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"be abafed, and I know how to abound; 66 every where and in all things I am in"structed both to be full and to be hungry, "both to abound and to fuffer need. I "can do all things through Christ which ftrengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye "have well done that ye did communicate "" with my affliction. Now ye, Philippians, “know also that in the beginning of the

gofpel, when I departed from Macedonia, 66 no church communicated with me as con"cerning giving and receiving, but ye only;

for even in Theffalonica ye fent once "and again unto my neceffity: not because "I defire a gift; but I defire fruit that may "abound to your account. But I have all, "and abound; I am full, having received "of Epaphroditus the things which were "fent from you." Chap. iv. ver. 10-18. To the Philippian reader, who knew that contributions were wont to be made in that church for the apostle's fubfiftence and relief, that the fupply which they were accustomed to fend to him had been delayed by the want of opportunity, that Epaphroditus had undertaken the charge of conveying

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their liberality to the hands of the apostle, that he had acquitted himself of this commiffion at the peril of his life, by hastening to Rome under the oppreffion of a grievous fickness; to a reader who knew all this beforehand, every line in the above quotations would be plain and clear. But how is it with a stranger? The knowledge of these several particulars is neceffary to the perception and explanation of the references; yet that knowledge must be gathered from a comparison of paffages lying at a great distance from one another. Texts must be interpreted by texts long fubfequent to them, which neceffarily produces embarrassment and fufpenfe. The paffage quoted from the beginning of the epiftle contains an acknowledgment, on the part of the apostle, of the liberality which the Philippians had exercifed towards him; but the allufion is fo general and indeterminate, that had nothing more been faid in the sequel of the epistle, it would hardly have been applied to this occafion at all. In the fecond quotation, Epaphroditus is declared to have “ministered to the apostle's wants,'

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and "to have fupplied their lack of fervice "towards him;" but how, that is, at whofe expence, or from what fund he "miniftered," or what was the lack of fervice" which he fupplied, are left very much unexplained, till we arrive at the third quotation, where we find that Epaphroditus "ministered to "St. Paul's wants," only by conveying to his hands the contributions of the Philippians? "I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were fent from you " and that "the lack of fervice which he fupplied" was a delay or interruption of their accustomed bounty, occafioned by the want of opportunity; "I re

joiced in the Lord greatly, that now at "the last your care of me hath flourished

again; wherein ye were alfo careful, but ye "lacked opportunity." The affair at length comes out clear; but it comes out by piecemeal. The clearnefs is the refult of the reciprocal illustration of divided texts. Should any one choose therefore to infinuate, that this whole ftory of Epaphroditus, of his journey, his errand, his fickness, or even his exiftence, might, for what we know,



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have no other foundation than in the invention of the forger of the epiftle; I anfwer, that a forger would have fet forth his story connectedly, and alfo more fully and more perfpicuously. If the epiftle be authen tic, and the transaction real, then every thing which is faid concerning Epaphroditus and his commiffion, would be clear to those into whofe hands the epiftle was expected to come. Confidering the Philippians as his readers, a person might naturally write upon the fubject, as the author of the epistle has written; but there is no fuppofition of forgery with which it will fuit.

No. II.

The history of Epaphroditus fupplies another obfervation: "Indeed he was fick,

nigh unto death; but God had mercy on
him, and not on him only, but on me
"alfo, left I should have forrow upon for-
In this paffage, no intimation is
given that Epaphroditus's recovery was mi-
raculous. It is plainly, I think, fpoken of
as a natural event. This inftance, together

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with one in the second epiftle to Timothy ("Trophimus have I left at Miletum fick,") affords a proof that the power of performing cures, and, by parity of reason, of working other miracles, was a power which only vifited the apostles occasionally, and did not at all depend upon their own will. Paul undoubtedly would have healed Epa-phroditus if he could. Nor, if the power of working cures had awaited his difpofal, would he have left his fellow traveller at Miletum fick. This, I think, is a fair obfervation upon the inftances adduced; but it is not the obfervation I am concerned to make. It is more for the purpose of argument to remark, that forgery, upon such an occafion, would not have spared a miracle; much lefs would it have introduced St. Paul profeffing the utmost anxiety for the fafety of his friend, yet acknowledging himself unable to help him: which he does almost exprefsly, in the case of Trophimus, for he "left him fick;" and virtually in the paffage before us, in which he felicitates himself upon the recovery of Epaphroditus, in terms which almost ex




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