WRITTEN FROM ROME, A. D. 62.
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, (always in every prayer of mine for you all, with joy making prayer)--for your contribution*[App. No. LXXXII.] for the gospel from the first day till now: being persuaded of this very thing, that he who hath begun in you*[Or among you.] a good work, will be completing it until the day of Jesus Christ. As it is just for me to think this concerning yuou all, because I have you in my heart, both in my bonds and my defence, and confirmation of the gospel; ye all being joint partakers of my favour. For God is my witness that I vehemently long after you all, with the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love still more and more may abound through knowledge, and all moral feeling; in order that ye may approve the things which are excellent; and that ye may be sincere, and without occasioning stumbling, until the day of Christ; filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Now I wish you to know, brethren, that the things which have befallen me have turned out rather to the advancement of the gospel. For my bonds on account of Christ, are become manifest in the whole imperial palace, and in all other places. And many of the brethren in the Lord, being assured by my bonds, ahve become much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some, indeed, even from envy and strife, and some also from good will, proclaim the Christ. Now they who from strife proclaim the Christ, do it not sincerely, thinking to add affliction to my bonds. But they who proclaim from love do it sincerely, knowing that I am placed for the defence of the gospel. What then? [am I sorry? no.] But in whatever manner, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, even in this I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this will turn out to me for salvation through your prayer, and the direction of the spirit of Jesus Christ: agreeably to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as at all times, so now also, Christ will be magnified in my body whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, but to die is gain. But whether the living in flesh is for me a fruit of labour, and what I should choose, I do not know. For I am straitened of the two, having a strong desire to depart, and be with Christ, becasue that is by much far better. Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful fo ryou. And, being firmly persuaded of this, I know that I shall live and abide some time with you all, for the advancement of the joy of your faith; and that your boasting concerning me in Christ Jesus, may abound through my coming again to you. Only behave ye worthy of the gospel of Christ; that, whether coming and seeing you, or being absent I shall hear of your affairs, I may find that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul, jointly contending for the faith of the gospel; and not terrified in any thing by your adversaries: which to them indeed is a demonstratoin of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you this with respect to Christ hath been graciously given, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him. Having the very same conflict as ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
II. Wherefore, if there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and tender mercies, complete ye my joy by this that ye be alike disposed, having the same love, joined in soul, minding one thing. Do nothing through strife or vain glory; but in humbleness of mind reckon one another better than yourselves. Look not every one on his own things, but every one also on the things of others. Wherefore, let this disposition be in your which was even in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, did not think it robbery to be like God. Nevertheless, he divested himself when he took the form of a bondman, being born in the likeness of men. And being in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross. And therefore, God hath exceedingly exalted him, and hat bestowed on him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and of things upon earth, and of things under the earth;*[Those in hades.] and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore my beloved, since ye have always obeyed, not when in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, with fear and trembling, strongly work your own salvation. For it is God who inwardly worketh in you, from benevolence, both to will and to work effectually. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be unblameable and untainted, the children of God unrebukable in the midst of of a crooked and perverse generation: among whom shine ye as luminaries in the world. Holding forth the word of life for a rejoicing to me in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither have laboured in vain. And if I even be poured out upon the sacrifice and offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. After the same manner, be ye also glad, and rejoice with me. Now I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may have good courage when I know your affairs. For I have no one like disposed, who will sincerely take care of your affairs: for all seek their own, not the things of Christ Jesus. But ye know the proof of him that as a son with a father, so he hath served me in the gospel. Well then, I hope to send him immediately, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. However, I am fully persuaded by the Lord, that even I myself shall soon come. Yet I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and fellow-labourer, and fellow-soldier, but your messenger, and a minister to my want. For he longed after you all, and was exceedingly grieved, because he (sic) had heard that he was sick. And indeed he was sick nigh to death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, that I might not have sorrow upon sorrow. Wherefore I have sent him the more speedily, that seeing him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the more without sorrow. Receive him therefore, in the Lord with all joy, and have such persons in great estimation; because in the work of Christ he drew nigh to death, not regarding his life, that he might fully supply the want of your service toward me.
III. Now my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not troublesome, and for you it is safe. Beware of the dogs, beware of evil labourers, beware of the excision. But we are the circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and boast in Christ Jesus, but have no confidence in the flesh. Though indeed I might have confidence even in the flesh; nay, if any other think to have confidence in the flesh, I have greater pretensions. My circumcision was on the eighth day. I am of the offspring of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews: with respect to the law, a Pharisee. With respect to zeal, persecuting the congregation; with respect to the righteousness which is by law, I am unblameable. Nevertheless, what things were gain to me, these I counted loss for Christ. Nay, most certainly also, I count all things to be refuse for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have thrown away all things, and reckon them to be dregs, that I may gain Christ; and be found in him, not holding mine own righteousness which is from law, but that which is by a belief in Christ--that which is of God--a righteousness for this belief; and may know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death: that any how I may arrive at the resurrection from the dead. For I have not received, nor yet am I made perfect. But I pursue, that verily I may lay hold on that for which indeed I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not reckon myself to have laid hold on the prize, but one thing I do, not minding indeed the things behind me, but exceedingly stretching myself forward to the things before me, I follow along the mark, to the prize of the calling of God from above, by Christ Jesus. As many therefore, as wish to be perfect, let us think this. And if ye think differently concerning any thing, even that God will discover to you. However, to what we have come, let us go by the same line, let us mind the same thing. Brethrne, be joint imitators of me, and look steadily on them who so walk, as ye have us for an example. For many walk, who, I have often said to you, and now even weeping I say, are enemies of the cross of Christ. Whose end is perdition, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. But we are citizesn of heaven,*[App. No. LXXXIII.] from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will re-fashion our humbled body, in order that it may become of a like form with his glorious body, according to that strong working, by which he is able also to subdue all things to himself.
IV. Wherefore, my brethren, beloved and exceedingly longed for, myjoy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord, O beloved. Euodia I beseech, and Syntyche I beseech, to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help these women,*[No. LXV.] who, for the gospel have combatted together with me, and with Clement, and the rest of my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always: I say a second time, rejoice. Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be anxiously solicitous about nothing, but in every thing by prayer and deprecation, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, will guard your hearts, and your minds, through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are benevolent, whatever things are of good fame, if there by any virtue, and if any praise be due, attentively consider these things; which also ye have learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me: these things practise, and the God of peace will be with you. But I rejoiced greatly in the Lord, that now at length ye have made your care of me to flourish again, in which indeed ye were careful, but ye had not an opportunity. I do not speak this becasue I was unhappy in want, for I have learned in whatever state I am to be contented. I both know to be humbled, and I know to abound. Every where and in all things, I am instructed both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer want. I am able to bear all things through Christ, who strengtheneht me. Notwithstanding ye have done well when ye jointly communicated to me in my affliction. And know ye also, O Philippians, that in the beginning of [my labours in] the gospel, when I went forth into Macedonia, no congregation communicated with me in the matter of giving and receiving, but ye only. For even when I was in Thessalonica, ye sent indeed once and again to my necessity. Not because I earnestly seek a gift, but I earnestly seek fruit that may abound to your account. Now I have all things and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent by you, an odour of a sweet savour, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. But my God will supply all your wants, through Christ Jesus, according to his riches in glory. Wherefore to God even our Father, be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me salute you. All the saints salute you, and especially those of Cesar's household. The favour of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.