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Philippians 1:12-17

12. But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

12. Scire autem vos volo, fratres, quod, quae mihi acciderunt, magis in profectum cesserunt Evangelii,

13. So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

13. Ut vincula mea in Christo illustria fuerint in toto praetorio, et reliquis omnibus locis:

14. And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

14. Et multi ex fratribus in Domino, vinculis meis confisi, uberius ausi fuerint absque timore sermonem Dei loqui.

15. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

15. Nonnulli quidem per invidiam et contentionem, alii autem etiam per benevolentiam, Christum praedicant.

16. The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

16. Alii, inquam, ex contentione Christum annuntiant, non pure, existimantes afflictionem se suscitare meis vinculis:

17. But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

17. Alii autem ex caritate, scientes quod in defensionem Evangelii positus sim.

 

12 But I wish you to know We all know from our own experience, how much the flesh is wont to be offended by the abasement of the cross. We allow, indeed, Christ crucified to be preached to us; but when he appears in connection with his cross, then, as though we were thunderstruck at the novelty of it, 5151     “Estans estonnez comme d’vne chose nouuelle et non ouye;” — “Being astonished as at a thing new and unheard of.” we either avoid him or hold him in abhorrence, and that not merely in our own persons, but also in the persons of those who deliver to us the gospel. It may have happened to the Philippians, that they were in some degree discouraged in consequence of the persecution of their Apostle. We may also very readily believe, that those bad workmen 5252     “Et faux apostres;” — “And false apostles.” who eagerly watched every occasion, however small, of doing injury, did not refrain from triumphing over the calamity of this holy man, and by this means making his gospel contemptible. If, however, they were not successful in this attempt, they might very readily calumniate him by representing him as hated by the whole world; and at the same time leading the Philippians to dread, lest, by an unfortunate association with him, 5353     “En prenant ceste dangereuse accointance de S. Paul;” — “By contracting this dangerous acquaintance with St. Paul.” they should needlessly incur great dislike among all; for such are the usual artifices of Satan. The Apostle provides against this danger, when he states that the gospel had been promoted by means of his bonds. The design, accordingly, of this detail is, to encourage the Philippians, that they may not feel deterred 5454     “Afin qu’ils ne soyent point destournex;” — “That they may not be turned aside.” by the persecution endured by him.

13 So that my bonds He employs the expression — in Christ, to mean, in the affairs, or in the cause of Christ, for he intimates that his bonds had become illustrious, so as to promote the honor of Christ. 5555     “Ses liens ont este rendus celebres, et ont excellement serui a auancer la gloire de Christ;” — “His bonds had become celebrated, and had admirably contributed to advance the glory of Christ.” The rendering given by some — through Christ, seems forced. I have also employed the word illustria (illustrious) in preference to manifesta, (manifest,) — as having ennobled the gospel by their fame. 5656     “Pource qu’il entend que le bruit qui auoit este de ses liens, auoit donné grand bruit a l’Euangile;” — “Because he means that the fame, which had arisen from his bonds, had given great fame to the gospel.” “Satan, indeed, has attempted it, and the wicked have thought that it would turn out so, that the gospel would be destroyed; but God has frustrated both the attempts of the former and the expectations of the latter, 5757     “Dieu a aneanti les efforts malicieux de Satan, et a frustré les meschans de leur attente;” — “God has made void the malicious efforts of Satan, and has disappointed the wicked of their expectation.” and that in two ways, for while the gospel was previously obscure and unknown, it has come to be well known, and not only so, but has even been rendered honorable in the Praetorium, no less than in the rest of the city.” By the praetorium I understand the hall and palace of Nero, which Fabius 5858     Our author has most probably in view an expression which occurs in the writings of Quinctilian, (Instit. Orator., lib. 8, 2, 8,) — “tabernaculum ducis Augustale;” — (“a general’s tent is called the Augustal.”) In the best editions of Quinctilian, however, the reading of Augurale, as synonymous with auguraculum, or auguratorium; — (an apartment for the augur’s taking omens.) — Ed. and writers of that age call Augustale, (the Augustal.) For as the name praetor was at first a general term, and denoted all magistrates who held the chief sway, (hence it came that the dictator was called the sovereign praetor, 5959     The dictator is called by Livey, “praetor maximus;” — “the highest praetor.” — (Liv. 7:3.) — Ed. ) it, consequently, became customary to employ the term praetorium in war to mean the tent, either of the consul, 6060     “La tente ou du consul, ou de celuy qui estoit chef de l’armee, quelque nom qu’on luy donast;” — “The tent of the consul, or of the person who was head of the army, whatever name was applied to him.” or of the person who presided, 6161     “Praeibat ” — There is manifestly an allusion here to the etymology of praetor, as being derived from praeire, to go before, or preside. — Ed. while in the city it denoted the palace of Caesar, 6262     “At Rome it “(the term praetorium)” signified the public hall where causes were tried by the praetor; but more usually it denoted the camp or quarters of the praetorian cohorts without the city ..... The name of praetorium was, in the provinces, given to the palace of the governors, both because they administered justice, and had their guards stationed in their residence. Hence it is inferred that, although the Apostle was at Rome when he wrote this, and although the circumstances to which he refers occurred in that city, yet, writing to persons residing in the provinces, he uses the word praetorium in the provincial sense, and means by it the emperor’s palace.” — Illustrated Commentary. — Ed. from the time that the Cesars took possession of the monarchy. 6363     “Depuis que les empereurs usurperent la monarchie;” — “From the time that the emperors usurped the monarchy.” Independently of this, the bench of praetor is also called the praetorium 6464     “Pretoire signifioit aussi le lieu ou le preteur tenoit la cour, et exerçoit sa iurisdiction;” — “The praetorium signified also the place where the praetor held his court, and exercised jurisdiction.”

14 Many of the brethren. By this instance we are taught that the tortures of the saints, endured by them in behalf of the gospel, are a ground of confidence 6565     “Confiance et asseurance;” — “Confidence and assurance.” to us. It were indeed a dreadful spectacle, and such as might tend rather to dishearten us, did we see nothing but the cruelty and rage of the persecutors. When, however, we see at the same time the hand of the Lord, which makes his people unconquerable, 6666     “Courageux et inuincibles;” — “Courageous and unconquerable.” under the infirmity of the Cross, and causes them to triumph, relying upon this, 6767     “Estans assuerez sur ceste main et puissance du Seigneur;” — “Confidently relying upon this hand and power of the Lord.” we ought to venture farther than we had been accustomed, having now a pledge of our victory in the persons of our brethren. The knowledge of this ought to overcome our fears, that we may speak boldly in the midst of dangers.

15 Some indeed. Here is another fruit of Paul’s bonds, that not only were the brethren stirred up to confidence by his example — some by maintaining their position, others by becoming more eager to teach — but even those who wished him evil were on another account stirred up to publish the gospel.

16 Some, I say, from contention. Here we have a lengthened detail, in which he explains more fully the foregoing statement; for he repeats that there are two classes of men that are stirred up by his bonds to preach Christ — the one influenced by contention, that is, by depraved affection — the other by pious zeal, as being desirous to maintain along with him the defense of the gospel. The former, he says, do not preach Christ purely, because it was not a right zeal. 6868     “Pource que leur zele n’estoit pas pur;” — “Because their zeal was not pure.” For the term does not apply to doctrine, because it is possible that the man who teaches most purely, may, nevertheless, not be of a sincere mind. 6969     “Il se pent bien faire, que celuy qui enseignera vne doctrine pure et saine, aura toutesfois vne mauvaise affection;” — “It may quite well happen, that the man who teaches pure and sound doctrine, will have, nevertheless, an evil disposition.” Now, that this impurity was in the mind, and did not shew itself in doctrine, may be inferred from the context. Paul assuredly would have felt no pleasure in seeing the gospel corrupted; yet he declares that he rejoices in the preaching of those persons, while it was not simple or sincere.

It is asked, however, how such preaching could be injurious to him? I answer, that many occasions are unknown to us, inasmuch as we are not acquainted with the circumstances of the times. It is asked farther, “Since the gospel cannot be preached but by those that understand it, what motive induced those persons to persecute the doctrine of which they approved?” I answer, that ambition is blind, nay, it is a furious beast. Hence it is not to be wondered if false brethren snatch a weapon from the gospel for harassing good and pious pastors. 7070     “Certes le sainct Apostre ne dit rien yci;” — “Certainly the holy Apostle says nothing here.” Paul, assuredly, says nothing here 7171     “Il ne se faut esbahir si les faux-freres prenent occasion de l’evangile, et s’ils s’en forgent des bastons pour tormenter les bons et fideles pasteurs;” — “It ought not to appear surprising, if false brethren take occasion from the gospel, and contrive weapons for themselves for torturing good and faithful pastors.” of which I have not myself had experience. For there are living at this very day those who have preached the gospel with no other design, than that they might gratify the rage of the wicked by persecuting pious pastors. As to Paul’s enemies, it is of importance to observe, if they were Jews, how mad their hatred was, so as even to forget on what account they hated him. For while they made it their aim to destroy him, they exerted themselves to promote the gospel, on account of which they were hostile to him; but they imagined, no doubt, that the cause of Christ would stand or fall 7272     “Mais voyla: il leur sembloit que la doctrine consistoit ou tomboit bas;” — “But mark! it seemed to them that doctrine stood or fell.” in the person of one individual. If, however, there were envious persons, 7373     “Que si c’estoit d’autres que Juifs, ascauoir quelques enuieux de Sainct Paul;” — “But if there were other than Jews — some that were envious of St. Paul.” who were thus hurried away by ambition, we ought to acknowledge the wonderful goodness of God, who, notwithstanding, gave such a prosperous issue to their depraved affections.

17 That for the defense. Those who truly loved Christ reckoned that it would be a disgrace to them if they did not associate themselves with Paul as his companions, when maintaining the cause of the gospel; and we must act in such a manner, as to give a helping hand, as far as possible, to the servants of Christ when in difficulty. 7474     “Estans en quelque necessite;” — “When they are in any emergency.” Observe, again, this expression — for the defense of the gospel For since Christ confers upon us so great an honor, what excuse shall we have, if we shall be traitors to his cause, 7575     “Praevaricatores ” The term is employed by classical writers in the sense of betraying the cause of one’s client, and by neglect or collusion assisting his opponent. See Quinct. 9:2. — Ed. or what may we expect, if we betray it by our silence, but that he shall in return desert our cause, who is our sole Advocate, or Patron, with the Father? 7676     “Si nous nous entendons auec la partie aduerse d’iceluy;” — “If we should connect ourselves with the party opposed to him.” (1 John 2:1.)


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