10. Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
10. Propterea haec absens scribo: ne quum praesens fuero, rigidus sim iuxta potestatem, quam dedit mihi Dominus in aedificationem, et non in destructionem.
11. Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
11. Quod superest, fratres, valete, integri estote, consolationem habete, unanimes sitis, in pace agite: et Deus caritatis ac pacis erit vobiscum.
12. Greet one another with an holy kiss.
12. Salutate vos mutuo in osculo sancto.
13. All the saints salute you.
13. Salutant vos sacti omnes.
14. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
14. Gratia Domini Iesu Christi, et caritas Dei, et communicatio Spiritus sancti sit cum omnibus vobis. Amen.
The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.
Ad Corinthios secumda missa fuit a Philippis Macedoniae -- per Titum et Lucam.
10. According to the power In the first place, he arms the strictness of which he speaks, with the authority of God, that it may not appear to be thunder without lightning, or a rashly excited onset. Farther, he lets them know, that he would rather employ his power to another purpose, for which it was peculiarly designed -- the promoting of their edification. |I shall not rashly have recourse to cruel remedies, nor will I give indulgence to my passion, but will simply execute the commission that the Lord has given me.|
When he speaks of power given him for edification, and not for destruction, he employs these terms for a somewhat different purpose from what he had done previously in 2 Corinthians 10:8. For in that passage there was a commendation of the Gospel from the advantage it yields -- because what is for our advantage is wont to be agreeable, and is willingly received by us. Here, however, he simply means to declare, that although he might justly inflict upon the Corinthians a severe blow, yet it was much more his inclination to exercise his power for their advantage, than for their destruction -- the former being its proper design. For as the Gospel, in its own nature, is the power of God unto salvation, (Romans 1:16,) and an odor of life unto life, (2 Corinthians 2:15, 16,) but in a way of contingency, is an odor of death; so the authority, which is conferred upon the Ministers of it, ought to be salutary to the hearers. If, on the other hand, it turns out to their condemnation, that is contrary to its nature. The meaning, therefore, is this: |Do not, through your own fault, allow that to turn to your destruction, which God has appointed for salvation.| In the mean time, the Apostle admonishes all pastors by his example, in what manner they should limit the use of their power.
11. Finally, brethren He qualifies whatever there has been of sharpness throughout the whole of the epistle, as he did not wish to leave their minds in an exasperated state, but rather to soothe them. For then only are reproofs beneficial, when they are in a manner seasoned with honey, that the hearer may, if possible, receive them in an agreeable spirit. At the same time, he appears to turn from a few diseased persons to the entire Church. Hence he declares, that he aims at promoting its perfection, and desires its consolation.
To be of one mind, and to live in peace, are expressions which mean two different things; for the one takes its rise from the other. The former relates to agreement of sentiment; the latter denotes benevolence, and union of hearts.
And the God of peace This he adds, that his exhortation may have more weight with them, but, at the same time, he intimates that God will be with us, if we cultivate peace among ourselves; but that those that are at variance with each other are at a distance from him. For where there are strifes and contentions, there, it is certain, the devil reigns.
Now what agreement is there between light and darkness? (2 Corinthians 6.14.)
He calls him the God of peace and love, because he has recommended to us peace and love, because he loves them, and is the author of them. Of the kiss here mentioned we have spoken in the two preceding Epistles.
14. The grace of the Lord Jesus. He closes the Epistle with a prayer, which contains three clauses, in which the sum of our salvation consists. In the first place, he desires for them the grace of Christ; secondly, the love of God; and, thirdly, the communion of the Spirit The term grace does not here mean unmerited favor, but is taken by metonymy, to denote the whole benefit of redemption. The order, however, may appear to be here inverted, because the love of God is placed second, while it is the source of that grace, and hence it is first in order. I answer, that the arrangement of terms in the Scriptures is not always so very exact; but, at the same time, this order, too, corresponds with the common form of doctrine, which is contained in the Scriptures -- that
when we were enemies to God,
we were reconciled by the death of his Son, (Romans 5:10,)
though the Scripture is wont to speak of this in two ways. For it sometimes declares what I have quoted from Paul -- that there was enmity between us and God, before we were reconciled through Christ. On the other hand, we hear what John says -- that
God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, etc. (John 3:16.)
The statements are apparently opposite; but it is easy to reconcile them; because in the one case we look to God, and in the other to ourselves. For God, viewed in himself, loved us before the creation of the world, and redeemed us for no other reason than this -- because he loved us. As for us, on the other hand, as we see in ourselves nothing but occasion of wrath, that is, sin, we cannot apprehend any love of God towards us without a Mediator. Hence it is that, with respect to us, the beginning of love is from the grace of Christ. According to the former view of the matter, Paul would have expressed himself improperly, had he put the love of God before the grace of Christ, or, in other words, the cause before the effect; but according to the latter, it were a suitable arrangement to begin with the grace of Christ, which was the procuring cause of God's adopting us into the number of his sons, and honoring us with his love, whom previously he regarded with hatred and abhorrence on account of sin.
The fellowship of the Holy Spirit is added, because it is only under his guidance, that we come to possess Christ, and all his benefits. He seems, however, at the same time, to allude to the diversity of gifts, of which he had made mention elsewhere, (2 Corinthians 12:11;) because God does not give the Spirit to every one in a detached way, but distributes to each according to the measure of grace, that the members of the Church, by mutually participating, one with another, may cherish unity.