Verse 24. "Wherefore show ye to them, and before the Churches, &c." - Seeing they are persons every way worthy in themselves, and coming to you on such an important occasion, and so highly recommended, receive them affectionately; and let them thus see that the very high character I have given of you is not exaggerated, and that you are as ready in every work of charity as I have stated you to be. Act in this for your honour.
1. THE whole of this chapter and the following is occupied in exciting the richer followers of Christ to be liberal to the poorer; the obligation of each to be so, the reasons on which that obligation is founded, the arguments to enforce the obligation from those reasons, are all clearly stated, and most dexterously and forcibly managed. These two chapters afford a perfect model for a Christian minister who is pleading the cause of the poor.
2. In the management of charities a man ought carefully to avoid the least suspicion of avarice, self-interest, and unfaithfulness. How few persons are entirely free from the upbraidings of their own consciences in the matter of alms! But who will be able to hear the upbraidings of Christ at the time of death and judgment? No man can waste without injustice, or neglect without sin, those things of which he is only the dispenser and steward.
3. God has not settled an equality among men by their birth to the end that this equality might be the work of his grace. He has put the temporal portion of the poor into the hands of the rich, and the spiritual portion of the rich into the hands of the poor, on purpose to keep up a good understanding betwixt the members of the same body by a mutual dependence on one another. He who withholds the part belonging to the poor steals more from himself than from them. Let every one answer this admirable design of God, and labour to re- establish equality: the poor, in praying much for the rich; and the rich, in giving much to the poor. See Quesnel.