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The apostle Paul, in this his second epiftle addressed to the christians at Corinth, disclaims the practice of using any art or cunning, any concealment or amplification, in order to interpret the word of God unfaithfully or deceitfully; and, in confirmation of the purity of his purpose, he appeals to the manifestation • of the truth, commending himself to every ' man's conscience in the sight of God.”
After this public challenge of any impeachment of his conduct as a minister of Jesus Christ, and
folemn declaration of his purpose not to abuse, by any private and unwarrantable practices, the doctrine he had engaged to preach, but to refer himself to the approbation of God and every good man, he proceeds to ascribe the difficulties and hindrances with which the religion of Jesus Christ had to contend, to their true cause. · The God of this world, as he expreffes himself; the pursuits of wealth and pleasure; a devotedness to the enjoyment of ignoble ease and relaxing indulgence; the gratification of their lower passions, and the entire occupation of their minds in the things of the world, had so blinded men's understandings, that they were impenetrable by the light of the gospel of Christ. This excess of attention to animal and secular pursuits, so much below and unbecoming the enlarged and noble views now opened to mankind by the preaching of Christ and his apostles, not only cast an impervious cloud between the reason of man and the christian revelation, but occasioned a darknefs almost visible. And so long as the same cause shall continue, the same effect will follow.
Our apostle proclaims his own mission, and the extent of his profession; that he preached