantly, above all that we ask or think.' God alone fully under- 
stands the grandeur of His own gift. And this peace, dear 
friends. He offers freely to you and me, by nature ' alienated 
and enemies in our minds by wicked works.' ' Behold, what 
manner of love ! ' 

This wondrous peace, the apostle goes on to tell the Philip- 
pians, ^ shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ^ 
Exactly rendered, the last words are ^ in Christ Jesus,' the 
phrase so dear to the apostle, and so constantly occurring in 
his letters. It is as in vital union to Christ, — it is through 
the wisdom and the energy given by His indwelling Spirit, that 
peace will carry on its blessed work. * As the branch can- 
not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more 
can ye except ye abide in Me, — for without Me ye can do 

* In Him,' then, * the peace of God shall keep our hearts^ 
We have here a charming and most suggestive paradox, — for 
the word rendered ' keep ' means strictly ' to guard ' as a soldier. 
* The peace of God shall, with strength for war, defend you ' 
— * shall garrison your hearts.' Persecution may come to the 
gates of the soul's fortress, hurling against them its most 
appalling terrors ; but all who cast their care on God, knowing 
that He careth for them, will, by the peace He inbreathes, be 

vi:k. /.] Praycrficlncss and the Peace of God. ^'j i 

shielded from tormenting fear and from apostasy. * These 
things I have spoken unto you,' — said the Lord, in ending His 
valedictory words to His dis(:ij)lcs, — * i/t<U in Mc yc mi\^ht have 
peace : \\\ tlic world yc shall have tribulation, hut he of good 
cheer, — I have overcome the world.' These words arc 'Yea 
and Amen in Him.' They that heard the stern denunciations 
of Stephen * were cut to the heart, and gnashed on him with 
their teeth ; hut he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up 
stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus 
standing at the right hand of God.' Even under the twilight 
of the Old Economy, too, how gloriously the power of * the 
peace of God ' to garrison the soul in time of trial was 
evinced ! ' Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto Shadrach, 
Meshach, and Abedncgo, If ye worship not the golden image 
which I have set up, ye shall be cast the same hour into the 
midst of a burning fiery furnace ; and who is that God that 
shall deliver you out of my hands ? Shadrach, Meshach, and 
Abednego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, 
we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, 
our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning 
fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O 
king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we 
will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which 
thou hast set up.' ' In Him ' who was to be the mysterious 
Fourth with them, ' walking in the midst of the fire,' ' the 
peace of God guarded their hearts.' * When He giveth quiet- 
ness,' dear brethren, ' who can make trouble ? ' 

Under trials of every kind the sublime power of this peace 
is shown. Place the believer where you will, — in sudden 
poverty, — on a bed of pain, — by the grave of a dear friend : 
he cannot but feel the affliction painful, perhaps very painful, — 
yet the guardian * peace of God ' will keep him from murmur- 
ing. He knows that, whatsoever passes away, his most precious 
treasure is safe for ever, and that ' all things work together for 
good ' to him. He can say, therefore, * I have all and abound. 

372 Lectures on Philippia^is. [ch. iv. 

None of these things move me. Nay, in them all I am more 
than a conqueror, through Him that loved me.' 

Against the seductions of worldly pleasure, too, where can 
any defence be found like that which heavenly peace supplies? 
Will a man sigh for husks, when he feels that God is giving 
him continually the bread of life? Will he who can say, 
* The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup,' 
seek ' to lay hold on folly ' ? 'By faith Moses refused to be 
called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer 
affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of 
sin for a season, — esteeming the reproach of Christ greater 
riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he had respect unto the 
recompense of the reward.' 

Still further, however, — not the ' hearts ' only, but also the 
^ minds ^ or 'thoughts,' of God's people, are 'kept' by 'joy 
and peace in believing.' The missiles of unbelief, which are 
flying so thick and fast in our day, can make no impression on 
a mind defended by the ' assurance of hope.' The man of 
self-knowledge, who can say, with a full sense of the meaning 
of his declaration, ' Thy words were found, and I did eat them, 
and Thy word is unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart,' 
has here for himself an impregnable argument against all at- 
tempts to discredit the authority of that word, or to mystify or 
fritter away the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a guardianship 
incomparably more secure than that which can be afforded by 
any acquaintance with the works of learned writers on the 
evidences of Christianity, or any skill in dialectic fence, — 
valuable as both of these are, in their o\\ti place ; and it is the 
guardianship, not of folly or inertness of spirit, but, as seen in 
the light of God, of the truest and deepest reason. ' The man 
who has this peace of God, " has the witness in himself" 
which scoffers cannot silence. Tell him that his Bible is not 
true, — that his Saviour has no existence, — that his religion 
is a fable, and his hope a dream ; while you are talking and 
reasoning, he is feeling the power of all these things — experi- 

vi;k. 7.] Praycrfuhicss a)id the Peace of (tod. 

J/ J 

cncing their iruih and reality and blessedness. His religion 
has ceased to be a subject of speculation ; it has become a 
matter of sense. You might as well tell him, in the broad 
lii;ht of day, that there is no sun in the heavens to shine on 
him, — or that he himself, living, breathing, and acting, has no 
existence.* ' 

IJy nature, in many respects, * a reed shaken with the wind,* 
the man in whom dwells * the peace of God ' has mind and 
heart sliicklcd thereby. His thoughts of God are kept true 
and intlucntial ; his affections are ke])t set supremely on Him. 
' The joy of the Lord is the strength ' of His saints. 

* Charles Bradley. 

74 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 



' Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are 
hqnest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, what- 
soever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if 
there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 
9 Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard 
and seen in me, do : and the God of peace shall be with you.' — Phtl. 
iv. 8, 9. 

THE series of practical counsels, into which the line of 
thought in the 3rd chapter naturally led the apostle, 
is here closed by a singularly clear and comprehensive sum- 
mary of Christian duty, and an affectionate appeal to his 
readers to cultivate, thoughtfully and diligently, universal holi- 
ness. ' Having named the name of Christ,' he says, ' give all 
diligence to depart from iniquity, and to add to your faith 
every strong virtue and every tender grace of Christian cha- 
racter. In such a world as this it is hard, under any circum- 
stances, to live a godly life. For you Philippians, brought up 
many of you in heathenism, and all surrounded constantly by 
the abominations of heathenism, — exposed, too, occasionally, 
to the misleading teaching of professed disciples of the Lord 
Jesus, who, while claiming to be peculiarly spiritual, do in fact 
" glory in their shame, and mind earthly things," — it is very hard. 
Strive, then, dear brethren, with intense earnestness, to adorn the 
doctrine of God your Saviour, by lives of blamelessness, and 
patience, and consecration to the advancement of His kingdom.' 
Observe the force of ^ whatsoe'er things' here. We feel that 
the repetition of these words so many times gives them most 

VER. 8.] Suwynary of Duty. 375 

marked emphasis. Wc seem to liear the apostle saying; in 
them, ' Do not content yourselves with the perrci)tion and ac- 
ceptance of the general |)rinciple, that truthfulness and justice 
and i)urity are beautiful anfl needful ; hut bear in mind con- 
stantly, that a life of truthfulness and justice and purity is 
made u|) of daily and hourly acts characterized by these 
virtues. The true economist of his income is the man who 
not merely holds that economy is desirable, but brings this 
conviction to bear on " whatsoever things " involve outlay of 
money. Time is *' redeemed " by those who carry a sense 
of its value into "whatsoever things" claim their attention. 
Similarly, his life is a godly life, who remembers that life is 
made up of days and hours, and the acts performed in days and 
hours, — who is always thoughtful and watchful and prayerful, — 
and from whose heart, purified by grace, there exhales a fra- 
grance of heaven, to pervade " whatsoever things " God's provi- 
dence brings him into connection with. The wise Christian 
will bring his Christianity into all the details of his life. Ob- 
serve also that such a Christian will not " pick and choose " 
among the aspects and elements of godliness ; but " whatsoever 
things" his conscience and his Bible tell him to be accordant 
with the divine will, these all and always he will do, — " esteem- 
ing all God's commandments concerning all things to be right, 
and hating every false way." The full beauty of the Christian 
character, and its full effectiveness as a sweet persuasive influ- 
ence on the world, are not obtained by the exhibition of one 
or two virtues with great completeness and constancy, but by 
the manifest presence and harmonious development of all. 
Exhibit in your character, therefore, all the elements of a full 
ripe Christianity. Lead forth in your life all the graces in 
choral order and festal array,^ that each may take her fitting 

' Something like this image lies in the word \xi^ofnyri<Ta.ri, with which 
(2 Ep. i. 5) Peter introduces a summary of Christian duty, similar to the 
present, and which our translators have rendered, of necessity perhaps, but 
certainly prosaically enough, by 'add.' 

37^ Lectures on Philippia^is. [ch. iv. 

and needful part in the grand anthem which every sanctified 
nature is continually raising to the glory of Him who " washed 
us from our sins in His own blood." ' 

The words which the apostle employs in this summary of 
duty may be taken, and by some expositors are taken, in a 
sense so wide as to comprehend, each of them, universal holi- 
ness. Thus, to cherish and show truthfulness in all things, 
towards God and ourselves and our fellow-men, — to be pure, 
to be just or righteous, to be lovely, in all our relations to 
God and man, — every one of these denotes universal con- 
formity to the divine will. In this case, by the group of terms 
are set forth various aspects of this universal holiness. The 
force of the passage, however, seems to me to be somewhat 
lost by taking this view of the meaning. It appears very much 
more natural and very much more accordant with Paul's usual 
pointedness of practical teaching, to regard the several terms as 
describing distinct excellences — distinct elements of Christian 
character. This paragraph, and that which immediately pre- 
cedes it, are shown by the similarity of their conclusions to 
have had in the apostle's mind a close connection. Now in 
the former he enforces the importance of communion with 
God — of entering by faith into the ' secret of His tabernacle,' 
and there abiding with Him in blessed fellowship. In the 
present passage, then, as I apprehend, presupposing the exist- 
ence and cultivation of such fellowship, he passes on to speak 
of the kind of life in the world which becomes the Christian 
profession. By * whatsoever things are true,' he means, I 
think, simply, * truthfulness in all our dealings of every kind 
with our fellow-men,* — by ' whatsoever things are pure,' * purity 
in everything,' in the sense in which we should commonly 
understand such words, — and similarly of the rest. 

^ Whatsoever things are true^ comes first, — truthfulness in all 
circumstances. Without truthfulness there can be no basis of 
order among moral beings, no possibility of happiness in their 
relations to each other. If God were not absolutely true, we 

vi:r. 8.] Summary of Duty, 377 

could have no reasonable peace or hope in Him ; and, accord- 
ing to the measure in which men imitate the truthfulness of 
God, is the comfort of social life. Men living together con- 
stitute, for many pur])Oses, one body ; and the welfare of this 
body politic is as really dependent on the veracity of the 
various members, as that of the body of each individual is on 
the truthful communications of its organs with each other. 
This is the exact image and argument employed by Paul in 
writing to the Ephcsians. ' Putting away lying,* he says, 
* speak every man truth with his neighbour, /<7r we are members 
one of another' (Eph. iv. 25). This is beautifully expanded 
by an eloquent father of the church : * Let not the eye lie to 
the foot, nor the foot to the eye. If there be a deep pit, and 
its mouth, covered with reeds, present to the eye the appear- 
ance of solid ground, will not the eye use the foot to ascertain 
whether it is hollow or firm ? Will the foot tell a lie, and not 
the very truth ? And what, again, if the eye were to spy a 
serpent or wild beast, would it lie to the foot?'^ ' Whatsoever 
things are true,' then — truth-telling at all times, in all ways, at 
all hazards — this is what God enjoins upon us, — here, as in 
ever}'thing, commanding what accords with perfect wisdom 
and perfect love. It is not needful, at present, to enter into 
the consideration of questions of casuistry regarding the law- 
fulness of deceptions in war, of pla)ful deceptions, and the 
like ; the answer to which is, in some instances, difficult, — in 
very many, ob>'ious to common sense. The grand general 
rule is, that wilful deception, by word or act, directly or by 
equivocation, is forbidden by God. 

With hearts like ours, and in a world like this, it is very 
hard to maintain perfect truthfulness. To falsehood, especially 
in its most common form, oral untruth, temptations are pecu- 
liarly frequent and strong. They present themselves in con- 
nection with all the circumstances of social life, alike in business 
and in recreation. Then the sin is committed so easily and 

^ Chrysostom. 

37^ Lectures on Philippia^is. [ch. iv. 

rapidly that, almost before we are conscious that the thought 
of uttering a falsehood has entered the mind, a lie may have 
been spoken. We obtain very little help, too, for cleaving to 

* whatsoever things are true,' from popular feeling on the sub- 
ject. The heathen neighbours of the Philippian Christians 
scarcely felt that truth was at all morally preferable to false- 
hood ; and even among ourselves, after Christianity has been 
acting upon public feeling for many centuries, — whilst in re- 
spectable society a clear, well-defined lie may be frowned upon, 
yet how sadly the boundaries between truthfulness and false- 
hood have been broken down ! A broad border territory, or 
debateable land, seems to be recognised, of exaggerations and 
misrepresentations such as the world smilingly calls ' white 
lies,' — a territory in which even the Christian may sometimes 
be in danger of losing his way, and straying into the enemy's 
country. The only safe course is to disregard the world's 
maps of morality, and study God's, given in the Bible and the 
conscience. There all lies are marked black. 

' Whatsoever things are honest.^ The word ' honest^ which 
now we commonly use only to describe honourable feeling and 
conduct in relation to property^ meant in the older English 

* honourable ' generally, and this is its meaning wherever it 
occurs in the Bible. The particular original word so translated 
here is used elsewhere in the New Testament only with refer- 
ence to the character which becomes office-bearers in the 
church, and their wives, and members advanced in life ; and in 
this connection is always rendered by 'grave.' ^ In the verse 
before us its force is given by our translators in the margin, 
with much precision, by the word ' venerable.' It designates 
dignified conduct, such conduct as shows self-respect, and wins 
respect from others. 

Frivolity — the aversion of men, by nature, to seriousness of 
thought and feeling — is one of the greatest obstacles to the 
progress of the gospel. The Christian has been enabled by 
* See I Tim. iii. 8, ii ; Titus ii. 2. 

VKR. 8.] Su))n)iary of Jhily. 379 

God's grace to overcome this hindrance. He has learned to 
take the unseen world into his calculations, and to see how 
serious a thin^ it is to spend the life which is the seed-time for 
the harvest ol' eternity. He feels, too, the luftiness of his [)osi- 
tion in Christ, as a child of (iod, a citizen of heaven, liuf 
foonery and silly lightness of demeanour are obviously altogether 
unsuitable to one holding such views, and cherishing .such 
hopes as his ; and he neglects his duty, if he fail to ponder 
and practise * whatsoever things are grave — honourable — digni- 
fied.' He may be, and should be, the very opposite of morose. 
He should be felt to bring habitually into society a bright 
atmosphere, an element of cheerfulness. But the cheerfulness 
should be always * with grace,* spiritually healthful. There can 
be few influences for good stronger than that of the man from 
whose society his friends always depart with the imj)ression 
that his companionship has added much to their happiness, 
whilst, throughout, his speech and conduct have been ' seasoned 
with the salt ' of truth and love. Wit and humour are exceed- 
ingly liable to be abused ; but the employment of them in a 
spirit of purity and kindness, and in moderation, by such as 
have the gift of using them, and the hearty enjoyment of them 
by such as have the gift of appreciating them, are in nowise 
inconsistent with the noblest Christian character, and are often 
seen to give a special charm to such a character. The very fact 
that these are gifts of God, implies that they should be turned 
to account ; and by them many a heavy heart is lightened. 
Christians who lack a sense of humour have no more right to 
think ill of brethren who possess it, and use it, than Chris- 
tians who have no ear for music have to frown upon others 
who enjoy and find themselves sweetened and elevated in 
spirit by a symphony of Beethoven. Whatever wreaths of 
pleasantry, however, may be thrown around a Christian life, 
yet, as a whole, the life should show such chastening and 
sobriety as accord with the conviction that sin and death 
are awful realities, — such calm, quiet dignity as beseems one 


80 Lectures on P Jiilippia7is . [ch. iv. 

who, in Christ, is a ' king and priest unto God,' and who aims 
to become 'meet for the inheritance of the saints in hght.' 

It is very needful that young Christians, in particular, should 
keep this duty in mind. We see all around us thoughtless, 
giddy self-indulgence, which calls itself gaiety. We hear all 
around us ' the laughter of the fool, which is as the crackling 
of thorns under a pot,' ending very soon in cold, and silence, 
and darkness. Frivolous literature, too, meets us everywhere. 
Vast multitudes appear to read little else than what, profess- 
ing to be comic, is frequently, in fact, the dreariest rubbish, 
wholly destitute of the true wit which has power to brighten 
and refresh, and, even where it is really marked by ability, deals 
often with subjects wholly unsuited for such a mode of treat- 
ment — subjects calling really for gravity, and, it may be, for 
sadness. Familiarity with this mountebank style of literature 
has a tendency to foster a foolish, flippant style of thinking and 
speaking, and to lead to a giddy, trifling style of life, even in 
those who have, acting within them, distinct impulses to better 
things. It is therefore very necessary that, as a counteractive 
to all such evil agencies, we keep with liveliness before our 
hearts the great ends for which life was given us, and its tran- 
scendently important relations to the life to come. Thus we 
shall be led growingly to feel how much it befits us to be sober- 
minded, and to follow diligently ' whatsoever things accord with 
Christian dignity and gravity.' 

Further, ' ivhatsoever things are Just.'' By 'yV/j/,' in the moral 
system of Christianity, is meant ' equitable,' — the giving to 
others their due, not merely in the sense in which human law 
may construe obligation, but in the sense, as the apostle has it 
fully elsewhere, of * that which is just and equal' in the view of 
an enlightened conscience. Human laws, however carefully and 
wisely framed, will, if applied with rigour to every case, some- 
times act oppressively. The Christianly just man recognises 
this fact, and tries always to follow the principles of true fair- 
dealing. He does not take advantage of obvious slips of the 

VKR. 8.] Summary of Duty. 381 

pen, of the arcidcntal invalidity of donimcnts or bargains, of 
manifest oversights of any kind. He endeavours, in all matters 
of business, to do to others as he thinks it might not be 
unreasonable for him, if he were in the j)lace of those others, 
to wish that they should do to him. He holds it unjust — a 
substantial violation of the eighth commandment of the deca- 
logue — for a tradesman to sell, as genuine, goods which he 
knows to be adulterated, or to impose on an ignorant purchaser 
a price higher than would otherwise be asked; for an employer 
to exact from a servant work not coming within the terms or 
spirit of the engagement; for a servant to spend time for which 
his employer pays in doing nothing, or in doing work merely 
for himself. Justice, in the broad Christian meaning of the 
word, requires us to act, in all business relations of every kind, 
'not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, 
fearing God, — and, whatsoever we do, to do it heartily, as to 
the Lord and not unto men.' That this is the true Christian 
principle on the subject, no person at all acquainted with 
Scripture will deny. But ah, dear brethren, have we not reason 
to fear that, if this be justice, then in our counting-houses, and 
warehouses, and workshops, and private dwellings, there is to 
be found a vast amount of injustice, perpetrated by men and 
women who have named the name of Christ ? We sadly lack 
a vivid practical conviction that religion has to do with every- 
thing^ and that those eyes which 'are as a flame of fire' * are in 
every place.'* 

The apostle mentions next ' whatsoever things are pure. ^ The 
term in the original would probably, from its ordinary applica- 
tion, suggest to the Philippians precisely what ' pure ' does to 
us, — freedom generally from all that is gross and sensual, 
selfish and mean, and also, more specially, chastity in thought 
and feeling, word and conduct. The enlightened Christian 
shrinks from moral defilement of every kind, whether of heart 
or life. 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.' 
' Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of 

382 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

the Lord.' * Ye were sometimes darkness,' says Paul to the 
Christians of Ephesus, *but now are ye light in the Lord : walk 
as children of light, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful 
works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Fornication and 
all uncleanness, let it not be once named among you, as 
becometh saints ; neither filthiness nor foolish talking nor 
jesting, which are not convenient ; but rather giving of thanks.' 
To professing Christians living among the heathen, by whom 
many forms of uncleanness were regarded as matters of entire 
indifference morally, it was obviously needful that the teachers 
of Christianity should give such warnings with great earnest- 
ness. Ah, my friends, is it not deplorable to observe the 
abundant evidence we have of the needfulness of giving the 
very same warnings with intense earnestness still, to gospel 
hearers even among our own dear Scottish people, heirs of the 
influence of Bible knowledge and Christian institutions for 
many generations ? Dear brethren, let us all lay to heart the 
affectionate pleadings of the Spirit, that, ' as strangers and 
pilgrims, we should abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against 
the soul,' and should be 'holy in all manner of conversation, 
as He which hath called us is holy.' 'The wisdom that is from 
above \% first pure.' 

Looking back now over the points which have come under 
our consideration, you see that substantial elements of a strong 
and noble character have been before us. The Christian as he 
ought to be, and in the measure of his faith is, thoughtfully 
and prayerfully practises imt/t, — so that in every department of 
his life you find freedom from pretence and affectation, and his 
word is as good as his bond. Seriousness and self-respect show 
themselves always in his speech and deportment. His business 
dealings with others are marked by a scrupulous regard to 
equity. And those who take knowledge of his private life can- 
not fail to recognise a firm self-restraint , and superiority of spirit 
to all sensuality and baseness. Such a character as this, con- 
sistently maintained, evinces clearly to thoughtful observers 

VER. 8.] Sumynary of Duty. 383 

the working of the Divine Spirit, and is eminently fitted to 
gain for its possessor general esteem and admiration. Yet, as 
regards influence for good on the world, such a life may be 
cold and statue-like, destitute of the clement which quickens. 
This life-giving power is manifested loi'e. 

In an address to a body of young medical brethren, the late 
eminent physician Sir James Simpson, whose own practice 
abundantly illustrated the teaching I here quote, said, — * Let 
us all cultivate to the utmost the steady manliness of hand and 
head which our profession so urgently demands ; but do not 
despise that gentle womanliness of heart which the sick in 
their depression and pain so often look for, and long for, and 
])rofit by. Be to every man his beloved, as well as his trusted, 
j)hysician.' We all feel that this advice was sound and im- 
jiortant for the young men to whom it was given. And it 
holds, Christian friends, for you and me, whatever our worldly 
occupation may be ; for our profession, as Christians, is that of 
spiritual physicians. Our vocation in Christ, through whom 
alone the disease of sin can be overcome, is, by lip and by life, 
to commend to men the gospel, which is * the power of God 
unto' spiritual healing. To the manly strength of veracity and 
dignity, justice and purity, therefore, we must add the tender 
and winning graces also. The grand element of curative 
energy in the gospel is its proof that ' God is love;' and in 
the measure in which God's children show likeness to their 
Father will be the persuasive and healthful influence of their 
character on men around. Hence the apostle's^next injunction 
in the passage before us is to ponder and practise ' whatsorcer 
things are Icrcely.^ 

By * loi'ely ' is meant ' calculated to gain love ; ' and, prac- 
tically, ' whatsoever things are calculated to gain love ' is an 
expression equivalent to ' whatsoever things show love.' Dr. 
Doddridge, speaking of a little daughter who died young, and 
who was a great favourite with all the friends of the family, 
mentions that, when he once asked her what made everybody 

3 84 Lcctin'es 07i Philippia^is. [ch. iv. 

love her so well, she answered, ' Indeed, papa, I cannot think, 
unless it be because I love everybody,' — ' a sentiment,' he 
truly remarks. ' obvious to the understanding of a child, 5'-et 
not unworthy the reflection of the wisest man.' ^ Veracity, 
dignity, justice, and purity may procure respect ; but love alone 
is likely to win love. 

Loveliness of character is the reflection of His beauty who 
' is love.' ' The wisdom from above is peaceable, gentle, easy 
to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits.' The Christianly 
wise man, then, will be of a forgiving spirit, remembering that 
' God for Christ's sake has forgiven him.' He will endeavour 
to be courteous and kindly in all his dealings, feeling that, 
whatever his lot in life be, God has called him to be a gentle- 
man, in the truest, richest sense of the name. He will enter 
\s\!&v real interest into the feelings of those with whom he is 
brought into contact, ' rejoicing with them that do rejoice, and 
weeping with them that weep.' His kindly heart will reveal 
itself in kindly speech — or, it may be, kindly silence, — in 
tenderness, considerateness, and benevolent activity. Of every 
means \dthin his reach of promoting the temporal and spiritual 
welfare of men he will gladly avail himself, labouring personally 
in this cause, and cordially helping forward every enterprise 
which aims at loosing any of the bands of v^-ickedness, imdoing 
any of the heavy burdens, breaking any of the yokes, under 
which humanity groans. His charity will flow forth unobtru- 
sively, but constantly, by all the channels within his reach. He 
will be ' eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame, and a father to 
the poor. The blessing of him that was ready to perish will 
come upon him, and he will cause the widow's heart to sing 
for joy.' He will strive to cultivate a spirit which *is not easily 

' In a note, Doddridge quotes an interesting parallel from Seneca 
(Ep. 9), — Tibi monstrabo amatorium sine medicanutito^ sine herbis^ sine 
itllius veneficcB carmine: si vis amari, ama, — *I will tell you of a love- 
charm which needs no drugs, nor simples, nor witch's incantation : if you 
7vish to be laved y love. ' 

VER. 8.] Summary of Duty. 385 

provoked, thinketh no evil, beareth all things, believeth all 
things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.' To follow Him 
who Himself * took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses,' and 
*■ went about doing good ; ' who ' breaks not the bruised reed, 
nor quenches the smoking flax;' who 'feeds His flock like a 
shepherd, gathering the lambs with His arm, and carrying 
them in His bosom,' — this is to j)ursue * whatsoever things are 
lovely.' We see here the full flower of Christianity, the crown 
of all the graces. 

' Meek and lowly, 
Pure and holy, 

Chief among the blessed three, — 
Turning sadness 
Into gladness. 
Heaven-bom art thou. Charity.' 

As has been already suggested, an une.xpressed thought in 
the apostle's mind, in urging attention to ' whatsoever things 
are lovely,' was probably this, — ' that thus you may fulfil your 
calling as lights of the world, by commending the gospel of 
Christ to the society among whom His providence has placed 
you.' This thought is yet more obviously present in connec- 
tion with the counsel which follows, to the cultivation of 
' li'hatsorc'er things are of good reports ' See to it that, while 
paying most dihgent attention to those departments of cha- 
racter which the true believer alone, the man who is *•' taught 
of God," at all appreciates, you fail not also to exhibit fully 
those features which the conscience even of the natural man 
unhesitatingly approves, and which he may not unreasonably 
apply, to some extent, as a standard in estimating the value of 
the religion you profess.' 

Such features of character are, in a measure, all that have 
been mentioned by the apostle, especially * loveliness ' of de- 
portment. As here named distinctively, however, we may 
think, perhaps, chiefly of those classes of virtues which are 

universally esteemed the peculiar excellences of the sexes 

2 B 

386 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. iv. 

respectively, and which we sum up under the names of ' man- 
liness ' and ' womanliness.' A Christian woman, in whom all 
that know her recognise modesty, self-restraint, * the ornament 
of a meek and quiet spirit,' is manifestly by these beautiful 
characteristics, which, being * of good report ' — ' of great price ' 
in the eyes of men, as well as ' in the sight of God ' — secure 
the esteem of those around, placed in a position very favour- 
able for winning their hearts to her Saviour. Similar commen- 
dation of the gospel is given by a Christian man conspicuously 
free from moral cowardice, from everything like effeminacy 
in his tone of thought and feeling, and from narrowness of 
sentiment and life, — a man who, whilst plainly having strong 
religious convictions, and maintaining, under all circumstances, 
earnestly and perseveringly, what appears to him to be impor- 
tant truth, has no bigotry, nor disposition to harp always on one 
string; but, with broad liberal sympathies, interests himself, 
not merely in the progress of his own religious denomination, 
nor even merely in the progress of religion generally, but also 
in all that concerns the social improvement of the community, 
and in the progress of literature, arts, and sciences. It contri- 
butes very largely to the influence for good of a servant of 
God, that he be known as a public-spirited citizen, and a large- 
hearted and energetic friend of all that is noble, and elevating, 
and healthful. This, I apprehend, may be what Paul points 
to particularly by ' whatsoever things are of good report.' 

The apostle's purpose in giving this summary of duties, we 
have seen, was to speak of Christian character so far as it 
exhibits itself in the relations of the believer to his fellow- 
men. Having now set this character forth fully, alike in its 
strength and its gracefulness, he proceeds, in another short 
clause, to sum up what he has said, that it might be fixed in 
the memories of his readers : ' if there be any virtue^ and if 
there be any praise,^ — that is, according to an idiom of the 
original language, * whatever virtue there is, and whatever 
praise.' In ^virtue,' the four excellences of character first 

VER. 8.] Summary of Duty, 387 

mentioned arc gathered up, — tnithfulness, self-respect, equity, 
and purity ; by Upraise,' the last two are obviously referred to, 
loveliness of demeanour, and regard to * whatsoever things are 
of good report.' 

The word rendered ^virtue' is one largely employed in the 
writings of the heathen philosophers. It occurs but seldom in 
the New Testament, probably because it had been debased in 
its use by some of the philosophical schools, having had ideas 
attached to it very discordant with tmc goodness, and such as 
strikingly to illustrate how needful it was * that He who created 
man for Himself should tell him what best became him, — what 
he was made for, and what he should aspire to.' ^ This is the 
only passage in Paul's writings where the word is found. 
Possibly, in using it, some such thought as this may have 
been intended — launching the whole appeal with special power 
upon the consciences of persons brought up, as the Philippians 
had been, with knowledge of and interest in the moral teaching 
of the heathen sages, — ' Give diligence that you exhibit to 
observers, fairly and winningly, the character which Christian 
faith is fitted to produce ; remembering that even your pagan 
neighbours have some conception of the nature and excellence 
of virtue^ and that though, unhappily, their views are in many 
respects defective and false, yet they can, in no small measure, 
recognise what is truly estimable and noble. Let them 
always see in you, therefore, what their hearts will acknow- 
ledge as good and beautiful, that thus your Saviour may be 

It is not without significance that the mention of ' things 
lovely,' and * things of good report,' comes last in Paul's list of 
graces, and that, in the summary, ' praise ' follows ' virtue.' 
He would have us, while deeming it important to attend to 
what is amiable and to what men praise, to remember always 
that truth and self-respect, equity and purity, must take pre- 
cedence. T\\Q first question of a good man will be, not * What 

^ Dr. Eadie. 

388 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

will please those around me ? ' but, ' What is right ? ' Chris- 
tian courtesy and amiability must never pandei to falsehood, 
baseness, or frivolity, — however skilfully these may disguise 
themselves in graceful vestures. The world's standards for 
' good report ' are variable. God's is immutable, like Himself. 
To this difference in the standards, the results of adherence 
to them correspond. In the degree in which a man tends 
towards 'loving the praise of men more than the praise of 
God,' he makes approach to linking his destiny with the perish- 
able. * The world passeth away, and the lust thereof.' ' But 
he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.' 

The exact connection of the first clause of the 9th verse is 
somewhat doubtful. It seems to me to belong naturally to 
what precedes, rather than to what follows, thus, — ' Whatso- 
ever things are true,' and the rest, — * if there be any virtue, 
and if there be any praise, think on these things, — which also 
ye learned, and received, and heard and saw in me.' Then 
comes a separate sentence, — ' These things do, and the God of 
peace shall be with you.' The meaning is obviously, in sub- 
stance, the same on either constmction. 

' Observe, too,' the apostle continues, ' that in directing your 
thoughts to the needfulness of cultivating these Christian graces, 
I am by no means introducing to you anything new. The 
subject is one on which, in my visits to you, I often spoke; and 
the moral truths which you thus ^^ learned ^^^ you ^^ received" with 
faith and hearty welcome. There was instruction by example, 
also, as well as precept. I have a full consciousness of much 
spiritual defect, — I have not yet attained, neither am already 
perfect, — yet I may safely point to my life among you, as 
having, on the whole, truthfully exemplified the moral prin- 
ciples I taught you and am now recalling to your minds. What 
you *' heard and sa7C' in me," illustrated, as regarded speech 
and conduct, " the things which are true, and dignified, and 
just, and pure, and lovely, and of good report." ^ I need not 

^ Some remarks on the becomingness of such references by the apostle 

VKK. 9- 1 Suniniary of Duty. 389 

now, therefore, enter into any detailed exposition of duty. 
'I'he sinii)le summary which 1 have given you, will, I know, 

With resi)e( t to the points of cliaracter he has mentioned, 
Paul's injunction is twofold. He charges the Philippians, first, 
to ^ think on these thini^s.^ This is a matter of very great 
moment ; and to neglect of the duty of considerini^ the ele- 
ments of a noble Christian life, rather than to positive indiffer- 
ence to them, is, no doubt, due in large measure the moral 
defectiveness of many professed servants of Christ, and, by 
consequence, their lack of spiritual joy, and the meagreness of 
their influence for good. ' Let not holiness in the general 
merely, but the various features of a holy character, be much 
before your minds. Meditate on them. Think of their rela- 
tions to each other, — of the occasions which peculiarly call for 
exhibition of the various graces, — of the temptations which 
have special force with regard to them respectively.' 

But secondly, with earnestness and perseverance, * do these 
things.^ ' Let the fruit of thought and prayer be seen in lives 
of holy stability, and energy, and beauty. Give all diligence 
thus to adorn the doctrine of God your Saviour. Be it your 
aim to follow the l^oxd fully ; to live so as to evince on all the 
sides of your life that you have put on Christ.' 

* A fid (so) the God of peace shall be luith you.^ This conclu- 
sion seems to show that the paragraph is intended to be parallel 
to that which preceded. There w^e had the injunction, ' Be 
careful for nothing ; but in everything by prayer let your re- 
quests be made known unto God,' — followed by the promise, 
* and the peace of God shall keep your hearts and minds.' Here 
we have the injunction, ' Do whatsoever things are true, and 
dignified, and just, and pure, and lovely, and of good report,' 
— followed by the promise, ' and the God of peace shall be 
with you.' Combining the two, we obtain this teaching : * Vital 

to his own example will be found in the comment on the 1 7th verse of the 
3rd chapter, — ' Brethren, be followers together of me.' 

390 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

religion, in healthy activity, gives, and can alone give, a rest- 
fulness of spirit such as the troubles of outward life are impo- 
tent to disturb. Now the two grand elements of vital religion 
are communion with God as our Father, and the thoughtful 
and diligent cultivation of universal holiness — conformity to the 
will of God in all things. Pray without ceasing, then, — and 
bring forth abundantly the fruit of the Spirit, which is in all 
goodness, and righteousness, and truth, — and the God of peace 
shall be with you, shedding abroad His peace in your souls, 
to keep them, by its glorious guardianship, from all harm.' 

VLR. lo.] Christian CoJitcntmcnt. 391 


* But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me 
hath llourislied again ; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked 
opportunity. II Not that 1 speak in respect of want ; for I have 
Icarnctl, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to he content. 12 I 
know both how to be abased, and 1 know how to abound ; everywhere, 
and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, 
both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through 
Christ which strengtheneth me. ' — PHiL, iv. 10-13. 

THE apostle has now ended the counsels which it was in 
his heart to give to his brethren at Philippi. There 
remains for him only the duty of thanking them for the pecu- 
niary help which they had sent to him through Epaphroditus ; 
and this he does in the closing paragraph of his letter, in lan- 
guage fitted greatly to gratify the givers, and, at the same time, 
to minister to their spiritual wisdom. The paragraph presents 
for consideration several points of interest and importance, 
with regard to Christian giving, and Christian receiving, and 
Christian feeling about worldly circumstances generally. 

In various parts of his writings, Paul lays it down very dis- 
tinctly as a law of Christ, — a law obviously equitable, and 
in its operation spiritually healthful to both parties, — that 
ministers should be supported by those for whose religious in- 
struction and welfare they care. ' The Lord hath ordained,* 
he says, ' that they which preach the gospel should live of the 
gospel' (i Cor. ix. 14). It is evident, too, from allusions in 
the chapter from which these words are quoted, that most of 
the apostles and primitive teachers were in fact maintained by 

392 Lectures on Philippimts. [ch. iv. 

the free-will offerings of the churches. Paul himself, however, 
in consequence of the bitter opposition and misrepresentation 
to which he was subjected by teachers who wished to bring the 
Christians under the yoke of Jewish ordinances, preferred, in 
many places, to support himself by working at his trade of 
tent-making, that thus he might ' cut off occasion from them 
which desired occasion ' to accuse him of preaching the gospel 
for the sake of gain (2 Cor. xi. 12). But his faith in the affec- 
tion and spiritual intelligence of the church at Philippi was 
such that, both now, and also, as he mentions in the i6th verse, 
at an earlier time, he unhesitatingly accepted a pecuniary gift 
from them. Manifestly no circumstances could be more suit- 
able for making such a gift than when he was imprisoned, and 
thus very probably prevented, in a great measure at least, from 
earning a livelihood by the labour of his hands. 

Observe the quiet dignity with which, at the outset of his 
acknowledgment of their contribution, Paul lifts this money 
matter up into a sphere where all things become sublime. The 
pleasure he felt in receiving their gift was * in the Lord^ — 
Christian joy. It was the Lord Jesus who had put it into their 
hearts to do this thing ; and it was as an evidence of loyalty 
to Him, and affection, for His sake, to His minister, that the 
apostle welcomed the money. In the thoughtful kindness to 
him, the servant, which showed that the friends he loved so 
dearly cherished gratitude and devotion to his Master, it was 
most reasonable that he should ' rejoice greatly.^ 

You will mark, too, the spirit of the trice gentleman breathing 
through his language here, as always. I do not know that 
anything more clearly brings out whether a man really has 
this spirit, than the mode in which he receives kindness. 
How beautiful the mode is here ! How perfectly free alike 
from boorish bluntness in the assertion of independence, 
and from adulation, or over-wrought expression of gratitude ! 
Having delicately kept his acknowledgments on this subject 
for the close of the Epistle, because it was not seemly that, in 

VKR. lo.] Christian Contentment. 393 

the communications of those whom divine grace had united by 
the tender tie of spiritual father and children, matters of this 
kind should hold other than an altogether subordinate place, — 
he begins his reference to it by stating that he felt great satis- 
faction in the Lord, ' that ncnu at the last their care of him had 
flourished ai^ain' His thought, you observe, blossoms into 
jioetry. 1 n former years the apostle's heart had been gladdened, 
ever and anon, by kind messages and gifts from his friends at 
Philippi. For a considerable time, however, there had been 
none ; but now, as after a long winter, the tree of their affec- 
tion had 'flourished agaiti^ putting forth leaf, and flower, and 
fruit. The * iioiu at the last ' tells us touchingly of the weary 
longings he had felt for intercourse with his Philippian friends. 
Amid the sufferings of his imprisonment, and the troubles 
caused him in Rome by false brethren, he had often thought 
of the sweet simplicity of Christian feeling which had always 
prevailed among the members of the Philippian church, and 
the comfort he had always found in intercourse with them ; and 
had yearned strongly for a renewal of this fellowship. * Now at 
the last ' the renewal had come, in a way fitted in every respect 
greatly to refresh him. In writing this ' now at the last ' there 
was no thought further from his mind than that of reproach, — 
no thought present except the desire to tell his friends how 
much his heart had gone forth to them during the time when 
circumstances had prevented intercourse. The figure he has 
employed, too, is one fitted, perhaps, to obviate any idea that 
he intended reproach ; for, though the tree be bare during 
winter, yet then, no less really than in the summer, it has Hfe. 
But no sooner had the words been written, than the apostle 
saw that they were open to misconstruction ; and he at once 
throws in a clause guarding against this, — ' a matter wherein ye 
were careful also in the intermediate time, but ye lacked oppor- 
tunity," — the reference in these last words being probably to 
the difficulty of obtaining a suitable messenger. Nothing 
could well gratify the Philippians more than such a statement 

394 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. iv. 

as this, showing the apostle's full confidence in the constancy 
of their love. 

In the 14th and following verses, Paul continues those grate- 
ful acknowledgments of the kindness of his friends begun by 
him in the loth, which we have just examined. The three 
verses intervening, which will occupy our attention during the 
remainder of this lecture, constitute a digression. It occurred 
to him, as it would seem, that, from the warmth of his state- 
ment, ' I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that your care of me 
hath flourished again,' some might mistakenly infer that he 
had been restless under the privations he suffered, and that 
the gift brought by Epaphroditus had suddenly aroused him 
from dejection to cheerfulness. Immediately, therefore, he 
guards against this impression, seeing that such a state of 
feeling would have been dishonouring to religion. In opposi- 
tion to this thought, he bears testimony to the power of divine 
grace, in his experience, to give equability and restfulness of 
spirit amid all vicissitudes and trials of life. This digression 
is a passage of much interest and importance, exhibiting in a 
very graphic way a prominent feature of the apostle's character, 
and therein vividly illustrating the sustaining and beautifying 
power of the Divine Spirit. 'I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, 
that your care of me hath flourished again. Not^ however, 
that I speak in respect of want ; for I have learned^ in what- 
soever state I am, therewith to be content.^ The apostle liad 
come to know, like David, that ' there is no want to them that 
fear the Lord.' 

The word ' content ' means originally, and indeed is only 
another form of, * contained.' We have in it, therefore, as no 
doubt in all words, if we fully understood them, not a cold 
symbol merely, but a lively pictorial illustration of the meaning. 
The man is ' content,' who is able to feel himself ' contained ' 
by his lot, — who in the position which God has assigned him 
can find room, so that he has rest and satisfaction, — who within 
his circumstances at the time can always discern a home of 

VERS. II, 12.] Christiaji Cojitaiimcnt. 395 

reasonable comfort, and therefore, however his desires may at 
times healthfully enough roam beyond its bounds, yet never 
has them j)ainfully so exercised. ICvery person of the slightest 
thoughtfulness is sensible of the dignity and hai)piness con- 
nected with such a state of mind as this. It is evident, too, 
that all around the contented man derive advantage from his 
contentment, because, so far as he is concerned, they are 
secure from various sources of trouble. To discontent alone 
are due avarice and ambition and envy, and the innumerable 
sins and crimes which spring from these. A world of universal 
contentment would be Paradise restored. 

To every moderately attentive and candid observer of human 
life, one strong argument for the cultivation of contentment 
presents itself clearly and constantly, in the fact that a law of 
compensation acts so extensively in connection with men's lot. 
The poor man lacks, in some measure, the means of ministering 
to outward comfort and refinement which the rich man has ; 
but at the same time he is free from many anxieties, many dis- 
tractions and fears, which wealth generally brings with it. The 
childless wife may remember that parents, amid their peculiar 
and exquisite joys, have also innumerable peculiar difficulties 
and burdens ; and, as she thinks of her neighbour whose heart 
a prodigal son has ' pierced through with many sorrows,' she 
may well * possess her soul in patience.' Power, with all its 
attractions, has endless troubles ; and no doubt the sentiment 
of ver}' many kings and rulers was expressed by the pope who 
left this epitaph for himself : * Here lies Adrian the Sixth, who 
thought nothing in his life to have befallen him more unhappy 
than that he had to rule.' Advancement in fame and influence 
involves special exposure to envy and calumny ; and thus, ob- 
serving how ' that fierce light which beats upon ' high estate, in 
any department of life, ' blackens every blot,' and how assi- 
duously and malevolently the character of eminent men, who, 
it may be, endeavour faithfully to ' wear the white flower of a 
blameless life,' is misrepresented, the lowly may be grateful 

39^ Lectures on Philippians. [cH. iv. 

for their obscurity. It is ver>' plain that no ' inheritance ' of 
earthly good is ' undefiled,' any more than it is ' incorruptible.' 
Obvious, however, as are the dignity and manifold advan- 
tages of a contented spirit, and plain as is the teaching of the 
facts which have just been adverted to, still the experience of 
all ages has shown that, without the influence of true religion, 
men cannot attain to such a spirit, with anything like fulness 
and constancy. Thought and observation, while helpful as 
handmaids of religion, are impotent standing alone. Nature 
persistently defines ' Enough ' to mean ' Something more than 
we have.' Heathen philosophers could see truth on the sub- 
ject so clearly as to make contentment their ideal. Heathen 
poets could thus sing, — 

* Tossed on a sea of troubles, O my soul, 

Thyself do thou control ; 
And to the weakness of advancing foes 

A stubborn heart oppose ; 
Undaunted 'mid the hostile might 
Of squadrons burning for the fight. 

* Thine be no boasting, when the victor's crown 

Wins thee deserved renown ; 
Thine no dejected sorrow, when defeat 

Would urge a base retreat. 
Rejoice in joyous things, — nor overmuch 

Let grief thy bosom touch 
Midst evil ; and still bear in mind 
How changeful are the ways of human kind. ' ^ 

But self-seeking had its own way against theory. Envy and 
ambition proved the feebleness of abstract principles, when 
brought into contention with human depravity. In the re- 
ligion of the Bible alone, which gives the soul the knowledge 
of the living God as an object of love and confidence, is found 
a motive power strong enough to enable a man to struggle 
successfully with his natural tendencies to discontent. Nothing 
else can inbreathe a spirit of true rest. 

' Archilochus. The translation is from Lord Neaves's Greek Anthology. 

VLRs. 1 1, I 2. 1 Christian Contentment. 397 

Christian contentment is that feehn^ of repose of heart 
whicli results from an intelli^'cnt recognition of divine provi- 
dence, as the care of an infinitely kind and wise and holy 
Heing, exerted constantly in regard to all things, great and 
small, and absolutely controlling everything, so as to make it 
subservient to His ends. When a man sincerely believes in 
such providence, and this as the providence of a Juiihcr, he 
cannot but be content with whatever is his lot, — because God 
has assigned it to him, and what seems good to God must 
certainly be best. 

Men who are in a torpor, through indolence, sometimes 
fancy themselves contented. With this feeling Christian con- 
tentment has nothing in common. It naturally stands associ- 
ated with energy, with vigorous and gladsome activity ; for the 
very same faith in providence which inspires the believer with 
content, gives him also a stimulus to exertion. He believes 
that the Lord his God will bless him in the works of his hand, 
so far as such success would bring him real good. 

Christian contentment is essentially distinct, too, from mere 
tiatural resolution — such as is occasionally found in men, in 
considerable strength — not to be bent or broken by circum- 
stances. Of this the sustenance is pride. When the man of 
such mere natural resolution asserts his ability to retire within 
himself, and in his own mind find comfort and quiet, however 
wintrily stonns may rage without, — he glorifies himself. The 
believer also retires within himself; but it is because God has 
come to dwell in his heart, and thus made it a holy place. 
Fellowship with that Divine Friend, whom he knows to be, by 
every variety of providential dealing, working out towards him 
the purposes of Fatherly love, gives him rest of spirit Thus 
his contentment evidently and eminently glorifies God. 

The reasonableness and dutifulness of contentment with any 
lot in life will become ever clearer to the Christian, if he allow 
his mind to rest on the various aspects of the subject, as 
lighted up by Scripture. 

39^ Lectures on Philippians, [ch. iv. 

He will feel increasingly that the least he enjoys is immeasur- 
ably more than in justice he could expect, and that the worst he 
can here suffer is immeasurably less than he deserves. ' It is of 
the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed.' ' Wherefore 
doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his 
sins ? ' If we can habituate ourselves to look at our circum- 
stances in their relation to our deserts, rather than to our 
likings, we shall see, on every side, abundant grounds for 
thankfulness and praise. Alleviations will be found in con- 
nection with the heaviest trouble ; some brightness even where 
at first all seemed dark. The chastisement is with * whips,' 
when it might have been with ' scorpions.' We have had but 
to * run with the footmen,* instead of having to ' contend with 
horses.' The clouds do not always ' return after the rain.' 

Again, the conviction will become always more impressive, 
that all God^s dealings with us in providence are meant to serve 
as a discipline for the soul. Said Moses to Israel, ' Remember 
all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years 
in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee ; and He 
humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with 
manna, that He might make thee know that man doth not live 
by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the 
mouth of the Lord doth man live.' For a moral end, you 
observe — for training to spiritual wisdom — were intended both 
the adversity and the prosperity, the ' suffering to hunger ' and 
the ' feeding with manna.' In nothing is growth towards the 

* measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ ' more marked, 
than in increase of practical apprehension of the truth that to 
moral ends divine providence always works, with a variety 
of treatment most graciously adapted to the requirements of 
varied temperaments and varied intelligence. According to 
an image employed by Isaiah, the Divine Husbandman deals 
with us as the Eastern farmer with different kinds of grain : 
the harder and coarser kinds he bruises with the iron wheel, 

* but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin 

VERS. II, 12.] Christian Contenlmait. 399 

with a rod' (Isa. xxviii. 27). In the degree in which he 
understands all this, a believer is content. He has come to 
know and feel that the welfare of the soul is infinitely more 
important than anything merely temporal can be ; and there- 
fore he will accept thankfully the j)Osition in life which God 
has assigned him, as the best for his spiritual health at the 
time. He has prayed, * Search me, O Ood, and know my 
heart ; try me, and know my thoughts ; cleanse me from secret 
faults;' and he believes God's providential actings towards 
him to be one mode in which He is answering the prayer. 
When trouble of any kind comes upon him, therefore, he will, 
on the one hand, * not despise the chastening of the Lord,' but 
gravely consider it, as being a minister of God for his soul's 
good ; and, on the other hand, he will not ' faint when thus 
rebuked of Him,' but cast himself, with a child's trust, on His 
sustaining and comforting grace. 

It is very important, — and this is one of the highest and most 
difficult attainments in Christian wisdom, — that there should be 
a realizing operative sense of the inilimited range of the dis- 
cipline of providence. We are exceedingly prone, even while 
recognising it, and giving ourselves up to the teaching in 
prominent occurrences in our lives, to forget that the training 
is as really given in all that befalls us. John Ne\vton says, 
* Many Christians who bear the loss of a child, or the destruc- 
tion of all their property, with the most heroic Christian forti- 
tude, are entirely vanquished by the breaking of a dish, or the 
blunders of a servant ; and show so unchristian a spirit, that we 
cannot but wonder at them.' The observation of us all tells 
that this \vitness is true. Now such sinful outbreaks of dis- 
content are plainly due to a forgetfulness that in what we 
reckon the little events of life, as well as in the great, divine 
providence is present — present to teach, ' to humble us, and 
to prove us, and to know what is in our hearts, whether we 
will keep God's commandments, or no.' By far the larger 
proportion of the history of all men is made up of little occur- 

400 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

rences ; and the sum of the influence of these little things on 
our character is a great sum. Let us believe, then, that He 
by whom ' the hairs of our heads are all numbered,' is, by the 
little sorrows and the little joys of life, offering us instruction, 
as really as by the more notable. The truth is, that nothing is 
little which has moral bearings. 

The thought, too, is fitted to be a most influential one with 
the child of God, that, however dreary to the carnal eye his lot 
here may be^ he will very soon exchange it for heaven. Earth is 
not our home. We are but journeying homewards ; and — as 
wayfaring men before whose hearts already rises the vision of 
their own happy fireside, and all the dear ones around it, may 
well bear easily the discomforts of the resting-places into which 
they turn to tarry for a night on the way — so is it most reason- 
able that the Christian should be content with the entertain- 
ment he receives here below, since he expects to reach heaven 
so speedily. When our hearts are depressed, then, by diffi- 
culties and vexations, let us pray that God would give us ears 
to hear the voice of true wisdom, saying — 

* Be comforted, 
And, like a cheerful traveller, take the road, 
Singing beside the hedge. What if the bread 
Be bitter in thine inn, and thou unshod 
To meet the flints ? At least it may be said, 
*' Because the way is shorty I thank thee, God." ' ^ 

This thought, of the brevity of this earthly life, and the little- 
ness of even its greatest possible distresses, as seen in the 
light which shines from heaven, is probably, in most cases, 
the most efficient practical argument for Christian content- 
ment. Without it, the others would be featherless and untipped 
arrows; whilst in our consideration of it, the energy of the 
others seems to gather around it. We feel the case to be so ; 
and the first Christians felt it so. The Hebrew believers * took 
joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in themselves 

* Mrs. Browning. 

VEK. 12.] CJiristian Contentment. 401 

that they had in heaven a better and an enduring substance.' 
The Apostle Paul ' fainted not, while he looked not at the 
things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen ; 
for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things 
which are not seen are eternal ;' and * reckoned that the 
sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared 
with the glory which shall be revealed in us.' Is it wonderful 
that one who could, with vivid realization, so 'reckon,' should 
liave the contentment with his earthly lot of which we read in 
the passage now under consideration ? Could any state of 
feeling be more reasonable ? 

Whilst beginning, as his actual circumstances and the con- 
nection of his remarks naturally suggested, with a reference to 
his contentment under poverty and manifold sufferings, the 
apostle goes on to magnify the grace of his Saviour by telling 
his friends that he found himself enabled to bear prosperity 
also with equability of spirit. He was led so fully and vividly 
to apprehend the truth that God alone can satisfy man's heart 
— God's favour, and fellowship, and likeness, — and that God 
can satisfy the heart perfectly, that nothing external — neither 
poverty nor riches, humiliation nor honour, trouble nor rest — 
could seriously destroy the balance of his feelings. Now and 
again, in his course as a minister of Christ, he had been in 
positions of considerable outward comfort, surrounded by kind 
and helpful friends, and free from physical privations. He 
had found, in such cases, that he was able to enjoy the pro- 
sperity without undue delight in it ; as well as now to endure 
the hardships of his imprisonment without great depression of 
spirits. '/ know both how to be abased, and I kno^v how to 
aboiPid : rcerywhere, and in all things^ I am mstructed both to 
be full and to be hungry, both to aboimd and to suffer need.' 

We naturally think, all of us, that w^e could bear wealth 
better than poverty. Observation and Scripture both tell us 
the contrary. It needs a very steady hand satisfactorily to 
carry a full cup. No doubt the cares of this world, to which 

2 c 

402 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

the poor are exposed, are apt to 'choke' the good seed of 
the word, and make it unfruitful ; and in extreme poverty, 
where a father or mother hears children crying for bread, and 
has none to give them, it must be very hard to retain entire 
restfulness of heart in the divine love. But among persons to 
some extent influenced by religion, we should find, I appre- 
hend, a much greater proportion of the poor uninjured spiritu- 
ally by their poverty, than of the rich uninjured by their riches. 
We have in Scripture a very much larger number of ' charges to 
them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, 
nor trust in uncertain riches,' than we have of warnings to the 
poor regarding the hazards connected with their condition. 
As regards spiritual life, the tendency of outward prosperity is 
to enervate, to make a man flaccid and pithless, easily over- 
come by temptations to self-indulgence, to pride and vain- 
glory, and, curiously enough, to discontent and greed. It is 
frequently ' when riches increase,' that men are most liable to 
'set their heart upon them.' Often, in his heart, as Zophar 
the Naamathite remarked long ago, a rich man, * in the fulness 
of his sufficiency, is in straits.' The peevishness and unman- 
Kness of Ahab, the king of Israel, who ' laid him down upon 
his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread,' 
because Naboth declined to sell him his vineyard; and of 
Haman, the favourite of the king of Persia, whom all his suc- 
cess ' availed nothing, so long as Mordecai the Jew bowed 
nat, nor did him reverence,' — this not merely has innumerable 
counterparts in ungodly men who prosper in the world, but 
has too much also that resembles it, there is ground to fear, 
even in the prosperous who know the Lord. On the whole, it 
seems to be a rarer and grander attainment, to ' know how to 
abound,' even than to 'know how to suff"er need.' 

The apostle tells us very distinctly that, to obtain either 
knowledge, we must ' kam.^ God has revealed to us truth 
which, when understood and believed, can keep the soul 
equable in all worldly circumstances — calm and restful in Him. 

vi:r. 13.] Christian Cotitnitmcnt, 403 

He gives us, in His providence, fields for j)roving and improv- 
ing our spiritual strength. He offers to us, freely and abun- 
dantly, the guiding and sustaining influences of His Spirit. 
We, on our part, having thus the privilege of divine teaching, 
are called on, if we would make progress, to set ourselves to 
' learn,' by being thoughtful, and vigilant, and prayerful. We 
must be diligent students, if we are to succeed ; for certainly 
no form of Christian excellence is harder of attainment than 
such equipoise of spirit as is here described by Paul. The 
difficulty and sublimity of this knowledge are perhaps suggested 
by the original word rendered in our translation * instructed^ 
for, in its strict use, it was applied to initiation into the famous 
heathen mysteries, — those of Eleusis, and the like. The man 
who knows * both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound 
and to suffer need,' takes his place not in the outer ranks, but 
among the most proficient students of religion. He has 
learned the secret of a happy life. He has been * initiated ' 
into the ' mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.' 

In the 13th verse, the apostle's statement of the moral power 
possessed by him becomes yet bolder. It takes a form, how- 
ever, which prevents the possibility of any accusation of vain- 
glor}', by ascribing all the glory to the Redeemer. No man 
ever had a lowlier opinion of himself than Paul had. His 
whole history and character prove that he felt in his inmost 
soul what he said, when he spoke of himself as ' not meet to be 
called an apostle,' as ' less than the least of all saints,' as * the 
chief of sinners.' Yet at times, in his letters to the churches, 
— whose own experience enabled them to confirm this class of 
statements to the letter, however much, one can hardly but 
think, they sometimes lovingly doubted the other, — he is led 
to speak of his ministerial efiiciency, and of the consistency of 
his Christian character ; — with what exquisite humility always, 
and wondering thankfulness ! His crown was ever cast down 
before the throne of his Saviour. * I laboured more abundantly 
than they all, — yet not I, but the grace of God which was with 

404 Lect2t7^es on Philippians. [cii. iv. 

me.' *Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience 
that in simplicity and godly sincerity we have had our conver- 
sation in the world, — by the grace of God.' So here, ' I am 
instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound 
and to suffer need. I can do all things^ — through Christ which 
strengtheneth me J 

A more exact rendering of the last words is ' in Christ which 
strengtheneth me,^ or rather, — according to a reading which is 
probably the true one, being found in the oldest manuscripts, — 
* in Z^/w which strengtheneth me.' This latter mode of ex- 
pression pleasantly illustrates the familiarity to the mind of 
Paul himself and, as he doubted not, to that of his readers, of 
the thought that the spring of their spiritual energy was in their 
Lord. The apostle puts the truth explicitly elsewhere, ' I 
thank Christ Jesus, our Lord, who hath enabled me,' or 
' strengthened me,' — in the original, the same word as here 
(i Tim. i. 12). 

Paul's language here, you observe, implies an acknowledg- 
ment of personal weakness. This we have very fully in other 
places. * I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no 
good thing, — for to will is present with me, but how to per- 
form that which is good I find not. O wretched man that I 
am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? / 
thank God through Jesics Christ our Lord.' Naturally powerless 
and dead, the believer finds in Him ' the Resurrection and the 
Life.' By Christ he is taught truth which presents to him the 
strongest motives to holy devotedness ; and the example of 
Christ, as his Forerunner, is felt by him to be most stimulating. 
But this is not all, nor most. He is, through the grace of 
God, so vitally united to Christ by his faith, that Christ's life 
is revealed in his. All our power for true service of God, my 
brethren, is * in Christ, who strengtheneth us.' ' He that is 
joined unto the Lord is one spirit.' *We live ; yet not we, but 
Christ liveth in us.' Thus Paul was not merely * content ' to 
bear imprisonment and poverty, but would * most gladly glory 

w.n. 13.1 Christian Contentment, 405 

in his infirmities, that the power of Christ might rest upon him ; 
for, when he was weak, then was he strong' through His strength 
who had saiil to liim, * My grace is sufficient for thee; for My 
strength is made perfect in weakness.' In the circumstances 
where man most feels his own impotence, the glory of the 
Saviour, who lives in I lis people, and whose strength reveals 
itself in them, is most signally attested ; and, therefore, in 
being placed in such circumstances the apostle would even 

* In Christ,' the believer has — or may have, if he will rise to 
the apprehension and acceptance of it — what may be called a 
moral omnipotence. There is no duty so arduous, that 'in 
Him,' the Almighty and All-wise, it cannot be discharged, — no 
trial so severe, that ' in Him ' it cannot be undergone with for- 
titude and spiritual advantage. '' I can do all things in Him 
which strengtheneth me.' Would that we understood this more, 
— that we proved its truth for ourselves, — that in our Christian 
life we looked away more entirely from mere earthly helps, 
and practically showed belief that ' Christ Jesus is made of 
God to us,' not ' wisdom and righteousness ' only, but also 
* sanctification ' ! 

4o6 Lectures on Philip pia^is. [ch. iv. 


* Notwithstanding, ye have well done that ye did communicate with my 
affliction. 15 Now ye Philippians know also that in the beginning of 
the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communi- 
cated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only ; 16 
For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 
17 Not because I desire a gift ; but I desire fruit that may abound to 
your account. 18 But I have all, and abound ; I am full, having re- 
ceived of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour 
of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. 19 But 
my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory 
by Christ Jesus. 20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for 
ever and ever. Amen. 21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The 
brethren which are with me greet you. 22 All the saints salute you, 
chiefly they that are of Csesar's household. 23 The grace of our Lord 
Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.' — Phil. iv. 14-23. 

THROUGHOUT the larger part of this closing passage 
of the Epistle, Paul continues his grateful acknowledg- 
ments of the thoughtful kindness of his friends at Philippi. 
This leads into a doxology to the gracious ' God and Father ' 
from whom he and they alike received all their support, and all 
their stimulus to holy love. Then come some brief salutations, 
and the usual final benediction. 

In examining the loth verse we had occasion to admire the 
beauty with which the spirit of the Christian gentleman revealed 
itself there in the apostle's language, — an exquisite freedom 
from fawning or flattery on the one hand, and from everything 
like morose or boorish self-assertion on the other. Through- 
out the passage before us now, every attentive reader is struck 

VKR. 14-] CJiristia7i Liberality ajid its Rcivard. 407 

with the same delicate courtesy. You observe, at the very 
outset, the j)Ieasing way in which, from the digression on con- 
tentment that has occupied from the nth to the 13th verse, 

he returns at the i4tli to the main course of remark : ^ Noi- 
7uithstandini^, thougli I have thus told you of the power which 
my gracious Lord has given me to cherish eciuability of spirit 
in any lot of life, do not allow yourselves for a moment to think 
that your gift is of little account to me, or other than a source 
of very great satisfaction. Ye have well done^ in having become 
partakers (or, " in having entered into fellowship ") in my afflic- 
tiony — for this last is the precise force of the words rendered 
in our version ^ that ye did communicate 7vith my affliction,^ 
This * participation in the affliction ' was the element in the 
contribution of the Philippians which made it pleasant to 
Paul. They were known by him to have such sincere, earnest, 
loving sympathy — in the strictest sense of that word, ' feeling 
along with him ' — that, in their prayers, and kind words, and 
kind deeds, they seemed to him to be actually putting their 
own shoulders under his burden of trouble, and thus easing 
him. No higher praise could be bestowed upon their gift, no 
loftier expression of gratitude employed, than such a testimony 
as this from Christ's illustrious servant. Let us remember, 
brethren, that in every form of effort to do good — whether by 
giving, or teaching, or speaking words of comfort to sorrowing 
hearts, or in any other way — we shall be most successful, when 
the objects of our care feel that there is a real entering of 
thought and love into their circumstances, and, so far as it is 
possible, a ' feeling with them ' of their difficulties and distresses. 
To our own souls, too, the benefit of such efforts will generally 
be proportioned to the degree in which there has been in our 
hearts such a sincere ' fellowship ' in others' sufiterings. 

The expression employed in the loth verse, 'Your care of 
me hath flourished again^ implied a pleasant remembrance 
of similar kindnesses done to the apostle by the church of 
Philippi in former days. To these, in the 15th and i6th 

4o8 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. iv. 

verses, he makes more particular reference, — appealing to the 
knowledge which the Philippians themselves had of the cir- 
cumstances, and, as is obviously suggested, might thus have, 
also, of his peculiar satisfaction in the renewal of such sweet 
communications of Christian love from spiritual children whose 
early proofs of thoughtful and self-sacrificing affection had 
greatly cheered him. His mind goes back ten or eleven years 
to ' tJu beginning of the gospel^ — so far, that is to say, as re- 
garded Philippi and Europe generally, — the early days of their 
Christian era. He remembered how, when he left Macedonia, 
pecuniary aid had come to him from Philippi, and from 
Philippi alone. 

The words, ' when I departed from Macedonia,^ lead us to sup- 
pose that the apostle had in his mind some contribution sent 
to him just before he left Berea, or when he was on his way to 
Athens,^ — a time when, not improbably, he was somewhat low- 
spirited, from having seen the virulent hostility to the religion 
of Jesus shown at Thessalonica and Berea by his brethren after 
the flesh, and when, consequently, the considerate Christian 
kindness of his friends at Philippi would be felt by him as 
peculiarly soothing and strengthening. But, while he writes, 
yet earlier proofs of their love rush in upon his memory, and 
occupy the foreground, so that the ''For'' of the i6th verse, 
instead of introducing, as we expect, a specific notice of the 
gift sent * when he departed from Macedonia,' brings in an 
account of help ministered while he was still in the midst of 
his labours in that region. ' Even in Thessalonica ' — whilst it 
might not unreasonably have been anticipated that the Philip- 
pian believers would still feel confused and dispirited, in con- 
sequence of the persecution which had driven Paul from their 
town — they had * sent once and again ttnto his necessity* 

The evidence given in this little retrospect, of the distinct- 
ness and the satisfaction with which the apostle recalled their 
efforts to help him in former days, could not but be most 

1 Acts xvii. 10-15. 

VER. 15.] CJu'istian Liberality ayid its Rauard. 409 

gratifying to the good I'liilippians. With rcsjjcct to the sufll- 
cicncy of tlicir present gift, too, his assurances in the 18th 
verse are most ample and satisfactory : * Having:; received of 
Epaphnniitus the thiw^s ivhich were sent from yoUy J have all that 
I nccil ; indeed, I abound, — I am full.' 

In the i5tli verse, you will observe, the apostle states that, 
at the time when he departed from Macedonia, no church 
except that of Philippi ' communicated with him,' or ' entered 
into fellowshi[) with him' ^ as coNcerning givini^ and receivini;^' — 
more exactly, perhaps, * as regarded an account of giving and 
receiving.' In these words he shows us the light in which such 
a transaction as he is speaking of appeared to him, and in 
which, as he knew, it appeared also to the Philippians. While 
their gifts were a true and beautiful expression of love to 
Christ and Christ's servant, justice had its voice in the matter 
also. What in legal phraseology is called a * deed of gift ' 
might be, in one aspect, the image from the ordinary life of 
the world suitable to illustrate the conduct of the apostle's 
warm-hearted spiritual children ; in another, an ' account of 
giving a?id receiving^ — a ledger, with credit and debit columns 
or pages — was not unsuitable. Paul had ' sown unto them 
spiritual things, — was it a great thing if he should reap their 
carnal things ? ' In ordinary circumstances, if a minister of 
Christ is at all satisfactorily to edify his people, and exercise 
pastoral care over them, he must not attempt to conjoin with 
his ministerial labours worldly means of earning a livelihood. 
The church, therefore, to whose interests he gives his energies, 
is clearly bound in justice to provide for his support. ' Do ye 
not know,' Paul asks the Corinthians, ' that they which minister 
about holy things, live of the things of the temple ; and they 
which wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar ? Even so 
hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel 
should live of the gospel.' The Philippians understood all 
this ; and felt that in giving, according to their ability, for the 
temporal comfort of him who had brought to them the know- 

41 o Lectures on Pkilippians. [ch. iv. 

ledge of ' the unsearchable riches of Christ,' and who had in 
every way devoted himself so heartily to the promotion of 
their spiritual interests, they were displaying justice as w^ell as 

It is of the very highest importance, however, for a Christian 
minister, that he exhibit no ground for any suspicion, on the 
part of his people, that he labours among them merely or 
mainly for temporal reward, — but distinct proof that ' he seeks 
not theirs, but them.' In so far as a man is believed to have 
had himself ' put into one of the priest's offices, that he may 
eat a piece of bread,' his influence for spiritual good is de- 
stroyed. 'Observe then,' says the apostle in the 17th verse, 
' that the warmth of my acknowledgment of your past and 
present kindness to me is not because I desire a gift.^ 

I do not know that to an attentive reader anything in the 
Epistle more conclusively proves Paul's singular confidence in 
the Christian intelligence and right feeling of the Philippians, 
than the slightness and casual nature of this remark, on a 
point about which he w^as peculiarly sensitive. In his intense 
anxiety to remain absolutely free from any suspicion of world- 
liness, he, in many places, whilst constantly maintaining the 
duty of believers to support their ministers, abstained person- 
ally from asking or receiving pecuniary aid. The circum- 
stances in which he was placed, — surrounded by virulent 
opponents waiting eagerly for any opportunity of charging him 
with self-seeking, — seemed to him to make this the right course. 
To the Thessalonians he writes, ' Ye remember, brethren, our 
labour and travail, for, labouring night and day, because we 
would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto 
you the gospel of God.' To the Corinthians, after giving them 
that explicit teaching regarding what 'the Lord hath ordained* 
on the subject of ministerial support, which I quoted a little 
ago, he goes on thus, — ' But I have used none of these things; 
neither have I written these things that it should be so done 
unto me ; for it were better for me to die, than that any man 

\i:u. 1 8.] Christian Liberality and its Reward. 411 

should make my glorying void.' To the elders of Kphcsus, 
convened at Miletus, he said, * I have coveted no man's silver, 
or gold, or apparel : yea, ye yourselves know that these hands 
have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were 
with nu-.' Hut the gifts of the Philippians he accei)ted freely ; 
and the only reference he thinks it needful to make to the 
possibility of any thought entering their minds of his being at 
all under the influence of selfish motives, is this quiet ' Not 
that I desire a gift.' He knew his whole life to be such an 
ample exposition and confirmation of this statement, and to be 
so well understood as such by his beloved Philippians, that he 
had no need to say anything further on the subject. 

These words lead into the presentation of another, and a 
most important, aspect of Christian giving. * Not that I desire 
a gift,' he says, * but I desire fruit that may abound to your 
account^ — more exactly, ' the fruit which abounds to your 
account ' from every such contribution to the cause of Christ. 
The image of the account -book comes up here again, you 
observe, but in another connection. Every act of genuine 
piety is like the sowing of seed, which ' in that day,' and 
throughout eternity, will yield rewards of grace. Of these 
' fruits ' God has an * account,' ' a book of remembrance,' for 
every one of His people. For gifts from his spiritual children 
Paul had but little desire, in so far as their ministering to his 
o^vn comfort was concerned ; but for the sake of his converts 
themselves he desired such gifts exceedingly, that the record 
of enduring 'fruits' of glory and joy, yielded by 'faith working 
by love,' might be full. 

The closing words of the i8th verse exhibit the basis on 
which rested the apostle's assurance that ' fruits ' of glorious 
reward would spring from liberality. He knew that such a 
gift as his friends had sent him, suggested by a true and ardent 
love to Christ — to Christ's people — to Christ's work, — was 
looked upon by their Father in heaven with gracious approval, 
— was ' an odour of a sweet smelly a sacrifice acceptable, well- 

412 Lectures on Philippians, [ch. iv. 

plcasmg to God.^ These expressions are as nearly as possible 
equivalent to each other. We read in the 8th chapter of 
Genesis, that Noah, after coming out of the ark, 'builded an 
altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar, 
and the Lord smelled a sweet savour ;^ and frequently elsewhere, 
throughout the Old Testament, the same phrase is employed 
to describe the acceptance of a sacrifice. In the New Testa- 
ment, it is used of the great propitiation : ' Christ hath loved 
us, and hath given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice 
to God, for a sweet-smelling savour.' And, in Christ, His 
people's thank-offering of holy thoughts and affections — holy 
activity and liberality and patience — is ' an odour of a sweet 
smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.' 

The doctrine of these words, you observe, is that giving 
for the cause of Christ is worship — acceptable worship. It 
belongs to the same class of acts as the presentation of sacri- 
fices under the old economy, which was the central act of 
worship. The same representation of giving is found, you 
will remember, also in the Epistle to the Hebrews, — ' To do 
good and to communicate forget not ; for with such sacrifices 
God is well pleased' (Heb. xiii. i6). Worship is the direct 
expression to God, in any way, of the love, and trust, and 
devotion of His moral creatures. The grateful Christian heart, 
recognising in all its powers, and possessions, and opportuni- 
ties, gifts of God, finds everywhere materials for dedication to 
Him, — for sacrifice, — for worship. The sincere surrender of 
the whole life to God is represented and attested by the con- 
scious, definite, direct surrender of somewhat, in the exercise 
of the powers, and employment of the possessions. The lips 
are, of necessity, much engaged with the matters of this world ; 
but ' the sacrifice of praise to God, the fruit of our lips, giving 
thanks to His name,' is an acknowledgment that the lips are 
His. Our time is, of necessity, largely given to the business of 
earth ; but sincerely and gladly to give the Lord the Sabbath 
Day, is to worship Him with our time. The case is similar 

vicR. 1 8.] Christian Liberality and its Reward. 4 1 3 

with money. Our Master has instituted ordinanrcs for foster- 
ing the spiritual life of His people, — some of which cannot, in 
ordinary circumstances, be maintained without money. He 
has given to His church the duty and privilege of spreading 
the knowledge of His salvation throughout the world. He 
has told us to 'consider the poor.' No intelligent Christian, 
then, who ponders the matter, can doubt either the reason- 
ableness and the needfulness, or the aj)pointed way, of wor- 
shipping God with his money — * honouring the Lord with his 

But ah ! my brethren, worldliness often deafens us to the 
call of duty in this matter. We are prone to act as if we 
thought that, after all, what we possess is our own, and not 
God's, — forgetting that not merely by every original right are 
we and all we have entirely His, but that Christians are 
their Lord's by a new and glorious and most tender right, 
being * bought with a price.' From the frequency with which 
our Lord speaks on the subject, we see the importance which 
He attaches to our considering ourselves as not proprietors, 
but stewards for God, of all that we have. Forgetfulness of 
this, and of what it involves, is the true root of all sin in this 
matter. ' It is required in stewards that a man be found faith- 
ful ; ' and the main elements of faithfulness are the cherishing 
always of a full sense that the property in his hands is not his 
own, but his master's, and constantly acting in reference to it 
with a view to the advancement of his master's interests. 
Now, our stewardship for God extends to all our means of 
glorifying Him — all our ' talents,' whether five, or two, or but 
one. With regard to them all, self-denial is needed for faithful 
discharge of duty. The steward of a rich man peculiarly re- 
quires self-restraint if his master is at a distance, or exercises 
but a slight supervision. How strong, then, are the tempta- 
tions with which even true believers have to struggle, dealing, 
as we do, with the entrusted goods of a God who reveals 
Himself to faith and not to sight, — a faith, alas, which, amid 

414 Lectures on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

the attractions and distractions of sense, is not seldom dim 
of vision, and which permits us often to think of Him as far 
away, ' though He be not far from every one of us ! ' For 
the proper use of no talent is self-denial more needed than 
for that of money; because the old nature deems this its 
peculiar glory, its unfailing spring of happiness. Serious and 
steady consideration of duty, and severe restraint of nature's 
tendencies to self-seeking, are here therefore peculiarly need- 
ful ; and with respect to no department of stewardship is failure 
more common among Christians. ' The deceitfulness of riches 
chokes the word.' 

The grand counteractive to this evil tendency is thoughtful 
and prayerful contemplation of the marvels. of divine grace. 
As we grow in experimental acquaintance with that ' love 
which passeth knowledge,' the sense of privilege becomes 
ever more prominent, in connection with every form of 
worship. In this, worship with money fully shares. It 
comes to be held as a joy — as that use of money which, of 
all uses, yields immeasurably the greatest happiness — to give 
to Him who gave Himself for us. We discern more clearly 
that no claim on our wealth, itself His own gift, can by pos- 
sibility be more reasonable than His who, ' though He was 
rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His 
poverty might be rich.' With growing spirituality, we learn 
to appreciate also more accurately the necessity for liberal ex- 
penditure on the work of Christ. Rejoicing in our own light 
and liberty of soul, we recognise more distinctly the gloom of 
the darkness, and the terribleness of the bondage, in which 
sin keeps such vast multitudes of our fellows. The ear is 
opened to hear, alike from the dens of ignorance and wicked- 
ness in our own cities, and from the regions of heathenism and 
superstition abroad, a cry for help, of intense pathos and power. 

How sweetly persuasive, too, is the assurance which the apostle 
has given us here of * fruit abounding to the account ' of every 
one who, in sincere love, gives to the Saviour ! Liberality for 

V E R. 1 8 . ] Cli ristia n L ibcrality a?id its Rcwa rd. 4 1 5 

Christ is a holy priidcnrc, in wliich (hity and the highest interest 
kiss each otlier. The more faithful the steward is in giving 
(}od His own, the more is he laying up for himself ' a treasure 
in the heavens, that faileth not.* What we spend on ourselves, 
passes away from us ; what we spend for Christ, we shall find 
again. Or, according to that most winning exhibition of the 
case by our Lord, — to layout the 'mammon of unrighteous- 
ness' in aiding our brethren, and in winning souls, is thereby 
to * make to ourselves friends, who, when we fail, shall receive 
us into everlasting habitations.' True and powerful friends, 
assuredly. Many of them we know not, and shall never know 
in this life. Yet all the richest and strongest influences of 
friendship are acting for our highest good from every soul 
that ever, in true Christian love, we have been privileged to 
succour. As of old, so still ' the Lord sits over against the 
treasury, and beholds how the people cast money into the 
treasury.' Marking also the destination and the effect of all 
the gifts, He sees all the ' friends ' who are * made ' thereby. 
Now too, as then, the greatness of the gifts in His sight accords 
not with their value in man's finance, but with the greatness 
of the love and devotion from which they spring. Let the 
' poor widow,' then, who, in glowing love to her Redeemer, 
and profound pity for perishing souls, has cast in what men 
call but a little offering, know that the offering is great in His 
sight, ' an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well- 
pleasing to God.' And the ' friends ' she has made by her 
offering help her mightily. Every prayer which rises from the 
hearts of those who, by the city or foreign missionary she has 
helped to support, have been turned to God, or strengthened in 
holy purpose, — every aspiration of gratitude which ascends from 
homes that through the influence of the gospel, proclaimed by 
him, have been made happy, — will drop as a genial and refresh- 
ing rain of blessing on her. And, at the last, ' when she ' faileth,' 
these ' friends ' ' will receive her into everlasting habitations,' — 
Jesus looking upon her with a smile of ineffable love, as He 

4 1 6 Lecttcres on Philippians. [ch. iv. 

welcomes her home, and says, ' Inasmuch as thou didst it 
unto one of the least of these My brethren, thou didst it 
unto Me.' 

That this is the line in which the apostle's own thoughts are 
running, is shown us by the great assurance in the 19th verse, 
' But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches 
in glory ^ by Christ Jesus.'* Most of the Christians in Philippi, 
like most Christians in all ages, were poor. The apostle, hav- 
ing occasion, in writing to the Corinthians, to speak of a former 
contribution made by the church of Philippi, along with the 
other churches of Macedonia, for another Christian object, 
says, ' The abundance of their joy, and their deep poverty, 
abounded unto the riches of their liberality.' He knew that 
the same was the case with respect to the present gift. ' Now,' 
says he, * for your loving ministry to my need I cannot repay 
you. But my God will repay you, — He whose I am, and whom 
I serve, and who looks with a Father's interest on everything 
that concerns me. According to His riches i?i glory — the pleni- 
tude of power, and wisdom, and grace, which constitutes His 
glory, and makes Him to all His creatures the Fountain of all 
blessing — He shall supply all your need, in Christ Jesus, — in 
whom He has reconciled you to Himself, and regards you with 
complacency and love.' 

The primary reference of this promise seems to me to be 
undoubtedly to supply for temporal need. This is shown by 
the whole tenor of the context, and particularly by the distinct 
allusion in ' all your need ' to ' my necessity,' or ' need ' (the 
same word in the original), of the i6th verse. The apostle's 
declaration, then, is, in substance, that through God's kind- 
ness the generous Philippians will find themselves none the 
poorer for their care of him. They will have proof that ' there 
is that scattereth and yet increaseth,' — that, if we * seek 
first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness,' all other 
things which are truly good for us ' shall be added unto us,' — 
that * godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of 

VER. 1 9.] Christian Liberality and its Reward. 4 1 7 

the life that now is,' as well as *of that which is to come' But 
observe, that it is our '■need' which is to be supplied, — not 
every desire, which may be of mere nature. * No ^ood thing 
will He withhold.' 

It is clear, however, to the spiritually-minded reader, that 
Paul's assurance, while pointing in the first instance to temporal 
blessings, reaches — and by him, and by the Divine Spirit speak- 
ing through him, was meant to reach — far beyond these. In 
ministering to the apostle's physical wants, the Philippians had, 
at the same time, 'supplied a need ' of his heart. It is evi- 
dent from the whole tone of the Epistle that God had made 
their gift a most efficient instrument of cheering His servant 
amid the dispiriting influences of his imprisonment. Like need 
of the Philippians, in all its length and breadth, their heavenly 
Father would supply. They would find that, in the richest 
sense of the word, ' the liberal soul was made fat, and he that 
watered was watered also himself.' Spiritually, as well as tem- 
porally, ' they were poor and needy, yet the Lord thought upon 
them,' and, * according to His riches in glor}', would supply all 
their need, in Christ Jesus.' Hungering and thirsting, they 
would receive of their Father the bread and the water of life. 
Wandering at times, in ignorance and folly, from the fold, they 
would by * the Good Shepherd ' be brought back to safety and 
peace. Sorrowing, they would find in Him ' the Consolation 
of Israel.' Weak, they would have ever fresh experience that 
He is ' the Strength of Israel.' ' There is no want to them that 
fear the Lord.' 

My brethren, how sublime, how imperial, is the position of 
God's saints, as illustrated in Paul here ! A prisoner, in 
chains, needing pecuniary aid from his friends, who themselves 
are very poor, — he looks calmly up, beyond the prison, beyond 
the sky, to the treasure-house of the great King, to the King 
Himself, already stretching forth His hand to reward the 
helpers of His servant, and this with the fulness of divine 
munificence, * according to His riches in glory.' How utterly 

2 D 

41 8 Lectures on Philippians, [ch.iv. 

insignificant the glory of earth is, or its power, in the light of 
such a scene as this ! Nero can imprison this man, or behead 
him ; but the prisoner can say, ' All things are mine — the world, 
and life, and death, and things present, and things to come, — 
all are mine, for I am Christ's, and Christ is God's.' 

The sweet assurance of the 19th verse leads most naturally 
into a doxology, which — also most naturally after the reference 
made to the paternal care that ' supplies all the need ' of 
believers — assumes the form of praise to ' God and our Father^ 
or rather, * our God and Father.' 

The salutations are brief and comprehensive. The apostle 
desires his affectionate greetings ^ in Christ Jesus'' (for these 
words are probably to be taken with ' salute ') to be given to 
all the members of the church. ' Every saint ' was to con- 
sider himself remembered by Paul with sincere regard. * Simi- 
lar kind wishes are sent also,' he adds, ' by the brethren which 
are with me^ — that is, evidently, as in the 2nd verse of the ist 
chapter of Galatians, those ministers who at the time were 
closely associated with him, and ' labouring in the gospel ' 
under his direction. With the exception of Timothy, whom 
the references made to him in the 2nd chapter lead us to think 
of as in Rome when the Epistle was written, we cannot 
definitely determine the persons meant, — for in all likelihood 
the apostle's companions varied at different periods of his 
imprisonment. Still further, ' all the saints ' who were aware 
that Paul was writing to the church of Philippi, wished to 
have their loving greetings given. Many of them might 
never have seen any of the Philippian Christians, but they 
knew the closeness of their relation to them in the common 
Lord, and delighted to hail them as brethren. Specially affec- 
tionate salutations were sent by '■them of Ccesar's household"* 
who were believers. What a triumph of divine grace these 
words bring before us, my friends, — the gospel, which is * the 
power of God unto salvation,' known and loved in the house 
of that emperor whose name has become for all generations 

VER. 23.] Christian Liberality and its Reward. 4 1 9 

a by-word for cruelty and universal wickedness ! The ex- 
pression, ' they that are of Cxsar's household,' may designate 
either kinsfolk of Nero, or servants in the palace. It is 
certainly improbable that so many near relatives of the 
emperor should have yielded themselves to Christ, as to be 
described by this phrase ; and it seems hardly natural to sup- 
pose a combination of these two classes grouped under the 
one head. In all likelihood, therefore, the apostle's refer- 
ence is to servants holding more or less important positions 
in the imperial household, some of them, no doubt, slaves. 
It is not unreasonable to think that, as Paul had been sent 
to Rome because, from the jurisdiction of a provincial gover- 
nor, he had ' appealed unto Ca;sar,' and consequently, while 
awaiting the decision of his case, was under the charge of 
the commander of the emperor's body guard, servants of the 
palace might frequently have opportunities of meeting him, 
and hearing his teaching. One can easily suppose, too, that 
in the close intercourse with the apostle thus permitted by 
their position, those of them who became * obedient to the 
faith ' might hear from him more regarding the high Christian 
excellence of the members of the church of Philippi, which 
was so dear to him, than could be known to the saints in Rome 
generally. This may account for their being * chiefly ' wishful 
that the apostle would send to the Philippian brethren the 
expression of their warm regards. 

Paul closes the letter, according to his custom, with a solemn 
and affectionate benediction, — * The grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ be with you all,' — or, according to another reading, which 
has better manuscript authority, and which is found also in the 
closing doxology of several of the other Epistles, * be with your 
spirit,' ' May His favour be manifested to you, especially in 
enriching the noblest element of your nature with His choicest 
blessings, — in making you to grow in spiritual wisdom, and 
energ)', and beauty, and happiness !' * Amen' 




I. I Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the 
saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the 
2 bishops and deacons. Grace be unto you, and peace, 
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ 

3, 4 I thank my God on all my remembrance of you, always, 
in every supplication of mine for you all, presenting the 

5 supplication with joy, for your fellowship with regard to 

6 the gospel from the first day until now ; being confident 
of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good 
work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus ; 

7 even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, be- 
cause I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in 
my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the 

8 gospel ye are all partakers with me of my grace. For 
God is my witness, how I long after you all in the 
tender heart of Christ Jesus. 

9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet 
ID more and more in knowledge and all discernment, so 

that ye may try the things which differ, that ye may be 

pure and free from stumbling against the day of Christ, 

II being filled with the fruit of righteousness, which is 

through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. 

42 2 Revised Translation of the 

12 But I would have you know, brethren, that my 
matters have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of 

13 the gospel ; so that in all the praetorium,. and to all the 

14 rest, my bonds are become manifest as in Christ, and 
that the more part of the brethren, being confident in 
the Lord through my bonds, are more exceedingly bold 

15 to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach 
Christ even for envy and strife, but some also for good 

16 will. The ^ one party of love, knowing that I am set 

17 for the defence of the gospel, but the other of factious- 
ness proclaim Christ, not sincerely, thinking to raise up 

18 galling to my bonds. What then ? Notwithstanding, 
every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is 
proclaimed ; and therein I rejoice, yea, and shall re- 

19 joice; for I know that this shall issue to me unto salva- 
tion, through your supplication and the supply of the 

20 Spirit of Jesus Christ, — according to my earnest longing 
and hope that in nothing I shall be put to shame, but 
that in all boldness, as always, so now also, Christ shall 
be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 

21, 22 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if 
I live in the flesh, this is to me fruit of labour ; and what 

23 I shall choose I wot not ; but I am in a strait betwixt 
the two, having my desire toward departing and being 

24 with Christ, for it is better by very far ; but to abide in 

25 the flesh is more needful on your account. And, being 
persuaded of this, I know that I shall abide and con- 
tinue with you all for your furtherance and joy in your 

26 faith ; that your matter of glorying' may abound in 
Christ Jesus through me, by my presence with you 

27 Only, live as becometh the gospel of Christ, that 
whether I come and see you, or be absent, I may hear 

* In the oldest manuscripts the i6th and 17th verses are found in the re- 
verse order from that followed in our Authorized Version. 

Epistle of Paul to the Pliilippiajis. 423 

of your affairs, that ye arc standing fast in one spirit, 
with one soul striving together for the faith of the 

28 gospel, and in nothing terrified by your adversaries ; 
the which is to them a token of perdition, but of your 

29 salvation, and this of Ciod : for unto you it hath been 
given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on 

30 Him, but also to suffer in His behalf, having the same 
conflict as ye saw in me, and now hear of in me. 

n. I \i there b(, therefore, any consolation in Christ, if any 
comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any 

2 tender-heartedness and compassions, fill ye up my joy, 
that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, with 

3 united souls minding the one thing ; doing nothing ac- 
cording to factiousness or vainglory, but in lowliness 
of mind esteeming each other better than yourselves ; 

4 looking not each on your own things, but each also on 

5 the things of others. For have that mind in you, which 

6 was also in Christ Jesus ; who, being in the form of 
God, thought it not a prize to be on equality with God, 

7 but emptied Himself, taking upon Hif?i the form of a 

8 ser/ant, being made in the likeness of men ; and, being 
found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becom- 
ing obedient even unto death, yea the death of the cross ; 

9 wherefore also God highly exalted Him, and gave Him 

10 a name which is above every name, that in the name of 
Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and 

1 1 things on earth, and things under the earth, and that 
every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
to the glory of God the Father. 

1 2 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye always obeyed, so, not 
as in my presence only, but now much more in my 
absence, work out your own salvation with fear and 

13 trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to 

1 4 will and to work, of His good pleasure. Do all things 

15 without murmurings and disputings, that ye may ap- 

424 Revised Translation of the 

prove yourselves blameless and guileless, children of 
God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and per- 
verse generation, among whom ye shine as lights in the 

16 world, holding forth the word of life ; that I may have 
matter of glorying laid up for me against the day of 
Christ, that I did not run in vain, neither labour in vain. 

17 Yea, and if, besides the sacrifice and service of your 
faith, I be poured forth, I joy, and congratulate you all ; 

18 and for the same cause do ye also joy, and congratulate 

19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy 
shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, 

20 when I know your state. For I have no man like- 

21 minded, who will truly care for your state. For all of 
them seek their own, not the things which are Jesus 

2 2 Christ's. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a child 
serveth a father, he served with me for the furtherance 

23 of the gospel. Him, therefore, I hope to send imme- 

24 diately on my seeing how it will go with me. But I 
trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. 

25 But I have thought it necessary to send to you 
Epaphroditus, my brother, and fellow - labourer, and 
fellow-soldier, but your messenger and minister to my 

26 need ; seeing that he was longing after you all, and full 
of heaviness because ye had heard that he had been 

27 sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death; but 
God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on 
me also, that I should not have sorrow upon sorrow. 

28 I have been, therefore, the more earnest to send him, 
that, seeing him, ye may rejoice again, and that I my- 

29 self may be the less sorrowful. Receive him, therefore, 
in the Lord with all gladness ; and hold such in reputa- 

30 tion ; because for the work of Christ he came nigh 
unto death, having hazarded his life to supply your 
lack in your service toward me. 

Epistle of Paid to the Philippians, 425 

III. I Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write 
the same things to you, to me is not irksome, and for 
you is safe. 

2 Ikware of the dogs; beware of the evil workers; 

3 beware of tlie concision. For wc are the circum- 
cision, which worship by the Spirit of (iod, and 
glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the 

4 flesh ; — though I myself might have confidence in the 
flesh also. If any other man thinketh that he might 

5 put confidence in the flesh, I more : circumcised the 
eighth day, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of 
Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews ; as touching the 

6 law, a Pharisee ; as touching zeal, persecuting the 
church ; as touching the righteousness which is in the 

7 law, having approved myself blameless. But what 
things were gains to me, those for Christ I have counted 

8 loss. Yea, doubtless, and I still count them all to be 
loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ 
Jesus my Lord : for whom I suffered the loss of all, 
and count them to be dung, that I may win Christ, 

9 and be found in Him, not having mine own righteous- 
ness, which is of the law, but that which is through 
faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God, 

10 resting on faith ; that I may know Him, and the power 
of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, 

1 1 being fashioned after the likeness of His death, — if by 
any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the 

1 2 dead. Not that I have already taken hold, either am 
already perfected ; but I follow after, if that I may even 
lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by 

13 Christ. Brethren, I count not myself to have laid hold ; 
but one thing, — forgetting those things which are be- 
hind, and reaching forth unto those things which are 

14 before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the 
high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

426 Revised Trans lati07i of the 

15 Let us, therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus 
minded ; and, if in anything ye are otherwise minded, 

16 this also God shall reveal unto you. Only, whereto we 
have attained, by the same let us walk. 

17 Be followers together of me, brethren, and mark them 

18 which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. For 
many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell 
you even weeping, — the enemies of the cross of Christ ; 

19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and 
their glory in their shame, who mind the earthly things. 

20 For our citizenship is in the heavens, from whence also 

2 1 we look for the Lord Jesus Christ as a Saviour ; who 
shall change the body of our humiliation, that it may be 
fashioned like unto the body of His glor>', according to 
the working of His power even to subdue all things 

IV. r unto Himself. Wherefore, my brethren, beloved and 
longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, 

2 I beseech Euodia, and I beseech Syntyche, to be of 

3 the same mind in the Lord. Yea, I entreat thee also, 
true yoke-fellow, help them, seeing that they laboured 
with me in the gospel, along with Clement also, and 
my other fellow-workers, whose names are in the book 
of life. 

4 Rejoice in the Lord alway : again I will say. Rejoice. 

5 Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The 

6 Lord is at hand. Be anxious about nothing ; but in 
everything by your prayer and your supplication, with 
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto 

7 God : and the peace of God, which passeth all under- 
standing, shall keep your hearts and your thoughts in 
Christ Jesus. 

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, what- 
soever things are seemly, whatsoever things are just, 
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely. 

Episllc of Paul to I he Philippians. 427 

whatsoever things are of good report ; whatever virtue 
there is, and wliatcvcr praise ; think on these things, — 
9 which also ye learned and received, and heard and saw 
in me. These things do, and the God of jjeace shall 
be with you. 

10 lUit I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at length 
ye have flourished again as to your care for me ; for 
which ye were also careful, but lacked opportunity. 

11 Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have 

12 learned, in what state I am, therein to be content. I 
know both him' to be abased, — I know also how to 
abound ; in all and everything I am instructed both to 
be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer 

13 want. I can do all things in Him which strengtheneth 

14 Notwithstanding, ye did well that ye had fellowship 

15 with my affliction. And ye yourselves also know, 
Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when 
I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship 
with me as touching an account of giving and receiving, 

16 but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once 

1 7 and again unto my need. Not that I seek your gift, — 
but I seek the fruit which aboundeth to your account. 

18 But I have all things, and abound; I am full, having 
received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent 
from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice ac- 

19 cep table, well-pleasing to God. But my God shall fully 
supply all your need, according to His riches in glory, 

20 in Christ Jesus. Now unto our God and Father be 
the glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

2 1 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which 

22 are with me salute you. All the saints salute you, but 
especially they that are of Caesar's household. 

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. 



Ver. I. The designation SovXot 'Itto-ov XpLcrrov is, in itself, 
general — applicable to all Christians : compare Rev. ii. 20, 
vii. 3. Official position in the church is suggested by the 
connection merely. This expression has no altogether adequate 
representative in our language. As distinguished from vTrqpinq^; 
and 8taxovo9, it implies absoluteness and permanence of sub- 
jection. 'Bondsman,' 'bond-servant,' and the like, express 
these ideas ; but bring in also the degrading associations of 

The omission of the article before cTricrKOTrots kcCl Zlokovol^ 
accords with a frequent usage in cases where two or more 
nouns, obviously definite, are joined by conjunctions. This 
usage is sufficiently accounted for by 'the tendency of col- 
loquial language to unburden itself of particles which may, 
without serious ambiguity, be dispensed with ' (Green's Gram- 
mar of the New Tesfamefit, p. 46) ; and the naturalness of the 
omission of the article in this particular class of cases is illus- 
trated by the fact that our English idiom also, under the same 
circumstances, often allows the omission. Compare, for ex- 
ample, ^[att. X. 28, Kol \lrv)(rjv KoX (rioixa aTroXecrai, ' tO destroy 
both soul and body ; ' IMatt. x. 37, 6 <f>L\Q)v Trarcpa ^ firp-epa, 
* he that loveth father or mother ; ' also with plurals (as in the 
place before us) ; Acts xxi. 5 ; i Pet. iii. 22. 

3. The presence of the article in iroury rfj /xvcta vfxwv makes 

430 The Epistle to the Philippians. [ch. i. 4, 5. 

it necessary to translate, not, as in our version, 'every re- 
membrance of you,' but * all my remembrance of you.' *E7ri, 
in the connection, means, therefore, not ' on the occasion of,' 
but * on the ground of.' 

4. We may construe virX^ Travrmf vfxCjv either with the 
preceding or the following words, — thus, either * always, in 
every prayer of mine for you all, presenting the prayer with 
joy,' according to the connection adopted by our translators ; 
or * always, in every prayer of mine, presenting the prayer for 
you all with joy.' The former seems to me preferable. The 
article with Serja-Lv might, no doubt, mean ' the prayer which 
you know well I do offer for you all ;' but appears to refer more 
naturally to the previous SeTJo-et, as already limited by \m\^ 
TrdvToiv vfxdv. Again, the course of thought requires us, ap- 
parently, to give /x€Ta ;j(apas considerable emphasis, — and this, 
according to the construction followed in our version, these 
words have, standing at the beginning of the second half of 
the clause ; while the other connection gives them a position 
altogether unemphatic. 

5. 'Etti here may be taken as parallel to iirl of the 3rd 
verse, introducing a statement of the subject of the /xvcta there 
mentioned. This connection, however, is too remote and arti- 
ficial for the style of Paul. The view, obviously entertained 
by our translators, that this verse is in immediate dependence 
on ixera ^apas of the 4th, — with, of course, a dependence also, 
but more remote, on €vxo-pL(rTu> of the 3rd, — is more natural 
and satisfactory. 

Kotvtuvta €t5 TO tvayyeXtov means ' fellowship unto — towards 
— for the furtherance of — the gospel.' The expression is, in 
itself, quite general; and there is nothing in the context to 
suggest a limited reference, — rather the contrary, particularly 
in the 7 th verse, which seems to be in a measure parallel to 
this. Paul's thought, therefore, as it appears to me, when fully 
exhibited, is this, — ' your fellowship of feeling and effort with 
each other, with me, with all believers, for the advancement of 

CI I. I. 3-5.] Notes on the Greek Text. 431 

the Saviour's cause, — all springinp^ from fcllowshii) with Him.' 
Sometimes in the New Testament, as, for example, in Kom. xv. 
26, and Heb. xiii. 16, Koivuivia. denotes spccifirally one very 
beautiful form in which the spirit of Christian fellowship may 
display itself, namely almsgiving, * communicating' with the 
need of poor brethren. Considering that the apostle had re- 
cently received from the Philippians a pecuniary contribution, 
and, as his warm acknowledgments in the last chapter show, 
had been much gratified by their thoughtful kindness, it is 
natural to think that this use of the word was in his mind 
when he wrote it here. But the whole context appears to 
show that, if intended at all, this reference lies in the back- 
ground only. 

The non-repetition of the article tt^ before cis to iiayyiXiov 
is to be explained by the writer's having before his mind 
KoivcDvta €t? TO cvayyikLov as otie thought^ SO that the one article 
covers the whole, like the co-efficient of bracketed quantities 
in algebra : Winer, Gram. § 20. 2, b. Then the specification 
of time, ciTro 7rpu}Ty]<; r]fji€pa<; a^L tov vvVj IS attached tO kolvwvlo. 
€is TO cvayyc'Atov without an article, because the mind very 
naturally construes such a noun as KOLvwvia in the same way 
as the verb KOLvuivilv, to which the adverbial expression joins 
itself on directly. As Ellicott observes, too, ' the insertion of 
the article would give the duration of the KOLvujvia a far greater 
prominence than the apostle seems to have intended.' The 
omission of the article before TrpwTT/? is in accordance with a 
pretty frequent usage in the case of ordinal numerals, in which 
obviously, as a rule, no ambiguity is caused by its absence : 
Winer, § 19. 2, ^. 

3-5. Dr. Lightfoot takes a peculiar view of the construc- 
tion of this passage. Regarding /x-era x^P^is ttjv hi-qaLv iroiov- 
/A€vo9 as a parenthesis, he connects the rest of the 4th verse, 
and the whole of the 5th, immediately with evx^-pia-Tu). — trans- 
lating thus, ' I thank my God for you all at all times, as I 
think of you, whensoever I pray for you (and these prayers I 

432 The Epistle to the Philippians. [ch. i. 6. 

offer with joy), for that you have co-operated with me,' etc. 
His reasons are, that ' the stmcture of the passage is dislocated, 
and its force weakened, by disconnecting clauses pointed out 
so obviously as correlative by the repetition of the same word, 
TTOLcrr), iravTOTc, Tracrrj, TrdvTuiv ; ' and that there is ' great awk- 
wardness ' in having ev Trdo-r) Sc-qa-ei and rrjv Sirjcrcv ttoiov/xcvos 
in one clause. The question seems, therefore, to be almost 
wholly one of the balance and force of the sentence, read ac- 
cording to the one or the other construction ; and I cannot 
persuade myself that Dr. Lightfoot's is in any way preferable 
to that followed in our version. The ordinary construction 
seems to me very much the more simple and natural, and to 
give more elegance and lightness of movement to the sentence, 
with quite as much force. 

6. AvTo TovTo is an accusative of reference, — ' with re- 
gard to this very thing.' Often in the New Testament, in the 
writings of Paul and John particularly, we find a demonstrative 
pronoun placed, as here, before a clause with on, tva, or the 
like, to give it special prominence : Winer, § 23. 5. The avro 
added to tovto suggests a reference to something expressed or 
implied in what has preceded ; compare Col. iv. 8 ; Gal. ii. 10 ; 
2 Pet. i. 5. Here, I apprehend, the reference is to the subject 
of the prayer spoken of in the 4th verse. The apostle is con- 
tinuing his statement of the ground of his 'joy' in praying for 
them, and of his gratitude to God for them ; and the course of 
thought is this, — 'With joy, I say, I present my prayer for you, 
being confident with regard to this very thing for which chiefly, 
as you well know, I ask God on your behalf, namely that,' etc. 

In ipyov dyaObv there is obviously a reference to ' the fellow- 
ship for the furtherance of the gospel,' spoken of in the 5th 
verse. The omission of the article shows distinctly enough, 
however, as it appears to me, that the reference is not meant 
to be definite and exclusive. Rather, by the general expres- 
sion, ' a good work,' the apostle designates that of which the 
* fellowship ' is one very beautiful fruit, — vital godliness. 

CI I. I. 7, 8.] Notes on the Greek Text. 433 

7. The subject of ^x"*' "^'^Y ^^ cither /ic or v/aSs. Th^ 
latter view is supported by Rosenmiillcr, Storr, Conybeare, 
Alford, in one of his books/ and others ; and is certainly 
tenable, in so far as the language merely is concerned. But 
the former construction is the more natural according to the 
arrangement of the words, and seems to accord better with 
the line of thought, — as to which, see the lecture on the 

Tlie words from Iv tc rot? Swr/i-ois to cvayytXiov may be 
joined with c^ctv /xc or with v/xa? ovra?. Chrysostom, Neander, 
De Wette, Meyer, Alford, and others, approve of the former 
connection, regarding the words as intended to bring out still 
more clearly the depth of Paul's affection for the Philippians, 
seeing that even 'this condition of suffering, and the great duty 
which he had to discharge in it, could not dislodge them from 
his heart ' (Meyer). But the clause seems to have more rele- 
vancy and force, when connected, as in our version, with v/xas 


We may regard the /aov between cnryKotvwvou? and -nj? x^ptros 
as governed by x^tptro?, or take o-vyKoivwvovs as governing both 
genitives, — the one of the person, the other of the thing. This 
latter construction is perhaps slightly preferable. The mean- 
ing then is, ' partakers with me of the grace ' which God gives 
me for sufifering, and for the defence and confirmation of the 

8. ' The o-TrXayxva are properly the nobler viscera, the 
heart, lungs, liver, etc., as distinguished from the ewrepa, the 
lower viscera, the intestines ' (Lightfoot). As here employed, 
the expression cv (nrXdyxyois is equivalent to ev rj KapSia of the 
preceding verse, — only that, according to New Testament use, 

^ In his Commentary, Alford says that * the context cleariy shows ' Rosen- 
miiller's construction to be wrong. But in his Authorized Version Revised 
(published in 1870), he renders the clause, 'because you have me in your 
heart.' This may be supposed to exhibit his final judgment on the 

2 E 

434 ^'^^ Epistle to the Philippians. [cH. i. 9. 

the idea of tenderness is in this even more prominent than in 
the other. 

9. The clause with Iva. obviously explains the tovto, stating 
the substance of the apostle's prayer. It gives us the pur- 
pose and the purport of the prayer conjoined. There is 
thus a manifest, but a most natural, departure from the pure 
telic force of Iva. ; and there are numerous cases in the New 
Testament in which the divergence from^ this original use is 
much greater. See, for example, John xv. 8; Gal. v. 17. 
Meyer, Alford, and others, who maintain the telic force of the 
particle everywhere, are driven often to most artificial explana- 
tions. Thus on the present passage Alford observes : ' There 
is an ellipsis in the sense between tovto and iva, — tovto intro- 
ducing the substance of the prayer, Iva its aim.^ This appears 
to me wholly unnatural. Beyond doubt aim is set forth, but 
involved inseparably with substance. See Winer, § 44. 8 ; 
Green, p. 170, foil. 

Examining the sentence contained in vers. 9-1 1, we find 
that it exhibits a series of aims, each beyond the preceding, 
and well marked off, through their being introduced alternately 
by Lva and et?. The apostle's prayer is, in purpose and pur- 
port, tva 7} ay dm] 7r€pL(r<Tev7), k.t.X. The end he has in view, 
in asking this, is ct? to SoKi/xdlitv v/xag, k.t.X. Of to 8oKifxd^€Lv 
the intent is tva tJtc ctAtKptvet?, k.t.X. And the grand ultimate 
aim is cts ho^av Kal tTratvov 0€ov. 

In the connection in which 17 dyaTn; occurs here, it is natur- 
ally taken in the widest sense, — as love to God, to each other, 
to the apostle, to fellow-Christians generally, to the world. 
The apostle's prayer is, that in his dear Philippians this beauti- 
ful grace ' may abound in ' — possess abundantly — * knowledge 
and all judgment,' as her handmaids, helpers, instruments. 
*E7rtyvo>ori9 is '/w// knowledge.' Lightfoot well illustrates its 
force by a reference to i Cor. xiii. 12, — 'Now I know (yivwa-Ko)) 
in part, but then shall I know (iTnyvwa-ofiaL) even as also I 
am known (cVcyvwo-^Tyv) ;' and says, ' The intensive preposi- 

CI I. I. lo, II.] Notes on the Greek Text. 435 

tion before yvioa-ti answers to the adjective before aUrdrjrrtL.' 
AurOrja-i^ is 'discernment' or * percej)tion ' as to the practical 
application of the j)rin(:iples with which iiriyvuxrifi deals. I)c 
Wette excellently calls it 'moral tact.' Iltur?;, pointing to the 
innumerable occasions in life for the exercise of such a faculty, 
describes a delicacy of spiritual judgment ready to meet them all. 

10. According to New Testament usage, 8oKi/xa^€ii' ra 8ta- 
ff)€povTa may mean either 'to try the things which differ,' or 
' to ai)i)rove the things which arc excellent.' Practically, in the 
connection in which the words occur here, the force is the 
same, the one being simply a stage leading to the other. The 
former rendering, in which we have the primitive, or at least 
an earlier, meaning of both words, is perhaps the more natural 
and forcible. 

'ATTpoo-KOTTos occurs in the New Testament in only two places 
besides the present, — in Acts xxiv. 16, with the sense of 'with- 
out stumbling' (equivalent to aTrraio-Tos, 'free from falling,' in 
Jude 24), and in i Cor. x. 32, where it means 'not causing 
stumbling' to others. In the present passage the former sense 
is more accordant with the context than the latter, — influence 
on others not being spoken of. 

Ets r]fx€pav Xpta-Tov does not seem to mean ' //// the day of 
Christ,' but ' against,' ' with a view to,' ' looking towards ' it, — 
that is to say, practically, as Chrj'sostom puts it, ' that ye may 
be found faultless in that day.' This force of ct? — which is 
obviously closely connected with the frequent use of the pre- 
position to express purpose, or is indeed but a case of that 
use — is very common in the New Testament ; whilst a careful 
examination will show that its use in the sense of ' till ' simply, 
as in John xiii. i, is rare. 

11. Kapirov — which is unquestionably the true reading, 
KapTTwv, of the Received Text, having no uncial authority — 
is an accusative of reference, — the exact meaning, therefore, 
being, ' filled,' or ' fully stored,' ' as to fruit of righteousness.' 
Col. i. 9 contains a similar construction. 

43^ The Epistle to the Philippians. [cH. i. i 


Ai/catoo-vi/7;s may be taken as a genitive either of apposition 
or of origin. The former is, perhaps, the more natural ; but 
the sense is substantially the same either way, — the image, 
however, being differently conceived. See the lecture on the 

When, as here, So^a and cTratvo? are distinguished, the 
former must be regarded as designating * the manifestation of 
the divine majesty and excellence,' the latter 'its recognition 
and acknowledgment ' by God's moral creatures. 

13. It seems to me that u^a-n here shows us, inciden- 
tally, the pure spiritual atmosphere by which all the apostle's 
thinking was surrounded. Looking merely to Xhtform of what 
he has said in the 12th verse, the 13th and 14th rather contain 
an explanation than exhibit a result. But really uppermost in 
Paul's mind, I apprehend, was the thought, — ' Through what 
seemed likely to obstruct the progress of the gospel in Rome 
God has graciously wrought for its furtherance, so that^ etc. 

The position of cf>av€pov<s shows clearly that ev Xpto-Tw is to 
be joined with //, — not with Sca-fiov?, as has been done by 
our translators and others ; the meaning being ' manifest as — 
or, to be — in Christ,' that is, ' as borne in fellowship with Him.' 
To all who knew of the apostle's imprisonment, it was clear 
that he was in bonds, not for crime in any ordinary sense, but 
simply for his love to Christ and devotion to His service. By 
many, doubtless, this was apprehended only in a very vague 
way ; but the apostle expresses the idea in the formula, dear 
and familiar to him, which states the case as it really stood, 
and this with the utmost intensity and sublimity. 

The precise meaning of vpaiTwpLov here is uncertain. 
Originally * the tent of a general,' prcBtorium came naturally 
enough to be applied to the official residence of a provincial 
governor, or the palace of a king. These secondary applica- 
tions are found in the New Testament ; see, for example, 
John xviii. 28; Acts xxiii. 35. Our translators, with many 
others, have supposed the reference in the passage before us to 

CI I. I. 13.] Nolcs on tJic Greek Text, 437 

be to the palace of Nero. We know from the 22nd verse of the 
last chapter, that some of * Cxsar's household ' knew Paul ; 
and it is reasonable to suj)pose, considering the apostle's i)Osi- 
tion as a prisoner who had * appealed unto Caesar/ that, in 
whatever part of Rome he lived, the servants of the palace had 
specially free intercourse with him. Hut no certain instance 
has been adduced from any writer, of the application of the 
name pnctorium to the emperor's palace at Rome ; which, con- 
sidering how frequent arc the occasions of reference to it, seems 
to make it probable that that particular palace never was so 
called. Most modern commentators have been of opinion 
that the reference here is to the camp of the Praetorian Cohorts, 
— a camp constructed for them in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of the city by Tiberius. But a similar objection lies 
against this view ; for there is no evidence that the camp was 
ever known as the prcetoritim. But the brigade of guards itself 
was unquestionably called by this name, being spoken of as 
freely under the appellation of the pratorium as under that of 
prcBtoriani. It seems to me therefore, on the whole, that the 
word has a personal rather than a local meaning here, — ' in the 
prcXtorian guard, or brigade.' To this view, which is Dr. 
Lightfoot's, Hackett objects that, in this case, we might have 
expected the dative without cv, as in the other clause. But 
a literal English translation affords an exact analogy, — * my 
bonds have become manifest (or well known) as in Christ, 
— in all the regiment, and to all the rest.' The variation of 
expression, with ' in ' and * to,' is perfectly natural in our lan- 
guage. Equally natural is the variation in the apostle's mode 
of expression, because viilitare (or merere) in prcetorio was the 
phrase he heard around him every day, for * to serve in the 
guard.' Lightfoot's admirable detached note exhausts the 
subject. In a case like this, of some uncertainty as to the 
exact meaning, it seems best in translation to retain the original 
word * praetorium.' 

Our translators have regarded rots Xotirots ttoo-iv as governed 

43^ The Epistle to the Philippians. [ch. l i 4- i 7. 

by hv. This is possible, but hardly natural. It is rather, as 
they have taken it in their margin, to be put in direct connec- 
tion with <f>av€povs, — ' to all the rest ; ' compare 2 Cor. xiii. 2. 

* To all the rest ' in Rome who knew of Paul's imprisonment, 

* his bonds were manifest to be in Christ.' Bengel — referring 
to I Thess. iv. 13, to which Van Hengel, who adopts his view, 
adds Eph. ii. 3 — explains rot? Xolttol? as indicating unbelievers. 
But this in the connection appears very far from natural. 

14. "Ev Kvpto) may be joined either with twv dSeAc^wv or 
with TreTTot^oras rol? Scer/xots /xov. To the former construc- 
tion the non-repetition of tCjv constitutes no objection ; see 
note on Koivoivia cts to evayyeXiov, ver. 5. But this combination 
does not occur anywhere else in the New Testament ; whilst 
ev Kv/Dt'o) is several times found with forms of TrcVot^a ; see, 
for example, chap. ii. 24. Then the paradox TrcTrot^oTas rots 
8eo-/xots calls for explanation, which is fully given by cv Kvpio), 
— naturally placed, therefore, in the position of emphasis, 
at the head of the combination. As usual, 'in the Lord' ex- 
hibits the sphere or element. It was ' in Him,' ' in union with 
Him,' that 'confidence in Paul's bonds' was felt. 'Bonds' here 
is, obviously enough, a terse and pointed expression for all the 
apostle's experience in connection with his imprisonment. The 
brethren had confidence grounded on the sustaining grace 
which had been granted to him abundantly in his affliction. 
HiiroiOa with a simple dative, instead of iirl or ev, is found also 
in Philemon 21, and (of the person) in 2 Cor. x. 7. 

15. Meyer takes koL in both clauses to mean 'also;' but 
it appears more natural to regard it in the first as meaning 
' even,' — that is, ' strange as it may seem.' 

16. 17. According to the authority of MSS.,the order in which 
these verses stand in the Received Text must be reversed. Trans- 
position by copyists was most natural here, to suit the order in 
which the two classes of preachers are mentioned in verse 15. 

We may construe i$ dyaTny? immediately with ot fxev, and 
e^ ipiOiLas immediately with ot 81, with the sense of ' they that 

cii. I. 1 6, 17.] Notes 071 the Greek Text. 439 

are of love,' and ' they that are of factiousness,' — that is, prac- 
tically, * the loving,' * the factious ;' compare Rom. ii. 8 ; Gal. 
iii. 7 ; John xviii. 37. The exact meaning of such expressions 
is, ' they whose starting-point, as regards effort, is love, fac- 
tiousness,' or the like. Meyer, De Wette, Ellicott, and others, 
adopt this construction. That followed by our translators, 
however, with Lightfoot, Alford, Eadie, and others, seems 
preferable, because on the former view the arrangement of the 
words in the second clause is hardly natural, tov Xpurrov Karay 
yikXovcTLv having the place of emphasis. 

Kct/xat is regarded by Van Hengel and others as here mean- 
ing ' lie in a state of suffering.' This is a classical use of the 
verb ; but the sense given by our translators, ' am set,' or 
* appointed,' accords better with New Testament usage and 
with the context. See Luke ii. 34, i Thess. iii. 3. In this use 
Kct/xat is equivalent to the perfect passive of TiO-qjju. 

*Ept^€ia is not to be confounded with Ipt?, as has been done 
by our translators and many other interpreters. The words are 
expressly distinguished in 2 Cor. xii. 20, Gal. v. 20 ; and if 
they are etymologically connected with each other at all, the 
connection is only remote. *Ept^€ta is from tpiBo^^ ' a hired 
servant,' and therefore means originally ' labouring for wages,' 
and hence 'self-seeking, factiousness, caballing.' 

Tov Xpta-Tov KarayyeWovcTLv is not necessary to the con- 
struction, seeing that ol /xev and ol SI might be in apposition to 
TLvh /x€v and nvh Se (taken inversely). The apostle, as Dr. 
Lightfoot acutely suggests, may have repeated the ' preach 
Christ,' ' to bring out the contrast between the character of the 
motives of the second class of preachers and the subject of 
their preaching, for there is a moral contradiction between 
iptOcLa and Xpto-T05.' No special significance seems to lie in 
the substitution of KarayyeXXova-t for the almost exactly synony- 
mous K-qpV(T(TOV(TlV. 

Lightfoot thinks that in 6\i\f/Lv eyetpar, standing in connec- 
tion with Sctr/otoi?, we are to recognise an intended reference to 

440 The Epistle to the Philippians. [ch. i. 19. 

the original meaning of OXIxf/L^, * pressure, galling.' This seems 
in every way probable, and adds point to the clause. 

19. The reference of tovto has been variously conceived. 
It does not seem satisfactory to regard it, with Alford and 
others, as pointing to the preaching of the gospel, thus 
taking up again the immediately preceding ev tovtw. The 
repetition of the demonstrative with the same reference is not 
altogether natural, and the course of thought somewhat obscure. 
Neither does the sense go smoothly, if we accept Dr. Eadie's 
view that the apostle's 'joy in the preaching of Christ, from 
whatever motive,' is meant. It seems to me that tovto refers to 
what is actually the nearest antecedent thought, namely that, 
unexpressed but obvious and prominent, at the close of the 
previous verse, — *Yea, and will rejoice, though hatred to me is 
the moving spring with so many^ By tovto, I apprehend, is 
meant the hatred, and — the thought widening out at once 
before the apostle's mind — the condition of trouble generally 
in which he is placed. This, in substance, is the view of 
Lightfoot, Hackett, and Conybeare. 

The words used by the apostle here, tovto — o-omyptW, are the 
Septuagint rendering of the first clause of Job xiii. 16. The 
context there makes it not unlikely that Paul had the passage 
before his mind. 

Tov IIvcv/xaTos may be either a subjective or an objective 
genitive, — the meaning of the whole expression being, in the 
former case, *the supply which the Spirit of Jesus Christ gives j' 
in the latter, * the supply which is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.' 
The former seems preferable, because, as EUicott observes, 
'the parallelism, "the prayers you offer — the aid the Spirit 
supplies," is thus more exactly retained.' 

The non-repetition of 8ia t^s before hn^o^yp/ioM shows a close 
connection in the apostle's mind between the gifts of the Spirit 
and the prayers of his friends. But the view of Meyer, followed 
by Alford, that we should translate thus, * through your prayer 
and your supply' — by that prayer — * of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,' 

CI I. I. 20, 2 1.] Notes on the Greek Text. 441 

is, as Ellicott clearly shows, though consistent with the construc- 
tion, not necessarily recpiired by it ; and seems far from natural. 

20. With regard to the force of Kara, airoKd^xihoKLavy cATrtda, 
and tti(r;^vv^»/(r()^ai, sce the lecture on the passage. 

As iv -traunj Trafifyrjaicf. fi€yaXvv6-q<T€TaL Xpurro?, ' Christ shall 
be magnified in ' (that is, practically, ' through the manifesta- 
tion of) ' all boldness,'— full boldness under all circumstances, 
— is connected with 8m Oavdrov, as well as with 8ia ^ojtJs, it 
appears that the apostle's thought, in reference to death, is, 
primarily, of sustaining grace during his last sufferings. The 
explanation of this part of the statement, in the next verse, 
* To me to die is gain,' exhibits the hope, through the influence 
of which, in the hour of death, as he felt well assured, Christ 
would magnify Himself in him. In the expression, however, 
the /io/>d passes out of view, the sublime fact itself standing 
forth in prominence, 'To die is gain.' Thus the absolute 
security of the Christian's hope is suggested, — and the magni- 
fying of Christ through His gloriously faithful fulfilment of His 
promise to His people of heavenly blessedness. 

21. Schenkel, Vaughan, Lightfoot, and others, observe that 
by passing from the present, ^rjv, to the aorist, a-n-oOaviLVy the 
apostle intimates that it is not dying, but the resuU of death, 
which is ' gain.' However true this is in itself, and however 
certainly it would have been implied in the perfect tense, it 
may be doubted whether it can be said strictly to be set forth 
by the use of the aorist. The change of tense corresponds 
naturally to the difference between the state of living and the 
act of dying. Compare 2 Cor. vii. 3, cis to a-wa-KoQavCiv kox 
o-w^^v. This passage Dr. Lightfoot quotes as favouring his 
view of the meaning, rendering it by * to be with you in death 
and in life.' But this ' to be with you in death ' is ambiguous. 
Does not the apostle mean simply, * to die \vith you,' * to be 
with you when dying,' rather than * to be with you when dead^ 
— which latter sense would be required by Dr. Lightfoot's 
argument? Compare Mark xiv. 31, and Acts xxv. 11. 

442 The Epistle to the Philippians. [ch. i. 22-25. 

22. Various constructions of this verse have been proposed. 
Of these, two only seem worthy of serious examination. We 
may regard the protasis as running on to ^yov, tovto simply 
summing up what precedes it, and Kai, with the force of the 
logical ' then,' introducing the apodosis : thus, — ' But if I live 
in the flesh, (if) this is fruit of labour to me, — then what I 
shall choose I wot not.' This, with some variations of detail, 
has commended itself to very many commentators. The other 
construction is that of our translators, and of Bengel, Peirce, 
Vaughan, and others, — according to which rovro begins the 
apodosis. To me the latter seems decidedly the preferable. 
The only difficulty in it lies in our having to supply, in the 
protasis, some such words as co-rt /xot, * be my lot.' Now, 
though this ellipsis would be harsh in ordinary writing, its 
occurrence in a passage like the present, which is, most obvi- 
ously, one very much of musing aloud, appears not unnatural. 
Granting this supplement, — all the rest of the sentence goes 
smoothly enough. To the other construction the somewhat 
formal use of rovro which it supposes, presents an objection, 
as hardly natural in a ' musing.' The chief ground of doubt 
with regard to this construction, however, lies in the sense 
given to koX. No example of a precisely similar use of this 
particle has been adduced from the New Testament ; and in 
classical writers it seems to be poetical. 

rvojpi^eti/ means 'to discern,' — or 'to make known.' In 
classical writers the former sense appears to be the more 
common ; but in the New Testament, in every place where 
the word occurs except the present, it has the second meaning. 
In its connection here, however, it cannot naturally bear any 
sense but ' discern,' * see clearly.' 

23. *Ek rZiv 8vo means ' in consequence of the two.' 
Double comparatives, like /aoAAov Kpeicrcrovy occur in Mark 

vii. 36 ; 2 Cor. vii. 13. See Winer, § 35. 

25. For the construction tovto ttcttoc^ws, compare note on 
ver. 6 above. Some commentators, joining 7rc7rot^o>s closely to 

cii. I. 26, 27.] Notes on the Greek Text. 443 

o7Sa, make toOto the object of o78a, — thus, 'of this I am con- 
fidently persuaded, that,' etc. The construction adopted by 
our translators appears by far the more natural. 

MtVfti/ is * to stay;' napafxiyeiv, ' to stay with,' or 'at.' Having 
no similar compound in English, we cannot adecjuately exhibit 
the beauty of the transition, prompted by the apostle's loving 
heart, from the absolute ' stay,' to the relative * stay with you.' 
In I Cor. xvi. 6, Trapa/xcVciv is construed with tt^o? ; but in 
Gen. xliv. ;^^j the LXX. has it with the dative, as here. 

UpoKOTrrjv Kol ^apav both govern Trj<; ttiVtcws and vfxu)V, — * for 
your furtherance and joy in your faith.' The force of the 
genitive ttiVtcw? is not altogether the same, when looked at in 
its relations to the one governing substantive and to the other ; 
but the construction is quite simple and natural. 

26. Our translators regarded Kavxyp-o- in many places as 
equivalent to Kavxv^'-'*- ^ careful examination of the passages 
in the New Testament in which it occurs, however, shows 
clearly that, probably in all, certainly in almost all, it has the 
sense properly belonging to a noun in -/xa, — not 'glorying,' 
but ' matter, or ground, of glorying.' So here. The reference 
is fully explained in the lecture on the passage. 

The position of the words indicates that neither iv Xpto-rw 
'Ir/o-ov nor ev ifxol is in immediate dependence on Kavx^fJ-o-, but 
that both stand connected with the verb Trepta-a-evrj. 'Ev c/xot, 
in whatever way the figure involved in the preposition be con- 
ceived, seems to mean practically ' through me.' Compare Matt. 
ix. 34; Acts iv. 9, xvii. 31; Eph. iv. 30. See Winer, § 48. a, d. 
Into this use of ev here the apostle might naturally be led by 
ev Xpto-Tw *lrj(rov immediately preceding. Here, as often, that 
expression has obviously very much the force of ' through your 
being in Christ' Now, though this sense lies in the connec- 
tion rather than in the phrase itself, yet, as it seems to me, 
it might to some extent lead the way into the use of ev kp.oi 
with very nearly the force of 8t* kp.ov. 

27. IIoAtrevecr^e means, in a general way, 'conduct your- 

444 The Epistle to the Philippians. [ch. i. 28, 29. 

selves,' — but strictly, 'exercise your (Christian) citizenship.' 
The peculiar impressiveness of this word, as addressed to the 
Philippians, is illustrated in the lecture on the passage. Com- 
pare Polycarp's Epistle, § 5. 

In the second clause there are slight irregularities of con- 
struction. Carried on according to its beginning, it would 
have run thus : u/o, citc cX^wj/ Kat iSwv v/iSs, ctrc aTrcbv Kttt 
oKovwi/, /xa^cu, /c.r.X, or the like. Again, for 'that I may hear 
of your affairs, that ye stand fast,' we expect rather something 
like, * that, as regards your affairs, I may hear this, that,' etc 
Some commentators accordingly explain 71a as equivalent to 
ravra ; others, as an accusative of reference, ' as regards your 
affairs.' But neither is natural; and the true explanation 
seems to be, that the apostle's love takes it as certain that 
their spiritual state will be such as he is about to describe, — 
so that to ' your affairs ' the ' that,' or ' namely that,' attaches 
itself directly. 

5t7;kco, as used by Paul, has the idea oi Jirfnness very pro- 
minent j see I Cor. xvi. 13 ; Gal. v. i ; i Thess. iil 8. 

Lightfoot, following Erasmus, regards ttiVtci as personified, 
and as governed by the a-vv of o-wa^Aovvrc?, — translating thus, 
' striving in concert with the faith.' The construction adopted 
by our translators, according to which ttiVtci is a dative of 
advantage, appears to me very much more simple and natural. 
The general Pauline usage suggests that ' faith ' is probably to 
be taken here as subjective, not objective. 

28. The antecedent of rp-i^ is the previous clause, /x^ irrvpo- 
/Acvot, k.tA., the gender being through attraction to the pre- 
dicate «/8€i|ts : compare Mark xv. 16; i Tim. iii. 15. The 
compound relative has here, as occasionally, something of the 
force of ' since, seeing that;* compare Eph. iii. 13. On Gal. 
iv. 24, EUicott has a long and very excellent note on the uses 

of OO'Tl?. 

29. In the aorist ixapta-Orj the apostle looks back to the first 
bestowment of the boon, and refers to it simply as an historical 

CH. I. 30.] Notes on the Greek Text. 445 

fact. According to our idiom, however, in a case like this, the 
natural translation is by the perfect, * has been given.' Com- 
pare i. 6, 13 ; iv. 10. 

"Yttcp XpioTov belongs to 7rJfrx<ii' ; but, a clause being inter- 
jected, in a way very characteristic of the apostle's style, to 
bring out with force the specialty of the grace given to the 
Philippians, vizXp avrov is afterwards inserted for clearness. 

30. Supposing this verse to be in close connection with the 
29th, strict grammar requires the participle to be in the dative, 
in agreement with vylv. Some commentators clear the con- 
struction by regarding from 17x19, of the 28th verse, to the end of 
the 29th, as a parenthesis. In this case e;(ovT€9,'like (rwa^A-ovvrcs 
and TTTvpo'/icvot, would agree with the subject of o-ttjkctc in 
ver. 27. On this view, however, the sentence is stiff and 
artificial, and thus unlike the style of the apostle. It is better 
to suppose an irregularity.^ Illustrations of this particular kind 
of irregularity — that of using a participle in the nominative, 
where strict construction would require an oblique case — are 
not uncommon in Paul's writings \ compare, for example, Eph. 
iv. 2 ; Col. iii. 16 ; and see Winer, § 63. I. 2. 

^ Through a curious oversight, Alford (in his second edition at least), 
\vhilst in his note on the passage arguing strongly against the parenthetical 
construction, has the parenthesis marked in his text. 

44^ The Epistle to the Philippiaiis. [ch. ii. i. 


Ver. I. napaK/\77o-i$ and TrapafivOiov are, as nearly as possible, 
synonymous, — both meaning sometimes ' exhortation,' some- 
times * consolation/ By some interpreters 7rapdK\r}crL<: is re- 
garded as used in the present passage in the former sense, and 
7rapafj.vOiov in the latter. But the climax of the appeal, * if any 
bowels and mercies,' and the form of the entreaty, ' fulfil ye my 
joy,' suggest, as it appears to me, that the thought of the whole 
verse is this, — ' If your own experience of spiritual comfort has, 
through your fellowship with the Spirit, produced in you a desire 
to give comfort' 'Consolation' and 'comfort,' therefore, I think, 
excellently represent the two words ; and there is no tautology, 
for ' in Christ' and ' of love' give sufficiently distinct thoughts. 

There is no need to limit the breadth of reference naturally 
found in dyctTny?. To say, with some commentators, that it 
refers specially to the love of God the Father, so that in the 
first three clauses we have an allusion to each of the Persons 
of the Trinity, is far-fetched. To restrict the sense, with 
others, to ' brotherly-kindness,' appears, looking at the first 
and third clauses, to be equally unjustified. 

In the last clause, all the uncial mss. read ns instead of nva. 
Green (Gram. p. 109), admitting also the form tl<s for n before 
TrapafivOiov, where it has but little MS. support, says that these 
readings ' seem to point to a colloquial licence, according to 
which the combination €? tl<; was used as an indeclinable 
particle.' A larger number of cases, it seems to me, would be 
needed to justify such a view. If T15 be really the apostle's 
word, it can hardly be othenvise accounted for than on the 
supposition that he meant to use some singular masculine or 
feminine substantive, but under some sudden impulse sub- 

CH. II. 2.] Notes on the Greek Text. 447 

stituted o-TrXayxva Kai otKTtp/xot' The anomaly, however, is 
probably due to a blunder of some very early copyist 

2. The clause introduced by Iva. may be regarded as in 
apposition to xa^a.v, — the connection of thought being as if the 
apostle had said, * Fulfil ye my joy, and this is my joy, that ye,' 
etc. ; comp. John xvii. 3. The construction is the more 
natural, too, because in the writer's mind the idea of OiXm or 
TropaxaXui was SO vividly present, both of which, according to 
New Testament usage, may be construed with iko. The 
attempts of Meyer and Alford to make out that Iva. has here 
its telic meaning, are singularly forced. See note on chap. i. 9. 

2v/xi/a;xot may Stand by itself, as in our version, or may be 
joined to the following words. The latter construction seems 
to give more compactness and force to the sentence. By most 
commentators ro cv is regarded as not differing in meaning 
from TO avTo preceding, except that the expression is * stronger' 
(Lightfoot and Eadie), or * affords a more rigid notion' (Green). 
If this be so, then aijfjulrvxoL alone — which in this case, as it 
appears to me, musl be taken as an integral part of the clause 
— gives a clearly distinctive thought, preventing tautology. 
If TO ev be nearly equivalent to to avro, then the best explana- 
tion of the article before ev appears to be that of Green (Gram. 
p. 63), that it is employed, according to a familiar use, to bring 
out the abstract idea — the sense of to ev <f>povovvTi<i, therefore, 
being ' minding unity.' Still it may be questioned whether this 
is altogether natural. The article certainly in the first instance 
suggests that some particular 'one thing,' some definite refer- 
ence, is in the apostle's mind. Grotius, followed by Bishop 
Middleton (in an interesting note on the passage, in the second 
part of his Doctrine of the Greek Article), joins the clause with 
what follows, — thus, * minding the one thing, namely doing 
nothing according to factiousness,' etc. But is there any 
straining in taking the reference to be to ' the advancement of 
Christ's cause in themselves and others ' ? Would not any 
Christian congregation, hearing, in such a connection as the 

44^ The Epistle to the Philippians. [ch. ii. 3-5. 

words have in the passage before us, the exhortation * Mind 
the one thing/ immediately and most naturally give it such a 
meaning ? 

3. To govern fxrjSh/j <f>povovvT€s is easily supplied from the 
words of the previous clause, or, if we prefer it, iroiowTcs from 
the sentiment. 

The article in rrj Ta7reLvo(f>poa-vvr) may perhaps mean * that 
which beseems you,' or * which I know you possess,' and may 
thus be rendered by * due,' or by * your j ' but it may be simply 
the mark of the abstract. 

4. The KOL after aXXa assumes that, though the prohibition 
in the previous clause of ' looking upon our own things' is, in 
form, absolute, yet, from the nature of the case, the reader has 
taken the ' not ' with the force of ' not only.' As often in the 
New Testament, particularly with rules of conduct which are 
opposed to the strongest of the evil tendencies of depraved 
nature, the main precept is expressed in a very pointed and 
startling form, peculiarly fitted to secure its being remembered 
and thought over. 

5. If yap belongs, as seems probable, to the true text, we 
must suppose that the form in which the thought first presented 
itself to the apostle's mind was, ' Look not every man on his 
own things, but every man also on the things of others, for it 
becomes us, as Christians, to have in us the same mind — the 
same spirit of self-sacrifice — as our Lord.' This latter clause, 
however, is thrown into an imperative form, — with the intro- 
ductory particle retained, although, strictly speaking, not suited 
to the imperative. 

^pov€L(r6o), the reading of the Received Text, has some uncial 
authority; but there is great preponderance in favour of <f)pov€LT€. 
If we accept the latter, then there are two slight irregularities 
of construction in what follows. For tv vfuVf connected with 
a verb in the second person, strict grammar would require 
€v vfXLv auTots, or, according to New Testament usage, iv cavrois. 
Again, the regular form of the relative clause after fftpovdrt 

en. II. 6.] Notes on the Greek Text. 449 

would ol)viously be o kvX Xpioro? 'It/o-oC? (€<^poi/<i), — whereas 
with cV X/iurrul 'h/ffou wc must supply iKftpoviiTo. It was pro- 
bably to obviate these irregularities that some early copyist 
substituted <f>fuiV€i(T6u) for <f)f)<)vilT€. 

6. The verb vTrdp)^€Lv — in the participle at least, which is the 
form mainly used by Paul — appears to differ from cTi/at chiefly 
in that it calls particular attention to its predicate, as being 
specially important in itself, or in the argument ; compare i 
Cor. xi. 7 ; Gal. i. 14, ii. 14. 

Mop<f>rj is certainly not, as was maintained by the Fathers, 
equivalent to ovaia or <f>v<TLi ; * yet the possession of the fioptfirj 
involves participation in the ovcrCa also, for fi.op<f>r] impHes 
not the external accidents but the essential attributes ' (Light- 
foot). The proof of this is given in detail by Lightfoot in a 
long, admirable, conclusive detached note. See also Trench, 
Synonyms of the New Testament ^ 2d series, § 20. In cV fJiop<j>rj 
0€ov vTrap)(ixiv, therefore, we have the Lord's true divinity im- 
plied, and, in the next verse, in fjiop(f>r]v SovXov \a(3oiv, His true 

If ap7ray/Lios here be taken, according to the ordinary sense 

of nouns in -/xos, to mean ' an act of plundering,' then the 

meaning of the clause is exactly as in our version, and we have 

in it a continuation of the statement of our Lord's pre-incamate 

glory, to intensify the effect of the subsequent mention of His 

condescension. In this case, the sense of the participle 

virdpxoiv, when fully exhibited, is * because He was.' If we take 

ap7rayp.6<s as equivalent to ap7rayfj.a, * something carried off, 

booty,' then — the phrase ap7ray/xa rjyiia-OaL, iroulcrBaL, or the 

like, occurring not unfrequently in the secondary sense of * to 

reckon something as a prize,' ' to set great store by ' — the force 

of the clause is, ' did not regard it as a prize to be on equality 

with God.' In this case the clause begins the statement of the 

Saviour's condescension; and v-n-dpxoiv means ^though He was.' 

The form dp7ray/i.os occurs very rarely. Only one instance has 

been observed in a classical wnriter (Plutarch), and there it 

2 F 

450 The Epistle to the Philippians. [cH. ii. 6. 

denotes the act; but ecclesiastical Tviiters have it more than 
once, and their use of it is as equivalent to apTrayfia. It would 
seem, therefore, that the context alone must decide what is the 
meaning borne by the word here ; and, looking both at what 
precedes and what follows, the second view of the meaning 
seems the preferable. This passage is obviously introduced to 
illustrate self-sacrificing love. We naturally therefore expect 
the relative clause to have as its main statement mention of 
the great act of condescending grace ; so that, had the apostle 
intended to express the thought given in our version, it would 
probably have been thrown into the form of a clause subordi- 
nate to the relative clause, — thus, 'who, — although being in the 
form of God, He thought it not robbery to be equal with God, 
— yet emptied Himself,' etc. Again, — ov^ before ap-nrayfxbvy and 
oAAa at the beginning of the 7th verse, certainly seem to cor- 
respond, as ' not the one, but the other.' Now this is the con- 
nection brought out by the second view of the meaning, whilst 
the first view disregards it entirely, giving aXXa the force of 
dAA' o/xcos. Still further, — the emphatic position of apTrayfxov 
seems more natural on the second than on the first view. 
Finally, — the use of the adverbial construction rb cTvat ura 0€(3, 
* to be on equality with God,' instead of to ctvat tcrov 0€<3, * to 
be equal with God,' seems to accord less with ' thought it not 
robbery,' than with ' thought it not a prize ; ' for the adverb 
points naturally to equality in glory of manifestation, thus being 
substantially equivalent to ev /xop^^ ®€ov, — a thought which 
suits the second view perfectly, whilst on the other we expect 
something of an advance from ' form ' to ' nature,' such as the 
adjective to-ov would exhibit. On the interpretation of ov^ 
apTrayfxbv yjyi^a-aTo, Lightfoot has a long and excellent detached 
note. On the meaning of the whole passage, nothing probably 
can be found anywhere more satisfactory, for learning, exegeti- 
cal acumen, and candour, than the discussion in Dr. Pye Smith's 
Scripture Testimony to the Messiah, fifth edition, vol. ii. pp. 

CM. II. 7-10.] Notes 071 the Greek Text. 451 

7. Aorist participles connected with a main verb in the 
aorist are fre(]uently coincident in time with the main verb. 
So in this verse and the next, — kaftwv meaning, not ' having 
taken,' but * taking ;' and similarly with the others. 

8. To the use of 8i, as in Oavdrov Si o-ravpov, with a repeated 
word to which something strengthening is added, there is a 
parallel in Rom. iii. 22. Its exact force is 'but further.' *Even,' 
of the Authorized Version, represents it well. 

9. 10. It is doubtful whether after i^^apicraTo avrta the reading 
should be ovo/xa alone, or rh ovo/xo. There is weighty ms. 
authority both for the insertion and for the omission of the 
article. Lachmann, Meyer, Lightfoot, insert ; Tischendorf, 
Alford, Ellicott, omit If the article be read, the meaning may 
be, * the name, or dignity, which you all know so well.' If 
this dignity must be thought of as expressed by some particular 
designation, probably the name of * Lord ' is intended, — ^judging 
from the manner in which that name is spoken of in the 4th 
verse. Lightfoot thinks that * the divine name ' is meant, ac- 
cording to the frequent use in the Old Testament of such 
expressions as ' to praise, bless, fear, the name of God.' It 
seems clear at least that the personal name ' Jesus,' borne by 
the Lord during His humiliation, is not meant, — for the ovo/xa 
here spoken of was ' given ' Him by God in His exaltation. 
Had the name ' Jesus ' been meant, the words would have run, 
* God granted to Him that His name should be above every 
name,' or the like. As it stands, the language will not bear 
this sense. Accordingly the words ev to) ovo/xart 'It^o-oO, in 
which, obviously, from the connection, the same ovo/xa is 
thought of as in the preceding clause, must mean, not * in the 
name Jesus,' but 'in the name' — that is, in recognition of the 
dignity and glor)- — '^ Jesus.' The use by the apostle here of 
the name by which the Lord had been known in His lowliness 
has a rich significance, which is adverted to in the lecture on 
the passage. It is obvious from all this that the practice 
followed by some sections of the church, and founded, no 

45 2 The Epistle to the Philippians. [cH. ii. i o, 12. 

doubt, on the present passage, of bowing whenever the name 
' Jesus ' occurs in the pubHc prayers, is not merely a supersti- 
tious deference to the letter of Scripture, but to a misunder- 
standing of the letter. 

10. It may be doubted (see the lecture on the passage) 
whether i-n-ovpavLOJv, cTTtyctW, and Kara^^OovLuiv are masculine. 
Even admitting them to be masculine, it may be doubted 
whether, in what is so evidently simply a rhetorical expansion of 
the conception, ' God's moral creatures everywhere,' it is neces- 
sary to define particularly the various classes. If we regard 
such definition as needful, — then, as it appears to me, the 
apostle's reference is most naturally taken to be to angels and 
'the spirits of just men made perfect,' — to men living on the 
earth, — and to the devils, and the spirits of lost men. Meyer, 
EUicott, and others, make the classes to be, respectively, 
angels, — living men, — and dead men. But that the apostle, a 
very few verses after he has told us of his full conviction that 
for him ' to depart ' would be * to be wif/i Christy which is far 
better,' should include departed saints in a class distinct from 
the iTTovpaj/coc, — ^and this, too, in a passage where we instinc- 
tively think, not of the body, but of the spirit, — seems to me 
in the very highest degree improbable. Meyer's objection to 
the other view, that elsewhere in Paul's writings (as in Eph. 
ii. 2, vi. 12) he speaks of the evil spirits being situated other- 
wise than as KaraxOovLoiy has little weight. In a passage of 
this kind they are naturally spoken of in connection with their 
true home, — the abyss (Luke viii. 31). 

12. By some interpreters vinjKova-aTe is thought to involve 
a reference to vTrqKoos of ver. 8, and therefore to mean 
' obeyed God.' The distance, however, makes the reference 
scarcely natural ; and, looking at the clause which follows, 
' obeyed me ' seems rather to be the sense. But, of course, 
this means * me, as God's ambassador.' Compare 2 Cor. ii. 9. 

The use of the subjective particle of negation, fxrj, seems to 
show clearly that the combination of words introduced by it 

ni. II. 15, 17.] Notes on the Greek Text. 453 

beloni^s to the imperative KartpydCtaOi, not, as our translators 
liavc thouglit, to the indicative vTrT/Koixrarc. Compare Winer, 
§55. 1, (jy remark on Kjjh. v. 15. The whole sentence gains 
niucli in i)oint, too, by adopting this connection. 

'iU means obviously, ^ as if you thought it right to obey in 
my presence only.' 

For Paul's use of ^^6^0% #cat rpofinq with some such force as 

* self-distrust and strong solicitude,' compare 2 Cor. vii. 15; 
Eph. vi. 5. In the Septuagint use of the combination we find 
generally the full, strong, original sense of the words retained. 
See, for example. Gen. ix. 2 ; Ex. xv. 16 ; Deut ii. 25. 

15. As a rule, the active form KJiaLvav is used in the sense of 

* to shine,' whilst <f>aLV€<T6aL means ' to appear.' Occasionally, 
however, (fyaivea-OaL seems hardly to differ in meaning from 
<f)aLV€Lv ; see, in the Septuagint, Isa. Ix. 2, 2 Mace xii. 9 ; and 
in the New Testament, Matt xxiv. 27. The present appears 
to be another case of the kind. Though the image in <}>uxrTrjp€q 
is probably that of the heavenly bodies, yet <f)aLV€cr6<u can 
scarcely have here, as suggested by Meyer and Ellicott, its 
special use, to indicate their appearance or 7'isiftg; because, 
whilst this w^ould suit the bcgiimiJig of a Christian life, it does 
not seem to accord with that continued exhibition of a holy 
example, of which the apostle is speaking. -Applying the 
exact force of the middle voice, the meaning of the clause 
is, * Ye show yourselves as light- givers.' This thought is 
adequately exhibited by 'shine;' and therefore, with Alford, 
I am disposed to adhere to the rendering of the Authorized 

17. 'AAAa appears to refer to an unexpressed thought arising 
most naturally out of tSpa/xov and eKOTrtWa, with which the 
preceding sentence closed : * A running and a labouring I have 
called my ministerial work, — yet think not that I have any 
regret at having encountered the toil. Nay, — but if I be even 
offered as a libation, I rejoice.' Thus the dAAa, while retaining 
fully its adversative force, introduces a stronger statement than 

454 '^^^ Epistle to the Philippians. [ch. ii. i8. 

the preceding ; compare James ii. 1 8. The * yea, and ' of our 
version renders it well. 

Alford translates ci koL (nrevBofxou, ' if I am even being poured 
out,' — ' because the danger was besetting him now, and waxing 
onward to its accomplishment.' The present with ct may have 
this force ; but it may simply exhibit a vivid realization of the 
supposition before the mind; compare Mark xi. 26; i Cor. 
vii. 9. 

ntcTTecD? is governed by both Ovo-lo. and Aetroupyt'o, standing 
related to the two, however, in somewhat different ways. With 
the former the genitive is one of apposition, — ' the sacrifice 
which consists in your faith ; ' with the latter, one of somewhat 
loose connection, — ' the priestly service relating to, or con- 
nected with, your faith.' By some interpreters Ova-la is taken 
here for the acf of sacrificing ; but New Testament usage is in 
favour of giving it the sense of the victim. "EttI seems to mean 
* in addition to.' The statement of Josephus (Antiq. iii. 9. 4), 
that in drink-off"erings the wine was poured around the altar, 
does not present any difficulty in the way of our translating it 
' upon,' because, as Dr. Lightfoot notices, the Septuagint cer- 
tainly uses cVt to describe these libations ; which would be 
ample authority for thus picturing the scene in a figurative 
reference like the present. But it does not seem possible to 
give any distinct idea to ' upon ' in connection with the second 
governed substantive, ' service.' 

2vyxaipo> sometimes means ' congratulate,' and such seems 
to be its sense here ; for after the statement * I rejoice with 
you all,' — that is, * You and I rejoice together,' — the counsel 
or injunction of the i8th verse would be superfluous. Now in 
' congratulation ' ' reciprocation on the part of the person 
appealed to is not so much presupposed as invited ' (Light- 
foot). In Luke i. 58 also the word may very well have this 

1 8. To avTo is an accusative of reference, — * with regard 
to the same thing,' — that is here, practically, as our version 

cji. II. 19, 20.] Notes on the Grrrk Text. 455 

has it, ' for the same cause.' The phrase occurs also in Matt, 
xxvii. 44 ; where its for( e sccnis to be rather, * in the same 

19. Ac a[)pears to connect cAtti^oj with ei xal rr7rcV8o/xai, — 
the course of thought being of this kind, ' lUit, whilst I have 
spoken of speedy removal by a bloody death, as a possibility 
which I must fully take into my calculations, still I hope to 
have intercourse with you yet a while, — through Timothy in 
the first instance, and afterwards (ver. 24) personally.' To this 
connection Lightfoot objects that * the possibility of his own 
death, and the intention of sending Timotheus, do not stand in 
any sort of opposition.' But the possibility of his death, 
speedily at least, and his * knowing their state ' through 
Timothy, so as to ' be of good comfort,' — stand in a certain 
opposition. And the thought of the 24th verse may naturally 
be supposed to be already fully before the apostle's mind. 
Lightfoot himself connects ver. 19 with ver. 12 : 'I urged 
the duty of self-reliance during my absence,— >'^/ I do not 
intend to leave you without guidance.' To my mind, the 
distance is much too great to admit of this. 

20. 'Icroi/ru;(ov is by many commentators — as Meyer, Alford, 
Ellicott, Eadie — taken to mean Mike-minded with me'' (the 
apostle). The opinion of Beza, Rilliet, Lightfoot, Hackett, 
and others, that the sense is 'like-minded with him' (Timothy), 
seems to me very much more probable. Seeing that the 
apostle undoubtedly regarded Timothy as like-minded with 
himself, he would certainly, I think, had he intended the 
former meaning, have said, not ovSei/a alone, but ovhkva. oAAov \ 
just as Alford finds it needful to give in his note the rendering 
' none ehe^ and De Wette, * keinen andern^ Meyer says that, 
as no avro) is expressed, the * like-mindedness ' must be in 
relation to the subject of the governing verb ex^- ^^'^ ^'^ ^^ 
connection, I apprehend, the mind much more naturally sup- 
plies avTo) than aXKov. 

The compound relative oorts here represents its antecedent as 

456 The Epistle to the Philippiaiis. [ch. ii. 22, 2 


belonging to a class marked by certain qualities, — * of that kind 
who,' 'such a one as.' See Jelf's Greek Grammar, § 816. 5. 

In the revised translation of the Epistle given in this volume, 
yvq(Ti(ii<i has been rendered by 'truly/ This is inadequate; 
but the word in this connection is difficult to translate. Tyn- 
dale has 'with so pure affection.' Our translators, in their 
'naturally,' seem to have intended to bring out the idea of 
yfv-, the root of yi/T/o-to)?, — ' \vith the love of one who is kin in 
Christ.' ' Genuinely,' which, etymologically and otherwise, is 
the most exact English equivalent, they shunned, — probably 
as being in their day used only in poetry. Now also, though 
sufficiently common in prose, it might sound oddly in the 
connection. Conybeare gives 'in earnest.' EUicott renders 
verb and adverb together, ' will have a true care.' 

22. In SoKi/xrj, as in the other words from the same root, 
the primary sense, ' proof,' leads easily into a secondary, ' aj>- 
provaL* Compare, in English, '• z. proved friend,' 'a tried friend.' 
Here, therefore, the meaning may be, as in the Authorized 
Version, ' the proof of him, that,' — that is, ' the proof of what 
kind of man he is, afforded by the fact that;' or 'his proved 
character, his approved excellence, namely, that.' Of this 
latter sense of Soki/xtj there are, perhaps, instances in Rom. v. 4 ; 
2 Cor. ii. 9, ix. 13. 

Our translators have taken Trarpt as governed by (rvv under- 
stood, the (Tvv being expressed in the second member of the 
comparison, o-vv ifxoi But such a construction is found in 
poetry only; see Jelf, § 650. 2. It is probable, therefore, that 
there is a variation of construction in the two members, Trarpt 
being governed by SovXcvci understood ; see Winer, § 50. 7. 
As to the significance of this variation, see the lecture on the 

23. ^E^avr^s belongs closely to w? av, k.t.X., ' immediately on 
my seeing.' The form dc^tSw, for d-n-LSoi of the ordinary text, 
is supported by the most ancient mss., and has been received 
by the chief recent editors. Lightfoot has a list of a number 

(11. II. 25-2S.] Notes on the (irec/c Text. 457 

of cases in wlii( h, in this and other compounds of cKov, the 
aspirate is found in the oldest authorities. There is here, no 
doubt, a reUc of the digamma which the word had, and which 
has its representatives in the form the root takes in other 
languages, — in the 7' of the Latin viderCy and the w of the 
German wisscn and English wit. 

25. As Epaphroditus was evidently the bearer of the letter, 
it is plain that in -riyrjadfjLrjv, and in iTr^^xpa (ver. 28), we have 
cases of what is known as the epistolary aorist, — the writer 
l)lacing himself in imagination at the point of time when his 
letter was rautj and when consequently the thoughts and feel- 
ings of the time of writing would be past ; Winer, § 40. 5, by 2. 
'I'he imperfect yvy in the subordinate clause (ver. 26), is, of 
course, to be explained on the same principle. In Latin, the 
imperfect and perfect are similarly used in letters, the purely 
formal nature of the preterite being shown by the fact that the 
adverb 7iunc may be joined with the verb, whilst a real preterite 
would require tunc ; for example, novi nihil nu?ic erat apud noSj 
— literally, * there was at present no news with us ;' see Zumpt, 
§ 503. Our idiom, in such cases, uses either the present or 
the perfect. For the 'supposed' and ' sent' of the Authorized 
Vernon, therefore, we must substitute either * suppose ' and 
' send,' or ' have supposed ' and ' have sent.' 

27. Kat yap adds something strengthening, the Kat having a 
force akin to its usual ' even,' — ' for indeed, or really, he was 
sick.' See Jelf, § 786, obs. 8. 

For the reading of the Received Text, and the more usual 
construction, tVt AvTny, the great majority of the uncial mss. 
have tTrl Xvmjv. With the accusative the idea of ^notion enters, 
the difference of meaning between the constructions being 
merely such as may be represented by ' sorrow tipon sorrow,* 
and * sorrow laid upon sorrow.' 

28. HaXiv may be connected either with iSoVrc? or with 
XapriTt. The latter is probably that intended by the apostle, 
for he usually puts ttoAiv before the verb it belongs to. With 

45 8 The Epistle to the Philippians. [cH. ii. 30. 

this connection, moreover, the thought seems, perhaps, richer 
and more forcible. 

30. It is doubtful whether rov Xpio-rov belongs to the true 
text. The mss. have a considerable variety of readings, — 
XptcTTov, rov Xpto-Tov, and Kv/atov ; and one uncial, C, has no 
genitive at all. It is not improbable that this last manuscript 
exhibits the real state of the case, the various genitives being 
glosses by copyists to fill up what seemed to them the some- 
what bald 8ta TO epyov. But a similar use of to tpyov alone, for 
' the work of Christ,' occurs in Acts xv. 38. Compare also to 
€v in ver. 2 above, with the note. 

The MSS. are divided also between Trapa/JovAcvo-a/xevos and 
Trapa (3 oX€V(TdfX€vo<:, but with a great preponderance of authority 
in favour of the latter. The verb -jrapa/SovXeveo-daL has the 
sense of the Latin ma/e consulere^ ' to make poor provision for,' 
* have little regard for,' — rrapa here, as in many compounds, 
having the force of ' amiss ' — strictly, * going aside or beyond^ 
missing the mark. The other verb Trapa^oXeveor^at does not 
occur elsewhere, but is a form which — in the same way as 
7r€p7r€p€veorOaL (i Cor, xiii. 4), from TTcpTrepos, and others — may 
be derived from the adjective Trapd/SoXos, 'gambling, reckless.' 
Hapa(3o\€V€(r6aL, then, will mean ' to play the gambler,' — rfj 
^XV^ ' ^vith his life.' * Hazard ' excellently represents the 
thought, the original meaning of this word (which is probably 
derived from the Latin fessera, ' a die,' through the Italian 
azzardoj a corruption of a-tsar, for tessar,-do) being * a game of 
chance.' Obviously, as used by the apostle, irapapoXev^crdaL 
has nothing of blame in it, but simply sets forth, with much 
liveliness, the utter lack of care for himself which Epaphroditus 
had shown in his zeal to serve Christ by ministering to His 

CI I. III. I.] Notes on the Greek Text. 459 


Vkr. I. We naturally refer ra avra to the precept just given, 
XOi'pcTc cv Ktpt'o*. It is true that this precept has not occurred 
in the Epistle before in the same words, or in as general a 
form; but, besides the injunction of chap. ii. 18, there have 
been several references to spiritual joy, of a kind to impress 
every thoughtful reader with the conviction that to the apostle 
the cultivation of such a spirit seemed of the very highest 
moment, — references, therefore, equivalent to precepts. See 
chap. i. 4, 18, 25, 26 ; ii. 2, 17, 28. Some commentators have 
imagined that there is an allusion to a repeated occurrence of 
this precept (or of that of the second verse, with which, though 
not so naturally, the clause may be connected) in some previous 
and now lost letter from the apostle to the Philippians,^ or in 
his oral teaching when with them. But there seems to be no 
reason whatever for our going out of the Epistle itself to find 
a sufficient explanation of the reference. Lightfoot objects to 
making ra avra point back to yaip^rf. kv Kvpt'o), on the grounds 
that ' such an injunction has no very direct bearing on the 
safety of the Philippians,' and that ' its repetition could hardly 
be suspected of being irksome' (grievous) * to the apostle.' To 
the former of these objections the apostle himself seems to 
furnish a sufficient reply in chap. iv. 7, where he says, ' The 
peace of God ' — an expression which is very nearly equivalent 
to 'joy in the Lord' — ^ shall keep (<^povpT^€i, "garrison") 
your hearts and minds.' Neither does the second objection 
appear valid, because the aposde's word oKvrjpov does not 

* The idea that the apostle wrote more than one letter to this church is 
supposed to find support in the Epistle of Polycarp, § 3 ; but see note on 
the passage. 

460 The EpistU to the Philippiatis. [cH. iii. 2, 4. 

necessarily imply that the subject in his mind was in itself a 
disagruable one. Looking merely at his originative power and 
at his impetuosit}' of spirit, and not at his tender fatheriy care 
for the training of his spiritual children, one might naturally 
think that the iteration and reiterarion of any principle or 
precept would be * irksome ' to him. Lightfoot supposes that 
ra atTci points forward to something which the apostle was 
about to say, but has not said, — his thoughts, when he had 
reached this point in the letter, being through some circum- 
stance diverted into a new channel. He thinks the subject on 
which Paul intended to speak was probably the dissension 
among certain members of the Philippian church, already 
alluded to in chap, ii 1-4. That there was at the close of 
the I St verse of the 3rd chapter a sudden diversion of thought, 
I think highly probable (see the lecture on the passage) ; but 
the ordinal}- \-iew of the reference of ra axra. seems to me 
decidedly more likely than this. 

2. The sense of * Beware ' is given here to /SXcjreiv with the 
accusative, by the context merely. Compare, for example, 
CoL iv. 1 7. BAeTTca- d-6 means ' to beware of,' ' to give heed 
to, in such a way as to separate ourselves from ; ' see Mark 
viiL 15, xiL 38. 

4. The construction is easily explained. Kcu'-cp is regularly 
construed with a participle. Had the reference of the state- 
ment in the first clause of this verse been as wide as that 
of the 3rd verse — namely to all believers, whether Jews or 
Gentiles, — the apostle would have written KcuVcp exovre: ; but 
seeing that the statement made here was true of himself, but 
not of the PhiHppian Christians, he takes hiftiself out of the 
whole subject ^//x^rg, retaining the participial construction, Koi-rtp 

The primajy sense of the words extov ireTroL&rja-w iv a-apKL, — 
* having confidence in the flesh,' — is clearly not the meaning 
here ; because such a statement would be directly contradictory 
of that made in the immediately preceding clause. We may. 

CH. III. 4.] Notes on the Greek Text. 461 

with Van Hcnf^cl, take the time of the particiijle to be past, — 
or, more exactly, hold the participle to be used almost as a 
substantive or an adjective, the time being given by the context 
— ' though I (was once) a truster in the flesh.' Compare 
hiuiKitiv in ver. 6, which apparently must be explained some- 
what in this way ; see also the use of tav in John ix. 25. Or, 
with Beza and others, we may regard TriTroiOr^Lv as denoting 
' a ground of confidence, a right to trust,' — the apostle in this 
case, as often, placing himself on the ground occupied by his 
adversaries : * Supposing — what is not true — that, under any 
circumstances, a man might place confidence in the flesh, then 
I have ground for doing so.' In Ps. Ixx. 7, Symmachus has 
7mroLdrj(TL<: in this sense, representing the Hebrew npTO. Com- 
pare the use of cAttI? and x^^ i" i Thess. ii. 19. Indeed, the 
use of such nouns as 'trust,' 'hope,' 'joy,' for the ground of 
the feeling, is so natural, that probably in all languages it is 
found to some extent. This, I apprehend, is the true explana- 
tion. Most recent commentators put it aside, and content 
themselves with saying that in e^wv the apostle is to be regarded 
as declaring that he ' /las,' ^ possesses^ but does not * use* the 
confidence. But I think Beza's sense of TmroiBr)<TLv is here 
really assumed ; for, whilst ' to have, but not use, a ground of 
confidence ' has a distinct meaning, I cannot see that * to have, 
but not use, 3. feeling of confidence,' has any. 

Having used c^wv 7r€7roi(hq<TLv in this sense, the apostle not 
unnaturally, in the 2nd clause of the verse, gives ir^TroLOevai the 
same or a similar sense, ' to trust (with good ground).' Even 
apart from the evidence afforded by the general line of argu- 
ment, the use of SokcI shows that some such meaning must 
be given to TrciroLOevai. ' If any other man regards himself as 
having \.\\q feeling of confidence,' would not be a natural mode 
of expression ; while ' if any other man regards himself as 
having a ground of confidence,' or, ' as trusting with good 
ground,' is a clear and natural thought. EUicott renders, 'if 
any other man deemeth that he can put confidence in the 

462 The Epistle to the Philippia7is. [cH. iii. 6-10. 

flesh ;' Conybeare, * if any other man thinks that he has ground 
of confidence in the flesh / Alford (in his Authorized Version 
Revised)^ * if any other man thinketh to trust in the flesh.' 

6. On the use of the present participle Siwkwv, see in notes 
on ver. 4. 

7. We may take /xot in the sense which first presents itself, 
— namely as a dative of advantage ; for the facts which the 
apostle has enumerated were really, in his early days, great 
advantages to him, as regards his prospects of worldly advance- 
ment among his countrymen. Or, if we take ' gains ' as mean- 
ing ' advantages with respect to standing before God,' then /aoi 
will mean ' in my judgment.' According to the train of thought, 
the latter appears the more probable sense. 

8. It is evident from the emphatic position of rjyovfxcu, and 
the unemphatic position of Travra, that the antithesis set forth 
by the adversative and strengthening combination dAAa fxev ovv 
is not between ravra and Travra, but between rffqjxai and 
rjyovfxai. "Hyry/xat has its full force as a perfect, — describing a 
past fact having some direct relation to the present time. * But 
think not that the present feeling exhibited in this ^yiy/xat is, as 
it were, a mere dull impression resulting from the judgment 
formed on the subject long ago. Nay, but (dAAa), in truth 
(/x€v), looking over the whole case (ow), I also now deliberately 
reckon them all to be loss.' 

10. For the use of the infinitive with the genitive of the 
article before it, to express design, see Winer, § 44. 4, b ; 
Green, p. 178; Jelf, § 492. 2, and § 678. 3, b. This genitive, 
explained by the older scholars as governed by IvcKa or xa^iv 
understood, is in truth a simple genitive of cause, — a use 
according perfectly with the force of this case. By some com- 
mentators rox) yvZivai avrov is regarded as co-ordinate with tva 
Xptarov KcpSTJcrw, and therefore in immediate dependence on ra 
iravTa ilrjfxiwOrp^, kol rjyov/xaL (TKv^aXa cTvat ; but this view of the 
construction does not accord with the inartificial character of 
the apostle's style. It is much more natural to take the loth 

CI r. III. II.] Notes on the Greek Text, 463 

verse as subordinate to the clause with i^a, exhibiting a further 
object. Though Xpia-rov kcp8t/<7oj points to all the blessings 
enjoyed in Christ by the believer, yet the expansion of the 
thought given in the 9th verse shows tliat justification was 
mainly in the apostle's mind at this jjoint. Now every 
Christian — to some extent from the moment of conversion, 
and ever the more as he ripens in spiritual wisdom — while 
rejoicing with profoundest thankfulness in pardon and accept- 
ance, as in themselves unspeakably precious, longs to have, 
through the state of acceptance and the divine guidance thus 
granted to him, more abundant experimental knowledge of 

The participle o-v/x/xop<^i^o/x€vo? stands in connection with 
the unexpressed subject of yvtuvat ; and its being in the nomi- 
native accords with the usual tendency of the Greek language 
in cases where the (unexpressed) subject of an infinitive is the 
same as the subject of the governing verb. For another con- 
struction in a clause with -rov and the infinitive, see Rom. vii. 3. 
From the course of thought, it is evident that the participial 
clause stands in special connection with what im??iediately pre- 
cedes it, Tov yvojvat rr\v KOLVoiVtav tujv Tra^T^/xartuv avrov ', and 
that avfMfj.op<j)L^6fji€vo<; is very nearly equivalent to 8ia tov a-v/x- 


II. For the force of c? ttw? here, see the lecture on the 
passage. KaravTTJo-w may be either the future indicative, — 
with which e? ttws is construed in Rom. i. 10, — or the first 
aorist subjunctive. Though the subjunctive with ct is rare in 
prose (see Jelf, § 854. i, obs. i; and Winer, § 41. d, 2, c) ; yet 
the fact that an indisputable case occurs in the very next verse, 
€t KaToXdpoj, makes it likely that we should regard the form 
here also as subjunctive. Of sentences with d employed as it 
is in these verses, the ultimate explanation probably is, that the 
apodosis (some consequence, happy, useful, injurious, etc., as 
the case may be) is suggested and loosely represented by the verb 
of the main clause, as here by yvwvai and Skjjko) respectively. 

464 The Epistle to the Philippians. [cH. iii. 12. 

But, practically, hypothesis has passed entirely into the back- 
ground in such cases, the subjunctive being employed ' as an 
expression of design, to which a tone of diffidence is imparted 
by its being cast in a hypothetical form' (Green). 

The compound c^avao-racrt?, which occurs here only in the 
New Testament, is by some regarded as having a special force, 
— denoting distinctively a resurrection of the righteous prior 
to that of the wicked. Thus Mr. Birks, in his Outlines of 
Unfulfilled Prophecy, says that it * might be rendered " the 
peculiar resurrection." ' This seems to strain the word. EUi- 
cott observes that this double compound * does not appear to 
have any special force, but seems only an instance of the 
tendency of later Greek to adopt such forms without any 
increase of meaning.' 

Somewhat similarly, dvacrTa(ns (or here, c^avGurraorts) Ik v€KpQ>v, 
as distinguished from dvao-rao-ts vcKpcov, is supposed to refer 
specifically to the resurrection of Christ or of His people. 
Such certainly is the reference of the form of expression with 
€K, wherever it occurs in the New Testament. The other form 
also, however, which is considerably more frequent, has the 
same reference in a large proportion of instances. An in- 
teresting discussion on these points is to be found in Dr. 
David Brown's work on Christ's Second Coming, sixth edition, 
pp. 182-187. 

12. The aorist and perfect have their full distinctive force, 
— ikajiov pointing back to the time of conversion, TCTcXctcoftat 
referring to the apostle's subsequent life up to the time of 
writing. As object to (Xa(3ov we may either, from what 
precedes, supply ' the full experimental knowledge of Christ,' 
or, from what follows, 'the prize' or *the goal.' The latter 
seems to me the more probable. In the translation, I have 
used for (Xaftov and KaTaXd^io expressions kindred to each 
other, to suggest the connection. Whether this be judged 
necessary or not, however, it seems clear that ' attained,' of 
the Authorized Version, is an unhappy rendering, as suggesting 

CH. III. 13, 14.] Notes on the Greek Text. 465 

a connection with * attain ' of the previous verse, where ko.tq.v- 
ryfTix) is the Greek word. 

*E</)' <J may be exi)laincd in two ways. It may mean 'be- 
cause,' the construction of the relative being one of attraction 
for €7rt Tov'r^) oTi, * on the ground of this, \\\dX^' propterca quod; 
see Rom. v. 12 ; 2 Cor. v. 4. Or, as our translators have 
taken it, it may mean * for which,' referring to an omitted 
TovTo, the object of KaraAa^w : with regard to the omission, 
comp. Luke v. 25 ; and with regard to this force of cVt, Eph. 
ii. 10; Gal. v. 13 ; and, in this very phrase <<^' (J, Phil. iv. 10. 
The latter seems the probable sense here, the argument as 
brought out by it appearing somewhat more compact and 
forcibly expressed than on the other view of the meaning. 

The Kttt before KaraXdISo) is taken by Meyer to contrast that 
verb with the preceding (Xa(3ov, ' if that not Xa^w merely, but 
also (or even) KaraAaySo) ; ' by Alford and Ellicott, to contrast 
it with SiwKO). I am inclined to think that the view indicated 
by De Wette is perhaps more probable than either, — that the 
apostle, having already the great thought, KartKrjK^Stjv xrrro 
Xpio-Tov, vividly before his mind, instinctively attached the koX 
to KaTaXdjSu), in contrast with that as yet unexpressed thought 

Kara in KaToXafxpdveLv seems to have, as often in composi- 
tion, a strengthening power, giving the idea of strenuousness, 
suddenness, or the like. This is prominent in a considerable 
number of the instances in which the verb occurs in the New 
Testament. Paul's general use of it is, as here, with reference 
to such exertion as was shown by the racers in the great 
games ; comp. Rom. ix. 30 ; i Cor. ix. 24. 

13. Regarding tv Sk, and the image in eTrcKTctvo/xcvos, see the 
lecture on the passage. 

14. *Ev Xpto-Tw 'Irjarov may be joined either with StoaKw or 
with kAtJo-cws. No difficulty in the way of this latter construc- 
tion arises from the absence of a connecting ttJs; because to 
substantives like KXrj(rL<s, in which the notion of the verb they 
are derived from presents itself very prominently, adverbial 

2 G 

466 The Epistle to the Philippians. [ch. hi. i6, 17. 

combinations of words are often attached immediately, just as 
to the verb itself Compare the connection of dTro irp(oT>ys 
yfiepa^ with Kocvwvta, in chap. i. 5, and the note. 

16. The fact that the most ancient mss., A B N, omit xavovt, 
TO avTo <f>pov€LVj and that in the others there are variations in 
words or order, renders it in the highest degree probable that 
these words do not belong to the true text, but are a copyist's 
gloss, derived from chap. ii. 2 and Gal. vi. 16. The meaning 
of the words which remain is, * Nevertheless ' (or better per- 
haps, *Only'), * whereto we have (now, and at any time) 
attained, by the same let us walk.' With knowledge of duty, 
practice is always to correspond. 

On <fi$dv€iv, Ellicott remarks, — * The primary and classical 
meaning of this verb (/nrvenire) appears to have been almost 
entirely lost sight of in Alexandrian Greek, and to have merged 
in the general meaning " venire," and, with cts, ^' pervenire." ' 

^TOLXiiv has the force of oro^xw/xcv, * let us walk.' This use 
of the infinitive with a hortatory or imperative force is not very 
uncommon in classical writers, but is somewhat rare in the 
New Testament. Compare Rom. xii. 15. It ' can be used of 
all three persons, as a general expression of necessity or of 
something to be done' (Jelf, § 671. <r). For the exhibition of 
general principles of duty, the absence of a distinct exhibition 
of the idea of person renders the infinitive specially suitable ; 
and in the present passage * it points out with peculiar effect 
the unchanging rule for directing the Christian life ' (Winer, 
§ 43- 5> ^- To govern such an infinitive, the mind instinctively 
supplies xpv o^ ^"- Meyer, Alford, Ellicott, and others, trans- 
late cTToixitv here, ' walk ye; ' but, with the first person (<f>6d- 
<rafx€v in the relative clause, this seems exceedingly unnatural, 
— and the instances of the use of the infinitive for the Jirsf 
person^ cited by Jelf, in the paragraph above referred to, from 
Herodotus and Sophocles, quite justify our taking it with the 
same force here. So De Wette and Lightfoot. 

17. To the verb o-kottcii/, 'to look at, mark,' the idea, 'for 

cu. III. 18-20.] Notes on the Greek Text. 467 

imitation,* is given here simply by the connection. In Rom. 
xvi. 1 7, the apostle, using this same verb, says, * Mark, and 
avoid.^ Compare note on the use of ftXtntLv \n the 2nd verse 
of this chapter. 

18. With TTfpiTraTovo-t we expect an adverb or adverbial 
clause, — * wickedly,' ' in a way to prove themselves enemies 
of the cross of Christ,' or the like. In his earnestness, how- 
ever, the apostle hastens on into the relative clause, and takes 
into it the thought which, according to exactness of composi- 
tion, would have been expressed in immediate connection with 
7r«/3t7raTou(rt. Storr and others give TrcpiTrarovo-i the sense of 
* go about, itinerate,' — as in i Pet. v. 8 ; but this is altogether 
unnatural. The word must unquestionably have the same 
meaning here as in the previous verse. 

19. The last clause receives a peculiar prominence through 
its isolation in construction. With regard to the significance 
of this, see the lecture on the passage. As to the frequent 
occurrence of the nominative in participial clauses, where pro- 
perly one of the oblique cases would be required, compare 
note on chap. i. 30. Strictly speaking, however, as Ellicott 
observes, the use of the nominative in the present passage can 
hardly be called an anacoluth, but is rather ' an emphatic re- 
turn to the primary construction : ' ' many walk — the minders 
of earthly things.' 

20. The precise meaning of Trokirev^a here is not altogether 
clear. In the sense given by our translators, ' conversation,' 
or ' mode of conduct,' the noun does not seem to occur, though 
the verb TroXtTevW^at is used in the sense of ' to conduct one's 
self;' see chap. i. 27. The thought, moreover, according to 
this rendering, 'Our conversation is in heaven,' is peculiar, 
and difficult to grasp with definiteness ; for this is a consider- 
ably different statement from that in Col. iii. 3, *Your life 
(^(o^) is hid with Christ in God,' — the reference there being 
to the spring or principle of the believer's life, while ' conver- 
sation' denotes daily conduct in its details. The statement 

468 The Epistle to the Philipptans. [cH. iii. 20. 

that this, the Christian's daily Hfe, — ^not, * is regulated, accord- 
ing to the measure of his faith, by principles taught him from 
heaven,' or ' by the spirit becoming one who hopes for heaven,' 
but — * is in heaven * (and this with the strong word virap^i)^ is 
certainly remarkable, and does not seem to have anything 
very closely resembling it elsewhere in Scripture. IIoXtTcv/xa 
is found not unfrequently in the sense of 'state, common- 
wealth, country,' to which men belong as TroA-trat ; and this is 
the meaning attached to it here by Meyer, EUicott, and others. 
The sense of ' citizenship,' adopted by Wiesinger, Braune, and 
others, appears to me preferable, — the express exhibition of the 
relation of believers to the heavenly Jerusalem seeming to 
accord more perfectly with the natural course of thought than 
the simple objective exhibition of the city or country itself. It 
is true that no instance has been adduced of the use of the 
word in this sense, — but it is certainly a sense most naturally 
suggested by the form ; and the use, in Latin, of civitas for * a 
state,' or for * citizenship in a state,' and, in Greek, similarly, 
of 7roXtT€ta, shows how easily one word could represent both 
ideas. YLokirda occurs only twice in the New Testament, — in 
Eph. iL 12, and in Acts xxii. 28 ; and in the one place it bears 
the one meaning, * commonwealth,' in the other, the other, 
* citizenship.' Then the idea of 'citizenship in heaven' was 
one familiar to religious thinkers of various schools ; and both 
Philo and the author of the Epistle to Diognetus use the verb 
iroXiT€V€tr^at in this connection. It seems to me, therefore, to 
be the sense which attaches itself most readily and naturally 
to the substantive here. 

On vTrapxit-v, see note on chap. ii. 6. No one who has at 
all looked into the use of this verb will entertain any doubt 
that it was always intended to bear some shade of meaning 
additional to that of the simple substantive verb cTmt, though 
it is difficult occasionally to determine with precision what 
that shade is. In this verse the thought may be, ' is even now, 
is already,' or * is, let me remind you.' On this latter use of 

CH. III. 2 1.] Notes on the Greek Text. 469 

W6^\iiv^ to exhibit something as new, or, at least, as probably 
not obvious to readers at the moment, or not recognised by 
them in its full significance, see Alford's note on Acts xvi. 20. 

If TToXiTivfia be taken to mean * state, country,' then the 
relative ov may agree with it as its antecedent. But, on the 
other hand, whatever be the sense of TroAiVtv/i-a, i^ ov may be 
looked on as simply an adverbial phrase, meaning * whence,' — 
with the relative not in strict construction at all. See Winer, 
§ 21. 3. 

The position of a-wnjpa shows that the emphasis is on it, 
the contrast being very vivid in the writer's mind between the 
position of those who cherish such an expectation and that of 
those previously mentioned, wv to tcXos dTrojActcu Tyndale 
brings out the meaning well by his ' from whence we look for 
a Saviour, even the Lord Jesus Christ.' 

21. 2x^/xa and fJiop<fir} are, respectively, * fashion ' and ' form,' 
— the one comparatively transient, depending on casual cir- 
cumstances ; the other, the expression or manifestation of the 
real nature, and thus, it may be, enduring. The distinction is 
found also in the compounds. In Rom. xii. 2, — where our 
Authorized Version, by using in both clauses a compound of 
' form,' * conformed,' and ' transformed,' hides the distinction 
entirely, — ' being in agreement with the fieeting /as/iion of this 
world' {(Tva-xvH-o-TL^^o-OaL) is contrasted with * exhibiting « M^;/^^ 
o//i/e adequately represe?iting a change in the depths of the nature^ 
(fX€Taixop<f)ov(rOaL). In the verse before us the distinction is not 
so obvious. The meaning, however, seems to be, as Dr Light- 
foot gives it, 'will change the fashion {y.iTaa-yy)\ka.Tl(T(.i) of the 
body of our humiliation, and fix it in the form {(rvfifxop(f>ov) 
of the body of His glory.' Lightfoot, in a long detached 
note, discusses this distinction with characteristic thorough- 
ness. Trench's remarks also in his Synonyms, 2nd series, § 20, 
well repay perusal. 

MiTourxqi^cLTLCTiL — (rofxpiopc^ov means 'will change, so that it 
shall be conformed,' the connection being accurately given by 

470 The Epistle to the Fhilippians. [ch. hi. 2 r. 

the words cts to ycveV^at avro, which are found in the Textus 
Receptus before o-v/x)u.op<^ov, but are unquestionably a gloss. 
For similar constructions, see Rom. viii. 29 ; Jas. ii. 5 ; and 
compare Winer, § dd. 3. 

Kara t^v evepyeiav rov SvvacrOaL avrbv is, * according tO the 
exercise of His power.' On the force given by the introduc- 
tion of ivipyaav, see the last paragraph of the lecture on the 
passage. The form of expression with the infinitive does not 
differ in meaning from Svva/txts otherwise than as setting forth, 
* perhaps a little more forcibly, the enduring nature and lati- 
tude of that power ' (Ellicott). 

For cavTw, of the Received Text, the recent critical editions, 
following the most ancient mss., read avT<S, — as in many similar 
cases in the New Testament, where the reference is to the 
subject of the main verb. In classical Greek cavrw would have 
been necessary, just as * Himj-^^' is in English ; but in the 
later Greek the forms of the simple avros were very commonly 
employed instead of those strictly reflective. 

•CM. IV. 2-4.] Notes on the Greek Text. 471 


Vfr. 2. The first name in this verse, looking simply at the 
form, might designate a mari^ as has been supposed by our 
translators. The name Euodianus occurs occasionally, — of 
which Euodias might be a shortening. Tyndale took the other 
also to be a man's name, giving it as * Sintiches,' — a form for 
which there seems to be no authority. But when we look at 
the verse in its connection with the next, it becomes clear that 
both names designate wotnen ; because for avrat? of the 3rd 
verse there is no possible reference except the two persons here 
named. The true forms, then, are * Euodia ' and * Syntyche,' — 
both of which occur in inscriptions. 

3. Failing, as has been observed in the previous note, to see 
the reference of avrat? to the women mentioned in the 2nd 
verse, our translators have given the pronoun the force of a 
demonstrative, and thus made the apostle speak generally of 
the women who had been helpful to him in his Christian work 
at Philippi; whilst the real meaning is, 'Help them (Euodia 
and Syntyche), seeing that they laboured.' With regard to this 
force of the compound relative ocm.';^ as equivalent to the 
Latin quippe qui, or utpote qui, compare chap. i. 28, with note. 

Lightfoot would join /xcra koX KX-qfxa/roSy K.T.X.j with (Tv\- 
Xa/x^avov, rather than with crw-qOX-qarav, — supposing that the 
apostle's object is *to engage a// in the work of conciliation.* 
But this does not appear natural. In particular, the clause 
u)v TO. ovo/xara cv ^i/?Aa) ^oj^s would lack relevancy and point 
with this connection. 

4. 'Eptu (from a present ctpw, used by Homer) is always a 
future in the New Testament, as in classical writers : ^wills3,y,* 

therefore, — not * say,' as in the Authorized Version. 

472 The Epistle to the Philippians. [CH. iv. 5-8. 

5. As to the exact meaning of bndK^ia^ or to eTrtetKc?, see 
Trench's Synonyms, ist series, § 43. 

6. As to the distinction of meaning between izpocrf-vyj] and 
Berja-L?, see Trench's Synonyms, 2nd series, § i. 

7. Meyer and Lightfoot take 17 vTrcpe^ovo-a Travra vovv to 
mean ' which surpasseth every counsel, or device ' (of man), as 
a defence for the soul. This thought is in itself true and per- 
tinent ; but a comparison of Eph. iii. 20 naturally leads one to 
think it more probable that the ordinary view of the meaning 
was that intended by the apostle. 

The feelings having, with regard to all subjects of thought, 
and especially in the sphere of morals, very great influence on 
the judgment. Scripture language does not draw the sharp line 
which we often do between the action of ' head ' and ' heart' 
The KapBia, therefore, may be looked on as the fountain of 
vorjfjLara ; compare 2 Cor. iii. 14, 15. But in the vast majority 
of instances where KopSta occurs, the prominent thought in- 
tended is evidently ' the seat of feeling; ' whilst etymologically, 
and in ordinary use, vorjfia is * an act of the reason.* In the 
place before us, as it seems to me, one naturally attaches these 
meanings to the words, because the use of vfiwv with each 
separately appears to require a wider distinction in the sense 
than is brought out by * the KopSta and its issues.' Our version 
therefore seems to give the apostle's meaning with substantial 
accuracy by ' hearts and minds,' — though, for the latter, 
* thoughts ' would be more exact. Meyer says that ' the refer- 
ence distinctively of KopSta to feelings and will, and of vorjixara 
to intellectual action, is arbitrary.' But in truth, while per- 
mitted by the usage of the words, it appears to be naturally 
suggested by the connection and way in which they are here 

8. For the use of ct n? as practically equivalent to * what- 
ever,' compare Rom. xiii. 9 and Eph. iv. 29. 

Koyit^icrdcu means ' to think about ' (in a serious way) ; and 
thus when, as here, moral duties are the subject, a definite aim 

cii. IV. 9, lo.] Notes on the Greek Text. 473 

to bring results of thought into practice is naturally implied ; 
coraj)are i Cor. xiii. 5. IIprurtrcTt of ver. 9, therefore, simply 
takes up what Aoyt^co-^c has already suggested, and sends it 
home with energy. 

9. The relative clause a kui ^/xa^rrc, k.tA., may be construed, 
as by our translators, with the raOra which stands before 
'jrpaa-(T€T€. Thus the whole verse is a separate sentence, co- 
ordinate with the 8th. But, according to the flow of the 
language, a seems to connect itself more naturally with the 
Tavra preceding, — that before Xoyi^eo-^c. In this case the sen- 
tence of the 8th verse is continued to cV c/iot, where a colon or 
a full stop is put. This is the connection adopted by the 
earher English versions. With this construction, the first koI 
of the 9th verse appears to mean ' also,' rather than * both.' 
Ellicott translates a koI by 'which also ;' and yet puts a colon 
before the a, and a comma after c/aot, — evidently making the 
Tavra of the 9th verse the antecedent to cL To me this appears 
confused and unsatisfactory. 

IlapaXaixfidvtLv is sometimes used as almost an exact synonym 
for fiavOdv€Lv ; see Gal. i. 12; i Thess. ii. 13. But here it 
evidently means * \.o accept,' as in John i. 11 ; i Cor. xv. i. 

'HKovo-aTc is by Ellicott, Lightfoot, Alford, and others, taken 
to mean ' heard of.* It seems to me more natural to regard 
the apostle as referring in y]Kov(Ta.rf. and ciSctc respectively to 
the exemplification which had been given to them of Christian 
character in his speech and cotiduct, when he was among them : 
* which things — ye heard and saw in me.* So Meyer. Out of 
CV c/xol, which belong immediately to the last two verbs (and 
with regard to this use of which compare chap. i. 30), the 
mind readily supplies Trap' k\i.ov for iixdOin and TropeXa^cTc. 

10. ^AvaOdWtLv is used both intransitively, 'to bloom again,' 
and transitively, ' to cause to bloom again.' De Wette, Light- 
foot, and others, regard it as used here transitively, — * ye revived 
your interest in me.' A serious objection to this construction 
is, that it seems to make the blooming of kind attention to the 

474 The Epistle to the Philippians. [ch. iv. lo. 

apostle dependent on the will of the Philippians ; whereas the 
whole passage shows that circumstances alone had prevented 
the practical expression of what had all along been in their 
hearts. Supposing the verb to be intransitive, two modes of 
construing the following words are possible. To virkp ifiov 
<f)pov€iv may be taken together as an accusative of reference, 
' as to your care for me ;' or Kjipovilv may be joined immediately 
to dvc^oAerc, as governed by it in a somewhat loose way, and 
TO v7r€p kfjLov be taken as the object of ^povctv, — 'ye bloomed 
again to care for my interest' The latter of these construc- 
tions, adopted by Bengel, Meyer, Alford, and Eadie, seems 

* artificial, and contrary to the current and sequence of the 
Greek' (EUicott). The only argument in its favour is that, 
according to it, l<j> (S of the following clause refers with logical 
propriety to to virlp Ifxov', whereas, according to the other con- 
struction, it refers formally to the whole, to v-n-ep ifxov (fypovelv, 
and thus we have in the relative clause this statement, eVt tw 
<f)poveLv €0pov€tTe. Yet, in truth, the mind instinctively takes 
out of the whole clause 'my interest' as the antecedent to 

* which ;' — and a slight irregularity of construction appears 
very much more accordant with Paul's style than the somewhat 
stiff construction proposed. 

With regard to e<^' w, * for which,' compare note on chap. iii. 
12. Had the connection been with €(/)pov€rT€ alone, a simple 
accusative of the object, o, might have been expected; but c<^' 
w suits also rjKaipita-de. Some commentators, as Calvin and 
Rilliet, to avoid the awkwardness of construction discussed in 
the previous note, make <S masculine, referring to c/xov. But, 
as Meyer points out, <S, in this phrase c(^' (S, is elsewhere used 
by Paul only as neuter ; and, besides, it is difficult to see why 
the apostle, had ifiov been the antecedent in his mind, should 
have used iirl instead of simply repeating the v-n-kp of the former 

Kat, ' also,* before t^povilrt^ has relation to the tense of the 
verb. The apostle had expressed his joy that their care of 

c 1 1. IV. 1 1, I 2.] Notes on the Greek Text. 475 

him had * ncnv at last flourished again.' No sooner has he 
written or dictated the words, than it occurs to him that his 
statement might easily be misconstrued into one of reproach 
for their conduct in the past ; and accordingly he adds, — * a 
matter for which ye were careful also* before this, * but lacked 
opportunity' of practically showing your affection. 

1 1. Ka^* varTtprjcriv means 'in consequence of want.* For this 
force of Kara, compare Matt xix. 3 ; Acts iii. 17 ; and see 
Winer, § 49. ^, b. /^ 

For an admirable statement of the meaning of avrapKrj^, see 
Barrow, Sermon xxxvii., near the beginning. 

12. The second word of this verse is, according to the true 
reading, koI, instead of h\ of the common text. This koX is by 
Meyer, Ellicott, Eadie, and others, taken to mean ' also,' — as 
serving *to annex the special instance to the more general 
statement' (Ellicott). But passages such as Eph. v. 18, to 
which Ellicott refers, where koX is used in the sense of * and (in 
particular),' do not supply a real analogy to its use here. I 
cannot think that 'also' could ever be employed to annex a 
particular case to the mention of a general principle. Light- 
foot's opinion appears very much more probable, — that the 
apostle originally intended to write simply koX Tairuvova-Bax koI 
7r€pLa(T€V€Ly, ' both to be abased and to abound,' but, after 
having shaped the first part suitably to this, then interrupted 
the connection by the repetition of oTSa for the sake of 
emphasis. In the revised version of the Epistle given in this 
volume, the irregularity is imitated. 

*Ev Travrl kol ev 7ra<7t seems to be a colloquial mode of 
expression, setting forth universality with liveliness, like our 
English 'in each and all things,' or, 'in all and everything.' 
To suppose, with our translators, Beza, and others, an ellipsis 
after Travrl of tottw, or, with Chrysostom and Grotius, of ^6vi^ ; 
or, with Luther and Bengel, to take hv ttqxti as meaning ' among 
all men^ — is altogether arbitrary. Most of the commentators 
who take kv ■kovti koX kv iraai to mean ' in all and everj-thing,* 

4/6 TJie Epistle to tJie Philippians, [cH. iv. 13, 15. 

construe these words with fiefivrjfiaL, — regarding the infinitives 
which follow as a statement in detail of what is meant by ' all 
and everything : ' * in all and everything I have been initiated, 
namely/ etc. Meyer, followed by Alford, objects to this con- 
nection, on the ground that the verb fivelv is nowhere found 
construed \sith iv. He therefore, putting no comma after 
^cfxvTjixai^ joins €v Travrlj K.T.X., with the infinitives, giving the 
words the sense of 'in all circumstances.' The objection to 
the ordinary connection appears ' somewhat hypercritical ' 
(EUicott), — the construction of /j.€fxvr]^aL with cv, though not 
actually found elsewhere, being in itself simple and natural 

13. Uavra is an accusative of reference, — ' I have availing 
power with regard to all things.' Probably, however, the more 
accurate explanation of the c