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Suffering and Consolation

Suffering and Consolation

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY JAMES DENNEY, B.D.



"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, aad
Timothy our brother, unto the Church of God which is at Corinth,
with all the saints which are in the whole of Achaia : Grace to you
aad peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of mercies and God of all comfort ; who comforteth us in all
eur affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any
affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted
of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so our
comfort also aboundeth through Christ. But whether we be afflicted,
H is for your comfort and salvation ; or whether we be comforted, it
is for your comfort, which worketh in the patient enduring of the
same sufferings which we also suffer: and our hope for you is
stedfast ; knowing that, as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also
are ye of the comfort."— 2 Cor. i. 1-7 (R.V.).
BY JAMES DENNEY, B.D.



"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, aad
Timothy our brother, unto the Church of God which is at Corinth,
with all the saints which are in the whole of Achaia : Grace to you
aad peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of mercies and God of all comfort ; who comforteth us in all
eur affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any
affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted
of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so our
comfort also aboundeth through Christ. But whether we be afflicted,
H is for your comfort and salvation ; or whether we be comforted, it
is for your comfort, which worketh in the patient enduring of the
same sufferings which we also suffer: and our hope for you is
stedfast ; knowing that, as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also
are ye of the comfort."— 2 Cor. i. 1-7 (R.V.).

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 06, 2013
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SUFFERIG AD COSOLATIOBY JAMES DEEY, B.D."Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, aadTimothy our brother, unto the Church of God which is at Corinth,with all the saints which are in the whole of Achaia : Grace to youaad peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, theFather of mercies and God of all comfort ; who comforteth us in alleur affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in anyaffliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comfortedof God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so ourcomfort also aboundeth through Christ. But whether we be afflicted,H is for your comfort and salvation ; or whether we be comforted, itis for your comfort, which worketh in the patient enduring of thesame sufferings which we also suffer: and our hope for you isstedfast ; knowing that, as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so alsoare ye of the comfort."— 2 Cor. i. 1-7 (R.V.).THE greeting with which St. Paul introduces hisEpistles is much alike in them all, but it neverbecomes a mere formality, and ought not to pass unre-garded as such. It describes, as a rule, the characterin which he writes, and the character in which his•orrespondents are addressed. Here he is an apostleef Jesus Christ, divinely commissioned ; and headdresses a Christian community at Corinth, includ-ing in it, for the purposes of his letter, the scatteredChristians to be found in the other quarters of Achaia,His letters are occasional, in the sense that somespecial incident or situation called them forth; but thisto
 
i. i-7.3 SUFFERIG AD COSOLATIO itoccasional character does not lessen their value. Headdresses himself to the incident or situation in theconsciousness of his apostolic vocation ; he writes toa Church constituted for permanence, or at least forsuch duration as this transitory world can have ; andwhat we have in his Ep«stles is not a series of obiterdicta, the casual utterances of an irresponsible person ;it is the mind of Christ authoritatively given upon thequestions raised. When he includes any other personin the salutation — as in this place " Timothy ourbrother " — it is rather as a mark of courtesy, than asadding to the Epistle another authority besides his own.Timothy had helped to found the Church at Corinth ;Paul had shown great anxiety about his reception bythe Corinthians, when he started to visit that turbulentChurch alone (1 Cor. xvi. 10 f.); and in this new letterhe honours him in their eyes by uniting his name withhis own in the superscription. The Apostle and hisaffectionate fellow-worker wish the Corinthians, as theywished all the Churches, grace and peace from God ourFather and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not necessaryto expound afresh the meaning and connexion of thesetwo ew Testament ideas : grace is the first and lastword of the Gospel ; and peace — perfect spiritualsoundness — is the finished work of grace in the soul.The Apostle's greeting is usually followed by athanksgiving, in which he recalls the conversion of those to whom he is writing, or surveys their progressin the new life, and the improvement of their gifts,gratefully acknowledging God as the author of all.Thus in the First Epistle to the Corinthians he thanksGod for the grace given to them in Christ Jesus, andespecially for their Christian enrichment in all utteranceand in all knowledge. So, too, but with deeper grati-12 Itik. Z>£.LUIJ LPISTLE TO THE CORITHIAS
 
tude, he dwells on the virtues of the Thessalonians,remembering their work of faith, and labour of love rand patience of hope. Here also there is a thanks-giving, but at the first glance of a totally differentcharacter. The Apostle blesses God, not for what Hehas done for the Corinthians, but for what He has donefor himself. " Blessed be the God and Father of ourLord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation."This departure from the Apostle's usual custom isprobably not so selfish as it looks. When his mindtravelled down from Philippi to Corinth, it rested on thespiritual aspects of the Church there with anything butunrelieved satisfaction. There was much for which hecould not possibly be thankful ; and just as the momen-tary apostasy of the Galatians led to his omitting thethanksgiving altogether, so the unsettled mood in whichhe wrote to the Corinthians gave it this peculiar turn.evertheless, when he thanked God for comfortinghim in all his afflictions, he thanked Him on theirbehalf. It was they who were eventually to have theprofit both of his sorrows and his consolations. Pro-bably, too, there is something here which is meantto appeal even to those who disliked him in Corinth.There had been a good deal of friction between theApostle and some who had once owned him as theirfather in Christ ; they were blaming him, at this verymoment, for not coming to visit them ; and in thisthanksgiving, which dilates on the afflictions he hasendured, and on the divine consolation he has expe-rienced in them, there is a tacit appeal to the sympathyeven of hostile spirits. Do not, he seems to say, dealungenerously with one who has passed through suchterrible experiences, and lays the fruit of them at your1 1-7.] SUFFERIG AD COSOLATIO 13

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