WRITTEN FROM MACEDONIA, A. D. 57.
II. Besides, I determined this with myself, not to come again to you with sorrow. For if I should make you sorry, verily who is it that could make me glad, unless the same whjo is made sorry by me. Wherefore, I wrote to you this very thing, that coming I might not have sorrow form them by whom I ought to rejoice, being firmly persuaded concerning you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and distress of heart, I wrote to you with many tears; not that ye might be made sorry, but that ye might know the love which I have most abundantly towards you. Now, if a certain person hath grieved me, he hath not grieved me, except by a part of you, that I may not lay a load on you all. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment, which was inflicted by the majority. So that, on the other hand, ye ought more willingly to forgive and comfrot him, lest such a one should lie swallowed up by excessive grief. Wherefore, I beseech you publicly to confrm to him your love. Besides, I wrote for this end also, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. Now, to whom ye forgive any thing, I also forgive; and even I, if I have now forgiven any thing, to shom I forgave it, for your sakes I forgave it, in the person of Christ: that we may not be over-reached by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his devices. Moreover, when I came to Troas in order to declare the gospel of Christ, and a door was opened to me by the Lord; I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: therefore, bidding them farewel, I went away into Macedonia. Now, thatnks be to God, who at all times causeth us to triumph with Christ, and who, by us, diffuses the odour of the knowledge of him in every place: for we are through God a fragrant odour of Christ, among the saved and among the destroyed. To these indeed we are the odour of death ending in death; but to the others, the odour of life ending in life: and for these things who is fit? However, we are not like many who adulterate the word of God: but really from sincerity, yea really from God, in the sight of God, we sepak in Christ.
III. Must be begin again to recommend ourselves? or need we, as some, letters of recommendation to you, or letters of recommendation from you? Ye are our letter written on our hearts, known and read of all men. For ye are plainly declared Christ's letter ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone, but on fleshly tables of the heart. Now a boasting of this kind we have through Christ with God. Not because we are fit of ourselves to reason any thing as from ourselves, but our fitness is from God; who indeed hath fitted us to be ministers of a new covenant;*[App. No. LXXV.] not of the letter, but of the spirit: now the letter killeth, but the spirit maketh alive. Besides, if the ministry of death, imprinted on stones with letters, was done with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look stedfastly on the face of Moses, because of the glory of his fce which was to be abolished; how shall not the ministry of the Spirit rather be with glory? And, if the ministry of condemnation was honour, much more doeth the ministry of righteousness, abound in honour. And therefore, that which was glorified, was not glorified in this respect, by reason of the excelling glory. Besides, if that which is abolished, is abolished by glory, much more that which remaineth, remaineth in glory. Wherefore, having such a persuasion, we use much plainness of speech; and not as Moses, who put a veil upon his face, that the children of Israel might not stedfastly look to the end of the thing to be abolished. Now their minds were blinded: for until this day, the same veil remaineth int he reading of the Old Covenant, it not being revealed, that it is abolished by Christ. Moreover, until this day, when Moses is read, the veil lieth upon their heart. But, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken from around it. Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. For we all, with an unveiled fce, reflecting as mirrors the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord of the spirit.
IV. Wherefore, having this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not flag. Also we have commanded away the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by the manifestation of the truth, recommending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. If, therefore, evne our gospel be veiled, it is veiled by those perishing things, with which the God of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelievers, in order that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is an image of God, might not shine to them.*[App. No. LXXVI.] Now, we proclaim not ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves, your servants on account of Jesus. For God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, he hath shined into our hearts, to give you the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power might be God's, and not belonging to us. We are pressed on evedry side, but not stgraitened; perplexed, but not in desparie; pursued, but not utterly forsaken; thrown down, but not killed. At all times carying about in the body, the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life also fo Jesus may be manifested in our body. For always we who live are exposed to death for the sake of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So that death verily worketh strongly in us, but life in you. Yet having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written,"I believed, therefore I have spoken;" we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus, will raise us up also by Jesus, and will present us with you. For all our sufferings are for your sakes, that the favour which hath abounded in many may, through the thanksgiving of many, overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not flag; but even although our outwad man is wasted, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. Besides, the momentary light thing of our affliction, worketh out for us a most exceeding eternal weight of glory. We not aiming at the thins which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know, that when our earthly house, which is a tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, an house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. But yet in this tent we groan, earnestly desiring to go permanently into our habitation which is heavenly. And surely, having that on, we shall not be found destitute. But yet, we who are in the tent graon, being burdened; not because we desire to go out, but to go permanently in, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life. Now he who hath effectually wrought us to this very desire is God, who also hath give us the earnest of the Spirit. We are bold, therefore, at all times, because we know, that being at home in the body, we are from home from the Lord. For we walk by faith, and not by sight. We are bold also, because we are well pleased rather to go from home out of the body, and to be at home with the Lord. And for that reason, we strive earnestly, whether being at home, or being from home, to be acceptable to him. For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, that every one may receive things in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men, and are made manifest to God; and I trust are made manifest even to y our consciences. However, 'we do not again recommend ourselves to you,' but only give you occasion of boasting concerning us, that ye may have an answer to them who boast on account of appearance, and not of heart. For whether we be besides ourselves, it is for God; or whether we be sober, it is for you. For the love of Chirst constraineth us who judge this, that if one died for all, certainly all were dead; and that he died for all, that they who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him who died and rose again for them.
16. Wherefore, we from this time forth, respect no man on account of the flesh: and even if we have esteemed Christ on account of the flesh, yet now we esteem him no more on that account. For, if any one be inChrsit, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new! But all of God, who h ath reconciled us to himself thorugh Hesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of the reconcilation;--namely, that God is by Christ reconciling a world to himself, not counting to them their trespasses; and hath put in us the word of the reconciliation. In Christ's stead therefore, we execute the office of ambassadors. And seeing God beseeches by us, we pray in Christ's stead; 'be ye reconciled to God. For him who knew no sin, he hath made a sin offering for us, that we might become the righeousness of God thorugh him,' and co-operating with him, we also beseech you not to receive the favour of God in vain. For he saith, "In an accepted season I have heard thee; and in a day of salvation I have helped thee:" Behold now is a highly accepted season; behold, now is a day of salvatino. [And this we do] giving no occasion of stumbling to any one, that the minisry may not be found fault with. But by every thing approving ourselves as ministers of God, by much patience, by oppressions, by necessities, by distresses; by stripes, by imprisonments, by tumults, by labours, by watchings, by fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by long suffering, by goodness, by a holy spirit, by love unfeigned; by the word of truth, by the power of God, through the right and left hand armour of righteousness; through honour and dishonour, through bad fame and good fame; as deceivers, yet true; as unknown, yet well known; as dying, yet behold we live; as chastised, yet not killed; as sorrowing, but always rejoicing; as poor, but making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.
11. Our mouth is opened to you, O Corinthians! Our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowles. Now the same recompense I request, (I speak jas to my children) be ye also enlarged. Become not discordantly yoked with infidels: for what participation hath righteousness and wickedness? and what intercourse hath light with darkness? and what agreement hath Christ with Belial? or what portion a believer with an infidel? and what placing together is there of the temple of God with the temple of idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, "Assuredly I will dwell among them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be to me a people." "Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separated, saith the Lord, and touch no unclean person; and I will receive y ou; and I will be to you a father, and ye shall be to me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
VII. Wherefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all pollution of the flesh and spirit; perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Receive us cordially; we have injured no one; we have corrupted no one; we have decieved no one. I speak not this to condemn you; for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts, to die together, and to live together.
Great is my freedom of speech to you, great is my boasting concerning you: I am filled with consolation, I exceedingly abound in joy in all our affliction. For when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were distressed on every side: without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless, God who comforteth them who are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus: and not by his coming only, but also by the consolation wherewith he was comforted by you, having related to us your earnest desire, your lamentation, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced the more. Therefore, although I made you sorry by that letter, I do not repent, although I did repent: for I perceive that that letter, although but for an hour, made you sorry properly. I now rejoice, not because ye were made sorry; but because ye were made sorry to a reformation: for ye were made sorry according to God, that ye might not be punished by us in any manner. For the sorrow according to God worketh out a reformation unto salvation, not to be repented of; but the sorrow of thte world worketh out death. Behold now this very thing, that ye were made sorry according to God; what carefulness it wrought in you; yea, apologizing; yea, displeasure; yea, fear; yea, earnest desire; yea, zeal; yea, punishment. By every thing ye have shown yourselves to be now pure in this matter. Indeed although I wrote to you severely, it was not for his sake who did the wrong, nor for his sake who suffered the wrong, but rather for the sake of showing to you our care, which is concerning yuou in the sight of God. For this reason, we were comforted in your comfort; and exceedingly the more we joyed for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was set at ease by you all. Therefore if I have boasted any thing to him concerning you, I am not ashamed: for as we spake all things concerning you in truth, so also our boasting which was before Titus, is found a truth. And his tender affection is moore abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, and how ye received him with fear and trembling. I rejoice then, that I have confidence in you in every thing.
VIII. Now, brethren, we make known to you the favour of God which is given to the congregatins of Macedonia; that, in a great trial of affliction, the overflowing of their joy, notwithstanding their deep poverty, hath overflowed in the riches of their liberality. For according to their power, (I bear withess) nay, beyond their power, they were willing of themselves; with much entreaty requesting us that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministry, which is to the saints. And not as we feared; but first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. This moved us to entreat Titus, that as he had formerly begun, so he would also finish the same gift among you likewise. Now as ye abound in every favour, in faith, and speech, and knowledge, and all diligence, and in your love to us; I wish that ye may abound in this favour also. I speak not this as an injunction, but on account of the diligence of others, and as proving the sincerity of your love. For ye know the favour of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. And herein I give my opinion, that this is profitable for you, who have formerly begun, not only to do, but also to be willing since the last year.
11. At present, therefore, finish the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so also let there be a finish, from what ye have. For if a willingness of mind be present, according to what any one hath,he is well accepted; not according to what he hath not. However, I mean not that ease should be to others, and distress to you: But on account of equality, that at the present time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that at another time their abundance also may be a supply for your want, so as there may be equality. As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing over; and he who gathered little had no lack." Now thanks be to God who hath put the same earnest care concerning you into the heart of Titus. For my exhortation, indeed, he accepted; but, being more diligent, of his own accord he is come out to you. And with him we have sent the brother, whose praise by the gospel is throughout all the congregations. And not that only, but who was also chosen of the congregations, our fellow-traveller with this gift, which is ministered by us to the glory of the Lord himself, and declaration of your ready mind. Taking care of this, that no one should blame us in this abaundance which is ministered by us; premeditating things comely, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes found diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence whic he hath in you. If any inquire concerning Titus, he is my partner and fellow-labourer towards you; or if our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the congregations, and a glory of Christ. Wherefore the proof of your love, and of our boasting concerning you, show ye before them, and before the face of the congregations.
IX. But indeed, concerning the ministry which is to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you. For I know your willingness, of which I boasted on your behalf to the Macedonians, that Achaia was prepared since the last year; and your zeal hath stirred up very many. Yet I have sent the brethren, that our boasting which was concerning you, may not be rendered false in this particular: but that, as I said, ye may be prepared. Lest perhaps, if the Macedonians come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not ye) should be put to shame by this confident boasting. Therefore I thought it necessary to entreat the brethren, that they would go before to you, and complete beforehand your formerly announced gift, that the same might e thus rady as a gift and not as a thing extorted. Now this I say, he who soweth sparingly, sparingly also shall reap; and he who soweth bountifully, bountifully also shall reap. Every one according as he purposeth in his heart, ought to give, not with grief, nor by constraint; for God loveth a cheerul giver. And God is able to make every blessing abound toyou; that in every thing always having all sufficiency ye may abound in every good work. As it is written, "He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever."
10. Now, may he who supplieth seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply your seed sown, and increase the produce of your righteousness. That ye may be enriched in every thing to all liberality, which worketh out through us thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this public service, not only filleth up completely the wants of the saints, but also aboundeth in many thanksgivings to God. They, through the proof of this ministry, glorifying God for your professed subjection to the gospel of Chirst, and for the liberality of your communication to them, and to all. And in their prayer for you, ardently loving you on account of the exceeding favour of God bestowed on you. Now thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
X. Now I the same Paul, who, when present, forsooth, am humble among you, but when absent, am bold toward you, beseech you by the mildness and clemency of Christ. And I request, that when present I may not be bold, with that confidence wherewith I conclude to be bold against some, who conclude us to be really persons who walk according to the flesh. For, though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but exceeding powerful for the overturning of strong holds. We overturn reasonings, and every high thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and lead captive every thought to the obedience of Christ: and are prepared to punish all disobedience, when your obedience is completed. Do ye look on things according to appearance? If any one is confident in himself that he is Christ's, let him, on the other hand, reason this from himself, that as he is Christ's, so also we are Christ's. And therefore, if I should boast somewhat more abundantly of our power, which the Lord hath given us for your edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: that I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. For his letters, saith he, are indeed weighty and strong, but his bodily presence weak, and his speech contemptible. Let such a one conclude this, that such as we are in speech by letters, when absent, the same also when present we will be indeed. But we dare not rank and compare ourselves with some who commend themselves: however, they among themselves measuring themselves and comparing themselves with themselves, do not understand themselves. Further, we will not boast of things not measured; but to have come even to you, according to the measure of the line which the God of measure hath allotted to us. For we do not stretch ourselves beyond our line, as not reaching to you; but we are come as far as to you also in the gospel of Christ. We do not boast of things not measured, that is, of other men's labours; but we have hope, when your faith is increased, to be by you enlarged with respect to our line into abundance; to declare the gospel in the regions beyond you; and not in another man's line, to boast of things already prepared. He then who boasteth, let him boast in the LOrd. For not he who commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
XI. I wish ye could bear some little of my foolishness: yea, even bear ye with me. For I am jealous of you with a great jealousy because I have betrothed you to one husband, to present you a chaste virgin to Christ. But I am afraid lest somehow, as the serpent beguiled Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is due to Christ. If now, indeed, he who is come, proclaimeth another Jesus, whom we have not proclaimed, or if ye receive a different spirit which ye have not received from me, or a different gospel which ye have not embraced, ye might well bear with me.
Yet I conclude I am in nothing behind the very greatest of the apostles. And even if I be an unlearned person in speech, yet not in knowledge: but on every occasion we have been made manifest by all things among you. Have I committed an offence, in humbling myself that ye might be exalted, because I have declared the gospel of God to you as a free gift? Other congregations I spoiled, taking wages from them to do you service. For being present with you, and in want, I distressed no one; but my want the brethren coming from Macedonia fully supplied; and in every thing I have kept, and will keep myself, from being burdensome to you. As the truth of Christ is in me, surely thsi same boasting shall not be stopped concerning me in the regions of Achaia. For what reason? because I do not love you? God knoweth. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off opportunity from them who desire opportunity, that wherein they boast, they may be foudn even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder; for Satan himself transformeth himself into a messenger of light. Therefore it is no great wonder, if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness: of those the end shall be according to their works. Moreover, I say, let no one think me a fool; but if otherwise, at least as a fool bear with me, that I also may boast a little. What I speak in this confident boasting, I do not speak according to the Lord, but as in foolishness. Seeng many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast. For ye bear wth fools gladly, being yourselves wise. For ye bear it as if one enslave you, of one at you up, if one take your goods, if one raise himself against you, if one beat you on the face; I speak concerning the reproch, namely that we are weak. But in whatever any one is bold, (in foolishness I speak) I also am bold. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am above them: In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often; of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one; three I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I was shipwrecked; I have spent a night and a day in the deep. In journies often, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my countrymen, in dangers from the heathens, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers among false brethren. In labour and toil; in watchings often; in hunger and thirst; in fastings often; in cold and nakedness. Besides these troubles from without, that which is my daily pressure, the anxious care of all the congregatins. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn? If I must boast, I will boast of the things which relate to my weakness. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever, knoweth that I do not lie. In Damascus, the governor belonging to Aretas, the king, kept the city of the Demascenes with a garrison, wishing to aprpehend me; but through a window in a basket I was let down by the all, and escaped from his hands.
XII. It is not proper then for me to boast: yet I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. Fourteen years ago, I knew a man in Christ, whether in the body, I know not; or out of the body, I know not; God knoweth: such a one I knew caught away as far as the third heaven.
3. Besides, I knew such a man, whether in the body, or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth; that he was caught away into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not possible for a man to utter. Concerning such a one I will boast; but concerning myself I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. Yet, if I should incline to boast, I shall not be a fool; for I will speak the truth: but I forbear, lest any one should think concerning me above what he seeth me to be, or what he heareth from me. For that I might not be exalted above measure, by the transcendency of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of satan to buffet me, that I might not be exalted above measure. Concerning this, thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me. But he said to me, Sufficient for thee is my favour; besides my power is perfected in weakness: most gladly, therefore, I will boast rather of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell upon me. Wherefore I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with necessities, with persecutions, with distresses, for Christ's sake; because when I am weak, then I am strong. Have I become a fool by boasting? ye have constrained me to it: for I ought to have been commended by you, because I am in nothing behind the very greatest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were fully wrought among you with all patience, by signs and wonders, and powers. For what is the thing wherein ye were inferior to other congregations, unless that I myself have not been burdensome to you? Forgive me this injury. Behold a third time I am ready tto come to you, and I will not be burdensome to you; because I seek, not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. Yea, I most gladly will spend and be spent for the sake of your souls, even although the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. Be it so then, I did not burden you: nevertheless, [they say] being crafty I caught you with guile. With respect to anyone of them I sent to you, did I by him make gain of you? I besought Ttitus to go to you; and with him I sent a brother: did Titus make any gain of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps? By sending Titus again, think ye that we apologize to you? In the presence of God we speak by Christ, that all these things, beloved, are done for your edification. Yet I am afraid, lest perhaps when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish; and that I shall be found by you such as ye do not wish: I mean lest perhaps strifes, emulations, wraths, brawlings, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults, be among you. And lest, when I come again, my God may humble me among you; and I shall bewail many who have formerly sinned, and have not reformed from the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness, which they have committed.
XIII. I am coming this third time to you: by the mouth of two witnesses, or three, every matter shall be established. I foretold, and I now foretel (as present in spirit) the second time, (and being absent in body,) I now write to them who have before sinned, and to all the rest, certainly, when I come again, I will not spare you. Since ye demand a proof of Christ's speaking to me, who towards you is not weak, but is strong among you. For though indeed he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God: and though we also are weak with him, we shall nevertheless live with him, by the power of God among you. Try yourselves whether ye e inthe faith; prove yourselves; know ye not yourselves that Jesus Christ is among you, unless, perhaps, ye be without proof? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not without proof. Nevertheless I pray to God that ye do nothign evil; not [wishing] that we may appear having proof, but that ye may do what is good, though we should be indeed without proof. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. Therefore we rejoice when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we pray for, even your restoration. For this reason, being absent, I write these things, that when present I may not act sharply, according to me power which the Lord hath given me for edification, and not for destruction. Finally, brethren, farewel: be ye restored;*[To perfect order.] comfort yourselves; mind the same thing; live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Salute one another with a holy kiss. All the saints salute you. The favour of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with with (sic) you all. Amen.