Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO 2 CORINTHIANS 4\\

In this chapter, the apostle declares the constancy, sincerity, and
integrity of him, and his fellow ministers, in preaching the Gospel;
asserts the clearness and perspicuity of it; removes the charge of
pride and arrogance from them; takes notice of the afflictions he
and others endured, for the sake of the Gospel; what supports they
had under them, and what comforts they enjoyed: in \\#2Co 4:1\\ he
observes, that seeing they were employed in such a ministry, as
before described in the preceding chapter, though they met with
troubles in it, they did not sink under them; the reason of which
was, partly the excellency of the ministry, and partly the grace and
mercy of God; and they were no less sincere than they were diligent;
and were the reverse of the false teachers, who used dishonest
methods, craftiness and deceit; these they disclaimed, and delivered
out naked truth, with all simplicity and evidence, and as in the
sight of God, in confirmation of which they could appeal to the
consciences of all that heard them, \\#2Co 4:2\\ and whereas the apostle
had affirmed the plainness and clearness of the Gospel ministry,
both in the preceding chapter, and in the foregoing verse, he
foresaw that an objection would be raised against it, which he
anticipates, \\#2Co 4:3,4\\ showing, that though the Gospel was not
spiritually discerned and savingly understood by some persons, yet
this was not to be charged upon the Gospel, as if it was attended
with darkness and obscurity; but it was owing to the unbelief of
men, and the power of Satan over them, in blinding their minds;
otherwise the Gospel in itself was light and glorious, in which
Christ, the image of God, in a most resplendent manner appears; and
those on whom Satan thus wrought were such as did not belong to
God's elect, but were of the number of them that perish: moreover
the integrity of the apostle and other ministers appeared in their
preaching Christ, and not themselves; and in serving the churches in
that way, for the sake of Christ; so that they were far from being
chargeable with pride, vanity, and arrogance, \\#2Co 4:5\\ and they
readily acknowledged, that all the Gospel light they had was from
that God, who spoke light out of darkness in the first creation,
whereby they were qualified to communicate light to others, in the
name of Christ, \\#2Co 4:6\\ and though they had a treasure committed to
their trust, and which they had within them, yet they freely owned
they were but earthen vessels; and the reason why such treasure was
put there was, that the power seen in the conversion of sinners by
their ministry might appear to be not of themselves, but of the
Lord, \\#2Co 4:7\\ and then the apostle proceeds to give an account of
the afflictions endured by them, and of the divine supports they
had, by which they were preserved from being overwhelmed with them,
\\#2Co 4:8,9\\ one end of which afflictions, and which are signified by
bearing the dying of Jesus in their bodies, and by being exposed to
death for his sake, was, that his life might be manifest in them, or
his power in the upholding of them, \\#2Co 4:10,11\\ and herein lay the
difference between them and the Corinthians; the one were in deaths
oft, and in very great distresses, and the other in prosperous
circumstances, \\#2Co 4:12\\ but however, they had much consolation
amidst their sorrows and troubles, and which they had partly through
the Spirit of faith, and in a way of believing; and who after the
example of David, and having the same Spirit as he had, believed and
spake, \\#2Co 4:13\\ and partly through the hope of the resurrection of
the dead, to which they were encouraged by the resurrection of
Christ, \\#2Co 4:14\\ as also by considering what valuable ends were
answered by their bearing afflictions for the sake of Christ, and
preaching the Gospel, namely the good of the churches of Christ, and
the glory of God, \\#2Co 4:15\\ and besides, they had an experience of
the daily renovation of the inward man, or of the carrying on of the
work of grace upon their souls; and of an increase of grace, right,
and joy in them; and this kept them from fainting, though their
outward circumstances and outward man were but in a poor condition,
\\#2Co 4:16\\ but more especially what raised their spirits, and kept
them from sinking under their afflictions, was the view they had of
eternal glory and happiness, to which they had respect; and the
comparison they were led to make between their present afflictions,
and glory, which their afflictions were working for as, that their
afflictions were light, glory heavy; their afflictions were but for
a moment, their weight of glory was for ever; their afflictions were
seen and temporal, their glory unseen and eternal; or the things of
this world, which they often needed, and yet did not regard, were
visible and temporary things; but the things of another world they
had their eye upon were invisible, only visible to faith, and would
endure for ever.