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18And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.


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18. But we all, with unveiled face. I know not how it had come into the mind of Erasmus, to apply to ministers exclusively, what is evidently common to all believers. The word κατοπτριζεσθαι, it is true, has a double signification among the Greeks, for it sometimes means to hold out a mirror to be looked into, and at other times to look into a mirror when presented. 417417     “It is made use of in the former sense by Plutarch, (2. 894. D.) It is more frequently employed in the latter signification. Thus Plato says, Τοις μεθυουσι συνεβουλευε κατοπτριζεσθαι — “He advised drunken persons to look at themselves in a mirror.” So also Diogenes Laert. (in Socrate) Ηξιου δε τους νεους συνεχως κατοπτριζεσθαι. He thought that young men should frequently look at themselves in a mirror. — Ed. The old interpreter, however, has correctly judged, that the second of these is the more suitable to the passage before us. I have accordingly followed his rendering. 418418     Wiclif (1380) following, as he is wont to do, the Vulgate, renders as follows: “And alle we that with open face seen the glorie of the Lord.” Calvin’s rendering, it will be observed, is — “In speculo conspicientes;” — “beholding in a mirror.” — Ed. Nor is it without good reason, that Paul has added a term of universality — “We all,” says he; for he takes in the whole body of the Church. It is a conclusion that suits well with the doctrine stated previously — that we have in the gospel a clear revelation from God. As to this, we shall see something farther in the fourth chapter.

He points out, however, at the same time, both the strength of the revelation, and our daily progress. 419419     “Le proufit ou auancement que nous sentons en cela tous les iours;” — “The profit or advancement, which we experience in it every day.” For he has employed such a similitude to denote three things: first, That we have no occasion to fear obscurity, when we approach the gospel, for God there clearly discovers to us His face; 420420     “Car là Dieu se descouure à nous face à face;” — “For God there discovers Himself to us face to face.” secondly, That it is not befitting, that it should be a dead contemplation, but that we should be transformed by means of it into the image of God; and, thirdly, that the one and the other are not accomplished in us in one moment, but we must be constantly making progress both in the knowledge of God, and in conformity to His image, for this is the meaning of the expression — from glory to glory

When he adds, — as by the Spirit of the Lord, he again reminds of what he had said — that the whole excellence of the gospel depends on this, that it is made life-giving to us by the grace of the Holy Spirit. For the particle of comparison — as, is not employed to convey the idea of something not strictly applicable, but to point out the manner. Observe, that the design of the gospel is this — that the image of God, which had been effaced by sin, may be stamped anew upon us, and that the advancement of this restoration may be continually going forward in us during our whole life, because God makes his glory shine forth in us by little and little.

There is one question that may be proposed here. “Paul says, that we behold God’s face with an unveiled face, 421421     Granville Penn renders the verse as follows: “And we all, looking, as in a glass, at the glory of the Lord with his face unveiled,” and adds the following note: “St. Paul contrasts the condition of the Jews, when they could not fix their eyes on the glory of the unveiled face of Moses, with the privilege of Christians, who are empowered to look, as in a mirror, on the open and unveiled face of Christ; and in that gazing, to be transformed into the same glorious image: The ‘unveiled face,’ therefore, is that of our Lord, not that of the beholder.” — Ed. while in the former Epistle we find it stated, that we do not, for the present, know God otherwise than through a mirror, and in an obscure manner.” In these statements there is an appearance of contrariety. They are, however, by no means at variance. The knowledge that we have of God for the present is obscure and slender, in comparison with the glorious view that we shall have on occasion of Christ’s last coming. At the same time, He presents Himself to us at present, so as to be seen by us, and openly beheld, in so far as is for our advantage, and in so far as our capacity admits of. 422422     “Tis not a change only into the image of God with slight colors, an image drawn as with charcoal; but a glorious image even in the rough draught, which grows up into greater beauty by the addition of brighter colors: Changed (saith the Apostle, 2 Corinthians 3:18) into the same image from glory to glory: glory in the first lineaments as well as glory in the last lines.” — Charnock’s Works, volume 2, p. 209. — Ed. Hence Paul makes mention of progress being made, inasmuch as there will then only be perfection.




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