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I appeal to you by our past friendship, don’t be misled

12-16 I do beg you to follow me here, my brothers. I am a man like yourselves, and I have nothing against you personally. You know how handicapped I was by illness when I first preached the Gospel to you. You didn’t shrink from me or let yourselves be revolted at the disease which was such a trial to me. No, you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, or even as though I were Jesus Christ himself! What has happened to that fine spirit of yours? I guarantee that in those days you would, if you could, have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy because I continue to tell you the same truth?

17-20 Oh, I know how keen these men are to win you over, but can’t you see that it is for their own ends? They would like to see you and me separated altogether, and have you all to themselves. Don’t think I’m jealous—it is a grand thing that men should be keen to win you, whether I’m there or not, provided it is for the truth. Oh, my dear children, I feel the pangs of childbirth all over again till Christ be formed within you, and how I long to be with you now! Perhaps I could then alter my tone to suit your mood. As it is, I honestly don’t know how to deal with you.

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