2 Corinthians 2:6-11
6. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
6. Sufficit ei, qui talis est, correctio, quae illi contigit a pluribus.
7. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such an one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
7. Ut potius e diverso debeatis condonare, et consolari: ne forte abundantiori tristitia absorbeatur, qui eiusmodi est.
8. Wherefore I beseech you, that ye would confirm your love toward him.
8. Quamobrem obsecro vos, ut confirmetis erga eum caritatem.
9. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
9. Nam in hoc etiam scripseram vobis, ut probationem vestri cognoscerem: an ad omnia obedientes sitis.
10. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
10. Cui autem condonatis, etiam ego: etenim cui condonavi, si quid condonavi, propter vos condonavi in conspectu Christi.
11. Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
11. Ut ne occupemur a Satana: non enim cogitationes eius ignoramus.
Let us, however, consider these things a little more minutely. He refers to the man who had defiled himself by an incestuous marriage with his mother-in-law. As the iniquity was not to be tolerated, Paul had given orders, that the man should be excommunicated. He had, also, severely reproved the Corinthians, because they had so long given encouragement to that enormity 1 by their dissimulation and patient endurance. It appears from this passage, that he had been brought to repentance, after having been admonished by the Church. Hence Paul gives orders, that he be forgiven, and that he be also supported by consolation.
This passage ought to be carefully observed, as it shows us, with what equity and clemency the discipline of the Church ought to be regulated, in order that there may not be undue severity. There is need of strictness, in order that the wicked may not be rendered more daring by impunity, which is justly pronounced an allurement to vice. But on the other hand, as there is a danger of the person, who is chastised, becoming dispirited, moderation must be used as to this -- so that the Church shall be prepared to extend forgiveness, so soon as she is fully satisfied as to his penitence. In this department, I find a lack of wisdom on the part of the ancient bishops; and indeed they ought not to be excused, but on the contrary, we ought rather to mark their error, that we may learn to avoid it. Paul is satisfied with the repentance of the offender, that a reconciliation may take place with the Church. They, on the other hand, by making no account of his repentance, have issued out canons as to repentance during three years, during seven years, and in some cases during life. By these they exclude poor unhappy men from the fellowship of the Church. And, in this way, the offender is either alienated the more from the Church, or 2 is induced to practice hypocrisy. But even if the enactment were more plausible in itself, this consideration would, in my view, be enough to condemn it -- that it is at variance with the rule of the Holy Spirit, which the Apostle here prescribes.
Instead of the expression in the sight of Christ, some prefer person, 7 because Paul in that reconciliation was in the room of Christ, 8 and did in a manner represent his person. 9 I am, however, more inclined to understand him as declaring, that he forgives sincerely and without any pretence. For he is accustomed to employ this phrase to express pure and undisguised rectitude. If, however, any one prefers the former interpretation, it is to be observed that the
1 "De ce qu'ils auoyent si longuement nourri ce mal -- heureux en son peche;" -- "Because they had so long encouraged that unhappy man in his sin."
2 "Ou pour le moins;" -- "Or at least."
3 "Plus qu'il est yci demonstré;" -- "Beyond what is here pointed out."
4 "D'vn homme inconstant, et qui est mené de contraires affections;" -- "Of a man that is unsteady, and is influenced by conflicting dispositions."
5 "Ce poure homme le voyans bien confus et abbatu;" -- "This poor man, on seeing him much abashed and overcome."
6 "A ce pecheur;" -- "To this offender."
7 "Aucuns aiment mieux dire, En la personne de Christ;" -- "Some prefer to say, In the person of Christ."
8 "Estoit comme lieutenant de Christ;" -- "Was as it were Christ's lieutenant."
9 Raphelius, in his Semicent. Annot., quotes a passage from Eusebius, (Hist. Eccl. lib. in. cap. 38,) in which he makes mention of the Epistle of Clement,
10 "Tres dangereuse;" -- "Very dangerous."
12 The Hebrew term,