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An opportunity was offered to me, by the Lord, in the great readiness and forward desires of the hearers.
II. 13. I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus
I was much grieved and troubled in my soul, for that I met not with Titus, my brother, by whom I made account to hear of your estate.
II. 14. And maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
And casteth abroad the sweet perfume or savour of the knowledge of God by our preaching, in every place; so as the world is, as it were, filled therewith.
II. 15. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
For we, by our preaching, are as a sweet and acceptable perfume in the nostrils of God; casting abroad and spreading the fragrant savour of Christ, all the world over; graciously accepted of God, howsoever we speed with men; since he doth not judge of us by the event, but regards and crowns our conscionable labours, whether they light upon them that are saved, or on them that perish.
II. 16. To the one we are the savour of death unto death ; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things ?
To the one, we are as a deadly savour, by reason that their corruption turns this wholesome and saving Gospel into poison, and thereby makes our preaching an occasion of their destruction; to the other, we are a sweet and comfortable savour, giving both the life of grace here to those that receive our Gospel, and of eternal glory hereafter: so as this employment is noble and great, and of exceeding importance; and how few are there, that are fit and able to discharge it?
II. 17. For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
As for us, blessed be God, he hath fitted us for it: for we are not as many, who do corrupt and adulterate the word of God, mixing it with their own fancies, and preaching it plausibly and covetously, so as they may humour others and advantage themselves; but we have preached the pure and sincere word of God unto you, and that with truth and uprightness of heart, as in the sight of God, by the direction and authority of Christ.
III. 2. Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.
Ye, o ye converted Corinthians, and your whole Church, are as a large epistle of commendations, written in the testi
mony of our conscience which knows all our effectual labours among you, sent forth to all the world, in our behalf, well known and read of all men:
III. 3. Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; &c.
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be Christ's epistle, written by our ministry; in that, both Christ is written in you by us, and that also Christ by our preaching hath written the blessed characters of his grace in you; not with ink, but with, &c.
III. 4. And such trust have we through Christ to Godward.
And such trust and confidence have we, through Christ, in our God, that we are bold thus to boast of this work of God in you, and the efficacy of our ministry amongst you.
III. 6. Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.
Who hath made us able ministers of the New Testament: but, not of the outward and bare sound thereof, or of that dead letter wherein it is expressed and written; but of that inward virtue of the Spirit of God, which, through the blessing of God, worketh with the vocal sound of the Gospel: for the outward expression, being separated from the inward power of the Gospel, occasions the death of the soul: it is the inward grace of the Spirit, working with the letter and sound of the Gospel, that gives a true spiritual life unto the soul.
III. 7, 8. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance ; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious ?
But if the Old Law, which threateneth and bringeth death with it, which was written and engraven in tables of stone, were delivered with such glory, as that the children of Israel could not look stedfastly upon the face of Moses, for the shining glory of his countenance, which glory was but temporary, and vanished away with the face itself; How shall not the ministration of the Gospel, which is accompanied by the Spirit of God, and gives life to the receivers, be much more glorious ?
So also verse 9. III. 10. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
For even that glorious delivery of the Law, and that shining face of Moses, had no glory at all in it, if it be compared with that excellent glory of the Gospel, and of the Apostolical function.
III. 11. For if that which was done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
For if that Law, and that shining brightness, which was transitory, and is done away, were glorious, how much more glorious must that needs be, which is to remain for ever, viz. the Gospel, and the ministry thereof!
III. 12. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech :
Seeing then that we have this confident assurance of the dignity of our function, and the sovereign power of the Gospel, we do, with much freedom and resolution, preach this Gospel
III. 13. And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.
And we do not make ourselves like Moses, who put a vail over his face, that the eyes of the Israelites could not have their full scope, to look at that bright lustre of his face, which is (and was soon after to be) abolished.
III. 14. But their minds were blinded : for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament ; which vail is done away in Christ.
But this was done in a figure: for, as their eyes were thus hindered from seeing the glory of Moses' face, so the eyes
of their minds were dim, yea blinded, that they could not see the end of the Law; and still, until this day, the same vail of ignorance continues unremoved : for, in reading of the Old Testament, they have not the power of seeing him, who was prefigured and shadowed out thereby: which vail is only done away by Christ; as in whom all things were fulfilled, and by whom the clear light of knowledge is given unto the soul.
III. 15. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
But, even to this day, when Moses is read, this vail of ignorance and unbelief is betwixt their hearts and his face.
III. 16. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
Nevertheless, when that heart of theirs shall be turned to the Lord, then shall the vail be taken away by the gracious illumination of God's Spirit; and they shall then see Christ clearly laid forth in Moses.
III. 17. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Ye heard of a Spirit, as ye heard of a letter: now the Lord is that Spirit, which gives life unto the letter of the Gospel ; and where this Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, and freedom from the bondage of sin and Satan, and a bold and confident access to the throne of grace.
III. 18. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
But we all, as being in a better case than Moses, do, with an open face, behold the glory of the Lord: and, as a glass, which is set against the sun, receives the beams thereof; so do we take in glory from God, in one degree after another, till we be fully changed into his glorious image, and made like unto him; which is wrought in and upon us, by the Spirit of the Lord.
IV. 1. Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we hare received mercy, we faint not ;
Therefore, seeing we have so excellent and noble a ministry or function, as God hath highly honoured us and shewed mercy to us in vouchsafing to call us thereunto, so we go courageously forward in the careful discharge thereof, and faint not:
IV. 2. But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
But have renounced all the sly and secret dishonesties of hypocrisy; not craftily seeking our own advantages, by indirect means, in our preaching the word of God; but, in plain and open truth and sincerity, labouring to be approved of every man's conscience, in the presence of God.
IV. 3. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost :
And, so clearly and faithfully have we laid Christ open before
you in our preaching, that if there be any man to whom our Gospel is yet hid, it is a fearful sign of that man's reprobation and perdition:
IV. 4. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which beliere not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
And that he is one of those unbelievers, whose minds Satan, who is the God of this World, hath blinded : so as that, through their own obstinacy and his suggestion, the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the Perfect and Living Image of God the Father, appears not unto them; but, by the just judgment of God, is kept from their eyes.
IV. 6. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.
That God, which, in the first creation, brought the light out of darkness, now, that the world was all covered with darkness of ignorance, brought the light of his Gospel into it; and hath
shined in our hearts, to give us thereby a true and clear knowledge of the glory of God, in and by the means of Jesus Christ.
IV. 7. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
But this goodly and rich treasure of the Gospel is by him put into us, that are but base, brittle, earthen vessels; that there may no part of the praise of the excellent power and virtue thereof be cast upon us, but all may be, as it is due, ascribed to God alone.
IV. 8. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.
We are afflicted on every side, yet not over-pressed and distracted therewith.
IV. 10. Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body
Always imitating, in our very bodies, the example of the sufferings and dying of our Lord Jesus; that once our now mortal bodies may be conformable to his, in everlasting glory, and the life of blessedness and immortality. So also verse 11.
IV. 12. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
So then, we are continually exposed to death, while ye live quietly, out of the danger thereof, and provide for your life and safety.
IV. 13. We having the same Spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believed, and therefore speak.
We, having the same faith, that David had, wrought in us by the Spirit of God, can say, as he did, I believed, and therefore have I spoken: upon the same grounds then, that he had, we also believe the performance of all God's promises to us, and therefore we do boldly profess and preach the truth of the Gospel.
IV. 15. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
For all, both our sufferings and deliverances are for your sakes; that the abundant grace of God, which shews itself in both these, might win so much more glory to God, for that so many are interested therein, and shall return their praises and thanksgivings to him for his mercy to us.
IV. 16. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
Upon which assurances, we go on cheerfully in our ministry, and faint not: for, though our body decay and languish, by reason of our many pressures and afflictions, yet our spirit gathers strength and resolution, every day, more than other.