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Troas after leaving Ephefus, and the weeks which he spent in Macedonia before the arrival of Titus: all which, when joined, could not make above half a-year at moft. Since therefore the fecond epistle to the Corinthians was written fo foon after the firft, its date may be fixed to the fummer of the year 57. For, as we have fhewn in the preface, fect. v. the first epiltle was written in the end of the year 56, or in the beginning of the year 57.
It was observed in fect. 1. of this preface, that St. Paul's fecond epistle to the Corinthians was fent by Titus, who carried his former letter. This excellent perfon is often mentioned by the apostle, and was in fuch esteem with him, that he left him in Crete to regulate the affairs of the churches there. He seems to have been originally an idolatrous Gentile whom Paul converted in his first apoftolical journey, and brought with him to Antioch when he returned from that journey. For he took him up to Jerufalem when he went thither from Antioch to confult the apostles and elders and brethren there, concerning the circumcifion of the converted Gentiles.-Not long after this Paul undertook his fecond apoftolical journey, for the purpose of confirming the churches he had formerly planted. On that occafion, Titus accompanied him in his progrefs till they came to Corinth: for he affifted him in preaching the gospel to the Corinthians. So the apostle himself informs us, 2 Cor. viii. 23. If any enquire concerning Titus, he is my partner and fellow-labsurer in the gospel toward you. Wherefore, when thè apoftle wrote this, having been in Corinth only once, if Titus was his partner and fellow-labourer in the gospel toward the Corinthians, it must have been at Paul's first coming to Corinth when he converted the Corinthians. These particulars fhall be more fully explained in the preface to Titus. But it was neceffary to mention them here, because they fhew the propriety of the apostle's fending Titus, rather than any of his other affiftants, with his first letter to the Corinthians, fome of whom had forfaken the apostle, and had attached themfelves to a falfe teacher. Titus being fuch a perfon, St. Paul hoped he might have had some influence with the Corinthians, to perfuade them to return to their duty. Befides a number of them having been either converted or confirmed by him, he had an interest in the welfare and reputation of their church. VOL. II. X
Wherefore, when he joined the apoftle in Macedonia, although he had but just come from Corinth, he not only accepted of Paul's invitation to return with him to that city, but being defirous that the Corinthians fhould finish their collection for the faints, he of his own accord offered to go back immediately, to perfuade them to do fo without delay, that their collection might be ready when the apostle came. By Titus therefore, St. Paul fent his fecond epiftle to the Corinthians, who we may believe, on receiving it, set about the collection in earnest, and finished it by the time the apoftle arrived.
2 CORINTHIAN S.
View and Illuftration of the Matters contained in this Chapter.
FTER giving the Corinthians his apoftolical benediction,
St. Paul began this chapter with returning thanks to God, who had comforted him in every affliction, that he might be able to comfort others, with the confolation wherewith he himfelf had been comforted, ver. 3.-7. By this thanksgiving, the apostle infinuated, that one of the purposes of his writing the present letter, was to comfort the fincere part of the Corinthian church, and to relieve them from the forrow occafioned to them, by the rebukes in his former letter.-Next, to fhew the care which God took of him as a faithful apostle of his Son, he gave the Corinthians an account of a great affliction which had befallen him in Afia, that is in Ephefus and its neighbourhood, and of a great deliverance from an imminent danger of death, which God had wrought for him: namely, when he fought with wild beasts in Ephesus, as mentioned in his former epistle, chap. xv. 32, and had the sentence of death in himself, to teach him that he should not trust in himself, but in God, ver. 8, 9.
When the apostle fent Timothy and Eraftus from Ephefus into Macedonia, as mentioned, Acts xix. 22. it is probable that he ordered them to go forward to Corinth, (1 Cor. xvi: 10.) provided the accounts which they received in Macedonia, gave them reafon to think their prefence in Corinth would be useful: and that he ordered them likewife to inform the Corinthians, that he was coming ftraightway from Ephefus to Corinth, to remedy the diforders which fome of the family of Chloe told him had taken place among them. But after Timothy and Eraftus departed, having more than ordinary fuccefs in converting the idolatrous Gentiles in the province of Afia, he put off his voyage to Corinth for fome time; being determined to re
main in Ephefus and its neighbourhood till the following Pentecoft; after which he purpofed to go through Macedonia, in. his way to Corinth. This alteration of his intention, the apostle notified to the Corinthians in his firft epiftle, chap. xvi. 5.-8. But the faction having taken occafion therefrom, to speak of him as a falfe, fickle, worldly minded man, who, in all his actions was guided by interested views, he judged it neceffary in this fecond letter, to vindicate himfelf from that calumny, by affuring the Corinthians that he always behaved with the greatest fimplicity and fincerity, ver. 12.-And by declaring that what he was about to write on that fubject, was the truth: namely, That when he fent them word by Timothy and Erastus, of his intention to fet out for Corinth immediately by fea, he really meant to do fo, ver. 13. 16.--And that the alteration of his refolution, did not proceed either from levity, or falfehood, ver. 17.—as they might have known from the uniformity of the doctrine
Ver. 1.-1. And Timothy. From this it is evident, that Timothy was with the apoftle, when the fecond to the Corinthians was written.Timothy was a zealous preacher of the gofpel, the apostle's conftant companion (See 1 Tim. Pref. fect. 1.) and one, of whose ability and integrity the Corinthians had received recent proofs, during his late vifit to them, 1 Cor. xvi. 10. His teftimony, therefore, to the things written in this epiftle, might have had weight, even with the faction, to convince them that when the apoftle fent them word by him and Eraftus, that he intended to go directly from Ephefus to Corinth, (See Illuftration) he was perfectly fincere, as he declares, ver. 13.-16. And that when he altered his refolution, and delayed his vifit, it was on motives purely confcientious.- By allowing Timothy to join in his letter, the apoftle did him the greateft honour, and highly advanced
doctrine which he preached to them, ver. 18, 19, 20.-whereby, as well as by the earneft of the Spirit put into his heart, God had fully established his authority with the Corinthians. It was therefore abfurd to impute either levity, or falfehood, to one who was thus publicly and plainly attefted of God, to be an apostle of Chrift, by the fpiritual gifts which he had conferred on his difciples, ver. 22, 23.-Laftly, he called God to witnefs, that hitherto he had delayed his journey to Corinth, exprefsly for the purpose of giving the faulty among them time to repent, ver. 23. and that in fo doing, he had acted, fuitably to his cha racter; becaufe miraculous powers were bestowed on the apoftles, not to enable them to lord it over the perfons and goods of the difciples, by means of their faith, but to make them helpers of their joy, perfuading them both by arguments and chaftifements, to live agreeably to their Christian profession,
NEW TRANSLATION. CHAP. I. 1 Paul, an apoftle of Jefus Chrift by the will of God, and Timothy Mr brother, to the church of God which is in Corinth, together with all the faints who are in all Achaia:
2 Grace BE to you, and peace (fee Rom. i. 7. note 4.) from God our Father, and FROM the Lord Jefus Christ.
CHAP.I. 1 Paul, an apostle of Jefus Chrift, agreeably to the will of God, and Timothy, (See 1 Theff. i. I. note 1.) my fellow labourer in the gofpel of Chritt, to the church of God which is in Corinth, and to all who profefs to believe in Christ, who are in all the province of Achaia.
2 Grace be to you, with peace temporal and eternal, from God our common father, the author of every bleffing, and from the Lord Jefus Chrift, by whom the Father dif penfes his favours.
his credit with all the churches of Achaia. See Theff. Pref. Lect. 3.
2. Who are in all Achaia. Corinth being the metropolis of the province of Achaia (See Theff. i. 7. note.) the brethren of Achaia, no doubt, had frequent intercourfe with thofe in Corinth, and by that means had an opportunity of hearing this letter read in the Chriftian affemblies at Corinth. But as they had equal need with the Corin. thians, of the admonitions and advices contained in this letter, it was addreffed to them likewife, that they might be entitled to take copies of it in order to read it in their public meetings, for their own edification. See Effay ii. page 57.