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lusion, he would, at such a time as this, have made reparation to mankind, for the injury he had done them, in persuading them to believe on Jesus of Nazareth, for whose name so many had already suffered, and were likely to suffer death ; and that he would have made this reparation, by acknowledging to Ti. mothy, that the things which he had related concerning the character, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus, were fables; and by ordering him to undeceive the world. Or, if vanity, or a regard to his own fame, or obstinacy in wickedness, or any other cause, prevented him from doing justice to the world and to truth; it might have been expected, that in this private correspondence with so intimate a friend and associate, some expression would by accident have dropped from his pen, betraying the falsehood and wickedness of the cause they were engaged in ; or, that some word or circumstance would have escaped him, which might have led to a discovery of the fraud.
Nothing, however, of either kind appears throughout the whole epistle. On the contrary, almost every sentence in it exhibits the most unambiguous proofs of the apostle's strong conviction of the truth of our Lord's pretensions, and of all the things he had told concerning him.--For example, he begins his letter with affirming, that by preaching the gospel, he served the God of his forefathers with a pure conscience : and says, he thanked God in his private prayers continually, for Timothy's faithfulness in preaching the gospel.—Then ordered him to stir up the spiritual gift which he had conferred on him; and to be courageous in the work he was engaged in, because the effect of that gift was not to fill those who possessed it with fear, but with courage, and love, and self-government; and not to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of me, said he, the Lord's prisoner, but to suffer evil jointly with me for the gospel, of which I am an herald, and for which I suffer such things.Next, he expressed the highest satisfaction in suffering for Christ, because he knew he was really the Son of God, and would reward him in the end.-And ordered Timothy to guard, by the power of the Holy Ghost which dwelt in him, the good doctrine concerning Christ, which had been committed to him in trust; and to be strong in the honourable office of an Evangelist which was bestowed on him ; and to deliver all the particulars of the doctrine concerning Christ, which he had heard from the apostle confirmed by many witnesses, to faithful men capable of teaching that doctrine to others, that it might be continued in the world to the end. And more especially to publish and affirm every where, that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead, and thereby proved to be the Son of God; for preaching which facts, he himself was now suffering as a malefactor, even unto bonds. But he told him, it was not in the power of the enemies of the gospel to keep it in bonds. Do what they would, they could not hinder it from being preached and believed in the world.--And with respect to himself, he assured Timothy that he suffered imprisonment, and every
evil patiently, and with the greatest joy for the gospel, because he knew that if he were put to death with Christ, he would also be raised from the dead with him, and reign with him in the life to come. Whereas, any preacher of the gospel, who, from the love of ease, or the fear of death, either concealed or denied the things concerning the Lord Jesus, him will Christ deny at the day of judgment.-Then charged Timothy to put the teachers at Ephesus in mind of these things ; and, in the mean time, to strive to present himself to God, an approved unashamed workman in the gospel.–And being deeply impressed with a sense of the importance of the gospel doctrine to the happiness of the world, the apostle severely condemned two false teachers, whom he mentioned by name, whose corrupt doctrine concerning Christ, he told Timothy, was as destructive to the souls of men, as a gangrene is to their bodies.-What stronger proofs can any one desire of the apostle's sincerity in the things which he preached ? If he had been carrying on an imposture, would not these wicked teachers, one of whom he had enraged, by delivering him to Satan for blaspheming Christ, have published the imposture to the world ? - In the mean time, that Timothy and others might not entertain harsh thoughts of God, for permitting corrupt teachers to arise in his church, he told him, that in the church, as in a great house, there are vessels appointed to a dishonourable use; thereby insinuating that these corrupt teachers, when driven out of the church for their wicked practices, not being able to make any discoveries to the prejudice of the gospel, or of its ministers, that circumstance, though originating in the vices of these men, and dishonourable to them, was a strong proof of the truth of the gospel, and of the sincerity of its ministers in what they preached.-Next, that Timothy might not follow the corrupt teachers, but strenuously oppose them, the apostle commanded him to flee youthful lusts, and to practise assiduously the duties of piety and morality ; and put him VOL. IV.
in mind, that the servant of the Lord must use no violent, nor improper methods with those who oppose themselves; but be gentle to all men, meekly instructing the enemies of the gospel, if by any means God will give them repentance.--And that pos. terity might have undoubted evidence of the apostle's inspiration, he foretold the state in which the church would be, in after ages, through the base practices of hypocritical teachers ; but that a stop would, in due time, be put to their delusions.-, Then, conscious of his own faithfulness as an apostle, he appealed to Timothy's perfect knowledge of his doctrine, his manner of life, his purpose in teaching that doctrine, the virtues which he exercised, and the persecutions which he suffered for the gospel ; particularly at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra ; but that God delivered him out of them all. So that if Timothy shewed himself equally faithful, he might expect the like deliverances. And having informed him, that all who adhered to truth, should, in that age, suffer persecution, he charged him, notwithstanding, to continue in the profession of the things which he had learned of him, and had been assured of; knowing from whom he had learned them, and that they were agreeable to the ancient scriptures, in the knowledge and belief of which he had been educated from his childhood.-Then solemnly charged him in the presence of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ the judge of the world, to preach all the things he had mentioned, without considering whether the doing thereof was seasonable or unseasonable with respect to himself; because the church was soon to lose the benefit of the apostle's labours, the time of his departure being come. This charge the apostle accompanied with an high expression of joy, on the reflection that he had combated the good combat, had finished the race, had preserved the faith, and was sure of a crown of righteousness from Christ his master, at the day of judgment. And to encourage Timothy to follow his example, he informed him, that though no man appeared with him, when he made his first answer, yet the Lord Jesus stood by him, and strengthened him to declare boldly the doctrine concerning the salvation of the Gentiles by faith, which was so offensive to the Jews ; and that though he had no hope of deliverance at his next hearing, yet he was sure the Lord Jesus would deliver him from betraying his cause, and from every evil work; and would preserve him safe to his heavenly kingdom : In which persuasion, he direct
ed to Jesus a doxology, which, on other occasions, he ascribed to God the Father.
These strong asseverations of the truth of the things which Paul had all along preached, these earnest charges to Timothy to preach the same things openly and plainly to the world, these high expressions of joy in the sufferings which he had endured for preaching them, and these confident expectations which he expressed, of receiving a full reward in the life to come for all his labours and sufferings, being the apostle's dying words to his intimate friend and companion in the ministry of the gospel, conveyed in a private letter, no person who is a judge of human nature and human actions, can read them, without being impressed with the strongest conviction of the apostle's own thorough persuasion of the things, which, from the time of his conversion, he constantly preached, without the least variation. And seeing the most important of these things were matters of fact, of which his own senses and experience had informed him; such as the appearing of Jesus to him on the road to Damascus, after his resurrection ; his endowing him with supernatural powers; his revealing to him all the particulars of his history, and of the gospel doctrine ; his having enabled him, by the power of miracles, to persuade multitudes in many countries to embrace and profess the gospel ; I say, the apostle's own persuasion of these facts, clearly and repeatedly displayed in this private letter, is such a proof of their reality, and of the truth of the gospel history, as never will be shaken by all the sophistry of infidels united.—This excellent writing, therefore, will be read by the disciples of Christ to the end of the world, with the highest satisfaction. And the impression which it must have on their minds, will often be recollected by them with the greatest effect, for the confirmation of their faith in the gospel, and their consolation under all the evils which their adherence to the gospel may bring upon them.
View and Illustration of the Particulars contained in this Chapter. The apostle begins this epistle with a delicate praise of Timothy. He told him, that he gave thanks to God, that he had unceasing remembrance of him in his prayers, as a faithful minister of Christ, ver 3.-And, that recollecting the sensibility and gratitude, which he discovered by the tears of joy which he shed, when the apostle instructed him in the doctrines of the gospel, he had a strong desire to see him once more, now that he was in prison for their common master, ver. 4.-That this desire was increased, when he called to remembrance the unfeigned faith which first dwelt in his grandmother Lois, and then in his mother Eunice, and he was persuaded in him also; so that Timothy was come of a pious race, ver. 5.—The apostle's thanksgiving to God, in his secret prayers, for Timothy's faithfulness as a minister of Christ, I call delicate praise, because being bestowed in the presence of God, out of the hearing of the world, it was a praise in which there was neither insincerity nor flattery. The apostle, it is true, mentioned this to Timothy himself, along with the other particulars which were so honour. able to him. But he did it in a private letter to him, and with no view, except to stir him up strenuously to exercise the spiritual gifts, which were imparted to him, for the purpose of defending and spreading the gospel, ver. 6. Moreover, to excite Timothy the more effectually to exercise his spiritual gifts for these ends, the apostle put him in mind, that, together with the spiritual gifts, God communicated to his faithful servants, fortitude, benevolence, and temperance, to enable them to exercise these gifts without fear, and in a prudent manner, for the benefit of mankind, ver. 7.-He, therefore, desired him not to be ashamed of the things he was to preach concerning Christ; namely, that he is the Son of God, and Saviour of the world ; neither to be ashamed of him his spiritual father, although a prisoner, for preaching these things; but courage
GREEK TEXT. CHAP. I. 1 Paul, an 1 Παυλος, αποςολος Ιησου apostle of Jesus Christ by Χριςου, δια θεληματος Θεου, the will of God, according κατ' επαγγελιαν ζωης της to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
εν Χρισώ Ιησου, ,