Abbildungen der Seite

between presbyter and bishop. They were different appellations belonging to the same spiritual officers. But how is the mention of two or more bishops accounted for, since modern usage and modern ideas lead us to expect no more than one? Are we to say, with Michaelis, that the christians had no public edifices or temples which contained, as in later ages, an assembly of several thousands, but were obliged to hold their meetings in private houses, over each of which an inspector or bishop presided? This explanation is insufficient, because it is utterly improbable that the christians in Philippi were so numerous as to be under the necessity of distributing themselves into little bands or companies. It is an idle conjecture to assume, that there was no edifice to which they had access capable of affording accommodation to all members of the church. If in Ephesus there was but one congregation, much more may we expect only one at Philippi. If in Jerusalem there was only one assembly meeting in one place, much more may this be affirmed of the comparatively small Philippi. To every impartial reader of the epistle it will always appear, that there was no more than one congregation meeting for worship in one place. There were several bishops in the church. Nor was a plurality of pastors peculiar to the Philippian society. Ephesus too had its elders (Acts xx); and in Ephesus there was a single church. Jerusalem had its bishops; and in it there was one church or assembly of christians. Whether all the apostolic churches had a plurality of pastors, although such a feature be not expressly attributed to them in the New Testament, is a topic which cannot be discussed in this place. The settlement of it involves an answer to the question, Were the primitive churches similarly organised? Did the apostles, acting under infallible direction, and the evangelists whom they sanctioned, give the same constitution to all? Different inquirers will furnish different replies to such a question. The exordium contains no mention of Paul's apostolic office, as is usual in his other letters. He associates Timothy with himself, because the latter had been with him when he founded the church at Philippi, and when he visited it subsequently; both being denominated bondmen (805xol) of Jesus Christ. His laying aside the apostolic character on the present occasion, may perhaps be explained by a motive of delicacy. He wished to avoid the use of a title which would naturally suggest a claim on his part to the benefit he had received. In addition to this it should be remembered, that he had no reason for asserting his apostolic authority. There were no factions in the church to which he was writing. The believers had not apostatized from the faith, or given heed to seducing

teachers who impugned his apostleship. On the contrary, the church had stood firm in maintaining his doctrine and loving his person. The apostle cared not for associating with his name a title which justly belonged to him; as long as there was no sufficient cause for assuming it. Such were his humility and delicate sense of propriety, that he waived the higher for the sake of the lower appellation. He took no pride in names and titles. In regard to the salutations at the conclusion of the epistle, it has been observed by Lardner that they are singular, because different from those of the other epistles written about the same time. First it is said: ‘The brethren which are with me greet you.’ (iv. 21.) Secondly, “All the saints salute you.’ (22.) The brethren are Mark, Aristarchus, Jesus Justus, Demas, and Luke, who had joined the apostle at Rome, and endeavoured to promote the interests of christianity under his direction. The salutation sent by all the saints was prompted, not merely by the love subsisting between all the brethren however remote, but by a consideration of the kind present which they had sent the apostle, exhibiting attachment to his person and the cause of the gospel. Such a token of their regard for Paul, must have tended to endear the donors to the christians at Rome. The individuals belonging to Caesar's household are particularly mentioned as sending salutations. Probably Caesar's freedmen or domestics are meant—those who were called Caesariani. Whether any of his relatives are included in the appellation, is doubtful. There is no proof that Poppaea, the emperor's wife, was a christian; although Macknight, in order to shew that she favourably regarded the apostle, quotes the epithet which Josephus applies to her,0soaso; devout. Neither is there any ground for supposing that Seneca was of this number, for he did not belong to Caesar's household, neither was he at any time a christian, as far as can be ascertained from his history. He was a senator in the city. Whether these converts were chiefly composed of such as had been Jewish slaves, or natives of Rome, cannot be known; although the former is more probable from the circumstance that Josephus was introduced to Poppaea by a Jewish comedian named Alityrus. Doubtless it would rejoice the Philippians to hear that christianity found its way into the palace of Caesar—a place full of abomination and wickedness. So rare an instance of the power of truth would fill their minds at once with amazement and consolation. And that these domestics especially saluted the Philippians, augured well for the release of him by whom they had been converted, and for the cause of the gospel at Rome. VI. Authenticity and genuineness. These have never been called in question. Testimonies in favour of its authenticity are found in Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and the epistle of the churches of Vienne and Lyons. Polycarp writes: “For neither I, nor any one like me, can reach the wisdom of the blessed and renowned Paul, who, when absent, wrote to you letters; into which if ye look, you will be able to edify yourselves in the faith which has been given you.” And again: “But I have neither perceived nor heard any such thing to be in you, among whom the blessed Paul laboured, who are in the beginning of his Epistle; for he glories in you in all the churches, which then alone knew God.”f Irenaeus says: “As also Paul says to the Philippians: ‘I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.’í In Clement of Alexandria we find the following: “When Paul confesses of himself, ‘Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect,’ &c.’ S Tertullian writes: “Of which [hope] being in suspense himself, when he writes to the Philippians, “If by any means, says he, I might attain to the resurrection of the dead; not as though I had already attained, or were perfected.” In the epistle of the churches of Vienne and Lyons, as given by Eusebius, is the following quotation of Philip. ii. 6; ‘Who also were so far followers and imitators of Christ: who being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God.”"

VII. Contents.

Whether the apostle wrote more epistles than one to the Philippians cannot be satisfactorily determined. Although they had sent him several presents, it does not follow that he had made written acknowledgments of them, as Michaelis imagines. Three circumstances seem to favour the opinion that he had sent several letters. In chapter iii. 18, it is written: ‘For many walk of whom I have told you often,’ &c. In iii. 1, we also find the following: ‘To write the same things to you, to me, indeed, is not grievous,’ &c. Again; Polycarp mentions letters to the Philippians as having been written to them by Paul. Yet it cannot be denied that these considerations afford but a slight presumption, because they are capable of another explanation. Thus, asyov (iii. 18) may be restricted to his former discourses when present. To write the same things to you, is a phrase that may import, to write the same things which I previously inculcated by word of mouth, as Beza, Rosenmüller, and others, understand it; or, to write the same things to you as I have written to other churches, as Macknight, with less probability, interprets it. The plural imaroxal employed by Polycarp, may be used for the singular, as Cotelerius has shown. The passage in the eleventh chapter of Polycarp's Epistle, already quoted, has been adduced for the purpose of neutralizing the plural number #Tigroxal as employed in the third chapter. But the singular number (epistole ejus) may here allude to the most prominent, i.e., the present epistle. Lardner, after Salmeron, thinks, that the plural iria roxal means not only the Epistle to the Philippians, but also both Epistles to the Thessalonians, because the words, “He glories in you in all the churches which then alone knew God,” are taken from 2 Thess, i. 4. This is doubtful. The quotation is not very clear. On the whole, it never can be proved that the apostle had written to the Philippians previously to his sending them the present canonical letter. But in our view there is a presumption in favour of his having done so. Heinrichs advocated the opinion, that the epistle is composed of two letters, different in argument and object; the one addressed to the whole community at Philippi, the other intended for the apostle's intimate friends alone. The former is supposed to contain chapters i., ii., iii., verse 1 as far as #y Kugio; and iv. 21—23 (inclusive): the latter, chapter iii. beginning with air& ygápsw in the first verse, and chapter iv. 1–20. The two letters are thought to have received their present position and form when the New Testament epistles were collected. The words to Aoirov, xzigers #y Kugio certainly appear to indicate the speedy termination of the letter, as the analogy of 2 Cor. xiii. 11; Ephes. vi. 10; 2 Thess. iii. 1, shows. Not that the verb Xaigsts is necessarily valedictory, or equivalent to the Latin valete; but that the adverbial expression to Aotov indicates a summing up in brief space of all that the writer intends to add. In 1 Thess. iv. 1, the same formula stands at a considerable distance from the termination of the Epistle, intimating that it is placed at the end of an important topic, at whatever place of the Epistle the dicussion of such a topic comes to a close. Perhaps the apostle originally intended to conclude it at iii. 1; but when Epaphroditus did not immediately set out, or on the receipt of additional information regarding the Judaisers, he was moved by the Holy Ghost to append a warning against them.

* otre yāp kyo, otre àAAoc buotoc iuoi divara, karakoxovocal rij copig roi parapiov kai čvéáčov IIaşAov'-82 rai dirov tuiv £ypayev trigoxic eig fic idy Aykörrmors, 8vynbiaso 0s, oikočousia.0a sic, rov 808sioav piv trictv, c.r.X.— }. Ad. Philipp., cap. iii., p. 118, ed. Hefele. (editio altera.) 1842. + Ego autém nihil tale sensi in vobis, vel audiwi, in quibus laboravit beatus Paulus, qui estis [laudati) in principio epistolae ejus. De vobis etenim gloriaturin omnibus ecclesiis, quae Deum soloe tunccognoverant.— Id. p. 122, cap. xi. to Quemadmodum et Paulus Philippensibus ait: Repletus sum acceptis ab Epaphrodito, quae a vobis missa sunt, odorem suavitatis, hostiam acce tabilem, placentem Deo.—Advers. Haeres., lib. iv., cap. 34, p. 326. E Grabe. § Abrol, poxoyoivroc roi IIaixov repi tavrot. Oik art on AaBov, c.r.A.— Praedag., lib. i., p. 107, D. See also Stromata, lib. iv., p. 511, A: Cohort. ad Genies., p. 56, B.(Ed. Colon. 1688.) | Ad quam (justitiam) pendens et ipse, quum Philippensibus scribit, si quà, inquit, concurram in resurrectionem quae est a mortuis; non quia jam accepi, aut consummatus sum.—De Resur. Carnis. cap. xxiii. * O. Kai Hiri roooirov &n Awrai kai pupinrai Xptcot, oivorro, fic ov Poppy Geof iträpxwv čvk prayhöv joyfloaro fival to a 0ég.—Euseb. H. E. lib. v. cap. 2.

The hypothesis which Heinrichs ingeniously developed and defended, was approved in the main by a reviewer in the “Jena Literatur-Zeitung’ for 1805. It was afterwards adopted, with slight variations, by Paulus. But it has never met with general approbation. Resting, as it does, on no foundation, and supported by arguments more specious than solid, it must be abandoned to that universal neglect into which it has already fallen. It has been refuted by Bertholdt, Flatt, Schott, Krause, Rheinwald, and others. It is, therefore, unnecessary to enter, on the present occasion, upon a formal demolition of it, because it has found so little favour even among the speculating countrymen of the original proposer.

This Epistle is the shortest addressed to any church, except the second to the Thessalonians. It may be divided into six paragraphs, or parts. The doctrinal and the moral are not separately treated, as in other letters written by Paul. They are, more or less blended throughout. The first part is historical, relating to the writer's condition at Rome. The Epistle does not exhibit the same regularity of structure or sequence of argument as generally characterise the writings of the apostle. There are sudden digressions, and breaks in the logical succession of ideas, especially towards the end. The intimacy subsisting between himself and his readers, no less than the kindheartedness of the latter, rendered an artificial plan unnecessary. Its predominant character being the pathetic and the affectionate, the heart of the apostle is exhibited with singular tenderness and beauty of expression. His reasoning powers were not required for the confutation of error among the Philippians; and there is, therefore, less of the formal and the consecutive in the composition. Its general tone is practical. The deep earnestness and gratitude of the writer are unfolded in terms pervaded by uncommon delicacy and affection. A generous tide of noble feeling is poured into the Epistle, from a soul overflowing with the purest and highest sentiments of which humanity is capable.

The six paragraphs are these: (a). Chap. i. 1–11; (b). i. 12 —ii. 18; (c). ii. 19–30; (d). iii. 1–iv. 1; (e). iv. 2–9 ; (f). iv. 10—23.

« ZurückWeiter »