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1When such promises as these are ours, let no contamination either of the flesh or of that which taints and corrupts the spirit enter into you, but be pure and reverently accomplish that holiness which is brought by faithful, careful attention to the dictates of God. 2In that spirit of purity and truth, accept me, bear with me, allow that I am free of the offences that men attribute to me, that I have wronged no one, corrupted no one, as they say I do, and have not made a fortune for myself out of my converts. 3I know that you do not say these things yourselves, and I do not reproach you. Only beware of the influence which the reiterated statements of the faithless and the idolaters may have upon you. No, I do not reproach you. I glory in you. 4I have much boldness in speaking to you. I know that in my own heart all trace of condemnation toward you is absent, for in the Christ we live and suffer together as one. 5-6I cannot express to you the great gladness and joy of my heart on meeting Titus in Macedonia.
Paul's suffering relieved by good news
7I was oppressed beyond measure, fightings without, and fears within — my flesh had no rest, in every possible direction loomed danger and difficulty, and God delivered me, even as He delivers the meek and hears the cry of the helpless. Titus came to me with news of you; and my heart was comforted and strengthened, nay, it overflows with gratitude and joy, as I remember your utter loyalty, and perfect devotion. All my sufferings lifted in the understanding of your love which his news brought to me. 8My letter pained you, but I do not repent of that now. Though it pained me before, my sorrow now is gone. 9The pain and sorrow of the world bring death, 10but that pain and sorrow which God sends result in a change of mind and heart which nothing again can ever make a man repent of. And so it was with you. 11It was no ordinary pain and mortification that my letter brought you, it was a deep stirring of the divine, of the sorrow that changes us, and with that sorrow came new energy, new desire, the wish to clear yourselves of reproach and to exact justice to the full. I rejoice that you have approved yourselves holy and worthy in this trouble. And what else matters? 12My letter and its strictures and rebuke concerned more than the individual who did the wrong, more too than the one that was wronged. It concerned your loyalty and faithfulness, and because that held good, I rejoice, and am comforted in my heart. 13And Titus' courage and hope and joy have also been uplifted by your welcome of him. 14I had boasted of you to him, and he found you even as I had told him, 15and as I write, his heart, like mine, goes out to you, at the recollection of your obedience, and of the wonderful care and attention which you paid him when he was with you. 16How I rejoice now in all this!
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