1If there is therefore any consolation. There is an extraordinary tenderness in this exhortation, (93) in which he entreats by all means the Philippians mutually to cherish harmony among themselves, lest, in the event of their being torn asunder by intestine contentions, they should expose themselves to the impostures of the false apostles. For when there are disagreements, there is invariably a door opened for Satan to disseminate impious doctrines, while agreement is the best bulwark for repelling them.
As the term
παρακλήσεως is often taken to mean exhortation, the commencement of the passage might be explained in this manner: “ an exhortation which is delivered in the name and by the authority of Christ, has any weight with you.” The other meaning, however, corresponds better with the context: “ there is among you any consolation of Christ, ” by means of which you may alleviate my griefs, and if you would afford me any consolation and relief, which you assuredly owe me in the exercise of love; if you take into view that fellowship of the Spirit, which ought to make us all one; if any feeling of humanity and mercy resides in you, which might stir you up to alleviate my miseries, fulfill ye my joy, etc. From this we may infer, how great a blessing unity in the Church is, and with what eagerness pastors should endeavor to secure it. (94) We must also at the same time take notice, how he humbles himself by beseechingly imploring their pity, while he might have availed himself of his paternal authority, so as to demand respect from them as his sons. (95) He knew how to exercise authority when it was necessary, but at present he prefers to use entreaties, because he knew that these would be better fitted to gain an entrance into their affections, (96) and because he was aware that he had to do with persons who were docile and compliant. In this manner the pastor must have no hesitation to assume different aspects for the sake of the Church. (97)
(93) “Ceste exhortation est plene d’ vehementes;” — “ exhortation is full of intense affections.”
(94) “Et que les pasteurs le doyuent procurer d’ affection vehemente et zele ardent;” — “ that pastors should endeavor to procure it with intense desire and ardent zeal.”
(95) “Il peust vser d’ paternelle, et demander que pour la reuerence qu’ luy deuoyent comme ses enfans, ils feissent ce qu’ enseigne yci;” — “ might have exercised paternal authority, and have demanded that in consideration of the respect which they owed him as his children, they should do what he here inculcates.”
(96) “Pour entrer dedans leurs cœ et es mouuoir leurs affections;” — “ entering into their hearts, and moving their affections.”
(97) “Ne doit faire difficulte de se transformer selon qu’ cognoistra que ce sera le proufit de l’;” — “ have no hesitation in transforming himself according as he may perceive that this will be for the advantage of the Church.”