3. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
3. Neque id modo, sed gloriamur 1 etiam in afflictionibus; scientes quod tribulatio patientiam efficiat;
4. And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
4. Patientia vero probationem; probatio autem spem:
5. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.
5. Porro spes non pudefacit, quoniam dilectio Dei diffusa est in cordibus nostris per Spiritum santum, qui datus est nobis.
By saying that the saints glory in tribulations, he is not to be understood, as though they dreaded not, nor avoided adversities, or were not distressed with their bitterness when they happened, (for there is no patience when there is no feeling of bitterness;) but as in their grief and sorrow they are not without great consolation, because they regard that whatever they bear is dispensed to them for good by the hand of a most indulgent Father, they are justly said to glory: for whenever salvation is promoted, there is not wanting a reason for glorying.
We are then taught here what is the design of our tribulations, if indeed we would prove ourselves to be the children of God. They ought to habituate us to patience; and if they do not answer this end, the work of the Lord is rendered void and of none effect through our corruption: for how does he prove that adversities do not hinder the glorying of the faithful, except that by their patience in enduring them, they feel the help of God, which nourishes and confirms their hope? They then who do not learn patience, do not, it is certain, make good progress. Nor is it any objection, that there are recorded in Scripture some complaints full of despondency, which the saints had made: for the Lord sometimes so depresses and straitens for a time his people, that they can hardly breathe, and can hardly remember any source of consolation; but in a moment he brings to life those whom he had nearly sunk in the darkness of death. So that what Paul says is always accomplished in them --
"We are in every way oppressed, but not made anxious; we are in danger, but we are not in despair; we suffer persecution, but we are not forsaken; we are cast down but we are not destroyed."
(2 Corinthians 4:8.)
According then to the present passage, we then only make advances in patience as we ought, when we regard it as having been continued to us by God's power, and thus entertain hope as to the future, that God's favor, which has ever succored us in our necessities, will never be wanting to us. Hence he subjoins, that from probation arises hope; for ungrateful we should be for benefits received, except the recollection of them confirms our hope as to what is to come.
He Says further, that the Spirit is
1 Gloriamur --
2 The word in James is
The word is rendered here, not very intelligibly, "approbation," both by Macknight and Stuart; but more correctly, "experience," by Beza and Doddridge. -- Ed.
3 Chalmers observes, that there are two hopes mentioned in this passage, -- the hope of faith in the second verse, and the hope of experience in this. "The hope of the fourth verse," he says, "is distinct from and posterior to the hope of the second; and it also appears to be derived from another source. The first hope is hope in believing, a hope which hangs direct on the testimony of God...The second hope is grounded on distinct considerations -- not upon what the believer sees to be in the testimony of God, but upon what he finds to be in himself. -- It is the fruit not of faith, but of experience; and is gathered not from the word that is without, but from the feeling of what passes within." -- Ed.
4 "The love of God" in this passage may mean either the love of which God is the object -- love to God, or the love which he possesses -- God's love to us: the usus loquendi would admit either of these meanings; and hence commentators have differed on the point. The expression,
The first view, our love to God, has been adopted by Augustine, Mede, Doddridge, Scott, and Stuart; and the other, God's love to us, by Chrysostom, Beza, Pareus, Grotius, Hodge, and Chalmers, and also by Schleusner who gives this paraphrase, "Amor Dei abunde nobis declaratus est -- the love of God is abundantly declared to us." -- Ed.