2 Corinthians 1

** The second epistle to the Corinthians probably was written

about a year after the first. Its contents are closely connected

with those of the former epistle. The manner in which the letter

St. Paul formerly wrote had been received, is particularly

noticed; this was such as to fill his heart with gratitude to

God, who enabled him fully to discharge his duty towards them.

Many had shown marks of repentance, and amended their conduct,

but others still followed their false teachers; and as the

apostle delayed his visit, from his unwillingness to treat them

with severity, they charged him with levity and change of

conduct. Also, with pride, vain-glory, and severity, and they

spake of him with contempt. In this epistle we find the same

ardent affection towards the disciples at Corinth, as in the

former, the same zeal for the honour of the gospel, and the same

boldness in giving Christian reproof. The first six chapters are

chiefly practical: the rest have more reference to the state of

the Corinthian church, but they contain many rules of general

application.

* The apostle blesses God for comfort in, and deliverance out of

troubles. (1-11) He professes his own and his fellow-labourers'

integrity. (12-14) Gives reasons for his not coming to them.

(15-24)

1-11 We are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace,

that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of

need. The Lord is able to give peace to the troubled conscience,

and to calm the raging passions of the soul. These blessings are

given by him, as the Father of his redeemed family. It is our

Saviour who says, Let not your heart be troubled. All comforts

come from God, and our sweetest comforts are in him. He speaks

peace to souls by granting the free remission of sins; and he

comforts them by the enlivening influences of the Holy Spirit,

and by the rich mercies of his grace. He is able to bind up the

broken-hearted, to heal the most painful wounds, and also to

give hope and joy under the heaviest sorrows. The favours God

bestows on us, are not only to make us cheerful, but also that

we may be useful to others. He sends comforts enough to support

such as simply trust in and serve him. If we should be brought

so low as to despair even of life, yet we may then trust God,

who can bring back even from death. Their hope and trust were

not in vain; nor shall any be ashamed who trust in the Lord.

Past experiences encourage faith and hope, and lay us under

obligation to trust in God for time to come. And it is our duty,

not only to help one another with prayer, but in praise and

thanksgiving, and thereby to make suitable returns for benefits

received. Thus both trials and mercies will end in good to

ourselves and others.
12-14 Though, as a sinner, the apostle could only rejoice and

glory in Christ Jesus, yet, as a believer, he might rejoice and

glory in being really what he professed. Conscience witnesses

concerning the steady course and tenor of the life. Thereby we

may judge ourselves, and not by this or by that single act. Our

conversation will be well ordered, when we live and act under

such a gracious principle in the heart. Having this, we may

leave our characters in the Lord's hands, but using proper means

to clear them, when the credit of the gospel, or our usefulness,

calls for it.
15-24 The apostle clears himself from the charge of levity and

inconstancy, in not coming to Corinth. Good men should be

careful to keep the reputation of sincerity and constancy; they

should not resolve, but on careful thought; and they will not

change unless for weighty reasons. Nothing can render God's

promises more certain: his giving them through Christ, assures

us they are his promises; as the wonders God wrought in the

life, resurrection, and ascension of his Son, confirm faith. The

Holy Spirit makes Christians firm in the faith of the gospel:

the quickening of the Spirit is an earnest of everlasting life;

and the comforts of the Spirit are an earnest of everlasting

joy. The apostle desired to spare the blame he feared would be

unavoidable, if he had gone to Corinth before he learned what

effect his former letter produced. Our strength and ability are

owing to faith; and our comfort and joy must flow from faith.

The holy tempers and gracious fruits which attend faith, secure

from delusion in so important a matter.

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