For concerning the ministering to the saints, it is unnecessary for me to write to you:
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Though he had said so much about it, he says here, It is superfluous for me to write to you. And his wisdom is shown not only in this, that though he had said so much about it, he says, it is superfluous for me to write to you, but in that he yet again speaks of it. For what he said indeed a little above, he said concerning those who received the money, to ensure them the enjoyment of great honor: but what he said before that, (his account of the Macedonians, that their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality, and all the rest,) was concerning loving-kindness and almsgiving. But nevertheless even though he had said so much before and was going to speak again, he says, it is superfluous for me to write to you. And this he does the rather to win them to himself. For a man who has so high a reputation as not to stand in need even of advice, is ashamed to appear inferior to, and come short of, that opinion of him. And he does this often in accusation also, using the rhetorical figure, omission, for this is very effective. For the judge seeing the magnanimity of the accuser entertains no suspicions even. For he argues, 'he who when he might say much, yet says it not, how should he invent what is not true?' And he gives occasion to suspect even more than he says, and invests himself with the presumption of a good disposition. This also in his advice and in his praises he does. For having said, It is superfluous for me to write to you, observe how he advises them.
For I know your readiness of which I glory on your behalf to them of Macedonia. Now it was a great thing that he even knew it himself, but much greater, that he also published it to others: for the force it has is greater: for they would not like to be so widely disgraced. Do you see his wisdom of purpose? He exhorted them by others' example, the Macedonians, for, he says, I make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the Churches of Macedonia. He exhorted them by their own, for he says, who were the first to make a beginning a year ago not only to do, but also to will. He exhorted them by the Lord's, for ye know he says, the grace of our Lord, that though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor. 2 Corinthians 8:9 Again he retreats upon that strong main point, the conduct of others. For mankind is emulous. And truly the example of the Lord ought to have had most power to draw them over: and next to it, the [consideration] of the recompense: but because they were somewhat weak, this draws them most. For nothing does so much as emulation. But observe how he introduces it in a somewhat novel way. For He did not say, 'Imitate them;' but what?
And your zeal has stirred up very many. What do you say? A little before you said, [they did it] of their own accord, beseeching us with much entreaty, how then now, your zeal? 'Yes,' he says, 'we did not advise, we did not exhort, but we only praised you, we only boasted of you, and this was enough to incite them. Do you see how he rouses them each by the other, these by those, and those by these, and, along with the emulation, has intermingled also a very high encomium. Then, that he may not elate them, he follows it up in a tempered tone, saying, Your zeal has stirred up very many. Now consider what a thing it is that those who have been the occasion to others of this munificence, should be themselves behind hand in this contribution. Therefore he did not say, 'Imitate them,' for it would not have kindled so great an emulation, but how? 'They have imitated you; see then that you the teachers appear not inferior to your disciples.'
And see how, while stirring up and inflaming them still more, he feigns to be standing by them, as if espousing their party in some rivalry and contention. For, as he said above, Of their own accord, with much entreaty they came to us, insomuch that we exhorted Titus, that as he had made a beginning before, so he would complete this grace;