On this I was resolved in my own mind, that I would not pay you a second visit on a sad errand. Was I to make you sorry? It meant bringing sorrow on those who are my own best source of comfort. And those were the very terms in which I wrote to you: I would not come, if it meant finding fresh cause for sorrow where I might have expected to find cause for happiness. I felt confidence in you all, I knew that what made me happy would make you happy too. When I wrote to you, I wrote in great anguish and distress of mind, with many tears. I did not wish to bring sorrow on you, only to assure you of the love I bear you, so abundantly. Well, if someone has caused distress, it is not myself that he has distressed but, in some measure, all of you, so that I must not be too hard on him. This punishment inflicted on him by so many of you is punishment enough for the man I speak of, and now you must think rather of showing him indulgence, and comforting him, you must not let him be overwhelmed by excess of grief. Let me entreat you, then, to give him assurance of your good will. The reason why I wrote to you, after all, was to test your loyalty, by seeing whether you would obey me in full. If you show indulgence to anybody, so do I too; I myself, wherever I have shown indulgence, have done so in the person of Christ for your sakes, for fear that Satan should get the advantage over us; we know well enough how resourceful he is.
I went to Troas, then, to preach Christ's gospel there, and found a great opportunity open to me in the Lord's service; but still I had no peace of mind, because I had not yet seen my brother Titus; so I took my leave of them all, and pressed on into Macedonia. I give thanks to God, that he is always exhibiting us as the captives in the triumph of Christ Jesus, and through us spreading abroad everywhere, like a perfume, the knowledge of himself. We are Christ's incense offered to God, making manifest both those who are achieving salvation and those who are on the road to ruin; as a deadly fume where it finds death, as a life-giving perfume where it finds life. Who can prove himself worthy of such a calling? We do not, like so many others, adulterate the word of God, we preach it in all its purity, as God gave it to us, standing before God's presence in Christ.