2 COR. vii. 13.

"And in your comfort, we joyed the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus, because his spirit hath been refreshed by you all."

SEE again how he exalts their praises, and showeth their love. For having said, 'I was pleased that my Epistle wrought so much and that ye gained so much,' for "I rejoice," he saith, "not that ye were made sorry, but that ye were made sorry unto repentance;" and having shown his own love, for he saith, "Though I wrote unto you, I wrote not for his cause that did the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered the wrong, but that our care for you might be made manifest to you:" again he mentioneth another sign of their good will, which bringeth them great praise and showeth the genuineness of their affection. For, "in your comfort(2)," he saith, "we joyed the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus." And yet this is no sign of one that loveth them exceedingly; rejoicing rather for Titus than for them. 'Yes,' he replies, 'it is, for I joyed not so much for his cause as for yours.' Therefore also he subjoins the reason, saying, "because his bowels were refreshed by you all." He said not, 'he,' but "his bowels;" that is, 'his love for you.' And how were they refreshed? "By all." For this too is a very great praise.

Ver. 14. "For if in anything I have gloried to him on your behalf."

It is high praise when the teacher boasted, for he saith, "I was not put to shame." I therefore rejoiced, because ye showed yourselves to be amended and proved my words by your deeds. So that the honor accruing to me was twofold; first, in that ye had made progress; next, in that I was not found to fall short of the truth. Ver. 14. "But as we spake always to you in truth, so our glorying also which I made before Titus was found to be truth."

Here he alludes to something further. As we spake all things among you in truth, (for it is probable that he had also spoken to them much in praise of this man (1), ) so also, what we said of you to Titus has been proved true.

Ver. 15. "And his inward affection(2) is more abundant toward you."

What follows is in commendation of him, as exceedingly consumed with love and attached to them. And he said not 'his love.' Then that he may not appear to be flattering, he everywhere mentions the causes of his affection; in order that he may, as I said, both escape the imputation of flattery and the more encourage them by making the praise redound unto them, and by showing that it was they who had infused into him the beginning and ground of this so great love. For having said, "his inward affection is more abundant toward you ;" he added,

"Whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all." Now this both shows that Titus was grateful to his benefactors, seeing he had returned, having them all in his heart, and continually remembereth them, and beareth them on his lips and in his mind; and also is a greater distinction to the Corinthians, seeing that so vanquished they sent him away. Then he mentions their obedience also, magnifying their zeal: wherefore also he addeth these words,

"How with fear and trembling ye received him." Not with love only, but also with excessive honor. Seest thou how he bears witness to a twofold virtue in them, both that they loved him as a father and had feared him as a ruler, neither for fear dimming love, nor for love relaxing fear. He expressed this also above, "That ye sorrow after a godly sort, what earnest care it wrought in you; yea what fear, yea what longing."

Ver. 16. "I rejoice therefore, that in every thing I am of good courage concerning you." Seest thou that he rejoiceth more on their account; 'because,' he saith, 'ye have in no particular shamed your teacher, nor show yourselves unworthy of my testimony.' So that he joyed not so much for Titus' sake, that he enjoyed so great honor; as for their own, that they had displayed so much good feeling. For that he may not be imagined to joy rather on Titus' account, observe how in this place also he states the reason. As then he said above, "If in anything I have gloried to him on your behalf I was not put to shame;" so here also, "In everything I am of good courage concerning you." 'Should need require me to rebuke, I have no apprehension of your being alienated; or again to boast, I fear not to be convicted of falsehood; or to praise you as obeying the rein, or as loving, or as full of zeal, I have confidence in you. I bade you cut off, and ye did cut off; I bade you receive, and ye did receive; I said before Titus that ye were great and admirable kind of people and knew to reverence teachers: ye proved these things true by your conduct. And he learnt these things not so much from me as from you. At any rate when he returned, he had become a passionate lover of you: your behavior having surpassed what he had been told.'

[2.] Chap. viii. ver. 1. "Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God which hath been given in the Churches of Macedonia."

Having encouraged them with these encomiums, he again tries exhortation. For on this account he mingled these praises with his rebuke, that he might not by proceeding from rebuke to exhortation make what he had to say ill received; but having soothed their ears, might by this means pave the way for his exhortation. For he purposeth to discourse of alms-giving; wherefore also he saith beforehand, "I rejoice that in everything I am of good courage concerning you;" by their past good works, making them the more ready to this duty also. And he said not at once, ' Therefore give alms,' but observe his wisdom, how he draws from a distance and from on high the preparation for his discourse. For he says, "I make known to you the grace of God which hath been given in the Churches of Macedonia." For that they might not be uplifted he calleth what they did "grace;" and whilst relating what others did he worketh greater zeal in them by his encomiums on others. And he mentions together two praises of the Macedonians, or rather three; namely, that they bear trials nobly; and that they know how to pity; and that, though poor, they had displayed profuseness in almsgiving, for their property had been also plundered. And when he wrote his Epistle to them, it was as signifying this that he said, "For ye became imitators of the Churches of God which are in Judaea, for ye also suffered the same things of your own countrymen, even as they did of the Jews." (1 Thess. ii. 14.) Hear what he said afterwards in writing to the Hebrews, "For ye took joyfully the spoiling of your possessions." (Heb. x. 34.) But He calls what they did "grace," not in order to keep them humble merely; but both to provoke them to emulation and to prevent what he said from proving invidious. Wherefore he also added the name of "brethren" so as to undermine all envious feeling; for he is about to praise them in high-flown terms. Listen, at least, to his praises. For having said, "I make known to you the grace of God," he said not ' which hath been given in this or that city,' but praiseth the entire nation, saying, "in the Churches of Macedonia." Then he details also this same grace.

Ver. 2. "How that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy."

Seest thou his wisdom? For he says not first, that which he wishes; but another thing before it, that he may not seem to do this of set purpose(1), but to arrive at it by a different connection. "In much proof of affliction." This was what he said in his Epistle to the Macedonians themselves, "Ye became imitators of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost;" and again, "From you sounded forth the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place, your faith to God-ward is gone forth." (1 Thess. i. 6, 8.) But what is, "in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy?" Both, he says, happened to them in excess; both the affliction and the joy. Wherefore also the strangeness was great that so great an excess of pleasure sprang up to them out of affliction. For in truth the affliction not only was not the parent of grief, but it even became unto them an occasion of gladness; and this too, though it was "great." Now this he said, to prepare them to be noble and firm in their trials. For they were not merely afflicted, but so as also to have become approved by their patience: yea rather, he says not by their patience, but what was more than patience, "joy." And neither said he "joy" simply, but "abundance of joy," for it sprang up in them, great and unspeakable.

[3.] "And their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality."

Again, both these with excessiveness. For as their great affliction gave birth to great joy, yea, "abundance of joy," so their great poverty gave birth to great riches of alms. For this he showed, saying, "abounded unto the riches of their liberality." For munificence is determined not by the measure of what is given, but by the mind of those that bestow it.

Wherefore he nowhere says, ' the richness of the gifts,' but "the riches of their liberality." Now what he says is to this effect; 'their poverty not only was no impediment to their being bountiful, but was even an occasion to them of abounding, just as affliction was of feeling joy. For the poorer they were, the more munificent they were and contributed the more readily.' Wherefore also he admires them exceedingly, for that in the midst of so great poverty they had displayed so great munificence. For "their deep," that is, 'their great and unspeakable,' "poverty," showed their "liberality." But he said not 'showed,' but "abounded;" and he said not "liberality," but "riches of liberality;" that is, an equipoise to the greatness of their poverty, or rather much outweighing it, was the bountifulness they displayed. Then he even explains this more clearly, saying,

Ver. 3. "For according to their power, I bear witness." Trustworthy is the witness. "And beyond their power." That is, it "abounded unto the riches of their liberality." Or rather, he makes this plain, not by this expression alone, but also by all that follows; for he says, "of their own accord." Lo! yet another excessiveness.

Ver. 4. "With much intreaty." Lo! yet a third and a fourth. "Praying us." Lo! even a fifth. And when they were in affliction and in poverty. Here are a sixth and seventh. And they gave with excessiveness. Then since this is what he most of all wishes to provide for in the Corinthians' case, namely, the giving deliberately, he dwells especially upon it, saying, "with much intreaty," and "praying us." ' We prayed not them, but they us.' Pray us what? "That the grace(2) and the fellowship in the ministering to the saints." Seest thou how he again exalts the deed, calling it by venerable names. For since they were ambitious(3) of spiritual gifts(4), he calls it by the name grace that they might eagerly pursue it; and again by that of "fellowship," that they might learn that they receive, not give only. 'This therefore they intreated us,' he says, 'that we would take upon us such a ministry(5).'

Ver. 5. "And" this, "not as we hoped." This he says with reference both to the amount and to their afflictions. 'For we could never have hoped,' he says, 'that whilst in so great affliction and poverty, they would even have urged us and so greatly intreated us.' He showed also their carefulness of life in other respects, by saying,

"But first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us by the will of God."

'For in everything their obedience was beyond our expectations; nor because they showed mercy did they neglect the other virtues,' "but first gave themselves to the Lord." What is, "gave themselves to the Lord?" 'They offered up [themselves]; they showed themselves approved in faith; they displayed much fortitude in their trials, order, goodness, love, in all things both readiness and zeal.' What means, "and to us?" 'They were tractable to the rein, loved, obeyed us; both fulfilling the laws of God and bound unto us by love.' And observe how here also he again shows their earnestness(1) saying, "gave themselves to the Lord." They did not in some things obey God, and in some the world; but in all things Him; and gave themselves wholly unto God. For neither because they showed mercy were they filled up with senseless pride, but displaying much lowlymindedness, much obedience, much reverence, much heavenly wisdom, they so wrought their almsdeeds also. But what is, "by the will of God?" Since he had said, they "gave themselves to us," yet was it not "to us," after the manner of men, but they did this also according to the mind of God.

[4.] Ver. 6. "Insomuch that we exhorted Titus, that as he made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace also(2)."

And what connexion is there here? Much; and closely bearing on what went before. 'For because we saw them vehement,' he says, 'and fervent in all things, in temptations, in almsgiving, in their love toward us, in the purity otherwise of their life: in order that ye too might be made their equals, we sent Titus.' Howbeit he did not say this, though he implied it. Behold excessiveness of love. 'For though intreated and desired by them,' he says, 'we were anxious about your state, lest by any means ye should come short of them. Wherefore also we sent Titus, that by this also being stirred up and put in mind, ye might emulate the Macedonians.' For Titus happened to be there when this Epistle was writing. Yet he shows that he had made a beginning in this matter before Paul's exhortation; "that as he had made a beginning before," he says. Wherefore also he bestows great praise on him; for instance, in the beginning [of the Epistle]; "Because I found not Titus my brother, I had no relief for my spirit: "(chap. ii. 13.) and here all those things which he has said, and this too itself. For this also is no light praise, the having begun before even: for this evinces a warm and fervent spirit. Wherefore also he sent him, infusing(3) amongst them in this also a very great incentive unto giving, the presence of Titus. On this account also he extols him with praises, wishing to endear him more exceedingly to the Corinthians. For this too hath a great weight unto persuading, when he who counsels is upon intimate terms. And well does he both once and twice and thrice, having made mention of almsgiving, call 'it grace,' now indeed saying, "Moreover, brethren, I make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the Churches of Macedonia;" and now, "they of their own accord, praying us with much intreaty in regard of this grace and fellowship:" and again, "that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you this grace also."

[5.] For this is a great good and a gift of God; and rightly done assimilates us, so far as may be, unto God; for such an one(4) is in the highest sense a man. A certain one, at least, giving a model of a man has mentioned this, for "Man," saith he, "is a great thing; and a merciful man is an honorable thing." (Prov. xx, 6. LXX.) Greater is this gift than to raise the dead. For far greater is it to feed Christ when an hungered than to raise the dead by the name of Jesus: for in the former case thou doest good to Christ, in the latter He to thee. And the reward surely comes by doing good, not by receiving good. For here indeed, in the case of miracles I mean, thou art God's debtor. in that of almsgiving, thou hast God for a debtor. Now it is almsgiving, when it is done with willingness, when with bountifulness, when thou deemest thyself not to give but to receive, when done as if thou wert benefitted, as if gaining and not losing; for so this were not a grace. For he that showeth mercy on another ought to feel joyful, not peevish. For how is it not absurd, if whilst removing another's downheartedness, thou art thyself downhearted? for so thou no longer sufferest it to be alms. For if thou art downhearted because thou hast delivered another from downheartedness, thou furnishest an example of extreme cruelty and inhumanity; for it were better not to deliver him, than so to deliver him. And why art thou also downhearted at all, O man? for fear thy gold should diminish? If such are thy thoughts, do not give at all: if thou art not quite sure that it is multiplied for thee in heaven, do not bestow. But thou seekest the recompense here. Wherefore? Let thine alms be alms, and not traffic. Now many have indeed received a recompense even here; but have not so received it, as if they should have an advantage over those who received it not here; but some of them as being weaker than they ought, because they were not so strongly attracted by the things which are there. And as those who are greedy, and ill-mannered(5), and slaves of their bellies, being invited to a royal banquet, and unable to wait till the proper time, just like little children mar their own enjoyment, by taking food beforehand and stuffing themselves with inferior dishes: even so in truth do these who seek for and receive [recompense] here, diminish their reward there. Further, when thou lendest, thou wishest to receive thy principal after a longer interval, and perhaps even not to receive it at all, in order that by the delay thou mayest make the interest greater; but, in this case, dost thou ask back immediately; and that too when thou art about to be not here, but there forever; when thou art about not to be here to be judged, but to render thine account? And if indeed one were building thee mansions where thou weft not going to remain, thou wouldest deem it to be a loss; but now, desirest thou here to be rich, whence possibly thou art to depart even before the evening? Knowest thou not that we live in a foreign land, as though strangers and sojourners? Knowest thou not that it is the lot of sojourners to be ejected when they think not, expect not? which is also our lot. For this reason then, whatsoever things we have prepared, we leave here. For the Lord does not allow us to receive them and depart, if we have built houses, if we have bought fields, if slaves, if gear, if any other such thing. But not only does He not allow us to take them and depart hence, but doth not even account to thee the price of them. For He forwarned thee that thou shouldest not build, nor spend what is other men's but thine own. Why therefore, leaving what is thine own, dost thou work and be at cost in what is another's, so as to lose both thy toil and thy wages and to suffer the extremest punishment? Do not so, I beseech thee; but seeing we are by nature sojourners, let us also be so by choice; that we be not there sojourners and dishonored and cast out. For if we are set upon being citizens here, we shall be so neither here nor there; but if we continue to be sojourners, and live in such wise as sojourners ought to live in, we shall enjoy the freedom of citizens both here and there. For the just, although having nothing, will both dwell here amidst all men's possessions as though they were his own; and also, when he hath departed to heaven, shall see those his eternal habitations. And he shall both here suffer no discomfort, (for none will ever be able to make him a stranger that hath every land for his city;) and when he hath been restored to his own country, shall receive the true riches. In order that we may gain both the things of this life and of that, let us use aright the things we have. For so shall we be citizens of the heavens, and shall enjoy much boldness; whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father with the Holy Ghost, be glory and power for ever. Amen.


2 COR. viii. 7.

"Therefore that(1) ye abound(2) in every thing; in faith and utterance, and knowledge, and in all earnestness."

See again his exhortation accompanied with commendations, greater commendations. And he said not, 'that ye give,' but "that ye abound; in faith," namely, of the gifts, and "in utterance," the word of wisdom, and "knowledge," namely, of the doctrines, and "in all earnestness," to the attaining of all other virtue.

"And in your love," that, namely of which I have before spoken, of which I have also made proof.

"That ye may abound in this grace also." Seest thou that for this reason it was that he began by those praises, that advancing forward he might draw them on to the same diligence in these things also.

Ver. 8. "I speak not by way of commandment."

See how constantly he humors them, how he avoids offensiveness, and is not violent nor compulsory; or rather what he says hath both these, with the inoffensiveness of that which is uncompelled. For after he had repeatedly exhorted them and had greatly commended the Macedonians, in order that this might not seem to constitute a necessity, he says,

"I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others, the sincerity also of your love."

'Not as doubting it,' (for that is not what he would here imply,) 'but to make it approved, display it and frame it unto greater strength. For I therefore say these things that I may provoke you to the same forwardness. And I mention their zeal to brighten, to cheer, to stimulate your inclinations.' Then from this he proceeded to another and a greater point. For he lets slip no mode of persuasion, but moves heaven and earth(1) in handling his argument. For he exhorted them both by other men's praises, saying, Ye know "the grace of God which hath been given in the Churches of Macedonia;" and by their own, "therefore that ye abound in everything, in utterance and knowledge." For this hath power to sting man more that he falls short of himself, than that he does so of others. Then he proceeds afterwards to the head and crown of his persuasion.

Ver. 9. "For ye know the grace of our Lord, that though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich."

'For have in mind,' says he, 'ponder and consider the grace of God and do not lightly pass it by, but aim at realizing(2) the greatness of it both as to extent and nature(3), and thou wilt grudge nothing of thine. He emptied Himself of His glory that ye, not through His riches but through His poverty, might be rich. If thou believest not that poverty is productive of riches, have in mind thy Lord and thou wilt doubt no longer. For had He not become poor, thou wouldest not have become rich. For this is the marvel, that poverty hath made riches rich.' And by riches here he meaneth the knowledge of godliness, the cleansing away of sins, justification, sanctification, the countless good things which He bestowed upon us and purposeth to bestow. And all these things accrued to us through His poverty. What poverty? Through His taking flesh on Him and becoming man and suffering what He suffered. And yet he owed not this, but thou dost owe to Him.

Ver. 10. "And herein I give you(4) my advice for your profit."

See how again he is careful to give no offence and softens down what he says, by these two things, by saying, "I give advice," and, "for your profit." 'For, neither do I compel and force you,' says he, 'or demand it from unwilling subjects; nor do I say these things with an eye so much to the receivers' benefit as to yours.' Then the instance also which follows is drawn from themselves, and not from others.

Who were the first to make a beginning a year ago, not only to do, but also to will.

See how he shows both that themselves were willing, and had come to this resolution without persuasion. For since he had borne this witness to the Thessalonians, that "of their own accord with much intreaty," they had prosecuted this giving of alms; he is desirous of showing of these also that this good work is their own. Wherefore he said, "not only to do, but also to will," and not "begun," but "begun before, a year ago." Unto these things therefore I exhort you, whereunto ye beforehand bestirred yourselves with all forwardness.

Ver. 11. "And now also ye have completed(5) the doing of it."

He said not, ye have done it, but, ye have put a completion to it,

"That as there was the readiness to will, so also [there may be] the completion also out of your ability."

That this good work halt not at readiness but receive also the reward that follows upon deeds.

[2.] Ver. 12. "For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according as a man hath, not according as he hath not."

See wisdom unspeakable. In that (having pointed out those who were doing beyond their power, I mean the Thessalonians, and having praised them for this and said, "I bear them record that even beyond their power;") he exhorteth the Corinthians to do only "after" their power, leaving the example to do its own work; for he knew that not so much exhortation, as emulation, inciteth unto imitation of the like; wherefore he saith, "For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according as a man hath, not according as he hath not."

'Fear not,' he means, 'because I have said these things, for what I said was an encomium upon their munificence(6), but God requires things after a man's power,' "according as he hath, not according as he hath not." For the word "is acceptable," here implies 'is required.' And he softens(7) it greatly, in confident reliance upon this example, and as winning them more surely by leaving them at liberty. Wherefore also he added,

Ver. 13. "For I say not this, that others may be eased, and ye distressed."

And yet Christ praised the contrary conduct in the widow's case, that she emptied out all of her living and gave out of her want. (Mark xii. 43.) But because he was discoursing to Corinthinians amongst whom he chose to suffer hunger; "for it were good for me rather to die, than that any man should make my glorying void;" (1 Cor. ix. 15.) he therefore uses a tempered exhortation, praising indeed those who had done beyond their power, but not compelling these to do so; not because he did not desire it, but because they were somewhat weak. For wherefore doth he praise those, because "in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality:" and because they gave "beyond their power?" is it not very evident that it is as inducing these also to this conduct? So that even if he appears to permit a lower standard; he doth so, that by it he may raise them to this. Consider, for instance, how even in what follows he is covertly preparing the way for this. For having said these things, he added,

Ver. 14. "Your abundance being a supply for their want."

For not only by the words he has before used but by these also, he is desirous of making the commandment light. Nor yet from this consideration alone, but from that of the recompense also, again he maketh it easier; and uttereth higher things than they deserve, saying, "That there may be equality at this time, and their abundance" a supply "for your want." Now what is it that he saith? 'Ye are flourishing(1) in money; they in life(2) and in boldness towards God.' Give ye to them, therefore, of the money which ye abound in but they have not; that ye may receive of that boldness wherein they are rich and ye are lacking.' See how he hath covertly prepared for their giving beyond their power and of their want. 'For,' he saith, 'if thou desirest to receive of their abundance, give of thine abundance; but if to win for thyself the whole, thou wilt give of thy want and beyond thy power.' He doth not say this, however, but leaves it to the reasoning of his hearers; and himself meanwhile works out his object and the exhortation that was meet, adding in keeping with what appeared, the words, that "there may be equality at this time." How equality? You and they mutually giving your superabundance, and filling up your wants. And what sort of equality is this, giving spiritual things for carnal? for great is the advantage on that side; how then doth he call it "equality?" either in respect of each abounding and wanting, doth he say that this [equality] takes place; or else in respect of the present life only. And therefore after saying "equality," he added, "at this time." Now this he said, both to subdue the high-mindedness of the rich, and to show that after our departure hence the spiritual possess the greater advantage. For here indeed we all enjoy much equality of honor; but then there will be a wide distinction and a very great superiority, when the just shine brighter than the sun. Then since he showed that they were to be not only giving, but also receiving, and more, in return; he tries by a further consideration to make them forward, showing that if they did not give of their substance to others, they would not gain anything by gathering all together within. And he adduces an ancient story, thus saying,

Ver. 15. "As it is written, He that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack."

Now this happened in the case of the manna. For both they that gathered more, and they that gathered less, were found to have the same quantity, God in this way punishing insatiableness. And this he said at once both to alarm them by what then happened, and to persuade them never to desire to have more nor to grieve at having less. And this one may see happening now in things of this life not in the manna only. For if we all fill but one belly, and live the same length of time, and clothe one body; neither will the rich gain aught by his abundance nor the poor lose aught by his poverty.

[3.] Why then tremblest thou at poverty? and why pursuest thou after wealth? 'I fear,' saith one, 'lest I be compelled to go to other men's doors and to beg from my neighbor.' And I constantly hear also many praying to this effect, and saying, 'Suffer me not at any time to stand in need of men?' And I laugh exceedingly when I hear these prayers, for this fear is even childish. For every day and in every thing, so to speak, do we stand in need of one another. So that these are the words of an unthinking and puffed up spirit, and that doth not clearly discern the nature of things. Seest thou not that all of us are in need one of another? The soldier of the artisan, the artisan of the merchant, the merchant of the husbandman, the slave of the free man, the master of the slave, the poor man of the rich, the rich man of the poor, he that worketh not of him that giveth alms, he that bestoweth of him that receiveth. For he that receiveth alms supplieth a very great want, a want greater than any. For if there were no poor, the greater part of our salvation would be overthrown, in that we should not have where to bestow our wealth. So that even the poor man who appears to be more useless than any is the most useful of any. But if to be in need of another is disgraceful, it remains to die; for it is not possible for a man to live who is afraid of this. 'But,' saith one, 'I cannot bear blows arched [in scorn.]' Why dost thou in accusing another of arrogance, disgrace thyself by this accusation? for to be unable to endure the inflation of a proud soul is arrogant. And why fearest thou these things, and tremblest at these things, and on account of these things which are worthy of no account, dreadest poverty also? For if thou be rich, thou wilt stand in need of more, yea of more and meaner. For just in proportion to thy wealth dost thou subject thyself to this curse. So ignorant art thou of what thou prayest when thou askest for wealth in order to be in need of no man; just as if one having come to a sea, where there is need both of sailors and a ship and endless stores of outfit, should pray that he might be in need of nothing at all. For if thou art desirous of being exceedingly independent of every one, pray for poverty; and [then] if thou art dependent on any, thou wilt be so only for bread and raiment; but in the other case thou wilt have need of others, both for lands, and for houses, and for imposts, and for wages, and for rank, and for safety, and for honor, and for magistrates, and those subject to them, both those in the city and those in the country, and for merchants, and for shopkeepers. Do you see that those words are words of extreme carelessness? For, in a word, if to be in need one of another appears to thee a dreadful thing, [know that] it is impossible altogether to escape it; but if thou wilt avoid the tumult, (for thou mayest take refuge in the waveless haven of poverty,) cut off the great tumult of thy affairs, and deem it not disgraceful to be in need of another; for this is the doing of God's unspeakable wisdom. For if we stand in need one of another, yet even the compulsion of this need draweth us not together unto love; had we been independent, should we not have been untamed wild beasts? Perforce and of compulsion God hath subjected us one to another, and every day we are in collision(1) one with another. And had He removed this curb, who is there who would readily have longed after his neighbor's love? Let us then neither deem this to be disgraceful, nor pray against it and say, 'Grant us not to stand in need of any one; 'but let us pray and say, 'Suffer us not, when we are in need, to refuse those who are able to help us.' It is not the standing in need of others, but seizing the things of others, that is grievous. But now we have never prayed in respect to that nor said, 'Grant me not to covet other men's goods;' but to stand in need, this we think a fit subject of deprecation(2). Yet Paul stood in need many times, and was not ashamed; nay, even prided himself upon it, and praised those that had ministered to him, saying, "For ye sent once and again to my need;" (Phil. iv. 16.) and again, "I robbed other Churches, taking wages of them that I might minister unto you." (2 Cor. xi. 8.) It is no mark therefore of a generous temper, but of weakness and of a low minded and senseless spirit, to be ashamed of this. For it is even God's decree that we should stand in need one of another. Push not therefore thy philosophy beyond the mean. 'But,' saith one, 'I cannot bear a man that is entreated often and complieth not.' And how shall God bear thee who art entreated by Him, and yet obeyest not; and entreated too in things that advantage thee? "For we are ambassadors on behalf of Christ," (2 Cor. v. 20.) saith he, "as though God were entreating by us; be ye reconciled unto God." 'And yet, I am His servant,' saith he. And what of that? For when thou, the servant, art drunken, whilst He, the Master, is hungry and hath not even necessary food, how shall thy name of servant stand thee in stead? Nay, this itself will even the more weigh thee down, when thou indeed abidest in a three-storied dwelling whilst He owns not even a decent shelter; when thou [liest] upon soft couches whilst He hath not even a pillow. 'But,' saith one, 'I have given.' But thou oughtest not to leave off so doing. For then only wilt thou have an excuse, when thou hast not what [to give], when thou possessest nothing; but so long as thou hast, (though thou have given to ten thousand,) and there be others hungering, there is no excuse for thee. But when thou both shuttest up corn and raisest the price, and devisest other unusual tricks of traffic; what hope of salvation shalt thou have henceforth? Thou hast been bidden to give freely to the hungry, but thou dost not give at a suitable price even. He emptied Himself of so great glory for thy sake, but thou dost not count Him deserving even of a loaf; but thy dog is fed to fulness whilst Christ wastes with hunger; and thy servant bursteth with surfeiting whilst thy Lord and his is in want of necessary food. And how are these the deeds of friends? "Be be reconciled unto God," (2 Cor. v. 20.) for these are [the deeds] of enemies and such as are in hostility.

[4.] Let us then think with shame on the great benefits we have already received, the great benefits we are yet to receive. And if a poor man come to us and beg, let us receive him with much good will, comforting, raising him up with [our] words, that we ourselves also may meet with the like, both from God and from men. "For whatsoever ye would that they should do unto you, do ye also unto them." (Mat. vii. 12.) Nothing burdensome, nothing offensive, doth this law contain. 'What thou wouldest receive, that do,' it saith. The return is equal. And it said not, 'what thou wouldest not receive, that do not,' but what is more. For that indeed is an abstinence from evil things, but this is a doing of good things, in which the other is involved. Also He said not 'that do ye also wish, but do, to them.' And what is the advantage? "This is the Law and the Prophets." Wouldest thou have mercy shown thee? Then show mercy. Wouldest thou obtain forgiveness? Then grant it. Wouldest thou not be evil spoken of? Then speak not evil. Longest thou to receive praise? Then bestow it. Wouldest thou not be wronged? Then do not thou plunder. Seest thou how He shows that virtue is natural, and that we need no external laws nor teachers? For in the things we wish to receive, or not to receive from our neighbors, we legislate unto ourselves. So that if thou wouldest not receive a thing, yet doest it, or if thou wouldest receive it, yet doest it not, thou art become self-condemned and art henceforth without any excuse, on the ground of ignorance and of not knowing what ought to be done. Wherefore, I beseech you, having set up this law in ourselves for ourselves, and reading this that is written so clearly and succinctly, let us become such to our neighbors, as we would have them be to ourselves; that may we both enjoy present immunity(4), and obtain the future good things, though the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.


2 COR. viii. 16.

"But thanks be to God, Which put(1) the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus."

Again he praises Titus. For since he had discoursed of almsgiving, he afterwards discourseth also of those who are to receive the money from them and carry it away. For this was of aid(2) towards this collection, and towards increasing the forwardness of the contributors. For he that feels confidence as to him that ministereth(3), and suspects not those who are to be receivers, gives with the fuller bountifulness. And that this might be the case then also, hear how he commends those that had come for this purpose, the first of whom was Titus. Wherefore also he saith, "But thanks be to God, Which put (literally, 'gave') the same earnest care into the heart of Titus." What is "the same?" Which he had also in respect to the Thessalonians, or "the same" with me. And mark here wisdom. Showing this to be the work of God, he also gives thanks to Him that gave, so as to incite by this also. 'For if God stirred him up and sent him to you, He asks through Him. Think not therefore that what has happened is of men.' And whence is it manifest that God incited him?

Ver. 17. "For indeed he accepted our exhortation, but being himself very earnest, he went forth of his own accord."

Observe how he also represents him as fulfilling his own part, and needing no prompting from others. And having mentioned the grace of God, he doth not leave the whole to be God's; again, that by this also he may win them unto greater love, having said that he was stirred up from himself(5) also. For, "being very earnest, he went forth of his own accord," 'he seized at the thing, he rushed upon the treasure, he considered your service to be his own advantage; and because he loved you exceedingly, he needed not the exhortation I gave; but though he was exhorted by me also, yet it was not by that he was stirred up; but from himself and by the grace of God.'

Ver. 18. "And we have sent together with him the brother whose praise in the Gospel is spread through all the Churches."

And who is this brother? Some indeed say, Luke, because of the history which he wrote, but some, Barnabas; for he calls the unwritten preaching also Gospel. And for what cause does he not mention their names; whilst he both makes Titus known (vid. also ver. 23.) by name, and praises him for his cooperation in the Gospel, (seeing that he was so useful that by reason of his absence even Paul could do nothing great and noble; for, "because I found not Titus my brother, I had no relief for my spirit,"--c. ii. 13.) and for his love towards them, (for, saith he, "his inward affection is more abundant towards you;"--c. vii. 15.) and for his zeal in this matter (" for," he saith, "of his own accord he went")? But these he neither equally commends, nor mentions by name? What then is one to say? Perhaps they did not know them; wherefore he does not dwell upon their praises because as yet they had had no experience of them, but only says so much as was sufficient for their commendation unto them (i.e. the Corinthians,) and to their escaping all evil suspicion. However, let us see on what score he eulogizes this man himself also. On what score then does he eulogize? First, praising him from his preaching; that he not only preached, but also as he ought, and with the befitting earnestness. For he said not, 'he preaches and proclaims the Gospel,' but, "whose praise is in the Gospel." And that he may not seem to flatter him. he brings not one or two or three men, but whole Churches to testify to him, saying, "through all the churches." Then he makes him respected also from the judgment of those that had chosen him. And this too is no light matter. Therefore after saying, "Whose praise in the Gospel is spread through all the churches," he added,

Ver. 19. "And not only so."

What is, "and not only so?" 'Not only on this account,' he says, 'is respect due to him, that he is approved as a preacher and is praised by all.'

"But he was also appointed by the churches along with us."

Whence it seems to me, that Barnabas is the person intimated. And he signifies his dignity to be great, for he shows also for what office he was appointed. For he saith,

"To travel with us in the matter of this grace which is ministered by us." Seest thou how great are these praises of him? He shone as a preacher of the Gospel and had all the churches testifying to this. He was chosen by us; and unto the same office with Paul, and everywhere was partner with him, both in his trials and in his dangers, for this is implied in the word "travel." But what is," with this grace which is ministered by us?" So as to proclaim the word, he means, and to preach the Gospel; or to minister also in respect of the money; yea rather, he seems to me to refer to both of these. Then he adds,

"To the glory of the same Lord, and to show your readiness(1)." What he means is this: 'We thought good,' he says, 'that he should be chosen with us and be appointed unto this work, so as to become a dispenser and a minister of the sacred money.' Nor was this a little matter. For, "Look ye out," it saith, "from among you seven men of good report;" (Acts vi. 3.) and he was chosen by the churches, and there was a vote of the whole people taken. What is, "to the glory of the same Lord, and your readiness?" 'That both God may be glorified and ye may become the readier, they who are to receive this money being of proved character, and no one(2) able to engender any false suspicion against them. Therefore we sought out such persons, and entrusted not the whole to one person only, that he might escape this suspicion also; but we sent both Titus and another with him. Then to interpret this same expression, "to the glory of the Lord and your ready mind:" he added,

Ver. 20. "Avoiding this, that any man should blame us in the matter of this bounty which is ministered by us."

What can this be which is said? A thing worthy of the virtue of Paul; and showing the greatness of his tender care and his condescension. 'For,' he says, 'that none should suspect us, nor have the slightest cavil against us, as though we purloined aught of the money placed in our hands; therefore we send such persons, and not one only, but even two or three. Seest thou how he clears them of all suspicions? Not on account of the Gospel, nor of their having been chosen merely; but also, from their being persons of proved character, (and for this very reason) having been chosen, that they might not be suspected. And he said not 'that ye should not blame,' but 'that no other person should,' And yet it was on their account that he did this; and he implied as much in saying, "to the glory of the same Lord, and your readiness:" however, he does not wish to wound them; and so expresses himself differently,

"Avoiding this." And he is not satisfied with this either, but by what he adds, soothes again, saying,

"In the matter of this bounty which is ministered by us," and mingling his severity with praise. For that they might not feel hurt, and say, 'Is he obliged then to eye us stealthily, and are we so miserable as ever to have been suspected of these things?' Providing a correction against this too, he says, 'the money sent by you is of large amount, and this abundance, that is, the large amount of the money, is enough to afford suspicion to the evil-minded had we not offered that security(3).'

Ver. 21. For "we take thought for things, honorable not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men."

What can compare with Paul? For he said not, 'Perdition and woe to him who chooses to suspect anything of the kind: so long as my conscience does not condemn me, I waste not a thought on those who suspect.' Rather, the weaker they were, the more he condescended. For it is meet not to be angry with, but help, him that is sick. And yet from what sin are we so removed as he was from any such suspicion? For not even a demon could have suspected that blessed saint of this unfaithfulness. But still although so far removed from that evil suspicion, he does everything and resorts to every expedient(1); so as not to leave a shadow even to those who might be desirous in any way(2) of suspecting something wrong; and he avoids not only accusations, but also blame and the slightest censure, even bare suspicion.

[2.] Ver. 22. "And we have sent with them our brother."

Behold, again he adds yet another, and him also with an encomium; both his own judgment, and many other witnesses [to him].

"Whom," saith he, "we have many times proved earnest in many things, but now much more earnest." And having praised him from his own good works, he extols him also from his love towards them; and what he said of Titus, that "being very earnest he went forth of his own accord;" this he says of this person also, saying, "but now much more earnest;" laying up beforehand for them the seeds of [the proof of their] love toward the Corinthians.

And then, after having showed forth their virtue, he exhorts them also on their behalf, saying,

Ver. 23. "Whether any inquire about Titus; he is my partner and my fellow-worker to youward."

What is, "Whether about Titus?" 'If,' says he, 'it be necessary to say any thing, this I have to say,' "that he is my partner and fellow-worker to youward." For he either means this; or, 'if ye will do anything for Titus, ye will do it unto no ordinary person, for he is "my partner." 'And whilst appearing to be praising him, he magnifies them, showing them to be so disposed towards himself as that it were sufficient ground of honor amongst them that any one should appear to be his "partner." But, nevertheless, he was not content with this, but he also added another thing, saying, "fellow-worker to youward." Not merely "fellow-worker," 'but in matters concerning you, in your progress, in your growth, in our friendship, in our zeal for you;' which last would avail most especially to endear(3) him unto them.

"Or our brethren:" 'or whether you wish,' he says, 'to hear any thing about the others: they too have great claims to be commended to you. For they also,' he saith, 'are our brethren, and,

"The messengers of the Churches," ' that is, sent by the Churches. Then, which is greater than all,

"The glory of Christ;" for to Him is referred whatever shall be done to them. 'Whether then ye wish to receive them as brethren, or as Apostles of the Churches, or as acting for the glory of Christ; ye have many motives for good will towards them. For on behalf of Titus, I have to say, that he is both "my partner," and a lover of you; on behalf of these, that they are "brethren," that they are "the messengers of the churches," that they are "the glory of Christ." Seest thou that it is plain from hence also, that they were of such as were unknown to them? For otherwise he would have set them off by those things with which he had also set off Titus, namely, his love towards them. But whereas as yet they were not known to them, 'Receive them,' he says, 'as brethren, as messengers of the churches, as acting for the glory of Christ.' On which account he adds;

Ver. 24. "Wherefore show ye unto them, to the person(4) of the churches, the proof of your love, and of our glorying on your behalf."

'Now show,' he saith, 'how ye love us; and how we do not lightly nor vainly boast in you: and this ye will show, if ye show forth love towards them.' Then he also makes his words more solemn, by saying, "unto the person of the churches." He means, to the glory, the honor, of the churches. 'For if ye honor them, ye have honored the churches that sent them. For the honor passeth not to them alone, but also to those that sent them forth, who ordained them, and more than these, unto the glory of God.' For when we honor those that minister to Him, the kind reception(5) passeth unto Him, unto the common body of the churches. Now this too is no light thing, for great is the potency of that assembly.

[3.] Certain it is at least that the prayer of the churches loosed Peter from his chains, opened the mouth of Paul; their voice in no slight degree equips those that arrive unto spiritual rule. Therefore indeed it is that both he who is going to ordain calleth at that time for their prayers also, and that they add their votes and assent by acclamations which the initiated know: for it is not lawful before the uninitiated to unbare all things. But there are occasions in which there is no difference at all between the priest and those under him; for instance, when we are to partake(1) of the awful mysteries; for we are all alike counted worthy of the same things: not as under the Old Testament [when] the priest ate some things and those under him others, and it was not lawful for the people to partake of those things whereof the priest partook. But not so now, but before all one body is set and one cup. And in the prayers also, one may observe the people contributing much. For in behalf of the possessed, in behalf of those under penance, the prayers are made in common both by the priest and by them; and all say one prayer, the prayer replete with pity. Again when we exclude from the holy precincts those who are unable to partake of the holy table, it behoveth that another prayer be offered, and we all alike fall upon the ground, and all alike rise up. Again, in the most awful mysteries themselves, the priest prays for the people and the people also pray for the priest; for the words, "with thy spirit," are nothing else than this. The offering of thanksgiving again is common: for neither doth he give thanks alone, but also all the people. For having first taken their voices, next when they assent that it is "meet and right so to do," then he begins the thanksgiving. And why marvellest thou that the people any where utter aught with the priest, when indeed even with the very Cherubim, and the powers above, they send up in common those sacred hymns? Now I have said all this in order that each one of the laity also may be wary(2), that we may understand that we are all one body, having such difference amongst ourselves as members with members; and may not throw the whole upon the priests but ourselves also so care for the whole Church as for a body common to us. For this course will provide for our(3) greater safety, and for your greater growth unto virtue. Here, at least, in the case of the Apostles, how frequently they admitted the laity to share in their decisions. For when they ordained the seven, (Acts vi. 2, 3.) they first communicated with the people; and when Peter ordained Matthias, with all that were then present, both men and women. (Acts i. 15, &c.) For here(4) is no pride of rulers nor slavishness in the ruled; but a spiritual rule, in this particular usurping(5) most, in taking on itself the greater share of the labor and of the care which is on your behalf, not in seeking larger honors. For so ought the Church to dwell as one house; as one body so to be all disposed; just as therefore there is both one Baptism, and one table, and one fountain, and one creation, and one Father. Why then are we divided, when so great(6) things unite us; why are we torn asunder? For we are compelled again to bewail the same things, which I have lamented often. The state in which we are calls for lamentation; so widely are we severed from each other, when we ought to image the conjunction(7) of one body. For in this way will he that is greater, be able to gain even from him that is less. For if Moses learnt from his father-in-law somewhat expedient which himself had not perceived, (Exod. xviii. 14, &c.) much more in the Church may this happen. And how then came it that what he that was an unbeliever perceived, he that was spiritual perceived not? That all those of that time might understand that he was a man; and though he divide the sea, though he cleave the rock, he needeth the influence of God, and that those acts were not of man's nature, but of God's power. And so let another rise up and speak; and so now, if such and such an one doth not say expedient things, let another rise up and speak; though he be an inferior, yet if he say somewhat to the purpose(8), confirm his opinion; and even if he be of the very meanest, do not show him disrespect. For no one of these is at so great a distance from his neighbor, as Moses' father-in-law was from him, yet he disdained not to listen to him, but even admitted his opinion, and was persuaded, and recorded it; and was not ashamed to hand down the circumstances to history; casting down [so] the pride of the many. Wherefore also he left this story to the world(9) engraven as it were on a pillar, for he knew that it would be use fill to many. Let us then not overlook those who give us behoveful counsel, even though they be of the meaner sort, nor insist that those counsels prevail which we have ourselves introduced; but whatever shall appear to be best, let that be approved by all. For many of duller sight have perceived things sooner than those of acute vision, by means of diligence and attention. And say not, "why dost thou call me to council, if thou hearkenest not to what I say?" These accusations are not a counsellor's, but a despot's. For the counsellor hath only power to speak his own opinion; but if something else appear more profitable, and yet he will carry his own opinion into effect, he is no longer a counsellor but a despot, as I said. Let us not, then, act in this manner; but having freed our souls from all arrogancy and pride, let us consider, not how our counsels only may stand, but how that opinion which is best may prevail, even though it may not have been brought forward by us. For no light gain will be ours, even though we should not have discovered what behoveth, if ourselves accepted what has been pointed out by others; and abundant is the reward we shall receive from God, and so too shall we best attain to glory. For as he is wise that speaketh that which is behoveful, so shall we that have accepted it, ourselves. also reap the praise of prudence and of candor. Thus if both houses and states, thus too if the Church be ordered, she will receive a larger increase(1); and so too shall we ourselves, having thus best ordered our present lives, receive the good things to come: whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


2 COR. ix. 1.

"Foras touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you."

THOUGH he had said so much about it, he says here, "It is superfluous for me to write to you." And his wisdom is shown not only in this, that though he had said so much about it, he saith, "it is superfluous for me to write to you," but in that be yet again speaketh of it. For what he said indeed a little above, he said concerning those who received the money, to ensure them the enjoyment of great honor: but what he said before that, (his account of the Macedonians, that "their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality," and all the rest,) was concerning loving-kindness and alms-giving. But nevertheless even though he had said so much before and was going to speak again, he says, "it is superfluous for me to write to you." And this he does the rather to win them to himself. For a man who has so high a reputation as not to stand in need even of advice, is ashamed to appear inferior to, and come short of, that opinion of him. And he does this often in accusation also, using the rhetorical figure, omission, for this is very effective. For the judge seeing the magnanimity of the accuser entertains no suspicions even. For he argues, 'he who when he might say much, yet saith it not, how should he invent what is not true?' And he gives occassion to suspect even more than he says, and invests himself with the presumption of a good disposition. This also in his advice and in his praises he does. For having said, "It is superfluous for me to write to you," observe how he advises them.

"For I know your readiness of which I glory on your behalf to them of Macedonia." Now it was a great thing that he even knew it himself, but much greater, that he also published it to others: for the force it has is greater: for they would not like to be so widely disgraced. Seest thou his wisdom of purpose? He exhorted them by others' example, the Macedonians, for, he says, "I make known to you the grace of God which hath been given in the Churches of Macedonia." He exhorted them by their own, for he saith, "who were the first to make a beginning a year ago not only to do, but also to will." He exhorted them by the Lord's, for "ye know" he saith, "the grace of our Lord, that though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor." (ibid. 9.) Again he retreats upon that strong main point, the conduct of others. For mankind is emulous. And truly the example of the Lord ought to have had most power to draw them over: and next to it, the [consideration] of the recompense: but because they were somewhat weak, this draws them most. For nothing does so much as emulation. But observe how he introduces it in a somewhat novel way. For He did not say, 'Imitate them;' but what?

"And your zeal has stirred up very many." What sayest thou? A little before thou saidst, [they did it] "of their own accord, beseeching us with much entreaty," how then now," your zeal?" 'Yes,' he saith, 'we did not advise we did not exhort, but we only praised you, we only boasted of you, and this was enough to incite them." Seest thou how he rouses them each by the other, these by those, and those by these, and, along with the emulation, has intermingled also a very high encomium. Then, that he may not elate them,he follows it up in a tempered tone, saying, "Your zeal hath stirred up very many." Now consider what a thing it is that those who have been the occasion to others of this munificence, should be themselves behind hand in this contribution. Therefore he did not say, 'Imitate them,' for it would not have kindled so great an emulation, but how? 'They have imitated you; see then that ye the teachers appear not inferior to your desciples.'

And see how, whilst stirring up and inflaming them still more, he feigns to be standing by them, as if espousing their party in some rivalry and contention. For, as he said above, "Of their own accord, with much entreaty they came to us, insomuch that we exhorted Titus, that as he had made a beginning before, so he would complete this grace;" so also he says here,

Ver. 3. "For this cause have I sent the brethren that our glorying on your behalf may not be made void."

Seest thou that he is in anxiety and terror, lest he should seem to have said what he said only for exhortation's sake? 'But because so it is,' saith he, "I have sent the brethren;" 'so earnest am I on your behalf,' "that our glorying may not be made void." And he appears to make himself of the Corinthians' party throughout, although caring for all alike. What he says is this; 'I am very proud of you, I glory before all, I boasted even unto them(1) , so that if ye be found wanting, I am partner in the shame.' And this indeed he says under limitation, for he added,

"In this respect," not, in all points;

"That even as I said, ye may be prepared." 'For I did not say, 'they are purposing,' but 'all is ready; and nothing is now wanting on their part. This then,' he says, 'I wish to be shown by your deeds.' Then he even heightens the anxiety, saying,

Ver. 4. "Lest by any means if there come with me any from Macedonia, we, (that we say not ye,) should be put to shame in this confidence." The shame is greater when the spectators he has arrayed against them are many, even those same persons who had heard [his boasting.] And he did not say, 'for I am bringing with me Macedonians;' 'for there are Macedonians coming with me;' lest he should seem to do it on purpose; but how [said he?] "Lest by any means, if there come with me any from Macedonia?" 'For this may happen,' he says, 'it is matter of possibility.' For thus he also made what he said unsuspected, but had he expressed himself in that other way, he would have even made them the more contentious. See how he leads them on, not from spiritual motives only, but from human ones as well. 'For,' says he, 'though you make no great account of me, and reckon confidently on my excusing you, yet think of them of Macedonia,' "lest by any means, if they come and find you;" and he did not say 'unwillingly,' but "unprepared," not having got all completed. But if this be a disgrace, not to contribute quickly; consider how great it were to contribute either not at all, or less than behoved. Then he lays down what would thereupon follow, in terms at once gentle and pungent, thus saying, "We, (that we say not ye,) should be put to shame." And he tempers it again, saying, "in this confidence" not as making them more listless, but as showing that they who were approved in all other respects, ought in this one also to have great fearlessness.

[2.] Ver. 5. "I thought it necessary therefore to entreat the brethren, that they would make up beforehand this your bounty, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty and not of extortion.(2)"

Again, he resumed the subject in a different manner: and that he may not seem to be saying these things without object, he asserts that the sole reason for this journey was, that they might not be put to shame. Seest thou how his words, "It is superfluous for me to write," were the beginning of advising? You see, at least, how many things he discourses concerning this ministering. And along with this, one may further remark that, (lest he should seem to contradict himself as having said, "It is superfluous," yet discoursing at length about it,) he passed on unto discourse of quickness and largeness and forwardness [in contributing,] by this means securing that point also. For these three things he requires. And indeed he moved these three main points even at the first, for when he says, "In much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy, and their deep poverty, abounded unto the riches of their I liberality," he says nothing else than that they contributed both much and gladly and quickly; and that not only did not giving much pain them, but not even being in trials, which is more grievous than giving. And the words, "they gave themselves to us;" these also show both their forwardness and the greatness of their faith. And here too again he treats of those heads. For since these are opposed to [each other,] munificence and forwardness, and one that has given much is often sorrowful, whilst another, that he may not be sorry, gives less; observe how he takes care for each, and with the wisdom which belongs to him. For he did not say, 'it is better to give a little and of free choice, than much of necessity;' because he wished them to contribute both much and of free choice; but how saith he? "that they might make up beforehand this your bounty, that the same might be ready as a matter of bounty(3), and not extortion. He begins first with that which is pleasantest and lighter; namely, the 'not of necessity,' for, it is "bounty" he says. Observe how in the form of his exhortation he represents at once the fruit as springing up, and the givers as filled with blessing. And by the term employed he won them over, for no one gives a blessing with pain. Yet neither was he content with this; but added, "not as of extortion." 'Think not,' he says, 'that we take it as extortioners, but that we may be the cause of a blessing unto you.' For extortion belongs to the unwilling, so that whoso giveth alms unwillingly giveth of extortion. (1) Then from this he passed on again unto that, the giving munificently.

Ver. 6. "But this I say:" that is, along with this I say also that. What?

"He that soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." And he did not say niggardly, but a milder expression, employing the the name of the sparing. And he called the thing sowing; that thou mightest at once look unto the recompense, and having in mind the harvest, mightest feel that thou receivest more than thou givest. Wherefore he did not say, 'He that giveth,' but "He that soweth:" and he said not 'ye, if ye sow,' but made what he said general. Neither did he say, 'largely,' but "bountifully," which is far greater than this. And again, he betakes himself to that former point of gladness; saying,

Ver. 7. "Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart." For a man when left to himself, does a thing more readily than when compelled. Wherefore also he dwells upon this: for having said, "according as he is disposed," he added,

"Not grudgingly, nor of necessity." And neither was he content with this, but he adds a testimony from Scripture also, saying,

"For God loveth a cheerful giver." Seest thou how frequently he lays this down? "I speak not by commandment:" and, "Herein I give my advice:" and, "as a matter of bounty, and not as of extortion," and again, "not grudgingly, nor of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver." In this passage I am of opinion that a large [giver] is intended; the Apostle however has taken it as giving with readiness. For because the example of the Macedonians and all those other things were enough to produce sumptuousness, he does not say many things on that head, but upon giving without reluctance. For if it is a work of virtue, and yet all that is done of necessity is shorn of its reward(2), with reason also he labors at this point. And he does not advise merely, but also adds a prayer, as his wont is to do, saying,

Ver. 8. "And may God(3), that is able, fulfill all grace towards you."

By this prayer he takes out the way a thought which lay in wait against(4) this liberality and which is now also an hinderance to many. For many persons are afraid to give alms, saying, 'Lest perchance I become poor,' 'lest perchance I need aid from others.' To do away with this fear then, he adds this prayer, saying, May "He make all grace abound towards you." Not merely fulfil, but "make it abound." And what is "make grace abound?" 'Fill you,' he means, 'with so great things, that ye may be able to abound in this liberality.'

"That ye, having always all sufficiency in every thing, may abound to every good work."

Observe, even in this his prayer, his great philosophy. He prays not for riches nor for abundance, but for all sufficiency. Nor is this all that is admirable in him; but that as he prayed not for superfluity, so he doth not press sore on them nor compel them to give of their want, condescending to their weakness; but asks for a "sufficiency," and shows at the same time that they ought not to abuse the gifts received from God. "That ye may abound," he saith, "to every good work." 'It is therefore,' saith he, 'I ask for this, that ye may bestow on others also.' Yet he did not say, 'bestow,' but 'abound.' For in carnal things he asks for a sufficiency for them, but in spiritual things for abundance even; not in almsgiving only, but in all other things also, "unto every good work." Then he brings forward unto them the prophet for a counsellor, having sought out a testimony inviting them to bountifulness, and says,

Ver. 9. "As it is written,

He hath scattered abroad, he hath given to the poor; His righteousness abideth for ever."

This is the import of "abound;" for the words, "he hath dispersed abroad," signify nothing else but the giving plentifully. For if the things themselves abide not, yet their results abide. For this is the thing to be admired, that when they are kept they are lost; but when dispersed abroad they abide, yea, abide for ever. Now by "righteousness," here, he means love towards men. For this maketh righteous, consuming sins like a fire when it is plentifully poured out.

[3.] Let us not therefore nicely calculate, but sow with a profuse hand. Seest thou not how much others give to players and harlots? Give at any rate the half to Christ, of what they give to dancers. As much as they give of ostentation to those upon the stage, so much at any rate give thou unto the hungry. For they indeed even clothe the persons of wantons(1) with untold gold; but thou not even with a threadbare garment the flesh of Christ, and that though beholding it naked. What forgiveness doth this deserve, yea, how great a punishment doth it not deserve, when he indeed bestoweth so much upon her that ruineth and shameth him, but thou not the least thing on Him that saveth thee and maketh thee brighter? But as long as thou spendest it upon thy belly and on drunkenness and dissipation(2), thou never thinkest of poverty: but when need is to relieve poverty, thou art become poorer than any body. And when feeding parasites and flatterers, thou art as joyous as though thou hadst fountains to spend from(3); but if thou chance to see a poor man, then the fear of poverty besets thee. Therefore surely we shall in that day be condemned, both by ourselves and by others, both by those that have done well and those that have done amiss. For He will say to thee, 'Wherefore wast thou not thus magnanimous in things where it became thee? But here is a man who, when giving to an harlot, thought not of any of these things; whilst thou, bestowing upon thy Master Who hath bid thee "not be anxious" (Matt. vi. 25. ), art full of fear and trembling.' And what forgiveness then shalt thou deserve? For if a man who hath received will not overlook, but will requite the favor, much more will Christ. For He that giveth even without receiving, how will He not give after receiving? 'What then,' saith one, when some who have spent much come to need other men's help?' Thou speakest of those that have spent their all; when thou thyself bestowest not a farthing. Promise to strip thyself of every thing and then ask questions about such men; but as long as thou art a niggard and bestowest little of thy substance, why throw me out excuses and pretenses? For neither am I leading thee to the lofty peak of entire poverty(4) but for the present I require thee to cut off superfluities and to desire a sufficiency alone. Now the boundary of sufficiency is the using those things which it is impossible to live without. No one debars thee from these; nor forbids thee thy daily food. I say food, not feasting; raiment, not ornament(5). Yea rather, if one should enquire accurately, this is in the best sense feasting. For, consider. Which should we say more truly feasted, he whose diet was herbs, and who was in sound health and suffered no uneasiness: or he who had the table of a Sybarite, and was full of ten thousand disorders? Very plainly the former. Therefore let us seek nothing more than this, if we would at once live luxuriously and healthfully: and let us set these boundaries to sufficiency. And let him that can be satisfied with pulse and can keep in good health, seek for nothing more; but let him who is weaker and requires to be dieted with garden herbs, not be hindered of this. But if any be even weaker than this and require the support of flesh in moderation, we will not debar him from this either. For we do not advise these things, to kill and injure men but to cut off what is superfluous; and that is superfluous which is more than we need. For when we are able even without a thing to live healthfully and respectably, certainly the addition of that thing is a superfluity.

[4.] Thus let us think also in regard of clothing and of the table and of a dwelling house and of all our other wants; and in every thing inquire what is necessary. For what is superfluous is also useless. When thou shall have practised living on what is sufficient; then if thou hast a mind to emulate that widow, we will lead thee on to greater things than these. For thou hast not yet attained to the philosophy of that woman, whilst thou art anxious about what is sufficient. For she soared higher even than this; for what was to have been her support; that she cast in, all of it. Wilt thou then still distress thyself about such things as be necessary; and dost thou not blush to be vanquished by a woman; and not only not to emulate her, but to be left even of her far behind? For she did not say the things we say, 'But what, if when I have spent all I be compelled to beg of another?' but in her munificence stripped herself of all she had. What shall we say of the widow in the Old Testament in the time of the prophet Elias? For the risk she ran was not of poverty, but even of death and extinction, and not her own only, but her children's too. For neither had, she any expectation of receiving from others, but of presently dying. 'But,' saith one, 'she saw the prophet, and that made her munificent.' But do not ye see saints without number? And why do I speak of saints? Ye see the Lord of the prophets asking an alms, and yet not even so do ye become humane; but though ye have coffers spewing(6) one into another, do not even impart of your superfluity. What sayest thou? Was he a prophet that came to her, and did this persuade her to so great a magnanimity? This of itself deserves much admiration, that she was persuaded of his being a great and wonderful person. For how was it she did not say, as it would have been likely that a barbarian woman and a foreigner would Have reasoned, ' If he were a prophet, he would not have begged of me. If he were a friend of God, He would not have neglected him. Be it that because of sins the Jews suffer this punishment: but whence, and wherefore, doth this man suffer?' But she entertained none of these thoughts; but opened to him her house, and before her house, her heart; and set before him all she had; and putting nature on one side and disregarding her children, preferred the stranger unto all. Consider then how great punishment will be laid up for us, if we shall come behind(1) and be weaker than a woman, a widow, poor, a foreigner, a barbarian, a mother of children, knowing nothing of these things which we know! For because we have strength of body, we are not therefore manly persons. For he alone hath this virtue, yea though he be laid upon his bed, whose strength is from within; since without this, though a man should tear up a mountain by his strength of body, I would call him nothing stronger than a girl or wretched crone. For the one struggles with incorporeal ills, but the other dares not even look them in the face. And that thou mayest learn that this is the measure of manliness, collect it from this very example. For what could be more manly than that woman who both against the tyranny of nature, and against the force of hunger, and against the threat of death, stood nobly fast, and proved stronger than all? Hear at least how Christ proclaimeth her. For, saith He, "there were many widows in the days of Elias, and to none of them was the prophet sent but to her." (Luke iv. 25, 26.) Shall I say something great and startling? This woman gave more to hospitality, than our father Abraham. For she "ran" not "unto the herd," as he, (Gen. xviii. 7.) but by that "handful" (1 Kings xvii. 12.) outstripped all that have been renowned for hospitality. For in this was his excellence that he set himself to do that office; but hers, in that for the sake of the stranger she spared not her children even, and that too, though she looked. not for the things to come. But we, though a heaven exists, though a hell is threatened, though (which is greater than all ) God hath wrought such great things for us and is made glad and rejoiceth over such things, sink back supinely.(2) Not so, I beseech you: but let us "scatter abroad," let us "give to the poor" as we ought to give. For what is much and what little, God defines, not by the measure of what is given, but by the extent of the substance of him that gives. Often surely hast thou who didst east in an hundred staters of gold offered less than he that offered but one obol, for thou didst cast in of thy superfluity. Howbeit do if but this, and thou wilt come quickly even to greater munificence. Scatter wealth that thou mayest gather righteousness. For along with wealth this refuseth to come to us; yet through it, though not with it, it is made present to us. For it is not possible that lust of wealth and righteousness should dwell together; they have their tents apart. Do not then obstinately strive to bring things together which are incompatible, but banish the usurper covetousness, if thou wouldest obtain the kingdom. For this(3) is the [rightful] queen, and of slaves makes freemen, the contrary of which the other doth. Wherefore with all earnestness let us shun the one and welcome the other, that we may both gain freedom in this life and obtain the kingdom of heaven, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom, to the Father together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, new and for ever, and world without end. Amen.


1 COR. ix. 10.

"Now He that supplied seed to the sower, both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness(1)."

HEREIN one may particularly admire the wisdom of Paul, that after having exhorted from spiritual considerations and from temporal, in respect of the recompense also he again does the very same, making the returns he mentions of either kind. This, (for instance,) "He hath scattered abroad, he hath given to the poor, his righteousness abideth for ever," belongs to a spiritual return; that again, "multiply your seed for sowing," to a temporal recompense.Still, however, he rests not here, but even again passes back to what is spiritual, placing the two continually side by side; for "increase the fruits of your righteousness," is spiritual. This he does, and gives variety by it to his discourse, tearing up by the roots those their unmanly and faint-hearted reasonings, and using many arguments to dissipate their fear of poverty, as also the example which he now brings. For if even to those that sow the earth God gives, if to those that feed the body He grants abundance;reach more will He to those who till the soil(2)of heaven, to those who take care for the soul;for these things He willeth should yet more enjoy His providing care. However, he does not state this in the way of inference nor in the manner I have done, but in the form of a prayer; t us at once making the reference plain, and the rather leading them on to hope, not only from what [commonly] takes place, but also from his own prayer: for, 'May He minister,' saith he, 'and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness.' Here also again he hints, in an unsuspicious way, at largeness [in giving], for the words, "multiply and increase," are by way of indicating this; and at the same time he allows them to seek for nothing more than necessaries, saying, "bread for food." For this also is particularly worthy of admiration in him, (and it is a point he successfully established(3) even before,)namely, that in things which be necessary, he allows them to seek for nothing more than need requires; but in spiritual things counsels them to get for themselves a large superabundance. Wherefore he said above also, "that having a sufficiency ye may abound to every good work:" and here, "He that ministereth bread for food, multiply your seed for sowing;" that is to say, the spiritual [seed]. For he asks not almsgiving merely, but with largeness. Wherefore also I he continually calls it "seed." For like as the corn cast into the ground showeth luxuriant crops, so also many are the handfuls almsgiving produceth of righteousness, and unspeakable the fruits it showeth. Then having prayed for great affluence unto them, he shows again in what they ought to expend it, saying,

Ver. 11. "That being enriched in every thing to all liberality, which worketh through us thanksgiving to God."

Not that ye may consume it upon things not fitting, but upon such as bring much thanksgiving to God. For God made us to have the disposal of great things, and reserving to Himself that which is less yielded to us that which is greater. For corporeal(4) nourishment is at His sole disposal, but mental(5) He permitted to us; for we have it at our Own disposal whether the crops we have to show be luxuriant. For no need is here of rains and of variety of seasons, but of the will only, and they run up to heaven itself. And largeness in giving is what he here calls liberality(6). "Which worketh through us thanksgiving to God." For neither is that which is done almsgiving merely, but also the ground of much thanksgiving: yea rather, not of thanksgiving only, but of many other things besides. And these as he goes on he mentions, that by showing it to be the cause of many good works, he may make them thereby the forwarder.

[2.] What then are these many good works? Hear him saying:

Ver. 12--14. "For the ministration of this service, not only filleth up the measure of the wants of the saints, but aboundeth also through many thanksgivings unto God; seeing that through the proving(1) of you by this ministration, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession unto the Gospel(2), and for the liberality of your contribution unto them and unto all; while they also with supplication on your behalf, long after you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you."

What he says is this; 'in the first place ye not only supply the wants of the saints, but ye are abundant even;' that is, 'ye furnish them with even more than they need: next, through them ye send up thanksgiving to God, for they glorify Him for the obedience of your confession.' For that he may not represent them as giving thanks on this account solely, (I mean, because they received somewhat,) see how high-minded he makes them, exactly as he himself says to the Philippians, "Not that I desire a gift." (Phil. iv. 17.) 'To them too I bear record of the same thing. For they rejoice indeed that ye supply their wants and alleviate their poverty; but far more, in that ye are so subjected to the Gospel; whereof this is an evidence, your contributing so largely.' For this the Gospel enjoins.

"And for the liberality of your contribution unto them and unto all." 'And on this account,' he says, ' they glorify God that ye are so liberal, not unto them only, but also unto all.' And this again is made a praise unto them that they gave thanks even for that which is bestowed upon others. ' For,' saith he, 'they do honor(3), not to their own concerns only, but also to those of others, and this although they are in the extremest poverty; which is an evidence of their great virtue. For nothing is so full of envy as the whole race of such as are in poverty. But they are pure from this passion; being so far from feeling pained because of the things ye impart to others, that they even rejoice over it no less than over the things themselves receive.'

"While they themselves also with supplication." 'For in respect of these things,' saith he, 'they give thanks to God, but in respect of your love and your coming together, they beseech Him that they may be counted worthy to see you. For they long after this, not for the money's sake, but that they may be witnesses of the grace that hath been bestowed upon you.' Seest thou Paul's wisdom, how after having exalted them, he ascribed the whole to God by calling the thing "grace?" For seeing he had spoken great things of them, in that he called them ministers and exalted them unto a great height, (since they offered service(4) whilst he himself did but administer(5),) and termed them 'proved(6), ' he shows that God was the Author of all these things. And he himself again, along with them, sends up thanksgiving, saying,

Ver. 15. "Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift."

And here he calls "gift," even those so many good things which are wrought by almsgiving, both to them that receive and them that give; or else, those unspeakable good things which through His advent He gave unto the whole world with great munificence, which one may suspect to be the most probable. For that he may at once both sober, and make them more liberal, he puts them in mind of the benefits they had received from God. For this avails very greatly in inciting unto all virtue; and therefore he concluded his discourse with it. But if His Gift be unspeakable, what can match their frenzy who raise curious questions as to His Essence? But not only is His Gift unspeakable, but that "peace" also "passeth all understanding," Phil. iv. 7.) whereby He reconciled the things which are above with those which are below.

[3.] Seeing then that we are in the enjoyment of so great grace, let us strive to exhibit a virtue of life worthy of it, and to make much account of almsgiving. And this we shall do, if we shun excess and drunkenness and gluttony.(7) For God gave meat and drink not for excess, but for nourishment. For it is not the wine that produceth drunkenness, for if that were the case, every body would needs be drunken. 'But,' saith one, 'it would be better, if even to drink it largely did not injure.' These are drunkards' words. For if to drink it largely doth injure, and yet not even so thou desistest from thy excess in it; if this is so disgraceful and injurious, and yet thou ceasest not even so from thy depraved longing; if it were possible both to drink largely and be nothing harmed, where wouldest thou have stayed in thine excess? Wouldest thou not have longed that the rivers even might become wine? wouldest thou not have destroyed and ruined everything? If there is a mean in food which when we overpass we are injured, and yet even so thou canst not bear the curb, but snapping it as under seizest on what every body else hath, to minister to the wicked tyranny of this gluttony; what wouldest thou not have done, if this natural mean were abolished? wouldest thou not have spent thy whole time upon it? Would it then have been well to strengthen a lust so unreasonable, and not prevent the harm arising from excess? and to how many other harms would not this have given birth?

But O the senseless ones! who wallowing as in mire, in drunkeness and all other debauchery, when they have got a little sober again, sit down and do nothing but utter such sort of sayings, 'Why doth this end(1) in this way?' when they ought to be condemning their own transgressions. For instead of what thou now sayest, 'Why hath He set bounds? why do not all things go on without any order?' say, ' Why do we not cease from being drunken? why are we never satiated? why are we more senseless than creatures without reason?' For these things they ought to ask one another, and to hearken to the voice of the Apostle and learn how many good things he witnesseth to the Corinthians proceed from almsgiving, and to seize upon this treasure. For to contemn money maketh men approved, as he said; and provideth that God be glorified; and warmeth love; and worketh in men loftiness of soul; and constituteth them priests, yea of a priesthood that bringeth great reward. For the merciful man is not arrayed in a vest reaching to the feet, nor does he carry about bells, nor wear a crown; but he is wrapped in the robe of loving-kindness, a holier than the sacred vestment; and is anointed with oil, not composed of material elements, but produced(2) by the Spirit, and he beareth a crown of mercies, for it is said, "Who crowneth thee with pity and mercies;" (Ps. ciii. 4.) and instead of wearing a plate bearing the Name of God, is himself like to God. For how? "Ye," saith He, "shall be like(3) unto your Father which is in heaven." (Matt. v. 45.)

Wouldest thou see His altar also? Bezaleel built it not, nor any other but God Himself; not of stones, but of a material brighter than the heaven, of reasonable souls. But the priest entereth into the holy of holies. Into yet more awful places mayest thou enter when thou offerest this sacrifice, where none is present but "thy Father, Which seeth in secret," (Matt. vi. 4.) where no other beholdeth. 'And how,' saith one, 'is it possible that none should behold, when the altar standeth in public view?' Because this it is that is admirable, that in those times double doors and veils made the seclusion: but now, though doing thy sacrifice in public view, thou mayest do it as in the holy of holies, and in a far more awful manner. For when thou doest it not for display before men; though the whole world hath seen, none hath seen, because thou hast so done it. For He said not simply, "Do" it "not before men," but added, "to be seen of them." (Matt. vi. 1.) This altar is composed of the very members of Christ, and the body of the Lord is made thine altar. That then revere; on the flesh of the Lord thou sacrificest the victim. This altar is more awful even than this which we now use, not only than that used of old. Nay, clamor not. For this altar is admirable because of the sacrifice that is laid upon it: but that, the merciful man's, not only on this account, but also because it is even composed of the very sacrifice which maketh the other to be admired. Again, this is but a stone by nature; but become holy because it receiveth Christ's Body: but that is holy because it is itself Christ's Body. So that this beside which thou, the layman, standest, is more awful than that. Whether then does Aaron seem to thee aught in comparison of this, or his crown, or his bells, or the holy of holies? For what need is there henceforth to make our comparison refer to Aaron's altar, when even compared with this, it has been shown to be so glorious? But thou honorest indeed this altar, because it receiveth Christ's body; but him that is himself the body of Christ thou treatest with contumely, and when perishing, neglectest. This altar mayest thou everywhere see lying, both in lanes and in market places, and mayest sacrifice upon it every hour; for on this too is sacrifice performed. And as the priest stands invoking the Spirit, so dost thou too invoke the Spirit, not by speech, but by deeds. For nothing doth so sustain and kindle the fire of the Spirit, as this oil largely poured out. But if thou wouldest see also what becomes of the things laid upon it, come hither, and I will show thee them. What then is the smoke, what the sweet savor of this altar? Praise and thanksgiving. And how far doth it ascend? as far as unto heaven? By no means, but it passeth beyond the heaven itself, and the heaven of heaven, and arriveth even at the throne of the King. For, "Thy prayers," saith he, "and thine alms are come up before God." (Acts x. 4.) And the sweet savor which the sense perceives pierceth not far into the air, but this opened the very vault of heaven. And thou indeed art silent, but thy work speaketh(4): and a sacrifice of praise is made, no heifer slain nor hide burnt, but a spiritual soul presenting her proper offering. For such a sacrifice is more acceptable than any loving-kindness. When then thou seest a poor believer, think that thou beholdest an altar: when thou seest such an one a beggar, not only insult him not, but even reverence him, and if thou seest another insulting him, prevent, repel it. For so shalt thou thyself be able both to have God propitious to thee, and to obtain the promised good things, whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom and with Whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and forever, and world without end. Amen.


2 COR. x. 1. 2.

"Now I Paul myself entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am of good courage toward you: yea, I beseech you, that I may not when present show courage with the confidence, wherewith I count to be bold against some, which count of us as if we walked according to the flesh."

Having completed, in such sort as behoved his discourse of almsgiving, and having shown that he loves them more than he is loved, and having recounted the circumstances of his patience and trials, he now opportunely enters upon points involving more of reproof, making allusion to the false apostles, and concluding his discourse with more disagreeable matter, and with commendations of himself. For he makes this his business also throughout the Epistle. Which also perceiving, he hence oftentimes corrects himself, saying in so many words(1); "Do we begin again to commend ourselves?" (Ch. iii. 1.) and further on; "We commend not ourselves again, but give you occasion to glory:" (Ch. v. 12.) and afterwards; "I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me." (Ch. xii. 11.) And many such correctives doth he use. And one would not be wrong in styling this Epistle an eulogium of Paul; he makes such large mention both of his grace and his patience. For since there were some amongst them who thought great things of themselves, and set themselves above the Apostle, and accused him as a boaster, and as being nothing, and teaching no sound doctrine; (now this was in itself the most certain evidence of their own corruptness;) see how he begins his rebuke of them; "Now I Paul myself." Seest thou what severity, what dignity, is here? For what he would say is this, ' I beseech you do not compel me, nor leave me to use my power against those that hold us cheap, and think of us as carnal.' This is severer than those threats towards them uttered in the former Epistle; "Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of meekness?" (1 Cor. iv. 21.)and then again; "Now some are puffed up as though I were not coming to you; but I will come, and will know, not the word of them that are puffed up, but the power." (ib. 18 19.) For in this place he shows both things, both his power, and his philosophy and forbearance; since he so beseeches them, and with such earnestness, that he may not be compelled to come to a display of the avenging power pertaining to him, and to smite and chastise them and exact the extreme penalty. For he implied this in saying, "But I beseech you, that I may not when present show courage with the confidence, wherewith I count to be bold against some which count of us as if we walked according to the flesh." For the present, however, let us speak of the commencement. "Now I Paul myself." Great emphasis, great weight(2) is here. So he says elsewhere, "Behold I Paul say unto you;" (Gal. v. 2.) and again, "As Paul the aged;" (Phile. 9.)and again in another place, "Who lath been a succorer of many, and of me." Rom. xvi. 2.) So also here, "Now I Paul myself." This even is a great thing, that himself beseecheth; but that other is greater which he added, saying, "by the meekness and gentleness of Christ." For with the wish of greatly shaming them, he puts forward that "meekness and gentleness," making his entreaty in this way more forcible; as if he had said, ' Reverence the gentleness of Christ by which I beseech you.' And this he said, at the same time also showing that although they should lay ever so strong(3) a necessity upon him, he himself is more inclined to this: it is from being meek, not from want of power, that he does not proceed against them: for Christ also did in like manner.

"Who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am of good courage toward you." What, pray, is this? Surely he speaks in irony, using their speeches. For they said this, that ' when he is present indeed, he is worthy of no account, but poor and contemptible; but when absent, swells, and brags, and sets himself up against us, and threatens.' This at least he implies also afterwards, saying, "for his letters," say they, "are weighty, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account." (v. 10.) He either then speaks in irony, manifesting great severity and saying, ' I, the base, I, the mean, when present, (as they say,) and when absent, lofty: ' or else meaning that even though he should utter great things, it is not out of pride, but out of his confidence in them.

"But I beseech you, that I may hot when present show courage with the confidence, wherewith I count to be bold against some which count of us as if we walked according to the flesh. Seest thou how great his indignation, and how complete his refutation of those sayings of theirs? For he saith, ' I beseech you, do not compel me to show that even present I am strong and have power.' For since they said that ' when absent, he is quite bold against us and exalteth himself,' he uses their very words, ' I beseech therefore that they compel me not to use my power.' For this is the meaning of, "the confidence." And he said not, ' wherewith I am prepared,' but ' wherewith I count.' 'For I have not yet resolved upon this; they however give me reason enough, but not even so do I wish it.' And yet he was doing this not to vindicate himself, but the Gospel. Now if where it was necessary to vindicate the Message, he is not harsh, but draws back and delays, and beseeches that there may be no such necessity; much more would he never have done any thing of the kind in his own vindication. ' Grant me then this favor,' he saith, ' that ye compel me not to show, that even when present I am able to be bold against whomsoever it may be necessary i that is, to chastise and punish them.' Seest thou how free he was from ambition, how he did nothing for display, since even where it was matter of necessity, he hesitates not to call the act, boldness. "For I beseech you," he says, "that I may not when present show courage with the confidence, wherewith I think to be bold" against some. For this especially is the part of a teacher, not to be hasty in taking vengeance, but to work a reformation, and ever to be reluctant and slow in his punishments. How, pray, does he describe those whom he threatens? "Those that count of us as though we walked according to the flesh:" for they accused him as a hypocrite, as wicked, as a boaster.

[2.] Ver. 3. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.

Here he goes on to alarm them also by the figure(1) he uses, ' for,' says he, 'we are indeed encompassed with flesh; I own it, but we do not live by the flesh;' or rather, he said not even this, but for the present reserves it, for it belongs to the encomium on his life: but first discourseth of the Preaching, and shows that it is not of man, nor needeth aid from beneath. Wherefore he said not, 'we do not live according to the flesh,' but, "we do not war according to the flesh," that is, ' we have undertaken a war and a combat; but we do not war with carnal weapons, nor by help of any human succors.'

Ver. 4. "For our weapons are not of the flesh." For what sort of weapons are of the flesh? Wealth, glory, power, fluency, cleverness, circumventions(2), flatteries, hypocrisies, whatsoever else is similar to these. But ours are not of this sort: but of what kind are they?

"Mighty before God."

And he said not, 'we are not carnal,' but, "our weapons." For as I said, for the present he discourseth of the Preaching, and refers the whole power to God. And he says not, 'spiritual,' although this was the fitting opposite(3) to "carnal," but "mighty," in this implying the other also, and showing that their(4) weapons are weak and powerless. And mark the absence of pride in him; for he said not, 'we are mighty,' but, "our weapons are mighty before God." 'We did not make them such, but God Himself.' For because they were scourged, were persecuted, and suffered wrongs incurable(5) without number, which things were proofs of weakness: to show the strength of God he says, "but they are mighty before God." For this especially shows His strength, that by these things He gains the victory. So that even though we are encompassed with them, yet it is He that warreth and worketh by them. Then he goes through a long eulogium upon them, saying,

"To the casting down of strong holds." And lest when hearing of strong holds thou shouldest think of aught material(6), he says,

Ver. 5. "Casting down imaginations."

First giving emphasis by the figure, and then by this additional expression declaring the spiritual(7) character of the warfare. For these strongholds besiege souls, not bodies. Whence they are stronger than the others, and therefore also the weapons they require are mightier. But by strongholds he means the Grecian pride, and the strength of their sophisms and their syllogisms. But nevertheless, 'these weapons,' he says, ' confounded every thing that stood up against them; for they cast down imaginations,

'And every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God.' He persisted in the metaphor that he might make the emphasis greater. ' For though there should be strongholds,' he saith, ' though fortifications, though any other thing soever, they yield and give way before these weapons.

"And bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." And yet the name, "captivity," hath an ill sound with it; for it is the destruction of liberty. Wherefore then has he used it? With a meaning of its own, in regard to another point. For the word "captivity" conveys two ideas, the loss of liberty, and the being so violently overpowered as not to rise up again. It is therefore in respect to this second meaning that he took it. As when he shall say "I robbed other churches," (2 Cor. xi. 8.) he does not intend the taking stealthily, but the stripping and taking their all, so also here in saying, "bringing into captivity." For the fight was not equally maintained, but he conquered with great ease. Wherefore he did not say, 'we conquer and have the better,' only; but 'we even bring "into captivity;" ' just as above, he did not say, ' we advance engines against the "strongholds: "' but, ' we cast them down, for great is the superiority of our weapons." For we war not with words,' he saith, but with deeds against words, not with fleshly wisdom, but with the spirit of meekness and of power. How was it likely then I should hunt after honor, and boast in words, and threaten by letters;' (as they accused him, saying, "his letters are weighty,") ' when our might lay not in these things?' But having said, "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ," because the name of "captivity" was unpleasant, he presently afterwards put an end to the metaphor, saying, "unto the obedience of Christ:" from slavery unto liberty, from death unto life, from destruction to salvation. For we came not merely to strike down, but to bring over to the truth those who are opposed to us.

[3.] Ver. 6. "And being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be fulfilled."

Here he alarmed these(1) also, not those(2) alone: 'for,' says he, 'we were waiting for you, that when by our exhortations and threatenings we have reformed you, and purged and separated you from their fellowship; then, when those only are left who are incurably diseased, we may visit with punishment, after we see that you have really(3) separated from them. For even now indeed ye obey, but not perfectly. 'And yet if thou hadst done it now,' saith one, 'thou wouldest have wrought greater gain.' 'By no means, for if I had done it now, I should have involved you also in the punishment. Howbeit it behoved to punish them, indeed, but to spare you. Yet if I spared, I should have seemed to do it out of favor: now this I do not desire, but first to amend you, and then to proceed against them.' What can be tenderer than the heart of the Apostle ? who because he saw his own mixed up with aliens, desires indeed to inflict the blow, but forbears, and restrains his indignation until these shall have withdrawn, that he may smite these alone; yea rather, not these even. For he therefore threatens this, and says he is desirous to separate unto punishment them alone, that they also being amended by the fear may change, and he let loose his anger against no one. For just like a most excellent physician, and common father, and patron, and guardian(4), so did he all things, so cared he for all, removing impediments, checking the pestilent, running about every whither. For not by fighting did he so achieve the work, but advancing as if to a ready and an easy victory, he planted his trophies, undermining, casting down, overthrowing the strongholds of the devil, and the engines of the demons; and carried over their whole booty to the camp of Christ. Nor did he even take breath a little, bounding off from these to those, and from those again to others, like some very able general, raising trophies every day, or rather every hour. For having entered into the battle with nothing but a little tunic(5), the tongue of Paul took the cities of his enemies with their men and bows and spears and darts and all.

For he spake only; and, falling upon his enemies more fiercely than any fire, his words drave out the demons and brought over unto him the men that were possessed of them. For when he cast out that demon, the evil one, fifty thousand sorcerers coming together burnt their books of magic and revolted to the truth. (See Acts xix. 19.) And like as in a war, when a tower has fallen or a tyrant been brought low, all his partizans cast away their arms and run unto the [opposing] general; so truly did it happen then also. For when the demon was cast out, they all having been besieged, and having cast away, yea rather having destroyed, their books, ran unto the feet of Paul. But he setting himself(6) against the world as though against a single army, no where stayed his march, but did all things as if he were some man endued with wings(7): and now restored a lame, now raised a dead man, now blinded a third, (I mean the sorcerer,) nor even when shut up in a prison indulged in rest, but even there brought over to himself the jailor, effecting the goodly captivity we treat of.

[4.] Let us also imitate him after our power. And why do I say, after our power? For he that wills may come even near unto him, and behold his valor, and imitate his heroism. For still he is doing this work, "casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God." And although many heretics have attempted to cut him in pieces'; yet still, even though dismembered, he displayeth a mighty strength. For both Marcion and Manichaeus use him indeed, but after cutting him in pieces; but still even so they are refuted by the several members. For even a hand only of this champion being found among them puts them utterly to the rout; and a foot only, left amongst others, pursues and prostrates them, in order that thou mayest learn the superabundance of his power, and that, although shorn of his limbs even, he is able to destroy all his adversaries. ' This however,' saith one, 'is an instance of perversion, that those who are battling with each other should all use him.' An instance of perversion certainly, but not in Paul, (God forbid,) but in them who use him. For he was not parti-colored(1), but uniform and clear, but they perverted his words to their own notions. ' And wherefore,' saith one, ' were they so spoken as to give handles to those that wished for them?' He did not give handles, but their frenzy used his words not rightly; since this whole world also is both wonderful and great, and a sure proof of the wisdom of God, and ' the heavens declare the glory of God, and day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night declareth knowledge;" (Ps. xix. 1, 2.) but nevertheless, many have stumbled at it and in contrary directions to one another. And some have admired it so much above its worth as to think it God; whilst others have been so insensible of its beauty as to assert it to be unworthy of God's creating hand(2), and to ascribe the greater share in it to a certain evil matter. And yet God provided for both points by making it beautiful and great that it might not be deemed alien from his wisdom; yet defective and not sufficient unto itself that it might not be suspected to be God. But nevertheless those who were blinded by their own reasonings fell away into contradictory notions, refuting one another, and becoming each the other's accuser, and vindicating the wisdom of God even by the very reasonings which led them astray. And why do I speak of the sun and the heaven? The Jews saw so many marvels happen before their eyes, yet straightway worshipped a calf. Again they saw Christ casting out demons, yet called him one that had a demon. But this was no imputation against him that cast them out, but an accusation of their understanding who were so blinded. Condemn not then Paul on account of their judgment who have used him amiss; but understand well the treasures in him, and develop his riches, so shalt thou make noble stand against all, fenced by his armor. So shalt thou be able to stop the mouths both of Greeks and Jews. 'And how,' saith one, 'seeing they believe him not?' By the things wrought through him, by the reformation effected in the world. For it was not of human power(3) that so great things could be done, but the Might of the Crucified, breathing on him, made him such as he was, and showed him more powerful than orators and philosophers and tyrants and kings and all men. He was net only able to arm himself and to strike down his adversaries, but to make others also such as himself. Therefore in order that we may become useful both to ourselves and to others, let us continually have him in our hands, using his writings for a meadow and garden of delight(4). For so shall we be able both to be delivered from vice and to choose virtue, and to obtain the promised good things, whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

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