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Lord Jesus Christ, let him be branded with the heaviest curse, and sentenced with the fearfullest degree of excommunication.
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO
I. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. For, as in these troubles and persecutions, which we endure for the Gospel, it is not so much we that suffer, as it is Christ that suffers in us; and in these we abound : so the consolations, which we have also, are in and by Christ; and these comforts abound, according to the proportion of our sufferings.
I. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And, both our sufferings and consolations are for your good, and not only for our own: for, while we suffer patiently and constantly, we do herein give you an example of courageous suffering for Christ; whereby you may receive not only present consolation, but also eternal salvation, which is effectually wrought, through the mercy of Christ, in the enduring of those your sufferings; and while we are comforted, we give you a cheerful example of the joyful issue of those sufferings, and thereby help forward also your consolation and salvation.
I. 8 That we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. We were pressed exceedingly with those troubles and persecutions, even above the power of our natural strength, to undergo them ; insomuch as we made no account, that we could escape them with life:
I. 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead : But we made full reckoning of our present death, as utterly inevitable; giving ourselves for dead men, that we should not trust in ourselves for any possibility of life, but in God, who raiseth the very dead :
I. 10 Who delivered us from so great a death.
I. 11 That for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many on our behalf. That, for the gift bestowed upon us, for the benefit and behoof of many and upon the earnest prayers of many, thanks may be al. so given to God by many, on our behalf.
1. 12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience,
that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. Our demeanour in the world was not guided by a worldly wisdom and policy; as if we sought ourselves, by the disadvantage of others: neither was our preaching taken up in the ostentation of secular philosophy and human eloquence; but set forth with the efficacy of God's grace, and simplicity of truth and holy zeal, as to all God's people, so to you especially, more abundantly.
I. 15 That ye might have a second benefit. That, as ye received one main benefit by my first coming, which was your conversion; so ye might receive a second benefit by my coming to you again, even your confirmation in the Gospel.
I.'17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness ? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? When I therefore was thus minded, and yet did not accordingly perform it, was it out of any levity, or inconstancy and unsteadiness to my own resolutions? or do I contrive my purposes and determinations out of carnal respects, that, according to the occasion of more profit or more ease, I should alter them? and that I should say and unsay, at pleasure; promising and retracting, as advantage served ?
I. 18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and man. But I call the Only True God to witness, that neither this purpose and engagement of mine, nor any word of my preaching amongst you, hath been false, double, variable, deceitful.
I. 19. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Sylvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, &c. was so preached to you by us, as with one ever firm and constant asseveration of the truth by us delivered concerning him, we did not vary our note; one while affirming that of him, which another while we denied; but we ever continued iminoveable and unchangeable, in the same doc. trines.
I. 20 For all the promises of God in him are you, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Otherwise, we should not have faithfully delivered this holy errand, that is committed to us: for, certainly, all the promises of God in the Gospel, (which are the matter of our message,) are in him fully and immutably performed; and so are proclaimed and justified to the world by us, unto the praise and glory of God.
I. 21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God. Now he, that doth confirm and establish both you and us, in the faith and profession of his undoubted truth of Christ our Lord, and
in an unchangeable and unremoveable adherence to him, and who hath anointed us with the precious oil of his spiritual grace is God only.
I. 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. Who hath also sealed us up for his; and, as it is wont to be done in bargains, that the earnest given in hand binds the contract, so hath he made our salvation sure, by giving to us beforehand the earnest of his Spirit in our hearts.
I. 23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. Moreover, I call God to bear witness with my soul, of the truth which I affirm; and to take punishment upon my soul, if I affirm ought but the truth; that only out of respects to you, I forbore to come, as yet, to Corinth; lest, finding matters amiss and yet un. reformed, I should have been forced to use my Apostolical authority amongst you, in such severity, as would have seemed very harsh unto you.
I. 24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. But, when I speak of sparing you, let no man think that we meant ever so to take upon us, as if we would be imperious, and overrule you in matter of faith and religion, at our pleasure; but only, that we would endeavour your reformation, and therein be helpers forward of your joy: as for your faith, it is not either in our will or in our power to shake or stir it; for that is it, whereby ye do and must stand; so as it neither is nor can be subject to the command or alteration of men,
II. 5 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. But if any man have caused grief, as indeed that incestuous man hath done, he hath not grieved me alone, but many of you also, with ine; that I may not have reason to charge you all, with the blame or suspicion of bearing with that foul crime.
II. 6 Sufficient to such a nian is this punishment which was inflicted of many. Since he hath been censured, according to my order, and hath professed his serious repentance, let this punishment or censure be sufficient, which was inflicted upon him publicly in the congregation.
II. 10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forguve it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; And, as I before wrote to you, that my spirit consented together with you, in the excommunicating of this offender; so now, I do profess my concurrence with you, in his absolution and remission: as ye do therefore forgive him, so do I also; and, in this forgive. ness of mine, I have respect to you, and do it for your sakes, sin
cerely; as in the presence of Christ, so in the Name and Person of Christ, who hath committed this authority unto me:
II. 11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. Both you and I must thus release him, lest Satan should get an advantage of us, by overwhelming the sinner with despair; and by prevailing against us, in our too much austerity and uncharitableness: for we are well acquainted with the subtle devices of that great and cunning adversary.
II. 12 And a door was opened unto me of the Lord. An opportunity was offered to me, by the Lord, in the great readiness and forward desires of the hearers.
II. 13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother. I was much grieved and troubled in my soul, for that I met not with Titus, my brother, by whom I made account to hear of your estate.
II. 14 And maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. And casteth abroad the sweet perfume or savour of the knowledge of God, by our preaching, in every place; so as the world is, as it were, filled therewith.
II. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish : For we, by our preaching, are as a sweet and acceptable perfume in the nostrils of God; casting abroad and spreading the fragrant savour of Christ, all the world over; graciously accepted of God, howsoever we speed with men; since he doth not judge of us by the event, but regards and crowns our conscionable labours, whether they light upon them that are saved, or on them that perish:
II. 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?. To the one, we are as a deadly savour, by reason that their corruption turns this wholesome and saving Gospel into poison, and thereby makes our preaching an occasion of their destruction; to the other, we are a sweet and comfortable savour, giving both the life of grace here to those that receive our Gospel, and of eternal glory hereafter: so as this employment is noble and great, and of exceeding importance; and how few are there, that are fit and able to discharge it?
II. 17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. As for us, blessed be God, he hath fitted us for it: for tre are not as many, who do corrupt and adulterate the word of God, mixing it with their own fancies, and preaching it plausibly and coretonsly, so as they may humour others and advantage themselves; but we have preached the pure and sincere word of God unto you, and that with truth and uprightness of heart, as in the sight of God, by the direction and authority of Christ.
III. 2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men. Ye, () ye converted Corinthians, and your whole Church, are as a large epistle of commendations, .written in the testimony of our conscience which knows all our effectual labours among you, sent forth to all the world, in our behalf, well known and read of all men:
III. 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; &c. Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be Christ's epistle, written by our ministry; in that, both Christ is written in you by us, and that also Christ by our preaching hath written the blessed characters of his grace in you; not with ink, but with, &c.
III. 4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward. And such trust and confidence have we, through Christ, in our God, that we are bold thus to boast of this work of God in you, and the efficacy of our ministry amongst you.
III. 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spin rit giveth life. Who hath made us able ministers of the New Testament: but, not of the outward and bare sound thereof, or of that dead letter wherein it is expressed and written; but of that inward virtue of the Spi. rit of God, which, through the blessing of God, worketh with the vocal sound of the Gospel: for the outward expression, being separated from the inward power of the Gospel, occasions the death of the soul: it is the inward grace of the Spirit, working with the letter and sound of the Gospel, that gives a true spiritual life unto the soul.
III. 7, 8 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance ; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious ? But if the Old Law, which threateneth and bringeth death with it, which was written and engraven in tables of stone, were delivered with such glory, as that the children of Israel could not look stedfastly upon the face of Moses, for the shining glory of his countenance, which glory was but temporary, and vanished away with the face itself; How shall not the ministration of the Gospel, which is accompanied by the Spirit of God, and gives life to the receivers, be much more glorious ? So also verse 9.
III. 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For even that glorious delivery of the Law, and that shining face