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Spirit saith expressly, that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and
2 doctrines of devils, By the hypocrisy of them that speak lies, having their own consciences seared as with a hot
3 iron: Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by them that believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be
5 rejected, being received with thanksgiving; For it is
6 sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou remind . the brethren of these things, thou wilt be a good minister
of Jesus Christ, nourishing them with the words of faith, and of the good doctrine which thou hast accurately
7 traced out. But avoid profane and old wives fables, and
8 exercise thyself unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth a little: but godliness is profitable for all things, having the promise of the present life, and of that which
9 is to come. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all
10 acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe.
11 These things command and teach. Let no one despise
12 thy youth; but be a pattern to them that believe, in
times—These extend from our Lord's ascension till his coming to judgment, some—Yea, many, and by degrees the far greater part, will depart from the faith—The doctrine once delivered to the saints, giving heed to seducing spirits —Who inspire false prophets.
V. 2. These will depart from the faith, by the hypocrisy of them that speak lies, having their own consciences as senseless and unfeeling, as flesh that is seared with a hot iron.
V. 3. Forbidding priests, monks, and nuns, to marry, and commanding all men to abstain from such and such meats, at such and such times. Which God hath created to be received by them that know the truth—That all meats are now clean; with thaaksgiving—Which supposes a pure conscience.
V. 5. It is sanctified by the word of God—Creating all, and giving it to man . for food) and by prayer—The children of God are to pray for the sanctification of all the creatures which they use. And not only the Christians, but even the Jews, yea, the very heathens, used to consecrate their table by prayer.
V. 7. Like those who were to contend in the Grecian games, exercise thyself unto godliness—Train thyself up in holiness of heart and life, with the utmost labour, vigour, and diligence.
V. 8. Bodily exercise profiteth a little—Increases the health and strength of the body.
V. 10. Therefore—Animated with this promise, we both labour and suffer reproach—We regard neither pleasure, ease, nor honour, because we trust— For this very thing the world will hate us, in the living God—Who will give us the life he has promised; who is the Saviour of all men—Preserving them in this life, and willing to save them eternally: but especially—In a more eminent manner, of them that believe—And so are saved everlastingly.
V. 12. Let no one have reason to despise thee for thy youth: To prevent this, be a pattern in word—Public and private; in spirit—In your whole temper; word, in behaviour, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
13 Till I come, give thyself to reading, to exhortation, to
14 teaching. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands
15 of the presbytery. Meditate on these things; be wholly in them, that thy profiting may appear in all things.
16 Take heed to thyself and to thy teaching; continue in them; for in so doing thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee.
CHAP. V. 1. Rebuke not an aged man, but exhort
2 him as a father, the younger men as brethren; The aged women as mothers, the younger as sisters, with all purity.
3 Honour widows that are widows indeed. But if any
4 widow have children or grand-children, let these learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents,
5 for this is good and acceptable before God. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and
6 day. But she that hveth in pleasure is dead while she
7 liveth. And enjoin these things, that they may be blame
8 less. But if any provide not for his own, and especially
in faith—When this is placed in the midst of several other Christian graces, it generally means a particular branch of it, fidelity or faithfulness.
V. 13. Give thyself to reading—Both publicly and privately. Enthusiasts, observe this; expect no end without the means.
V. 14. Neglect not—They neglect it who do not exercise it to the full, the gift—Of feeding the flock; of power, and love, and sobriety, which was given thee by prophecy—By immediate direction from God, by the laying on of my hands, 2 Tim. i. 6, while the elders joined also in the solemnity. This presbytery probably consisted of some others, together with Paul and Silas.
V. 15. Meditate—The Bible makes no distinction between this and to contemplate, whatever others do. True meditation is no other than faith, hope, love, joy, melted down together, as it were, by the fire of God's Holy Spirit, and offered up to God in secret, He that is wholly in these, will be little in worldly company, in other studies, in collecting books, medals, or butterflies, wherein many pastors drone away so considerable a part of their lives!
V. 16. Continue in them—In all the preceding advices.
CHAP. V. Ver. 1. Rebuke not—Considering your own youth, with such a severity as would otherwise be proper.
V. 3. Honour—That is, maintain out of the public stock.
V. 4. Let these learn to requite their parents—For all their former care, trouble, and expense.
V. 5. Widows indeed—Who have no near relations to provide for them, and who are wholly devoted to God. Desolate—Having neither children nor grand-childhp to relieve her.
V. 6. ShFlhat liveth in pleasure— Delicately, voluptuously, in elegant, regular sensuality, though not in the use of any such pleasures as are unlawful in themselves.
V. 7. That they—That is, the widows.
V. s. If any provide not—Food and raiment, for his own— mother and grandfor those of his own family, he hath denied the faith, and 9 is worse than an infidel. Let not a widow be chosen under threescore years old, having been the wife of one
10 husband, Well reported of for good works, if she hath brought up children, if she hath lodged strangers, if she hath washed the feet of the saints, if she hath relieved the afflicted, if she hath diligently followed every good
11 work. But the younger widows refuse; for when they are waxed wanton against Christ, they want to marry;
12 Having condemnation, because they have rejected their
13 first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, going about from house to house; and not only idle, but triflers and
14 busy-bodies, speaking what they ought not. I counsel therefore the younger women to marry, bear children, guide the family, give no occasion of reproach to the
15 adversary. For some are already turned aside after
16 Satan. If any believing man or woman hath widows, let them relieve them; and let not the church be burdened, that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of
mother, being desolate widows, he hath—Virtually, denied the faith—Which does not destroy, but perfect natural duties. What has this to do with heaping up money for our children, for which it is often so impertinently alleged? But all men have their reasons for laying up money. One will go to hell for fear of want; another acts like a heathen, lest he should be icorst than an infidel.
V. Q. Let not a ividow he chosen—Into the number of deacounesses, who attended sick women or travelling preachers, under threescore—Afterwards they were admitted at forty, if they were eminent for holiness, having been a wife of one husband—That is, having lived in lawful marriage, whether with one or more persons successively.
V. 10. if she hath washed the feet of the saints—Has been ready to do the meanest offices for them.
V. 11. Refuse—Do not choose, for when they are waxed wanton against Christ—To whose more immediate service they had devoted themselves, they want to marry—And not with a single eye, to the glory of God; and so withdraw themselves from that entire service of the church, to which they were before engaged.
V. 12. They have rejected their first faith—Have deserted their trust in God, and have acted contrary to the first conviction, namely, that wholly to devote themselves tn his service was the most excellent way. When we first receive power to believe, does not the Spirit of God generally point out what are the most excellent things; and, at the same time, give'us a holy resolution to walk in the highest degree of Christian severity? And how unwise are we, ever to sink into any thing below it!
V. 14. I counsel therefore the young women—Widows or virgins^ such as are not disposed to live single, to marry, to bear children, to guff the family— Then will they have sufficient employment of their own: and give no occasion of reproach to the adversary—Whether Jew or heathen.
V. 15. Some—Widows, have turned aside after Satan—Who has drawn them from Christ. - .
V. 17. Let the elders that rule well—Who approve themselves faithful double honour, especially those who labour in the word
18 and teaching, For the Scripture saith, * Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn; and, The
19 labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, unless by two or three wit
20 nesses. Those that sin, rebuke before all; that the rest
21 also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without prejudging, doing nothing by par
22 tiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither partake
23 of other men's sins; keep thyself pure. Drink water no longer, but use a little wine, for thy stomach's sake, and
24 thy frequent infirmities. Some men's sins are manifest beforehand, going before to judgment; and some they
25 follow after. In like manner the good works also of some are manifest; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
* Dent. xxv. 4.
stewards of all that is committed to their charge; be counted worthy of double honour—A more abundant provision, seeing that such will employ it all to the glory of God. As they were the most laborious and disinterested men who were put into these offices, so whatever any one had to bestow, in his life or death, was generally lodged in their hands for the poor. By this means the churchmen became very rich in after ages. But as the design of the donors was the general good, there is the highest reason why it should be disposed of according to their pious intent. Especially those—-Of them, who labour—Diligently and painfully, in the word and teaching —In teaching the word.
V. 19. Against an elder—Or presbyter, do not even receive an accusation, unless by two or three witnesses--By the Mosaic law, a private person might be cited, (though not condemned,) on the testimony of one witness. But St. Paul forbids an elder to be even cited on such evidence, his reputation being of more importance than that of others.
V. 20. Those—Elders, that sin—Scandalously, and are duly convicted, rebuke before all—The church.
V. 21. I charge thee before God—Referring to the last judgment, in which we shall stand before God, and Christ, with his elect, that is, holy angels— Who are the witnesses of our conversation. The apostle looks through his own labours, and even through time itself, and seems to stand as one already in eternity. That thou observe these things without prejudging-- Passing no sentence till the cause is fully heard; or partiality—For or against any one.
V. 22. Lay hands suddenly on no man—That is, appoint no man tp churchoffices, without full trial and examination. Else thou wilt be accessary to, and accountable for, his misbehaviour in his office. Keep thyself purs—From the blood of all men.
V. 24. Some men's sins are manifest beforehand—Before any strict inquiry be made, going before to judgment —So that you may immediately judge them unworthy of any spiritual office; and some they—Their sins, follow after— More covertly.
V. 25. They that are otherwise—Not so manifest, cannot be long hid—From tby knowledge. On this account also be not hasty in laying on of hands.
CHAP. VI. 1. Let as many servants as are under the yoke, account their own masters worthy of all honour; lest the name of God and his doctrine be blasphemed.
2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
3 If any teach otherwise, and consent not to sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which
4 is after godliness, He is puffed up, knowing nothing, but being sick of questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, contention, evil speakings, evil surmisings;
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: From such
6 withdraw thyself. But godliness with content is great
7 gain. For we brought nothing into the world; it is
CHAP. VI. Ver. 1. Let servants under the yoke—Of heathen masters, account them worthy of all honour—All the honour due from a servant to a master; lest the name of God and his doctrine be blasphemed—As it surely will if they do otherwise.
V. 2. Let them not despise them—Pay them the less honour or obedience, because they are brethren—And in that respect on a level with them. They that live in a religious community, know the danger of this, and that greater grace is requisite to bear with the faults of a brother, than of an infidel, or man of the world; but rather do them service—Serve them so much the more diligently, because they are joint partakers of the great benefit—Salvation. These things—Paul the aged gives young Timothens a charge to dwell upon practical holiness. Less experienced teachers are apt to neglect the superstructure, whilst they lay the foundation. But of so great importance did St. Paul see it to enforce obedience to Christ, as well as to preach faith in his blood, that, after strongly urging the life of faith on professors, he even adds another charge for the strict observance of it.
V. 3. If any teach otherwise—Than strict practical holiness, in all its branches; and consent not to sound words—Literally, healthful words: Words that have no taint of falsehood, or tendency to encourage sin, and the doctrine which is after godliness—Exquisitely contrived to answer all the ends, and secure every interest, of real piety.
V. t. He is puffed up—Which is the cause of his not consenting to the doctrine which is after inward, practical religion. By this mark we may know them. Knowing nothing—As he ought to know; sick of questions— Doatingly fond of dispute. An evil, bolt common disease; especially where practice is forgotten. Such, indeed, contend earnestly for singular phrases, and favourite points of their own. Every thing else, however like the preaching of Christ and his apostles, is all " law, and bondage, and carnal reasoning;" strifes of words—Merely verbal controversies; whereof cometh envy—Of the gifts and success of others; contention—For the pre-eminence. Such disputants seldom like the prosperity of others, or to be less esteemed themselves; evil surmisings —It not being their way to think well of those that differ from themselves in opinion.
V. 5. Supposing that gain is godliness—Thinking the best religion is the getting of money. A far more common case than is usually supposed.
V. 6. But godliness with content—The insi parable companion of true, vital religion, is great gain—Brings unspeakable profit in time, as well as in eternity.
V. 7< Neither can we carry any thing out—To what purpose, then, do we