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Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible Coke's Commentary
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ tcc/ 2-corinthians-11.html. 1801-1803.
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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2 Corinthians 11:1. Would to God ye could bear— Would you could bear. St. Paul modestly calls his speaking in his own defence folly. From this verse to the 6th he shews, that the pretended Apostle, bringing to them no other Saviour or gospel, was not to be preferred before him. See ch. 2 Corinthians 5:12-13.
2 Corinthians 11:2. That I may present you as a chaste virgin— This is greatly illustrated by recollecting, that there was an officer among the Greeks, whose business it was to educate and form young women, especially those of rank and figure, designed for marriage; and then to present them to those who were to be their husbands: and if this officer permitted them, though negligence, to be corrupted before the marriage was completed, great blame would naturally fall upon him.
2 Corinthians 11:3. Lest by any means, &c.— Or, Lest by some means or other, &c. As the success of the serpent against Eve lay in false pretences and insinuations, so the success of the false apostles was owing to deceitful pretensions and insinuations likewise. The simplicity that is in, or rather towards Christ, answers to one husband in the preceding verse; for ενι, one, is not used there without meaning, but plainly implies thus much: "I have formed and fitted you for one person alone, one husband, who is Christ: I am greatly concerned that you may not be drawn aside from that submission, that obedience, that temper of mind, which is due to him; for I hope to put you into his hands, possessed with pure virgin thoughts, wholly fixed on him, not divided, nor roving after any other, that he may take you to wife, and marry you to himself for ever." It is plain that their perverter, who opposed St. Paul, was a Jew, as we have seen. Of all who professed Christianity, the Jews were they who gave St. Paul most trouble and opposition; for they, having set their hearts upon their own religion, endeavoured to blend Judaism and Christianity together. We may suppose the case here to be much the same with that which he more fully expresses in the Epistle to the Galatians, particularly ch. 2Co 1:6-12 ch. 2Co 4:9-18 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-13. The meaning of the place before us seems to be this: "I have taught you the Gospel alone, in its pure and unmixed simplicity, by which only you can be united to Christ; but I fear lest this your new apostle should draw you from it, and that your minds should not adhere singly and simply to what I have taught, but should be corrupted by a mixture of Judaism."
2 Corinthians 11:4. Ye might well bear, &c.— You would kindly, &c.
2 Corinthians 11:6. Rude in speech,— The word ιδιωτης, rendered rude, frequently signifies a private man; one who can speak no better than the generality of his neighbours, being unformed by the rules of eloquence. But whether this sense be applicable to St. Paul, let those judge, who are able to compare his stile with the best Classic writers among the Greeks: let them likewise judge, who are warmed with the pathos and sublimity of his sentiments. To say that this could be his meaning, would, on such a comparison, appear highly absurd; but to apply it to a natural impediment in his speech, is consistent both with the pathos, the sublimity, and correctness of his stile; and is the only sense, I believe, in which it can be understood with the least degree of propriety.
2 Corinthians 11:7. Have I committed an offence— The adverse party made it an argument against St. Paul that he was no apostle, since he took nothing among the Corinthians for his maintenance, 1 Corinthians 9:1-3. Another objection raised against him on this account was, that he loved them not, 2 Corinthians 11:11. This he answers here by giving another reason for so doing. A third allegation was, that it was only a crafty trick in him to catch them, ch. 2Co 12:16 which he answers there.
2 Corinthians 11:8. I robbed other churches,— "I may almost, in this sense, be said to have robbed other churches; so freely have I received from them, at least taking wages as it were of them, for waiting upon you; for indeed I received a kind of stipend from them while I abode at Corinth." The word εσυλησα, rendered robbed, properly signifies, I took the spoils: it is a military term, as is the next also οψωνιον, wages, or rather pay.
2 Corinthians 11:9. I was chargeable to no man:— Beza would render it, I was not idle at another man's expence. The word ναρκη, (whence the original κατεναρκησα,) implies a benumbed inactive state, to which no man seems to have been less obnoxious than St. Paul.
2 Corinthians 11:12. That I will do,— Rather, and will do; so the words stand in the Greek, and do not refer to 2Co 11:10 as a profession of St. Paul's resolution to take nothing from them; but to 2Co 11:11 to which they are joined, shewing that his refusing any reward from them was not out of unkindness, but for another reason;—"What I do, and will do, is, that I may cut off all occasion, &c." The Jews had a maxim among them: "That it was better for their wise men to skin dead beasts for a living, than to ask a maintenance from the generosity of those whom they taught:" But it plainly appears, that whatever the false apostles might boast on this head, there was no foundation for it. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:20. 1 Corinthians 9:12.
2 Corinthians 11:13. For such are false apostles,— They had questioned St. Paul's apostleship, 1 Corinthians 9:0 because of his not taking a maintenance from the Corinthians. He here directly, and without reserve, declares them to be no true apostles.
2 Corinthians 11:16. I say again let no man think, &c.— St Paul goes on in his justification, reflecting upon the carriage of the false apostle towards the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 11:16-21. He compares himself with the false apostle in what he boasts of, as beinga Hebrew, 2Co 11:21-22 or, minister of Christ, 2Co 11:23 and then enlarges upon his labours and sufferings.
2 Corinthians 11:17. That which I speak, &c.— "I do not speak according to any express command, which Christ delivered in his personal ministry (see 1 Corinthians 7:10.): no; I own that he condemned seeking honour one of another, Joh 5:44 which is certainly very criminal, when self-applause is aimed at: but the huge boastings of my enemies, with a design of imposing upon, and perverting you; and their mean insinuations to disparage my apostleship and the pure Gospel of Christ, and so to prevent my usefulness in preaching it, force me to speak with an air of weakness and folly, in this ostentatious appearance of setting forth things which relate to my office."
2 Corinthians 11:20. If a man bring you into bondage, &c.— This is spoken ironically, to express their bearing with the insolence and covetousness of their false apostle. The bondage here meant was subjection to the will of the false apostle, as appears from the following particulars of this verse,—and not subjection to the Jewish rites; for, had that been the case, St. Paul was so zealous against it, that he would have spoken more plainly and warmly, as we see in his Epistle to the Galatians; and not have touched it thus only by the bye, in a doubtful expression. Besides, it is plain that no such thing was yet attempted openly, only St. Paul was afraid of it. See 2 Corinthians 11:3. The meaning of the whole verse is, "You bear with it, if a man bring you into bondage; that is, domineer over you, and use you like his bondmen and slaves: If he make a prey of you, and almost devour you by exorbitant demands; if he make a gain of you, that is, extort presents from you, or entice you to make them; if he exalt himself in the spirit of pride and ambition; if he smite you on the face, that is, if he treat you inthemostcontumelious,disgraceful,anddebasingmanner."Some would render this and the preceding verse (and I think with more force) as follows; 2 Corinthians 11:19. Wise as you are, ye bear with fools gladly, 2 Corinthians 11:20. But, do you bear it, if any man bring you into bondage? If, &c.?
2 Corinthians 11:21. I speak as concerning reproach,— Do I speak this by way of dishonour, as if we ourselves were weak? Surely, in whatsoever any one else may be confident, (I speak it in folly) I also am confident. Doddridge. Heylin renders the verse thus: I speak of disgraces which touch me, as if I had suffered them myself; but in whatsoever any of them dare to boast, (I speak foolishly) I dare the same.
2 Corinthians 11:22. Are they Hebrews?— Mr. Locke observes, that though the Apostle makes use of the plural number they, it is his opinion that he means but one person; as after, when he says we, he means only himself, using the plural number out of delicacy. "Are they Hebrews by language? says the Apostle, capable of consulting the scriptures in the original, with all the advantage which a familiar acquaintance with that tongue from their childhood can give them?—So Amos 1 : Are they Israelites by birth?—Not descended from Esau, or any other branch of the family, but that on which the blessing was entailed?—So Amos 1:0. Are they of the seed of Abraham, both by the father's and mother's side, not proselytes, or of mingled descent?—So am I; and can trace up as fair and clear a genealogy through the tribe of Benjamin, to the father of the faithful." See Acts 6:1.
2 Corinthians 11:23. I am more:— Or, I am more so. In stripes above measure, should rather be read, in stripes far exceeding; for these words, as the other particulars of this verse, should be taken comparatively, with reference to the false apostle; with whom St. Paul is comparing himself in the ministry of the Gospel. Unless this be so understood, there will seem to be a disagreeable tautology in the following verses; which, taking these words in a comparative sense, are proofs of his saying, In stripes I am exceedingly beyond him; for, of the Jews five times, &c. See on Deuteronomy 25:3.
2 Corinthians 11:25. Thrice was I beaten with rods, &c.— See Matthew 27:26. Mark 15:15.John 19:1; John 19:1. The wreck at Malta happened long after this time; so that it must have been the fourth shipwreck that St. Paul suffered. Had the inhabitants of that island been informed of this circumstance, they would have been confirmed in their suspicions of his being a very bad man; but this remarkably shews us, that a series of what the world calls misfortunesfrom the hand of Providence, may befal the best and worthiest of mankind. The word Νυχθημερον, rendered a day and a night, signifies "a natural day, including the hours of light and darkness." St. Paul was, during such a natural day, in the deep; probably floating on the remainders of the wreck, and just on the point of being washed away and sunk every moment. As Βυθος, the word here used, and rendered the deep, was the name of a deep dungeon at Cyzicum, in the Propontis, Dr. Hammond conjectures that St. Paul was cast into it, as he passed from Troas to that city: but the interpretation above given seems to be more easy and natural.
2 Corinthians 11:26. In perils of waters,— Or, of rivers: the word should certainly be so rendered, to contradistinguish these hazards, from those which he underwent by sea. In the city, means not only in Jerusalem, but in other cities, in opposition to perils in the wilderness. The Apostle possibly mentions false brethren last, as apprehending peculiar danger from their efforts among the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 11:27. In weariness and painfulness,— The latter of the words here used, Μοχθος, is more expressive than the former, Κοπος: it signifies not only strenuous labour, but such as proceeds to a degree of great fatigue. What an idea does this verse give us of the Apostle's fidelity and zeal!How hard was it for a man of a genteel and liberal education, as St. Paul was, to bear such rigours, and to wander about like a vagabond, hungry, and almost naked; yet coming into the presence of persons of high life; and speaking in large and various assemblies, on matters of the utmost importance! See the Inferences.
2 Corinthians 11:28. Beside those things that are without,— Beside foreign affairs, the care of all the churches is rushing in upon me every day. Doddridge. Others would read, besides what is exclusive of these things, the care of all the churches, is, &c. for what he had before mentioned were no other than external things. That which cometh upon me daily, Mr. Saurin would read; what besiegeth me daily. The original is very emphatical; that daily insurrection upon me,—the care, &c. The word 'Επισυστασις properly signifies a tumult, or crowd of people rising up against a man at once, and ready to bear him down.
2 Corinthians 11:29. Who is offended,— "So as to be led into sin by the rashness or uncharitableness of others; and I am not fired — with grief and indignation, to see such dishonour brought upon religion, and with zeal to repress the grievance, if possible?" The word Πυρουμαι properly signifies to be fired; and it may, perhaps, in this connection, allude to the sudden hurry of spirits into which a man is put by the dangerous fall of a person whom he tenderly loves, especially when occasioned by the carelessness and folly of another.
2 Corinthians 11:30. If I must needs glory,— See ch. 2 Corinthians 12:11. By the word u954?αυχασθαι, which is translated sometimes to glory, and sometimes to boast, the Apostle throughout, when he applies it to himself, means nothing but the mentioning some commendable action of his, without vanity or ostentation, and barely from the necessity of the occasion.
2 Corinthians 11:31. The God and Father, &c.— God, even the Father, &c. There should only be a colon at the end of the verse; this solemn asseveration being introduced to give credit, not to what precedes, but to what follows; which was then known only to few, and is therefore attested in like manner, Gal 1:20 though afterwards particularly related by St. Luke, Acts 9:25.
Inferences drawn from 2 Corinthians 11:19, &c.—This portion of scripture is the more remarkable, because it presents us with a great Apostle, engaged in an act very unusual, and, generally speaking, very unbecoming that character. It seems therefore highly necessary, in order to understand and be able to account for such a proceeding, that we consider carefully, first, the occasion, and, secondly, the manner of it; after which, such other reflections may be properly suggested, as naturally arise from the subject.
1. The occasion, as has been frequently hinted, was evidently the corruptions brought into the church of Corinth by some false teachers, who had insinuated themselves into the affections of the people by every art of subtilty and deceit. Very many of the people appear to have been caught with their guile, and to have entered into deep prejudices against St. Paul; and were grown so immoderately fond of their false teachers; that at the same time that they thought the just and gentle authority of an Apostle a yoke too heavy, the utmost vanity and insolence, the most insatiable pillaging and avarice, the most imperious tyranny and contumelious treatment, went down very contentedly, from the hands of those mercenary hypocrites.
Had this partiality been attended with no farther consequence than the lessening St. Paul's private reputation, he would not have thought it worth while so solicitously to vindicate his honour; but foreseeing that so undeserved a preference of the men, would certainly bring on a liking for their errors, and thus endanger the souls of as many as should adhere to them, charity for his brethren called for justice to himself. Accordingly, for the sake of those deluded Corinthians, and to justify the truth, he found it necessary to assert his due; to provoke his bold detractors to a comparison, and so at once to shew how much he, and how little they, were able to produce, in proof of their authority;—an authority, which he was invested with by Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, and exercised with lenity and temper; but which they, by dint of arrogance, assumed to themselves, and abused to the vile purposes of calumny and faction.
Such was the occasion, such the end of our Apostle's appearing here in a figure so unlike what he commonly makes in his writings; yet which, though they are so reasonable and so urgent, he manages in such a way, as to clear his humility of every suspicion that the most captious adversary could cast upon it.
2. This may better appear from the second particular,—the manner of his proceeding on this delicate occasion: in which we should observe, 1. His many apologies, or seeming condemnations of himself, in giving way so far to the provocations of those who spoke or thought against him. See 2 Corinthians 11:21; 2 Corinthians 11:23; 2 Corinthians 11:30. (and again ch. 2 Corinthians 12:1; 2 Corinthians 12:11, &c.) with other expressions to the like purpose. So cautiously does the Apostle conduct himself in a point which he rightly understood to be so nice: for, as the expatiating upon ourselves without any necessity, is of all faults in conversation the most nauseous and offensive, so the being extremely tender and officious, even in our own vindication, is seldom free from vanity. This is the case of all mankind,—but especially of the ministers of Christ, who must expect a share in calumnies and contradictions, and ought to be armed with patience to endure them, above the proportion of common men. When therefore these have influence upon their personal advantages only, it is generally better to leave the clearing of their innocence to time, and the evidence of a good conversation. Where they reflect upon their character, and by poisoning the people with ill impressions, tend to obstruct the efficacy of their labours,—the cause becomes public; their charge is concerned, and a becoming solicitude to set matters right in such circumstances, is no longer zeal for their own, but charity for other men's safety and good.
And yet even in these circumstances, St. Paul's example teaches us how careful we ought to be in warding off all the spiteful constructions which are apt to be made of the most necessary and the most modest publication of our own conduct and deservings: for, 2. The subjects upon which he chooses here to enlarge were, not the greatness of his miracles, not the power of his eloquence and arguments, not the success of his labours, or the number of converts he had won, or of the churches that he had planted, though no man could with greater right have alleged all these; but only the toils and hardships, the persecutions and afflictions in which the discharge of his ministry had engaged him. These were such privileges, as his adversaries neither had nor desired to have to boast of. They had other things in view; (2 Corinthians 11:20.) the gain of private contributions,—the command of their hearers' purses, and an absolute dominion over their persons. The grounds upon which they exalted themselves were all taken from worldly advantages, (2 Corinthians 11:21-22.) and in that respect St. Paul is content to declare himself their equal. The particulars in which he declares himself their superior, were of such a kind, that they were well enough satisfied to yield him a preference in them;—stripes and imprisonments, shipwrecks, and deaths, hard and perilous journies, cold, and hunger and thirst. These it was so far from vanity to glory in, that the Apostle found it necessary (ch. 12) to subjoin his being honoured with extraordinary visions and revelations, to prevent so great a degree and so constant a succession of sufferings from being turned into an argument of God's displeasure against one so incessantly exercised in them.
And yet, these afflictions were really the most proper matter of glorying to St. Paul; because it was perfectly free from all vanity and self-seeking; for his were not sufferings in pursuit of his own emolument or gratification; not industriously courted, nor ostentatiously magnified, in order to turn them into gain—And still more, because to all who duly considered them, they were proofs of that abundant grace which supported him under them; of that unparallelled sincerity and zeal which, through the blessing of God, disposed him so cheerfully to persevere in encountering with them; and of the truth of that doctrine, which, by the ministry of one so wondrously oppressed and ill treated, could yet gain so much ground, and triumph over all opposition.
The passage thus explained offers to us the following useful considerations:
1. The instance before us shews, how far we ought to be from reckoning what we endure for God's cause, (when it really is GOD'S) as matter of sorrow or shame to us. St. Paul, in comparison of the rest of the Apostles, was a labourer called in at the eleventh hour; and as he taught the Philippians to esteem it, so he thought it,—a peculiar grace, that it was given him not only to believe in Jesus, but also to suffer for his name. The fervency of his charity and zeal made up what was wanting in point of time.
2. When St. Paul, to all his other sufferings, adds the care of all the churches, and his zealous compassion over those who were afflicted or in danger of falling: this shews us the abundance of his charity, and instructs us what ought to be the measure of ours—not to neglect, or think ourselves excused from a tender concern for the afflictions or dangers of our brethren, upon the account of any sufferings of our own. Be our other circumstances what they will, yet still they are members of Christ's body, and while that relation continues, all the duties resulting from it must do so too. So indispensable and perpetual a duty indeed is charity, for the souls of others especially, that those hardships, which lie outward and open to the view of others, are far from being the most sensible part of what the genuine ministers of the Gospel endure.
Lastly, The methods used for exercising St. Paul's patience, holiness, and virtue, teach us plainly, that the way in which God would be served by Christians, but especially by his ministers, is that of constancy, of indefatigable diligence, and of diffusive love: that ease and idleness, that luxury and an effeminate declining of trouble for the public good, are by no means agreeable to the character of a disciple of Christ Jesus. So strenuously does this great Apostle, by his own example, encourage and prepare us for the like discipline, if called to it, that no one who professes himself the servant of Christ can plead exemption from a similar perseverance and fortitude. One great and evident design of these sharp conflicts of St. Paul was, doubtless, to stimulate every future Christian to reduce the softness of a nature generally too indulgent of flesh and blood, and to enure him to suffer hardships like a good soldier, under the common Captain of our salvation. In which warfare the less we spare our own persons, the more we may depend upon his protection and support under the conflict; the brighter trophies shall we raise to his glory, to the honour of religion, and the unspeakable advantage both of body and soul, in that day of triumph and eternal joy! Amen.
REFLECTIONS.—1st. The Apostle begins, 1. With an apology for what he was about to say; Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly; and indeed bear with me, compelled reluctantly to speak in my own commendation.
2. He gives the reasons for what he was about to say. It was,
[1.] Out of jealousy for them. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ, true to your solemn engagements, and faithful in all your conduct to this heavenly Bridegroom of souls. But I fear, knowing the wiles of the false teachers, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ; perverted from the principles, or seduced from the practice, of the gospel.
[2.] Out of justice to himself. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another Spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him: but since there is but one Jesus, one Spirit, one gospel, it was shrewdly to be suspected that the person who pretended to preach another Jesus, boasted of a better Spirit, and a more excellent gospel, than that by which they had at first been converted to the faith, was a deceiver, and, instead of being connived at, or caressed, should be rejected with abhorrence.
2nd, Constrained by the insinuations which had been cast out against him, the blessed Paul,
1. Asserts his equality with the very chief of the apostles. Though rude in speech, my elocution being not so graceful as that of some others, yet my knowledge of the gospel mysteries is inferior to none. But we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things; your consciences have borne witness to the efficacy of our preaching; and our conversation among you, as you know, has been most unblameable.
2. He asserts his disinterested conduct, and vindicates himself from the cavils of his adversaries, who suggested that he had acted below the apostolic character, in not receiving his maintenance from the church at Corinth. Have I committed an offence in abasing myself, to work for my subsistence, that ye might be exalted to the participation of the gospel privileges; because I preached to you the gospel of God freely, that no prejudice might obstruct your receiving our word, which such disinterested zeal could not but recommend? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them to do you service; not really plundering them, but living upon their voluntary contributions; when the Corinthians, so much richer, could much easier have afforded him a maintenance. However, he neither had been, nor would be a burden to them; his former wants the Macedonians had supplied; and he was firmly resolved that none in all Achaia, in any future time, should have reason to reproach him on this behalf, to stop his glorying of having preached to them the gospel freely.
Wherefore do I this? out of pride or disgust, as the false teachers would insinuate, and because I love you not? No; God knoweth that these were not my motives. But I have thus acted, and will continue so to do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion, and would be ready to catch at any handle to fleece you, if I received any thing from you. Therefore I would wish that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we, and as free from every mercenary view: for in truth such are false apostles, assuming a character to which they have not the least title; deceitful workers, corrupting the word of God; transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ, appearing under the most specious professions. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light, as he appeared when he came to seduce Eve from her integrity: therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works, and the issue be their everlasting destruction.
3rdly, The Apostle, with reluctance, enters upon the subject of his own vindication. I say again, let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little, such boasts, in general, being indeed the indications of a vain mind. That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly in this confidence of boasting; but since I am compelled, by the unhappy circumstances in which I stand, and seeing that many glory after the flesh, in their external privileges, I will glory also. For ye suffer fools gladly, and caress the vain boasters among you, seeing ye yourselves are wise. Probably the words are spoken ironically: Wise men indeed ye are, to be dupes to such ostentatious deceivers. For ye suffer if a man bring you into bondage, tyrannizing over your consciences; if a man devour you under the specious pretences of religion; if a man take of you, or seize from you your possessions: if a man exalt himself, and treat you with lordly contempt; if a man smite you on the face, submissive to every insult. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak, and had no right to assert such authority as they pretend to claim: howbeit, whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly) I am bold also, and can produce as long a catalogue of privileges as the chief of these arrogant men.
1. As to external Jewish privileges of descent. Are they Hebrews? so am I, by both my parents, (Philippians 3:5.) are they Israelites? the sons of Jacob, so Amos 1 : are they the seed Abraham? so am I, a true descendant of this eminent patriarch.
2. As to gospel privileges. Are they the ministers of Christ? commissioned by him? (I speak as a fool,) admitting their plea, though false, to be true, I am more, having a more extraordinary commission, more eminent endowments, and suffering for the cause more than any of them: in labours more abundant; in stripes above measure, unmercifully beaten; in prisons more frequent; in deaths oft, exposed to the most imminent dangers, a short enumeration of which will prove what I assert. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes, save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, by the Roman lictors; once was I stoned, and left for dead; thrice I suffered shipwreck; a night and a day I have been in the deep, tossed on the foaming waves, and every moment ready to be swallowed up by them: in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in fording rivers, or by land-floods; in perils of robbers; in perils by mine own countrymen, who lay in wait for me; in perils by the heathen; in perils in the city, from dangerous insurrections; in perils in the wilderness, during my travels; in perils in the sea; in perils among false brethren, the most dangerous of all enemies: in weariness and painfulness, under the most fatiguing labours; in watchings often, my rest being broken; in hunger and thirst, for want of needful refreshments; in fastings often, voluntary, or necessitated by mere want; in cold and nakedness, exposed to the inclemency of the weather, and without sufficient cloathing to keep me warm. Beside those things which affect my body, a heavier load of cares lies upon my mind, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches, to advance their purity and peace, rectify their disorders, and guard them against seducers. Who is weak, and I am not weak? sympathizing with him in his infirmity of body or mind? who is offended, and I burn not with jealousy for the offence, and zeal to restore him? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities, and rather mention my sufferings and hardships than my privileges. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus, the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands, snatched as it were from inevitable death. Such a glorious course marked, indeed, the great Apostle: such sufferings for righteousness' sake are the highest honour.