Here our compassionate apostle tells them, That what he had wrote in his former epistle with some severity and sharpness, concerning the incestuous person, was so far from being written with any intention to grieve them, that it was a real affliction to him, a very heavy pressure upon his heart, which fetched abundance of tears from his eyes, and consequently was an effect of the greatest love imaginable.
Hence note, That when the ministers of Christ do execute church-censures, if they do not dispense them with tenderness and compassion, so as to let the offenders see that what is done is out of abundant love unto them, they will never be the better for them, nor be bettered or reclaimed by them. Doth a civil judge weep when he passes sentence upon a malefactor? much more should an ecclesiastical judge mourn, when he pronounceth the censures of the church upon notorious offenders. Behold the apostle here declaring with what anguish of spirit and grief of heart he wrote to have the sentence of excommunication executed and inflicted on the incestuous Corinthian; Out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote unto you with many tears.