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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
2 Corinthians 7

 

 

Verse 1

1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Ver. 1. Having therefore, &c.] Faith in the promises purifieth the heart, Acts 15:9, and argueth notably from mercy to duty, melting the hardness of it by the consideration of the promises. Let a cart loaded go over a frozen river, the cart breaks the ice, but it remains ice still. But let the sun shine upon the river, and it dissolveth it. The apostle saith not, Having these menaces, but, Having these promises.

From all filthiness] Sin defileth a man worse than any jakes or leprosy. It is the devil’s excrement, it is the corruption of a dead soul. Seldom or never is there a birth of saving grace, but there follows it a flux of mortification.

Of flesh and spirit] i.e. Both of the outward and inward man. Or of flesh, that is, worldly lusts, and gross evils, as uncleanness, earthlymindedness, &c, And of spirit, that is, more spiritual lusts, as pride, presumption, self-flattery, &c. These lie more up in the heart of the country, as it were; those others in the frontiers and skirts of it.

Perfecting holiness] Propounding to ourselves the highest pitch and the best patterns. And having for our motto that of Charles V, Plus ultra, further yet. And here let faith and obedience make a perfect pair of compasses. Faith as the one foot must be pitched upon the centre, God, while obedience (as the other) walks about in a perfect circle of all good duties. He will not crush but cherish that worm Jacob. "He will not break the bruised reed," &c.

In the fear of God] Which is the fountain whence holiness flows. See Proverbs 8:13.


Verse 2

2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.

Ver. 2. Receive us] Gr. χωρησατε, Locum date. Make room for us in your hearts and houses. Set wide open the everlasting doors that the King of glory may come in triumphantly, riding upon us, his white horses, Revelation 6:2.

We have wronged no man] Ministers must so live that they may, if need be, glory of their innocence and integrity, as did Moses, Samuel, Paul, Melancthon.

We have corrupted no man] viz. As the false apostles had done with their leaven of false doctrine, which eateth as a canker, 2 Timothy 2:17, or a gangrene, which presently overruns the parts, and takes the brain. Protagoras in Plato boasted that of those sixty years that he had lived, he had spent forty in corrupting of youth.

We have defrauded no man] We have cunningly made sale of no man, as those old impostors that made prize of their prisoners, 2 Peter 2:3. And as those Popish Muscipulatores, or mice catchers, as the story calleth them, that raked together their Peter’s pence and other monies here in England by most detestable arts. Polydore Virgil was one of these ill officers, that left not so much money in the whole kingdom sometimes as they either carried with them or sent to Rome before them.


Verse 3

3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.

Ver. 3. I speak not this, &c.] Though cause enough he had to condemn them for their shameful tenacity toward him, whom they basely suffered to labour for his living and to preach gratis, against all right and reason.

To die and to live with you] Such faithful friends are in this age all for the most part gone on pilgrimage, and their return is uncertain, as once the Duke of Buckingham said to Bishop Morton in Richard III’s time. Jonathan and David, Pylades and Orestes, Polistratus and Hippoclides, are famous for their love one to another. These two last, being philosophers of Epicurus’ sect, are said to have been born the same day, to have lived together all their days, and to have died in the same moment of time, being well stricken in years. (Valer. Max.) But the love of Irish foster-brothers is said far to surpass all the loves of all men. (Camd. Elizab.)


Verse 4

4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

Ver. 4. I am exceeding joyful] Gr. υπερπερισσενομαι, I do overbound exceedingly with joy. Others may revel, the godly only rejoice: they have an exuberance of joy, such as no good can match, no evil out match. Witness the martyrs, ancient and modern. Oh, how my heart leapeth for joy, said one of them, that I am so near the apprehension of eternal bliss! God forgive me mine unthankfulness and unworthiness of so great glory. In all the days of my life I was never so merry as now I am in this dark dungeon. Believe me there is no such joy in the world as the people of Christ have under the cross. Thus and much more Mr Philpot, martyr. (Acts and Mon.)


Verse 5

5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

Ver. 5. Our flesh had no rest] Our spirit had no unrest. The outward man suffers much sometimes, when the inward remains unmolested. Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, being asked how he could so well bear his seven years’ imprisonment, answered, Se divinas martyrum consolationes sensisse, that he felt the divine consolations of the martyrs, which as bladders bore him aloft all waters.


Verse 6

6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

Ver. 6. God that comforteth] This is a most sweet attribute of God, such as we may profitably plead and produce in prayer. He loves to comfort those that are forsaken of their hopes. He will not crush but cherish that worm Jacob. "He will not break the bruised reed," &c.

By the coming of Titus] Who came very opportunely, even while Paul was writing this Epistle, 2 Corinthians 2:12-13. God’s comforts are therefore sweet because seasonable. He never comes too soon, nor stays too long. He waits to be gracious, as being a God of judgment, Isaiah 30:18. Were we but ripe, he is ready, and will lift us up in due time, 1 Peter 5:6.


Verse 7

7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.

Ver. 7. Your earnest desire] Of seeing me, or rather of satisfying me.

Your fervent mind] Gr. your zeal, both against the incestuous person and the false apostles, St Paul’s adversaries.


Verse 8

8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

Ver. 8. Though it were but for a season] Gr. for an hour. In sin, the pleasure passeth, the sorrow remaineth; but in repentance, the sorrow passeth, the pleasure abideth for ever. God soon poureth the oil of gladness into broken hearts.


Verse 9

9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

Ver. 9. That ye sorrowed to repentance] Gr. εις μετανοιαν, to a transmentation, to a thorough change both of the mind and manners. Optima et aptissima poenitentia est nova vita, The best and most appropiate repentance is a new life, saith Luther. Which saying (though condemned by Pope Leo X) is certainly an excellent saying. Repentance for sin is nothing worth without repentance from sin. If thou repent with a contradiction (saith Tertullian) God will pardon thee with a contradiction. Thou repentest, and yet continuest in thy sin. God will pardon thee, and yet send thee to hell. There is a pardon with a contradiction.

Sorry after a godly manner] Gr. η κατα θεον λυπη, according to God. This is a sorrowing for sin, as it is offensivum Dei, aversivum a Deo. offensive to God and a turning away from God. This both comes from God and drives a man to God, as it did the Church in the Canticles, and the prodigal.


Verse 10

10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Ver. 10. Godly sorrow worketh] Sin bred sorrow, and sorrow, being right, destroyeth sin; as the worm that breeds in the wood, eats into it and devours it. (Chrysost.) So that of this sorrow according to God we may say as the Romans did of Pompey the Great, that it is the fair and happy daughter of an ugly and odious mother. ( εχθρου πατρος φιλτατον τεκνον. Plutarch.) It may fitly be compared to Faustus, son of Vortigern king of Britain (incestuously begotten of his own daughter) who wept himself blind (saith the chronicler) for the abominations of his parents.

Repentance never to be repented of] That is, saith one, never to fall back again, for a man in falling back, seemeth to repent him of his repentance ( αμεταμελητον). Others interpret it, such a repentance as a man shall never have cause to repent of. (Marbury on Repentance.) Job cursed the day of his birth; but no man was ever heard to curse the day of his new birth. For it is repentance to salvation, it hath heaven; it is that rainbow, which if God see shining in our hearts, he will never drown our souls.

But the sorrow of the world] That which carnal men conceive either for the want or loss of good, or for the sense or fear of evil.

Worketh death] As it did in Queen Mary, who died (as some supposed by her much sighing before her death) of thought and sorrow either for the departure of King Philip, or the loss of Calais, or both. There are those who interpret death in this place, of spiritual death, because it is opposed here to life and salvation. (Dike on the Heart.)


Verse 11

11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Ver. 11. What carefulness] Gr. what study, which (saith Cicero) is an earnest and serious bending and applying of the mind to something with a great deal of delight, σπουδη, Vehemens ad aliquam rem magna cum voluptate applicatio. It is rendered here carefulness, not that of diffidence, but that of diligence, putting a man upon those wholesome thoughts, What have I done? what shall I do? &c.

Yea, what clearing] Gr. apology or defence. The old interpreter renders it satisfaction. It may be (saith Mr Bradford) he meant a new life, to make amends thereby to the congregation offended. As the devil is called the accuser, so the Spirit is called the Comforter or pleader for us; because as he maketh intercession in our hearts to God, so upon true repentance he helpeth us to make apology for ourselves; not by denying our sins or defending them, but by confessing and disclaiming them, as a child to his father.

Yea, what indignation] Or stomach, as Ephraim, Jeremiah 31:19. The publican who smote himself upon the breast, he would have knocked his corruptions, if he could have come at them, as those, Isaiah 30:22, that polluted the idols that they had perfumed, and said unto them, Get you hence, be packing. "What have I to do any more with idols?" Hosea 14:8. Out-of-doors with this Tamar, here is no room for her. So foolish was I, and so very a beast, saith David, Psalms 73:22. How angry and hot was he against himself, 2 Samuel 24:10.

Yea, what fear] Of God’s heavy displeasure, and of doing any more so. The burnt child dreads the fire. He that hath been stung, hates a snake.

Yea, what vehement desire] As that of Rachel after children, as that of David after the water of the well of Bethlehem, as that of the hunted hind after the water brooks, Psalms 42:1. David panted and fainted after God. That martyr cried out, None but Christ, none but Christ.

Yea, what zeal] Which is an extreme heat of all the affections for and toward God. David’s zeal ate him up. Paul was just as mad for Christ as ever he had been against him, 2 Corinthians 5:13; cf. Acts 26:11.

Yea, what revenge] Out of the deepest self-abhorrence, buffeting the flesh, and giving it the blue-eye, as St Paul (that crucifix of mortification) once did. Thus the women parted with their lookingglasses, Exodus 38:8. Mary Magdalen wiped Christ’s feet with her hair, wherewith she had formerly made nets to catch fools in. Cranmer burnt his right hand first, wherewith he had subscribed, and oftentimes repeated in the flames, This unworthy right hand, so long as his voice would suffer him. The true penitentiary amerceth himself, and abridgeth his flesh of some lawful comforts, as having forfeited all. These seven signs of godly sorrow are to be seen in the repenting Church, Song of Solomon 5:2-7, as in a worthy example or emblem. "I sleep," there is indignation; "but my heart waketh," there is apology. "I arose to open," &c., there is study or care and diligence. "My soul failed," there is her zeal. "I sought him, I called on him," there is her vehement desire. "The watchmen found me, they smote me," &c., there is her revenge, while she shrank not for any danger, but followed Christ through thick and thin in the night among the watch. And all this shows her fear of being again overtaken with drowsiness.

To be clear in this matter] Because they had heartily repented of it. Quem poenitet peccasse, pene est innocens. Repentance is almost equivalent to innocence. (Sen. in Agam.) Imo plus est propemodum a vitiis se revocasse, quam vitia ipsa nescivisse, saith Ambrose.


Verse 12

12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.

Ver. 12. Not for his cause] That is, not so much for his cause.

That suffered the wrong] viz. The father of the incestuous person. Compare Genesis 49:4.

But that our care for you] That the Church might not suffer, as allowing such foul facts. How the primitive Christians were slandered by the heathens in this kind, who knows not? Cenalis, bishop of Auranches, wrote against the Church at Paris, defending impudently that their assemblies were to maintain whoredom. Such reports also they cast abroad a little before the massacre. They tell the people in Italy that Geneva is a professed sanctuary of all roguery, that in England the people are grown barbarous, and eat young children, &c.


Verse 13

13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

Ver. 13. His spirit was refreshed] After his long and tedious toil and travel to come to you, he never thought much of his labour. Calvin said that it would not grieve him to sail over ten seas, Ne decem quidem maria, about a uniform draught for religion.


Verse 14

14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.

Ver. 14. I am not ashamed] As I should have been, had it proved otherwise. Lying is a blushful sin, and therefore the liar denies his own lie, because he is ashamed to be taken with it; and our ruffians revenge it with a stab.


Verse 15

15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

Ver. 15. Whiles he remembereth] Deep affections make deep impressions.


Verse 16

16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.

Ver. 16. I rejoice therefore] Thus by praising them, he further winneth upon them, whom before he had more sharply handled. Sour and sweet make the best sauce.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-corinthians-7.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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