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1: Timotheus our brother - St. Paul writing to Timotheus
styled him his son; writing of him, his brother.
3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ - A solemn and beautiful introduction, highly suitable
to the apostolical spirit. The Father of mercies, and God of
all comfort - Mercies are the fountain of comfort; comfort is
the outward expression of mercy. God shows mercy in the
affliction itself. He gives comfort both in and after the
affliction. Therefore is he termed, the God of all comfort.
Blessed be this God!
4: Who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may
be able to comfort them who are in any affliction - He that has
experienced one kind of affliction is able to comfort others
in that affliction. He that has experienced all kinds of
affliction is able to comfort them in all.
5: For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us - The
sufferings endured on his account. So our comfort also
aboundeth through Christ - The sufferings were many, the
comfort one; and yet not only equal to, but overbalancing,
6: And whether we are afflicted, it is for your comfort
and salvation - For your present comfort, your present and
future salvation. Or whether we are comforted, it is for your
comfort - That we may be the better able to comfort you. Which
is effectual in the patient enduring the same sufferings which
we also suffer - Through the efficacy of which you patiently
endure the same kind of sufferings with us.
7: And our hope concerning you - Grounded on your patience
in suffering for Christ's sake, is steadfast.
8: We would not have you ignorant, brethren, of the
trouble which befell us in Asia - Probably the same which is
described in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts. (Ac 19:1)
The Corinthians knew before that he had been in trouble: he
now declares the greatness and the fruit of it. We were
exceedingly pressed, above our strength - Above the ordinary
strength even of an apostle.
9: Yea, we had the sentence of death in ourselves - We
ourselves expected nothing but death.
10: We trust that he will still deliver - That we may at
length be able to come to you.
11: You likewise - As well as other churches. Helping
with us by prayer, that for the gift - Namely, my deliverance.
Bestowed upon us by means of many persons - Praying for it,
thanks may be given by many.
12: For I am the more emboldened to look for this,
because I am conscious of my integrity; seeing this is our
rejoicing - Even in the deepest adversity. The testimony of
our conscience - Whatever others think of us. That in
simplicity - Having one end in view, aiming singly at the glory
of God. And godly sincerity - Without any tincture of guile,
dissimulation, or disguise. Not with carnal wisdom, but by
the grace of God - Not by natural, but divine, wisdom. We
have had our conversation in the world - In the whole world;
in every circumstance.
14: Ye have acknowledged us in part - Though not so fully
as ye will do. That we are you rejoicing - That ye rejoice in
having known us. As ye also are ours - As we also rejoice in the
success of our labours among you; and we trust shall rejoice
therein in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15: In this confidence - That is, being confident of this.
17: Did I use levity - Did I lightly change my purpose?
Do I purpose according to the flesh - Are my purposes grounded
on carnal or worldly considerations? So that there should be
with me yea and nay - Sometimes one, sometimes the other; that
is, variableness and inconstancy.
18: Our word to you - The whole tenor of our doctrine.
Hath not been yea and nay - Wavering and uncertain.
19: For Jesus Christ, who was preached by us - That is,
our preaching concerning him. Was not yea and nay - Was not
variable and inconsistent with itself. But was yea in him
- Always one and the same, centering in him.
20: For all the promises of God are yea and amen in
him - Are surely established in and through him. They are
yea with respect to God promising; amen, with respect to
men believing; yea, with respect to the apostles; amen,
with respect to their hearers.
21: I say, to the glory of God - For it is God alone
that is able to fulfil these promises. That establisheth
us - Apostles and teachers. With you - All true believers. In the
faith of Christ; and hath anointed us - With the oil of
gladness, with joy in the Holy Ghost, thereby giving us
strength both to do and suffer his will.
22: Who also hath sealed us - Stamping his image on our
hearts, thus marking and sealing us as his own property. And
given us the earnest of his Spirit - There is a difference
between an earnest and a pledge. A pledge is to be restored
when the debt is paid; but an earnest is not taken away, but
completed. Such an earnest is the Spirit. The first fruits
of it we have (Ro 8:23); and we wait for all the fulness.
23: I call God for a record upon my soul - Was not St. Paul
now speaking by the Spirit? And can a more solemn oath be
conceived? Who then can imagine that Christ ever designed to
forbid all swearing? That to spare you I came not yet to
Corinth - Lest I should be obliged to use severity. He says
elegantly to Corinth, not to you, when be is intimating his
power to punish.
24: Not that we have dominion over your faith - This is the
prerogative of God alone. But are helpers of your joy - And faith
from which it springs. For by faith ye have stood - To this day.
We see the light in which ministers should always consider
themselves, and in which they are to be considered by others.
Not as having dominion over the faith of their people, and
having a right to dictate by their own authority what they
shall believe, or what they shall do; but as helpers of their
joy, by helping them forward in faith and holiness. In this
view, how amiable does their office appear! and how friendly
to the happiness of mankind! How far, then, are they from
true benevolence, who would expose it to ridicule and contempt!