Page images
[ocr errors]

affection in Timothy to his aged fire in the faith, with whom he could seldom part dry eyed, I thank my God (says Paul the aged), whom I serve from my fore-fathers with pure conscience, that without ceafing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; greatly defiring to see thee, being mindful of tby tears, that I may be filled with joy, 2 Tim. i. I, 2.

When the apostle wrote this epistle he was about taking his leave of the world, and of his dearly beloved son. It was written just before Paul was brought before Nero the Emperor the second time, where he received sentence and lost his head, but not his covenant head. Paul was aware that his departure would greatly affect Timothy; and the removal of him who had been so long set for the defence of the gospel, would open a way for the second in command to appear at the front, and in the hottest of the battle; he therefore labours hard to comfort him, counsel him, and caution him; he advertises him and advises him, instructs and encourages him.

He comforts him by telling him of the unfeigned faith that' was in him, which dwelt first in his grandmother and in his mother, and Paul was persuaded that it dwelt in him also. He informs him that God had not given him the Spirit of fear, but of power, to support and fortify; of love, to enlarge, attract, and embolden; ; and of a found mind, to keep him heavenly, sted, fast in the truth, and valiant for it. He counsels

[ocr errors]

him not to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, or of the gospel which the Lord himself had teftified ; nor to be ashamed of Paul the Lord's prisoner, who was then imprisoned for the sake of his Lord and his word, and to keep a good conscience toward him.

He counsels him to be a partaker of the affli&tions of the gospel, or of the cruelties that men or devils might be permitted to inflict on the adherents to it, knowing that if he suffered with Christ be should reign with bim.

He caucions him to beware of Alexander the coppersmith, who had done him much evil, and greatly withstood Paul and his gospel, which I suppose was done before the tribunal of Nero. He cautions him against tickling itching ears, that will be calling for candour, who will require heaps of teachers to scratch them, none being able long to please.

He advertises him that the time will come when they will not endure found doctrine; that many will be lovers of themselves, and envy every faithful servant that the Lord owns as rivals of their own honour ; covetous, aiming more at the fleece than the fock; at a stock in hand, independent of Providence, instead of the good of fouls ; boasters of their own merit and carnal learning; proud-wearing long robes, despising the poor and illiterate, attempting to affect the passions of depraved nature by cunning artifice and the empty found of eloquent oratory; unibankful for the


A 3

spoils their profession brings in; and unholy in heart and life; without natural affe&tion for them that eclipse their glory; truce-breakers, who swear and vow to preach the doctrines of the Lord, and then turn Arminians; false accufers, calling others Ancinomians when themselves are nothing else ; incontinent, aiming more at old widows and their pockets than at espousing souls to Christ or making them rich in faith; fierce opposers of the illiterate ones that God sends out; defpisers of those that are made good by the Holy Ghost; traitors, who will betray half the truths of the Bible to swim in the stream of applause; pawn conscience, and expofe it to damnation, for the empty titles of candid men, or men of moderate principles; beady or headstrong, not against errors, nor in defence of truth, but against others in behalf of their own honour; how can they believe that receive honour one of another, and not that honour that cometh from God only? bigb minded, not in heavenly things, but aiming at high and lofty phrases, to please the worldly wise, embalm the pharisee, charm the hypocrite, and deceive the simple with swelling words of vanity; making a pompous appearance, climbing in dress to the height of the seffion, to live in a lofty ftile, associating with those of the highest rank, and disdaining to condescend to men of low degree ; lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; men that can set and play glees upon a harpsichord for cwo hours together, and then get

into a pulpit and preach against party Spirit, and prove all that he says by the cords of his instrument; baving a form of godliness, defiring to mimic the learned and dignified priest, using service-books for the want of spiritual matter to serve with ;' denying the power of godliness in others, calling it enthusiasm and antinomianism, in order to bring the grace of God, the servants of God, and divine inspiration, into contempt; from such Paul bids his son turn away, left they should corrupt him. They creep into bouses, to prejudice the minds of people against the servants of the Lord. as they of the circumcision used to do, who subverted whole houses ; ever learning scraps of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.

Paul advises his son to flee youthful lufts, to follow righteousness in heart and life; faith also, the object of it, the doctrines of it, the grace of it, the exercise of it, and the life of it. Charity, or love to God as the supreme object; and to the saints, the objects of God's love, or to all that love our Lord Jesus Christ in fincerity and truth; and to follow peace with all that call on the Lord out of a pure beart; but not with them that call on the Lord to bless their Nander, ridicule, villany.

He instructs him, telling him that in a great house, as God's church is, there are not only vesels of gold--that is, there are not only vessels of




mercy, with precious and tried faith in them, and vessels of silver, purified and made whice; but there are vessels of wood, barren trees, dry sticks, fruitless profeffors, and withered branches, fit for nothing but femel; and vessels of earth, without any divine treasure in them, vessels of dishonour; If a man purge himself from these, be Joall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work,

Paul encourages his son to shew himself approved unto God, that men might see that he was one whom God approved, a workman that needetb not 10 be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, describing the law and the gospel, the faint and the finner ; giving a portion to seven, and also to cight, Eccl. xi. 2. a portion to the church of God, and to the synagogue of Satan, feeding the family of heaven with milk and meat, and the hardened hypocrite witb judgment, Ezek. xxxiv, 16. Thus much by way of introduction to my text. I hall now consider the words in order as they lay before me, which are introduced thus : But foolish or unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not friva ; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient ; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves : which for method's sake, I will endeavour to do in the following manner.

ist. De



« PreviousContinue »