« Prev 2 Corinthians 7:2-7 Next »

2 Corinthians 7:2-7

2. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.

2. Capaces estote nostri: nemini fecimus iniuriam, neminem corrupimus, neminem fraudavimus.

3. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you

3. Non [hoc] ad condemnationem vestri dico: siquidem iam ante dixi vobis, quod in coribus nostris sitis ad commoriendum et convivendum.

4. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

4. Multa mihi fiducia erga vos, multa mihi gloriatio de vobis: impletus sum consolatione supra modum, exundo gaudio in omni tribulatione nostra.

5. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

5. Etenim quum venissemus in Macedoniam, nullam relaxationem habuit caro nostra, sed in omnibus fuimus afflicti: foris pugnae, intus timores.

6. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

6. Sed qui consolatur humiles, consolatus est nos Deus in adventu Titi.

7. And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.

7. Neque solum in adventu eius, sed in consolatione quam acceperat de vobis, annuntians nobis vestrum desiderium, vestras lacrimas, vestrum stadium pro me: ita ut magis gauderem.

 

2. Make room for us. Again he returns from a statement of doctrine to treat of what more especially concerns himself, but simply with this intention — that he may not lose his pains in admonishing the Corinthians. Nay more, he closes the preceding admonition with the same statement, which he had made use of by way of preface. For what is meant by the expressions Receive us, or Make room for us? It is equivalent to, Be ye enlarged, (2 Corinthians 6:13;) that is, “Do not allow corrupt affections, or unfavorable apprehensions, to prevent this doctrine from making its way into your minds, and obtaining a place within you. For as I lay myself out for your salvation with a fatherly zeal, it were unseemly that you should turn a deaf ear 630630     “Indignum esset me surdis fabulam canere;” — “It were unseemly that I should be like one that tells a story to the deaf.” A similar expression is made use of by Horace, (Ep. 2, 1, 200,) — “Scriptores autem narrare putaret asello fabellam surdo;” — “But he would think that the writers were telling a story to a deaf ass.” — Ed. upon me.” 631631     “Que ie perdisse mon temps en vous admonestant;” — “That I should lose my time in admonishing you.”

We have done injury to no man. He declares that there is no reason why they should have their minds alienated, 632632     “De luy ou de sa doctrine;” — “From him or from his doctrine.” inasmuch as he had not given them occasion of offense in any thing. Now he mentions three kinds of offenses, as to which he declares himself to be guiltless. The first is, manifest hurt or injury. The second is, the corruption that springs from false doctrine. The third is, defrauding or cheating in worldly goods. These are three things by which, for the most part, pastors 633633     “Les ministres et pasteurs;” — “Ministers and pastors.” are wont to alienate the minds of the people from them — when they conduct themselves in an overbearing manner, and, making their authority their pretext, break forth into tyrannical cruelty or unreasonableness,or when they draw aside from the right path those to whom they ought to have been guides, and infect them with the corruption of false doctrine, — or when they manifest an insatiable covetousness, by eagerly desiring what belongs to another. Should any one wish to have it in shorter compass-the first is, fierceness and an abuse of power by excessive insolence 634634     “Quand on est arrogant, et on abuse de la puissance en se desbordant et vsurpant plus qu’il ne faut;” — “When one is presumptuous, and abuses his power by going beyond bounds and assuming more than he ought.” the second, unfaithfulness in teaching. the third, avarice.

3. I say not this to condemn you. As the foregoing apology was a sort of expostulation, and we can scarcely avoid reproaching when we expostulate, he softens on this account what he had said. “I clear myself,” says he, in such a way as to be desirous to avoid, what would tend to your dishonor.” The Corinthians, it is true, were unkind, and they deserved that, on Paul’s being acquitted from blame, they should be substituted in his place as the guilty party; nay more, that they should be held guilty in two respects — in respect of ingratitude, and on the ground of their having calumniated the innocent. Such, however, is the Apostle’s moderation, that he refrains from recrimination, contenting himself with standing simply on the defensive.

For I have before said. Those that love do not assail; 635635     “Ceux qui aiment vn autre, ne prenent point plaisir ale poursuyure et picquer;” — “Those who love another take no pleasure in pursuing and stinging him.” nay more, if any fault has been committed, they either cover it over by taking no notice of it, or soften it by kindness. For a disposition to reproach is a sign of hatred. Hence Paul, with the view of showing that he has no inclination to distress the Corinthians, declares his affection towards them. At the same time, he undoubtedly in a manner condemns them, while he says that he does not do so. As, however, there is a great difference between gall and vinegar, so there is also between that condemnation, by which we harass a man in a spirit of hatred, with the view of blasting him with infamy, and, on the other hand, that, by which we endeavor to bring back an offender into the right way, that, along with safety, he may in addition to this regain his honors unimpaired.

Ye are in our hearts — that is, “I carry you about with me inclosed in my heart.” To die and live with you — that is, “So that no change can loosen our attachment, for I am prepared not merely to live with you, but also to be associated with you in death, if necessary, and to endure anything rather than renounce your friendship.” Mark well, in what manner all pastors. 636636     “Pasteurs et ministres;” — “Pastors and ministers.” ought to be affected.

4. Great is my boldness. Now, as if he had obtained the enlargement of heart that he had desired on the part of the Corinthians, he leaves off complaining, and pours out his heart with cheerfulness. “What need is there that I should expend so much labor upon a matter already accomplished? For I think I have already what I asked. For the things that Titus has reported to me respecting you are not merely sufficient for quieting my mind, but afford me also ground of glorying confidently on your account 637637     “Timothy is despatched” (by Paul) “to Corinth, and after him Titus is sent. In the mean time, ‘a door is opened of the Lord’ to the Apostles to preach Christ’s gospel at Troas; but, strange to relate! he who panted so earnestly for such opportunities, had neither heart nor tongue to improve the present. The expected messenger from Corinth had not arrived — he had ‘no rest in his spirit,’ and abandoning the rich harvest which invited his labors, he wandered into Macedonia. Nor yet did he find ease: ‘For when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side — without were fightings; within were fears.’ At last Titus arrives with tidings from Corinth. The Apostle’s letter had been well received; it had produced the intended effects; a spirit of repentance had fallen upon the Church; they had applied themselves vigorously to the correction of abuses; the love which they bore to their spiritual father had revived with additional strength. ‘Now! thanks be unto God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place!’ ‘Great is my boldness of speech towards you, great is my glorying of you; I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.’ (2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 7:4.) What a sudden change! what a wonderful transformation! Formerly we saw him like a soldier, wounded, weak, disabled, dispirited, fallen to the ground; now he is lifted up, victorious, and borne on the triumphant car.” — M’Crie’s Sermons, p. 39.Ed. Nay more, they have effectually dispelled the grief, which many great and heavy afflictions had occasioned me.” He goes on step by step, by way of climax; for glorying is more than being of an easy and quiet mind; and being freed from grief occasioned by many afflictions, is greater than either of those. Chrysostom explains this boldness somewhat differently, in this manner — “If I deal with you the more freely, it is on this account, that, relying on the assurance of your good will towards me, I think I may take so much liberty with you.” I have stated, however, what appeared to me to be the more probable meaning — that the report given by Titus had removed the unfavorable impression, which had previously racked his mind. 638638     La mauuaise opinion ou le souspecon qu’il auoit d’eux, et dont il estoit tourmente en son coeur;” — “The bad opinion or suspicion that he had of them, and with which he had been tormented in his heart.”

5. For when we had come into Macedonia The heaviness of his grief tends to show, how efficacious the consolation was. “I was pressed on every side,” says he, “by afflictions both internal and external. All this, however, has not prevented the joy that you have afforded me from prevailing over it, and even overflowing.” 639639     Calvin here has manifestly in his eye the singularly emphatic word made use of by Paul in the preceding verse — ὑπερπερισσεύομαι, I am exceeding joyful. “The word here used occurs nowhere else in the New Testament except in Romans 5:20. It is not found in the classic writers, and is a word which Paul evidently compounded, (from ὑπὲρ and περισσεύω,) and means to superabound over, to superabound greatly, or exceedingly. It is a word which would be used only when the heart was full, and when it would be difficult to find words to express its conceptions. Paul’s heart was full of joy, and he pours forth his feelings in the most fervid and glowing language — ‘I have joy which cannot be expressed.’” — Barnes.Ed. When he says that he had no rest in his flesh, it is as if he had said — “As a man, I had no relief.” 640640     “Je n’ay point eu de relasche ou soulagement;” — “I had no relief or alleviation.” For he excepts spiritual consolations, by which he was in the mean time sustained. He was afflicted, therefore, not merely in body, but also in mind, so that, as a man, he experienced nothing but great bitterness of afflictions.

Without were fightings By fightings he means outward assaults, with which his enemies molested him: fears he means the anxieties, that he endured on account of the internal maladies of the Church, for it was not so much by personal as by public evils, that he was disquieted. What he means, then, to say is this — that there were not merely avowed enemies that were hostile to him, but that he endured, nevertheless, much distress in consequence of domestic evils. For he saw how great was the infirmity of many, nay of almost all, and in the mean time what, and how diversified, were the machinations, by which Satan attempted to throw every thing into confusion — how few were wise, how few were sincere, how few were steadfast, and how many, on the other hand, were either mere pretenders, and worthless, or ambitious, or turbulent. Amidst these difficulties, the servants of God must of necessity feel alarmed, and be racked with anxieties; and so much the more on this account — that they are constrained to bear many things silently, that they may consult the peace of the Churches. Hence he expressed himself with propriety when he said — Without were fightings; within were fears. For faithful pastors openly set themselves in opposition to those enemies that avowedly attack Christ’s kingdom, but they are inwardly tormented, and endure secret tortures, when they see the Church afflicted with internal evils, for the exterminating of which they dare not openly sound the trumpet. 641641     “Pour les quelles chasser et y remedier, ils n’osent pas sonner la trompette tout haut, comme on dit:” — “For putting down which evils, and remedying them, they dare not sound the trumpet aloud, as they say.” But although he had almost incessant conflicts, it is probable that he was at that time more severely pressed than usual. The servants of Christ, undoubtedly, have scarcely at any time exemption from fears, and Paul was seldom free from outward fightings; but as he was at that time more violently oppressed, he makes use of the plural number — fightings and fears, meaning that he required to fight in many ways, and against various enemies, and that he had at the same time many kinds of fear.

6. Who comforteth the lowly. This is mentioned as a reason; for he means that consolation had been offered to him, because he was borne down with evils, and almost overwhelmed, inasmuch as God is wont to comfort the lowly, that is, those that are cast down. Hence a most profitable doctrine may be inferred — that the more we have been afflicted, so much the greater consolation has been prepared for us by God. Hence, in the epithet here applied to God, there is a choice promise contained, as though he had said, that it is peculiarly the part of God to comfort those that are miserable and are abased to the dust.

7. And not by his coming only. Lest the Corinthians should object in these terms — “What is it to us if Titus has cheered you by his coming? No doubt, as you loved him, you would feel delighted to see him;” he declares, that the occasion of his joy was, that Titus had, on returning from them, communicated the most joyful intelligence. Accordingly he declares, that it was not so much the presence of one individual, as the prosperous condition of the Corinthians, that had cheered him.

Your desire Mark, what joyful tidings were communicated to Paul respecting the Corinthians. Their desire originated in the circumstance, that they held Paul’s doctrine in high estimation. Their tears were a token of respect; because, being affected with his reproof, they mourned over their sins. Their zeal was an evidence of good will. From these three things he inferred that they were penitent. This afforded him full satisfaction, because he had no other intention or anxiety, than the consulting of their welfare.

So that I rejoiced the more — that is, “So that all my griefs and distresses gave way to joy.” Hence we see, not merely with what fervor of mind he desired the public good of the Church, but also how mild and gentle a disposition he possessed, as being one that could suddenly bury in oblivion offenses of so serious a nature. At the same time, this may rather be taken in another way, so as to be viewed in connection with what follows, and I am not sure but that this meaning would correspond better with Paul’s intention. As, however, it is a matter of no great moment, I pass over it slightly.


« Prev 2 Corinthians 7:2-7 Next »





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |