Page images

is not stated; nothing that can be called an account is given; but it is the junction of two conclusions, deduced from independent sources, and deducible only by investigation and comparison." (Hora Paulinæ,' ch. iv. No. 4.)

17. “Did I use lightness ?”—This it seems was the charge which, on the account described in the preceding note, the discontented party at Corinth had brought against him. But from this he completely vindicates himself, in this and the first part of the following chapter. The original intention had been formed under happier auspices, and presupposed that the Corinthians would remain faithful and united. The divisions and disorders which had since arisen, : rendered an alteration of his plan expedient even for their sakes. The information he had received at Ephesus, as to the state of affairs in the Corinthian church, and which occasioned him to write his first epistle, led him to determine not to go at once to Corinth, but to proceed first to Macedonia, that there might be time for his epistle to work its proper effect before he arrived among them, and that their amendment of that which he had condemned in them, might render the meeting more pleasant and cordial, and relieve him from the unpleasant necessity of meeting them with severity and grief. Hence he asseverates in the strongest manner, "I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you, I came not as yet unto Corinth," verse 23.


[ocr errors]

66 or cer

20. “In him are yea, and in him Amen."-That is, " In him are most true, and in him are most faithful" tain." The word "Amen" is here employed in its original form, as an adjective, true, faithful, certain, although it is more usually employed as an adverb both in the Old and New Testaments. See the note on 1 Cor. xiv. 16.


1 Having shewed the reason why he came not to them, 6 he requireth them to forgive and to comfort that excommunicated person, 10 even as himself also upon his true repentance had forgiven him, 12 declaring withal why he departed from Troas to Macedonia, 14 and the happy success which God gave to his preaching in all places. BUT I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heavi


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 sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.

4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not at 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 rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.

8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

9 For to this end also did I write, that I whether you, might know the proof of be ye obedient in all things.

10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it 'in the person of Christ;

11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us for we are not ignorant of his devices.

12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas 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.

1 Or, censure. 2 Or, in the sight. 3 Or, deal deceitfully with. 4 Chap. 4. 2. Verse 13. "Because I found not Titus.”—See the introductory note.

14. "Always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour," &c.—Elsner and many other commenators think, with sufficient reason, that there is here an allusion to the perfumes that were usually censed during the riumphal processions of Roman conquerors. Plutarch, on an occasion of this kind, describes the streets and temples as eing evμarwy Angus, "full of incense," which might not improperly be called an odour of death to the vanquished, and of life to the conquerors. It is possible that in the following verses the apostle further alludes to the different ffects of strong perfumes, to cheer some, and to throw others into various disorders, according to the different disposions they may be in to receive them.

There is perhaps not equal foundation for another conjecture which has been offered that the expression "causeth s to triumph in Christ," contains an allusion to the custom of victorious generals, who, in their triumphal processions, ere wont to carry some of their relations with them in their chariot.



1 Lest their false teachers should charge him with vainglory, he sheweth the faith and graces of the Corinthians to be a sufficient commendation of his ministry. 6 Whereupon entering a comparison between the ministers of the law and of the Gospel, 12 he proveth that his ministry is so far the more excellent, as the Gospel of life and liberty is more glorious than the law of condemnation. 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:

[ocr errors]

5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

1 Or, quickeneth.

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 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 Or, boldness.

Exod. 34. 33.

could not stedfastly look to the end of that .hich is abolished:

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

14 But their minds were blinded: for
til this day remaineth the same vail un-
ken away in the reading of the old testa-
ent; which vail is done away in Christ.
15 But even unto this day, when Moses is
id, the vail is upon their heart.

[ocr errors]

4 Or, of the Lord the Spirit.

'erse 1. "Epistles of commendation."-These commendatory letters, or letters of introduction, were much in use in primitive church, and are often mentioned by the early Christian writers. A Christian being about to travel, was ished by the church to which he belonged, or from individual members of it, with letters to churches or individual istians, in the towns through which he intended to pass, and, more particularly in the place to which he was going. se letters secured the bearer the warmest hospitality and fraternal consideration from the parties to whom they e addressed. Dr. Hammond-whose citations, from classical and early Christian writers, amply illustrate the om-thinks it derived from the tessera hospitalitatis of the Greeks and Romans: but it was also a custom of the s; and, as Bloomfield observes, it was in itself likely to be a custom wherever letters were known and personal comication not very frequent.

"Tables of the heart."-This expression frequently occurs in the Jewish writings; and the metaphor of writing livingly on the heart, the soul, things that should be remembered well, and be never absent from the mind,ther with the distinction of such tablets, and such writing, from that which might be forgotten or laid aside, written ablets that might be torn or broken, and with ink which might be blotted out-was very familiar to them, and 1 also occurs in the classical writings.

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.

"The letter killeth, but the spirit," &c.-Possibly the expression may be derived from a distinction which the Jews in the habit of making between the body and soul of the law. "The words are the body of the law, and the book e law is the clothing; but besides these, there is the soul of the law, which they who are wise look into." Zohar ́um. fol. 63. 3.

. "When Moses is read."-In the note to Luke iv. 16, we have explained the manner of reading the Law in the sh synagogues. We now introduce a cut which will illustrate the details there given.

[blocks in formation]

6 For God, who commanded the light to ne out of darkness, hath shined in our arts, to give the light of the knowledge of e glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

1 Gr. shame.

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 aretroubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. Or, not altogether without help, or, means. 3 Psal. 116. 10.

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 might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, "I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

18 While we look not at the things which

Verse 3. "If our Gospel be hid.”—It is important to observe that the metaphor here is closely connected with that in ch. iii. 15. There the apostle says, the veil was upon the hearts of the Jews (not upon the Law itself) when they heard the Law of Moses read; so now, he says, to adopt the translation of Doddridge, "If our Gospel be under a veil too, it is veiled to them that are lost:" that is to say, that the veil is upon their hearts, not upon the Gospel itself, as it was upon the hearts of the Jews with respect to the Law of Moses. In both cases there is very probably an allusion to the veil which the Jews wore when they worshipped.

7. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels.”—In vessels of clay, which are always brittle, and often remarkably so in East (see the note on Lev. xv. 12). But the word organos also, and indeed in its primary signification, meats "testaceous," as being from ergaxov, a shell; and shells were often made use of to contain things of value in the cabinets of the curious. Being thus employed, and being moreover brittle, the word came to denote also fragile vessels of clay. The idea suggested by the metaphor is therefore the same with both explanations.

17. "A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."—All translators confess their inability to find terms in our language by which adequately to express the force of this remarkable sentence. The Greek language only affects materials for so powerful an expression. "It is," says Blackwall, “infinitely emphatical, and cannot be expressed by any translation. It signifies that all hyperboles fall short of describing that weighty, eternal glory, so solid and lasting, that you may pass from one hyperbole to another, and yet, when you have gained the last, are infinitely below it('Sacred Classicks,' vol. i. p. 337.) Correspondingly, Horne translates, "A weight of glory, infinite and eternal, beyond all hyperbole and expression." While on this subject, we willingly transcribe the following observations, cited by the same author, from the Gospel Advocate' (Boston, Mass. 1824):-"Occasionally the student of the Epistles (of S. Paul) is at once astonished and delighted by a fervency of language unexampled in any other writer. Words of the most intense signification are accumulated, and, by their very strength, are made to express their weakness when c pared with the inexpressible greatness of their object. Our language cannot express the force of za dzięßokm si Vasęßodny alwvier Bages değns (2 Cor. iv. 17), which is but faintly shadowed forth in the translation of an eminent crite. an excessively exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Numerous, and some, if possible, more striking examples occur, but cannot be adequately displayed in any, even the best, translation. Even the ordinary grammatical com pounds are not sufficient for the glowing ideas of the apostle. Thus, wishing to express his own utter worthlessness, considered in himself, he makes use of a comparative found only in the most exalted sentences of the classic authers — EHO TO SLAXIOTOrig; not unaptly rendered by our translators, less than the least.""



1 That in his assured hope of immortal glory, 9 and in expectance of it, and of the general judgment, he laboureth to keep a good conscience, 12 not that he may herein boast of himself, 14 but as one that, having received life from Christ, endeavoureth to live as a new creature to Christ only, 18 and by his ministry of reconciliation to reconcile others also in Christ to God.

FOR 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.

2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which

is from heaven:

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.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

2 Rom. 14. 10.

which live should not henceforth live unto | and hath given to us the ministry of reconthemselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.


16 Wherefore 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.

19 To 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.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be conciled to God.

ye re

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

• Gr. put in us.

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, the is a new creature: 'old things are passed away; behold, all things are become


18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ,

Or, let him be.

5 Isa. 43. 19. Rev. 21. 5.

Verse 1. "Our earthly house."—The leading idea in the very striking and sustained metaphor which follows, comparing the human frame to a dwelling, and that one of the humblest description-as a tent, hut, or shed, liable to be dissolved," worn down, broken, decayed, by the course of time and the action of the elements-occurs sometimes in both the classical and Jewish writers; but nowhere with so much force as here, where this fragile tenement is so emphatically contrasted with the "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Waller's beautiful lines will occur to many readers:

"The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed,

Lets in new light through chinks that time has made."

4. "Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon.”—The figurative language which the apostle is here employing, is very similar to what we read in the Jewish writers, who speak of this mortal body as a clothing of which the soul is divested at death, and as being arrayed with other and better clothing in Paradise. "When a man's time is come to leave this world, he does not depart until the angel of death has stripped him of the clothing of this body. And when the soul is stripped of the body by the angel of death, it departeth, and is arrayed with that other body which is in Paradise." Again: "The soul does not mount up to appear before the Holy King, until it is held worthy to be clothed with that clothing which is above." (Zohar in Exod., fol. 62, 92.)

[blocks in formation]

5 In stripes, in imprisonments, 'in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by long

1 Isa, 49, 8. 21 Cor. 10. 32.

[blocks in formation]

8 Gr. commending. 4 Or, in tossings to and fro.

« PreviousContinue »