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upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all.” This consistency is material, if the consideration of it be confined to the epistle. It is farther material, as it agrees with respect to the duration of St. Paul's first imprisonment at Rome, with the account delivered in the Acts, which, having brought the apostle to Rome, closes the history by telling us “ that he dwelt there two whole years in his own hired house."
No. VI. Chap. i. 23. “ For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.”
With this compare 2 Cor. chap. v. 8. “ We are confident and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
The sameness of sentiment in these two quotations is obvious. I rely however not so much upon that, as upon the similitude in the train of thought which in each epistle leads up to this sentiment, and upon the suitableness of that train of thought to the circumstances under which the epistles purport to have been written. This, I conceive, bespeaks the production of the same mind, and of a mind operating upon real circumstances. The sentiment is in both places preceded by the contemplation of imminent personal danger. To the Philippians he writes, in the twentieth verse of this chapter, “ 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.”
To the Corinthians, “ Troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken ; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.” This train of reflection is continued to the place from whence the words which we compare are taken. The two epistles, though written at different times, from different places, and to different churches, were both written under circumstances which would naturally recall to the author's mind the precarious condition of his life, and the perils which constantly awaited him. When the Epistle to the Philippians was written, the author was a prisoner at home, expecting his trial. When the Second Epistle to
the Corinthians was written, he had lately escaped a danger in which he had given himself over for lost. The epistle opens with a recollection of this subject, and the impression accompanied the writer's thoughts throughout.
I know that nothing is easier than to transplant into a forged epistle a sentiment or expression which is found in a true one; or, supposing both epistles to be forged by the same hand, to insert the same sentiment or expression in both. But the difficulty is to introduce it in just and close connexion with a train of thought going before, and with a train of thought apparently generated by the circumstances under which the epistle is written. In two epistles, purporting to be written on different occasions, and in different periods of the author's history, this propriety would not easily be managed.
No. VII. Chap. i. 29, 30; ii. 1, 2. “ For unto you is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake, having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me. If there be, therefore, any consolation in Christ, if
O THE PHILIPPIANS.
EPIŞTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS. 247 any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies : fulfil ye my joy: that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
With this compare Acts, xvi. 22: “ And the multitude (at Philippi) rose up against them (Paul and Silas); and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them; and when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely : who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.”
The passage in the epistle is very remarkable. I know not an example in any writing of a juster pathos, or which more truly represents the workings of a warm and affectionate mind, than what is exhibited in the quotation before us*. The apostle reminds his Philippians of their being joined with himself in the endurance of persecution for the sake of Christ. He conjures them by the ties of their common profession and their
* The original is very spirited: E. TIS 8v trapaxar,ous av Χρισω, ει τι παραμυθιον αγαπης, ει τις κοινωνια Πνευματος, ει τινα σπλαγχνα και οικτιρμοί, πληρωσατε με την χαραν.
common sufferings, to “ fulfil his joy;" to complete, by the unity of their faith, and by their mutual love, that joy with which the instances he had received of their zeal and attachment had inspired his breast. Now if this was the real effusion of St. Paul's mind, of which it bears the strongest internal character, then we have in the words “ the same conflict which ye saw in me,” an authentic confirmation of so much of the apostle's history in the Acts, as relates to his transactions at Philippi; and, through that, of the intelligence and general fidelity of the historian.