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2 CORINTHIANS. [warned against idolatry,
patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings:
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
11 Oye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. 12 Ye are not straitened in us, but
ye are straitened in your own bowels. 13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,)· be ye also enlarged.
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fel lowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And 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.
17 Wherefore 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. (G)
(G) Ver. 1-18. Paul's affection to the Corinthians, and his earnest exhortation to them to avoid idolators.-The apostle here beseeches his brethren, as fellow-labourers, not to neglect the special privileges bestowed on them, as ambassadors of Christ; and entreats all whom he addresses, not to neglect the golden opportunity afforded them by the gospel of the grace of God, of seeking that salvation so long predicted, and so expensively accomplished in the sufferings and death of Christ. Here was a remedy of sovereign efficacy provided; and aggravated would be their guilt, who neglected and despised it; or if they de layed its application to their own case,
when to-morrow, perhaps, it might be too late for ever. (See Heb. ii. 3.)
He then reminds his brethren in the ministry of the labours and sufferings they were called to endure, of the holy disposi tions with which they ought to be sustained, and of the sacred means to be employed to render them available to their great object, the salvation of mankind, and to render themselves acceptable to their great Master, who had himself trod den the same path of sufferings and of la bour. After enumeg ting these things with great distinctness, he bursts out into a passionate expression of his affection for the Corinthians, and his extreme anxiety for their salvation: "O ye Corinthians,
Ver. 6. By the Holy Ghost.-Mackn." By a holy (or sanctifed) spirit," these being all equally the fruits of the Holy Spirit's influences.
Ver. 7. The armour of righteousness.--See Ephes. vi. 11-18.On the right hand and on the left-Armed at all points," as we say; or perhaps this may allude to soldiers who were taught to use their swords with both hands-Ambiderters.
Ver. 10. Possessing all things.-See Rom. iii,
Ver. 13. Now for a recompence in the same-i.. in return for my kindness towards you.
Ver. 15. Christ with Belial?-i. e. wickedness. See Note on Deut. xiii. 13.
Ver. 1o. What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?—See the history of Dagon, 1 Sam. V.
Ver. 17. Saith the Lord.-Isa. lii. 11.
Ver. 18. And will be a Father.-See Jer. xxxi. 1 and 9.
And excited to]
HAVING therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.
3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.
4 Great 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.
5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.
6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus:
7 And 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.
our heart is enlarged" with affection, and our mouth is open" freely to express it. Now, for a recompence"-in return (as if he had said), may your bowels, my dear children, be enlarged toward us! and express your affection, not in words only, but in a kind attention to our advice.
The apostle then goes on to guard his Christian converts against any unnecessary connexion with their heathen neighbours, particularly in social or domestic life. First and principally, he guards them against matrimonial connexions with unbelievers: "Be ye not unequally yoked;" in which there seems to be an allusion to the Mosaic law, which forbade plowing " with an ox aud an ass together" (Deut. xxii. 10); the one the most laborious, and the other the most sluggish of all animals; meaning hereby, perhaps, to intimate, that a heathen partner, in this state, would be a drawback upon all Christian duties and exertions, and greatly retard the course of obedience to the gospel. This must be particularly the case, as to the two great points of family religion, and the education of children.-2. He objects to Christians having any communion in their idolatrous worship, and particularly the convivial feasts in their temples, on which he had largely treated in his first epistle, but not, as it should seem, with complete success. (See 1 Epis. viii. 4, &c.)
Now, from neither of these dangers are we exempt even in the present age. Many professors scruple not to marry into Roman
Catholic families: not even with the for lorn hope of bringing them to the reformed religion; but with the most perfect indifference whether they had any, or what religion, provided the person and fortune of the party were agreeable. It is true, that we have no invitations to dine in Catholic chapels; but it is not uncommon for Protestants to be drawn into them, to witness the splendour of their worship, and to hear their music; and then, how few are there who have the courage to show they take no part in the idolatry? It is a favourite maxim with the world, that "when we are at Rome, we must do as they do at Rome;" which evidently implies, that it is much better to conform to any idolatrous worship, than to be guilty of a breach of what is called "good mauners."
On the danger of convivial meetings, we have already offered some remarks (on 1 Epis. x.), which may apply in great mea sure to fashionable visits and parties of pleasure, in which, though neither Jupiter nor Mars be worshipped, the god of this world-the gods of fashion, of pleasure, and of chance, are unequivocally acknowledged and adored; and the zeal with which they are served may put to the blush the devotions of many nominal Christians, when at church or chapel. And not only are we forbidden to form such associations, but when formed, we are expressly commanded to relinquish them. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord."
CHAP. VII. Ver. 2. We have wronged.-Doddr. “injured”—no man. Ver. 4, I am exceeding joyful.-Doddr. “ Ì ex
ceedingly abound in joy;" who remarks, that the expression is exceedingly emphatical
8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
9 Now 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.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame 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
12 Wherefore, 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.
13 Therefore 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.
14 For 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.
15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.
16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things. (H)
(H) Ver. 1-16. Paul's consolation in the Corinthians.-This chapter opens with a natural, forcible, and important inference from the last verses of the preceding. Seeing that God hath given us such exceedingly great and precious promises," as St. Peter calls them (2 Epis. i. 4), we ought thereby to be animated to serve him with the more zeal and energy; and to labour to "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness (or pollution) of the flesh and the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.' Not that we are able to cleanse ourselves by our own strength, much less perfectly: but as it was in the attempt of the lame man to stretch forth his hand, that he received strength (Matt. xii. 13), so in our endeavours to attain this holiness, we have good reason and encouragement to expect the assistance of his Holy Spirit; and though we cannot attain perfection, yet it is only by aiming at it, that we can approach it. As to the distinction between the impurity of flesh and spirit, we conceive the former to consist in sensual affections, and the latter in pride of
heart, which, however decent we may think it, is an abomination in the sight of God.
After this important inference, which ought evidently to have closed the preceding chapter, St. Paul returns to speak farther of his tenderness toward the Corinthians, and of the joy which he derived from hearing of their affection towards him.
In the first place, he protests that he had in no way injured them; yet, in so saying, he means not to insinuate that they were his accusers, or any way to grieve them, for they had a deep interest in the hearts of himself and brethren: and
amidst all his afflictions, he derived great consolation from hearing of their welfare, and particularly from the accounts which Titus had given him of their pious sorrow; and their earnest desire to rectify what had been wrong amongst them, and of their affectionate regard to him, notwithstanding the fidelity of his reproofs. In conse quence of this, though it gave him great pain to reprove them so sharply at the time, he now rejoiced heartily in the event, and was so satisfied with their con
NOTES-Chap. VII. Con.
Ver. 8. For a season.-The sense is, he is glad, that though his epistle made them sorry, it was but for a season-literally, an hour. So Mackn.
Ver. 9. After a godly manner.-Marg. " Accord. ing to God," So verse 11.
Ver. 11. Carefulness.-Doddr. "diligence."What clearing of yourselves.-Mackn. What apo logizing."
Ver. 15. His inward affection.—Marg. "bowels.”
The grace of our]
MOREOVER, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
[Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, 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 abound in this grace also.
8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
9 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 his poverty might be rich.
10 And 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.
11 Now 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 ye have.
12 For if there be first a willing
duct, and the penitence of the offenders, that his confidence was perfectly restored towards them.
The most important topic of remark in this chapter, is the different nature and properties of worldly and of godly sorrow, which may be distinguished in their cause, their character, and their effects. 1. They differ in their cause: worldly sorrow arises from the loss of worldly property, or carnal pleasures-from the failure of ambitious projects, or exposure to public shame. On the contrary, godly sorrow arises from a conviction of the evil nature of sin; from a painful sense of God's anger on account of it, and an apprehension of its just and awful consequences. They differ in their character: worldly sorrow is either cla
morous and angry, or sullen, peevish, and revengeful, and often mingled with rebellious murmurings against God. Godly sorrow, on the other hand, is meek and silent; or if it kindles the more violent passions of anger and revenge, it points them against the sinner's own conductagainst his sins. 3. They differ in their effects. "Worldly sorrow worketh death," by hardening the mind in unbelief; and, as it leads the mind to despair, often ends in death, and utter destruction both of soul and body. But "goldly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of." This repentance is the inseparable partner of faith; the Christian's guard against apostacy, and his guide to life eternal.
CHAP. VIII. Ver. I. We do you to wit.-Hamm. "Make known to you."
Ver. 2. Their deep poverty abounded-that is, notwithstanding their deep poverty, they have done wonders for the relief of their poor brethren." Doddr.Liberality-Marg. "simplicity." But the context evidently determines for the former sense. Note, the Macedonians were a poor, and the Corinthians a rich, people. Mackn.
Ver. 3. Beyond their power-i. e." beyond what could have been expected from them." Doddr. Ver. 4. Gift.-Gr. (charin) “grace," "as in ver. 1,6, &c.And take upon us the fellowship-i, e. assist, or take part in ministering, &c.
Ver. 5. Not as we hoped-i. e. Not merely as we hoped, but far beyond. Gave their own selvesthat is, gave their own time and labour, as well as property.
Ver.6. Finish in you the same grace-or "gift;" which Doddridge thus paraphrases: "So he would also complete this instance of grace and liberality among you, and finish what yet remains to be done, as to collecting the intended contributions."
Ver. 7. This grace also-namely, liberality. Ver. 8. Not by commandment.-Doddr. "Not by (way of) command," See Note on 1 Cor. vii. 6. Ver. 10. Also to be forward.-Marg. " willing," i. e. to do good promptly.
mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
14 But 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:
15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.
18 And 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:
20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
22 And 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.
23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethrea be enquired of, they are the messen gers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.
24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf. (I)
(1) Ver. 1-24. St. Paul again exhorts the Corinthians to Christian benevolence; commending the activity of Titus and some others. In his former epistle (ch. xxi) our apostle had exhorted the Corinthians, who were a wealthy people, to exertions of Chris tian charity toward their poor brethren at Jerusalem; and he now informs them, to the honour of divine grace rather than to their own, that the churches of Philippi, Thessalonica, and other cities of Macedonia, though comparatively poor, and at the time much straitened, had eminently distinguished themselves in this cause by their generosity; not only giving their money, but their time and labour also, to assist in collecting for the saints at Jerusalem, who appear to have been peculiarly persecuted and distressed.
Having stated this fact to excite the emulation of the Corinthians, he set before them an example infinitely more exalted, and more binding upon their consciences, namely, that of our Lord Jesus Christ himself, who, though "he was rich,”— infinitely rich in wisdom, power, and glory, stooped down to the lowest degree of degradation, poverty, and suffering, on our
"This was compassion like a God;" such as neither mortals or angels could ever share, and such as ought to command, not only our admiration, but our devotion.
"O for this love, let rocks and hills
Ver. 18. The brother-Namely, Luke the Evangelist. So Doddridge, Macknight, and others.
Ver. 22. Sent with them-i. e. with Luke and Titus our brother.-Doddridge supposes this other brother to be Apollos; others, that it might be Silas, Timothy, or some other; but it is all con
jecture. Which I have in you-Instead of the supplementary words "I have," Mackn. sup plies, he hath," referring to the brother bere intended.
Ver. 23, Fellowhelper.-Doddridge, " fellow-la. bourer.",