2 Corinthians 1:19
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yes and no…
The apostle defended himself against imputations of levity and self-contradiction. He did not lightly form or change his plans. He did not bandy about "yea and nay." The serious theme of his ministry was some security for its grave and consistent treatment. At the present day one hears a good many complaints of vagueness and vacillation in the pulpit. Preachers are said to use ambiguous phrases, propound shifting opinions, and leave their hearers unsettled and perplexed. They seem to have no certainty in their own minds, and therefore cannot convey a sure and straightforward gospel to others. Their word is "yea and nay." Now, there may be reason for hesitancy on some topics of religion. It may be a great deal wiser than absolute assertion. But as to the main theme of gospel preaching there should be perfect certainty; for the very essence of it is the setting forth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is the True One, and ought to be proclaimed with firmness, consistency, and "much assurance." The Greeks were fond of speculation. At Athens they inquired after some new thing. At Corinth they were fickle and disputatious. On such a people the calm certainty of St. Paul's preaching must have fallen with surprise. It was testified that Jesus, who had taught in Judaea, but never even visited Greece, and who had been crucified at Jerusalem, was the Son of God; that he had ascended to heaven, and would judge the world on an appointed day. This was not submitted to the critical acumen of the Greeks for their examination and approval. It was delivered as truth, and not as a lie - yea, and not nay. Jesus, the Son of God, was the grand Reality in a world of delusions, and the grand Essence in a world of shadows. Such had been the teaching of St. Peter and the other apostles at Jerusalem, of Philip at Samaria, and of the Cypriote and Cyrenian brethren who first delivered the testimony at Antioch. No one was more clear or more intent upon this than St. Paul. Though his powerful mind could easily have dealt with many questions that would have interested the Greeks, he resolved to adhere to the simple testimony to Jesus, the Son of the living God. It may be said that, though this was right and needful in the world which St. Paul looked upon, and is right and needful still among Jews and heathens, it is not necessary in Christian countries. But alas! it is necessary. Countries called Christian are still very ignorant of Christ; all of them need full, definite, and firm preaching of the Son of God. There is nothing like it for delivering men from their sins, and drawing them away alike from the arid sands of unbelief and from the marshy places of superstition. But the testimony must be delivered with unfaltering heart and voice; for it is the preaching of the Yea, the Faithful and True - a pillar that cannot be shaken, a foundation that cannot be moved. Heathenism was full of contradiction, incoherence, and contrast. Its gods conflicted with each other and its oracles were uncertain. It was and still is a thing of "yea and nay." Buddhism, in some respects an improvement on the heathenism which it supplanted, after all amounts to a mere dreary nihilism. One who had studied it carefully (Sir J. Emerson Tennant) said of Buddhism that, "insufficient for time and rejecting eternity, the utmost triumph of this religion is to live without fear and to die without hope." This is not "yea," not even "yea and nay," but a perpetual dismal "nay." In Christendom, too, something like it appears. There is a weary scepticism which a famous writer described as "the everlasting No." Partly it is a shallow fashion, partly it is a real plague and misery of the generation to have "nay' only in regard to the unseen. God is not. The Bible is not. The devil is not. Heaven is a dream. Hell is a fable. Prayer is useless. Faith is a fond fancy. So the mist wraps men in its chilly fold. Against all this we place the everlasting Yea. Jesus Christ is God's mighty and loving Yes to the children of men. And whatever the differences among our religious communities, in this testimony all are at one. The Son of God is he who can give light to the darkened mind, rest to the weary spirit, warmth to the frozen heart. In him desire is satisfied, apparent contradictions are reconciled, or hope is given of solutions by and by, for which we can well afford to wait. Some contrast the Christian faith unfavourably with the physical sciences. They say that it is full of mysticism and loose conjecture, whereas the sciences proceed by rigorous induction of facts observed, collated, and scrutinized. In the former we are asked to walk on air; in the latter, every step we take is on sure and solid ground. This we totally deny. There is no fair and proper test of historical and moral truth to which our holy religion refuses to be subjected. We have the well-authenticated records spoken and written by those who saw and heard Jesus Christ. We have the best reasons for trusting their testimony; and in the words, and works, and character, and suffering of Jesus, in his reappearance after death, and in the whole influence which he has exerted over millions of men for nearly nineteen centuries, we have overwhelming proof that, while human, he is superhuman - he is the Son of God. It is science that has to change its voice, not religion. It has to modify its assertions, correct its conclusions, and reconsider its theories; but Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever;" and the gospel which proclaims him brings to us the Divine "yes" to which we have only to respond with the human "yes" of an unwavering faith. The Saviour asks, "Believest thou that I am able to do this?" Be ready with the answer, "Yea, Lord.' - F.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.