Observe here, When the apostle was come from Ephesus to Macedonia, how great a conflict he had, both from without and within: From without, by persecution and opposition both from the Jews and Gentiles; and from within by fears lest the false apostle should have perverted any of his young converts from the simplicity which is in Christ or, fearing lest the Corinthians, being tender and weak in the faith, the violence of persecution, and the strength of temptation, should cause them to apostatize from their religion, and backslide from their holy profession.
Observe, 2. A most endearing title given to Almighty God; He comforteth all those that are cast down. This is his dear title: He esteems himself more honoured with the amiable and endearing title of a Comforter and a Father, than with the glorious title of a Creator and a Sovereign. He is more pleased in doing us good, than we can be pleased in receiving of it; and can as soon forget himself, as forget his children.
Observe, 3. The instrumental means which God made use of, for the apostle's consolation, support, and relief; namely, the coming of Titus.
First, God comforteth us by the coming of Titus. Mark, He doth not intitle Titus, but God, by Titus, to the comfort he received. Whoever is the instrumental cause, God is the principal efficient cause of our consolation and comfort. It shews an holy flame of heart, when we stay not in creatures, but are carried to God as the author of our comforts and crosses.
Secondly, The glad tidings and good news which Titus brought, as touching the Corinthians earnest desire to have all things amiss rectified, their sorrow expressed for the reproved, their fervent affection towards the apostle, their grief for offending him, their zeal to vindicate him; all these were matter of comfort and exceeding consolation to the apostle, under all his disquietness in Macedonia.
Learn hence, That when troubles, both from without and within do oppress the minds, and even sink the Spirits of the ministers of God: if they can but see the success of their labours in the lives of their people, that they are humbled for sin, and turned from it; this is matter of unspeakable consolation at present, and will be their crown of rejoicing in the day of Christ; When Titus told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind; I rejoice the more.