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The grace of Christ.
finish among you this work of liberality also. 7 Now, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye 8 abound in this work of liberality also. I speak not by way of command; but to try the sincerity of your love also, by the diligence of 9 others. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through 10 his poverty might be rich. And I give my judgment in this matter: for this is expedient for you, who have already not only begun to I do, but also to be forward, a year ago. Now therefore fully perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a full performance also out of that which 12 ye have. For if there be first a readiness of mind, it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not. 13 For I mean not that others may be eased, and 14 ye burdened: But that, by an equality, your abundance may be at this time a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be at another a supply for your want: that there 15 may be an equality, As it is written, "He that had gathered much, had nothing over;
II CORINTHIANS VIII.
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER VIII. 1. We learn what an excellent grace is christian benevolence, when exercised in relieving the poor, especially those of the household of faith. It is the effect of divine grace operating) on the heart; and is, and ought to be esteemed, a favour conferred on us. It is the test and proof of our love to Jesus: for if we love not our brother whom we see, and with whose christian excellencies, as well as necessities, we are acquainted, how ean we love him whom we have not seen? What a powerful motive to this benevolence does the apostle suggest? Can we think of the free, matchless grace of our Lord, who voluntarily left his throne in
who were a wealthy people; and Paul now desires them to show their sympathy and christian love. As they abounded in the gifts of the Spirit, they should abound in this work also.
9. The grace of our Lord, &c. No motive surely could influence so much as this.—Rich, in the glories of the divine nature; yet became incar. nate, was born of poor parents, lived in a poor state, and died on the cross. Phil. ii. 5-8.Might be rich. In the enjoyment of spiritual blessings; in faith, hope, and consolation.
and he that had gathered little had no want." But thanks be to God, who hath put the 16 same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. For he accepted indeed my exhorta- 17 tion; but, being more earnest, he went unto And we sent with 18 you of his own accord. him a brother, whose praise in the gospel is throughout all the churches; And not that 19 only, but who was also chosen by the churches our fellow-traveller with this liberal gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord himself, and to the declaration of our" ready mind: We avoiding this, that no man should 20 blame us, in this abundance which is administered by us: Providing things which are 21 good, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. And we have sent 22 with them our brother, (whom we have often found diligént in many things, but now much more diligent,) because of the great confidence which we have in you. If any inquire concern- 23 ing Titus, he is my partner and fellow-labourer towards you: or concerning our brethren, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. Wherefore show ye to them, 24 and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our glorying on your account.
10-15. I give my judgment. Paul would not command, but advise, and thus exemplify his own assertion, that he was not a Lord over their faith.A year ago. They had manifested an extraordinary zeal in this affair, when Titus pressed it upon them, and Paul desires them fully to perform what they
• Mss. Some your. heaven, and divested himself of his visible glories, and appeared in fashion as a man, poor in this world, that by his instructions, example, perfect righteousness, and atoning death, he might make us rich-can we think on these things, and be unwilling to part with the least portion of our worldly property, to release his people, and advance and promote his glory? Such christian benevolence will have a sure reward, in the conscious pleasure enjoyed, and in the hope that should we ourselves be reduced, so as to be in want, God will excite the benevolence of others to afford us aid and relief.
2. We are taught that christian benevolence should be exercised
intended, according to their ability. Were the apostle's advice followed, the rich contributing to supply the wants of the poor, and these in their turn helping one another, then, would there be such an equality as reason and piety alike approve. See Exod. xvi, 18.
16. The same earnest, &c. As I myself have for you and your 18. A brother, &c. This brother is most generally supposed to be Luke the Evangelist. He accompanied Paul, Acts xvi. 10, 11, and must have been a mau of excellent gifts, who was so generally esteemed.
19-21. Chosen by the churches. As their representative, and to prevent all suspicion of any misapplication of the money collected. Every eye was upon the apostles, and the greatest caution was necessary to prevent reproaches. 22-24. Our brother. That Luke might go with Titus to Corinth, and
Works of charity
A. D. 57. Paul states the reason for sending Titus and others; exhorts them to liberality, which may and will yield them much advantage.
FOR Concerning this ministration to the saints, 2 it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know your readiness, for which I glory of you to those of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath excited 3 very many. Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our glorying of you should be in vain in this respect; that, as I said, ye may be ready: 4 Lest if those of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we should be put to shame, (not to say ye,) for this confidence." 5 I have therefore thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before to you, and make up beforehand your bounty, before announced, that the same might be ready, as matter of bounty, and not as something extorted.
II CORINTHIANS. IX.
6. However, this I say, He who soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he who soweth
willingly, and the fruits of it managed with wisdom aud prudence. How pleasant is it to see a readiness to this as well as to every other good work! Some devise liberal things; and by their example provoke to love and generosity. And how amiable is the charity of those, who are themselves in comparatively straitened circumstances; and even when, from their own afflictions, they know not what they may need, yet are ready to contribute according to their ability! A little given in this spirit is an acceptable sacrifice; for a man is accepted in doing what he can, and is not blamed for not doing what is beyond his ability. All charity should be managed with such prudence and faithfulness,
·will be recompensed.
bountifully shall reap also bountifully. every man give according as he purposeth in his heart; not with grief, nor by constraint: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is 8 able to make every blessing abound towards you; that, having always all sufficiency in all things, ye may abound in every good work: (As it is written, "He hath dispersed abroad; 9 he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.") Now may he that sup- 10 plieth seed to the sower, and bread for food, both supply and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; Be- 11 ing enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which produceth thanksgiving by us to God.. For the ministration of this service not 12 only supplieth the want of the saints, but aboundeth also in many thanksgivings to God; While by the experience of this ministration 13 they glorify God for your professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal contribution to them, and unto all men ; And 14 by their prayer for you, ardently loving you on
6-9. He who soweth, &c. This is a beautiful representation of kindness and charity. It is like sowing, and as we sow we may expect to reap.
4. • boasting. Mss.
as to prevent all suspicion of selfishness, partiality, and fraud. And what better plan could be adopted to secure this end, than to send some faithful, approved messengers to see that the charity was applied to its proper objects. Such was the plan of the apostolic churches. They maintained a friendly intercourse, and aided one another, by sending pious members as occasion required, to visit them and to inquire into their state and condition. Such messengers of the churches were the glory of Christ. O may the same love, kindness, and holy communion revive in all the professed disciples of Jesus, that it may again be said, "See how these disciples love."
-A cheerful giver. One that does it with hearty good will —Every blessing. Every temporal blessing of which you at any time may be in need. See Ps. cxii. 9.— –His righteousness. His works of righteousness, both in his piety to God and liberality to man.
10-13. And bread for food. I point with the Syriac; and other critics have adopted it.- -Thanksgiving by us, &c. Such kindness excites us to renewed praises to God for what he has done to you, as well as those who are the objects of your charity.
Paul vindicates himself,
II CORINTHIANS X.
account of the superabounding grace of God || the obedience of Christ; 15 towards you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
A. D. 58. Paul vindicates his own spiritual authority against certain opponents; he taxes them with boasting of what belonged to other men.
I Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in outward appearance am humble among you, 2 but being absent am bold towards you: Now I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, with which I think to be bold against some, who think of 3 us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war 4 according to the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through 5 God to the overthrow of strong-holds; Casting down reasonings, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER IX. 1. How commendable is to be ready and ever inclined to acts of charity, so as not to need exhortation on the subject. And with what pleasure does the apostle mention this to the honour of his christian friends at Corinth, who were not only ready to this work and labour of love, but had excited many others to engage in it. And what an encouragement is it to abound in this grace, that what a man sows that he shall assuredly reap: if he sow sparingly, he shall reap accordingly; and if bountifully and liberally, he shall receive the fruits of this righteousness in the same proportion. Compulsion, or even doing any thing with reluctance and grudgingly, is like the dead fly which spoils the ointment of the apothecary. Let us ever remember, that God loves a cheerful giver; one whose feeling, affectionate heart opens his hand, and induces him to communicate of his store to others, not only as a duty, but as a pri- ||
CHAP. X. 1. In outward appearance. See verse 7. In his person there was nothing majestic or commanding; and his adversaries laid this as a charge against him.
2. Against some. Those who fomented divisions, and were endeavouring to raise themselves as heads of parties.—Walked, &c. Had only our reputation and worldly interest in view.
3-6. Walk in the flesh. Live like other men, and are in appearance as weak; yet "we do not war, &c." against idolatry and vice with carnal weapons or aims.—Weapons. Their various gifts of knowledge, speaking different languages, and working miracles, &c.—Mighty through God. Some consider the words as a Hebraism, and render “exceedingly powerful." See Greck. Acts vii. 20. But as the text will naturally bear the common version, and as it is consonant to the general doctrine of scripture, I adhere to it. -Strong-holds. All the ignorance and vice which may be regarded as the
and asserts his authority.
And being ready 6 to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Do ye look on things according to the out- 7 ward appearance? If any man trust in himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this also, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's. For though I should glory 8 in a somewhat extraordinary manner of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for your edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: But I forbear, 9 that I may not seem as if I would terrify you : by my epistles. For his epistles, say they, 10 are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. Let such an one think this, that, as we are IL in word by epistles when we are absent, such we will be indeed also when present. For 12 we dare not rank ourselves, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves,
vilege, being convinced, "that it is more blessed to give than to receive."
2. We are reminded that when liberality is thus exercised, it occasions unfeigned gratitude to God. While the wants of the saints are supplied, their thanksgivings to God are excited; and their prayers ascend to God on behalf of the instruments of his bounty and kindness to them. Thus in an eminent manner does the blessing of those who were ready to perish, come upon those who afford them seasonable relief. And what glory is brought to God and his gospel, by such cheerful liberality! Who can avoid exclaiming with the apostle, "Blessed be God for this gift of his grace; but especially for the gift of his own beloved Son, in and through whom, this and every other gift and blessing pertaining to life and godliness, is freely bestowed upon us."
fastnesses of Satan.—Reasonings. The proud and impious reasonings of philosophers and statesmen, who opposed the gospel; but their efforts were
7-9. I should glory in a, &c. The apostle had indeed extraordinary authority in the church; but he used it with moderation, for the advantage of men's souls.
10, 11. His epistles, &c. Thus spoke the factious leaders, reproaching the bodily infirmities of the apostle, and especially his manner of speaking, which was not with the grace of Attic eloquence.—Such we will be, &c. By inflicting punishment on the impenitent and obstinate.
12. Commend themselves. For having done great things.&c. Judging of themselves and their deeds from their own false opinions.
13-16. Even of the measure. "God had, as it were, measured out, and distributed to the first heralds of the gospel, not only their several offices in
Paul's line of labour.
and comparing themselves with themselves, 13 are not wise. But we will not glory of things beyond our measure, but concerning the measure of the line, even of the measure which God hath allotted to us, that we should reach 14 even unto you. For we stretch not ourselves too far, as if we reached not to you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching 15 the gospel of Christ; Not glorying of things beyond our measure, that is, in other men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you, 16 as concerning our line abundantly, So as to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to glory in another man's line of 17 things made ready for us. But he that glo18 rieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
Compelled to boast.
in my foolish boasting and indeed bear with
A. D. 58. Paul from necessity commendeth himself; and showeth from his labours, sufferings, and success, that he was not inferior to others.
I WISH that ye would bear with me a little that which was wanting to me the brethren
II CORINTHIANS XI.
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER X. 1. We learn that when
it is necessary to reprove and rebuke, we should remember the meekness and gentleness of Christ. If some oppose us and even insinuate that our motives are not pure, nor our conduct becoming the gospel, let us vindicate ourselves with modesty, and show by a christian behaviour how unfounded their suspicions and insinuations are. Let both ministers and people prove that they neither walk nor war according to the flesh. The weapons we use in carrying on this holy warfare are not Aeshly, but spiritual. The word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith, and for an helmet, the hope of salvation, are our weapons; and they are mighty through God, to subvert and overthrow the strong-holds of carnal security, vain reasonings, and the pride of men; and to bring the thoughts and hearts of sinners to the obedience of Christ. How many stout-hearted and
the church, but the scenes of action where they should labour. The province allotted to Paul was large, not only reaching to Corinth, but he hoped, to a far greater extent.
17, 18. In the Lord. As having crowned his labours with success. "For not he who commendeth, &c." Even among men, self-praise is no commendation. It is indeed a honour to receive commendation from God, either here, by being made useful, or hereafter, by being admitted to his presence and glory.
CHAP. XI. 1. In my foolish boasting. That this gives the sense the whole context proves.
2. One husband. The Lord Jesus. They had been espoused or be
rebellious sinners have been thus vanquished by the powerful weapons of gospel truth and grace. O may fresh conquests be daily made.
2. We are taught how arrogant it is for any minister or christian to boast in himself, as if he in some peculiar manner belonged to Christ, and in consequence, either despise, or at least not properly esteem others. In this case it is right to remind such an one, that if he be Christ's, so are we; and that we give proof of it by our labours, and love, and patience in the gospel. And let those who preside and rule in the church remember, that the authority they enjoy is for edification, and not destruction; and let them employ it for this noble end, as did the apostle. And like him let it be their ambition to excel in usefulness, and to be concerned to spread the gospel, and to preach it, where the name of Christ has not been known. And let all guard against vain-boasting; but let him that glorieth glory in the Lord.
trothed to him by the ministry of Paul, and he was anxious that they might be preserved as a chaste virgin, and at last presented to him without spot.
3. I fear, &c. Paul's affection to them made him fear on their account. lest, through temptation, they should be corrupted from that simplicity of manners and doctrine which became them as believers in Christ.
4. He that cometh, &c. The leader of the faction among you -Snother Jesus, &c. Were he to announce to you another Jesus as the foundation of your faith; but does he not, in fact, build on him whom I have preached? On this account bear with me,
5. To the chiefest, &c. He doubtless refers to James, Peter, and John. See Gal. ii. 9. Hence the Papists are convicted of folly in setting up Peter. 6. Rude in speech. 1 Cor. ii. 1, 4. This was the language or charge of
Paul professeth his love.
II CORINTHIANS XI.
His labours and sufferings.
who came from Macedonia supplied and in | if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you
every thing I have kept myself from being burdensome to you, and I will keep myself. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this glorying shall not be stopped with respect to me, in 11 the regions of Achaia. Why? because I do
not love you? God knoweth that I love you. 12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from those who desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found 13 even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into 14 apostles of Christ. And no wonder; for Satan also transformeth himself into an angel of 15 light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall 16 be according to their works. I say again, man think me foolish; if otherwise, yet as foolish receive me, that I may glory 17 a little. That which I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were foolishly, on this subject of glorying.
the face. I speak as concerning the reproach, 21
Since many glory according to the flesh, 19 I also will glory. For ye bear with the foolish 20 gladly, since ye yourselves are wise. For ye bear with it, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you,
bis opponent. Made manifest, &c. That I am an apostle, by my preaching and labours among you in the most open and public manner.
7-10. Without cost? Is this a proof of my want of apostolic authosity-Nay, "I spoiled other churches, &c." Though Paul wrought with his hands at Corinth, yet it seems the churches in other places sent him some supplies; and his acceptance of it, he calls spoiling them. He refers to the churches of Macedonia. This glorying,'&c. I assert it most solemnly that my conduct was regulated in this respect for your advantage, and I glory in it. 11. God knoweth, &c. I have thought it better to supply what is implied, so that the sense may not be mistaken.
12. Desire occasion. Of imputing worldly views to me, that if my oppo nents will glory, they may have such matter of glorying in this respect as I have.
13. Deceitful workmen, yc. However disinterested they appear to be, they are, in reality, only pursuing their own gain. It is probable that he alludes to some Jewish zealots, who, pretending to be apostles of Christ, tried to injure him, as well as pervert the success of the gospel.
14, 15 Satan also, &c. Some think that he might do this when he tempted Eve and our Lord.His ministers, ye. All false teachers and wicked men are intended, but awful will be their reward.
16, 17. Think me foolish, &c. For what I have said; yet "as one foolish" receive me, &c.Not according to, &c. Granting that I am not inspired as some pretend, because of my vindication of my own conduct, yet I will glory in the statement of my sufferings.
18-21. With the foolish, &c. With those who glory in their carnal VOL. 111. PART XXIII.
privileges and other things of a secular nature, because you judge yourselves to be wise.—If a man, &c. Paul must allude to the tyranny and insolence of the false teachers, which they had as yet borne. —Namely that, &c. Sre Ch. v. 19.—Weak. We have appeared so by our multiplied sufferings; yel we are equal to any in our external privileges and advantages.
22. Hebrews? So am I speaking their language, and not an Hellenist; of the seed of Abraham, as I can prove by direct genealogies.
23. As one foolish. In what I am going to say of myself. I am more, &c. Than a minister in my office, and in my labours and sufferings.- In deaths often. In such situations as threatened death.
24, 25. Forty stripes, &c. See Deuter. xxv. 3, and note.
25. Beaten with rods. This was the Roman manner of punishment. Acts xvi. 21, 22. Stoned. Acts xiv. 19-Shipwreck. When he did so, or where, we have no information. On one of these occasions he floated a night and a day in the deep.
26, 27. From rivers. In crossing wide, rapid, or swoln rivers. In dangers from my own countrymen and from heathens, in every place, whether in the city or desert, or on the sea; and often in the greatest by false brethren. On such occasions I endured all manner of hardships.
28, 29. In the care of, &c. Especially those which he had planted. Is weak. In knowledge and full of scruples; and do I not condescend to him? Who stumbleth, and I do not burn to raise him up?
30. My weakness. My own helpless and exposed situation, which gave occasion both to men and to God to display kindness unto me. He refers to verses 32, 33.