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worse sorrows, than they pierce otliers with. Riches ill gotten, by covetousness or oppression, instead of making their owners heartily merry, make their consciences ache, and give them many a stitch in their side. None can tell what gall and wormwood sprmgs from this bilter root, both to themselves and others: The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some covet after, they err from the faith, piercing themselves through with many sorrows. It is the root of all evil, of tin, and also of trouble and disquiet.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow nfter righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Observe here, I. The apostle's compellation, or the title given to Timothy, Thou, O man of God: it is a title borrowed from the Old Testament, where it is frequently given to the prophets, who revealed the mind and will of God to the people. Now by giving it to Timothy, the apostle intimates his duty to him, to contemn the world, and flee the eager pursuit of riches. As if the apostle had said, " O Timothy! thou art a minister, and a man of God, solemnly dedicated to his service, and devoted entirely to his glory ; see then that thou abhor and avoid that detestable sin of covetousness. Heavenly truths are the subjects of thy daily study; Oh! let not earthly things be the object of thy chiefest delight and love: but follow after spiritual riches, namely, righteousness and godliness, faith and love, patience and meekness; that godliness which gives contentment with food and raiment, that faith which assures us of a better and more enduring substance, that righteousness or justice which requires us to let every man enjoy his own, that love which makes us willing to distribute, that patience which makes us willing to submit to a low condition, that meekness which suppresses wrath against those that are injurious to us. All these virtues and graces are necessary to thee as a minister of God; they are certainly indications of a mind free from covetousness, and infallible preservations from it."
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
The whole verse is on allusion to the Olympic games, particularly to that of racing, where the garland or crown being hung up at the end ol the goal, lie that came first did lay hold of it, and take it to himself; and because these games were performed in the sight of many spectators, the apostle continues the allusion, and says, Timothy had before many witnesses professed his readiness to suffer for the faith. The sense of the apostle in this advice seems to be this: " Fight the good fight of faith ; go on by faith to overcome all temptations and difficulties; press toward the mark, till thou lay hold on the prize, which is eternal life: to which spiritual welfare and christian race thou gavest in thy name, when being baptized and ordained, thou madest a public profession of the faith before many witnesses."
13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession, 14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 15 Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto ; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
Observe here, what a solemn adjuration and vehement charge is given to Timothy, by our apostle, to watch and guard against the sin of covetousness, and avoid the eager pursuit of worldly wealth: I charge thee before God and Christ, that thou keep this commandment spotless and unrebukeable, until the coming of Christ, and mayest be found such at his appearing. Observe, 2. What a glorious display our apostle here makes of the adorable attributes of God; he styles him the God that quickeneth all things, that is, all things that have or shall have life; the blessed and only Potentate, because all power is essential in him, and derived from him; who only hath immortality, that is, an original, primitive, simple, independent, essential immortality,
that is only proper and peculiar to God; he only is essentially and necessarily of himself immortal ; dwelling in the light which is inaccessible, and none can approach unto; and whom no man hath seen, nor can see. God is invincible in his essence; he is not to be seen by any mortal eye on earth, the eye of faith sees him only here; nay he is not to be seen by any glorified eye in heaven, in his divine essence; the nature and essence of God never was seen, nor shall be seen. But we are by the sight of God in heaven, to understand a more clear and full manifestation of God unto us, even so far as our glorified natures can bear it; it will be abundantly beyond expression, yea, beyond our comprehension. Observe, 3. The testimony which the holy apostle bears to our Lord Jesus Christ when here on earth, that before Pontius Pilate he witnessed a good confession; that is, he did not deny the truth to save his life, but gave all his ministers and people an example of courage and constancy in owning the truth, and sealing it with his blood.
17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Our apostle having in a very solemn manner exhorted Timothy to avoid that dangerous sin of covetousness himself, in the foregoing verses, he doth in these verses require him to lay the same charge upon others, particularly upon worldly rich men: Charge them that are rich. Observe here, 1'. Timothy's duty, not barely to exhort and leach, but to charge and command. True, the ministers of Christ are servants to their people; but servants to their souls, not to their wills, much less to their lusts: there is an authority in our office, which empowers us to command for God, as well as to entreat. Observe, 2. The subject of this charge: them that are rich in this world. Mark, no man is forbidden to be rich, nor yet to use such lawful means by which,
through God's blessing thereupon, men may be rich: but rich men need a charge; they want plain dealing from ministers, because they meet with so little of it from other men; for some flatter them, others fear them : God's ministers ought surely to deal faithfully with them. Observe, 3. The charge itself; and this is set down negatively and affirmatively; both, twofold. 1. The negative matter of the charge, That they be not high-minded: pride of heart, and haughtiness of mind and spirit, is one special sin which great men are subject to. When God lifts them up by his providence, they lift up themselves by pride: there is a secret malignity in riches, when they meet with men's corruptions, to lift them up above their due region; though neither the wiser, the holier, the nearer heaven, for all their wealth, nay, perhaps a great deal nearer hell for the abuse of it, yet still the rich think high, look big, breathe scorn, talk with disdain, forgetting that God gives them riches to exalt him, and not themselves. Next part of the negative charge is, That they trust not in uncertain riches; intimating that creature-confidence, or making an idol of wealth, is the dreadful bane and ruin of some rich men: their actions say to the gold, Thou art my hope, and to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence: but the vanity and sinfulness of this appears, by the apostle's calling them uncertain riches; uncertain in their abode and continuance with us, uncertain in their promises and pretences to us: we expect more from them than ever we find in them. Observe, 4. The positive part of the charge; 1. To trust in God, the living God, a bountiful God: he giveth riches; they buy, they do not give, he giveth all things : all the wealth in the world cannot give a mouthful of air or ray of light if God withholds it. God is the giver of all; he giveth richly all things; the most miserable man cannot number the rich mercies which he doth receive: and he giveth all things richly to enjoy: that is, he gives an heart to take and taste the comfort of what he gives; he gives not only possession, but fruition. Riches can do none of these things; why then should we trust in uncertain riches, and not in the living God? Observe, 5. Another duty exhorted to; and that is, to imitate God in the works of bounty; to do good. Rich men are to make their wealth the materials of good works; nay, they must not only do good works, but be rich in good works; as their estate is plentiful, so must their charity be proportionable: they must do it copiously, be rich in good works; they must do it cheerfully, ready to distribute, without grudging, and without delay; they must do it diffusively, willing to communicate, that is, to do as much good to the community as possibly they can, upon principles of humanity, and upon principles of christianity also. Observe, 6. The encouragements given to this duty. I. Thus to lay out is to lay up, and that as in a treasury; it is like scattering of seed, in order to an increase and harvest. 2. Thus to lay out upon others, is to lay up for themselves; they have the comfort here, and the reward hereafter. 3. It is to lay up for themselves a foundation: not by way of merit towards God, but by way of evidence in regard of ourselves; a testimony of our reconciliation to, and acceptance with, God. 4. It is a good foundation for the time to come : all our glory, wealth, and substance, is no durable foundation , here to-day, and gone to-morrow; but good works are a bank in heaven : all is deposited in a safe band that we lay out for God. 5. It shall be rewarded with eternal life; Laying up for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. Now from the whole learn, 1. That the wisdom of God has seen fit to make a great distinction between men in this world ; some are poor, others rich, as God sees best for both. Learn, 2. That some are rich who are not rich in this world, rich in faith, heirs of a kingdom, yet wandering in deserts, dens, and caves. 3. That there are many who are only rich in this world: look beyond the grave, and they are poor men, miserable men, having great possessions in this world, but no provisions for the next. Learn, 4. That the great design which all men, especially rich men, should pursue and prosecute in this life, is, how they may in this life secure and lay hold of eternal life: blessed be God, it may be laid hold upon , it is worth laying hold upon; it is life, it is eternal life. 2uest. But how should we lay hold upon eternal life? Ans. I. In our judgments; by having them convinced of the transcendant excellency of it, and by having them approve of the strictest conditions upon
which it is tendered. 2. In our affections; by strong and vehement desires after eternal life. 3. In our endeavours; by a diligent use of all means in order to the obtaining of it, and particularly by doing good, by being rich in good works, by being ready to distribute, and willing to communicate: for hereby shall we lay up for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come, and at length lay hold of eternal life.
20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 21 Which some professing, have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
Our apostle concludes this his epistle to Timothy with a very passionate and pathetic exhortation to him; that he would maintain the purity of the doctrine of the gospel, and preach that to his hearers, avoiding all idle speculations and philosophical niceties, which the heathen philosophers admire, despising, in the mean time, the plainness and simplicity of the gospel: and he tells him farther, that some christians, being taken with this sort of learning, have corrupted christianity, turned heretics, erring concerning the faith; to prevent which, he begs for Timothy the grace of God, to preserve, sanctify, and save him. Learn hence, That in the first beginnings of christianity, the philosophers, by pretences of great learning, were the greatest despiscrs and the bitterest enemies of christianity. Secondly, That the generality of them were taken up with mere useless quibbling, striving about words and barrerrmotions, instead of necessary and useful knowledge. Thirdly, That Timothy, and every minister of Christ with him, ought to preach the gospel without any such human mixtures, in the purity and plainness of it; and the people receive it with a simplicity of mind, to be guided and directed by it. Lastly, That the sanctifying and establishing grace of God is necessary, and indispensably needful, to preserve both ministers and people stedfast in the faith of the gospel, and to persevere in their obedience to it.
SECOND EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL
tt is generally concluded, that it was not long before St. Paul's death that he wrote this Epistle to Timothy - and «nt think it >u the last epistle that ever he wrote, in which he foretells the near approach of his own death and martyrdom, chap. iv. 6, saying, " I am ready to be offered up, and the time of my departure is at hand." ... —,
The design of ou> apostle in this Epistle is twofold: to forewarn, and thereby forearm, his dear son Timothy against those heretics, seducers, and false teachers, which were then aristug and creeping into the church - and next, to excite him to the utmost care and diligence tu the faithful discharge of his office ; exhorting him to prepare for sufferings and persecutions, from hu own example set before him. S
PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my dearly-beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
In these verses we have the penman of this epistle described; by his name, Paul; by his office, an apostle; by the person that sent him, Jesus Christ; by the end of his mission, to preach the promise of life; that is, the gospel, in which the promise of life eternal is contained. Note here, 1. That it is God's call, and not barely God's permission, his commanding will, and not barely his permitting will, which must warrant a person's undertaking the sacred office, and prove him a true minister of Jesus Christ: Paul, an apostle by the -will of God. Note, 2. That as Adam brought the sentence of death upon all, and the promise of life is made to us in and through Jesus Christ; so that promise of life must have ministers to proclaim it, and to preach this promise is their proper work. Observe, 2. The person described, to whom this epistle is directed, and that by his name, Timothy; by his relation, a son; by his affection, a beloved son, a dearly beloved son. Some think St. Paul calls him his son, because converted by him to christian
ity ; others because more thoroughly instructed, edified, and encouraged, by our apostle; possibly because he was assistant to him, a co-worker and fellow-labourer with him in the work of the gospel, and for that reason most affectionately beloved by him, From whence learn, With what fervour of sincere affection the ministers of Christ should love one another, speak respectfully of each other, secure the reputation one of another, strengthen each other's hands, and encourage one another's hearts, in the work of God. We have little love from the world : Lord ! how sad is it that we should have less one for another! Behold here how St. Paul's and his assistant Timothy's hearts were knit one to another, like father and son ; to the great reputation, as well as successful furtherance, of the gospel. Observe, 3. The apostle's salutation, in form of a prayer: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord. Learn hence, That all spiritual blessings flow from God as the Father in Christ unto us ; and that no grace, mercy, or peace, can be had from God the Father, but in, by, and through, our Lord Jesus Christ.
- 3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience,—
But how could Paul before conversion be said to serve the God of his forefathers with a pure conscience, when he was a
cufor, and the chief of sinners? Ans. The meaning is, that he worshipped the same God, and the only true God, which his forefathers worshipped, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and that he worshipped him in sincerity, according to his conscience, and the measures of light then received. Lvaru hence, That the church before Christ had the same faith, the same object of faith, and worshipped God, the same God, under the Uw, with us under the gospel: J thank God, 'ahom I serve from my forefathers.
—That without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
Behold here the ministers' duty, in a more especial manner, to be much in prayer one for another; they stand greatly in need of this mutual help to strengthen each other's hands, and encourage one another's hearts in the ways of God : they should therefore, without ceasing, remember one another at the throne of grace.
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
Observe here, the vehemency of affection which our apostle expresses towards Timothy ; he desired, greatly desired, to see him, and with the sight of him to be filled with joy. Note, that though we must love all christians with a sincere love, yet we may love some christians with a more fervent love than others; choice and useful christians, endearing and endeared friends, may and must be loved above others: J desire greatly to see thee, b\c. Observe farther, St. Paul declares how mindful he was of Timothy's tears; perhaps a flood of tears were shed at their last parting one from another. The best of men have a propension to weeping, and upon occasion have shed tears; so had Jacob, Joseph, David, aod Christ himself. True goodness promotes compassion ; good men ever have been, and are, men of tender and compassionate dispositions.
5 Wlien I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am pr-rsuaded that in thee also.
This is another reason why St. Paul so earnestly desired a sight of his dear son Ti
mothy j namely, a remembrance of his faith, as well as of his tears: which faith is described by the quality of it, unfeigned. by the effect of it, it dwelt.- by the subjects wherein, in Lois, Eunice, and Timothy: by the order in which, first, in the grandmother Lois, then in the mother Eunice, and lastly in the child Timothy. Learn hence, That it is a most desirable and blessed thing when there is a succession of believers in a family, and to see faith transmitted down to posterity, when grandmother, mother, and grandchild, all walk in the truth. Thus here: and whereas Timothy received the advantage of religious education from those two holy women, Lois, and Eunice, we learn, That God often blesses the labours and examples of holy women, to raise up excellent instruments in his church.
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
Observe here, I. St. Paul's care in puttmg Timothy in remembrance of his duty, though he very well knew it before: Wherefore I put thee in remembrance. None are so well instructed in their duty, but they may and ought sometimes to be put in remembrance of what their duty is. Note, 2. The duly which St. Paul puts him in remembrance of; namely, to stir up the gift of God which was in him, by putting on of the apostle's hands. Where observe, 1. What the gift was which he advises should be stirred up; namely, the Holy Ghost, in its ministerial gifts and sanctifying graces; particularly a divine power, which disposed and enabled him to teach and live, to act and do, answerably to the duties incumbent upon him as a minister of Jesus Christ. Observe, 2. What care Timothy must take of this gift; namely, to stir it up. The word is a metaphor taken from fire, which, if not stirred up, grows dead, and gives little heat. They that have received much grace and many gills from the Holy Spirit, may yet be wanting to themselves in stirring them up. This stirring up the gift of God in Timothy, respects either the means that are to be used in order to the duty, such are, prayer, reading, meditation; or the duty itself, which consists in feeding the flock of God, in reformmg abuses in the church of God, and in enduring hardships as a good sol