2 Corinthians 12* The apostle's revelations. (1-6) Which were improved to hisspiritual advantage. (7-10) The signs of an apostle were in him,His purpose of making them a visit; but he expresses his fearlest he should have to be severe with some. (11-21)1-6 There can be no doubt the apostle speaks of himself.Whether heavenly things were brought down to him, while his bodywas in a trance, as in the case of ancient prophets; or whetherhis soul was dislodged from the body for a time, and taken upinto heaven, or whether he was taken up, body and soul together,he knew not. We are not capable, nor is it fit we should yetknow, the particulars of that glorious place and state. He didnot attempt to publish to the world what he had heard there, buthe set forth the doctrine of Christ. On that foundation thechurch is built, and on that we must build our faith and hope.And while this teaches us to enlarge our expectations of theglory that shall be revealed, it should render us contented withthe usual methods of learning the truth and will of God. 7-10 The apostle gives an account of the method God took tokeep him humble, and to prevent his being lifted up abovemeasure, on account of the visions and revelations he had. Weare not told what this thorn in the flesh was, whether somegreat trouble, or some great temptation. But God often bringsthis good out of evil, that the reproaches of our enemies helpto hide pride from us. If God loves us, he will keep us frombeing exalted above measure; and spiritual burdens are orderedto cure spiritual pride. This thorn in the flesh is said to be amessenger of Satan which he sent for evil; but God designed it,and overruled it for good. Prayer is a salve for every sore, aremedy for every malady; and when we are afflicted with thornsin the flesh, we should give ourselves to prayer. If an answerbe not given to the first prayer, nor to the second, we are tocontinue praying. Troubles are sent to teach us to pray; and arecontinued, to teach us to continue instant in prayer. Though Godaccepts the prayer of faith, yet he does not always give what isasked for: as he sometimes grants in wrath, so he sometimesdenies in love. When God does not take away our troubles andtemptations, yet, if he gives grace enough for us, we have noreason to complain. Grace signifies the good-will of God towardsus, and that is enough to enlighten and enliven us, sufficientto strengthen and comfort in all afflictions and distresses. Hisstrength is made perfect in our weakness. Thus his grace ismanifested and magnified. When we are weak in ourselves, then weare strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; when we feelthat we are weak in ourselves, then we go to Christ, receivestrength from him, and enjoy most the supplies of Divinestrength and grace. 11-21 We owe it to good men, to stand up in the defence oftheir reputation; and we are under special obligations to thosefrom whom we have received benefit, especially spiritualbenefit, to own them as instruments in God's hand of good to us.Here is an account of the apostle's behaviour and kindintentions; in which see the character of a faithful minister ofthe gospel. This was his great aim and design, to do good. Hereare noticed several sins commonly found among professors ofreligion. Falls and misdeeds are humbling to a minister; and Godsometimes takes this way to humble those who might be tempted tobe lifted up. These vast verses show to what excesses the falseteachers had drawn aside their deluded followers. How grievousit is that such evils should be found among professors of thegospel! Yet thus it is, and has been too often, and it was soeven in the days of the apostles.
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