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1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
Ver. 1. Our brother ] In the faith, not in the flesh. Sanctior est copula cordis quam corporis,Proverbs 18:24; Proverbs 18:24 .
2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ver. 2. From God the Father ] The Father is the fountain, the Son the conduit, whereby all good things are derived to us.
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Ver. 3. The Father of mercies ] Only it must be remembered that as he is Pater miserationum, so he is Deus ultionum, Psalms 94:1 . As he hath ubera, breasts, so he hath verbera the whip. Christ is girt about the paps with a golden girdle, to show his love, but yet he hath eyes like flaming fire, and feet like burning brass, Revelation 1:13-16 , to look through and keep under his enemies.
The God of all comfort ] It is he that shines through the creature, which else is but as the air without light. It is he that comforteth by the means. It is not the word alone, for that is but as the veins and arteries that convey the blood and spirits. So the Spirit being conveyed by the promises, helpeth the soul to lay itself upon Christ by faith, and so it is comforted. Sometimes comfort comes not by the use of the means till afterwards, that he may have the whole glory: Song of Solomon 3:3 , the Church found not him whom her soul loved, till she was a little past the watchmen. The soul is apt to hang her comforts on every hedge, to shift and shirk in every bycorner for comfort. But as air lights not without the sun, and as fuel heats not without fire; so neither can anything soundly comfort us without God.
" Una est in trepida mihi re medicina, Iehovae
Cor patrium, os verax, omnipotensque manus."
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Ver. 4. By the comfort wherewith ] How forcible are right words, especially when uttered more from the bowels than the brain, and from our own experience; which made even Christ himself a more compassionate High Priest, and Luther such a heart affecting preacher, because from his tender years he was much beaten and exercised with spiritual conflicts, as Melancthon testifieth (in Vita) He was also wont to say, that three things make a preacher, reading, prayer, and temptation. Reading maketh a full man, prayer a holy man, temptation an experienced man.
Wherewith we ourselves are comforted ] Goodness is communicative. Mr Knox, a little before his death, rose out of his bed; and being asked wherefore, being so sick, he would offer to rise? He answered, that he had had sweet meditations of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that night, and now he would go into the pulpit, and impart to others the comforts that he felt in his soul. (Melch. Adam.)
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
Ver. 5. As the sufferings of Christ ] So called, either because the saints suffer for Christ, or because they have him suffering with them, Acts 9:4 . God is more provoked than Nehemiah, Nehemiah 4:3 ; Nehemiah 4:5 .
So our consolation ] As the lower the ebb, the higher the tide, οπου πλεων κοπος, πολυ κερδος, saith Ignatius. The more pain, the more gain. It is to my loss if you bate me anything in my sufferings. As the hotter the day, the greater the dew at night; so the hotter the time of trouble, the greater the dews of refreshing from God.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
Ver. 6. And whether we be afflicted ] Let the wind sit in what corner soever it will, it blows good to. the saints,Song of Solomon 3:10; Song of Solomon 3:10 . Though north and south be of contrary qualities, yet they make the Church’s spices to flow and give forth their scent.
7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
Ver. 7. So shall ye be also, &c. ] Our troubles therefore are compared to the throes of a travailing woman, that tend to a birth, and end in comfort,John 16:21; John 16:21 .
8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
Ver. 8. For we would not, &c. ] It is of great use to know the sufferings that others have sustained before us. The primitive Christians kept catalogues of their martyrs. Dr Taylor the martyr at his death gave his son Thomas a Latin book, containing the sayings and sufferings of the old martyrs, collected by himself. In the English seminaries beyond seas, they have at dinner time their martyrology read, that is, the legend of our English traitors.
We despaired even of life ] God is often better to us than our hopes; he reserves usually his holy hand for a dead lift, he comes in the nick of time, and our extremity is his opportunity. See Trapp on " Luk 18:8 "
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
Ver. 9. But we had the sentence ] Gr. Απολριμα , the answer or denunciation of death. Here we must distinguish between answers of trial and direct answers. This was of the former sort, for Paul died not at that time. When Leyden was so long and so strictly besieged by the Duke of Alva, that they were forced for their sustenance to search and scrape dunghills, &c., and the duke, in the language of blasphemy, threatened the defendants with cruel death, that very night the winds turned, the tide swelled, and the waters came in, and forced him to raise the siege.
That we should not trust ] Hope is never higher elevated than when our state in all men’s eyes is at lowest.
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us ;
Ver. 10. In whom we trust ] Experience breeds confidence. Thou hast, thou shalt, is an ordinary medium made use of by the Psalmist.
11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
Ver. 11. You also helping together ] The best may have benefit by the prayers of the meanest. Melancthon was much cheered and confirmed by the prayers of certain women and children, whom he found tugging with God in a corner for the settling of the reformation in Germany. (Selneccer. Paedagog. Christian.)
12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
Ver. 12. For this is our rejoicing, &c ] He was merry under his load, because his heart was upright. The sincere will well stand under great pressures, because they are sound. Whereas if a bone be broken, or but the skin rubbed up and raw, the lightest load will be grievous.
And godly sincerity ] A fine word he here useth, ειλικρινεια ; and it is a metaphor either from the eagle that trieth her young by holding them forth against the full sight of the sun (so should we the motions of our minds to the word of God); or else from a wise and wary chapman, that holds up the cloth he buys between his eye and the sun. (Arist. Plin.)
13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;
Ver. 13. Than what ye read, &c. ] Or, than what you can both recognize and approve of; for you have known me through and through.
14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Ver. 14. You have acknowledged in part ] q.d. You ought to have done it more fully; but you have been carried away, as ye were led by the false apostles.
15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;
Ver. 15. A second benefit ] Gr. "grace," not converting only, but confirming also. All is but enough.
16 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea.
Ver. 16. And to pass by you ] So indefatigable and unsatisfiable was he in doing God service. Calvin said, Ne decem quidem maria, &c., that it would not grieve him to sail over 10 seas, about a uniform draught for religion.
17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?
Ver. 17. Did I use lightness ] So the false apostles suggested against him. Ministers must carefully clear themselves of suspicions and aspersions cast upon them, either by a verbal or real apology.
18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
Ver. 18. Our word toward you, &c. ] God’s children are all such as will not lie, say and unsay, blow hot and cold with a blast, Isaiah 63:8 . Christianus est, non mentietur, He is a Christian, he will not lie, was an old proverb. Sophronins testifieth of Chrysostom, nunquam eum mentitum fuisse, that he was never taken in a lie.
19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
Ver. 19. For the Son of God ] What is that to the purpose? Thus: if the gospel that Paul preached be not yea and nay, then neither are Paul’s promises yea and nay. This is his intendment, else his inference is nothing. And by that which follows, it reacheth all Christians; q.d. Look what a Christian doth promise, he is bound by the earnest penny of God’s Spirit to perform. He dares no more alter his words to the discredit of his profession than the Spirit of God can lie. (Mr Cotton on the Seven Vials.)
20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Ver. 20. In him are yea and amen ] That is, truth and assurance. They will eat their way over all Alps of opposition, as one speaketh.
21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
Ver. 21. Hath anointed us ] i.e. Consecrated and qualified us.
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Ver. 22. Sealed us ] As the merchant sets his seal upon his goods.
The earnest of the Spirit ] Whereof God should undergo the loss, if he should not give the inheritance, as Chrysostom noteth. The Greeks bought usually repraesentata pecunia, for ready money; and this was to buy Graeca fide; Greek trust, howbeit sometimes they gave earnest: and this αρραβων , or earnest, was (usually) the hundredth part of the whole bargain. See Trapp on " Eph 1:14 "
23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
Ver. 23. I call God to record ] He purgeth himseff by oath. So those, Joshua 22:22 .
24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
Ver. 24. Dominion over your faith ] As masters of your consciences; such as the bridge maker of Rome ( Pontifex Romanus ) will needs be, Revelation 17:1 . The purple whore sitteth upon the nations, i.e. she useth them vilely and basely, sitting upon their consciences. Stephen, king of Polonia, was wont to say that these three things God had reserved to himself: 1. To make something of nothing. 2. To know future events. 3. To have dominion over men’s consciences.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13