Restorative grace, according to the character and power of life in Christ, is the key-note of this epistle, and that accompanied by the deepest exercise of the heart under the disciplinary ways of God. If the Corinthians must learn it in a manner suited to their state, the apostle had to do so far more profoundly, that he might be enabled fittingly to carry on and complete the gracious work of humbling and self-judgment begun in them by his first epistle. The Lord called him to pass through the severest personal trial and suffering in order the more effectively to serve and sympathise with them, now that their state interpreted by love admitted of unreserved affection and its free expression to them. The influence of all this, as we may see, is very considerable on the style of his second letter, which abounds in the most rapid transitions and abrupt allusions, as he tells out for their profit his own affliction, and the faithfulness of God, intermingling experience, doctrine, comfort, and warning, most intimately; yet so far from confusion that all helps on the great aim of bringing home the lessons of grace to the annihilation of self-confidence or glorying in man.
"Paul, apostle of Jesus Christ* by God's will, and Timothy the brother to the assembly that is in Corinth, with all the saints that are in the whole of Achaia; grace to you and peace from God our Father and [our] Lord Jesus Christ."
* Χ Ἰ B M P, etc. Ἰ Χ as in Text. Rec., A D B G K L, the mass of cursives, and most ancient versions, etc.
The opening words of the second epistle naturally resemble those of the first, yet with well defined marks of difference. There is no repetition here of his calling to the apostolate, nor does he qualify the assembly at Corinth as sanctified in Christ Jesus, and saints by the analogous calling of God, which one cannot but judge intrinsically calculated and intended by grace to exercise their consciences in the then state of things in that city. Sosthenes was there graciously associated with the apostle, as one known to and probably of themselves, whom he could honour if they did not; as here we find Timothy from elsewhere, as to whose worthy reception by them the first epistle shows him solicitous. But in the first the apostle had joined the Corinthian church "with all that call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours," here "with all the saints that are in the whole of Achaia." It is clear that the first gives a far wider extension than the second, and leaves room for a profession which might not be real, as indeed the apostle evidently feared for the Corinthians themselves in both epistles, especially the first. But the direct force seems to be to embrace, in the express address, saints here or there in Achaia who might not be gathered into assemblies, or such as called on the Lord's name everywhere. As it was of moment that all these should know their heritage in the privileges given and revealed, and be kept from the snare of unbelief which denies their catholicity and continuance, so it was of moment that all the saints throughout Achaia should know and rejoice in the grace that had wrought restoratively in the Corinthian assembly, whatever might remain to be desired from the Lord. It was their common interest and profit for others as well as those immediately concerned. If one member suffer, all the members with it; and if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it. In both Epistles he could not but wish them characterised by "grace" the spring and by "peace" the effect of love above evil and need, flowing richly and freely "from God our Father and [our] Lord Jesus Christ," the source and the channel of every blessing, but here again associated with the desired grace and peace.
"Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, that comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those that are in any tribulation through the comfort into which we are comforted ourselves by God, because even as the sufferings of the Christ abound toward us, so through the Christ* aboundeth also our comfort. But, whether we are in tribulation, [it is] for your comfort and salvation, that worketh in endurance of the same sufferings which we also suffer (and our hope [is] stedfast for you);† or whether we are comforted, [it is] for your comfort and salvation, knowing that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also of the comfort." (Vers. 3-7.)
* Text. Rec. on very slight authority omits τοῦ
† Verse 6 is in a varied order in the MSS and edd. Text. Rec. puts καὶ ἡ ἐλπὶς β ὑπ ὑμ at the end, and τῆς ἐν κ τ λ after σωτηρίας which seems an unauthorised conjecture. Tisch. follows A C M, etc., in reading εἴτε δὲ θλ ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑπῶν π κ σ· εἴτε π ὑπὲρτ ἡμ π (omitting καὶ σ τῆσ ἐνεργ I follow B D F K L, etc., except that B. omits the first καὶ σωτηρίας
How striking the difference as compared with the opening of the first epistle! There he thanked his God, not indeed for the spiritual state of the Corinthian saints - very far from it, whatever some might but most unintelligently have inferred - but for their rich endowments. Now he can bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the grace which turns to account all our tribulation, designating Him the Father of compassions, and the God of all comfort. And surely if one adore such a God, that adoration is enhanced when one thus comes in contact with a heart (once how far from it till purified by faith!) which could thus welcome any and every trouble, be it the sorest, comforted by God so as to comfort those that were in any conceivable trouble through the comfort with which itself had been already comforted. It is well to look at the operation of grace in a man of like passions, and not only in the fulness and perfection of all, even in Christ Himself. And certainly, if Paul was remarkable for an energy of loving labour beyond every other, he was yet more so for the variety and greatness of what he suffered for Christ's name. So here he can speak of what he had just proved afresh. The sufferings of the Christ abounded towards us, as he says; so through Him did our comfort, he adds. His faith laid hold of the Lord's way and end, and applied it to his own circumstances, and the working of grace in the face of all. As love never fails, so all things work together for good. And whether we are in tribulation, it is for your comfort and salvation. Love interprets boldly and liberally. He had heard enough to cheer his spirit: "whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort and salvation, that worketh in endurance of the same sufferings which we also suffer." Far other were the sufferings of the Corinthian saints from his own. But grace delights in sharing all it can; and faith gives the highest character to whatever it can discern to be of God. In this spirit the apostle seems here to regard the sufferings of the saints at Corinth, and to hope the best results, "Knowing that as ye are partakers of the suffering, so also of the comfort."
The apostle now refers to the afflicting circumstances into which God had been pleased to bring him, in order the more deeply to teach, not merely him, but the Corinthians, and indeed all saints, His ways. The process is painful, no doubt, the profit immense to others as well as the soul itself, and this to God's glory. How good is the God we adore!
"For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, as to* our tribulation that came to pass† in Asia, that we were excessively pressed beyond power, so as to despair even of our living. But we ourselves have had in ourselves the sentence of death, that we should not have our trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and doth [or will]‡ deliver, in whom we have hope that he will also yet deliver, ye also labouring together by supplication for us that from many persons** the gift toward us may by many be matter of thanksgiving for us. For our boasting is this, the testimony of our conscience that in holiness†† and sincerity before God, not in carnal wisdom but in God's grace, we conducted ourselves in the world, and more abundantly towards you. For no other thing we write to you than what ye read, or even recognise, and I hope that ye will recognise unto the end, even as also ye recognised us in part that we are your boast, just as ye also are ours in the day of our‡‡ Lord Jesus." (Vers. 8-14.)
* περί A C D E F G P many cursives, etc., ὑπέρ Text. Rec. with B and most uncials and cursives.
† ἡμῖν Text. Rec. with most MSS, but the oldest and best authorities do not read "to us."
‡ ῥύσεται B C P, etc., with some of the best versions, ῥύεται Text. Rec. and most others, save A D, etc., which omit either.
** The Elz. ed. of 1633 without sense inserts τὸ before εὐχ The MSS and even edd. strangely interchange and ὑμῶν
†† ἁπλότητι is the reading of Text. Rec. with the mass, ἁγιότητι of the oldest.
‡‡ Text. Rec. with most omits ἡμῶν
Thus does God prove Himself rich in mercy, and this, not in conferring objective favour only in Christ, but in rendering His tried ones superior to all trouble, not by exempting those He loves from suffering and sorrow, but by giving the faith that accepts all at His hands with confidence in His love. Here we see, not the Holy One of God, who suffered as He was tempted to the uttermost, sin apart, and on the cross knew not sin indeed, but what it was for God to make Him sin; here we see a man of like passions with ourselves, strengthened with might in the inner man, and the outer crushed in every way, yet out of the eater meat coming forth, and out of the strong sweetness. Nor is this all. But he had to do, as we too, with One who knows how to order the tribulation so that its fruit, in divine consolation, should come out just at the right moment for the saints that needed succour and comfort. The apostle's mouth is opened to the Corinthians; his heart, which had been rebelled by their evil and hardness, has expanded. He can now speak freely of deliverance, that they too, humbled, if not humble, may hear and be glad, with him magnify the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, and exalt His name together. By the trouble that happened in proconsular Asia he had been pressed excessively beyond his power, so as to despair, as he says, even of living, but grace, as suits God always, wrought unfailingly. It was not by a providential intervention to screen the apostle from suffering, still less by a miracle which might confound the adversaries, but because he had abidingly the sentence of death in himself. This Job had not, and so his long struggle, as he writhed under his sorrows from without and within; to it, as far as could be, he was brought at the last before his deliverance and blessing came. The apostle bowed to it all along, and hence was above all that Satan could do, for he has no power beyond death, and was utterly baffled by the faith which accepted such a sentence,* and this "in ourselves, that we should not have our trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and doth, or will, deliver, in whom we have our hope that he will deliver." It is the power of the resurrection brought into the present, so as not to shrink from, but to retain, the sentence of death in himself. If Abraham learnt this in his last lesson of faith in Isaac (Heb_11:17-19), the apostle declares that he had it in himself. Such was to him the power of life in Christ, not ascetically, so as to exalt self after all, but finding strength in faith, giving glory to God, the perfect and unlimited deliverer. But his unburdened heart brings them in also as labouring together by supplication on his behalf that the gift of grace towards him by many persons may be matters of thanksgiving from many on his behalf. Thus would he by grace bind together, at whatever cost to self, the hearts of saints in thanksgiving for him, once in danger of wanton and utter alienation through the levity which exposed them to Satan's wiles. How far from Christ is independence, whether personal or ecclesiastical!
* I see no reason to doubt that not "answer" but "sentence," as Hesychius says, is the true meaning.
Yet is there nothing good, loving, or holy without God, to whom conscience, as well as the heart, purified by faith, and free, ever refers. Therefore does the apostle next turn to the ground and proof of spiritual integrity, though he writes for their sakes rather than his own. "For our boasting is this, the testimony of our conscience that in (simplicity, or rather) holiness and sincerity (literally of God, but in sense) before God, not in carnal wisdom, but in God's grace, we conducted ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you." He could the more boldly ask and count on their prayers from the persuasion that he had a good conscience as to his general conversation in the world, as before God, and especially as toward themselves. (See Heb. 13) He did not seek to conciliate men to and for himself, but as bent on pleasing God, he did not doubt that a conscience cleared in them would acknowledge a conscience void of offence in himself. Activity of self blinds the person, and genders bitter thoughts, especially of the one whose course morally condemns others; if the eye be single, on the contrary, the whole body is full of light, and love flows freely. "For no other things we write to you than what ye (well know, or) read, or even recognise, and I hope that ye will recognise unto the end, even as also ye recognised us in part that we are your boast, as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus."
Now that self-judgment had begun to work in the saints at Corinth, they would not fail to see the folly of taxing him with inconstancy, whose life as a saint and servant of God had been one of immovable firmness and unbending truth. There is much difference as to the force here of ἀναγινώσκετε Elsewhere in the New Testament the meaning, beyond controversy, is to "read," which very many hold to, like the Authorised translation; others, like Calvin, contend for "well know," which is rarely if over found save in poets. It is a question between what they might gather from his presence in their midst, or from his epistle. But he writes with the calm confidence of one before God, which fails not to tell on the conscience of saints wherever they feel freely, apart from the heat and bias of party; and as he had ground to trust that they had thus recognised him in part at least, so also he hoped that they would to the end own that he was their boast, even as they were his in the day of our Lord Jesus. It was good for all to anticipate that day.
The apostle now explains circumstances which some in Corinth were as quick to misunderstand as ready to turn to his advantage. He is free to explain now as things are, but he is more anxious to turn all to the account of Christ and the truth, and this in the truest interests of the saints.
"And with this confidence I was intending previously to come unto you, that ye might have a second favour,* and through you to pass into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come unto you, and by you to be sent forward into Judea. Having then this intention, did I, pray, use lightness? Or what I purpose,† do I purpose according to flesh, that with me may be the yea yea and the nay nay? Now God [is] faithful that our word that [was] unto you is‡ not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, that was preached among you by us, by me, and Silvanus, and Timothy, became not yea and nay, but is become yea in him. For as many as [are] God's promises, in him [is] the yea; wherefore also by him|| [is] the amen for glory to God by us." (Vers. 15-20.)
* χαράν the reading of B L etc., is not entitled to shake the common χάριν There is more question between the received ἔξητε or σχῆτε which last is supported by B C etc.
† For the vulgar βουλευόμενος the best MSS, etc., give βουλόμένος
‡ ἐγένετο Text. Rec. with later witnesses, but the earlier show ἔστιν
|| καὶ ἐν αὐτῳ Text. Rec. with some later authorities, but διὸ καὶ δἰ αὐτοῦ A B C F, etc.
The injurious impression, and even charge, of some at Corinth against the apostle was based on the slenderest appearances, and these severed from the action in him of power and love and a sound mind. How opposed to the Spirit were not such thoughts in them! The modification of his plans in not going before to visit them was as distinctly in subjection to the Lord, as his actual desire to see and help them. It was not dread of any there, still less was it from lack of moral purpose in himself. His heart was toward them in the large and holy activity of divine love. Blessed before to them, he sought that they might be favoured of the Lord again on his way to and from Macedonia for Judea; and their affectionate care in sending him on to the East he valued and counted on, His true motives he let them know afterwards. Those who yielded to such surmisings proved both their own bad state, and their ignorance of the apostle; for character and state are according to the object before the man. If it be Christ in love to His own, and even to man generally, the result follows in a walk according to God. This is to imitate God, and serve the Lord. If there be an absence of purpose on the one hand, or on the other a planning according to flesh, in either way self governs, and there could be for others no just ground of confidence. The man is as he loves, or loves not. He that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. He that lacks an object lacks character, and can only be frivolous and inconstant; he that seeks personal influence, power, honour, money, etc., is degraded according to what his heart is set on. What is of the flesh is worthless, and its purpose untrustworthy. In God only is continuance, and His Spirit alone works it in the heart and ways, where Christ displaces self as the object. For man otherwise is incapable of walking or serving according to God. He is either and evidently fickle, or his planning, however positive, is without God's guidance and strength.
Beautifully does he turn, in a spirit of grace, from their insinuations against himself to the doctrine he preached. "Now God [is] faithful, that our word that [was] unto you is not yea and nay." There is no shift of purpose, no uncertainty, in the gospel, whatever may be thought of the man. God Himself is pledged to it and concerned in it. His glory and His grace are not more bound up with it than His truth and righteousness. In the mighty work of redemption, all that God is shone out as nowhere else in past or future. There He vindicated His own nature in everlasting hatred of sin; there He demonstrated His love, rising above the worst evil of the creature. Did He compromise His word? He accomplished it, letter and spirit, to the full. Did He abandon His holiness? Never was His absolute separation from evil so manifested, nor His righteous judgment of it over so seen as then; yet then it was that every obstacle to the outflow of allovercoming grace toward sinners, whatever and wherever they might be, fell before the efficacy of the one offering and sacrifice of Christ. And as in the work which is its ground, so in the preaching, there is no inconsistency. On the contrary, every fact and thought, otherwise irreconcilable, are there brought into harmony. Our only absolute consistency is in Christ and His cross.
Here it will be observed that the apostle associates others with himself. For the grace and truth that came through Jesus Christ ever enlarges the heart, and gives enduring fellowship; and this appears still more clearly in what follows. "For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, that was preached among you by us, by me, and Silvanus, and Timothy, became not yea and nay, but is become yea in him." The glory of the person proclaimed answers to the certainty guaranteed. Doubt, difficulty, hesitation, or inconsistency can have no place in the Son of God, now the glorified Man, who suffered on the cross for the annulling of sin; and the apostle and his companions know and preached no other doctrine. As the truth is one, and they believed, so is the doctrine the same which they preached. Others might seek novelties; and it is natural to the active, restless, spirit of man. They could not so deal with such a person, such a work, or such a message. That divine person, in His infinite grace, governed their minds and filled their hearts; and out of the abundance of their hearts they preached the word of truth, the gospel of their salvation, and this as consistently each with himself, as all with each other.
Thus he declares most unequivocally that the preaching of him and his companions had none of the vacillation or conflict common to the schools of human opinion, and this because all truth is verified in Christ's person. It is become yea in Him. It abode the same. Perfection is come in Him, and also as available for others. This is far more than the witnesses' agreement with themselves and one another, which is eclipsed by Christ, who is personally the truth, and all is become verified in Him. Nothing more distant from the subdued, hesitating, style of Greek thought and expression, where even what was not doubted they put as opinion. Here all is sure, and unclouded, and peremptory. The gospel, as Paul preached it, admits of no doubtful answer, any more than double dealing; and this, because it is revealed in the Second man, who has set aside the first, with his darkness and doubt, no loss than with his guilt and corruption.
More than this: "For how many soever [are] God's promises, in him is the yea; wherefore* also through him [its] the amen to God for glory by us." Hence it is not only that there is the affirmation of all promised of God in Christ, and therefore in the highest way, before the fulfilment in others, as the effect, and the outward display before every eye in the universe, but there is a present application of the surest character, through apostolic ministration, to God's glory. God is glorified in the Son of man, as the Son of man is glorified; but there are results of the deepest sort which God vouchsafes now to faith, in the administration of which (not of the kingdom merely, as Peter) our apostle had the chief place, and the Christian is entitled to reap the blessing, as heartily and in the Holy Spirit assenting to the truth. So Bengel, long ago, said tersely enough, "Nae respectu Dei promittentis, Amen respectu credentium." But to bring the believer into the enjoyment of what God has wrought in Christ more has to be said, and immediately follows. Here it is the firm foundation, not God's promises as of old, still less the law which proved that man could not make them good, yet all accomplished in Christ, but also as surely verified through Him, for glory to God by us.
* καὶ ἐν αὐτῳ Text. Rec. with some later authorities, but διὸ καὶ δἰ αὐτοῦ A B C F, etc.
The apostle refutes yet more the insinuation of uncertainty in his preaching, by the drawing out, not merely of the verification of the truth, and accomplishment of all God's promises in Christ, but of our firm association with it all in Him.
"Now he that establisheth us with you* in Christ, and anointed us is [God], who† also sealed us, and gave the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." (Ver. 21.) It is not man's own will or effort that is able to secure us Christward, nor, consequently, is it a mere question of his fickleness, feebleness, or failure in anyway. He that binds us fast to Christ is God; and the emphasis is all the greater, because God is expressed, not objectively, but as a predicate. It is truly surprising, then, that a professed commentator, and a distinguished scholar, should have said that ὁ δὲ βεβ . . . . . ἡμᾶς is the (prefixed) predicate, and θεός the subject; for this is to reverse all that is certain in the language, and to lose the true force of what is here insisted on. Had ὁ δὲ β . . . . ἡμᾶς been affixed to θεός instead of prefixed, the sense had been the same, the order of the words in a sentence affecting it only as a matter of emphasis, and in no way disturbing the relation of the subject to the predicate, which it is the chief function of the article to distinguish. Compare chapter 5: 5, where a precisely similar construction occurs. Nor is this a casual mistake, for it re-appears no less distinctly in the comment on Heb_3:4, where θεός is said to be the subject, and ὁ πάντα κατασκευάσας the predicate, though it is allowed that the ancient expositors, almost without exception, take q. as predicate, and ὁ π κ as a designation of Christ, thus making the passage a proof of His deity. It ought not to be disputed that in all these, or the like, instances, the object before the mind, or subject of each proposition, designated as operating in the way described, as to either the saints or the universe, is declared to be God. Man is excluded by the nature of the case, as in Hebrews; or He that is said so to act is affirmed to be God, for the confirmation of the saints, as here. Had it been ὁ θ in these cases, the propositions would have been reciprocal, and either might have been viewed as subject or as predicate. But the effect of the absence of the article is to characterise Him who works as is described in each instance. He is divine, is God: a very different statement from saying that God so works.
* So A D B F G K L O P, most cursives, and Text. Rec. C, etc., ὑμᾶς σὺν ἡμῖν B and another the absurdity of ὑμᾶς σὺν ὑμῖν
† So corr. B Ccorr. D E L O, etc., Text. Rec.; F G, etc., καὶ ὁ but p.m. A Cp.m. K P, etc., omit the article.
Here, then, it is laid down that He who firmly attaches us to Christ is God, as elsewhere we are declared to be in Him. Man is weak and vacillating, and yet more in deed than in word; but He who binds fast unto Christ is God, and this, not the strong only, but the weakest, as needing most such securing grace and power. Hence, in a love that rises above all that wounds the spirit, the apostle adds, as coupling the saints in Corinth with himself and Timothy, "He that establisheth us with you." Christ for both was the impregnable fortress, the rock that never can be moved.
But more than this follows we are "anointed" as believers, we receive the unction from the Holy One, whereby, as John says, we know all things. God anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power the Lord Jesus, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil. (See Luk_4:18; Act_10:38) To us who believe it is rather energy of communion with His revealed mind; still the Spirit given is of power, and love, and a sound mind; and He that anointed us is not man, but God. Hence, as the apostle with the last hour before his eyes says, the unction as surely abides as it teaches us of all things. It is no transient display of power over Satan outwardly, no qualification of apostles only, as some have thought. It is the permanent privilege of the Christian for his own soul's entrance into the revealed mind of God; and "the babes" (τὰ παιδία have it as truly, if not so manifestly, as the most mature. The apostles and prophets of the New Testament received, of course, gift or energy for their work; but they are never said to be "anointed" as such.
But our apostle tells us that God also sealed us, and gave the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." Not as if the Spirit were given at so many distinct epochs according to the difference of His operation. The gift of the Spirit to us, as believing in Christ and resting on His redemption, is really the powerful source of all. He that establishes us in Christ, and anointed us, as we have seen, also sealed us, and gave us the earnest. The Father, even God, sealed the Son of man. This, we can easily understand, was only meet, for He was not only from eternity but as man His Son, the constant and perfect object of His delight. But how could we be sealed who were in sin and wretchedness, the marked contrast of the Lord Jesus? His redemption completely delivers us from Satan's thraldom, and we are not only born of God and His sons, but washed from our sins in His blood, and sin in the flesh is condemned in His death as a sacrifice, as truly as ourselves forgiven. Hence, in virtue of that work, God also sealed us, and gave the "earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." The Holy Spirit is not only the seal of redemption, but the pledge of the inheritance. The meaning is in no way the Spirit given in measure as the earnest of more. He is the witness of what has been done and accepted on our behalf; He is also the foretaste of the glory that is assuredly to follow. And all things are of God, who sent first His Son, that every promise should be verified, and then His Spirit, that we who believe should be brought into the security, knowledge, and enjoyment of all this blessedness, past, present, or to come, in Christ our Lord.
Having thus turned in grace the Corinthian disparagement of his own word to the praise of the gospel, the apostle next passes, with great solemnity, to explain his real motive for not coming before to their city. "But I call God as witness upon my soul, that to spare you I did not yet come unto Corinth; not that we rule over your faith, but are fellow-workers of your joy, for by faith ye stand." (Vers. 23, 24.) Had he come before, it must have been with a rod. (Cf. 1Co_4:21.) Desirous of uniting them in love, and in a spirit of meekness, he had deferred his coming till grace had wrought self-judgment among them. The delay, and turning elsewhere meanwhile, furnished the occasion for unworthy insinuations, already touched on. It was really as sparing them he did not come; but he carefully guards against the charge of assuming undue authority; "not that we rule over your faith, but are fellow-workers of your joy." Nothing is truly done that is not in the soul before God. Even an apostle like Paul or John sought not for a moment to step between the faithful and God. The apostles communicated His mind, that the saints might have the same assurance of it as themselves, and so their joy be full. "For by faith ye stand." So it must be in order to please God. Without faith it is impossible. It is not by the fear or favour of men, however blessed, that the saints stand, but by faith. A fellow-helper of their joy, he would rather expose himself to the charge of changing his mind, if any were low enough so to think and speak of him, than to deal harshly with them, as he in faithfulness must, had he come as he first purposed. He waited, that the word of God might work its salutary aim, mixed with faith in those who heard it. He wished to do his work with joy, and not groaning, for this would be unprofitable for them. Was this to lord it over them, as proud men might allege? It was to farther their joy of faith, as their servant for Jesus' sake.