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specified, and let the mode in which it was done the mere purpose of excusing, or “apologizing be distinctly stated.” The phrase (aleoVEKTÉW) | for," (Greek,) his conduct. But we do all things, means properly to have an advantage; then to dearly beloved, for your edifying.--All that I have take advantage, to seek unlawful gain. Here | done has been for your welfare. My vindication Paul asks whether he had defrauded them by 1 of my character, and my effort to disabuse vo means of any one whom he had sent to them. of your prejudices, has been that you might have
unwavering confidence in the gospel, and might VER, 18. I desired Titus, 'and with him I sent a
be built up in holy faith. On the word “edify," brother: "Did Titus make a gain of you?
see Notes on Rom. xiv. 19. 1 Cor. viii. 1;
X. 23. walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps ?
VER, 20. For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall • Chap. vii. 2.
6 Chap. viii. 6. not find you such as I would, and that I shall
be found unto you such as ye would not; lest I desired Titus. To go and complete the col
there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, lection which you had commenced. See chap. viii. 6. And with him I sent a brother.-See Note backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: on chap. viii. 18. Did Titus make a gain of you ?
o 1 Cor. iv. 21. Chap. xiii. 2, 10. - They knew that he did not. They had re- | ceived him kindly, treated him with affection, For I fear, lest, when I come.—See ver. 14. I and sent him away with every proof of con shall not find you such as I would.—That is, walkfidence and respect. See chap. vii. 7. How then ing in the truth and order of the gospel. He had could they now pretend that he had defrauded feared that the disorders would not be removed, them? Walked we not in the same spirit ?--Did | and that they would not have corrected the errors not all his actions resemble mine? Was there which prevailed, and for which he had rebuked not the same proof of horesty, sincerity, and love them. It was on this account that he had said which I have ever manifested? This is a very so much to them. His desire was that all these delicate turn. Paul's course of life, when with disorders might be removed, and that he might them, they admitted was free from guile, and be saved from the necessity of exercising severe from any attempt to get money by improper discipline when he should come among them. means. They charged bim only with attempt | And that I shall be found unto you such as ye ing it by means of others. He now boldly ap- would not.—That is, that I shall be compelled to peals to them, and asks whether Titus and he administer discipline, and that my visit may not had not in fact acted in the same manner; and be as pleasant to you as you would desire. For whether they had not alike evinced a spirit free this reason he wished all disorder corrected, and from covetousness and deceit ?
all offences removed ; that every thing might be
pleasant when he should come. See 1 Cor. iv. VER. 19. Again, think ye that we excuse our
21. Comp. Note on chap. x. 2. Lest there be
| debates.—I fear that there may be existing there selves "unto you? we speak before God in
debates, &c., which will require the interposition Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, of the authority of an apostle. On the meaning of for your edifying.
the word “debate," see Note on Rom. i. 29. En
vyings.-See Note on 1 Cor. iii. 3. Wraths.u Chap. v. 12.
Ånger or animosity between contending factions, Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto
the usual effect of forming parties. Strifes.-you ---See Note on chap. v. 12. The sense is,
Between contending factions. See Note on 1
Cor. iii. 3. Backbitings. See Note on Rom. i. do not suppose that this is said from mere anxiety
130. to obtain your favour, or to ingratiate ourselves 3
Whisperings. See Note on Rom. i. 29. into your esteem. This is said, doubtless, to
Swellings. -Undue elation ; being puffed up, (see keep himself from the suspicion of being actuated
Note on chap. viii. 1. 1 Cor. iv. 6, 18, 19; v. 2,) by isoproper motives. He had manifested great ;
-such as would be produced by vain self-consolicitude, certainly, in the previous chapters. to fidence. Tumults. -Disorder and confusion arisvindicate his character: but he here says that it | ing from this existence of parties. Paul, deeply was not from a mere desire to show them that sensible of the evil of all this, had endeavoured his conduct was right; it was from a desire to
| in this correspondence to suppress it, that all honour Christ. We speak before God in Christ.
things might be pleasant when he should come -We declare the simple and undisguised truth, among them. as in the presence of God. I have no mere desire to palliate my conduct; I disguise nothing ;
VER. 21. And lest, when I come again, my God I conceal nothing; I say nothing for the mere will humble "me among you, and that I shall purpose vf self-vindication, but I can appeal to
bewail many which have sinned already, and the Searcher of hearts for the exact truth of all that I say. The phrase “ before God in Christ,"
have not repented of the uncleanness, and means, probably, “ I speak as in the presence of
fornication, vand lasciviousness which they God, and as a follower of Christ, as a Christian bave committed. man." It is the solemn appeal of a Christian to his God for the truth of what he said, and a so
w Chap. ii. 1. Rer. ii. 21. y 1 Cor. v. 1. lemn asseveration that what he said was not for | And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me, &c.--Lest I should be compelled to | able to execute punishment, though he had been inflict punishment on those whom I supposed to crucified. (Ver. 4.) have been converted under my ministry. I had II. Paul calls on them solemnly to examine rejoiced in them as true converts. I had counted themselves and to see whether they had any them as among the fruit of my ministry. Now true religion. (Ver. 5, 6.) In the state oi thiugs to be compelled to inflict punishment on them, which existed there; in the corruption which as having no religion, would mortify me and had abounded in the church, he solemnly comhumble me. The infliction of punishment on mands them to institute a faithful inquiry to members of the church is a sort of punishment know whether they had not been deceived; at to him who inflicts it, as well as to him who is the same time expressing the hope that it would punished. Members of the church should walk appear as the result of their examination that uprightly, lest they overwhelm the ministry in they were not reprobates. shame. And that I shull bewail many, &c.-If II. He earnestly prays to God that they they repented of their sin, he could still rejoice might do no evil; that they might be found to in them. If they continued in their sin till he / be honest and pure, whatever might be thought came, it would be to him a source of deep la- | of Paul himself, or whatever might become of mentation. It is evident from the word “many" | him. (Ver. 7.) Their repentance would sare here, that the disorders had prevailed very ex- | Paul from exerting his miraculous power in their tensively in the church at Corinth. The word punishment, and might thus prevent the proof rendered “have sinned already" means “who of his apostolic authority which they desired, and have sinned before," and the idea is, that they the consequence might be that they might esteem were old offenders, and that they had not yet re- | him to be a reprobate, for he could not exert his pented. The uncleanness.-See Note, Rom. i. miraculous power except in the cause of truth. 24. And fornication and lasciviousness, &c.-See (Ver. 8.) Süll he was willing to be esteemed an Notes on i Cor. v. 1; vi. 18. This was the sin impostor if they would do no evil. to which they were particularly exposed in Co IV. He assures them that he earnestly wished rinth, as it was the sin for which that corrupt their perfection, and that the design of his writcity was particularly distinguished. See the In- | ing to them, severe as he had appeared, was their troduction to the first epistle. Hence the frequent | edification. (Ver. 9, 10.) cautions in these epistles against it; and hence it V. Then he bids them an affectionate and is not to be wondered at that some of those who tender farewell, and closes with the usual salut:had become professing Christians had fallen into tions and benedictions. (Ver. 11-14.) it. It may be added, that it is still the sin to | This is the third time, &c.—See Note on chap. which converts from the corruptions and licen- xii. 14. For an interesting view of this passage, tiousness of paganism are particularly exposed. see Paley's Horæ Paulinæ on this epistle, No. xi.
It is evident that Paul had been to Corinth but once before this, but he had resolved to go before a second time, but had been disappointed. | In the mouth of two or three witnesses, &c.— This
was what the law of Moses required. (Deut. xx. CHAPTER XIII.
| 16.) See Note on John viii. 17. Comp. Matt.
xviii. 16. But in regard to its application here, Ver. 1. This is the third time I am coming to commentators are not agreed. Some suppose
you. In a the mouth of two or three witnesses that Paul refers to his own epistles which he had shall every word be established.
sent to them as the two or three witnesses by
which his promise to them would be made cera Deut. xix. 15. Heb. x. 28, 29.
tain ; that he had purposed it and promised it
two or three times, and that as this was all that This closing chapter of the epistle relates to was required by the law, it wonld certainly be the following subjects:-
established. This is the opinion of Bloomfield, I. The assurance of Paul that he was about to Rosenmüller, Grotius, Hammond, Locke, and come among them (ver. 1—4), and that he would some others. But, with all the respect due to certainly inflict punishment ou all who deserved such great names, it seems to me that this would it. His enemies had reproached him as being be trifling and childish in the extrenie, Ligh:timid and pusillanimous. See Notes on chap. x. foot supposes that he refers to Stephanas, For1, 2, 10, 11. They had said that he was power- tunatus, and Achaicus, who would be witnesses ful to threaten, but afraid to execute. It is pro- to them of his purpose. See I Cor. xvi. 17. bable that they had become more bold in this, But the more probable opinion, it seems to me, from the fact that he had twice purposed to go is that of Doddridge, Macknight, and others, there and had failed. In reply to all this, he that he anticipated that there would be necessity now in conclusion solemnly assures them that he for the administration of discipline there, but was coming, and that in all cases where an of- that he would feel hiroselt under obligation in fence was proved by two or three witnesses, pu- administering it to adhere to the reasonable pishment would be inflicted. (Ver. 1.) He assures maxim of the Jewish law. No one should be them (ver. 2) that he would not spare; and that condemned or punished where there was not at since they sought a proof that Christ had sent least two or three witnesses to prove the offence. him, they should witness that proof in the pu- But where there were, discipline would be nishment which he would inflict, (ver. 3 ;) for administered according to the nature of the that Christ was now clothed with power and was crime.
VER. 2. I told you before, and foretel you, as if For we also are weak in him, but we shall
I were present, the second time; and being live with him by the power of God towards absent now I write to them which heretofore you. have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come
d Phil. ii. 7, 8. 1 Peter iii. 18. e Or, with. again, I will not spare :
For though he was crucified through weakness.6 Chap. xii. 21.
Various modes have been adopted of explaining I told you before, &c.—That I would not spare
the phrase “ through weakness." The most offenders ; that I would certainly punish them.
probable explanation is that which refers it to He had intimated this before in the first Epis.
the human nature which he had assumed, (Phil. chap. iv. 21, and chap. v. And foretel you.
ii. 7,8; 1 Peter iii. 18,) and to the appearance Now apprise you of my fixed determination to
of weakness which he manifested. He did punish every offender as he deserves. As if I
not choose to exert his power. He appeared
to his enemies to be weak and feeble. were present the second time.—The mention of the
This “ second time" here proves that Paul had been
idea would be an exact illustration of the point with them but once before. He had formed the
before the apostle. He is illustrating his own resolution to go to them, but had been disap
conduct, and especially in the fact that he had pointed. The time when he had been with them
not exerted his miraculous powers among them is recorded in Acts xviii. 1, seg. He now uses
in the punishment of offenders; and he does it the same language to them which he says he
by the example of Christ, who, though abunwould use if he were with them, as he had ex
dantly able to have exerted his power, and to
I have rescued himself from his enemies, yet was pected to be, the second time. See the remarks of Paley on this passage, referred to above. !
| willing to appear weak, and to be crucified. It And being absent.—See Note on 1 Cor. v. 3. To
| is very clear, (1.) That the Lord Jesus seemed
is very clear: (1.) them which have heretofore sinned.—To all the of- !
to his enemies to be weak and incapable of refenders in the church. They had supposed that si
sistance. (2.) That he did not put forth his he would not come to them, (1 Cor. iv. 18.) or power to protect his life. He in fact offered no that if he came he would not dare to inflict pu
resistance, as if he had no power. (3.) He had nishment. (2 Cor. 9–11.) They had, therefore,
a human nature that was peculiarly sensitive
and sensible to suffering, and that was borne given themselves greater liberty, and had pur.
down and crushed under the weight of mighty sued their own course, regardless of his authority and commands. I will not spare.--I will punish
woes. See my Notes on Isa. liii. 2, 3. From them. They shall not escape.
all these causes he seemed to be weak and feeble; and these appear to me to be the princi
pal ideas in this expression. Yet he liveth.--He VER. 3. Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking is not now dead. Though he was crucified. vet
in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is | he now lives again, and is now capable of exertmighty ' in you.
ing his great power. He furnishes proof of his
being alive, in the success which attends the c 1 Cor. ix. 2.
gospel, and in the miracles which are wrought
in his name and by his power. There is a Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me.
: | living Redeemer in heaven; a Redeemer who is -See the Notes on the previous chapters. They
able to exert all the power which he ever exerted had called in question his apostolic authority ;
when on earth ; a Redeemer, therefore, who is they had demanded the evidence of his divine
able to save the soul, to raise the dead, to punish commission. He says that he would now fur
all his foes. By the power of God.--In raising nish such evidence by inflicting just punishment
him from the dead, and placing him at his own on all offenders, and they should have abundant
right hand. See Eph. i. 19–21. Through the proof that Christ spoke by him, or that he was
power of God he was brought from the tomb, inspired. Which to you-wurd is not weak.--Or
and has had a place assigned him at the head of who, that is, Christ, is not weak, &c. Christ
the universe. For we also are weak in him.has manifested his power abundantly towards
Marg. “with him.” We, his apostles, also, are you, that is, either by the miracles that had been
weak in virtue of our connexion with him. We wrought in his name; or by the diseases and
are subject to intirmities and trials; we seem to calamities which they had suffered on account of
have no power; we are exposed to contempt ; their disorders and offences, (see Note on 1 Cor.
and we appear to our enemies to be destitute of xi. 30; and i Cor. v.;) or by the force and effi
strength. Our enemies regard us as feeble; and cacy of his doctrine. The connexion, it seems
they despise us. But we shall live with him, &c. to me, requires that we should understand it of
– That is, we shall show to you that we are the calamities which had been inflicted by Christ
alive. By the aid of the power of God we shall on them for their sins, and which Paul says
show that we are not as weak as our foes prewould be inflicted again if they did not repent.
tend ; that we are invested with power; and that The idea is, that they had had ample demonstra
we are able to inflict the punishment which we tion of the power of Christ to inflict punishment,
threaten. This is one of the numerous instances and they had reason to apprehend it again.
in which Paul illustrated the case before him by
a reference to the example and character of VER. 4. For though he was crucified through Christ. The idea is, that Christ did not exert
weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. his power, and appeared to be weak, and was put to death. So Paul says that he had not ex- know what his religion is worth, let him try it erted his power, and seemed to be weak. But, in the places where religion is of any value. says he, Christ lives, and is clothed with Let him go into the world with it. Let him go strength; and so we, though we appear to be and try to do good ; to endure affliction in a weak, shall exert among you, or toward you, proper manner; to combat the errors and follies the power with which he has invested us, in in- of life; to admonish sinners of the error of their flicting punishment on our foes.
ways; and to urge forward the great work of
the couversion of the world ; and he will soon! VER. 5. Examine yourselves whether ye be in see there what his religion is worth, as easily as the faith ; prove your ownselves. Know ye
a man can test the qualities of an axe. Let him
not merely sit down and think, and compare not your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ s is
himself with the Bible, and look at his own in you, except ye be reprobates ? k
heart, valuable as this may be in many respects;
but let him treat his religion as he would any f I Cor. xi. 28. 1 John iji. 20, 21. g Rom. viii. 10. Gal. iv. 19. h I Cor. ix. 27. 2 Tim. iii. 8.
thing else ; let him subject it to actual experi
ment. That religion which will enable a man Examine yourselves.-- See Note on 1 Cor. xi. to imitate the example of Paul or Howard, or 28. The particular reason why Paul calls on the great Master himself, in doing good, is gedathem to examine themselves was, that there was ine. That religion which will enable a man to occasion to fear that many of them had been endure persecution for the name of Jesus ; to deceived. Such had been the irregularities and bear calamity without murmuring; to submit to disorders in the church at Corinth; so ignorant a long series of disappointments and distresses ! had many of them shown themselves of the na- | for Christ's sake, is genuine. That religion ture of the Christian religion, that it was impor- which will prompt a man unceasingly to a life of tant, in the highest degree, for them to institute | prayer and self-denial; which will make him a strict and impartial examination, to ascertain ever conscientious, industrious, and honest; whether they had not been altogether deceived. which will enable him to warn sinners of the This examination, however, is never unimportant | error of their ways; and which will dispose him or useless for Christians; and an exhortation to to seek the friendship of Christians, and the saldo it is always in place. So important are the | vation of the world, is pure and genuine. That interests at stake, and so liable are the best to will answer the purpose. It is like the good axe 1! deceive themselves, that all Christians should be with which a man can chop all day long, ini often induced to examine the foundation of their which there is no flaw, and which does not get hope of eternal salvation. Whether ye be in the dull, and which answers all the purposes of an faith.---- Whether you are true Christians; whe- axe. Any other religion than this is worthless. ther you have any true faith in the gospel. Know ye not your ownselres.-That is, *Do you Faith in Jesus Christ, and in the promises of not know yourselves?” This does not mean, as God through him, is one of the distinguishing some may suppose, that they might know of characteristics of a true Christian ; and to as themselves, without the aid of others, what their certain whether we have any true faith, there character was; or that they might themselves fore, is to ascertain whether we are sincere ascertain it; but it means that they might know ! Christians. For some reasons for such an ex: | themselves, i. e. their character, principles, conamination, and some remarks on the mode of duct. This proves that Christians may know ! doing it, see Note on 1 Cor. xi. 28. Prove your | their true character. If they are Christians, ! ownselves.-- The word here used (doktuáere) is they may know it with as undoubted certainty stronger than that before used, and rendered as they may know their character on any other “examine," (TEIPALETE.) This word, “prove," subject. Why should not a man be as able to refers to assaying or trying metals by the power- determine whether he loves God, as whether he ! ful action of heat; and the idea here is, that I loves a child, a parent, or a friend? What they should make the most thorough trial of greater difficulty need there be in understandtheir religion, to see whether it would stand the ing the character on the subject of religion test. See Note on 1 Cor. iii. 13. The proof of than on any other subject; and why should there their piety was to be arrived at by a faithful ex. be any more reason for doubt on this than on any amination of their own hearts and lives; by al other point of character? And yet it is remark. diligent comparison of their views and feelings able, that while a child has no doubt that he ! with the word of God; and especially by making loves a parent, or a husband a wife, or a friend trial of it in life. The best way to prove our
a friend, almost all Christians are in very great, piety is to subject it to actual trial in the various doubt about their attachment to the Redeemer, duties and responsibilities of life. A man who and to the great principles of religion. Such was wishes to prove an axe, to see whether it is good not the case with the apostles and early Chris- | or not, does not sit down and look at it, or read tians. “I know," says Paul, “whom I have be- !! all the treatises which he can find on axe lieved, and am persuaded that he is able to keep making, and on the properties of iron and steel, that which I have committed to him," &c. (2 valuable as such information would be ; but he Tim, i. 12.) “ We know," says John, speaking ! shoulders his axe, and goes into the woods, and in the name of the body of Christians," that we puts it to the trial there. If it cuts well; if it have passed from death unto life.” (1 John iii. does not break; if it is not soon made dull; he 14.) “ We know that we are of the truth.” (19.) understands the quality of his axe better than he “ We know that he abideth in us." (24.) “We could in any other way. So if a man wishes to know that we dwell in him.” (1 John iv. 13.)
See also ch. v. 2, 19, 20. So Job said, " I know qualifications needful to confer a claim to the that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand apostolic office. in the latter day upon the earth,” &c. (Job xix. 25.) Such is the current language of Scripture. | VER. 7. Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; Where, in the Bible, do the sacred speakers and
not that we should appear approved, but that writers express doubts about their attachment to God and the Redeemer? Where is such language
ye should do that which is honest, though we to be found as we hear from almost all professing be as reprobates. Christians, expressing entire uncertainty about their condition-absolute doubt whether they
Now I pray to God that ye do no evil.—I earlove God or hate him ; whether they are going
nestly desire that you may do right, and only to heaven or hell; whether they are influenced
right; and I beseech God that it may be so, by good motives or bad ; and even making it a
whatever may be the result with regard to me, matter of merit to be in such doubt, and thinking
and whatever may be thought of my claims to it wrong not to doubt? What would be thought
the apostolic office. This is designed to mitigate of a husband that should make it a matter of
the apparent severity of the sentiment in ver. 6. merit to doubt whether he loved his wife ; or of
There he had said that they would find him fully a child that should think it wrong not to doubt
endowed with the power of an apostle. They whether he loved his father or mother? Such
would see that he was able abundantly to punish attachments ought to be doubted ; but they do
the disobedient. They would have ample de. not occur in the common relations of life. On
monstration that he was endowed by Christ with the subject of religion, men often act as they do
all the powers appropriate to an apostle, and that on no other subject; and if it is right for one to
all that he had claimed had been well founded, be satisfied of the sincerity of his attachments to
all that he threatened would be executed. But his best earthly friends, and to speak of such at
this seemed to imply that he desired that there tachment without wavering or misgiving, it can
should be occasion for the exercise of that power not be wrong to be satisfied with regard to our
of administering discipline; and he therefore, in attachment to God, and to speak of that attach
this verse, removes all suspicion that such was ment, as the apostles did, in language of un
his wish, by saying solemnly, that he prayed to doubted confidence. How that Jesus Christ is
God that they might never do wrong; that they in you.—To be in Christ, or for Christ to be in
might never give him occasion for the exercise us, is a common mode in the Scriptures of ex
of his power in that way, though as a conse pressing the idea that we are Christians. It quence he would be regarded as a reprobate, or is language derived from the close union which
h as having no claims to the apostolic office. He
as h subsists between the Redeemer and his people.
would rather be regarded as an impostor, rather See the phrase explained in the Note on Rom.
lie under the reproach of his enemies that he viii. 10. Except ye be reprobates.-See Note on
had no claims to the apostolic character, than Rom. i. 28. The word rendered - reprobates"
that they, by doing wrong, should give him oc(úðório) means properly not approved, re
casion to show that he was not a deceiver. Not jected; that which will not stand the trial. It
that we should appear approved.--My great obis properly applicable to metals, as denoting
ject, and my main desire, is not to urge my that they will not bear the tests to which they
claims to the apostolic office and clear up my are subjected, but are found to be base or adul
own character ; it is that you should lead honest
lives, whatever may become of me and my reterated. The sense here is, that they might know that they were Christians, unless their
putation. Though we be as reprobates.--I am religion was base, false, adulterated ; or such as
willing to be regarded as rejected, disapproved, would not bear the test. There is no allusion
worthless, like base metal, provided you lead here to the sense which is sometimes given to
honest and holy lives. I prefer to be so esteemthe word “ reprobate,” of being cast off or aban
ed, and to have you live as becomes Christians, doned by God, or doomed by him to eternal
than that you should dishonour your Christian ruin, in accordance with an eternal purpose.
profession, and thus afford me the opportunity Whatever may be the truth on that subject, no
of demonstrating, by inflicting punishment, that thing is taught in regard to it here. The simple
I am commissioned by the Lord Jesus to be an idea is, that they might know that they were
apostle. The sentiment is, that a minister of Christians, unless their religion was such as
the gospel should desire that his people should would not stand the test, or was worthless.
walk worthy of their high calling, whatever may be the estimate in which he is held. He should
never desire that they should do wrong-how Ver. 6. But I trust that ye shall know that we
can he do it?-in order that he may take occaare not reprobates.
tion from their wrong-doing to vindicate, in any
way, his own character, or to establish a reputaBut I trust, &c.-The sense of this verse is, tion for skill in administering discipline or in “ Whatever may be the result of your examina- | governing a church. What a miserable ambition tion of yourselves, I trust (Gr. • I hope ') you it is—and as wicked as it is miserable--for a man will not find us false, and to be rejected; that to wish to take advantage of a state of disorder, is, I trust you will find in me evidence that I am or of the faults of others, in order to establish commissioned by the Lord Jesus to be his apostle.” | his own character, or to obtain reputation. The idea is, that they would find when he was Paul spurned and detested such a thought; yet it among them, that he was endowed with all the is to be feared it is sometimes done.