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on the proofs that he gives of his constant love. He nourishes and cherishes his church ; and with the most affectionate regard is tender of it, as we are of the members of our own body, of our flesh, and of our bones. O, that we may have a more sensible communion with him as our great Head, and may derive more continual influences from him!
For his sake let us love one another : and let those who are joined in the conjugal relation often consider it in the view in which it is here represented. Let husbands see to it, that their love to their wives bear some resemblance to that which Christ avows to the church ; let wives pay a reverence to their husbands, like that which the church is to pay to Christ : and let both take care to maintain that wisdom and sanctity in the whole of their behaviour, which may suit the relation which they bear to each other in their common Head, as well as render their intimate alliance happy; which it can never be but by an union of hearts as well as of hands.—Vain will it be to think of dividing their interest when their persons are thus joined in such a manner as to become one flesh. And can there be a stronger argument to the most tender love! He that loveth his wife, loveth himself: she that loveth her busband, and from love obeys him, loveth herseif too : and every instance of unkindness on the one hand, or the other, is but arming the members with weapons against the head, or employing the head in contrivances against the members.
The mutual duties of children and parents, of scrvants and masters. Ch.
N HILDREN, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right 2 U “ Honour thy father and thy mother" (which is the first 3 commandment with promise) “ that it may be well with thee, and 4 thou mayest be long-lived upon the earth.” And, ye Fathers,
provoke not your children to wrath ; but educate them in the nur5 ture and admonition of the Lord. Servants, be subject to your
masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the 6 simplicity of your heart, as unto Christ : not with eye-service, as
men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God on from the soul ; with good-will doing service, as to the Lord, and 8 not to men : knowing that whatsoever good any man doth, he
shall receive a reward for the same of the Lord, whether he be a - 9 slave, or a freeman.-And, ye Masters, do the same to them,
forbearing severe threatening; knowing that ye yourselves also have a master in the heavens; and there is no respect of persons with him.
REFLECTIONS. It is matter of thankful acknowledgment, that God condescends in his word to give us particular instructions, suited to the circumstances in which we are respectively placed. Children and servants are not forgotten. Let them attend to those gracious lessons which are here given by the supreme Parent and Master, who while he teaches them, pleads their cause, and interposes his high authority to vindicate them from oppression and abuse. Much of the happiness of society evidently depends on the temper and conduct of those who are placed in these lower relations. Let children therefore learn to be subject 10 their parents with all dutiful and humble respect, from a sense of the reasonableness of the command, and of the goodness which has annexed such a promise to it; a promise which shall still be efficacious, so far as long life would be indeed a blessing to a pious child.
Let servants, with all godly sincerity and uprightness of heart, revere the authority of Christ in them that are their masters according to the flesh; and exercise a good conscience towards them upon all occasions, not only when under their eye, but in their absence; well knowing that God is always present, and always attentive to the conduct of every rational creature in whatsoever rank. Let them cherish that inward good-will and benevolence of heart, which renders every act of service uniform and steady, and makes it in a degree obliging, even when performed by those from whom authority might have extorted it. And let the certain and important reward that will assuredly follow every good action, whether great or small, and whether performed by persons in more elevated or inferior stations of life, animate us all to a zealous diligence in well-doing, whatever discouragement may at present attend us.
And as to those who bear the superior relations in life, let them remember, that the command of a much higher parent and Lord requires also of them a tender regard to their inferiors. Let parents therefore govern their own passions, that they may not terrify and oppress the tender spirits of their children; or if they are otherwise than tender, may not teach them an evil lesson against themselves, and by their own example strengthen them in those excesses which may be a disgrace and detriment to the family, and may, when age has broken all the vigour of the parents, bring down their grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. A conscientious care to educate and train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, if duly attended to, will teach a better conduct, and the meekness and gentleness of Christ will have an happy influence on both.-And, finally, let the thoughts of the great impartial Master in heaven awe masters on earth; and the expectation, the certain expectation of giving an account to him, engage them to make the yoke of servitude, which God has been pleased to lay on those who are nevertheless their brethren, as light and easy as they can; choosing, even when they might command with authority, rather with love to entreat ; not doing or saying any thing unnecessarily rigorous or severe, not threatening, reviling, or reproaching, but treating their servants as those whom they consider as partakers with them in the same hope, or whom they earnestdy desire by all prudent condescension and tenderness to lead into the way of salvation.
The apostle exhorts them to prepare for the spiritual warfure, by putting on
the whole armour of God. Ch. vi. 10, &c,
10 TINALLY, * my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the 11 T power of his might. Put on the complete armour of God,
that ye may be able to stand against the artifices of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not with flesh and blood alone, but with princi
palities, with powers, with the rulers of the darkness of this world, 13 with spirits of wickedness who rebelled in heavenly places. On
this account, take unto you the complete armour of God, that ye
may be able to withstand in the evil day, the season of danger, and 14 having done all in your power to stand victorious. Stand therefore,
having your loins girded about with truth, and uprightness, and put15 ting on the breast-plate of righteousness; and having your feet 16 shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Upon all these
taking the shield of faith, whereby ye shall be able to quench all 17 the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salva
tion, which is your Christian hope ; and the sword of the Spirit, 18 which is the word of God. Continually praying, with all prayer
and supplication in the Spirit ; and watching thereunto with all 19 perseverance, and supplication for all saints : particularly for me,
that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth 20 with boldness, to make known the mystery of the gospel; for
which I discharge my embassy in a chain ; that I may speak bold-,
ly therein, as I ought to speak. 21 But that ye also may know the things that relate to me and what
I am doing here at Rome, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful 22 minister in the Lord, shall fully inform you : whom I have sent.
to you for this very purpose, that ye might know what relateth to 23 us, and that he may comfort your hearts. Peace be with the breth
ren, and love with faith, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus 24 Christ. Grace be with all that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sin
REFLECTIONS. Let the heart of every Christian soldier be at opce awakened, and animated, by the important charge which the apostle here is (as it were still sounding in our ears. He knew the weakness of the Christian, and the dangers of his way ; how insufficient for the spiritual warfare we are in ourselves, and that our only strength is in the Lord, and in the power of his might, by whom alone we can be kept in safety, and may be made even more than conquerors in all things : and therefore pointing us to this, at the same time that he sets forth the difficulty of the combat, and sounds a charge to the battle, he shews us the provision made for our defence, and calls us to put on
the complete armour of God; an armour that will serve for every part; that will supply us both with offensive and defensive weapons, and help us to withstand, and even to surmount, the greatest opposition. Let us see to it then that we put on, and that we use it all. And have we not enough to engage us to it, when we consider that our enemies are great and many, that they are restless and unwearied in their malice, and that their subtilty is inconceivable ? Flesh and blood have too frequently worsted us : how then shall we stand against principal. ities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spirits of wickedness, who make it still their business to draw others into that spiritual wickedne88 which they were first so daring as to shew in heavenly places? It will be impossible we should at any time be safe from danger, if every direction here given be not diligently attended to ; and having such a numerous and mighty host of enemies combined against us, we never shall be able to withstand and overcome them, if the girdle of truth be loosened ; if the breast-plate of righteousness be not put on; if the preparation of the gospel of peace do not secure our steps ; if the helmet of salvation do not guard our head ; if the shield of faith be not our shelter, and the sword of the Spirit our weapon. And vainly shall we labour to obtain this ar. mour by any other method, if fervent prayer and supplication in the Spirit, under the aids and influences of his grace, be not addressed to the God of heaven, whose work and whose gift this celestial armour is : so that if ever we would have it, and would use it right, let us persist in seeking it with holy importunity and perseverance, and the desired answer shall not always be denied. To conclude ; Let us often think of the apostle Paul, as discharging his embassy in a chain, that we may learn to submit to whatever affronts and injuries, what. ever hardships and sufferings, we may be called to endure on the account of religion; concerned about nothing so much as that we may approve our fidelity in the sight of God, and loving the Lord Jesica Christ in sincerity, may be partakers of the blessings of his grace, with all that have a true affection to him. All that appear to be of such a character, let us ever most affectionately love, whatever their particular sentiments or forms of worship may be ; and a share of This mercy and favour, with all the blessed fruits of peace and prosperity, of love and faith, shall be infallibly our own, and be communicated in a rich abundance to us from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE PHILIPPIANS.
THE Christian religion was first planted at Philippi, a city in Mace
donia, and a Roman colony, by the apostle Paul, about the year 51, in consequence of his being admonished in a vision, See Acts xvi. It is plain from Acts xx. 6, that he afterwards made these Christians a second visit. Their faithful adherence to the gospel, as well as their freculiar affection to him, and their generous contributions for his support, entitled them to his distinguished regard. In this epistle, which he wrote while a prisoner in Rome, A. D. 63, he expresses the warmest gratitude and affection. It is quite of a practical kind ; and the design of it was to comfort the Philippians under the concern they had expressed at the news of his imprisonment ; to check a party-spirit which had broke out among them ; to guard them against being seduced by Judaizing teachers ; to support them under their trials ; and to ercite them to ado.n their firofession by eminent attainments in religion.
The apostle's general salutation, expressing his satisfaction in them, and his
prayers for them. Ch. i. 1-11.
I D AUL and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the
I saints in Christ Jesus, which are at Philippi, with the 2 bishops* and deacons : Grace be to you, and peace from God our
Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I give thanks unto my God in every mention of you (always in 4 every prayer of mine making supplication for you with all joy) 5 for your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a 7 good work in you, will finish it f until the day of Jesus Christ. As
it is just in me to be thus affected towards you all, because you have me in your hearts, both in my bonds, and in my defence and confir
mation of the gospel, as you are all partakers with me in the grace *8 of that gospel. For God is my witness, how earnestly I long for 9 you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your
love may abound yet more and more, in knowledge and in all per10 ception and feeling ; so as to prove by experience things which dif.
fer; that ye may be sincere and inoffensive until the day of Christ: 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus
Christ, to the praise and glory of God.
* This proves there must have been more than one bishop at Philippi ; and has been thought an intimation that there was then no difference between bishops and presbyters ; all the presbyters of this church having the title of bishops, or overseers, which the word ETICHOTO1 beyond all controversy imports. Dr. Whitby solidly defends this interpretation.
f“ Will be completing it.” M. “ Will go on to finish it.” W. VOL. II.