2 Corinthians 11


The apostle apologizes for expressing his jealousy relative to

the true state of the Corinthians; still fearing lest their

minds should have been drawn aside from the simplicity of the

Gospel, 1-3;

From this he takes occasion to extol his own ministry, which

had been without charge to them, having been supported by the

Churches of Macedonia while he preached the Gospel at Corinth,


Gives the character of the false apostles, 12-16.

Shows what reasons he has to boast of secular advantages of

birth, education, Divine call to the ministry, labours in that

ministry, grievous persecutions, great sufferings, and

extraordinary hazards, 16-33.


Verse 1. Would to God ye could bear with me] οφελονηνειχεσθε

μουμικρον. As the word God is not mentioned here, it would have

been much better to have translated the passage literally thus: I

wish ye could bear a little with me. The too frequent use of this

sacred name produces a familiarity with it that is not at all

conducive to reverence and godly fear.

In my folly] In my seeming folly; for, being obliged to

vindicate his ministry, it was necessary that he should speak much

of himself, his sufferings, and his success. And as this would

appear like boasting; and boasting is always the effect of an

empty, foolish mind; those who were not acquainted with the

necessity that lay upon him to make this defence, might be led to

impute it to vanity. As if he had said: Suppose you allow this to

be folly, have the goodness to bear with me; for though I glory, I

should not be a fool, 2Co 12:6.

And let no man think me a fool for my boasting, 2Co 11:16.

Verse 2. I am jealous over you, &c.] The apostle evidently

alludes either to the shoshabinim or paranymphs among

the Hebrews, whose office is largely explained in the notes on

Joh 3:29, and the observations at the end of that chapter

"Joh 3:36";

or to the harmosyni, a sort of magistrates among the Lacedemonians

who had the care of virgins, and whose business it was to see them

well educated, kept pure, and properly prepared for married life.

That I may present you as a chaste virgin] The allusion is

still kept up; and there seems to be a reference to Le 21:14,

that the high priest must not marry any one that was not a pure

virgin. Here, then, Christ is the high priest, the spouse or

husband; the Corinthian Church the pure virgin to be espoused;

the apostle and his helpers the shoshabinim, or harmosyni, who

had educated and prepared this virgin for her husband, and

espoused her to him. See the observations already referred to at

the end of the third chapter of John. "Joh 3:36"

Verse 3. As the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty]

This is a strong reflection on the false apostle and his teaching:

he was subtle, πανουργος and by his subtlety (πανουργια, from

παν, all, and εργον, work; his versatility of character

and conduct, his capability of doing all work, and accommodating

himself to the caprices, prejudices, and evil propensities of

those to whom he ministered) he was enabled to corrupt the minds

of the people from the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ; or, to

follow the metaphor, he had seduced the pure, chaste, well

educated virgin, from her duty, affection, and allegiance to her

one only true husband, the high priest, Jesus Christ. And here he

seems to intimate that the serpent had seduced the mind of Eve

from her affections and allegiance to Adam, her true husband; and

certainly from God, her creator and governor. See at the end of

the chapter. "2Co 11:33"

Verse 4. For if he that cometh] The false apostle, who came

after St. Paul had left Corinth.

Preacheth another Jesus] Who can save more fully and more

powerfully than that Jesus whom I have preached.

Or if ye receive another spirit] And if in consequence of

believing in this new saviour ye receive another spirit, the

gifts, graces, and consolations of which are greater than those

which ye have received from the Holy Ghost, which has been given

to you on your believing on the Christ whom we preached.

Or another Gospel] Containing more privileges, spiritual

advantages, and stronger excitements to holiness, than that which

we have preached and which ye have accepted, ye might well bear

with him. This would be a sufficient reason why you should not

only bear with him, but prefer him to me.

Others think that the last clause should be rendered, Ye might

well bear with ME-notwithstanding he brought you another Jesus,

spirit, and gospel, ye might bear with me, who have already

ministered so long to and done so much for you. But the former

sense seems best.

Verse 5. I was not-behind the very chiefest apostles.] That

is: The most eminent of the apostles have not preached Christ,

ministered the spirit, explained and enforced the doctrines of the

Gospel in a more powerful and effectual manner than I have done.

Verse 6. But though I be rude in speech] ιδιωτηςτωλογω

Though I speak like a common unlettered man, in plain unadorned

phrase, studying none of the graces of eloquence; yet I am not

unskilled in the most profound knowledge of God, of spiritual and

eternal things, of the nature of the human soul, and the sound

truths of the Gospel system: ye yourselves are witnesses of this,

as in all these things I have been thoroughly manifested among


Inspired men received all their doctrines immediately from God,

and often the very words in which those doctrines should be

delivered to the world; but in general the Holy Spirit appears to

have left them to their own language, preventing them from using

any expression that might be equivocal, or convey a contrary sense

to that which God intended.

That St. Paul wrote a strong, nervous, and sufficiently pure

language, his own writings sufficiently testify; but the graces of

the Greek tongue he appears not to have studied, or at least he

did not think it proper to use them; for perhaps there is no

tongue in the world that is so apt to seduce the understanding by

its sounds and harmony, as the Greek. It is not an unusual thing

for Greek scholars to the present day to be in raptures with the

harmony of a Greek verse, the sense of which is but little

regarded, and perhaps is little worth! I should suppose that God

would prevent the inspired writers from either speaking or writing

thus, that sound might not carry the hearer away from sense; and

that the persuasive force of truth might alone prevail, and the

excellence of the power appear to be of God and not of man.

Taking up the subject in this point of view, I see no reason to

have recourse to the supposition, or fable rather, that the

apostle had an impediment in his speech, and that he alludes to

this infirmity in the above passage.

Verse 7. Have I committed an offence in abasing myself] Have

I transgressed in labouring with my hands that I might not be

chargeable to you? and getting my deficiencies supplied by

contributions from other Churches, while I was employed in

labouring for your salvation? Does your false apostle insinuate

that I have disgraced the apostolic office by thus descending to

servile labour for my support? Well; I have done this that you

might be exalted-that you might receive the pure doctrines of the

Gospel, and be exalted to the highest pitch of intellectual light

and blessedness. And will you complain that I preached the Gospel

gratis to you? Surely not. The whole passage is truly ironical.

Verse 8. I robbed other Churches] This part of the sentence

is explained by the latter, taking wages to do you service. The

word οψωνιον signifies the pay of money and provisions given daily

to a Roman soldier. As if he had said: I received food and

raiment, the bare necessaries of life, from other Churches while

labouring for your salvation. Will you esteem this a crime?

Verse 9. And when I was present with you] The particle και

which we translate and, should be rendered for in this place: For

when I was with you, and was in want, I was chargeable to no man.

I preferred to be, for a time, even without the necessaries of

life, rather than be a burden to you. To whom was this a

reproach, to me or to you?

The brethren which came from Macedonia] He probably refers to

the supplies which he received from the Church at Philippi, which

was in Macedonia; of which he says, that in the beginning of the

Gospel no Church communicated with me, as concerning giving and

receiving, but you only; for even at Thessalonica ye sent once and

again to my necessity, Php 4:15, 16.

See the Introduction, sec. vi.

Verse 10. As the truth of Christ is in me] εστιναληθεια

χριστουενεμοι. The truth of Christ is in me. That is: I speak

as becomes a Christian man, and as influenced by the Gospel of

Christ. It is a solemn form of asseveration, if not to be

considered in the sense of an oath.

In the regions of Achaia.] The whole of the Peloponnesus, or

Morea, in which the city of Corinth stood. From this it appears

that he had received no help from any of the other Churches in the

whole of that district.

Verse 11. Wherefore] Why have I acted thus? and why do I

propose to continue to act thus? is it because I love you not, and

will not permit you to contribute to my support? God knoweth the

contrary; I do most affectionately love you.

Verse 12. But what I do, &c.] I act thus that I may cut off

occasion of glorying, boasting, or calumniating from them-the

false prophets and his partisans, who seek occasion-who would be

glad that I should become chargeable to you, that it might in some

sort vindicate them who exact much from you; for they bring you

into bondage, and devour you, 2Co 11:20.

Nothing could mortify these persons more than to find that the

apostle did take nothing, and was resolved to take nothing; while

they were fleecing the people. It is certain that the passage is

not to be understood as though the false apostles took nothing

from the people, to whatever disinterestedness they might pretend,

for the apostle is positive on the contrary; and he was determined

to act so that his example should not authorize these deceivers,

who had nothing but their self-interest in view, to exact

contribution from the people; so that if they continued to boast,

they must be bound even as the apostle, taking nothing for their

labours; which could never comport with their views of gain and

secular profit.

Verse 13. For such are false apostles] Persons who pretend to

be apostles, but have no mission from Christ.

Deceitful workers] They do preach and labour, but they have

nothing but their own emolument in view.

Transforming themselves] Assuming as far as they possibly can,

consistently with their sinister views, the habit, manner, and

doctrine of the apostles of Christ.

Verse 14. And no marvel] καιουθαυμαστον. And no wonder; it

need not surprise you what the disciples do, when you consider the

character of the master.

Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.] As in

2Co 11:3

the apostle had the history of the temptation and fall of man

particularly in view, it is very likely that here he refers to the

same thing. In what ever form Satan appeared to our first mother,

his pretensions and professions gave him the appearance of a good

angel; and by pretending that Eve should get a great increase of

light, that is, wisdom and understanding, he deceived her,

and led her to transgress. It is generally said that Satan has

three forms under which he tempts men: 1. The subtle serpent. 2.

The roaring lion. 3. The angel of light. He often, as the angel

of light, persuades men to do things under the name of religion,

which are subversive of it. Hence all the persecutions, faggots,

and fires of a certain Church, under pretence of keeping heresy

out of the Church; and hence all the horrors and infernalities of

the inquisition. In the form of heathen persecution, like a lion

he has ravaged the heritage of the Lord. And by means of our

senses and passions, as the subtle serpent, he is frequently

deceiving us, so that often the workings of corrupt nature are

mistaken for the operations of the Spirit of God.

Verse 15. Whose end shall be according to their works.] A bad

way leads to a bad end. The way of sin is the way to hell.

Verse 16. Let no man think me a fool]

See Clarke on 2Co 11:1.

As the apostle was now going to enter into a

particular detail of his qualifications, natural, acquired, and

spiritual; and particularly of his labours and sufferings; he

thinks it necessary to introduce the discourse once more as he did

2Co 11:1.

Verse 17. I speak it not after the Lord] Were it not for the

necessity under which I am laid to vindicate my apostleship, my

present glorying would be inconsistent with my Christian

profession of humility, and knowing no one after the flesh.

Verse 18. Seeing that many glory after the flesh] Boast of

external and secular things.

Verse 19. Ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are

wise.] A very fine irony. Ye are so profoundly wise as to be

able to discern that I am a fool. Well, it would be dishonourable

to you as wise men to fall out with a fool; you will therefore

gladly bear with his impertinence and foolishness because of your

own profound wisdom.

Verse 20. For ye suffer] As you are so meek and gentle as to

submit to be brought into bondage, to have your property devoured,

your goods taken away, yourselves laid in the dust, so that others

may exalt themselves over you, yea, and will bear from those the

most degrading indignity; then of course, you will bear with one

who has never insulted, defrauded, devoured, taken of you, exalted

himself against you, or offered you any kind of indignity; and who

only wishes you to bear his confident boasting, concerning matters

which he can substantiate.

The expressions in this verse are some evidence that the false

apostle was a Judaizing teacher. You suffer, says the apostle, if

a man, καταδουλοι, bring you into bondage, probably meaning to

the Jewish rites and ceremonies, Ga 4:9; 5:1.

If he devour you; as the Pharisees did the patrimony of the

widows, and for a pretence made long prayers; if a man take of

you, exact different contributions, pretendedly for the temple at

Jerusalem, &c. If he exalt himself, pretending to be of the seed

of Abraham, infinitely higher in honour and dignity than all the

families of the Gentiles; if he smite you on the face-treat you

with indignity, as the Jews did the Gentiles, considering them

only as dogs, and not fit to be ranked with any of the descendants

of Jacob.

Verse 21. I speak as concerning reproach] Dr. Whitby thus

paraphrases this verse: "That which I said of smiting you upon the

face, I speak as concerning the reproach they cast upon you as

profane and uncircumcised, whereas they all profess to be a holy

nation; as though we had been weak-inferior to them in these

things, not able to ascribe to ourselves those advantages as well

as they. Howbeit, whereinsoever any is bold, and can justly value

himself on these advantages, I am bold also, and can claim the

same distinctions, though I speak foolishly in setting any value

on those things; but it is necessary that I should show that such

men have not even one natural good that they can boast of beyond


Verse 22. Are they Hebrews] Speaking the sacred language, and

reading in the congregation from the Hebrew Scriptures? the same

is my own language.

Are they Israelites] Regularly descended from Jacob, and not

from Esau? I am also one.

Are they the seed of Abraham] Circumcised, and in the bond of

the covenant? So am I. I am no proselyte, but I am a Hebrew of

the Hebrews both by father and mother; and can trace my genealogy,

through the tribe of Benjamin, up to the father of the faithful.

Verse 23. Are they ministers of Christ] So we find that these

were professors of Christianity; and that they were genuine Jews,

and such as endeavoured to incorporate both systems, and, no

doubt, to oblige those who had believed to be circumcised; and

this appears to have been the bondage into which they had brought

many of the believing Corinthians.

I am more] More of a minister of Christ than they are, and

have given fuller proofs of it. I have suffered persecution for

the cross of Christ, and of the Jews too; and had I preached up

the necessity of circumcision, I should have been as free from

opposition as these are.

In labours more abundant] Far from sitting down to take my

ease in a Church already gathered into Christ; I travel

incessantly, preach every where, and at all risks, in order to get

the heathen brought from the empire of darkness into the kingdom

of God's beloved Son.

In stripes above measure] Being beaten by the heathen, who had

no particular rule according to which they scourged criminals; and

we find, from Ac 16:22, 23,

that they beat Paul unmercifully with many stripes.

See the note on the above passage.

In prisons more frequent] See Ac 21:11, and the whole of the

apostle's history; and his long imprisonment of at least two years

at Rome, Ac 28:16, 30. It does not appear that there is any one

instance of a false apostle having been imprisoned for the

testimony of Christ; this was a badge of the true apostles.

In deaths oft.] That is, in the most imminent dangers. See

1Co 15:31; 2Co 4:11. And see the apostle's history in the


Verse 24. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save

one.] That is, he was five times scourged by the Jews, whose law

(De 25:3) allowed forty stripes; but they, pretending to be

lenient, and to act within the letter of the law, inflicted but


To except one stripe from the forty was a very ancient canon

among the Jews, as we learn from Josephus, Antiq. lib. iv. ch.

viii. sec. 21, who mentions the same thing: πληγαςμιαςλειπουσης

τεσσαπακοντα. forty stripes, excepting one.

The Mishna gives this as a rule, MISH., Maccoth, fol. 22, 10:

"How often shall he, the culprit, be smitten? Ans.

forty stripes, wanting one; i.e. with the number which is highest

to forty." Frequently a man was scourged according to his ability

to bear the punishment; and it is a canon in the Mishna, "That he

who cannot bear forty stripes should receive only eighteen, and

yet be considered as having suffered the whole punishment."

They also thought it right to stop under forty, lest the person

who counted should make a mistake, and the criminal get more than

forty stripes, which would be injustice, as the law required only


The manner in which this punishment was inflicted is described

in the Mishna, fol. 22, 2: "The two hands of the criminal are

bound to a post, and then the servant of the synagogue either

pulls or tears off his clothes till he leaves his breast and

shoulders bare. A stone or block is placed behind him on which

the servant stands; he holds in his hands a scourge made of

leather, divided into four tails. He who scourges lays one third

on the criminal's breast, another third on his right shoulder, and

another on his left. The man who receives the punishment is

neither sitting nor standing, but all the while stooping; and the

man smites with all his strength, with one hand." The severity of

this punishment depends on the nature of the scourge, and the

strength of the executioner.

It is also observed that the Jews did not repeat scourgings

except for enormous offences. But they had scourged the apostle

five times; for with those murderers no quarter would be given to

the disciples, as none was given to the Master. See Schoettgen.

Verse 25. Thrice was I beaten with rods] This was under the

Roman government, as their lictors beat criminals in this way. We

hear of the apostle's being treated thus once, namely at Philippi,

Ac 16:22. See sec. 9 of the introduction.

Once was I stoned] Namely, at Lystra, Ac 14:19, &c.

A night and a day I have been in the deep] To what this refers

we cannot tell; it is generally supposed that in some shipwreck

not on record the apostle had saved himself on a plank, and was a

whole day and night on the sea, tossed about at the mercy of the

waves. Others think that βυθος, the deep, signifies a dungeon of

a terrible nature at Cyzicum, in the Propontis, into which Paul

was cast as he passed from Troas. But this is not likely.

Verse 26. In journeyings often] He means the particular

journeys which he took to different places, for the purpose of

propagating the Gospel.

In perils of waters] Exposed to great dangers in crossing

rivers; for of rivers the original, ποταμων, must be understood.

Of robbers] Judea itself, and perhaps every other country, was

grievously infested by banditti of this kind; and no doubt the

apostle in his frequent peregrinations was often attacked, but,

being poor and having nothing to lose, he passed unhurt, though

not without great danger.

In perils by mine own countrymen] The Jews had the most rooted

antipathy to him, because they considered him an apostate from the

true faith, and also the means of perverting many others. There

are several instances of this in the Acts; and a remarkable

conspiracy against his life is related, Ac 23:12, &c.

In perils by the heathen] In the heathen provinces whither he

went to preach the Gospel. Several instances of these perils

occur also in the Acts.

In perils in the city] The different seditions raised against

him; particularly in Jerusalem, to which Ephesus and Damascus may

be added.

Perils in the wilderness] Uninhabited countries through which

he was obliged to pass in order to reach from city to city. In

such places it is easy to imagine many dangers from banditti, wild

beasts, cold, starvation, &c.

Perils in the sea] The different voyages he took in narrow

seas, such as the Mediterranean, about dangerous coasts, and

without compass.

False brethren] Persons who joined themselves to the Church,

pretending faith in Christ, but intending to act as spies, hoping

to get some matter of accusation against him. He no doubt

suffered much also from apostates.

Verse 27. In weariness and painfulness] Tribulations of this

kind were his constant companions. Lord Lyttleton and others have

made useful reflections on this verse: "How hard was it for a man

of a genteel and liberal education, as St. Paul was, to bear such

rigours, and to wander about like a vagabond, hungry and almost

naked, yet coming into the presence of persons of high life, and

speaking in large and various assemblies on matters of the utmost

importance!" Had not St. Paul been deeply convinced of the truth

and absolute certainty of the Christian religion, he could not

have continued to expose himself to such hardships.

Verse 28. Beside those things that are without] Independently

of all these outward things, I have innumerable troubles and

mental oppressions.

Which cometh upon me] ηεπισυατασις. This continual press of

business; this insurrection of cases to be heard, solved, and

determined, relative to the doctrine, discipline, state,

persecution, and supply of all the Churches.

All his perils were little in comparison of what he felt

relative to the peace, government, and establishment of all the

Churches among the Gentiles; for as he was the apostle of the

Gentiles, the government of all the Churches among these fell in

some sort on him, whether they were of his own planting or of the

planting of others. See Col 2:1. None but a conscientious

minister, who has at heart the salvation of souls, can enter into

the apostle's feelings in this place.

Verse 29. Who is weak] What Church is there under

persecution, with which I do not immediately sympathize? or who,

from his weakness in the faith, and scrupulousness of conscience,

is likely to be stumbled, or turned out of the way, to whom I do

not condescend, and whose burden I do not bear?

Who is offended] Or likely to be turned out of the way, and I

burn not with zeal to restore and confirm him? This seems to be

the sense of these different questions.

Verse 30. I will glory-which concern mine infirmities.] I

will not boast of my natural or acquired powers; neither in what

God has done by me; but rather in what I have suffered for him.

Many persons have understood by infirmities what they call the

indwelling sin of the apostle, and say that "he gloried in this,

because the grace of Christ was the more magnified in his being

preserved from ruin, notwithstanding this indwelling adversary."

And to support this most unholy interpretation, they quote those

other words of the apostle, 2Co 12:9:

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, my

indwelling corruptions, that the power of Christ, in chaining the

fierce lion, may rest upon me. But it would be difficult to

produce a single passage in the whole New Testament where the word

ασθενεια, which we translate infirmity, has the sense of sin or

moral corruption. The verb ασθενεω signifies to be weak, infirm,

sick, poor, despicable through poverty, &c. And in a few places

it is applied to weakness in the faith, to young converts, who are

poor in religious knowledge, not yet fully instructed in the

nature of the Gospel; Ro 4:19; 14:1, 2. And it is applied to the

works of the law, to point out their inability to justify a

sinner, Ro 8:3.

But to inward sin, and inward corruption it is never applied. I

am afraid that what these persons call their infirmities may

rather be called their strengths; the prevailing and frequently

ruling power of pride, anger, ill-will, &c.; for how few think

evil tempers to be sins! The gentle term infirmity softens down

the iniquity; and as St. Paul, so great and so holy a man, say

they, had his infirmities, how can they expect to be without

theirs? These should know that they are in a dangerous error;

that St. Paul means nothing of the kind; for he speaks of his

sufferings, and of these alone. One word more: would not the

grace and power of Christ appear more conspicuous in slaying

the lion than in keeping him chained? in destroying sin, root

and branch; and filling the soul with his own holiness, with love

to God and man, with the mind-all the holy heavenly tempers, that

were in himself; than in leaving these impure and unholy tempers,

ever to live and often to reign in the heart? The doctrine is

discreditable to the Gospel, and wholly antichristian.

Verse 31. The God and Father of our Lord] Here is a very

solemn asseveration; an appeal to the ever blessed God for the

truth of what he asserts. It is something similar to his

asseveration or oath in ver. 10 of this chapter; 2Co 11:10 see

also Ro 9:5, and Ga 1:20. And from these and several other

places we learn that the apostle thought it right thus to confirm

his assertions on these particular occasions. But here is nothing

to countenance profane swearing, or taking the name of God in

vain, as many do in exclamations, when surprised, or on hearing

something unexpected, &c.; and as others do who, conscious of

their own falsity, endeavour to gain credit by appeals to God for

the truth of what they say. St. Paul's appeal to God is in the

same spirit as his most earnest prayer. This solemn appeal the

apostle makes in reference to what he mentions in the following

verses. This was a fact not yet generally known.

Verse 32. In Damascus the governor under Aretas] For a

description of Damascus see the note on "Ac 9:2". And for the

transaction to which the apostle refers see Ac 9:23. As to King

Aretas, there were three of this name. The first is mentioned

2 Maccab. v. 8. The second by Josephus, Antiq. l. xiii. c. 15,

sec. 2; and l. xvi. c. 1, sec. 4. The third, who is the person

supposed to be referred to here, was the father-in-law of Herod

Antipas, of whom see the notes, "Ac 9:23", &c.

But it is a question of some importance, How could Damascus, a

city of Syria, be under the government of an Arabian king? It may

be accounted for thus: Herod Antipas, who married the daughter of

Aretas, divorced her, in order to marry Herodias, his brother

Philip's wife. Aretas, on this indignity offered to his family,

made war upon Herod. Herod applied to Tiberius for help, and the

emperor sent Vitellius to reduce Aretas, and to bring him alive or

dead to Rome. By some means or other Vitellius delayed his

operations, and in the meantime Tiberius died; and thus Aretas was

snatched from ruin, Joseph., Antiq. lib. xviii. c. 5. What Aretas

did in the interim is not known; but it is conjectured that he

availed himself of the then favourable state of things, made an

irruption into Syria, and seized on Damascus. See Rosenmuller;

and see the introduction to this epistle, sec. ii.

The governor] εθναρχης. Who this ethnarch was, we cannot

tell. The word ethnarch signifies the governor of a province,

under a king or emperor.

Desirous to apprehend me] The enemies of the apostle might

have represented him to the governor as a dangerous spy, employed

by the Romans.

Verse 33. Through a window in a basket] Probably the house

was situated on the wall of the city. See the notes on this

history, Ac 9:23-25.

IN ver. 2 of this chapter 2Co 11:2 the apostle most

evidently alludes to the history of the temptation, and fall of

Adam and Eve, as related in Ge 3:1, &c.; and which fall is there

attributed to the agency of a being called nachash, here, and

in other places, translated οφις, serpent. In my notes on Genesis

I have given many, and, as I judge, solid reasons, why the word

cannot be understood literally of a serpent of any kind; and that

most probably a creature of the simia or ape genus was employed by

the devil on this occasion. The arguments on this subject

appeared to me to be corroborated by innumerable probabilities;

but I left the conjecture afloat, (for I did not give it a more

decisive name,) and placed it in the hands of my readers to adopt,

reject, or amend, as their judgments might direct them. To

several this sentiment appeared a monstrous heresy! and speedily

the old serpent had a host of defenders. The very modest opinion,

or conjecture, was controverted by some who were both gentlemen

and scholars, and by several who were neither; by some who could

not affect candour because they had not even the appearance of it,

but would affect learning because they wished to be reputed wise.

What reason and argument failed to produce they would supply with

ridicule; and as monkey was a convenient term for this purpose,

they attributed it to him who had never used it. What is the

result? They no doubt believe that they have established their

system; and their arguments are to them conclusive. They have my

full consent; but I think it right to state that I have neither

seen nor heard of any thing that has the least tendency to weaken

my conjecture, or produce the slightest wavering in my opinion.

Indeed their arguments, and mode of managing them, have produced a

very different effect on my mind to what they designed. I am now

more firmly persuaded of the probability of my hypothesis than

ever. I shall, however, leave the subject as it is: I never

proposed it as an article of faith; I press it on no man. I could

fortify it with many additional arguments if I judged it proper;

for its probability appears to me as strong as the utter

improbability of the common opinion, to defend which its abettors

have descended to insupportable conjectures, of which infidels

have availed themselves, to the discredit of the sacred writings.

To those who choose to be wise and witty, and wish to provoke a

controversy, this is my answer: I am doing a great work, so that I

cannot come down. Why should the work cease, while I leave it and

come DOWN to YOU? Ne 6:3.

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