« PreviousContinue »
(2.) DIGRESSION ON His Boast OF Ais CLAIMS. X. 7—
SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS.
Of all the Epistles of St. Paul there is none so personal as the Second Epistle to the Corinthians; as in its contents, so in its occasion. It sprung entirely from the peculiar complication of circumstances which took place after the writing of the First Epistle; and which accordingly it is necessary here to unfold. If the Introduction to the First Epistle might be called “ The State of the Corinthian Church,” the Introduction to the Second might be called with equal propriety, " The Effects of the First Epistle.”
That Epistle had been conveyed, or if not conveyed, immediately followed by Titus. To him the Apostle had entrusted the duty both of enforcing its commands, and of communicating to him its results; whilst he nimself, after a stay of some weeks at Ephesus, was to advance by easy stages through Macedonia to Corinth. The stay at Ephesus was probably cut short by the riot of the silversmiths; in the Acts of the Apostles? his departure is described as taking place immediately after and in consequence of it. From thence he went
to Troas, and from thence to Macedonia. It was a journey overcast with perplexity, sorrow, and danger. Possibly the recollection of the recent tumult at Ephesus still weighed upon his mind; possibly some new conspiracy against his life had been discovered on the road;
; but the expressions which describe his state at this time?, rather imply that the gloom and misery which oppressed him were either chiefly occasioned, or greatly enhanced, by his anxiety about the reception of his Epistle at Corinth. His bodily constitution, never strong, seems to have been bowed down almost to the ground by this complication of sorrow. All was dark around him ; and all was darkened into a still deeper night by the fear he entertained lest his influence in his favourite Church should be extinguished by his own act in his own Epistle. His beloved Timotheus, indeed, was with him ; but either he had never reached Corinth, or had returned before the arrival of the First Epistle; he, therefore, could give his master no comfort on the one subject which filled his thoughts. Corinth, and Corinth only, was the word which would then have been found written on the Apostle's heart; and Titus was the only friend who could at that conjuncture minister balm to his troubled spirit. His first hope of meeting him was at Troas4: thither vessels sailed from the opposite coast, as when the Apostle himself a year later returned by that route from Corinth 5; and thither, therefore, Titus might already have arrived from the same city. But the Apostle waited in vain : some unexpected delay retained the faithful friend, and added new pangs to the Apostle's anxieties. Even his apostolic labours, at other times his chief consolation in
1 2 Cor. ii. 12, 13. 32 Cor. i. 8.
? 2 Cor. i. 4., 8–10., q. 13., vii. 4-6. 4 2 Cor. ii. 12.
3 Acts, xx. 5,