And in this I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to desire a year ago.
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Cornelius a Lapide
And herein I give my advice. Bede takes this: "Herein I give my opinion," but wrongly; for advice is here contrasted with precept.
Not only to do but also to be forward. Or "to be willing," i.e, of your own accord, no one forcing you. This, as S. Paul hints, is more than to do it when asked (Anselm). Gregory (Hom18 in Ezek.) says: "This very exhortation contains a reproach. "A year ago," he says. They did well then, but slowly. Their teacher, therefore, while he praises, chides. He is a physician who applies to the wound a remedy which both soothes what has been already cleansed, and bites the parts that are found unsound."
Begun not only to do, but also to be willing. The sense seems to be, that they not only began the last year to do it, to contribute, but that they were the first that had this will, and began it of their own accord, by a motion of their own will. And therefore in the next chapter (ver. 2.) he boasted of their ready mind to the Macedonians, and that their zeal or emulation had incited a great many. (Witham)
And herein I give you my advice for your profit.
See how again he is careful to give no offense and softens down what he says, by these two things, by saying, I give advice, and, for your profit. 'For, neither do I compel and force you,' says he, 'or demand it from unwilling subjects; nor do I say these things with an eye so much to the receivers benefit as to yours.' Then the instance also which follows is drawn from themselves, and not from others.
Who were the first to make a beginning a year ago, not only to do, but also to will.
See how he shows both that themselves were willing, and had come to this resolution without persuasion. For since he had borne this witness to the Thessalonians, that of their own accord with much intreaty, they had prosecuted this giving of alms; he is desirous of showing of these also that this good work is their own. Wherefore he said, not only to do, but also to will, and not begun, but begun before, a year ago. Unto these things therefore I e...