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9. He said to me. It is not certain, whether he had this answer by a special revelation, and it is not of great importance. 910910 “Et aussi il n’est pas fort requis de la scauoir;” — “And besides, it is not greatly requisite to know it.” For God answers us, when he strengthens us inwardly by his Spirit, and sustains us by his consolation, so that we do not give up hope and patience. He bids Paul be satisfied with his grace, and, in the mean time, not refuse chastisement. Hence we must bear up under evil of ever so long continuance, because we are admirably well dealt with, when we have the grace of God to be our support. 911911 “Et c’est assez;” — “And that is enough.” The term grace, here, does not mean here, as it does elsewhere, the favor of God, but by metonymy, the aid of the Holy Spirit, which comes to us from the unmerited favor of God; and it ought to be sufficient for the pious, inasmuch as it is a sure and invincible support against their ever giving way.
For my strength Our weakness may seem, as if it were an obstacle in the way of God’s perfecting his strength in us. Paul does not merely deny this, but maintains, on the other hand, that it is only when our weakness becomes apparent, that God’s strength is duly perfected. To understand this more distinctly, we must distinguish between God’s strength and ours; for the word my is emphatic. “My strength,” says the Lord, (meaning that which helps man’s need — which raises them up when they have fallen down, and refreshes them when they are faint,) “is perfected in the weakness of men;” that is, it has occasion to exert itself, when the weakness of men becomes manifest; and not only so, but it is more distinctly recognized as it ought to be. For the word perfected has a reference to the perception and apprehension of mankind, because it is not perfected unless it openly shines forth, so as to receive its due praise. For mankind have no taste of it, unless they are first convinced of the need of it, and they quickly lose sight of its value, if they are not constantly exercised with a feeling of their own weakness.
Most gladly, therefore This latter statement confirms the exposition that I have given. I will glory, says he, in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me
The original word, ἐπισκηνώσὟ, properly means, to pitch a tent, or tabernacle, upon. Raphelius quotes two passages from Polybius, in which the verb is used as meaning — to enter into, and dwell in.
Τὸ δὲ τελευτασῖον ἐπισωκηνώσαντες ἐπὶ τὰς οἰκίας “and at last, having entered in, and taken possession of the houses.” Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα ταῖς οἰκίαις ἐπισκηνώσαντες κατεῖχον τὴν πόλιν — “And after these things, having entered into
the houses, they took possession of the city.” — CEcumenius, cited by Parkhurst, considers ἐπίσκηνώσὟ, as employed by the Apostle here, to be equivalent to ὁλη ἐν ὁλω κατοικήσὟ — “may entirely take possession of,me, and dwell in me.” — It is admirably well observed by Dr. Adam Clarke, that “the same Eternal WORD,” (of whom it is said in John 1:14, that he “was made flesh, and made his tabernacle among us, (ἐσκήνωσεν
ἐν ἡμῖν,) full of grace and truth,”) “promised to make his tabernacle with the Apostle, and gives him a proof that he was still the same — full of grace and truth, by assuring him that his grace should be sufficient for him.” — Ed.
Hence, the man that is ashamed of this glorying, shuts the door upon Christ’s grace, and, in a manner, puts it away from him. For then do we make room for Christ’s grace, when in true humility of mind, we feel and confess our own weakness. The valleys are watered with rain to make them fruitful, while in the mean time, the high summits of the
lofty mountains remain dry.
“Sees et steriles;” — “Dry and barren.”
Let that man, therefore, become a valley, who is desirous to receive the heavenly rain of God’s spiritual grace.
Much in accordance with this beautiful sentiment is Bunyan’s description of the “Valley of Humiliation,” in the second part of his “Pilgrim’s Progress.” “It is the best and most fruitful piece of ground in all these parts. It is fat ground, and, as you see, consisteth much in meadows; and if a man was to come here in the summer-time, as we do now, if he knew not any thing before thereof, and if he also delighted himself in
the sight of his eyes, he might see that which would be delightful to him.
‘Behold how green this valley is! also how beautiful with lilies!’
(Song of Solomon 2:1.)
I have known many labouring men that have got good estates in this Valley of Humiliation. (1 Peter 5:5.) ‘For God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.’ (James 4:6.) For indeed it is a very fruitful soil, and doth bring forth by handfuls.” — Bunyan’s Allegorical Works, (Glasgow, 1843,) p. 164. — Ed.
He adds most gladly, to show that he is influenced by such an eager desire for the grace of Christ, that he refuses nothing for the sake of obtaining it. For we see very many yielding, indeed, submission to God, as being afraid of incurring sacrilege in coveting his glory, but, at the same time, not without reluctance, or at least, less cheerfully than were becoming. 915915 “Ce n’est point si nayfuement et franchement qu’il faloit;” — “It is not so ingenuously and frankly, as it ought to be.”