To the one we are the fragrance of death unto death; and to the other the fragrance of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
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To unbelievers the preaching of the cross is the smell of death. On hearing the Word of God they receive it as if it were a plague from which death knocks on the door. But to others it is the fragrance of life. To believers the Word of God is a messenger of eternal life. It affects them in accordance with their faith. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.
Through an evil man divine providence can both punish and comfort. For the impiety of the Jews was the Jews’ downfall and yet provided salvation for the Gentiles. Again, divine providence through a good man can both condemn and help, as the apostle says: “To some we are the scent of life to life, but to others we are the scent of death to death.” But every tribulation is either a punishment of the impious or a testing of the just… Further, peace and quiet from disruptive times can both profit the good and corrupt the evil.
To the one we are the savour of death unto death, and to the other the savour of life unto life." "We are," says Theophylact, "a royal censer, and wherever we go we carry with us the odour of the spiritual ointment, i.e, in every place we scatter the good fumes of the knowledge of God." Again says Å’cumenius: "As the fragrance of ointment nourishes the dove and destroys the beetle, and as the light of the sun gladdens the eyes that are healthy and hurts those that are weak, as fire purifies gold and destroys straw, so is Christ ruin to the evil, resurrection to the good." Observe the Hebraism, an odour of death unto death, i.e, a deadly odour bringing death. The fragrance of the fame of the life, preaching, and conversion of the Apostles breathed life into the good, death into the evil; for the wicked, unable to bear the splendour of such holiness, hardened themselves the more in their wickedness, envy, or hatred. But Clement of Alexandria (Pæd. lib. ii.) reads, "odour from death" and ...
The odour of death: The preaching of the apostle, which by its fragrant odour brought many to life, was to others, through their own fault, the occasion of death; by their wilfully opposing and resisting that divine call. (Challoner)
And for these things who is so sufficient, as we whom Christ hath chosen to be the ministers of his gospel? In the Greek copies and in St. Chrysostom, we only read, who is fit? as if he said, who is fit to discharge this great duty, without the continual assistance of God's grace? The reading of the Latin Vulgate seems to agree better with the following verse of the next chapter, when he answers their objection, Do we then begin again to commend ourselves? (Witham)
Who are so fit as we who are chosen by God to fulfil his ministry? If God had not chosen us, how should we have been able to acquit ourselves of so arduous an undertaking? for we did not intrude or thrust ourselves into this ministry. (Calmet)
Though it is not so difficult for those to preach...
If anyone is lost he has only himself to blame. Soothing ointment is said to suffocate pigs. Light is blinding to the weak. It is in the nature of good things not only to correct what is close to them but also to destroy the opposite, and in this way their power is displayed.
To the one a savor from death unto death, to the other a savor from life unto life.
For this sweet savor some so receive that they are saved, others so that they perish. So that should any one be lost, the fault is from himself: for both ointment is said to suffocate swine, and light (as I before observed,) to blind the weak. And such is the nature of good things; they not only correct what is akin to them, but also destroy the opposite: and in this way is their power most displayed. For so both fire, not only when it gives light and when it purifies gold, but even when it consumes thorns, does very greatly display its proper power, and so show itself to be fire: and Christ too herein also does discover His own majesty when He shall consume Antichrist with the breath of His mouth, and bring him to nought with the manifestation of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8
And who is sufficient for these things?
Seeing he had uttered great things, that 'we are a sacrifice of Christ and a ...