1 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.

He determined that he would not come in heaviness, for to meet those who had been so dear to him, under such alienating conditions, was more than he could stand.

So, he explains, he had instead written to them in much anguish of heart, with many tears, hoping to move them to repentance by the entreaties of his love and care. He had no rest in his spirit until word came back to him that his letter and his prayers and Titus' visit had been successful in inspiring them to a thorough repentance, and renewed love for him.

This leads him to the closing thoughts of chapter 2, that he was both a messenger of life and a messenger of death, according as how he - as the appointed minister of God - was received. And he says in awe-

"Who is sufficient for these things?"

He was overwhelmed with the great responsibility of life and death that lay upon him, and his high position in the purpose of God.

Bro Growcott - Sorrowful, Yet Alway Rejoicing

4. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

His thoughts would revert to that happier time when for eighteen months he had fervently labored among them, gathering believers and establishing a lightstand in holy zeal and purity.

Now, for fear of mutual sorrow and embarrassment, he hesitates to visit them (2 Cor. 1:23). But still he writes with a nobility and grandeur that befits his position and relation to them. They may have forgotten the height of their calling, but he has not.

His salutation is remarkable. Many grievous rebukes and corrections are to follow, but of these it gives no hint. They are still the ecclesia of God that is at Corinth, called to be saints, separated and sanctified in Christ Jesus, the temple of God, and custodians of the Holy Spirit-so far the lightstand is still there. And so he addresses them, in an effort to appeal to all that is good in them, and to impress them with the need of prompt corrective action.

He goes further. He thanks God for the grace and blessings they have received and by which they are enriched in all utterance and knowledge. He reminds them that in this respect, no ecclesia has been more highly favored. His inference is-

"Where much is given, much is required" (Lk. 12:48).

And then he looks forward in hope to that time when in the mercy of God he is confident that they will stand approved at the judgment seat of Christ. He does not condone or minimize their errors, but in his love he is sure they will heed his rebuke.

It is noteworthy that, in discussing the things he has heard of them, he frankly names the source of his information.

"It hath been declared to me by them of the house of Chloe".

No thought of concealment or subterfuge. No anonymous accusations. The mind of the spirit is open and straightforward at all times. His reference to their being babes in knowledge, though true, would perhaps fall a little unwelcomely upon their ears, for obviously they considered themselves intelligent and wise and mature. It is to this angle that he applies himself in the remainder of the first two chapters, stressing a vital principle of divine truth.

Bro Growcott - Ye are Full