1 We then not only beseech, but as fellow - labourers with
you, who are working out your own salvation, do also exhort you, not to
receive the grace of God - Which we have been now describing. In vain -
We receive it by faith; and not in vain, if we add to this, persevering
2 For he saith - The sense is, As of old there was a particular time
wherein God was pleased to pour out his peculiar blessing, so there is
now. And this is the particular time: this is a time of peculiar blessing.
3 Giving, as far as in us lies, no offence, that the ministry be not
blamed on our account.
4 But approving ourselves as the ministers of God - Such as his ministers
ought to be. In much patience - Shown,
In afflictions, necessities, distresses - All which are general terms.
In stripes, imprisonments, tumults - Which are particular sorts of
affliction, necessity, distress
In labours, watchings, fastings - Voluntarily endured.
All these are expressed in the plural number, to denote a variety of
them. In afflictions, several ways to escape may appear, though none without
difficulty in necessities, one only, and that a difficult one; in distresses,
none at all appears.
5 In tumults - The Greek word implies such attacks as a man cannot stand
against, but which bear him hither and thither by violence.
6 By prudence - Spiritual divine; not what the world terms so. Worldly
prudence is the practical use of worldly wisdom: divine prudence is the
due exercise of grace, making spiritual understanding go as far as possible.
By love unfeigned - The chief fruit of the Spirit.
7 By the convincing and converting power of God - Accompanying his word;
and also attesting it by divers miracles. By the armour of righteousness
on the right hand and the left - That is, on all sides; the panoply or
whole armour of God.
8 By honour and dishonour - When we are present. By evil report and
good report - When we are absent. Who could bear honour and good report,
were it not balanced by dishonour? As deceivers - Artful, designing men.
So the world represents all true ministers of Christ. Yet true - Upright,
sincere, in the sight of God.
9 As unknown - For the world knoweth us not, as it knew him not. Yet
well known - To God, and to those who are the seals of our ministry. As
dying, yet behold - Suddenly, unexpectedly, God interposes, and we live.
10 As sorrowing - For our own manifold imperfections, and for the sins
and sufferings of our brethren. Yet always rejoicing - In present peace,
love, power, and a sure hope of future glory. As having nothing, yet possessing
all things - For all things are ours, if we are Christ's. What a magnificence
of thought is this!