¶ It is not expedient for me no doubt to rejoice, Nevertheless I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ above xiiij years agone (whether he were in the body I cannot tell, or whether he were out of the body I cannot tell, God knoweth) which was taken up into the third heaven. And I know the same man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell, God knoweth) how that he was taken up into paradise, and heard words not to be spoken, which no man can utter. Of this man will I rejoice, of myself will I not rejoice, except it be of mine infirmities: and yet though I would rejoice I should not be a fool: for I would say the truth. Nevertheless I spare, lest any man should think of me above that he seeth me to be, or heareth of me.
¶ And lest I should be exalted out of measure thorow the abundance of revelations, there was given unto me of God unquietness of the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me: because I should not be exalted out of measure. For this thing besought I the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me: and he said unto me: my grace is sufficient for thee. For my strength is made perfect throu weakness. Very gladly therefore will I rejoice of my weakness, that the strength of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore have I delectation in infirmities, in rebukes, in need, in persecutions, in anguish, for Christis sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong.
¶ I am made a fool in boasting myself. Ye have compelled me: I ought to have been commended of you. For in nothing was I inferior unto the chief apostles, though I be nothing, yet the tokens of an apostle were wrought among you with all patience: with signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. For what is it wherein ye were inferiors unto other congregations? except it be therein that I was not grievous unto you. Forgive me this wrong done unto you. Behold now the third time I am ready to come unto you, neither will I be grievous unto you. For I seek not yours but you. Also the children ought not to lay up for the fathers and mothers: but the fathers and mothers for the children.
¶ I will very gladly bestow, and will be bestowed for your souls: though the more I love you, the less I am loved again. But be it that I grieved you not: nevertheless I was crafty and took you with guile. Did I pill you by any of them which I sent unto you? I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother: Did Titus defraud you of any thing? walked we not in one spirit? walked we not in like steps? Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves? we speak in Christ in the sight of God.
¶ But we do all things dearly beloved for your edifying. For I fear lest it come to pass, that when I come, I shall not find you such as I would: and I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: I fear lest there be found among you lawynge, envying, wrath, strife, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, and debate. I fear lest when I come again, God bring me low among you, and I be constrained to bewail many of them which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and wantonness which they have committed.
© Faith of God
William Tyndale 1526