« AnteriorContinuar »
Reflections on the Revelations, and Afiftances, Sect. ig
Necessities I endure, in all the Persecutions with proaches, in Neceflities, in
which I am assaulted, and in all the Straits which Persecutiops, in Diftreflep 2 Cor. XII. for Christ's Sake press me on every Part; for when I am weak, then am I
for Christ's Sake: For whep I am weak, then am I strong : Never do I feel , strong. larger inward Communications of Strength from him, than when I am most conscious of
my Weakness. Nor do I esteem any Thing a greater Honour to me, than that Chrift should take Occasion to glorify himself by those Things whereby I am humbled and abased.
I M P R O V E M E N T.
ELL might the Apostle say, that when he was weak, then was be
strong ; for it is difficult to tell, when he expresses a greater Strength of Genius, or of Grace, than while thus discoursing of his own Infirmities. How glorious were those Scars in his Body, which were the Marks of his Sufferings for Christ; and those Tremblings and Distortions of his Nerves, which were the Results of these bright Vifons of the Lord which brought down Heaven to Earth, and had for the Time equalled a mortal Man with the Spirits of just Men made perfect ; yea, almost with the Angels of GOD!
Transported with the sacred Impulse, he could scarcely tell, whether he were in the Body, or out of it; but he testified, that the Things which he saw and heard, were unutterable. Let us not repine, that he recollected, and recorded, nothing more particular concerning what paffed before the Eye of his Mind, when that of the Body was closed. These celestial Raptures were intended to confirm his Faith, and consequently likewise to confirm ours; but not to amuse our Curiosity. If the Earth be full of the Goodness of the Lord, how much more the third Heavens, where he holds his highest Court! Nor shall the intermediate State of Souls want its proper Enjoyments and
Blessings. Affuredly therefore believing these Things, let us waitGod's Time for a more particular Knowledge of them; and when called of him to go forth, and receive this Inheritance, like genuine Children of Abraham, abey, tbo' we kraw not particularly wbither we go. (Heb. xi. 8.)
We see the Danger of Spiritual Pride, from which even St. Paul himself was not secure. One would have imagined, that such a View of the celestial World should in itself have been sufficient to have humbled him, during all the Remainder of the longest Life: And yet it is evident, that God saw there was some Danger, lest Pride should be cherished by
with which St. Paul was peculiarly favoured. that, which feemed fo proper to destroy it: Therefore was there given Sect. 19. him a Thorn in the Flesh. And by how many Thorns are the most distinguished Christians often pierced?' Let them bless God, if thereby they are humbled too, even tho' the Messengers and Instruments of Satan should from thence take Occasion to buffet them.
In all our Exigencies, Extremities and Complaints, let us apply to the Ver. 8. Throne of Grace, and that blessed Redeemer, who interceeds before it, for proper Assistance and Relief. Nor let us be discouraged, tho' the first, or second Address, should seem to be disregarded : The third or fourth, may
be successful. And what, if we do not succeed to our Wish in the immediate Answer? Let it content us, that we may be assured by Christ of the Sufficiency of his Grace. In our Weaknefs can he illustrate bis Ver. 2. Strength. And in that View too, may we glory in our Infirmities. For surely the Honour of our divine Master, in our deepest Humiliation, ought to give us much more Joy, than to see ourselves ever so much admired and extolled. “ But, Oh blessed Jesus, how much of thy Strength “ must be manifested in us, to teach our vain and selfish Hearts a Lesson, “ which at the very first Proposal appears so reasonable, if considered in “ Speculation alone ? Lord increase our Faith! Increase our Humility! “ So fhalt thou have the Glory in all thou givest, and in all thou deniest
us, and in all the Struggles and Trials to which thou mayest appoint us; and in which, for thy Sake, we will take Pleasure."
The Apostle vindicates the Frankness, Sincerity and Tender
ness of his Conduct, and his visible Superiority to all se-
2 Cor. XII. 11, to the End.
2 CORINTHIANS XII. II.
2 CORINTHIANS XII. II.
1 pelled me : For I ought to
become foolis. in boasting, as I have done above!
lies. For you, by the Manner in which some
you, to whom I am now speaking, have be-
He was not behind the Chief of the Apostleg. Sect. 20. are peculiarly inexcusable; : for I ought indeed to have been commended of have been recommended by you, rather than to have you: For in nothing am I
behind the very chiefert A2 Cor. XII. found any Necessity of pleading with you, in postles, though'l be nothing
the Manner I have done, for I have in no Ref-
has been pleased to communicate of his Bounties an Apostle were wrought
conquer by Love, and by Benefits.
Bene 13 For what is it wherein fits : For in what one Respect were ye inferior to ye were inferior to other
it be that the rest of the Churches planted by the other I myself was not burdensome Apostles, unless [it were in this,] that I myself to you? Forgive me this was not burthenfome to you, by taking any Acknowledgment for
Labours ? No, not so
Forgiveness on any other Account. Bebold now, this is the third Time I am ready Time. I am ready to come
14 Behold, the third 14
to come to you, having been disappointed twice to you; and I will not be before. (1 Cor. xvi. 5. 2 Cor. i. 15, 16.) Ne- burdensome to you ; for "I vertheless I will not now be, in the Sense I have seek not yours,' but you:
For mentioned, burthenfome to you, for God knows, I seek not your polesnons, but yourselves. If I can but be instrumental in promoting your Salvation, and at the same Time secure
filial Love and Affection, I shall think myself happy, ' tho' I reap not the least personal Advantage from your Property, where it is most abundant. For it
For I will 15
He would gladly Spend, and be spent for them:
529 For the Children ought not is not fit, that the Children should lay up Treasure Sect. 20. .
lay but the Parents for the for the Parents, but the Parents for the Children. Children.
I therefore, being your spiritual Father, will 2 Cor. XII.
communicate to you such Treasures as I have,
and put myself to any Expence too, in order to
(Compare 2 Tim. ii. 10. i Thef. ii. 8.)
, all this ; as what will not Envy and Fallhood
suggest, where there is any Interest, in fixing an
Principles, while I appeared myself so disinte-
to you with any Message from me, or who came
what must recoil on himself with so much In18 I desired Titus, and
famy. I know, that I intreated Titus to make 18
the Same Spirit [and] in the same Steps?' Did
generous Friendship? Vol. IV.
All that he spoke, was for their Edification. Sect. 20.
Again, do you think that we make any Apology 19 Again, think you that to you, and endeavour to amuse
we excuse ourselves unto with mere
you? We speak before God
And all Things that we say, when we
of being more serviceable to you in your most
I I shall not find you
(a) Contentions, Emulations, &c. All these were the natural Consequences of those Debates which had arisen among them; and therefore he, in a very artful Manner, gives this for lemn Warning with Relation to themi