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4. Exhortations and Thanks

1Wherefore, my brethren beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my beloved. 2I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yea, I beseech thee also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 10But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length ye have revived your thought for me; wherein ye did indeed take thought, but ye lacked opportunity. 11Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content. 12I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. 13I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me. 14Howbeit ye did well that ye had fellowship with my affliction. 15And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only; 16for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my need. 17Not that I seek for the gift; but I seek for the fruit that increaseth to your account. 18But I have all things, and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, and odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. 19And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20Now unto our God and Father be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. 21Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren that are with me salute you. 22All the saints salute you, especially they that are of Caesar's household. 23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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10 But I rejoiced He now declares the gratitude of his mind towards the Philippians, that they may not regret their beneficence, 246246     “Afin qu’ils ne se repentent point de luy auoir assiste;” — “That they may not regret their having assisted him.” as is usually the case when we think that our services are despised, or are reckoned of no account. They had sent him by Epaphroditus supplies for the relief of his necessity; he declares that their present had been acceptable to him, and he says, that he rejoiced that they had plucked up new vigor so as to exercise care respecting him. The metaphor is borrowed from trees, the strength of which is drawn inward, and lies concealed during winter, and begins to flourish 247247     “A reprendre vigueur et fleurir;” — “To recover strength and flourish.” in spring. But immediately afterwards subjoining a correction, he qualifies what he had said, that he may not seem to reprove their negligence in the past. He says, therefore, that they had formerly, too, been concerned respecting him, but that the circumstances of the times had not admitted of his being sooner relieved by their benignity. Thus he throws the blame upon the want of opportunity. I take the phrase ἐφ᾿ ᾧ᾿ as referring to the person of Paul, and that is its proper signification, as well as more in accordance with the connection of Paul’s words.

11 Not that I speak with respect to want Here we have a second correction, by which he guards against its being suspected that his spirit was pusillanimous and broken down by adversities. For it was of importance that his constancy and moderation should be known by the Philippians, to whom he was a pattern of life. Accordingly he declares, that he had been gratified by their liberality in such a way that he could at the same time endure want with patience. Want refers here to disposition, for that man can never be poor in mind, who is satisfied with the lot which has been assigned to him by God.

In what state I am, says he, that is, “Whatever my condition may be, I am satisfied with it.” Why? because saints know that they thus please God. Hence they do not measure sufficiency by abundance, but by the will of God, which they judge of by what takes place, for they are persuaded that their affairs are regulated by his providence and good pleasure.

12 I know both how to be abased There follows here a distinction, with the view of intimating that he has a mind adapted to bear any kind of condition. 248248     “Il fait yci vne diuision, disant qu’il est tellement dispose en son coeur qu’il scait se cornporter et en prosperite et en adversite;” — “He makes a distinction here, saying that he is prepared in his mind in such a manner, that he knows how to conduct himself both in prosperity and in adversity.” Prosperity is wont to puff up the mind beyond measure, and adversity, on the other hand, to depress. From both faults he declares himself to be free. I know, says he, to be abased — that is, to endure abasement with patience. Περισσεύειν is made use of twice, but in the former instance it is employed as meaning, to excel; in the second instance as meaning, to abound, so as to correspond with the things to which they are exposed. If a man knows to make use of present abundance in a sober and temperate manner, with thanksgiving, prepared to part with everything whenever it may be the good pleasure of the Lord, giving also a share to his brother, according to the measure of his ability, and is also not puffed up, that man has learned to excel, and to abound. This is a peculiarly excellent and rare virtue, and much superior to the endurance of poverty. Let all who wish to be Christ’s disciples exercise themselves in acquiring this knowledge which was possessed by Paul, but in the mean time let them accustom themselves to the endurance of poverty in such a manner that it will not be grievous and burdensome to them when they come to be deprived of their riches.

13 I can do all things through Christ As he had boasted of things that were very great, 249249     “De choses grandes et excellentes;” — “Of things great and excellent.” in order that this might not be attributed to pride or furnish others with occasion of foolish boasting, he adds, that it is by Christ that he is endowed with this fortitude. “I can do all things,” says he, “but it is in Christ, not by my own power, for it is Christ that supplies me with strength.” Hence we infer, that Christ will not be less strong and invincible in us also, if, conscious of our own weakness, we place reliance upon his power alone. When he says all things, he means merely those things which belong to his calling.




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