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SECOND EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL
WRIT IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 57, OF NERO 3.
SAINT PAUL having writ his first epistle to the Corinthians, to try, as he says himself, chap. ii. 9, what power he had still with that church, wherein there was a great faction against him, which he was attempting to break, was in pain, till he found what success it had; chap. ii. 12, 13, and vii. 5. But when he had, by Titus, received an account of their repentance, upon his former letter, of their submission to his orders, and of their good disposition of mind towards him, he takes courage, speaks of himself more freely, and justifies himself more boldly; as may be seen, chap. i. 12, and ii. 14, and vi. 10, and x. 1, and xiii. 10. And, as to his opposers, he deals more roundly and sharply with them than he had done in his former epistle; as appears from chap. ii. 17, and iv. 25, and v. 12, and vi. 11-16, and xi. 11, and xii. 15.
The observation of these particulars may possibly be
of use to give us some light, for the better understanding of his second epistle, especially if we add, that the main business of this, as of his former epistle, is to take off the people from the new leader they had got, who was St. Paul's opposer; and wholly to put an end to the faction and disorder, which that false apostle had caused in the church of Corinth. He also, in this epistle, stirs them up again to a liberal contribution to the poor saints at Jerusalem.
This epistle was writ in the same year, not long after the former.
CHAPTER I. 1, 2.
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Timothy, our brother, unto the church of God, which is at Corinth, with all the saints, which are in all Achaia:
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Timothy, our brother, to the church of God, which is
1a" Brother," i. e. either in the common faith; and so, as we have already remarked, he frequently calls all the converted, as Rom. i. 13, and in other places; or "brother" in the work of the ministry, vid. Rom. xvi. 1 Cor. xvi. 12To which we may add, that St. Paul may be supposed to have given Timothy the title of" brother," here, for dignity's sake, to give him a reputation above his age, amongst the Corinthians, to whom he had before sent him, with some kind of authority, to rectify their disorders. Timothy was but a young man, when St. Paul writ his first epistle to him, as appears, 1 Tim. iv. 12. Which epistle, by the consent of all, was writ to Timothy, after he had been at Corinth; and in the opinion of some very learned men, not less than eight years after; and therefore his calling him" brother" here, and joining him with him
2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
in Corinth, with all the Christians, that are in all Achaia : 2 Favour and peace be to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
self, in writing this epistle, may be to let the Corinthians see, that, though he were so young, who had been sent to them, yet it was one, whom St. Paul thought fit to treat very much as an equal.
Achaia, the country, wherein Corinth stood.
CHAPTER I. 3.-VII. 16.
SECTION II. No. 1.
THIS first part of this second epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians is spent in justifying himself against several imputations from the opposite faction, and setting himself right in the opinion of the Corinthians. The particulars whereof we shall take notice of in the following numbers.
CHAPTER I. 3-14.
He begins with justifying his former letter to them, which had afflicted them, (vid. chap. vii. 7, 8.) by telling them, that he thanks God for his deliverance out of his afflictions, because it enables him to comfort them, by the example, both of his affliction and deliverance; acknowledging the obligation he had to them, and
others, for their prayers and thanks for his deliverance, which, he presumes, they could not but put up for him, since his conscience bears him witness (which was his comfort) that, in his carriage to all men, and to them more especially, he had been direct and sincere, without any self or carnal interest; and that what he writ to them had no other design but what lay open, and they read in his words, and did also acknowledge; and he doubted not but they should always acknowledge; part of them acknowledging also that he was the man they gloried in, as they shall be his glory in the day of the Lord. From what St. Paul says, in this section, (which, if read with attention, will appear to be writ with a turn of great insinuation) it may be gathered, that the opposite faction endeavoured to evade the force of the former epistle, by suggesting, that, whatever he might pretend, St. Paul was a cunning, artificial, self-interested man, and had some hidden design in it, which accusation appears in other parts of this epistle: as chap. iv. 2, 5.
3 Blessed be God even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforte h us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them, which are in any trouble, by the comfort where with we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also
3 Blessed be the Goda and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the 4 Father of mercies, and God of all consolation; Who com
forteth me, in all my tribulations, that I may be able to comfort them, who are in any trouble, by the comf ort,which 5 I receive from him. Because, as I have suffered abundantly
for Christ, so, through Christ, I have been abundantly com6 forted; and both these for your advantage. For my afflic
tion is for your consolation and relief, which is effected by a
3 That this is the right translation of the Greek here, see Eph. i. 3, and 1 Pet. i. 3, where the same words are so translated; and that it agrees with St. Paul's sense, see Eph. i. 17.
4 He means, here the Corinthians, who were troubled for their miscarriage towards him; vid. chap. vii. 7.
6 Zarnpia, "relief," rather than "salvation;" which is understood of deliverance from death and hell; but here it signifies only deliverance from their present sorrow