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what was the will of God. There is some rea- | _“daughter of the voice," so frequeatly referred son to suppose that the Jews were in the habit to by the Jewish writers, and which they suppose of praying three times for any important bless to be referred to in 1 Kings xix. 12, by the phrase, ing, or for the removal of any calamity; and “a still small voice.” But it is impossible to dePaul in this would not only conform to the usual termine in what way it was done, and it is not custom, but especially he would be disposed to material. Paul was in habits of communion with imitate the example of the Lord Jesus. Among the Saviour, and was accustomed to receive revethe Jews three was a sacred number, and re- | lations from him. The material fact here is. peated instances occur where an important that the request was not granted in the exact transaction is mentioned as having been done form in which he presented it, but that he rethrice. See Numb. xxii. 28; xxiv. 10. 1 Sam. ceived assurance of grace to support him in his iii. 8; xx. 41. 1 Kings xviii. 44. Prov. xxii. trial. It is one of the instances in which the 20. Jer. vii. 4 ; xxii. 29. John xxi. 17. The | fervent prayer of a good man, offered nndonha probability, therefore, is, that Paul on three dif- edly in faith, was not answered in the form in ferent occasions earnestly besought the Lord which he desired, though substantially answered Jesus that this calamity might be removed from in the assurance of grace sufficient to support him. It might have been exceedingly painful; | him. It furnishes, therefore, a very instructive or it might, as he supposed, interfere with his lesson in regard to prayer, and shows us that se success as a preacher; or it might have been of are not to expect, as a matter of course, that all such a nature as to expose him to ridicule ; and our prayers will be literally answered, and that he prayed, therefore, if it were possible, that it we should not be disappointed or disheartened if might be taken away. The passage proves that they are not. It is a matter of fact that not all it is right to pray earnestly and repeatedly for the prayers even of the pious, and of those who the removal of any calamity. The Saviour so pray having faith in God as a hearer of prayer, prayed in the garden; and Paul so prayed here. | are literally answered. Thus the prayer of David, Yet it also proves that there should be a limit to (2 Sam. xii. 16-20,) was not literally answered ; such prayers. The Saviour prayed three times ; | the child for whose life he so earnestly prayed and Paul limited himself to the same number of died. So the Saviour's request was not literally petitions, and then submitted to the will of God. answered. (Mark xiv, 36. The cup of sufferThis does not prove that we should be limited to ing which he so earnestly desired should be taken exactly this number in our petitions ; but it away was not removed. So in the case before proves that there should be a limit; that we us. Comp. also Deut. iii. 23—27. Job xxx. 20. should not be over-anxious; and that when it is Lam. iii. 8. So in numerous cases now, Chrisplain from any cause that the calamity will not tians pray with fervour and with faith for the be removed, we should submit to it. The Sa removal of some calamity which is not removed ; viour in the garden knew that the cup would not or for something which they regard as desirable be removed, and he acquiesced. Paul was told | for their welfare, which is withheld. Some of indirectly that his calamity would not be re the reasons why this is done are obvious. (1.) moved, and he submitted. We may expect no The grace that will be imparted if the calamity is such revelation from Heaven, but we may know not removed will be of greater value to the indiin other ways that the calamity will not be re vidual than would be the direct answer to his moved, and we should submit. The child or prayer. Such was the case with Paul; so it was other friend for whom we prayed may die; or doubtless with David ; and so it is often with the calamity, as, e. g. blindness, or deafness, or Christians now. The removal of the calamity loss of health, or poverty, may become perma might be apparently a blessing ; but it might nent, so that there is no hope of removing it ; also be attended with dangers to our spiritual and we should then cease to pray that it may be welfare. The grace imparted may be of permaremoved, and we should cheerfully acquiesce in nent value, and may be connected with the de. the will of God. So David prayed most fer-velopment of some of the loveliest traits of Chrisvently for his child when it was alive; when it | tian character. (2.) It might not be for the good was deceased, and it was of no further use to of the individual who prays that the exact thing pray for it, he bowed in submission to the will should be granted. When a parent prays with of God. (2 Sam. xii. 20.)
great earnestness, and with insubmission, for the
life of a child, he knows not what he is doing. If VER. 9. And he said unto me, My grace is suffi the child lives, he may be the occasion of much cient for thee: for my strength is made perfect
more grief to him than if he had died. David
had far more trouble from Absalom than he had in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I
from the death of the child for which he so ear. rather glory in my infirmities, that the power nestly prayed. At the same time it may be I of Christ may rest upon me.
better for the child that he should be removed,
If he dies in infancy he will be saved. But who k Ver. 5. 1 1 Pet. iv. 14.
can tell what will be his character and destiny And he said unto me.— The Saviour replied. In should he live to be a man? So of other things. what way this was done, or whether it was done (3.) God has often some better thing in store for at the time when the prayer was offered, Paul / us than would be the immediate answer to our does not inform us. It is possible, as Macknight prayer. Who can doubt that this was true of supposes, that Christ appeared to him again, and Paul? The promised grace of Christ as sufficient spake to him in an audible manner. Grotius sup- to support us is of more value than would be the poses that this was done by the 597 na (Bath-gol) | mere removal of any bodily affliction. (4.) I
would not be well for us, probably, should our properly means, to pitch a tent upon; and then petition be literally answered. Who can tell what to dwell in or upon. Here it is used in the sense is best for himself? If the thing were obtained, of abiding upon, or remaining with. The sense who can tell how soon we might forget the bene | is, that the power which Christ manifested to his factor, and become proud and self-confident? It people rested with them, or abode with them in was the design of God to humble Paul; and this their trials, and therefore he would rejoice in could be much better accomplished by continuing afflictions, in order that he might partake of the his affliction and by imparting the promised grace, aid and consolation thus imparted. Learn hence, than by withdrawing the affliction and withhold (1.) That a Christian never loses any thing by ing the grace. The very thing to be done was to | suffering and affliction. If he may obtain the keep him humble ; and this affliction could not favour of Christ by his trials, he is a gainer. The be withdrawn without also foregoing the benefit.
awn withont also foregoing the benefit. | favour of the Redeemer is more than a compen. It is true, also, that where things are in them- | sation for all that we endure in his cause. (2.) selves proper to be asked, Christians sometimes The Christian is a gainer by trial. I never knew ask them in an improper manner, and this is one a Christian that was not ultimately benefited by of the reasons why many of their prayers are not trials. I never knew one who did not find that answered. But this does not pertain to the case he had gained much that was valuable to him in before us. My grace is sufficient for thee.- A scenes of affliction. I do not know that I have much better answer than it would have been to found one who would be willing to exchange the have removed the calamity; and one that seems | advantages he has gained in affliction for all that to have been entirely satisfactory to Paul. The the most uninterrupted prosperity and the highmeaning of the Saviour is, that he would support | est bonours that the world could give would imhim ; that he would not suffer him to sink ex part. (3.) Learn to bear trials with joy. They hausted under his trials; that he had nothing to are good for us. They develope some of the fear. The affliction was not indeed removed ; most lovely traits of character. They injure no but there was a promise that the favour of Christ one if they are properly received. And a Chriswould be shown to hiin constantly, and that he tian should rejoice that he may obtain what he would find his support to be ample. If Paul had does obtain in affliction, cost what it may. It is this support, he might well bear the trial ; and worth more than it costs, and when we come to if we have this assurance, as we may have, we die, the things that we shall bave most occasion may welcome affliction, and rejoice that calami- | to thank God for will be our afflictions. And, ties are brought upon us. It is a sufficient oh! if they are the means of raising us to a highanswer to our prayers, if we have the solemner seat in heaven, and placing us nearer the Repromise of the Redeemer that we shall be upheld deemer there, who will not rejoice in his trials ? and never sink under the burden of our heavy woes. My strength is made perfect in weakness. Ver. 10. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmi-That is, the strength which I impart to my
ties, in reproaches, in necessities, in persepeople is more commonly and more completely
cutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for manifested when my people feel that they are weak. It is not imparted to those who feel that when I am weak, then am I strong. they are strong, and who do not realize their need of Divine aid. It is not so completely Therefore I take pleasure.-Since so many bemanifested to those who are vigorous and strong, nefits result from trials; since my afflictions are as to the feeble. It is when we are conscious the occasion of obtaining the favour of Christ in that we are feeble, and when we feel our so eminent a degree, I rejoice in the privilege of need of aid, that the Redeemer manifests his suffering. There is often real pleasure in afpower to uphold, and imparts his purest consola- | fiction, paradoxical as it may appear. Some of tions. Grotius has collected several similar pas- the happiest persons I have known are those who sages from the classic writers, which may serve have been deeply afflicted; some of the purest to illustrate this expression. Thus Pliny, vii. joys which I have witnessed have been maniEpis. 26, says, “ We are best where we are weak." fested on a sick bed, and in the prospect of death. Seneca says, “Calamity is the occasion of virtue." And I have no doubt that Paul, in the midst of Quintilian, “ All temerity of mind is broken by all his infirmities and reproaches, had a joy above bodily calamity.” Minutius Felix, “ Calamity is that which all the wealth and honour of the often the discipline of virtue." There are few world could give. See here the power of reliChristians who cannot bear witness to the truth gion. It not only supports, it comforts. It not of what the Redeemer here says, and who have only enables one to bear suffering with resignot experienced the most pure consolations which nation, but it enables him to rejoice. Philosophy they have known, and been most sensible of his blunts the feelings; infidelity leaves men to comforting presence and power in times of afflic murmur and repine in trial; the pleasures of this tion. Most gladly therefore, &c.— I count it a world have no power even to support or comfort privilege to be afflicted, if my trials may be the in times of affliction; but Christianity furnishes means of my more abundantly enjoying the fa- | positive pleasure in trial, and enables the sufferer vour of the Redeemer. His presence and impart to smile through his tears. In infirmities.-In ed strength are more than a compensation for all my weaknesses. See Note on ch. xi. 30. In rethe trials that I endure. That the power of proaches.- In the contempt and scorn with which Christ.—The strength which Christ imparts; his | I meet as a follower of Christ. Note ch. xi. 21. power manifested in supporting me in trials. In necessities.-In want. See Note on ch. vi. 4,5. Muy rest upon me, (émioknvuor.)-The word in distresses for Christ's sake.--Note, ch. vi. 4. In
the various wants and difficulties to which I am pelled to go into this unpleasant vindication of exposed on account of the Saviour, or which I his own character. For in nothing am I behind suffer in his cause. For when I am weak, then the very chiefest apostles.-Neither in the eviam I strong.- When I feel weak, when I am dences of my call to the apostolic office (see subjected to trial, and nature faints and fails, then I Cor. ix. I, seg.) ; nor in the endowments of strength is imparted to me, and I am enabled to the Spirit ; nor in my success; por in the proofs bear all. The more I am borne down with of a divine commission in the power of working trials, the more do I feel my need of divine as- | miracles. See Note on chap. xi. 5. Thouch I sistance, and the more do I feel the efficacy of be nothing. This expression was either used in divine grace. Such was the promise in Deut. sarcasm or seriously. According to the former xxxiii. 25: “ As thy days so shall thy strength supposition it means, that he was regarded as nobe.” So in Heb. xi. 24: “Who out of weak-thing; that the false apostles spoke of him as a ness were made strong.” What Christian has mere nothing, or as having no claims to the office not experienced this, and been able to say that of an apostle. This is the opinion of Clarke, when he felt himself weak, and felt like sinking and many of the recent commentators. Bloomunder the accumulation of many trials, he has field inclines to this. According to the latter found his strength according to his day, and view, it is an expression of humility on the part felt an arm of power supporting him? It is of Paul, and is designed to express his deep serse then that the Redeemer manifests himself in of his unworthiness in view of his past life-a a peculiar manner; and then that the excellency conviction deepened by the exalted privileges of the religion of Christ is truly seen and its conferred on him, and the exalted rank to which power appreciated and felt.
he had been raised as an apostle. This was the
view of most of the early commentators. Dod. Ver. 11. I am become a fool in glorying: ye
dridge unites the two. It is not possible to de
termine with certainty which is the true interhave compelled me: for I ought to have been
pretation ; but it seems to me that the latter commended of you: form in nothing am I view best accords with the scope of the passage, behind the very chiefest apostles, though » I and with what we have reason to suppose the be nothing.
apostle would say at this time. It is true that in
this discussion (chap. x. seq.) there is much that m c. xi. 5. » Lu. xvii. 10. I Cor. iii. 7. Eph. iii. 8. is sarcastic. But in the whole strain of the
passage before us he is serious. He is speaking I am become a fool in glorying.–The meaning of his sufferings, and of the evidences that of this expression, I take to be this. “I have was raised to elevated rank as an apostle, and it is been led along in speaking of myself until I ad- | not quite natural to suppose that he would throw mit I appear foolish in this kind of boasting. ) in a sarcastic remark just in the midst of this It is foliy to do it, and I would not have en- | discussion. Besides, this interpretation accords tered on it, unless I had been driven to it by exactly with what he says, 1 Cor. xv. 9: * For my circumstances, and the necessity which I am the least of all the apostles, that am pot was imposed on me of speaking of myself.” | meet to be called an apostle.” If this be the Paul doubtless desired that what he had said of correct interpretation, then it teaches, (1.) That himself should not be regarded as an example the highest attainments in piety are not incolfor others to follow. Religion repressed all vain | sistent with the deepest sense of our nothingness boasting and self-exultation ; and to prevent and unworthiness. (2.) That the most distinothers from falling into a habit of boasting, and guished favours bestowed on us by God are conthen pleading his example as an apology, he is sistent with the lowest humility. (3.) That careful to say that he regarded it as a folly ; and those who are most favoured in the Christian that he would by no means have done it if the life, and most honoured by God, should not be circumstances of the case had not constrained unwilling to take a low place, and to regard and him. If any one, therefore, is disposed to imi- speak of themselves as nothing. Compared with tate Paul in speaking of himself and what he God, what are they? - Nothing. Compared has done, let him do it only when he is in cir- | with the angels, what are they? - Nothing. As cumstances like Paul, and when the honour of creatures compared with the vast universe, what religion and his usefulness imperiously demand are we?- Nothing. An atom, a speck. Comit; and let him not forget that it was the delibe pared with other Christians, the eminent saints rate conviction of Paul that boasting was the who have lived before us, what are we? Comcharacteristic of a fool! Ye have compelled me. / pared with what we ought to be, and might be,
- You have made it necessary for me to vindi what are we?- Nothing. Let a man look over cate my character, and to state the evidence of his past life, and see how vile and unworthy it my divine commission as an apostle. For I ought | has been; let him look at God, and see how great to have been commended of you.-By you. Then and glorious he is ; let him look at the rast unithis boasting, so foolish, would have been unne verse, and see how immense it is; let him think cessary. What a delicate reproof! All the of the angels, and reflect how pure they are ; let fault of this foolish boasting was theirs. They him think of what he might have been, of how knew him intimately. They had derived great / much more he might have done for his Savibenefits from his ministry, and they were bound our ; let him look at his body, and think how in gratitude and from a regard to right and truth | frail it is, and how soon it must return to the dust; to vindicate him. But they had not done it ; and no matter how elevated his rank among his and hence, throngh their fault, he had been com- fellow-worms, and no matter how much God has favoured him as a Christian or a minister, he Notes on chap. x. 8. Forgive me this wrong.will feel, if he feels right, that he is nothing. “ If it be a fault, pardon it. Forgive me that I The most elevated saints are distinguished for did not give you this opportunity to be equal to the deepest humility; those who are nearest to other churches. It is a privilege to contribute God feel most their distance; they who are to to the support of the gospel, and they who are occupy the highest place in heaven feel inost permitted to do it should esteem themselves deeply that they are unworthy of the lowest. highly favoured. I pray you to pardon me for
depriving you of any of your Christian priviVer. 12. Truly the signs of an apostle were leges.” What the feelings of the Corinthians wrought among you in all patience, in signs,
were about forgiving Paul for this we know not ;
but most churches would be as ready to forgive and wonders, and mighty deeds.
a minister for this as for any other offence. o 1 Cor. ix. 2. Truly the signs of an apostle.-Such miracles
| VER. 14. Behold, the third time I am ready to as the acknowledged apostles worked. Such "signs” or evidences that they were divinely
come to you; and I will not be burdensome commissioned. See Notes on Mark xvi. 17. to you: for 'I seek not yours, but you: for Acts ii. 22. Rom. xv. 19. Were wrought among
the children ought not to lay up for the payou.—That is, by me. See Note, 1 Cor. ix. 2.
rents, but the parents for the children. In all patience.-I performed those works notwithstanding the opposition which I met with.
q 1 Cor. x. 33. i Thess. ii. 8. I patiently persevered in furnishing the evidence of my divine commission. There was a succes- Behold, the third time, I am reaay to come to sion of miracles demonstrating that I was from you.— That is, this is the third time that I have God, notwithstanding the unreasonable opposition purposed to come and see you, and have made which I met with, until I convinced you that I preparation for it. He does not mean that he was called to the office of an apostle. In signs had been twice with them and was now coming and wonders. - In working miracles. Comp. the third time, but that he had twice before inNote, Acts ii. 22. What these miracles at Co- tended to go and had been disappointed. See rinth were, we are not distinctly informed. They 1 Cor. xvi. 5. 2 Cor. i. 15, 16. His purpose had probably, however, were similar to those wrought been to visit them on his way to Macedonia, and in other places, in healing the sick, &c.; the again on his return from Macedonia. He had most benevolent as it was one of the most deci- now formed a third resolution, which he had a sive proofs of the divine power.
prospect of carrying into execution. And I will
not be burdensome to you.—[ resolve still, as I VER. 13. For what is it wherein you were infe- | have done before, not to receive a compensation
rior to other churches, except it be that I p my that shall be oppressive to you. See Notes on self was not burdensome to you ? forgive me chap. xi. 9, 10. For I scek not yours, but you.this wrong.
I desire not to obtain your property, but to save p Chap. xi. 9.
your souls. This was a noble resolution; and it
is the resolution which should be formed by For what is it, &c.— This verse contains a every minister of the gospel. While a minister striking mixture of sarcasm and irony, not ex- of Christ has a claim to a competent support, his ceeded, says Bloomfield, by any example in De- main purpose should not be to obtain such a supmosthenes. The sense is, “I have given among port. It should be the higher and nobler object you the most ample proofs of my apostolic com- of winning souls to the Redeemer. See Paul's mission. I have conferred on you the highest conduct in this repect explained in the Notes on favours of the apostolic office. In these respects Acts xx. 33. For the children, &c.-- There is you are superior to all other churches. In one great delicacy and address in this sentiment. respect only are you inferior—it is in this, that The meaning is, “ It is not natural and not usual you have not been burdened with the privilege for children to make provision for their parents. of supporting me. If you had had this, you The common course of events and of duty is, for would have been inferior to no others. But this parents to make provision for their offspring. I, was owing to me; and I pray that you will for- therefore, your spiritual father, choose to act in give me this. I might have urged it; I might the same way. I make provision for your spihave claimed it; I might have given you the ritual wants; I labour and toil for you as a father privilege of becoming equal to the most favoured does for his children. I seek your welfare, as in all respects. But I have not pressed it, and he does, by constant self-denial. In return, I do you have not done it, and I ask your pardon." | not ask you to provide for me, any more than a There is a delicate insinuation that they had not | father ordinarily expects his children to provide contributed to his wants, (see Note, chap. xi. 8 ;) | for him. I am willing to labour as he does, conan intimation that it was a privilege to contribute tent with doing my duty, and promoting the to the support of the gospel, and that Paul might welfare of those under me.” The words renhave been “ burdensome to them,” (see Notes dered “ought not” (où opeill) are to be underon 1 Cor. iv. 1-12;) and an admission that he stood in a comparative sense. Paul does not was in part to blame for this, and had not mean that a child ought never to provide for his in this respect given them an opportunity to parents, or to lay any thing up for a sick, a poor, equal other churches in all respects. Was not and an infirm father, but that the duty of doing burdensome to you. See this explained in the that was slight and unusual compared with the duty of a parent to provide for his children. that we should be willing to labour and toil for the The one was of comparatively rare occurrence; / good of others, even when they evince great inthe other was constant and was the ordinary gratitude. The proper end of labouring for their course of duty. It is a matter of obligation for a welfare is not to excite their gratitude, but to child to provide for an aged and helpless parent; | obey the will of God; and no matter whether but commonly the duty is that of a parent to provide others are grateful or not; whether they love us for his children. Paul felt like a father toward the or not; whether we can promote our popularity church in Corinth; and he was willing, there- | with them or not, let us do them good always. fore, to labour for them without compensation. It better shows the firmness of our Christian
principle to endeavour to benefit others when VER. 15. And I will very gladly spend and be they love us the less for all our attempts, than it spent for you ; though the more abundantly I does to attempt to do good on the swelling tide of
popular favour. love you, the less I be loved. your souls.
VER. 16. But be it so, I did not burden you: neAnd I will very gladly spend.-I am willing to vertheless,being crafty,I caught you with guile. spend my strength, and time, and life, and all that I have, for your welfare, as a father cheer
But be it 80.-This is evidently a charge of fully does for his children. Any expense which his enemies, or at least a charge which it might may be necessary to promote your salvation, I be supposed they would make. Whether thev am willing to submit to. The labour of a father ever in fact made it, or whether the apostle for his children is cheerful and pleasant. Such merely anticipates an objection, it is impossible is his love for them, that he delights in toil for to determine.' It is clearly to be regarded as the their sake, and that he may make them happy, language of objectors; for, (1.) It can never be The toil of a pastor for his flock should be cheer supposed that Paul would state as a serious matful. He should be willing to engage in unremit ter, that he had caught them with deceit or fraud. ted efforts for their welfare; and if he has any
(2.) He answers it as an objection in the followright feeling, he will find a pleasure in that toil. ing verse. The meaning is, “ We admit that He will not grudge the time demanded; he will you did not burden us. You did not exact a supnot be grieved that it exhausts his strength, or port from us. But all this was mere trick. You his life, any more than a fatber will who toils for accomplish the same thing in another way. You bis family. And as the pleasures of a father who
professed when with us not to seek our property is labouring for his children are among the pur
but our souls. But in various ways you contrived est and most pleasant which men ever enjoy, so it to get our money, and to secure your object. is with a pastor. Perhaps, on the whole, the plea You made others the agents for doing this, and santest employment in life is that connected with sent them among us, under various pretexts, to the pastoral office; the happiest moments known gain money from us.” It will be remembered on earth are in the duties, arduous as they are, that Paul had sent Titus among them to take up of the pastoral relation. God thus, as in the the collection for the poor saints in Judea, (chap. relation of a father, tempers toil and pleasure to viii. 6,) and it is not at all improbable that some gether, and accompanies most arduous labours there had charged Paul with making use of this with present and abundant reward. Be spent. pretence only to obtain money for his own pri-Be exhausted and worn out in my labours. vate use. To guard against this charge, was one So the Greek word means. Paul was willing of the reasons why Paul was so anxious to have that his powers should be entirely exhausted and some persons appointed by the church to take his life consumed in this service. For you. charge of the contribution. See I Cor. xvi. 3. Marg. as in the Greek, for “ your souls." So it Comp. Notes on 2 Cor. viii. 19-21. Being crafty. should have been rendered. So Tindal renders – Being cunning. That is, by sending persons it. The sense is, that he was willing to become to obtain money on different pretences. I caught wholly exhausted, if by it he might secure the you with guile.-I took you by deceit or fraud. salvation of their souls. Though the more abund That is, making use of fraud, in pretending that antly I love you, &c.-- This is designed, doubt the money was for poor and afflicted saints, when less, as a gentle reproof. It refers to the fact, in reality it was for my own use. It is imposthat notwithstanding the tender attachment] sible that Paul should have ever admitted this of which he had evinced for them, they had not himself; and they greatly pervert the passage manifested the love in return which he had had who suppose that it applies to him, and then a right to expect. It is possible that there may plead that it is right to make use of guile in acbe an allusion to the case of a fond, doting pa- | complishing their purposes. Paul never carried rent It sometimes happens that a parent fixes his measures by dishonesty, nor did he ever jushis affections with undue degree on some one of tify fraud. Comp. Notes on Aets xxiii. 6. his children ; and in such cases it is not uncommon that the child evinces special ingratitude
VER. 17. Did I make a gain of you by any of and want of love. Such may be the allusion them whom I sent unto you? here-that Paul had fixed his affections on them like a fond, doting father, and that he had met Did I make a gain, &c.-In refuting this slanwith a return by no means corresponding with der, Paul appeals boldly to the facts, and to the fervour of his attachment; yet still he was what they knew. “ Name the man," says he, willing, like such a father, to exhaust his time " who has thus defrauded you under my instrucand strength for their welfare. The doctrine is, tions. If the charge is well founded, let him be