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The Corinthians directed] 2 CORINTHIANS.
BUT I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.
2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?
3 And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sor row from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.
[to restore the penitent.
4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
5 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.
6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
7 So that contrariwise ye ought
EXPOSITION-Chap. I. Continued.
which they endure, and the consolations which they enjoy, are all intended for the instruction and consolation of the church of Christ; that they (ministers) may be "able to comfort those who are in any trouble." And the advantage is reciprocal: ministers partake (ver. 11) in the prayers and sympathies of their people.
As an instance of this, St. Paul appears to advert to the opposition he had met with in Ephesus, when he was in danger of being torn to pieces by the mob that Demetrius had raised (Acts xix. 30, 31); when his friends, as he acknowledges, interested themselves for him in prayer to God, as well as by their personal exertions on his behalf.
"The consolation of which the apostle speaks" so strongly in this chapter, says Dr. Macknight very justly, "was derived from the presence of Christ with him in his affliction; from a sense of the love of Christ shed abroad in his heart; from the joy which the success of the gospel gave him; from the assured hope of the reward which was prepared for him; from his knowledge of the influence of his sufferings to encourage others; and from the enlarged views which he had of the govern ment of God, whereby all things are made to work together for good to them who love him."
But the concluding verses of this chapter are of peculiar interest and importance, and must not be passed without a remark
or two.-1. We note the stability of the gospel all the promises of God are in him [Christ], yea, i. e. plainly asserted; and in him, amen, or faithfully accomplished, "to the glory of God."-2. By "the earnest of the spirit in our hearts," we understand those divine influences which our Lord promised to all believers, to guide them into truth and righteousness; and which may properly be considered as an earnest of those higher influences which shall finally prepare them for heaven and glory. "As we are born again by the Spirit (says Bishop Pearson), and receive from him our regeneration, so we are assured by the same Spirit of our adoption; and because, being sons," we are also "heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ," by the same Spirit we have the pledge, or rather" the earnest of our inheritance." For "He which establisheth us in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, who hath also sealed us, and hath given the earnest of his Spirit in our hearts. .... The Spirit of God, as given unto us in this life (continues that excellent Prelate), though it have not the proper nature of a pledge, as in the gifts received here being no way equivalent to the promised reward, nor given in the stead of any thing already due; yet it is to be looked upon as an earnest, being part of that reward which is promised. (Pearson on the Apostles' Creed, Art. viii.)
CHAP. II. Ver. 1. In heaviness.-Doddr. " in grief."
Ver. 2. Who.... but the same that is made sorry by me?-Doddr. "grieved by me."
Ver. 3. The joy of you all-i. e. you all rejoice with me.
Ver. 4. I wrote unto you-i. e. in his first Epistle.
Ver. 5. Not grieved me, but in part—i, e,“ pot grieved me (only), but in part," or in a degree, all of you. Dr. J. Edwards on the Script. vol. ii. 99.
Ver. 6.This punishment.-Margin, "Censure." Doddr. "rebuke."-Inflicted of many, namely, according to Doddr." by the whole church."
rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch
8 Wherefore I beseech you that we would confirm your love toward im.
9 For to this end also did I write, hat I might know the proof of ou, whether ye be obedient in all hings.
10 To whom ye forgive any thing, forgive also; for if I forgive any ing, to whom I forgave it, for your kes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
11 Lest Satan should get an advange of us for we are not ignorant of is devices.
12 Furthermore, when I came to roas to preach Christ's Gospel, and
a door was opened unto me of the Lord,
13 I 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.
14 Now 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.
15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
16 To 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?
17 For 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. (B)
(B) Ver. 1-17. The reasons that Paul d not come to Corinth-the case of the rson excommunicated-the triumph of nul's ministry.—If we understand the ening of this chapter, it is to this effect: at he delayed coming to the Corinthians, t, from what he had heard of them, he ould be compelled to treat them with verity, and thereby grieve them; at the me time, nothing would give him more than to see the penitence of the ofders; and he had no doubt but the ole church would rejoice with him. He en adverts to the case of the person om, according to his direction in the st Epistle (chap. v. throughout), they d excommunicated from the church for e complicated crimes of incest and aduly; but who now seemed so deeply to ve bewailed his situation, that the same ostle, who before urged his exclusion
from the church, now exhorts them to forgive and comfort him, lest Satan should gain advantage over them, by driving him to despair; and, at the same time, lest the false teachers should also take advantage, by representing (as many have since done) the doctrines of St. Paul as having that fatal tendency.
The chapter closes with a hymn of thanksgiving, and an allusion to a Roman triumph. According to Macknight, the apostle represents Christ as a victorious general, riding in a triumphal procession through the world, attended by his apostles, prophets, evangelists, and other ministers of the gospel, and followed by all the idolatrous nations as his captives. (Compare Rev. vi. 2; xix. 11, &c.) Among these, the preachers of the gospel diffused the smell [savour] of the knowledge of Christ [in a manner as fragrant flowers and perfumes were liberally scattered in a
er. 10. For your sakes-i. e. to restore peace union to your body.In the person-Marg. the sight"-of Christ; i. e. as clothed with authority.
er. 11. Lest Satan should get an advantage of -Mackn. "That we may not be over-reached Satan."
er. 13. I had no rest .... because I found not us-Whom he had sent to Corinth to make enies, and who had not returned.
thinks the apostle alludes to the perfumes which used to be censed (or burnt) during the triumphal processions of the Romans. Plutarch describes the streets and temples as full of incense-an odour of death to the vanquished, and of life to the victors. Orient. Lit. No. 1484.
Ver. 17. Which corrupt.-Doddr. "adulterate." Marg. Deal deceitfully with the word of God." Doddridge thinks it refers to those who deal in wines and other liquors, and often lower them with
er. 14. The savour of his knowledge." Elsner water. See Isa, i. 22.
The Spirit and]
Do we begin again to commend
ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?
2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men : 3 Forasmuch 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 fleshy tables of the heart.
4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
[the letter contrasted.
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of our
selves; but our sufficiency is of God;
6 Who 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.
7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven 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:
8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth
EXPOSITION-Chap. II. Continued.
Roman triumph]. This knowledge, to those who believed, was [" a savour of life," or] a vivifying smell [or savour], ending in life to them; but to unbelievers, it was as little fragrant or grateful as the odours of the procession to those condemned to die (as were many of the captives) in the close of the procession: it was a smell [or savour] of death [to unbelievers], ending in death, if they continued in unbelief." Thus, in the success of the gospel, we have triumphs of grace in those who are thereby converted; and triumphs of justice, in those who obstinately reject it, to their own condemnation and ruin. In both cases, however, the faithful servants of Christ are accepted and approved; because their labours, however weak without divine support, are sincere and upright, as in the sight of God.
Ministers, it has been justly remarked, should diffuse the savour of Christ in their example and their conversation, as well as in their public ministry.
"When one that holds communion with the skies, "Has fill'd his urn where these pure waters rise, "And once more mingles with us meaner things, ""Tis ev'n as if an angel shook his wings; "Immortal fragrance fills the circuit wide, "That tells us whence his treasures are supplied."
But to God himself faithful ministers are a sweet savour of Christ [both] in them that are saved, and in them that perish."-"We serve a good Master (says an eloquent aud able preacher); he knows infinitely better than we do, that conver sion is his own prerogative, and does not depend upon us. Duty only is ours; and even with regard to this, he allows us to depend upon him for ability to discharge it; and in estimating our services, he admits into the account, not only all that we do, but all that we intend and wish to do, but in which we are hindered; and says, "It is well that it was in thine heart."(Jay's Ord. Serm. for the Rev. A. Tidman, p. 41.)
CHAP. III. Ver. 1. Do we-Mackn. "Must we " -begin again to commend ourselves?-i. e. to produce afresh the evidence of our apostleship. See 1st Epist. chap. ix.
Ver. 2. Ye are our epistle written in our hearts. "By supposing that in this passage the apostle calls the Corinthians, not Christ's letter of recommendation in favour of him, but a copy of that letter, and that the letter itself was written on the apostle's heart, but the copy of it on the hearts of the Corinthians, all the jarring of metaphors, in this highly figurative passage, will be removed. Christ's letter of recommendation in favour of the apostle was his miraculous conversion, spiritual gifts," &c.. Macknight.
Ver. 3. Forasmuch as.-These supplementary words, so far, are omitted by Doddridge, whe reads, "Ye are manifest as," &c.
Ver. 4. To God-ward—i, e. towards God.
Ver. 5. To think any thing as of ourselves.~Doddr. "to reckon upon any thing as from our selves."
Ver. 6. Of the new testament, or “ covenant.”— See Introduction to our New Testament § 1Giveth life.-Marg. " quickeneth."
Ver. 7. The ministration of death.-See Rom vii. 10.Written and engraven, &c.-See Exod. xxxiv. 27-35, and Exposition.
Ver. 8. How shall not, &c.-Doddr." How much more shall the ministration of the spirit be glorious!"
the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
11 For if that which was done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:
14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of
[glorious than the law.
the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.
15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their
16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But 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. (C)
(C) Ver. 1-18. The Ministry of the Gospel commended in preference to the law.The false teachers and sectarian leaders had probably introduced themselves at Corinth by letters of recommendation, artfully obtained from some of the churches in Judea; but Paul had better credentials. He appeals to their own hearts, in many of which he well knew his name was deeply inscribed they had each an interest in the affections of the other. He appeals also to their experience: whatever evidence they possessed of their own conversion and sanctification, was to them a most forcible argument in his favour, since he had been the honoured instrument of their Couversion. They were "the Epistle of Christ," and "written by the Spirit of God," to whom he gives all the glory. On this passage Dr. Watts beautifully remarks, that every true believer has in himself such a witness to the truth of the Christian religion, as does not depend on "the exact truth of letters and syllables, nor on the critical knowledge of the copies of the Bible, nor on this old manuscript, or the other new translation. The substance of Christianity is so scattered through all the New Testament, that every manuscript
and every translation has enough of the gospel to save souls by it, and make a mau a Christian. I think this point of great importance in our age, which has taken so many steps to heathenism and infidelity; for this argument or evidence will defend a Christian in the profession of the true religion, though he may not have skill enough to defend his Bible..... Why do you believe in Jesus? [asks the unbeliever] If you have this answer ready at hand, I have found the efficacy and power of the gospel in my heart, this will be sufficient to answer every cavil." (Wutts's Sermons, Ser. 3.)
This work of grace in the hearts of the Corinthians, the apostle considers as a letter of recommendation to them, far preferable to any epistle written with ink or engraved on stone. He is careful, however, that nothing should be attributed to himself, but that all his success should be referred to God, by whose grace alone both himself and his colleagues had been made able and efficient ministers of the New Testament (or covenant), not of the Old, the letters of which were cut in tables of stone, but of the Spirit; that is, the spiritual dispensation of the gospel, the truths of which are written upon the hearts
Ver. 11. Done away.-Doddridge, "abolished;" namely, the Mosaic law of types, &c.
Ver. 12. Great plainness.-Marg. "boldness." Ver. 13. Moses, which put a vail over his face.See Exod. xxxiv. 33. That which is abolished
-namely, the Mosaic law.
Ver. 14. Their minds were blinded.-See Rom. L. 8.
Ver. 15. Unto this day. This blindness unhap. pily extends even to our day.
Ver. 16. When it-namely, the heart of the Jewish nation. Mackn.
Ver. 17. Now the Lord is that Spirit." The Lord Christ is that Spirit (ver. 6). He is the blessed Author and Institutor of that spiritual economy we are now under." Dr. J. Edwards, vol. iii. p. 434.
Ver. 18. As in a glass-i. e. in a mirror. See 1 Cor. xiii. 12, Exposition and Note. By the Spirit of the Lord.-Marg, or " of the Spirit of the Lord." See on ver. 17.
THEREFORE seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2 But 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.
3 But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost :
4 In 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.
5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
[in his afflictions:
6 For 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.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake. that the life also of Jesus migh: be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
EXPOSITION-Chap. III. Continued, of all true Christians. The letter of the divine law could, indeed, only give the knowledge of sin and its penalty-death; but the latter was, on the contrary, adapted to communicate life and spirit-It is "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus." (Rom. viii. 2.)
That ministration was, indeed, attended with some glory, a glory with which the countenance of the legislator (Moses) was emblematically surrounded; still, however, it was the ministration of death, for it could not give life; but, notwithstanding that dispensation was not without glory, how much more glorious must that be which communicates eternal life! Moses found it necessary to wear a vail, and to
this day his law is veiled by the unbelief of his nation; nor shall that vail be taken from their hearts till they shall turn to the Lord Jesus as the true Messiah, who is himself the soul and spirit of the new dis pensation; by whom we are liberated from the bondage of the law and the obscurity of the types. Indeed, as Moses, by looking to the glory of the Shechinah, was himself clothed with glory, so we, beholding in the gospel, as in a resplendent mirror, the glory of the Lord Jesus, are changed into the same image, from one degree of grace and glory to another, till, by his spirit, we are completely transformed into our Redeemer's glorious image.
CHAP. IV. Ver. 2. Renounced.-Macku. "commanded away;" perhaps "denounced" would be the most exact rendering.- -Dishonesty.-Marg. "shame."
Ver. 3. If our gospel be hid, it is hid.-Doddr., Mackn., &c. "If veiled, it is veiled." Compare chap. iii. 13-16.
Ver. 4. The image of God.-See Heb. i. 3.
Ver. 6. Hath shined-Marg. "Is he who hath." Ver. 7. In earthen vessels-In us frail creatures, continually exposed to be crushed and broken. The original (ostrakinois) seems by its derivation to refer to the shells of fishes, some of which, while they are extremely frail, inclose treasures of great value; as the shell of the porphyry, from which fish was extracted the famous Tyrian dye.-May be of
God.-Doddr," appear to be of God."
Ver. 8. Troubled on every side, yet not distressed. -We conceive, " Pressed on every side, bat pat crushed," would be more literal and expressive. Hamm. and Mackn. think it refers to the wrestlers in the public games, who sometimes so griped their adversaries, as to deprive them of the power of resistance.Perplexed, but not in despairMarg." Not altogether without help."
Ver. 9. Cast down, but not destroyed.-Another allusion, perhaps, to wrestlers, who might be "thrown down, when not killed," nor "disabled" Ver. 10. The dying-That is, marks of sufferings analagous to his. See chap. i. 5, 6; and compare these verses with 1 Epis. chap. iv. 11–13.