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1. God of All Comfort

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: 2Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. 8For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 11Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

12For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 13For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end; 14As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

15And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; 16And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea. 17When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? 18But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 21Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 23Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. 24Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

12. For our glorying is this. He assigns a reason why his preservation should be a subject of interest to all — that he had conducted himself 258258     “We have had our conversation (ἀνεστράφημεν.) The verb ἀναστρέφω, is compounded of ἀνὰ, again, and στρέφω, to turn — a continual coming back again to the point from which he set out — a circulation — beginning, continuing, and ending everything to the glory of God; setting out with divine views, and still maintaining them; beginning in the Spirit, and ending in the Spirit; acting in reference to God, as the planets do in reference to the sun, deriving all their light, heat, and motion from him; and incessantly and regularly revolving round him. Thus acted Paul: thus acted the primitive Christians; and thus must every Christian act who expects to see God in his glory.” — Dr. Adam Clarke. — Ed. among them all in simplicity and sincerity He deserved, therefore, to be dear to them, and it would have been very unfeeling not to be concerned in reference to such a servant of the Lord, that he might be long preserved for the benefit of the Church. “I have conducted myself before all in such a manner, that it is no wonder if I have the approbation and love of all good men.” He takes occasion from this, however, for the sake of those to whom he was writing, to make a digression for the purpose of declaring his own integrity. As, however, it is not enough to be approved of by man’s judgment, and as Paul himself was harassed by the unjust and malignant judgments of some, or rather by corrupt and blind attachments, 259259     “Par les affections qu’ils portoyent à d’autres pour des raisons friuoles, et quasi sans scauoir pourquoy;” — “By attachments that they cherished towards others on trivial grounds, and in a manner without knowing why.” he adduces his own conscience as his witness — which is all one as though he had cited God as a witness, or had made what he says matter of appeal to his tribunal.

But how does Paul’s glorying in his integrity comport with that statement,

He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord?
(2 Corinthians 10:17.)

Besides, who is so upright 260260     “Qui est celuy, tant pur et entier soit il?” — “Where is the man, be he ever so pure and perfect?” as to dare to boast in the presence of God? In the first place, Paul does not oppose himself to God, as though he had anything that was his own, or that was from himself. Farther, he does not place the foundation of his salvation in that integrity to which he lays claim, nor does he make confidence in that the ground of his dependence. Lastly, he does not glory in God’s gifts in such a way as not at the same time to render all the glory to him as their sole Author, and ascribe everything to him. 261261     “Et rapporte toutes choses a sa bonte;” — “And ascribes everything to his goodness.” These three exceptions lay a foundation for every godly person glorying on good grounds in all God’s benefits; while the wicked, on the other hand, cannot glory even in God, except on false and improper grounds. Let us therefore, first of all, acknowledge ourselves to be indebted to God for everything good that we possess, claiming no merit to ourselves. Secondly, let us hold fast this foundation — that our dependence for salvation be grounded exclusively on the mercy of God. Lastly, let us repose ourselves 262262     “Arrestons nous et reposons du tout;” — “Let us stay ourselves, and wholly repose.” in the sole author of every blessing. Then in that there will be a pious 263263     “Bonne et saincte;” — “Good and holy.” glorying in every kind of blessing.

That in the simplicity 264264     “The most ancient MSS. read ἁγιοτητι, (holiness) — not ἁπλοτητι, (simplicity.)” — Penn of God. He employs the expression simplicity of God here, in the same way as in Romans 3:23, the glory of God; and in John 12:43, the glory of God and of men. Those who love the glory of men, wish to appear something before men, or to stand well in the opinion of men. The glory of God is what a man has in the sight of God. Hence Paul does not reckon it enough to declare that his sincerity was perceived by men, but adds, that he was such in the sight of God. Εἰλικρινείᾳ (which I have rendered purity) is closely connected with simplicity; for it is an open and upright way of acting, such as makes a man’s heart as it were transparent. 265265     “The word used here εἰλικρινείᾳ and rendered sincerity — denotes properly — clearness, such as is judged of or discerned in sunshine, (εἴλη, sunshine, and κρίνω, to judge,) and thence pureness, integrity. It is most probable that the phrase here denotes that sincerity which God produces and approves; and the sentiment is, that pure religion, the religion of God, produces entire sincerity in the heart. Its purposes and aims are open and manifest, as if seen in the sunshine. The plans of the world are obscure, deceitful, and dark, as if in the night.” — Barnes. The same term is made use of by Paul in 1 Cor. 5:8, and in 2 Corinthians 2:17 On comparing the various instances in which this term is employed by the Apostle, we have occasion to observe the admirable harmony between his exhortations and practice. — Ed. Both terms stand opposed to craft, deception, and all underhand schemes.

Not in fleshly wisdom. There is here a sort of anticipation; for what might be felt to be wanting in him he readily acknowledges, nay more, he openly proclaims, that he is destitute of, but adds, that he is endowed with what is incomparably more excellent — the grace of God “I acknowledge,” says he, “that I am destitute of fleshly wisdom, but I have been furnished with divine influence, and if any one is not satisfied with that, he is at liberty to depreciate my Apostleship. If, on the other hand, fleshly wisdom is of no value, then I want nothing that is not fitted to secure well-grounded praise.” He gives the name of fleshly wisdom to everything apart from Christ, that procures for us the reputation of wisdom. See the first and second chapters of the former epistle. Hence, by the grace of God, which is contrasted with it, we must understand everything that transcends man’s nature and capacity, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which openly manifested the power of God in the weakness of the flesh.

More abundantly towards you Not that he had been less upright elsewhere, but that he had remained longer at Corinth, in order that he might (not to mention other purposes) afford a fuller and clearer proof of his integrity. He has, however, expressed himself intentionally in such a way as to intimate that he did not require evidences that were far-fetched, inasmuch as they were themselves the best witnesses of all that he had said.


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