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ministry he means preaching, and by the acceptable offering a sincere and genuine faith. I have done nothing then out of place, * says he, if I have at all written somewhat more boldly, and rebuked them that offend. 17. I have therefore whereof I may glory in Jesus Christ, in those things which pertain to God. And then he points out the character of that glorying; 18. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed. 19. By the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God. My boasting is not in mine own labours, but in the gift bestowed on me by the Lord Christ. For He has given me the grace of the thrice-holy Spirit, to the working of signs and wonders ; so that by these means the Gentiles have been rescued unto life, and received the light of divine knowledge. And he shews also to how large a portion of the Gentiles he had preached; so that from Jerusalem and in a circle unto Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. For I have tended not those nations lying in the direct line only, but traversing also in a circle have fully supplied with the doctrines of the gospel the eastern regions also, and those about Pontus, together with portions of Asia and Thrace; for this is what the words in a circle indicate. 20. Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation, 21. But as it is written, (Isa. lii. 15), To whom He was not spoken of they shall see; and they that have not heard shall understand. This shews the diligent earnestness of his zeal in labouring, in that taking in hand the fields that as yet had been uncultivated, he ploughed them up, and sowed, and converted them into fruitful corn fields, and brought its due fulfilment to the prophecy. 22. For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you. For my engagement among these others has prevented my presence among yourselves. 23. But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you, 24. Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you ; for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company. He gives two reasons for his coming to them—that the rest had been preached unto, no nation remaining among which the doctrines of the gospel had not been heard; and his own love towards them.. For the former hindrances having ceased, his longing after them excited him to the journey; and he declares that this his affection had been long antecedent to his actual coming, for for these many years, says he, hare I earnestly desired to see you ; and he tells them before-hand that he will not only see them, but take in Spain also ; and that they may not hence conceive that his visit to them was merely by the way, t he adds, and by you to be brought on my way thitherward, if first I be somewhat filled with your company; for you are they whom I first wish to see, and after you them. 25. But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. By ministering he means the distribution of a pecuniary collection; and he mentions also the senders thereof; 26. For they of Macedonia and Achaia have been benevolently
* TEPITTbv, superfluous, not becoming me, over-forwardly, officiously, out of character.-E. B.
+ Tápepyov rîs dooû, a mere second thought, and dependent on his journey to Spain, to turn aside for a flying visit to them in his passage.-E. B.
inclined to make a communication to the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It was indeed under a previously-arranged agreement to this effect with the blessed Apostles, Peter I mean, and James, and John, that the divinely-appointed Barnabas and Paul undertook the teaching of the Gentiles, promising to exhort the converts among the Gentiles to minister to the wants of the faithful in Judæa; and this he clearly teaches in his epistle to the Galatians (ii. 9, 10), for “ Peter,” says he," and James, and John, who seemed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision, only they would that we should remember the poor, the same which I also was forward to do." This it is he here also speaks of, praising the zeal of Macedonia and Achaia ; and this he calls both a benevolence and a debt; 27. They are benevolently inclined verily, and their debtors they are; and whence arose this debt ? For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. To them, says he, appertained the Patriarchs as their forefathers; to them the promises were made ; their prophets it was who prophesied the blessings now common to both; of them according to His human nature was the Lord Christ; of them the Apostles the teachers of the whole world; through them have the gifts of the Spirit been shed abroad; it is right then that they who have imparted of the greater, should in return receive of the lesser ; wherefore also he above calls the contribution of money a communication, and again afterwards a ministry ; by the expression communication shewing it to be a repayment, and by that of ministry a tribute due. 28. When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain. Having sealed to them this fruit, to the Macedonians and Achaians he means ; for I offer the things sent, to the right hand of God through the hands of the saints, and it will keep them safe and uninjured.* 29. But I know that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. By the fulness of the blessing of the gospel he means, the dangers for the gospel's sake which he underwent at Jerusalem ; † as what follows evinces, 30. I beseech you, therefore, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me ; 31. That I may be delivered from them which do not believe in Judæa; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints. With what praise worthy of it could any crown this blessed, aye, thrice blessed, brow? For first he both knew what would happen, and foretels it, for so he spoke to the elders of Ephesus at Miletus, “ that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, that bonds and afflictions await me” (Acts xx. 23); and when Agabus also predicted the same things, and all were weeping and endeavouring to detain him, the holy man cried out, “What, mean ye to weep and break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts xxi. 13); and here he predicted that he would
* Comp. Prov. xix. 17, and the sentences at the “ offertory" and prayer for “ church militant." English Ritual.-E. B.
+ Comp. Matt. v. 10, 11, 12; Mark x. 30. The persecution lie met at Jerusalem being the cause of his being carried to Rome. Comp. the prophecy here with Acts xxviii. 16-21.--E. B.
see both the Romans and Spaniards; and he adds that he would even come “in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ." And then, as fully contemplating the madness of the Jews, he begs also for their prayers not only as respected the disbelievers, but the believers also ; for neither were they affectionately disposed towards him, because esteeming him a violator of the law ;* on which account he added, and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints. With a thousand labours had he collected these offerings, using every argument of exhortation with the disciples thereto, and yet he fears concerning those who should receive them, lest their dislike to himself should have greater weight with them than their own wants. 32. That I may come unto you, with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed. Not even what is good does he wish to obtain, unless it be in accordance with the will of God. 33. Now the God of peace be with you all, Amen. Not without cause does he here speak of God, as the God of peace; but both as himself needing it, by reason at once of those that openly opposed him and those that regarded him with suspicion; and as imploring it for them, on account of the differences they had between themselves, respecting legal observances.
Chapter XVI. 1. I commend unto you Phæbe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea, 2. That ye receive her in the Lord as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you, for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also. 3. Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus. Cenchrea is a very large village of Corinth. Well then may we admire the power of the gospel, in that in so short a time it had filled with true godliness not the towns only but even the villages also ; and so great was the body of the church at Cenchrea, as to have a woman acting as deaconess; † and her a celebrated and illustrious person ; for so largely did she abound in good works as to have obtained praises like the above from the tongue of an apostle; for she has been a succourer, says he, of many, and of myself also, by succour meaning, as I conceive, hospitality and kind attention. And he repays her with far greater honours in return; for she, it seems, received him into one house, and for a short time; that, it is plain, which he spent at Corinth; while he has opened the whole world to her, and in every land and sea is that woman become celebrated, so that not the Romans only and the Greeks have known her, but even every barbarian nation. And yet she next mentioned has surpassed even her, for Priscilla, or Prisca, for both names are to be found in the Bible, and Aquila, he calls fellow-helpers; and he adds the in Christ Jesus, lest any one should imagine that he alluded to a community of employment, seeing that they also were tent-makers ;
* Acts xxi. 20, 21.-E. B.
+ That is, it was already numerous enough to require the services of a deaconess. Their offices, says Bingham, were to assist at the baptism of women; to be a sort of private catechists to the women-catechumens; to visit and attend women that were sick and in distress; to minister to the martyrs and confessors in prison ; to attend at the women's gate of the church ; to preside over the widows, &c.; but not to execute any part of the sacerdotal office, or do the duties of the sacred function; for women, says he, were always forbidden to perform any such offices as these. Orig. Eccl. Book ii. Ch. 22.-E. B. VOL. XXII, NO. XII.
and be mentions also another trial (undergone by them on his account) of the greatest kind; 4. Who have for my life laid down their own necks.* And to his private he subjoins the public (debt to them) unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; and he commemorates also another praiseworthy virtue on their part, for he salutes, 5. Likewise the church that is in their house. The expression shews the greatness of their piety, for they instructed, it appears, all their household in the highest virtue, and gladly performed within their walls all the sacred rites of religion ; p and of these the holy Luke also takes notice, and shews how they led Apollos to the truth. (Acts xviii. 26). Salute my well-beloved Epenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia unto Christ. For he was the first, it seems, of the whole nation that believed, on which account it was that he here receives the appellation of the first fruits. Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us. Another woman, again, crowned for her individual labours. 7. Salute Andronicus and Junia my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the Apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Many at once are the encomia here; and first that they had been partakers in the dangers of the holy Paul, for he calls them fellow-prisoners as having shared with him in his sufferings ; and next he says that they are of note, not among the disciples, but the teachers; nor among ordinary teachers, but the Apostles ;# and he extols them also on account of the date of their faith, for he says, who were in Christ before me, for I myself was called subsequently to them; and I (Theodoret) am every where amazed at the humble-mindedness of the divine Apostle (lit. head.) 8. Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. Nor is this slight praise, for it is in the Lord that he calls him beloved; and this is demonstrative of his excellences. 9. Salute Urbanus our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. With even yet greater praises does he honour Urbanus, for he calls him a helper both in the preaching, and in the labours and sufferings, for Christ's sake. 10. Salute Apelles proved in Christ. A testimony of the highest virtue, for to have no alloy of dross is the summit of excellences. 11. Salute them which are of Aristobulus's household, and Herodion my kinsman, and those of the household of Narcissus. It is evident that they were believing families; but of those of Narcissus be says, who are in the Lord, as there being, forsooth, some who had not yet become so. 12. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Again, from their labours come the crown; and that labour the words shew to have been one either of hospitality or fasting, or other such virtue. Salute Persis the beloved which laboured much in the Lord. Ampler is her praise, for her zeal in labouring was ampler, 13. Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. And most enviable also is this encomium, for many are called but few chosen ; $ and his mother he praises as adorned
* They exposed their lives to save his, probably at Corinth, Acts xviii. 19; or at Ephesus, xix. 30–35.-E. B.
† Both Greeks and Romans reckon him a Bishop; the latter of the see of Heraclea. See Calmet.
Either as highly csteemed by the Apostles, or as being themselves of note as apostles and teachers : on which latter comp. 2 Cor. viii. 23; Phil. ij. 25; Acts xir. 14.-E. B.
§ Matt. xx. 16. Comp. on Canticles, ij. 2, ui oŰTW #por ayopeúortai dià To TS RAHwith many noble acts of virtue, for not otherwise could she have been deemed worthy of being called the mother of Paul; for of Rufus indeed nature made her the mother, but of the holy Paul respect for her virtue. 14. Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Thermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them. This was another society of the faithful worthy of Paul's greeting. 15. Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them. And these again living together, on account of the virtue they possessed obtained the Apostle's salutation. Having thus greeted these by name, he then bids them all salute each other, for, 16. Salute one another, says he, with an holy kiss. For, as being absent he could not himself salute* them, he does it through them, enjoining them to salute one another, and to salute with an holy kiss, chaste, modest, sincere, and true, and void of all deceit. All the churches of Christ salute you. From the whole world, so to speak, he salutes the Empress of the world. 17. Now I beseech you, brethren, to mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. He alludes in these words to the evil advocates of the law, whose precepts he bids them to avoid, while praising the teaching of the chief of the Apostles ; for the expression causing such contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned is that of one who greatly admires the doctrine they had already obtained. 18. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly. And from hence it is plain that it is of the Jews that he is thus speaking, for he is perpetually condemning their gluttony, and so elsewhere he says, “ whose God is their belly.”+ And by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. By fair speeches he means praise (flattery); and he hints that some had already been seduced by them, for they deceive, says he, the hearts of the simple ; not depravity of disposition indeed, but simplicity does he allege as the cause. And then again he excites them with praises, 19. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men, that you gladly received the apostolic doctrines. I I am glad therefore, says he, on your behalf; and yet while praising he still continues to instruct, but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and harmless concerning evil. And this rule also the Lord gave to the Apostles, saying, “ Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves."