Front Page Titles (by Subject) A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE SECOND EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS. - The Works, vol. 7 (Essays and Notes on St. Paul's Epistles)
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A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE SECOND EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS. - John Locke, The Works, vol. 7 (Essays and Notes on St. Paul’s Epistles) 
The Works of John Locke in Nine Volumes, (London: Rivington, 1824 12th ed.). Vol. 7.
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A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE SECOND EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS.
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS;
Saint Paul having writ his first epistle to the corinthians, to try, as he says himself, chap. ii. 9, what power he had still with that church, wherein there was a great faction against him, which he was attempting to break, was in pain, till he found what success it had; chap. ii. 12, 13, and vii. 5. But when he had, by Titus, received an account of their repentance, upon his former letter, of their submission to his orders, and of their good disposition of mind towards him, he takes courage, speaks of himself more freely, and justifies himself more boldly; as may be seen, chap. i. 12, and ii. 14, and vi. 10, and x. 1, and xiii. 10. And, as to his opposers, he deals more roundly and sharply with them, than he had done in his former epistle; as appears from chap. ii. 17, and iv. 2—5, and v. 12, and vi. 11—16, and xi. 11, and xii. 15.
The observation of these particulars may possibly be of use to give us some light, for the better understanding of his second epistle, especially if we add, that the main business of this, as of his former epistle, is to take off the people from the new leader they had got, who was St. Paul’s opposer; and wholly to put an end to the faction and disorder, which that false apostle had caused in the church of Corinth. He also, in this epistle, stirs them up again to a liberal contribution to the poor saints at Jerusalem.
This epistle was writ in the same year, not long after the former.
CHAP. I. 1, 2.
1Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Timothy, our brother, unto the church of God, which is at Corinth, with all the saints, which are in all Achaia:
2Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Timothy, our brother* , to the church of God, which is in Corinth, with all the christians, that2 are in all Achaia† : Favour and peace be to you, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
CHAP. I. 3—VII. 16.
This first part of this second epistle, of St. Paul to the corinthians, is spent in justifying himself, against several imputations, from the opposite faction; and setting himself right, in the opinion of the corinthians. The particulars whereof we shall take notice of, in the following numbers.
SECT. II. No. 1.
He begins with justifying his former letter to them, which had afflicted them, (vid. chap. vii. 7, 8,) by telling them, that he thanks God for his deliverance out of his afflictions, because it enables him to comfort them, by the example, both of his affliction and deliverance; acknowledging the obligation he had to them, and others, for their prayers and thanks for his deliverance, which, he presumes, they could not but put up for him, since his conscience bears him witness (which was his comfort) that, in his carriage to all men, and to them more especially, he had been direct and sincere, without any self, or carnal interest; and that what he writ to them had no other design but what lay open, and they read in his words, and did also acknowledge; and he doubted not, but they should always acknowledge; part of them acknowledging also, that he was the man they gloried in, as they shall be his glory in the day of the Lord. From what St. Paul says, in this section, (which, if read with attention, will appear to be writ with a turn of great insinuation) it may be gathered, that the opposite faction endeavoured to evade the force of the former epistle, by suggesting, that, whatever he might pretend, St. Paul was a cunning, artificial, self-interested man, and had some hidden design in it, which accusation appears in other parts of this epistle: as chap. iv. 2, 5.
3Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4Who comforteth us, in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them, which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6And, whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual, in the enduring of the same sufferings, which we also suffer: or, whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
7And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing that, as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
8For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble, which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength; insomuch that we despaired even of life.
9But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God, which raised the dead:
10Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in whom we trust, that he will yet deliver us:
11You also helping together by prayer for us: that, for the gift bestowed upon us, by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
12For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity, and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-wards.
13For we write none other things unto you, than what you read, or acknowledge, and I trust you shall acknowledge even to the end.
14As also you have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.
3Blessed be the God* and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and God of all consolation;4 Who comforteth me, in all my tribulations, that I may be able to comfort them† , who are in any trouble,5 by the comfort, which I receive from him. Because, as I have suffered abundantly for Christ, so through Christ, I have been abundantly comforted; and both6 these, for your advantage. For my affliction is for your consolation and relief‡ , which is effected by a patient enduring those sufferings whereof you see an example in me. And again, when I am comforted, it is for your consolation and relief, who may expect the like, from the same compassionate7 God and Father. Upon which ground, I have firm hopes, as concerning you; being assured, that as you have had your share of sufferings, so ye shall, likewise,8 have of consolation. For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of the load of afflictions in Asia that were beyond measure heavy upon me, and beyond my strength: so that I could see no way9 of escaping with life. But I had the sentence of death in myself, that I might not trust in myself, but in God, who can restore to life even those who10 are actually dead: Who delivered me from so imminent a danger of death, who doth deliver, and in11 whom I trust, he will yet deliver me: You also joining the assistance of your prayers for me; so that thanks may be returned by many, for the deliverance procured me, by the prayers of many persons.12 For I cannot doubt of the prayers and concern of you, and many others for me; since my glorying in this, viz. the testimony of my own conscience, that, in plainness of heart, and sincerity before God, not in fleshly wisdom* , but by the favour of God directing me† , I have behaved myself towards all men, but more particularly towards you.13 For I have no design, no meaning, in what I write to you, but what lies open, and is legible, in what you read: and you yourselves cannot but acknowledge it to be so; and I hope you shall always acknowledge14 it to the end. As part of you have already acknowledged that I am your glory* ; as you will be mine, at the day of judgment, when, being my scholars and converts, ye shall be saved.
SECT. II. No. 2.
CHAP. I. 15.—II. 17.
The next thing St. Paul justifies is, his not coming to them. St. Paul had promised to call on the corinthians, in his way to Macedonia; but failed. This his opposers would have to be from levity in him; or a mind, that regulated itself wholly by carnal interest; vid. ver. 17. To which he answers, that God himself, having confirmed him amongst them, by the unction and earnest of his Spirit, in the ministry of the gospel of his Son, whom he, Paul, had preached to them steadily the same, without any the least variation, or unsaying any thing, he had at any time delivered; they could have no ground to suspect him to be an unstable, uncertain man, that would play fast and loose with them, and could not be depended on, in what he said to them. This is what he says, ch. i. 15—22.
In the next place, he, with a solemn asseveration, professes, that it was to spare them, that he came not to them. This he explains, ch. i. 23, and ii. 2, 3.
He gives another reason, chap. ii. 12, 13, why he went on to Macedonia, without coming to Corinth, as he had purposed; and that was the uncertainty he was in, by the not coming of Titus, what temper they were in, at Corinth. Having mentioned his journey to Macedonia, he takes notice of the success, which God gave to him there, and every where, declaring of what consequence his preaching was, both to the salvation, and condemnation, of those, who received, or rejected it; professing again his sincerity and disinterestedness, not without a severe reflection on their false apostle. All which we find in the following verses, viz. ch. ii. 14—17, and is all very suitable, and pursuant to his design in this epistle, which was to establish his authority and credit amongst the corinthians.
15And, in this confidence, I was minded to come unto you before, that you might have a second benefit;
16And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again, out of Macedonia, unto you; and, of you, to be brought on my way towards Judea.
17When I, therefore, was thus minded, did I use lightness? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay?
18But, as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you, by us, even by me, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, was not yea and nay; but in him was yea.
20For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him amen, unto the glory of God, by us.
21Now he, which establisheth us with you, in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God:
22Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit, in our hearts.
23Moreover, I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you, I came not as yet unto Corinth.
24Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy; for, by faith, ye stand.
II. 1But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.
2For if I make you sorry, who is he, then, that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?
3And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them, of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.
4For, out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote unto you with many tears; not that you should be grieved, but that ye might know the love, which I have more abundantly unto you.
5But, if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part; that I may not overcharge you all.
6Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
7So that, contrariwise, ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him; lest perhaps such an one should be swallowed up with over-much sorrow.
8Wherefore, I beseech you, that ye would confirm your love towards him.
9For to this end, also, did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
10To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for, if I forgive any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it, in the person of Christ.
11Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
12Furthermore, when I came to Troas, to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,
13I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus, my brother: but, taking my leave of them, I went from thence, into Macedonia.
14Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge, by us, in every place.
15For we are, unto God, a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.
16To the one, we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other, the savour of life unto life; and who is sufficient for these things?
17For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.
15Having this persuasion, (viz.) of your love and esteem of me, I purposed to come unto you ere this, that you16 might have a second gratification* ; And to take you in my way to Macedonia, and from thence return to you again, and, by you, be brought on in17 my way to Judea. If this fell not out so, as I purposed, am I, therefore, to be condemned of fickleness? Or am I to be thought an uncertain man, that talks forwards and backwards, one that has no regard to his word, any farther than may suit his18 carnal interest? But God is my witness, that what you have heard from me, has not been uncertain,19 deceitful, or variable. For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was preached among you, by me, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, was not sometimes one thing and sometimes another; but has been shown to be uniformly one and the same, in the counsel,20 or revelation of God. (For the promises of God do all consent, and stand firm, in him) to the glory of21 God, by my preaching. Now it is God, who establishes me with you, for the preaching of the gospel,22 who has anointed* , And also sealed† me, and given me the earnest‡ of his Spirit, in my heart. 23 Moreover, I call God to witness, and may I die if it is not so, that it was to spare you, that I came not24 yet to Corinth. Not that I pretend to such a dominion over your faith, as to require you to believe what I have taught you, without coming to you, when I am expected there, to maintain and make it good; for it is by that faith you stand: but I forbore to come, as one concerned to preserve and help forward your joy, which I am tender of, and therefore declined coming to you, whilst I thought you in an estate, that would require severity from me, thatII. 1. would trouble you* . I purposed in myself, it is true, to come to you again, but I resolved too, it should 2 be, without bringing sorrow with me* . For if I grieve you, who is there, when I am with you, to comfort me, but those very persons, whom I have discomposed3 with grief? And this very thing† , which made you sad, I writ to you, not coming myself; on purpose that, when I came, I might not have sorrow from those, from whom I ought to receive comfort: having this belief and confidence in you all, that you, all of you, make my joy and satisfaction so much your own, that you would remove all cause of disturbance,4 before I came. For I writ unto you with great sadness of heart and many tears; not with an intention to grieve you, but that you might know the overflow5 of tenderness and affection, which I have for you. But if the fornicator has been the cause of grief, I do not say, he has been so to me, but in some degree to you 6 all; that I may not lay a load on him* . The correction he hath received from the majority of you, is7 sufficient in the case. So that, on the contrary† , it is fit rather that you forgive and comfort him, lest he‡ should be swallowed up, by an excess of sorrow.8 Wherefore, I beseech you to confirm your love to9 him, which I doubt not of. For this, also, was one end of my writing to you, viz. To have a trial of you, and to know whether you are ready to obey me in10 all things. To whom you forgive any thing, I also forgive. For if I have forgiven any thing, I have forgiven it to him for your sakes, by the authority,11 and in the name of Christ; That we may not be over-reached by Satan: for we are not ignorant of his wiles. 12 Furthermore, being arrived at Troas, because Titus, whom I expected from Corinth, with news of you, was not come, I was very uneasy* there; insomuch that I made not use of the opportunity, which was put into my hands by the Lord, of preaching the13 gospel of Christ, for which I came thither. I hastily left those of Troas, and departed thence to Macedonia.14 But thanks be to God, in that he always makes me triumph every-where† , through Christ, who gives me success in preaching the gospel, and15 spreads the knowledge of Christ by me. For my ministry, and labour in the gospel, is a service, or sweet-smelling sacrifice to God, through Christ, both in regard of those that are saved, and those that perish.16 To the one my preaching is of ill savour, unacceptable and offensive, by their rejecting whereof they draw death on themselves; and to the other, being as a sweet savour, acceptable, they thereby receive eternal life. And who is sufficient for these things‡ ? And yet, as I said, my service in the gospel is well-pleasing17 to God. For I am not, as several* are, who are hucksters of the word of God, preaching it for gain; but I preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, in sincerity. I speak, as from God himself, and I deliver it, as in the presence of God.
SECT. II. No. 3.
CHAP. III. 1.—VII. 16.
His speaking well of himself (as he did sometimes in his first epistle, and, with much more freedom, in this, which, as it seems, had been objected to him, amongst the corinthians) his plainness of speech, and his sincerity in preaching the gospel, are the things, which he chiefly justifies, in this section, many ways. We shall observe his arguments, as they come in the order of St. Paul’s discourse, in which are mingled, with great insinuation, many expressions of an overflowing kindness to the corinthians, not without some exhortations to them.
1Do we begin, again, to commend ourselves? or need we as some others, epistles of commendation, to you, or letters of commendation, from you?
2Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
3Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.
4And such trust have we, through Christ to Godward.
5Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think any thing, as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God:
6Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
7But if the ministration of death written and ingraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away;
8How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious?
9For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
10For even that, which was made glorious, had no glory, in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
11For, if that which is done away was glorious, much more that, which remaineth, is glorious.
12Seeing then, that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech.
13And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.
14But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away, in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ.
15But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.
16Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.
17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18But we all, with open face, beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
IV. 1.Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not:
2But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but, by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience, in the sight of God.
3But, if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
5For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
6For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.
7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8We are troubled, on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11For we, which live, are alway delivered unto death for Jesus sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12So then death worketh in us; but life in you.
13We having the same Spirit of faith according as it is written, “I believed, and therefore have I spoken:” we also believe, and therefore speak;
14Knowing that he, which raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise up us also, by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might, through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God.
16For which cause we faint not; but, though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen, are temporal, but the things which are not seen, are eternal.
V. 1For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2For in this we groan earnestly, desiring to be cloathed upon, with our house, which is from heaven:
3If so be, that being cloathed we shall not be found naked.
4For we, that are in this tabernacle, do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
5Now he, that hath wrought us for the self-same thing, is God; who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6Therefore, we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord:
7(For we walk by faith, not by sight.)
8We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
9Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
10For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
11Knowing, therefore, the terrour of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God, and I trust, also, are made manifest in your consciences.
12For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that you may have somewhat to answer them, which glory in appearance, and not in heart.
13For, whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or, whether we be sober, it is for your cause.
14For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that, if one died for all, then were all dead:
15And that he died for all, that they, which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him, which died for them, and rose again.
16Wherefore, henceforth, know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are past away, behold, all things are become new.
18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you, in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
VI. 1.We then as workers together with him, beseech you also, that ye receive not the grace of God in vain:
2(For he saith, “I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee:” behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation!)
3Giving no offence, in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
4But, in all things, approving ourselves, as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
5In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings.
6By pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love, unfeigned.
7By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness, on the right hand, and on the left.
8By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
9As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and not killed;
10As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
11O ye corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
12Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
13Now, for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children) be ye also enlarged.
14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?
15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
17Wherefore, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
18“And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,” saith the Lord Almighty.
VII. 1Having therefore these promises, (dearly beloved) let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2Receive us: we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.
3I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that you are in our hearts, to die and live with you.
4Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful, in all our tribulation.
5For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.
6Nevertheless, God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us, by the coming of Titus:
7And not by his coming only, but by the consolation, wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
8For, though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent; though I did repent; for I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
9Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry, after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11For, behold, this self-same thing that ye sorrowed, after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you: yea, what clearing of yourselves; yea, what indignation; yea, what fear; yea, what vehement desire; yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge! in all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
12Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause, that had done the wrong, nor for his cause, that suffered wrong, but that our care for you, in the sight of God, might appear unto you.
13Therefore, we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we, for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.
14For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.
15And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him.
16I rejoice, therefore, that I have confidence in you, in all things.
1Do I begin again to commend myself* ; or need I, as2 some† , commendatory letters to, or from you? You are my commendatory epistle, written in my heart,3 known and read by all men. I need no other commendatory letter, but that you being manifested to be the commendatory epistle of Christ, written on my behalf; not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone‡ , but of the heart, whereof I was the amanuensis; i. e. your conversation4 was the effect of my ministry. § And this so great confidence have I, through Christ, in God. 5 Not as if I were sufficient of myself to reckon* upon any thing, as of myself; but my sufficiency, my ability,6 to perform any thing, is wholly from God: Who has fitted and enabled me to be a minister of the New Testament, not of the letter† , but of the spirit; for7 the letter kills‡ , but the spirit gives life. But, if the ministry of the law written in stone, which condemns to death, were so glorious to Moses, that his face shone so, that the children of Israel could not steadily behold the brightness of it, which was but temporary,8 and was quickly to vanish* ; How can it be otherwise, but that the ministry of the Spirit which giveth life should confer more glory and lustre on the ministers9 of the gospel? For, if the ministration of condemnation were glory, the ministry of justification† , in the gospel, doth certainly much more exceed in10 glory. Though even the glory, that Moses’s ministration had, was no glory, in comparison of the far more11 excelling glory of the gospel-ministry‡ . Farther, if that which is temporary, and to be done away, were delivered with glory, how much rather is that, which remains, without being done away, to appear12 in glory* ? Wherefore, having such hope† , we13 use great freedom and plainness of speech. And not as Moses, who put a veil over his face, do we veil the light; so that the obscurity of what we deliver should hinder‡ the children of Israel from seeing, in the law, which was to be done away, Christ,14 who was the end* of the law. But their not seeing it, is from the blindness of their own minds: for, unto this day, the same veil remains upon their understandings, in reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ; i. e. Christ, now he is come, so exactly answers all the types, prefigurations, and predictions of him, in the Old Testament, that presently, upon turning our eyes upon him, he visibly appears to be the person designed, and all the obscurity of those passages concerning him, which before were not understood, is taken15 away, and ceases. Nevertheless, even until now, when the writings of Moses are read, the veil† remains upon their hearts, they see not the spiritual and16 evangelical truths contained in them. But, when their heart shall turn to the Lord, and, laying by prejudice and aversion, shall be willing to receive the truth, the veil shall be taken away, and they shall plainly see him to be the person spoken of, and intended‡ . 17 But the Lord is the Spirit* , whereof we are ministers; and they, who have this Spirit, they have liberty† , so that they speak openly and freely.18 But we, all the faithful ministers of the New Testament, not veiled‡ , but with open countenances, as mirrours, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are changed into his very image, by a continued succession of glory, as it were, streaming upon us from the Lord, who is the Spirit, who gives us thisIV. 1. clearness and freedom. Seeing, therefore, I am intrusted with such a ministry, as this, according as I have received great mercy, being extraordinarily and miraculously called, when I was a persecutor, I do not fail* , nor flag: I do not behave myself unworthily in it, nor misbecoming the honour2 and dignity of such an employment: But, having renounced all unworthy and indirect designs, which will not bear the light, free from craft, and from playing any deceitful tricks, in my preaching the word of God; I recommend myself to every one’s conscience, only by making plain* the truth which I deliver, as3 in the presence of God. But if the gospel, which I preach, be obscure and hidden, it is so, only to those4 who are lost: In whom, being unbelievers, the God of this world† has blinded their minds‡ , so that the glorious§ brightness of the light of the gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, cannot enlighten them.5 For I seek not my own glory, or secular advantage, in preaching, but only the propagating of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; professing myself your servant6 for Jesus’ sake. For God, who made light to shine out of darkness, hath enlightened also my dark heart, who before saw not the end of the law, that I might communicate the knowledge and light of the glory of God, which shines in the face∥ of Jesus 7 Christ. But yet we, to whom this treasure of knowledge, the gospel of Jesus Christ, is committed, to be propagated in the world, are but frail men: that so the exceeding great power, that accompanies it, may8 appear to be from God and not from us. I am pressed on every side, but do not shrink; I am perplexed,9 but yet not so as to despond; Persecuted, but yet not left to sink under it; thrown down, but10 not slain; Carrying about every-where, in my body, the mortification, i. e. a representation of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus, that also the life of Jesus, risen from the dead, may be made manifest by the energy, that accompanies my preaching in this frail11 body. For, as long as I live, I shall be exposed to the danger of death, for the sake of Jesus, that the life of Jesus, risen from the dead, may be made manifest by my preaching, and sufferings, in this mortal12 flesh of mine. So that the preaching of the gospel procures sufferings and danger of death to me; but to you it procures life, i. e. the energy of the Spirit of Christ, whereby he lives in, and gives life to those13 who believe in him. Nevertheless, though suffering and death accompany the preaching of the gospel; yet, having the same Spirit of faith that David had, when he said, “I believe, therefore have I14 spoken,” I also, believing, therefore speak; Knowing that he, who raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise me up also, by Jesus, and present me, with you,15 to God. For I do, and suffer, all things, for your sakes, that the exuberant favour of God may abound, by the thanksgiving of a greater number, to the glory of God; i. e. I endeavour, by my sufferings and preaching, to make as many converts as I can, that so the more partaking of the mercy and favour of God, of which there is a plentiful and inexhaustible store, the more may give thanks unto him, it being more for the glory of God, that a greater16 number should give thanks and pray to him. For which reason I faint not* , I flag not; but though my bodily strength decay, yet the vigour of my mind17 is daily renewed. For the more my sufferings are here in propagating the gospel, which at worst are but transient and light, the more will they procure me an exceedingly far greater addition of that glory*18 in heaven, which is solid and eternal; I having no regard to the visible things of this world, but to the invisible things of the other: for the things, that are seen, are temporal; but those, that are not seen, eternal.V. 1 For I know, that if this my body, which is but as a tent for my sojourning here upon earth, for a short time, were dissolved, I shall have another, of a divine original, which shall not, like buildings made with men’s hands, be subject to decay, but shall be2 eternal in the heavens. For in this tabernacle† , I groan earnestly, desiring, without putting off this mortal, earthly body, by death, to have that celestial3 body superinduced; If so be the coming‡ of Christ shall overtake me, in this life, before I put off4 this body. For we, that are in the body, groan under the pressures and inconveniencies, that attend us in it; which yet we are not, therefore, willing to put off, but had rather, without dying, have it changed* into a celestial, immortal body, that so this mortal state may be put an end to, by an immediate entrance5 into an immortal life. Now it is God, who prepares and fits us for this immortal state, who also6 gives us the Spirit as a pledge† of it. Wherefore, being always undaunted‡ , and knowing, that whilst I dwell, or sojourn, in this body, I am absent from my7 proper home, which is with the Lord, (For I regulate my conduct, not by the enjoyment of the visible things of this world, but by my hope and expectation of the8 invisible things of the world to come) I, with boldness‡ , preach the gospel, preferring, in my choice, the quitting this habitation to get home to the Lord.9 Wherefore, I make this my only aim, whether staying* here in this body, or departing out of it, so to10 acquit myself, as to be acceptable to him† . For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive according to what he has done in the body, whether it be good,11 or bad. Knowing, therefore, this terrible judgment of the Lord, I preach the gospel, persuading men to be christians. And with what integrity I discharge that duty, is manifest to God, and I trust, you also are convinced of it, in your consciences.12 And this I say, not that I commend* myself again: but that I may give you an occasion not to be ashamed of me, but to glory on my behalf, having wherewithal to reply to those, who make a show of glorying in outward appearance, without doing so13 inwardly in their hearts† . For if‡ I am besides myself§ , in speaking, as I do of myself, it is between God and me; he must judge: men are not concerned in it, nor hurt by it. Or, if I do it soberly, and upon good ground; if what I profess of myself be in reality true, it is for your sake and advantage.14 For it is the love of Christ constraineth me, judging as I do, that, if Christ died for all, then15 all were dead: And that, if he died for all, his intention was, that they who by him have attained to a state of life, should not any longer live to themselves alone, seeking only their own private advantage; but should employ their lives in promoting the gospel and kingdom of Christ, who for them died,16 and rose again: So that, from henceforth, I have no regard to any one, according to the flesh* , i. e. for being circumcised, or a jew. For, if I myself have gloried in this, that Christ himself was circumcised, as I am, and was of my blood and nation, I do so17 now no more any longer. So that if any one be in Christ, it is, as if he were in a new creation† , wherein all former, mundane relations, considerations, and interests* , are ceased, and at an end; all things in18 that state are new to him: And he owes his very being in it, and the advantages he therein enjoys, not, in the least measure, to his birth, extraction, or any legal observances, or privileges, but wholly19 and solely to God alone; Reconciling the world to himself by Jesus Christ, and not imputing their trespasses to them. And therefore I, whom God hath reconciled to himself, and to whom he hath given the ministry, and committed the word of his reconciliation;20 As an ambassador for Christ, as though God did by me beseech you, I pray you in Christ’s21 stead, be ye reconciled to God. For God hath made him subject to sufferings and death, the punishment and consequence of sin, as if he had been a sinner, though he were guilty of no sin; that we, in and by him, might be made righteous, by a righteousnessVI. 1 imputed to us by God. I therefore, working together with him, beseech you also, that you receive not the favour of God, in the gospel,2 preached to you, in vain* . (For he saith, “I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee:” behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation!)3 Giving no offence to any one, in any thing, that the4 ministry be not blamed: But, in every thing, approving myself, as becomes the minister of God, by much5 patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in straits, In stripes, in imprisonments, in being tossed up and6 down, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By a life undefiled; by knowledge; by long-sufferings; by the7 gifts of the Holy Ghost; by love unfeigned; By preaching the gospel of truth sincerely; by the power of God, assisting my ministry; by uprightness of mind, wherewith I am armed at all points, both to do8 and to suffer; By honour and disgrace; by good and9 bad report: as a deceiver† , and yet faithful; As an obscure, unknown man, but yet known and owned; as one often in danger of death, and yet, behold, I10 live; as chastened, but yet not killed; As sorrowful, but yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing11 all things. O ye corinthians, my mouth is opened to you, my heart is enlarged* to you; my affection, my tenderness, my compliance for you is not strait,12 or narrow. It is your own narrowness makes you13 uneasy. Let me speak to you, as a father to his children; in return, do you, likewise, enlarge your14 affections and deference to me. Be ye not associated with unbelievers, having nothing to do with them in their vices, or worship† : for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? What15 communion hath light with darkness? What concord hath Christ with Belial‡ ? Or what part16 hath a believer with an unbeliever? What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, “I will dwell in them, among them will I walk; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”17 Wherefore, “Come out from among them, and be separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the18 unclean thing, and I will receive you to me; And I will be a Father, and ye shall be my sons andVII. 1 daughters,” saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore, these promises, (dearly beloved) let us cleanse ourselves from the defilement of all sorts of sins, whether of body or mind, endeavouring after2 perfect holiness, in the fear of God. Receive me, as one to be hearkened to, as one to be followed, as one that hath done nothing to forfeit your esteem. I have wronged no man: I have corrupted no man:3 I have defrauded no man† . I say not this to reflect on your carriage towards me‡ : for I have already assured you, that I have so great an affection4 for you, that I could live and die with you. But, in the transport of my joy, I use great liberty of speech towards you. But let it not be thought to be of ill-will, for I boast much of you: I am filled with comfort, and my joy abounds exceedingly in all my5 afflictions. For when I came to Macedonia, I had no respite from continual trouble, that beset me on every side. From without, I met with strife and opposition, in preaching the gospel: and within, I was filled with fear, upon your account; lest the false apostle, continuing his credit and faction amongst you, should pervert you from the simplicity of the6 gospel* . But God, who comforteth those who are cast down, comforted me, by the coming of Titus.7 Not barely by his presence, but by the comfort I received from you, by him, when he acquainted me with your great desire of conforming yourselves to my orders; your trouble for any neglects, you have been guilty of, towards me; the great warmth of your affection and concern for me; so that I rejoiced8 the more, for my past fears; Having writ to you a letter, which I repented of, but now do not repent of, perceiving, that, though that letter grieved you,9 it made you sad but for a short time: But now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For this proved a beneficial sorrow, acceptable to God, that, in nothing, you might have cause to complain, that you were10 damaged by me. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of: but sorrow arising from worldly interest, worketh death.11 In the present case, mark it* , that godly sorrow, which you had, what carefulness it wrought in you, to conform yourselves to my orders† ; yea, what clearing yourselves from your former miscarriages; yea, what indignation against those who led you into them; yea, what fear to offend me; yea, what vehement desire of satisfying me; yea, what zeal for me; yea, what revenge against yourselves, for having been so misled! You have shown yourselves to be set right‡ , and be, as you should be, in every12 thing, by this carriage of yours§ . If, therefore, I wrote unto you, concerning the fornicator, it was not for his sake, that had done, nor his that had suffered the wrong; but principally, that my care and concern for you might be made known to you,13 as in the presence of God. Therefore, I was comforted in your comfort: but much more exceedingly rejoiced I, in the joy of Titus; because his mind was set at ease, by the good disposition he found you all14 in towards me* . So that I am not ashamed of having boasted of you to him. For all that I have said to you, is truth; so, what I said to Titus, in your commendation, he has found to be true; 15 Whereby his affection to you is abundantly increased, he carrying in his mind the universal obedience of you all, unanimously to me, and the manner of your receiving him with fear and trembling.16 I rejoice, therefore, that I have confidence in you in all things.
CHAP. VIII. 1.—IX. 15.
The apostle having employed the seven foregoing chapters, in his own justification, in the close whereof he expresses the great satisfaction he had, in their being all united again, in their affection, and obedience to him; he, in the two next chapters, exhorts them, especially by the example of the churches of Macedonia, to a liberal contribution to the poor christians in Judea.
1Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God, bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.
2How that, in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy, and their deep poverty, abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3For to their power, (I bear record) yea, and beyond their power, they were willing of themselves;
4Praying us, with much intreaty, that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
5And this they did, not as we hoped; but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
6Insomuch that we desired Titus, that, as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
7Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, in utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us; see that you abound in this grace also.
8I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
9For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet, for your sakes, he became poor, that ye, through his poverty, might be rich.
10And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
11Now, therefore, perform the doing of it; that, as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also, out of that which you have.
12For, if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
13For I mean not, that other men may be eased, and you burdened:
14But, by an equality, that now, at this time, your abundance may be a supply for their want; that their abundance also may be a supply for your want, that there may be equality;
15As it is written, “He that hath gathered much, had nothing over; and he that had gathered little, had no lack.”
16But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus, for you.
17For, indeed, he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord, he went unto you.
18And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel, throughout all the churches:
19(And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us, with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind)
20Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance, which is administered by us:
21Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
22And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things; but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.
23Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner, and fellow-helper concerning you: or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.
24Wherefore show ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.
IX. 1.For, as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you.
2For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago, and your zeal hath provoked very many.
3Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain, in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:
4Lest haply, if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not you) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.
5Therefore, I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up before-hand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
6But this I say, He, which soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly: and he, which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully.
7Every man, according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a chearful giver.
8And God is able to make all grace abound towards you; that ye, always having all-sufficiency, in all things, may abound to every good work:
9(As it is written, “He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.”
10Now he that ministereth seed to the sower, both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness:)
11Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth, through us, thanksgiving to God.
12For the administration of this service, not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also, by many thanksgivings unto God.
13(Whilst, by the experiment of this ministration, they glorify God, for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;)
14And, by their prayer for you, which long after you, for the exceeding grace of God in you.
15Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
1Moreover, brethren, I make known to you the gift* , which, by the grace of God, is given in the churches 2 of Macedonia: viz. That amidst the afflictions* they have been much tried with, they have, with exceeding chearfulness and joy, made their very low estate of poverty yield a rich contribution of liberality:3 Being forward of themselves (as I must bear them witness) to the utmost of their power; nay, and beyond4 their power: Earnestly intreating me to receive their contribution, and be a partner with others, in the charge of conveying and distributing it to the5 saints. And in this they out-did my expectation, who could not hope for so large a collection from them. But they gave themselves first to the Lord, and to me, to dispose of what they had, according as the good6 pleasure of God should direct. Insomuch that I was moved to persuade Titus, that, as he had begun, so he would also see this charitable contribution carried7 on among you, till it was perfected: That, as you excel in every thing, abounding in faith, in well-speaking, in knowledge, in every good quality, and in your affection to me; ye might abound in this act of8 charitable liberality also. This I say to you, not as a command from God, but on occasion of the great liberality of the churches of Macedonia, and to show the world a proof of the genuine, noble temper of your9 love* . For ye know the munificence† of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, being rich, made himself poor for your sakes, that you, by his poverty, might become10 rich. I give you my opinion in the case, because it becomes you so to do, as having begun not only to do something in it, but to show a willingness to it,11 above a year ago. Now, therefore, apply yourselves to the doing of it in earnest; so that, as you undertook it readily, you would as readily perform it, out12 of what you have: For every man’s charity is accepted by God, according to the largeness and willingness of his heart, in giving, and not according13 to the narrowness of his fortune. For my meaning is not, that you should be burthened to ease others:14 But that, at this time, your abundance should make up, what they, through want, come short in; that, on another occasion, their abundance may supply15 your deficiency, that there may be an equality: As it is written, “He that had much, had nothing16 over, and he that had little, had no lack.” But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the17 same concern for you, Who not only yielded to my exhortation* : but, being more than ordinary concerned for you, of his own accord went unto you:18 With whom I have sent the brother† , who has praise through all the churches, for his labour in the 19 gospel: (And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches, to accompany me, in the carrying this collection, which service I undertook for the glory of our Lord, and for your encouragement to20 a liberal contribution:) To prevent any aspersion might be cast on me, by any one, on occasion of my meddling with the management of so great a sum;21 And to take care, by having such men joined with me, in the same trust, that my integrity and credit should be preserved, not only in the sight of the22 Lord, but also in the sight of men. With them I have sent our brother, of whom I have had frequent experience, in sundry affairs, to be a forward, active man; but now much more earnestly intent, by reason of the strong pursuasion he has, of your contributing23 liberally. Now, whether I speak of Titus, he is my partner, and one, who, with me, promotes your interest; or the two other brethren sent with him, they are the messengers of the churches of Macedonia, by whom their collection is sent, and are24 promoters of the glory of Christ. Give, therefore, to them, and, by them, to those churches, a demonstration of your love, and a justification of my boastingIX. 1 of you. For, as touching the relief of the poor christians in Jerusalem, it is needless for me to write2 to you. For I know the forwardness of your minds, which I boasted of on your behalf, to the macedonians, that Achaia* was ready a year ago, and your zeal in3 this matter hath been a spur to many others. Yet I have sent these brethren, that my boasting of you may not appear to be vain and groundless, in this part; but that you may, as I said, have your collection4 ready: Lest, if perchance the macedonians should come with me, and find it not ready, I (not to say, you) should be ashamed in this matter, whereof I5 have boasted. I thought it, therefore, necessary to put the brethren upon going before unto you, to prepare things, by a timely notice before-hand, that your contribution may be ready, as a free benevolence of yours, and not as a niggardly gift, extorted from6 you. This I say, “He who soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly; and he who soweth plentifully,7 shall also reap plentifully.” So give, as you find yourselves disposed, every one, in his own heart, not grudgingly, as if it were wrung from you; for8 God loves a chearful giver. For God is able to make every charitable gift* of yours redound to your advantage; that, you having in every thing, always, a fulness of plenty, ye may abound in every9 good work: (As it is written, “He hath scattered, he hath given to the poor, and his liberality† remaineth10 for ever.” Now he, that supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply your stock of seed‡ , and increase the fruit of11 your liberality:) Enriched in every thing to all beneficence, which, by me, as instrumental in it,12 procureth thanksgiving to God. For the performance of this service doth not only bring supply to the wants of the saints, but reacheth farther, even13 to God himself, by many thanksgivings (Whilst they, having such a proof of you, in this your supply, glorify God for your professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberality, in communicating14 to them, and to all men;) And to the procuring their prayers for you, they having a great inclination towards you, because of that gracious gift of God bestowed on them, by your liberality.15 Thanks be to God for this his unspeakable gift.
CHAP. X. 1.—XIII. 10.
St. Paul having finished his exhortation to liberality, in their collection for the christians at Jerusalem, he here resumes his former argument, and prosecutes the main purpose of this epistle, which was totally to reduce and put a final end to the adverse faction, (which seems not yet to be entirely extinct,) by bringing the corinthians wholly off from the false apostle they had adhered to: and to re-establish himself and his authority in the minds of all the members of that church. And this he does, by the steps contained in the following numbers.
SECT. IV. No. 1.
CHAP. X. 1—6.
He declares the extraordinary power he hath in preaching the gospel, and to punish his opposers amongst them.
1Now I Paul, myself, beseech you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you.
2But I beseech you, that I may not be bold, when I am present, with that confidence wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us, as if we walked according to the flesh.
3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds:)
5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing, that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God; and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ:
6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
1Now I, the same Paul, who am (as it is said amongst you* ) base and mean, when present with you, but bold towards you, when absent, beseech you, by the2 meekness and gentleness† of Christ; I beseech you, I say, that I may not, when present among you, be bold, after that manner I have resolved to be bold towards some, who account that, in my conduct and ministry, I regulate myself wholly by carnal considerations.3 For, though I live in the flesh, yet I do not carry on the work of the gospel (which is a warfare)4 according to the flesh: (For the weapons of my warfare are not fleshly‡ , but such, as God hath made mighty, to the pulling down of strong holds, i. e.5 whatever is made use of in opposition:) Beating down human reasonings, and all the towering and most elevated superstructures raised thereon, by the wit of men, against the knowledge of God, as held forth in the gospel; captivating all their notions, and bringing6 them into subjection to Christ: And having by me, in a readiness, power wherewithal to punish and chastise all disobedience, when you, who have been misled by your false apostle, withdrawing yourselves from him, shall return to a perfect obedience* .
SECT. IV. No. 2.
CHAP. X. 7—18.
St. Paul examines the false apostle’s pretensions, and compares his own with his performances.
7Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself, that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.
8For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, (which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction,) I should not be ashamed.
9That I may not seem, as if I would terrify you by letters.
10“For his letters,” say they, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”
11Let such an one think this, that such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed, when we are present.
12For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some, that commend themselves: but they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves amongst themselves, are not wise.
13But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule, which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.
14For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also, in preaching the gospel of Christ:
15Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours: but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you, according to our rule, abundantly:
16To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast, in another man’s line, of things made ready to our hand.
17But he, that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
18For not he, that commendeth himself, is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
7Do ye judge of men, by the outward appearance of things? Is it by such measures you take an estimate of me and my adversaries? If he has confidence in himself, that he is Christ’s, i. e. assumes to himself the authority of one employed and commissioned by Christ* , let him, on the other side, count thus with himself, that, as he is Christ’s, so8 I also am Christ’s. Nay, if I should boastingly say something more† , of the authority and power, which the Lord has given me for your edification, and not for your destruction‡ , I should not be put9 to shame§ : But that I may not seem to terrify10 you by letters, as is objected to me by some, Who say that my letters are weighty and powerful, but my bodily presence weak, and my discourse contemptible.11 Let him, that says so, reckon upon this, that such as I am in word, by letters, when I am absent, such shall I be also in deed, when present.12 For I dare not be so bold, as to rank or compare myself with some, who vaunt themselves: but they measuring themselves within themselves* , and comparing themselves with themselves, do not understand† .13 But I, for my part, will not boast of myself in what has not been measured out, or allotted to me‡ ; i. e. I will not go out of my own province, to seek matter of commendation; but proceeding orderly, in the province, which God hath measured out, and allotted to me, I have reached even unto you; i. e. I preached the gospel in every14 country, as I went, till I came as far as you. For I do not extend myself farther than I should, as if I had skipped over other countries in my way, without proceeding gradually to you; no, for I have reached even unto you, in preaching of the gospel in15 all countries, as I passed along§ : Not extending my boasting∥ , beyond my own bounds, into provinces not allotted to me, nor vaunting myself of any thing, I have done, in another’s labour* , i. e. in a church planted by another man’s pains: but having hope, that, your faith increasing, my province will16 be enlarged by you yet farther: So that I may preach the gospel to the yet unconverted countries beyond you, and not take glory to myself, from another man’s province, where all things are made17 ready to my hand* . But he that will glory, let him glory, or seek praise, from that which is committed to him by the Lord, or in that which is acceptable18 to the Lord. For not he, who commends himself, does thereby give a proof of his authority, or mission; but he, whom the Lord commends by the gifts of the Holy Ghost† .
SECT. IV. No. 3.
CHAP. XI. 1—6.
He shows that their pretended apostle, bringing to them no other Saviour or gospel, nor conferring greater power of miracles, than he [St. Paul] had done, was not to be preferred before him.
1Would to God ye could bear with me a little, in my folly; and, indeed, bear with me.
2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
3But I fear lest, by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve, through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4For if he, that cometh, preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached; or if ye receive another Spirit, which ye have not received; or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
5For, I suppose, I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
6But, though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest, among you, in all things.
1Would you could bear me a little, in my folly* ;2 and, indeed, to bear with me. For I am jealous over you, with a jealousy, that is for God: for I have fitted and prepared you for one alone, to be your husband, viz. that I might deliver you up a pure3 virgin, to Christ. But, I fear, lest, some way or other, as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning; so your minds should be debauched from that singleness4 which is due to Christ† . For if this intruder, who has been a leader amongst you, can preach to you another Saviour, whom I have not preached; or if you receive from him other, or greater gifts of the Spirit, than those you received from me; or another gospel than what you accepted from me; you might well bear with him, and allow his pretensions of being5 a new and greater apostle. For, as to the apostles of Christ, I suppose I am not a whit behind the6 chiefest of them. For though I am but a mean speaker, yet I am not without knowledge; but in every thing have been made manifest unto you, i. e. to be an apostle.
SECT. IV. No. 4.
CHAP. XI. 7—15.
He justifies himself to them, in his having taken nothing of them. There had been great talk about this, and objections raised against St. Paul thereupon; vid. 1 Cor. ix. 1—3. As if, by this, he had discovered himself not to be an apostle: to which he there answers, and here toucheth it again, and answers another objection, which it seems was made, viz. that he refused to receive maintenance from them out of unkindness to them.
7Have I committed an offence, in abasing myself, that you might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
8I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
9And, when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man; for that, which was lacking to me, the brethren which came from Macedonia, supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
10As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting, in the regions of Achaia.
11Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.
12But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them, which desire occasion, that, wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.
13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15Therefore it is no great thing, if his ministers also be transformed, as the ministers of righteousness: whose end shall be according to their works.
7Have I committed an offence* in abasing myself, to work with my hands, neglecting my right of maintenance, due to me, as an apostle, that you might be exalted in christianity, because I preached the gospel8 of God to you gratis? I robbed other churches, taking9 wages of them, to do you service. And, being with you and in want, I was chargeable to not a man of you: for the brethren, who came from Macedonia, supplied me with what I needed: and, in all things, I have kept myself from being burdensome10 to you, and so I will continue to do. The truth and sincerity I owe to Christ is, in what I say to you, viz. This boasting of mine shall not in the11 regions of Achaia be stopped in me. Why so? Is it, because I love you not? For that God can be12 my witness, he knoweth. But what I do, and shall do* , is, that I may cut off all occasion from those, who, if I took any thing of you, would be glad of that occasion to boast, that in it they had me for a pattern, and did nothing but what even I myself13 had done. For these are false† apostles, deceitful labourers in the gospel, having put on the counterfeit14 shape and outside of apostles of Christ: And no marvel; for Satan himself is sometimes transformed15 into an angel of light. Therefore it is not strange, if so be his ministers are disguised so, as to appear ministers of the gospel: whose end shall be according to their works.
SECT. IV. No. 5.
CHAP. XI. 16—33.
He goes on, in his justification, reflecting upon the carriage of the false apostle towards the corinthians, ver. 16—21. He compares himself with the false apostle, in what he boasts of, as being a Hebrew, ver. 21, 22, or minister of Christ, ver. 23, and here St. Paul enlarges upon his labours and sufferings.
16I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.
17That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but, as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
18Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.
19For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
20For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.
21I speak, as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak: howbeit, whereinsoever any are bold, (I speak foolishly) I am bold also.
22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.
23Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more: in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24Of the jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck; a night and a day I have been in the deep:
26In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
29Who is weak, and I am not weak; who is offended, and I burn not?
30If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
31The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lye not.
32In Damascus, the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the damascenes, with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:
33And, through a window, in a basket, was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
16I say again, Let no man think me a fool, that I speak so much of myself: or, at least, if it be a folly in me, bear with me as a fool, that I too, as well as17 others* , may boast myself a little. That, which I say on this occasion, is not by command from Christ, but, as it were, foolishly, in this matter of boasting.18 Since many glory† in their circumcision, or extraction‡ ,19 I will glory also. For ye bear with fools20 easily§ , being yourselves wise. For you bear with it, if a man bring you into bondage∥ , i. e. domineer over you, and use you like his bondmen; if he make a prey of you; if he take, or extort presents, or a salary, from you; if he be elevated, and high, amongst you; if he smite you on the face, i. e. treat you contumeliously.21 I speak, according to the reproach has been cast upon me, as if I were weak, i. e. destitute of what might support me in dignity and authority, equal to this false apostle, as if I had not as fair pretences22 to power and profit amongst you, as he. Is he an hebrew* , i. e. by language an hebrew? So am I. Is he an israelite, truly of the jewish nation, and bred up in that religion? So am I. Is he of the seed of Abraham, really descended from him? And not a proselyte, of a foreign extraction? So am I.23 Is he a minister of Jesus Christ? (I speak in my foolish way of boasting) I am more so: in toilsome labours I surpass him: in stripes I am exceedingly beyond him† : in prisons I have been oftener; and 24 in the very jaws of death, more than once: Of the jews I have, five times, received forty stripes save25 one. Thrice was I whipped with rods: once was I stoned: thrice shipwrecked: I have passed a night26 and a day in the sea: In journeyings often: in perils by water; in perils by robbers; in perils by mine own countrymen; in perils from the heathen; in perils in the city; in perils in the country; in perils27 at sea; in perils among false brethren; In toil and trouble, and sleepless nights, often; in hunger and thirst; in fastings, often; in cold and nakedness.28 Besides these troubles from without the disturbance that comes daily upon me, from my concern for all29 the churches. Who is a weak christian, in danger, through frailty or ignorance, to be misled, whose weakness I do not feel and suffer in, as if it were my own? Who is actually misled, for whom my zeal and concern do not make me uneasy, as if I had a fire30 in me? If I must be compelled* to glory† , I will glory of those things which are of my weak and suffering31 side. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lye32 not. In Damascus, the governor, under Aretas the king, who kept the town with a garrison, being desirous33 to apprehend me; I was, through a window, let down in a basket, and escaped his hands.
SECT. IV. No. 6.
CHAP. XII. 1—11.
He makes good his apostleship, by the extraordinary visions and revelations, which he had received.
1It is not expedient for me, doubtless, to glory: I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2I knew a man in Christ, above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth,) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth)
4How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
6For, though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
7And, lest I should be exalted above measure, through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9And he said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
11I am become a fool in glorying: ye have compelled me; for I ought to have been commended of you; for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
1If I must be forced to glory* for your sakes; (for me it is not expedient) I will come to visions and revelations 2 of the Lord. I knew a man* , by the power of Christ, above fourteen years ago, caught up into the third heaven, whether the intire man, body and all, or out of the body in an ecstacy, I know not; God knows.3 And I knew such an one* , whether in the body, or out4 of the body, I know not, God knows, That he was caught up into paradise, and there heard what is not in5 the power of man to utter. Of such an one, I will glory; but myself I will not mention, with any boasting, unless in things that carry the marks of weakness,6 and show my sufferings. But if I should have a mind to glory in other things, I might do it, without being a fool; for I would speak nothing but what is true, having matter in abundance† , but I forbear, lest any one should think of me beyond what he sees me, or7 hears commonly reported of me. And that I might not be exalted above measure, by reason of the abundance of revelations that I had, there was given me a thorn in the flesh‡ , the messenger of Satan to buffet 8 me, that I might not be over-much elevated. Concerning this thing, I besought the Lord thrice, that9 it might depart from me. And he said, My favour is sufficient for thee: for my power exerts itself, and its sufficiency is seen the more perfectly, the weaker thou thyself art. I, therefore, most willingly choose to glory, rather in things that show my weakness, than in my abundance of glorious revelations, that the power of Christ may the more visibly be10 seen to dwell in me. Wherefore, I have satisfaction in weaknesses, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I, looked upon in my outward state, appear weak, then by the power of Christ, which dwelleth in me,11 I am found to be strong. I am become foolish in glorying thus: but it is you, who have forced me to it. For I ought to have been commended by you; since in nothing came I behind the chiefest of the apostles, though in myself I am nothing.
SECT. IV. No. 7.
CHAP. XII. 12, 13.
He continues to justify himself to be an apostle, by the miracles he did, and the supernatural gifts he bestowed amongst the corinthians.
12Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you, in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
13For what is it wherein ye were inferiour to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong.
12Truly the signs whereby an apostle might be known, were wrought among you, by me, in all patience* and submission, under the difficulties I there met with, in miraculous, wonderful and mighty works,13 performed by me. For what is there, which you were any way shortened in, and had not equally with other churches† , except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this injury.
SECT. IV. No. 8.
CHAP. XII. 14—21.
He farther justifies himself, to the corinthians, by his past disinterestedness, and his continued kind intentions to them.
14Behold, the third time, I am ready to come to you; and will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
15And I will very gladly spend, and be spent, for you, though, the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
16“But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless being crafty, I caught you with guile.”
17Did I make a gain of you, by any of them, whom I sent unto you?
18I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother; did Titus make a gain of you? Walked we not in the same spirit? Walked we not in the same steps?
19Again, think you that we excuse ourselves unto you? We speak before God, in Christ; but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.
20For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you, such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
21And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many, which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness, which they have committed.
14Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come unto you; but I will not be burdensome to you; for I seek not what is yours, but you: for it is not expected, nor usual, that children should lay up for15 their parents, but parents* for their children. I will gladly lay out whatever is in my possession, or power; nay, even wear out and hazard myself for your souls† , though it should so fall out that the more I love you, the less I should be beloved by16 you‡ . “Be it so, as some suggest, that I was not burdensome to you; but it was in truth out of cunning, with a design to catch you, with that trick, drawing from you, by others, what I refused17 in person.” In answer to which, I ask, Did I, by any of those, I sent unto you, make a18 gain of you? I desired Titus to go to you, and with him I sent a brother: did Titus make a gain of you? Did not they behave themselves with the same temper, that I did, amongst you? Did we not walk in the same steps? i. e. neither they, nor19 I, received any thing from you. Again§ , do not, upon my mentioning my sending of Titus to you, think that I apologize for my not coming myself: I speak, as in the presence of God, and as a christian, there is no such thing: in all my whole carriage towards you, beloved, all that has been done, has been done only for your edification. No, there is no need of an apology for my not coming to you20 sooner: For I fear, when I do come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that you will find me such as you would not: I am afraid, that among you there are disputes, envyings, animosities, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings of mind, disturbances: 21 And that my God, when I come to you again, will humble me amongst you, and I shall bewail many, who have formerly sinned, and have not yet repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lasciviousness, whereof they are guilty.
SECT. IV. No. 9.
CHAP. XIII. 1—10.
He re-assumes what he was going to say, ch. xii. 14, and tells them, how he intends to deal with them, when he comes to them: and assures them, that, however they question it, he shall be able, by miracles, to give proof of his authority and commission from Christ.
1This is the third time I am coming to you: in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
2I told you before, and foretel you, as if I were present the second time; and, being absent, now I write to them, which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:
3Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.
4For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God: for we also are weak in him, but we shall live, with him, by the power of God towards you.
5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves: know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
6But I trust that ye shall know, that we are not reprobates.
7Now I pray to God, that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.
8For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
9For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.
10Therefore I write these things, being absent; lest, being present, I should use sharpness, according to the power, which the Lord hath given me, to edification, and not to destruction.
1This is now, the third time, I am coming to you; and, when I come, I shall not spare you, having proceeded, according to our Saviour’s rule, and endeavoured by fair means, first to reclaim you, before I2 come to the last extremity. And of this my former epistle, wherein I applied myself to you, and this, wherein I now, as if I were present wiih you, foretel those, who have formerly sinned, and all the rest, to whom, being now absent, I write, that when I come, I will not spare you. I say, these two letters are my witnesses, according to our Saviour’s rule, which says, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word3 shall be established* :” Since you demand a proof of my mission, and of what I deliver, that it is dictated by Christ speaking in me, who must be acknowledged not to be weak to you-ward, but has given sufficient 4 marks of his power amongst you. For, though his crucifixion and death were with appearance* of weakness; yet he liveth with the manifestation* of the power of God, appearing in my punishing you.5 You examine me, whether I can, by any miraculous operation, give a proof, that Christ is in me. Pray, examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; make a trial upon yourselves, whether you yourselves are not somewhat destitute of proofs† . Or, are you so little acquainted with yourselves, as not6 to know, whether Christ be in you? But, if you do not know yourselves, whether you can give proofs or no, yet I hope, you shall know, that I am not unable7 to give proof† of Christ in me. But I pray to God that you may do no evil, wishing not for an opportunity to show my proofs† : but that you, doing what is right, I may be, as if I had no proofs† , no supernatural 8 power. For though I have the power of punishing supernaturally, I cannot show this power upon any of you, unless it be that you are offenders, and your9 punishment be for the advantage of the gospel. I am, therefore, glad, when I am weak, and can inflict no punishment upon you; and you are so strong, i. e. clear of faults, that ye cannot be touched. For all the power I have is only for promoting the truth of the gospel; whoever are faithful and obedient to that, I can do nothing to; I cannot make examples of them, by all the extraordinary power I have, if I would: nay, this also I wish, even your perfection.10 These things, therefore, I write to you, being absent, that when I come, I may not use severity, according to the power which the Lord hath given me, for edification, not for destruction.
CHAP. XIII. 11—14.
11Finally, brethren, farewell; be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
12Greet one another with an holy kiss.
13All the saints salute you.
14The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
11Finally, brethren, farewell: bring yourselves into one well-united, firm, unjarring society* ; be of good comfort; be of one mind; live in peace, and12 the God of love and peace shall be with you. Salute13 one another with an holy kiss: All the saints salute14 you. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
[* ]1 “Brother,” i. e. either in the common faith; and so, as we have already remarked, he frequently calls all the converted, as Rom. i. 13, and in other places; or “brother” in the work of the ministry, vid. Rom. xvi. 21, 1 Cor. xvi. 12. To which we may add, that St. Paul may be supposed to have given Timothy the title of “brother,” here, for dignity’s sake, to give him a reputation above his age, amongst the corinthians, to whom he had before sent him, with some kind of authority, to rectify their disorders. Timothy was but a young man, when St. Paul writ his first epistle to him, as appears, 1 Tim. iv. 12. Which epistle, by the consent of all, was writ to Timothy, after he had been at Corinth; and in the opinion of some very learned men, not less than eight years after: and therefore his calling him “brother,” here, and joining him with himself, in writing this epistle, may be to let the corinthians see, that, though he were so young, who had been sent to them, yet it was one, whom St. Paul thought fit to treat very much as an equal.
[† ]Achaia, the country wherein Corinth stood.
[* ]3 That this is the right translation of the Greek here, see Eph. i. 3, and 1 Pet. i. 3, where the same words are so translated; and that it agrees with St. Paul’s sense, see Eph. i. 17.
[† ]4 He means, here, the corinthians, who were troubled for their miscarriage towards him; vid. chap. vii. 7.
[‡ ]6 Σωτηρία, “relief,” rather than “salvation;” which is understood, of deliverance from death and hell; but here it signifies only deliverance from their present sorrow.
[* ]12 What “fleshly wisdom” is, may be seen chap. iv. 2, 5.
[† ]This ἀλλ’ ἐν χάριι Θεȣ, “But in the favour of God,” is the same with ἀλλὰ χάρις Θεȣ͂ ἡ σὺν ἐμοὶ, “the favour of God, that is with me,” i. e. by God’s favourable assistance.
[* ]14 “That I am your glory;” whereby he signifies that part of them which stuck to him, and owned him as their teacher: in which sense, “glorying” is much used, in these epistles to the corinthians, upon the occasion of the several partisans boasting, some, that they were of Paul; and others, of Apollos.
[* ]15 By the word χάριν, which our Bibles translate “benefit,” or “grace,” it is plain the apostle means his being present among them a second time, without giving them any grief or displeasure. He had been with them before, almost two years together, with satisfaction and kindness. He intended them another visit; but it was, he says, that they might have the like gratification, i. e. the like satisfaction in his company a second time, which is the same he says, 2 Cor. ii. 1.
[* ]21 “Anointed,” i. e. set apart to be an apostle, by an extraordinary call. Priests and prophets were set apart, by anointing, as well as kings.
[† ]22 “Sealed,” i. e. by the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost; which are an evidence of the truths he brings from God, as a seal is of a letter.
[‡ ]“Earnest” of eternal life; for of that the Spirit is mentioned, as a pledge, in more places than one, vid. 2 Cor. v. 5; Eph. i. 13, 14. All these are arguments to satisfy the corinthians, that St. Paul was not, nor could be, a shuffling man, that minded not what he said, but as it served his turn.
[* ]24 It is plain, St. Paul’s doctrine had been opposed by some of them at Corinth, vid. 1 Cor. xv. 12. His apostleship questioned, 1 Cor. ix. 1, 2, 2 Cor. xiii. 3. He himself triumphed over, as if he durst not come, 1 Cor. iv. 18, they saying “his letters were weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence weak, and his speech contemptible;” 2 Cor. x. 10. This being the state his reputation was then in, at Corinth, and he having promised to come to them, 1 Cor. xvi. 5, he could not but think it necessary to excuse his failing them, by reasons, that should be both convincing and kind; such as are contained in this verse, in the sense given of it.
[* ]1 That this is the meaning of this verse, and not that he would not come to them, in sorrow, a second time, is past doubt, since he had never been with them in sorrow a first time. Vid. 2 Cor. i. 15.
[† ]3 Καὶ έγραψα ὑμῖν τῦτο αὐτὸ, “and I writ to you this very thing.” That έγραψα, “I writ,” relates, here, to the first epistle to the corinthians, is evident, because it is so used, in the very next verse, and again a little lower, ver. 9. What, therefore, is it in his first epistle, which he here calls τȣ͂το αὐτὸ, “this very thing,” which he had writ to them? I answer, The punishment of the fornicator. This is plain by what follows here, to ver. 11, especially, if it be compared with 1 Cor. iv. 21, and v. 8. For there he writes to them, to punish that person; whom, if he, St. Paul, had come himself, before it was done, he must have come, as he callsit, with a rod, and have himself chastised: but now, that he knows that the corinthians had punished him, in compliance to his letter; and he had had this trial of their obedience; he is so far from continuing the severity, that he writes to them to forgive him, and take him again into their affection.
[* ]5 St. Paul being satisfied with the corinthians, for their ready compliance with his orders, in his former letter, to punish the fornicator, intercedes to have him restored; and, to that end, lessens his fault, and declares, however he might have caused grief to the corinthians, yet he had caused none to him.
[† ]7 Τȣ̓ναντίον, “on the contrary,” here, has nothing to refer to, but ἐπιϐαρῶ, “overcharge,” in the 5th verse, which makes that belong to the fornicator, as I have explained it.
[‡ ]Ὁ τοιȣ͂τος, “such an one,” meaning the fornicator. It is observable, how tenderly St. Paul deals with the corinthians, in this epistle; for though he treats of the fornicator, from the 5th to the 10th verse inclusively; yet he never mentions him under that, or any other disobliging title, but in the soft and inoffensive terms, “of any one,” or “such an one.” And that, possibly, may be the reason, why he says, μὴ έπιϐαρῶ, indefinitely, without naming the person it relates to.
[* ]12 How uneasy he was, and upon what account, see ch. vii. 5—16. It was not barely for Titus’s absence, but for want of the news he brought with him; ch. vii. 7.
[† ]14 “Who makes me triumph every-where,” i. e. in the success of my preaching, in my journey to Macedonia; and also, in my victory, at the same time, at Corinth, over the false apostles, my opposers, that had raised a faction against me, amongst you. This, I think, is St. Paul’s meaning, and the reason of his using the word, triumph, which implies contest and victory, though he places that word so, as modestly to cover it.
[‡ ]16 Vid. ch. iii. 5, 6.
[* ]17 This I think, may be understood of the false apostle.
[* ]1 This is a plain indication, that he had been blamed, amongst them, for commending himself.
[† ]Seems to intimate, that their false apostle had got himself recommended to them, by letters, and so had introduced himself into that church.
[‡ ]3 The sense of St. Paul, in this third verse, is plainly this: that he needed no letters of commendation to them; but that their conversion, and the gospel, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of God, in the tables of their hearts, and not in tables of stone, by his ministry, was as clear an evidence and testimony to them, of his mission from Christ, as the law, writ in tables of stone, was an evidence of Moses’s mission; so that he, St. Paul, needed no other recommendation: this is what is to be understood by this verse, unless we will make “the tables of stone,” to have no signification here. But to say, as he does, that the corinthians, being writ upon, in their hearts, not with ink, but with the Spirit of God, by the hand of St. Paul, was Christ’s commendatory letter of him, being a pretty bold expression, liable to the exception of the captious part of the corinthians; he, to obviate all imputation of vanity, or vain glory, herein immediately subjoins what follows in the next verse.
[§ ]4 As if he had said, “But mistake me not as if I boasted of myself: this so great boasting, that I use, is only my confidence in God, through Christ: for it was God, that made me a minister of the gospel, that bestowed on me the ability for it; and whatever I perform in it is wholly from him.”
[* ]5 Πεποίθησις, “trust,” ver. 4, a milder term for “boasting,” for so St. Paul uses it, chap. x. 7, compared with ver. 8, where also λογιζέσθω, ver. 7, is used, as here, for counting upon one’s self; St. Paul also uses ϖέποιθας, for “thou boastest,” Rom. ii. 19, which will appear, if compared with ver. 17; or if λογίσασθαι shall rather be thought to signify here to discover by reasoning, then the apostle’s sense will run thus: “Not as if I were sufficient of myself, by the strength of my own natural parts to attain the knowledge of the gospel truths, that I preach; but my ability herein is all from God.” But, in whatever sense λογίσασθαι is here taken, it is certain τὶ, which is translated “any thing,” must be limited to the subject in hand, viz. the gospel, that he preached to them.
[† ]6 Οὐ γράμματος, ἀλλὰ ϖνεύματος, “not of the letter, but of the spirit.” By expressing himself, as he does here, St. Paul may be understood to intimate, that “the New Testament, or covenant,” was also, though obscurely, held forth in the law: For he says, he was constituted a minister, πνεύματος, “of the spirit,” or spiritual meaning of the law, which was Christ, (as he tells us himself, ver. 17.) and giveth life, whilst the letter killeth. But both letter and spirit must be understood of the same thing, viz. “the letter of the law, and the spirit of the law.” And in fact, we find St. Paul truly a minister of the spirit of the law; especially in his epistle to the Hebrews, where he shows, what a spiritual sense ran through the mosaical institution and writings.
[‡ ]“The letter kills,” i. e. pronouncing death, without any way of remission, on all transgressors, leaves them under an irrevocable sentence of death. But the Spirit, i. e. Christ, ver. 17, who is a quickening Spirit, 1 Cor. xv. 45, giveth life.
[* ]7 Κααργȣμένην, “done away,” is applied here to the shining of Moses’s face, and to the law, ver. 11 and 13. In all which places it is used in the present tense, and has the signification of an adjective, standing for temporary, or of a duration, whose end was determined; and is opposed to τῷ μένονι, “that which remaineth,” i. e. that which is lasting, and hath no predeterminded end set to it, as ver. 11, where the gospel dispensation is called τὸ μένον, “that which remaineth.” This may help us to understand ἀπὸ δόξης εἰς δόξαν, ver. 18, “from glory to glory,” which is manifestly opposed to δόξη ϰαταργȣμένη, “the glory done away,” of this verse; and so plainly signifies a continued, lasting glory of the ministers of the gospel; which, as he tells us there, consisted in their being changed into the image and clear representation of the Lord himself; as the glory of Moses consisted in the transitory brightness of his face, which was a faint reflection of the glory of God, appearing to him in the mount.
[† ]9 Διαϰονία τῆς διϰαιοσύνης, “the ministration of righteousness;” so the ministry of the gospel is called, because, by the gospel, a way is provided for the justification of those, who have trangressed; but the law has nothing but rigid condemnation for all transgressors; and, therefore, is called here, “the ministration of condemnation.”
[‡ ]19 Though the showing, that the ministry of the gospel is more glorious, thau that of the law, but what St. Paul is here upon, thereby to justify himself, if he has assumed some authority and commendation to himself, in his ministry, and apostleship; yet in his thus industriously placing the ministry of the gospel, in honour, above that of Moses, may he not possibly have an eye to the judaizing, false apostle of the corinthians, to let them see, what little regard was to he had to that ministration, in comparison of the ministry of the gospel?
[* ]11 Here St. Paul mentions another pre-eminency and superiority of glory, in the gospel, over the law; viz. that the law was to cease, and to be abolished: but the gospel to remain, and never be abolished.
[† ]12 “Such hope:” that St. Paul, by these words, means the so honourable employment of an apostle and minister of the gospel, or the glory, belonging to his ministry, in the gospel, is evident, by the whole foregoing comparison, which he has made, which is all along between διαϰονία, “the ministry” of the law and of the gospel, and not between the law and the gospel themselves. The calling of it “hope,” instead of glory, here, where he speaks of his having of it, is the language of modesty, which more particularly suited his present purpose. For the conclusion, which, in this verse, he draws from what went before, plainly shows the apostle’s design, in this discourse, to be the justifying his speaking freely of himself and others; his argument amounting to thus much:
[‡ ]13 Πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἀτενίσαι, &c. “That the children of Israel could not stedfastly look,” &c. St. Paul is here justifying in himself, and other ministers of the gospel, the plainness and openness of their preaching, which he had asserted, in the immediately preceding verse. These words, therefore, here, must of necessity be understood, not of Moses, but of the ministers of the gospel: viz. that it was not the obscurity of their preaching, not any thing veiled, in their way of proposing the gospel, which was the cause, why the children of Israel did not understand the law to the bottom, and see Christ, the end of it, in the writings of Moses. What St. Paul says, in the next verse, “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away,” plainly determines the words, we are upon, to the sense I have taken them in: for what sense is this? “Moses put a veil over his face, so that the children of Israel could not see the end of the law; but their minds were blinded; for the veil remains upon them, until this day.” But this is very good sense, and to St. Paul’s purpose, viz. “We, the ministers of the gospel, speak plainly and openly, and put no veil upon ourselves, as Moses did, whereby to hinder the jews from seeing Christ, in the law: but that, which hinders them, is a blindness on their minds, which has been always on them, and remains to this day.” This seems to be an obviating an objection, which some among the corinthians might make to his boasting of so much plainness and clearness in his preaching, viz. If you preach the gospel, and Christ, contained in the law, with such a shining clearness and evidence, how comes it that the jews are not converted to it? His reply is, “Their unbelief comes not from any obscurity in our preaching, but from a blindness, which rests upon their minds to this day; which shall be taken away, when they turn to the Lord.”
[* ]Vid. Rom. x. 2—4.
[† ]15 St. Paul, possibly, alludes here to the custom of the jews, which continues still in the synagogue, that, when the law is read, they put a veil over their faces.
[‡ ]16 When this shall be, see Rom. xi. 25—27.
[* ]17 Ὁ δὲ Κύριος τὸ ϖνεῦμά ἐϛιν, “but the Lord is that Spirit.” These words relate to ver. 6, where he says, that he is a minister, not of the letter of the law, not of the outside and literal sense, but of the mystical and spiritual meaning of it; which he here tells us, is Christ.
[† ]“There is liberty;” because the Spirit is given only to sons, or those that are free. See Rom. viii. 15; Gal. iv. 6, 7.
[‡ ]18 St. Paul justifies his freedom and plainness of speech, by his being made, by God himself, a minister of the gospel, which is a more glorious ministry, than that of Moses, in promulgating the law. This he does from ver. 6, to ver. 12, inclusively. From thence, to the end of the chapter, he justifies his liberty of speaking; in that he, as a minister of the gospel, being illuminated with greater and brighter rays of light, than Moses, was to speak (as he did) with more freedom and clearness, than Moses had done. This being the scope of St. Paul, in this place, it is visible, that all from these words, “who put a veil upon his face,” ver. 13, to the beginning of ver. 18, is a parenthesis; which being laid aside, the comparison between the ministers of the gospel and Moses stands clear: “Moses, with a veil, covered the brightness and glory of God, which shone in his countenance;” but we, the ministers of the gospel, with open countenances, ϰαοπτριζόμενοι, reflecting as mirrours the glory of the Lord. So the word ϰαοπτριζόμενοι, must signify here, and not “beholding as in a mirrour:” because the comparison is between the ministers of the gospel and Moses, and not between the ministers of the gospel and the children of Israel: now the action, of “beholding,” was the action of the children of Israel; but of “shining, or reflecting the glory, received in the mount,” was the action of Moses; and, therefore, it must be something answering that, in the ministers of the gospel, wherein the comparison is made; as is farther manifest, in another express part of the comparison between the veiled face of Moses, ver. 13, and the open face of the ministers of the gospel, in this verse. The face of Moses was veiled, that the bright shining, or glory of God, remaining on it, or reflected from it, might not be seen; and the faces of the ministers of the gospel are open, that the bright shining of the gospel, or the glory of Christ, may be seen. Thus the justness of the comparison stands fair, and has an easy sense, which is hard to be made out, if ϰατοπριζόμενοι be translated, “beholding as in a glass.”
[* ]1 Οὐϰ ἐϰϰαϰȣ͂μεν, “we faint not,” is the same with πολλη ϖαῤῥησία χρώμεθα, “we use great plainness of speech,” ver. 12, of the foregoing chapter; and signifies, in both places, the clear, plain, direct, disinterested preaching of the gospel; which is what he means, in that figurative way of speaking, in the former chapter, especially the last verse of it, and which he more plainly expresses, in the five or six verses of this: the whole business of the first part of this epistle being, as we have already observed, to justify to the corinthians his behaviour in his ministry, and to convince them, that, in his preaching the gospel, he hath been plain, clear, open, and candid, without any hidden design, or the least mixture of any concealed, secular interest.
[* ]2 Ἀπειπάμεθα τὰ ϰρυπτὰ τῆς αἰσχύνης, “have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty,” and τῆ φανερώσει τῆς ἀληθείας, “by manifestation of the truth.” These expressions explain ἀναϰεϰαλυμμένῳ ϖροσώπῳ, “with open face,” chap. iii. 18.
[† ]4 “The god of this world,” i. e. the devil, so called because the men of the world worshipped and obeyed him as their God.
[‡ ]Ἐτύφλωσε τὰ νοήματα, “blinded their minds,” answers ἐπωρώθη τὰ νοήματα, “their minds were blinded,” chap. iii. 14. And the second and third verse of this explain the 13th and 14th verses of the preceding chapter.
[§ ]Δόξα, “glory,” here, as in the former chapter, is put for shining and brightness; so that εὐαγγέλιον τῆς δόξης τȣ͂ Χριϛȣ͂, is the brightness, or clearness, of the doctrine, wherein Christ is manifested in the gospel.
[∥ ]This is a continuation still of the allegory of Moses, and the shining of his face, &c. so much insisted on, in the forgoing chapter.
[* ]16 “I faint not.” What this signifies, we have seen, ver. 1. Here St. Paul gives another proof of his sincerity in his ministry; and that is, the sufferings and danger of death, which he daily incurs, by his preaching the gospel. And the reason, why those sufferings and dangers deter him not, nor make him at all flag, he tells them, is, the assurance he has, that God, through Christ, will raise him again, and reward him with immortality in glory. This argument he pursues, chap. iv. 17, and v. 9.
[* ]17 “Weight of glory.” What an influence St. Paul’s Hebrew had, upon his Greek, is every where visible: רבכ, in Hebrew, signifies “to be heavy,” and “to be glorious;” St Paul, in the Greek, joins them, and says, “the weight of glory.”
[† ]2 Vid. ver. 4.
[‡ ]3 That the apostle looked on the coming of Christ, as not far off, appears, by what he says, 1 Thess. iv. 13, and v. 6, which epistle was written some years before this. See also to the same purpose, 1 Cor. i. 7, and vii. 29, 31, and x. 11, Rom. xiii. 11, 12. Heb. x. 37.
[* ]4 The same, that he had told them, in the first epistle, ch. xv. 51, should happen to those who should be alive at Christ’s coming. This, I must own, is no very easy passage, whether we understand by γυμνοὶ, “naked,” as I do here, the state of the dead, unclothed with immortal bodies, until the resurrection: which sense is favoured by the same word, 1 Cor. xv. 37, or whether we understand “the clothing upon,” which the apostle desires,to be those immortal bodies, which souls shall be clothed with, at the resurrection; which sense “of clothing upon,” seems to be favoured by 1 Cor. xv. 53, 54, and is that, which one should be inclined to, were it not accompanied with this difficulty; viz. that, then, it would follow that the wicked should not have immortal bodies, at the resurrection. For whatever it be, that St. Paul here means, by “being clothed upon,” it is something, that is peculiar to the saints, who have the Spirit of God, and shall be with the Lord, in contradistinction to others, as appears from the following verses, and the whole tenour of this place.
[† ]5 The Spirit is mentioned in more places than one, as the pledge and earnest of immortality: more particularly, Eph. i. 13, 14, which, compared with Rom. viii. 23, shows that the inheritance, whereof the Spirit is the earnest, is the same, which the apostle speaks of here, viz. the possession of immortal bodies.
[‡ ]6, 8 Θαῤῥȣ͂ντες and ϑαῤῥȣ͂μεν, “we are confident,” signifies in these two verses the same that ȣ̓;ϰ ἐϰϰαϰȣ͂μεν, “we faint not,” does, chap. iv. 1 and 16; i. e. “I go undauntedly, without flagging, preaching the gospel with sincerity, and direct plainness of speech.” This conclusion, which he draws here, from the consideration of the resurrection and immortality, is the same, that he makes, upon the same ground, ch. iv. 14, 16.
[* ]9 Εἴτε ἐνδημȣ͂ντες ἔιτε ἐϰδημȣ͂ντες, “whether staying in the body, or going out of it,” i. e. whether I am to stay longer here, or suddenly to depart. This sense the foregoing verse leads us to; and what he says in this verse, that he endeavours (whether ἐνδημȣ͂ν, or ἐϰδημȣ͂ν) “to be well pleasing to the Lord,” i. e. do what is well-pleasing to him, shows, that neither of these words can signify, here, his being with Christ in heaven. For, when he is there, the time of endeavouring to approve himself is over.
[† ]St. Paul, from chap. iv. 12, to this place, has, to convince them of his uprightness in his ministry, been showing, that the hopes, and sure expectation he had, of eternal life, kept him steady and resolute, in an open, sincere preaching of the gospel, without any tricks or deceitful artifice. In which his argument stands thus: “Knowing that God, who raised up Christ, will raise me up again, I without any fear, or consideration of what it may draw upon me, preach the gospel faithfully, making this account, that the momentaneous afflictions, which, for it, I may suffer here, which are but slight in comparison of the eternal things of another life, will exceedingly increase my happiness in the other world, where I long to be; and therefore death, which brings me home to Christ, is no terror to me; all my care is, that whether I am to stay longer in this body, or quickly to leave it, living or dying, I may approve myself to Christ, in my ministry.” In the next two verses, he has another argument, to fix in the corinthians the same thoughts of him; and that is, the punishment he shall receive at the day of judgment, if he should neglect to preach the gospel faithfully, and not endeavour sincerely and earnestly to make converts to Christ.
[* ]12 From this place, and several others in this epistle, it cannot be doubted, but that his speaking well of himself, had been objected to him as a fault. And in this lay his great difficulty, how to deal with his people. If he answered nothing to what was talked of him, his silence might be interpreted guilt and confusion: if he defended himself, he was accused of vanity, self commendation and folly. Hence it is, that he uses so many reasons to show, that his whole carriage was upon principles far above all worldly considerations: and tells them here, once for all, that the account he gives of himself, is only to furnish them, who are his friends, and stuck to him, with matter to justify themselves, in their esteem of him, and to reply to the contrary faction.
[† ]This may be understood of the leaders of the opposite faction, who, as it is manifest from ch. x. 7, 15, and xi. 12, 22, 23, pretended to something that they gloried in, though St. Paul assures us, they were satisfied, in conscience, that they had no solid ground of glorying.
[‡ ]13 St. Paul, from the 13th verse of this chapter, to chap. vi. 12, gives another reason for his disinterested carriage, in preaching the gospel; and that is his love to Christ, who, by his death, having given him life, who was dead, he concludes, that in gratitude he ought not to live to himself any more. He therefore, being as in a new creation, had now no longer any regard to the things, or persons, of this world; but being made, by God, a minister of the gospel, he minded only the faithful discharge of his duty in that embassy; and, pursuant thereunto, took care that his behaviour should be such as he describes, ch. vi. 6—10.
[§ ]“Besides myself,” i. e. in speaking well of myself, in my own justification. He that observes what St. Paul says, chap. xi. 1, and 16—21, chap. xii. 6 and 11, will scarce doubt, but that the speaking of himself, as he did, was, by his enemies, called glorying, and imputed to him as folly and madness.
[* ]16 This may be supposed to be said with reflection on their jewish, false apostle, who gloried in his circumcision; and, perhaps, that he had seen Christ in the flesh, or was some way related to him.
[† ]17 Gal. vi. 14, may give some light to this place. To make these 16th and 17th verses coherent to the rest of St. Paul’s discourse here, they must be understood, in reference to the false apostle, against whom St. Paul is here justifying himself; and makes it his main business, in this, as well as in his former epistle, to show, what that false apostle gloried in, was no just cause of boasting. Pursuant to this design, of sinking the authority and credit of that false apostle, St. Paul, in these and the following verses, dexterously insinuates these two things: 1st, That the ministry of reconciliation being committed to him, they should not forsake him, to hearken to, and follow, that pretender. 2dly, That they, being in Christ, and the new creation, should, as he does, not know any man in the flesh, not esteem, or glory in, that false apostle, because he might, perhaps, pretend to have seen our Saviour in the flesh, or have heard him, or the like. Κτίσις signifies “creation,” and is so translated, Rom. viii. 22.
[* ]Τὰ ἀρχαῖα, “old things,” perhaps, may here mean the jewish œconomy; for the false apostle was a jew, and, as such, assumed to himself some authority, probably by right of blood, and privilege of his nation: vid. 2 Cor. xi. 21, 22. But that, St. Paul here tells them, now, under the gospel, is all antiquated, and quite out of doors.
[* ]1 “Receive the grace of God in vain,” the same with “believing in vain,” 1 Cor. xv. 2, i. e. receiving the doctrine of the gospel for true, and professing christianity, without persisting in it, or performing what the gospel requires.
[† ]8 “Deceiver,” a title (it is like) he had received from some of the opposite faction at Corinth: vid. chap. xii. 16.
[* ]11 Another argument, St. Paul makes use of, to justify and excuse his plainness of speech to the corinthians, is the great affection he has for them, which he here breaks out into an expression of, in a very pathetical manner. This, with an exhortation to separate from idolaters and unbelievers, is what he insists on, from this place to chap. vii. 16.
[† ]14 Vid. chap. vii. 1.
[‡ ]15 Belial is a general name for all the false gods, worshipped by the idolatrous gentiles.
[† ]3 Vid. 1 Cor. iv. 3, 2 Cor. x. 2, and xi. 20, 21, and xiii. 3.
[* ]2 This seems to insinuate the contrary behaviour of their false apostle.
[* ]5 Vid. chap. xi. 3.
[* ]11 St. Paul writing to those, who knew the temper they were in, and what were the objects of the several passions, which were raised in them, doth both here, and in the seventh verse, forbear to mention, by, and to, what they were moved, out of modesty, and respect to them. This is necessary, for the information of ordinary readers, to be supplied, as can be best collected from the main design of the apostle, in these two epistles, and from several passages, giving us light in it.
[† ]Vid. ver. 15.
[‡ ]“Clear.” This word answers very well ἁγνὸς, in the Greek: but then, to be clear, in English, is generally understood to signify, not to have been guilty; which could not be the sense of the apostle, he having charged the corinthians so warmly, in his first epistle. His meaning must therefore be, “that they had now resolved on a contrary course, and were so far clear,” i. e. were set right, and in good disposition again, as he describes it, in the former part of this verse.
[§ ]And therefore I think ἐν τῶ ϖράγματι may be best rendered “in fact,” i. e. by your sorrow, your fear, your indignation, your zeal, &c. I think it cannot well be translated, “in this matter,” understanding thereby the punishment of the fornicator. For that was not the matter St. Paul had been speaking of; but the corinthians siding with the false apostle against him, was the subject of the preceding part of this, and of the three or four foregoing chapters; wherein he justifies himself against their slanders, and invalidates the pretences of the adverse party. This is that, which lay chiefly upon his heart, and which he labours, might and main, both in this and the former epistle, to rectify, as the foundation of all the disorders amongst them; and, consequently, is the matter, wherein he rejoices to find them all set right. Indeed, in the immediately following verse, he mentions his having writ to them, concerning the fornicator; but it is only as an argument of his kindness and concern for them: but that, which was the great cause of his rejoicing, what it was that gave him the great satisfaction, was the breaking of the faction, and the re-uniting them “all” to himself, which he expresses in the word “all,” emphatically used, ver. 13, 15; and, from thence, he concludes thus, ver. 16, “I rejoice, therefore, that I have confidence in you in all things.” His mind was now at rest, the partisans of his opposer, the false apostle, having forsaken that leader, whom they had so much gloried in, and being all now come over to St. Paul, he doubted not, but all would go well; and so leaves off the subject he had been upon, in the seven foregoing chapters, viz. the justification of himself, with here and there reflections on that false apostle.
[* ]13 Vid. ver. 15.
[* ]1 Χάρις, which is translated, “grace,” is here used, by St. Paul, for “gift,” or “liberality,” and is so used, ver. 4, 6, 7, 9, 19, and 1 Cor. xvi. 3. It is called also χὰρις Θεȣ͂, the “gift of God,” because God is the author and procurer of it, moving their hearts to it. Besides δεδομένην ἐν cannot signify “bestowed on,” but “given in,” or “by.”
[* ]2 How ill-disposed and rough to the christians the macedonians were, may be seen, Acts xvi. and xvii.
[* ]8 Τὸ τῆς ὑμετέρας ἀγάπης γνήσιον δοϰιμάζων, “showing the world a proof of the genuine temper of your love.” Thus, I think, it should be rendered. St. Paul, who is so careful all along in this epistle, to show his esteem and good opinion of the corinthians, taking all occasions to speak and presume well of them, whereof we have an eminent example in these words, “ye abound in your love to us,” in the immediately preceding verse; he could not, in this place, so far forget his design, of treating them very tenderly, now they were newly returned to him, as to tell them, that he sent Titus, for the promoting their contribution to make a trial of “the sincerity of their love:” this had been but an ill expression of that confidence, which, chap. vii. 16, he tells them, “he has in them in all things.” Taking, therefore, as without violence to the words one may, δοϰιμάζων for “drawing out a proof,” and γνήσιον for “genuine,” the words very well express St. Paul’s obliging way of stirring up the corinthians to a liberal contribution, as I have understood them. For St. Paul’s discourse to them briefly stands thus: “The great liberality of the poor macedonians, made me send Titus to you, to carry on the collection of your charity, which he had begun, that you, who excel in all other virtues, might be eminent also in this. But this I urge, not as a command from God; but, upon occasion of others liberality, lay before you an opportunity of giving the world a proof of the genuine temper of your charity, which, like that of your other virtues, loves not to come behind that of others.”
[† ]9 Τὴν χάριν, “the grace,” rather “the munificence,” the signification wherein St. Paul uses χάρις over and over again in this chapter, and is translated “gift,” ver. 4.
[* ]17 Vid. ver. 6.
[† ]18 This brother most take to be St. Luke, who now was, and had been a long while, St. Paul’s companion in his travels.
[* ]2 Achaia, i. e. the church of Corinth, which was made up of the inhabitants of that town, and of the circumjaceut parts of Achaia. Vid. ch. i. 1.
[* ]8 Χάρις, “grace,” rather “charitable gift,” or “liberality,” as it signifies in the former chapter, and as the context determines the sense here.
[† ]9 Διϰαιοσύνη, “righteousness,” rather “liberality;” for so διϰαιοσύνη, in scripture language, often signifies. And so, Matt. vi. 1, for ἐλεημοσύνην, “alms,” some copies have διϰαιοσύνην, “liberality.” And so Joseph, Matt. i. 19, is called διϰαιος, “just, benign.”
[‡ ]10 Σπόρον, “seed sown,” rather “your seed, and seed-plot,” i. e. increase your plenty, to be laid out in charitable uses.
[* ]1 Vid. ver. 10.
[† ]St. Paul, thinking it fit to appear all severity, till he had by fair means reduced as many of the contrary party, as he could, to a full submission to his authority, (vid. ver. 6,) begins, here, his discourse, by conjuring them, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, as an example, that might excuse his delay of exemplary punishment on the ringleaders and chief offenders, without giving them reason to think it was for want of power.
[‡ ]4 What the ὅπλα σαρϰιϰὰ, “the carnal weapons,” and those other, opposed to them, which he calls δυνατἀ τῷ Θεῷ, “mighty through God,” are, may be seen, if we read and compare 1 Cor. i. 23, 24, and ii. 1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 2 Cor. iv. 2, 6.
[* ]6 Those, whom he speaks to, here, are the corinthian converts, to whom this epistle is written. Some of these had been drawn into a faction, against St. Paul: these he had been, and was endeavouring to bring back, to that obedience and submission, which the rest had continued in, to him, as an apostle of Jesus Christ. The corinthians of these two sorts are those he means, when he says to them, chap. ii. 3, and chap. vii. 13, 15, “You all,” i. e. all ye christians of Corinth and Achaia. For he, that had raised the faction amongst them, and given so much trouble to St. Paul, was a stranger, and a jew, vid. chap. xi. 22, crept in amongst them, after St. Paul gathered and established that church, 1 Cor. iii. 6, 10, 2 Cor. x. 15, 16. Of whom St. Paul seems to have no hopes, chap. xi. 13—15. And, therefore, he every-where threatens, 2 Cor. iv. 19, and here particularly, ver. 6 and 11, to make an example of him and his adherents (if any were so obstinate to stick to him), when he had brought back again all the corinthians, that he could hope to prevail on.
[* ]7 Vid. chap. xi. 23.
[† ]8 “More,” vid. chap. xi. 23.
[‡ ]Another reason insinuated by the apostle for his forbearing severity to them.
[§ ]“I should not be put to shame,” i. e. the truth would justify me in it.
[* ]12 This is spoken ironically: ἐν ἑαυτοῖς, “amongst themselves,” rather “within themselves.” For, in all likelihood, the faction and opposition against St. Paul was made by one person, as we before observed. For though he speaks here in the plural number, which is the softer and decenter way in such cases; yet we see, in the foregoing verse, he speaks directly and expressly, as of one person; and therefore ἐν ἑαυτοῖς may, most consonantly to the apostle’s meaning here, be understood to signify, “within themselves,” i. e. with what they find in themselves. The whole place showing, that this person made an estimate of himself, only by what he found in himself; and thereupon preferred himself to St. Paul, without considering what St. Paul was, or had done.
[† ]“Do not understand,” that they ought not to intrude themselves into a church, planted by another man, and there vaunt themselves, and set themselves above him that planted it; which is the meaning of the four next verses.
[‡ ]13 ᾥμετρα, here, and in ver. 15, doth not signify immense or immoderate, but something that hath not been measured out, and allotted to him, something that is not committed to him, nor within his province.
[§ ]14 This seems to charge the false, pretended apostle, who had caused all this disturbance in the church of Corinth, that, without being appointed to it, without preaching the gospel, in his way thither, as became an apostle, he had crept into the church at Corinth.
[∥ ]15 “Boasting,” i. e. intermeddling, or assuming to myself authority to meddle, or honour for meddling.
[* ]15, 16 Here St. Paul visibly taxes the false apostle, for coming into a church, converted and gathered by another, and there pretending to be some body, and to rule all. This is another thing, that makes it probable, that the opposition made to St. Paul, was but by one man, that had made himself the head of an opposite faction. For it is plain, it was a stranger, who came thither, after St. Paul had planted this church, who pretending to be more an apostle than St. Paul, with greater illumination, and more power, set up against him, to govern that church, and withdraw the corinthians from following St. Paul’s rules and doctrine. Now this can never be supposed to be a combination of men, who came to Corinth with that design, nor that they were different men, that came thither separately, each setting up for himself; for then they would have fallen out, one with another, as well as with St. Paul. And, in both cases, St. Paul must have spoken of them, in a different way from what he does now. The same character and carriage is given to them all throughout both these epistles; and 1 Cor. iii. 10, he plainly speaks of one man; and that setting up thus to be a preacher of the gospel, amongst those, that were already christians, was looked upon, by St. Paul, to be a fault, we may see, Rom. xv. 20.
[* ]15, 16 Here St. Paul visibly taxes the false apostle, for coming into a church, converted and gathered by another, and there pretending to be some body, and to rule all. This is another thing, that makes it probable, that the opposition made to St. Paul, was but by one man, that had made himself the head of an opposite faction. For it is plain, it was a stranger, who came thither, after St. Paul had planted this church, who pretending to be more an apostle than St. Paul, with greater illumination, and more power, set up against him, to govern that church, and withdraw the corinthians from following St. Paul’s rules and doctrine. Now this can never be supposed to be a combination of men, who came to Corinth with that design, nor that they were different men, that came thither separately, each setting up for himself; for then they would have fallen out, one with another, as well as with St. Paul. And, in both cases, St. Paul must have spoken of them, in a different way from what he does now. The same character and carriage is given to them all throughout both these epistles; and 1 Cor. iii. 10, he plainly speaks of one man; and that setting up thus to be a preacher of the gospel, amongst those, that were already christians, was looked upon, by St. Paul, to be a fault, we may see, Rom. xv. 20.
[† ]18 It is of these weapons of his warfare, that St. Paul speaks, in this chapter: and it is by them, that he intends to try, which is the true apostle, when he comes to them.
[* ]1 “Folly;” so he modestly calls his speaking in his own defence.
[† ]3 Ἀπλότηος τῆς εἰς τὸν Χριϛὸν, “The simplicity that is in,” rather “towards, Christ,” answers to ἑνὶ ἀνδρὶ Χριϛῷ, “to one husband, Christ,” in the immediately foregoing verse. For ἑνὶ, “one,” is not put there for nothing, but makes the meaning plainly this: “I have formed and fitted you for one person alone, one husband, who is Christ: I am concerned, and in care, that you may not be drawn aside from that submission and obedience, that temper of mind, that is due singly to him; for I hope to put you into his hands, possessed with pure virgin thoughts, wholly fixed on him, not divided, nor roving after any other, that he may take you to wife, and marry you to himself for ever.” It is plain, their perverter, who opposed St. Paul, was a jew, as we have seen. It was from the jews, from whom, of all, professing christianity, St. Paul had most trouble and opposition. For they having their hearts set upon their old religion, endeavoured to mix judaism and christianity together. We may suppose the case here to be much the same with that, which he more fully expresses, in the epistle to the galatians, particularly Gal. i. 6—12, and chap. iv. 9—11, and 16—21, and chap. v. 1—13. The meaning of this place here seems to be this: “I have taught you the gospel alone, in its pure and unmixed simplicity, by which only you can be united to Christ: but I fear, lest this, your new apostle, should draw you from it; and that your minds should not stick to that singly, but should be corrupted by a mixture of judaism.” After the like manner, St. Paul expresses christians being delivered from the law, and their freedom from the ritual observances of the jews, by being married to Christ, Rom. vii. 4, which place may give some light to this.
[* ]7 The adverse party made it an argument against St. Paul, as an evidence that he was no apostle, since he took not from the corinthians maintenance, 1 Cor. ix. 1—3. Another objection raised against him from hence, was, that he would receive nothing from them, because he loved them not, 2 Cor. xi. 11, This he answers here, by giving another reason for his so doing. A third allegation was, That it was only a crafty trick in him to catch them, 2 Cor. xii. 16, which he answers there.
[* ]12 Καὶ ϖοιήσω, “that I will do,” rather, “and will do;” so the words stand in the Greek, and do not refer to ver. 10, as a profession of his resolution to take nothing of them; but to verse 11, to which it is joined; showing that his refusing any reward from them, was not out of unkindness, but for another reason.
[† ]13 They had questioned St. Paul’s apostleship, 1 Cor. ix. because of his not taking maintenance of the corinthians. He here directly declares them to be no true apostles.
[* ]16 Vid. ver. 18.
[† ]18 Vid. chap. xii. 11.
[‡ ]“After the flesh.” What this glorying “after the flesh” was, in particular here, vid. ver. 22, viz. being a jew by descent.
[§ ]19 Spoken ironically, for their bearing with the insolence and covetousness of their false apostle.
[∥ ]29 The “bondage” here meant, was, subjection to the will of their false apostle, as appears by the following particulars of this verse, and not subjection to the jewish rites. For if that had been, St. Paul was so zealous against it, that he would have spoken more plainly and warmly, as we see in his epistle to the galatians; and not have touched it thus, only by the bye, slightly, in a doubtful expression. Besides, it is plain, no such thing was yet attempted openly; only St. Paul was afraid of it; vid. ver. 3.
[* ]22 “Is he an hebrew?” Having, in the foregoing verse, spoken in the singular number, I have been fain to continue the same number here, though different from that in the text, to avoid an inconsistency in the paraphrase, which could not but shock the reader. But this I would be understood to do, without imposing my opinion on any body, or pretending to change the text: but, as an expositor, to tell my reader that I think, though St. Paul says, “they,” he means but one; as often, when he says, “we,” he means only himself, the reason whereof I have given elsewhere.
[† ]23 Ἐν ϖληγαῖς ὑπερϐαλλόνως, “in stripes above measure,” rather “in stripes exceeding.” For these words, as the other particulars of this verse, ought to be taken comparatively, with reference to the false apostle, with whom St. Paul is comparing himself, in the ministry of the gospel. Unless this he understood so, there will seem to be a disagreeable tautology in the following verses; which, taking these words in a comparative sense, are proofs of his saying, “In stripes I am exceedingly beyond him; for of the jews five times,” &c.
[* ]30 “Compelled.” Vid. chap. xii. 11.
[† ]By ϰαυχᾶσθαι which is translated sometimes “to glory,” and sometimes “to boast;” the apostle, all along, where he applies it to himself means nothing, but the mentioning some commendable action of his, without vanity or ostentation, but barely upon necessity, on the present occasion.
[* ]1 Εἰ ϰαυχᾶσθαι δεῖ, “If I must glory,” is the reading of some copies, and is justified by ver. 30, of the foregoing chapter, by the vulgar translation, and by the Syriac, much to the same purpose; and suiting better with the context, renders the sense clearer.
[* ]2, 3 Modestly speaking of himself in the third person.
[* ]2, 3 Modestly speaking of himself in the third person.
[† ]6 Vid. ver. 7.
[‡ ]7 “Thorn in the flesh,” what this was in particular, St. Paul having thought fit to conceal it, is not easy for those, who come after, to discover, nor is it very material.
[* ]12 This may well be understood to reflect on the haughtiness and plenty, wherein the false apostle lived amongst them.
[† ]13 Vid. 1 Cor. i. 4—7.
[* ]14 Vid. 1 Cor. iv. 14, 15.
[† ]15 Vid. 2 Tim. ii. 10.
[‡ ]Vid. chap. vi. 12, 13.
[§ ]19 He had before given the reason, chap. i. 23, of his not coming to them, with the like asseveration that he uses here. If we trace the thread of St. Paul’s discourse here, we may observe, that having concluded the justification of himself and his apostleship by his past actions, ver. 13, he had it in his thoughts to tell them, how he would deal with the false apostle, and his adherents, when he came, as hewas ready now to do. And, therefore, solemnly begins, ver. 14, with “behold;” and tells them now, “the third time,” he was ready to come to them, to which joining, (what was much upon his mind,) that he would not be burdensome to them, when he came, this suggested to his thoughts an objection, viz. that this personal shyness in him was but cunning; for that he designed to draw gain from them, by other hands. From which he clears himself, by the instance of Titus, and the brother, whom he had sent together to them, who were as far from receiving any thing from them, as he himself. Titus and his other messenger being thus mentioned, he thought it necessary to obviate another suspicion, that might be raised in the minds of some of them, as if he mentioned the sending of those two, as an apology for his not coming himself. This he disclaims utterly; and to prevent any thoughts of that kind, solemnly protests to them, that, in all his carriage to them, he had done nothing but for their edification; nor had any other aim, in any of his actions, but purely that; and that he forebore coming merely out of respect and good-will to them. So that all, from “Behold, this third time, I am ready to come to you,” ver. 14, to “this third time I am coming to you,” chap. xiii. 1, must be looked on, as an incident discourse, that fell in occasionally, though tending to the same purpose with the rest; a way of writing very usual with our apostle, and with other writers, who abound in quickness and variety of thoughts, as he did. Such men are often, by new matter rising in their way, put by from what they were going, and had begun to say; which, therefore, they are fain to take up again, and continue at a distance: which St. Paul does here, after the interposition of eight verses. Other instances of the like kind may be found in other places of St. Paul’s writings.
[* ]2 “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” These words seem to be quoted from the law of our Saviour, Matt. xviii. 16, and not from the law of Moses in Deuteronomy; not only because the words are the same with those in St. Matthew, but from the likeness of the case. In Deuteronomy, the rule given concerns only judaical trials: in St. Matthew, it is a rule given for the management of persuasion, used for the reclaiming an offender, by fair means before coming to the utmost extremity, which is the case of St. Paul here: in Deuteronomy the judge was to hear the witnesses, Deut. xvii. 6, and xix. 15. In St. Matthew, the party was to hear the witnesses, Matt. xviii. 17, which was also the case of St. Paul here; the witnesses, which he means, that he made use of to persuade them, being his two epistles. That, by witnesses, he means his two epistles, is plain from his way of expressing himself here, where he carefully sets down his telling them twice, viz. “before,” in his former epistle, chap. iv. 19, and now a “second time,” in his second epistle; and also, by these words, ὠς ϖαρὼν τὸ δεύτερον, “as if I were present with you a second time.” By our Saviour’s rule, the offended person was to go twice to the offender; and therefore St. Paul says, “as if I were with you a second time,” counting his letters, as two personal applications to them, as our Saviour directed should be done, before coming to rougher means. Some take the witnesses to be the three messengers, by whom his first epistle is supposed to be sent. But this would not be, according to the method prescribed by our Saviour, in the place from which St. Paul takes the words he uses: for there were no witnesses to be made use of, in the first application: neither, if those had been the witnesses meant, would there have been any need for St. Paul, so carefully and expressly, to have set down ὠς ϖαϱὼν τὸ δεύτερον, “as if present a second time,” words which, in that case, would be superfluous. Besides, those three men are no where mentioned to have been sent by him, to persuade them, nor the corinthians required to hear them, or reproved for not having done it: and lastly, they could not be better witnesses of St. Paul’s endeavours twice to gain the corinthians, by fair means, before he proceeded to severity, than the epistles themselves.
[* ]4 Ἐξ ἀσθενείας, “through weakness,” ἐϰ δυνάμεως Θεȣ͂, “by the power of God,” I have rendered “with the appearance of weakness, and with the manifestation of the power of God;” which I think, the sense of the place, and the style of the apostle, will justify. St. Paul, sometimes, uses the Greek prepositions, in a larger sense than that tongue ordinarily allows. Farther, it is evident, that ἐξ, joined to ἀσθενείας, has not a casual signification; and therefore, in the antithesis, ἐϰ δυνάμεως Θεȣ͂, it cannot be taken casually. And it is usual for St. Paul, in such cases, to continue the same word, though it happens, sometimes, seemingly to carry the sense another way. In short, the meaning of the place is this: Though Christ, in his crucifixion, appeared weak and despicable; yet he “now lives, to show the power of God, in the miracles, and mighty works, which he does: so I, though I, by my sufferings and infirmities, appear weak and contemptible; yet shall I live to show the power of God, in punishing you miraculously.”
[† ]5, 6, 7 Ἀδόϰιμοι, translated here “reprobates,” ’tis plain in these three verses has no such signification, reprobation being very remote from the argument the apostle is here upon; but the word ἀδόϰιμος is here used for one that cannot give proof of Christ being in him; one that is destitute of a supernatural power: for thus stands St. Paul’s discourse, ver. 3, ἐπεὶ δοϰιμὴν ζηȣ͂εῖτε, ver. 6, γνώσεσθε ὅτι ȣ̓ϰ ἀδοϰιμοι ἐσμὲν, “Since you seek a proof, you shall know, that I am not destitute of a proof.”
[* ]11 The same, that he exhorts them to, in the beginning of the first epistle, ch. i. ver. 10.