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only an artifice, that he might get the more from them in some other way.
19.* Here the apostle seems to revert to what he had said before, concerning the reason of his absenting himself so long from them, assuring them that there was no artifice in it, but that there was a serious reason for it, which he proceeds to mention.t
20. These are all the natural consequences of faction and dissension, which both now and afterwards prevailed to a great degree in this church of Corinth, as appears by an epistle of Clement of Rome, written after this time. I
21. We see by this, in how very imperfect a state the church of Corinth was at this time, which clearly shews that the belief of Christianity did not operate immediately, as by a charm, which some pretend to be the case of faith at present, but gradually, good principles naturally leading to good conduct, and forming good habits. But this is necessarily the work of time. Our Saviour (Luke viii. 5) compares the effect of the gospel to seed sown in the ground, and we know that all seeds require time to spring up and produce plants.
XIII. In the close of this epistle, Paul treats chiefly of his power, as an apostle, of inflicting punishments on the disorderly Christians at Corinth; expressing, at the same time, his unwillingness to have recourse to it.
1. It appears to me, as I have observed, that Paul's residence at Corinth, on his first visit to that place, was divided into two principal parts, between which he visited Crcte; so that the visit which he was now about to make them might be called his third.
In this it is probable he alluded to the occasion be should have to inquire into the cause of the factions and disturbances that were among them ; assuring them that he would proceed with caution, and receive no charge that was not sufficient to prove it.
2. || That is, to use proper severity where it would appear
* “ We speak in the presence of God, Christ being our witness. The like expression is used Rom. ix. 1.” Clarke, (S. D.) 167.
+ See Locke.
I“ Between the Ixiv. and lxx. year of Christ.” Wake's Dis. p. 12. See thc Epis. Sect. iii. pp. S, 4; Sect. xlvii. p. 38; Michaelis's Introd. p. 264.
$ See Deut. xix. 15; Locke; Doddridge.
II “ Je les pupirai de quelque maladie corporelle." Le Clerc. • When the apostles saw that some were endeavouring to lessen them and their authority, they took no fawning ways. They neither fattered nor spared those churches that
to be necessary. Here the same visit, as it seems, is called the second, though just before he had called it the third, which it might be, on the supposition of the former visit being divided into two parts.
3. One great objection to Paul at Corinth was, that he was not a regular apostle, and consequently had not the power and authority of one ; though he thought he had given them sufficient proofs of it.
4. It is an usual figure of speech with Paul, though a pretty strong one, that Christians are to be conformed to the death and resurrection of Christ ; his death being an emblem of our dying to sin, and bis resurrection, of our living again unto God a new and better life. He seems to have had the same idea here. He had contented himself with appearing weak and inactive, as Christ was when he suffered himself to be crucified, and lay in the grave; but now he would appear in life and vigour among them, as Christ had done after his resurrection.*
5.7 IIere the apostle seems to revert to the same figure with respect to the Corinthians, intimating that they also would have the experience of something resembling the death and resurrection of Christ, if they were Christians in deed, and not in name only.
6. The word reprobate here signifies that which will not stand a test upon examination. Here he says, that though they should not be able to stand this test, as private Christians, he was confident that he should stand the test as an apostle ; having power, as such, to punish the refractory among them.
7. That is, I wish you may give me no occasion to shew that I am an apostle, by punishing disorderly persons among you ; for I had rather that your conduct was such as to require no animadversion, though, in consequence of it, I should give no proof of my power as an apostle. Mr.
were under their care. They charged them home with their faults, and asserted their own character in a strain that shewed they were afraid of no discoveries." Burnet on Art. iv. p. 62. See 1 Cor. iv. 21, supra, p. 69.
Though Christ, in his crucifixion, appeared weak and despicable, yet he now lives to shew the power of God, in the miracles and mighty works which he does: so I, though I, by my sufferings and infirmities, appear weak and contemptible, yet shall Ủive to shew the power of God, in punishing you miraculously." Locke. See Garnham in Com, and Ess. I. pp. 436, 437, Note.
† “ Si vous voulez savoir si je suis apôtre, examinez vous vous-mêmes, voyez si vous croyez et si vous avez reçu l' Esprit des miracles, par mon ministère.” Le Clerc. See Locke; Knatchbullin "Le Cene, pp. 678, 679; Doddridge ; Boroyer. VOL. XIV.
Wakefield renders, I pray God that he would do you no evil at all.
8. He means, it would not be in his power to make an improper use of his apostolical power in inflicting punish* ments. * Indeed, this power, like that of working bene
ficent miracles, though it might be said in one sense to belong to the apostles, being exerted when they spake, and indicated, as when Peter declared, [Acts v. 5, 9,] that Ananias and Sapphira would instantly die, and Paul, [ Acts xiii. 11,] that Elymas would be struck with blindness, was not, properly speaking, at their command. On all these occasions, they only spake as they were prompted by the Spirit of God, at the time; which, indeed, appears to have been the case with our Saviour himself, who had vaturally no more power than any other prophet, or any other man, as he frequently declared.
9. [When we are weak.] That is, when I shall appear without any power of punishing you, in consequence of your good conduct, which is called spiritual strength.
11. [Be of one mind.] Rather, mind the same thing, which is the great object of all Christians.
14. That is, may all the blessings of the gospel, the love of God, and the participation of the gifts of his spirit, attend you all : † for the phrase holy spirit, has no other meaning in the New Testament. I 1ť never means any direct influence of God upon the mind, and such as many persons expect, even at this day. The knowledge of the gospel, and the motives to virtue exhibited in it, are abundantly sufficient for us, and we have no reason given us to expect any thing more. We pray, indeed, for virtuous principles and habits, but it is as we pray for our duily bread; neither being imparted to us immediately from God, which would be a miracle, but being produced by our own labour and endeavours in the use of proper means to supply our own wants. But still, since all the powers we can exert, and
• « Nous ne pouvons justement, rien contre la vérité." Le Cene, p. 511; Essay, 1727, pp. 136, 137.
+ " The meaning seems to be to this purpose : « May the favour of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love and good-will of God, be with you, and abide with you.. And may you partake of all the blessings of the gospel, with all good things needful for you." Ör, " the apostle may be thought to wish, that these Chris
. tians might continue to partake in miraculous gifts and powers. And if that be the meaning,—this benediction or farewell prayer, is confined to those times, and cannot be reasonably used now." Lardner, (Serm.) X. pp. 417, 419. See Com. and Ess. I. pp. 112, 113, 134-136, 147, 148; Impr. Vers.
I See Lardner, X. p. 419; (Logos ) XI. pp. 133-138.
all our opportunities of exerting them, are from God, it is to him that our gratitude is due for every advantage that we procure for ourselves, whether of a temporal or spiritual nature. Of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.
AFTER writing the second epistle to the Corinthians, which was from Macedonia, Paul went, as he had proposed, to Corinth, where he made some stay, and it was during his residence in Corinth at this time, viz. A. D. 58, that he wrote this epistle to the Romans, the largest of all his epistles. He had never been at Rome himself, nor does it appear who had preached Christianity in that city. But there being a continual conflux of persons, of all kinds, from all parts of the empire to Rome, nothing could be transacted in the most remote provinces, that would not be very soon known there; and Christians, as well as other persons, having business in the metropolis, their zeal would naturally prompt them to teach to others, what they knew and valued themselves ; especially as the Christian doctrines were then novel, and on that account excited the greater attention. Indeed, the extent of the Roman empire, which comprehended almost all the civilized part of the world, was a circumstance exceedingly favourable to the propagation of the gospel.
It appears, however, from this epistle, that they were Jers, who had been the most active in preaching the gospel at Rome, and that they had carried their Jewish prejudices along with them, but were not, as far as appears from this epistle, tinctured with any of the peculiar opinions of those who had opposed Paul at Ephesus and Corinth. They had, however, endeavoured to impose the yoke of the law of Moses upon the Gentile Christians, and it was chiefly with a view to correct this great error that Paul, who was properly the apostle of the Gentiles, wrote this epistle.
The greatest part of this epistle is, therefore, argumentative ; and the subject of his discussion is such as, at this day, we have nothing to do with. The epistle, however, contains much useful, incidental matter; and it is an object of curiosity at least, to consider the principles on which he reasons, though his arguments are in many places extremely obscure, and in some cases, as I cannot help thinking, inconclusive. Those positions, however, for which he contends, are undoubtedly just, and the cause for which he contended, was such as abundantly justified the zeal which he discovers in it.
The epistle begins with asserting his call as an apostle, and the extent of his commission, viz. to the whole Gentile world, including Rome, the capital of the empire, and also with expressing a just sense of the value of the gospel which he preached, as it respected the whole world, Jers as well as Gentiles, both of whom stood in great need of it. To make the Christians at Rome sensible of this, he here gives a short, but very dark picture, of the state of the Heathen world in general, in which mankind were addicted to all the vices that are here enumerated.
Chap. I. 1.* Paul † writes the greatest part of this epistle with a particular view to the Jewish teachers, many of whom he knew were ill-affected to him in other places, and, therefore, might be so at Rome. They more particularly questioned his apostleship, as he had not been one of the original twelve, and they might say that there was no evidence but his own, that he was appointed to be one. He had, how. ever, the strongest of all evidence, and to this he frequently appeals, viz. his power as an apostle, evidenced by signs of a miraculous nature.
3.4 All these circumstances are calculated to recommend the gospel to the Jews, as by them it appeared that Jesus, the founder of it, was the Messiah, promised to them by their prophets.
4. The term Son of God, signifies, in general, a person particularly favoured by God, sometimes an angel, and sometimes a prophet.
Christ was declared to be the Son of God, or a distinguished prophet, and God gave an
* “ The proper sense of the apostle's phrase, transferred into our language, would be, "Set apart to proclaim glad tidings about religion.'" Wakefield in Theol. Repos. IV. p. 212. “ A called apostle ; iu contradistinction to those chosen by our Lord upon earth, John vi. 70, and to one appointed by lot, Acts i. 26." Wakefield.
ot « Ce mot et ce qui fuit jusqu'à la fin du ver. 7, est l'inscription de la lettre, à la manière des Grecs et des Romains. Cette inscription est seulement coupée, contre l'usage ordinaire, par une parenthèse assez longue." Le Clerc.
1 “ Which was born of the seed of David.” See Augustine from Faustus, in Lardner, III. p. 538. Thus Erasm. Paraph. 1549.
“The cause why Jesus is the Son of God, is alleged to be, that he was raised from the dead. That this reason hath nothing common with the geueration out of the essence of God, is apparent enough from the thing itself, since the resurrection is a thing of a certain time, not done from eternity, and is not ascribed unto Christ, as the true author, but to God the Father; and it is so far from arguing Christ to be the most high God, as that it rather demonstrateth him pot to be so." Crellius, (B. i. Sect. ii. Ch. xxxi.) p. 150. See Ibid. pp. 157, 158 ; Lindsey on Robinson, pp. 159, 160; Wakefield.