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“ be abased, and I know how to abound;

every where and in all things I am in- structed both to be full and to be hungry, 6 both to abound and to suffer need. I “ can do all things through Christ which

strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye & have well done that

ye

did communicate “ with my affliction. Now ye, Philippians, “ know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia,

no church communicated with me as con“ cerning giving and receiving, but ye only; “ for even in Thessalonica ye

sent once " and again unto my necessity: not because' “ I desire a gift ; but I desire fruit that may “ abound to your account. But I have all, " and abound; I am full, having received “ of Epaphroditus the things which were « sent from you." Chap. iv. ver. 10--18. To the Philippian reader, who knew that contributions were wont to be made in that church for the apostle's subsistence and relief, that the supply which they were accustomed to send to him had been delayed by the want of opportunity, that Epaphroditus had undertaken the charge of conveying

their liberality to the hands of the apostle, that he had acquitted himself of this commission at the peril of his life, by hastening to Rome under the oppression of a grievous sickness; to a reader who knew all this beforehand, every line in the above quotations would be plain and clear. But how is it with a stranger ? The knowledge of these several particulars is necessary to the perception and explanation of the references; yet that knowledge must be gathered from a comparison of passages lying at a great distance from one another. Texts must be interpreted by texts long subsequent to them, which necessarily produces embarrassment and suspense. The passage quoted from the beginning of the epistle contains an acknowledgment, on the part of the apostle, of the liberality which the Philippians had exercised towards him; but the allusion is so general and indeterminate, that had nothing more been said in the sequel of the epistle, it would hardly have been applied to this occasion at all. In the second quotation, Epaphroditus is declared to have ministered to the apostle's wants,

and “to have supplied their lack of service " towards him;" but how, that is, at whose expence, or from what fund he“ninistered," or what was the “lack of service” which he supplied, are left very

much unexplained, till we arrive at the third quotation, where we find that Epaphroditus “ ministered to “ St. Paul's wants," only by conveying to his hands the contributions of the Philippians?

“ I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from

you :" -and that “ the lack of service “ which he supplied" was a delay or interruption of their accustomed bounty, occafioned by the want of opportunity; “I re

joiced in the Lord greatly, that now at " the last your care of me hath flourished

again; wherein yewere also careful, butye “ lacked opportunity.” The affair at length comes out clear ; but it comes out by piecemeal. The clearness is the result of the reciprocal illustration of divided texts. Should any one choose therefore to infinuate, that this whole story of Epaphroditus, of his journey, his errand, his fickness, or even his existence, might, for what we know,

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have no other foundation than in the ins vention 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 authen. tic, 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 : 66 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

for. row.”

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

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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 obfervation 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 fick;" and virtually in the passage before us, in which he felicitates himself

recovery

of Epaphroditus, in terms which almost ex

clude

upon the

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