2 Corinthians 6:9
as unknown, yet well-known; dying, and yet we live on; punished, yet not killed;
Appeal Growing Out of the Foregoing ArgumentC. Lipscomb 2 Corinthians 6:1-10
Not Hindering the GospelE. Hurndall 2 Corinthians 6:3-10
The Holy Power of CharacterR. Tuck 2 Corinthians 6:3-10
By KnowledgeDean Vaughan.2 Corinthians 6:6-9
KindnessC. H. Spurgeon.2 Corinthians 6:6-9
Love UnfeignedDean Vaughan.2 Corinthians 6:6-9
PowerDean Vaughan.2 Corinthians 6:6-9
PurenessDean Vaughan.2 Corinthians 6:6-9
A Catalogue of ContradictionsP. Morrison.2 Corinthians 6:9-10
Literary AltruismJ. Parker, D. D.2 Corinthians 6:9-10
Opposite Views of a Good Man's LifeD. Thomas, D. D.2 Corinthians 6:9-10
Poor, Yet Rich, and Enriching OthersS. Martin.2 Corinthians 6:9-10
Rejoicing in SorrowA. Maclaren, D. D.2 Corinthians 6:9-10
Rich PovertyH. Martyn.2 Corinthians 6:9-10
Sorrowing, Yet Always RejoicingF. D. Maurice, M. A.2 Corinthians 6:9-10
The Affluent PoorD. Thomas, D. D.2 Corinthians 6:9-10
The Sorrows and Pleasures Attendant on True PietyC. Townsend, M. A.2 Corinthians 6:9-10

There was something soldierly both in the nature and in the life course of the Apostle Paul. His resolution, courage, fortitude, capacity for endurance, fidelity to his spiritual Commander, were all high military qualities. We do not wonder that he made in his writings use so frequent and so effective of the warrior's life. The Christian's career, and much more emphatically the apostolic career, appeared to him one large campaign. Hence his reliance upon "the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left."


1. His foes are many, active, vigilant, formidable, untiring.

2. The warfare to which he is called is accordingly perilous and serious.

3. His own natural resources are utterly inadequate for his defence.


1. It is not physical, or carnal, but moral.

2. It is described in one word as "the armour of righteousness," as opposed to fraud and cunning and iniquity of every kind.

3. It is adapted to the several necessities of the welfare. Vide Ephesians 6., where the several weapons are enumerated and described.


1. The right hand of the warrior wields the sword; and this is the emblem of the weapon of attack which the Christian grasps - even "the sword of the Spirit," which is the Word of God.

2. The left hand of the warrior holds the shield, which is the symbol of that mighty principle of faith, which is the defensive weapon used by every soldier in the spiritual warfare, with which he quenches the fiery darts of the evil one.


1. To himself, security and honour. He is delivered from his foes, and he fights the good fight of faith.

2. To his cause, victory. Righteousness is destined to conquer; there is no uncertainty as to the issues of the holy war.

3. To his Commander, great and growing renown, as his foes are vanquished and his kingdom is consolidated and extended. - T.

As unknown, and yet well known.
In these and preceding verses we have the grand characteristics of apostolic life. —

1. Their difficulties and dangers.

2. The methods of their ministry.

3. The seeming contradictions that made up their life. Examining these in order, notice —


1. God's people are "hidden ones." "The world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not." What conies within the range of the senses the world can understand; but what is only spiritually discerned the world cannot know.

2. But these hidden ones occupy a most prominent position before God, and all spiritual intelligences. "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous." The entirety of their inner and outer life is well known in heaven. Their names are registered in the Book of Life.


1. The life of the old man dies by the painful, lingering process of crucifixion.

2. A new Divine life is planted in the soul which develops in proportion as the old man is crucified.


1. The primal spring of the chastisement of a child of God is parental love (Hebrews 13.). Without it, we should be condemned with the world; the dross of our many sins and corruptions would remain, and should not be wrought for us. We should fail to be conformed to the Lord Jesus, who was made perfect through sufferings.

2. But observe the safety guaranteed. "Not killed." That is impossible, for omnipotence upholds them (Romans 8:35-39).


1. The sources of a believer's sorrows.(1) In his heart and life there is much to cause depression, much that grieves the Holy Spirit.(2) In his circumstances.

2. But he can look beyond all these to the counterbalancing joy. "The joy of the Lord is his strength."


1. God's people are often poor as to this world. "God hath chosen the poor rich in faith." Christ Himself was a poor man. But apart altogether from external circumstances, God's people are, and feel themselves to be, spiritually poor. In the fall man lost everything.

2. But a rich connection has been formed on the part of God's chosen ones with the Lord of all, who has "unsearchable riches." Hence it follows that he who is poor can "make many rich." A true saint, who has nothing in himself, but all things in Christ, is the greatest benefactor of his race.


(P. Morrison.)

I. To the secular eye he was UNKNOWN; to the spiritual, WELL KNOWN.

1. The world has never yet rightly understood the real life of a Christian. To the world, Paul appeared a fanatic. John says, the "world knoweth us not." The world does not understand self-sacrificing love. It understands ambition, greed, revenge, but not this.

2. This explains martyrdom, ay, and the crucifixion of Christ. But though thus unknown to men, they are well-known —(1) To Christ, Christ knows all about His disciples; their inner life and outward circumstances.(2) To heavenly spirits. They are famous in heaven. At their conversion heaven rejoiced, and over every step of their subsequent history heaven watches with a loving care. "He giveth His angels charge over thee."

II. To the one DYING; to the other LIVING.

1. To worldly men Paul appeared as mortal as other men; with a frame scourged, wasted, he was nothing but a dying man.

2. But, spiritually, he was living. The soul within that dying body was living a wonderful life — a life of Christly inspirations and aims.

III. To the one, MUCH TRIED; to the other, NOT DESTROYED. The word chastened here refers to his scourgings. For a catalogue of his sufferings, see 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. To worldly spectators he, with all his wounds, would appear a dead man; but his spiritual purposes, enjoyments, and hopes were not killed,

IV. To the one, VERY SORROWFUL; to the other, ALWAYS REJOICING.

V. TO the one, VERY POOR; to the other, WEALTH-GIVING.

1. Paul and his colleagues had suffered the loss of all things. Often breadless, homeless, and clad in rags.

2. Yet spiritually they were not only rich, but made others rich.(1) The highest work of man is to impart spiritual riches to his brother man. The most dignified and delectable work is this.(2) Worldly poverty does not disqualify a man for the discharge of this sublime mission. The gospel is to be diffused not by man as a scholar, philosopher, but by man as man.

VI. To the one, DESTITUTE; to the other, ENORMOUSLY RICH. "All things are yours." Christliness gives us an interest in all things. They are given to man to enjoy. Conclusion: Do not estimate life by appearances.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

In the Scriptures we continually come upon double statements of this kind: — unknown, yet well known; possible, yet impossible; absent, yet present; on earth, yet in heaven; knowing nothing, yet judging all things. So we are at liberty to apply the words, which in their first meaning were restricted to personal experience, to the illustration of profounder truths and wider doctrines. Suppose we suggest future time. That is unknown, yet well known. Futurity is the mystery of life. We live for the future, even whilst we may deny its broader aspects. What is this magnet that draws us on? Its name is To-morrow. No man hath seen To-morrow at any time, any more than any man hath seen God at any time. Yet we cannot deny it, though we have never seen it, we have never lived it, we have no experience of it; we have a symbol by which we represent it, we acknowledge its inspiration, its mysterious, elevating, animating influence; but what it is, whence it comes, what it will bring, in what shape it will accost us, in what tone of voice, how grim its silence, how eloquent its salutation, none can tell. So we say the future is unknown, yet well known. Thus, in detail, for one moment. The farmer speaks of next harvest: will there be a harvest time? No man doubts it. What will it be in yield and in value? None can tell. It is known, yet unknown — known as a broad fact, unknown in all the minuteness of its detail, and the palpitation of its immediate results. Take the grim certainty of death. We now call it a commonplace when we say "all men are mortal." That is undoubted. By what gate will you go out of this little land into the unknown territory? Will you begin to die in the feet or at the head? Will your heart suddenly stop like a hindered pendulum? So we have the known and the unknown. Is there anything else that combines these marvellous features of being at once unknown, yet well known? Take life. Who knows it? No man. It is as mysterious as God. The man who can accept life ought to have no difficulty in accepting the Triune God. What is life? No man has ever told. Where is it? No man has seen its sanctuary. Is there any other illustration open to the general mind which confirms this altruism, which the apostle so graphically represented? Take character. What is character? How is it made up? Can you handle it and say, Behold, such is its figure? Can you weigh it in pounds troy, and assign its weight, to the utmost ounce or carat? Can you walk around it? Have you ever seen it? Only in incarnation, just as you have seen God. What do you know about "a beautiful character"? You say how mild, how modest, how genial, how courteous. How do you know? We know nothing about character. Call no man good until he is dead, and even after death there may come revelations which will "fright the isle from its propriety." So we come to the great mystery of all — God. He is unknown. We acknowledge it. The Bible says so. Yet God is well known. We cannot tell how we know Him, but we do know Him; imagination knows Him, the heart knows Him, reason feels Him near, conscience hushes the whole being into silence, because of a mysterious presence. We know some realities by the power of love, not by the power of genius. So we enlarge the whole sphere of altruistic vision, and come upon such words as "possible, yet impossible." "With God all things are possible," says Jesus Christ, and one of His apostles wrote in an epistle, "it is impossible for God." Both statements are true, and both are needed to complete a statement of the truth. We refer to this now, because it helps us to a most practical point. It is possible for you to pull down your house, brick by brick, stone by stone, and to begin immediately to unroof the family dwelling; you have strength, you cannot procure instruments, all needful aids are at your service; you could in one short day dismantle and destroy your dwelling; yet you could not, you could do nothing of the kind. What hinders you? An invisible power. What is its name? Reason, common-sense, a correct apprehension of justice and righteousness. Then we are under spiritual control, notwithstanding our irreligiousness?

(J. Parker, D. D.)

As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing
I. WE ALL WANT TO FIND A WAY OF SO MINGLING SORROW AND JOY TOGETHER, THAT NEITHER SHALL CONTRADICT OR WEAKEN THE OTHER. You see people hugging a sorrow, feeding upon it. The wild cry of Constance, "Grief fills the room up of my absent child," has been the cry of many a mother. You perceive that such indulgence is morbid and dangerous; but you take, in general, very unsatisfactory methods of curing it. You try to dissipate the patient's mind, to present other objects which may cause the object on which it dwells to be forgotten. Often you succeed. But something is destroyed which should have been preserved. The waters of Lethe are not those which purge the spirit. They take away much that is best and strongest in it; they leave weeds and mud behind. Depend upon it, sorrow has that in it which we need and cannot afford to part with. He is a thief and an enemy who would take it from us. This is so, whatever be the occasion of the sorrow. Do not say, "This is a poor, mean occasion for a man to grieve about." The loss is a calamity. The grief for it is a gift which you may turn into a curse or into a blessing. An illustrious historian said that he could discover in eminent men, of various periods, an impoverishment and decay of heart and intellect, dating from a crisis of their lives, when they had wilfully thrown off some great sorrow which might have given them consistency and depth. The question is, whether we shall merely nurse sorrow as if it were a warrant for misanthropy, or accept it as a message from above to teach us more of our relations to other men and of our relation to God. In this sense Paul was always sorrowing. There is not a trace in any of his Epistles of morbidness. He is always in action. He is thinking, feeling for others. In one sense he "forgets the things that are behind." He determines that they shall not impede him. But in another sense, nothing is forgotten. All is coloured and shaped by his own previous experiences. What he has suffered enables him to look with straight eyes upon the suffering of the world. He regards it as a sign of derangement in that which is divinely good; therefore it makes him mourn. He regards it as one of the instruments for removing that which is deranged; therefore it cannot make him despair. St. Paul learnt to sorrow when he learnt to hope. He knew the anguish of conscience before; but he did not know sorrow till he had a revelation of One who cared for him, mourned for him, died for him. There then arose upon him the vision of a Man of Sorrows; and now he could desire nothing better than to enter into the mind of Christ.

II. A MAN WHO IS ALWAYS SORROWING IN THIS WAY, MUST BE ALSO ALWAYS REJOICING. Such a weight of sorrow could only have been sustained by a joy that was commensurate with it.

1. We all confess this truth in one way or another. The most frivolous person says, "I have had much trial of late; I must have more than ordinary pleasure that I may endure it." We often denounce such language, but there is a meaning in it, though an inverted one. The joy which we seek for to quench sorrow, is on the whole a poor flimsy joy; not the joy which penetrates far below the surface. That joy which lies at the very root of our being, which is as necessary for human life as moisture is for vegetable life — that joy which, amid the frosts of the world, would perish utterly if Heaven did not watch ever it — that joy does not seek to escape from sorrow, but encounters it and finds its own strength in enduring it. g. As Paul found in the Son of Man the climax of all human sorrow, so he owned in that same Son of Man and Son of God the source and climax of all human joy. As he recollected what the work of the Sorrower on earth had been — how every act He had done was to take away some disease, some death-anguish, it was not possible but that he should believe that there was another cup besides that which His Father had given Him, and which He drained to the dregs. Every hour that Jesus was walking among men He was giving them some foretaste of this joy, some token that He came to make them inheritors of it. But there was a special hour in which we are told He rejoiced in His own Spirit (Matthew 11:25-27). I think I read here the secret of St. Paul's continual joy in the midst of his continual sorrow.

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)


1. The painful sense he entertains of his remaining imperfections, sinfulness, and weakness.

2. The difficulty of maintaining a steadfast belief in the great and essential truths of the gospel of our salvation.

3. The prevalent impiety, the wide-spreading moral wretchedness, with which he sees himself continually surrounded.

4. The natural evil, the physical suffering, which prevails to so wide an extent in the world around him.


1. The blessed hope that when he shall have accomplished his day, he shall find admittance into that blissful region where "all tears shall be wiped from all eyes, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away for ever."

2. The privilege of drawing near to God in acts of public and private devotion.

3. Christian fellowship with persons of a kindred spirit with his own.

4. Grateful and sincere obedience to his heavenly Father's will — more especially in kindness to those whom our Redeemer calls His brethren.

(C. Townsend, M. A.)

Joy lives in the midst of the sorrow; the sorrow springs from the same root as the gladness. The two do not clash against each other, or reduce the emotion to a neutral indifference, but they blend into one another; just as, in the Arctic regions, deep down beneath the cold snow, with its white desolation and its barren death, you shall find the budding of the early spring flowers and the fresh green grass; just as some kinds of fire burn below the water; just as, in the midst of the barren and undrinkable sea, there may be welling up some little fountain of fresh water that comes from a deeper depth than the great ocean around it, and pours its sweet streams along the surface of the salt waste.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

As poor, yet making many rich
I. WEALTH WITHOUT THE RICHES OF THE WORLD. "Having nothing, yet possessing all things."

1. This may be true of men as men.(1) Knowledge is wealth. A child well educated is better endowed, though his parents do not give him a single penny, than the child who is uneducated, and who is heir to a large fortune.(2) Wisdom is wealth. The prudence and sagacity which enable a man to see what is best is the most valuable capital with which a man can conduct business.(3) Contentment is wealth. To make the best of things as things are.(4) Hope is wealth. Because a man has but brass to-day, and is looking forward to gold tomorrow.(5) Cheerfulness is wealth.(6) Love awakened by all that is true, beautiful, and good, is wealth.

2. But look specially at the wealth of a true Christian. He possesses —(1) The Spirit of God, and in Him light and life and love.(2) In the Son of God a Redeemer who is devoted to him, to save him from his sins.(3) In the God to whom he is reconciled, a Father. He is "an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ."(4) In salvation the greatest good which God can bestow and a title to "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away." 15) As a saved and sanctified man, knowledge, wisdom, contentment, cheerfulness, hope, love.(6) All the most useful things — "living bread," "living water," raiment that waxeth not old — "robes of righteousness and garments of salvation."(7) All the most enduring things — "an inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away."(8) All the most precious things, "for all things are yours." "My God shall supply all your need from His glorious riches by Christ Jesus." "He that overcometh shall inherit all things."

II. THE POWER OF ENRICHING OTHERS CO-EXISTING WITH POVERTY. The "making many rich" is not dependent on material wealth.

1. Well doing is required of all, irrespective of poverty or of riches. Multitudes have done good without material wealth. The chief benevolent and religious works are done by those who live by their daily labour. Look through our Sunday and Ragged Schools, etc., and the evidence is complete. Some of you who "possess all things," in another sense, are keeping back from "making many rich."

2. True riches cannot be purchased with money, and the rich are not God's elect to make others rich. "God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith," etc.Conclusion:

1. Rich Christians who have been brought low may learn a cheerful lesson. I want such to see that they "possess all things" — a Saviour enthroned, a Father in heaven, the Holy Ghost the Comforter.

2. The poor, Who are kept poor, may learn a lesson of contentment. It is God's arrangement. God is using this as a means of discipline; He is teaching you certain things by poverty that you could not so well learn from any other tutor.

3. Let Christians learn —(1) Their responsibility. Now there are some who are ever ready to sing, "How vast the treasure we possess!" But it would puzzle some of you to find anybody enriched by you — by your instruction or consolation.(2) Their privilege. To "possess all things" is a privilege, but it is a far greater privilege to make others "rich." Oh! to make one poor neglected brother rich. But to make "many rich," this is to share the joy of heaven — this is to taste that satisfaction of the Saviour which rewarded Him for the travail of His soul. Let this stimulate you. If God put money into your hand, He does so prudently and properly to scatter, not to hoard. You may do as much good in circulating your money in employing labour as by bestowing it in what is called charity. There is like danger of covetousness with regard to our spiritual privileges. If we do "possess all things," we should certainly be moved by such a possession to strive to make others "rich."

(S. Martin.)

Note —

1. That the gospel is a system to enrich man. Some religious systems impoverish both mind and body. The enrichment of the gospel gives man a property in "all things." This spiritual wealth is inalienable, whereas the wealthiest carry not a fraction of all their possessions to the grave, Moral goodness is worth, everywhere and for ever.

2. The gospel enriches man through the agency of poor men. The poor can receive the gospel, and do indeed receive it to a greater extent than any other class. Heaven has placed no obstacle in the way of any class. But if the poor can receive it they can also propagate it. It came into the world through a poor man. "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," etc. He elected to carry on His work by poor fishermen. These He sent forth without "purse or scrip." The same order has been more or less observed up to the present day. Our great reformers, theologians, missionaries, and ministers have, with but few exceptions, sprung from the ranks of the poor. I infer from all this —

I. THE KIND OF INSTRUMENTALITY ON WHICH THE DIFFUSION OF GOD'S GOSPEL NECESSARILY DEPENDS. If the poor can propagate this system, then legislative enactments, worldly influence, high intellectual culture, may be dispensed with. But what of worldly wealth? All that money can do is to furnish machinery — temples, Bibles, and preachers; and these we have in abundance now. The necessary instrumentality is Christ-like thought, spirit, and life.

II. THAT NO CHRISTIAN MAN IS FREED FROM THE OBLIGATION TO DIFFUSE THE GOSPEL OF GOD. If the poor can promote the gospel, how much greater is the obligation of every higher grade in society!

1. The wealthy. Though wealth is not an indispensable qualification, it is undoubtedly a talent suited to augment man's power for this glorious mission.

2. Men of leisure. The poor are doomed to toil for the mere means of subsistence, and can scarcely snatch an hour for spiritual usefulness. How will those amongst us who "kill time" by idle amusements stand in the Last Judgment?

3. The educated.

III. THAT THERE IS NO GROUND FOR SELF-GRATULATION IN THE SUCCESS OF OUR EVANGELICAL EFFORTS. Had angels been employed we might have referred its triumphs to their brilliant talents. But finding that the poorest can achieve the grandest spiritual results, there is no alternative but to trace success in all cases to God.

IV. THAT THE HIGHEST HONOUR IS WITHIN THE REACH OF ALL. This is not to have lordly inheritance or a famous name, but to be the regenerator of souls.

V. THAT THERE IS GOOD REASON TO HOPE FOR THE UNIVERSAL DIFFUSION OF THE GOSPEL. The poor can spread it, and therefore the gospel is not dependent upon any class. And then, moreover, the poor have the largest amount of power; they have always been and still are the millions — the muscles of the world. My poor brother! repine not because of thy worldly lot. Luther was the son of a miner; Bunyan was a tinker, Carey a cobbler, Morison a last-maker; and Knibb, who smote slavery in Jamaica; Williams, who bore the gospel to the Coral Islands; Moffatt, the apostle of Africa, were the children of the sons of toil. Who was John Pounds, the originator of Ragged Schools? He earned his miserable pittance as one of the humblest cobblers in Portsmouth.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)


1. That the truly great are not essentially the visibly rich. We live in an age so material that this needs to be proclaimed with trumpet blast.

2. That it becomes us to make greater self. denials. How seldom do our poverties arise from self-sacrifices!

3. That God does not reward His servants with material pay. If any man had a claim for such reward, it was Paul. But why is this?.(1) God does not attach the false importance to material, possessions that, we do.(2) He will let us do and dare for Him without a bribe.

4. That God's poor are the best off. For see the heritage to which they know that they are begotten!

II. "AND YET POSSESSING ALL THINGS." A good man owns all things.

1. By holding a true relation to things —(1) He is instructed by them. Because a man has a lot of works of art in his gallery, and books in his library, it does not follow that he is their truest owner.(2) He gets enjoyment from them. And what more can any owner do? There are men that sit in their lordly mansions that might as well be immured in a dungeon for aught of joy they gut.(3) He gets growth in the midst of them. If a man's nature is ripened, enriched by things, what can make him in such a great sense their owner?

2. By holding a true relation to Christ he becomes possessor of all things (Romans 8:17; Revelation 3:21).

(H. Martyn.)

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