« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
piecemeal. The clearness is the result of the reciprocal illustration of divided texts. Should any one choose therefore to insinuate, that this whole story of Epaphroditus, or his journey, his errand, his sickness, or even his existence, might, for what we know, have no other foundation than in the invention of the forger of the epistle ; I answer, that a forger would have set forth his story connectedly, and also more fully and more perspicuously. If the epistle be authentic, and the transaction real, then every thing which is said concerning Epaphroditus and his commission, would be clear to those into whose hands the epistle was expected to come. Considering the Philippians as his readers, a person might naturally write upon the subject, as the author of the epistle has written; but there is no supposition of forgery with which it will suit.
No. II. The history of Epaphroditus supplies another observation: “Indeed he was sick, nigh unto death : but God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” In this passage, no intimation is given that Epaphroditus's recovery was miraculous. It is plainly, I think, spoken of as a natural event. This instance, together with one in the Second Epistle to Timothy (“ Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick”), affords a proof that the power of performing cures, and, by parity of reason, of working other miracles, was a power which only visited the apostles occasionally, and did not at all depend upon their own will. Paul undoubtedly would have healed Epaphroditus if he could. Nor, if the power of working cures had awaited his disposal, would he have left his fellow traveller at Miletum sick. This, I think, is a fair observation upon the instances adduced; but it is not the observation I am concerned to make. It is more for the purpose of my argument to remark, that forgery, upon such an occasion, would not have spared a miracle; much less would it have introduced St. Paul professing the utmost anxiety for the safety of his friend, yet acknowledging himself unable to help him ; which he does, almost expressly, in the case of Trophimus, for he “ left him sick;" and virtually in the passage before us, in which he felicitates himself upon the recovery of Epaphroditus, in terms which almost exclude the supposi
tion of any supernatural means being employed to effect it. This is a reserve which nothing but truth would have imposed.
No. III. Chap. iv. 15, 16. “Now ye, Philippians, know also that in the beginning of the Gos· pel, when I departed from Macedonia, no
church communicated with me as concerning
It will be necessary to state the Greek of this passage, because our translation does not, I think, give the sense of it accurately.
Οιδατε δε και υμεις, Φιλιππησιοι, ότι εν αρχη τα ευαγγελια, οτε εξηλθον απο Μακεδονιας, εδεμια μοι εκκλησια εκοινωνησεν εις λογον δοσεως και ληψεως, ει μη υμεις μονοι: οτι και εν Θεσσαλονικη και απαξ και δις εις την χρειαν μοι επεμψατε. · The reader will please to direct his attention to the corresponding particulars órı and ότι και, which connect the words εν αρχη τα ευαγγελιε, οτε εξηλθον απο Μακεδονιας, with the words εν Θεσσαλονικη, and denote, as I interpret the passage, two distinct donations, or rather donations at two distinct periods, one at Thessalonica, άπαξ και δις, the other after
his departure from Macedonia, οτε εξηλθον απο Manedovias*. I would render the passage, so as to mark these different periods, thus: “ Now ye, Philippians, know also, that in the beginning of the Gospel, when I was departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only ; and that also in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.” Now with this exposition of the passage compare 2 Cor. chap. xi. 8, 9: “ I robbed other churches, taking wages of them to do you service; and when I was present with you and wanted, I was chargeable to no man; for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied.”
It appears from St. Paul's history, as related in the Acts of the Apostles, that upon leaving Macedonia he passed, after a very short stay at Athens, into Achaia. It appears, secondly, from the quotation out of the Epistle to the Corinthians, that in Achaia he accepted no pecuniary assistance from the converts of that country; but that he drew a supply for his wants from the Macedonian Christians. Agreeably whereunto it appears, in the third place, from the text which is the subject of the present number, that the brethren in Philippi, a city of Macedonia, had followed him with their munificence, ori ežnabor año Mansdonias, when he was departed from Macedonia, that is, when he was come into Achaia.
* Luke, ch. ii. 15. Kat syeveto, ws atyjafov at' AUTUVEIS TOY spavoy or any enos, “ as the angels were gone away,” i. e. after their departure, or TOPLEVES EITOV Tipos angeles. Matth. ch. xii. 43. 'Orav de to anabaptor Tveoma Egenom ato T8 arbgune, when the unclean spirit is gone, i. e. after his departure, diego Xetab. John, ch. xiii. 30. 'Otɛ sénage (18805) “ when he was gone,” i. e. after his departure, leyel 17,585. Acts, chap. x. 7, ws de annadev ó ayyedos. ó noww Tw Kogonaga, “ and when the angel which spake unto him was departed," i. e. after his departure, owinoas duo TWY O1XETWV, &c.
The passage under consideration affords another circumstance of agreement deserving of our notice. The gift alluded to in the Epistle to the Philippians is stated to have been made“ in the beginning of the Gospel.” This phrase is most naturally explained to signify the first preaching of the Gospel in these parts; viz. on that side of the Ægean sea. The succours referred to in the Epistle to the Corinthians, as received from Macedonia, are stated to have been received by him upon his first visit to the peninsula of Greece. The dates therefore assigned to the donation in the two epistles agrée; yet is the date in