BLTC Press Titles


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Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)


Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley


Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse


An exposition of the Second epistle to the Corinthians

by Charles Hodge

Excerpt:

3. Blessed (be) God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort.

This richness and variety of designations for the object of his reverence and gratitude, shows how full was the apostle's heart, and how it yearned after fellowship with God, to whom he places himself in every possible connection by thus multiplying the terms expressive of the relations which God bears to his redeemed people. Blessed. The word ciXoyijroi

iblessed) is used in the New Testament only of God. (In juke 1, 28, where the Virgin Mary is spoken of, evX.oyrjfievrj is used.) It expresses at once gratitude and adoration. Adored be God! is the expression of the highest veneration and thankfulness. It is not God merely as God, but as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the object of the apostle's adoration and gratitude. The expression does not refer to the miraculous conception of our Lord, but the person addressed 19 he whose eternal Son assumed our nature, who, as invested with that nature, is our Lord Jesus Christ. It is ho who so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoso believeth in him might not perish but have everlasting life. It is therefore the peculiar, characteristic Christian designation of God, as it presents him as the God of redemption. Rom. 15, 6. 2 Cor. 11,31. Col. 1, 3. I Pet. 1, 3. This God who has revealed himself as the God of love in sending his Son for our redemption, the apostle still further designates as the Father of mercies, i. e. the most merciful Father; he whose characteristic is mercy. Comp. Ps. 86, 5. 15. Dan. 9, 9. Micah 7, 18. The explanation which makes the expression mean the author of mercies is inconsistent with the signification of the word olKripfios, which always means mercy as a feeling. The God of all comfort. This most merciful Father is the God, i. e. the author of all, i. e. of all possible, consolation. God is the author of consolation not only by delivering us from evil, or by ordering our external circumstances, but also, and chiefly, by his inward influence on the mind itself, assuaging its tumults and filling it with joy and peace in believing. Rom. 15, 13.

4. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Us here . refers to the apostle himself. Throughout this chapter he is speaking of his own personal trials and consolations. He blessed God as the author of comfort, because he had experienced his consolations. And the design, he adds, of God in afflicting and in consoling was to qualify him for the office of a consoler of the afflicted. In this design Paul acquiesced; he was willing to be thus afflicted in order to be the bearer of consolation to others. A life of ease is commonly stagnant. It is those who suffer much and who experience much of the comfort of the Holy Ghost, who live much. Their life is rich in experience and in resources. In all our tribulation, i. e. on account of (fai). His tribulation was the ground or reason why God comforted him. The apostle was one of the most afflicted of men. He suffered from hunger, cold, nakedness, stripes, imprisonment, from perils by sea and tepd, from robbers, from the Jews, from tbq heathen, so that his life was a continued death, or, as he expressed it, he died daily. Besides these external afflictions he was overwhelmed with cares and anxiety for the churches. And as though all this were not enough, he had "a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan," to buffet him. See 11, 24-30, and 12, 7. In the midst of all these trials God not only sustained him, but filled him with such a heroic spirit that he actually rejoiced in being thus afflicted. "I take pleasure," he says, "in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong," 12, 10. This state of mind can be experienced only by those who are so filled with the love of Christ, that they rejoice in every thing, however painful to themselves, whereby his glory is promoted. And where this state of mind exists, no afflictions can equal the consolations by which they are attended, and therefore the apostle adds, that he was enabled to comfort those who were in any kind of affliction by the comfort wherewith he was comforted of God.

5. Tot as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation aboundeth by Christ.

This is a confirmation of what precedes. 'We are able to comfort others, for our consolations are equal to our sufferings.' The sufferings of Christ, do not mean 'sufferings on account of Christ,' which the force of the genitive case does not admit; nor sufferings which Christ endures in his own members; but such sufferings as Christ suffered, and which his people are called upon to endure in virtue of their union with him and in order to be like him. Our Lord said to his disciples, "Ye shall indeed drink of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism wherewith I am baptized with," Matt. 20, 23. Paul speaks of his fellowship, or participation in the suffermgs of Christ, Phil. 3, 10; and the apostle Peter calls upon believers to rejoice, inasmuch as they are "partakers of Christ's sufferings," 1 Peter 4, 24. Comp. Rom. 8, 17. Col. 1, 24. Gal. 6,17. In many other passages it is taught that believers must share in the sufferings, if they are to be partakers of the glory of Christ. So, i. e. in equal measure, our consolation aboundeth through Christ. As union with Christ was the source of the afflictions which Paul endured, Bo it was the source of the abundant consolation which he enjoyed. This, makes the great difference between the sorrows


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