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CO R I N T H I A N S.

SECT. I.

The Apostle Paul, after a general Salutation, expresses his

grateful Sense of the Divine Goodness, in preserving him from the Dangers to which he had been exposed in Asia ; professing his unsaken Confidence in GOD's continued Guardianship

supported by the Consciousness of his Integrity before bim. 2 Cor. 1. 1,---12.

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2 CORINTHIANS I. I. OU receive this Epistle from Puril, who Sect. 1.

hath the Honour to call himself an Apostle of Jesus Christ, by the sovereign Will of GOD; 2 Cor. I. 1. who hath shewn by the Victory of his Grace over me, how able he is to bend the most obdurate and reluctant Will to his own Purposes, and

triumph

422

2

St. Paul begins with his own, and Timothy's Salutation; Sect. 1. triumph over the Opposition of the most obsti- of God, and Timothy our 2 Cor. T. 1. Christ Jesus, joins with the in this second Ad- rinth, with all the bila

nate Heart. And Timothy (a), a beloved Brother in Brother, unto the Church
dress to the Church of GOD, that is in Corinth; which-4re in all Achaia;
whom he hath mercifully called out from the
World, and united to himself. : A Society, for
which I have always the tenderest Regard ; the
respective Members of which I now most cordi-
ally salute:; with all, who, by their Christian
Profession, are numbered among the Saints, that
are in the whole Region of Achaia. :I greet you, 2 Grace be to you, and
as I do all my Brethren in such Addresses : Say- Peace from God our Fa-
ing from my Heart, may Grace and Peace [be] thereand from the Lord Je-

sus Chrift.
in rich Abundance communicated to you all,
from GOD our Father, the compassionate Source
of universal Goodness, and from the Lord Jesus
Christ; thro' whom alone such invaluable Bler-
sings can be conveyed to such finful Creatures as

While I sit down to write to you, 3 Bleffed be God, even my dear Brethren, in the Midst of Circumstances, the Father of our Lord Je

sus which the World might think very deplorable,.. (Compare i Cor. iv. 9, &c.) I cannot forbear bursting out into the Language of Joy and Praise (6), for such a Variety of Divine Favours, as is conferred on myself and you. Blessed, for ever blessed, by the united Songs of Men and Angels, [be] the great GOD and Father of our beloved Lord and gracious Saviour Jesus Christ,

thro'

3

we are,

(a) Timothy, a beloved Brother.] This shews, that Timothy was returned to St. Paul, since he wrote the last Epistle ; and his joining the Name of Timothy with his own, is an Instance of the generous Desire, which St. Paul had, to establish, as much as possible, the Reputation and Influence of this excellent young Minister. Some 'háve thought this is the Reason, why the Apostle so often speaks in the plural Number in this Epiftle; but it is certain, he often speaks in the singular, and that there are Passages here, as well as in the Epistle to the Thessalonians, in which he uses the plural, without intending to include Pimothy. See Chap. iii. 1,—3. Chap. vii. 5. Chap. xii. 19. 2 Thef

. ii. 1,-9. He also joins the Name of Softhenes with his own, in the former Epifle, as also the Name of Timothy to the Epifle to the Philippians, and Colossians; yet does not use the plural there.

(0) Cannot forbcar bursting out, &c.] 'It is very observable, that eleven of St. Paul's thirteen Epiftles begin with Exclamations of Joy, Praise and Thanksgiving. As soon as he thought of a Christian Church, planted in one Place or another, there seems to have been a Flow of most lively Affection accompanying the Idea, in which all Sensibility of his tema poral AMictions, or theirs, were all swallowed up, and the Fulness of his Heart - muft vent itself in such chearful, exalted and devout Language.

(c) Comforteth

6

of GOD.

And blesses GOD for supporting him in his Tribulations ; 423 sus Christ, the Father of thro' whom we have this free Access to him, this Sect. I. Mercies, and the God of secure Interest in him : so that we can now,

with all Comfort;

2 Cor. I. 3. unutterable Delight, view him as the Father of 2 Mercies, from whose paternal Compassion all our Comforts and Hopes are derived; and as the GOD of all Consolation, whose Nature it is ever to have Mercy, and who knows how to proportion his

Supports to the Exigence of every 'Trial. 4. Who comforteth us in For ever adored be this benevolent and com- 4 all our Tribulation, that we passionate Being, who comforteth us in all our preswhich are in any Trouble

, sing Tribulation (c), by such seasonable Appearby the Comfort wherewith ances in our Favour. And this, I know, is not we ourselves are comforted merely for our own Sakes, but that we, taught

by our own Experience, may be able, in the most
tender, suitable, and effectual Manner, to comfort
those, who are in any Tribulation by the Commu-
nication of that Comfort, whereby we ourselves are
comforted of GOD (d); and methinks every Sup-
port I feel, is much endeared to me, by the Con-

sideration, that the Benefit of it may be reflected
5 For as the Sufferings of upon others. Because as the Sufferings we en- 5
Christ abound in us, so our dure in the Cause of Christ, and in Conforinity
by Christ.

to his Example, abưund with Respect to us, so our
Consolation by Christ, the Comforts which arise
from God in him, dous abound much more, and

quite over-balance the Distress.
6 And whether we be af And much of this Satisfaction to us arises from 6

Alicted, the Hope we have with Relation to you, my
dear Friends, and Christian Brethren; for whe-

ther

Confolation also aboundeth

(c) Comforteth us.] It is certain, that the Mention of these Experiences must have a powerful Tendency to conciliate the Regard of the Corinthians to St. Paul; and such an Introduction to his Epijlle, ' the whole of this is, must naturally prejudice them strongly in his Favour; yet this does not seem to have been by any Means his Aim, nor is there any Appearance of Art in it; but all is the genuine Overflowing of an Heart, which rejoiced in the Consolations of the Gepel felt by itself, and communicated to others. See Verse 12: which is much illustrated by this Connection.

(d) Comforted of GOD.) Some think this refers particularly to the Comfort, which the Repentance of the incestuous Person gave St. Paul, after the A Miction he had endured on his Account; (Compare Chap. vii. 7.) but it seems more natural, to understand it of the general Consolation, arifing from the Pardon of Sin, an Interest in God, an Affurance that nothing should separate him from Christ, that Afflictions should co-operate for his Advantage, and that a Crown of Glory, heightened by these Trials, Bould close the Scene. On these Topicks he frequently iniists in his Epistles, and none can be more important and delightful.

(e) Our

ther we

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And declares his Hope concerning the Corinthians
Sect. I.

we be afflięted, [it is,] we doubt not, in Șub- Aided, it is for your Cond.

servience to the Views of your present Consolation, is effectual in the enduring Cor. I. 6.and your future and eternal Salvation ; which is of the fame Sufferings which

so much the more effe&tually wrought out, by the we also suffer :. Or whether patient Enduring of the fame Sufferings, which we be comforted, it is for

undergo, and which by our Example you are our Consolation and Salva are taught the less to wonder at, and to bear with the greater Fortitude: Or whether we be comforted, [it is] still with the fame Vievy, for your Consolation and Salvation ; that your eternal Happiness may be promoted by those Comforts, which

we are enabled to communicate to you with the
7 greater Efficacy. And our Hope concerning 7 And our Hope of you

you, that this will be the happy End of all, [is] is ftedfalt, knowing that as
stedfast and chearful (e): Knowing, that as ye are ferings, fo Mall ye be also
Partakers of the Sufferings to which we refer, of the Consolation.
so you also have already, in fome Degree, your
Share of the Consolation, which arises from
Principles and Hopes, which are not peculiar
to us, who are Apostles, or inferior Ministers of
the Gospel, but common to all sincere Believers ;
in which Number I persuade myself that you in

the general are.
8

We write thus concerning the Trials of the 8 For we would not, Bren Christian Life, having so lately experienced them thren, have you ignorant of in a large Measure.: For we would not have you, us in Afia, that we were our dear Brethren, ignorant concerning our Affic

prefled tion, which within these few Months befel us in Afra (f ), and particularly at Ephesus ; that we

were

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(e) Our Hope concerning you is stedfas.] These Words, in several good Manuscripts, are put in Connection with the first Claule of the 6th Verse; and so the Verfion will run thus, Whether we be afflicted, it is in Subservience to your Consolation and Salvation, which is effectually wrought out by the patient Enduring of the Same Sufferings, which we also undergo; and our Hope concerning you is stedfaft: Or, whether we be comforted, it is for your Consolation and Salvation ; knowing that as ye are Partakers of the Sufferings, so also of the Confolation. And the Repetition of the Words Confolation and Salvation, shews how agreeable the Thought was to him ; so that he loved to speak of it again and again.

(f) The Afliflions which befel us in Asia.]. Mr. Cradock thinks, that he here begins to apologize for not coming to Corinth, and introduces these Troubles as an Excuse for not seeing them. I think it is rather to be connected with the preceding Discourse. Yet till it might incline them to drop their Complaints, and judge more favourably of him, when they considered in what painful and dangerous Circumstances he had, on the present Openings of Duty, been spending that Time, in which they had been expecting him ai Corinth. As for the Afflictions here spoken of, some have thought, that this may refer to the Persecutions at

Lyfra,

Taiseth the Dead.

He mentions the Trials, wherein he had been supported : 425 pressed out of Measure, we exceedingly pressed with it, even beyond our Sect. 1. above Strength, insomuch Power ; fo that we despaired of being able even to that we despaired even of Life:

live

any longer, and were looked upon by others 2 Cor. I. 8° 9 But we had the Sen- as dead Men. And not only did others appre

9 tence of Death in ourselves, hend this concerning us, but we ourselves did inourselves, but in God which deed think, that the appointed End of our Mi

nistry and Life was come; and had, as it were,
received the Sentence of Death in ourselves, the
Execution of which we were continually expect-
ing; but the Event Thewed, that it was wisely
appointed by Divine Providence to make our De-
liverance the more remarkable; and that we might
learn for the future, not to trust in ourselves, nor
merely to regard human Probabilities ; but in the
greatest Extremities to repose a chearful Confi-
dence in the Power and Providence of that GOD,

who raiseth the Dead, at his holy Pleasure, by his 10 Who delivered

us omnipotent Word : Who rescued us, on this 10 from so great a Death, and

ever memorable Occasion, from so great a Death
doth deliver : in' whom we
trust that he will yet deliver as then threatened us, and doth rescue us from

every Danger which now surrounds us, and in
whom we trust, that he will make our Deliverance
compleat, and still rescue us from every Evil, and

preserve us to his heavenly Kingdom.
11 You also helped toge I say, that I have this Confidence in God's li
ther by Prayer for us, that continual Care; and it is the more chearful, as I
for the Gift bestowed upon
us by the Means of many persuade myself you are, and will be, working
Persons, Thanks may be together in Prayer for us, that fo the Favour [ob-
given by many on our Be- tained] for us by the importunate Prayers of many,

may be acknowledged by the Thanksgiving of many
on our Account (8); as nothing can be more rea-

fonable,

us.

half.

Lystra, where St. Paul's Danger had been so extreme, and he had been recovered by Miracle; (Aets xiv. 19, 20.) but as that happened so long before the Visit to Corinth, in which he planted the Church there, (Acts xviii. 1.) it seems more probable, that he either refers to foine Opposition, which he met with in his Journey thro' Galatia and Phrygia, (Acts xviii.

23.) of which no particular Account has reached us ; or to what happened at Ephesus, (Aets • xix. 29, 30.) which is Dr. Whitby's Opinion.

(g) That so the Favour obtained, &c.] There is something very perplexed and ambiguous in the Structure of this Sentence. I have sometimes thought, it might be rendered, that, vælp_pwy) on our Account, Thanks may be rendered by many Persons, for, ( ekçmpas yapsoua,) the Gift, or miraculous Endowment which is in us, or deposited with us, (do Town,) for the Sake of many: As if he had said, that many may join with us, in returning Thanks for these miraculous Endowments, which were lodged with me, not for my own Sake, but for VOL. IV. H hh

the

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