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- 2 Corinthians
The most remarkable circumstance in this Epistle, observes Mr. Scott, is the confidence of the Apostle in the goodness of his cause, and in the power of God to bear him out in it. Opposed as he then was by a powerful and sagacious party, whose authority, reputation, and interest were deeply concerned, and who were ready to seize on every thing that could discredit him, it is wonderful to hear him so firmly insist upon his apostolical authority, and so unreservedly appeal to the miraculous power which he has exercised and conferred at Corinth. So far from shrinking from the contest, as afraid of some discovery being made, unfavourable to him and the common cause, he, with great modesty and meekness indeed, but with equal boldness and decision, expressly declares that his opposers and despisers were the ministers of Satan, and menaces them with miraculous judgments, when as many of their deluded hearers had been brought to repentance and re-established in the faith, as proper means could in a reasonable time effect. It is inconceivable that a stronger internal testimony, not only of integrity, but of divine inspiration, can exist. Had there been anything of imposture among the Christians, it was next to impossible but such a conduct must have occasioned a disclosure of it. Of the effects produced by this latter epistle we have no circumstantial account; for the journey which St. Paul took to Corinth, after he had written it, is mentioned by St. Luke only in a few words (Acts 20:2, Acts 20:3). We know, however, that St. Paul was there after he had written this Epistle; that the contributions for the poor brethren at Jerusalem were brought to him from different parts to that city (Romans 15:26); and that, after remaining there several months, he sent salutations from some of the principal members of that church, by whom he must have been greatly respected, to the church of Rome (Romans 16:22, Romans 16:23). From this time we hear no more of the false teacher and his party; and when Clement of Rome wrote his epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul was considered by them as a divine apostle, to whose authority he might appeal without fear of contradiction. The false teacher, therefore, must either have been silenced by St. Paul, by virtue of his apostolical powers, and by an act of severity which he had threatened (2 Corinthians 13:2, 2 Corinthians 13:3); or this adversary of the apostle had, at that time, voluntarily quitted the place. Whichever was the cause, the effect produced must operate as a confirmation of our faith, and as a proof of St. Paul’s divine mission.
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29