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9. Sowing Generously

For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: 2For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. 3Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: 4Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. 5Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness. 6But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; 13Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection into the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; 14And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. 15Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

10. He that supplieth. A beautieth circumlocution, in place of the term God, and full of consolation. 724724     “The words ὁ ἐπιχορηγῶν βρῶσιν are a periphrasis of God (i.e., the Good Being) ‘who giveth us all things richly to enjoy.’ It is formed on Isaiah 55:10.” — Bloomfield. — Ed. For the person that sows seed in the proper season, appears when reaping to gather the fruit of his labor and industry, and sowing appears as though it were the fountainhead from which food flows forth to us. Paul opposes this idea, by maintaining that the seed is afforded and the food is furnished by the favor of God even to the husbandmen that sow, and who are looked upon as supporting themselves and others by their efforts. There is a similar statement in Deuteronomy 8:16,18

God fed thee with manna — food which thy fathers knew not: lest perhaps when thou hast come into the land which he shall give thee, thou shouldst say, My hand and my strength have gotten, me this wealth; for it is the Lord that giveth power to get wealth, etc.

Supply Here there are two different readings, even in the Greek versions. For some manuscripts render the three verbs in the future — will supply, will multiply, will increase. 725725     “The Vatican MS. reads with the futures — χορηγήσει (will supply,) πληθύνεῖ, (will supply,) and αὐξήσει, (will increase) ” — Penn.Ed. In this way, there would be a confirmation of the foregoing statement, for it is no rare thing with Paul to repeat the same promise in different words, that it may be the better impressed upon men’s minds. In other manuscripts these words occur in the infinitive mood, and it is well known that the infinitive is sometimes used in place of the optative. I rather prefer this reading, both because it is the more generally received one, and because Paul is accustomed to follow up his exhortations with prayers, entreating from God what he had previously comprised in his doctrine; though at the same time the former reading would not be unsuitable.

Bread for food He mentions a two-fold fruit of the blessing of God upon us — first, that we have sufficiency for ourselves for the support of life; and, secondly, that we have something to lay up for relieving the necessities of others. For as we are not born for ourselves merely, 726726     Our Author has here very probably in his eye a celebrated passage in Horace — “Nos numerus sumus, et fruges consumere nati;” — “We do but add to the numbers of mankind, and seem born only to consume the fruits of the earth.” (Hot. Ep. 1:2, 27.) — Ed. so a Christian man ought neither to live to himself, nor lay out what he has, merely for his own use.

Under the terms seed, and fruits of righteousness, he refers to alms. The fruits of righteousness he indirectly contrasts with those returns that the greater number lay up in cellars, barns, and keeping-places, that they may, every one of them, cram in whatever they can gather, nay, scrape together, so as to enrich themselves. By the former term he expresses the means of doing good; by the latter the work itself, or office of love; 727727     “L’assistance laquelle on fait par charite;” — “The assistance which one gives in love.” for righteousness is taken here, by synecdoche, to mean beneficence. “May God not only supply you with what may be sufficient for every one’s private use, but also to such an extent, that the fountain of your liberality, ever flowing forth, may never be exhausted!” If, however, it is one department of righteousness — as assuredly it is not the least 728728     “Comme a la verite s’en est vne des prineipales;” — “As in truth it is one of the chief’.” — to relieve the necessities of neighbors, those must be unrighteous who neglect this department of duty.


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