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EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 27

Verse 27. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death. Dr. Paley has remarked (Hor. Paul. on Phil. No. ii.) that the account of the sickness and recovery of Epaphroditus is such as to lead us to suppose that he was not restored by miracle; and he infers that the power of healing the sick was conferred on the apostles only occasionally, and did not depend at all on their will, since, if it had, there is every reason to suppose that Paul would at once have restored him to health. This account, he adds, shows also that this epistle is not the work of an impostor. Had it been, a miracle would not have been spared. Paul would not have been introduced as showing such anxiety about a friend lying at the point of death, and as being unable to restore him. It would have been said that he interposed at once, and raised him up to health.

But God had mercy on him. By restoring him to health, evidently not by miracle, but by the use of ordinary means.

On me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. In addition to all the sorrows of imprisonment, and the prospect of a trial, and the want of friends. The sources of his sorrow, had Epaphroditus died, would have been such as these:

(1.) He would have lost a valued friend, and one whom he esteemed as a brother and worthy fellow-labourer.

(2.) He would have felt that the church at Philippi had lost a valuable member.

(3.) His grief might have been aggravated from the consideration that his life had been lost in endeavouring to do him good. He would have felt that he was the occasion, though innocent, of his exposure to danger.

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