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dance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above, measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my "strength is made perfect, in, weakness." Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
11 I am become a fool in glorying: ye have compelled me; for I ought to have been commended of you; for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
8 that I might not be over-much elevated. Concerning this thing, I besought the Lord thrice, that it might de9. part from me. And he said, My favour is sufficient for thee: for my power exerts itself, and its sufficiency is seen the more perfectly, the weaker thou thyself art. I, therefore, most willingly choose to glory, rather in things that show my weakness, than in my abundance of glorious revelations, that the power of Christ may the more 10 visibly be seen to dwell in me. Wherefore, I have satisfaction in weaknesses, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses,, for Christ's sake. For when I, looked upon in my outward state, appear weak, then by the power of Christ, which dwelleth in me, I 11 am found to be strong, I am become foolish in glorying thus: but it is you, who have forced me to it. For I ought to have been commended by you; since in nothing came I behind the chiefest of the apostles, though in myself I am nothing.
SECT. IV. N°. 7.
CHAP. XII. 12, 13.
HE continues to justify himself to be an apostle, by the
miracles he did, and the supernatural gifts he bestowed amongst the corinthians.
12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you, in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
13 For what is it wherein ye were inferiour to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong.
12 Truly the signs whereby an apostle might be known, were wrought among you, by me, in all patience and submission, under the difficulties I there met with, in miraculous, wonderful and mighty works, performed by
For what is there, which you were any way shortened in, and had not equally with other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this injury.
12 This may well be understood to reflect on the haughtiness and plenty, wherein the false apostle lived amongst them.
19 b Vid, 1 Cor. i. 4-7.
SECT. IV. N°. 8.
CHAP. XI. 14—21.
HE farther justifies himself, to the corinthians, by his past
disinterestedness, and his continued kind intentions to them.
14 Behold, the third time, I am ready to come to you; and will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
15 And I will very gladly spend, and be spent, for you, though, the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
16" But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless being crafty, "I caught you with guile."
17 Did I make a gain of you, by any of them, whom I sent unto you?
18 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother; did Titus make a gain of you? Walked we not in the same spirit? Walked we not in the same steps?
19 Again, think you that we excuse ourselves unto you? We speak
14 Behold, this is the third time, I am ready to come unto you; but I will not be burdensome to you; for I seek not what is yours, but you: for it is not expected, nor usual, that children should lay up for their parents, but 15 parents for their children. I will gladly lay out whatever is in my possession, or power; nay, even wear out and hazard myself for your souls', though it should so fall out that the more I love you, the less I should be be16 loved by you. "Be it so, as some suggest, that I was "not burdensome to you; but it was in truth out of "cunning, with a design to catch you, with that trick, drawing from you, by others, what I refused in per17 "son." son." In answer to which, I ask, Did I, by any of 18 those, I sent unto you, make a gain of you? I desired Titus to go to you, and with him I sent a brother: did Titus make a gain of you? Did not they behave theinselves with the same temper, that I did, amongst you? Did we not walk in the same steps? i. e. neither they, 19 nor I, received any thing from you. Again, do not,
14 a Vid. 1 Cor. iv. 14, 15. 15 b Vid. 2 Tim. ii. 10.
c Vid. chap. vi. 12, 13.
19 d He had before given the reason, chap. i. 23, of his not coming to them, with the like asseveration that he uses here. If we trace the thread of St. Paul's discourse here, we may observe, that having concluded the justificą
before God, in Christ; but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.
20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you, such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
upon my mentioning my sending of Titus to you, think that I apologize for my not coming myself: I speak, as in the presence of God, and as a christian, there is no such thing: in all my whole carriage towards you, beloved, all that has been done, has been done only for your edification. No, there is no need of an apology 20 for my not coming to you sooner: For I fear, when I do come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that you will find me such as you would not: I am afraid, that among you there are disputes, envyings, animosities, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings of mind,
tion of himself and his apostleship by his past actions, ver. 13, he had it in his thoughts to tell them, how he would deal with the false apostle, and his adherents, when he came, as he was ready now to do. And, therefore, solemnly begins, ver. 14, with "behold;" and tells them now," the third time," he was ready to come to them, to which joining, (what was much upon his mind) that he would not be burdensome to them, when he came, this suggested to his thoughts an objection, viz. that this personal shyness in him was but cunning; for that he designed to draw gain from them, by other hands. From which he clears himself, by the instance of Titus, and the brother, whom he had sent together to them, who were as far from receiving any thing from them, as he himself. Titus and his other messenger being thus mentioned, he thought it necessary to obviate another suspicion, that might be raised in the minds of some of them, as if he mentioned the sending of those two, as an apology for his not coming himself. This he disclaims utterly; and to prevent any thoughts of that kind, solemnly protests to them, that, in all his carriage to them, he had done nothing but for their edification; nor had any other aim, in any of his actions, but purely that; and that he forbore coming merely out of respect and good-will to them. So that all, from "Behold, this third time, I am ready "to come to you," ver. 14, to "this third time I am coming to you," chap. xiii. 1, must be looked on, as an incident discourse, that fell in occasionally, though tending to the same purpose with the rest; a way of writing very usual with our apostle, and with other writers, who abound in quickness and variety of thoughts, as he did. Such men are often, by new matter rising in their way, put by from what they were going, and had begun to say; which, therefore, they are fain to take up again, and continue at a distance: which St. Paul does here, after the interposition of eight verses. Other instances of the like
kind may be found in other places of St. Paul's writings,
21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many, which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness, which they have committed.
21 disturbances: And that my God, when I come to you again, will humble mé amongst you, and I shall bewail many, who have formerly sinned, and have not yet repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lasciviousness, whereof they are guilty.
SECT. IV. No. 9.
CHAP. XIII. 1-10.
E re-assumes what he was going to say, chap. xii. 14, and tells them, how he intends to deal with them, when he comes to thein and assures them, that, however they ques tion it, he shall be able, by miracles, to give proof of his authority and commission from Christ.
1 THIS is the third time I am coming to you: in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
I told you before, and foretel you, as if I were present the se cond time; and, being absent, now I write to them, which here tofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:
THIS HIS is, now, the third time, I am coming to you'; and, when I come, I shall not spare you, having proceeded, according to our Saviour's rule, and endeavoured by fair means, first to reclaim you, before I come to the 2 last extremity. And of this my former epistle, wherein I