I told you before, and foretell you as if I were present a
He means, that he had in his former epistle faithfully told them of their evils, and admonished them for them; and now he sends to them a second time before his coming, and again admonishes them, as if he was upon the spot with them; so that they had, as before, three witnesses, also a first and second admonition; which, should they be without success, he must proceed further:
and being absent now, I write to them which heretofore have sinned;
before he wrote his first epistle, of which he had information, and had faithfully reproved and admonished them; see ( 2 Corinthians 12:21 ) .
And to all other;
that might since be drawn into a compliance with sinful practices, through their example; or as the Arabic version renders it, "to the rest of the congregation"; who would be witnesses for him, and against them, that he had admonished them a first, and a second time: and by his present writing declares,
that if I come again;
for, not knowing what might fall out to prevent him, though he was bent upon coming, and ready for it, nor what was the will of God about it, he does not choose to be positive in the matter; and therefore writes conditionally, and with a guard, and no doubt with a submission to the divine will:
I will not spare;
this was the reason why as yet he had not been at Corinth, because he was willing to spare them; see ( 2 Corinthians 1:23 ) being loath to come to severities, if gentler methods would take effect; but now having used all proper means, he is at a point, aud determined not to spare, but to use his apostolical rod, or that power which the Lord had given him in an extraordinary way, as an extraordinary officer, to punish incorrigible offenders, in such manner as the incestuous person, and Hymenaeus and Philetus had been used by him.