Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God,
&c.] The apostle having said everything that was proper to conciliate the minds and affections of the Corinthians to him, and the matter in difference being adjusted to the satisfaction of all parties concerned; he proposes what he had wisely postponed till all was over, the making a collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem; which he enforces by the example of the Macedonian churches, the churches at Philippi, Thessalonica He addresses them in a kind and tender manner, under the endearing appellation of "brethren", being so in a spiritual relation; and takes the liberty to inform them of the goodness of God to some of their sister churches; "we do you to wit", or "we make known unto you". The phrase "to wit" is an old English one, and almost obsolete, and signifies to acquaint with, inform of, make known, or give knowledge of anything. The thing informed of here, "is the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia"; by which is meant, not any of the blessings of grace common to all the saints, such as regeneration, justification, adoption, forgiveness of sin, and the like; but beneficence, liberality, or a liberal disposition to do good to others, called "the grace of God"; because it sprung from thence, as all good works do when performed aright; they were assisted in it by the grace of God; and it was the love and favour of God in Christ, which was the engaging motive, the leading view, which drew them on to it. This was
upon them, not merited, it was grace and free grace; God may give persons ever so much of this world's goods, yet if he does not give them a spirit of generosity, a liberal disposition, they will make no use of it for the good of others: and this was bestowed
on the churches of Macedonia;
not on a few leading men among them, but upon all the members of these churches in general; and not upon one church, but upon many; a spirit of liberality was in general diffused among them, and this is proposed for imitation. Examples have great influence, and the examples of many the greater; too many follow a multitude to do evil; here the example of many, even of many churches, is proposed in order to be followed to do good, to exercise acts of beneficence and goodness, in a free generous way to saints in distress; which as it is here called, "the grace of God", so in some following verses, "the gift, the same grace, and this grace", ( 2 Corinthians 8:4 2 Corinthians 8:6 2 Corinthians 8:7 ) agreeably to the Hebrew word (dox) , which signifies "grace" and "free bounty"; and is used for doing good, or for beneficence, which the Jews call (Mydox twlymg) "a performance of kind and bountiful actions": which are done freely, and for which a person expects no return from the person to whom he does them: and this they distinguish from (xqdu) , "alms", after this manner F20;
``an alms (they say) is exercised towards the living, beneficence towards the living and the dead; alms is used to the poor, beneficence both to the rich and poor; alms is performed by a man's substance, beneficence both by body and substance.''
F20 T. Hieros. Peah, fol. 15. 3.