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by Robert Hawker
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS
PHILIPPI was the chief city of Macedon. It took its name from Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, so called by a misnomer. For characters of his description must be little indeed, according to the testimony of scripture: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God! It was near this city (as Profane Writers tell us) was fought the battle between Antony and Brutus. Names, which but for their connection with the history of the Church of Christ, like those of more ancient date, the Sennacheribs, and Nebuchadnezzars of old, would have been but little known, but their memorial have perished with them. And however mortifying to the pride of human nature it may be, to the ungodly of every age, whether ancient or modern, certain it is, that the whole memoirs of such characters, with their rise and fall, in all the revolutions of kingdoms and empires, are intended no further than as they minister to the Church of Christ. Although they think not so, neither do they intend it; yet to this one purpose the whole of their labors tend; and which, when accomplished, like the scaffolding to a building no longer useful, will be taken down and destroyed.
It was in this city the Lord erected a Church to his dear Son. And Paul was the highly honored instrument to the establishment of it. By a vision of the night the Lord directed him to go to Macedon. And God the Holy Ghost, in the persons of Lydia and the Jailor, formed the Church, in these humble beginnings. See Acts 16:0 . Afterwards, we find the Apostle made a second visit to the Church at Philippi, on his way to Jerusalem. Acts 20:6 .
The Epistle is but short, though sweet. Paul wrote it while he was a Prisoner at Rome. It hath been observed, and well observed, that those scriptures have more than an ordinary savor of Jesus in them, which have been penned while the Writers of them were in tribulation. David was in the wilderness when he wrote those golden Psalms 63:0 , and Psalms 142:0 . John was in Patmos when he sent to the Church the book of the Revelations. And Paul in prison at the time he wrote this Epistle to the Philippians, and his second Epistle to Timothy. If men shut the Lord's faithful ones in, they cannot keep Jesus out. Sweet, and sure, is that promise, I will be with thee in trouble! Psalms 91:15 .
The date of Paul's Epistle to the Philippians is differently marked by Ecclesiastical Writers. It could not be earlier, and perhaps not much later, than in the year of our Lord God 60: about the fifth year of the reign of Nero.
I have only here again, as in all former instances, when entering upon the perusal of those inspired writings, to call the Reader to join my spirit in prayer, at the mercy-seat, of God in Christ, for divine light, to guide both Writer and Reader of this Poor Man's Commentary through the several pages, that that gracious promise may be ours. All thy Children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 .
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25