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will, and let his rank and station be what it will, if he walks disorderly, like a soldier that keeps not rank and file, as the word signifies: if he walks not after the tradition which he has received of us, that is, plainly according to the rule and direction of the gospel, let him be avoided. Hence learn, That there is no church member, whose rank and station, whose quality and condition, doth exempt his disorderly, scandalous walking from ecclesiastical censure; Withdraw from every brother that walkelh disorderly.
7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: For we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you ; 8 Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
In these verses the apostle plainly intimates, whom he meant by the disorderly brother mentioned in the foregoing verse: it is the idle person, called disorderly for this reason; because Almighty God having fitted man for, and ordained him to, labour, he that will not do so, deserts the order in which God has placed him, and thus renders himself disorderly. To condemn which practice, St. Paul propounds his own example to their consideration and imitation; declaring, that he did not eat any man's bread before he earned it, but wrought with his own hands in the day-time, and sometimes part of the night, at his trade of tent-making, that he might not be chargeable to any of them: not but that he had power to demand maintenance for his ministry; but he chose rather to depart from his right, and to labour in his calling, to excite others to do the like. Note here, 1. That had not St. Paul laboured in his calling of tent-making, he had not been a disorderly person; but lest any should think so, he takes away and cuts otf all occasion of suspicion, by working with his hands; his ministerial office would have freed him from the charge and imputation of idleness, and made maintenance from the church his due; but idleness, the apostle observed, was a growing sin, which needeth an example as well as doctrine to subdue it; and accordingly the apostle sets one, I be
haved myself not disorderly or idle amongst you, but wrought with labour and travail night and day. Note, 2. It is commendable to follow good examples, but much more to set a good example: as ministers ought to be patterns, so people ought to be followers; and their sin will be much the greater, and their punishment much the sorer, who do not follow their ministers' doctrine, when they have seen it exemplified in their conversation. Note,
3. There have all along been some persons in the world who have looked upon the work of the ministry as a very easy calling, yea, as an idle calling, that a little time, a little pains and labour, is enough for it: whereas the labour of the ministry in the exercise of the mind, may justly be esteemed the greatest of labours; yet we see people all along have not judged it so, but the ministers of Christ find it so. Note,
4. From the poverty of St. Paul's condition, that he had nothing before-hand, but was forced to earn his bread before he eat it; Learn, that it pleases God sometimes to measure out a very hard lot to his own children, and to give but little of earth to those who glorify him most upon earth; and those upon whom he intends to bestow extraordinary measures of glory in heaven, are cut short, very short of these outward comforts. Here behold St. Paul, a chosen vessel, one of the holiest men, and the most serviceable man that lived in the world in his time, yet without a penny in his purse, but what he wrought for with his hands, nay, working night and day for bread! Lord! how endearing are thy children's obligations to thy goodness, for their easy and plentiful circumstances in the world! what a favour it is to have fulness upon earth whilst we live, and the assurance of thy everlasting fruition when we die!
10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busy-bodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
Observe here, 1. The solemn charge given by the apostle for every man to follow
some lawful calling, and to be found in tlie way of an industrious diligence; if any (being able) will not work, let him not eat (any part of the church's charity). So that the sin of idleness was directly contrary to the apostle's command, and to the apostle's example. Mark, It is not those that cannot work, but those that will not, whom the apostle excludes from the church's charity: poor men that will not work when they can, do forfeit the bread of charity from men; the rich men that live idly, do by that sin forfeit their food to God, yea, even their lives and their souls too; if any man would not work, neither should he tat. Observe, 2. The apostle exhorts every man to cat his own bread; implying, that the bread of idleness is stolen bread; idle persons shall be judged as thieves, though they eat that which was freely given them: drones deserve no honey, what they eat is stolen from the industrious bee; that is truly our bread which we labour for ourselves, or recompense those who get it for us by their labour. God has sent no man into the world to be idle; but as the providence of God disposes of every man, though he has never so much worldly wealth, yet he must be some way useful and serviceable in his generation. Observe, 3. One of the bad effects of idleness pointed at by our apostle; namely, an intermeddling (as busy-bodies) in other men's matters: an idle person that doeth nothing to any good purpose, yet has a deal of business to answer for, done to very bad purpose; not for labouring, but busy trifling; the busybody's business is very unprofitable business; the mind of man cannot be wholly idle, but must be employed in something, if not in doing good, of necessity in contriving evil; usually none are so busy in other men's matters as they that neglect their own; those disorderly persons, who did not work at all, yet were busy-bodies, and as such censured by our apostle; I hear there are some among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may he ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
Observe here, 1. How far St . Paul was from the censoriousness and uncharitableness of those men who condemn a whole society, a communion, a church in genual, for the miscarriages of some particular persons in it. I hear, says he, there are some that walk disorderly, but ye, brethren, are free from these misdemeanors; you are painful in your employments, diligent in your callings, charitable in your distributions: be not weary in these instances of your duty, but persevere in welldoing. When the ministers of Christ reprove the stubborn and disobedient for the neglect of their duty, they forget not to encourage and exhort the faithful and obedient to a persevering diligence in their known duty. Observe, 2. He directs them bow to manage refractory persons, such as remained contumacious and disobedient to the admonitions given by this epistle; continuing disorderly, and refusing to labour; his advice is twofold, he tells them what be would have them not do, and what he would have them do, to such. I. Negatively, What they should not do; namely, not to cut them off from the church by excommunication, despairing of their repentance and reformation: extreme rigour is offensive to God, and injurious to the church, as well as too much lenity and forbearance. 2. Positively, He exhorts that they consider them as lapsed brethren, and treat them accordingly, as those that desire and endeavour to reduce and reform them; in order to which he directs, first, to note or mark the disorderly persons; thai is, set a note of shame upon them. Next, to avoid all intimacy and familiarity with them. Lastly, to admonish them of their duty, that they may be brought, if possible, to repentance.
16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by ail iMeans,
Our apostle being now to take his leave of the Thessalonians, closes his epistle with prayer. Where note, 1. The mercy prayed for, peace; peace with God, peace with conscience, peace and unity among themselves as christians, peace with the men of the world, strangers, yea, enemies to christianity. Note, 2. The person prayed to, The Lord of peace; understand Jesus Christ, the piince of peace, the purchaser of peace, the procurer of peace, the preserver of peace. Note, 3. The perpetuity of the
mercy prayed for, The Lord give you peace, not for a short time, but for continuance, always, that is, at all times, and in all places, and with all persons. Note, 4. The way and manner of obtaining this and all other blessings, it must be in the use of means; The Lord give you peace by all means, that is, in the use of all lawful and laudable means. Learn hence, 1. That the Lord himself is the author, procurer, and preserver, of all that peace which his people enjoy; and therefore his people may boldly trust him for peace and safety, who is, and will be styled, The Lord of peace. Learn, 2. That such as will obtain this blessing of peace, must pray for it, and endeavour after it in a diligent use of all lawful means, which is the usual way and method in which God dispenses it. Learn, 3. That it is a lasting peace, a peace always, amongst all persons, and at all times, that a christian should pray for and endeavour after, that it may be enjoyed without cessation, and without interruption; The Lord of peace himself give you peace always, by all means.
—The Lord he with you all. 17 The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle : so I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Observe here, 1. That in the former part of the verse he had prayed for peace on behalf of these Thessalonians, and this prayer was put up to Jesus Christ: the Lord of peace give you peace; which, by the way, is a strong argument for the divinity of Christ, for none but God is to be prayed to, none but God can give peace, lsa. Ivii. 19. / create the fruit of the lips, peace, peace. Our apostle now having prayed for peace, next prays for the presence of God: The Lord give you peace, the Lord he with you au. Learn hence, That God's gracious presence with
his people in any plentiful measure, is annexed to their peaceable frame of spirit, and to their serious endeavours after peace and love, after unity and concord, among themselves: and the contrary spirit and temper grieves the good Spirit of God, and provokes him to withdraw his quickening and comforting presence from his people; for these two petitions seem to have mutual dependency upon each other. The Lord give you peace, and the Lord be with you alt. Observe, 2. That the salutation written with his own hand respects his own writing, which did serve as a token or certain mark whereby his own epistles were distinguished from all counterfeits. The sending of salutations, either by word or writing, that we may thereby testify our sincere affection to absent friends, is not a matter of decency only, but of duty; not of compliment barely, but of conscience. The salutation of Paul with mine own hand. Observe, 3. His usual valediction and farewell wish, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen. At if he had said, "May the gracious and undeserved favour of God in Christ, with all the fruits and effects, the benefits and advantages of it, be conveyed to you all, without exception, and be the portion and privilege of every soul of you; and in testimony both of my affectionate desire and assured confidence, I say, Amen, so be it, so let it be. Learn hence, That there is an inexhaustible fountain of rich grace in Christ, and so copious are the streams of spiritual blessings which flow from it, that wish we never so much to others, yet there still reuiaineth enough for ourselves. St. Paul, who wisheth all grace to the Thessalonians, knew very well there was enough both for himself and them: and that how large a measure soever was bestowed upon them, there would not be the less remaining for himself; therefore doth he thus close and conclude his epistle, saying, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL
Timotheus, or Timothy, it the name of the persoo to whom St. Paul di recti this and I he followmg Epistle; a name given him by his parents, to testify their pious desire that this their son should fear and honour God, according to the signification of his name.
His grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice, bred him up in the knowledge of the scriptures from a child; he became first a disciple, and then the companion of Si. Paul; was ordained by him, was very assisting to him, and inexpressibly dear to this great apostle, who knew how to value true worth in what sge soever he found it; insomuch that St. Paul seldom mentions his name but with a mark of honour and esteem, calling him his son, his dearly beloved son, his faithful fellow-labourer, fitc. He was a person of eminent gifts, and of a gracious disposition, but of a sick and weakly constitution; and having entered very youug into the work of the ministry, St. Paul thought fit, in his absence from him, to write two epistles to him, and to all succeeding ministers of the gospel after him, directing how to demean and behave themselves in their ministerial function.
In these two Epistles, and that to Titus, we have a collection of canons truly apostolical, directing all bishops aud pastors of the church how to govern themselves, and how to guide their people.
T>AUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
Observe here, 1. St. Paul asserts his apostolical authority, calling himself an apostle; not that Timothy questioned it, but he writes it for their sakes over whom he was now presiding at Ephesus, that neither ministers nor people might despise what Timothy did, it being enjoined both him and them by so great an authority as was that of an apostle, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ. Observe, 2. What authority St. Paul had for executing this office of an apostle: it was by the commandment of God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that is, by the appointment, injunction, ordination, and immediate commission, of the Father and of Christ, by his voice from heaven, as the rest of the apostles were called by a voice from Christ on earth. In 1 Cor. i. 1, he is said to be called by the will of God; not by his permissive will barely, but by his preceptive will particularly. Observe, 3. The title given to our Lord Jesus Christ; he is styled our hope, that is, the author of our hope, the object of our
hope, the purchaser of what we hope for, the declarer to us of the hopes of glory expected by us. Where note, That our Lord Jesus Christ is undoubtedly and undeniably God, because he is our hope and trust: now if he were no more than a man, though never so excelling, to make him our hope would be to make ourselves miserable; for cursed is the man that trusleth in man, and maketh flesh his arm. Jer. xvii. 5.
2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
Observe here, 1. That endearing title which our apostle gives to Timothy, he calls him his son, his own son, his own son in the faith; because, as some think, converted by him to the christian faith; others, that he was more thoroughly instructed, edified, and encouraged, by St. Paul, but converted before; possibly also he may call him his son, because he was as assisting to him, as obsequious and observing of him, as a son is to a father, he being a young man, and the apostle now aged; or it may be he calls him his son, because he resembled him in faith and doctrine, preach
ing and conversation, as a son resembled a Tather in face and manners. Consider Timothy as a spiritual son to St. Paul, begotten to the faith by him, and then the note is this, that the ministers of Christ cannot but bear a fervent and affectionate love to those that are their spiritual children, their sons in the faith, and converted to Christ by their ministry ; consider him as an assistant to St. Paul, a co-worker and fellow-labourer with him in the work of the gospel, and thus affectionately beloved by him, and we may learn for our instruction, how fervently the ministers of Christ should love one another, speak respectfully of each other, secure the reputation one of another, strengthen each other's hands, encourage each other's hearts in the work of Cod. We have little, God knows, very little love from the world: Lord! how sad is it that we should yet have less one for another! See how the heart of St. Paul and his assistant Timothy were knit logegether in love, like father and son, to t he great reputation, as well as the successful furtherance, of the gospel.
3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which- minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith; so do.
Note here, 1. The tender care which St. Paul took of the new-planted church at Ephesus ; when his office called him into Macedonia, lie leaves Timothy behind him at Ephesus, to water what he had planted, and to build upon that foundation which he had laid; When I went into Macedonia, I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus. Note, 2. The charge and command which St. Paul left with Timothy at his departure from him, to take care that no new or strange doctrine be taught, or any other doctrine received by the church, than what was delivered by him: Charge some that they teach no other doctrine. But who are these? Very probably they were the judaizing teachers, who strenuously endeavoured to corrupt the purity, and deprave the simplicity of the gospel. Thence learn, 1. That though the doctrine of Christ and his apostles was abundantly
sufficient to salvation, yet the church of Christ, even in the earliest days of christianity, were in very great danger of being corrupted early by other doctrines than those delivered by them. Learn, 2. That it is the great duty, and ought to be the special care, of the ministers of God, that no new or strange doctrine be broached in the church of Christ; I besought thee—that thou viightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine. But a farther and more particular charge is given, ver. 4. that the church at Ephesus give not heed tofablcsoi endless genealogies, which rather occasion wrangling disputes,- than tend to edification in faith and holiness. By fables, we may understand vain and idle speculations, Jewish scruples, frivolous observances: whatsoever in preaching is delivered by us, which doth not answer the great end of preaching, namely, to build up men in faith and holiness, is trifling, and not preaching; what we deliver signifies no more than a fable, or an imaginary tale that is told. But what were these endless genealogies here spoken of? Ans. Not scripture genealogies, for those are not vain, but useful; not endless, but determinate; but these were endeavours of some particular persons, who, that they might have a pretence to claim kindred with Christ, did make their genealogies endless, drawing down their line of descent from David, tic. ; or else endeavoured to prove themselves sons of Abraham and Isaac, privileges which they highly valued themselves upon, and rested in, saying, II "< have Abraham to our Father. Whatever they were, our apostle charges Timothy, that the church at Ephesus give no heed to them, nor to the preachers of them; and the reason is given, because they only occasion disputes, and tend not to edification.
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6 From which some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7 Desiring to be teachers of the law ; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
In these words our apostle smartly reflects upon the judaizing teachers, who were so zealous for their ceremonial law, that they 2 L