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by night to go to Athens, leaving Silas and Timothy in
Beræa. At Athens Timothy came to the apostle, and Sect. I.-The History of Timothy's Conversion to gave him such an account of the afflicted state of the Christianity.
Thessalonian brethren, as induced him to send Timothy
back to comfort them. See Pref. to 1 Thess, sect. 1.Paul and Barnabas, in the course of their first aposto. After that, Paul preached at Athens; but with so little lical journey among the Gentiles, having come to Lystra, success, that he judged it proper to leave Athens, and go a city of Lycaonia, in the Lesser Asia, Acts xiv. 6. forward to Corinth, where Silas and Timothy came to preached there some time, and converted a pious Jewish him, and assisted in converting the Corinthians. And woman, named Lois, with her daughter Eunice, whose when he left Corinth, they accompanied him, first to husband, it is thought, was then dead, 2 Tim. i. 5.-Soon Ephesus, then to Jerusalem, and after that to Antioch in after this, Timothy, Eunice's son, who had been brought Syria.—Having spent some time in Antioch, Paul set up by his mother and grandmother in the Jewish reli- out with Timothy on his third apostolical journey, in gion, and in the knowledge of the scriptures, 2 Tim. iii. which, after visiting all the churches of Galatia and 15. being greatly affected by the apostle's discourses, Phrygia, in the order in which they had been planted, believed. From the time of his conversion, Timothy they came to Ephesus the second time, and there abode made such proficiency in the knowledge of the gospel, long. In short, from the time Timothy first joined the and was so remarkable for the sanctity of his manners, apostle as his assistant, he never left him, except when as well as for his zeal in the cause of Christ, that he at sent by him on some special errand. And by his affectracted the esteem of all the brethren in those parts. tion, fidelity, and zeal, he so recommended himself to all Accordingly, when the apostle came from Antioch in the disciples, and acquired such authority among them, Syria to Lystra, the second time, they so praised Timo- that Paul inserted his name in the inscription of several thy, that • him would Paul have to go forth with him,' of the letters which he wrote to the churches, to shew Acts xvi. 2, 3. The testimony of the brethren, however, that their doctrine was one and the same. His esteem was not the only reason of this choice. Timothy was and affection for Timothy the apostle expressed still more pointed out as a fit person to be ordained an evangelist, conspicuously, by writing to him those excellent letters by a revelation made either to Paul himself, or to some in the canon which bear his name; and which have been of the Christian prophets in Lystra, 1 Tim. i. 18. In the of the greatest use to the ministers of the gospel, ever mean time, Timothy, though a Jew, not having been since their publication, by directing them to discharge all circumcised by reason that his father was a Greek or the duties of their function in a proper manner. Gentile, it was proper he should bear that mark of his descent; because, without it, the Jews would have look. ed on him as a Gentile, and have despised his instruc
Sect. II.-Of the Time when the First Epistle to tions. This, and not any opinion that circumcision was
Timothy was written. necessary to salvation, determined the apostle to propose, In the third verse of the first chapter of this epistle, and Timothy to receive the rite by which the Jews, from the apostle saith, “As I entreated thee to abide in Ephethe earliest times, had been distinguished from the rest of sus, when going into Macedonia, so do: that thou mayest mankind. Afterwards, the eldership at Lystra, the more charge some not to teach differently.' From this it is strongly to impress Timothy with a sense of the impor- plain, 1. That Timothy was in Ephesus when the apostance of the function he had undertaken, solemnly settle wrote his first letter to him.-2. That he had been him apart to the office of an evangelist, by the laying left there by the apostle, who, at parting with him, enon of their hands, 1 Tim. iv. 14. and by prayer. This treated him to abide in Ephesus.-3. That this happened was followed by the laying on of the apostle's hands, for when Paul was going from Ephesus into Macedonia.the purpose of communicating to Timothy the gifts of And, 4. That he entreated Timothy to abide in Ephesus, the Holy Ghost, 2 Tim. i. 6.
for the purpose of charging some teachers in that church Timothy, thus prepared to be the apostle's fellow. not to teach differently from the apostles. labourer in the gospel, accompanied him and Silas when In the history of the Acts of the Apostles, there is no they visited the churches of Phrygia, and delivered to mention of Paul's going from Ephesus into Macedonia them the decrees of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, but once; namely, after the riot of Demetrius, Acts xx. freeing the Gentiles from the law of Moses as a term of 1. For which reason, Theodoret among the ancients, salvation. Having gone through these countries, they and among the moderns, Estius, Baronius, Capellus, Groat length came to Troas, where Luke joined them, as tius, Lightfoot, Salmasius, Hammond, Witsius, Lardner, appears from the phraseology of his history, Acts xvi. Benson, and others, have given it as their opinion, that 10, 11, &c.-In Troas, as was mentioned, Pref. to I the apostle speaks of that journey in his first epistle to Thess. sect. 1. a vision appeared to Paul, directing them Timothy. Yet, if I am not mistaken, the following to go into Macedonia. Loosing therefore from Troas, circumstances will shew their opinion to be ill founded. they all passed over to Neapolis, and from thence went 1. When the apostle went from Ephesus into Mace. to Philippi, where they converted many, and planted a donia, as related Acts xx. 1. Timothy was not in EpheChristian church. From Philippi they went to Thessa- sus, having gone from that city into Macedonia with lonica, leaving Luke at Philippi; as appears from his Erastus, by the apostle's direction, Acts xix. 22.. And changing the phraseology of his history at ver. 40. We in the first epistle to the Corinthians, which was written may therefore suppose, that, at their departing, they com after Timothy's departure from Ephesus, we are informed, mitted the converted at Philippi to Luke's care. In that he was to go from Macedonia to Corinth, 1 Cor. iv. Thessalonica they were opposed by the unbelieving Jews, %. 'I have sent to you Timothy:'-1 Cor. xvi. 10. If and obliged to flee to Berca, whither the Jews from Timothy be come, take care that he be among you withThessalonica followed them. To elude their rage, Paul, out fear.' Ver. 11. Send him forward in peace, that he who was most obnoxious to them, departed from Bercea may come to me: for I expect him with the brethren.'
But before Timothy returned from Corinth, the apostle that they would be saved merely because they had Abraleft Ephesus, and went into Macedonia, where the bre- ham to their father: Intricate questions and strifes about thren above mentioned met him, 2 Cor. ii. 12, 13., hav some words in the law: Perverse disputings of men of ing Timothy in their company; as is plain from his join. corrupt minds, who reckoned that which produced most ing the apostle in his second epistle to the Corinthians, gain to be the best kind of godliness : and oppositions which all agree was written from Macedonia, immediate- of knowledge falsely so named.—But these errors had ly after the brethren from Corinth gave the apostle an not taken place in the Ephesian church before the aposaccount of the success of his first letter. Wherefore, tle's departure; for in his charge to the Ephesian elders since Timothy was not in Ephesus when the apostle left at Miletus he foretold, that the false teachers were to that city after the riot, it could not be the occasion on enter among them after his departing, Acts xx. 29. 'I which the apostle said to him, “As I entreated thee to know, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter abide in Ephesus, when going into Macedonia, so do :' in among you, not sparing the flock. 30. Also of your But the journey into Macedonia, of which he speaks, own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to must have been some other journey not mentioned in draw away disciples after them. The same thing apthe Acts.—To remove this difficulty, we are told, that pears from the two epistles which the apostle wrote to Timothy returned from Corinth to the apostle, before his the Corinthians; the one from Ephesus before the riot of departure from Ephesus, and that he was left there after Demetrius, the other from Macedonia after that event; the riot; but that something happened, which occasioned and from the epistle which he wrote to the Ephesians him to follow the apostle into Macedonia : That there he themselves from Rome, during his confinement there : joined him in writing his second epistle to the Corin. For in none of these letters is there any notice taken of thians; and having finished his business in Macedonia, the above mentioned errors, as subsisting among the he returned to Ephesus, and abode ; agreeably to the Ephesians at the time they were written ; which cannot apostle's request. But as these suppositions are not be accounted for on supposition that they were prevalent warranted by the history of the Acts, Timothy's joining in Ephesus, when the apostle went into Macedonia after the apostle in his second epistle to the Corinthians may the riot. I am therefore of opinion, that the first to still be urged as a proof, that he came with the brethren Timothy, in which the apostle desired him to abide in directly from Corinth to Macedonia.–Farther, that Ephesus for the purpose of opposing the Judaizers and Timothy did not go from Macedonia to Ephesus, after their errors, could not be written, either from 'Troas or joining the apostle in his second epistle to the Corin- from Macedonia, after the riot, as those who contend for thians, but returned with him to Corinth to receive the the early date of that epistle suppose : But it must have collections, I think is plain from Acts xx. 4., where he been written some time after the apostle's release from his is mentioned as one of those who accompanied Paul confinement in Rome, when, no doubt, he visited the from Corinth to Jerusalem, with the collections.
church at Ephesus, and found the Judaizing teachers 2. When the apostle wrote his first epistle to Timothy, there busily employed in spreading their pernicious errors. "he hoped to come to him soon,' chap. iii, 14. But, 4. In the first epistle to Timothy, the same sort of perfrom the history of the Acts, it is certain, that in no let- sons, doctrines, and practices, are reprobated, which are ter written to Timothy after the riot, till his first confine condemned in the second. Compare 1 Tim. iv. 1-6. ment in Rome, could the apostle say, that he hoped to with 2 Tim. iii. 1-5., and 1 Tim. vi. 20. with 2 Tim. ii. come to him soon.' He could not say so in any letter 14., and 1 Tim. vi. 4. with 2 Tim. ii. 16.— The same written from Troas, the first place he stopped at after commands, instructions and encouragements, are given leaving Ephesus: For at that time he was going into to Timothy in the first epistle as in the second. ComMacedonia and Achaia, to receive the collections from the pare 1 Tim. vi. 13, 14. with 2 Tim. iv. 1-5.—The same churches in these provinces. Neither could he say so, remedies for the corruptions which had taken place after writing his second to the Corinthians from Mace- among the Ephesians, are prescribed in the first epistle donia : For in that epistle he told the Corinthians he was as in the second. Compare 1 Tim. iv. 14. with 2 Tim. coming to them with the Macedonian brethren, who were i. 6, 7.--And as in the second epistle, so in the first, commissioned to attend him in his voyage to Jerusalem every thing is addressed to Timothy, as superintendant with the collections, 2 Cor. ix. 4., and that he meant to both of the teachers and of the laity in the church at sail directly from Corinth to Judea, 2 Cor. i. 16.-As Ephesus: All which I think imply, that the state of little could he write to Timothy, that he hoped to come things among the Ephesians was the same when the two to him soon,' when he altered his resolution on occasion epistles were written ; consequently, that the first epistle of the lying in wait of the Jews, and returned into was written only a few months before the second, and Macedonia, Acts xx. 3.: For he was then in such haste not long before the apostle's death. to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, that when These arguments appeared so convincing to Pearson, he came to Miletus, instead of going to Ephesus, he sent Le Clerc, L'Enfant, Cave, Fabritius, Mill, Whitby, and for the elders of that church to come to him, Acts xx. others, that they were unanimously of opinion, Timothy 16, 17.-When he arrived in Judea, he could not write was left by the apostle in Ephesus, as he went into that he hoped to come to Ephesus soon;' for he was Macedonia, not after the riot of Demetrius, but after he imprisoned a few days after he went up to Jerusalem. was released from his first confinement in Rome. And And having continued two years in prison at Cæsarea, from that circumstance they infer, that he did not write he was sent bound to Rome, where likewise being con his first epistle to Timothy till some time in the end of fined, he could not, till towards the conclusion of that the year 64, or in the beginning of 65. I think it was confinement, write to Timothy, that he hoped to come written from Nicopolis. See Pref. to Titus, sect. 1. to him soon.' And even then he did not write his first To the late date of the first epistle there are three epistle to Timothy: For Timothy was with him at the plausible objections, which must not be overlooked. conclusion of his confinement, Phil. ii. 19-23.
Object. 1. It is thought, that if the first epistle to 3. From the first epistle we learn, that the following Timothy was written after the apostle's release, he could were the errors Timothy was left in Ephesus to oppose : ot, with any propriety, have said to Timothy, chap. iv. Fables invented by the Jewish doctors to recommend the 12. •Let no man despise thy youth.'—But it is replied, observance of the law of Moses as necessary to salvation: That Servius Tullius, in classing the Roman people, as Uncertain genealogies, by which individuals endeavoured Aulus Gellius relates, lib. x. c. 28., divided their age into to trace their descent from Abraham, in the persuasion three periods :- Childhood, he limited to the age of seven
teen ; youth, from that to forty-six; and old age, from Sect. III.-Of the Occasion of Writing the First forty-six to the end of life. Now, supposing Timothy to
Epistle to Timothy. have been 18 years old, A. D. 50, when he became Paul's assistant, he would be no more than 32, a. D. 64, two After Paul was released from his bonds in Rome, and years after the apostle's release, when it is supposed this Timothy had returned to him from Philippi, whither he epistle was written. Wherefore, being then in the period had sent him, Phil. ii. 19. it is reasonable to suppose, of life, which, by the Greeks as well as the Romans, was that they went together into Judea to visit the Hebrews, considered as youth, the apostle, with propriety, might according to the apostle's promise, Heb. xiii. 23. taking say to him, “Let no man despise thy youth.'
Crete in their way. And having exhorted and comfortObject. 2. When the apostle touched at Miletus, in his ed the brethren in Judea, who were greatly distressed by voyage to Jerusalem, with the collections, the church at the tumults which brought on the war with the Romans, Ephesus had a number of elders, that is, of bishops and they departed to visit the Colossian and Ephesian deacons, who came to him at Miletus, Acts xx. 17. It churches; the latter of which merited the apostle's paris therefore asked, What occasion was there, in an epis- ticular attention, on account of the pains he had been at tle written after the apostle's release, to give Timothy in planting it, as well as on account of the number and directions concerning the ordination of bishops and dea- quality of its members. See these things more fully cons in a church where there were so many elders al narrated, Pref. to Titus, sect. 1. ready? The answer is, The elders who came to the On his arrival at Ephesus, finding the false teachers apostle at Miletus, in the year 58, may have been too busy in spreading their errors, he no doubt rebuked them few for the church at Ephesus, in her increased state, in sharply, and charged them to teach the true doctrine of the year 65. Besides, false teachers had then entered, the gospel. And because the neighbouring churches of to oppose whom, more bishops and deacons might be Asia, by reason of their frequent intercourse with the needed, than were necessary in the year 58. Not to Ephesian brethren, might be either greatly profited, or mention, that some of the first elders having died, others greatly hurt, according as truth or error prevailed in were wanted to supply their places.
Ephesus, the apostle, when going from that city into Object. 3. Because the apostle wrote to Timothy, that Macedonia, judged it necessary that Timothy should rehe hoped to come to him soon,' 1 Tim. iii. 14. it is main there, for the purpose of restraining the false argued, that the letter in which this is said, must have teachers, by publicly confuting their errors, and conbeen written before the apostle said to the Ephesian demning their evil practices. elders, Acts xx. 25. I know that all ye, among whom But Timothy being young, and the trust committed I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my to him being weighty, the apostle, after his departure, face no more. But if, by this, the first epistle to Timo wrote to him this excellent letter from Philippi, or rather thy is proved to have been written before the apostle's from Nicopolis, Tit. iii. 12. to direct him in the discharge interview with the elders at Miletus, his epistles to the of his duty, and, at the same time, to establish his auPhilippians, to the Hebrews, and to Philemon, in which thority with the Ephesians.-Agreeably to this design, he promised to visit them, must likewise have been writ- the commission given to Timothy, at parting, to oppose ten before the interview; in regard his declaration re the false teachers, is mentioned; and the particular errors spected the Philippians, the Hebrews, and Philemon, as he was to condemn, together with the truths he was to well as the Ephesians: For they certainly were persons, inculcate, are specified in chap. i.-For the same purpose, among whom the apostle had gone preaching the king. in chap. ii. the apostle prescribed the manner in which dom of God. Yet no commentator ever thought the the public worship of God was to be performed in the epistles above mentioned, were written to them before church at Ephesus.-And, because it was necessary that the apostle's interview with the Ephesian elders. On Timothy should be assisted by a sufficient number of the contrary, it is universally acknowledged, that these well-qualified fellow-labourers in the ministry, the apostle, epistles were written four years after the interview; in chap. iii. explained the qualifications of the persons he namely, during the apostle's first imprisonment at Rome. was to ordain as bishops and deacons.—In chap. iv. he Wherefore, when he told the Ephesian elders, that they foretold the beresies which were to prevail in the church and his other converts, among whom he had gone preach- in after-times, and the mischiefs which they would occaing the kingdom of God, should see his face no more, as sion, that the faithful might be sensible these things did it was no point either of faith or practice which he spake, not happen by accident, but were permitted of God, and he may well be supposed to have declared nothing but would be directed to an happy issue.- In chap. v. he inhis own opinion resulting from his fears. He had lately structed Timothy in the right method of admonishing escaped the rage of the Jews, who laid wait for him in the old and the young of both sexes ; and mentioned the Cenchrea to kill him, Acts xx. 3. This, with their fury age and character of such widows, as were to be emon former occasions, filled him with such anxiety, that ployed by the church in teaching the younger women in writing to the Romans from Corinth, he requested the principles of religion.—Lastly, in chap. vi. he dethem to strive together with him in their prayers, that scribed the duties which Timothy was to inculcate on he might be delivered from the unbelieving in Judea,' slaves; condemned strifes about words, and perverse disRom. xv. 30, 31.-Farther, that in his speech to the putings; spake strongly against the inordinate love of Ephesian elders, the apostle only declared his own per- money ; and required him to charge the rich to be rich suasion, dictated by his fears, and not any suggestion of in faith and good works. the Spirit, I think plain from what he had said immedi With these directions and rules to Timothy, in his ately before: ver. 22. “Behold I go bound in the spirit character of superintendant of the church at Ephesus, the to Jerusalem, not knowing the things which shall befall apostle mixed many earnest charges to him, in his me there ; 23. Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in character as an evangelist, to shew himself a pattern of every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions abide me.' all the virtues which he recommended to others.—And, Wherefore, although his fears were happily disappointed, considering the excellency of Timothy's disposition, and and he actually visited the Ephesians after his release, his great veneration for the apostle, it cannot be doubted his character as an inspired apostle is not hurt in the that he observed the directions and charges contained in least, if, in saying he knew they should see his face no this letter with the most religious care. There is even more,' he declared, as I have said, his own persuasion reason to think his labours at Ephesus were so blessed of only, and no dictate of the Holy Ghost.
God, that the false doctrines and corrupt practices of the
Judaizing teachers in that city were for a while repressed. Sect. V.-Shewing in what Manner the Church of the For at the time the epistle to the church of Ephesus was living God is the Pillar and Support of the Truth, written, she seems to have maintained an excellent as mentioned 1 Tim. iii. 15. character, as appears from what is expressed in that letter, Rev. ii. 1-7.
In discoursing of this subject, it will be necessary to
inquire, first, what 'the church of the living God' is, Sect. IV.- Of the Use which the Church, in every ly, To consider what the truth' is, of which the church
which is, ' the pillar and support of the truth.'--SecondAge, is to make of St. Paul's Epistles to Timothy of the living God is the support.-And, thirdly, To shew and Titus.
in what manner the church of the living God hath Though the errors of the Judaizing teachers in Ephe- actually supported, that is, preserved the truth in purity, sus, which gave rise to the apostle's epistles to Timothy, and prevented it from being lost in the world. have long ago disappeared, the epistles themselves are 1. With respect to the first of these, namely, what still of great use, as they serve to shew the impiety of the church of the living God' is, which the apostle hath the principles from which these errors proceeded. For denominated the pillar and support of the truth,' it is the same principles are apt, in every age, to produce proper to inform unlearned readers, that the clergy of the errors and vices, which, though different in name from Romish church, with the bishop or pope of Rome at their those which prevailed in Ephesus in the apostle's days, bead, and the laity of their communion, have long asare precisely of the same kind, and equally pernicious.- sumed to themselves the appellation of the Catholic These epistles are likewise of great use in the church, as church, exclusively of all other Christian churches; and they exhibit to Christian bishops and deacons, in every have affirmed, that, as the only true church of the living age, the most perfect idea of the duties of their function; God, they are the pillar and support of the truth, by virteach the manner in which these duties should be per- tue of the power which the bishops of Rome possess, of formed; describe the qualifications necessary in those declaring infallibly what doctrines are true, and what who aspire to such holy and honourable offices, and ex- false, and of making constitutions of discipline which are plain the ends for which these offices were originally binding on the whole Christian world. These high instituted, and are still continued in the church.
prerogatives the Romanists attribute to the bishops of The very same things, indeed, the apostle, about the Rome, as the successors of the apostle Peter, on whom same time, wrote to Titus in Crete; but more briefly, they affirm our Lord bestowed them, when he said to because he was an older and more experienced minister him, Matt. xvi. 18. “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock than Timothy. Nevertheless, the repetition of these pre- I will build my church: and the gates of hell shall not cepts and charges is not without its use to the church prevail against it. 19. And I will give unto thee the keys still, as it maketh us more deeply sensible of their great of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt importance: Not to mention, that in the epistle to Titus bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven ; and whatsoever there are things peculiar to itself, which enhance its thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.' value.-In short, the epistles to Timothy and Titus, taken But in opposition to these high claims I observe, 1st, together, containing a full account of the qualifications That the church of Rome hath no right to call herself and duties of the ministers of the gospel, may be con 'the church of the living God,' exclusively of all the sidered as a complete body of divinely inspired ecclesiasti- other churches of Christ. Every society of believers, cal canons, to be observed by the Christian clergy, of all who, with their pastors, meet together for worshipping communions, to the end of the world.
God in spirit and in truth, according to the gospel form, These epistles, therefore, ought to be read frequently, is as really a church of the living God as the church at and with the greatest attention, by those in every age Rome, and is called in scripture 'a church of God,' and country who hold sacred offices, or who have it in whether the members thereof be more in number, or view to obtain them; not only that they may regulate fewer. Thus, 'the church of God which is at Corinth,' their conduct according to the directions contained in is mentioned i Cor. i. 2. 2 Cor. i. 1.-and the churches them, but that, by meditating seriously on the solemn of Galatia,' Gal. i. 1.—and the church of the Thessalo charges delivered to all the ministers of the gospel, in the nians,' 1 Thess. i. 1. 2 Thess. i. 1.–Nay, in the conclupersons of Timothy and Titus, their minds may be strong- sion of some of Paul's epistles, “the church in such and ly impressed with a sense of the importance of their such a person's house' is saluted. These, with all the function, and of the obligation which lieth on them to be churches of Christ which were gathered in the first age, faithful in discharging every duty belonging to it. however widely separated from each other in respect of
It is of importance also to observe, that in these epis- place, were considered by the apostle Paul as making one tles there are some explications of the Christian doc- great community, which he sometimes called the church trines, and some displays of St. Paul's views and ex- of God, sometimes the body of Christ, and sometimes the pectations as an apostle of Christ, which merit our at house or temple of God; as is evident from Eph. ii. 19. tention. For if he had been, like many of the Greek Ye belong to the house of God: 20. Being built upon philosophers, an hypocrite who held a double doctrine, the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ one for the vulgar, and another for the learned; and if himself being the bottom corner-stone. 21. By which his secret views and expectations had been different from the whole building being aptly joined together, groweth those which he publicly professed to the world, he would into an holy temple for the Lord. 22. In which ye also have given, without all doubt, some insinuation thereof, are builded together for an habitation of God by the in letters written to such intimate friends. Yet, through- Spirit.'— This account of the house, temple, or church of out the whole of these epistles, no discovery of that kind God, sheweth, that no particular society of Christians, is made. The doctrine contained in them is the same however numerous or pure, is the church of the living with that taught in the epistles, designed for the inspec- God,' exclusively of all other Christian societies ; but that tion and direction of the church in general; and the the appellation belongs to every society of believers who views and hopes which he expresses, are the same with hold the doctrines contained in the scriptures, and who those which he uniformly taught mankind to entertain. worship God in the manner there prescribed : And that What stronger proofs can we desire of the apostle's sin- the whole of these churches, taken collectively, is the cerity and faithfulness than these? See Pref. to 2 Tim. pillar and support of the truth. For if the apostle had sect. 4.
spoken of any particular church, as the pillar and support
of the truth, exclusively of the rest, not the church at my Father hath sent me, even 60 send I you. 22. And Rome, but the church at Ephesus, must have been that when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith church; because Timothy, in this epistle, was instructed unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. 23. Whose • how to behave himself in the church of the living God' soever sins ye remit, they are remitted to them, and at Ephesus, and not at Rome. Nevertheless, not even whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.' the church at Ephesus was called by the apostle 'the Granting, however, for argument's sake, that the church of the living God,' exclusively of all the other powers of declaring infallibly what doctrines are true churches of Christ, else he excluded the churches at Phi- and what false, and of remitting and retaining sins, had lippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, Colosse, and the rest, from actually been bestowed on Peter alone, as the Papists being churches of the living God, notwithstanding they contend, the bishops of Rome cannot claim these powers, were planted by himself. But this no reasonable person as Peter's successors, unless they can shew, not only that will believe.—Wherefore, the claim of the church of Rome they were bestowed on Peter, as bishop of the church to be the only Catholic church, if thereby they mean to which was afterwards to be planted at Rome, but also exclude all those who are not of their communion from that they were promised to his successors in that charge. being churches of Christ, ought to be rejected with con Now, that these powers were bestowed on Peter as an tempt, because it is an usurpation manifestly contrary to apostle, and not as the future bishop of Rome, hath been scripture.
sufficiently proved already. And that they were not In proof, however, that the Romish church is 'the only promised to the bishops of Rome, as Peter's successors, church of the living God,' which is the pillar and sup- is absolutely certain; because neither in what Christ said port of the truth,' the Papists appeal to Christ's promise to Peter, when he bestowed these powers on him, nor in to build his church on Peter as on a rock;' and boldly any other passage of scripture, is there the least insinuaaffirm, that the church which he was to build on Peter, tion that they were to descend to his successors in the was the church afterwards to be planted at Rome. But bishoprick of a church which did not then exist. Wheresince, in speaking to Peter, Christ mentioned no particu- fore, the powers of binding and loosing, and of remitting lar church as to be built on him; also, since it is not pre- and retaining sins, which the bishops of Rome have arrotended that the church at Rome, or any of the Gentile gated to themselves as Peter's successors, not being warchurches, was planted by him, there is no reason to think, ranted by scripture, ought to be strenuously opposed as that the church which Christ was to build on Peter was an usurped spiritual tyranny, destructive of the religious the church at Rome. Our Lord spake of his universal liberty of Christians. church, which, it is well known, was built, not on Peter 3. In opposition to the bold pretensions of the Papists, alone, but on the foundation of all the apostles and pro- I moreover affirm, that the claims of the Romish church phets, Jesus Christ himself being the bottom corner to be the pillar and support of the truth,' by virtue of the . stone,' as declared in the before-cited passage, Ephes. ii. power of making laws for the government of the Catholic 19–22.-Farther, the church to be built on Peter was church, both in spirituals and temporals, which all Christo be of such stability, that, the gates of hell were never tians are bound to obey, and which the Papists, without to prevail against it.' Doth this character belong to the any proof, contend, belongs to the bishops of Rome as church at Rome, or to any particular church built by Peter's successors, have no foundation in scripture. any of the apostles ? It belongeth to the Catholic church The Papists, indeed, as we are informed by the Rhealone. For notwithstanding some particular churches, mish translators of the New Testament, in their note on of which the Catholic church is composed, have been, and Matt. xvi. 19. assure us, “That the keys of the kingdom others may yet be overthrown, they will at no time be all of heaven," which Christ promised to give to Peter, destroyed; but as in times past, so in times to come," signify the height of government, the power of making there will always, somewhere, be societies of Christians, laws, of calling councils, of the principal voice in them, who maintain the true faith and worship enjoined in the of confirming them, of making canons and wholesome gospel. So that, while the world standeth, the church decrees, of abrogating the contrary, of ordaining bishops of Christ shall at no time be extinct.—Thus it appears, and pastors, of deposing and suspending them, finally, that the church of the living God, which is the pillar and the power to dispense the goods of the church both spisupport of the truth, and against which the gates of hell ritual and temporal ; which signification of pre-eminent shall not prevail, is no particular church, but the Catholic power and authority by the word keys, the scripture exor universal church, consisting of all the churches of God, presseth in many places.-Moreover, it signifieth that which have existed from the beginning, and which shall men cannot come into heaven, but by him, the keys signiexist to the end of the world.
fying also authority to open and shut, as it is said of 2. In opposition to the claims of the Papists I observe, Christ, Apoc. iii. 7. Who hath the key of David : He that as there is no reason for thinking the Romish shutteth, and no man openeth ;' by which words we gachurch the only church of the living God, so there is ther, that Peter's power is marvellous, to whom the keys, no reason for thinking her “the alone pillar and support that is the power to open and shut heaven, is given.” Ali of the truth,' by virtue of any powers which her bishops, these powers, the Papists contend, were bestowed on as Peter's successors, have received from Christ, to deter- Peter, in the metaphorical promise of giving him the mine infallibly what is true doctrine and what false ; keys of the kingdom of heaven.' But before this is adand to remit or retain sins authoritatively, By Christ's mitted, they ought to shew, by better proofs than they promise, · Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be have hitherto produced, that these paramount extensive bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on powers were signified by the word keys. earth, shall be loosed in heaven,' infallibility in doctrine The only proofs to which they appeal are, the promise was not confined to Peter. The same promise, and in to Peter, Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth;' &c. and the same words, was made to all the apostles, Matt. xviii. the promise to the apostles in general, Whose soever 18.-In like manner, the power of remitting and retain- sins ye remit, are remitted,' &c. But these promises are ing sins was bestowed, not on Peter singly, but on him no certain evidence, that the high powers and prerogawith the rest of the apostles: not, however, as bishops of tives above-mentioned were conferred on Peter under particular churches, but as persons who were to be en- the name of the keys ; because the powers of binding dowed with the gift of inspiration, to render them infal- and loosing,' and of remitting and retaining sins,' easily lible in doctrine and discipline. This appears from John admit of a different and more rational interpretation, as xx. 21. where Christ said to his apostles in general, “As shall be shewed by and by.--Farther, that by promising