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8. Generosity Encouraged

Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 6Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 7Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 10And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. 16But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. 17For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. 18And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; 19And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: 20Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: 21Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you. 23Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. 24Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

20. Avoiding this, 694694     The original word, στελλόμενοι, sometimes signifies the furling or altering of the sails of a ship, to change her course, that she may avoid rocks, or other dangers lying in her way. Here it is used in a metaphorical sense for taking care, that no one should find fault with the Apostle, as unfaithful in the management of the collections.” — M’Knight. The verb is employed in substantially the same sense by Plutarch: οἱ κατὰ ψυχὴν χειμῶνες βαρύτεροι στείλασθαι τὸν ἄνθρωπον οὐκ ἐω̑ντες οὐδὲ ἐπιστὢσαι τεταραγμένον τὸν λογισμὸν —”The tempests of the mind are more severe — not allowing a man to shift his course, or to calm down troubled reason.” — (Plut. tom. 2 p. 501.) — Ed. that no one Lest any one should think, that the Churches had an unfavorable opinion of Paul, as if it had been from distrusting his integrity that they had associated partners with him, as persons that are suspected are wont to have guards set over them, he declares that he had been the adviser of this measure, with the view of providing against calumnies. Here some one will ask, “Would any one have been so impudent, as to venture to defame with even the slightest suspicion the man, whose fidelity must have been, in all quarters, beyond every surmise?” I answer, Who is there that will be exempt from Satan’s bite, when even Christ himself was not spared by them? Behold, Christ is exposed to the reproaches 695695     “Aux reproches et calomnies;” — “To the reproaches and calumnies.” of the wicked, and shall his servants be in safety? (Matthew 10:25.) Nay rather, the more upright a person is, in that proportion does Satan assail him by every kind of contrivance, if he can by any means shake his credit, for there would arise from this a much greater occasion of stumbling. 696696     “Car le scandale qui procederoit de la, seroit beaucoup plus grand que si cela estoit aduenu a vn autre;” — “For the offense that would arise from that would be much greater than if this had happened to another.” Hence the higher the station in which we are placed, we must so much the more carefully imitate Paul’s circumspection and modesty. He was not so lifted up, as not to be under control equally with any individual of the flock. 697697     “Il n’estoit point si arrogant, qu’il ne voulust bien estre admoneste et censure aussi bien que le plus petit de la bande;” — “He was not so arrogant, as not to be quite willing to be admonished and censured equally with the humblest of the band.” He was not so self-complacent, as to think it beneath his station to provide against calumnies. Hence he prudently shunned dangers, and used great care not to furnish any wicked person with a handle against him. And, certainly, nothing is more apt to give rise to unfavorable surmises, than the management of public money.

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