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2 Corinthians 8:1 . Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God. Better to say, It is requisite that I should apprise you of the grace that God has conferred on the churches of Macedonia. Though planted but a few years before, they stood and flourished in every grace; and now their laudable contributions were extended to the poor of distant churches. Truly, he that loveth not, knoweth not God. Worthily are all those fine elucidations of the heart, and liberalities called “the grace of God.”
2 Corinthians 8:7 . Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and as God has withheld no spiritual endowment, see that ye abound in this grace also. A highly elegant and powerful appeal, and worthy of this great master of the human heart. Who could resist when solicited with so much elegance.
2 Corinthians 8:9 . Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. His preëxistence, his divestment to assume the form of a servant, that you might by him inherit eternal glory. Here then is the model of your charity.
2 Corinthians 8:12 . If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted. The Lord never asks what is unreasonable. This virtue shone in the Macedonians, who in the preseding year had contributed above their ability. What a gracious providence, that God should thus provide for the poor and persecuted saints in Judea. Let the righteous ever learn to trust in the tender cares of a Father’s love.
2 Corinthians 8:18 . The brother whose praise is in the gospel. Jerome says this was Luke, but Justin thinks it was Barnabas. Apollos and Silas are also named among critics; but Poole contends that it was Mark who received this honour. The majority however incline to Luke, whose gospel was canonized, and widely circulated. It is remarkable that Poole should contend it was Mark, merely because he was received back into favour. 2 Timothy 4:2.
2 Corinthians 8:23 . Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow- helper concerning you; or of our brethren, the messengers of the churches and the glory of Christ. The Mons testament reads, Et que vous traitterez demême Tite, qui est uni avec moi, et qui travaille comme moi pour votre salut, et nos autres freres qui sont les apotres des eglises, et la gloire de Jesus Christ. “If any of you shall enquire concerning Titus, who alone is with me, and who labours like me for your salvation; and our other brethren, who are the apostles of the churches, and the glory of Jesus Christ.” From these encomiums we learn the duty of honouring ministers, according to the honour that Christ has conferred upon them in all divine endowments, of personal virtues, and labours wearing out life for the salvation of souls. If you, oh christians, lower your ministers, you lower the Saviour, and destroy religion.
Charity is the character of God, and charity is the badge of all his people. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. The saints in Macedonia were now severely pressed with persecution, and much poorer than those of Achaia; yet when they heard of the sufferings and poverty of the churches in Judea, who suffered alike from jews and heathens, they were the foremost, and of their own accord, to help the brethren whom they had never seen. Love makes the family of Jesus all one; the rich and the poor, the stranger and the servant, all taste the sweets of heavenly friendship and brotherhood in Christ.
The Macedonian charity was accompanied with much of grace. They pressed the apostles to take even more than had been solicited. Having first given themselves to the Lord, they deemed it a small object to honour him with their substance. It is a genuine mark of piety, when men contribute willingly to the gospel, and to the wants of the church; and that not barely as ministers hope, but often to surpass their expectation.
Christ is the grand model and pattern of charity to his church. He was rich in coëqual glory and essence with the Father, yet for our sakes he became poor, so as not to have where to lay his head, that we might be enriched with every covenant blessing, and with eternal glory. Who then, when ministers and saints are short of food and raiment, can withhold his hand? Who can build a fine house, purchase sumptuous furniture, and aggrandize his family, while he gives only a bare pittance to the cause of piety? On what ground does this man hope for a seat at Christ’s right hand, whose whole life was charity? On the other hand, a truly good man will give as God shall prompt the first thought of his heart; and the cheerfulness with which he gives is more than the gift. Christians, being one body and one spirit, are bound to help the gospel in dark corners of the land, and in distant nations. What, shall a city receive a confluence of wealth from the country, and be the emporium of colonial produce, and not assist the poor villages, and distressed cases, where the poor have nothing but what they dearly earn? Surely we should think of these, and give them the parings of commercial redundance.
Ministers who thus preach, suffer, and help the churches, are in brotherhood with the holy apostles, and called the glory of Christ. If the honour of a king consist in the fidelity and valour of his subjects, what king had ever subjects that suffered and laboured like the first planters of christianity? Whoever loved a sovereign as the martyrs loved Christ?
Hence they deserve the honour and esteem of the churches.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent