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2 Corinthians 7:11-16

11. In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

11. Modis omnibus comprobastis vos puros esse in negotio.

12. Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.

12. Itaque si scripsi vobis, non eius causa qui laeserat, neque eius causa qui laesus fuerat, scripsi: sed ut palam fieret stadium vestrum pro nobis apud vos, (vel, stadium nostrum in nobis erga vos,) in conspectu Dei.

13. Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

13. Idcirco consolatione vestri: quin uberius etiam gavisi sumus ob gaudium Titi, quod refocillatus sit eius spiritus ab omnibus vobis.

14. For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.

14. Quodsi quid apud illum de vobis gloriatus sum, non fuerim pudefactus: sed ut omnia in veritate loquuti sumus vobis, ita et gloriatio nostra apud Titum veritas facta est.

15. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

15. Et viscera eius maiorem in modum erga vos affecta sunt: dum memoria repetit vestram omnium obedientiam, quemadmodum cum timore et tremore exceperitis eam.

16. I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things

16. Gaudeo, quod vobis in omnibus confidam.


11. Ye have approved yourselves to be clear. The Old Interpreter reads, “Ye have shown yourselves.” Erasmus renders it, “Ye have commended yourselves.” I have preferred a third rendering, which appeared to me to suit better — that the Corinthians showed by clear evidences, that they were in no degree participants in the crime, with which they had appeared, from their connivance, to have had some connection. What those evidences were, we have already seen. At the same time, Paul does not altogether clear them, but palliates their offense. For the undue forbearance, which they had exercised, was not altogether free from blame. He acquits them, however, from the charge of concurrence. 653653     “Il les absout quant a ce qu’on lent pouuoit obiecter qu’ils auoyent consenti a ce mesfait;” — “He acquits them in so far as it might be alleged that they had concurred in that crime.” We must farther observe, that he does not acquit all of them without exception, but merely the body of the Church. For it may readily be believed, that some were concerned in it, and countenanced it; but, while all of them together were involved in disgrace, it afterwards appeared that only a few were in fault.

12. Wherefore if I wrote. He acts as persons are wont to do, that are desirous of a reconciliation. He wishes all past things to be buried, he does not any more reproach them, he does not reprove them for any thing, he does not expostulate as to any thing; in fine, he forgets every thing, inasmuch as he was satisfied with their simply repenting. And, certainly, this is the right way — not to press offenders farther, when they have been brought to repentance. For if we still

call their sins to remembrance, (1 Kings 17:18,)

it is certain that we are actuated by malevolence, rather than by pious affection, or a desire for their welfare. These things, however, are said by Paul by way of concession, for, unquestionably, he had followed up the offense that he had taken, and had felt desirous that the author of this offense should be chastised, but now he puts his foot upon what had been in some degree offensive. “I am now desirous, that whatever I have written may be looked upon as having been written with no other view, than that you might perceive your affection towards me. As to all other things, let us now leave them as they are.” Others explain it in this way, — that he had not regard to one individual in particular, but consulted the common advantage of all. The former interpretation, however, is the more natural one.

Your concern for us. As this reading occurs very generally in the Greek versions, I have not ventured to go so far as to erase it, though at the same time in one ancient manuscript the reading is ἡμων, (of us,) 654654     “Some (as Newcome and Wakefield) would read, from several MSS., and Versions, Fathers, and early editions, including that of R. Stephens τὴν σπονδὴν ὑπερ ἡμῶν, (your care for us) But though produces a sense, yet it is one far-fetched and jejune, which does not arise naturally from the subject, and is not so agreeable to the context. The external authority for the reading in question is but slender; the Ed. Princ., and the great bulk of the MSS., having ἡμῶν ὑπερ ὑμῶν,our (care) for you.” — Bloomfield.Ed. and it appears from Chrysostom s Commentaries, that the Latin rendering 655655     The rendering of the Vulgate is as follows: “Solicitudinem nostrum quam habemus pro vobis;” — “Our anxiety which we have for you.” Wiclif, (1380,) following, as usual, the Vulgate, renders it thus: “Our busynesse which we haw for you bifor God.” — Ed. was more commonly received in his times even among the Greeks — that our concern for you might become manifest to you, that is, that it might be manifest to the Corinthians, how much concerned Paul was in regard to them. The other rendering, however, in which the greater part of the Greek manuscripts concur, is, notwithstanding, a probable one. For Paul congratulates the Corinthians on their having learned at length, through means of this test, how they stood affected towards him. “You were not yourselves aware of the attachment that you felt towards me, until you had trial of it in this matter.” Others explain it as referring to the particular disposition of an individual, in this way: “That it might be manifest among you, how much respect each of you entertained for me, and that, through the occurrence of this opportunity, each of you might discover what had previously been concealed in his heart.” As this is not of great moment, my readers are at liberty, so far as I am concerned, to make choice of either; but, as he adds at the same time, in the sight of God, I rather think that he meant this — that each of them, having made a thorough search, as if he had come into the presence of God, 656656     “Ne plus ne moins que s’il eust este deuant Dieu;” — “Neither more nor less than if he had been in the presence of God.” had come to know himself better than before.

13. We received consolation. Paul was wholly intent upon persuading the Corinthians, that nothing was more eagerly desired by him than their advantage. Hence he says, that he had shared with them in their consolation. Now their consolation had been this — that, acknowledging their fault, they did not merely take the reproof in good part, but had received it joyfully. For the bitterness of a reproof is easily sweetened, so soon as we begin to taste the profitableness of it to us.

What he adds — that he rejoiced more abundantly on account of the consolation of Titus, is by way of congratulation. Titus had been overjoyed in finding them more obedient and compliant than could have been expected — nay more, in his finding a sudden change for the better. Hence we may infer, that Paul’s gentleness was anything but flattery, inasmuch as he rejoiced in their joy, so as to be, at the same time, chiefly taken up with their repentance.

14. But if I have boasted any thing to him. He shows indirectly, how friendly a disposition he had always exercised towards the Corinthians, and with what sincerity and kindness he had judged of them; for at the very time that they seemed to be unworthy of commendation, he still promised much that was honorable on their behalf. Here truly we have a signal evidence of a rightly constituted and candid mind, — reproving to their face those that you love, and yet hoping well, and giving others good hopes respecting them. Such sincerity ought to have induced them not to take amiss any thing that proceeded from him. In the mean time, he takes this opportunity of setting before them again, in passing, his fidelity in all other matters. “You have hitherto had opportunity of knowing my candor, so that I have shown myself to be truthful, and not by any means fickle. I rejoice, therefore, that I have now also been found truthful, when boasting of you before others.”

15. His bowels more abundantly. As the bowels are the seat of the affections, the term is on that account employed to denote compassion, love, and every pious affection. 657657     “The word σπλάγχνα,” as is observed by Barnes in his Notes on 2 Corinthians 6:12, “commonly means in the Bible the tender affections. The Greek word properly denotes the upper viscera — the heart, the lungs, the liver. It is applied by Greek writers to denote those parts of victims which were eaten during or after the sacrifice. Hence it is applied to the heart, as the seat of the emotions and passions; and especially the tender affections — compassion, pity, love, etc. Our word bowels is applied usually to the lower viscera, and by no means expresses the idea of the word which is used in Greek.” — Ed. He wished, however, to express emphatically the idea, that while Titus had loved the Corinthians previously, he had been, at that time, more vehemently stirred up to love them; and that, from the innermost affections of his heart. Now, by these words he insinuates Titus into the affections of the Corinthians, as it is of advantage that the servants of Christ should be loved, that they may have it in their power to do the more good. He at the same time encourages them to go on well, that they may render themselves beloved by all the good.

With fear and trembling. By these two words he sometimes expresses simply respect, (Ephesians 6:5,) and this perhaps would not suit ill with this passage, though I should have no objection to view the trembling as mentioned particularly to mean, that, being conscious of having acted amiss, they were afraid to face him. It is true that even those, that are resolute in their iniquities, tremble at the sight of the judge, but voluntary trembling, that proceeds from ingenuous shame, is a sign of repentance. Whichever exposition you may choose, this passage teaches, what is a right reception for the ministers of Christ. Assuredly, it is not sumptuous banquets, it is not splendid apparel, it is not courteous and honorable salutations, it is not the plaudits of the multitude, that gratify the upright and faithful pastor. He experiences, on the other hand, an overflowing of delight, when the doctrine of salvation is received with reverence from his mouth, when he retains the authority that belongs to him for the edification of the Church, when the people give themselves up to his direction, to be regulated by his ministry under Christ’s banners. An example of this we see here in Titus. He at length, in the close, confirms again, what he had previously stated — that he had never been offended to such a degree, as altogether to distrust the Corinthians.

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