THE SECOND EPISTLE
I. PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Timothy the brother, to the congregation of God which
2 is at Corinth, together with all the saints who are in all Achaia. Favour be to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
4 the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who comforteth us in all our affliction, to the end that we may be able to comfort them who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted by God.
£ Because in proportion as the sufferings of the Christ
6 abound towards us, so by means of Christ our consolation also aboundeth; and whether we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectually wrought out by a patient enduring of the same sufferings which we suffer; or
7 if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation; therefore our hope of you is stedfast, as we know, that as
8 you are partakers of the sufferings, so will you be also of the consolation. For we do not, brethren, wish you to be ignorant with respect to that affliction of ours which befel us in
9 Asia—that we were exceedingly pressed beyond our strength, so that we had indeed no hopes of life; but had in ourselves the sentence of death, that we might not trust in ourselves,
10 but in God who raiseth the dead, who delivered us from so
11 great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will still deliver us, you joining the assistance of your prayers for us, that the favour granted to us for the sake of many may
12 be acknowledged by many with thanksgiving on our behalf. For this is the matter of our boasting—the testimony of our conscience, that with simplicity and godly sincerity, not with carnal wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have conducted
13 ourselves in the world, and more especially towards you. For
14 we write nothing to you but what you clearly understand or have acknowledged, and will, I hope, even to the end acknowledge, as some of you have acknowledged us, that we are
15 your boast, as you indeed will be ours, in the day of the Lord
16 Jesus. And in this confidence I purposed to come to you first, that you might have a second benefit; and through you to proceed on to Macedonia, and from Macedonia to come to you
17 again, and be by you forwarded on to Judea. Did I then, in purposing this, use fickleness? Or what I purpose do I pur-
18 pose according to the flesh, so that with me there>may be the yes, yes; and the no, no? Now as God is faithful, our word to
19 you was not yes and no. For the Son of God, [namely] Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed among you by us f_namelyj by me, and Silvanus, and Timothy, was not yes and no; but by
20 him hath been made yes. For all the promises of God are in him yes, and in him Amen, for glory to God through us.
21 Now, he who keepeth us together with you firm for Christ,
22 and anointed us, is God, who hath sealed us, and given us the
23 earnest of the spirit in our hearts; and I appeal to God, as a witness on my life, that with a view to spare you I have not
24 yet come to Corinth: not that we have dominion over your II. faith; but are joint promoters of your joy; for in this faith
you have continued; but I determined this with myself, that
2 my coming again should not be the occasion of grief to you. For if I grieve you, who is there to gladden me? None, but
3 he whom I hive made sorrowful: and I wrote to you for this 'very purpose, that, when I come, I may not have grief on account of them for whom I ought to rejoice; as I have a confi-
4 dence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For in great affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears—not that you should be grieved, but that you might
Vol. iv. ss
o know that overflowing love which I have for you. Now if any one hath occasioned grief, he hath grieved me only as a partner in it; that I may not continue a burden on you all; suffi-
6 cient for such a one is the censure which hath been passed by
7 the majority ; so that, on the contrary, I rather wish you to forgive and comfort him, that such a one may not be over-
8 whelmed with an excess of sorrow. Therefore I intreat you
9 to authorise love for him. For this was one purpose of my writing, that 1 might have this proof of you, whether you arc
10 obedient in all things. And to whomsoever you forgive any thing, I do so too. For with regard to myself, if I have forgiven any one whatever any thing, I have forgiven him for
11 your sakes, in the presence of Christ, that Satan may not get an advantage over us, for we are not ignorant of his devices.
12 Now when I came to Troas for the purpose of proclaiming the glad tidings of the Christ, though the Lord opened a
13 door for me, I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find my brother Titus ; but taking leave of them, I set out for Ma-
14 ccclonui. But thanks be to God who causeth us always to triumph in the Christ, and who manifesteth by us, in every place,
15 the odour of the knowledge of him. Because we are for God a strong odour of the Christ among them who are saved, and
16 among them who perish (to these indeed an odour of death for death, but to those an odour of life for life) who therefore
17 is sufficient for this ? For we do not like the many, adulterate the word of God, but as men of sincerity, but as men of God, in the presence of God in Christ we speak.
III. "Are we beginning again ta commend ourselves to you ? Do ive only want, like certain persons, commendatory letters to
2 you, or letters of recommendation from you?*" You yourselves are our letter. It hath been written in our hearts ; it is
3 known and read by all men. "You are shewn publickly because you are the letter of Christ which we make use of. It is written, not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God; not on
4 tables of stone, but on fleshly tables of the heart. Such is'the
# These, it is presumed, were reflections cast upon the apostle by his opposers.
«onfidencc which we have through Christ in regard to God;
5 not that we are of ourselves sufficient to reckon any thing as proceeding from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God,
6 who hath qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant; not of letter but of spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit
7 giveth life. (Now if the ministration of death engraven in letters, on stones, was attended with such glory, that the children of Israel could not look steadily on the face of Moses, because
8 of the temporary glory of his countenance ; shall not the mi-
9 nistration of the spirit be much more attended with glory ? For if that ministration of condemnation was attended with glory, much more doth this ministration of justification abound in
10 glory. For that indeed which was glorious, is in this respect
11 not glorious because of this super-excellent glory. For if that which was temporary was with glory, much more shall this
12 which is permanent be attended with glory. Having therefore such a hope, we use great plainness of speech, and do not [act]
13 as Moses. He put a veil on his face, that the children of Israel might not look stedfastly to the end of that which is abolished.
14 Their minds were indeed blinded, for even to this day that very veil at the reading of the old covenant remaineth. That
15 which is abolished by Christ is not unveiled, but even at this day
16 when Moses is read there is a veil upon their heart, but when ever it shall turn to the Lord that veil will be taken away.)
17 Now the Lord is the spirit? And where the spirit of the Lord ,
18 is, there is liberty ; and we all with an unveiled face viewing, as in a mirrour, the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord of spirit.*
IV. Having therefore this ministration, as we have obtained
2 mercy, we do not falter, but have renounced the secrets of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor dealing deceitfully with the word of God, but by the clear manifestation of the truth recommending ourselves to every man's conscience in the
3 sight of God. If then these glad tidings of ours are veiled,
* In order "to undeAtand this it is necessary to keep in mind what is said in verse 6, 7* that he Avus qualified to be a minister of a new covenant not of letter, but of spirit.
4 they are veiled by those perishing things, with which the god of this world* hath blinded the minds of the disbelieving, that the splendour of the glad tidings of the glory of the Christ,
5 who is an image of God, may not shine upon them. For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
6 Because it is God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who hath shined in our hearts, to give a lustre of
7 the knowledge of the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ; and we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the
8 excellence of the power may belong to God and not be from, us ; we are pressed on every side, but not utterly crushed ;
9 perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not quite for-
10 saken ; cast down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus
11 may be manifested in this body of ours. For we, who are living, are continually delivered up to death on the account of Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in this frail flesh
12 of ours. So that death is operative in us, and life in you. But
13 having the same spirit of belief as is mentioned in this portion
14 of scripture, "/ believed, therefore I spake,f" we also believe and therefore we speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord JesuSj will raise us also by Jesus and present us with you.
15 For all this is for your sakes that the superabounding favour may make thanksgiving by many redound the more to the glory of God.
16 For this cause we do not faint: nay though this outer man
17 of ours is wasted, yet the inner is renewed day by day. For this momentary and light affliction of ours is working out for us an eternal weight of glory, great beyond expression, while we are aiming not at things seen, but at things unseen; for the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are eter-
V. nal. For we know that when the earthly house of this
dwelling of ours is dissolved, we have a building of God, a
2 hoifse not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens. For
in this we groan, wishing earnestly to clothe ouiselves with 3 that house of ours—that heavenly habitation; for having indeed
*This may be he who is called, Mammon. + Ps. 116, 1O.
4 that on, we shall not lie found naked. For truly we who are in this dwelling do groan, being loaded with a burden, for which we do not wish to unclothe ourselves, but to clothe ourselves, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by
5 life. Now it is God who hath worked us up to this, and
6 who hath indeed given us the earnest of the spirit. Therefore we are always undaunted, (as we know that while we are dwelling in this body we arc sojourning abroad from the
7 Lord; for we walk by faith and not by sight;) and go on
8 undaunted (as we think it better for us to be abroad from the
9 body and at home with the Lord;) and therefore make it the height of our ambition, whether staying or going, to be well
10 pleasing to him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of the Christ, that every one may receive according to what he hath done in this bodily state, whether good or evil.
11 Knowing'therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men, and are open to the view of God, and I hope that we have
12 been open also to your conscience. For we are not "commending ourselves again to you" but are giving you an occasion of boasting on our behalf, that you may make use of it before those who boast in outward appearance and not in heart.
13 For if we have been transported beyond ourselves it is to God;
14 and if we are sober, it is for you. For the lov* of the Christ urgeth us on, judging this, that if one died for all then indeed
15 were they all dying, and that he died for all to the end that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for
16 him who died and was raised up for them. So that henceforth we know no one after the flesh. Nay though we indeed knew
17 Christ after the flesh, yet we now know him so no more. So that if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things are passed away, behold! all those things are made new.
18 And all this is of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given us the ministry of this reconci-
19 Hation. J3o because God was in Christ reconciling a world to himself, not reckoning to them their transgressions, and hath committed to us the word of this reconciliation, we therefore
20 as ambassadors for Christ; as if God were exhorting by us,
we, in behalf of Christ, intreat, "Be reconciled* to God; for .21 he hath made him who knew no sin, a sin offering for us, that VI. by him we may be made the righteousness of God; and cooperating with him, we also exhort you that it may not be in vain
2 that you have received this favour of God. For he saith,
"In an acceptable time I have hearkened to thee,
And in a day of salvation helped thee.' 'f
3 "Behold now is an acceptable time ! Behold now is a day of salvation;'1'' [and this we do] giving no offence in any thing
4 that the office may not be blamed; but approving ourselves in every respect as ministers of God, by great constancy in afflic-
5 tions, in distresses, in straits, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tu-
6 mults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, in purity, in knowledge, in long suffering, in gentleness, in a holy spirit, in undis-
7 sembled love, in the word of truth, in the power of God, with the armour of righteousness on the right and left, in honour
8 and dishonour, in evil report and good report, as deceivers, though we are true; as unknown, though well known; as dy-
9 ing, though behold we live; as chastened, yet not put to
10 death; as sorrowful, yet still rejoicing; as poor, yet enriching many; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.
11 O Corinthians! Our mouth is opened to you; our heart is
12 enlarged. You are not straightened by us, but you are straight -
13 ened by your own affections. Now in return, I speak as to
14 children, Be ye also enlarged. Form no associations with unbelievers; for what fellowship is there between righteousness and unrighteousness? What communion hath light with dark-
15 ness? What concord hath Christ with Beiiai? or what portion
16 hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God hath said, " Because I will dwell among them and walk about among them, and will be their God,
17 and they shall be my people; | therefore come out from among them and separate yourselves, saith the Lord, and touch no
* This seems to be a specimen of his preaching to the unconverted, Jews or Gentiles. * f Es. 49. 8. \ Levit. 26.12.
18 unclean thing, and I will receive you, and be to you a father, and you shall be my,sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.*"
VII. Having therefore, beloved, these promises, let us purify ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Receive us cordially. We have injured no one; we have
3 corrupted no one; we have defrauded no one. I do not speak to condemn you; for I have said before that you are in our
4 hearts, to die together, and to live together. I use great freedom of speech to you. I have great boasting with regard to you. I am filled with comfort. I superabound with joy in all our afflic-
5 tion. For- when we arrived in Macedonia our flesh had no
6 rest, but we were afflicted every way. Without were fightings; within, fears. But God who comforteth them who are cast
7 down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; not barely however by his coming, but by the consolation with which he was comforted on your account, when he informed us of your
8 longing desire, your bitter sorrow, your zeal for me; so that I was the more rejoiced; because if I grieved you by that letter, I have no cause to regret, though I did regret; for I find that that letter, though suitable to the occasion, made you sorry.
9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were affected with a sorrow which led to a reformation. For you were affected with a godly sorrow, that you might in
10 no wise receive damage from us. For godly sorrow operateth to produce a reformation for salvation, never to be repented
11 of; but the sorrow of this world worketh death. For behold! this very thing—your being affected with a godly sorrow, what solicitude it hath wrought in you! nay, what apologies! what indignation! what fear! what longing desire! what zeal! what avengement! By your whole conduct you have shewn
12 yourselves to be clear in this matter. Now though I indeed wrote to you, it was not on the account of him who had done the injury, nor of him who was injured, but that our solicitude,
. which we have/or you, might be made manifest to you in
* Jer. 31. 33, and ch. 32. 37, &c. 2 Sam 7. 8, and 14.
13 the presence of God. We were therefore comforted for your comfort, and rejoiced the more exceedingly at the joy of Ti-
14 tus; because his spirit was refreshed by you all; so that if I boasted of you to him, I was not shamed; but as we spake all things to you with truth, so also our boast which we made
15 to Titus hath been verified; and his affection for you increas- eth more abundantly on recollecting the obedience of you
16 all, how you received him with fear and trembling. I rejoice therefore that I can wholly confide in you.
VIII. We now, brethren, make known to you, the bounty of God which hath been granted by the congregations of Ma-
2 cedonia, that in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy, though their poverty was very great, abounded
3 for the richness of their liberality—that to the utmost of their ability, I bear them witness, nay, beyond their
4 ability, they were of themselves forward, beseeching us with much intreaty to receive this bounty, and take a share with
5 others in the office of distributing it to the saints, not indeed as if we had expected this; but they gave themselves first to
6 the Lord, then to us by the will of God, so as to induce us to exhort Titus, as he had begun, to continue on and com-
7 plete this bounty among you; that, as you abound in every thing—in belief, and doctrine, and knowledge, and in all ear-
8 nestness even in your love for us, you might abound also in this bounty. I do not say this by way of command, but am,
9 during the exertion of others, proving the genuineness of your love. For you know the bounty of our Lord Jesus Christ, that rich as he was, he for your sakes became poor, that
10 through his poverty you might become rich. And I give you my opinion on this occasion, for this is becoming of you who took the lead, not only in doing, but even in forming the
11 design above a year ago. Now therefore compleat the doing, that the performance with what you have, may be answcra-
12 ble to the readiness with which you undertook it. For if there be a willingness, a person is accepted according to what he
13 hath; not according to what he hath not. For it js not the
14 design that others should be eased, and you burdened; but for the sake of equality your abundance at this time should supply their want; in order that their abundance may supply
15 your want, so that there may be an equality. As it is written, He Who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little did not fall short."*
16 Now thanks be to God, who putteth the same earnestness
17 for you in the heart of Titus. For he indeed received an exhortation, but from an extraordinary earnestness he was going
18 to you of his own accord. Now with him we have sent the
19 brother whose praise is by the gospel throughout all the con- gregations. And not only so, but he hath been chosen by the congregations to accompany us with this bounty; the distribu-
20 tion of which we have undertaken for the glory of the Lord
21 and your readiness, using this precaution that none may blame us in the distribution of this large sum; being careful to conduct ourselves well, not only in the sight of the Lord,
22 but also in the sight of men. And with them we have sent that brother of ours whose diligence in many affairs we have many a time experienced, and who is now more than ordinarily intent on this from the great confidence which he hath in you.
23 Now with regard to Titus, he is my partner and fellow labourer for you; and as for our brethren, they are messengers
24 of congregations, a glory of Christ. Display therefore for them, and for the view of these congregations, the demonstration of
IX. your love, and of our boasting on your behalf. For with regard to the contribution itself, which is for the saints,
2 it is superfluous for me to write to you. For I know the forwardness of your minds, and boast of it on your behalf to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago. And this zeal
3 of yours hath been a spur to the multitude. Now I have sent these brethren, that this boast of ours on your behalf may it
I in this instance, be vain—that, as I said, you may be ready prepared; lest if some Macedonians should come with me and
5 find you unprepared, we, not to say you, may be put to the blush for this confident boasting. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort these brethren to go before to you, and to get your bounty, of which you had given previous notice, completed before hand, that so it may be ready as a
* Ex. 16. 18.
VOL. IV. Tt
6 bounty, not as an extorted gift. Now considering this, that he who soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly, and that he who
7 soweth bountifully will reap bountifully, let every one give as he is predisposed in his heart, not with regret, nor reluct-
8 ance; for God loveth a cheerful giver: and God is able to mak every bounty redound to your advantage.
That you having always a sufficiency in every thing, may
9 abound to every good work, (as it is written, "He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor, his righteousness shall endure for-
10 ever;*" and may He who furnisheth abundantly seed for the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply your seed, and
11 increase the products of your righteousness!) you are enriched in every thing for every act of bounty, which operateth through us to produce thanksgiving to God.
12 Because the distribution of this religious offering not only supplieth the wants of the saints, but also superaboundeth with
13 many thanksgivings to God—(by the experience of this distribution they glorify God for your avowed subjection to the glad tidings of the Christ;) therefore, for the liberality of this con-
14 tribution for them and for all; and for the supplication which is made for you by them who love you on account of the su-
15 pereminent favour of God for you, thanks be to God for this his unspeakable gift.
X. Now I Paul myself exhort you by the meekness and gentleness of the Christ, (I "who when present am indeed lately
2 among you, but being absent am bold towards yowf") and I pray this, that I may not when I am present presume upon that confidence, with which I lay my account to act boldly against some who reckon us as walking after the flesh. For walking
3 in flesh, not after the flesh, we are carrying on a war (the wea-
4 pons of our warfare being indeed not carnal but mighty- through God for the demolition of fortifications) demolishing
5 surmises and every mount raised against the knowledge of God, and bringing every sentiment captive to the obedience
* Ps. 112. 9. fThis which I have marked as a quotation, I take to be a reflection thrown upon him by his opponents at Corinth, and in v. 10, a continuation of it.
j of the Christ; and being in a state of readiness to punish every act of disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
r Consider what is before you. If any one is confident in himself that he is Christ's; let him again reckon this from himself, that as he himself is Christ's, so we also belong to
8 Christ. For though I should boast even somewhat more qf this power of ours, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I shall not be put to shame.
9 In order that I may not seem as if I would terrify you by
0 my letters, ("For his letters, saith one, are indeed weighty and
1 strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his words con- temptible,") let such a one reckon upon this, that such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will actually be in deed when we are present. For we do not presume
2 to rank or compare ourselves with some of them who commend themselves, but are not aware that they are measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with
3 themselves. As for us we will not boast of things not measured out to us; but according to the measure of the rule of measure which God measured out to us to have come even to
14 you; for we did not stretch ourselves out beyond bounds as not reaching yon; for even to you we came the first with the
15 glad tidings of the Christ; not into what were not measured
16 out to us, boasting in other men's labours; but having a hope, on your faith being increased, to be by you farther enlarged, according to our .allotment to publish the good tidings in the
H regions beyond you ; not in another's allotment—in places ready prepared, for the sake of boasting. But let him who boastcth, boast in the Lord. For it is not he who commend- ethhimself, who is approved, but he whom the Lord commend- eth. I- I wish you would bear with me a little in this folly. Do
2 but bear with me; for I am jealous of you with a godly jealousy. For I fitted you for one husband only, that 1 might prc-
3 sent you as a chaste virgin to the Christ; but I am afraid lest by some means as the serpent by his subtilty deceived Eve,
4 so your affections should be corrupted from their singleness for the Christ. For if indeed he who cometh, proclaimeth another Jesus, whom we have not proclaimed; or if you receive another spirit which you have not received, or other glad
5 tidings than what you have accepted, you did well in bearing.
6 For I reckon that I am not a whit behind the chiefest apostles; and though I am but Rude in speech, yet I am not in knowledge: but in every respect we have been manifested to you in all things.
7 Did I commit a fault in abasing myself that you might be exalted, because I proclaimed the glad tidings of God to you
8 gratis? I took spoil of other congregations, having received
9 Wages for my attendance on you. Even when present with you, and in want, I was burthensome to no one; for the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied my want, so that -I
10 kept myself from being in any wise burthensome to you, and I will continue to do so. It is a truth of Christ in me that
11 this boasting shall not be stopped against me in the regions of
12 Achaia. Why? Because I do not love you? God knoweth that what I do and will do is that I may cut off the advantage of those who are wishing for an advantage—that in what they
13 boast, they may be found acting as we do: For such as they
14 are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. Nor is this to be wondered at; for Sa-
15 tan himself putteth on the appearance of an angel of light: No wonder, then, if his ministers transform themselves to appear like ministers of righteousness. But their end will be according to their works.
16 Again, I say, let not, a certain person think me a fool; but if he should, bear ye however with me as a fool, that I also may
17 boast a little. What I am going to say, I do not say according to the Lord, but as with folly on the subject of this boasting.
18 Since many boast after the flesh, let me also boast. For wise
19 as you are, you easily bear with fools; for you bear, if one en-
20 slavethyou; if one devoureth; if one receiveth; if one exalteth himself; if one openly insulteth you.
21 In regard to reproach; as, ''That we are il>eak"—I say
22 that on whatever any one can presume (I speak foolishly) I can do the same. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israel-
' 23 ites? So am I. Are they of the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (1 speak with an excess of folly) I am more so—more abundant in labours; far surpassing in
24 stripes; more frequent in imprisonments, often in deaths. Of the Jews I five times received forty stripes save one. Thrice
25 I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Thrice I have
26 been shipwrecked. In the deep I spent a \vhole night and day. On journeys I have been frequently in dangers from rivers; in dangers from robbers; in dangers from my country-
27 men; in dangers from foreign nations; in dangers in cities; in dangers in a wilderness; in dangers at sea; in dangers among false brethren: In toil and fatigue, in watchings many a time,
28 with hunger and thirst; in fastings many a time, with cold and nakedness. Beside these things from without, I have this disturbance daily crowding upon me—the anxious care of all
29 the congregations. Who is weak and I not weak? Who is
30 offended and I not inflamed? If I must boast, let me boast of
31 things regarding my weakness. The God and Father of our
32 Lord Jesus Christ—the self-existent, ever blessed being knoWeth that I do not lie. At Damascus the governor under
33 king Aretas posted guards in the city of the Damascenes, with a design to seize me, whereupon I was let down in a basket, through a window in the wall, and escaped his hands.
XII. To me indeed it is of no advantage to boast; for I will
2 come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ, that fourteen years ago such a one was suddenly conveyed to the third heaven, (whether in the body I do not
3 know or out of the body I do not know, God knoweth) and I
4 know that such a man was suddenly conveyed to paradise (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knoweth) and he heard unutterable things which it is out of
5 the power of man to express. For such a one I may boast,
6 but for my self-I will not boast, except of my infirmities. Though should I indeed have a mind to boast, I shall not be a fool; for I will speak truth. But I forbear, lest any should
7 ascribe to me beyond what he seeth me, or heareth of me. Indeed that 1 might not be too much elated by the astonishing greatness of these revelations, there was given me a thorn for the flesh, a messenger of satan to bufi'et me, that I might
8 not be too much elated. For this I besought the Lord thrice,
9 that it might depart from me. W hereupon he said to me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is perfected in weakness. Therefore I will with the greatest pleasure, rather
10 boast of my weaknesses, that the power of the Christ may shelter me. I feel therefore a complacency in weaknesses, in reproaches, in difficulties, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ; for when I am weak, then am I strong.
11 I am become a foolish boaster! you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you. For I am not a whit behind the chiefest apostles, although 1 am 110-
12 thing. The signs indeed of the apostle have been wrought
13 among you with all patience, with signs and wonders and miracles. For what instance is there of your being inferior to other congregations, unless it be this; that I have not been
14 burthensome to you? Forgive me this injury. Behold I am in preparation to come to you a third time, and I will not be burthensome to you. For* I seek not your possessions, but yourselves. For children are not bound to lay up treasures for the
15 parents, but the parents for the children. And as for me, I will, with the greatest pleasure, spend and be spent for your sakes, though the more I love you, the less I be beloved.
16 Now be it so that I did not burthen you, but being crafty I
17 took you in by artifice. Did I take an undue advantage ol you
18 by any of them whom I sent to you? I entreated Titus to go, and with him I sent the brother. Did Titus take any undue advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did
19 we not in the same steps? Do you think we are again making
20 apologies to you? In the presence of God we speak as in Christ. And all these things, beloved, are for your edification. For I am afraid lest when I come I shall not find you such as I wish, and that you will not find me such as you wish—lest should there be debates, envyings, animosities, strifes, backbitings,
21 whisperings, swellings and tumults,, my God humble me when I come to you again, and I cause many of those who have sinned, and have not begun a reformation, to grieve for the impurity, and fornication, and lusciviousness which they have committed.
XIII. This is the third time I am corning to you. By the mouth
2 of two or three witnesses every thing is to' be established. I
told you before, and I now again forewarn you, as if I were
present—being indeed absent, I now write to them who have
3 heretofore sinned, and to all the rest, that when I come again, I will not spare. Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking by
4 me, who is not weak towards you, but powerful among you: For though from weakness he was crucified, yet by the power of God he is alive, therefore though we are weak in him, yet
5 by the power of God we will be alive with him for you. Examine yourselves whether you be in the faith: prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless
6 you are somehow incapable of standing the test. Now I hope that you will know that we are not incapable of standing the
7 test. And my prayer to God is, that you may commit no evil —not that we may be shewn capable of standing the test, but that you may do what is right, and that we may be as if we
8 could not stand the test: for we can do nothing against the
9 truth but for the truth: for we rejoice when we are weak, and you are strong. And for this also we pray, namely the
10 restoration of you to perfect order. For this cause I, being absent, write these things; that when I am present I may not use severity, according to the power which the Lord hath given me for edification, and not for destruction.
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfectly in order. Be comforted. Have your minds bent on one and the same thing: Be at peace: and the God of love and peace be with you.
12 Salute one another with a holy kiss. All the saints salute you.
13 The favour of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the holy spirit be with you all. Amen.