The Enlargement of Christian Benevolence
2 Corinthians 6:11-13
O you Corinthians, our mouth is open to you, our heart is enlarged.…


1. Negatively.

(1) Not in expansion of intellect, for there are many in whose character moral deficiencies form a striking contrast to brilliancy of intellect.

(2) Others flatter themselves that they possess superior enlargement because they entertain an equal indifference to all the varieties of human opinion in religious subjects, and feel no regard for any sect or creed. This would, no doubt, be a very cheap and easy doctrine to embrace; by those who are indifferent concessions are easily made to almost any extent, and there can be no great liberality in sacrificing truth where no real attachment to truth is felt.

2. Positively it consists in a real benevolence to the whole Church of Christ, as opposed to any selfish views of our own salvation, or of our own Church, as exclusively concerned. There are some who live solely to themselves, others limit their benevolence to the circle of their own family or of their acquaintance, and others extend their benevolent interest to every case of distress that falls within their view. And this is the utmost extent of human benevolence, apart from the religion of Christ. The proud Roman confined all his benevolence to Rome. That all nations were of one blood never entered into the views of the most enlightened men in the pagan world. But suppose us enabled to open our eyes to a comprehensive view of mankind as one vast family; suppose God to have clearly discovered Himself as the universal Father, from whom all have alike departed by sin; suppose Him to have shown us that one great method of recovery has been provided for all, what should be the effect of such a revelation but first to attach us to God as our common centre, and then to the whole family of man as called to form the Church of God?


1. It is perfectly reasonable and in harmony with nature. We are so circumstanced that we are perpetually and inevitably led out of ourselves. There are natural emotions that are purely benevolent; pity, e.g., identifies us with others. In all our social affections, supposing them genuine, we act on the ground of a disinterested benevolence; it is their happiness, not our own, that we primarily seek.

2. It agrees with the genius of Christianity, the grand display of the Divine benevolence, "Herein is love," etc. Hence the apostle declares, "The love of Christ constrains us." Such an example of compassionate benevolence — of enlargement of heart — once perceived and felt absorbs the soul.

3. It is conducive to our own happiness. The more we identify ourselves with the interest of others the more we consult our own happiness. In the pursuit of any merely solitary schemes we shall reap only disappointment. When the barriers of selfishness are broken down, and the current of benevolence is suffered to flow generously abroad, and circulate far and near around, then we are in a capacity of the greatest and best enjoyment.

4. It tends to promote all public good.


1. Acquaintance with God. First draw near to the Father in that new and living way, for "whoso loveth Him that begot will also love all those that are begotten." Once taste for yourself that the Lord is gracious, and then you will find that you "cannot but speak of what you have seen and heard."

2. Prayer for the Holy Spirit's influence; by this alone can our hearts be truly enlarged in love to man.

3. Connection with great objects of beneficence. The mind takes a tincture from the objects it pursues. If you engage your attention in the concerns of Christian philanthropy your mind will be dilated in proportion to your ardour.

(R. Hall, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.

WEB: Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians. Our heart is enlarged.

The Apostle's Love and its Desired Recompense
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