18. And a little after he saith, “For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you. For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. Yet have we sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this substance. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand this your long promised benediction, that the same might be ready, as benediction, and not as covetousness. But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth in benediction shall reap also in benediction. Every man according as he hath purposed in his heart, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound in you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: as it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. But He that ministereth seed to the sower will both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the growing fruits of your righteousness; that ye may be enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God: for the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but makes them also to abound by thanksgiving unto God of many, while by the proof of this ministration they glorify God for the obedience of your confession unto the Gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; and in the praying for you of them which long after you for the excellent grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.”63 2 Cor. ix In what richness of holy gladness must the Apostle have been steeped, while he speaks of the mutual supply of the need of Christ’s soldiers and His other subjects,64 Provincialium on the one part of carnal things to those, on the other of spiritual things to these, to exclaim as he does, and as it were in repletion of holy joys to burst out65 “Eructuare.” with, “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!”
18. Et paulo post dicit: Nam de ministerio quod fit in sanctos, ex abundanti est mihi scribere vobis. Scio enim promptum esse animum vestrum, de quo glorior pro vobis apud Macedonas; quoniam Achaia parata est ab anno priore, et quae ex vobis est aemulatio irritavit plures. Misimus autem fratres, ne gloria nostra quam habemus in vobis, evacuetur in hac parte, ut, sicut dixi, parati sitis: ne cum venerint mecum Macedones, et invenerint vos imparatos, confundamur nos, ut non dicam vos, in hac substantia. Necessarium ergo existimavi rogare fratres, ut praecedant ad vos, et praeparent jam pridem repromissam hanc benedictionem vestram, ut sit parata, sic quasi benedictionem, non quasi avaritiam. Hoc autem , Qui parce seminat, 0564 parce et metet; et qui seminat in benedictione, in benedictione et metet. Unusquisque secundum quod proposuit corde, non ex tristitia aut ex necessitate: hilarem enim datorem diligit Deus. Potens est autem Deus omnem gratiam abundantem facere in vobis, ut in omnibus semper omnem sufficientiam habentes, abundetis in omne opus bonum: sicut scriptum est, Dispersit, dedit pauperibus, justitia ejus manet in aeternum. Qui autem subministrat semen seminanti, et panem in escam subministrabit, et multiplicabit seminationem vestram, et augebit crescentes fruges justitiae vestrae, ut in omnibus ditati in omnem simplicitatem, quae operatur per nos gratiarum actionem Deo: quoniam ministerium functionis hujus non solum supplet ea quae desunt sanctis, sed et abundare facit per multorum gratiarum actionem Deo, per probationem ministrationis hujus glorificantes Deum in obsequio confessionis vestrae in Evangelium Christi, et simplicitate communicationis in illos et in omnes, et in ipsorum precatione pro vobis, desiderantium vos propter excellentem gratiam Dei in vobis. Gratias Deo super inenarrabili dono ejus (II Cor. VIII et IX). Quanta pinguedine sanctae laetitiae sit perfusus Apostolus, dum loquitur de alterno supplemento indigentiae militum et provincialium Christi, hinc de rebus carnalibus in illos, inde autem de spiritualibus in istos; ut exclamaret, et tanquam sanctorum gaudiorum sagina eructuaret, dicens, Gratias Deo super inenarrabili dono ejus?