2 Corinthians 1** The second epistle to the Corinthians probably was writtenabout a year after the first. Its contents are closely connectedwith those of the former epistle. The manner in which the letterSt. Paul formerly wrote had been received, is particularlynoticed; this was such as to fill his heart with gratitude toGod, 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 theapostle delayed his visit, from his unwillingness to treat themwith severity, they charged him with levity and change ofconduct. Also, with pride, vain-glory, and severity, and theyspake of him with contempt. In this epistle we find the sameardent affection towards the disciples at Corinth, as in theformer, the same zeal for the honour of the gospel, and the sameboldness in giving Christian reproof. The first six chapters arechiefly practical: the rest have more reference to the state ofthe Corinthian church, but they contain many rules of generalapplication. * The apostle blesses God for comfort in, and deliverance out oftroubles. (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 ofneed. The Lord is able to give peace to the troubled conscience,and to calm the raging passions of the soul. These blessings aregiven by him, as the Father of his redeemed family. It is ourSaviour who says, Let not your heart be troubled. All comfortscome from God, and our sweetest comforts are in him. He speakspeace to souls by granting the free remission of sins; and hecomforts them by the enlivening influences of the Holy Spirit,and by the rich mercies of his grace. He is able to bind up thebroken-hearted, to heal the most painful wounds, and also togive hope and joy under the heaviest sorrows. The favours Godbestows on us, are not only to make us cheerful, but also thatwe may be useful to others. He sends comforts enough to supportsuch as simply trust in and serve him. If we should be broughtso low as to despair even of life, yet we may then trust God,who can bring back even from death. Their hope and trust werenot in vain; nor shall any be ashamed who trust in the Lord.Past experiences encourage faith and hope, and lay us underobligation to trust in God for time to come. And it is our duty,not only to help one another with prayer, but in praise andthanksgiving, and thereby to make suitable returns for benefitsreceived. Thus both trials and mercies will end in good toourselves and others. 12-14 Though, as a sinner, the apostle could only rejoice andglory in Christ Jesus, yet, as a believer, he might rejoice andglory in being really what he professed. Conscience witnessesconcerning the steady course and tenor of the life. Thereby wemay judge ourselves, and not by this or by that single act. Ourconversation will be well ordered, when we live and act undersuch a gracious principle in the heart. Having this, we mayleave our characters in the Lord's hands, but using proper meansto 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 andinconstancy, in not coming to Corinth. Good men should becareful to keep the reputation of sincerity and constancy; theyshould not resolve, but on careful thought; and they will notchange unless for weighty reasons. Nothing can render God'spromises more certain: his giving them through Christ, assuresus they are his promises; as the wonders God wrought in thelife, resurrection, and ascension of his Son, confirm faith. TheHoly 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 everlastingjoy. The apostle desired to spare the blame he feared would beunavoidable, if he had gone to Corinth before he learned whateffect his former letter produced. Our strength and ability areowing to faith; and our comfort and joy must flow from faith.The holy tempers and gracious fruits which attend faith, securefrom delusion in so important a matter.
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