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1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:
Ver. 1. The ministering to the saints ] Or the service that ye owe the saints in ministering to their necessities, διακονια . Amadeus, duke of Savoy, Stephanus, king of Hungary, Hooper, bishop of Gloucester, and Doctor Taylor, martyr, are famous for their labour of love in ministering to the saints.
2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
Ver. 2. Was ready ] To wit, in their resolutions; for the collection was not yet made.
And your zeal ] i.e. Your liberal contribntion out of deep affection, and a holy emulation to exceed others in bounty.
3 Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:
4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.
Ver. 4. In this same confident boasting ] Gr. "in this confidence of glorying." A metaphor from. hunters, who confidently expect the beast, and valiantly set upon him. Sic Latini dicunt, subsistere aprum. So the Latins say that the boar stands.
5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
Ver. 5. Not of covetousness ] Non ut extortum aliquid, saith Piscator, vel ut illiberale aliquid. Not as wrung out of you, squeezed out, as verjuice a is out of a crab. Covetous persons part with their penny as with blood out of their hearts. Citius aquam ex pumice, clavam ex manu Herculis extorqueas. God will set off all hearts from such misers, in their misery, that are so unreasonably merciless. Bounty or blessing (for so the Greek word ευλογια signifies) is here fitly opposed to covetousness; and St Paul concludes, that when church contributions are not free and liberal, covetousness is the cause.
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6 But this I say , He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Ver. 6. Which soweth bountifully ] Gr. "that soweth in blessings," εν ευλογιαις ; alluding to Ezekiel 34:26 ; Ecclesiastes 11:1 ; "Cast thy bread upon the water," that is, upon fat and fertile places, loca irrigua. A metaphor from seedsmen, who eat not all, sell not all, but sow some; so should we sow that we have upon the backs and bellies of the poor; sow more of this seed in God’s blessed bosom, the fruit whereof we are sure to reap in our greatest need.
7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give ; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Ver. 7. According as he purposeth ] God straineth upon none. See Leviticus 5:6 ; Leviticus 5:12 ; Leviticus 14:10 ; Leviticus 14:21 ; Leviticus 14:30 . Liberality implieth liberty.
God loveth a cheerful giver ] Dat bene, dat multum, qui dat cum munere vultum. One may give with his hand, and pull it back with his looks.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things , may abound to every good work:
Ver. 8. And God is able ] Fear not therefore lest yourselves should want hereafter, if you should give liberally now. Is not mercy as sure a grain as vanity? Is God like to break?
Having all sufficiency ] He saith not, "superfluity." Enough we shall be sure of, and an honest affluence, if fit for it, and can make us friends with it. Bonus Deus Constantinum magnum tantis terrenis implevit muneribus, quanta optare nullus auderet, saith Austin (De Civit. Dei). God gave Constantine more wealth than heart could wish, and he was no niggard of it to poor Christians.
In all things ] The apostle useth many "alls" on purpose to cross and confute our covetousness, who are apt to think we have never enough.
9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
Ver. 9. He hath dispersed abroad ] General Norice was like that bishop of Lincoln, that never thought he had that thing that he did not give. Of Mr Wiseheart, the Scottish martyr, it is reported, that his charity had never end, night, day, nor noon. He forbare one meal in three, one day in four for the most part to bestow it on the poor. He never changed his sheets but he gave them away.
His righteousness endureth for ever ] Never did a charitable act go away without the retribution of a blessing. See Trapp on " Mat 10:42 "
10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
Ver. 10. And multiply your seed sown. ] He that soweth seemeth to cast away his seed, but he knows he shall receive his with usury. Isaac had a hundred-fold increase. In Egypt, so far as the river Nile watereth, the ground is so fruitful, that they do but throw in the seed, and have four rich harvests in less than four months. Temporalia, Dei servis impensa non pereunt, sed parturiunt. Si dedisses tres aureos, accepisses trecentos, said that bishop of Milan to his servant, that had not given so much to the poor as he had appointed him. (John Manlii, loc. com.) If we never sow we shall never reap, said that good poor minister that bade his wife give three pence (his whole stock) to a poor brother. Another good man having nothing left, and his wife desiring to know how he and his family would live, he answered, he would now put his bond in suit, pray over the promises, and not doubt of the performance. (Rogers.)
11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
Ver. 11. Which causeth through us ] While we not only relieve them, but instruct them, as Bishop Hooper did his board of beggars, as Dr Taylor the martyr did the alms people of Hadleigh, and other poor of his parish. As Giles of Brussels did, ministering wholesome exhortation of sound doctrine to them he relieved, and so eliciting from them many thanksgivings unto God.
12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men ;
Ver. 13. For your professed subjection ] While you testify your faith by your works, as they produced the coats that Dorcas made, to prove her a devout woman; and as,Numbers 13:26; Numbers 13:26 , it appeared by the fruits it was a good land. Heathens acknowleged that no people in the world did love one another so as Christians did.
14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.
Ver. 14. And by their prayer for you ] A poor Christian’s prayers cannot be bought too dearly. "I will restore comfort to him, and to his mourners," Isaiah 57:18 . Such can do much with God. Et cum talis fueris, memento mei, saith Bernard to his poor, but pure friend. How heartily prayeth Paul for Onesiphorus, 2 Timothy 1:16 .
15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Ver. 15. For his unspeakable gift ] That is, for Christ, (saith Theophylact, whom Piscator followeth) who is called the gift, by an excellence,John 4:10; John 4:10 , and the benefit, 1 Timothy 6:2 .
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29