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which their bounty had prepared, and take [their] part of the min5 istration of the saints*. And this they did, not merely as we hoped,
but beyond our expectation, for they first gave themselves to the
Lord, and then to us by the will of God, putting themselves under 6 my direction : Insomuch that we desired Titus, at their pressing
solicitation, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this 7 grace and liberality among you. Therefore, as ye abound in eve
ry other gifi, in faith, in utterance, and in knowledge, and in all
diligence, and in your love to us; we erhort you that ye abound 8 also in this grace of Christian liberality. I speak not by way of
command, but that I may prove by the diligence of others, namely, I the Macedonians, the sincerity of your love. For you know the
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for
your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might 10 become rich. And herein I give my advice that you may imitate
his example, and advance his honour ; for this is expedient for you,
to dispatch this affair with vigour ; as you have begun not only to 11 do something, but to exert yourselves a year ago. Now therefore
complete your undertaking, that according to the readiness you
expressed to determine, there may also be the accomplishment in 12 proportion to what (ability] you have. For if there be first a
readiness of mind, according to what a man hath he is accepted, 13 and not according to what he hath not. I mean not that others
should be easedt, and you burdened: but that there may be a sort]
of an equality : that your abundance may be at this time a supply to 14 their want ; that their abundance also may be so at another time,
to your want ; that there may be such an equality in the good 15 things of life, as our mulual relation may require. As it is written
(Exod. xvi. 18. concerning the manna ) " He that had much, did not abound, and he that had little, did not lack.”
REFLECTIONS. How peculiarly amiable does the Christian liberality of these Macedonians appear, when considered as abounding in a great trial of affliction, and in the depth of their poverty ; yet a poverty, mingled with an abundance of joy, on account of that rich and happy state into which the gospel had brought them, and the first-fruits of that glorious inheritance to which they were entitled by the tenor of it. They were willing of themselves to contribute, even beyond their power, as persons of comnion generosity would have estimated it. Nor did they on their dying beds repent such a use of their property, or wish that it had been spent in gratifying their appetites, or hoarded for those they were to leave behind them. Nor do they now regret these liberalities, or complain that their expected harvest is perished.
Let us remember their example for imitation ; nor let any, who have a unite to spare, be wholly deficient, how low soever their
* That is, that I would act as one of their commissioners, to convey their contributions to Jerusalem.
† "Not that there should be a rest to others, and an affliction to you.” D.The common translation is preferred, and the rather as the author inserts it in his paraphrase, and both M. and W. adopt it.
circumstances may be ; remembering that gracious complacency with which, where there is a willing mind, the smallest tribute to the treasury of God is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not. To animate us to the most generous efforts of overflowing benevolence, may we ever bear in our mind that grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, of which we all know something, but which it is impossible we should ever fully know, because it passeth knowledge : that grace which engaged him, when rich, for our sakes to become poor, that we might be enriched by his poverty. What have we that deserves to be called a possession, which we do not hold by an act of divine bounty and grace ? Let us consider ourselves as under indispensable engagements in consequence of it, to consecrate our all to him, conscious that our all is but a low return for the infinite obligations under which he has laid us. He hath contrived and determined, that the poor in some formi or another we should have with us always, that we may do them good, as a token of our gratitude to him. Let us faithfully aim to supply their need, and he who hath most, will have no superfluity to throw away upon the lusts or vanities of life ; and he who hath least, will have no unsupplied lack: but the poor will rejoice in the relief of their necessities; and the rich, in the happiest and most delightful use of their abundance.
Paul exfiresses his joy for the readiness of Titus to assist in finishing the col·lection ; and speaks honourably of the other brethren joined with him in the
same commission. Ch. viii. 16, &c. 16 DUT thanks be to God, who gave that same diligent care for you
D (which I myself have) in the heart of Titus, respecting this col17 lection : For indeed he not only complied with the exhortation I
gave him ; but being more forward, he went to you of his own 18 accord. And we have sent with him that brother (Luke) whose 19 praise in the gospel is in all the churches : and not only so, but he
was also ordained by the churches to be our fellow-traveller, with this grace (or gift) which is administered by us for the glory of the same Lord, and for the declaration of your ready mind : avoid
ing this*, that any one should blame us in respect to our management 21 of this abundance of your bounty administered by us: therein provid
ing things honest and honourable, not only before the Lord, but also 12 before men. And we have sent with them (with Luke and Titus)
our brother Apollos whom we have often proved, in many affairs,
to be diligent; but who will be now much more diligent on account 23 of the great confidence I have in you. If any inquire f concern
ing Titus, He is my partnerand fellow-labourer with respect to you:
or concerning our other brethren, They are the messengers of the 24 churches, and the glory of Christ. Shew therefore to them, even
in the sight of the churches, the demonstration of your love, and the reasonableness of our boasting over you.
“'Taking care of this, that no one-M. t" If there be any question." D.—“If any of the faction inquire.”-M.
REFLECTIONS. The tenderness of ministers, in all points, where the comfort and edification of the church is concerned, is indeed matter of the highest moment; and where it is remarkable in its degree, it affords just cause of thanksgivings to God: for it is he who puts into their hearts that earnest care, who excites and maintains every sentiment of benevolence, when they offer themselves willingly to any generous and charitable service. It is grace that has communicated whatever good is done; and it ought to be ascribed to the glory of the same Lord from whom it comes; and it loscs much of its value, if it be not directed to this ultimate, this supreme end. When the Corinthians desired to deposit their alms in the hands of St. Paul, they certainly acted a very wise part; as no man living could have rendered theni more secure, as to the fidelity or the discretion of the distribution. Yet we see, that high as the apostle's character stood, and though he had so often given, and was daily renewing such striking demonstrations both of his wisdom and integrity; yet he would not undertake the trust alone, but used all proper methods to approve his exactness in the management thereof, even to strangers ; providing things honest and laudable, not only in the sight of God, but of all men.-May ministers be often thus employed, as the almoners of persons richer than themselves (as their readiness to help the poor in their temporal affairs, may greatly promote their usefulness in spirituals ;) and may they be found to manage their trust with the like conscious and delicate honour. May they shew a disposition, like that of St. Paul, to assist in establishing and advancing the characters of their younger brethren, and introducing them into esteem and confidence. Thus will they indeed most effectually strengthen their own hands, and edify and comfort the churches; will prove the glory of Christ themselves in the present age, and be the means of raising up others, who may eminently deserve that illustrious title, in succeeding generations.
The apostle further urges their liberal contribution; and in expectation of it,
recommends them to the divine blessing. Ch. ix.
MTOW concerning the intended ministration to the saints, it is 2 y superfluous that I should write largely to you. For I have
known your readiness, which I boast concerning you to the Macedonians, that all Achaia (particularly your church in its chief
city) hath been prepared a year ago*, and your zeal hath quick3 ened many others. Nevertheless I have sent the brethren before.
mentioned, lest our boasting of you on this head,—that (as I said) 4 ye were prepared before, should be made vain : lest if any of the
Macedonians bappen to come with me, and find you unprepared,
we may be ashamed: not to say you also, in this confident boast5 ing concerning you. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort
* “Since the last year.” So Ch. viii. verse 10. M.
the brethren, that they should come to you before my arrival, and should first complete your bounty, which hath been spoken of be
fore 80 largely to them; that it may be ready, as bounty, and not 6 like extortion. And as to this I say* (as a motive to liberality,] He
who soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly; and he who soweth
bountifully, shall reap also bountifully. Whatever be given, more 7 or less, lei every man give as he chooseth in his own heart, not as
from grief or necessity, but with a good will; for God loveth a 8 cheerful giver. And legt you should fear that your charity should
bring you into straits, consider that God is able to make all grace
to abound towards you ; that having always all sufficiency in all 9 things, ye may abound to every good work: As it is written of
the liberal man (Ps. cxii. 9.) “ He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor, his righteousness endureth for ever;" he shall always
have something to bestow. 10 Now r may he who supplieth seed to the sower, and bread for
food, supply and multiply your sowing, and increase the producIl tions of your righteousness; being in every thing enriched to all
future bounty, with simplicity of hearit, which worketh by our 12 means thanksgivings towards God. For the ministration of this
servicet doth not only supply the necessities of the saints, but aboundeth to the glory of Godll, through the thanksgivings of many, who by the experience of this ministration are (actually) glorifying God on account of that subjection to the gospel of Christ which
you profess, and the simplicity of your communication towards 14 them, and towards all : and in their prayers for you, who long af
ter you on account of the exceeding grace of God which is in you. 15 Thanks be to God for his unutterable gift.
REFLECTIONS. Happy shall we be, if we learn this pious and evangelical turn of thought; if by all the other gifts of God we are thus led up to the first and greatest gift of his love and mercy. From that surely we may encourage our hopes, of whatever else is necessary and desira. ble; for he that spareil noi his Son, but delivered him up for us all, how is it possible, that he should not be ready, with him, freely 10 give us all things that are truly good for us!
Let us observe with pleasure the happy address of the apostle ; a felicity, not the result of craft, but of that amiable temper that was so natural to him. He pleads the high opinion he had entertained of his Corinthian friends, the honourable things he had said of them; expressing his persuasion of their readiness to give as matter of bounty, not of constraint. He leads them to the inexhaustible store of the divine liberality, from which they had received their present all; from which he wishes they may receive more and more; and this, not that these supplies might be ignobly consumed in self-gratifications, but
* “Now this” I say, for your encouragement. M. + M. Instead of simplicity, follows the Vulgate, which reads, liberality. † The word here used denotes an act not only of humanity, but of religion. 11 This small transposition seems not to need an apology. ED. VOL. II.
employed in acts of the noblest beneficence. He represents to them the thanksgivings it had alreadly occasioned to God, the refreshment it administered to the saints, the honour it did to their character and profession, and the esteem and friendship for them which it excited in the minds of those, who, though unacquainted with them, were well affected towards their happiness, in consequence of this honourable specimen of their character. Who could witlistand the force of such oratory? No doubt it was cffectual to cultivate the temper it applauded, and to add a rich abundance to the fruits of their righteousness.
Let us apply the thoughts suggested for our own instruction, to excite us to abound in acts of liberality, and to present them to God with that cheerfulness which he loves. . To him let us continually look, to make all grace abound unto us ; and seek a sufficiency in all things relating to the present life, chicfly that we may be ready to every good work; that our liberality may still endure, and that the multiplication of our seed sown may increase the fruits of our righteousness. To God be tire praise of all ascribed ! He ministers seed to the sower : he sufi. plies bread for food ; he calls up the blessings of harvest; he insures the advantages of commerce. May we praise him ourselves ; and by the ready communication of the good things which he hath given us, to those that want, not only supply their necessities, but give them cause to abound in thanksgiving to God, as well as in prayer for us, while they see and acknowledge that exceeding grace, which is the spring of every gencrous motion in the human heart ; and to which therefore be the glory of all.
Some liaving reflected on the afiostle for his mildness, as if it firoceeded from
feur, he asserts his apostolic authority ; cautioning his opponents not 10 urge him to exert it. Ch. x.
TATOW I Paul myself, who have so often been sproken of wilt
Nu contempli, entreat you [my opposers) by the meekness and gentleness of Christ : I who am represented as, when present, % humble among you, but being absent, am bold toward you. Andt
I bescech you for your own sakes, that I may not, when I am next present with you, be obliged to be bold with that confidence with which I think to be | bold against some, who account of us as per* The following remarks of Dr. Macknight, it is presumed, will be found of no small use to enable the reader properly to understand this section. “ Hitherto Paul's discourse was chiefly directed to those at Corinth who acknowledged his apostleship, and who had obeyed his orders, signified in his former letter. But in this and the remaining chapters, he addressed the false teacher himself, and such of the faction as still adhered to him ; speaking to them with great authority, and thrcatening to punish them by his miraculous power, if they did not immediately repent. The different characters of these two sorts of persons must be carefully attended to; otherwise this part of the epistle will appear a direct contradiction to the former."
+ “However." D.-“ And I request.” M. and W. who both transpose, dy the meekness and gentleness of Christ, to the end of the first verse.
I "To presume with respect to some." D.-M. and W. as C. T. above.