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tion, under whose guidance the matter may in part fall, be very careful that they do not encourage any to undertake the work who are deficient in these things: things of such importance, that it is certain no genius and learning can make up for the want of them. If deacons, in their inferior station, are to be free from such stains, and to be remarkable for such virtues as are here described, how much more should the pastors themselves be so, to whom the inspection of the deacons is also committed ?--Let the ministers of Christ therefore study to excel in them more and more. And let such as are but lately entered on their work, though not novices, in the language of the apostle, yet be on their guard, lest they be lifted up with pride, and so fall into the condemnation of the devil. But from this lurking and insinuating evil who is secure? Let all ministers learn to draw an occasion of exercising humility, from what might in another view seem a temptation to vanity,' a survey of the dignity and excellency of their office. For how justly may this humble them when they rea flect on the many imperfections which attend their discharge of it! To conclude ; let all, who are in any degree distinguished in the church, be excited to a care of presiding in a proper manner over their own families : and since it is evident that the apostolic rule allows of marriage, and supposes that, by whatever doctrine of de. vils it might be forbidden, it would generally be practised by the ininisters of Christ, let them however take care to make choice of companions in conjugal life, who may adorn and bless tho houses to which they belong, and lessen, rather than increase, the diffie culties inseparable from their own station and office,
· SECTION V.
The apostle recommends the care of the church to Timothy, and warns him of those pernicious doctrines which false teachers would strive to introduce, Ch. ïïi. 14.-iv. 1-5.
14 THESE things I write to thee, hoping to come to thee shortly. 15 1 But, if I delay, I send these instructions that thou mayest
know how it becometh thee to behave thyselfr in the house of
God, which is* the church of the living God, the pillar and 16 ground of trutht. And confessedly great is the mystery of god
liness, that sublime and godly doctrine which we preach-God was manifested in the flesh of our blessed Redeemer, and thus he was justified in (or by) the Spirit, seen of angels, preached among
the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory iv. But the Spirit expressly saith, That in the last times some shall
apostatize from the faith, giving heed to deceitful spirits, and doctrines of dæmons; through the hypocrisy of liars, whose own
* “ Neither the temple at Jerusalem, nor any material building, but a society of believers.” M.
t'" That thou mayest know how one who is a pillar of the living God, and a support of the truth, ought to behave himself in God's house which is the church." W,
3 conscience is seared ; forbidding to marry r, and commanding to re
frain from meats, which God hath created to be received with
thanksgiving by the faithful, and by those who know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected 5 if it be received with thanksgiving ; for it is sanctified by the
word of God and prayer.
REFLECTIONS. What the Spirit of God expressly spake has been so expressly accomplished, as plainly to prove the divine original of this oracle, and of all that are connected with it. The grand apostasy of the latter days is made manifest; the seducing spirits have effectually done their part; the world has given heed to them, and wandered after them; so that doctrines of devils have almost cast out from his own church the doctrine of Christ. No testimony of hypocritical liars hath been wanting to confirm the fraud to the utmost of their power, and the whole conduct of it seems to declare to how dreadful a degree it is possible for conscience to be seared. Marriage has been forbidden, while the pardon of fornication, adultery, and incest, have been rated at a certain price, by that grand merchant of the souis of men, who hath ventured to call himself the vicar of Christ upon earth. By him men have been taught to place the greater part of religion in abstaining from meats, in attending unintelligible jargon, instead of the service of God's sanctuary, and in transforming the high solemnity of the simplest and most rational worship that ever was instituted, into a ceremonious farce. Adored be divine providence and grace, that any parts of the once dark domains of this man of sin have been awakened to assert the purity of the Christian faith and worship, and to seek to purge away the reproach and infamy which such adulterations had brought upon the name ! Blessed be God that our attention is diverted from these trifles and monsters, these mysteries of folly, and mysteries of iniquity, to the great mystery of godliness! Let it be familiar to our thoughts. The manifestation of God in the flesh! A sight which the angels beheld with wonder, while the blessed Shirit sealed the authority of God's incarnate Son, and attested his gospel among the Gentiles, till the world was brought to believe in him ; so that he looked down from the throne of glory, to which he was received, and saw his own oracle fulfilled, If I am lified up, I will draw all men unto me. May this mysterious, yet resplendent truth, bc strenuously maintained, and practically preached, by all the ministers of the gospel ; may they shew, in every other respect, that they know how to behave themselves aright in the house of the living God; and may many by these means be brought to believe and to know the truth in its vital energy. Then will the common enjoyments of life have an additional relish, being received with thanksgiving, and sanclified by the word of God and prayer.
Advice to Timothy, lo attend to the essentials of religion, patiently to endure afflictions, to behave with the most exact decorum, and study to improve his gifts for edification. Ch. iv. 6, &c.
6 TF thou shalt suggest these things to the brethren, thou shalt be
I a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of
faith and good doctrine, which thou hast accurately traced out. 7 But profane and old wives' fables reject, and exercise thyself to 8 godliness: for bodily exercise* is profitable to little ; but godli
ness is profitable to all things, having the promise of the present 9 life, and that which is to comer. This is a faithful saying, and 10 worthy of all acceptance. For this end, the advancement of this
godliness, we both labour, and suffer reproach, because we have
hoped in the living God, who is the Saviour and preserver of all 11 men, especially of the faithful. These things give in charge,
and teach. And that thou mayest do it with the greater efficacy, be 12 careful about thy own conduct. Let no man despise thy youth ;
but be thou an example to the faithful, in speech, in conversation, 13 in love, in spirit, in fidelity, in purity. Till I come, attend to 14 reading, to exhortation, to teaching. Neglect not that gift which
is in thee, which was given thee by the ministration of those who
had the gift of prophecy, with the imposition of the hands of the 15 presbytery. Meditate on these things; be always employed in 16 these things, that thy improvement in all may be manifest. Take
heed to thyself, and to thy doctrine, and continue in them ; for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself, and thy hearers.
REFLECTIONS. It is doubtless a very great advantage to Christians, and especially to the ministers of Christ, to have been nourished and educated in the words of faith and of good doctrine ; and they who are honoured with the great trust of training them up should be particularly careful on · this head, remembering that no other branches of learning are of comparable importance to any Christian, and much less to those whose business it must be to maintain the faith of Christ in the world, and to instruct others in his doctrine, both publicly and privately.—But to do this with success, and to command that reverence, which it is de. sirable for the public good they should command, whether they be younger or elder, it is necessary that they endeavour to be examples to other believers in their whole conversation and deportment, in word and in spirit, patterns of charity, faith, and purity. To qualify them more abundantly for such a work, whatever their gifis may be, whether of nature or of grace, it will be necessary to stir them up by frequent exercise, and to cultivate them by reading and meditation, as well as prayer; that their stock may be increasing, that their profiling may
* Alluding to the previous exercise used by the candidates in the Grecian games,
appear unto all, and that they may lose no advantage they can secure, of rendering their exhortations and instructions worthy the regard of the wisest and best, as well as the least and weakest of those committed to their care.
But surely, whatever difficulties may lie in their way, and whatever. fatigues, or censures, or sufferings, they may encounter, while thus employed, the prospect of succe88 may sweeten all. If they may save themselves and those that hear them, if they may give up an account with joy, if they may see souls recovered from the tyranny of sin and the kingdom of Satan now, and at length, after having anticipated the pleasures of heaven upon earth, raised to the full enjoyment of those pleasures above, they will bless the remembrance of their labours. Yea, the very consciousness of spending life in such pursuits must, to a generous and pious mind, afford unspeakably more delight than the acquisition and enjoyment of any thing which the children of this world pursue, and perhaps some of them with equal fatigue.
Let Christians in other stations also be quickened to exert themselves in the same blessed cause, remembering, that while other things, for which men labour as in the fire, can profit but little, godliness is profitable to all. It hath so far the promise of this life, that the godly man shall not want any thing that his father and his God knows to be truly good for him, and he will probably be abundantly happier in this world, amidst all the calamities to which he may be exposed, than in like circumstances he could possibly have been without such a principle of piety in his heart : and it has absolutely the promise of the li fe which is to come ; and that such a life, so glorious and so lasting, that the very mention of it may well swallow up the thoughts of this life and its interests, any further than as they are connected with that. Let us then receive the word with all readiness, and pursue these glorious objects, trusting in the living God, who, while he scatters the bounties of his common providence on all, is in a peculiar and most important sense, the Saviour, the Guardian the Father of those who believe.
Directions for Timothy's conduct towards elders and widows : advices concern
ing matrons intrusted with some peculiar office, and supported out of the public stock. Ch. v. 1-16.
1 D EBUKE not an aged man severely, but exhort him as a father, % R and the younger as brethren; the aged women as mothers, and . 3 the younger as sisters, with all chastity. Honour widows, who 4 are truly widows*, being in a destitute condition. But if any wid
ow hath children, or grand-children, let them learn first to exer
cise piety at home, and to repay their parents ; for this is beauti5 ful, and acceptable before God. Now she who is (in the sense I
intend] truly a widow, and left alone, being destitute of friends, is
+ An allusion to the signification of the Greek word for widow.
one who hopeth in God, and continueth day and night in supplica6 tions and prayers. But she that liveth luxurianty, is dead while 7 she liveth. And these things give in charge to thy hearers, that 8 they may be blameless (in these matters :) For r if any do not
provide for his own, and especially for those of his own house, 9 he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. Let not a
widow be taken upon the list of those to be maintained by the church,
and to minister in the office of deaconesses, under sixty years old ; 10 and let her be one who hath been the wife of one man : one who
bath a reputation for good works *; if she have educated children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have assisted the afflicted, if she have followed every good work. But refuse to admit into such an office the younger wid
ows; for when they grow wantont against Christ, they will mar12 ry (improperly] exposing themselves to condemnation because 13 they have disappulled their first faith. And they also, while they
continue in that office, learn a habit of going from house to house,
and are not only idle, but tatlers r also, and busy-bodies, speaking 14 things very unbecoming. I would therefore have the younger
widows marry, and bear r children, and govern their domestic af.
fairs, so as to give no occasion to the adversary to speak reproach16 fully. For some have already turned aside after Satan. If any
believer of either sex have relations who are widows, let them take care of them, that the church may not be burdened, but may take care of those who are truly widows, and must otherwise be desolate.
REFLECTIONS. Ministers are instructed, by this apostolical advice, in that difficult duty of managing reproof aright. Churches may learn how their poor are to be treated, and children may be reminded of that grateful tribute which they owe especially to their aged and necessitous parents, No recompence can be fully adequate, but surely to a generous temper nothing can be more delightful than to sooth the declining years of those by whom our infint-days were sustained, our feeble childhood supported, and our giddy youth moderated and directed.Let St. Paul's sentiments of a luxurious life be particularly attended to in this age of ours, in which so many are entirely devoted to these pleasures. They call it living, but the wiser apostle pronounces it a kind of moral death. And many of the heathens themselves have been instructed by nature to speak in a language like his. Nay some of them acted on this principle in a manner which might shame most that call themselves Christians. Let us learn to form our taste to
* Borne witness to THAT she hath educated, &c. M.
+ A strong expression which cannot be exactly rendered into English. [M. well translates it, “When they cannot endure Christ's reign," alluding to a high-fed horse.]
† Violated their former engagement to the church, when it assigned them such an office, and even been led to apostatize from the faith by heathen alhances.