We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed

2 Corinthians 4

The Second Epistle to the Corinthians was written by Paul from Macedonia, after Titus had returned from Corinth, and informed him how the Corinthian church had received his first letter. The news was of a mingled kind, and caused him both joy and sorrow. The apostle seems at the time of writing it to have been much troubled and perplexed. We shall commence our reading with the fourth chapter.

2 Corinthians 4:1, 2

All underhand dealing and trickery Paul denounced. He said what he meant, and meant what he said. If we cannot spread the truth by plain speech, we cannot spread it at all.

2 Corinthians 4:3, 4

If men do not understand the gospel, we must take care that the fault does not lie in our language; but wholly with their blinded carnal hearts.

2 Corinthians 4:7

The weakness of the preacher only shows the power of God when he uses such poor means to accomplish so great an end. Never let us refuse to do good, because our abilities are slender; let us the rather yield up our weakness unto the Lord that he may use it to his own glory.

2 Corinthians 4:12

Paul rejoiced that good came to them by his sufferings. He loved them even as a mother who strips off her own raiment, and exposes herself to the cold to screen her child.

2 Corinthians 4:13, 14

He feared not death, for he expected resurrection.

2 Corinthians 4:13

His ruling passion was God’s glory, and this sustained him under sickness, depression, and persecution.

2 Corinthians 4:17, 18

See how little Paul makes of trial; he calls it light and momentary; but how much he makes of glory! he labours for expressions, he cannot with the utmost exertion deliver himself. The way to live above trouble is to look up: we shall grow giddy if we look down upon earthly things, for they are tossed to and fro like waves of the sea.

 

Afflictions may press me, they cannot destroy,

One glimpse of his love turns them all into joy;

And the bitterest tears, if he smile but on them,

Like dew in the sunshine, grow diamond and gem.

 

A scrip on my back, and a staff in my hand,

I march on in haste through an enemy’s land;

The road may be rough, but it cannot be long,

So I’ll smooth it with hope, and cheer it with song.

 

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