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passing immediately to the censure of the false doctrines that were then introduced into the church, we cannot help concluding, that some of the maxims of these teachers were of a licentious kind; and that they were so, is farther evident from the epistles of Peter, Jude and John, and also from the book of Revelation.
The things here referred to under the name of genealogies, * I have observed before, were the Gnostic doctrines of the derivation of celestial beings from the Supreme Mind, than which nothing could be more absurd or various. These teachers, being also Jews, laid great stress upon the law of Moses.
10, 11. That the manners of these heretics or Gnostics, for it is evident from all antiquity that no other class of men was considered as heretics in the primitive times, were licentious, seems farther evident from the apostle here saying that they were self-condemned. By this, however, he could only mean that their vices were so flagrant, that it was hardly possible to suppose but that they must blame themselves for them. There are, perhaps, no speculative principles from which a man will, at all times, and especially in his cooler moments, exculpate himself in cases in whichi all the rest of mankind think him to be criminal, though in argument he might maintain the lawfulness of his conduct and pretend to justify it.'
Heretics † were those who had actually left the Catholic
• “The Jews carried their fondness for these to a great excess; and Jerome tells us, they were as well acquainted with those from Adain to Zerubbubel, as with their own names." Doddridge. See Chap. i. 14, supra, p. 147.
+ “ This Greek word Hereticke is no more in true English and in truth, than an obstinate and wilful person in the church of Crete, striving and contending about these unprofitable questions and genealogies, &c.-This rejecting is vo other than that aroyding which Paul writes of to the church of Christ at Roine (Rom. xvi. 17); which avoyding (however wofully perverted by some to prove persecution) belonged to the governors of Christ's church and kingdom in Rome, and not to the Romane emperour, for him to rid and aroyd the world of them by bloody and cruel persecution." Williams's Blondy Tenent, pp. 34, 37.
AipETIKOS is properly the same as aipeticT95, that is, one who follows a sect, aiperis, whether its doctrines are true or false; but the doctrines of the apostles being true, whoever departed from their seci, aipois, did by consequence maintain false doctrines : hence persons that unhappily differed in opinion from the leading nien, however sound they might really be, were afterwards called heretics: ortho. doxy and majority being soon made convertible terms. So that when the governors of churches were no longer inspired, and had degenerated from the power of working miracles, and that of discerving spirits, they however assumed the autho. rity adherent to those characters, aud at lengih turned religion into a farce, by not only avoiding those, who justly complained of their errors and tyranny, but by excommunicating them, and damning them by wholesale for not stooping to their ambition.” N. T. 1729, II. pp. 796, 797. See Foster's Sermon un Heresy, and his Controversy with Stebbing.
church, and having separated themselves from it, they must have known that they did not belong to it, and therefore in this sense they might be said to be self-condemned.
12, 13. The apostle now concludes the epistle with giving directions about particular things.
These little circumstances, though of no use to us in any other view, are of the greatest use in proving the genuineness of the epistles. They are so written as that no man can seriously believe them to be forgeries. Accordingly, it never was doubted either that they were Pauls, or that they were written in the circumstances to which he alludes. The proof of the truth of the gospel history from this one circumstance, is of a peculiarly clear and satisfactory kind to those who properly attend to it; but, few appear to me to have done this. It would be quite as easy, as I have observed, to account for the writing of the epistles of Cicero, upon the supposition of there being no truth in the Roman history, as to account for the writing of these of Paul, on the idea of there being no truth in the Christian history ; so exactly do they correspond to one another.
It appeared from the tenor of the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, that many abuses had crept into the Christian church in that place, occasioned chiefly by some new teachers pretending to great knowledge, who wished to undermine the authority of Paul, and who discarded some of the most important doctrines of Christianity, and especially that of the resurrection. The apostle had written to them from Ephesus with great earnestness on the subject, and had long been anxious to know what reception his epistle had met with. Titus, who had been sent with it, was to have met him at Troas, on his way to the western continent, but not ineeting with him there, he proceeded to Macedonia, where Titus joined him, and gave him such an account of the state of the church at Corinth, and the reception that his epistle had met with, as gave him great encouragement; though he saw occasion to write to them a second time before he chose to visit them hinself, which he did in the year following, viz. A. D. 58.
" AutoraTaxpitos, one who has passed sentence against himself, by openly renouncing Christianity." N. T. 1729, II. p. 797. See Hallett, III, pp. 377--382; Cyprian in Lardner, lll. p. 168; Doddridge.
This second epistle is supposed to have been written from Macedonia, or Illyricum, towards the end of the year 57, and like the former, it was also sent by Titus, who was returning to Corinth, in order to promote a collection for the poor Christians at Jerusalem.*
In this second epistle, the apostle explains himself farther in some things which he had urged in the former, and he repeats his admonitions, though not always in the same direct manner, against the false teachers with whom they had been troubled. In this first chapter he gives the Corinthians an account of his own situation, and of his feelings with respect to them, by which they could not but perceive how much he had their interest at heart, and that he had no higher wish than their improvement in the knowledge of the gospel, and their happiness here and hereafter in consequence of it.
Chap. I. 4. Here the apostle probably alludes to the great satisfaction which he had received from the account that Titus had given of their affairs, and the effect of his former epistle, as well as his happy deliverance from the troubles at Ephesus.
5. As we resemble Christ in our sufferings, so we partake with him likewise in our consolations. We see here that the sufferings of Christ are placed in the very same light with those of other good men, his followers. As he laid down his life for the brethren, we also are exhorted to do the same if we are called to it; which shews that there was nothing peculiar in the sufferings of Christ, as making atonement for the sins of men. He suffered in the cause of truth and virtue, and his example should encourage us to do the same.
6.† That is, the troubles which I undergo are of use to encourage you to act with the same fortitude, in suffering for the sake of the gospel, which will issue in your salvation and future glory. My consolation also contributes to yours.
10. We have but a very short account of the sufferings of Paul at Ephesus. He did not make his appearance in the great tumult, which was occasioned by his preaching there ;I at least Luke does not mention this. But his life
See Locke's Synopsis ; Michaelis's Introd. Lect. pp. 263, 264; Lardner, VI. pp. 324, 325; Doddridge's Introd. IV. pp. 415, 416.
7.“ Relief, (rather than salvation,) deliverance from their present sorrow.” Locke.
| Sec Acts xix. 23-34, Vol. XIII. pp. 472–474.
was probably in danger, as he seems to have left the place immediately after it. In the former epistle [xv. 32] he had mentioned his fighting with beasts at Ephesus, which must at least have been a figurative allusion to some great and imminent danger, whether it was during that tumult or not.
11.* The gift bestowed was probably his deliverance, which he thought to be miraculous, and obtained by the prayers of his Christian friends.
12.7 Here the apostle expresses the just cause of confidence in all troubles, especially those which are endured for righteousness' sake,
By the phrase, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, the apostle means his not governing himself by the maxims of worldly prudence and a regard to self-interest, but by the maxims of the gospel, that is, by a regard to God and the duties that we owe to him. Or, perhaps, the grace of God may refer to those miraculous gifts of the spirit, by which he was distinguished, and especially at Corinth, where they had, by his means, been imparted to the Christians there. These gifts were a token of the Divine presence and favour, and therefore, a great encouragement to him to persist in the course in which he then was.
13. The apostle having given a general account of his conduct with respect to the Corinthians, in the former part of this chapter, here calls them, and God, to witness for the truth of it; and as it is probable that he had been accused of changing his design of paying them a visit, from some improper motive or mere fick leness, he assures them that this was by no means the case, but that his conduct had been uniformly directed to their good, agreeably to the principles of Christianity, which are always the same.
14. [In part.] That is, part of the church of Corinth, which had always thought well of him, and had not been disposed to cavil at him.
16. In the former epistle, written from Ephesus, Paul had mentioned his design of visiting Corinth after he had passed through Macedonia, which is the very thing that he was now doing ; but he might have changed his purpose afterwards, and have informed the Corinthians of it, and now he reverted to his original design.
• See Doddridge, who says there is “ something very perplexed and ambiguous in the structure of this sentence."
† “ Simplicity, plain-heartedness. Not only meaning well on the whole, but declining an over-artful way of prosecuting a good end.' Doddridge.
| For rejoicing, Locke translates glorying, which, he adds, “is much used in these epistles to the Corinthians, upon occasion of the several partisans boasting, some that they were of Paul, and some of Apollos." See Impr. Vers.
17. According to the flesh, that is, were my views carnal and unworthy of the profession of the gospel ? Yea, yea, and nay, nay, is a Jewish phrase, to express unsteadiness and uncertainty, by means of which a person was not to be depended upon.
19. Jesus Christ is here put for the gospel of Christ, the maxims of which are always the same; as Paul's conduct in preaching had always been directed to the same end, varying only according to a change of circumstances.*
21. The gifts of the spirit might be considered as a token of God's special favour, by which he assured the persons to whom they were imparted of their being his, and thus, as it were, set his seal upon them. Anointing was an ancient mode of appointing to an office of trust and favour, and therefore the gitt of the spirit answering this purpose, is compared to that oil by which persons were consecrated for some great purpose.
23. Had I visited you before, I should have found you in such a disorderly state, that I must have been obliged to exercise my apostolical authority in such a manner as would have been disagreeable to me; whereas, I wish to do it so as to express my complacence in you, on account of your steadiness in the faith of Christ, which you now begin to manifest.
PARAPHRASE. What I have said concerning the maxims of my conduct and the foundation of my joy, is nothing but what I am confident you are fully persuaded of, and will continue to be so. At least I have this firm persuasion concerning some of you, that you consider me as the cause of your greatest happiness, as I consider you to be the cause of mine, and I hope it will appear to be so at the great day of the Lord. Having this persuasion concerning your affection for me, I purpose to visit you once more, in order to give you the same encouragement and consolation that I did on å former occasion.
My intention then was to have called upon you in my way to Macedonia, where I now am, and to have visited you again on my return from this country, that I might be conducted by you on my way to Judea. Having had this
" Apparemment les ennemis de S. Paul l'accusoient de varier dans la doctrine."