2 COR. x. 7.

"Ye look at the things that are before your face. If any man trusteth in himself that he is Christ's, let him consider this again with himself that even as he is Christ's, so also are we."

What one may especially admire in Paul amongst other things is this, that when he has fallen upon an urgent necessity for exalting himself, he manages both to accomplish this point, and also not to appear offensive to the many on account of this egotism; a thing we may see particularly in his Epistle to the Galatians. For having there fallen upon such an argument, he provides for both these points; a matter of the very utmost difficulty and demanding much prudence; he is at once modest and says somewhat great of himself. And observe how in this place also he makes it of great account, "Ye look at the things that are before your face." Behold here also prudence. For having rebuked those that deceived them, he confined not his remarks to them, but he leaps away from them to these too; and he does so constantly. For, in truth, he scourgeth not those only that lead astray(1), but the deceived also. For had he let even them go without calling them to an account(2), they would not so easily have been reformed by what was said to the others; but would have been greatly elated even, as not being amenable to accusations. Therefore he scourgeth them also. And this is not all that is to be admired in him, but this farther, that he rebukes either party in a manner suitable to each. Hear at least what he says to these, "Ye look at the things that are before your face." The accusation is no light one; but a mark of men exceedingly easy to be deceived. Now what he says is this, 'ye test by what appear, by things carnal, by things bodily.' What is meant by 'what appear?' If one is rich, if one is puffed up, if one is surrounded by many flatterers, if one says great things of himself, if one is vain-glorious, if one makes a pretence of virtue without having virtue, for this is the meaning of, "ye look at the things that are before your face."

"If any man trust in himself that he is Christ's, let him consider this again with himself, that even as he is Christ's, even so also are we." For he does not wish to be vehement at the beginning, but he increases and draws to a head(3) by little and little. But observe here how much harshness and covert meaning there is. He shows this by using the words "with himself." For he saith, ' Let him not wait to learn this from us; that is, by our rebuke of himself,' but "let him consider this with himself, that even as he is Christ's, so also are we;" not that he was Christ's in such manner as the other was, but, "that even as he is Christ's, so l also am I Christ's. Thus far the community holds good: for it is not surely the case that he indeed is Christ's, but I some other's. Then having laid down this equality between them, he goes on to add wherein he exceeded, saying,

Ver. 8. "For though I should glory somewhat abundantly concerning our authority which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for casting you down, I shall not be put to shame.

For since he was going to say somewhat great, observe how he softens it. For nothing doth so offend the majority of hearers as for any one to praise himself. Wherefore to cut at the root of this offensiveness, he says, "For though I should glory somewhat abundantly." And he did not say, 'if any man trust that he is Christ's let him think that he is far short of us. For I possess much authority from Him, so as to punish and to kill whomsoever I choose;' but what? "For though I should glory even somewhat abundantly." And yet he possessed more than can be told, but nevertheless he lowers it in his way of speaking. And he said not, 'I glory,' but, "if I should glory," if I should choose to do so: at once both showing modesty, and declaring his superiority. If therefore he says, "I should glory concerning the authority which the Lord gave me." Again, he ascribes the whole to Him, and makes the gift common. "For building up, and not for casting down." Seest thou how again he allays the envy his praises might give rise to, and draws the hearer over to himself by mentioning the use for which he received it? Then why doth he say, "Casting down imaginations?" Because this is itself an especial form of building up, the removing of hindrances, and detecting the unsound, and laying the true together in the building. For this end therefore we received it, that we might build up. But if any should spar and battle with us, and be incurable, we will use that other power also, destroying(1) and overthrowing him. Wherefore also he says, "I shall not be put to shame," that is, I shall not be proved a liar or a boaster.

[2.] Ver. 9, 10, 11. "But that l may not seem as if I would terrify you: for his letters, say they, are weighty and strong: but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account. Let such a one reckon this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such are we also in deed when we are present."

What he says is this: 'I could boast indeed, but that they may not say the same things again, to wit, that I boast in my letters, and am contemptible when present, I will say nothing great.' And yet afterwards he did say something great, but not about this power by which he was formidable, but about revelations and at greater lengths about trials. ' Therefore, that I may not seem to be terrifying you, "let such an one reckon this, that what we are by letters when we are absent, such are we also in deed when we are present.'" For since they said, 'he writes great things of himself, but when he is present he is worthy of no consideration,' therefore he says these things, and those again in a moderated form. For he did not say, ' as we write great things, so when we are present we also do great things,' but in more subdued phrase. For when he addressed himself to the others indeed, he stated it with vehemency, saying, "I beseech you that I may not when present show courage with the confidence wherewith I think to be bold against some :" but when to these, he is more subdued. And therefore he says, ' what we are when present, such too when absent, that is, lowly, modest, no where boasting. And it is plain from what follows,

Ver. 12. "For we are not bold to number, or compare in ourselves(2) with some that commend themselves."

Here he both shows that those false Apostles are boasters and say great things of themselves: and ridicules them as commending themselves. 'But we do no such thing: but even if we shall do any thing great, we refer all unto God, and compare ourselves with one another.' Wherefore also he added,

"But they themselves measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves are without understanding." Now what he says is this: ' we do not compare ourselves with them, but with one another.' For further on he says, "in nothing am I behind the very chiefest Apostles;" (Chap. xii. x 11. ) and in the former Epistle, "I labored more abundantly than they all;" (1 Cor. xv. 10.) and again, "Truly the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience." (Chap. xii. 12.) 'So that we compare ourselves with ourselves, not with those that have nothing: for such arrogance cometh of folly.' Either then he says this with reference to himself, or with reference to them, that ' we dare not compare ourselves with those who contend with one another and boast great things and do not understand:' that is, do not perceive how ridiculous they are in being thus arrogant, and in exalting themselves amongst one another.

Ver. 13. "But we will not glory beyond our measure:" as they do.

For it is probable that in their boasting they said, 'we have converted the world, we have reached unto the ends of the earth,' and vented many other such like big words. 'But not so we,' he says,

"But according to the measure of the province which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even unto you." So that his humility is evident on either hand, both in that he boasted nothing more than he had wrought, and that he refers even this itself to God. For, "according to the measure of the province," saith he, "which God apportioned to us, a measure to reach even unto you." Just as if portioning out a vine to husbandmen, even so He meted out unto us. As far then as we have been counted worthy to attain to, so far we boast.

Ver. 14. ''For we stretch not ourselves overmuch, as though we reached not unto you: for we came even as far as unto you in preaching the Gospel of Christ."

Not simply 'we came,' but, 'we announced, we preached, we persuaded, we succeeded.' For it is probable that they having merely come to the disciples of the Apostles, ascribed the whole to themselves, from their bare presence among them. ' But not so we: nor can any one say that we were not able to come as far as to you, and that we stretched our boasting as far as to you in words only; for we also preached the word to you.'

[3.] Ver. 15, 16. "Not glorying beyond" our "measure, '' that is, "in other men's labors, but having hope that as your faith groweth, we shall be magnified in you according to our province unto further abundance, so as to preach. the Gospel even unto the parts beyond you, and not to glory in another's province in regard of things ready to our hand."

He sets forth a large accusation of them on these grounds, both that they boasted of things without their measure, and of other men's labors; and that whilst the whole of the toil was the Apostles', they plumed themselves upon their labors. 'But we,' says he, ' showed these things in our deeds. We will not imitate those men therefore, but will say such things where our deeds bear us witness. And why,' saith he, 'do I say, you?' "for I have hope that as your faith groweth;" for he doth not assert absolutely, preserving his own character, but, 'I hope,' he says, ' if you make progress, that our province will be extended even farther, "to preach the Gospel in the regions beyond." For we shall advance farther yet,' he says, 'so as to preach and labor, not so as to boast in words of what other men have labored.' And well did he call it "province and measure," as though he had come into possession of the world, and a rich inheritance; and showing that the whole was wholly God's. 'Having then such works,' he says, 'and expecting greater, we do not boast as they do who have nothing, nor do we ascribe any part to ourselves, but the whole to God. Wherefore also he adds,

Ver. 17. "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." This also, he saith, accrueth to us from God. Ver. 18. "For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth."

He did not say, we are so, "but whom the Lord commendeth. Seest thou how modestly he speaks? But if as he proceeds he stirreth up loftier words, wonder not, for this also cometh of Paul's prudence. For if he had gone on in every part to speak lowly words, he would not have hit these men so effectually, nor have extricated the disciples from their error. For it is possible both by modesty ill-timed to do harm, and by saying something admirable of one's self at a proper time to do good. As therefore he also did. For there was no little danger in the disciples being persuaded into any mean opinion of Paul. Not that Paul sought the glory that cometh of men. For had he sought this, he would not have kept silence so long on those great and marvellous matters of "fourteen years ago;" (Chap. xii. 20) nor would he, when necessity was laid upon him, have so shrunk back and hesitated to speak of them; very evidently he would not even then have spoken, had he not been compelled. Certainly then it was not from a desire after the glory which cometh from men that he said these things, but out of tender care for the disciples. For since they cast reproaches(1) at him as a braggart, and as boastful in words but able to show nothing in deeds, he is compelled subsequently to come to those revelations. Although he had it in his power to convince them by his deeds, at the time when he said these things: yet he still persists, nevertheless, in using menaces in words. For he was most especially free from vain-glory; and this his whole life proves, both before and after this. For instance, it was because of this that he changed all at once; and having changed, confounded the Jews and cast away all that honor he had from them, although he was himself their head and their champion. But he considered none of those things when he had found the truth; but took instead their insults and contumely; for he looked to the salvation of the many, thinking this everything. For he that thinketh nothing of hell nor of heaven nor of ten thousand worlds in regard of his longing after Christ, how should he hunt after the glory which cometh from the many? By no means; but he is even very lowly when he may be so, and brands(2) his former life with infamy when he calls himself, "a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious." (1 Tim. i. 13.) And his disciple Luke too says many things of him, evidently having learnt them from himself, himself displaying fully(3) his former life no less than that after his conversion.

[4.] Now I say these things, not that we may hear merely, but that we may learn also. For if he remembered those transgressions before the Laver, although they were all effaced, what forgiveness can we have who are unmindful of those after the Laver ourselves? What sayest thou, O man? Thou hast offended God, and dost thou forget? This is a second offence, a a second enmity. Of what sins then dost thou ask forgiveness? Of those which thou even knowest not thyself? Surely, (for is it not so?) thou art deeply anxious and thoughtful how thou mayest give account of them, thou who dost not so much as care to remember them, but sportest with what is no sporting matter. But there will come a time when our sport can go on no longer. For we must needs die: (for the great insensibility of the many obliges me to speak even of things that are evident:) and must needs rise again, and be judged, and be punished; nay rather this needs not, if we choose. For those other things are not at our own disposal; neither our end, nor our resurrection, nor our judgment, but at our Lord's; but our suffering punishment or not is at our own disposal; for this is of those things that may or may not happen(4). But if we choose, we shall make it of the number of impossible things; just as Paul, as Peter, as all the saints did; for it is even impossible for them to be punished. If therefore we have a mind, it is in like manner impossible also that we should suffer ought. For even if we have offended in ten thousand things, it is possible to recover ourselves so long as we are here. Let us then recover ourselves: and let the old man consider that in a little while hence he will depart, since he took his pleasure long enough in his lifetime; (although what sort of pleasure is this, to live in wickedness? but for the present I so speak in respect to his way of thinking;) let him consider, besides, that it is possible for him in a short time to wash away all. The young man again, let him also consider the uncertainty of death, and that oftentimes, when many older persons continued here, the young were carried off before them. For, for this reason, that we may not make traffic(1) of our death, it is left in uncertainty. Wherefore also a certain wise man adviseth, saying, "Make no tarrying to turn unto the Lord, and put not off from day to day: for thou knowest not what to-morrow shall bring forth." (Ecclus. v. 7; Prov. xxvii. 1) For by putting off there is danger and fear; but by not putting off manifest and secure salvation. Hold fast then by virtue. For so, even if thou have departed young, thou hast departed in safety; and if thou shouldst come to old age, thou shalt arrive Eat death] with great provision made, and shaft have a double feast all thy life long; both in that thou abstainest from vice, and layest hold on virtue. Say not, ' there will come a time when it may be well to turn,' for this language provokes God exceedingly. And why so? Because He hath promised thee countless ages, but thou art not even willing to labor during this present life, this short life that dureth but a season; but art so indolent and unmanly as to seek a shorter even than this. Are there not the same revellings daily? Are there not the same tables, the same harlots, the same theatres, the same wealth? How long wilt thou love those things as though they were aught? How long will thy appetite for evil remain insatiate? Consider that as often as thou hast fornicated, so often hast thou condemned thyself. For such is the nature of sin: once committed, the Judge hath also passed his sentence. Hast thou been drunken, been gluttonous, or robbed ? Hold now, turn right back, acknowledge it to God as a mercy that He snatched thee not away in the midst of thy sins; seek not yet another set time(2) wherein to work evil. Many have been snatched away in the midst of their covetousness, and have departed to manifest punishment. Fear lest thou also shouldest suffer this, and without excuse. `But God gave to many a set time for confession in extreme old age.' What then? Will He give it to thee also? ' Perhaps He will,' says one. Why sayest thou 'perhaps,' and ' sometimes,' and ' often? ' Consider that thou art deliberating about thy soul, and put also the contrary case, and calculate, and say, ' But what if He should not give it ?' 'But what if He should give it? ' saith he. God hath indeed given it; but still this supposition is safer and more profitable than that. For if thou begin now, thou hast gained all, whether thou hast a set time granted thee or not; but if thou art always putting off, for this very cause perhaps thou shalt not have one given thee. When thou goest out to battle, thou dost not say, ' there is no need to make my will, perhaps I shall come back safe ;' nor dost thou when deliberating about marriage, say ' suppose I take a poor wife, many have even m this way got rich contrary to expectation;' nor when building a house, ' suppose I lay a rotten foundation, many houses have stood even so;' yet in deliberating about the soul, thou leanest on things more rotten still; urging thy 'perhaps,' and 'often,' and 'sometimes,' and trustest thyself to these uncertainties. 'Nay,' saith one, 'not to an uncertainty, but to the mercy of God, for God is merciful.' I know it too; but still this merciful God snatched those away of whom I spoke. And what if after thou hast had time given thee, thou shalt still continue as thou weft? for this sort of man will be listless even in old age. ' Nay,' he said, ' not so.' For this mode of reasoning even after the eighty years desireth ninety, and after the ninety an hundred, and after the hundred will be yet more indisposed to act. And so the whole of life will have been consumed in vain, and what was spoken of the Jews will happen also to thee; "Their days were consumed in vanity." (Ps. lxxviii. 33.) And would that in vanity only, and not unto evil also. For when we have departed thither bearing the heavy burden of our sins, this will be unto evil also. For we shall carry away fuel for the fire and a plentiful feast for the worm. Wherefore I pray and conjure you to halt at length in noble wise, and to desist from wickedness, that we may also 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, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.


2 COR. xi. 1.

"Would that ye could bear with me in a little foolishness and, indeed ye do bear with me." (*)

BEING about to enter upon his own praises he uses much previous correction. And he does this not once or twice, although the necessity of the subject, and what he had often said, were sufficient excuse for him. For he that remembereth sins which God remembered not, and who therefore saith that he was unworthy of the very name of the Apostles, even by the most insensate is seen clearly not to be saying what he is now going to say, for the sake of glory. For if one must say something startling, even this would be especially injurious to his glory, his speaking something about himself; and to the more part it is offensive. But nevertheless he regarded not timidly any of these things, but he looked to one thing, the salvation of his hearers. But still in order that he might not cause harm to the unthinking by this, by saying, I mean, great things of himself, he employs out of abundant caution these many preparatory correctives, and says, "Would that ye could bear with me," whilst I play the fool in some little things, yea, rather, "ye do indeed bear with me." Beholdest thou wisdom? For when he says, "would that," it is as putting it at their disposal: but when he even asserts [that they do], it is as confiding greatly in their affection, and as declaring that he both loves and is loved. Yea, rather, not from bare love merely, but from a sort of warm and insane passion he says that they ought to bear with him even when he plays the fool. And therefore he added, "For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy(1)." He did not say, 'for I love you,' but uses a term far more vehement than this. For those souls are jealous which burn ardently for those they love, and jealousy can in no other way be begotten than out of a vehement affection. Then that they may not think, that it is for the sake of power, or honor, or wealth, or any other such like thing, that he desires their affection, he added, "with a jealousy of God." For God also is said to be jealous, not that any i should suppose(2) passion, (for the Godhead is impassible,) but that all may know that He doeth all things from no other regard than their sakes over whom He is jealous; not that Himself may gain aught, but that He may save them. Among men indeed jealousy ariseth not from this cause, but for the sake of their own repose; not because the beloved ones sustain outrage, but lest these who love them should be wounded, and be outshone in the good graces, and stand lower in the affections, of the beloved. But here it is not so. 'For I care not,' he says, ' for this, lest I should stand lower in your esteem; but lest I should see you corrupted. For such is God's jealousy; and such is mine also, intense at once and pure.' Then there is also this necessary reason;

"For I espoused you to one husband, as a pure virgin." 'Therefore I am jealous, not for myself, but for him to whom I have espoused you.' For the present time is the time of espousal, but the time of the nuptials is another; when they sing, 'the Bridegroom hath risen up.' Oh what things unheard of! In the world they are virgins before the marriage, but after the marriage no longer. But here it is not so: but even though they be not virgins before this marriage, after the marriage they become virgins. So the whole Church is a virgin. For addressing himself even to all, both husbands and wives, he speaks thus. But let us see what he brought and espoused us with, what kind of nuptial gifts. Not gold, not silver, but the kingdom of heaven. Where fore also he said, "We are ambassadors on behalf of Christ," and beseeches them, when he was about to receive the Bride. What happened in Abraham's case was a type of this. (Gen. xxiv. 4, &c.) For he sent his faithful servant to seek a Gentile maiden in marriage; and in this case God sent His own servants to seek the Church in marriage for His son, and prophets from of old saying, "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and forget thine own people and thy father's house, and the King shall desire thy beauty." (Ps. xlv. 10, 11.) Seest thou the prophet also espousing? seest thou the Apostle too expressing the same thing himself with much boldness, and saying, "I espoused you to one husband that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ?" Seest thou wisdom again? For having said, 'Ye ought to bear with me,' he did not say, ' for I am your teacher and I speak not for mine own sake:' but he uses this expression which invested them with especial dignity, placing himself in the room of her who promotes a match, and them in the rank of the bride; and he adds these words;

Ver. 3. "But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is toward Christ(1)."

'For although the destruction be yours [alone], yet is the sorrow mine as well.' And consider his wisdom. For he does not assert, although they were corrupted; and so he showed when he said, "When your obedience is fulfilled," (c. x. 6.) and "I shall bewail many which have sinned already;" (c. xii. 21.) but still he does not leave them to get shameless. And therefore he says, "lest at any time." For this neither condemns nor is silent; for neither course were safe, whether to speak out plainly or to conceal perpetually. Therefore he employs this middle form, saying, "lest at any time." For this is the language neither of one that entirely distrusts, nor entirely relies on them, but of one who stands between these two. In this way then he palliated, but by his mention of that history threw them into an indescribable terror, and cuts them off from all forgiveness. For even although the serpent was malignant, and she senseless, yet did none of these things snatch the woman from punishment. 'Beware then,' he says, 'lest such be your fate, and there be naught to screen you. For he too promising greater things, so deceived.' Whence it is plain that these(2) too, by boasting and puffing themselves up, deceived. And this may be conjectured not from this place only, but also from what he says afterwards,

Ver. 4. "If he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if ye receive a different Spirit which ye did not receive, or a different Gospel which ye did not accept, ye do well to bear with him."

And he does not say, 'Lest by any means as Adam was deceived:' but shows that those men(3) are but women who are thus abused, for it is the part of woman to be deceived. And he did not say, 'so ye also should be deceived:' but keeping up the metaphor, he says, "so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is toward Christ." 'From the simplicity, I say, not from wickedness; neither out of wickedness [is it], nor out of your not believing, but out of simplicity.' But, nevertheless, not even under such circumstances are the deceived entitled to forgiveness, as Eve showed. But if this does not entitle to forgiveness, much more will it not do so, when through vain-glory any is so(4)..

[2.] "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus whom we did not preach:" showing hereby that their deceivers were not Corinthians, but persons from some other quarter previously corrupted: wherefore he saith, "he that cometh."

"If ye receive a different Spirit, if a different Gospel which ye did not accept, ye do well to bear" with him. What sayest thou? Thou that saidst to the Galatians, "If any preach another Gospel to you than that ye have received, let him be anathema;" dost thou now say, "ye do well to bear" with him? And yet on this account it were meet not to bear with, but to recoil, from them; but if they say the same things, it is meet to bear with them. How then dost thou say, 'because they say the same things, it is not meet to bear with them?' for he says, 'if they said other things, it were meet to bear with them.' Let us then give good heed, for the danger is great, and the precipice deep, if men run past this carelessly; and what is here said giveth an entrance to all the heresies. What then is the sense of these words? Those persons so boasted as if the Apostles taught incompletely, and they were introducing somewhat more than they. For it is probable that with much idle talk, they were bringing in senseless rubbish so as to overlay these doctrines. And therefore he made mention of the serpent and of Eve who was thus deceived by the expectation of acquiring more. And alluding to this in the former Epistle also, he said, "Now ye are become rich, ye have reigned as kings without us;" and again, "we are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ." (1 Cor. iv. 8; ib. 10.) Since then it was probable that using the wisdom which is without, they talked much idly, what he says is this: that ' if these persons said any thing more, and preached a different Christ who ought to have been preached, but we omitted it, "ye do well to bear" with them.' For on this account he added, "whom we did not preach." 'But if the chief points of the faith are the same, what have ye the more of them? for whatsoever things they may say, they will say nothing more than what we have said.' And observe with what precision he states the case. For he did not say, 'if he that cometh saith any thing more;' for they did say something more, haranguing with more authority and with much beauty of language; wherefore he did not say this, but what? [If] "he that cometh preacheth another Jesus," a thing which had no need of that array of words: ''or ye receive a different Spirit," (for neither was there need of words in this case;) that is to say, 'makes you richer in grace; ' or "a different Gospel which ye did not accept," (nor did this again stand in need of words,) "ye do well to bear" with him. But consider, I pray thee, how he every where uses such a definition as shows that nothing very great, nor indeed any thing more, had been introduced by them. For when he had said, "If he that cometh preacheth another Jesus," he added, "whom we did not preach;" and "ye receive a different Spirit," he subjoined, "which ye did not receive; or a different Gospel," he added, "which ye did not accept," by all these showing that it is meet to attend to them, not simply if they say something more, but if they said any thing more which ought to have been said and was by us omitted. But if it ought not to have been said, and was therefore not said by us; or if they say only the same things as we, why gape ye so admiringly(1) upon them? 'And yet if they say the same things,' saith one, 'wherefore dost thou hinder them?' Because that using hypocrisy, they introduce strange doctrines. This however for the present he doth not say, but afterwards asserts it, when he says, "They fashion themselves into Apostles of Christ;" (Ver. 13.) for the present he withdraws the disciples from their authority by less offensive considerations; and this not out of envy to them, but to secure these. Else why does he not hinder Apollos, who was, however, a "learned man, and mighty in the Scriptures;" (Acts xviii. 24; 1 Cor. xvi. 12) but even beseeches him, and promises he will send him? Because together with his learning he preserved also the integrity of the doctrines; but with these it was the reverse. And therefore he wars with them and blames the disciples for gaping admiringly upon them, saying, 'if aught that should have been said we omitted and they supplied, we do not hinder you from giving heed to them: but if all has been fully completed by us and nothing left deficient, whence is it that they caught you?' Wherefore also he adds,

Ver. 5. "For I reckon that I am not a whit behind the very chiefest Apostles," no longer making comparison of himself with them, but with Peter and the rest. 'So that if they know more than I do, [they know more] than they also.' And observe how here also he shows modesty. For he did not say, 'the Apostles said nothing more than I,' but what? "I reckon," so I deem, "that I am not a whit behind the very chiefest Apostles." For since this also appeared to bespeak an inferiority in him, that those having preceded him were of greater name; and more respect was entertained for them, and these persons were intending to foist themselves in; therefore he makes this comparison of himself with them with the dignity(2) that becomes him. Therefore he also mentions them with encomiums, not speaking simply of "the Apostles," but "the very chiefest," meaning Peter and James and John.

[3.] Ver. 6. "But though I be rude in speech, yet am I not in knowledge."

For since those that corrupted the Corinthians had the advantage in this, that they were not rude; he mentions this also, showing that he was not ashamed of, but even prided himself upon it. And he said not, "But though I be rude in speech," yet so also are they(3), for this would have seemed to be accusing them as well as himself, and exalting these: but he overthrows the thing itself, the wisdom from without. And indeed in his former Epistle he contends even vehemently about this thing, saying that it not only contributes nothing to the Preaching, but it even throws a shadow on the glory of the Cross; (1 Cor. ii. 1.) for he says, "I came net with excellency of speech or of wisdom unto you, lest the cross of Christ should be made void; (1 Cor. i. 17.) and many other things of the same kind; because "in knowledge" they were "rude," which is also the extremest form of rudeness. When therefore it was necessary to institute a comparison in those things which were great, he compares himself with the Apostles: but when to show that which appeared to be a deficiency, he no longer does this, but grapples with the thing itself and shows that it was a superiority. And when indeed no necessity urged him, he says that he is "the least of the Apostles," and not worthy even of the title; but here again when occasion called, he says that he is "not a whit behind the very chiefest Apostles." For he knew that this would most advantage the disciples. Wherefore also he adds,

"Nay, in every thing we have made it manifest among all men to you ward." For here again he accuses the false Apostles as "walking in craftiness." (Chap. iv. 2.) And he said this of himself before also, that he did not live after the outward appearance, nor preach "handling the word deceitfully (ibid.) and corrupting it. But those men were one thing and appeared another. But not so he. Wherefore also he every where assumes a high tone, as doing nothing with a view to men's opinion nor concealing aught about himself. As he also said before, "by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience," (ibid.) so now again he saith "in every thing we have made it manifest to you." But what does this mean? 'We are rude,' he said, 'and do not conceal it: we receive from some persons and we do not keep it secret. We receive then from you, and we pretend not that we do not receive, as they do when they receive, but we make every thing that we do manifest unto you;' which was the conduct of one that both had exceeding confidence in them, and told them every thing truly. Wherefore he also calls them witnesses, saying now, "among all men to you-ward," and also before, "For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or even acknowledge." (Chap. i. 13.)

[4.] Then after he had defended his own conduct he goes on next to say with severity,

Ver. 7. "Or did I commit a sin in abasing myself that ye might be exalted?"

And in explanation of this, he adds,

Ver. 8. "I robbed other churches, taking wages of them that I might minister unto you."

What he says is this; 'I lived in straitness;' for this is the force of "abasing myself." 'Can you then lay this to my charge? and do ye therefore lift up yourselves against me, because I abased myself by begging, by enduring straits, by suffering, by hungering, that ye might be exalted?' And how were they exalted by his being in straits? They were more edified and were not offended; which also might [well] be a very great accusation of them and a reproach of their weakness; that it was not possible in any other way to lead them on than by first abasing himself. 'Do ye then lay it to my charge that I abased myself? But thereby ye were exalted.' For since he said even above that they accused him, for that when present he was lowly, and when absent bold, in defending himself he here strikes them again, saying, ' this too was for your sakes.'

"I robbed other churches." Here finally he speaks reproachfully, but his former words prevent these from seeming offensive; for he said, "Bear with me in a little foolishness:" and before all his other achievements makes this his first boast. For this worldly men look to especially, and on this also those his adversaries greatly prided themselves. Therefore it is that he does not first enter on the subject of his perils, nor yet of his miracles, but on this of his contempt of money, because they prided themselves on this; and at the same time he also hints that they were wealthy. But what is to be admired in him is this, that when he was able to say that he was even supported by his own hands, he did not say this; but says that which especially shamed them and yet was no encomium on himself, namely, 'I took from others.' And he did not say "took," but "robbed," that is, 'I stripped them, and made them poor.' And what surely is greater, that it was not for superfluities, but for his necessities, for when he says 'wages,' he means necessary subsistence. And what is more grievous yet, "to minister unto you." We preach to you; and when I ought to be supported by you, I have enjoyed this at others' hands. The accusation is twofold, or rather three-fold; that when both living amongst them and ministering to them, and seeking necessary support, he had others supplying his wants. Great the excess, of the one negligence, of the other in zeal! For these sent to him even when at a great distance, and those did not even support him when amongst them.

[5.] Then because he had vehemently scourged them, he quietly again relaxes the vehemence of his rebuke, saying,

Ver. 9. "And when I was present with you, and was in want, I was not a burden on any man."

For he did not say, 'ye did not give to me,' but, 'I did not take,' for as yet he spares them. But nevertheless even in the subduedness of his language he covertly strikes them again, for the word, "present," is exceedingly emphatic, and so is "in want." For that they might not say, 'what matter then, if you had [enough]?' he added, "and was in want."

"I was not a burden" on you. Here again he hits them gently, as making such contributions reluctantly, as feeling them a burden. Then comes the reason also, full of accusation and fraught with jealousy. Wherefore also he introduced it, not in the way of a leading point(1), but as informing them whence and by whom he was supported, so as to stimulate them again, in an unsuspicious way, as to the point of alms-giving;

"For the measure of my want," he says, "the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied." Seest thou how he provokes them again, by bringing forward those that had ministered to him? For inspiring them first with a desire of knowing who these could be, when he said, "I robbed other churches;" he then mentions them also by name; which would incite them also unto almsgiving. For he thus persuades those who had been beaten [by them] in the matter of supporting the Apostle, not to be also beaten in the succor they gave to the poor. And he says this also in his Epistle to the Macedonians themselves, "For in my necessities ye sent unto me once and again, even in the beginning of the Gospel;" (Philipp. iv. 16, 15.) which point also was a very great commendation of them, that from the very beginning they shone forth. But observe how everywhere he mentions his "necessity," and no where a superfluity. Now therefore by saying "present," and in "want" he showed that he ought to have been supported by the Corinthians; and by the words, "they supplied the measure of my want," he shows that he did not so much as ask. And he assigns a reason which was not the real one. What then is this? That he had received from others; "for," says he, "the measure of my want those that came supplied." 'For this reason,' he says, 'I was not a burden; not because I had no confidence in you.' And yet it is for this latter reason that he so acts, and he shows it in what follows; but does not say it plainly, but throws it into the shade(1), leaving it to the conscience of his hearers. And he gives proof of it covertly in what follows, by saying,

"And in every" thing "I kept myself from being burdensome, and so will I keep" myself. "For think not," says he, "that I say these things that I may receive." Now the words "so will I keep myself," are severer, if he has not even yet confidence in them; but once for all had given up the idea of receiving aught from them. He shows, moreover, that they even considered this to be a burden; wherefore he said, "I have kept myself from being burdensome, and so will I keep myself." He says this in his former Epistle also, "I write not this that it may be so done unto me; for" it were "good for me rather to die, than that any man should make my glorying void." (1 Cor. ix. 15.) And here again, "I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep" myself.

[6.] Then, that he may not seem to speak these things for the sake of winning them on the better [to do this], he saith,

Ver. 10. "As the truth of Christ is in me." 'Do not think that I therefore have spoken, that I may receive, that I may the rather draw you on: for,' saith he, "as the truth is in me,

"No man shall stop me of this glorying in the regions of Achaia." For that none should think again that he is grieved at this, or that he speaks these things in anger, he even calls the thing a "glorying." And in his former Epistle too he dressed it out(2) in like terms. For so that he may not wound them there either, he says, "What then is my reward?" "That when I preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel of Christ without charge." (1 Cor. ix. 18.) And as he there calls it "reward," so doth he here "glorying," that they may not be excessively ashamed at what he said, as if he were asking and they gave not to him. 'For, what, if even ye would give?' saith he, 'Yet I do not accept it.' And the expression, "shall not stop me," is a metaphor taken from rivers, or from the report, as if running every where, of his receiving nothing. 'Ye stop not with your giving this my freedom of speech.' But he said not, 'ye stop not,' which would have been too(3) cutting, but it "no man shall stop me in the regions of Achaia." This again was like giving them a fatal blow, and exceedingly apt to deject and pain them, since they were the only persons he refused [to take from]. 'For if he made that his boast, it were meet to make it so every where: but if he only does so among us, perchance this is owing to our weakness." Lest therefore they should so reason and be dejected, see how he corrects this.

Ver. 11. "Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth."

Quickly [is it done], and by an easy method(4). But still, not even so did he rid them of those charges. For he neither said, 'ye are not weak,' nor yet, 'ye are strong;' but, "I love you," which very greatly aggravated the accusation against them. For the not receiving from them, because they felt it an exceeding grievance, was a proof of special love toward them. So he acted in two contrary ways out of love; he both did receive, and did not receive: but this contrariety was on account of the disposition of the givers. And he did not say, 'I therefore do not take of you, because I exceedingly love you,' for this would have contained an accusation of their weakness and have thrown them into distress; but he turned what he said to another reason. What then is this?

Ver. 12. "That I may cut on occasion from them that desire an occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we."

For since this they sought earnestly, to find some handle(5) against him, it is necessary to remove this also. For this is the one point on which they pique themselves. Therefore that they might not have any advantage whatever, it was necessary to set this right; for in other things they were inferior. For, as I have said, nothing doth so edify worldly people as the receiving nothing from them. Therefore the devil in his craftiness dropped this bait especially, when desirous to injure them in other respects. But it appears to me that this even was in hypocrisy. And therefore he did not say, 'wherein they have well done,' but what? "wherein they glory;" which also was as jeering at their glorying; for they gloried also of that which they were not. But the man of noble spirit not only ought not to boast of what he has not, but not even of what he possesses; as this blessed saint was wont to do, as the patriarch Abraham did, saying, "But I am earth and ashes." (Gen. xviii. 27.) For since he had no sins to speak of, but shone with good works; having run about in every direction and found no very great handle against himself, he betakes himself to his nature; and since the name of "earth" is in some way or other one of dignity, he added to it that of "ashes." Wherefore also another saith, "Why is earth and ashes proud?" (Ecclus. x. 9.)

[7.] For tell me not of the bloom of the countenance, nor of the uplifted neck, nor of the mantle, and the horse, and the followers; but reflect where all these things do end, and put that to them. But and if thou tell me of what appears to the eye, I too will tell thee of things in pictures, brighter far than these. But as we do not admire those for their appearance, as seeing what their nature is, that all is clay; so therefore let us not these either, for these too are but clay. Yea rather, even before they are dissolved and become dust, show me this uplifted [neck] a prey to fever and gasping out life; and then will I discourse with thee and will ask, What has become of all that profuse ornament? whither has that crowd of flatterers vanished, that attendance of slaves, that abundance of wealth and possessions? What wind hath visited and blown all away? Nay, even stretched upon the bier, he beareth the tokens of that wealth and that pride; a splendid garment thrown over him, poor and rich following him forth, the assembled crowds breathing words of good omen(1). Surely this also is a very mockery; howbeit even this besides is presently proved naught, like a blossom that perishes. For when we have passed over the threshold of the city gates, and after having delivered over the body to the worms, return, I will ask thee again, where is that vast crowd gone to? What has become of the clamor and uproar? where are the torches? where the bands of women? are not these things, then, a dream? And what too has become of the shouts? where are those many lips that cried, and bade him 'be of good cheer, for no man is immortal?' These things ought not now to be said to one that heareth not, but when he made prey of others, when he was overreaching, then with a slight change should it have been said to him, `Be not of good cheer, no man is immortal; hold in thy madness, extinguish thy lust;' but `Be of good cheer' is for the injured party. For to chant such things over this man now, is but like men exulting over him and speaking irony; for he ought not for this now to be of good cheer, but to fear and tremble.

And if even this advice is now of no use to him since he has run his course, yet at least let those of the rich who labor under the same disease, and follow him to the tomb, hear it. For although beforehand through the intoxication of wealth, they have no such thing in mind, yet at that season when the sight of him that is laid out even confirms what is said, let them be sober, let them be instructed: reflecting that yet a little while and they will come that shall bear them away to that fearful account, and to suffer the penalty of their acts of rapacity and extortion. 'And what is this to the poor?' saith one. Why, to many this also is a satisfaction, to see him that hath wronged them punished. 'But tons it is no satisfaction, but the escaping suffering ourselves.' I praise you exceeedingly and approve of you in that ye exult not over the calamities of others, but seek only your own safety. Come then, I will ensure(2) you this also. For if we suffer evil at the hands of men, we cut off no small part of our debt by bearing what is done to us nobly. We receive therefore no injury; for God reckons the ill-treatment towards our debt, not according to the principle of justice but of His loving-kindness; and because He succored not him that suffered evil. 'Whence doth this appear?' saith one. The Jews once suffered evil at the hand of the Babylonians; and God did not prevent it: but they were carried away, children and women; yet afterwards did this captivity become a consolation to them in respect of(3) their sins. Therefore He saith to Isaiah, "Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, ye priests: speak unto the heart of Jerusalem, for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for sins." (Is. xl. 1, 2.) And again; "Grant us peace, for Thou hast repaid us every thing." (ib. xxvi. 12, LXX.) And David saith; "Behold mine enemies, for they are multiplied; and forgive all my sins." (Ps. xxv. 19, 18.) And when he bore with Shimei cursing him, he said, "Let him alone, that the Lord may see my abasement, and requite me good for this day." (2 Sam. xvi. 11, 12.) For when He aideth us not when we suffer wrong, then most of all are we advantaged; for He sets it to the account of our sins, if we bear it thankfully.

[8.] So that when thou seest a rich man plundering spoor, leave him that suffereth wrong, and weep for the plunderer. For the one putteth off filth, the other bedaubeth himself with more filth. Such was the fate of Elisha's servant in the story of Naaman (2 Kings v. 20, &c.) For though he took not by violence, yet he did a wrong; for to get money by deceit is a wrong. What then befel? With the wrong he received also the leprosy; and he that was wronged was benefited, but he that did the wrong received the greatest possible harm. The same happens now also in the case of the soul. And this is of so great force that often by itself it hath propitiated God; yea though he who suffereth evil be unworthy of aid; yet when he so suffers in excess, by this alone he draweth God unto the forgiveness of himself, and to the punishment of him that did the wrong. Wherefore also God said of old to the heathen, "I indeed delivered them over unto a few things, but they have set themselves on together unto evil things;" (Zech. i. 15. LXX.) they shall suffer ills irremediable(1). For there is nothing, no, nothing, that doth so much exasperate God as rapine and violence and extortion. And why forsooth? Because it is very easy to abstain from this sin. For here it is not any natural desire that perturbeth the mind, but it ariseth from wilful negligence(2). How then doth the Apostle call it, "a root of evils." (1 Tim. vi. 10.) Why, I say so too, but this root is from us, and not from the nature of the things. And, if ye will,let us make a comparison and see which is the more imperious, the desire of money or of beauty(3); for that which shall be found to have struck down great men is the more difficult to master. Let us see then what great man the desire of money ever got possession of. Not one; only of exceeding pitiful and abject persons, Gehazi, Ahab, Judas, the priests of the Jews: but the desire for beauty overcame even the great prophet David. And this I say, not as extending forgiveness to those who are conquered by such a lust, but rather, as preparing them to be watchful. For when I have shown the strength of the passion, then, most especially, I show them to be deprived of every claim to forgiveness. For if indeed thou hadst not known the wild beast, thou wouldest have this to take refuge in; but now, having known, yet falling into it, thou wilt have no excuse. After him(4), it took possession of his son still more completely. And yet there was never man wiser than he, and all other virtue did he attain; still, however, he was seized so violently by this passion, that even in his vitals he received the wound. And the father indeed rose up again and renewed the struggle, and was crowned again; but the son showed nothing of the kind.

Therefore also Paul said, "It is better to marry than to burn:"(1 Cor. vii. 9.) and Christ, "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." (Matt. xiv. 12.) But concerning money He spake not so, but, "whoso hath forsaken" his goods "shall receive an hundredfold. "(ib. 29.) 'How then,' saith one, 'did He say of the rich, that they shall hardly obtain the kingdom?' Again implying their weakness of character; not the imperiousness of money, but their utter slavery. And this is evident also from the advice which Paul gave. For from that lust he leads men quite away, saying. "But they that desire to be rich fall into temptation ;"(1 Tim. vi. 9.) but in the case of the other not so; but having separated them "for a season" only, and that by "consent," he advises to 'come together again' (1 Cor. vii. 5.) For he feared the billows of lust lest they should occasion a grievous shipwreck. This passion is even more vehement(5) than anger. For it is not possible to feel anger when there is nothing(6) provoking it, but a man cannot help desiring even when the face which moveth to it is not seen. Therefore this passion indeed He did not cut off altogether, but added the words, "without a cause." (Matt. v. 22. ) Nor again did He abolish all desire, but only that which is unlawful, for he saith, "Nevertheless, because of desires(7), let every man have his own wife." (1 Cor. vii. 2.) But to lay up treasure He allowed not, either with cause or without. For those passions were implanted in our nature for a necessary end; desire, for the procreation of children, and anger, for the succor of the injured, but desire of money not so. Therefore neither is the passion natural to us. So then if thou art made captive by it, thou wilt suffer so much the more the vilest punishment. Therefore surely, it is, that Paul, permitting even a second marriage, demands in the case of money great strictness, saying, "Why not rather take wrong? why not rather be defrauded?" (1 Cor. vi. 7.) And when treating of virginity, he says, "I have no commandment," (ib. vii. 25.)and "I speak this for your profit, not that I may cast a snare upon you;" (ib. 35.) but when his discourse is of money, he says, "Having raiment and food, let us be therewith content." (1 Tim. vi. 8. ) `How then is it,' saith one, ' that by this, more than the other, are many overcome?' Because they stand not so much on their guard(1) against it as against lasciviousness and fornication; for if they had thought it equally dangerous, they would not, perhaps, have been made its captives. So also were those wretched virgins cast out of the bridechamber, because that, having struck down the great adversary, they were wounded(2) by one weaker, and who was nothing. (Mat. xxv. 1, &c.) Besides this, one may say further, that if any, subduing lust, is overcome by money, often(3) he does not in fact subdue lust, but has received from nature the gift of suffering no great uneasiness of that sort; for all are not equally inclined to it. Knowing then these things, and revolving frequently with ourselves the example of the virgins, let us shun this evil wild beast. For if virginity profited them nothing, but after countless toils and labors they perished through the love of money, who shall deliver us if we fall into this passion? Wherefore I beseech you to do all you can, both that ye be not taken captive by it, and that if taken, ye continue not in captivity, but break asunder those hard bonds. For so shall we be able to secure a footing in heaven and to obtain the countless good things; whereunto may all we attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.


2 COR. xi. 13.

"Forsuch are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into Apostles of Christ."

WHAT sayest thou? they that preach Christ, they that take not money, they that bring not in a different gospel, "false apostles?" 'Yes,' he saith, and for this very reason most of all, because they make pretense of all these things for the purpose of deceiving. "Deceitful workers," for they do work indeed, but pull up what has been planted. For being well aware that otherwise they would not be well received, they take the mask of truth and so enact the drama of error. 'And yet,' saith one, 'they take no money.' That they may take greater things; that they may destroy the soul. Yea rather, even that was a falsehood; and they took money but did it secretly: and he shows this in what follows. And indeed he already hinted this where he said, "that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we:"(Ver. 12.) in what follows, however, he hinted it more plainly, saying, "If a man devour you, if a man take you captive, if a man exalt himself, ye bear with him. "(Ver. 20.) But at present he accuses them on another account, saying," fashioning themselves." They had only a "fashion;" the skin of the sheep was but outside clothing(4). Ver. 14, 15. "And no marvel; for if even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light, is it a great thing if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness?"

So that if one ought to marvel, this is what he ought to marvel at, and not at their transformation. For when their teacher dares do any thing, no marvel that the disciples also follow. But what is "an angel of light?" That hath free liberty to speak, that standeth near to God. For there are also angels of darkness; those which be the devil's, those dark and cruel ones. And the devil hath deceived many so, fashioning himself "into," not becoming, "an angel of light." So do also do these bear about them the form of an Apostle, not the power itself, for this they cannot. But nothing is so like the devil(5) as to do things for display. But what is "a ministry of righteousness?" That which we are who preach to you a Gospel having righteousness. For he either means this, or else that they invest themselves with the character of righteous men. How then shall we know them? "By their works," as Christ said. Wherefore he is compelled to place his own good deeds and their wickedness side by side, that the spurious may become evident by the comparison. And when about again to enter upon his own praises, he first accuses them, in order to show that such an argument was forced upon him, lest any should accuse him for speaking about himself, and says,

Ver. 16. "Again I say." For he had even already used much preparatory corrective: 'But nevertheless I am not contented with what I have said, but I say yet again,'

"Let no man think me foolish." For this was what they did--boasted without a reason.--But observe, I pray you, how often, when about to enter upon his own praises, he checks himself(1). 'For indeed it is the act of folly,' he says, 'to boast: but I do it, not as playing the fool, but because compelled. But if ye do not believe me, but though ye see there is a necessity will condemn me; not even so will I decline the task(2).' Seest thou how he showed that there was great necessity for his speaking. For he that shunned not even this suspicion, consider what violent impulsion to speak he must have undergone, how he travailed and was constrained to speak. But, nevertheless, even so he employs this thing with moderation. For he did not say, 'that I may glory.' And when about to do "a little," again he uses yet another deprecatory expression(3), saying,

Ver. 17. "That which I speak, I speak not after the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of glorifying."

Seest thou how glorying is not "after the Lord?" For He saith, "When ye shall have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants." (Luke xvii. 10.) Howbeit, by itself indeed it is not "after the Lord," but by the intention it becomes so. And therefore he said, "That which I speak," not accusing the motive, but the words. Since his aim is so admirable as to dignify the words also. For as a manslayer, though his action be of those most strictly forbidden, has often been approved from the intention; and as circumcision, although it is not 'after the Lord, has become so from the intention, so also glorying. And wherefore then does he not use so great strictness of expression? Because he is hastening on to another point, and he freely gratifies even to superfluity those who are desirous to find a handle against him, so that he may say only the things that are profitable; for when said they were enough to extinguish all that suspicion. "But as in foolishness." Before he says, "Would that ye could bear with me in a little foolishness,'' (Ver. 4.) but now "as in foolishness;" for the farther he proceeds, the more he clears his language. Then that thou mayest not think that he plays the fool on all points, he added, "in this confidence of glorying." In this particular he means: just as in another place he said, "that we be not put to shame, "and added, "in this confidence of glorying." (Chap. ix. 4.) And again, in another place, having said, "Or what I purpose do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be the yea yea, and the nay nay?" (Chap. i. 17.) And having shown that he cannot in all cases even fulfil what he promises, because he does not purpose after the flesh, lest any should make this suspicion stretch to the doctrine also, he adds, "But as God is faithful our word towards you was not yea and nay." (Ibid. 18.)

[2.] And observe how after having said so many things before, he again sets down yet other grounds of excuse, saying further thus,

Ver. 18. "Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also."

What is, "after the flesh?" Of things external, of high birth, of wealth, of wisdom, of being circumcised, of Hebrew ancestry, of popular renown. And behold wisdom. He sets down those things which he shows to be nothings(4), and then, folly also. For if to glory in what are really good things be folly, much more is it so [to glory in] those that are nothing. And this is what he calls, "not after the Lord." For it is no advantage to be a Hebrew, or any such like things soever. 'Think not, therefore, that I set these down as a virtue; no; but because those men boast I also am compelled to institute my comparison on these points.' Which he does also in another place, saying, "If any man thinketh that he may trust in the flesh, I more:" (Phil. iii. 4.) and there, it is on their account that trusted in this. Just as if one who was come of an illustrious race but had chosen a philosophic life, should see others priding themselves greatly on being well-born; and being desirious of taking down their vanity, should be compelled to speak of his own distinction; not to adorn himself, but to humble them; so, truly, does Paul also do. Then leaving those, he empties all his censure upon the Corinthians, saying,

Ver. 19. "For ye bear with the foolish gladly." 'So that ye are to blame for this, and more than they. For if ye had not borne with them, and so far as it lay in them received damage, I would not have spoken a word; but I do it out of a tender care for your salvation, and in condescension. And behold, how he accompanies even his censure with praise. For having said, "ye bear with the foolish gladly;" he added,

"Being wise yourselves." For it was a sign of folly to glory, and on such matters. And yet it behoved to rebuke them, and say, 'Do not bear with the foolish;' he does this, however, at greater advantage. For in that case he would have seemed to rebuke them because he himself was destitute of these advantages; but now having showed himself to be their superior even in these points, and to esteem them to be nothing, he corrects them with greater effect. At present, however, before entering upon his own praises and the comparison, he also reproaches the Corinthians with their great slavishness, because they were extravagantly submissive to them. And observe how he ridicules them.

Ver. 20. "For ye bear with a man," he says, "if he devour you."

How then saidst thou, "that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we?" (Ver. 12. ) Seest thou that he shows that they did take of them, and not simply take, but even in excess: for the term "devour" plainly shows this,

"If a man bring you into bondage." 'Ye have given away both your money,' he says, 'and your persons, and your freedom. For this is more than taking of you; to be masters not only of your money, but of yourselves also.' And he makes this plain even before, where he says, "If others partake of this right over you, do not we much more?" (1 Cor. ix. 12.) Then he addeth what is more severe, saying,

"If a man exalt himself." 'For neither is your slavery of a moderate sort, nor are your masters gentle, but burdensome and odious.'

"If a man smite you on the face." Seest thou again a further stretch of tyranny? He said this, not meaning that they were stricken on the face, but that they spat upon and dishonored them; wherefore he added,

Ver. 21. "I speak by way of disparagement," for ye suffer no whir less than men smitten on the face. What now can be stronger than this? What oppression more bitter than this? when having taken from you both your money and your freedom and your honor, they even so are not gentle towards you nor suffer you to abide in the rank of servants, but have used you more insultingly than any bought slave.(*)

"As though we had been weak." The expression is obscure. For since it was a disagreeable subject he therefore so expressed it as to steal away the offensiveness by the obscurity. For what he wishes to say is this. 'For cannot we also do these things? Yes, but we do them not. Wherefore then do ye bear with these men, as though we could not do these things? Surely it were something to impute to you that ye even bear with men who play the fool; but that ye do this, even when they so despise you, plunder you, exalt themselves, smite you, can admit neither of excuse nor any reason at all. For this is a new fashion of deceiving. For men that deceive both give and flatter; but these both deceive, and take and insult you. Whence ye cannot have a shadow of allowance, seeing that ye spit on those that humble themselves for your sakes that ye may be exalted, but admire those who exalt themselves that ye may be humbled. For could not we too do these things? Yes, but we do not wish it, looking to your advantage. For they indeed sacrificing your interests seek their own, but we sacrificing our own interests seek for yours.' Seest thou how in every instance, whilst speaking plainly to them, he also alarms them by what he says. 'For,' he says, 'if it be on this account that ye honor them, because they smite and insult you, we also can do this, enslave, smite, exalt ourselves against you.'

[3.] Seest thou how he lays upon them the whole blame, both of their senseless pride and of what seems to be folly in himself. 'For not that I may show myself more conspicuous, but that I may set you free from this bitter slavery, am I compelled to glory some little. But it is meet to examine not simply things that are said, but, in addition, the reason also. For Samuel also put together a high panegyric upon himself, when he anointed Saul, saying, "Whose ass have I taken, or calf, or shoes? or have I oppressed any of you?" (1 Sam. xii. 3, LXX.) And yet no one finds fault with him. And the reason is because he did not say it by way of setting off himself; but because he was going to appoint a king, he wishes under the form of a defence [of himself] to instruct him to be meek and gentle. And observe the wisdom of the prophet, or rather the loving kindness of God. For because he wished to turn them from [their design,] bringing together a number of grievous things he asserted them of their future king, as, for instance, that he would make their wives grind at the mill, (1 Sam. viii. 11--18.) the men shepherds and muleteers; for he went through all the service appertaining to the kingdom with minuteness. But when he saw that they would not be hindered by any of these things, but were incurably distempered; he thus both spareth them and composeth their king to gentleness. (1 Sam. xii. 5.) Therefore he also takes him to witness. For indeed no one was then bringing suit or charge against him that he needed to defend himself, but he said those things in order to make him better. And therefore also he added, to take down his pride, "If ye will hearken, ye and your king," (ibid. 14.) such and such good things shall be yours; "but if ye will not hearken, then the reverse of all." Amos also said, "I was no prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but only a herdsman, a gatherer of sycamore fruit. And God took me." (Amos vii. 14, 15.) But he did not say this to exalt himself, but to step their mouths that suspected him as no prophet, and to show that he is no deceiver, nor says of his own mind the things which he says. Again, another also, to show the very same thing, said, "But truly I am full of power by the spirit and might of the Lord." (Micah iii. 8.) And David also when he related the matter of the lion and of the bear, (1 Sam. xvii. 34, &c.) spake not to glorify himself, but to bring about a great and admirable end. For since it was not believed possible he could conquer the barbarian unarmed, he that was not able even to bear arms; he was compelled to give proofs of his own valor. And when he cut off Saul's skirt, he said not what he said out of display, but to repel an ill suspicion which they had scattered abroad against him, saying, that he wished to kill him. (1 Sam. xxiv. 4, &c.) It is meet therefore every where to seek for the reason. For he that looks to the advantage of his hearers even though he should praise himself, not only deserves not to be found fault with, but even to be crowned; and if he is silent, then to be found fault with. For if David had then been silent in the matter of Goliath, they would not have allowed him to go out to the battle, nor to have raised that illustrious trophy. On this account then he speaks being compelled; and that not to his brethren, although he was distrusted by them too as well as by the king; but envy stopped their ears. Therefore leaving them alone, he tells his tale to him who was not as yet envious of him.

[4.] For envy is a fearful, a fearful thing, and persuades men to despise their own salvation. In this way did both Cain destroy himself, and again, before his time, the devil who was the destroyer of his father. So did Saul invite an evil demon against his own soul; and when he had invited, he again envied his physician. For such is the nature of envy; he knew that he was saved, yet he would rather have perished than see him that saved him had in honor. What can be more grievous than this passion? One cannot err in calling it the devil's offspring. And in it is contained the fruit of vainglory, or rather its root also; for both these evils are wont mutually to produce each other. And thus in truth it was that Saul even thus envied, when they said, "David smote by ten thousands," (1 Sam. xviii. 7.) than which what can be more senseless? For why dost thou envy? tell me! 'Because such an one praised him?' Yet surely thou oughtest to rejoice; besides, thou dost not know even whether the praise be true. And dost thou therefore grieve because without being admirable he hath been praised as such? And yet thou oughtest to feel pity. For if he be good, thou oughtest not to envy him when praised, but thyself to praise along with those that speak well of him; but if not such, why art thou galled? why thrust the sword against thyself? 'Because admired by men?' But men to-day are and to-morrow are not.' But because he enjoys glory?' Of what sort, tell me? That of which the prophet says that it is "the flower of grass." (Isa. xl. 6. LXX.) Art thou then therefore envious because thou bearest no burden, nor carriest about with thee such loads of grass? But if he seems to thee to be enviable on this account, then why not also woodcutters who carry burdens every day and come to the city [with them]? For that burden is nothing better than this, but even worse. For theirs indeed galls the body only, but this hath oftentimes harmed the soul even and occasioned greater solicitude than pleasure. And should one have gained renown through eloquence, the fear he endures is greater than the good report he bears; yea, what is more, the one is short, the other perpetual. 'But he is in favor with those in authority?' In that too again is danger and envy. For as thou feelest towards him, so do many others feel. 'But he is praised continually?' This produces bitter slavery. For he will not dare to do fearlessly aught of what according to his judgment he should, lest he should offend those that extol him, for that distinction is a hard bondage to him. So that the more he is known to, so many the more masters he has, and his slavery becomes the greater, as masters of his are found in every quarter. A servant indeed, when he is released from the eye of his master, both takes breath and lives in all freedom; but this man meets with masters at every turn, for he is the slave of all that appear in the forum. And even should some necessary object press, he dares not set foot in the forum, except it be with his servants following, and his horse, and all his other show set in array, lest his masters condemn him. And if he sees some friend of those who are truly so(1), he has not the boldness to talk with him on an equal footing: for he is afraid of his masters, lest they depose him from his glory. So that the more distinguished he is, so much the more he is enslaved. And if he suffer aught that is disagreeable, the insult is the more annoying, both in that he has more to witness it and it seems to infringe his dignity. It is not only an insult, but a calamity also, for he has also many who exult at it; and in like way if he come to the enjoyment of any good thing, he has more who envy and detract and do their vigilance to destroy him. Is this then a good? tell me. Is this glory? By no means; but ingloriousness, and slavery, and bonds, and every burdensome thing one can say. But if the glory that cometh of men be so greatly to be coveted in thy account, and if it quite disquiets thee that such and such an one is applauded of the many; when thou beholdest him in the enjoyment of that applause, pass over in thy thought to the world to come and the glory which is there. And just as when hurrying to escape the onset of a wild beast, thou enterest into a cabin and shuttest to the doors; so now also flee unto the life to come, and that unspeakable glory. For so shalt thou both tread this under thy feet, and wilt easily lay hold upon that, and wilt enjoy the true liberty, and the eternal 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 ever, and world without end. Amen.


2 COR. xi. 21.

"Yet whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak in foolishness,) I am bold also."

SEE him again drawing back and using depreciation and correctives beforehand, although he has already even said many such things: "Would that ye could bear with me in a little foolishness;" (Ver. 1.) and again, "Let no man think me foolish: if ye do, yet as foolish receive me." (Ver. 16.) "That which I speak, I speak not after the Lord, but as in foolishness." (Ver. 17.) "Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also;" (Ver. 18.) and here again, "Whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak in foolishness) I am bold also." Boldness and folly he calls it to speak aught great of himself, and that though there was a necessity, teaching us even to an excess(1) to avoid any thing of the sort. For if after we have done all, we ought to call ourselves unprofitable; of what forgiveness can he be worthy who, when no reason presses, exalts himself and boasts? Therefore also did the Pharisee meet the fate he did, and even in harbor suffered shipwreck because he struck upon this rock. Therefore also doth Paul, although he sees very ample necessity for it, draw back nevertheless, and keep on observing that such speaking is a mark of foolishness. And then at length he makes the venture(2), putting forward the plea of necessity, and says,

Ver. 22. "Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I."

For it was not all Hebrews that were Israelites, since both the Ammonites and Moabites were Hebrews. Wherefore he added somewhat to clear his nobility of descent, and says,

Ver. 22, 23. "Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ. (I speak as one beside himself,) I more."

He is not content with his former deprecation, but uses it again here also. "I speak as one beside himself, I more." I am their superior and their better. And indeed he possessed clear proofs of his superiority, but nevertheless even so he terms the thing a folly(3). And yet if they were false Apostles, he heeded not to have introduced his own superiority by way of comparison, but to have destroyed their claim to "be ministers" at all. Well, he did destroy it, saying, "False Apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into Apostles of Christ," (Ver. 13.) but now he doth not proceed in that way, for his discourse was about to proceed to strict examination; and no one when an examination is in hand simply asserts; but having first stated the case in the way of comparison, he shows it to be negatived by the facts, a very strong negative. But besides, it is their opinion he gives, not his own assertion, when he says, "Are they ministers of Christ?" And having said, "I more," he proceeds in his comparison, and shows that not by bare assertions, but by furnishing the proof that facts supply, he maintains the impress of the Apostleship. And leaving all his miracles, he begins with his trials; thus saying,

"In labors more abundantly, in stripes above measure." This latter is greater than the former; to be both beaten and scourged.

"In prisons more abundantly." Here too again is there an increase. "In deaths oft." (1 Cor. xv. 31.) For, "I die," saith he, "daily." But here, even in reality; 'for I have oft been delivered into mortal dangers(4)."

Ver. 24. "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one."

Why, "save one?" There was an ancient law that he who had received more than the forty should be held disgraced amongst them. Lest then the vehemence and impetuosity(1) of the executioner by inflicting more than the number should cause a man to be disgraced, they decreed that they should be inflicted, "save one," that even if the executioner should exceed, he might not overpass the forty, but remaining within the prescribed number might not bring degradation on him that was scourged.

Ver. 25. "Thrice was I beaten with rods once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck."

And what has this to do with the Gospel? Because he went forth on long journeys; and those by sea.

"A night and a day I have been in the deep." Some say this means out on the open sea, others, swimming upon it, which is also the truer interpretation. There is nothing wonderful, at least, about the former, nor would he have placed it as greater than his shipwrecks.

Ver. 26. "In perils of rivers."

For he was compelled also to cross rivers. "In perils of robbers, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness." 'Everywhere were contests set before me, in places, in countries, in cities, in deserts.'

"In perils from the Gentiles, in perils amongst false brethren."

Behold another kind of warfare. For not only did such as were enemies strike at him, but those also who played the hypocrite; and he had need of much firmness, much prudence.

[2.] Ver. 27. "In labor and travail."

Perils succeed to labors, labors to perils, one upon other and unintermitted, and allowed him not to take breath even for a little.

Ver. 27, 28. "In journeyings often, in hunger and thirst and nakedness, besides those things that are without."

What is left out is more than what is enumerated. Yea rather, one cannot count the number of those even which are enumerated; for he has not set them down specifically, but has mentioned those the number of which was small and easily comprehended, saying, "thrice" and "thrice," (Ver. 25.) and [again] "once ;" but of the others he does not mention the number because he had endured them often. And he recounts not their results as that he had converted so many and so many, but only what he suffered on behalf of the Preaching; at once out of modesty, and as showing that even should nothing have been gained but labor, even so his title to wages has been fulfilled.

"That which presseth upon me daily." The tumults, the disturbances, the assaults(2) of mobs, onsets of cities. For the Jews waged war against this man most of all because he most of all confounded them, and his changing sides all at once was the greatest refutation of their madness. And there breathed a mighty war against him, from his own people, from strangers, from false brethren; and every where were billows and precipices, in the inhabited world, in the uninhabited, by land, by sea, without, within. And he had not even a full supply of necessary food, nor even of thin clothing, but the champion of the world wrestled in nakedness and fought in hunger; so far was he from enriching himself(3). Yet he murmured not, but was grateful for these things to the Judge of the combat.(4)

"Anxiety for all the Churches." This was the chief thing of all, that his soul too was distracted, and his thoughts divided. For even if nothing from without had assailed him; yet the war within was enough, those waves on waves, that sleet of cares, that war of thoughts. For if one that hath charge of but a single house, and hath servants and superintendents and stewards, often cannot take breath for cares, though there be none that molests him: he that hath the care not of a single house, but of cities and peoples and nations and of the whole world; and in respect to such great concerns, and with so many spitefully entreating him, and single-handed, and suffering so many things, and so tenderly concerned as not even a father is for his children--consider what he endured. For that thou mayest not say, What if he was anxious, yet the anxiety was slight(5), he added further the intensity of the care, saying,

Ver. 29. "Who is weak, and I am not weak?" He did not say, 'and I share not in his dejection?' but, 'so am I troubled and disturbed, as though I myself were laboring under that very affection, that very infirmity.'

"Who is made to stumble, and I burn not?" See, again, how he places before us the excess of his grief by calling it "burning." 'I am on fire,' 'I am in a flame,' he says, which is surely greater than any thing he has said. For those other things, although violent, yet both pass quickly by, and brought with them that pleasure which is unfading; but this was what afflicted and straightened him, and pierced his mind through and through; the suffering such things for each one of the weak, whosoever he might be. For he did not feel pained for the greater sort only and despise the lesser, but counted even the abject amongst his familiar friends. Wherefore also he said, "who is weak?" whosoever he may be; and as though he were himself the Church throughout the world, so was he distressed for every member.

Ver. 30. "If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern my weakness."

Seest thou that he no where glorieth of miracles, but of his persecutions and his trials? For this is meant by "weaknesses." And he shows that his warfare was of a diversified character(1). For both the Jews warred upon him, and the Gentiles stood against him, and the false brethren fought with him, and brethren caused him sorrow, through their weakness and by taking offense:--on every side he found trouble and disturbance, from friends and from strangers. This is the especial mark of an Apostle, by these things is the Gospel woven.

Ver. 31, 32. "The God and Father of the Lord Jesus knoweth that I lie not. The Governor under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes, desiring to apprehend me."

What can be the reason that he here strongly confirms and gives assurance of [his truth], seeing he did not so in respect to any of the former things? Because, perhaps, this was of older date and not so well known(2); whilst of those other facts, his care for the churches, and all the rest, they were themselves cognisant. See then how great the war [against him] was, since on his account the city was "guarded." And when I say this of the war, I say it of the zeal of Paul; for except this had breathed intensely, it had not kindled the governor to so great madness. These things are the part of an apostolic soul, to suffer so great things and yet in nothing to veer about, but to bear nobly whatever befalls; yet not to go out to meet dangers, nor to rush upon them. See for instance here, how he was content to evade the siege, by being "let down through a window in a basket." For though he were even desirous "to depart hence;" still nevertheless he also passionately affected the salvation of men. And therefore he ofttimes had recourse even to such devices as these, preserving himself for the Preaching; and he refused not to use even human contrivances when the occasion called for them; so sober and watchful was he. For in cases where evils were inevitable, he needed only grace; but where the trial was of a measured character, he devises many things of himself even, here again ascribing the whole to God. And just as a spark of unquenchable fire, if it fell into the sea, would be merged as many waves swept over it, yet would again rise shining to the surface; even so surely the blessed Paul also would now be overwhelmed by perils, and now again, having dived(3) through them, would come up more radiant, overcoming by suffering evil.

[3.] For this is the brilliant victory, this is the Church's trophy, thus is the Devil overthrown when we suffer injury. For when we suffer, he is taken captive; and himself suffers harm, when he would fain inflict it on us. And this happened in Paul's case also; and the more he plied him with perils, the more was he defeated. Nor did he raise up against him only one kind of trials, but various and diverse. For some involved labor, others sorrow, others fear, others pain, others care, others shame, others all these at once; but yet he was victorious in all. And like as if a single soldier, having the whole world fighting against him, should move through the mid ranks of his enemies, and suffer no harm: even so did Paul, showing himself singly, among barbarians, among Greeks, on every land, on every sea, abide unconquered. And as a spark, falling upon reeds and hay, changes into its own nature the things so kindled; so also did this man setting upon all make things change over unto the truth; like a winter torrent, sweeping over all things and overturning every obstacle. And like some champion who wrestles, runs, and boxes too; or soldier engaged by turns in storming(4), fighting on foot, on shipboard; so did he try by turns every form of fight, and breathed out fire, and was unapproachable by all; with his single body taking possession of the world, with his single tongue putting all to flight. Not with such force did those many trumpets fall upon the stones of Jericho and throw them down, as did the sound of this man's voice both dash to the earth the devil's strong-holds and bring over to himself those that were against him. And when he had collected a multitude of captives, having armed the same, he made them again his own army, and by their means conquered. Wonderful was David who laid Goliah low with a single stone; but if thou wilt examine Paul's achievements, that is a child's exploit, and great as is the difference between a shepherd and a general, so great the difference thou shall see here. For this man brought down no Goliath by the hurling of a stone, but by speaking only he scattered the whole array of the Devil; as a lion roaring and darting out flame from his tongue, so was he found by all irresistible; and bounded everywhere by turns continually; he ran to these, he came to those, he turned about to these, he bounded away to others, swifter in his attack than the wind; governing the whole world, as though a single house or a single ship; rescuing the sinking, steadying the dizzied, cheering the sailors, sitting at the tiller, keeping an eye to the prow, tightening the yards, handling an oar, pulling at the mast, watching the sky; being all things in himself, both sailor, and pilot, and pilot's mate(1), and sail, and ship; and suffering all things in order to relieve the evils of others. For consider. He endured shipwreck that he might stay the shipwreck of the world; "a day and a night he passed in the deep," that he might draw it up(2) from the deep of error; he was "in weariness" that he might refresh the weary; he endured smiting that he might heal those that had been smitten of the devil; he passed his time in prisons that he might lead forth to the light those that were sitting in prison and in darkness; he was "in deaths oft" that he might deliver from grievous deaths; "five times he received forty stripes save one" that he might free those that inflicted them from the scourge of the devil; he was "beaten with rods" that he might bring them under "the rod and the staff" of Christ; (Ps. xxiii. 4.) he "was stoned," that he might deliver them from the senseless stones; he "was in the wilderness(3), that he might take them out of the wilderness; "in journeying," to stay their wanderings and open the way that leadeth to heaven; he "was in perils in the cities," that he might show the city which is above; "in hunger and thirst," to deliver from a more grievous hunger; "in nakedness," to clothe their unseemliness with the robe of Christ; set upon by the mob, to extricate them from the besetment of fiends; he burned, that he might quench the burning darts of the devil: "through a window was let down from the wall," to send up from below those that lay prostrate upon the ground. Shall we then talk any more, seeing we do not so much as know what Paul suffered? shall we make mention an y more of goods, or even of wife, or city, or freedom, when we have seen him ten thousand times despising even life itself? The martyr dies once for all: but that blessed saint in his one body and one soul endured so many perils as were enough to disturb even a soul of adamant; and what things all the saints together have suffered in so many bodies, those all he himself endured in one: he entered into the world as if a race-course, and stripped himself of all, and so made a noble stand. For he knew the fiends that were wrestling with him. Wherefore also he shone forth brightly at once from the beginning, from the very starting-post, and even to the end he continued the same; yea, rather he even increased the intensity of his pursuit as he drew nearer to the prize. And what surely is wonderful is that though suffering and doing such great things, he knew how to maintain an exceeding modesty. For when he was driven upon the necessity of relating his own good deeds, he ran quickly over them all; although he might have filled books without number, had he wished to unfold in detail(4) every thing he mentioned; if he had specified the Churches he was in care for, if his prisons and his achievments in them, if of the other things one by one, the besetments(5), the assaults. But he would not. Knowing then these things, let us also learn to be modest and not to glory at any time in wealth or other worldly things, but in the reproaches we suffer for Christ's sake, and in these, only when need compels; for if there be nothing urging it, let us not mention these even, (lest we be puffed up,) but our sins only. For so shall we both easily be released from them and shall have God propitious to us, and shall attain the life to come; 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, might, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

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