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a Bible passage
Bring the cloak which I left at Troas As to the meaning of the word φελόνη, 201201 “Quant au mot Grec, lequel on traduit manteline.” — “As to the Greek word which is translated mantle or cloak.” commentators are not agreed; for some think that it is a chest or box for containing books, and others that it is a garment used by travelers, and fitted for defending against cold and rain. Whether the one interpretation or the other be adopted, how comes it that Paul should give orders to have either a garment or a chest brought to him from a place so distant, as if there were not workmen, or as if there were not abundance both of cloth and timber? If it be said, that it was a chest filled with books, or manuscripts, or epistles, the difficulty will be solved; for such materials could not have been procured at any price. But, because many will not admit the conjecture, I willingly translate it by the word cloak. Nor is there any absurdity in saying that Paul desired to have it brought from so great a distance, because that garment, through long use, would be more comfortable for him, and he wished to avoid expense. 202202 “Et aussi qu’il vouloit eviter la despense d’en achever une autre.” — “And also because he wished to avoid the expense of buying another.”
Yet (to own the truth) I give the preference to the former interpretation; more especially because Paul immediately afterwards mentions books and parchments. It is evident from this, that the Apostle had not given over reading, though he was already preparing for death. Where are those who think that they have made so great progress that they do not need any more exercise? Which of them will dare to compare himself with Paul? Still more does this expression refute the madness of those men who — despising books, and condemning all reading — boast of nothing but their own ἐνθουσιασμοὺς divine inspirations. 203203 “De leurs inspirations Divines.” But let us know that this passage gives to all believers 204204 “Above all, let those whose office it is to instruct others look well to themselves; for however able they may be, they are very far from approaching Paul. This being the case, let them resolve to commit themselves to God, that he may give them grace to have still more ample knowledge of his will, to communicate to others what they have received. And when they have faithfully taught during their whole life, and when they are at the point of death, let them still desire to profit, in order to impart to their neighbors what they know; and let great and small, doctors and the common people, philosophers and idiots, rich and poor, old and young, — let all be exhorted by what is here taught them, to profit during their whole life, in such a manner that they shall never slacken their exertions, till they no longer see in part or in a mirror, but behold the glory of God face to face. — Fr. Ser. a recommendation of constant reading, that they may profit by it. 205205 “Comme un moyen ordonne de Dieu pour profiter.” — “As a method appointed by God for profiting.”
Here some one will ask, “What does Paul mean by asking for a robe or cloak, if he perceived that his death was at hand?” This difficulty also induces me to interpret the word as denoting a chest, though there might have been some use of the “cloak” which is unknown in the present day; and therefore I give myself little trouble about these matters.