Page images

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.

$1 Cor. 3. 16.

Levit. 26. 12.

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.

7 Isa. 52. 11. 8 Jer. 31. 1.

Verse 5. "In labours, in watchings, in fastings."-Many commentators interpret this of the voluntary sufferings of the apostle. But it seems much better to understand him to refer to his corporal labour at his calling; to the abridg ment of his nocturnal rest, occasioned by the necessity of making up at over hours, and in the night-time, for part of the day consumed in his evangelical labours; and to the scanty fare which a trade followed up with such divided attention must necessarily occasion. This is Bloomfield's view of the passage.

7. "The armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left."-It has been conjectured that the meaning of the apostle in these words is, that the spiritual warrior should be like the ups, or those who could use, with equal alertness and vigour, the left hand and the right; prepared to resist on each side the wiles of the devil. They who could use both hands were, on this account, esteemed to be the greatest heroes. Such was Asteropæus, in Homer; and such, some suppose, were the "left-handed" men spoken of in Judges xx. 16. (See Bulkley's Notes.) This is possible; but we should rather think that the apostle refers only to defensive armour. The allusion here and else where in the New Testament being to the armour worn by the Romans, we introduce a group which will elucidate the details.

10. "Possessing all things."-With reference to the passage here concluded, Doddridge observes, "This is certainly one of the sublimest passages that was ever written." In this opinion, no one need hesitate to express his concurrente. Bloomfield says, "I would remark on the long-sustained point and antithesis, in which I know no passage comparable with it except that inimitably fine one of Thucydides, i. 70, where he contrasts the character of the Lacedemonians and Athenians."

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


made you sorry, though it were but for a


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.


1 He proceedeth in exhorting them to purity of life, 2 and to bear him like affection as he doth to them. 3 Whereof lest he might seem to doubt, he declareth what comfort he took in his afflictions, by the report which Titus gave of their godly sorrow, which his former epistle had wrought in them, 13 and of their lovingkindness and obedience towards Titus, answerable to his former boastings of them. 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.

[blocks in formation]

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

this matter.

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.

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.

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

1 Or, according to God.


1 He stirreth them up to a liberal contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem, by the example of the Macedonians, 7 by commendation of their former forwardness, 9 by the example of Christ, 14 and by the spiritual profit that shall redound to themselves thereby: 16 commending to them the integrity and willingness of Titus, and those other brethren, who upon his request, exhortation, and commendation, were purposely come to them for this business.

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.

Gr. bowels.

Verse 4. "Exceeding joyful."--The word translated "exceeding," ziggio, has immense energy; to express which, it seems to have been coined by St. Paul himself, as it has not been discovered in any other Greek writer. Doddridge translates it, "I do exceedingly abound in joy:" perhaps to strengthen it a little further, "I do superabound exceedingly in joy," would be somewhat nearer the mark. The word occurs also in Rom. v. 20. (See the note on ch. iv. 17.)

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 MOREOVER, brethren, we do you to wit of the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

5 And this they did, not as we hoped, | ed much had nothing over; and he that had but first gave their own selves to the Lord, gathered little had no lack. 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.

16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.

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 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 gather

1 Gr. willing.

Exod. 16. 18.

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 brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers 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.

* Or, gift.

Verse 3. "To their power...yea, and beyond their power they were willing."—No one can read the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, without being forcibly struck by the tender and liberal feeling which the early Christians at all times manifested towards their brethren, distant or near; their sympathy with them in all their distresses; and their read:ness in rendering all the personal or pecuniary assistance in their power. These facts indeed were so notorious that they attracted the attention even of the heathen. There is in particular a passage in Lucian's Peregrinus, which seems very remarkable in this point of view, and which we have been anxious for an opportunity of introducing. It occurs in the account which the witty Syrian gives of a man who imposed himself for a convert upon the Christians of Asia Minor. Lucian himself was no friend of the Christians, as appears from the loose and sneering tone he adopts in speaking of them. He evidently regarded them as a set of good-natured and simple fanatics, whose principles he had not thought a worthy matter of investigation. Hence his misconceptions on many important points to which ha alludes: and these do, in fact, render the statement the more interesting, as illustrating the point of view in which the Christians were regarded, by even the more intelligent and educated heathens even at a time when Christianity was far more extensively diffused and better known than when St. Paul wrote. Insensible to the value of its testimony to the liberality of the early Christians, and to their large possession of that "Charity which thinketh no evil," and looking only to Lucian's mis-statements and light tone of speech, the Roman Catholic Church placed the tract which contains the following passage, as well as the Philopatris of the same author, in its Index Expurgatorius, as unfit to be read by Christians. We give the passage in the translation of Dr. T. Francklin.

After relating how Peregrinus, whom he also calls Proteus, introduced himself among the Christians and contrived to make himself greatly respected by them, Lucian thus proceeds:―

"Their leader, whom they yet adore, was crucified in Palestine for introducing this new sect. Proteus was, on this account, cast into prison, and this very circumstance was the foundation of all the consequence and reputation which he afterwards gained, and of that glory which he had always been so ambitious of: for when he was in bonds. the Christians, considering it as a calamity affecting the common cause, did every thing in their power to release him, which, when they found impracticable, they paid him all possible deference and respect; old women, widows, and orphans, were continually crowding to him; some of the principal of them even slept with him in the prison, having

• Or,

he hath.

[ocr errors]

bribed the keepers for that purpose: then were costly suppers brought into them; and they read their sacred books together. Several of the Christian deputies from the cities of Asia, came to assist, to plead for, and to comfort him. It is incredible with what alacrity these people support and defend the common cause; they spare nothing, in short, to promote it. Peregrinus being made a prisoner on their account, they collected money for him, and he made a very pretty revenue of it. These poor men, it seems, had persuaded themselves that they should be immortal, and live for ever. They despised death, therefore, and offered up their lives a voluntary sacrifice; being taught by their lawgiver, that they were all brethren, and that, quitting our Grecian gods, they must worship their own sophist, and live in obedience to his laws. In compliance with them, they looked with contempt on all worldly treasures, and held every thing in common-a maxim which they had adopted without any reason or foundation. If any cunning impostor, therefore, who knew how to manage matters, came amongst them, he soon grew rich by imposing on the credulity of these weak and foolish men." So Lucian: but, alas! he knew not that the weakness of God was stronger than men, and that the foolishness of God was wiser than men. How little knew Lucian of the wisdom which lay hid in the things of which he so lightly speaks!

18. "The brother, whose praise is in....all the churches."-Most of the ancient commentators, and some modern ones, suppose this was St. Luke. Some of the former refer the expression, "whose praise is in all the churches," to the universal approbation with which the churches had received the Gospel of that evangelist; but they forget that the Gospel of St. Luke was not yet written. Possibly this "brother" was Luke: but this is by no means certain; and some think that Mark is denoted, while others maintain that it was Silas, or perhaps Barnabas. No certainty can be attained on the subject. It will be seen that the subscription decides for St. Luke, but its testimony is of no value, unless as indicating the general opinion of antiquity on the subject.


1 He yieldeth the reason why, though he knew their forwardness, yet he sent Titus and his brethren beforehand. 6 And he proceedeth in stirring them up to a bountiful alms, as being but a kind of sowing of seed, 10 which shall return a great in crease to them, 13 and occasion a great sacrifice of thanksgivings unto God.

FOR as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:

2 For 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


3 Yet 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:

4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.

5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your 'bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.

6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

1 Gr. blessing.

7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity for God loveth a cheerful giver.

8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward 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.

10 Now 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;)

11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

13 Whiles 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 ;

14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.

15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

2 Or, which hath been so much spoken of before.
Psal. 112. 9.

3 Prov. 11. 25. Rom. 12. 8. Ecclus. 35. 9. 5 Isa. 55. 10.

Verse 4. "Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me."- He does not say that any Macedonians would accompany him; but it was not unlikely that they should, considering the frequent intercourse of Macedonia with this emporium of Greece, and the custom which everywhere prevailed of the poun, or setting forward the apostles on their way,

* Perhaps a misconception of the Agapæ, or Love-feasts, so frequent among the primitive Christians.

[ocr errors]

and sometimes accompanying them, so as to bring them safe to the next Christian congregation. (See Bloomfield, in loc.) In reading this chapter, it will be well to bear in mind that the Corinthians were a proverbially wealthy people.

7. "Not grudgingly... for God loveth a cheerful giver."-The Jews, who held alms to be very meritorious, were in the habit of teaching, that the highest degree of merit was when they were the most cheerfully given; and the least, when they were grudgingly bestowed.

[graphic][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »