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The Biblical Illustrator II Cor 11

The Biblical Illustrator II Cor 11

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 12, 2011
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THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR II COR 11CHAPTER XI.Vers. 1-6. Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my foVLj.— Self -vindi-cation : — The next two chapters are entirely occupied with the boastings of aninspired apostle ; in the previous chapters we find him refuting separately eachcharge, tiU at last, as if stung and worn out at their ingratitude, he pours out, un-reservedly, his own praises in self -vindication. All self-vindication, against evenfalse accusations, is painful ; not after Christian modesty, yet it may sometimes bea duty. I. The excuses St. Paul offered for this mode of vindication. 1. Itwas not merely for his own sake, but for the sake of others (vers. 2, 3). Clearlythis was a valid excuse. To refuse to vindicate himself under the circumstanceswould have been false modesty. otice two words here — (1) "Jealousy." Thiswas not envy that other teachers were followed, but anxiety lest they might leadthe disciples astray. He was jealous for Christ's sake, not his own. (2) " Sim-442 THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR. [chap. xr.plicity." ow people suppose this means what a child or a ploughman can under-stand : but in this sense Paul was not simple. St. Peter says there are thingshard to be understood in his epistles. We often hear it alleged against a book or a.sermon that it is not simple. But if it is supposed that the mysteries of God canbe made as easy of comprehension as a newspaper article or a novel, we say thatsuch simplicity can only be attained by shallowness. " Simple " means unmixed,or unadulterated. We have an example in those Judaisers who said, " Except yebe circumcised, ye cannot be saved " : they did not deny the power of the Cross :they said something was to be mixed with it. 2. It was necessary. Character isan exceedingly delicate thing, that of a Christian man especially so. It is true nodoubt, to a certain extent, that the character which cannot defend itself is not worthdefending, and that it is better to live down evil reports. But if a character is neverdefended, it comes to be considered as incapable of defence. Besides, an uncontra-dicted slander may injure our influence. And therefore St. Paul says boldly, " Iam not a whit behind the very chiefest of the apostles." Some cannot understandthis. But Christian modesty is not the being or affecting to be ignorant of what weare. If a man has genius, he knows he has it. If a man is falsely charged withtheft, there is no vanity in his indignantly asserting that he has been honest all hislife long. Christian modesty consists rather in this — in having before us a sublimestandard, so that we feel how far we are from attaining to that. Thus we canunderstand Paul saying that he is " not behind the chiefest of the apostles," and
yet that he is " the chief of sinners." II. The points of which St. Paul boasted.1. That he had preached the essentials of the gospel (ver. 4). His matter had beentrue, whatever fault they might have found with his manner. St. Paul told themthat, better far than grace of language, &c., was the fact that the truth he hadpreached was the essential truth of the gospel. 2. His disinterestedness (ver. 7).St. Paul had a right to be maintained by the Church, " The labourer is worthy of his hire." And he had taken sustenance from other churches, but he would nottake anything from the Corinthians, simply because he desired not to leave a singlepoint on which his enemies might hang an accusation. There is somethingexquisitely touching in the delicacy of the raillery with which he asked if he hadcommitted an offence in so doing. He asked them whether they were ashamed of a man of toil. Here is great encouragement for those who labour ; they have noneed to be ashamed of their labour, for Christ Himself and His apostle toiled fortheir own support. The time is coming when mere idleness and leisure will be a.ground for boasting no more, when that truth wiU come out in its entireness, thatit is the law of our humanity that all should work, whether with the brain or withthe hands, and when it will be seen that he who does not or will not work, thesooner he is out of this work-a-day world of God's, the better. 3. His sufferings(vers. 23-28). It is remarkable that St. Paul does not glory in what he had done,but in what he had borne ; he does not speak of his successes, but his manifoldtrialsfor Christ. 4. His sympathy (ver. 29). This power of entering into the feelings of every heart as fully as if he himself had lived the life of that heart, was a peculiarcharacteristic of St. Paul. To the Jew he became as a Jew, &c. Conclusion : Allthese St. Paul uses as evidences of his apostolic ministry, and they afford highmoralevidence of the truth of Christianity. It gives quite a thrill of delight to find thatthis earth has ever produced such a man as St. Paul. He was no fanatic, but wascalm, sound, and wise. And if he beheved, with an intellect so piercing, so clear,and so brilliant, he must indeed be a vain man who will venture any longer todoubt.(F. W. Robertson, M.A.) For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy.^Godly jealousy : — I. Its (Skounds and reasons. 1. It was lest their minds shouldbe corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (ver. 3). Many, like the Galatians,begin in the Spirit, and end in the flesh. Professors of religion are evermore indanger of being tossed to and fro, &c. (Eph. iv. 14). 2. It was lest an increasinglukewarmness should prepare the way for greater departures from truth andpurity. Persons may retain the doctrines of the gospel, and yet lose the spiritof it. 3. It respected the outward deportment, as well as the dispositions of the mind. Men may turn grace into wantonness, and use their liberty as anoccasion to the flesh. Corruption is not so mortified in the best of men as topreclude the necessity of watchfulness and godly jealousy. 4. It was founded
in his knowledge of the depravity of human nature. He himself found it neces-sary to keep his body under, &c. ; and the same principle excites his jealousy andfear with respect to others (1 Cor. ix. 27). The best of men are but men at■ the best. 5. It was derived from his acquaintance with the stratagems and the<!HAP. XI.] 11. CORITHIAS. 443strength of the great enemy. He himself had a messenger of Satan to buffet him ;and what he had felt himself, made him fear for others (ver. 3). one but Jesuscould say, The prince of this world cometh, and findeth nothing in Me. 6. It was justified by various instances of defection in the apostle's time (1 Cor. x. 6). 7. Itwas augmented by the apostle's peculiar relations with the Church, He hadespoused them as a chaste virgin to Christ, and should he at last be disappointed intlicm, it would be to him a matter of inexpressible grief, and to them of shame anddishonour (1 Thess. ii. 19, iii. 8). II. Its peculiar properties. 1. It proceededfrom the purest motives, from a sanctified heart, and was marked with sincerityandtruth. He who was jealous over others, was not negligent of himself. Manyindulge in what they condemn in others, and by making a virtue of their fidelity,intend it as a substitute for all other virtues. 2. It was expressed not with rancourand malice, but the greatest good-will. The apostle had learned of Him who wasmeek and lowly in heart, and did not indulge his own prejudices under a pretendedzeal for religion. 3. It had for its object the promotion of true godliness. He wasnot only zealously affected, but it was in a good thing, and to answer the best of purposes. (B. Beddome, M.A.) Godly jealousy : — Jealousy is sensitive alivenessto any abatement or transference of affection. There is a sense in which God Him-self is said to be jealous over His people. For God will endure no rival. And thefaithful ambassador may be allowed to indulge his Master's feeling. It was such asentiment that filled the heart of Paul here. ote — I. The work of a faithfulMIISTER. There is a delicacy in the figure employed, viz., that souls who arebrought into covenant with God in Christ are betrothed to Him. And the ministersof Christ are represented as the friend of the Bridegroom, who transacts betweentheBridegroom and His future bride, and bespeaks her and betroths her to the Bride-groom against the nuptial day. We have a beautiful illustration in the mission of the faithful servant of Abraham. This is the minister's highest and holiest func-tion. II. His HOPE AD PURPOSE — "that I may present you as a chaste virgintoChrist." At the coming of Christ to have a goodly company of saved souls. Whatan expectation past all that our poor hearts can conceive ! That those whom he

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