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1: It is not expedient - Unless on so pressing occasion.
Visions are seen; revelations, heard.
2: I knew a man in Christ - That is, a Christian. It is
plain from (2Co 12:6,7), that he means himself, though in
modesty he speaks as of a third person. Whether in the body or
out of the body I know not - It is equally possible with God to
present distant things to the imagination in the body, as if
the soul were absent from it, and present with them; or to
transport both soul and body for what time he pleases to
heaven; or to transport the soul only thither for a season, and
in the mean time to preserve the body fit for its re - entrance.
But since the apostle himself did not know whether his soul was
in the body, or whether one or both were actually in heaven, it
would be vain curiosity for us to attempt determining it. The
third heaven - Where God is; far above the aerial and the starry
heaven. Some suppose it was here the apostle was let into the
mystery of the future state of the church; and received his
orders to turn from the Jews and go to the gentiles.
3: Yea, I knew such a man - That at another time.
4: He was caught up into paradise - The seat of happy spirits
in their separate state, between death and the resurrection.
Things which it is not possible for man to utter - Human language
being incapable of expressing them. Here he anticipated the
joyous rest of the righteous that die in the Lord. But this
rapture did not precede, but follow after, his being caught up
to the third heaven: a strong intimation that he must first
discharge his mission, and then enter into glory. And beyond
all doubt, such a foretaste of it served to strengthen him in
all his after trials, when he could call to mind the very joy
that was prepared for him.
5: Of such an one I will - I might, glory; but I will not
glory of myself - As considered in myself.
6: For if I should resolve to glory - Referring to, I might
glory of such a glorious revelation. I should not be a fool
- That is, it could not justly be accounted folly to relate the
naked truth. But I forbear - I speak sparingly of these things,
for fear any one should think too highly of me - O where is this
fear now to be found? Who is afraid of this?
7: There was given me - By the wise and gracious providence
of God. A thorn in the flesh - A visitation more painful than any
thorn sticking in the flesh. A messenger or angel of Satan to
buffet me - Perhaps both visibly and invisibly; and the word in
the original expresses the present, as well as the past, time.
All kinds of affliction had befallen the apostle. Yet none of
those did he deprecate. But here he speaks of one, as above all
the rest, one that macerated him with weakness, and by the pain
and ignominy of it prevented his being lifted up mere, or, at
least, not less, than the most vehement head ache could have
done; which many of the ancients say he laboured under. St.
Paul seems to have had a fresh fear of these buffetings every
moment, when he so frequently represses himself in his boasting,
though it was extorted from him by the utmost necessity.
8: Concerning this - He had now forgot his being lifted up.
I besought the Lord thrice - As our Lord besought his Father.
9: But he said to me - ln answer to my third request. My
grace is sufficient for thee - How tender a repulse! We see there
may be grace where there is the quickest sense of pain. My
strength is more illustriously displayed by the weakness of the
instrument. Therefore I will glory in my weaknesses rather
than my revelations, that the strength of Christ may rest upon
me - The Greek word properly means, may cover me all over like a
tent. We ought most willingly to accept whatever tends to this
end, however contrary to flesh and blood.
10: Weaknesses - Whether proceeding from Satan or men. For
when I am weak - Deeply conscious of my weakness, then does the
strength of Christ rest upon me.
11: Though I am nothing - Of myself.
14: The third time - Having been disappointed twice.
I seek not yours - Your goods. But you - Your souls.
15: I will gladly spend - All I have. And be spent - Myself.
16: But some may object, though I did not burden you,
though I did not take anything of you myself, yet being crafty
I caught you with guile - I did secretly by my messengers what
I would not do openly, or in person.
17: I answer this lying accusation by appealing to plain
fact. Did I make a gain of you by Titus - Or any other of my
messengers? You know the contrary.
It should be carefully observed, that St. Paul does not allow,
but absolutely denies, that he had caught them with guile; so
that the common plea for guile, which has been often drawn from
this text, is utterly without foundation.
18: I desired Titus - To go to you.
19: Think ye that we again excuse ourselves - That I speak
this for my own sake? No. I speak all this for your sakes.
21: Who had sinned before - My last coming to Corinth.
Uncleanness - Of married persons. Lasciviousness - Against nature.