Moreover I call God for a witness upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
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Here Paul is addressing people who apparently wanted to reform but were not making much of an effort in that direction. It was to spare them until they pulled themselves together that he went elsewhere for the time being. Paul did not want them to think that he despised them as unworthy. Once they realized that, they would mend their ways, and then the apostle would come to visit them. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.
Moreover, I call God for a record upon my soul. From this it is lawful for a Christian to take an oath, says S. Augustine (qu5 , inter83); for the Apostle here takes an oath, and that one of execration. If I lie, he says, may God be my judge and condemn my soul.
That to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. Lest I should be forced to exert my apostolic authority against the vices of the offenders among you: it was to spare you from being grieved by my coming to correct you. So Anselm. Cf. also chap. ii1. S. Paul here gives the real reason why he had not kept his promise, or his purpose of visiting Corinth, which was that the Corinthians had not yet given up the vices of which he had admonished them in his First Epistle, and deserved therefore to be rebuked still more sharply and punished. But he deals gently with them, and by his absence he wished tacitly, and by his Epistle openly to remind them once more of their duty, and so correct them with gentleness.
Let prelates learn fro...
Now as to my not coming to you, I call God to witness, that I only deferred my coming out of kindness to you, and that I came not hitherto to Corinth, to spare you, when by reason of the disorders among you, I must have been forced to use severities against those who were not yet reformed.
Not that we lord it over your faith, nor desire to treat God's faithful with severity, or by shewing the power that God hath given us: but we rather desire to be helpers and promoters of your joy, that we may rejoice together with you in God. And now I have this greatest comfort to hear that you stand steadfast and firm in the faith of Christ. (Witham)
What do you say, O blessed Paul? To spare them you came not to Corinth? Surely you present us with something of a contradiction. For a little above you said that thou therefore camest not, because you purpose not according to the flesh nor art your own master, but art led about every where by the authority of the Spirit, and set forth your afflictions. But here you say it was your own act that you came not, and not from the authority of the Spirit; for he says, To spare you I forbare to come to Corinth. What then is one to say? Either, that this too was itself of the Spirit, and that he himself wished to come but the Spirit suggested to him not to do so, urging the motive of sparing them; or else, that he is speaking of some other coming, and would signify that before he wrote the former Epistle he was minded to come, and for love's sake restrained himself lest he should find them yet unamended. Perhaps also, after the second Epistle though the Spirit no longer forbade him to go, he in...