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3 sons walking in the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we 4 do not war according to the filesh : for the weapons of our warfare
are not carnal, though mighty through God to the demolishing 5 fortifications ; casting down sophistical reasonings, and every high
thing which exalteth itself against the knowledge of God ; and
bringingr every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ : 6 and likewise having it in readiness, by miraculous powers, to avenge
all disobedience in professing Christians, [as I shall do at Corinth)
when r your obedience (who are true penitents) is fulfilled. 7 Do you look at the outward appearance of things, and judge of
a man by his person or address ? If any man (any teacher among you) be confident in himself that he is Christ's*, let him again
bethink himself of this, that as he is Christ's, so we also are 8 Christ's. Fort if I should boast something yet more concerning
our apostolical authority, which the Lord hath given us for edifica9 tion, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed. I
say this that I may not seem as if I would terrify you with my 10 epistles. Some I know insinuate this: for his epistles, say they,
are indeed weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, 11 and his speech despicable. Let such an one whoever he be, reckon
upon this, that such as we are in word by letters, when absent, 12 such shall we be also when present in action. For we presume
not to number or to compare ourselves with some who in high • terms commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves
by themselyes, and comparing themselves with themselves, are 13 not wisef. But we-glory not beyond our proper bounds, but ac
cording to the measure of the rulell which God hath distributed to 14 us ;-a measure to comes even unto you. For we do not extend
ourselves excessively, as not regularly coming to you (like some who run abruptly from one church to another to serve their orum
ends ) for we are about to come in a regular course, even unto you, 15 in the gospel of Christ. Not boasting unmeasurably or in thing's
beyond our line ) in the labours of others : not intruding into churches planted by other ministers, where we have no proper call : But [we expect not to be long confined within our present limits] having the fileasing hope, that when your faith is sufficiently increased, we * i.e. Christ's minister (See Ch. xi. 23.) “let him on the other hand reason this from himself.” M.
+ “ And therefore if." Ib.
_ of the LANE which the God of measare hath allotted to us." 78 xatvevo u the word signifies a line or cord used in measuring land.By this figure, God is represented as measuring out, or dividing, to the first preachers of the gospel, their several scenes of action. They were not at liberty to interfere in the labours of other persons, or to pass by some countries, and preach in others at their pleasure: Accordingly Paul himself had proceeded, in a regular course in his severa! missions, and in his way to Corinth; whereas the false teacher there, had (as he insinuates) acted on a different plan-See these hints enlarged upon by Dr. M. in his notes on this chapter, which cast great light upon several obscure passages in it.
§ Or, agreeable to the above metaphor, a Line to extend, or “reach," as the word is in the C.T. as far as Corinth. ED.
shall according to our (prescribed] rulc, be enlarged* by you, so 16 as to abound in opportunity to preach the gospel even in the re
gions beyond you at Corinth ; and not to boast, as some do, in an17 other mau's rule for line in things made ready to our hand. But 18 he that boasteth, let him boast in the Lord: for not hc that coni
mendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
REFLECTIONS. May the meekness and gentleness of Christ ever be remembered by all his servants, and especially by his ministers, to whom, both under their public and private characters it will be of so great importance to imitate it. Their calling is indeed high and holy : let their behaviour in it be so much the more humble. And let it be their great care, that while they walk in the flesh, they do not war after it. Still, though disarmed of that miraculous power with which the apostles were endowed, are the weapons of their warfare mighty. They have the scripture-magazine ever at hand, from whence they may be furnished with them ; and may humbly hope, that the Spirit of God will render them effectual to the frulling down strong holds, and abasing every proud imagination which exalteth itself against the obedience of God. May every thought of their orun hearts be in the first place thus subdued, and brought into a sweet and willing captivity ! So shall these their captives, thus conquered, prove as so many faithful soldiers to fight for him, against whom they once were foolishly rebelling. And may they succeed in this holy war, till the empire of our divine Master becomes universal, and the happiness of mankind universal with it.
To promote this, let us pray that ministers may always remember that, whatever authority they have given them, is for edification, and not for destruction ; and may learn from that moderation with which the apostle used his miraculous powers, in how gentle and candid a manner they should behave themselves in their far inferior stations ; never making their pre-eminence in the church the instrument of their own resentment, or of any other sinful or selfish passion ; but ever solicitous to subserve the interest of our great Lord in all, and desirous to keep up their own character and influence, chiefly for his sake.—May they in no instance boast beyond their proper measure ; and while they are ready, like St. Paul, to meet all the most laborious scenes of service, let them glory not in themselves, but in the Lord. This is a lesson we are all to learn. And whatever our stations in life are, let us resolutely and constantly guard against that self-flattery by which we may be ready to commend oursclves, in instances in which we may be least approved by him, whose favour alone is worthy of our ambition, and by whose judgment, in the day of final account, we must stand or fall.
* "Magnified." D. The word "eniarred” in C. T. seems preferable, and is adopted by M. who well observes, “The apostle loped the Corinthians would soon be so well instructed, as to render it proper for him to leave them to the care of their stated teachers, and to preach the gospel in the countries beyond them, wliere it had not been preacher; viz. in lialy and pain."
The apostle further vindicates himself from the serverse insinuations of his
opposers ; particularly on liis declining to receive a contribution for his maintenance. Ch. xi 1-15.
IT WISH * you would bear with a little of my folly †; and indeed 21 I entreat you, bear with me : for I am jealous over you with a
godly jealousy, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ; for I have espoused for betrothed] you to one husband, even to
him, and I am greatly concerned that you may maintain your fidelity. 3 For I fear lest, by any means, as the serpent deceived Eve by
his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from simplicity 4 towards Christ. For if he that cometh among you preach another
Jesus, whom we have not preached; or if ye receive by his preaching, another Spirit, which ye have not yet received; or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with
himill, and there would be some excuse, r. for giving him the prefer5 ence. But you have no such pretence. 7 For I reckon that. I did 6 not in any respect fall short of the greatest of the apostles. For
if I am as my opponents say unskilful in speech, using plain unpolished language, nevertheless I am not so in knowledge. But
in every respect we have been manifest to you in all things (requi7 site to the apostolic office.]-Have I committed an offence in hum
bling myself to the coils of a tent-maker, that you might r be exalt.
ed ? that I have preached the gospel of God to you at free cost. 8 [Nor indeed was this all, for, in a manner] I have robbed other 9 churches, taking wages of them for waiting upon youş. And
when I was in want, while present with you, I was chargeable to no man of your society; for what was deficient to me, the breth
ren who came from Macedonia supplied; and in all things I have 10 kept, and will keep myself from being burdensome to you. As
the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting shall not be stopped r. Il with respect to me, in all the regions of Achaia. Why? Is it 12 because I love you not? God knoweth the contrary. But what I
do in this respect I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them who desire an occasion to reflect upon me, that in the thing of which
they boastaf, they may be found even as we, subsisting on their 13 own labours. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, 14 transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And it is no
* In the original, the name of God is not introduced. ED.
+ 9.d. Perinit a little of that boasting (which you may be apt to censure as folly, and] which I know in general to be foolish.
# If now indeed he (my opposer) who IS COME-M.
While he abole at Corinth, he received a kind of stipend from the Philippians, who were anxious to prevent his being thought burdensome there. See Phil. iv. 10, 15.
I Whatever the false apostles might boast of their disinterestedness, it is plain they had no foundation for it. See v. 20. and 1 Cor. ix. 12.
wonder; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 85 Therefore it is no great thing, if his ministers also be transform
ed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
REFLECTIONS. How adorable is the condescension of the blessed Jesus, who amidst all the exalted glories of his heavenly kingdom, is so graciously uniting souls to himself; espousing them in bonds of everlasting love, that they may be for ever near him, and receive the most endearing communications of his favour. Much should we all be concerned, that we may have the honour and blessings of such an alliance; that being by profession solemnly espoused to him, we may in the day of the marriage of the Lamb, be nresented chaste and spotless. How vigilant should they be who are intrusted by him to treat with souls about these espousals! How solicitous, that they may succeed, and may so present them to Christ!
Still is that crafty serpent, whose malignant breath so soon tainted our common mother, and all our happiness, by his subrilty, labouring to corrupt our minds from the simplicity of true Christianity. Let us 'be incessantly watchful against the artful deceiver; remembering that his works and designs of darkness may sometimes be veiled as under the robes of an angel of light, and his ministers transformed as ministers of righteousness. Be therefore sober and vigilant, since your adversary the devil adds the wiliness of the old serpent, to the rage and cruelty of the roaring lion, and by both subserves his purposes of betraying, or devouring the souls of men.-Let us therefore with a godly jealousy be jealous over each other, and especially over ourselves; and after the example of the apostle be peculiarly so, when we are compelled to say any thing to our own advantage. Let us endeavour to arm ourselves against every surrounding danger, by a growing regard to the writings of this excellent man, who, though rude in speech, was so far from being in any degree deficient in Christian knowledge, that he was not behind the very chief of the opostles, There are those that preach another gospel : but can they point out another Jesus, another all-sufficient Saviour? can they direct us to another Spirit? Let us hold fast the doctrine we learn from his faithful pen : let us follow the exhortations we receive from bis experienced heart : and be ever ready to imitate him in that resolute self-denial which he exercised, and that glorious superiority to every other interest which he always shewed, where the interests of Christ and of souls were concerned. So shail we cut off occasion from them that seek occasion against us, and secure a far greater happiness, in the conscious reflection of our own minds, as well as the expectation of a future reward, than the greatest abundance of this world could have given us, or any present advantage to which we could have sacrificed the views of conscience and honour.
Further to assert his right as an apostle, Paul commemorates his labours and
sufferings in the cause of Christ ; yet so as to shew how disagreeable it was even to seem to applaud himself. Ch. xi. 16. &c.
GAIN I say, let no man think me foolish in this my boasting. A But if otherwise, if I must be thought foolish, as foolish how
ever receive and bear with me, that I also may boast some small 17 matter in my turn, as well as others. What I speak, I speak not
after the Lord, but as it were foolishly in this confidence of boast18 ing. Seeing many boast according to the flesh, I will boast also. 19 And you may well bear with foolish people, since you yourselves
are so wise. Nay, you do indeed endure much more from your admired teachers. For I hear that you bear it patiently, even if a man enslave you ; if he devour you ; if he seize on your possessions ; if he exalt himself; nay if he smite you on the face. Do I speak this by way of dishonour, as if we ourselves were weak* ? Surely in whatever any one else may be confident (I speak it yout
may say in folly) I also am confident, being able to equal or even 22 excel them.- Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites ? 23 So am I. Are they of the seed of Abraham ? So am I. Are
they ministers of Christ? (I may seem again to speak foolishly) I
am more : more abundant in labours; exceeding them in stripes ; 24 more abundant in imprisonments; often in deaths. Of the Jews 25 I have five times received forty stripes save onet. Thrice was I
beaten with rods by the Roman lictors ; once I was stoned ; thrice
I have been shipwrecked ; I passed a day and a night in the deep; 26 I have been in journies often; in dangers from rivers ; in dangers.
from robbers; in dangers from my own countrymen; in dangers from the heathen ; in dangers in the city; in dangers in the wil
derness ; in dangers of the sea; in dangers among false brethren. 27 I have long been in labour and toil; in watchings often; in hunger 28 and thirst, in fastings often; in cold and nakedness. Beside for
eign affairst, the care of all the churches is rushing in upon me
every day: As also a concern for individuals ; for who is weak, 29 and I am not weak too? Who is offended so as to commit sin, and 30 I am not fired with indignation ? If I must r boasi, I will boast of 31 things which relate to my infirmitics/l. The God and Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ, who is ever blessed, knoweth that I do not
lie. One early providential appearance for my safety, I would here 32 particularly mention. In Damascus, the governor under king
Aretas set a guard at the city of the Damascenes, being deter
* "I speak concerning the reproach (cast on me ) that wo are weak.” M. + See the reason of that limitation, Deut. xxv. 3. * “ Besides these troubles from without.” M.
li_“ my weakness.” With this his enemies had upbraided him. Ch. x. 20. Of this he particularly boasted, because thereby the Care of God and good men over him was illustriously displayod. M.