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A Pastors Heart

A Pastors Heart

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Published by glennpease

BY JAMES DENNEY, B.D.



"But I call God for a witness upon my soul, that to spare yon 1
forbare to come unto Corinth. Not that we have lordship over your
faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. But 1
determined this for myself, that I would not come again to you with
sorrow. For if I make you sorry, who then is he that maketh me
glad, but he that is made sorry by me ? And I wrote this very thing,
lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought
to rejoice ; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you
all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto
you with many tears; not that ye should be made sorry, but that
ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you." —
2 Con. i. 23-ii 4 (R.V.).

BY JAMES DENNEY, B.D.



"But I call God for a witness upon my soul, that to spare yon 1
forbare to come unto Corinth. Not that we have lordship over your
faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. But 1
determined this for myself, that I would not come again to you with
sorrow. For if I make you sorry, who then is he that maketh me
glad, but he that is made sorry by me ? And I wrote this very thing,
lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought
to rejoice ; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you
all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto
you with many tears; not that ye should be made sorry, but that
ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you." —
2 Con. i. 23-ii 4 (R.V.).

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 06, 2013
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A PASTORS HEARTBY JAMES DEEY, B.D."But I call God for a witness upon my soul, that to spare yon 1forbare to come unto Corinth. ot that we have lordship over yourfaith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. But 1determined this for myself, that I would not come again to you withsorrow. For if I make you sorry, who then is he that maketh meglad, but he that is made sorry by me ? And I wrote this very thing,lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I oughtto rejoice ; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of youall. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote untoyou with many tears; not that ye should be made sorry, but thatye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you." — 2 Con. i. 23-ii 4 (R.V.).WHE Paul came to the end of the paragraph inwhich he defends himself from the charge of levity and untrustworthiness by appealing to the natureof the Gospel which he preached, he seems to have feltthat it was hardly sufficient for his purpose. It mightbe perfectly true that the Gospel was one mightyaffirmation, with no dubiety or inconsistency about it;it might be as true that it was a supreme testimonyto the faithfulness of God ; but bad men, or suspiciousmen, would not admit that its character covered his.Their own insincerities would keep them from under-standing its power to change its loyal ministers intoits own likeness, and to stamp them with its ownsimplicity and truth. The mere invention of the argu-ment in vv. 18-20 is of itself the highest possible5960 THE SECOD EPISTLE TO THE CORITHIAS
 
testimony to the idea! height at which the Apostlelived ; no man conscious of duplicity could ever havehad it occur to him. But it had the defect of beingtoo good for his purpose; the foolish and the falsecould see a triumphant reply to it; and he leaves itfor a solemn asseveration of the reason which actuallykept him from carrying out his first intention. " I callGod to witness against my soul, that sparing you Iforbore to come l to Corinth." The soul is the seat of life ; he stakes his life, as it were, in God's sight, uponthe truth of his words. It was not consideration forhimself, in any selfish spirit, but consideration for them,which explained his change of purpose. If he hadcarried out his intention, and gone to Corinth, he wouldhave had to do so, as he says in I Cor. iv, 21, witha rod, and this would not have been pleasant either forhim or for them.This is very plain — plain even to the dullest; theApostle has no sooner set it down than he feels it istoo plain. "To spare us," he hears the Corinthianssay to themselves as they read : " who is he that heshould take this tone in speaking to us?" And sohe hastens to anticipate and deprecate their touchycriticism : " ot that we lord it over your faith, butwe are helpers of your joy ; as far as faith is concerned,your position, of course, is secure."This is a very interesting aside ; the digressions inSt. Paul, as in Plato, are sometimes more attractivethan the arguments. It shows us, for one thing, thefreedom of the Christian faith. Those who have1 The R.V. " forbare to come " has the same vagueness as odxhtQk9or, which may mean (I) "I came not as yet " — so A,V. ; or (2) " tcame not again "; or (3) " I came no more."
 
i.*3-"-4] A PASTOR'S HEART 61received the Gospel have all the responsibilities of mature men ; they have come to their majority asspiritual beings ; they are not, in their character andstanding as Christians, subject to arbitrary and irre-sponsible interference on the part of others. Paulhimself was the great preacher of this spiritual eman-cipation : he gloried in the liberty with which Christmade men free. For him the days of bondage wereover ; there was no subjection for the Christian to anycustom or tradition of men, no enslavement of hisconscience to the judgment or the will of others, nocoercion of the spirit except by itself. He had greatconfidence in this Gospel and in its power to producegenerous and beautiful characters. That it was capableof perversion also he knew very well. It was opento the infusion of self-will ; in the intoxication of freedom from arbitrary and unspiritual restraint, menmight forget that the believer was bound to be a lawto himself, that he was free, not in lawless self-will,but only in the Lord. evertheless, the principle of freedom was too sacred to be tampered with ; it wasnecessary both for the education of the conscience andfor the enrichment of spiritual life with the most variousand independent types of goodness ; and the Apostletook all the risks, and all the inconveniences even,rather than limit it in the least.This passage shows us one of the inconveniences.The newly enfranchised are mightily sensible of theirfreedom, and it is extremely difficult to tell them of their faults. At the very mention of authority all thatis bad in them, as well as all that is good, is on thealert ; and spiritual independence and the liberty of the Christian people have been represented and defendedagain and again, not only by an awful sense of respon-

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