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by Joseph Sutcliffe
ST. PAUL’S EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS.
PHILIPPI, formerly Dathos, the chief city of Macedonia, as stated on the sixteenth chapter of the Acts. It is situate on the western shore of the river Strymon, which divided ancient Thrace from Macedonia. It was rebuilt and beautified by Philip, and called by his name. It stands on a hill, and was made strong by nature and art. Some coins have been discovered that Julius Cæsar conferred as favours on the city, at the time the Roman colony was planted there.
Near to this city are the far-famed fields of Pharsalia, where two very signal battles were fought, forty eight years before the christian æra. The first between Cæsar and Pompey, the latter of whom was defeated with the loss of twenty thousand men. The second was also fought by Augustus, against Brutus and Cassius, both of whom were slain.
Virgil associates these battles with all the vulgar errors and marvellous wonders of the age. He makes the birds screech, the rivers bleed, and the earth to tremble. Thus it was that Philippi twice saw the Roman armies contend in civil wars.
Ergo inter sese paribus concurrere telis
Romanas acies iterum videre
Philippi. Georgica. 1: 489.
This epistle developes the soul of Paul in glory of doctrine, in all moral excellence, in wisdom of words, in pastoral cares, and in all the consummate graces which belong to the highest order of martyrs and confessors of the Lord.
the Sixth Week after Easter