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nobler pleasures than those on which thoughtless multitudes are so intent. Let us cultivate those that are suited to our rational and immortal spirits, and that will not only follow us into the invisible world, but will there be exalted and improved.
But let us be particularly careful that, while religion raises us above a sensual life, we do not make use of it as a pretence to excuse ourselves from attending to social duty. To neglect a due care of those whoni providence has committed to us, would, in the apostle's language, be a denial of the faith, and would even argue us worse than infidels, who, deficient as they were in the knowledge of God, or in such regards to him as were even proportionable to what they knew, discoursed largely and excellently on the obligations cf justice and benevolence to our fellow-creatures, and were themselves examples of what they taught in relation to them. Among other virtues here spoken of with due honour, a proper care in the education of children is none of the least. Let Christians of both sexes be diligent in it, and let women, to whom the chief care of children is consigned in those tender years, when the deepest and surest impressions are often made, be sensible how great advantage the public may receive by their wise and pious conduct towards them. While many are trifiers and busybodies, running from house to house, and speaking things which they ought not, let women professing godliness remember they are to adorn it by the exercise of domestic virtues, so as to cut off occasion of speaking reproachfully, even from the ingenious malice of adversaries : occasion too often given by those who, while they follow the gay desires of their hearts, and the fashions of this vain world, seen to have forgotten what the apostle intended by the awful and lively phrase of being turned aside after Satan ; and make themselves his more secure and certain prey, by every step they take in these flattering paths through which he would lead them to final destruction.'
The regard to be shewn by the people to their ministers ; the method of proceeding against offenders ; the proper treatment of candidates for the ministry ; with advices for the instruction of Christian slaves. Ch. v. 17.vi. 1, 2.
17 I ET the elders which preside well, be esteemed worthy of
I double honour, especially those who labour* in the word and 18 doctrine. For the scripture hath said (Deut. xxv. 24.) “ Thou
shalt not muzzle the ox, that treadeth out the corn ;" and ( Luke 19 x. 7.) “ the workman is worthy of his hire."-Do not receive an
accusation against an elder, unless on the testimony of two or 20 three witnesses. Those that sin in any scandalous manner, re21 buke before all, that the rest also r may fear. I charge thee, be
fore God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that
thou keep these things without prejudice, doing nothing by partial* This seems to intimate, that there were some Elders who presided, but did not preach. VOL. II.
· Hh .
22 ity. Lay hands suddenly and rashly on no man, neither make 23 thyself partaker in the sins of others: keep thyself pure. Do
not any longer drink water alone, but usc a little wine for the sake 24 of thy stomach, and thy frequent infirmities. The sins of some
inen are manifest, going before r [them] to judgment, whereas 25 some follow after, so as lo require strict examination. So also the
good works of some are manifest, and those which are otlicrwise
cannot be long hidden. i vi. Let as many servants, as are under the yoke of bondage, ac
count their own masters (though heathens) worthy of all honour, 2 that the name and doctrine of God may not be blasphemed. And
as for those who have believing masters, let them not despise Them because they are brethren, but let them rather serve then with the greater care, because they are faithful and beloved, and partakers with them of the benefit of the gospel.
REFLECTIONS. The regards here required to the elders who preside well, and who labour in the word and doctrine, are in themselves so reasonable, that where the other duties of Christianity are attended to, and the inestimable blessings of it duly apprehended and esteemed, there will be no need of insisting largely upon them. To be cautious how we lightly believe any report to the injury of such, is what we owe to ourselves as well as them, since our own improvement by their ministration, will be greatly obstructed by any prejudices taken against their persons.
Let the ministers of the gospel remember how much it is their duty to appear strenuously in defence of their master's precepts, and to reprove bold and insolent offenders, in whatsoever rank they may stand. And, lest riches and power, and greatness of station, should obstruct their faithful execution of this office, let them think of the solemn charge they have received, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ and the clict angels, and of the appearance which they and their people must make before the awful tribunal of Christ, when he shall come in his own glory, and that of his father, and attended by all his holy angela. The frequent consideration of that important day would have an uni. form influence on the whole of their conduct; it would particularly make them careful, tha: they do not contract pollutions, and make themselves parlakers in other men's sins, by laying hands suddenly on any ; but use a proper care in examining, that in the great business of ordimalion they may act on the conviction of their consciences in the sight of God, and maintain an unbiassed 'regard to the honour of the great Redeemer and the salvation of souls. Yet let them still be severer towards themselves than others, and maintain that strict temperance and self-goveroment in every respect which may become the dignity of their characters, and command the reverence of all about them.
Let us all endeavour to be shining examples of good works, and while so many declare their sins, openly, and send them as it were before them 10 judgment, let us never be ashamed of religion. Yet where a modest reserve may be conveniently maintained, let us study
it, and always avoid an unnecessary ostentation, as remembering the time will come, when those good works, which have been most solicitously concealed from the eyes of men, will be publicly honoured and rewarded by God. In expectation of that day, let us all attend to our proper offices, whether in superior or inferior stations of life, studying so to behave, as that the name and doctrine of God may never be blasphemed upon our account, and always feeling the force of that endearing engagement to all social duties, which arises from our sharing with all true Christians in the favour of God, and in the blessings and hopes of his gospel.
Exhortations to urge on his hearers the great things of practical godlines8 ;
cautions against covetousness. Ch. vi. 3-12.
3 YTHESE things, O Timothy, teach and exhort. If any one
1 teach otherwise, and attend not to wholesome words, even to those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine that is agreea4 ble to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but raving* on
questions and clebates about words ; from whence arise envying, 5 contention, abusive language, evil suspicions, debates of men
whose minds are corrupted and averse from the truth, while they 6 suppose gain to be godliness. From such turn away. Whereas 7 godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing
into the world, and it is evident that we cannot carry any thing 8 out. Having therefore food and raiment, let us be content with 9 these. But they who are determined that they will be rich, fall
headlong into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and
mischievous desires; which plunge men into ruin and des 10 struction. For the love of money is the root of all evil, which
some having greedily desired, have wandered from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows, giving numerous wounds to their consciences. But thou, O man of God, shun these
things, and pursue righteousness, piety, fidelity, love, patience, 32 meekness. Maintain the good combat of faith ; lay hold on eter
nal life, to which thou hast been called, and hast confessed a good confession before many witnesses.
REFLECTIONS. If we do indeed believe the love of money to be the root of ail evil, let us set ourselves seriously to extirpate it out of our bosoms, and to imbibe this true philosophy of the apostle, to seek our gain in that godliness on which contentment waits, and which makes its disciples happy on the easiest terms, by moderating their desires. Food and raiment of one kind or another few want. But where there is real necessity, and has been a care to behave well, if a man's own stock be deficient, he is generally supplied from the charity of others; and
* The word voons signifies, a person in a distempered state.
true piety and greatness of mind can enjoy the gift of providence on these terms without repining, being truly sensible, how little, even the best, amidst so many imperfections and miscarriages, can deserve to receive any thing from God by the instrumentality of any creature.
To this day do we see such facts as taught the apostle these useful remarks, independent on those miraculous influences by which he was guided, in things spiritual and evangelical. As we see the newborn race of human creatures rising naked into life, we see death stripping the rich, the noble, and the powerful, and returning them naked to the dust. In the mean time, while we may observe many in lower circumstances, cheerful and thankful, we see those who are determined on being rich, falling into temptations and snares. We see then piercing themselves through with many sorrows, and plunging themselves into irrecoverable ruin and destruction, while they pursue, to the utmost veive of the fatal precipice, those shadowy phantoms, which owe all their semblance of reality to the magic of those passions which riches or the desire of them have excited.
Happy would it be for the church of Christ, if these important doctrines of practical religion were more inculcated, and less of the zeal of its teachers spent in discussing vain questions and intricate strifes about words, which have been productive of so much envy and contention, obloquy and suspicion. Let the men of God, therefore, inculcate righteousness and faith, piety and charity, patience and meekness, and let them endeavour to render their lessons successful, by a care themselves to pursue these graces; to exercise themselves more strenuously in that noble and generous conflict to which they are called, so as to lay hold on the crown of eternal life, and to retain it against the most powerful antagonist. These are the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ, even these doctrines according to godliness ; and the minister, who will be wise enough to preach and act upon these principles, will raise the most lasting character, and secure the most val. uable reward.
A solemn charge to fidelity ; particularly in exhorting and cautioning tho
rich. Ch. vi. 13, &c.
13 T CHARGE thee in the presence of God, who animates and
1 quickeneth all things, and of Jesus Christ, who before Pontius 14 Pilate witnessed a good confession; keep this commandment un
spotted and blameless, till the appearance of our Lord Jesus 15 Christ; which in his own times he shall manifest, who is the
blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords ; 16 who alone hath immortality, inhabiting inaccessible light, whom
no man hath seen, or can see, to whom be honour and everlasting 17 dominion. Amen. Charge those who are rich in this world, that
they be not high-minded ; that they do not trust in uncertain rich-.
es, but in the living God, who imparteth to us all things richly 18 for enjoyment: that they do good ; that they be rich in good
19 works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate ; treasuring
up to themselves a good foundation against the future, that they
may lay hold on eternal life. 20 O Timothy, keep that which is lodged with thee, avoiding pro
fane and empty babblings, and the opposition of that which is 21 falsely called knowledge *: which some having professed, have
wandered from the faith. May grace be with thee. Amen.
REFLECTIONS. O, that we might often be setting ourselves as in the presence of God, the great and blessed God, whose almighty power quickeneth all things, and is the life of universal nature, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead! Let the thoughts of so august a presence awaken our souls to diligence in the discharge of our duty, and let it animate us with courage to witness a good confession, to whatever inconvenience and danger it may expose us. Never let us forget that appearance which he shall manifest, to whom all these sublime titles belong, even that blessed and only Polentate, before whom all the lustre of all the princes upon earth vanishes in a moment, like that of the smallest stars before the rising sun : the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone hath immortality, and dwelleth in unapproachable light. How astonishing his goodness in veiling his glory, so that we may approach him, in bowing down his ear to receive our requests, yea in coming to dwell with that man who is humble and of a contrile spirit, and who tremblelh at his word! To him be honour and power everlasting. And let his infinite majesty be deeply and affectionately remembered, amidst all the condescensions of his love.
Let the rich in this world, since the riches which here distinguish them cannot attend them into another, be engaged to receive with all reverence the charge of our holy apostle. Too many of them walk in firide ; but they see, by the sepulchres of many, once as opulent and as haughty as themselves, and by a thousand other marks of the divine power and human weakness, how soon God is able to abase them. Forsaking, therefore, what they think their strong tower, and the high wall, which instead of sheltering, may soon crush them into ruins, let them transfer their confidence to the living God. Alarmed in a state which renders their salvation almost as difficult as it is for a camel to go through a needle's cye, let them learn from hence how to improve what is another's, in such a manner, that they may in due time receive what shall be for ever their own. Let them learn to be rich in good works, and by a readiness to distribute and communicate, let them lay up a celestial treasure ; and drop with joy every gilded trifle which would hinder their lizing hold on eternal life. Let the ministers of that greatLord, who is so much higher than all the kings of the earth, at least shew their fidelity to him, in giving such plain and faithful charges, even to those, who, by their outward circumstances, are placed in the highest ranks of life ; being infinitely more solicit
* M. and W. retain the common rendering--the oppositions of science falsely so called.