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ous about securing their Master's approbation than gaining the favour of mortal worms, who lift up their heads on high because they have a few grains of shining dust at their disposal. And may the men of God manifest the like wise and pious magnanimity, in avoiding a vain glitter of a falsely pretended science; when it would either lead them to err from the faith, or to neglect those important articles of it which lie most plain and obvious in the word of God; and for that very reason are too often disregarded by those whom an empty ostentation of subtilty and learning has taught to treat the o wisdom of God as foulishness,
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY.
THOUGH it is uncertain where Timothy was when he received this epis
tle, it is evident that Paul wrote it when he was a prisoner at Rome, and most probably but a little before his death. His intention in writing it seems to have been to prepare Timothy for those sufferings to which he foresaw he would be exposed; to furewarn him of the fatal apostasy and declension that was beginning to appear in the church; and at the same time to animate him, from his own example and the great motives of Christianity, ta the most vigorous and resolute discharge of every part of the ministerial office.
The apostle expresses his affection to Timothy, and his joy in, and dependence upon, the grace of that gospel which he had preached. 'Chi. 1-12.
I D AUL an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God (agreea2 F ble to the promise of life in Christ Jesus) to Timothy my
beloved son. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, 3 and from Christ Jesus our Lord. I give thanks unto God, whom
I serve after my forefathers r, with a pure conscience, that I am in4 cessantly nindful of thee in my prayers night and day ; desiring
earnestly to see thee (as I am mindful of thy tears at our lasi sipa 5 aration) that I might be filled with joy : as I keep in remem
brance the undissembled faith which is in thee, which first dwelt
in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice, and I am per6 suaded that it is in thee also r. For which cause I remind thee
to stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the imposition of 7 my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of cowardice, 8 but of courage, and of love, and of a sound mind*. Be not there
* v. 7. “Of wisdom.” D.“ Of self-government.” The word comes from smogonica, lo relurn to a right mind. M.
fore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his pris- oner; but take thy share in the afflictions of the gospel, ac9 cording to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us
by an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to • his own purpose and grace given to us in Christ Jesus from eternal 10 ages, but is now made manifest by the appearance of our Saviour
Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and thrown a light on life 11 and immortality by the gospel: of which I was appointed an her12 ald and apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For which cause
also I suffer these things : but I am not ashamed, for I know to whom I have trusted, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have deposited with him* unto that great day.
REFLECTIONS. Who, that attentively considers the holy calling with which we are called, according to the grace given us in Christ Jesus, can endure the thought of being ashamed of Christ's gospel, or any of his servants, to whatever difficulties they may be exposed, with whatever infamy they may be loaded ? For ever adored be that Prince of life, who hath deposed death from his throne ; who hath enlightened, by rays reflected from his own beautiful and resplendent countenance, the regions of the invisible world, over which so dark a vail had before been spread! Letoureyes be fixed more and more on this illustrious object, and, confiding in the power and grace of Christ, let us all immediately and daily commit to him that invaluable jewel of an immortal soul which God hath given us. We may surely survey it with a mixture of delight and terror, till we have thus provided for its safety; and then may that terror be allowed to disappear, and give place to a rational delight, and we may justly congratulate ourselves while we adore our Saviour. Let the proclamation of this gospel be most welcome to us, and let us call up all the strength and vigour of our souls to assert and advance it ; for God hath given us the Spirit, not of fear, but of courage, sobriety, and charity. Whatever gifts we have received, let us stir them up to their proper use, and let one generation of Christians deliver down to another a sense of the excellency of their holy religion.—Pious women may take encouragement from the success of Lois and Eunice on Timothy, who proved so excellent and useful a minister ; as perhaps some of the worthiest and most valuable ministers the church of Christ has ever been able to boast of, have had reason to bless God for those early impressions which were made upon their mind by the religious instructions of persons in the same relations. To conclude ; let us learn, by the repeated example of the apostle, to be earnest in prayer for our Christian friends ; and if we find our hearts excited to remember them in our prayers day and night, let us, with him, return our thanks to God, that he puts such benevolent affections into our hearts; for every good disposition that springs up there is implanted and cherished by him.
# Literally, MY DEPOSIT. Whitby has collected several passages from Philo and Josephus, in which both the Soul and the Law are called the deno situm of God. See v. 14
Timothy is exhorted and encouraged strenuously to retain the gospel, and to
discharge the duties of his office in the midst of all oppositions. Ch. i. 13. ii. 1-7.
13 L OLD fast r the forın of sound words, the system of divine
Il truth, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which 14 is in Christ Jesus. Keep that good thing, the gospel of Christ,
which is deposited with thee by the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in 15 us. Thou knowest this, that all those of Asia* are turned from 16 me ; of which number are Phygellus and Hermogenes. May
the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus ; for he often 17 refreshed me, and hath not been ashamed of my chain ; but being 18 in Rome he sought me more diligently, and found me. The
Lord grant unto him, that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day. And on how many occasions he ministered to me in Eph
esus, thou very well knowest. ü Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace which is in 2 Christ Jesus. And the things, which thou hast heard from me be
fore many witnesses, these commit thou to faithful men, who may 3 be able also to teach others. Thou therefore endure afflictions, 4 as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one who goeth out to war,
entangleth himself with secular affairs; but relinquisheth every
other calling that he may plcase him under whom he is enlisted. 5 And also if any one wrestleth in the Grecian games, he is not crown6 ed unless he wrestleth according to the law of the game. The 7 husbandman must first labour, and then partake of the fruits. Con
sider the things which I say, and may the Lord give thee understanding in all things. ,
REFLECTIONS. Let us all be exhorted to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and, in bumble dependence upon it, let us go forth cheerfully to our work and warfare as Christians. This is a strength so great, and communicated with so rich a freedom, that the Christian minister, under his peculiar difficulties, will find it adequate to them all. Let such particularly apply to themselves the exhortations and consolations which are here given or suggested. Let them strenuously retain the form of sound words, which the inspired apostles have delivered, with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. To this orthodoxy of principle, which a due regard to this great and only standard will teach them, let them add orthodoxy of temper. And, as they desire that Christ may keep what they profess to have deposited with him, let them faithfully keep what he has lodged in their hands. And may the Holy Spirit dwell in them, to make them faithful in all, and direct them in their efforts to defend the gospel, to spread its influence on the hearts
* Who are at Rome. D.-Those Judaizing teachers (0)in Asia. M.
of men, and transmit it from one generation to another; lodging it with faithful men, who may teach others, when their teachers and fathers in Christ shall rest from their labours. Such a succession may God continue in his churches; and may he prosper the work of those who are employed in humble and faithful attempts to promote so good a cause, by forming for this important charge those who, like Timothy, have early known the scripture, and felt its power on their hearts.
Let such as are setting out in this holy warfare remember the caution which the apostle gives. May they not unnecessarily encumber themselves with secular cares, which would render them less fit to please the great General under whose banner they are enlisted. Let them strive lawfully, if they hope for the crown, and, cultivating the ground with diligence, let them wait with patience, if they desire at length to reap that blessed harvest. Nor let that general apostasy from the power of religion, which is the shame of the present day, deter them ; but rather let it whet their pious zeal to own, with more strenuous attachment, the cause of Christ and of his faithful servants. And when they have done all, may they ever retain an humble sense of their dependence on the divine mercy : and the Lord grant to us all, ministers and people, that we may find it in that great day!
Paul animates Timothy by the motives which supported himself ; exhorring
him to purity, prudence, and meek.ness. Ch. ii. 8—18.
8 TO animate thee, O Timothy, Remember Jesus Christ, of the
I seed of David ; who was raised from the dead, according to 9 my gospel : In the service of which I suffer evil, even to bonds, as a 10 malefactor : but the word of God is not bound. On this account I
endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they may obtain 11 salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. It is a
faithful word; That if we die with him, we shall also live with 12 him : If we patiently endure, we shall also reign with him : but 13 if we deny him, he will also deny us. If we are unfaithful, he
abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. 14 Remind them (to whom thou dost ininister] of these things ; tes.
tify before the Lord, that they do not contend about words, which
is altogether unprofitable, and even tendeth to the subversion of 15 the hearers. Diligently endeavour to present thyself before God,
approved as a workman who hath no cause to be ashamed, rightly 16 dividing the word of truth. But avoid profane and empty decla. 17 mations ; for they will advance unto more impiety. And their
discourse will eat like a gangrene ; of which number are Hyme. 18 neus and Philetus ; who have erred with respect to the truth, as
serting that the resurrection is already past ; and thus they subyert the faith of some, and endanger their salvation.
REFLECTIONS. There is not perhaps a single precept in the whole sacred volume, which would be more extensively useful to ministers, or to private Christians, than this of the apostle, taken in all its extent-Remember Jesus Christ. Many a sweet memorial hath he left us of himself. . Often, very often, have we been called solemnly to survey them, and yet how ready are we to forget him, and by a natural consequence to forget ourselves, our duty and interest on the one hand, and our danger on the other ! “ Blessed Jesus ! May we daily and hourly remember thee ! that thou hast died, that thou art raised from the dead, and that thou art ever near thy people, to protect, to comfort, and to bless them. If, for thy cause, we should be called to suffer evil, as evil doers, whether in our persons or reputations, may we not be discouraged, but rather rejoice in the honour thou doest us in appointing for us such a conformity to thyself! The enemies of thy gospel may indeed oppose it, they may bind its most faithful preachers, but their opposition, their persecution, is vain." The word of God is not bound; and divine grace, operating by it, will sooner or later give it the intended, the promised, triumph; that his elect may obtain salvation by Jesus Christ, and may not only escape the condemnation and ruin of the impenitent world, but may finally be crowned with elernal glory.
May we ever be 'mindful of this faithful word, that if we suffer with Christ we shall reign with him too ; and may we endure the greatest hardships to which we can be called out, as considering that our sufferings are momentary, but our reign will be eternal. Never may we, for any allurement or terror, deny him, as we would not finally be denied by him ; when no other honour will remain but that which he confers, no other happiness but that which he bestows.
In the mean time, as we desire the prosperity of his kingdom, let as earnestly pray that he will raise up to his church a multitude of faithful ministers, who may govern themselves by these truly apostolical canons ; ministers, who may not contend about words in a manner unprofitable and vain, who may not amuse their hearers with empty harrangues about insignificant curiosities or perplexing subtilties ; but may in the integrity of their hearts, endeavour to approve themselves to God, as workmen who need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. And may divine grace preserve the church from those seducing teachers, whose doctrine, like a secret gangrene, might spread itself to the destruction of the body, so that the faith of many might be overthrown.
The necessity of holiness in all Christians, but especially in ministers ; and of
meekness in their endeavours to recover sinners. Ch. ii. 19, &c.
19 JT is mournful to reflect on such instances of apostasy. Never
I theless the foundation of God standeth firm having this inscription*, The Lord knoweth them that are his own, and let ev* An allusion to the custom of engraving inscriptions on stones laid in the foundation of buildings. Zech. iii. 9.