The Captivity of the Mind to Christ
THE phraseology of this passage of St. Paul's second letter to the Corinthians 1 shows that his mind was full, as so often elsewhere, of military scenes and exploits, of camps and campaigns, of siege and battlefield, of conquest and defeat. Illustrations such as these were not only very real to the apostle, but had the advantage of being very readily apprehended by those to whom he wrote. When he used such figures, his language was bound to be understood, and by none more easily than by these
... mbers of the Church of the city of Corinth. These he has in his mind's eye here, earnest and devout, striving in concert for the faith of the gospel. The enterprise before them, defensive and offensive, was no light one. In Corinth the enemies of the faith were strong in numbers, diverse in character and method of assault; but while all were bitter, some were plainly hostile, others were crafty and insidious. Here were those of Jewish antecedents, with all the prejudice of class and race ; here the philosophers, falsely so called, with their inconsistent refusal to address themselves to the consideration of a fresh basis for ethics ; and here those who detested the gospel because its message of peace was only for men of God's good pleasure, and offered no terms with moral evil. What an enterprise was implied in the imperative duty of the Corinthian converts to bring all such into Christ's service, to win them or restore them to God through Him ! Here it is that the apostle emphasises a suggestion made not infrequently elsewhere. The very minds of such aliens to the faith were to be recovered and enlisted into the one great service, Every idea and conception, every intention and mental purpose was, as it were, to be caught, arrested, and then pressed into the new allegiance. The very minds of men once so hostile to Christ were to be captured, and to render to Him in sacred tasks and holy efforts a willing, glad obedience. In this passage St. Paul is not so much regarding that internal conflict, with which he has made us elsewhere 2 so familiar, which lies in the desire to do good amid the constraining presence of evil impulse, as that external struggle and warfare in which Christians worthy of the name must share when men have to be won to the Master's cause.