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TEXT. before God, in Christ; but we do all things, dearly beloved, for
your edifying. 20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I
would, and that I shall be found unto you, such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
PARAPHRASE. upon my mentioning my sending of Titus to you, think that I apologize for my not coming myself: I speak, as in the presence of God, and as a christian, there is no such thing: in all my whole carriage towards you,
beloved, all that has been done, has been done only for
your edification. No, there is no need of an apology 20 for my not coming to you sooner : For I fear, when I
do come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that you will find me such as you would not: I am afraiil, that among you there are disputes, envyings, animosities, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings of mind,
NOTE. tion of himself and his apostleship by his past actions, ver. 13, he had it in his thoughts to tell them, how he would deal with the false apostle, and his adherents, when he came, as he was ready now to do. And, therefore, solemnly begins, ver. 14, with “ behold;" and tells them now, “ the third time," he was ready to come to them, to which joining, (what was much upon his mind) that he would not be burdensome to them, when he came, this suggested to his thoughts an objection, viz. that this personal shyness in him was but cunning; for that he designed to draw gain from them, by other hands. From which he clears himself, by the instance of Titus, and the brother, whom he had sent together to them, who were as far from receiving any thing from them, as he himself. Titus and his other messenger being thus mentioned, he thought it necessary to obviate another suspicion, that might be raised in the minds of some of them, as if he mentioned the sending of those two, as an apology for his not coming himself. This he disclaims utterly; and to prevent any thoughts of that kind, solemnly protests to theni, that, in all his carriage to them, he had done nothing but for their edification; nor had any other aim, in any of his actions, but purely that; and that he forbore coming merely out of respect and good-will to them. So that all, from “ Behold, this third time, I am ready “ to come to you," ver. 14, to " this third time I am coming to you," chap. xiii. 1, must be looked on, as an incident discourse, that fell in occasionally, though tending to the same purpose with the rest; a way of writing very usual with
our apostle, and with other writers, who abound in quickness and variety of thoughts, as he did. Such men are often, by new matter rising in their way, put by from what they were going, and bad begun to say; which, therefure, they are fain to take up again, and continue at a distance: which St. Paul does here, after the interposition of eight verses. Other instances of the like kind may be found in other places of St. Paul's writings,
TEXT. 31 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among
you, and that I shall bewail many, which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and forvication, and Lasciviousness, which they have committed.
PARAPHRASE. 21 disturbances : And that my God, when I come to you
again, will humble mé amongst you, and I shall bewail many, who have formerly sinned, and have not yet repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lasciviousness, whereof they are guilty.
SECT. IV. No. 9.
CHAP. XIII. 1-10.
E re-assumes what he was going to say, chap. xii. 14, and tells them, how he intends to deal with them, when he comes to them: and assures them, that, however they ques: tion it, he shall be able, by miracles, to give proof of bis authority and commission froin Christ.
TEXT. 1 This is the third time I am coming to yőu: in the moutlf of
two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 2 I told you before, and foretel you, as if I were present the se
cond time; and, being absent, now I write to them, which here tofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:
PARAPHRASE. 1 Tus is, now, the third time, I am coming to you';
and, when I come, I shall not spare you, having pro ceeded, according to our Saviour's rule, and endeavoured
by fair means, first to reclaim you, before I come to the 2 last extremity. And of this my former epistle; wherein I
TEXT. 3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you
ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.
PARAPHRASE. applied myself to you, and this, wherein I now, as if I were present with you, foretel those, who have formerly sinned, and all the rest, to whom, being now absent, T write, that when I come, I will not spare you. I say, these two letters are my witnesses, according to our Saviour's rule, which says, “ In the mouth of two or three 3 “ witnesses every word shall be established":” Since
you demand a proof of my mission, and of what I deliver, that it is dictated by Christ speaking in me, who must be acknowledged not to be weak to you-ward, but has given sufficient marks of his power amongst you.
NOTE, 2 a « In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” These words seem to be quoted from the law of our Saviour, Matt. xviii. 16, and not from the law of Moses in Deuteronomy; not only because the words are the same with those in St. Matthew, but from the likeness of the case. Deuteronomy, the rule given concerns only judnical trials: in St. Matthew, it is a rule given for the management of persuasion, used for the reclaiming an offender, by fair means before coming to the utmost extremity, which is the case of St. Paul here: in Deuteronomy the judge was to hear the witnesses, Deut. xvii. 6, and xix. 15. In St. Matthew, the party was to hear the witnesses, Matt. xviii. 17, which was also the case of St. Paul here; the witnesses, which he means, that he made use of to persuade them, being his two epistles. That, by witnesses, he means his two epistles, is plain from his way of expressing himself here, where he carefully sets down his telling them twice, viz. “ be“ fore,” in his former episile, chap. iv. 19, and now a “ second time," in his second epistle; and also, by these words, ws Toaçwv TÒ SÚtspor," as if I were
present with you a second time." By our Saviour's rule, the offended person was to ga twice to the offender; and therefore St. Paul says, “ as if I were " with you a second time," counting his letters, as two personal applications to them, as our Saviour directed should be done, before coming to rougher means. Scme take the witnesses to be the three messengers, by whom his first epistle is supposed to be sent. But this would not be, according to the method prescribed by our Saviour, in the place from which St. Paul takes the words he uses: for there were no witnesses to be made use of, in the first application: neither, if those had been the witnesses ineant, would there have been any need for St. Paul, so carefully and expressly, to have set down ws a apoy tò dótspor, " as if present a second time," words which, in that case, would be superAuous. 'Besides, those three men are no where mentioned to have been sent by him, to persuade them, nor the corinthians required to hear them, or reproved for not having done it: and lastly, they could not be better witnesses of St. Paul's endeavours twice to gain the corinthians, by fair means, before he proceeded to severity, than the epistlės themselvesi
TEXT. 4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he lireth by
the power of God: for we also are weak in him, but we shall
live, with him, by the power of God towards you. 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own
selves: know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in
you, except ye be reprobates ? 6 But I trust that ye shall know, that we are not reprobates. 7 Now I pray to God, that ye do no evil; not that we should ap.
pear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.
PARAPHRASE. 4. For, though his crucifixion and death were with appear
ance of weakness; yet he liveth with the manifestation
of the power of God, appearing in my punishing you. 5 You examine me, whether I can, by any miraculous ope
ration, give a proof, that Christ is in me. Pray, examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; make a trial upon yourselves, whether you yourselves are not somewhat destitute of proofs. Or, are you so little acquaint
ed with yourselves, as not to know, whether Christ be in 6 you? But, if you do not know yourselves, whether you
can give proofs or no, yet I hope, you shall know, that I 7 am not unable to give proof of Christ in me. But I
pray to God that you may do no evil, wishing not for an opportunity to show my proofs : but that you, doing what is right, I may be, as if I had no proofs“, no supernatural
NOTES. 4 \ 'Eg áo beveias, “ through weakness," ix durduews Ozē, “ by the power “ of God," I have rendered “ with the appearance of weakness, and with " the manifestation of the power of God;" which I think, the sense of the place, and the style of the apostle, will justify. St. Paul, sometimes, uses the Greek prepositions, in a larger sense than that tongue ordinarily allows. Far. ther, it is evident, that iź, joined to áo beveices, has not a casual signification; and therefore, in the antithesis, ix durée uews Osè, it cannot be taken casually. And it is usual for St. Paul, in such cases, to continue the same word, though it happens, sometimes, seemingly to carry the sense another way. In short, the meaning of the place is this: Though Christ, in his crucifixion, appeared weak and despicable; yet he “now lives, to show the power of Gud, in the miracles, “ and mighty works, which he does: so I, though I, by my sufferings and in “ firmities, appear weak and contemptibie; yet shall I live to show the power • of God, in punishing you miraculously.'
5, 6, 7 c 'Adóropeone translated here « reprobates," 'tis plain in these three verses has no such signification, reprobation being very remote from the argue TEXT. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this
also we wish, even your perfection. - 10 Therefore I write these things, being abeent; lest, being present,
I should use sharpness, according to the power, which the Lord hath given mne, to edification, and not to destruction.
8 power. For, though I have the power of punishing su
pernaturally, I cannot show this power upon any of you,
unless it be that you are offenders, and your punishment 9 be for the advantage of the gospel. I am, therefore,
glad, when I am weak, and can inflict no punishment upon you; and you are so strong, i.e. clear of faults, that ye cannot be touched. For all the power I have is only for promoting the truth of the gospel; whoever are faithful and obedient to that, I can do nothing to; I cannot make examples of them, by all the extraordi
nary power I have, if I would: nay, this also I wish, 10 even your perfection. These things, therefore, I write
to you, being absent, that when I come, I may not use severity, according to the power which the Lord hath given me, for edification, not for destruction.
NOTE. ment the apostle is here upon; but the word à Sóxou is here used for one that cannot give proof of Christ being in him; one that is destitute of a supernatural power: for thus stands St. Paul's discourse, ver. 3, it si dozouny Smleite, ver. 6, grécrcbe őtt ex a doxicos louin, “ Since you seek a proof, you shall know, that * Į am not destitute of a proof.”