Imatges de pÓgina
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TEXT.

17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.

PARAPHRASE.

17 my service in the gospel is well-pleasing to God. For I am not, as several are, who are hucksters of the word of God, preaching it for gain; but I preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, in sincerity. I speak, as from God himself, and I deliver it, as in the presence of God.

NOTE.

17 • This, I think, may be understood of the false apostle.

SECT. II. N°. 3.

CHAP. III. 1.-VII. 16.

CONTENTS.

HIS speaking well of himself (as he did sometimes in his first epistle, and, with much more freedom, in this, which, as it seems, had been objected to him, amongst the corinthians) his plainness of speech, and his sincerity in preaching the gospel, are the things, which he chiefly justifies, in this section, many ways. We shall observe his arguments, as they come in the order of St. Paul's discourse, in which are mingled, with great insinuation, many expressions of an overflowing kindness to the corinthians, not without some exhortations to them.

TEXT.

1 DO we begin, again, to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation, to you, or letters of commendation, from you?

2 Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all

men:

3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.

4 And such trust have we, through Christ, to Godward.

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PARAPHRASE.

Do I begin again to commend myself; or need I, as 2 some, commendatory letters to, or from you? You are my commendatory epistle, written in my heart, known 3 and read by all men. I need no other commendatory letter, but that you being manifested to be the commendatory epistle of Christ, written on my behalf; not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone, but of the heart, whereof I was the amanuensis; i.e. your conversation was the effect of my ministry. 4 And this so great confidence have I, through Christ, in

NOTES.

1 This is a plain indication, that he had been blained, amongst them, for commending himself.

Seems to intimate, that their false apostle had got himself recommended to them, by letters, and so had introduced himself into that church.

3. The sense of St. Paul, in this third verse, is plainly this: that he needed no letters of commendation to them; but that their conversion, and the gospel, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of God, in the tables of their hearts, and not in tables of stone, by his ministry, was as clear an evidence and testimony to them, of his mission from Christ, as the law, writ in tables of stone, was an evidence of Moses's mission; so that he, St. Paul, needed no other recommendation: this is what is to be understood by this verse, unless we will make the tables of stone" to have no signification here. But to say, as he does, that the corinthians, being writ upon, in their hearts, not with ink, but with the Spirit of God, by the hand of St. Paul, was Christ's commendatory letter of him, being a pretty bold expression, liable to the exception of the captious part of the corinthians, he, to obviate all imputation of vanity, or vain glory, herein immediately subjoins what follows in the next verse.

4d As if he had said, But mistake me not, as if I boasted of myself: "this so great boasting, that I use, is only my confidence in God, through "Christ: for it was God, that made me a minister of the gospel, that be"stowed on me the ability for it; and whatever I perform in it is wholly " from him."

TEXT.

5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think any thing, as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God:

6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

7 But if the ministration of death written and ingraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away;

PARAPHRASE.

5 God. Not as if I were sufficient of myself to reckon upon any thing, as of myself; but my sufficiency, my 6 ability, to perform any thing, is wholly from God: Who has fitted and enabled me to be a minister of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the 7 letter kills, but the spirit gives life. But, if the ministry of the law written in stone, which condemns to death, were so glorious to Moses, that his face shone so, that the children of Israel could not steadily behold the bright

NOTES.

5 Пeroidnois, " trust," ver. 4, a milder term for "boasting," for so St. Paul uses it, chap. x. 7, compared with ver. 8, where also 2y.iobw, ver. 7, is used, as here, for counting upon one's self; St. Paul also uses olas, for "thou boastest," Rom. ii. 19, which will appear, if compared with ver. 17; or if acylcaoba, shall rather be thought to signify here to discover by reasoning, then the apostle's sense will run thus: "Not as if I were sufficient of "myself, by the strength of my own natural parts, to attain the knowledge of "the gospel truths, that I preach; but my ability herein is all from God." But, in whatever sense 20yioaoba is here taken, it is certain rì, which is translated "any thing," must be limited to the subject in hand, viz. the gospel, that he preached to them.

6 5 Oi yampal, áîñà avεúμato, "not of the letter, but of the spirit." By expressing himself, as he does here, St. Paul may be understood to intimate, that the New Testament, or covenant," was also, though obscurely, held forth in the law: For he says, he was constituted a minister, VEÚμATO, "of "the spirit," or spiritual meaning of the law, which was Christ, (as he tells us himself, ver. 17.) and giveth life, whilst the letter killeth. But both letter and spirit must be understood of the same thing, viz. "the letter of the law, "and the spirit of the law." And, in fact, we find St. Paul truly a minister of the spirit of the law; especially in his epistle to the Hebrews, where he shows what a spiritual sense ran through the mosaical institution and writings.

"The letter kills," i. e. pronouncing death, without any way of remission, on all transgressors, leaves them under an irrevocable sentence of death. But the Spirit, ie. Christ, ver. 17, who is a quickening Spirit, 1 Cor. xv. 45, giveth life.

TEXT.

8 How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

10 For even that, which was made glorious, had no glory, in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

11 For, if that which is done away was glorious, much more that, which remaineth, is glorious.

PARAPHRASE.

ness of it, which was but temporary, and was quickly to 8 vanish; How can it be otherwise, but that the ministry of the Spirit, which giveth life, should coufer more glory 9 and lustre on the ministers of the gospel? For, if the ministration of condemnation were glory, the ministry of justification', in the gospel, doth certainly much more 10 exceed in glory. Though even the glory, that Moses's ministration had, was no glory, in comparison of the far 11 more excelling glory of the gospel-ministry. Farther, if that which is temporary, and to be done away, were

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NOTES.

Kalapyaμímu," done away," is applied here to the shining of Moses's face, and to the law, ver. 11 and 13. In all which places it is used in the present tense, and has the signification of an adjective, standing for temporary, or of a duration, whose end was determined; and is opposed to T MÉVORI, "that which remaineth," i. e. that which is lasting, and hath no predetermined end set to it, as ver. 11, where the gospel dispensation is called rò μéros, "that which remaineth." This may help us to understand ἀπὸ δόξης εἰς δόξαι, ver. 18, "from glory to glory," which is manifestly opposed to den xaτapγεμένη, "the glory done away," of this verse; and so plainly signifies a continued, lasting glory of the ministers of the gospel; which, as he tells us there, consisted in their being changed into the image and clear representation of the Lord himself; as the glory of Moses consisted in the transitory brightness of his face, which was a faint reflection of the glory of God, appearing to him in

the mount.

9 i Diaxoría tus dixatosus, "the ministration of righteousness;" so the ministry of the gospel is called, because, by the gospel, a way is provided for the justification of those, who have transgressed; but the law has nothing but rigid condemnation for all transgressors; and, therefore, is called here," the "ministration of condemnation."

10k Though the showing, that the ministry of the gospel is more glorious, than that of the law, but what St. Paul is here upon, thereby to justify himself, if he has assumed some authority and commendation to himself, in his ministry, and apostleship; yet in his thus industriously placing the ministry of the gospel, in honour, above that of Moses, may he not possibly have an eye to the judaizing, false apostle of the corinthians, to let them see, what little regard was to be had to that ministration, in comparison of the ministry of the gospel?

TEXT.

12 Seeing then, that we have such hope, we use great plaimess of

speech.

13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.

PARAPHRASE.

delivered with glory, how much rather is that, which remains, without being done away, to appear in glory1? 12 Wherefore, having such hope", we use great freedom 13 and plainness of speech. And not as Moses, who put

a veil over his face, do we veil the light; so that the obscurity of what we deliver should hinder" the children

NOTES.

11 Here St. Paul mentions another pre-eminency and superiority of glory, in the gospel, over the law; viz. that the law was to cease, and to be abolished: but the gospel to remain, and never be abolished.

12 m Such hope:" that St. Paul, by these words, means the so honourable employment of an apostle and minister of the gospel, or the glory, belonging to his ministry, in the gospel, is evident, by the whole foregoing comparison, which he has made, which is all along between diazovía, "the mi"nistry" of the law and of the gospel, and not between the law and the gospel themselves. The calling of it "hope," instead of glory, here, where he speaks of his having of it, is the language of modesty, which more particularly suited his present purpose. For the conclusion, which, in this verse, he draws from what went before, plainly shows the apostle's design, in this discourse, to be the justifying his speaking freely of himself and others; his argument amounting to thus much:

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"Having, therefore, so honourable an employment, as is the ministry of the "gospel, which far exceeds the ministry of the law in glory; though even that gave so great a lustre to Moses's face, that the children of Israel could not "with fixed eyes look upon him: I, as becomes one of such hopes, in such a post as sets me above all mean considerations and compliances, use great free"dom and plainness of speech, in all things that concern my ministry."

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13 a Пpostò un atεrical, &c. "That the children of Israel could not "stedfastly look," &c. St. Paul is here justifying in himself, and other ministers of the gospel, the plainness and openness of their preaching, which he had asserted, in the immediately preceding verse. These words, therefore, here, must of necessity be understood, not of Moses, but of the ministers of the gospel: viz. that it was not the obscurity of their preaching, not any thing veiled, in their way of proposing the gospel, which was the cause, why the children of Israel did not understand the law to the bottom, and see Christ, the end of it, in the writings of Moses. What St. Paul says, in the next verse," But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same "veil untaken away," plainly determines the words, we are upon, to the sense I have taken them in: for what sense is this? "Moses put a veil over "his face, so that the children of Israel could not see the end of the law; but "their minds were blinded; for the veil remains upon them, until this day." But this is very good sense, and to St. Paul's purpose, viz. "We, the ministers "of the gospel, speak plainly and openly, and put no veil upon ourselves, as

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