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HAVING therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting sactification in the fear of God.

Ver. 1.  Having, therefore, these promises, mentioned just before, that God would be a father to us, &c. let us cleanse ourselves from all filth or defilement of the flesh, and of the spirit, that is, from all kind of sins.  It is not without good grounds, that S. Thomas, and the divines in the schools, tell us, that some sins, as those of impurity, gluttony, and drunkenness, may be called carnal sins, bring disorders that in a particular manner affect and defile the body: and that (though all sins whatsoever defile the soul, and when they are such as are called mortal, bring a spiritual death to the soul, by depriving her of the grace of God) other kinds of sins may be called spiritual sins, their malice and disorder affecting, and residing, as it were, in the mind or spirit of man; such are all the sins of pride, envy, idolatry, &c.  Wi.


2 Receive us. We have injured no man, we have corrupted no man, we have overreached no man.

Ver. 2.  Receive us.  This, according to S. Chrys. and others, is the same as what he said before, be enlarged or dilated in heart, that is, have a love, and true charity, and a zeal for us, and for the ministers of the gospel.

 

--- We have injured no one, &c.  He perhaps hints at the ways and proceedings of the false teachers among them.  Wi.

 

[†]  V. 2.  Capite nos, cwrhsate hmaV.  S. Chrys. says, hom. xiv. toutesti filhsate hmaV.  Others think the sense is, receive and understand the instruction I give you.

3 I speak not this to your condemnation. For we have said before, that you are in our hearts, to die together, and to live together.

Ver. 3.  I speak not this to your condemnation; he means not to condemn them in general, though some had been blameable.

 

--- Great is my glorying.  I have great joy in the greatest part of you.  Wi.


4 Great is my confidence for you, great is my glorying for you. I am filled with comfort: I exceedingly abound with joy in all our tribulation. 5 For also when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we suffered all tribulation; combats without, fears within.

Ver. 5.  Our flesh, that is, I myself, had no rest, because of the concern I was in about you, after I had written my last letter.  Wi.

 

--- Combats without, fears within.  Openly persecuted by the pagans, by the Jews, and by false brethren, I was tormented in my interior, by the apprehensions and fears I have just related to you.  I was under continual apprehension, that my letter had been written in too severe a tone.  I was in doubt whether the incestuous man would submit to the sentence of excommunication, and censure pronounced against him.  And I said with myself, will not false teachers undo, and render fruitless all my endeavours to benefit the Church?  Will not my letter alienate their minds from me?  Calmet.

 

--- Our body had no ease, assailed with a deluge of evils from without, by the enemies of the gospel from within, by fears of new persecutions.  Menochius.




6 But God, who comforteth the humble, comforted us by the coming of Titus.

Ver. 6-7, &c.  God . . . . comforted us by the coming of Titus, and with the joyful news he brought me, of the submission and repentance of the incestuous man, and of the good state you are in, of your earnest desire to see me.  Now I have no reason to repent, that I wrote to you pretty sharply; though my letter troubled you, through the concern you were in on account of the incestuous man, yet both his sorrow, and yours for his sake, will turn to his, and your greater advantage, with a lasting repentance, such as a true sorrow produces, when it is from God.  I see the good effects, by the apology or defence you make for yourselves, by your zealous indignation,† and, as it were, revenge against sin, &c.  Wi.

 

[†]  V. 7.  Desiderium, epipoqhsin.  S. Chrys. says, oude epiqumian all epipoqhsin.

7 And not by his coming only, but also by the consolation, wherewith he was comforted in you, relating to us your desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced the more. 8 For although I made you sorrowful by my epistle, I do not repent; and if I did repent, seeing that the same epistle (although but for a time) did make you sorrowful; 9 Now I am glad: not because you were made sorrowful; but because you were made sorrowful unto penance. For you were made sorrowful according to God, that you might suffer damage by us in nothing.

Ver. 9.  Now I rejoice, &c.  I should have been inconsolable, had my letter made you sad, without producing the salutary effect intended by it; but I now rejoice that it caused a sorrow and sadness productive of the great advantages you have reaped from it.  Thus in every sentence S. Paul shews the solicitude of a father, seeking nothing but the advancement of his spiritual children.  Calmet.


10 For the sorrow that is according to God worketh penance, steadfast unto salvation; but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Ver. 10.  For the sorrow, &c.  Sorrow for the loss of temporal goods, such as friends, riches, honours, &c. is productive of no good effects; but on the contrary, it ruins the constitution, exciting in the soul emotions of anger, murmuring, revenge, and brooding melancholy.  It moreover betrays an inordinate attachment to creatures.  But sorrow for our own sins, and for those of others, sufferings which we endure for the glory of God, work penance unto salvation, which is lasting; or, as the Greek has it, worketh penance unto salvation, of which we shall never repent.  For tears shed in prayer unto God are sweeter, says S. Augustine, (Ps. cxxvii.) than any pleasure that can be procured from the stage, &c.  The tears of the saints are like sweet wine, which inebriate those who love God.  S. Aug. Ps. lxxxiii.

 

--- Contrition, or a hearty sorrow for sin, and not faith alone, as some pretend, is essential to salvation.



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11 For behold this selfsame thing, that you were made sorrowful according to God, how great carefulness it worketh in you; yea defence, yea indignation, yea fear, yea desire, yea zeal, yea revenge: in all things you have shewed yourselves to be undefiled in the matter. 12 Wherefore although I wrote to you, it was not for his sake that I did the wrong, nor for him that suffered it; but to manifest our carefulness that we have for you

Ver. 12.  I wrote to you not on the account, &c.  That is, not only on his account, or the account of his father, who suffered the injury, (by which his father seems to have been then alive) but also to demonstrate the care and solicitude I have for you.  I was also overjoyed to find that Titus was so well received by you, with fear and trembling, that is, with so great respect, and submission to him.  Wi.


13 Before God: therefore we were comforted. But in our consolation, we did the more abundantly rejoice for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. 14 And if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I have not been put to shame; but as we have spoken all things to you in truth, so also our boasting that was made to Titus is found a truth. 15 And his bowels are more abundantly towards you; remembering the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you have received him. 16 I rejoice that in all things I have confidence in you.

Ver. 16.  After these proofs of your charity, and the uprightness of your heart, I can reprehend and correct you, exhort and praise you, without fear of my reprehensions separating you from me, without apprehension that my recommendations will prove false, or my confidence vain; I now reckon you as persons entirely devoted to me, and whose affection towards me will never cease.  Calmet.  See Grotius, Estius, &c. &c.

 

--- I therefore rejoice, as we read in the Greek, after this trial, that you will refuse me nothing I ask of you: and this my confidence I shall shew, by asking you to contribute to the wants of the distressed brethren in Jerusalem, who have suffered so much for their religion.


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