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1 We then, as workers together with him , beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
Ver. 1. As workers together ] Not as coadjutors, but as instruments, such as God is pleased to make use of. See the note on1 Corinthians 3:9; 1 Corinthians 3:9 .
The grace of God in vain, ] That embassy of grace, 2 Corinthians 5:20 ; or that unspeakable gift of Christ, 2 Corinthians 9:15 , which many use as homely as Rachel did her father’s gods, -she hid them in the litter and sat on them; or as that lewd boy in Kett’s conspiracy, who when the king’s pardon was offered the rebels by a herald, he turned toward him his naked posteriors, and used words suitable to that gesture. One standing by discharged a harquebus a upon the body. (Life of K. Edward VI, by Sir John Hay.)
a The early type of portable gun, varying in size from a small cannon to a musket, which on account of its weight was, when used in the field, supported upon a tripod, trestle, or other ‘carriage’, and afterwards upon a forked ‘rest’. The name in German and Flemish meant literally ‘hook-gun’, from the hook cast along with the piece, by which it was fastened to the ‘carriage’; but the name became generic for portable firearms generally in the 16th century, so that the type with the hook was subsequently distinguished as arquebuse à croc: ŒD
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
Ver. 2. Now is the accepted time ] He purposely beats upon the το νυν , because opportunity is headlong, and, if once past, irrecoverable. Some are semper victuri, always alive, as Seneca saith, they stand trifling out their time, and so fool away their salvation. God will not always serve men for a sinning stock. Patientia laesa fit furor. Do we therefore as millers and mariners, who take the gale when it cometh, and make use of it, because they have not the wind in a bottle.
Now is the day of salvation ] And God will not suffer men twice to neglect it. If once past, it will never dawn again. Catch therefore at opportunities, as the echo catcheth the voice, Psalms 27:1 , take the nick of time. God is more peremptory now than ever, Hebrews 2:2-3 .
3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
Ver. 3. Giving no offence ] A minister should be as Absalom was, without blemish from head to foot. His fruit should be, as that of Paradise, fair to the eye and sweet to the taste. A small fault is soon seen in him, and easily either imitated or upbraided. God appointed both the weights and measures of the sanctuary to be twice as large as those of the commonwealth.
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
Ver. 4. In much patience ] Or tolerance, suffering hardship, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.
In afflictions ] Out of which there is little or no use of patience; at least she cannot have her perfect work,James 1:4; James 1:4 .
In necessities ] Want of necessaries.
In distresses ] Such straits as that we are at a stand, and have not whither to turn us, στενοχωριαις ; we are in a little ease, as it were.
5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
Ver. 5. In imprisonment ] Chrysostom saith, he had rather be Paul cast into a prison than Paul rapped up into Paradise.
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
Ver. 6. By pureness ] By lamb-like simplicity or sincerity. Religion loves to lie clean, said one. Godliness must run through our whole lives as the woof doth through the web. See Isaiah 33:14 . No gold or precious stone is so pure as the prudent mind of a pious man, said divine Plato. ουτε χρυσος, ουτε αδαμας ουτως αστραπτει ωσπερ αγαθων ανδρων νοος συμφραδμων ~
7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
Ver. 7. On the right hand, &c. ] Against the world’s both irritamenta and terriculamenta, both allurements and affrightments. Contemptus est a me Romanus et favor et furor, The Roman is despised by me both in gooodwil and anger, saith Luther, when the pope one while enticed him and another while threatened him. When he was offered to be cardinal if he would be quiet, he replied, No, not if I might be pope. When he was told that he should find no favour; Quid vero facere poterunt? (said he) occident? Nunquid resuscitabunt, ut iterum occidant? What will they do? will they kill me? But can they raise me to life again that they may kill me again? Can they kill me the second time? (Epist. ad Spal.)
8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
Ver. 8. By honour and dishonour, &c. ] It is written on heaven doors (said that martyr), "Do well and hear ill." A bad report is the ordinary reward of very well doing; which made Luther wax proud even of his reproach. Superbus fio, said he, quod video nomen pessimum mihi crescere. Jerome also writeth to Augustine, Quod signum maioris gloriae est, omnes haeretici me detestantur, This is my glory, that none of the heretics can give me a good word or look. It was a divine saying of Seneca, No man sets better rate upon virtue than he that loseth a good name to keep a good conscience. Qui boni viri famam perdidit ne conscientiam perderet.
As deceivers ] Aspersed for such, as Christ was, Matthew 27:63 . And Lucian blasphemously termeth him εσκολοπισμενον σοφιστην , the crucified cozener (deceiver).
9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
Ver. 9. As unknown ] To the world, 1 John 3:1-2 . A prince in a strange land is little set by, as not known. Unkent, unkist, as the northern proverb hath it.
Well known ] To those who have spiritual judgment, and can prize a person to his worth, which the world’s wizards cannot do, Isaiah 53:2-3 .
And not killed ] God will have a care of that; he corrects in measure, he smites his not at the root, but in the branches, Isaiah 27:8 . As it is a rule in medicine still to maintain nature, &c., so doth God still keep up the spirits of his people by cordials, Isaiah 57:16 .
10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
Ver. 10. As sorrowful, yet, &c. ] God’s works are usually done in oppositis mediis, in opposing means, as Luther said. Out of the eater he brings meat, &c. This riddle the world understands not. The Fathers observe here, that the apostle brings in the saints’ sorrow with a quasi, as if it were a sorrow in show or conceit only; but when he speaks of their joy, there is no such quasi.
Yet possessing all things ] Godliness hath an αυταρκεια , a self-sufficiency,1 Timothy 6:6; 1 Timothy 6:6 . Cui cum paupertate bene convenit, pauper non est, saith Seneca. A contented man cannot be a poor man especially if a godly man; for what reason? the Father (that Ancient of days) filleth his memory; the Son (the wisdom of the Father) filleth his understanding; the Holy Ghost the Comforter filleth his will; and so he must needs have all that thus hath the haver of all.
11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
Ver. 11. Our mouth is open unto you ] We speak thus freely unto you, out of our deep affection towards you; we even carve you a piece of our heart, we pour forth ourselves in this flood of speech, that thereby ye may take a scantling of our over abundant love to your souls. κεχηνοτες , open mouthed men, are put for fools oftentimes in Lucian and Aristophanes; but in another sense than the apostle here useth it. A large heart maketh a man full in the mouth, as if it sought that way to get out to the thing affected.
12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
Ver. 12. Ye are not straitened in us ] Non habitatis anguste in nobis; so Piscator renders it.
But ye are straitened ] Ye are bankrupts in love, ye comply not, ye do not reciprocate. Plain things will join every point one with another; not so round and rugged things.
13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.
Ver. 13. I speak as unto my children ] Here are soft words, hard arguments. This is the way to win; and that was a sad complaint,2 Corinthians 12:15; 2 Corinthians 12:15 . Love lost is a bitter affliction.
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Ver. 14. Be not unequally yoked ] Dare not saith Mr Ward, to yoke thyself with any untamed heifer that bears not Christ’s yoke. Quam male inaequales veniunt ad aratra iuvenci? (Ovid. Epist.) An ox and an ass might not be coupled together in the law; and hereunto the apostle seems to allude. The doctors of Douay upon Leviticus 19:19 : Here all participation, say they, with heretics and schismatics is forbidden. Philip king of Spain said, He had rather have no subjects than subjects of various religions. And out of a bloody zeal, suffered his eldest son Charles to be murdered by the bloody Inquisition, because he seemed to favour our profession.
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
Ver. 15. What concord hath Christ ] Those moderators that plead for a correspondence with Popery, would make a pretty show if there were no Bible. But if these reconcilers (as Franciscus de Sancta Clara, and his adherents) were the wisest men under heaven, and should live to the world’s end, they would be brought to their wits’ end before they could accomplish this work’s end, to make a reconciliation between Christ and Antichrist, between Rome and us. What harmony or concord, saith our apostle, can be between such they can never fall in, or make music together in one choir.
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them ; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Ver. 16. I will dwell in them ] Gr. ενοικησω εν αυτοις , I will indwell in them. This notes God’s nearest communion with them. He setteth them before his face continually,Psalms 41:12; Psalms 41:12 , as loving to look upon them. The philosopher told his friends, when they came into his little low cottage, The gods are here with me: εντευθεν ουκ απεισι θεοι . God and angels are with his saints.
And walk in them ] As they did in Solomon’s porch, and other walks and galleries about the temple. And hereunto the prophet alludes,Zechariah 3:7; Zechariah 3:7 . The Turks wonder to see a man walk to and fro, and usually ask such whether they be out of their way or out of their wits. (Biddulph.)
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you,
Ver. 17. And be ye separate ] For gross idolatry and for fundamental errors only must we separate. Corruptions grew so great in the Church of Rome, that it justly occasioned first the separation of the Greek Churches from the Latin, and then of the reformed Churches from the Roman. Machiavel observed; that after the thousandth year of Christ, there was nowhere less piety than in those that dwell nearest to Rome. (Disp. de Rep.) And Bellarmine bewails it, That ever since we cried up the pope for antichrist, his kingdom hath not only not increased, but hath greatly decreased. (Lib. iii. de Papa Rom. c. 21.)
And I will receive you ] So you shall be no losers, I will put you into my bosom. God imparteth his sweetest comforts to his in the wilderness,Hosea 2:14; Hosea 2:14 .
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Ver. 18. I will be a Father ] The fundamental, meritorious, impulsive, and final causes of this precious privilege, see set forth, Ephesians 1:5-6 .
Saith the Lord Almighty ] This is added by our apostle to Jeremiah 31:9 . And not without cause; as for authority’ sake, so to intimate that our adoption is a work of God’s almighty power. See that sixfold gradation used by the apostle to set forth this truth,Ephesians 1:19; Ephesians 1:19 , having prayed before that their eyes might be enlightened to see the power that wrought in them.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29