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1 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.
Ver. 1. That I would not come again ] Ille dolet quoties cogitur esse ferox. It goes as much against the heart of a good minister as against the hair with his people, if he say or do anything to their grief. It is no pleasure to him to fling daggers, to speak millstones, to preach damnation, &c. But there is a cruel leniency, as was that of Eli to his sons; and evil men must be sharply rebuked, that they may be sound in the faith, Titus 1:13 .
2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?
Ver. 2. But the same which is made, &c. ] Nothing can cure a faithful minister of his cordolium, of his heart’s grief, but his people’s amendment. "Now we live if ye stand fast in the Lord," 1 Thessalonians 3:8 , else we are all amort, a and you kill the very hearts of us.
a In the state or act of death; lifeless, inanimate; fig. spiritless, dejected. ŒD
3 And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.
Ver. 3. Of whom I ought to rejoice ] Nothing sticks a man more than the unkindness of a friend, than expectation of love dashed and disappointed. All evils, as elements, are most troublesome, when out of their proper place, as impiety in professors; injustice in judges; unkindness or untowardness in a people toward their pastor, &c.
4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
Ver. 4. With many tears ] Non tam atramento, quam lachrymis chartas illevit, saith Lorinus. in Act 22:19 St Paul’s Epistles were written rather with tears than with ink.
5 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.
Ver. 5. Have caused grief ] Wicked livers are Hazaels to the godly, and draw many sighs and tears from them. Lot’s righteous soul was set upon the rack by the filthy Sodomites. Jeremiah weeps in secret for Judah’s sins. Paul cannot speak of those belly gods with dry eyes,Philippians 3:18; Philippians 3:18 .
6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
Ver. 6. Sufficient to such a man ] The Novatians therefore were out, that refused to receive in those that repented of their former faults and follies. The Papists burnt some that recanted at the stake, saying, that they would send them out of the world while they were in a good mind.
7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him , and comfort him , lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
Ver. 7. Should be swallowed up ] It was a saying of Mr Philpot, martyr, Satan goes about to mix the detestable darnel of desperation with the godly sorrow of a pure penitent heart.
With overmuch grief ] Some holy men (as Master Leaver) have desired to see their sin in the most ugly colours, and God hath heard them; but yet his hand was so heavy upon them therein, that they went always mourning to their graves; and thought it fitter to leave it to God’s wisdom to mingle the portion of sorrow, than to be their own choosers. (Dr Sibbs, on Psa 42:5 ) It is a saying of Austin, Let a man grieve for his sin, and then joy for his grief. Sorrow for sin, if it so far exceed, as that thereby we are disabled for the discharge of our duties, it is a sinful sorrow, yea, though it be for sin.
8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
Ver. 8. Confirm your love, &c. ] Gr. κυρωσαι , ratify it, and declare it authentic, as it were in open court, and by public sentence, as Gal 3:15 and that at mine instance, as an advocate, παρακαλω .
9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
Ver. 9. Whether ye be obedient ] First to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God,2 Corinthians 8:5; 2 Corinthians 8:5 . ConferHebrews 13:17; Hebrews 13:17 ; Isaiah 50:10 .
10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it , for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
Ver. 10. To whom ye forgive ] Or, gratify. Mercy is that we must mutually lend and borrow one of another. Let the rigid read Galatians 6:1 .
11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Ver. 11. Lest Satan ] That wily merchant, that greedy bloodsucker, that devoureth not widows’ houses, but most men’s souls, see 2 Corinthians 2:7 . πλεονεκτηθωμεν .
For we are not ignorant ] He is but a titular Christian that hath not personal experience of Satan’s stratagems, νοηματα , his set and composed machinations, his artificially moulded methods, his plots, darts, depths, whereby he outwitted our first parents, and fits us a penny’s worth still, as he sees reason.
12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,
Ver. 12. A door was opened ] An opportunity offered. Where the master sets up a light, there is some work to be done; where he sends forth his labourers, there is some harvest to be gotten in.
13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
Ver. 13. I had no rest, &c. ] Gr. ανεσιν , no relaxation, viz. from my former cares and anxieties about you, because he was not yet returned to tell me how it was with you, 2 Corinthians 7:6 . God’s comforts are either rational, fetched from grounds which faith ministereth; or real, from the presence of comfortable persons or things.
14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
Ver. 14. Now thanks be to God ] Deo gratias was ever in Paul’s mouth, ever in Austin’s; and a thankful man is ever ready with his present, as Joseph’s brethren were, Genesis 43:26 .
Causeth us to triumph ] Maketh us more than conquerors, even triumphers; while he rides upon us as upon his white horses, all the world over, "conquering and to conquer," Revelation 6:2 .
15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
Ver. 15. A sweet savour ] The Church is the mortar, preaching the pestle, the promises are the sweet spices, which being beaten, yield a heavenly and supernatural smell in the souls of the godly hearers. (Bifield on 1Pe 2:1-25 )
16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
Ver. 16. The savour of death ] Aristotle writeth, that vultures are killed with oil of roses. Swine (saith Pliny) cannot live in some parts of Arabia, by reason of the sweet scent of aromatical trees there growing in every wood. Tigers are enraged with perfumes. Vipera interficitur palmis, Snakes are killed with palm dates, saith Pausanias. Moses killed the Egyptian, saved the Israelite. Obededom was blessed for the ark, the Philistines were cursed. The sun of the gospel shining upon one that is ordained to eternal life reviveth and quickeneth him; but lighting upon a child of death it causeth him to stink more abominably. Gregory in his Morals saith that "this word is like the planet Venus, which unto some is Lucifer, a bright morning star arising in their hearts, whereby they are roused up, and stirred from iniquity; but to the other is Hesperus, an evening star, whereby they are brought to bed, and laid asleep in impiety." Oecumenius tells us, that the fragrance of precious ointment is wholesome for doves, but kills the beetle, columbam vegetal, scarabaeum necat, &c.
And who is sufficient ] And yet now who is it almost that thinks not himself sufficient for that sacred and tremendous function of the ministry "Who am I?" saith Moses; "Who am I not?" saith our upstart. Bradford was hardly persuaded to become a preacher. Latimer leaped when he laid down his bishopric, being discharged, as he said, of such a heavy burthen. Luther was wont to say, that if he were again to choose his calling, he would dig, or do anything rather than take upon him the office of a minister; so said reverend Mr Whately of Banbury once in my hearing.
17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
Ver. 17. Which corrupt the word ] Gr. καπηλευοντες , which huckster it, by handling it craftily and covetously, not serving the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies; as those popish trencher flies and our court parasites, who served for false glasses, to make bad faces look fair, and doubted not to adulterate the milk of the word, to the hurt of men’s souls.
In the sight of God ] It is impossible to speak as in God’s presence, and not sincerely; such as do so are not acquainted with that "holy hypocrisy" commended in Dominic the founder of the Dominican friars (Vincent. Belnac. Episc. in hist. Sancti Dom.), whom he was wont to admonish, to feign themselves more virtuous than indeed they were, when they came in company with the laity, that they might get the more respect to themselves and to their doctrine. This was one of the "devil’s depths," τα βαθη του Σατανα , Revelation 2:24 ; whereunto God’s faithful ministers are perfect strangers.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 2". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13