COMMENTARIES

ON

THE EPISTLES TO

TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND PHILEMON

BY JOHN CALVIN

TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL LATIN,
BY THE REV. WILLIAM PRINGLE


TRANSLATOR’S PREFACE

IT may be natural to inquire why the Epistles to Timothy and Titus have been less copiously illustrated by popular Commentaries than the other writings of the Apostle Paul. The reason probably is, that they are addressed chiefly to office-bearers, and not to private members of the Church; though they abound largely in those doctrinal statements and practical instructions which every Christian ought carefully to study.

While fewer expositors than might have been desired have devoted their labors to this portion of the word of God, the leading subject of it has been ably handled in a different form. Not to mention the early Fathers, it is sufficient to name “The Pastoral Care,” “The Reformed Pastor,” and other kindred works, which have taken their rank among the standard volumes of Christian Theology. Besides elaborate treatises, extending over the whole field of ministerial labor, detached parts of it have been sometimes selected for separate illustration. Of every collection of books fitted to make

“the man of God perfect, thoroughly prepared
for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:17)

a goodly portion relates to the duties of the pastorate. It has been of unspeakable importance to the interests of religion, and ought to be recorded to the praise of divine grace, that the valuable instructions on this subject to which readers have access derive additional weight from the holy lives and devoted zeal of their authors, who have only inculcated on others what they had faithfully practiced. To all whose views are directed to the sacred office, or who have already been invested with it, the perusal of such books must be exceedingly advantageous.

Yet here, as in everything else, let us appeal

“to the law and to the testimony.”(Isaiah 8:20.)

The foundation of every code of rules for guiding the ministers of Christ must be sought, not in the judgments of uninspired men, however able and judicious, but in the Holy Scriptures, and chiefly in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, the accurate interpretation of which is therefore unspeakably valuable. Calvin has examined them with his usual skill, and will be heard with profound attention. His candor appears to more than ordinary advantage. Never does he press the words of the Holy Spirit beyond what appears to him to be their natural meaning, or depart from the rigid discharge of his task as an expositor for the sake of giving undue prominence to his peculiar views. On this point it may be sufficient to refer to his remarks on the authority which some ministers of the gospel appear to have exercised over others, as a specimen of his unshaken determination to adhere to the sacred records, and of his utter indifference to any use that might be made of such statements by those whose views of church-government differed from his own. Nowhere is his sterling honesty more conspicuous.

The notes to the present volume are enriched by numerous extractsfrom a rare work — the Author’s Sermons on the two Epistles to Timothy But for the strong and general desire that posterity should listen to this great preacher, those Sermons would never have seen the light. They were written down, as they flowed from his lips, in the same manner as the extemporaneous Latin expositions of which some account has been given elsewhere.While they are Expository Discourses, leaving no part of the two Epistles unexplored, they are addressed to the great body of the Christian people, and are distinguished by those homely and striking appeals, and that marvelous felicity of language, which even his biographer Audin reluctantly ascribes to him.


TO THE MOST NOBLE AND TRULY CHRISTIAN PRINCE,

EDWARD, DUKE OF SOMERSET,

EARL OF HERTFORD, etc. PROTECTOR OF ENGLAND
AND IRELAND, AND ROYAL TUTOR,

JOHN CALVIN

OFFERS HIS SALUTATIONS.

The brilliant reputation, most noble Prince, not only of your other virtues, altogether heroic, but especially of your distinguished piety, produces so warm a love of you in the hearts of all good men, even of those to whom you are unknown by face, that you must unavoidably be regarded with extraordinary affection and reverence by all right-minded persons in the kingdom of England, on whom hath been bestowed the privilege, not only of beholding with their eyes those benefits which are admired by others who only hear of them, but likewise of reaping all the advantage which a most excellent governor can confer on the whole body of the people, and on every one of its members. Nor is there any reason why the praises bestowed on you should be suspected of falsehood, as if they proceeded from flatterers; for a clear proof of them is to be found in your actions.

When a pupil belongs to private life, and his wealth is moderate, the work of a tutor is attended by difficulty; but you hold the office of tutor, not of the King only, but of a very large kingdom, and you discharge that office with such wisdom and skill, that all are astonished at your success. That your virtue might not shine merely amidst the laws, and in a peaceful state of the commonwealth, God has exhibited it to view in war also, which has hitherto been conducted by you with not less prosperity and valor.

Yet the great and numerous difficulties which every person readily perceived that you had experienced did not hinder you from making the restoration of religion your principal object. That consideration is certainly not less advantageous to the public benefit of the kingdom than it is worthy of a Prince; for then do kingdoms enjoy solid prosperity and faithful guardianship, when he, on whom they were founded, and by whom they are preserved — the Son of God himself — rules over them. Thus you could not have established more firmly the kingdom of England than by banishing idols and setting up there the pure worship of God; for the true doctrine of godliness, which had too long been crushed and buried by the sacrilegious tyranny of the Roman Antichrist, cannot but be restored; and what is that, but to place Christ on his throne? And this act, which in itself is excellent, is so much the more praiseworthy on account of the small number of rulers in the present day who own the subjection of their high rank to the spiritual scepter of Christ.

It was therefore a high advantage to this illustrious King, that such a person, related to him by blood, was the guide of his youth; for, although the noble character of his mind is universally applauded, yet, in training him to habits of manly firmness, and in regulating the English Church, so long as his tender age does not permit him to discharge these duties, such an instructor was much needed. And I doubt not that even now he acknowledges that you were given to him by the peculiar kindness of God, in order that he might soon afterwards receive his affairs from your hands in excellent condition.

For my own part, neither the distance of place nor my humble rank could prevent me from congratulating you on your distinguished success in promoting the glory of Christ. And since it has pleased God to make me one of those by whose labors and exertions he has, in the present day, given to the world the doctrine of the gospel in greater purity than before, why should I not, however widely I am separated from you, express as strongly as I can my reverence for you, who have been appointed, through the extraordinary kindness of God, to be the defender and protector of that very doctrine? And since I had no other proof of it to give, I thought that, at least as an earnest of my regard, it was my duty to offer to you my Commentaries on two of Paul’s Epistles. Nor have I selected at random the gift that I should offer, but, in the exercise of my judgment, have selected that which appeared to me to be the most suitable. Here Paul admonishes his beloved Timothy by what kind of doctrine he must edify the Church of God, what vices and enemies he must resist, and how many annoyances he must endure. He exhorts him to give way to no difficulties, to vanquish all dangers by courage, to restrain by authority the licentiousness of wicked men, and not to bestow gifts through eagerness to obtain their favor. In short, in these two Epistles we have the true government of the Church set before us in a lively picture.

Now, since in order to restore the English Church, which, along with almost every other part of Christendom, had been miserably corrupted by the shocking wickedness of Popery, you employ your strenuous efforts under the direction of your King, and for that purpose have many Timothys under your charge, neither they nor you can direct your holy transactions in a more profitable manner than by taking the rule here laid down by Paul for your pattern. For there is nothing in them that is not highly applicable to our times, and hardly anything that is necessary in the building of the Church that may not likewise be drawn from them. I trust that my labor will, at least, afford some assistance; but I choose that this should be known by experience rather than that I should boast of it in words. If you, most noble Prince, shall approve of it, I shall have abundant reason for congratulating myself; and your remarkable kindness does not permit me to doubt that you will take in good part that service which I now perform.

May the Lord, in whose hand are the ends of the earth, long uphold the safety and prosperity of the kingdom of England, adorn its illustrious King with the royal spirit, bestow on him a large measure of all blessings, and grant to you grace to persevere happily in your noble course, that through you his renown may be more and more widely extended.

Geneva, 25th July 1556.


THE ARGUMENT

ON

THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY

This Epistle appears to me to have been written more for the sake of others than for the sake of Timothy, and that opinion will receive the assent of those who shall carefully consider the whole matter. I do not, indeed, deny that Paul intended also to teach and admonish him; but my, view of the Epistle is, that it contains many things which it would have been superfluous to write, if he had had to deal with Timothy alone. He was a young man, not yet clothed with that authority which would have been sufficient for restraining the headstrong men that rose up against him. It is manifest, from the words used by Paul, that there were at that time some who were prodigiously inclined to ostentation, and for that reason would not willingly yield to any person, and who likewise burned with such ardent ambition, that they would never have ceased to disturb the Church, had not a greater than Timothy interposed. It is likewise manifest, that there were many things to be adjusted at Ephesus, and that needed the approbation of Paul, and the sanction of his name. Having therefore intended to give advice to Timothy on many subjects, he resolved at the same time to advise others under the name of Timothy.

In the first chapter, he attacks some ambitious persons who made their boast of discussing idle questions. It may readily be concluded that they were Jews, who, while they pretended to have zeal for the law, disregarded edification, and attended only to frivolous disputes. It is an intolerable profanation of the law of God, to draw out of it nothing that is profitable, but merely to pick up materials for talking and to abuse the pretense of it for the purpose of burdening the Church with contemptible trifles.

Longer shall enough have such corruptions prevailed in Popery; for what else was the scholastic theology than a huge chaos of empty and useless speculations? And in our own day there are many who in order to display their acuteness in handling the word of God, allow themselves to sport with it in the same manner as if it were profane philosophy. Paul undertakes to support Timothy in the correction of this vice, and points out what is the principal instruction to be derived from the Law; that it may be evident that they who use the Law in a different manner are corrupters of it.

Next, that his authority may not be despised, after having acknowledged his unworthiness he, at the same time, asserts in lofty terms what he became through the grace of God. At length he concludes the chapter by a solemn threatening, by means of which he both confirms Timothy in sound doctrine and a good conscience, and fills others with terror and alarm, by holding out to them the example of Hymenaeus and Alexander.

In the second chapter, he enjoins that public prayers be offered to God for all men, and especially for princes and magistrates; and here, in passing, he likewise makes a remark on the advantage which the world derives from civil government. He then mentions the reason why we ought to pray for all men; namely, that God, by exhibiting to all the gospel and Christ the Mediator, shews that he wishes all men to be saved; and he likewise confirms this statement by his own apostleship, which was specially appointed to the Gentiles. Next, he invites all men, whatever may be their country or place of abode, to pray to God; and takes occasion for inculcating that modesty and subjection which females ought to maintain in the holy assembly.

In the third chapter, after having declared the excellence of the bishop’s office, he delineates a true bishop, and enumerates the qualifications required in him Next, he describes the qualifications of deacons, and of the wives both of deacons and of bishops. And in order that Timothy may be more diligent and conscientious in observing all things, he reminds him what it is to be employed in the government of “the Church, which is the house of God, and the pillar of truth.” Finally, he mentions the chief and fundamental point of all heavenly doctrine — that which relates to the Son of God manifested in the flesh; in comparison of which all things else, to which he perceived that ambitious men were wholly devoted, should be reckoned of no value.

As to what follows, in the beginning of the fourth chapter, the false doctrines about forbidding marriage and various kinds of food, and the absurd fables which are at variance with this doctrine, are severely condemned by him. Next, he adds, that he and all good men, who hold this doctrine, have none for their adversaries but those who cannot endure that men shall place their trust in the living God. At the close of the chapter, he again fortifies Timothy by a new exhortation.

In the fifth chapter, after having recommended modesty and gentleness in reproofs, he reasons about widows, Who at that time were admitted into the service of the Church. He enjoins that they shall not be received indiscriminately, but only those who, having been approved throughout their whole life, are arrived at sixty years of age, and have no domestic tic. Hence he passes on to the elder’s, and explains how they ought to conduct themselves, both in their manner of life and in the exercise of discipline. This doctrine the Apostle seals by a solemn oath, and again forbids him to admit any one heedlessly into the office of the eldership. f1 He exhorts him to drink wine, instead of water, for the preservation of his health. At the clove of the chapter, he exhorts him to defer pronouncing judgment on concealed transgressions.

In the sixth chapter, he gives instruction concerning the duty of servants, and takes occasion to make a vehement attack on false teachers, who, by disputing about unprofitable speculations, are more eager for gain than for edification, and shews that covetousness is a most deadly plague. He then returns to a solemn charge similar to the former, that the exhortations which he now gives to Timothy may not be ineffectual. Lastly, after having taken a passing notice of riches, he again forbids Timothy to entangle himself with useless doctrines.

As to the ordinary Greek inscription, which states that this Epistle was written from Laodicea, I do not agree with it; for since Paul, writing to the Colossians while he was a prisoner, affirms that he had never seen the Laodiceans, those who hold the opinion, which I reject, are constrained to make two Laodiceas in Asia Minor, though only one is mentioned by historians. Besides, when Paul went into Macedonia, he left Timothy at Ephesus, as he expressly declares. He wrote this Epistle either on the road, before he arrived there, or after having returned from the journey. Now Laodicea is evidently at a greater distance from Macedonia than Ephesus is; and it is not probable that Paul, on his return, went to Laodicea, passing by Ephesus, especially since there were many reasons that urged him to visit it; and therefore I rather think that he wrote it from some other place. But this is not a matter of so much importance that I should wish to debate it with those who are of an opposite opinion. Let every person follow his own judgment. I only point out what — at least in my opinion — is more probable.


COMMENTARIES ON

THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY

CHAPTER 1

<540101>1 Timothy 1:1-4

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by time commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;

1. Paulus apostolus Iesu Christi secundum ordinationem Dei Salvatoris nostri, et Domini Iesu Christi spei nostrae:

2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord.

2. Timotheo germano filio in fide, gratia, misericordia, pax a Deo Patre nostro, et Christo Iesu Domino Nostro.

3. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine

3. Qeumadmodum rogavi te ut maneres Ephesi, quum proficiscerer in Macedoniam, volo denunties quibusdam, ne aliter doceant;

4. Neither give heed to fables, and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than gorily edifying, which is in faith; so do.

4. Neque attendant fabulis et genealogiis nunquam finiendis, quae quaestiones praebent magis quam aedificationem Dei, quae in fide consistit.

 

1. Paul an apostle. If he had written to Timothy alone, it would have been unnecessary to claim this designation, and to maintain it in the manner that he does. Timothy would undoubtedly have been satisfied with having merely the name; for he knew that Paul was an Apostle of Christ, and had no need of proof to convince him of it, being perfectly willing, and having been long accustomed, to acknowledge it. He has his eye, therefore, chiefly on others, who were not so ready to listen to him, or did not so easily believe his words. For the sake of such persons, that they may not treat lightly what he writes, he affirms that he is “an Apostle of Christ.”

According to the Appointment of God our Savior, and of the Lord Jesus Christ. He confirms his apostleship by the appointment or command of God; for no man can make himself to bean apostle, but he whom God hath appointed is a true apostle, and worthy of the honor. Nor does he merely say, that he owes his apostleship to God the Father, but ascribes it to Christ also; and, indeed, in the government of the Church, the Father does nothing, but through the Son, and therefore they both act together.

He calls God the Savior, a title which he is more frequently accustomed to assign to time Son; but it belongs to the Father also, because it is he who gave the Son to us. Justly, therefore, is the glory of our salvation ascribed to him. For how comes it that we are saved? It is because the Father loved us in such a manner that he determined to redeem and save us through the Son. He calls Christ our hope; and this appellation is strictly applicable to him; for then do we begin to have good hope, when we look to Christ, since in him alone dwells all teat on which our salvation rests.

2. To Timothy my own son. This commendation expresses no small praise. Paul means by it, that he owns Timothy to be a true and not a bastard son, and wishes that others should acknowledge him to be such; and he even applauds Timothy in the same manner as if he were another Paul. But how does this agree with the injunction given by Christ,

(<402309>Matthew 23:9,) “Call no man your father on the earth?”

Or how does it agree with the declaration of the Apostle,

“Though ye have many fathers according to the flesh, yet there is but One who is the Father of spirits.” (<460415>1 Corinthians 4:15; <581209>Hebrews 12:9.) f2

I reply, while Paul claims for himself the appellation of father, he does it in such a manner as not to take away or diminish the smallest portion of the honor which is due to God. (<581209>Hebrews 12:9.) It is a common proverb “That which is placed below another is not at variance with it.” The name father, applied to Paul, with reference to God, belongs to this class. God alone is the Father of all in faith, because he regenerates us all by his word, and by the power of his Spirit, and because none but he bestows faith. But they whom he is graciously pleased to employ as his ministers for that purpose, are likewise allowed to share with him in his honor, while, at the same time, He parts with nothing that belongs to himself. Thus God, and God alone, strictly speaking, was Timothy’s spiritual Father; but Paul, who was God’s minister in begetting Timothy, lays claim to this title, by what may be called a subordinate right.

Grace, mercy, peace. So far as relates to the word mercy, he has departed from his ordinary custom in introducing it, moved, perhaps, by his extraordinary affection for Timothy. Besides, he does not observe the exact order; for he places first what ought to love been last, namely, the grace which flows from mercy. For the reason why God at first receives us into favor and why he loves us is, that he is merciful. But it is not unusual to mention the cause after the effect, for the sake of explanation. As to the words grace and peace, we have spoken on other occasions.

3. As I besought thee. Either the syntax is elliptical, or the particle i[na is redundant; and in both cases the meaning will be obvious. f3 First, he reminds Timothy why he was besought to remain at Ephesus. It was with great reluctance, and through hard necessity, that he parted with a companion so dearly beloved and so faithful, in order that he might laboriously hold the part of his deputy, which no other man would have been competent to fill; and, therefore, Timothy must have been powerfully excited by this consideration, not only not to throw away his time, but to conduct himself in an excellent and distinguished manner.

I wish that thou shouldst forbid any. Thus, by way of inference, he exhorts him to oppose the false teachers who corrupted pure doctrine. In the injunction given to Timothy, to occupy his place at Ephesus, we ought to observe the holy anxiety of the Apostle; for while he labored so much to collect many churches he did not leave the former churches destitute of a pastor. And indeed, as an ancient writer remarks, “To keep what has been gained is not a smaller virtue than to make new acquisitions.” The word forbid denotes power; for Paul wishes to arm him with power to restrain others.

Not to teach differently. The Greek word (eJterodidaskalei~n) which Paul employs, is a compound, and, therefore, may either be translated, “to teach differently,” or after a new method, or, “to teach a different doctrine.” The translation given by Erasmus, (sectari,) “to follow,” does not satisfy me; because it might be understood to apply to the hearers. Now Paul means those who, for the sake of ambition, brought forward a new doctrine.

If we read it, “to teach differently,” the meaning will be more expensive; for by this expression he will forbid Timothy to permit any new forms of teaching to be introduced, which do not agree with the true and pure doctrine which he had taught. Thus, in the Second Epistle, he recommends uJpotu>pwsiv, f4 that is, a lively picture of his doctrine. (<550113>2 Timothy 1:13.) For, as the truth of God is one, so is there but one plain manner of teaching it, which is free from false ornament, and which partakes more of the majesty of the Spirit than of the parade of human eloquence. Whoever departs from that, disfigures and corrupts the doctrine itself; and, therefore, “to teach differently,” must relate to the form.

If we read it, “to teach something different,” it will relate to the matter. Yet it is worthy of observation, that we give the name of another doctrine not only to that which is openly at variance with the pure doctrine of the gospel, but to everything that either corrupts the pure gospel by new and borrowed inventions, or obscures it by ungodly speculations. For all the inventions of men are so many corruptions of the gospel; and they who make sport of the Scriptures, as ungodly people are accustomed to do, so as to turn Christianity into an act of display, darken the gospel. His manner of teaching therefore, is entirely opposed to the word of God, and to that purity — of doctrine in which Paul enjoins the Ephesians to continue.

4. And not to give heed to fables. He applies the term “fables,” in my opinion, not only to contrived falsehoods, but to trifles or fooleries which have no solidity; for it is possible that something which is not false may yet be fabulous. In this sense, Suetonius speaks of fabulous history, f5 and Livy employs the word fabulari, “to relate fables,” as denoting useless and foolish talk. And, undoubtedly, the word mu~qov, (which Paul here employs,) is equivalent to the Greek word fluari>a, that is, “trifles.” Moreover, by bringing forward one class by way of example, he has removed all doubt; for disputes about genealogies are enumerated by him amongst fables, not because everything that can be said about them is fictitious, but because it is useless and unprofitable.

This passage, therefore, may thus be explained: — ”Let them not give heed to fables of that character and description to which genealogies belong.” And that is actually the fabulous history of which Suetonius speaks, and which even among grammarians, has always been justly ridiculed by persons of sound judgment; for it was impossible not to regard as ridiculous that curiosity which, neglecting useful knowledge, spent the whole life in examining the genealogy of Achilles and Ajax, and wasted its powers in reckoning up the sons of Priam. If this be not endured in childish knowledge, in which there is room for that which affords pleasure, how much more intolerable is it heavenly wisdom f6?

And to genealogies haste have end. f7 He calls them endless, because vain curiosity has no limit, but continually falls from labyrinth to labyrinth.

Which produce questions. He judges of doctrine by the fruit; for every tiling that does not edify ought to be rejected, although it has no other fault; and everything that is of no avail but for raising contentions, ought to be doubly condemned. And such are all the subtle questions on which ambitious men exercise their faculties. Let us, therefore, remember, that all doctrines must be tried by this rule, that those which contribute to edification may be approved, and that those which give ground for unprofitable disputes may be rejected as unworthy of the Church of God.

If this test had been applied during several centuries, although religion had been stained by many errors, at least that diabolical art of disputing, Which has obtained the appellation of Scholastic Theology, would not have prevailed to so great an extent. For what does that theology contain but contentions or idle speculations, from which no advantage is derived? Accordingly, the more learned a man is in it, we ought to account him the more wretched. I am aware of the plausible excuses by which it is defended, but they will never make out that Paul has spoken falsely in condemning, everything of the sort.

Rather than the edification of God. f8 Subtleties of this description edify in pride, and edify in vanity, but not in God. I He calls it “the edification of God,” either because God approves of it, or because it is agreeable to the nature of God. f9

Which consist in faith He next shews that this edification consists in faith; and by this term he does not exclude the love of our neighbor, or the fear of God, or repentance; for what are all these but fruits of “faith” which always produces the fear of God? Knowing that all the worship of God is founded on faith alone, he therefore reckoned it enough to mention “faith,” on which all the rest depend.

<540105>1 Timothy 1:5-11

5. Now, the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

5. Porro finis praecepti est charitas, ex puro corde, et conscientia bona, et fide non simulata.

6. From which some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling;

6. A quibus postquam nonnulli aberrarunt, deflexerunt ad vaniloquium,

7. Desiring to be teachers of the law understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

7. Volentes esse legis doctores, non intelligentes quae loquuntur, neque de quibus affirmant.

8. But we know that the law I good, if a man use it lawfully;

8. Scimus autem quod lex bona sit, si quis ea legitime utatur:

9. Knowing this, that the law I not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers for man-slayers,

9. Sciens illud, quod justo non sit lex posita, sed injustis et inobsequentibus, impiis et peccatoribus, irreligiosis et profanis, parricidis et matricidis, homicidis,

10. For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men — stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

10. Scortatoribus, masculorum concubitoribus, plagiariis, mendacibus, perjuris, et si quid aliud est, quod sanae doctrinae adversatur;

11. According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

11. Secundum Evangelium gloriae beati Dei, quod concreditum est mihi.

 

Those unprincipled men with whom Timothy had to deal boasted of having the law on their side, in consequence of which Paul anticipates, and shews that the law gives them no support but was even opposed to them, and that it agreed perfectly with the gospel which he had taught. The defense set up by them was not unlike that which is pleaded by those who, in the present day, subject the word of God to torture. They tell us that we aim at nothing else than to destroy sacred theology, as if they alone nourished it in their bosom. They spoke of the law in such a manner as to exhibit Paul in an odious light. And what is his reply? In order to scatter those clouds of smoke, f10 he comes frankly forward, by way of anticipation, and proves that his doctrine is in perfect harmony with the law, and that the law is utterly abused by those who employ it for any other purpose. In like manner, when we now define what is meant by true theology, it is clearly evident that we desire the restoration of that which had been wretchedly torn and disfigured by those triflers who, puffed up by the empty title of theologians, are acquainted with nothing but vapid and unmeaning trifles. Commandment is here put for the law, by taking a part for the whole.

Love out of a pure heart. If the law must be directed to this object, that we may be instructed in love, which proceeds from faith and a good conscience, it follows, on the other hand, that they who turn the teaching of it into curious questions are wicked expounders of the law. Besides, it is of no great importance whither the word love be regarded in this passage as relating, to both tables of the law, or only to the second table. we are commanded to love God with our whole heart, and our neighbors as ourselves; but when love is spoken of in Scripture, it is more frequently limited to the second part. On the present occasion I should not hesitate to understand by it the love both of God and of our neighbor, if Paul had employed the word love alone; but when he adds, “faith, and a good conscience, and a pure heart,” the interpretation which I am now to give will not be at variance with his intention, and will agree well with the scope of the passage. The sum of the law is this, that are may worship God with true faith and a pure conscience, and that we may love one another. Whosoever turns aside from this corrupts the law of God by twisting it to a different purpose.

But here arises a doubt, that Paul appears to prefer “love” to “faith.” I reply, they who are of that opinion reason in an excessively childish manner; for, if love is first mentioned, it does not therefore hold the first rank of honor, since Paul shows also that it springs front faith. Now the cause undoubtedly goes before its effect. And if we carefully weights the whole context, what Paul says is of the same import as if he had said, “The law was given to us for this purpose, that it might instruct us in faith, which is the mother of a good conscience and of lose.” Thus we must begin with faith, and not with love.

“A pure heart” and “a good conscience” do not greatly differ from each other. Both proceed from faith; for, as to a pure heart, it is said that “God purifieth hearts by faith.” (<441509>Acts 15:9.) As to a good conscience, Peter declares that it is founded on the resurrection of Christ. (<600321>1 Peter 3:21.) From this passage we also learn that there is no true love where there is not fear of God and uprightness of conscience.

Nor is it unworthy of observation that to each of them he adds an epithet; f11 for, as nothing is more common, so nothing is more easy, than to boast of faith and a good conscience. But how few are there who prove by their actions that they are free from all hypocrisy! Especially it is proper to observe the epithet Which he bestows on “faith,” when he calls it faith unfeigned; by which he means that the profession of it is insincere, when we do not perceive a good conscience, and when love is not manifested. Now since the salvation of men rests on faith, and since the perfect worship of God rests on faith and a good conscience and love, we need not wonder if Paul makes the sum of the law to consist of them.

6. From which some having gone astray. He continues to pursue the metaphor of an object or end; for the verb ajstocei~n, the participle of which is here given, signifies to err or go aside from a mark. f12

Have turned aside to idle talking. This is a remarkable passage, in which he condemns for “idle talking” f13 all the doctrines which do not aim at this single end, and at the same time points out that the views and thoughts of all who aim at any other object vanish away. It is, indeed, possible that useless trifles may be regarded by many persons with admiration; but the statement of Paul remains unshaken, that everything that does not edify in godliness is mataiologi>a, f14 “idle talking” We ought; therefore to take the greatest possible care not to seek anything in the holy and sacred word of God but solid edification, lest otherwise he inflict on us severe punishment for abusing it.

7. Wishing to be teachers of the law. He does not reprove those who openly attack the instruction of the law, but those who boast of belonging to the rank of teachers of it. He affirms that such persons have no understanding, because they harass their faculties to no purpose by curious questions. And, at the same time, he rebukes their pride by adding, —

Of what things they affirm for none will be found more bold in pronouncing rashly on matters unknown to then. than the teachers of such fables. We see in the present day with what pride and haughtiness the schools of the Sorbonne pronounce their authoritative decisions. And on what subjects? On those which are altogether hidden from the minds of men — which no word of Scripture, and no revelation has ever made known to us. With greater boldness do they affirm their purgatory f14A than the resurrection of the dead. As to their contrivances about the intercession of the saints, if we do not hold them to be an undoubted oracle, they cry out that the whole of religion is overturned. What shall I say as to their vast labyrinths about the hierarchies of heaven, relationships, and similar contrivances? It is a matter that has no end. The Apostle declares that in all these is fulfilled what is said in a well — known ancient proverb,

“Ignorance is rash;” as he says that, “puffed up by their carnal mind, they intrude into things which they know not.”
(<510218>Colossians 2:18.)

8. Now we know that the law is good. He again anticipates the calumny with which they loaded him; for, whenever he resisted their empty display, they seized on this shield for their defense “What then? Do you wish to have the law buried, and blotted out of the remembrance of men?” In order to repel this calumny, Paul acknowledges that “the law is good,” but contends that we are required to make a lawful use of it. Here he argues from the use of cognate terms; for the word lawful (legitimus) is derived from the word law (lex). But he goes still further, and shews that the law agrees excellently with the doctrine which it teaches; and he even directs it against them.

9. That the law is not made for a righteous man. The apostle did not intend to argue about the whole office of the law, but views it in reference to men. It frequently happens that they Who wish to be regarded as the greatest zealots for the law, give evidence by their whole life that they are the greatest despires of it. A remarkable and striking instance of this is found in those who maintain the righteousness of works and defend free — will. ‘They have continually in their mouth these words, “Perfect holiness, merits, satisfactions;” but their whole life cries out against them, that they are outrageously wicked and ungodly, that they provoke in every possible way the wrath of God, and fearlessly set his judgment at naught They extol in lofty terms the free choice of good and evil; but they openly shew, by their actions, that they are the slaves of Satan, and are most firmly held by him in the chains of slavery.

Having such adversaries, in order to restrain their haughty insolence, Paul remonstrates that the law is, as it were, the sword of God to slay them; and that neither he nor any like him have reason for viewing the law with dread or aversion; for it is not opposed to righteous persons, that is, to the godly and to those who willingly obey God. I am well aware that some learned men draw an ingenious sense. Out of these words; as if Paul were treating theologically about the nature of “the law.” They argue that the law has nothing to do with the sons of God, who have been regenerated by the Spirit; because it was not given for righteous persons. But the connection in which these words occur shuts me up to the necessity of giving a more simple interpretation to this statement. He takes for granted the well — known sentiment, that “from bad manners have sprung good laws,” and maintains that the law of God was given in order to restrain the licentiousness of wicked men; because they who are good of their own accord do not need the authoritative injunction of the law.

A question now arises, “Is there any mortal man who does not belong to this class?” I reply, in this passage Paul gives the appellation “righteous” to those who are not absolutely perfect, (for no such person will be found,) but who, With the strongest desire of their heart, aim at what is good; so that godly desire is to them a kind of voluntary law, without any motive or restraint from another quarter. He therefore wished to repress the impudence of adversaries, who armed themselves with the name of “the law” against godly men, whose whole life exhibits the actual role of the law, since they had very great need of the law, and yet did not care much about it; which is more clearly expressed by the opposite clause. If there be any who refuse to admit that Paul brings an implied or indirect charge against his adversaries as guilty of those wicked acts which lie enumerates, still it will be acknowledged to be a simple repelling of the slander; and if they were animated by a sincere and unfeigned zeal for the law, they ought rather to have made use of their armor for carrying on war with offenses anal crimes, instead of employing it as a pretext for their own ambition and silly talking.

For the unrighteous and disobedient. instead of “unrighteous,” it would leave been better if translators had made use of the word “lawless;” for the Greek word is ajno>mouv, which does not differ much from the second word in the clause, “disobedient.” By sinners he means wicked persons, or those who lead a base and immoral life.

For the ungodly and profane. These words might have been fitly rendered “profane and impure;” but I did not wish to be fastidious in matters of little importance.

10. For robbers. The Latin word plagium was employed by ancient writers to denote the carrying off or enticing the slave of another man, or the false sale of a freeman. Those who wish to obtain more full information on this subject may consult authors on the civil law, and especially on the Flavian Law.

Here Paul glances at several classes, which include briefly every kind of transgressions. The root is obstinacy and rebellion; which he describes by the first two words. Ungodly and sinners appear to denote transgressors of the first and second table. To these he adds the profane and impure, or those who lead a base and dissolute life. There being chiefly three ways in which men injure their neighbors, namely, violence, dishonesty, and lust, he reproves successively those three ways, as may be easily seen. First, he speaks of violence as manifested by man — slayers and murderers of parents; secondly, he describes shameful uncleanness; and thirdly, he comes down to dishonesty and other crimes.

If there is anything else that is contrary to sound doctrine. In this clause he maintains that his gospel is so far from being opposed to the law, that it is a powerful confirmation of it. He declares that by his preaching, he supports that very sentence which the Lord pronounced in his law, against “everything that is contrary to sound doctrine.” Hence it follows, that they who depart from the gospel, do not adhere to the spirit of the law, but merely pursue its shadow.

Sound doctrine is contrasted with frivolous questions about which he says (<540603>1 Timothy 6:3) that foolish teachers are in an unhealthy condition and which, on account of the effect produced by them, are called diseased. f15

11. According to the gospel of glory. By calling it “the gospel of glory,” that is, “the glorious gospel,” he sharply rebukes those who labored to degrade the gospel, in which God displays his glory. He expressly says that it hath been intrusted to him, that all may know that there is no other gospel of God than that which he preaches; and consequently, that all the fables which he formerly rebuked are at variance both with the law and with the gospel of God.

<540112>1 Timothy 1:12-13

12. And I thank Christ Jesus our me Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,

12. Et gratiam habeo, qui me potentum reddidit, Christo Iesu Domino nostro, quod fidelem me judicavit, ponendo in ministerium,

13. Who was before a blasphemer and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

13. Qui pruis eram blasphemus et persequutor, et violentus, sed et misericordiam adeptus sum, quod ignorans feci in incredulitate.

 

12. I give thanks. Great is the dignity — of the apostleship, which Paul has claimed for himself; and he could not, looking at his former life, be accounted at all worthy of so high an honor. Accordingly, that he may not be accused of presumption, he comes unavoidably to make mention of his own person, and at once frankly acknowledges his own unworthiness, but nevertheless affirms that he is an Apostle by the grace of God. But he goes further, and turns to his own advantage what appeared to lessen his authority, declaring that the grace of God shines in him so much the more brightly.

To our Lord Jesus Christ. When he gives thanks to Christ, he removes that dislike towards him which might have been entertained, and cuts off all ground for putting this question, “Does he deserve, or does he not deserve, so honorable an office?” for, although in himself he has no excellence, yet it is enough that he was chosen by Christ. There are, indeed, many who, under the same form of words, make a Show of humility, but are widely different from the uprightness of Paul, whose intention was, not only to boast courageously in the Lord, but to give up all the glory that was his own. f16

By putting me into the ministry. Why does he give thanks? Because he has been placed in the ministry; for thence he concludes that he hath been, accounted faithful. Christ does not receive any in the manner that is done by ambitious f17 people, but selects those only who are well qualified; and therefore all on whom he bestows honor are acknowledged by us to be worthy. For is it inconsistent with this, that Judas, according to the prediction, (<19A908>Psalm 109:8) was elevated for a short time, that he might quickly fall. It was otherwise with Paul, who obtained the honor for a different purpose, and on a different condition, when Christ declared that he should be

“a chosen vessel to him.” (<440915>Acts 9:15.)

But in this manner Paul seems to say that faithfulness, by which he had been previously distinguished, was the cause of his calling. If it were so, the thanksgiving would be hypocritical and contradictory; for he would owe his apostleship not only to God, but to his own merit. I deny, therefore, that the meaning is, that he was admitted to the rank of an apostle, because God had foreseen his faith; for Christ could not foresee in him anything good but what the Father had bestowed on him. Still, therefore, it continues to be true,

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.”
(<431516>John 15:16.)

On the contrary, he draws from it a proof of his fidelity, that Christ had made him an Apostle; for he declares that they whom Christ makes Apostles must be held to be pronounced faithful by his decrees.

In a word, this judicial act is not traced by him to foreknowledge, but rather denotes the testimony which is given to men; as if he had said, “I give thanks to Christ, who, by calling me into the ministry, has openly declared that he approves of my faithfulness.” f18

Who hath made me powerful. He now introduces the mention of another act of the kindness of Christ, that he strengthened him, or “made him powerful.” By this expression he does not only mean that he was at first formed” by the hand of God, so as to be well qualified for his office, but he likewise includes the continued bestowal of grace. For it would not have been enough that he was once declared to be faithful, if Christ had not strengthened him by the uninterrupted communication of aid. He acknowledges, therefore, that he is indebted to the grace of Christ on two accounts, because he was once elevated, and because he continues in his office.

13. Who was formerly a blasphemer and Persecutor; a blasphemer against God, a persecutor and oppressor against the Church. We see how candidly he acknowledges that it might be brought against him as a reproach, and how far he is from extenuating his sins, and how, by willingly acknowledging his unworthiness, he magnifies the greatness of the grace of God. Not satisfied with having called himself a “persecutor,” he intended to express more fully his rage and cruelty by an additional terns, an oppressor.

Because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. “I obtained pardon,” said he, “for my unbelief; because it proceeded from ignorance;” for persecution and oppression were nothing else than the fruits of unbelief.

But he appears to insinuate that there is no room for pardon, unless when ignorance can be pleaded in excuse. What then? Will God never pardon any one who has sinned knowingly? I reply, we must observe the word unbelief; f19 for this term limits Paul’s statement to the first table of the law. Transgressions of the second table, although they are voluntary, are forgiven; but he who knowingly and willingly breaks the first table sins against the Holy Spirit, because he is in direct opposition to God. He does not err through weakness, but, by rushing wickedly against God, gives a sure proof of his reprobation.

And hence may be obtained a definition of the sin against the Holy Ghost; first, that it is open rebellion against God in the transgression of the first table; secondly, that it is a malicious rejection of the truth; for, when the truth of God is not rejected through deliberate malice, the Holy Spirit is not resisted. Lastly, unbelief is here employed as a general term; and malicious design, which is contrasted with ignorance, may be regarded as the point of difference. f20

Accordingly, they are mistaken who make the sin against the Holy Ghost to consist in the transgression of the second table; and they are also mistaken, who pronounce blind and thoughtless violence to be a crime so heinous. For men commit the sin against the Holy Spirit, when they undertake a voluntary war against God in order to extinguish that light of the Spirit which has been offered to them. This is shocking wickedness and monstrous hardihood. Nor is there room for doubting that, by an implied threatening, he intended to terrify all who had been once enlightened, not to stumble against truth which they knew; because such a fall is destructive and fatal; for if, on account of ignorance, God forgave Paul his blasphemies, they who knowingly and intentionally blaspheme ought not to expect any pardon.

But it may be thought that what he now says is to no purpose; for unbelief, which is always blind, can never be unaccompanied by ignorance. I reply, among unbelievers some are so blind that they are deceived by a false imagination of the truth; and in others, while they are blinded, yet malice prevails. Paul was not altogether free from a wicked disposition; but he was hurried along by the thoughtless zeal, so as to think that what he did was right. Thus he was an adversary of Christ, not from deliberate intention, but through mistake and ignorance. The Pharisees, who through a bad conscience slandered Christ, were not entirely free from mistake and ignorance; but they were instigated by ambition, and base hatred of sound doctrine, and even by furious rebellion against God, so that maliciously and intentionally, and not in ignorance, they set themselves in opposition to Christ. f21

<540114>1 Timothy 1:14-17

14. And the grace of our Lord exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

14. Exuberavit autem supra modum gratia Domini nostri, cum fide et dilectione, quae est in Christo Iesu.

15. This is a faithfiml saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief.

15. Fidelus sermo, et dignus omnino qui accipiatur, quod Christus Iesus venit in mundum, ut peccatores salvos faceret, quorum primus sum ego.

16. Howbeit for tlhis cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus in me might shew forth all long suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting

16. Verum ideo misericordiam sum adeptus, ut in me primo ostenderet Iesus Christus omnen clementiam, in exemplar iis, qui credituri essent in ipso in vitam aeternam.

17. Now, unto the King eternal immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever Amen.

17. Regi autem saeculorum immortali, invisibili, soli sapienti Deo, honor et gloria in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

14. And the grace of our Lord. He again magnifies the grace of God towards himself, not only for the purpose of removing the dislike of it and testifying his gratitude, but also to employ it as a shield against the slanders of wicked men, whose whole design was to bring down his apostleship to a lower level. When he says that it abounded, and that, too, beyond measure, the statement implies that the remembrance of past transactions was effaced, and so completely swallowed up, that it was no disadvantage to him that God had formerly been gracious to good men.

With faith and love. Both may be viewed as referring to God, in this sense, that God showed himself to be true, and gave a manifestation of his love in Christ, when he bestowed his grace upon him. But I prefer a more simple interpretation, that “faith and love” are indications and proofs of that grace which he had mentioned, that it might not be supposed that he boasted needlessly or without good grounds. And, indeed, “faith” is contrasted With unbelief, and “love in Christ” is contrasted with the cruelty which he had exercised towards believers; as if he had said, that God had so completely changed him, that he had become a totally different and new man. Thus from the signs and effects he celebrates in lofty terms the excellence of that grace which must obliterate the remembrance of his former life.

15. It is a faithful saying. After having defended his ministry from slander and unjust accusations, not satisfied with this, he turns to his own advantage what might have been brought against him by his adversaries as a reproach. He shews that it was profitable to the Church that he had been such a person as he actually was before he was called to the apostleship, because Christ, by giving him as a pledge, invited all sinners to the sure hope of obtaining pardon. For when he, who had been a fierce and savage beast, was changed into a Pastor, Christ gave a remarkable display of his grace, from which all might be led to entertain a firm belief that no sinner; how heinous and aggravated so ever might have been his transgressions, had the gate of salvation shut against him.

That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He first brings forward this general statement, and adorns it with a preface, as he is wont to do in matters of vast importance. In the doctrine of religion, indeed, the main point is, to come to Christ, that, being lost in ourselves, we may obtain salvation from him. Let this preface be to our ears like the sound of a trumpet to proclaim the praises of the grace of Christ, in order that we may believe it with a stronger faith. Let it be to us as a seal to impress on our hearts a firm belief of the forgiveness of sins, which otherwise with difficulty finds entrance into the hearts of men.

A faithful saying. What was the reason why Paul aroused attention by these words, but because men are always disputing with themselves f22 about their salvation? For, although God the Father a thousand times offer to us salvation, and although Christ himself preach about his own office, yet we do not on that account cease to tremble, or at least to debate with ourselves if it be actually so. Wherefore, whenever any doubt shall arise in our mind about the forgiveness of sins, let us learn to repel it courageously with this shield, that it is an undoubted truth, and deserves to be received without controversy.

To save sinners. The word sinners is emphatic; for they who acknowledge that it is the office of Christ to save, have difficulty in admitting this thought, that such a salvation belongs to “sinners.” Our mind is always impelled to look at our worthiness; and as soon as our unworthiness is seen, our confidence sinks. Accordingly, the more any one is oppressed by his sins, let him the more courageously betake himself to Christ, relying on this doctrine, that he came to bring salvation not to the righteous, but to “sinners.” It deserves attention, also, that Paul draws an argument from the general office of Christ, in order that what he had lately testified about his own person might not appear to be on account of its novelty.

Of whom, I am the first. Beware of thinking that the Apostle, under a presence of modesty, spoke falsely, f23 for he intended to make a confession not less true than humble, and drawn from the very bottom of his heart.

But some will ask, “Why does he, who only erred through ignorance of sound doctrine, and whose whole life, in even other respect, was blameless before men, pronounce himself to be the chief of sinners? I reply, these words inform us how heinous and dreadful a crime unbelief is before God, especially when it is attended by obstinacy and a rage for persecution. (<500306>Philippians 3:6.) With men, indeed, it is easy to extenuate, under the presence of heedless zeal, all that Paul has acknowledged about himself; but God values more highly the obedience of faith than to reckon unbelief, accompanied lay obstinacy, to he a small crime. f24

We ought carefully to observe this passage, which teaches us, that a man who, before the world, is not only innocent, but eminent for distinguished virtues, and most praiseworthy for his life, yet because he is opposed to the doctrine of the gospel, and on account of the obstinacy of his unbelief, is reckoned one of the most heinous sinners; for hence we may easily conclude of what value before God are all the pompous displays of hypocrites, while they obstinately resist Christ.

16. That in me the first Jesus Christ might shew. When he calls himself the first, he alludes to what he had said a little before, that he was the first f25 among sinners and, therefore, this word means “chiefly,” or, “above all.” The Apostle’s meaning is, that, from the very beginning, God held out such a pattern as might be visible from a conspicuous and lofty platform, that no one might doubt that he would obtain pardon, provided that he approached to Christ by faith. And, indeed, the distrust entertained by all of us is counteracted, when we thus behold in Paul a visible model of that grace which we desire to see.

17. Now to the King eternal. His amazing vehemence at length breaks out into this exclamation; because he could not find words to express his gratitude; for those sudden bursts occur chiefly when we are constrained to break off the discourse, in consequence of being overpowered by the vastness of the subject. And is there anything more astonishing than Paul’s conversion? Yet, at the same time, by his example he reminds us all that we ought never to think of the grace manifested in God’s calling f26 without being. carried to lofty admiration.

Eternal, invisible, only wise. This sublime praise of the grace which God had bestowed on him f27 swallows up the remembrance of his former life. For how great a deep is the glory of God! Those attributes which he ascribes to God, though they belong to him always, yet are admirably adapted to the present occasion. The Apostle calls him the King eternal, not liable to any change; Invisible, because (<540616>1 Timothy 6:16) he dwells in light that is inaccessible; and, lastly, the Only Wise, because he renders foolish, and condemns as vanity, all the wisdom of men. The whole agrees with that conclusion at which he arrives:

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his designs! How unsearchable his ways!” (<451133>Romans 11:33.)

He means that the infinite and in comprehensible wisdom of God should he beheld by us with such reverence that, if his works surpass our senses, still we may be restrained by admiration.

Yet as to the last epithet Only, it is doubtful whether he means to claim all glory for God alone, or calls him the only wise, or says that he only is God. The second of these meanings is that which I prefer; for it was in fine harmony with his present subject to say, that the understanding of men, whatever it may be, must bend to the secret purpose of God. And yet I do not deny that he affirms that God alone is worthy of all glory; for, while he scatters on his creatures, in every direction, the sparks of his glory, still all glory belongs truly and perfectly to him alone. But either of those meanings implies that there is no glory but that which belongs to God.

<540118>1 Timothy 1:18-20

18. This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

18. Hoc praeceptum commendo tibi, fili Timothee, secundum praecedentes super te prophetias, ut milites in illis bonam militiam;

19. Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away, concerning faith have made shipwreck:

19. Habens fidem et bonam conscientiam; a qua aversi quidam circa fidem naufragium fecerunt:

20. Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

20. Ex quibus sunt Hymenaeus et Alexander, quos tradidi Satanae, ut discant non maledicere.

 

18. I Recommend to thee this commandment. All that he had introduced about his own person may be viewed as a digression from his subject. Having to arm Timothy with authority, it became necessary for himself to be clothed with the highest authority; and, therefore, he took an early opportunity of refuting an opinion which might have stood in his way. And now, after having proved that his apostleship ought not to be less esteemed by good men, because at one time he fought against the kingdom of Christ, this obstacle being removed, he returns to the course of his exhortation. The commandment, therefore, is the same as he mentioned at the beginning.

Son Timothy. By calling him his son, he not only expresses his own warm regard towards him, but also recommends him to others under that name.

According he reminds him what kind of testimony he had obtained from the Spirit of God; for it was no small excitement, that his ministry was approved by God, and that he had been called by divine revelation before he was called by the votes of men. “It is disgraceful not to come up to the expectations which men have been led to form; and how much more disgraceful will it be to make void, as far as lies in thy power, the judgment of God?”

But we must first ascertain what are the prophecies of which he speaks. Some think that Paul was instructed by revelation to confer the office on Timothy. That I acknowledge to be true, but I add that others made revelations; for it was not without reason that Paul made use of the plural number. Accordingly, we conclude from these words that several prophecies were uttered concerning Timothy, in order to recommend him to the Church. f28 Being still a young man, he might have been despised on account of his age; and Paul might also have been exposed to calumnies, on account of having ordained youths, before the proper time, to the elder’s office. Besides, God had appointed him to great and difficult undertakings; for he was not one of the ordinary rank of ministers, but approached very closely to that of the apostles, and frequently occupied the place of Paul during his absence. It was, therefore, necessary that he should receive an extraordinary testimony, in order to make it manifest that it was not conferred on him at random by men, but that he was chosen by God himself. To be adorned with the applauses of the prophets was not an ordinary occurrence, or one which was common to him along with many persons; but because there were some circumstances to Timothy, it was the will of God that he should not be received by men until he had been previously approved by his own voice; it was the will of God that he should not enter into the exercise of his office until he had been called by the revelations of the prophets. The same thing happened to Paul and Barnabas, (<441302>Acts 13:2,) when they were ordained to be teachers of the Gentiles; for it was a new and uncommon occurrence, and they could not otherwise have escaped the charge of rashness.

It will now be objected by some, “If God had formerly declared, by his prophets, what kind of minister Timothy should be, what purpose did it serve to admonish him, to show that he was actually such a person? Could he falsify prophecies which had been uttered by divine revelation? I reply, it could not happen differently from what God had promised; but at the same time it was the duty of Timothy, not to give himself up to sloth and inactivity, but to render a cheerful compliance with the providence of God. It is therefore not without good reason, that Paul, wishing to stimulate him still more, mentions the “prophecies,” by which God might be said to have pledged himself on behalf of Timothy; for he was thus reminded of the purpose for which he was called.

That thou by them mayest war a good warfare. By this he means that Timothy, relying on such approbation of God, ought to fight more courageously. What is there that either ought to give, or can give us greater cheerfulness than to know that God has appointed us to do what we are doing? These are our arms, these are our weapons of defense, by the aid of which we shall never fail.

By the word warfare, he states indirectly, that we must maintain a contest; and this applies universally to all believers, but especially to Christian teachers, who may be said to be standard — bearers and leaders. It is as if he had said, “O Timothy, if thou canst not fulfill thy office without a contest, remember that thou art armed by divine prophecies for cherishing assured hope of victory, and arouse thyself by calling them to remembrance. That warfare which we maintain, having God for our leader, is a good warfare; that is, it is glorious and successful.”

19. Having faith and a good conscience. I understand the word faith to be a general term, denoting sound doctrine. In the same sense he afterwards speaks of “the mystery of faith.” (<540309>1 Timothy 3:9.) And, indeed, the chief things demanded from a teacher are these two: — that he shall hold by the pure truth of the gospel; and next, that he shall administer it with a good conscience and holiest zeal. Where these are found, all the others will follow of their own accord.

From which some having turned aside concerning faith. He shows how necessary it is that faith be accompanied by a good conscience; because, on the other hand, the punishment of a bad conscience is turning aside from the path of duty. They who do not serve God with a sincere and a perfect heart, but give a loose rein to wicked dispositions, even though at first they had a sound understanding, come to lose it altogether.

This passage ought to be carefully observed. We know that the treasure of sound doctrine is invaluable, and therefore there is nothing that we ought to dread more than to have it taken from us. But Paul here informs us, that there is only one way of keeping it safe; and that is, to secure it by the locks and bars of a good conscience. This is what we experience every day; for how comes it that there are so many who, laying aside the gospel, rush into wicked sects, or become involved in monstrous errors? It is because, by this kind of blindness, God punishes hypocrisy; as, on the other hand, a genuine fear of God gives strength for perseverance.

Hence we may learn two lessons. First, Teachers and ministers of the gospel, and, through them all the churches are taught with what horror they ought to regard a hypocritical and deceitful profession of true doctrine, when they learn that it is so severely punished. Secondly, this passage removes the offense by which so many persons are greatly distressed, when they perceive that some, who formerly professed their attachment to Christ and to the gospel, not only fall back into their former superstitions but (which is far worse) are bewildered and captivated by monstrous errors. For by such examples, God openly supports the majesty of the gospel, and openly shows that he cannot at all endure the profanation of it. And this is what experience has taught us in every age. All the errors that love existed in the Christian Church from the beginning, proceeded from this source, that in some persons, ambition, and in others, covetousness, extinguished the true fear of God. A bad conscience is, therefore, the mother of all heresies; and we see that a vast number of persons, who had not sincerely and honestly embraced the faith, are hurried along, like brute boasts, into the reveries of the Epicureans, so that their hypocrisy is exposed And not only so, but contempt of God is universally prevalent, and the licentious and disgraceful lives of almost all ranks show that there is either none at all, or the smallest possible potion of integrity in the world; so that them is very great reason to fear lest the light which had been kindled may be speedily extinguished, and God may leave the pure understanding of the gospel to be possessed by very few.

Have made shipwreck: The metaphor taken from shipwreck is highly appropriate; for it suggests to us, that, if we wish to arrive safely at the harbor, our course must be guided by a good conscience, otherwise there is danger of “shipwreck;” that is, there is danger lost faith be sunk by a bad conscience, as by a whirlpool in a stormy sea. f28A

20. Of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander. The former will be again mentioned in the Second Epistle, in which the kind of “shipwreck” which he made is likewise described; for he said that the resurrection was past. (<550217>2 Timothy 2:17-18.) There is reason to believe that Alexander also was bewitched by an error so absurd. And shall we wonder at the present day, if any are deceived by the various enchantments of Satan, when we see that one of Paul’s companions perished by so dreadful a fall?

He mentions both of them to Timothy as persons whom he knew. For my own part, I have no doubt that this is the same Alexander that is mentioned by Luke, and who attempted, but without success, to quell the commotion. Now he was an Ephesian, and we have said that this Epistle was chiefly written for the sake of the Ephesians. We now learn what was his end; and hearing it, let us keep possession of our faith by a good conscience, that we may hold it safe to the last.

Whom I have delivered to Satan. As I mentioned in the exposition of another passage, (<460505>1 Corinthians 5:5,) there are some who interpret this to mean that extraordinary chastisement was inflicted on those persons; and they view this as referring to duna>meiv, “the powers” mentioned by Paul in the same Epistle. (<461228>1 Corinthians 12:28.) For, as the apostles were endowed with the gift of healing, in order to testify the favor and kindness of God towards the godly, so against wicked and rebellious persons they wore armed with power, either to deliver them to the devil to be tormented, or to inflict on them other chastisements. Of this “power,” Peter gave a display in Ananias and Sapphira, (<440501>Acts 5:1,) and Paul in the magician Bar — Jesus. (<441306>Acts 13:6.) But, for my own part, I choose rather to explain it as relating to excommunication; for the opinion that the incestuous Corinthian received any other chastisement than excommunication is not supported by any probable conjecture. And, if by excommunicating him, Paul delivered him to Satan, why should not the same mode of expression have a similar import in this passage? Besides, it explains very well the force of excommunication; for, since in the Church Christ holds the seat of his kingdom, out of the Church there is nothing but the dominion of Satan. Accordingly, he who is cast out of the Church must be placed, for a time, under the tyranny of Satan, until, being reconciled to the Church, he return to Christ. I make one exception, that, on account of the enormity of the offense, he might have pronounced a sentence of perpetual excommunication against them; but on that point I would not venture to make a positive assertion.

That they may learn not to blaspheme. What is the meaning of this last clause? For one who has been cast out of the Church takes upon himself greater freedom of acting, because, being freed from the yoke of ordinary discipline, he breaks out into louder insolence. I reply, to whatever extent they may indulge in their wickedness, yet the gate will be shut against them, so that they shall not contaminate the flock; for the greatest injury done by wicked men is, when they mingle with others under the presence of holding the same faith. The power of doing injury is taken from them, when they are branded with public infamy, so that none are so simple as not to know that these are irreligious and detestable men, and therefore their society is shunned by all. Sometimes, too, it happens that — being struck down by this mark of disgrace which has been put upon them — they become less daring and obstinate; and therefore, although this remedy sometimes renders them more wicked, yet it is not always ineffectual for subduing their fierceness.


CHAPTER 2

<540201>1 Timothy 2:1-4

1.I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men.

1. Adbortor igitur, ut ante omnia fiant deprecationes, obsecrationes, interpellationes, gratiarum actiones pro omnibus hominibus,

2. For kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

2. Pro regibus et omnibus in eminentia constitutis, ut placidam et quietam vitam degamus cum omni pietate et honestate.

3. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

3. Hoc enim bonum et acceptum coram Salvatore nostro Deo,

4. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

4. Qui omnes homines vult salvos fieri, et ad agnitionem veritatis venire.

 

1. I exhort therefore. These exercises of godliness maintain and even strengthen us in the sincere worship and fear of God, and cherish the good conscience of which he had spoken. Not inappropriately does he make use of the word therefore, to denote an inference; for those exhortations depend on the preceding commandment.

That, above all, prayers be made. First, he speaks of public prayers, which he enjoins to be offered, not only for believers, but for all mankind. Some might reason thus with themselves: “Why should we be anxious about the salvation of unbelievers, with whom we have no connection? Is it not enough, if we, who are brethren, pray mutually for our brethren, and recommend to God the whole of his Church? for we have nothing to do with strangers.” This perverse view Paul meets, and enjoins the Ephesians to include in their prayers all men, and not to limit them to the body of the Church.

What is the difference between three out of the four kinds which Paul enumerates, I own that I do not thoroughly understand. The view given by Augustine, who twists Paul’s words so as to denote ceremonial observances customary at that time, is quite childish. A simpler exposition is given by those who think that “requests” are when we ask to be delivered from what is evil; “prayers,” when we desire to obtain something profitable; and “supplications,” when we deplore before God injuries which we have endured. Yet for my own part, I do not draw the difference so ingeniously; or, at least, I prefer another way of distinguishing them.

Proseucai< is the Greek word for every kind of prayer; and deh>seiv denotes those forms of petitions in which something definite is asked. In this way the two words agree with each other, as genus and species. jEnteu>xeiv is the word commonly used by Paul to signify those prayers which we offer for one another. The word used for it in the Latin Translation is “intercessiones,” intercessions. Yet Plato, in his second dialogue, styled Alcibiades, uses it in a different sense, to moan a definite petition offered by a person for himself; and in the very inscription of the book, and in many passages, he shows plainly, as I have said, that proseuch< is a general term. f29

But not to dwell longer than is proper on a matter that is not essential, Paul, in my own opinion, simply enjoins that, whenever public prayers are offered, petitions and supplications should be made for all men, even for those who at present are not at all related to us. And yet this heaping up of words is not superfluous; but Paul appears to me purposely to join together three terms for the same purpose, in order to recommend more warmly, and urge more strongly, earnest and constant prayer. We know now sluggish we are in this religious duty; and therefore we need not wonder if, for the purpose of arousing us to it, the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of Paul, employs various excitements.

And thanksgivings. As to this term, there is no obscurity security; for, as he bids us make supplication to God for the salvation of unbelievers, so also to give thanks on account of their prosperity and success. That wonderful goodness which he shews every day, when

“he maketh his sun to rise on the good and the bad,”
(<400545>Matthew 5:45,)

is worthy of being praised; and our love of our neighbor ought also to extend to those who are unworthy of it.

2. For kings. He expressly mentions kings and other magistrates because, more than all others, they might be hated by Christians. All the magistrates who existed at that time were so many sworn enemies of Christ; and therefore this thought might occur to them, that they ought not to pray for those who devoted all their power and all their wealth to fight against the kingdom of Christ, the extension of which is above all things desirable. The apostle meets this difficulty, and expressly enjoins Christians to pray for them also. And, indeed, the depravity of men is not a reason why God’s ordinance should not be loved. Accordingly, seeing that God appointed magistrates and princes for the preservation of mankind, however much they fall short of the divine appointment, still we must not on that account cease to love what belongs to God, and to desire that it may remain in force. That is the reason why believers, in whatever country they live, must not only obey the laws and the government of magistrates, but likewise in their prayers supplicate God for their salvation. Jeremiah said to the Israelites,

“Pray for the peace of Babylon, for in their peace ye shall have peace.” (<242907>Jeremiah 29:7.)

The universal doctrine is this, that we should desire the continuance and peaceful condition of those governments which have been appointed by God.

That we may lead a peaceful and quiet life. By exhibiting the advantage, he holds out an additional inducement, for he enumerates the fruits which are yielded to us by a well regulated government. The first is a peaceful life; for magistrates are armed with the sword, in order to keep us in peace. If they did not restrain the hardihood of wicked men, every place would be full of robberies and murders. The true way of maintaining peace, therefore, is, when every one obtains what is his own, and the violence of the more powerful is kept under restraint.

With all godliness and decency. The second fruit is the preservation of godliness, that is, when magistrates give themselves to promote religion, to maintain the worship of God, and to take care that sacred ordinances be observed with due reverence. The third fruit is the care of public decency; for it is also the business of magistrates to prevent men from abandoning themselves to brutal filthiness or flagitious conduct, but, on the contrary, to promote decency and moderation. If these three things are taken away, what will be the condition of human life? If, therefore, we are at all moved by solicitude about the peace of society, or godliness, or decency, let us remember that we ought also to be solicitous about those through whose agency we obtain such distinguished benefits.

Hence we conclude, that fanatics, who wish to have magistrates taken away, are destitute of all humanity, and breathe nothing but cruel barbarism. How different is it to say, that we ought to pray for kings, in order that justice and decency may prevail, and to say, that not only the name of kingly power, but all government, is opposed to religion! We have the Spirit of God for the Author of the former sentiment, and therefore the latter must be from the Devil.

If any one ask, Ought we to pray for kings, from whom we obtain none of these advantages? I answer, the object of our prayer is, that, guided by the Spirit of God, they may begin to impart to us those benefits of which they formerly deprived us. It is our duty, therefore, not only to pray for those who are already worthy, but we must pray to God that he may make bad men good. We must always hold by this principle, that magistrates were appointed by God for the protection of religion, as well as of the peace and decency of society, in exactly the same manner that the earth is appointed to produce food. f30 Accordingly, in like manner as, when we pray to God for our daily bread, we ask him to make the earth fertile by his blessing; so in those benefits of which we have already spoken, we ought to consider the ordinary means which he has appointed by his providence for bestowing them.

To this must be added, that, if we are deprived of those benefits the communication of which Paul assigns to magistrates, that is through our own fault. It is the wrath of God that renders magistrates useless to us, in the same manner that it renders the earth barren; and, therefore, we ought to pray for the removal of those chastisements which have been brought upon us by our sins.

On the other hand, princes, and all who hold the office of magistracy, are here reminded of their duty. It is not enough, if, by giving to every one what is due, they restrain all acts of violence, and maintain peace; but they must likewise endeavor to promote religion, and to regulate morals by wholesome discipline. The exhortation of David (<190212>Psalm 2:12) to “kiss the Son,” and the prophecy of Isaiah, that they shall be nursing — fathers of the Church, (<234923>Isaiah 49:23,) are not without meaning; and, therefore, they have no right to fatter themselves, if they neglect to lend their assistance to maintain the worship of God.

3. For this is good and acceptable before God. After having taught that what he enjoined is useful, he now brings forward a stronger argument — that it pleases God; for when we know what His will, this ought to have the force of all possible reasons. By good he means what is proper and lawful; and, since the will of God is the rule by which all our duties must be regulated, he proves that it is right because it pleases God.

This passage is highly worthy of observation; and, first, we draw from it the general doctrine, that the true rule for acting well and properly is to look to the will of God, and not to undertake anything but what he approves. Next, there is likewise laid down a rule for godly prayer, that we should follow God as our leader, and that all our prayer should be regulated by his will and command. If due force had been allowed to this argument, the prayers of Papists, in the present day, would not have abounded with so many corruptions. For how will they prove that they have the authority of God for having recourse to dead men as their intercessors, or for praying for the dead? In short, in all their form of prayer, what can they point out that is pleasing to God?

4. Who wishes that all men may be saved. Here follows a confirmation of the second argument; and what is more reasonable than that all our prayers should be in conformity with this decree of God?

And may come to the acknowledgment of the truth. Lastly, he demonstrates that God has at heart the salvation of all, because he invites all to the acknowledgment of his truth. This belongs to that kind of argument in which the cause is: proved from the effect; for, if

“the gospel is the power of God for salvation to every one that believeth,” (<450116>Romans 1:16,)

it is certain that all those to whom the gospel is addressed are invited to the hope of eternal life. In short, as the calling is a proof of the secret election, so they whom God makes partakers of his gospel are admitted by him to possess salvation; because the gospel reveals to us the righteousness of God, which is a sure entrance into life.

Hence we see the childish folly of those who represent this passage to be opposed to predestination. “If God” say they, “wishes all men indiscriminately to be saved, it is false that some are predestined by his eternal purpose to salvation, and others to perdition.” They might have had some ground for saying this, if Paul were speaking here about individual men; although even then we should not have wanted the means of replying to their argument; for, although the: will of God ought not to be judged from his secret decrees, when he reveals them to us by outward signs, yet it does not therefore follow that he has not determined with himself what he intends to do as to every individual man.

But I say nothing on that subject, because it has nothing to do with this passage; for the Apostle simply means, that there is no people and no rank in the world that is excluded from salvation; because God wishes that the gospel should be proclaimed to all without exception. Now the preaching of the gospel gives life; and hence he justly concludes that God invites all equally to partake salvation. But the present discourse relates to classes of men, and not to individual persons; for his sole object is, to include in this number princes and foreign nations. That God wishes the doctrine of salvation to be enjoyed by them as well as others, is evident from the passages already quoted, and from other passages of a similar nature. Not without good reason was it said, “Now, kings, understand,” and again, in the same Psalm,

“I will give thee the Gentiles for an inheritance, and the ends of the earth for a possession.” (<190208>Psalm 2:8-10.)

In a word, Paul intended to shew that it is our duty to consider, not what kind of persons the princes at that time were, but what God wished them to be. Now the duty arising: out of that love which we owe to our neighbor is, to be solicitous and to do our endeavor for the salvation of all whom God includes in his calling, and to testify this by godly prayers.

With the same view does he call God our Savior; for whence do we obtain salvation but from the undeserved kindness of God? Now the same God who has already made us partakers of salvation may sometime extend his grace to them also. He who hath already drawn us to him may draw them along with us. The Apostle takes for granted that God will do so, because it had been thus foretold by the predictions of the prophets, concerning all ranks and all nations.

<540205>1 Timothy 2:5-7

5. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

5. Unus enim Deus, unus et Mediator Dei et hominum, homo Christus Iesus,

6. Who gave himself for all, to be testified in due time.

6. Qui dedit semetipsum pretium redemtionis pro omnibus, (ut esset) testimonium temporibus suis,

7. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not,) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and in verity.

7. In quod positus sum praeco et Apostolus: veritatem dico in Christo, non menitor, Doctor Gentium in fide et veritate.

 

5. For there is one God. This argument might, at first sight, appear to be not very strong, that God wishes all men to be saved, because he is one; if a transition had not been made from God to men. Chrysostom — and, after him, others — view it in this sense, that there are not many gods, as idolaters imagine. But I think that Paul’s design was different, and that there is here an implied comparison of one God with the whole world and with various nations, out of which comparison arises a view of both, as they mutually regard each other. In like manner the Apostle says,

“Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yea, it is one God who justifieth the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.’ (<450329>Romans 3:29.)

Accordingly, whatever diversity might at that time exist among men, because many ranks and many nations were strangers to faith, Paul brings to the remembrance of believers the unity of God, that they may know that they are connected with all, because there is one God of all — that they may know that they who are under the power of the same God are not excluded for ever from the hope of salvation.

And one Mediator between God and men. This clause is of a similar import with the former; for, as there is one God, the Creator and Father of all, so he says that there is but one Mediator, f31 through whom we have access to the Father; and that this Mediator was given, not only to one nation, or to a small number of persons of some particular rank, but to all; because the fruit of the sacrifice, by which he made atonement for sins, extends to all. More especially because a large portion of the world was at that time alienated from God, he expressly mentions the Mediator, through whom they that were afar off now approach.

The universal term all must always be referred to classes: of men, and not to persons; as if he had said, that not only Jews, but Gentiles also, not only persons of humble rank, but princes also, were redeemed by the death of Christ. Since, therefore, he wishes the benefit of his death to be common to all, an insult is offered to him by those who, by their opinion, shut out any person from the hope of salvation.

The man Christ Jesus. When he declares that he is “a man,” the Apostle does not deny that the Mediator is God, but, intending to point out the bond of our union with God, he mentions the human nature rather than the divine. This ought to be carefully observed. From the beginning, men, by contriving for themselves this or that mediator, departed farther from God; and the reason was, that, being prejudiced in favor of this error, that God was at a great distance from them, they knew not to what hand to turn. Paul remedies this evil, when he represents God as present with us; for he has descended even to us, so that we do not need to seek him above the clouds. The same thing is said in <580415>Hebrews 4:15,

“We have not a high priest who cannot sympathize within our infirmities, for in all things he was tempted.”

And, indeed, if this were deeply impressed on the hearts of all, that the Son of God holds out to us the hand of a brother, and that we are united to him by the fellowship of our nature, in order that, out of our low condition, he may raise us to heaven; who would not choose to keep by this straight road, instead of wandering in uncertain and stormy paths! Accordingly, whenever we ought to pray to God, if we call to remembrance that exalted and unapproachable majesty, that we may not be driven back by the dread of it, let us, at the same time, remember “the man Christ,” who gently invites us, and takes us, as it were, by the hand, in order that the Father, who had been the object of terror and alarm, may be reconciled by him and rendered friendly to us. This is the only key to open for us the gate of the heavenly kingdom, that we may appear in the presence of God with confidence.

Hence we see, that Satan has, in all ages, followed this course, for the purpose of leading men astray from the right path. I say nothing of the various devices by which, before the coming of Christ, he alienated the minds of men, to contrive methods of approaching to God. At the very commencement of the Christian Church, when Christ, with so excellent a pledge, was fresh in their remembrance, and while the earth was still ringing with that delightfully sweet word from his mouth,

“Come to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest,” (<401128>Matthew 11:28,)

there were, nevertheless, some persons skilled in deception, who thrust angels into his room as mediators; which is evident from <510218>Colossians 2:18. But what Satan, at that time, contrived secretly, he carried to such a pitch, during the times of Popery, that scarcely one person in a thousand acknowledged Christ, even in words, to be the Mediator. And while the name was buried, still more was the reality unknown.

Now that God has raised up good and faithful teachers, who have labored to restore and bring to the remembrance of men what ought to have been one of the best — known principles of our faith, the sophists of the Church of Rome have resorted to every contrivance for darkening a point so clear. First, the name is so hateful to them, that, if any one mentions Christ as Mediator, without taking notice of the saints, he instantly falls under a suspicion of heresy. But, because they do not venture to reject altogether what Paul teaches in this passage, they evade it by a foolish exposition, that he is called “one Mediator,” not “the only Mediator.” As if the Apostle had mentioned God as one out of a vast multitude of gods; for the two clauses are closely connected, that “there is one God and one Mediator;” and therefore they who make Christ one out of many mediators must apply the same interpretation in speaking of God. Would they rise to such a height of impudence, if they were not impelled by blind rage to crush the glory of Christ?

There are others who think themselves more acute, and who lay down this distinction, that Christ is the only Mediator of redemption, while they pronounce the saints to be mediators of intercession. But the folly of these interpreters is reproved by the scope of the passage, in which the Apostle speaks expressly about prayer. The Holy Spirit commands us to pray for all, because our only Mediator admits all to come to him; just as by his death he reconciled all to the Father. And yet they who thus, with daring sacrilege, strip Christ of his honor, wish to be regarded as Christians.

But it is objected that this has the appearance of contradiction; for in this very passage Paul enjoins us to intercede for others, while, in the Epistle to the Romans, he declares that intercession belongs to Christ alone. (<450834>Romans 8:34.) I reply, the intercessions of the saints, by which they aid each other in their addresses to God, do not contradict the doctrine, that all have but one Intercessor; for no man’s prayers are heard either in behalf of himself, or in behalf of another, unless he rely on Christ as his advocate. When we intercede for one another, this is so far from setting aside the intercession of Christ, as belonging to him alone, that the chief reliance is given, and the chief reference made, to that very intercession.

Some person will perhaps think, that it will, therefore, be easy for us to come to an agreement with the Papists, if they place below the only intercession of Christ, all that they ascribe to the saints. This is not the case; for the reason why they transfer to the saints the office of interceding is, that they imagine that otherwise we are destitute of an advocate. It is a common opinion among them, that we need intercessors, because in ourselves we are unworthy of appearing in the presence of God. By speaking in this manner, they deprive Christ of his honor. Besides, it is a shocking blasphemy, to ascribe to saints such excellence as would procure for us the favor of God: and all the prophets, and apostles, and martyrs, and even the angels themselves — are so far from making any pretension to this, that they too have need of the same intercession as ourselves.

Again, it is a mere dream, originating in their own brain, that the dead intercede for us; and, therefore, to found our prayers on this is altogether to withdraw our trust from calling upon God. But Paul lays down, as the rule for calling on God in a proper manner, faith grounded on the word of God. (<451017>Romans 10:17.) Justly, therefore, everything that men contrive, in the exercise of their own thoughts, without the authority of the word of God, is rejected by us.

But not to dwell on this subject longer than the exposition of the passage demands, let it be summed up in this manner; that they who have actually learned the office of Christ will be satisfied with having him alone, and that none will make mediators at their own pleasure but those who neither know God nor Christ. Hence I conclude, that the doctrine of the Papists — which darkens, and almost buries, the intercession of Christ, and introduces pretended intercessors without any support from Scripture — is full of wicked distrust, and also of wicked rashness.

6. Who gave himself a ransom for all. f32 The mention of redemption in this passage is not superfluous; for there is a necessary connection between the two things, the sacrifice of the death of Christ, and his continual intercession. (<450834>Romans 8:34.) These are the two parts of his priesthood; for, when Christ is called our priest, it is in this sense, that he once made atonement for our sins by his death, that he might reconcile us to God; and now having entered into the sanctuary of heaven, he appears in presence of the Father, in order to obtain grace for us, that we may be heard in his name. (<19B004>Psalm 110:4; <580717>Hebrews 7:17.) So much the more does he expose the wicked sacrilege of the Papists, who, by making dead saints to be companions of Christ in this affair, transfer to them likewise the glory of the priesthood. Read the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, towards the conclusion, and the beginning of the fifth chapter, and you will find what I maintain, that the intercession by which God is reconciled to us is founded on the sacrifice; which, indeed, is demonstrated by the whole system of the ancient priesthood. It follows, therefore, that it is impossible to take from Christ any part of the office of intercession, and bestow it on others, without stripping him of the title of priesthood.

Besides, when the Apostle calls him ajnti>lutron, a ransom,” f33 he overthrows all other satisfactions. Yet I am not ignorant of the injurious devices of the Papists, who pretend that the price of redemption, which Christ paid by his death, is applied to us in baptism, so that original sin is effaced, and that afterwards we are reconciled to God by satisfactions. In this way they limit to a small period of time, and to a single class, that benefit which was universal and perpetual. But a full illustration of this subject will be found in the Institutes.

That there might be a testimony in due time; that is, in order that this grace might be revealed at the appointed time. The phrase, for all, which the Apostle had used, might have given rise to the question, “Why then had God chosen a peculiar people, if he revealed himself as a reconciled Father to all without distinction, and if the one redemption through Christ was common to all?” He cuts off all ground for that question, by referring to the purpose of God the season f34 for revealing his grace. For if we are not astonished that in winter, the trees are stripped of their foliage, the field are covered with snow, and the meadows are stiff with frost, and that, by the genial warmth of spring, what appeared for a time to be dead, begins to revive, because God appointed the seasons to follow in succession; why should we not allow the same authority to his providence in other: matters? Shall we accuse God of instability, because he brings forward, at the proper time, what he had always determined, and settled in his own mind?

Accordingly, although it came upon the world suddenly and was altogether unexpected, that Christ was revealed as a Redeemer to Jews and Gentiles, without distinction; let as not think that it was sudden with respect to God but, on the contrary, let us learn to subject all our sense to his wonderful providence. The consequence will be, that there will be nothing that comes from him which shall not appear to us to be highly seasonable. On that account this admonition frequently occurs in the writings of Paul and especially when he treats of the calling of the Gentiles, by which, at that time, on account of its novelty, many persons were startled and almost confounded. They who are not satisfied with this solution, that God, by his hidden wisdom, arranged the succession of the seasons, will one day feel, that, at the time when they think that he was idle, he was framing a hell for inquisitive persons.

7. For which I have been appointed. That it may not be thought that he makes rash assertions — as many are wont to do — on a subject which he did not well understand, he affirms that God had appointed him for this purpose, that he might bring the Gentiles, who had formerly been alienated from the kingdom of God, to have a share in the gospel; for his apostleship was a sure foundation of the divine calling. And on this account he labors very hard in asserting it, as there are many who received it with no small difficulty.

I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie. He employs an oath, or protestation, as in a matter of extraordinary weigh and importance, that he is a teacher of the Gentiles, and that in faith and truth. These two things denote a good conscience, but still it must rest on the certainty of the will of God. Thus he means, that he preaches the gospel to the Gentiles, not only with pure affection, but also with an upright and fearless conscience; because he does nothing but by the command of God.

<540208>1 Timothy 2:8-10

8. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

8. Volo igitur orare viros in omni loco, sustollentes puras manus, absque ira et disceptatione.

9. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

9. Consimiliter et mulieres in amictu decoro cum verecundia et temperantia ornare semetipsas, non tortis crinibus, aut auro, aut margaritis, aut vestitu sumptuoso;

10. But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

10. Sed, quod decet mulieres porfitentes pietatem, per bona opera.

 

8. I wish therefore that men may pray. This inference depends on the preceding statement; for, as we saw in the Epistle to the Galatians, we must receive “the Spirit of adoption,” in order that we may call on God in a proper manner. Thus, after having exhibited the grace of Christ to all, and after having mentioned that he was given to the Gentiles for the express purpose, that they might enjoy the same benefit of redemption in common with the Jews, he invites all in the same manner to pray; for faith leads to calling on God. Hence, at <451509>Romans 15:9, he proves the calling of the Gentiles by these passages.

“Let the Gentiles rejoice with his people.” (<196705>Psalm 67:5.)

Again,

“All ye Gentiles, praise God.’, (<19B701>Psalm 117:1.)

Again,

“I will confess to thee among the Gentiles.” (<191849>Psalm 18:49.)

The material argument holds good, from faith to prayer, and from prayer to faith, whether we reason from the cause to the effect, or from the effect to the cause. This is worthy of observation, because it reminds us that God reveals himself to us in his word, that we may call upon him; and this is the chief exercise of faith.

In every place. This expression is of the same import as in the beginning of the First Epistle to the Corinthians,

“with all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,” (<460102>1 Corinthians 1:2,)

so that there is now no difference between Gentile and Jew, between Greek and barbarian, because all in common have God as their Father; and in Christ is now fulfilled what Malachi had foretold, that not only in Judea, but throughout the whole world, pure sacrifices are offered. (<390111>Malachi 1:11.)

Lifting up pure hands. As if he had said, “Provided that it be accompanied by a good conscience, there will be nothing to prevent all the nations from calling upon God everywhere. But he has employed the sign instead of the reality, for “pure hands” are the expressions of a pure heart; just as, on the contrary, Isaiah rebukes the Jews for lifting up “bloody hands,” when he attacks their cruelty. (<230115>Isaiah 1:15.) Besides, this attitude has been generally used in worship during all ages; for it is a feeling which nature has implanted in us, when we ask God, to look upwards, and has always been so strong, that even idolaters themselves, although in other respects they make a god of images of wood and stone, still retained the custom of lifting up their hands to heaven. Let us therefore learn that the attitude is in accordance with true godliness, provided that it be attended by the corresponding truth which is represented by it, namely, that, having been informed that we ought to seek God in heaven, first, we should form no conception of Him that is earthly or carnal; and, secondly, that we should lay aside carnal affections, so that nothing may prevent our hearts from rising above the world. But idolaters and hypocrites, when they lift up their hands in prayer, are apes; for while they profess, by the outward symbol, that their minds are raised upwards, the former are fixed on wood and stone, as if God were shut up in them, and the latter, wrapped up either in useless: anxieties, or in wicked thoughts, cleave to the earth; and therefore, by a gesture of an opposite meaning, f35 they bear testimony against themselves.

Without wrath. Some explain this to mean a burst of indignation, when the conscience fights with itself, and, so to speak, quarrels with God which usually happens when adversity presses heavily upon us; for then we are displease that God does not send us immediate assistance, and are agitated by impatience. Faith is also shaken by various assaults; for, in consequence of his assistance not being visible, we are seized with doubts, whether or not he cares about us, or wishes us to be saved, and things of that nature.

They who take this view think that the word disputing denotes that alarm which arises from doubt. Thus, according to them, the meaning would be, that we should pray with a peaceful conscience and assured confidence. Chrysostom and others think that the apostle here demands that our minds should be calm and free from all uneasy feelings both towards God and towards men; because there is nothing that tends more to hinder pure calling on God than quarrels and strife. On this account Christ enjoins, that if any man be at variance with his brother, he shall go and be reconciled to him before offering his gift on the altar.

For my part, I acknowledge that both of these views are just; but when I take into consideration the context of this passage, I have no doubt that Paul had his eye on the disputes which arose out of the indignation of the Jews at having the Gentiles made equal to themselves, in consequence of which they raised a controversy about the calling of the Gentiles, and went so far as to reject and exclude them from the participation of grace. Paul therefore wishes that debates of this nature should be put down, and that all the children of God of every nation and country should pray with one heart. Yet there is nothing to restrain us from drawing from this particular statement a general doctrine.

9. In like manner also women. As he enjoined men to lift up pure hands, so he now prescribes the manner in which women ought to prepare for praying aright. And there appears to be an implied contrast between those virtues which he recommends and the outward sanctification of the Jews; for he intimates that there is no profane place, nor any from which both men and women may not draw near to God, provided they are not excluded by their vices.

He intended to embrace the opportunity of correcting a vice to which women are almost always prone, and which perhaps at Ephesus, being a city of vast wealth and extensive merchandise, especially abounded. That vice is — excessive eagerness and desire to be richly dressed. He wishes therefore that their dress should be regulated by modesty and sobriety; for luxury and immoderate expense arise from a desire to make a display either for the sake of pride or of departure from chastity. And hence we ought to derive the rule of moderation; for, since dress is an indifferent matter, (as all outward matters are,) it is difficult to; assign a fixed limit, how far we ought to go. Magistrates may indeed make laws, by means of which a rage for superfluous expenditure shall be in some measure restrained; but godly teachers, whose business it is to guide the consciences, ought always to keep in view the end of lawful use. This at least will be settled beyond all controversy, that every thing in dress which is not in accordance with modesty and sobriety must be disapproved.

Yet we must always begin with the dispositions; for where debauchery reigns within, there will be no chastity; and where ambition reigns within, there will be no modesty in the outward dress. But because hypocrites commonly avail themselves of all the pretexts that they can find for concealing their wicked dispositions, we are under the necessity of pointing out what meets the eye. It would be great baseness to deny the appropriateness of modesty as the peculiar and constant ornament of virtuous and chaste women, or the duty of all to observe moderation. Whatever is opposed to these virtues it will be in vain to excuse. He expressly censures certain kinds of superfluity, such as curled hair, jewels, and golden rings; not that the use of gold or of jewels is expressly forbidden, but that, wherever they are prominently displayed, these things commonly draw along with them the other evils which I have mentioned, and arise from ambition or from want of chastity as their source.

10. Which becometh women; for undoubtedly the dress of a virtuous and godly woman must differ from that of a strumpet. What he has laid down are marks of distinction; and if piety must be testified by works, this profession ought also to be visible in chaste and becoming dress.

<540211>1 Timothy 2:11-15

11. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

11. Mulier in quiete discat, cum omni subjectione.

12. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

12. Docere autem muliere non permitto, neque auctoritatem sibi sumere in virum, sed quietam esse.

13. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

13. Adam enim creatus fuit prior, deinde Eva.

14. And Adam was not deceived; but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression.

14. Et Adam no fuit deceptus; sed mulier decepta transgressionis rea fuit.

15. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in child — bearing, if they continue in the faith, and charity, and holiness, with sobriety.

15. Servabitur autem per generationem, si manserit in fide, et caritate, et sanctificatione, cum temperantia.

 

11. Let a woman learn in quietness. After having spoken of dress, he now adds with what modesty women ought to conduct themselves in the holy assembly. And first he bids them learn quietly; for quietness means silence, that they may not talk upon them to speak in public. This he immediately explains more clearly, by forbidding them to teach.

12. But I suffer not a woman to teach. Not that he takes from them the charge of instructing their family, but only excludes them from the office of teaching, which God has committed to men only. On this subject we have explained our views in the exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. f36 If any one bring forward, by way of objection, Deborah (<070404>Judges 4:4) and others of the same class, of whom we read that they were at one time appointed by the commend of God to govern the people, the answer is easy. Extraordinary acts done by God do not overturn the ordinary rules of government, by which he intended that we should be bound. Accordingly, if women at one time held the office of prophets and teachers, and that too when they were supernaturally called to it by the Spirit of God, He who is above all law might do this; but, being a peculiar case, f37 this is not opposed to the constant and ordinary system of government.

He adds — what is closely allied to the office of teaching — and not to assume authority over the man; for the very reason, why they are forbidden to teach, is, that it is not permitted by their condition. They are subject, and to teach implies the rank of power or authority. Yet it may be thought that there is no great force in this argument; because even prophets and teachers are subject to kings and to other magistrates. I reply, there is no absurdity in the same person commanding and likewise obeying, when viewed in different relations. But this does not apply to the case of woman, who by nature (that is, by the ordinary law of God) is formed to obey; for gunaikokrati>a (the government of women) has always been regarded by all wise persons as a monstrous thing; and, therefore, so to speak, it will be a mingling of heaven and earth, if women usurp the right to teach. Accordingly, he bids them be “quiet,” that is, keep within their own rank. f38

13. For Adam was first created. He assigns two reasons why women ought to be subject to men; because not only did God enact this law at the beginning, but he also inflicted it as a punishment on the woman. (<010316>Genesis 3:16.) He accordingly shews that, although mankind had stood in their first and original uprightness, the true order of nature, which proceeded from the command of God, bears that women shall be subject. Nor is this inconsistent with the fact, that Adam, by falling from his first dignity, deprived himself of his authority; for in the ruins, which followed sin, there still linger some remains of the divine blessing, and it was not proper that woman, by her own fault, should make her condition better than before. f39

Yet the reason that Paul Assigns, that woman was second in the order of creation, appears not to be a very strong argument in favor of her subjection; for John the Baptist was before Christ in the order of time, and yet was greatly inferior in rank. But although Paul does not state all the circumstances which are related by Moses, yet he intended that his readers should take them into consideration. Now Moses shews that the woman was created afterwards, in order that she might be a kind of appendage to the man; and that she was joined to the man on the express condition, that she should be at hand to render obedience to him. (<010221>Genesis 2:21.) Since, therefore, God did not create two chiefs of equal power, but added to the man an inferior aid, the Apostle justly reminds us of that order of creation in which the eternal and inviolable appointment of God is strikingly displayed.

14. And Adam was not deceived. He alludes to the punishment inflicted on the woman:

“Because thou hast obeyed the voice of the serpent, thou shalt be subject to the authority of thy husband, and thy desire shall be to him.” f40 (<010316>Genesis 3:16.)

Because she had given fatal advice, it was right that she should learn that she was under the power and will of another; and because she had drawn her husband aside from the command of God, it was right that she should be deprived of all liberty and placed under the yoke. Besides, the Apostle does not rest his argument entirely or absolutely on the cause of the transgression, but founds it on the sentence which was pronounced by God.

Yet it may be thought that these two statements are somewhat contradictory that the subjection of the woman is the punishment of her transgression, and yet that it was imposed on her from the creation; for thence it will follow, that she was doomed to servitude before she sinned. I reply, there is nothing to hinder that the condition of obeying should be natural from the beginning, and that afterwards the accidental condition of serving should come into existence; so that the subjection was now less voluntary and agreeable than it had formerly been.

Again, this passage has given to some people an occasion for affirming that Adam did not fall by means of error, but that he was only overcome by the allurements of his wife. Accordingly, they think that the woman only was deceived by the wiles of the devil, to believe that she and her husband would be like the gods; But that Adam was not at all persuaded of this, but tasted the fruit in order to please his wife. But it is easy to refute this opinion; for, if Adam had not given credit to the falsehood of Satan, God would not have reproached him:

“Behold, Adam is become like one of us.” (<010322>Genesis 3:22.)

There are other reasons of which I say nothing; for there needs not a long refutation of an error which does not rest on any probable conjecture. By these words Paul does not mean that Adam was not entangled by the same deceitfulness of the devil, f41 but that the cause or source of the transgression proceeded from Eve.

15. But she shall be saved. The weakness of the sex renders women more suspicious and timid, and the preceding statement might greatly terrify and alarm the strongest minds. For these reasons he modifies what he had said by adding a consolation; for the Spirit of God does not accuse or reproach us, in order to triumph over us, When we are covered with shame, but, when we have been cast down, immediately raises us up. It might have the effect (as I have already said) of striking terror into the minds of women, f42 when they were informed that the destruction of the whole human race was attributed to them; for what will be this condemnation? especially when their subjection, as a testimony of the wrath of God, is constantly placed before their eyes. Accordingly, Paul, in order to comfort them and render their condition tolerable, informs them that they continue to enjoy the hope of salvation, though they suffer a temporal punishment. It is proper to observe that the good effect of this consolation is twofold. First, by the hope of salvation held out to them, they are prevented from falling into despair through alarm at the mention of their guilt. Secondly, they become accustomed to endure calmly and patiently the necessity of servitude, so as to submit willingly to their husbands, when they are informed that this kind of obedience is both profitable to themselves and acceptable to God. If this passage be tortured, as Papists are wont to do, to support the righteousness of works, the answer is easy. The Apostle does not argue here about the cause of salvation, and therefore we cannot and must not infer from these words what works deserve; but they only shew in what way God conducts us to salvation, to which he has appointed us through his grace.

Through child-bearing. To censorious men it might appear absurd, for an Apostle of Christ not only to exhort women to give attention to the birth of offspring, but to press this work as religious and holy to such an extent as to represent it in the light of the means of procuring salvation. Nay, we even see with what reproaches the conjugal bed has been slandered by hypocrites, who wished to be thought more holy than all other men. But there is no difficulty in replying to these sneers of the ungodly. First, here the Apostle does not speak merely about having children, but about enduring all the distresses, which are manifold and severe, both in the birth and in the rearing of children. Secondly, whatever hypocrites or wise men of the world may think of it, when a woman, considering to what she has been called, submits to the condition which God has assigned to her, and does not refuse to endure the pains, or rather the fearful anguish, of parturition, or anxiety about her offspring, or anything else that belongs to her duty, God values this obedience more highly than if, in some other manner, she made a great display of heroic virtues, while she refused to obey the calling of God. To this must be added, that no consolation could be more appropriate or more efficacious then to shew that the very means (so to speak) of procuring salvation are found in the punishment itself.

If they continue in faith. In consequence of the old translation having used the expression, “the birth of children,” it has been commonly thought that this clause refers to the children. But the term used by Paul to denote “child-bearing” is a single word, teknogoni>a, and therefore it must refer to the women. As to the verb being plural, and the noun singular, this involves no difficulty; for an indefinite noun, at least when it denotes a multitude, has the force of a collective noun, and therefore easily admits a change from the singular to the plural number.

Besides, that he might not represent all the virtue of women as included in the duties of marriage, immediately afterwards he adds greater virtues, in which it is proper that godly women should excel, that they may differ from irreligious women. Even: “child — bearing” is obedience acceptable to God, only so far as it proceeds from faith and love. To these two he adds sanctification, which includes all the purity of life which becomes Christian women. Lastly follows sobriety, which he formerly mentioned, while he was speaking about dress; but now he extends it more widely to the other parts of life.


CHAPTER 3

<540301>1 Timothy 3:1-7

1. This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

1. Certus sermo, si quis episcopatum appetit, praeclarum opus desiderat.

2. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;.

2. Oportet ergo Episcopum irreprehensibilem esse, unius uxoris maritum, sobrium, temperantem, compositum, (vel, honestum,) hospitalem, aptum ad docendum.

3. Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre: but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

3. Non vinolentum, (vel, ferocem,) non percussorem, non turpiter lucri cupidum, sed aequum, alienum a pugnis, alienum ab avaritia.

4. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity,

4. Qui domui suae bene praesit, qui filios habeat in subjectione, cum omni reverentia.

5. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

5. Quodsi quis propriae domui praeesse non novit, ecclesiam Dei quomodo curabit?

6. Not a novice, lest, being lifted in up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

6. Non novicium, ne inflatus in condemnationem incidat diaboli.

7. Moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

7. Oportet autem illum et bonum testimonium habere ab extraneis, ne in probum incidat et laqueum diaboli.

 

1. It is a true saying. Chrysostom thinks, that this is the conclusion of the preceding doctrine. But I do not approve of the opinion; for Paul commonly makes use of this form of expression as a prelude to what he is about to introduce, Besides, in the former discourse there was no need of so strong an affirmation; but what he is now about to say, is somewhat more weighty. Let these words, therefore, be received as a preface intended to point out the importance of the subject; for Paul now begins a new discourse about ordaining pastors, and appointing the government of the Church.

If any one desireth the office of a bishop. f43 Having forbidden women to teach, he now takes occasion to speak of the office of a bishop. First, that it may be more clearly seen that it was not without reason that he refused to allow women to undertake so arduous a work; secondly, that it might not be thought that, by excluding women only, he admitted all men indiscriminately; and, thirdly, because it was highly proper that Timothy and others should be reminded what conscientious watchfulness ought to be used in the election of bishops. Thus the context, in my opinion, is as if Paul had said, that so far are women from being fit for undertaking so excellent an office, that not even men ought to be admitted into it without distinction.

He desireth an excellent work. The Apostle affirms that this is no inconsiderable work, such as any man might venture to undertake. When he says that it is kalo>v, I have no doubt that he alludes to the ancient Greek proverb, often quoted by Plato, du>skola ta< kala>, which means that “those things which are excellent, are also arduous and difficult;” and thus he unites difficulty with excellence, or rather he argues thus, that it does not belong to every person to discharge the office of a bishop, because it is a thing of great value.

I think that Paul’s meaning is now sufficiently clear; though none of the commentators, so far as I perceive, have understood it. The general meaning is, that a selection ought to be made in admitting bishops, because it is a laborious and difficult charge; and that they who aim at it should carefully consider with themselves, whether or not they were able to bear so heavy a burden. Ignorance is always rash; and a mature knowledge of things makes a man modest. How comes it that they who have neither ability nor wisdom often aspire so confidently to hold the reins of government, but because they rush forward with their eyes shut? On this subject Quintilian remarked, that the ignorant speak boldly, while the greatest orators tremble.

For the purpose of restraining such rashness in desiring the office of a bishop, Paul states, first, that this is not an indolent rank, but a work; and next, that it is not any kind of work, but excellent, and therefore toilsome and full of difficulty, as it actually is. It is no light matter to be a representative of the Son of God, in discharging an office of such magnitude, the object of which is to erect and extend the kingdom of God, to procure the salvation of souls which the Lord himself hath purchased with his own blood, and to govern the Church, which is God’s inheritance. But it is not my intention at present to make a sermon, and Paul will again glance at this subject in the next chapter.

Here a question arises: “Is it lawful, in any way, to desire the office of a bishop?” On the one hand, it appears to be highly improper for any one to anticipate, by his wish, the calling of God, and yet Paul, while he censures a rash desire, seems to permit it to be desired with prudence and modesty. I reply, if ambition is condemned in other matters, much more severely ought it to be condemned in “the office of a bishop.” But Paul speaks of a godly desire, by which holy men wish to employ that knowledge of doctrine which they possess for the edification of the Church. For, if it were altogether unlawful to desire the office of a teacher, why should they who spend all their youth in reading the Holy Scriptures prepare themselves by learning? What are the theological schools but nurseries of pastors?

Accordingly, they who have been thus instructed not only may lawfully devote themselves and their labors to God by a voluntary offering, but even ought to do so, and that too, before they have been admitted unto the office; provided that, nevertheless, they do not trust themselves forward, and do not, even by their own wish, make themselves bishops, but are only ready to discharge the office, if their labors shall be required. And if it turn out that, according to the lawful order; they are not called, let them know that such was the will of God, and let them not take it in that others have been preferred to them. But they who, without any selfish motive, shall have no other wish than to serve God and the Church, will be affected in this manner; and, at the same time, will have such modesty that they will not be at all envious, if others be preferred to them as being more worthy.

If any one object, that the government of the Church is a matter of so great difficulty, that it ought rather to strike terror into the minds of persons of sound judgment than to excite them to desire it. I reply, that the desire of great men does not rest on confidence of their own industry or virtue, but on the assistance of

“God, from whom is our sufficiency,”

as Paul says elsewhere. (<470305>2 Corinthians 3:5.) At the same time, it is necessary to observe what it is that Paul calls “the office of a bishop;” and so much the more, because the ancients were led away, by the custom of their times, from the true meaning; for, while Paul includes generally all pastors, they understand a bishop to be one who was elected out of each college to preside over his brethren. Let us remember, therefore, that this word is of the same import as if he had called them ministers, or pastors, or presbyters. f44

2. A bishop, therefore, must be blameless. The particle therefore confirms the exposition which I have given; for, on account of the dignity of the office, he concludes that it is requisite that he be a man endowed with rare gifts, and not any person taken out of the crowd. f45 If the expression used had been “a good work,” as the ordinary translation has it, or “an honorable work,” (honestam,) as Erasmus has translated it, the inference would not have been suitable.

He wishes a bishop to be blameless, f46 instead of which, in the Epistle to Titus, He has used (<560107>Titus 1:7) the word ajne>gklhton, meaning by both words, that he must not be marked by any infamy that would lessen his authority. There will be no one found among men that is free from every vice; but it is one thing to be blemished with ordinary vices, which do not hurt the reputation, because they are found in men of the highest excellence, and another thing to have a disgraceful name, or to be stained with any baseness. In order, therefore, that a bishop may not be without authority, he enjoins that there shall be made a selection of one who has a good and honorable reputation, and not chargeable with any remarkable vice. Besides, he does not merely lay down a rule for Timothy what sort of person he must select, but likewise reminds every one of those who aspire to that rank, to institute a careful examination of himself and of his life.

The husband of one wife. It is a childish fancy to interpret this as meaning “the pastor of a single church.” Another other exposition has been more generally received, that the person set apart to that office must be one who has not been more than once married, that one wife being since dead, so that now he is not a married man. But both in this passage and in <560106>Titus 1:6, the words of the apostle are, “Who is,” and not “Who hath been;” and in this very Epistle, where he treats of widows, (<540310>1 Timothy 3:10,) he expressly makes use of the participle of the past tense. Besides, in this way he would contradict himself; because elsewhere he declares that he has no wish to lay a snare on the consciences.

The only true exposition, therefore, is that of Chrysostom, that in a bishop he expressly condemns polygamy, f47 which at that time the Jews almost reckoned to be lawful. This corruption was borrowed by them partly from sinful imitation of the Fathers, (for they who read that Abraham, Jacob, David, and others of the same class, were married to more wives than one at the same time, thought that it was lawful for them also to do the same) and partly from neighboring nations; for the inhabitants of the East never observed that conscientiousness and fidelity in marriage which was proper. However that might be, polygamy was exceedingly prevalent among them; f48 and therefore with great propriety does Paul enjoin that a bishop should be free from this stain.

And yet I do not disapprove of the opinion of those who think that the Holy Spirit intended to guard against the diabolical superstition which afterwards arose; as if he had said, “So far is it from being right and proper that celibacy should be enforced on bishops, that marriage is a state highly becoming in all believers.” In this way, he would not demand it as a thing necessary for them, but would only praise it as not inconsistent with the dignity of the office. Yet the view which I have already given is more simple and more solid, that Paul forbids polygamy in all who hold the office of a bishop, because it is a mark of an unchaste man, and of one who does not observe conjugal fidelity.

But there it might be objected, that what is sinful in all ought not to have been condemned or forbidden in bishops alone. The answer is easy. When it is expressly prohibited to bishops, it does not therefore follow that it is freely allowed to others. Beyond all doubt, Paul condemned universally what was contrary to an unrepealed law of God; for it is a settled enactment,

“They shall be one flesh.” (<010224>Genesis 2:24.)

But he might, to some extent, bear with that in others which, in a bishop, would have been excessively vile, and therefore not to be endured.

Nor is this a law laid down for the future, that no bishop, who already has one wife, shall marry a second or a third, while the first wife is still living; but Paul excludes from the office of a bishop any one who shall be guilty of such an enormity. Accordingly, what had been once done, and could not be corrected, he reluctantly endures, but only in the common people For what was the remedy for those who, under Judaism, had fallen into the snare of polygamy? Should they have divorced their second and third wives? Such a divorce would not have been free from doing wrong. Since, therefore, the deed was done, and could not be undone, he left it untouched, but with this exception, that no bishop should be blemished by such a stain.

Sober, temperate, modest. The word which we have translated sober, Erasmus has translated (vigilantem) watchful. As the Greek word nhfa>leov f49 admits of either signification, the readers may make their own choice. I have preferred to translate sw>frona, temperate, instead of sober, because swfrosu>nh has a more extensive meaning than sobriety. Modest means one who conducts himself with decency and propriety.

Hospitable. f50 The “hospitality” here spoken of, is toward strangers, and this was very common among the ancients; for it would have been reckoned disgraceful for respectable persons, and especially for those who were well known, to lodge in taverns. In the present day, the state of matters is different; but this virtue is and always will be highly necessary in a bishop, for many reasons. Besides, during the cruel persecution of the godly, many persons must have been constrained frequently to change their habitation; and therefore it was necessary that the houses of bishops should be a retreat for the exiles. In those times hard necessity compelled the churches to afford mutual aid, so that they gave lodgings to one another. Now, if the bishops had not pointed out the path to others in this department of duty, the greater part, following their example, would have neglected the exercise of humanity, and thus the poor fugitives would have been greatly discouraged. f51

Able to teach. In the epistle to Titus, doctrine is expressly mentioned; here he only speaks briefly about skill in communicating instruction. It is not enough to have profound learning, if it be not accompanied by talent for teaching. There are many who, either because their utterance is defective, or because they have not good mental abilities, or because they do not employ that familiar language which is adapted to the common people, keep within their own minds the knowledge which they possess. Such persons, as the phrase is, ought to Sing to themselves and to the muses. f52 They who have the charge of governing the people, ought to be qualified for teaching. And here he does not demand volubility of tongue, for we see many persons whose fluent talk is not fitted for edification; but he rather commends wisdom in applying the word of God judiciously to the advantage of the people.

It is worth while to consider how the Papists hold that the injunctions which the apostle gives do not at all belong to them. I shall not enter into a minute explanation of all the details; but on this one point what sort of diligence do they observe? And, indeed, that gift would be superfluous; for they banish from themselves the ministry of teaching as low and groveling, although this belonged especially to a bishop. But everybody knows how far it is from observing Paul’s rule, to assume the title of bishop, and boast proudly of enacting a character without speaking, provided only that they make their appearance in a theatrical dress. As if a horned mitre, a ring richly set in jewels, or a silver cross, and other trifles, accompanied by idle display, constituted the spiritual government of a church, which can no more be separated from doctrine than any one of us can be separated from his own soul.

3. Not addicted to wine. By the word pa>roinon, f53 which is here used, the Greeks denote not merely drunkenness, but any intemperance in guzzling wine. And, indeed, to drink wine excessively is not only very unbecoming in a pastor, but commonly draws along with it many things still worse; such as quarrels, foolish attitudes, unchaste conduct, and other things which it is not necessary to describe. But the contrast which is added shortly afterwards, shews that Paul goes farther than this.

Not a striker, not wickedly desirous of gain. f54 As he contrasts with “a striker” one who is not quarrelsome, and with him who is covetous of dishonest gain (ajfila>rguron) one who is not covetous, so with tw~| paroi>nw|, him who is addicted to wine, he contrasts one who is gentle or kind. The true interpretation is that which is given by Chrysostom, that men of a drunken and fierce disposition ought to be excluded from the office of a bishop. As to the opinion given by Chrysostom, that “a striker” means one who wounds with the tongue, (that is, who is guilty of slander or of outrageous reproaches,) I do not admit it. Nor am I moved by his argument, that it will be no great matter, if the bishop do not strike with the hand; for I think that here he reproves generally that fierceness which is often found in the military profession, and which is utterly unbecoming in time servants of Christ. It is well known to what ridicule they expose themselves, who are more ready to strike a blow with the fist, and — we might even say — to draw the sword, than to settle the disputes of others by their own sedate behavior. Strikers is therefore the term which he applies to those who deal much in threatenings, and are of a warlike temperament.

All covetous persons are wickedly desirous of gain; for, wherever covetousness is, there will also be that baseness of which the apostle speaks. “He who wishes to become rich wishes also to become rich soon.” f55 The consequence is, that all covetous persons, even though this is not openly manifest, apply their minds to dishonest and unlawful gains. Accordingly, he contrasts with this vice the contempt of money; as there is no other remedy by which it can be corrected. He who will not patiently and mildly endure poverty will never escape the disease of means and sordid covetousness.

Mild and not quarrelsome. He contrasts with “time striker” time man who is “not quarrelsome.” Mildwhich, we have said, is contrasted with being “addicted to wine” — is the term applied to him who knows how to bear, injuries with a gentle and moderate disposition, who forgives much, who passes by insults, who neither makes himself be dreaded through harsh severity, nor exacts with full rigor. Not quarrelsome, one who avoids disputes and quarrels; for, as he elsewhere writes,

“the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome.”
(<550224>2 Timothy 2:24.)

4. Who ruleth well his own house. Hence it is evident, that Paul does not demand that a bishop shall be unacquainted within human life, f56 but that he shall be a good and praiseworthy master of a household; for, whatever may be the admiration commonly entertained for celibacy and a philosophical life altogether removed from ordinary custom, yet wise and thoughtful men are convinced by experience, that they who are not ignorant of ordinary life, but are practiced in the duties of human intercourse, are better trained and adapted for governing the Church. And, therefore, we ought to observe the reason which is added, (<540305>1 Timothy 3:5,) that he who does not know how to rule his family, Will not be qualified for governing the Church. Now, this is the case with very many persons, and indeed with almost all who have been drawn out of an idle and solitary life, f57 as out of dens and caverns; for they are a sort of savages and destitute of humanity.

Who hath his children in subjection with, all reverence. The apostle does not recommend a clever man, and deeply skilled in domestic matters, but one who has learned to govern a family by wholesome discipline. He speaks chiefly of children, who may be expected to possess the natural disposition of their father; and therefore it will be a great disgrace to a bishop, if he has children who lead a wicked and scandalous life. As to wives, he will speak of them afterwards; but at present, as I have said, he glances at the most important part of a house.

In the Epistle to Titus, (<560106>Titus 1:6,) he shows what is here meant by the word reverence; for, after having said that the children of a bishop must not be unruly and disobedient, he likewise adds,

“nor liable to the reproach of profligacy or of intemperance.”

He therefore means, in a word, that their morals shall be regulated by all chastity, modesty, and gravity.

5. And if any one know not how to rule his own house. f58 This argument, drawn from the less to the greater, is in itself manifest, that he who is unfit for governing a family will be altogether unable to govern a people. Besides that it is evident that he is destitute of the virtues necessary for that purpose, what authority will he have over the people, seeing that his own house makes him contemptible?

6. Not a novice. There being many men of distinguished ability and learning who at that time were brought to the faith, Paul forbids that such persons shall be admitted to the office of a bishop, as soon as they have made profession of Christianity. And he shews how great would be the danger; for it is evident that they are commonly vain, and full of ostentation, and, in consequence of this, haughtiness and ambition will drive them headlong. What Paul says we experience; for “novices” have not only impetuous fervor and bold daring, but are also puffed up with foolish confidence, as if they could fly beyond the clouds. Consequently, it is not without reason that they are excluded from the honor of a bishopric, till, in process of time their proud temper shall be subdued.

Lest he fall into the condemnation of the devil. The judgment or condemnation of the devil may be interpreted in three ways; for some take Diabo>lou (of the devil) to mean Satan; and others, to mean slanderers. I give the preference to the former view; because it rarely happens that “judgment” means slander. But again, “the judgment of Satan” may be taken either actively or passively. This latter sense is adopted by Chrysostom, with whom I willingly agree There is an elegant contrast, which heightens the enormity of the case, “If he who is placed over the Church of God fall, by his pride, into the same condemnation with the devil.” Yet I do not reject the active signification, namely, that he will give the devil occasion for accusing him. But the opinion of Chrysostom is more correct. f59

7. A good report from those who are without. This appears to be very difficult, that a religious man should have, as witnesses of his integrity, infidels themselves, who are furiously mad to tell lies against us. But the apostle means, that, so far as relates to external behavior, even unbelievers themselves shall be constrained to acknowledge him to be a good man; for, although they groundlessly slander all the children of God, yet they cannot pronounce him to be a wicked man, who leads a good and inoffensive life amongst them. Such is that acknowledgment of uprightness which Paul here describes. The reason is added, —

Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil; which I explain in this manner: “lest, being subject to reproach, he begin to be hardened, and abandon himself the more freely to all iniquity, which is to entangle himself in the snares of the devil.” For what hope is left for him who sins without any shame?

<540308>1 Timothy 3:8-13

8. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

8. Diaconos similiter graves, non bilingues, non multo vino deditos, non turpiter lucri cupidos:

9. Holding the mystery of the in faith in a pure conscience.

9. Habentes mysterium fidei in pura conscientia.

10. And let these also first be proved, then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

10. Et hi probentur primum; deinde ministrent ubi irreprehensibiles comperti fuerint.

11. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things

11. Uxores similiter graves, non calumniatrices, sobrias, fideles in omnibus.

12. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

12. Diaconi sint unius uxoris mariti, qui honeste praesint liberis et domibus suis.

13. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

13. Nam qui bene ministraverint gradum sibi bonum (vel, honestum) acquirunt, et multam libertatem in fide, quae est in Christo Iesu.

 

8. Likewise the deacons. There is no reason why the diversity of interpretations should lead us to entertain any doubt. It is certain that time Apostle speaks of those who hold a public office in the Church; and this refutes the opinion of those who think that domestic servants are here meant. As to the view given by others, that it denotes presbyters who are inferior to the e bishop, that is without foundation; for it is manifest from other passages, that the term bishop belongs alike to all presbyters. f60 All are constrained to acknowledge this; and more especially a passage in the first chapter of the Epistle to Titus proves clearly that this is the meaning. (<560107>Titus 1:7.) It remains to be stated that we understand “the deacons” to be those who are mentioned by Luke, (<440603>Acts 6:3,) and who had the charge of the poor. But those who wish to have a more full account of the duties of deacons may consult the Institutes. f61

Grave, not double-tongued. The first four virtues, with which he wishes them to be endowed, are of themselves sufficiently well known. Yet it ought to be carefully observed that he advises them not to be double-tongued; because it is a vice which it is difficult to avoid in the discharge of that office, and yet ought, more than anything else, to be kept at a distance from it.

9. Holding the mystery of faith. As if he had said, “Holding the pure doctrine of religion, and that from the heart, with a sincere fear of God;” or, “Being well instructed in the faith, so as not to be ignorant of anything which it is necessary for Christians to know.” He gives to the sum of Christian doctrine the honorable appellation of a mystery; as indeed God, through the gospel, reveals to men on earth a wisdom which angels in heaven behold with admiration, and, therefore, we need not wonder if it exceed human capacity.

Let us therefore remember that it ought to be embraced with the deepest reverence; and because we could never, by our own strength, ascend to such a height, let us humbly entreat God to impart it to us by the Spirit of revelation. On the other hand, when we see wicked men either ridicule those doctrines or have no relish for then, let us acknowledge that it is owing to the grace of God that those things which have been hidden from others are in our hearts, and before our eyes, as Moses says, (<053011>Deuteronomy 30:11.)

Thus he wishes that deacons should be well instructed in “the mystery of faith;” because, although they; do not hold the office of teaching, yet it would be exceedingly absurd to hold a public office in the Church, while they were ill informed in the Christian faith, more especially since they must frequently be laid under the necessity of administering advice and consolation, if they do not choose to neglect their duties. It is added, in a pure conscience, which extends to the whole life, but chiefly that they may know how to obey God.

10. And let those be first tried. He wishes that they who are chosen should not be unknown, but that their integrity should be ascertained, like that of the bishops. And hence it is evident, that they are called blameless who are not stained by any marked vice. Besides, this trial is not for a single hour, but consists in long experience. In a word, when deacons are to be ordained, the choice must not fall at random, and without selection, on any that come to hand, but those men are to be chosen who are approved by their past life in such a manner that, after what may be called full inquiry, they are ascertained to be well qualified.

11. Likewise the wives. He means the wives both of deacons and of bishops, for they must be aids to their husbands in their office; which cannot be, unless their behavior excel that of others.

Let the deacons be. Since he mentioned wives, he lays down the same injunction about deacons as he had formerly down about bishops; namely, that each of them — satisfied within having but one wife — shall set an example of a chaste and honorable father of a family, and shall keep his children and his whole house under holy discipline. And this refutes the error of those who understand this passage as referring to domestic servants. f62

13. For they who have served well. Owing to a practice which came into use one or two centuries after the death of the apostles, of choosing presbyters from the order of deacons, this passage has been commonly interpreted as describing elevation to a higher rank, as if the Apostle called to the honor of being presbyters those who had faithfully discharged the office of a deacon. For my own part, though I do not deny that the order of deacons might sometimes be the nursery out of which presbyters were taken, yet I take Paul’s words as meaning, more simply, that they who have discharged this ministry in a proper manner are worthy of no small honor; because it is not a mean employment, but a highly honorable office. Now by this expression he intimates how much it is for the advantage of the Church to have this office discharged by choice men; because the holy discharge of it procures esteem and reverence.

How absurd is it for Papists to maintain that, in making deacons, they do what Paul enjoins! First, why do they make deacons but to carry the cup in a procession, and to feed the eyes of the ignorant with I know not what ridiculous exhibitions? Besides, they do not even observe this; for not a single deacon has been made, during the last five hundred years, except that, after taking this step, he may immediately rise to the priesthood. What impudence is it, to boast of elevating to a higher rank those who have ministered well, when they confer their priesthood on none but those who have never touched a single part of the former office!

And much liberty in the faith. With good reason does he add this; for there is nothing that tends so much to produce liberty as a good conscience and a life free from crime and reproach; as, on the contrary, timidity must be the lot of those who have a bad conscience. And if they sometimes make a valiant boast of liberty, yet it is not uniform and constant, nor has it any weight. For this reason he describes also the kind of liberty. “In the faith,” says he, which is in Christ; that is, that they may serve — Christ with greater boldness; as, on the other hand, they who have acted basely in the discharge of their office may be said to have their mouth shut and their hands tied, and are unfit for doing good; because no reliance — no authority is given to them.

<540314>1 Timothy 3:14-16

14. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly.

14. Haec tibi scribo, sperans brevi ad te venire.

15. But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

15. Quodsi tardavero, ut videas quomodo oporteat in domo Dei versari, quae est Ecclesia Dei viventis, columna et firmamentum veritatis.

16. And, without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

16. Et sine controversia magnum est pietatis mysterium; Deus manifestatus est in carne, justificatus in Spiritu, visus Angelis, praedicatus, Gentibus, fidem obtinuit in mundo receptus est in gloria.

 

14. These things I write to thee. He holds out to Timothy the hope of his coming, partly in order to encourage him, and partly in order to repress the insolence of those who grew more haughty on account of his absence. And yet he does not make any feigned promise to Timothy, or terrify others through false presence; for he fully expected that he would come, as it is probable that he came, if he wrote this epistle at the time when he passed through Phrygia, as is related by Luke. (<441823>Acts 18:23.) Let us look on this as a proof how great was his anxiety for the churches, when he could not endure to delay for a short time a remedy for a present evil. Yet immediately afterwards he adds, that he wrote this epistle for the purpose of informing Timothy, if it should happen that he were delayed longer than he thought.

15. How thou oughtest to conduct thyself: By this mode of expression he commends the weight and dignity of the office; because pastors f63 may be regarded as stewards, to whom God has committed the charge of governing his house. If any person has the superintendence of a large house, he labors night and day with earnest solicitude, that nothing may go wrong through his neglect, or ignorance, or carelessness. If only for men this is done, how much more should it be done for God?

In the house of God. There are good reasons why God bestows this name on his Church; for not only has he received us to be his children by the grace of adoption, but he also dwelleth in the midst of us.

The pillar and foundation of truth. No ordinary enhancement is derived from this appellation. Could it have been described in loftier language? Is anything more venerable, or more holy, than that everlasting truth which embraces both the glory of God and the salvation of men? Were all the praises of heathen philosophy, with which it has been adorned by its followers, collected into one heap, what is this in comparison of the dignity of this wisdom, which alone deserves to be called light and truth, and the instruction of life, and the way, and the kingdom of God? Now it is preserved on earth by the ministry of the Church alone. What a weight, therefore, rests on the pastors, who have been entrusted with the charge of so inestimable a treasure! With what impudent trifling do Papists argue from the words of Paul that all their absurdities ought to be held as oracles of God, because they are “the pillar of truth,” and therefore cannot err!

First, we ought to see why Paul adorns the Church with so magnificent a title. By holding out to pastors the greatness of the office, He undoubtedly intended to remind them with what fidelity, and industry, and reverence they ought to discharge it. How dreadful is the vengeance that awaits them, if, through their fault, that truth which is the image of the Divine glory, the light of the world, and the salvation of men, shall be allowed to fall! This consideration ought undoubtedly to lead pastors to tremble continually, not to deprive them of all energy, but to excite them to greater vigilance.

Hence we may easily conclude in what sense Paul uses these words. The reason why the Church is called the “pillar of truth” is, that she defends and spreads it by her agency. God does not himself come down from heaven to us, nor does he daily send angels to make known his truth; but he employs pastors, whom he has appointed for that purpose. To express it in a more homely manner, is not the Church the mother of all believers? Does she not regenerate them by the word of God, educate and nourish them through their whole life, strengthen, and bring them at length to absolute perfection? For the same reason, also, she is called “the pillar of truth;” because the office of administering doctrine, which God hath placed in her hands, is the only instrument of preserving the truth, that it may not perish from the remembrance of men.

Consequently this commendation relates to the ministry of the word; for if that be removed, the truth of God will fall to the ground. Not that it is less strong, if it be not supported by the shoulders of men, as the same Papists idly talk; for it is a shocking blasphemy to say, that the word of God is uncertain, till it obtain from men what may be called a borrowed certainty. Paul simply means what he states elsewhere in other words, that since our “faith is by hearing,” there will be no faith, unless there be preaching. (<451017>Romans 10:17.) Accordingly in reference to men, the Church maintains the truth, because by preaching the Church proclaims it, because she keeps it pure and entire, because she transmits it to posterity. And if the instruction of the gospel be not proclaimed, if there are no godly ministers who, by their preaching, rescue truth from darkness and forgetfulness, instantly falsehoods, errors, impostures, superstitions, and every kind of corruption, will reign. In short, silence in the Church is the banishment and crushing of the truth. Is there anything at all forced in this exposition?

Having ascertained Paul’s meaning, let us return to the Papists. First, by applying this eulogium to themselves, they act wickedly; because they deck themselves with borrowed feathers. For, granting that the Church were elevated above the third heaven, I maintain that it has nothing to do with them in any manner. Nay, I even turn the whole passage against them; for, if the Church “is the pillar of truth,” it follows that the Church is not with them, when the truth not only lies buried, but is shockingly torn, and thrown down, and trampled under foot. Is this either a riddle or a quibble? Paul does not wish that any society, in which the truth of God does not hold a lofty and conspicuous place, shall be acknowledged to be a Church; now there is nothing of all this in Popery, but only ruin and desolation; and, therefore, the true mark of a Church is not found in it. But the mistake arises from this, that they do not consider, what was of the greatest importance, that the truth of God is maintained by the pure preaching of the gospel; and that the support of it does not depend on the faculties or understandings of men, but rests on what is far higher, that is, if it does not depart from the simple word of God.

16. Great is the mystery of godliness. Again, here is another enhancement. That the truth of God might not, through the ingratitude of men, be less esteemed than it ought, he extols its value, by stating that

“great is the secret of godliness;”

that is, because it does not treat of mean subjects, but of the revelation of the Son of God,

“in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom.” (<510203>Colossians 2:3.)

From the greatness and importance of such matters, pastors ought to judge of their office, that they may devote themselves to the discharge of it with greater conscientiousness and deeper reverence.

God manifested in the flesh. The Vulgate’s translator, by leaving out the name of God, refers what follows to “the mystery,” but altogether unskillfully and inappropriately, as will clearly be seen on a bare perusal, though he has Erasmus on his side, who, however, destroys the authority of his own views, so that it is unnecessary for me to refute it. All the Greek copies undoubtedly agree in this rendering, “God manifested in the flesh.” But granting that Paul did not express the name of God, still any one who shall carefully examine the whole matter, will acknowledge that the name of Christ ought to be supplied. For my own part, I have no hesitation in following the reading which has been adopted in the Greek copies. In calling the manifestation of Christ, such as he afterwards describes it, a “great mystery,” the reason is obvious; for this is “the height, depth, and breadth of wisdom,” which he has elsewhere mentioned, (<490318>Ephesians 3:18,) by which all our senses must unavoidably be overwhelmed.

Let us now examine the various clauses in their order. He could not have spoken more appropriately about the person of Christ than in these words, “God manifested in the flesh.” First, we have here an express testimony of both natures; for he declares at the same time that Christ is true God and true man. Secondly, he points out the distinction between the two natures, when, on the one hand, he calls him God, and, on the other, expresses his “manifestation, in the flesh.” Thirdly, he asserts the unity of the person, when he declares, that it is one and the same who was God, and who has been manifested in the flesh.

Thus, by this single passage, the true and orthodox faith is powerfully defended against Arius, Marcion, Nestorius, and Eutyches. There is also great emphasis in the contrast of the two words, God in flesh. How wide is the difference between God and man! And yet in Christ we behold the infinite glory of God united to our polluted flesh in such a manner that they become one. f64

Justified in the Spirit. As the Son of God “emptied himself,” (<502007>Philippians 2:7,) by taking upon him our flesh, so there was displayed in him a spiritual power which testified that he is God. This passage has received various interpretations; but, for my own part, satisfied with having explained the Apostle’s real meaning, as far as I understand it, I shall add nothing more. First, justification here denotes an acknowledgment of divine power; as in <191909>Psalm 19:9, where it is said, that

“the judgments of God are justified,”

that is, are wonderfully and absolutely perfect; f65 and in <195105>Psalm 51:5, that “God is justified,” meaning that the praise of his justice is illustriously displayed. So also, (<401119>Matthew 11:19, and <420735>Luke 7:35,) when Christ says, that

“Wisdom hath been justified by her children,”

he means that they have given honor unto her; and when Luke (<420729>Luke 7:29) relates that the publicans “justified God,” he means that they acknowledged, with due reverence and gratitude, the grace of God which they beheld in Christ. What we read here has, therefore, the same meaning as if Paul had said, that he who appeared clothed with human flesh was, at the same time, declared to be the Son of God, so that the weakness of the flesh made no diminution of his glory.

Under the word Spirit, he includes everything in Christ that was divine and superior to man; and he does so for two reasons: First, because he had been humbled in “the flesh,” the Apostle now, by exhibiting the illustration of his glory, contrasts “the Spirit” with “the flesh.” Secondly, that glory, worthy of the only — begotten Son of God, which John affirms to have been seen in Christ, (<430114>John 1:14,) did not consist in outward display, or in earthly splendor, but was almost wholly spiritual. The same form of expression is used by him, (<450103>Romans 1:3-4,) “Who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared by the power of the Spirit to be the Son of. God;” but with this difference, that in that passage he mentions one kind of manifestation, namely, the resurrection.

Seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles. All these statements are wonderful and astonishing; that God deigned to bestow on the Gentiles, who had hitherto wandered in the blindness of their minds, a revelation of his Son, which had been unknown even to the angels in heaven. When the Apostle says, that he was “seen by angels,” he means that the sight was such as drew the attention of angels, both by its novelty and by its excellence. How uncommon and extraordinary the calling of the Gentiles was, we have stated in the exposition of the second chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians. f66 Nor is it wonderful that it was a new spectacle to angels, who, though they knew about the redemption of mankind, yet did not at first understand the means by which it should be accomplished, and from whom it must have been concealed, in order that this remarkable display of the goodness of God might be beheld by them with greater admiration.

Obtained belief in the world. It was above all things astonishing that God made the Gentiles, who were heathens, and the angels, who held uninterrupted possession of his kingdom, to be equally partakers of the same revelation. But this great efficacy of the preached gospel was no ordinary miracle, when Christ, overcoming all obstacles, subdued to the obedience of faith those who seemed to be altogether incapable of being tanned. Certainly nothing appeared to be less probable — so completely was every entrance closed and shut up. Yet faith vanquished, but by an incredible kind of victory.

Lastly, he says that he was received into glory; that is, from this mortal and wretched life. Accordingly, as in the world, so far as related to the obedience of faith, so also in the person of Christ, the change was wonderful, when, from the mean condition of a servant, he was exalted to the right hand of the Father, that every knee may bow to him.


CHAPTER 4

<540401>1 Timothy 4:1-5

1. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils,

1. Spiritus autem clare dicit, quod in posterioribus temporibus desciscent quidam a fide, attendentes spiritibus impostoribus, et doctrinis daemoniorum.

2. Speaking lies in hypocrisy having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

2. In hypocrisi falsiloquorum, cauterio notatam habentium conscientiam;

3. Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

3. Prohibentium matrimonia contrahere, jubentium abstinere a cibis, quos Deus creavit ad percipiendum cum gratiarum actione fidelibus, et qui congnoverunt veritatem.

4. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving;

4. Quod omnis creatura Dei bona, et nihil rejiciendum quod cum gratiarum actione sumatur:

5. For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

5. Sanctificatur enim per sermonem Dei et precationem.

 

1. Now the Spirit plainly saith. He had industriously admonished Timothy about many things; and now he sews the necessity, because it is proper to provide against the danger which the Holy Spirit forewarns to be fast approaching, namely, that false teachers will come, who shall hold out trifles as the doctrine of faith, and who, placing all holiness in outward exercises, shall throw into the shade the spiritual worship of God, which alone is lawful. And, indeed, the servants of God have always had to contend against such persons as Paul here describes. Men being by nature inclined to hypocrisy, Satan easily persuades them that God is worshipped aright by ceremonies and outward discipline; and, indeed, without a teacher, almost all have this conviction deeply rooted in their hearts. Next is added the craftiness of Satan to confirm the error: The consequence is, that, in all ages, there have been impostors, who recommended false worship, by which true godliness was buried. Again, this plague produces another, namely, that, in matters indifferent, men are laid under restraint; for the world easily permits itself to be hindered from doing that which God had declared to be lawful, in order that they may have it in their power to transgress with impunity the laws of God.

Here Paul, therefore, in the person of Timothy, forewarns not only the Ephesians, but all the churches throughout the world, about hypocritical teachers, who, by setting up false worship, and by ensnaring consciences with new laws, adulterate the true worship of God, and corrupt the pure doctrine of faith. This is the real object of the passage, which it is especially necessary to remark.

Besides, in order that all may hear with more earnest attention what he is going to say, he opens with a preface, that this is an undoubted and very clear prophecy of the Holy Spirit. There is, indeed, no reason to doubt that he drew all the rest from the same Spirit; but, although we ought always to listen to him as communicating the will of Christ, yet in a matter of vast importance he wished especially to testify that he said nothing but by the Spirit of prophecy. By a solemn announcement, therefore, he recommends to us this prophecy; and, not satisfied with doing this, he adds that it is plain, and free from all ambiguity.

In the latter times. At that time certainly it could not have been expected that, amidst so clear light of the gospel, any would have revolted. But this is what Peter says, that, as false teachers formerly gave annoyance to the people of Israel, so they will never cease to disturb the Christian Church. (<610303>2 Peter 3:3.) The meaning is the same as if he had said, “The doctrine of the gospel is now in a flourishing state, but Satan will not long refrain from laboring to choke the pure seed by tares.” f67 (<401320>Matthew 13:20, 38.)

This warning was advantageous in the age of the Apostle Paul, that both pastors and others might give earnest attention to pure doctrine, and not suffer themselves to be deceived. To us in the present day it is not less useful, when we perceive that nothing has happened which was not fore told by an express prophecy of the Spirit. Besides, we may here remark; how great care God exercises about his Church, when he gives so early warning of dangers. Satan has, indeed, manifold arts for leading us into error, and attacks us by astonishing stratagems; but, on the other hand, fortifies us sufficiently, if we did not of our own accord choose to be deceived. There is therefore no reason to complain that darkness is more powerful than light, or that truth is vanquished by falsehood; but, on the contrary, we suffer the punishment of our carelessness and indolence, when we are led aside from the right way of salvation.

But they who flatter themselves in their errors object, that it is hardly possible to distinguish whom or what kind of persons Paul describes. As if it were for nothing that the Spirit uttered this prophecy, and published it so long before; for, if there were no certain mark, the whole of the present warning would be superfluous, and consequently absurd. But far be it from us to think that the Spirit of God gives us unnecessary alarm, or does not accompany the threatening of danger by strewing how we should guard against it! And that slander is sufficiently refuted by the words of Paul; for he points out, as with the finger, that evil which he warns us to avoid. He does not speak, in general terms, about false prophets, but plainly describes the kind of false doctrine; namely, that which, by linking godliness with outward elements, perverts and profanes, as I have already said, the spiritual worship of God.

Some will revolt from the faith. It is uncertain whether he speaks of teachers or of hearers; but I am more disposed to refer it to the latter; for he afterwards calls teachers spirits that are impostors. And this is (ejmfatikw>teron) more emphatic, that not only will there be those who sow wicked doctrines, and corrupt the purity of faith, but that they can never want disciples whom they call draw into their sect; and when a lie thus gains prevalence, there arises from it greater trouble.

Besides, it is no slight vice which he describes, but a very heinous crime — apostasy from the faith; although, at first Sight, in the doctrine which he briefly notices there does not appear to be so much evil. What is the case? Is faith completely overturned on account of the prohibition of marriage, or of certain kinds of food? But we must take into view a higher reason, that men pervert and invent at their pleasure the worship of God, that they assume dominion over the consciences, and that they dare to forbid that use of good things which the Lord has permitted. As soon as the purity of the worship of God is impaired, there no longer remains anything perfect or sound, and faith itself is utterly ruined.

Accordingly, although Papists laugh at us, when we censure their tyrannical laws about outward observances, yet we know that we are pleading a cause of the greatest weight and importance; because the doctrine of faith is destroyed, as soon as the worship of God is infected by such corruptions. The controversy is not about flesh or fish, or about a black or ashy color, or about Friday or Wednesday, but about the mad superstitions of men, who wish to appease God by such trifles, and, by contriving a carnal worship of him, contrive for themselves an idol instead of God. Who will deny that this is revolting from the faith?

 To deceiving spirits. He means prophets or teachers, to whom he gives this designation, because they boast of the Spirit, and, under this title, insinuate themselves into the favor of the people. This, indeed, is true at all times, that men, whatever they are, speak under the excitement of the spirit. But it is not the same spirit that excites them all; for sometimes Satan is a lying spirit in the mouth of the false prophets, in order to deceive unbelievers, who deserve to be deceived. (<112221>1 Kings 22:21-23.) On the other hand, every one that renders due honor to Christ speaks by the Spirit of God, as Paul testifies. (<461203>1 Corinthians 12:3.)

Now that mode of expression, of which we are now speaking, originated at first from this circumstance, that the servants of God professed to have from the revelation of the Spirit, everything that they uttered in public. This was actually true; and hence they received the name of the Spirit, whose organs they were. But the ministers of Satan, by a false emulation, like apes, began afterwards to make the same boast, and likewise falsely assumed the name. On the same grounds John says,

“Try the spirits, whether they are of God.” (<620401>1 John 4:1.)

Moreover, Paul explains his meaning by adding, to doctrines of devils; which is as if he bad said, “Attending to false prophets, and to their devilish doctrines.” Again observe, that it is not an error of small importance, or one that ought to be concealed, when consciences are bound by the contrivances of men, and at the same time the worship of God is corrupted.

2. Speaking lies in hypocrisy. If these words refer to “demons,” then this word will mean men deceiving through the instigation of the devil. But we may also supply the words, “of men speaking.” He now descends to a particular instance, when he says that they “speak lies in hypocrisy,” and have their conscience seared with a hot iron. And, indeed, it ought to be known that these two are so closely Joined together that the former springs from the latter; for consciences, that are bad and seared with the hot iron of their crimes, always flee to hypocrisy as a ready refuge; that is, they contrive hypocritical presences, in order to dazzle the eyes of God; and what else is done by those who endeavor to appease God by the mask of outward observances?

The word hypocrisy must therefore lie explained agreeably to the passage in which it now occurs; for, first, it must relate to doctrine, and, next, it denotes that kind of doctrine which adulterates the spiritual worship of God by exchanging its genuine purity for bodily exercises; and thus it includes all methods contrived by men for appeasing God or obtaining his favor. The meaning may be thus summed up; first, that all who assume a pretended sanctimoniousness are led by the instigation of the devil; because God is never worshipped aright by outward ceremonies; for true worshipers

“worship him in spirit and truth,” (<430424>John 4:24)

and, secondly, that this is a useless medicine, by which hypocrites mitigate their pains, or rather a plaster by which bad consciences conceal their wounds, without any advantage, and to their utter destruction.

3. Forbidding to marry. Having described the class, he next mentions two instances, f68 namely, the prohibition of marriage and of some kinds of food. They arise from that hypocrisy which, having forsaken true holiness, seeks something else for time purpose of concealment and disguise; for they who do not keep from ambition, covetousness, hatred, cruelty, and such like, endeavor to obtain a righteousness by abstaining from those things which God has left at large. Why are consciences burdened by those laws, but because perfection is sought in something different from the law of God? This is not done but by hypocrites, who, in order that they may with impunity transgress that righteousness of the heart which the law requires, endeavor to conceal their inward wickedness by those outward observances as veils with which they cover themselves.

This was a distinct threatening of danger, so that it was not difficult for men to guard against it, at least if they had lent their ears to the Holy Spirit, when he gave so express a warning. Yet we see that the darkness of Satan generally prevailed, so that the clear light of this striking and memorable prediction was of no avail. Not long after the death of the apostle, arose Encratites, (who took their name from continence,) Tatianists, f69 Catharists, Montanus with his sect, and at length Manichaeans, who had extreme aversion to marriage and the eating of flesh, and condemned them as profane things. Although they were disowned by the Church, on account of their haughtiness, in wishing to subject others to their opinions, yet it is evident that those who opposed them yielded to their error more than was proper. It was not intended by those of whom I am now speaking to impose a law on Christians; but yet they attached greater weight than they ought to have done to superstitious observances, such as abstaining from marriage, and not tasting flesh.

Such is the disposition of the world, always dreaming that God ought to be worshipped in a carnal manner, as if God were carnal. Matters becoming gradually worse, this tyranny was established, that it should not be lawful for priests or monks to enter into the married state, and that no person should dare to taste flesh on certain days. Not unjustly, therefore, do we maintain that this prediction was uttered against the Papists, since celibacy and abstinence from certain kinds of food are enjoined by them more strictly than any commandment of God. They think that they escape by an ingenious artifice, when they torture Paul’s words to direct them against Tatianists or Manichaeans, or such like; as if the Tatianists had not the same means of escape open to them by throwing back the censure of Paul on the Cataphrygians, and on Montanus the author of that sect; or as if the Cataphrygians had it not in their power to bring forward the Encratites, in their room, as the guilty parties. But Paul does not here speak of persons, but of the thing itself; and, therefore although a hundred different sects he brought forward, all of which are charged with the same hypocrisy in forbidding some kinds of food, they shall all incur the same condemnation.

Hence it follows, that to no purpose do the Papists point to the ancient heretics, as if they alone were censured; we must always see if they are not guilty in the same manner They object, that they do not resemble the Encratites and Manichaens, because they do not absolutely forbid the use of marriage and of flesh, but only on certain days constrain to abstinence from flesh, and make the vow of celibacy compulsory on none but monks and priests and nuns. But this excuse also is excessively frivolous; for, first, they nevertheless make holiness to consist in these things; next, they set up a false and spurious worship of God; and lastly, they bind consciences by a necessity from which they ought to have been free.

In the fifth book of Eusebius, there is a fragment taken out of the writings of Apollonius, in which, among other things, he reproaches Montanus with being the first that dissolved marriage, and laid down laws for fasting. He does not say, that Montanus absolutely prohibited marriage or certain kinds of food. It is enough if he lay a religious obligation on the consciences, and command men to worship God by observing those things; for the prohibition of things that are indifferent, whether it be general or special, is always a diabolical tyranny. That this is true in regard to certain kinds of food will appear more clearly from the next clause,

Which God created. It is proper to observe the reason, that, in the use of various kinds of food, we ought to be satisfied with the liberty which God has granted to us; because He created them for this purpose. It yields inconceivable joy to all the godly, when they know that all the kinds of food which they eat are put into their hands by the Lord, so that the use of them is pure and lawful. What insolence is it in men to take away what God bestows! Did they create food? Can they make void the creation of God? Let it always be remembered by us, that he who created the food, gave us also the free use of it, which it is vain for men to attempt to hinder.

To be received with Thanksgiving. God created food to be received; that is, that we may enjoy it. This end can ever be set aside by human authority. He adds, with thanksgiving; because we can never render to God any recompense for his kindness but a testimony of gratitude. And thus he holds up to greater abhorrence those wicked lawgivers who, by new and hasty enactments, hinder the sacrifice of praise which God especially requires us to offer to him. Now, there can be no thanksgiving without sobriety and temperance; for the kindness of God is not truly acknowledged by him who wickedly abuses it.

By believers. What then? Does not God make his sun to rise daily on the good and the bad? (<400545>Matthew 5:45.) Does not the earth, by his command, yield bread to the wicked? Are not the very worst of men fed by his blessing? When David says,

“He causeth the herb to grow for the service of men, that he may bring forth food out of the earth,” (<19A414>Psalm 104:14)

the kindness which he describes is universal. I reply, Paul speaks here of the lawful use, of which we are assured before God. Wicked men are in no degree partakers of it, on account of their impure conscience, which, as is said,

“defileth all things.” (<560115>Titus 1:15,)

And indeed, properly speaking, God has appointed to his children alone the whole world and all that is in the world. For this reason, they are also called the heirs of the world; for at the beginning Adam was appointed to be lord of all, on this condition, that he should continue in obedience to God. Accordingly, his rebellion against God deprived of the right, which had been bestowed on him, not only himself but his posterity,. And since all things are subject to Christ, we are fully restored by His mediation, and that through faith; and therefore all that unbelievers enjoy may be regarded as the property of others, which they rob or steal.

And by those that know the truth. In this clause he defines who they are whom he calls “believers,” namely, those that have a knowledge of sound doctrine; for there is no faith but from the word of God; in order that we may not falsely think, as the Papists imagine, that faith is a confused opinion.

4. For every creature of God is good. The use of food must be judged, partly from its substance, and partly from the person of him who eats it. The Apostle therefore avails himself of both arguments. So far as relates to food, he asserts that it is pure, because God has created it; and that the use of it is consecrated to us by faith and prayer. The goodness of the creatures, which he mentions, has relation to men, and that not with regard to the body or to health, but to the consciences. I make this remark, that none may enter into curious speculations unconnected with the scope of the passage; for, in a single word, Paul means, that those things which come from the hand of God, and are intended for our use, are not unclean or polluted before God, but that we may freely eat them with regard to conscience.

If it be objected, that many animals were formerly pronounced to be unclean under the Law, and that fruit, which: was yielded by the tree of knowledge of good and evil, was destructive to man; the answer is, that creatures are not called pure, merely because they are the works of God, but because, through his kindness, they have been given to us; for we must always look at the appointment of God, both what he commands and what he forbids.

5. For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. This is the confirmation of the preceding clause, if it be received with Thanksgiving. And it is an argument drawn from contrast; for “holy” and “profane” are things contrary to each other. Let us now see what is time sanctification of all good things, which belong to the sustenance of the present life. Paul testifies that it consists of “the word of God and prayer.” But it ought to be observed, that this word must be embraced by faith, in order that it may be advantageous; for, although God himself sanctifies all things by the Spirit of his mouth, yet we do not obtain that benefit but by faith. To this is added “prayer;” for, on the one hand, we ask from God our daily bread, according to the commandment of Christ, (<400611>Matthew 6:11;) and, on the other hand we offer thanksgiving to Him for His goodness.

Now Paul’s doctrine proceeds on this principle, that there is no good thing, the possession of which is lawful, unless conscience testify that it is lawfully our own. And which of us would venture to claim for himself a single grain of wheat, if he were not taught by the word of God that he is the heir of the world? Common sense, indeed, pronounces, that the wealth of the world is naturally intended for our use; but, since dominion over the world was taken from us in Adam, everything that we touch of the gifts of God is defiled by our pollution; and, on the other hand, it is unclean to us, till God graciously come to our aid, and’ by ingrafting us into his Son, constitutes us anew to be lords of the world, that we may lawfully use as our own all the wealth with which he supplies us.

Justly, therefore, does Paul connect lawful enjoyment with “the word”, by which alone we regain what was lost in Adam; for we must acknowledge God as our Father, that we may be his heirs, and Christ as our Head, that those things which are his may become ours. Hence it ought to be inferred that the use of all the gifts of God is unclean, unless it be accompanied by true knowledge and calling on the name of God; and that it is a beastly way of eating, when we sit down at table without any prayer; and, when we have eaten to the full, depart in utter forgetfulness of God.

And if such sanctification is demanded in regard to common food, which, together with the belly, is subject to corruption, what must we think about spiritual sacraments? If “the word,” and calling on God through faith, be not there, what remains that is not profane? Here we must attend to the distinction between the blessing of the sacramental table and the blessing of a common table; for, as to the food which we eat for the nourishment of our body, we bless it for this purpose, that we may receive it in a pure and lawful manner; but we consecrate, in a more solemn manner, the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, that they may be pledges to us of the body and blood of Christ.

<540406>1 Timothy 4:6-10

6. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

6. Haec suggerens fratribus, bonus eris Iesu Christi minister, innutritus sermonibus fidei, et bonae doctrinae quam sequutus es.

7. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

7. Profanas autem et aniles fabulas devita, quin potius exerce te ipsum ad pietatem.

8. For bodily exercise profiteth little; but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

8. Nam corporalis exercitatio paululum habet utilitatis; at pietas ad omnia utilis est, ut quae promissiones habeat vitae praesentis et futurae.

9. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation.

9. Fidelis sermo, dignusque qui modis onmibus approbetur.

10. For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.

10. Nam in hoc et laboramus, et probris afficimur, quod spem fixam habemus in Deo vivente, qui servator est omnium hominum, maxime fidelium.

 

6. Exhibiting these things to the brethren. By this expression he exhorts Timothy to mention those things frequently; and he afterwards repeats this a second and a third time; for they are things of such a nature as it is proper to call frequently to remembrance. And we ought to make the contrast which is implied; for the doctrine which he commends is here contrasted by him not with false or wicked doctrines, but with useless trifles which do not edify. He wishes that those trifles may be entirely buried in forgetfulness, when he enjoins Timothy to be earnest in exhibiting other things.

Thou shalt be a good minister. Men frequently aim at something else than to approve themselves to Christ; and consequently many are desirous of being applauded for genius, eloquence, and profound knowledge. And that is the very reason why they pay less attention to necessary things, which do not tend to procure the admiration of the common people. But Paul enjoins Timothy to be satisfied with this alone, to be a faithful minister of Christ. And certainly we ought to look on this as a far more honorable title than to be a thousand times called seraphic and subtle doctors. Let us, therefore, remember, that as it is the highest honor of a godly pastor to be reckoned a good servant of Christ, so he ought to aim at nothing else during his whole ministry; for whoever has any other object in view, will have it in his power to obtain applause from men, but will not please God. Accordingly, that we may not be deprived of so great a blessing, let us learn to seek nothing else, and to account nothing so valuable, and to treat everything as worthless in comparison of this single object.

Nourished. The Greek word ejntrefo>menov being a participle in the Middle Voice, might also have been translated in an active signification, nourishing; but as there is no noun governed by the verb, I think that this would be ratter a forced construction; and, therefore, I prefer to take it in a passive sense, as confirming the preceding exhortation by the education of Timothy. As if he had said, “As thou hast been, from thy infancy, properly instructed in the faith, and, so to speak, hast sucked along with the milk sound doctrine, and hast made continual progress in it hitherto, endeavor, by faithful ministration, to prove that thou art such.” This meaning agrees also with the composition of the word ejntrefo>menov.

In the words of faith and of good doctrine. Faith is here taken for the sum of Christian doctrine; and what he immediately adds, about good doctrine, is for the sake of explanation; f71 for he means, that all other doctrines, how plausible so ever they may be, are not at all profitable.

Which thou hast followed. This clause denotes; perseverance; for many who, from their childhood, had purely learned Christ, afterwards degenerate in process of time; and the Apostle says, that Timothy was very unlike these persons.

7. Exercise thyself to godliness. f72 After having instructed him as to doctrine, what it ought to be, he now also admonishes him what kind of example he ought to give to others. He says, that he ought to be employed in “godliness;” for, when he says, Exercise thyself, he means that this is his proper occupation, his labor, his chief care. As if he had said, “There is no reason why you should weary yourself to no purpose about other matters; you will do that which is of the highest importance, if you devote yourself, with all your zeal, and with all your ability, to godliness alone.” By the word godliness, he means the spiritual worship of God which consists in purity of conscience; which is still more evident from what follows, when it is contrasted with bodily exercise.

8. For bodily exercise is of little profit. By the exercise “of the body,” he does not mean that which lies in: hunting, or in the race-course, or in wrestling, or in digging, or in the mechanical occupations; but he gives that name to all the outward actions that are undertaken, for the sake of religion, such as watchings, long fasts, lying on the earth, and such like. Yet he does not here censure the superstitious observance of those things; otherwise he would totally condemn them, as he does in the Epistle to the Colossians, (<510221>Colossians 2:21,) but at present he only speaks slightingly of them, and says that they are of little advantage. So, then though the heart be altogether upright, and the object proper, yet, in outward actions, Paul finds nothing that he can value highly.

This is a very necessary warning; for the world will always lean to the side of wishing to worship God by outward services; which is an exceedingly dangerous imagination. But — to say nothing about the wicked opinion of merit — our nature always disposes us strongly to attribute more than we ought to austerity of life; as if it were no ordinary portion of Christian holiness. A clearer view of this cannot be adduced, than the fact, that, shortly after the publication of this command, the whole world was ravished with immoderate admiration of the empty form of bodily exercises. Hence arose the order of monks and nuns, and nearly all the most excellent discipline of the ancient Church, or, at least, that part of it which was most highly esteemed by the common people. If the ancient monks had not dreamed that there was some indescribably divine or angelical perfection in their austere manner of living, they would never have pursued it with so much ardor. In like manner, if pastors had not attached undue value to the ceremonies which were then observed for the mortification of the flesh, they would never have been so rigid in exacting them.: And what does Paul say on the other hand? That, when any one shall have labored much and long in those exercises, the profit will be small and inconsiderable; for they are nothing but the rudiments of childish discipline.

But godliness is profitable for all things.That is, he who has godliness wants nothing, though he has not those little aids; for godliness alone is able to conduct a man to complete perfection. It is the beginning, the middle, and the end, of Christian life; and, therefore, where that is entire, nothing is imperfect. Christ did not lead so austere a manner of life as John the Baptist; was he, therefore, any whit inferior? Let the meaning be thus summed up. “We ought to apply ourselves altogether to piety alone; because when we have once attained it, God asks nothing more from us; and we ought to give attention to bodily exercises in such a manner as not to hinder or retard the practice of godliness.”

Which hath the promises. It is a very great consolation, that God does not wish the godly to be in want of anything; for, having made our perfection to consist in godliness, he now makes it the perfection of all happiness. As it is the beginning of happiness in this life, so he likewise extends to it the promise of divine grace, which alone makes us happy, and without which we are very miserable; for God testifies that, even in this life, he will be our Father.

But let us remember to distinguish between the good things of the present and of the future life; for God bestows kindness on us in this world, in order that he may give us only a taste of his goodness, and by such a taste may allure us to the desire of heavenly benefits, that in them we may find satisfaction. The consequence is, that the good things of the present life are not only mingled with very many afflictions, but, we may almost say, overwhelmed by them; for it is not expedient for us to have abundance in this world, lest we should indulge in luxury. Again, lest any one should found on this passage the merits of works, we ought to keep in mind what we have already said, that godliness includes not only a good conscience toward men, and the fear of God, but likewise faith and calling upon him.

9. This is a faithful saying. He now sets down, at the conclusion of the argument, what he stated twice at the beginning of it; and he appears to do so expressly, because he will immediately subjoin the contrary objection. Yet it is not without good reason that he employs so strong an assertion; for it is a paradox strongly at variance with the feeling of the flesh, that God supplies his people, in this world, with everything that is necessary for a happy and joyful life; since they are often destitute of all good things, and, on that account, appear to be forsaken by God. Accordingly, not satisfied with the simple doctrine, he wards off all opposing temptations by this shield, and in this manner instructs believers to open the door to the grace of God, which our unbelief shuts out; for, undoubtedly if we were willing to receive God’s benefits, f73 he would use greater liberality toward us.

10. For in this we both labor and suffer reproaches. This is an anticipation by which he solves that question, “Are not believers the most miserable of all men, because they are oppressed by tribulations of every kind?” In order to show, therefore, that their condition must not be judged from outward appearance, he distinguishes them from others, first in the cause, and next in the result. Hence it follows, that they lose nothing of the promises which he has mentioned, when they are tried by adversity. The sum is, that believers are not miserable in afflictions, because a good conscience supports them, and a blessed and joyful end awaits them.

Now, since the happiness of the present life consists chiefly of two parts, honor and conveniences, he contrasts them within two evils, toils and reproach, meaning by the former words, inconveniences and annoyances of every kind, such as poverty, cold, nakedness, hunger, banishments, spoliations, imprisonments, scourgings, and other persecutions.

We have hope fixed on the living God. This consolation refers to the cause; for so far are we from being miserable, when we suffer on account of righteousness, that it is rather a just ground of thanksgiving. Besides, our afflictions are accompanied by hope in the living God, and, what is more, hope may be regarded as the foundation; but it never maketh ashamed, (<450505>Romans 5:5,) and therefore everything that happens to the godly ought to be reckoned a gain.

Who is the Savior. f74 This is the second consolation, though it depends on the former; for the deliverance of which he speaks may be viewed as the fruit of hope. To make this more clear, it ought to be understood that this is an argument drawn from the less to the greater; for the word swth<r f75 is here a general term, and denotes one Who defends and preserves. He means that the kindness of God extends to all men. And if there is no man who does not feel the goodness of God towards him, and who is not a partaker of it, how much more shall it be experienced by the godly, who hope in him? Will he not take peculiar care in them? Will he not more freely pour out his bounty on them? In a word, will he not, in every respect, keep them safe to the end?

<540411>1 Timothy 4:11-16

11. These things command and teach.

11. Praecipe haec et doce.

12. Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in sermon, in conversations, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

12. Nemo tuam juventutem despiciat; sed esto exemplar fidelium, in sermone, in conversatione, in caritate, in spiritu, in fide, in castitate.

13. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

13. Donec venio, attende lectioni, exhortationi, doctrinae.

14. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

14. Ne donum, quod in te est, negligas, quod tibi datum est per prophetiam cum impositione manuum presbyterii.

15. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them that thy profiting may appear to all.

15. Haec cura, in his esto; ut profectus tuus in omnibus manifestus fiat.

16. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

16. Attende tibi ipsi et doctrinae, permane in his; hoc enim si feceris, et te ipsum servabis, et eos qui te audiunt.

 

11. Instruct and teach these things He means that the doctrine is of such a kind, that men ought not to be weary of it, though they heard it every day. There are, no doubt, other things to be taught; but there is emphasis in the demonstrative these; for it means that they are not things of small importance, of which it is enough to take a passing and brief notice; but, on the contrary, that they deserve to be repeated every day, because they cannot be too much inculcated. A prudent pastor ought, therefore, to consider what things are chiefly necessary, that he may dwell on them. Nor is there reason to dread that it shall become wearisome; for whosoever is of God will gladly hear frequently those things which need to be so often uttered.

12. Let no man despise thy youth. He says this, both in regard to others, and to Timothy himself. As to others, he does not wish that the age of Timothy should prevent him from obtaining that reverence which he deserves, provided that, in other respects, he conduct himself as becomes a minister of Christ. And, at the same time, he instructs Timothy to supply by gravity of demeanor what is wanting in his age. As if he had said, “Take care that, by gravity of demeanor, thou procure for thyself so great reverence, that thy youthful age, which, in other respects lays one open to contempt, may take nothing from thy authority.” Hence we learn that Timothy was still young, though he held a place of distinguished excellence among many pastors; and that it is a grievous mistake to estimate by the number of years how much is due to a person.

But be an example of the believers. f76 He next informs him what are the true ornaments; not external marks, such as the crosier, the ring, the cloak, and such like trifles, or children’s rattles; but soundness of doctrine and holiness of life. When he says, by speech and conversation, the meaning is the same as if he had said, “by words and actions,” and therefore by the whole life.

Those which follow are parts of a godly conversation — charity, spirit faith, chastity. By the word spirit, I understand ardor of zeal for God, if it be not thought better to interpret it more generally, to which I have no objection. Chastity is not merely contrasted with uncleanness, but denotes purity of the whole life. Hence we learn, that they act a foolish and absurd part, who complain that no honor is paid to them, while they have nothing about them that is worthy of applause, but, on the contrary, expose themselves to contempt, both by their ignorance, and by a detestable example of life, or by levity or other abominations. The only way of procuring reverence is, by excellent virtues, to guard ourselves against contempt.

13. Attend to reading. He knew Timothy’s diligence, and yet he recommends to him diligent reading of the Scriptures. How shall pastors teach others if they be not eager to learn? And if so great a man is advised to study to make progress from day to day, how much more do we need such an advice? Woe then to the slothfulness of those who do not peruse the oracles of the Holy Spirit by day and night, f77 in order to learn from them how to discharge their office!

Till I come. This reference to the time gives additional weight to the exhortation; for, while Paul hoped that he Would come soon, yet he was unwilling, meanwhile, that Timothy should remain unemployed even for a short time; how much more ought we to look forward diligently to our whole life!

To exhortation, to doctrine. Lest it should be thought that careless reading was enough, he, at the same time, shews that it must be explained with a view to usefulness when he enjoins him to give earnest attention “to doctrine and exhortation;” as if he enjoined him to learn in order to communicate to others. It is proper, also, to attend to this order, that he places reading before doctrine and exhortation; for, undoubtedly, the Scripture is the fountain of all wisdom, from which pastors must draw all that they place before their flock.

14. Neglect not the gift that is in thee. The Apostle exhorts Timothy to employ, for the edification of the Church, that grace with which he was endued. God does not wish that talents — which he has bestowed on any one, that they may bring gain — should either be lost, or be hidden in the earth without advantage. (<402518>Matthew 25:18, 25.) To neglect a gift is carelessly to keep it unemployed through slothfulness, so that, having contracted rust it is worn away without yielding any profit. Let each of us, therefore, consider what gift he possesses, that he may diligently apply it to use.

He says that grace was given to him by prophecy. How was this? It was because, as we have already said, the Holy Spirit marked out Timothy by revelation, that he might be admitted into the rank of pastors; for he had not only been chosen by the judgment of men, in the ordinary way, but had previously been named by the Spirit.

With the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. He says that it was conferred “with the laying on of hands;” by which he means, that, along with the ministry, he was also adorned with the necessary gifts. It was the custom and ordinary practice of the Apostles to ordain ministers “by the laying on of hands.” As to this ceremony, and its origin and meaning, I have formerly given a brief explanation of them, and the rest may be learned from the Institutes (Book 4: chap. 3.)

They who think that presbytery is here used as a collective noun, for “the college of presbyters or elders,” f78 are, I think, correct in their opinion; although, after weighing the whole matter, I acknowledge that a different meaning is not inapplicable, that is, that presbytery or eldership — is the name of an office. He put the ceremony for the very act of ordination; and therefore the meaning is, that Timothy — having been called to the ministry by the voice of the prophets, and having afterwards been solemnly ordained was, at the same time, endued with the grace of the Holy Spirit for the discharge of his office. Hence we infer that it was not a useless ceremony, because God? by his Spirit, accomplished that consecration which men expressed symbolically “by the laying on of hands.”

15. Take heed to these things. f79 The greater the difficulty in faithfully discharging the ministry of the Church, so much the more ought a pastor to apply himself earnestly, and with his whole might; and that not only for a short time, but with unfailing perseverance. f80 Paul therefore reminds Timothy that this work leaves no room for indolence, or for slackening his labors, but demands the utmost industry and constant application.

That thy profiting may be manifest. By adding these words, he means, that he ought to labor to this purpose, that by his agency the edification of the Church may be: more and more advanced, and that corresponding results may be visible; for it is not the work of a single day, and therefore he should strive to make daily progress. Some refer this to Timothy, that he may profit more and more; but I choose rather to interpret it as referring to the effect of his ministry.

The Greek words, ejn pa~sin, may either be translated, to all men, or, in all things. There will thus be a twofold meaning; either, “that all may see the progress which springs from his labors”, or, “that in all respects, or in every possible way, (which is the same thing,) they may be visible.” I prefer the latter view.

16. Give heed to thyself, and to the doctrine. There are two things of which a good pastor should be careful; to be diligent in teaching, and to keep himself pure. f81 It is not enough if he frame his life to all that is good and commendable, and guard against giving a bad example, if he do not likewise add to a holy life continual diligence in teaching; and, on the other hand, doctrine will be of little avail, if there be not a corresponding goodness and holiness of life. With good reason, therefore, does Paul urge Timothy to “give heed,” both to himself personally, and to doctrine, for the general advantage of the Church. On the other hand, he commends his constancy, that he may never grow weary; for there are many things that frequently happen, which may lead us aside from the right course, if we do not set our foot firmly to resist.

If thou shalt do these things, thou shalt both save thyself end them that hear thee. It is no ordinary spur to excite the thoughtfulness of pastors, when they learn that their own salvation, as well as that of the people, depends on the industry and perseverance with which they devote themselves to their office. And as doctrine, which solidly edifies, is commonly attended by little display, Paul says that he ought to consider what is profitable. As if he had said,” Let men who are desirous of glory be fed by their ambition, let them applaud themselves for their ingenuity; to you, let it be enough to devote yourself to your own salvation and that of the people.”

Now, this exhortation applies to the whole body of the Church, that they, may not take offense at the simplicity which both quickens souls and preserves them in health. Nor ought they to think it strange that Paul ascribes to Timothy the work of saving the Church; for, certainly, all that is gained to God is saved, and it is by the preaching of the gospel that we are gathered to Christ. And as the unfaithfulness or carelessness of the pastor is ruinous to the Church, so the cause of salvation is justly ascribed to his faithfulness and diligence. True, it is God alone that saves; and not even the smallest portion of his glory can lawfully be bestowed on men. But God parts with no portion of his glory when he employs the agency of men for bestowing salvation.

Our salvation is, therefore, the gift of God alone, because from him alone it proceeds, and by his power alone it is performed; and therefore, to him alone, as the author, it must be ascribed. But the ministry of men is not on that account excluded, nor does all this interfere with the salutary tendency of that government on which, as Paul shews, the prosperity of the Church depends. (<490411>Ephesians 4:11.) Moreover, this is altogether the work of God, because it is he who forms good pastors, and guides them by his Spirit, and blesses their labor, that it may not be ineffectual.

If thus a good pastor is the salvation of his hearers, let bad and careless men know that their destruction must be ascribed to those who have the charge of them; for, as the: salvation of the flock is the crown of the pastor, so from careless pastors all that perishes will be required. Again, a pastor is said to save himself, when, by faithfully discharging the office committed to him, he serves his calling; not only because he avoids that terrible vengeance which the Lord threatens by Ezekiel, — “His blood will I require at thy hand,” (<263308>Ezekiel 33:8,) but because it is customary to speak of believers as performing their salvation when they walk and persevere f82 in the course of their salvation. Of this mode of expression we have spoken in our exposition of the Epistle to the Philippians, (<503512>Philippians 2:12.)


CHAPTER 5

<540501>1 Timothy 5:1-4

1. Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father, and the younger men as brethren;

1. Seniorem ne aspere objurges sed hortare ut patrem, juniores ut fratres;

2. The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

2. Mulieres natu grandiores, ut matres; juniores, ut sorores, cum omni castitate.

3. Honor widows that are widows indeed.

3. Viduas honora, quae vere sunt viduae.

4. But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.

4. Porro si qua vidua liberos aut nepotes habet, discunt primum erga propriam domum pietatem colere, et mutuum rependere progenitoribus; hoc enim bonum et acceptum est coram Deo.

 

Do not harshly rebuke an elder. He now recommends to Timothy gentleness and moderation in correcting faults. Correction is a medicine, which has always some bitterness, and consequently is disagreeable. Besides, Timothy being a young man, his severity would have been less tolerable, if it had not been somewhat moderated.

But exhort him as a father. The Apostle enjoins him to reprove elder persons as parents; and he even employs the milder term, exhort. It is impossible not to be moved with reverence, when we place before our eyes our father or our mother; in consequence of which, instead of harsher vehemence, we are immediately influenced by modesty. Yet it ought to be observed, that he does not wish old men to be spared or indulged in such a manner as to sin with impunity and without correction; he only wishes that some respect should be paid to their age, that they may more patiently bear to be admonished.

The younger as brethren. Even towards younger persons he wishes moderation to be used, though not in an equal degree; for the vinegar must always be mingled with oil, but with this difference, that reverence should always be shewn to older persons, and equals should be treated with brotherly gentleness. Hence pastors are taught, that they must not only take into account their office, but must also see particularly what is due to the age of individuals; for the same things are not applicable to all. Let it therefore be remembered, that, if dramatic performers attend to decorum on the stage, it ought not to be neglected by pastors, who occupy so lofty a station.

2. The younger as sisters, with all chastity. The phrase, with all chastity, relates to younger women; for at that age they ought always to dread every kind of suspicion. Yet Paul does not forbid Timothy to have any criminal or immodest conduct towards young women, (for there was no need of such a prohibition,) but only enjoins him to beware of giving to wicked men any handle for laughter. For this purpose, he demands a chaste gravity, which shall shine throughout all their intercourse and conversation; so that he may more freely converse with young persons, without any unfavorable reports.

3. Honor widows that are really widows. By the word honor he does not mean any expression of respect, but that special care of them which bishops f83 took in the ancient Church; for widows were taken under the protection of the Church, that they might be supported out of the common funds The meaning of this mode of expression is as if he had said, “For selecting widows that are to be taken under your care and that of the deacons, you ought to consider who they are that are really widows. f84 What was their condition we shall afterwards explain more fully. But we must here attend to the reason why Paul does not admit any but those who are absolutely widows, and, at the same time, widows without children; for, in that condition, they dedicated themselves to the Church, that they might withdraw from all the private concerns of a family, and might lay aside every hindrance. Justly, therefore, does Paul forbid to receive the mothers of families, who are already bound by a charge of a different kind. When he calls them “really widows”, he alludes to the Greek word ch>ra, which is derived ajpo< tou~ chrou~sqai, from a verb which signifies to be “deprived” or “destitute.”

If any widow. There are various ways of explaining this passage; and the ambiguity arises from this circumstance, that the latter clause may refer either to widows or to their children. Nor is this consistent with the verb (let them learn) being plural, while Paul spoke of a widow in the singular number; for a change of number is very customary in a general discourse, that is, when the writer speaks of a whole class, and not of an individual. They who think that it relates to widows, are of the opinion that the meaning is, let them learn, by the pious government of their family, to repay to their successors the education that they received from their ancestors.” This is the explanation given by Chrysostom and some others. But others think that it is more natural to interpret it as relating to children and grandchildren. Accordingly, in their opinion, the Apostle teaches that the mother or grandmother is the person towards whom they should exercise their piety; for nothing is more natural than (ajntipelargi>a) the return of filial for parental affection; and it is very unreasonable that it should be excluded from the Church. Before the Church is burdened with them, let them do their duty.

Hereto I have related the opinion of others. But I wish my readers to consider if it would not agree better with the context in this manner: “Let them learn to conduct themselves in a godly manner at home.” As if he had said, that it would be valuable as a preparatory instruction, that they should train themselves to the worship of God, by performing godly offices at home towards their relatives; For nature commands us to love our parents next to God; that this secondary piety leads to the highest piety. And as Paul saw that the very rights of nature were violated under the pretense of religion, f85 in order to correct this fault, he commanded that widows should be trained by domestic apprenticeship to the worship of God.

To shew piety towards their own house. Almost all the commentators take the verb eujsebei~n in an active sense, because it is followed by an accusative; but that is not a conclusive argument, for it is customary with the Greek authors to have a preposition understood. And this exposition agrees well with the context, that, by cultivating human piety, they should train themselves in the worship of God; lest a foolish and silly devotion should divest them of human feelings. Again, let widows learn to repay what they owe to their ancestors by educating their own offspring.

For this is good and acceptable before God. Not to shew gratitude to our ancestors is universally acknowledged to be monstrous; for that is a lesson taught us by natural reason. And not only is this conviction natural to all, that affection towards our parents is the second degree of piety; but the very storks teach us gratitude by their example; and that is the etymology of the word ajnipelargi>a. f86 But Paul, not satisfied with this, declares that God hath sanctioned it; as if he had said, “There is no reason why any one should think that it has its origin in the opinion of men; but God hath so ordained.”

<540505>1 Timothy 5:5-8

5. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.

5. Porro quae vere vidua est ac desolata, sperat in Deo, et perseverat in orationibus et obsecrationibus noctu et die.

6. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

6. Quae autem in deliciis versatur, vivens mortua est.

7. And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

7. Et haec praecipe, ut irreprehensibiles sint.

8. But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

8. Quod si quis suis et maxime familiaribus non providet, fidem abnegavit, et est infideli deterior.

 

5. She who is really a widow. He expresses his meaning more clearly than before; for he shews that they are really widows who are solitary and have no children. He says that such persons hope in God. Not that this is done by all, or by them alone; for we may see many widows that are childless, and that have no relatives whatever, who nevertheless are haughty and insolent, and altogether ungodly both in heart and in life. On the other hand, then, are those who have many children, and who are not prevented from having their hope placed in God; such as Job and Jacob and David. But for this, (polutekni>a) a multitude of children would be a curse, whereas Scripture always reckons it among the remarkable blessings of God. But Paul says here that widows “hope in God,” in the same manner as he elsewhere writes, that the unmarried study only to please God, because their affections are not divided like those of married persons. (<460732>1 Corinthians 7:32.) The meaning therefore is, that they have nothing to disturb their thoughts, from looking to God alone; because they find nothing in the world on which they can rely. By this argument he commends them; for, when human aid and every refuge fails them, it is the duty of the Church to stretch forth her hand to render assistance; and thus the condition of the widow, who is childless and desolate, implores the aid of the pastor.

Continueth in prayers. This is the second ground of commendation, that they continually devote themselves to prayer. Hence it follows, that they ought to be relieved and supported at the expense of the Church. At the same time, by these two marks he distinguishes between the worthy and the unworthy; for these words are of the same import as if he enjoined that they only shall be received who look for no aid from men, but rely on God alone, and, laying aside other cares and employments, are earnestly devoted to prayer; and that others are ill qualified and of no advantage to the Church. Again, this constancy in prayer demands freedom from other cares; for they who are occupied with the government of a family have less freedom and leisure. We are all, indeed, commanded to pray continually; but it ought to be considered what is demanded by every person’s condition, when, in order to prayer, retirement and exemption from all other cares are demanded.

What Paul praises in widows, Luke (<420236>Luke 2:36) asserts as to Anna, the daughter of Phanuel; but the same thing would not apply to all, on account of the diversity in their manner of life. There will be foolish women — apes, and not imitators, of Anna — who will run from altar to altar, and will do nothing but sigh and mutter till noon. On this presence, they will rid themselves of all domestic affairs; and, having returned home, if they do not find everything arranged to their wish, they will disturb the whole family by outrageous cries, and will sometimes proceed to blows. Let us therefore remember that there are good reasons why it is the peculiar privilege of those who are widows and childless, to have leisure for praying by night and by day; because they are free from lawful hindrances, which would not permit those who govern a family to do the same.

And yet this passage lends no countenance to monks or nuns, who sell their mutterings or their loud noises for the sake of leading an easy and idle life. Such were anciently the Euchites or Psallians; for monks and Popish priests differ in no respect, except that the former, by continually praying, thought that none but themselves were pious and holy, while the latter, with inferior industry, imagined that they sanctify both themselves and others. Paul had no thought of anything of this sort, but only intended to shew how much more freely they may have leisure for prayer who have nothing else to disturb them.

6. She who is in luxury. After having described the marks by which real widows may be known, he now contrasts them with others that ought not to be received. The Greek participle which he employs, spatalw~sa, means one who allows herself every indulgence, and leads an easy and luxurious life. Accordingly, Paul (in my opinion) censures those who abuse their widowhood for this purpose, that, being loosed from the marriage yoke, and freed from every annoyance, they may lead a life of pleasant idleness; for we see many who seek their own freedom and convenience, and give themselves up to excessive mirth.

Is dead while she liveth. When Paul says that such persons “are dead while they live,” this is supposed by some to mean that they are unbelievers; an opinion with which I do not at all agree. I think it more natural to say that a woman “is dead,” when she is useless, and does no good; for to what purpose do we live, if it be not that our actions may yield some advantage? And what if we should say that the emphasis lies in the word liveth? For they who covet an indolent life, that they may live more at their ease, have constantly in their mouth the proverbial saying: —

For life is not to live, but to be well.” f87

The meaning would therefore be: “If they reckon themselves happy, when they have everything to their heart’s wish, and if they think that nothing but repose and luxury can be called life, for my part, I declare that they are dead.” But as this meaning might seem liable to the charge of excessive ingenuity, I wished merely to give a passing glimpse of it, without making any positive assertion. This at least is certain, that Paul here condemns indolence, when he calls those women dead who are of no use.

7. And command these things. He means, that not only does he prescribe to Timothy the course which he ought to follow, but the women also must be carefully taught not to be stained with such vices. It is the duty of the pastor not only to oppose the wicked practices or ambition of those who act an unreasonable part, but to guard against every danger, as far as lies in his power, by instruction and constant warnings.

That they may be blameless. It was the natural result of prudence and steadfastness not to admit widows, unless they were worthy; but yet it was proper to assign a reason why they were not admitted; and it was even necessary to forewarn the Church that unworthy persons should not be brought forward, or should not offer themselves. Again, Paul commends this part of instruction on the ground of utility; as if he had said, that it must by no means be despised, because it is common, since it aims at the chief part of a good and perfect life. Now there is nothing that ought to be more diligently learned in God’s school than the study of a holy and upright life. In a word, moral instruction is compared with ingenious speculations, which are of no visible advantage, agreeably to that saying,

“All Scripture is profitable, that the man of God may become perfect,” etc. (<550316>2 Timothy 3:16.)

8. And if any person do not provide for his own. Erasmus has translated it, “If any woman do not provide for her own,” making it apply exclusively to females. But I prefer to view it as a general statement; for it is customary with Paul, even when he is treating of some particular subject, to deduce arguments from general principles, and, on the other hand, to draw from particular statements a universal doctrine. And certainly it will have greater weight, if it apply both to men and to women.

He hath denied the faith. f88 He says that they who do not care about any of their relatives, and especially about their own house, have “denied the faith.” And justly; for there is no piety towards God, when a person can thus lay aside the feelings of humanity. Would faith, which makes us the sons of God, render us worse than brute beasts? Such inhumanity, therefore, is open contempt of God, and denying of the faith.

Not content with this, Paul heightens the criminality of their conduct, by saying, that he who forgets his own is worse than an infidel. This is true for two reasons. First, the further advanced any one is in the knowledge of God, the less is he excused; and therefore, they who shut their eyes against the clear light of God are worse than infidels. Secondly, this is a kind of duty which nature itself teaches; for they are (storgai< fusikai>) natural affections. And if, by the mere guidance of nature, infidels are so prone to love their own, what must we think of those who are not moved by any such feeling? Do they not go even beyond the ungodly in brutality? If it be objected, that, among unbelievers, there are also many parents that are cruel and savage; the explanation is easy, that Paul is not speaking of any parents but those who, by the guidance and instruction of nature, take care of their own offspring; for, if any one have degenerated from that which is so perfectly natural, he ought to be regarded as a monster.

It is asked, Why does the Apostle prefer the members of the household to the children? I answer, when he speaks of his own and especially those of his household, by both expressions he denotes the children and grandchildren. For, although children may have been transferred, or may have passed into a different family by marriage, or in any way may have left the house of the parents; yet the right of nature is not altogether extinguished, so as to destroy the obligation of the older to govern the younger as committed to them by God, or at least to take care of them as far as they can. Towards domestics, the obligation is more strict; for they ought to take care of them for two reasons, both because they are their own blood, and because they are a part of the family which they govern.

<540509>1 Timothy 5:9-13

9. Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,

9. Vidua deligatur non minor annis sexaginta, quae fuerit inius viri uxor.

10. Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work

10. In operibus bonis habens testimonium, si liberos educavit, si fuit hospitalis, si sanctorum pedes lavit, si afflictis subministravit, si in omni bono opere fuit assidua.

11. But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;

11. Porro juniores viduas rejice; quum enim lascivire coeperint adversus Christum, nubere volunt;

12. Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

12. Habentes condemnationem, quod primam fidem rejecerint.

13. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also, and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

13. Simul autem et otiosae discunt circuire domos; nec solum otiosae, verum etiam garrulae et curiosae, loquentes quae non oportet.

 

9. Let a widow be chosen. He again points out what kind of widows should be taken under the care of the Church; f89 and more clearly than he had formerly done.

Not under sixty years of age. First, he describes the age, sixty years; for, being supported at the public expense, it was proper that they should have already reached old age. Besides, there was another and stronger reason; for they consecrated themselves to the ministry of the Church, which would have been altogether intolerable, if there were still a likelihood of their being married. They were received on the condition that the Church should relieve their poverty, and that, on their part, they should be employed in ministering to the poor, as far as the state of their health allowed. Thus there was a mutual obligation between them and the Church. It was unreasonable that those who were under that age, and who were still in the vigor of life, should be a burden to others. Besides, there was reason to fear that they would change their mind and think of being married again. These are two reasons why he does not wish any to be admitted “under sixty years of age.”

Who hath been the wife of one man. As to the desire of marrying, that danger had been sufficiently guarded against, when a woman was more than sixty years old; especially if, during her whole life, she had not been married to more than one husband. It may be regarded as a sort of pledge of continence and chastity, when a woman has arrived at that age, satisfied with having had but one husband. Not that he disapproves of a second marriage, or affixes a mark of ignominy to those who have been twice married; (for, on the contrary, he advises younger widows to marry;) but because he wished carefully to guard against laying any females under a necessity of remaining unmarried, who felt it to be necessary to have husbands. On this subject we shall afterwards speak more fully.

10 For good works. Those qualifications which are next enumerated relate partly to honor, and partly to labor. There can be no doubt that the assemblies of widows were honorable, and highly respectable; and, therefore, Paul does not wish that any should be admitted into them, but those who had excellent attestations of the whole of their past life. Besides, they were not appointed in order to lazy and indolent inactivity, but to minister to the poor and the sick, until, being completely worn out, they should be allowed honorably to retire. Accordingly, that they may be better prepared for the discharge of their office, he wishes them to have had long practice and experience in all the duties which belong to it; such as — labor and diligence in bringing up children, hospitality, ministering to the poor, and other charitable works.

If it be now asked, Shall all that are barren be rejected, because they have never borne any children? We must reply, that Paul does not here condemn barrenness, but the daintiness of mothers, who, by refusing to endure the weariness of bringing up their children, sufficiently shew that they will be very unkind to strangers. And at the same time he holds out this as an honorable reward to godly matrons, who have not spared themselves, that they, in their turn, shall be received into the bosom of the Church in their old age.

By a figure of speech, in which a part is taken for the whole, he means by the washing of the feet all the services which are commonly rendered to the saints; for at that time it was customary to “wash the feet.” f90 An employment of this nature might have the appearance of being mean and almost servile; and therefore he makes use of this mark for describing females who were industrious, and far from being fastidious or dainty. What next follows relates to liberality; and, lastly, he expresses the same thing in general terms, when he says, if she hath been diligent in every good work; for here he speaks of acts of kindness.

11. Refuse younger widows. He does not enjoin that they be excommunicated from the Church, or have any mark of disgrace put upon them; but he only asserts that they must not be rewarded by obtaining that honor which he has already mentioned. And if the Spirit of God, by the mouth of Paul, declares that no woman under sixty years of age deserves to be admitted into that order, because at that age the unmarried state was dangerous; what effrontery was it, afterwards, to lay down a law of celibacy for young women in all the warmth of youthful years? Paul, I say, does not allow of abstaining from marriage till they are in extreme old age, and altogether beyond the danger of incontinence. They afterwards came to forty years as the age for putting the veil on virgins, and next to thirty; and at length they began to put the veil — indiscriminately, and without exception — on females of any age. They allege, that continence is much easier for virgins, who have never had a husband, than it is for widows. But they will never succeed in proving, that there is no reason to dread that danger against which Paul guards and commands others to guard. Accordingly, it is rash, and even cruel, to lay a snare for those who still are young girls, and who would have been fitter for the married state.

For when they have begun to be wanton against Christ. He says that they are “wanton against Christ,” who, forgetting the condition to which they were called, indulge in unbecoming mirth; for they ought to have kept themselves under the yoke of modesty, as becomes grave and respectable females. Accordingly, a more luxurious and abandoned course of life is a sort of wantonness against Christ, to whom they had pledged their fidelity. As Paul had seen many instances of this kind, he meets it by a general remedy, that none should be admitted who were of an age that could ever induce them to desire to be married.

How many monsters of crimes are produced every day in Popery by that compulsory celibacy of nuns! What barriers does it not deliberately break through! And therefore, although this course had at first appeared to be commendable, yet, taught by experiments so many and so terrible, they ought to have somewhat complied with in the counsel of Paul. But they are so far from doing this, that they provoke the wrath of God more and more, from day to day, by their obstinacy. Nor do I speak of nuns only, but priests and monks are also compelled by them to observe perpetual celibacy. Yet disgraceful lusts rage amongst them, so that hardly one in ten lives chastely; and in monasteries, the least of the evils is ordinary fornication. If they would incline their heart to hear God speaking by the mouth of Paul, they would instantly have recourse to this remedy which he prescribes; but so great is their pride, that they furiously persecute all who remind them of it.

Some read the words thus: — “When they become wanton, they will marry in opposition to Christ.” Although this makes little difference as to Paul’s meaning, the former view is preferable.

12. Having condemnation, because they have renounced their first faith. “To have condemnation,” is interpreted by some as signifying “to deserve reproof.” But I take it to be a statement of greater severity, that Paul terrifies them by the damnation of eternal death; as if he reproved them by saying that that excellent order, which ought rather to have united them to Christ, was the very ground of their condemnation. And the reason is added, that they entirely “revolt from the faith “of baptism and from Christianity. I am aware that there are some who interpret it differently; that is, that they break the pledge which they gave to the Church by marrying, having formerly promised that they would live unmarried till death. This is exceedingly absurd. Besides, why should he call it their first faith?

Accordingly, Paul rises to greater vehemence against them, and magnifies the enormity of the offense, by saying that not only would they bring disgrace on Christ and his Church by departing from the condition to which they had agreed, but they likewise broke their “first faith “by wicked revolt. Thus it usually happens, that he who has once transgressed the bounds of modesty gives himself up to all impudence. It grieved him that the levity of those women was a reproach to the godly, and that their lustfulness was reproved, or, at least, was liable to reproof. This led them to proceed to greater and greater degrees of licentiousness, till they renounced Christianity. That amplification is exceedingly appropriate; for is there anything more absurd than that they should, through a wish to promote the advantage of persons, open the door to the denial of Christ?

The attempt of the Papists to support, by means of this passage, a vow of perpetual celibacy, is absurd. Granting that it was customary to exact from the widows an engagement in express terms, still they would gain nothing by this admission. First, we must consider the end. The reason why widows formerly promised to remain unmarried, was not that they might lead a holier life than in a state of marriage, but because they could not, at the same time, be devoted to husbands and to the Church; but in Popery, they make a vow of continence, as if it were a virtue acceptable to God on its own account. Secondly, in that age they renounced the liberty of marrying at the time when they ceased to be marriageable; for they must have been, at least, sixty years old, and, by being satisfied with being once married, must have already given a proof of their chastity. But now, vows are made among the Papists to renounce marriage, either before the time, or in the midst of time ardor of youthful years.

Now we disapprove of the tyrannical law about celibacy, chiefly for two reasons. First, they pretend that it is meritorious worship before God; and secondly, by rashness in vowing, they plunge souls into destruction. Neither of these was to be found in the ancient institution. They did not make a direct vow of continence, as if the married life were less acceptable to God, but only, so far as it was rendered necessary by the office to which they were elected, they promised to keep from the tie of marriage for their whole life; nor did they deprive themselves of the liberty of marrying, till the time when, though they had been ever so free, it was foolish and unreasonable for them to marry. In short, those widows differed as much from the nuns, as Anna the prophetess from Claude the Vestal. f91

13. And not only so, but they grow idle. Nothing is more becoming in women than keeping the house; and hence, among the ancients, a tortoise f92 was the image of a good and respectable mother of a family. But there are many who are diseased with the opposite vice. Nothing delights them more than the liberty of running from one place to another, and especially when, being freed from the burden of a family, they have nothing to do at home.

Tattlers and busybodies. Besides, those widows, under the pretense of the respect due to the public character which they sustained, had more easy access to many persons. This opportunity, obtained through the kindness of the Church, they abused for purposes of “idleness;” and next, as usually happens, from slothfulness sprung curiosity, which is also the mother of talkativeness. Most true is the saying of Horace: “Shun an inquisitive person, for he is always a tattler.” f93 “No trust should be placed,” as Plutarch says, “in inquisitive persons, for, as soon as they have heard anything, they are never at rest till they have blabbed it out.” This is especially the case with women, who, by nature, are prone to talkativeness, and cannot keep a secret. With good reason, therefore, has Paul joined together these three things, sloth, inquisitiveness, and tattling.

<540514>1 Timothy 5:14-16

14. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

14. Volo igitur juniores nubere, liberos gignere, domum administrare, nullam occasionem dare adversario, ut habeat maledicendi causam.

15. For some are already turned aside after Satan.

15. Nonnullae enim jam deflexerunt post Satanam.

16. If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

16. Quodsi quis fidelis, aut si qua fidelis habet viduas, suppeditet illis, et non oneretur Ecclesia, ut iis, quae vere viduae sunt, suppetat.

 

14. I wish the younger (widows) to marry. Censorious men laugh at this injunction of the Apostle. “As if,” say they, “it had been necessary to stimulate their excessively strong desire; for who does not know that almost all widows have naturally a wish to be married?” Superstitious men, on time other hand, would reckon that this doctrine concerning marriage is highly unsuitable to an Apostle of Christ. But, after a careful examination of the whole matter, men of sound judgment will acknowledge that Paul teaches nothing here but what is necessary and highly useful. For, on the one hand, there are many to whom widowhood gives the opportunity of greater licentiousness; and, on the other hand, there are always arising spirits speaking lies in hypocrisy, who make holiness to consist in celibacy, as if it were angelical perfection, and either totally condemn marriage, or despise it as if it savored of the pollution of the flesh. There are few either of men or women that consider their calling. How rarely do you find a man who willingly bears the burden of governing a wife! The reason is, that it is attended by innumerable vexations. How reluctantly does a woman submit to the yoke!

Consequently, when Paul bids the younger widows marry, he does not invite them to nuptial delights; and, when he bids them bear children, he does not exhort them to indulge lust; but, taking into account the weakness of the sex, and the slipperiness of the age, he exhorts them to chaste marriage, and, at the same time, to the endurance of those burdens which belong to holy marriage. And he does this, especially, in order that he may not be thought to heave acted contemptuously in excluding them from the rank of widows; for he means, that their life will be not less acceptable to God than if they remained in widowhood. And, indeed, God pays no regard to the superstitious opinions of men, but values this obedience more highly than all things else, when we comply with our calling, instead of permitting ourselves to be carried along by the wish of our own heart.

Having heard that consolation, they have no reason to complain that injury is done to them, or to take it in that they are excluded from one kind of honor; for they learn that, in the married state, they are not less acceptable to God, because they obey his calling. When he speaks of bearing children, he includes, under a single word, all the annoyances that must be endured in bringing up children; in the same manner as, under the government of the house, he includes all that belongs to household management.

To give no occasion to the adversary. For, as the husband may be said to be the covering of the wife, so widowhood is liable to many unfavorable suspicions. And what purpose does it serve, to arm the enemies of time gospel with calumnies, without any necessity? But it is very difficult for a widow, in the flower of her age, to act with such caution that wicked men shall not find some pretext for slandering her; and, therefore, if they sincerely desire edification, let them, in order to shut the mouth of evil speakers, choose a way of life that is less liable to suspicion. Here, I suppose, the common adversaries of the gospel to be meant, rather than the private adversaries of any woman; for Paul speaks indefinitely. f94

15. For some have already turned aside. It is certain, that there is no ordinance so holy that some evil may not arise out of it through the wickedness of men. Yet those things which are necessary ought to remain unmoved, whatever may happen to them, although the sky should fall. But when we are at liberty to choose either way, and when this or that has been found by experience to be advantageous, it is a matter of prudence to lay aside what was formerly approved, as in the present case. It was not at all necessary that women, who were still young, should be admitted into the rank of widows; experience shewed that it was dangerous and hurtful; and, therefore, Paul justly advises to take care for the future that nothing of this kind may happen.

If the revolt of some women was regarded by him as a sufficiently strong argument for seeking a universal remedy, how many arguments would the Papists have for abolishing their filthy celibacy, if they had any regard to edification! But they choose rather to strangle millions of souls by the cruel cords of a wicked and diabolical law than to loose a single knot; and this makes it evident how widely their cruelty differs from the holy zeal of Paul.

After Satan. The expression is worthy of notice; be. cause no one can turn aside from Christ, in the smallest degree, without following Satan; for he has dominion over all who do not belong to Christ. We learn from this how destructive is turning aside from the right course, since, from being children of God, it makes us slaves of Satan, and, by withdrawing us from the government of Christ, places Satan over us as our guide. f95

16. If any believer. It being customary for every one willingly to throw his own burdens on the whole Church, on this account he expressly enjoins that it be guarded against. He speaks of believers who ought to support their widows; for, as to those widows who renounced a wicked relationship, it was proper that they should be received by the Church. And if they act a sinful part, who, by sparing themselves, allow the Church to be burdened with expense, let us learn from this in what aggravated sacrilege they are involved, who, by fraud or robbery, profane what was once dedicated to the Church.

<540517>1 Timothy 5:17-21

17. Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they. who labor in the word and doctrine.

17. Presbyteri, qui bene praesunt, duplici honore digni habeantur; maxime qui laborant in verbo et doctrina.

18. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.

18. Dicit enim scriptura: Non obligabis os bovi trituranti, (<052504>Deuteronomy 25:4) et, Dignus est operarius mercede sua, (<401010>Matthew 10:10).

19. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

19. Adversus presbyterum accusationem ne admittas, nisi sub duobus aut tribus testibus.

20. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

20. Peccantes coram omnibus argue, ut et caeteri timorem habeant.

21. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

21. Contestor coram Deo, et Domino Iesu Christo, et electis angelis, ut haec custodias absque praecipitatione judicii, nihil faciens, alteram in partem declinando.

 

17. Elders. f96 For preserving the good order of the Church, it is likewise highly necessary that elders should not be neglected, but that due regard should be paid to them; for what could be more unfeeling than to have no care about those who have the care of the whole Church? Here presbu>terov (elder) is not a name of age, but of office.

Accounted worthy of double honor. Chrysostom interprets “double honor” as meaning “support and reverence.” I do not oppose his opinion; let it be adopted by any one that chooses. But for my own part, I think it is more probable that a comparison is here drawn between widows and elders. Paul had formerly enjoined that honor should be paid — to widows; but elders are more worthy of being honored shall widows, and, with respect to them, ought therefore to receive double honor.

But in order to shew that he does not recommend masks, he adds, who rule well; that is, who faithfully and laboriously discharge their office. For, granting that a person should a hundred times obtain a place, and though he should boast of his title; yet, if he do not also perform his duty, he will have no right to demand that he shall be supported at the expense of the Church. In short, he means that honor is not due to the title, but to the work performed by those who are appointed to the office.

Yet he prefers those who labor in word and doctrine, that is, those who are diligent in leaching the word; for those two terms, word and doctrine, signify the same thing, namely, the preaching of the word. But lest any one should suppose him to mean by the word an indolent, and, as it is called, a speculative study of it, he adds doctrine. f97

We may learn from this, that there were at that time two kinds of elders; for all were not ordained to teach. The words plainly mean, that there were some who “ruled well” and honorably, but who did not hold the office of teachers. And, indeed, there were chosen from among the people men of worth and of good character, who, united with the pastors in a common council and authority administered the discipline of the Church, and were a kind of censors for the correction of morals. Ambrose complains that this custom had gone into disuse, through the carelessness, or rather through the pride, of the doctors, who wish to possess undivided power.

To return to Paul, he enjoins that support shall be provided chiefly for pastors, who are employed in teaching Such is the ingratitude of the world, that very little care is taken about supporting the ministers of the word; and Satan, by this trick, endeavors to deprive the Church of instruction, by terrifying many, through the dread of poverty and hunger, from bearing that burden. f98

18. Thou shalt not muzzle the ox. This is a political precept which recommends to us equity and humanity f99 in general; as we have said in expounding the First Epistle to the Corinthians; f100 for, if he forbids us to be unkind to brute animals, how much greater humanity does he demand towards men! The meaning of this statement, therefore, is the same as if it had been said in general terns, that they must not make a wrong use of the labor of others. At the present day, the custom of treading out the corn is unknown in many parts of France, where they thresh the corn with flails. None but the inhabitants of Provence know what is meant by “treading it out.” But this has nothing to do with the meaning; for the same thing may be said about ploughing.

The laborer is worthy of his hire. He does not quote this as a passage of Scripture, but as a proverbial saying, which common sense teaches to all. In like manner, when Christ said the same thing to the Apostles, (<401010>Matthew 10:10,) he brought forward nothing else than a statement approved by universal consent. It follows that they are cruel, and have forgotten the claims of equity, who permit cattle to suffer hunger; and incomparably worse are they that act the same part towards men, whose sweat they suck out for their own accommodation. And how intolerable is the ingratitude of those who refuse support to their pastors, to whom they cannot pay an adequate salary!

19. Against an elder receive not an accusation. After having commanded that salaries should be paid to pastors, he likewise instructs Timothy not to allow them to be assailed by calumnies, or loaded with any accusation but what is supported by sufficient proof. But it may be thought strange, that he represents, as peculiar to elders, a law which is common to all. God lays down, authoritatively, this law as applicable to all cases, that they shall be decided “by the mouth of two or three witnesses.” (<051706>Deuteronomy 17:6; <401816>Matthew 18:16.) Why then does the Apostle protect elders alone by this privilege, as if it were peculiar to them, that their innocence shall be defended against false accusations?

I reply, this is a necessary remedy against the malice of men; for none are more liable to slanders and calumnies than godly teachers. f100A Not only does it arise from the difficulty of their office, that sometimes they either sink under it, or stagger, or halt, or blunder, in consequence of which wicked men seize many occasions for finding fault with them; but there is this additional vexation, that, although they perform their duty correctly, so as not to commit any error whatever, they never escape a thousand censures. And this is the craftiness of Satan, to draw away the hearts of men from ministers, that instruction may gradually fall into contempt. Thus not only is wrong. done to innocent persons, in having their reputation unjustly wounded, (which is exceedingly base in regard to those who hold so honorable a rank,) but the authority of the sacred doctrine of God is diminished.

And this is what Satan, as I have said, chiefly labors to accomplish; for not only is the saying of Plato true in this instance, that “the multitude are malicious, and envy those who are above them,” but the more earnestly any pastor strives to advance the kingdom of Christ, so much the more is he loaded with envy, and so much the fiercer are the assaults made on him. Not only so, but as soon as any charge against the ministers of the word has gone abroad, it is believed as fully as if they were already convicted. This is not merely owing to the higher degree of moral excellence which is demanded from them, but because almost all are tempted by Satan to excessive credulity, so that, without making any inquiry, they eagerly condemn their pastors, whose good name they ought rather to have defended.

On good grounds, therefore, Paul opposes so heinous iniquity, and forbids that elders shall be subjected to the slanders of wicked men till they have been convicted by sufficient proof. We need not wonder, therefore, if they whose duty it is to reprove the faults of all, to oppose the wicked desires of all, and to restrain by their severity every person whom they see going astray, have many enemies. What, then, will be the consequence; if we shall listen indiscriminately to all the slanders that are spread abroad concerning them?

20. Those that sin rebuke before all. f101 Whenever any measure is taken for the protection of good men, it is immediately seized by bad men to prevent them from being condemned. Accordingly, what Paul had said about repelling unjust accusations he modifies by this statement, so that none may, on this presence, escape the punishment due to sin. And, indeed, we see how great and diversified are the privileges by which Popery surrounds its clergy; so that, although their life be ever so wicked, f102 still they are exempted from all reproof. Certainly, if regard be had to the cautions which are collected by Gratian, f103 (Caus. 2:Quest. 4 and Quest. 7,) there will be no danger of their being ever compelled to give an account of their life. Where will they find the seventy — two witnesses for condemning a bishop, which are demanded by the disgusting bull issued by Pope Sylvester? Moreover, seeing that the whole order of laymen is debarred from accusing, and as the inferior orders, even of the clergy, are forbidden to give any annoyance to the higher classes of them, what shall hinder them from fearlessly mocking at all decisions?

It is therefore proper carefully to observe this moderation, that insolent tongues shall be restrained from defaming elders by false accusations, and yet that every one of them who conducts himself badly shall be severely corrected; for I understand this injunction to relate to elders, that they who live a dissolute life shall be openly reproved.

That others also may fear. Wherefore? That others, warned by such an example, may fear the more, when they perceive that not even those who are placed above them in rank and honor are spared; for as elders ought to lead the way to others by the example of a holy life, so, if they commit crime, it is proper to exercise severity of discipline toward them, that it may serve as an example to others. And why should greater forbearance be used toward those whose offenses are much more hurtful than those of others? Let it be understood that Paul speaks of crimes or glaring transgressions, which are attended by public scandal; for, if any of the elders shall have committed a fault, not of a public nature, it is certain that he ought to be privately admonished and not openly reproved.

21. I adjure thee before God. Paul introduced this solemn appeal, not only on account of the very great importance of the subject, but likewise on account of its extreme difficulty. Nothing is more difficult than to discharge the office of a public judge with so great impartiality as never to be moved by favor for any one, or to give rise to suspicions, or to be influenced by unfavorable reports, or to use excessive severity, and in every cause to look at nothing but the cause itself; for only when we shut our eyes to persons f104 do we pronounce an equitable judgment.

Let us remember that, in the person of Timothy, all pastors are admonished, and that Timothy is armed, as with a shield, against wicked desires, which not infrequently occasion much trouble even to some excellent persons. He therefore places God before the eyes of Timothy, that he may know that he ought to execute his office not less conscientiously than if he were in the presence of God and of his angels.

And the Lord Jesus Christ. After having named God, he next mentions Christ; for he it is to whom the Father hath given all power to judge, (<430522>John 5:22,) and before whose tribunal we shall one day appear.

And the elect angels. To “Christ “he adds “angels,” not as judges, but as the future witnesses of our carelessness, or rashness, or ambition, or unfaithfulness. They are present as spectators, because they have been commanded to take care of the Church. And, indeed, he must be worse than stupid, and must have a heart of stone, whose indolence and carelessness are not shaken off by this single consideration, that the government of the Church is under the eye of God and the angels; and when that solemn appeal is added, our fear and anxiety must be redoubled. He calls them “elect angels,” f105 not only to distinguish them from the reprobate angels, but on account of their excellence, in order that their testimony may awaken deeper reverence.

Without hastiness of judgment f106. The Greek word prokri>ma, to translate it literally, answers to the Latin word proejudicium, “a judgment beforehand.” But it rather denotes excessive haste, f107 as when we pronounce a decision at random, without having fully examined the matter; or it denotes immoderate favor, when we render to persons more than is proper, or prefer some persons as being more excellent than others; which, in the decisions of a judge, is always unjust. Paul, therefore, condemns here either levity or acceptance of persons.

To the same purpose is that which immediately follows, that there must be no turning to this side or that; for it is almost impossible to tell how difficult it is, for those who hold the office of a judge, to keep themselves unmoved, amidst assaults so numerous and so diversified. Instead of kata< pro>sklisin, f108 some copies have kata< pro>sklhsin. But the former reading is preferable.

<540522>1 Timothy 5:22-25

22. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

22. Manus cito ne cui imponas; neque communices peccatis alienis; temetipsum purum custodi.

23. Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake, and thine often infirmities.

23. Ne posthac bibas aquam; sed paululo vino utere propter stomachum tuum, et crebras tuas infirmitates.

24. Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.

24. Quorundam hominum peccata ante manifestata sunt, festinantia ad judicium, in quibusdam vero etiam subsequuntur.

25. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

25. Similiter et bona opera ante manifesta sunt; et quae secus habent latere nequeunt.

 

22. Lay not hands suddenly on any man. There can be no doubt that he intended to guard Timothy against ill — will, and to obviate many complaints, which are continually arising against the godly servants of Christ, who refuse to comply with the ambitious requests of any. For some accuse them of sternness; others of envy; and some exclaim that they are cruel, because they do not at once receive those who boast of having some recommendatory qualities. This is what we abundantly experience in the present day. Paul therefore exhorts Timothy not to lay aside judicious caution, and not to suffer himself to be overpowered by improper feelings; not that Timothy needed such an admonition, but to restrain, by his authority, those who otherwise might have given annoyance to Timothy,

First, the “laying on of hands” means Ordination: f109 that is, the sign is put for the thing signified; for he forbids him to receive too easily any one that has not been fully tried. There are some who, through a desire of novelty, would wish to receive into the ministerial office, some person hardly at all known, as soon as he has given one or two exhibitions that are reckoned good. It is the duty of a wise and thoughtful bishop, to resist this troublesome feeling, in the same manner as Paul here bids Timothy do.

Neither partake of other men’s sins. He means that he who consents to an unlawful act of ordination is involved in the same guilt as the chief actors in it. Yet some explain it thus: “If he admit unworthy persons, whatever faults they may afterwards commit, to him will be imputed the blame or a part of the blame.” But I think that this is a more simple view of it: “Though others rush forth to such rashness, do not make thyself a partaker with them, lest thou share in their guilt.” Even where our judgment is otherwise sound, it often happens that we are carried away by the folly and levity of others. f110

Keep thyself pure. I consider this also to have the same reference as the preceding clause. As if he had said, “If others do anything that is wrong, beware lest any contagion reach you, either by consent or by approbation. If you cannot hinder them from polluting themselves, it is at least your duty to have your counsels at all times separated from theirs, so that you may keep yourself pure.” If any prefer to view it as a general statement, let him enjoy his opinion; but, for my own part, I reckon it to be more suitable to limit it to the present context.

23. No longer drink water. There are some who conjecture that this sentence, which breaks off the train of thought, was not written by Paul. But we see that Paul was not so anxious about keeping up the close connection of a discourse, and that it was very customary with him to intermingle a variety of statements without any arrangement. Besides, it is possible that what had been formerly written in the margin of the Epistle afterwards found its way into this passage through the mistake of the transcribers. Yet there is no necessity for giving ourselves much trouble on that point, if we consider Paul’s custom, which I have mentioned, of sometimes mingling various subjects.

What is said amounts to this, that Timothy should accustom himself to drink a little wine, for the sake of preserving his health; for he does not absolutely forbid him to “drink water,” but to use it as his ordinary beverage; and that; is the meaning of the Greek word uJdropotei~n.

But why does he not simply advise him to drink wine? For when he adds, a little, he appears to guard against intemperance, which there was no reason to dread in Timothy. I reply, this was rather expressed, in order to meet the slanders of wicked men, who would otherwise have been ready to mock at his advice, on this or some such pretext: “What sort of philosophy is this, which encourages to drink wine? Is that the road by which we rise to heaven?” In order to meet jeers of this kind, he declares that he provides only for a case of necessity; and at the same time he recommends moderation.

Now it is evident that Timothy was not only frugal, but even austere, in his mode of living; so much so as even not to take care of his health; and it is certain that this was done, neither through ambition nor through superstition. Hence we infer, that not only was he very far from indulging in luxury and superfluities, but that, in order that he might be better prepared for doing the work of the Lord, he retrenched a portion even of his ordinary food; for it was not by natural disposition, but through a desire of temperance, that he was abstemious.

How few are there at the present day, who need to be forbidden the use of water; or rather how many are there that need to be limited to drink wine soberly! It is also evident how necessary it is for us, even when we are desirous to act right, to ask from the Lord the spirit of prudence, that he may teach us moderation. Timothy was, indeed, upright in his aims; but, because he is reproved by the Spirit of God, we learn that excess of severity of living was faulty in him. At the same time a general rule is laid down, that, while we ought to be temperate in eating and drinking, every person should attend to his own health, not for the sake of prolonging life, but that, as long as he lives, he may serve God, and be of use to his neighbors.

And if excessive abstinence is blamed, when it brings on or promotes diseases, how much more should superstition be avoided? What judgment shall we form as to time obstinacy of the Carthusians, f111 who would sooner have died than taste the smallest morsel of flesh in extreme necessity? And if those who live sparingly and soberly are commanded not to injure their health by excessive parsimony, no slight punishment awaits the intemperate, who, by cramming their belly, waste their strength. Such persons need not only to be advised, but to be kept back from their fodder like brute beasts.

24. The sins of some men are visible beforehand. As there is nothing that distresses more the faithful ministers of the Church, than to see no way of correcting evils, and to be compelled to endure hypocrites, of whose wickedness they are aware and to be unable to banish from the Church many who are destructive plagues, or even to hinder them from spreading their venom by secret arts; f112 Paul supports Timothy by this consolation, that, when it shall please God, they,’ will one day be brought to public view. Thus he strengthens him for the exercise of patience; because he ought calmly to await the fit time which God in his wisdom has appointed.

There is another kind of base conduct that sorely distresses good and holy pastors. When they have most conscientiously discharged their duty, they are provoked by many unfair statements, are loaded with much ill — will, and perceive that those actions which deserved praise are turned into blame. Paul meets this case also, by informing Timothy, that there are some good works which are reserved for being brought to light at a future period; and consequently that, if their praise is, as it were, buried under ground by the ingratitude of men, that also ought to be patiently endured, till the time of revelation have arrived.

Yet not only does he provide a remedy for these evils, but, because it often happens that we are mistaken in choosing ministers, unworthy persons insinuating themselves cunningly, and the good being unknown to us; and even though we do not go wrong in judging, but still cannot bring others to approve of our judgment, the most excellent being rejected, notwithstanding all our efforts to the contrary, while bad men either insinuate or force themselves forward; it is impossible that our condition and that of the Church should not occasion great anguish. Accordingly, Paul strenuously endeavors to remove, or at least to alleviate, this cause of uneasiness. The meaning may be thus summed up. “We must bear what cannot be immediately corrected; we must sigh and groan, while the time for the remedy is not fully come; and we must not apply force to diseases, till they are either ripened or laid open. On the other hand, when virtue does not receive the honor which it deserves, we must wait for the full time of revelation, and endure the stupidity of the world, and wait quietly in darkness till the day dawn.”

Hastening to judgment. I now come to the words, after having given a brief illustration of the subject. When he says that the sins of some men are visible beforehand, he means that they are discovered early, and come to the knowledge of men, as it were, before the time. He expresses the same thing by another comparison, that they run, as it were, and “hasten to their judgment;” for we see that many run headlong, and, of their own accord, bring damnation on themselves, though the whole world is desirous to save them. Whenever this happens, let us remember that the reprobate are prompted by an unseen movement of Providence, to throw out their foam.

In some they follow after. The rendering given by Erasmus, “Some they follow after,” I do not approve. Although it seems to be more in accordance with the Greek construction, yet the sense requires that the preposition ejn be understood; for the change of case does not destroy the contrast. As he had said that the Sins of some men hasten rapidly to their judgment; so now, on the other hand, he adds, that the sins of some men (or, of others) come slowly to be known. But instead of the genitive “of some,” he uses the dative “in some’” (or “in others.”) He means that, although the sins of some men may be concealed longer than we would wish, and are slowly brought to light, yet they shall not always be concealed; for they too shall have their own time. And if the version of Erasmus be preferred, still the meaning must be the same, that, although the vengeance of God does not hasten, yet it follows slowly behind them.

25. In like manner also the good works. He means, that sometimes piety and other virtues obtain early and speedily their applause among men; so that great men are held in estimation; and that, if it happen otherwise, the Lord will not suffer innocence and uprightness to be always oppressed; for it is often obscured by calumnies, or by clouds, but at length shall be fulfilled the prediction, (<271203>Daniel 12:3; <401343>Matthew 13:43,) that God will cause them to shine forth like the dawn of the day. But we have need of a calm spirit to endure; and therefore we must always consider what is the limit of our knowledge, that we may not go beyond it; for that would be to assume to ourselves the prerogative of God.


CHAPTER 6

<540601>1 Timothy 6:1-2

1. Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

1. Quicunque sub jugo sunt servi, suos dominos omni honore dignos existiment; ut ne Dei nomen et doctrina blasphemetur.

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.

2. Qui autem fideles habent dominos, ne despiciant e˛ qu˛d fratres sunt; sed magis serviant, quod fideles sint et dilecti, et beneficentiae participes. Haec doce, et exhortare.

 

It appears that, at the beginning of the gospel, slaves cheered their hearts, as if the signal had been given for their emancipation; for Paul labors hard, in all his writings, to repress that desire; and indeed the condition of slavery was so hard that we need not wonder that it was exceedingly hateful. Now, it is customary to seize, for the advantage of the flesh, everything that has the slightest appearance of being in our favor. Thus when they were told that we are all brethren, they instantly concluded that it was unreasonable that they should be the slaves of brethren. But although nothing of all this had come into their mind, still wretched men are always in need of consolation, that may allay the bitterness of their afflictions. Besides, they could not without difficulty be persuaded to bend their necks, willingly and cheerfully, to so harsh a yoke. Such, then, is the object of the present doctrine.

1. They who are slaves under the yoke. Owing to the false opinion of his own excellence which every person entertains, there is no one who patiently endures that others should rule over him. They who cannot avoid the necessity do, indeed, reluctantly obey those who are above them; but inwardly they fret and rage, because they think that they suffer wrong. The Apostle cuts off, by a single word, all disputes of this kind, by demanding that all who live “under the yoke” shall submit to it willingly. He means that they must not inquire whether they deserve that lot or a better one; for it is enough that they are bound to this condition.

When he enjoins them to esteem worthy of all honor the masters whom they serve, he requires them not only to be faithful and diligent in performing their duties, but to regard and sincerely respect them as persons placed in a higher rank than themselves. No man renders either to a prince or to a master what he owes to them, unless, looking at the eminence to which God has raised them, he honor them, because he is subject to them; for, however unworthy of it they may often be, still that very authority which God bestows on them always entitles them to honor. Besides, no one willingly renders service or obedience to his master, unless he is convinced that he is bound to do so. Hence it follows, that subjection begins with that honor of which Paul wishes that they who rule should be accounted worthy.

That the name and doctrine of God may not be blasphemed. We are always too ingenious in our behalf. Thus shaves, who have unbelieving masters, are ready enough with the objection, that it is unreasonable that they who serve the devil should have dominion over the children of God. But Paul throws back the argument to the opposite side, that they ought to obey unbelieving masters, in order that the name of God and the gospel may not be evil spoken of; as if God, whom we worship, incited us to rebellion, and as if the gospel rendered obstinate and disobedient those who ought to be subject to others.

2. Who have believing masters. The name of brother may be thought to constitute equality, and consequently to take away dominion. Paul argues, on the contrary, that shaves ought the more willingly to subject themselves to believing masters, because they acknowledge them to be children of God, and are bound to them by brotherly love, and are partakers of the same grace. f113 It is no small honor, that God has made them equal to earthly lords, in that which is of the highest importance; for they have the same adoption in common with them; and therefore this ought to be no slight inducement to bear slavery with patience.

They are believers and beloved. It is an additional argument, that slavery is much more easily endured under mild lords, who love us, and whom we love in return. There is also the bond of faith which binds very closely together those who are of different conditions.

These things teach and exhort. He means that these are matters on the teaching of which he ought to dwell largely, and wishes that doctrine should be accompanied by exhortations. It is as if he had said, that this kind of instruction ought to be daily repeated, and that men need not only to be taught, but likewise to be roused and urged by frequent exhortations.

<540603>1 Timothy 6:3-5

3. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

3. Si quis aliter (vel, alia) docet, nec acquiescit sanis sermonibus Domini nostri Iesu Christi, et ei quae secundum pietatem est doctrinae,

4. He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

4. Inflatus est, nihil sciens, sed languens circa quaestiones et pugnas verborum, ex quibus oritur invidia, contentio, maledicentiae, suspiciones malae,

5. Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

5. Supervacuae conflictationes hominum mente corruptorum, et qui veritate privati sunt, existimantium quaestum esse pietatum; sejunge te a talibus.

 

3. If anyone teacheth differently. The word eJterodidaskalei~, being a compound, may also, not improperly, be translated, teacheth other things. Yet there is no ambiguity as to the meaning; for he condemns all those who do not agree with this manner of teaching, although they do not openly and avowedly oppose. sound doctrine. It is possible that he who does not profess any wicked or open error may yet, by endeavoring to insinuate himself by means of silly babbling, corrupt the doctrine of godliness; for, when there is no progress, and no edification in the doctrine itself, there is already a departure from the ordinance of Christ. Now although Paul does not speak of the avowed supporters of wicked doctrines, but of vain and irreligious teachers, who, by their ambition or covetousness, disfigure the plain and simple doctrine of godliness, yet we see with what sharpness and severity he attacks them. Nor need we wonder at this; for it is almost impossible to tell how much injury is done by preaching that is hypocritical and altogether framed for the purposes of ostentation and of idle display. But who they are that are blamed by him, appears more clearly from what immediately follows —

And consenteth not to sound words. This clause is intended to explain the former. It frequently happens that such men as are here described, carried away by foolish curiosity, despise everything that is useful and solid, and thus indulge in wanton freaks, like unruly horses. And what is this but to reject the sound words Of Christ? for they are called “sound” or “healthful,” because they give health to us, or are fitted to promote it.

And to the doctrine which is according to godliness. This has the same meaning with the former clause; for the “doctrine “will not be consistent with “godliness,” if it do not instruct us in the fear and worship of God, if it do not edify our faith, if it do not train us to patience, humility, and all the duties of that love which we owe to our fellowmen. Whoever, therefore, does not strive to teach usefully, does not teach as he ought to do; and not only so, but that doctrine is neither godly nor sound, whatever may be the brilliancy of its display, that does not tend to the profit of the hearers.

4. He is puffed up, knowing nothing. Such persons Paul first charges with pride, foolish and empty pride. Next, because no punishment can be imagined that is better adapted to chastise ambitious persons than to declare that all that they delight in proves their ignorance, Paul pronounces that they know nothing, though they are swelled with many subtleties; for they have nothing that is solid, but mere wind. At the same time, he instructs all believers not to be carried away by that windy ostentation, but to remain steadfast in the simplicity of the gospel.

But languishing after questions and debates of words. There is an indirect contrast between “the soundness of the doctrine of Christ,” and that “languishing;” for, when they have wearied themselves much and long with ingenious questions, what advantage do they reap from their labor, but that the disease continually grows? Thus not only do they consume their strength to no purpose, but their foolish curiosity begets this languishing; and hence it follows, that they are very far from profiting aright, as the disciples of Christ ought to do.

Not without reason does the Apostle connect “questions and disputes of words;” for by the former term he does not mean every kind of questions, which either arise from a sober and moderate desire to learn, or contribute to clear explanation of useful things, but to such questions as are agitated, in the present day, in the schools of the Sorbonne, for displaying acuteness of intellect. There one question gives rise to another; for there is no limit to them, when every person, desiring to know more than is proper, indulges his vanity; and hence, there afterwards arise innumerable quarrels. As the thick clouds, during hot weather, are not dispelled without thunder, so those thorny questions must burst into disputes.

He gives the name logomaci>av (logomachies, or disputes about words) to contentious disputes about words rather than things, or, as it is commonly expressed, without substance or foundation; for if any person carefully inquire what sort of contentions are burning among the sophists, he will perceive that they do not arise from realities, but are framed out of nothing. In a word, Paul intended to condemn all questions which sharpen us for disputes that are of no value.

From which arises envy. He demonstrates from the effects how much an ambitious desire of knowledge ought to be avoided; for ambition is the mother of envy. Where envy reigns, there also rage brawlings, contentions, and other evils, which are here enumerated by Paul.

5. Of men corrupt in understanding, and that are destitute of the truth. It is certain that here he censures the sophists, who, neglecting edification, turn the word of God into trivial distinctions, and an art of ingenious discussion. If the Apostle only shewed that the doctrine of salvation is thus rendered useless, even that would be an intolerable profanation; but far heavier and fiercer is that reproof, when he says that evils so pernicious, and plagues so hurtful, spring from it. From this passage, therefore, let us learn to detest (sofistikh<n) sophistry as a thing more destructive to the Church of God than can easily be believed.

That godliness is gain. The meaning is, that godliness is: a gainful art; that is, because they measure the whole of Christianity by gain. Just as if the oracles of the Holy Spirit had been recorded with no other design than to serve the purposes of their covetousness, they traffic in it as merchandise exposed to sale.

Withdraw thyself from such. Paul forbids the servants of Christ to have any intercourse witch such persons. He not only warns Timothy not to resemble them, but exhorts him to avoid them as dangerous plagues; for, although they do not openly resist the gospel, but, on the contrary, make a false profession of adhering to it, yet their society is infectious. Besides, if the multitude see that we are on familiar terms with those men, the danger is, lest they insinuate themselves under the guise of our friendship. f114 We should therefore, labor to the utmost, that all may know, that so far are we from being agreed with them, that they have no communication with us. f115

<540606>1 Timothy 6:6-10

6. But godliness with contentment is great gain.

6. Est autem quaestus magnus pietas cum sufficientia.

7. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

7. Nihil enim intulimus in mundum; certum qu˛d neque efferre quicquam possumus.

8. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.

8. Habentes autem alimenta et tegmina, his contenti erimus.

9. But they that will be rich fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

9. Nam qui volunt ditescere incidunt in tentationem et laqueum, et stupiditates multas et noxias, quae demergunt homines in exitium et interitum.

10. For the love of money is the root of all evil which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

10. Radix enim omnium malorum est avaritia; cui addicti quidam aberrarunt a fide, et se ipsos implicuerunt doloribus multis.

 

6. But godliness with sufficiency is great gain. In an elegant manner, and with an ironical correction, he instantly throws back those very words in an opposite meaning, as it he had said — ”They do wrong and wickedly, who make merchandise of the doctrine of Christ, as if “godliness were gain;” though, undoubtedly, if we form a correct estimate of it, godliness is a great and abundant gain.” And he so calls it, because it brings to us full and perfect blessedness. Those men, therefore, are guilty of sacrilege, who, being bent on acquiring money, make godliness contribute to their gain. f116 But for our part, godliness is a very great gain to us, because, by means of it, we obtain the benefit, not only of being heirs of the world, but likewise of enjoying Christ and all his riches.

With sufficiency. f117 This may refer either to the disposition of the heart, or to the thing itself If it be understood as referring to the heart, the meaning will be, that “godly persons, when they desire nothing, but are satisfied with their humble condition, have obtained very great gain.”, If we understand it to be “sufficiency” of wealth’ (and, for my own part, I like this view quite as well as the other,) it will be a promise, like that in the book of Psalms,

“The lions wander about hungry and famished; but they that seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.”
(<193410>Psalm 34:10.)

The Lord is always present with his people, and, as far as is sufficient for their necessity, out of his fullness he bestows on each his portion. Thus true happiness consists in piety; and this sufficiency may be regarded as an increase of gain.

7. For we brought nothing into the world., He adds this for the purpose of setting a limit to the sufficiency. Our covetousness is an insatiable gulf, if it be not restrained; and the best bridle is, when we desire nothing more than the necessity of this life demands; for the reason why we transgress the bounds, is, that our anxiety extends to a thousand lives which we falsely imagine. Nothing is more common, and indeed nothing is more generally acknowledged, than this statement of Paul; but as soon as all have acknowledged it, (as we see every day with our eyes,) every man swallows up with his wishes his vast possessions, in the same manner as if he had a belly able to contain half of the world. And this is what is said, that,

“although the folly of the fathers appears in hoping that they will dwell here for ever, nevertheless their posterity approve of their way.” f118 (Psalm 49:l3.)

In order, therefore, that we may be satisfied with a sufficiency, let us learn to have our heart so regulated, as: to desire nothing but what is necessary for supporting life.

8. Having food and raiment. When he mentions food and raiment, he excludes luxuries and overflowing abundance; for nature is content with a little f119 and all that goes beyond the natural use is superfluous. Not that to use them more largely ought to be condemned on its own account, but lusting after them is always sinful.

9. They who wish to be rich. After having exhorted him to be content, and to despise riches, he now explains how dangerous is the desire of having them, and especially in the ministers of the Church, of whom he expressly speaks in this passage. Now the cause of the evils, which the Apostle here enumerates, is not riches, but an eager desire of them, even though the person should be poor. And here Paul shews not only what generally happens, but what must always happen; for every man that has resolved to become rich gives himself up as a captive to the devil. Most true is that saying of the heathen poet, — “He who is desirous of becoming rich is also desirous of acquiring riches soon.” f120 Hence it follows, that all who are violently desirous of acquiring wealth rush headlong.

Hence also those foolish, or rather, mad desires, which at length plunge them into perdition. This is, indeed, a universal evil; but in the pastors of the Church it is more easily seen; for they are so maddened by avarice, that they stick at nothing, however foolish, whenever the glitter of gold or silver dazzles their eyes.

10. For the root of all evils is avarice. f121 There is no necessity for being too scrupulous in comparing other vices with this. It is certain that ambition and pride often produce worse fruits than covetousness does; and yet ambition does not proceed from covetousness. The same thing may be said of the sins forbidden by the seventh commandment. But Paul’s intention was not to include under covetousness every kind of vices that can be named. What then? He simply meant, that innumerable evils arise from it; just as we are in the habit of saying, when we speak of discord, or gluttony, or drunkenness, or any other vice of that kind, that there is no evil which it does not produce. And, indeed, we may most truly affirm, as to the base desire of gain, that there is no kind of evils that is not copiously produced by it every day; such as innumerable frauds, falsehoods, perjury, cheating, robbery, cruelty, corruption in judicature, quarrels, hatred, poisonings, murders; and, in short, almost every sort of crime.

Statements of this nature occur everywhere in heathen writers; and, therefore, it is improper that those persons: who would applaud Horace or Ovid, when speaking in that manner, should complain of Paul as having used extravagant language. I wish it were not proved by daily experience, that this is a plain description of facts as they really are. But let us remember that the same crimes which spring from avarice, may also arise, as they undoubtedly do arise, either from ambition, or from envy, or from other sinful dispositions.

Which some eagerly desiring. The Greek word ojrego>menoi is overstrained, when the Apostle says that avarice is “eagerly desired;” but it does not obscure the sense. He affirms that the most aggravated of all evils springs from avarice — revolting from the faith; for they who are diseased with this disease are found to degenerate gradually, till they entirely renounce the faith. Hence those sorrows, which he mentions; by which term I understand frightful torments of conscience, which are wont to befall men past all hope; though God has other methods of trying covetous men, by making them their own tormentors.

<540611>1 Timothy 6:11-16

11. But thou, O men of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

11. Tu vero, o homo Dei, haec fuge; sectare vero justitiam, pietatem, fidem, caritatem, patientiam, mansuetudinem.

12. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

12. Certa bonum certamen fidei; apprehende vitam aeternam, ad quam etiam vocatus es, et confessus bonam confessionem coram multis testibus.

13. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession,

13. Denuntio (vel, proecipio) tibi coram Deo qui vivificat omnia, et Christo Iesu, qui testificatus est bonam confesionem coram Pontio Pilato,

14. That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

14. Ut serves mandatum immaculatus et irreprehensibilis, usque ad revelationem Domini nostri Iesu Christi;

15. Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords,

15. Quam suis temporibus manifestabit beatus et solus princeps, Rex regnantium et Dominus dominantium,

16. Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen. Amen.

16. Qui solus habet immortalitatem, qui lumen habitat inaccessum, quem vidit nullus hominum, nec videre potest, cui honor et potentia aeterna (vel, imperium oeternum.) Amen.

 

11. But thou, O man of God, fee these things. By calling him man of God he adds weight to the exhortation. If it be thought proper to limit to the preceding verse the injunction which he gives to follow righteousness, piety, faith, patience, this is an instruction which he gives, by contrast, for correcting avarice, by informing him what kind of riches he ought to desire, namely, spiritual riches. Yet this injunction may also be extended to other clauses, that Timothy, withdrawing himself from all vanity, may avoid that (periepgi>an) vain curiosity which he condemned a little before; for he who is earnestly employed about necessary employments will easily abstain from those which are superfluous. He names, by way of example, some kinds of virtues, under which we may suppose others to be included. Consequently, every person who shall be devoted to the pursuit of “righteousness,” and who shall aim at “piety, faith, charity,” and shall follow patience and gentleness, cannot but abhor avarice and its fruits. f122

12. Fight the good fight of faith. In the next epistle he says,

“He who hath become a soldier doth not entangle himself with matters inconsistent with his calling.” (<550204>2 Timothy 2:4.)

In like manner, in order to withdraw Timothy from excessive solicitude about earthly things, he reminds him that he must “fight;” for carelessness and self — indulgence arise from this cause, that the greater part wish to serve Christ at ease, and as if it were pastime, whereas Christ calls all his servants to warfare.

For the purpose of encouraging him to fight such a fight courageously, he calls it good; that is, successful, and therefore not to be shunned; for, if earthly soldiers do not hesitate to fight, when the result is doubtful, and when there is a risk of being killed, f123 how much more bravely ought we to do battle under the guidance and banner of Christ, when we are certain of victory? More especially, since a reward awaits us, not such as other generals are wont to give to their soldiers, but a glorious immortality and heavenly blessedness; it would certainly be disgraceful that we, who have such a hope held out to us, should grow weary or give way. And that is what he immediately afterwards adds, —

Lay hold on eternal life. As if he had said, “God calls thee to eternal life, and therefore, despising the world, strive to obtain it.” When he commands them to “lay hold on it,” he forbids them to pause or slacken in the middle of their course; as if he had said, that “nothing has been done, f123A till we have obtained the life to come, to which God invites us.” In like manner, he affirms that he strives to make progress, because he has not yet laid hold. (<500312>Philippians 3:12.)

To which also thou, hast been called. Because men would run at random, and to no purpose, if they had not God as the director of their course, for the purpose of promoting their cheerful activity, he mentions also the calling; for there is nothing that ought to animate us with greater courage than to learn that we have been “called” by God; for we conclude from this, that our labor, which God directs, and in which he stretches out his hand to us, will not be fruitless. Besides, to have rejected the calling of God would be a disgraceful reproach; and, therefore, this ought to be a very powerful excitement: “God calls thee to eternal life; beware of being drawn aside to anything else, or of falling short in any way, before thou hast attained it.”

And hast confessed a good confession. By mentioning his former life, the Apostle excites him still more to persevere; for to give way, after having begun well, is more disgraceful than never to have begun. To Timothy, who had hitherto acted valiantly, and had obtained applause, he addresses this powerful argument, that the latter end should correspond to the beginning. By the word confession I understand not that which is expressed in words, but rather what is actually performed; and that not in a single instance merely, but throughout his whole ministry. The meaning therefore is: “Thou hast many witnesses of thy illustrious confession, both at Ephesus and in other countries, who have beheld thee acting faithfully and sincerely in the profession of the gospel; and, therefore, having given such a proof of fidelity, thou canst not, without the greatest shame and disgrace, shew thyself to be anything else than a distinguished soldier of Christ.” By this passage we are taught in general, that the more any of us excels, the less excusable is he if he fail, and the stronger are his obligations to God to persevere in the right course.

13. I charge thee. The great vehemence of solemn appeal, which Paul employs, is a proof how rare and hard a virtue it is, to persevere in the ministry, in a proper manner, till the end; for, although he exhorts others, in the person of Timothy, yet he addresses him also.

Before God, who quickeneth all things. What he affirms concerning Christ and concerning God, has an immediate relation to the present subject; for, when he ascribes this to God, that he quickeneth all things, he wishes to meet the offense of the cross, which presents to us nothing but the appearance of death. He therefore means, that we should shut our eyes, when ungodly men hold out and threaten death; or rather, that we should fix our eyes on God alone, because it is he who restoreth the dead to life. The amount of the whole is, that, turning away our gaze from the world, we should learn to look at God alone.

And Christ Jesus, who testified a good, confession before Pontius Pilate. What he now adds about Christ contains a remarkable confirmation; for we are taught, that we are not in the school of Plato, to learn philosophy from him, and to hear him discoursing in the shade about idle disputes; but that the doctrine which Timothy professes was ratified by the death of the Son of God. Christ made his confession before Pilate, not in a multitude of words, but in reality; that is, by undergoing a voluntary death; for, although Christ chose to be silent before Pilate, rather than speak in his own defense, because he had come thither — devoted already to a certain condemnation; yet in his silence there was a defense of his doctrine not less magnificent than if he had defended himself with a loud voice. He ratified it by his blood, and by the sacrifice of his death, better than he could have ratified it by his voice. f124

This confession the Apostle calls good. For Socrates also died; and yet his death was not a satisfactory proof of the doctrine which he held. But when we hear that the blood of the Son of God was shed, that is an authentic seal which removes all our doubt. Accordingly, whenever our hearts waver, let us remember that we should always go to the death of Christ for confirmation. What cowardice would there be in deserting such a leader going before us to show us the way!

14. That thou, keep the commandment. By the word commandment he means all that he hath hitherto said about the office of Timothy, the sum of which was, that he should show himself to be a faithful minister to Christ and to the Church. What is the use of extending this to the whole law? But perhaps it will be thought preferable to view it as denoting the office which he had received by divine authority; for we are appointed to be ministers of the Church on no other condition than this, that God enjoins upon us whatever he wishes us to do. Thus to “keep the commandment” would be nothing else than to discharge honestly the office committed to him. I certainly view it as referring altogether to the ministry of Timothy.

Spotless and unblameable. f125 Whether we consider the case or the termination f126 of the two Greek adjectives which are thus translated, they may apply either to the commandment given, or to the person of Timothy; but the meaning which I have assigned is much more appropriate. f127 Paul informs Timothy, that he must he wish to discharge his office in a proper manner.

Till the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is impossible to tell how necessary it was to all the godly, at that time, to have their mind entirely fixed on the day of Christ; because innumerable offenses existed everywhere in the world. They were assailed on every hand, were universally hated and abhorred, were exposed to the mockeries of all, were oppressed every day with new calamities; and yet they saw no fruit of so many toils and annoyances. What then remained, but that in thought they should fly away to that blessed day of our redemption?

Yet the same reason is in force with regard to us in the present day, and indeed applies equally to almost every age. How many things does Satan constantly present to our eyes, which, but for this, would a thousand times draw us aside from the right course! I say nothing about fires, and swords, and banishments, and all time furious attacks of enemies. I say nothing about slanders and other vexations. How many things are within, that are far worse! Ambitious men openly attack us, Epicureans and Lucianists jeer at us, impudent men provoke us, hypocrites murmur at us, they who are wise after the flesh secretly bite us, we are harassed by various methods in every direction. In short, it is a great miracle that any man perseveres steadfastly in an office so difficult and so dangerous. The only remedy for all these difficulties is, to cast our eyes towards the appearing of Christ, and to keep them fixed on it continually. f128

15. Which in his seasons he will show. We are commonly hasty in our wishes, and not far from prescribing a day and hour to God, as if we should say, that he must not delay to perform anything that he has promised; and for that reason the Apostle takes an early opportunity of restraining excessive haste, by expecting the coming of Christ. For that is the meaning of the words, “which in his seasons he will show.” When men know that the proper time for anything is not fully come, they wait for it more patiently. How comes it that we are so patient in bearing with the order of nature, but because we are restrained by this consideration, that we shall act unreasonably, if we struggle against it with our desires? Thus we know, that the revelation of Christ has its appointed time, for which we must wait patiently.

The blessed and only Prince. Those splendid titles are here employed in exalting the princely authority of God, in order that the brilliancy of the princes of this world may not dazzle our eyes. And such instruction was, at that time, especially necessary; for by how much all kingdoms were then great and powerful, by so much were the majesty and glory of God thrown into the shade. For all that governed the kingdoms of the world not only were deadly enemies of the kingdom of God, but proudly mocked at God, and trampled his sacred name under their feet; and the greater the haughtiness with which they despised true religion, the more happy did they imagine themselves to be. From such an aspect of things who would not have concluded that God was miserably vanquished and oppressed? We see to what a pitch of insolence Cicero rises against the Jews on account of their humbled condition, in his oration for Flaccus.

When good men see that the wicked are puffed up with prosperity, they are sometimes cast down; and therefore Paul, for the purpose of withdrawing the eyes of the godly from that transitory splendor, ascribes to God alone “blessedness, principality, and kingly power.” When he calls God the only prince, he does not overthrow civil government, as if there ought to be no magistrates or kings in the world, but means that it is He alone who reigns from himself and from his own power. This is evident from what follows, which he adds by way of exposition, —

King of kings, and Lord of lords. The sum of it is, that all the governments of the world are subject to his dominion, depend upon him, and stand or fall at his bidding, but that the authority of God is beyond all comparison, because all the rest are nothing as compared with his glory, and while they fade and quickly perish, his authority will endure for ever.

16. Who alone hath immortality. Paul labors to demonstrate that there is no happiness, no dignity or excellence, no life, out of God. accordingly, he now says that God alone is immortal, in order to inform us, that we and all the creatures do not, strictly speaking, live, but only borrow life from Him. Hence it follows that, when we look up to God as the fountain of immortal life, we should reckon this present life as of no value.

But it is objected, that the human soul and angels have their immortality, and therefore this cannot be truly affirmed of God alone. I reply, when it is said, that God alone possesses immortality, it is not here denied that he bestows it, as he pleases, on any of his creatures. The meaning is the same as if Paul had said that God alone not is immortal from himself and from his own nature, but has immortality in his power; so that it does not belong to creatures, except so far as he imparts to them power and vigor; for if you take away the power of God which is communicated to the soul of man, it will instantly fade away; and the same thing may be said about angels. Strictly speaking, therefore, immortality does not subsist in the nature of souls or of angels, but comes from another source, namely, from the secret inspiration of God, agreeably to that saying,

“In him we live, and move, and are.” (<441728>Acts 17:28.)

If any one wish to have a larger and more acute discussion of this subject, let him consult the twelfth book of Augustine “On the City of God.”

Who inhabiteth unapproachable light. He means two things, that God is concealed from us, and yet that the cause of obscurity is not in himself, as if be were hidden in darkness, but in ourselves, who, on account of the weak vision, or rather the dullness of our understanding, cannot approach to his light. We must understand that the light of God is unapproachable, if any one endeavor to approach to it in his own strength; for, if God did not open up the entrance to us by his grace, the prophet would not say:

“They who draw near to him are enlightened.” (<193405>Psalm 34:5.)

Yet it is true that, while we are surrounded by this mortal flesh, we never penetrate so far into the deepest secrets of God as to have nothing hidden from us; for

“we know in part, and we see as by a mirror, and in a riddle.”
(<461309>1 Corinthians 13:9-12.)

By faith, therefore, we enter into the light of God, but only in part. Still it is true, that it is a “light unapproachable” by man.

Whom no man hath seen or can see. This is added for the sake of additional explanation, that men may learn to look by faith to him, whom they cannot see with the bodily eyes, or even with the powers of their understanding; for I view this as referring not only to the bodily eyes, but also to the faculties of the soul. We must always consider what is the Apostle’s design. It is difficult for us to overlook and disregard all those things of which we have immediate vision, that we may endeavor to come to God, who is nowhere to be seen. For this thought always comes into our mind: “How knowest thou if there is a God, seeing that thou only hearest that he is, and dost not see him?” The Apostle fortifies us against this danger, by affirming that it ought not to be judged according to our senses, because it exceeds our capacity; for the reason why we do not see is, that our sight is not so keen as to ascend to so great a height.

There is a long dispute in Augustine on this point, because it appears to contradict what is said, in the first Epistle,

“Then shall we see him as he is, because we shall be like him.”
(<620302>1 John 3:2.)

While he reasons on this subject in many passages, there appears to me to be none in which he explains it more clearly than in the letter which he writes to the widow Paulina.

So far as relates to the meaning of the present passage, the answer is easy, that we cannot see God in this nature, as it is said elsewhere,

“Flesh and blood shall not possess the kingdom of God.”
(<461550>1 Corinthians 15:50.)

We must be renewed, that we may be like God, before it be granted to us to see him. And that our curiosity may not be beyond measure, let us always remember, that the manner of living is of more importance in this inquiry than the manner of speaking. At the same time, let us remember the judicious caution which Augustine gives us, to be on our guard lest, while we are keenly disputing how God can be seen, we lose both peace and sanctification, without which no man can ever see God.

<540617>1 Timothy 6:17-21

17. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

17. Iis, qui divites sunt in hoc saeculo, praecipe (vel, denuntia) ne efferantur, neve sperent in divitiarum incertitudine, sed in Deo vivo, qui abundŔ suppeditat omnia ad fruendum;

18. That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

18. Ut benefaciant, ut divites sint in operibus bonis, faciles ad largiendum (vel, ad communicationem,) libenter communicantes.

19. Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold On eternal life.

19. Recondentes sibi ipsis fundamentum bonum in posterum, ut vitam aeternum apprehendant.

20. O Timothy keep that is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

20. O Timothee, depositum custodi, devitans profanas clamorum inanitates, vaniloquia et oppositiones fals˛ nominatae scientiae.

21. Which some professing, have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

21. Quam quidam profitentes aberrarunt a fide. Gratia tecum. Amen.

The first to Timothy was written from Laodicea, which is the chiefest city of Phrygia Pacatiana

Ad Timotheum prima missa fuit ex Laodicea, quae est metropolis Phrygiae Pacatianae.

 

17. Command (or charge) those who are rich. There being many among Christians who were poor and in a mean condition, it is probable that they were despised (as usually happens) by the rich; and especially this might be common at Ephesus, which was a wealthy city; for in such cities, for the most part, pride is more extensively prevalent. And hence we infer how dangerous is a great abundance of riches. Nor are there wanting good reasons why Paul addresses so severe an admonition to the rich; but it is for the purpose of remedying faults which almost always follow riches in the same manner as the shadow follows the body; and that through the depravity of our natural disposition, for out of the gifts of God we always draw an occasion for sinning.

That they be not haughty, nor hope in the uncertainty of riches He expressly mentions two things against which rich men ought to be on their guard, pride and deceitful hope, of which the former springs from the latter. Accordingly, Paul appears to have added, in the same place, “nor hope in the uncertainty of riches,” in order to point out the source of all pride. For whence comes it, that rich men grow insolent, and take extreme delight in despising others, but because they imagine that they are supremely happy? Vain confidence goes first, and then arrogance follows.

Rich in this world. When Paul wishes to correct those faults, he first speaks contemptuously of riches; for the phrase, in this world, is intended to lower them in our esteem. All that is in the world has the taste of its nature; so that it is fading, and quickly passes away. The uncertainty and vanity of time hope that is placed in riches are strewn by him from this consideration, that the possession of them is so transitory that it is like a thing unknown; for, while we think that we hold them, they slip out of our hands in a moment. How foolish is it, therefore, to place our hope in them!

But in the living God. He who understands this will find no difficulty in withdrawing his hope from riches; for, if it is God alone who supplies us with everything for the necessary purposes of life, we transfer to riches what is this prerogative, when we place hope in them. Now observe that there is an implied contrast, when he affirms that God giveth abundantly to all. The meaning is, that, although we have a full and overflowing abundance of all things, yet we have nothing but from the blessing of God alone; for it is that blessing alone which imparts to us all that is needful.

Hence it follows, that they are egregiously mistaken, who rely on riches, and do not depend entirely on the blessing of God, in which consists a sufficiency of food and of everything else. Hence also we conclude, that we are forbidden to trust in riches, not only because they belong to the use of mortal life, but likewise because they are nothing but smoke; for we are fed, not by bread only, but by the blessing of God. (<050803>Deuteronomy 8:3.) f129

When he says plousi>wv eijv ajpo>lausin, abundantly for enjoyment, he describes how kind God is to us, and even to all men, and to the brute beasts; for his kindness extends far and wide beyond our necessity. (<193606>Psalm 36:6.)

18. To do good. He adds another remedy to the former, for correcting the sinful dispositions of rich men, by stating authoritatively what is the lawful use of riches; for the richer any man is, the more abundant are his means of doing good to others; and because we are always more tardy than we ought to be in giving to the poor, he employs many words in commendation of that virtue.

19. Laying up for themselves a good foundation. Besides, he adds an incitement drawn from the promise of a reward; that, by bestowing and communicating, they will procure for themselves a better treasure than they can have on earth. By the word foundation he means a firm end lasting duration; for the spiritual riches which we “lay up for ourselves” in heaven, are not exposed to the ravages of worms or thieves, (<400620>Matthew 6:20,) or fires, but continue always to be placed beyond all danger. On the contrary, nothing on earth is solidly founded; but everything may be said to be in a floating condition.

The inference drawn by Papists from this passage, that we therefore obtain eternal life by the merit of good works, is excessively frivolous. It is true that God accepts as given to himself everything that is bestowed on the poor. (<402540>Matthew 25:40.) But even the most perfect hardly perform the hundredth part of their duty; and therefore our liberality, does not deserve to be brought into account before God. So far are we from rendering full payment, that, if God should call us to a strict account, there is not one of us who would not be a bankrupt. But, after having reconciled us to himself by free grace, he accepts our services, such as they are, and bestows on them a reward which is not due. This recompense, therefore, does not depend on considerations of merit, but on God’s gracious acceptance, and is so far from being inconsistent with the righteousness of faith, that it may be viewed as an appendage to it.

20. O Timothy, guard that which is committed, to thee. Though interpreters differ in expounding paraqh>khn, a thing committed, yet, for my part, I think that it denotes that grace which had been communicated to Timothy for the discharge of his office. It is called “a thing committed,” for the same reason that it is called (<402515>Matthew 25:15,) “a talent;” for all the gifts which God bestows on us are committed to us on this condition, that we shall one day give an account of them, if the advantage which they ought to have yielded be not lost through our negligence. The Apostle therefore exhorts him to keep diligently what had been given to him, or rather, what had been committed to him in trust; that he may not suffer it to be corrupted or adulterated, or may not deprive or rob himself of it through his own fault. It frequently happens that our ingratitude or abuse of the gifts of God causes them to be taken from us; and therefore Paul exhorts Timothy to endeavor to preserve, by a good conscience and by proper use, that which had been “committed” to him.

Avoiding profane vanities of noises. The object of the admonition is, that he may be diligent in imparting solid instruction; and this cannot be, unless he detest ostentation; for, where an ambitious desire to please prevails, there is no longer any strong desire of edification. For this reason, when he spoke of “guarding the thing committed,” he very appropriately added this caution about avoiding profane talkativeness. As to the rendering which the Vulgate gives to kenofwvi>av, vanities of voices,” I do not so much object to it, except on the ground of an ambiguity which has led to a wrong exposition; for “Voces” is commonly supposed to have the same meaning here as “Vocabula,” “Words,” such as Fate or Fortune.

But, for my part, I think that he describes the high — sounding and verbose and bombastic style of those who, not content with the simplicity of the gospel, turn it into profane philosophy.

 The kenofwbi>ai f130 consist, not in single words, but in that swelling language which is so constantly and so disgustingly poured out by ambitious men, who aim at applause rather than the profit of the Church. And most accurately has Paul described it; for, while there is a strange sound of something lofty, there is nothing underneath but “empty” jingle, which he likewise calls “profane;” for the power of the Spirit is extinguished as soon as the Doctors blow their flutes in this manner, to display their eloquence.

In the face of a prohibition so clear and distinct, which the Holy Spirit has given, this plague has nevertheless broken out; and, indeed, it showed itself at the very beginning, but, at length, has grown to such a height in Popery, that the counterfeit mark of theology which prevails there — is a lively mirror of that “profane” and “empty noise” of which Paul speaks. I say nothing about the innumerable errors and follies and blasphemies with which their books and their noisy disputes abound. But even although they taught nothing that was contrary to godliness, yet, because their whole doctrine contains nothing else than big words and bombast, because it is inconsistent with the majesty of Scripture, the efficacy of the Spirit, the gravity of the prophets, and the sincerity of the apostles, it is, on that account, an absolute profanation of real theology.

What, I ask, do they teach about faith, or repentance, or calling on God; about the weakness of men, or the assistance of the Holy Spirit, or the forgiveness of sins by free grace, or about the office of Christ, that can be of any avail for the solid edification of godliness? But on this subject we shall have occasion to speak again in expounding the Second Epistle. Undoubtedly, any person who possesses a moderate share of understanding and of candor; will acknowledge that all the high — sounding terms of Popish Theology, and all the authoritative decisions that make so much noise in their schools, are nothing else than “profane kenofwni>ai,” (empty words,) and that it is impossible to find more accurate terms for describing them than those which the Apostle has employed. And certainly it is a most righteous punishment of human arrogance, that they who swerve from the purity of Scripture become profane. The doctors of the Church, therefore, cannot be too earnestly attentive to guard against such corruptions, and to defend the youth from them.

The old translation, adopting the reading of kainofwni>av instead of kenofwni>av, rendered it novelties of words; and it is evident from the commentaries of the ancients, that this rendering, which is even now found in some Greek copies, was at one time extensively approved; but the former, which I have followed, is far better.

And contradictions of science falsely so called. This also is highly exact and elegant; for so swollen are the subtleties on which men desirous of glory plume themselves, that they overwhelm the real doctrine of the gospel, which is simple and unpretending. That pomp, therefore, which courts display, and which is received with applause by the world, is called by the Apostle “contradictions.” Ambition, indeed, is always contentious, and is the mother of disputes; and hence it arises that they who are desirous to display themselves are always ready to enter into the arena of debate on any subject. But Paul had this principally in view, that the empty doctrine of the sophists, rising aloft into airy speculations and subtleties, not only obscures by its pretensions the simplicity of true doctrine, but also oppresses and renders it contemptible, as the world is usually carried away by outward show.

Paul does not mean that Timothy should be moved by emulation to attempt something of the same kind, but, because those things which have an appearance of subtlety, or are adapted to ostentation, are more agreeable to human curiosity, Paul, on the contrary, pronounces that “science “which exalts itself above the plain and humble doctrine of godliness — to be falsely called and thought a science. This ought to be carefully observed, that we may learn boldly to laugh at and despise all that hypocritical wisdom which strikes the world with admiration and amazement, although there is no edification in it; for, according to Paul, no science is truly and justly so called but that which instruct us in the confidence and fear of God; that is, in godliness.

21. Which some professing, have erred concerning the faith. From the result, also, he demonstrates how dangerous a thing it is, and how much it ought to be avoided. The way in which God punishes the haughtiness of those who, through the desire of obtaining reputation, corrupt and disfigure the doctrine of godliness, is, that he allows them to fall away from soundness of understanding, so that they involve themselves in many absurd errors. We see that this has taken place in Popery; for, after they began to speculate in profane manner, about the mysteries of our religion, there followed innumerable monsters of false opinions. Faith is here taken, as in some former passages, for the summary of religion and sound doctrine. Warned by such examples, if we abhor revolt from “the faith,” let us adhere to the pure word of God, and let us detest sophistry and all useless subtleties, because they are abominable corruptions of religion.

END OF THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.


A TRANSLATION OF CALVIN’S VERSION

OF THE

FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL
TO TIMOTHY

CHAPTER 1

1               Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the appointment of God our Savior, and of the Lord Jesus Christ our hope;

2               To Timothy my own son in the faith, grace, mercy, peace, from God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

3               As I besought thee to remain at Ephesus, when I set out for Macedonia, I wish that thou shouldst charge some not to teach differently; f131 and

4               Not to give heed to fables and to genealogies that have no end, which produce questions rather than the edification of God, which consisteth in faith.

5               Now, the end of time commandment is love, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned;

6               From which some, having gone astray, have turned aside to idle talking

7               Wishing to be teachers of the law, not understanding what they say, nor concerning what things they affirm.

8               But we know that the law is good, if one use it lawfully;

9               Knowing this, that the law is not made for the righteous man, but for the unrighteous and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

10             For fornicators, for sodomites, for robbers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there be anything else that is contrary to sound doctrine;

11             According to time gospel of the glory of the blessed God, which hath been intrusted to me.

12             And I give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath made me powerful, because he reckoned me faithful, by putting me into the ministry;

13             Who was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor, and an oppressor, but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

14             And the grace of our Lord aboundeth beyond measure, with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus.

15             It is a faithful saying, and worthy of being fully accepted, that Christ Jesus came into the world, to save sinners, of whom I am the first;

16             But for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me the first, Jesus Christ might show all compassion, for a pattern to those who should believe in him to eternal life.

17             Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, (be) honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

18             This commandment I recommend to thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before concerning thee, that by them thou mayest war a good warfare;

19             Holding faith and a good conscience, from which some, having turned aside concerning faith, have made shipwreck;

20             Of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

CHAPTER 2

1               I exhort therefore, that, above all, supplications, entreaties, intercessions, and thanksgivings, be made for all men;

2               For kings, and for all who are placed in authority, that we lead a peaceful and quiet life, with all godliness and decency;

3               For this is good and acceptable before God our Savior;

4               Who wishes that all men may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

5               For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

6               Who gave himself the price of redemption for all, (that there might be) a testimony in due time;

7               For which I have been appointed a herald and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not,) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

8               I wish therefore that men may pray in every place, lifting up pure hands, without wrath and disputing.

9               In like manner also that women adorn themselves in decent apparel, with modesty and sobriety, not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly raiment,

10             But (which becometh women professing godliness) by good works.

11             Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

12             But I suffer not the woman to teach, nor to assume authority over the man, but to be silent.

13             For Adam was first created, then Eve.

14             And Adam was not deceived; but the woman, being deceived, was guilty of the transgression.

15             Yet she shall be saved through child — bearing, if they continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.

CHAPTER 3

1               It is a true saying, If a man desireth the office of a bishop, he desireth an excellent work.

2               A bishop, therefore, must be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, temperate, modest not wickedly desirous of gain,

3               But mild, not quarrelsome, not covetous,

4               Who ruleth well his own house, who hath his children in subjection with all reverence.

5               (And if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take charge of the church of God?)

6               Not a novice, lest, being swelled with pride, he fall into condemnation of the devil.

7               He must also have a good report from those who are without, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

8               In like manner, the deacons must be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not wickedly desirous of gain;

9               Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience.

10             And let these be first tried, next let them minister when they have been found blameless.

11             In like manner, their wives must be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

12             Let the deacons be husbands of one wife, who rule their children and their houses in a becoming manner,

13             For they who have served well procure for themselves a good (or, honorable) degree, and much liberty in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

14             These things I write to thee, hoping to come to thee soon and,

15             If I shall delay, that thou mayest see how thou oughtst to conduct thyself in the house of God; which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.

16             And, without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifested in the flesh, seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles, obtained belief in the world, was received into glory.

CHAPTER 4

1               Now, the Spirit plainly saith, that, in the latter times, some will revolt from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and to doctrines of devils;

2               Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

3               Forbidding to enter into marriages, commanding to abstain from some kinds of food, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by believers, and by those that know the truth;

4               Because every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected which is received with thanksgiving;

5               For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

6               Exhibiting these things to the brethren, thou shalt he a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished by the words of faith, which thou hast followed. f132

7               But avoid profane and old women’s fables, and, on the contrary, exercise thyself to godliness.

8               For bodily exercise is of little profit; but godliness is profitable for all things, having the promises of the present life, and of that which is to come.

9               It is a faithful saying, and worthy of being cordially embraced.

10             For in this we both labor and suffer reproaches, because we have hope fixed on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

11             Instruct and teach these things.

12             Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in love, in spirit, in faith, in chastity.

13             Till I come, apply thyself to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

14             Neglect not the gift which is in thee, which was given to thee by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

15             Take heed to these things; give attention to them, that thy profiting may be manifest to all men, (or’ in all things.)

16             Give heed to thyself, and to the doctrine; continue in them; for, if thou shalt do this, thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.

CHAPTER 5

1               Do not harshly rebuke an elder, but exhort him as a father, the younger as brethren;

2               The older women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all chastity.

3               Honor widows that are really widows.

4               Now, if any widow hath children or grandchildren, let them learn first to exercise piety toward their own house, and to requite their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.

5               Now, she who is really a widow and desolate hopeth in God, and continueth in prayers and supplications night and day.

6               But she who spendeth her time in luxury is dead while she liveth.

7               And enjoin these things, that they may be blameless.

8               And if any person do not provide for his own, and especially for those of his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

9               Let a widow be chosen, not under sixty years of age, who hath been the wife of one man

10             Having attestation for good works, if she hath brought up children, if she hath been hospitable, if she hath washed the feet of the saints, if she hath relieved the afflicted, if she hath been diligent in every good work.

11             But refuse younger widows; for, when they have begun to he wanton against Christ, they wish to be married;

12             Having condemnation, because they have renounced their first faith.

13             And at the same time, being idle, they learn to go about from house to house; and not only are idle, but also tattlers and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

14             I wish the younger (widows), therefore, to be married, to bear children, to take charge of the house, to give no occasion to the adversary, that he may have ground for slandering;

15             For some have already turned aside after Satan.

16             And if any believing man or believing woman hath widows, let him or her relieve them; and let not the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.

17             Let the elders f133 that rule well be reckoned worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in word and doctrine.

18             For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn, (<052504>Deuteronomy 25:4,) and, The laborer is worthy of his hire. (<401010>Matthew 10:10.)

19             Against an elder receive not an accusation, unless by two or three witnesses.

20             Those that sin rebuke in presence of all, f134 that others also may fear.

21             I adjure thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without hastiness of judgment, doing nothing by turning to this side or that.

22             Lay not bands suddenly on any man, neither partake of other men’s sins; keep thyself pure.

23             No longer drink water, but use a little wine on account of thy stomach, and of thy frequent ill health.

24             The sins of some men are visible beforehand, hastening to judgment; and in some they follow after.

25             In like manner, also, the good works are visible beforehand; and those that are otherwise cannot be concealed.

CHAPTER 6

1               Let all who are slaves under the yoke reckon their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine may not be blasphemed.

2               And they who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren; but let them serve so much the more, because they are believers and beloved, and partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

3               If any man teacheth otherwise (or, other thing), and consenteth not to the healthful words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to godliness,

4               He is puffed up, knowing nothing, but sickening after questions and debates of words, out of which spring envy, strife, slanders, unfounded suspicions,

5               Useless disputes of men corrupt in understanding, and that are destitute of the truth, thinking that gain is godliness. Withdraw thyself from such.

6               But godliness with sufficiency f135 is great gain.

7               For we brought nothing into the world; it is certain that neither can we carry anything out.

8               And having food and raiment, we shall be content with these.

9               For they who wish to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into numerous and hurtful follies, which plunge men into ruin and destruction.

10             For the root of all evils is avarice, which some eagerly desiring, have gone astray from the faith, and have entangled themselves with many sorrows.

11             But thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, piety, faith, love, patience, meekness.

12             Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life, to which also thou art called, and hast confessed a good confession before many witnesses.

13             I charge (or, command) thee before God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who testified a good confession before Pontius Pilate,

14             That thou keep the commandment without spot and unblameably, till the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ;

15             Which shall be manifested in due season by the blessed and only Prince, the King of kings, and Lord of lords,

16             Who along bath immortality, who inhabiteth unapproachable light, whom no man hath seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power (or, everlasting dominion). Amen.

17             Command (or, charge) those who are rich, that they be not haughty, nor hope in the uncertainty of riches, but in the living God, who supplieth all things abundantly for enjoyment;

18             To do good, to be rich in good works, ready to distribute (or, to bestow), willingly imparting,

19             Laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

20             O Timothy, guard that which is committed to thee, avoiding profane vanities of noises, idle talking, and contradictions of science falsely so called,

21             Which some professing, have erred concerning the faith. Grace (be) with thee. Amen.

The first (Epistle) to Timothy was sent from Laodicea, which is the chief city of Phrygia Pacatiana.


Footnotes

ft1 “En l’estat de prestrise, c’est a dire du ministers.” “Into the office of presbyters, that is, of the ministry.”

ft2 Our author, quoting from memory, blends the two passages, not quite accurately, yet so as to convey the true meaning of both. — Ed.

ft3 “The construction here is tortuous and elliptical. Poreuo>menov eijv Macedoni>an must be construed between caqw<v and pareca>lesa, and the protasis at caqw<v is without its apodosis, ou[twv, which must be supplied. The simplest and most natural method is to understand ou[tw cai< nu~n paracalw~.” — Bloomfield.

ft4 “Il ne recommande pas simplement a Timothee de retener sa doctrine, mais il use d’un mot qui signifie le vray patron, ou vif portraict d’icelle.” “He does not merely advise Timothy to hold by his doctrine, but employs a word which denotes the true pattern or lively portrait of it.”

ft5 “Et c’est en ceste signification que Suetone, en la vie de Tibere, dit que cest empereur la s’amusoit fort a l’histoire fabuleuse.” “And it is in this sense that Suetonius, in his life of Tiberius, says that that emperor amused himself very much with fabulous history.”

ft6 “Here we see more clearly, that Paul did not merely condemn in this passage doctrines which are altogether false, and which contain some blasphemies, but likewise all those useless speculations which serve to turn aside believers from the pure simplicity of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what Paul includes under the word “fables,” for he means not only deliberate and manifest falsehoods, but likewise everything that is of no use, and this is implied in the word which he employs. What, then, does Paul set aside in this passage? All curious inquiries, all speculations which serve only to annoy and distress the mind, or in which there is nothing but a fair show and display, and which do not promote the salvation of those who hear them. This must be carefully remembered, for we shall afterwards see that the reason why Paul speaks of them in this manner is, that the word of God must be profitable. (<550316>2 Timothy 3:16.) All who do not apply the word of God to good profit and advantage are despisers and falsifiers of good doctrine.” — Fr. Ser.

ft7 jApe>rantov properly signifies interminable. Hence there is also an implicit sense of what is unprofitable. This, indeed, some, but I think injudiciously, make the principal one.” — Bloomfield

ft8 “Rather than godly edifying,” — Eng. Tr.

ft9 “This word edify is sufficiently common in the Holy Scripture, but is not understood by all. In order to understand it aright, let us observe that it is a comparisons which is set before us; for we ought to be temples of God, because he wishes to dwell in us. — Those who profit in a right manner, that is, in faith, in the fear of God, in holiness of life, are said to be edified; that is, God builds them to be his temples, and wishes to dwell in them; and also that we should unitedly form a temple of God, for each of us is a stone of that temple. Thus, when each of us shall be well instructed in his duty, and when we shall all be united in holy brotherhood, then shall we be edified in God. It is true, that men may sometimes be edified in pride: as we see that they who take delight in their vain imaginations, and who spread their wings, and swell themselves out like toads, think that they are well edified. Alas! what a poor building is this! But Paul expressly says, that we must be edified according to God. By which he shews, that when we shall be instructed to serve God, to render to him pure worship, to place all our confidence in him, this is the edification at which we must aim; and every doctrine that has that tendency is good and holy, and ought to be received I but all that is opposed to it must be rejected without farther dispute: it is unnecessary to make any longer inquiry. And why must this or that be rejected? Because it does not contribute to the edification of God.” — Fr. Ser.

ft10 “Pour demesler tout ce qu’ils entassoyent pour esblouir les yeux des simples.”  “In order to sweep away all that they heaped up for the purpose of blinding the eyes of plain people.”

ft11 “Il Tonne a cl~acune vertu son epithet. “He gives to each virtue its epithet.”

ft12 “Here he makes use of a metaphor taken from those who shoot with a bow; for they have their mark at which they aim, and do not shoot carelessly, or at random. Thus Paul shews that God, by giving us the law, has determined to give us a sure road, that we may not be liable to wander like vagabonds. And, indeed, it is not without reason that Moses exhorteth the people, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it,’ as if he had said that men do not know where they are, till God has declared to them his will; but then they have an infallible rule. — Let us carefully observe that God intends to address us in such a manner that it shall not be possible for us to go astray, provided that we take him for our guide, seeing that he is ready and willing to perform that office, when we do not refuse such a favor. This is what Paul meant by this metaphor; as we are told that all who have it not as their object to rely on the grace of God, in order that they may call on God as their Father, and may expect salvation from him, and who do not walk with a good conscience, and with a pure heart toward their neighborhood, are like persons who have wandered and gone astray.” — Fr. Ser.

ft13 “De vanite et mesonge.” “For vanity and falsehood.”

ft14Mataiologi>a has reference to the interminable and unprofitable zhth>seiv mentioned at <540104>1 Timothy 1:4, and called cenofwni>av at <540620>1 Timothy 6:20; this vain and empty talk being, by implication, opposed to the performance of substantial duties.” — Bloomfield.

ft14A “And in Popery what are the articles that shall be held as most certain? What angel, or what devil, revealed to them that there is a purgatory? They have fabricated it out of their own brain, and, after having attempted to produce some passages of the Holy Scriptures, they have at length become bewildered, so that they have no defense of their purgatory, but its antiquity. ‘There it is! It has been always held.’ Such is the foundation of faith, according to the learned Papists. And then we must not call in question that we ought to apply to the departed saints as our advocates and intercessors. To go to God without baying as our guide St. Michael, or the Virgin Mary, or some other saint whom the Pope shall have inserted in his calendar for the occasion, would be of no avail. And why? On what ground? Will they find in all the Holy Scriptures a single word, a single syllable, to shew that creatures, that is, deceased persons, intercede for us? For in this world we ought to pray for one another, and that is a mutual obligation; but as to deceased persons, not a word is said about them.” — Fr. Ser.

ft15 “All vices are contrary to sound doctrine. For what is the advantage to be derived from the Word of God? It is the pasture of our souls; and, next, it is a medicine. We have bread and various kinds of food for the nourishment of our body: the word of God is of the same use for our souls. But it is more advantageous in this respect, that, when we are diseased with our vices, when there are many corruptions and wicked desires, we must be purged of them; and the Word of God serves us for various purposes, for purging, for blood — letting, for drink, and for diet. In short, all that physicians can apply to the human body, for healing its diseases, is not a tenth part of what the Word of God accomplishes for the health of our souls On that account Paul speaks here of sound doctrine. For inquisitive and ambitious persons are always in a diseased state; they have no health in them they are like those unhappy patients who have lost their appetite, and who suck and lick, but cannot receive any nourishment. But when the Word of God is applied in a right manner, there must be a contest; there was a war against every vice; and the Word of God must condemn them in such a manner that the hearts of men shall be touched and pierced — shall be humbled and laid low with sincere repentance to groan before God; and, if there be nothing else, that they shall at least be convinced, that they shall have remorse within themselves, that they may so be an example to all that are not altogether incorrigible. This is the way in which the Lord wishes that his word may be applied to a good use.” — Fr. Ser.

ft16 “Mais de se demettre de toute gloire, et recognoistre a bon eseient son iudignite” “But to part with all glory, and to acknowledge sincerely his own unworthiness.”

ft17 “Christ ne fait pas comme les hommes, lesquels par ambition mettent des yens en un estat, sans regarder quay et commet” “Christ does not act like men, who, through ambition, put persons into an office, without considering what or how.”

ft18 “Here is Paul, who was slandered by many people, as we see that there are always dogs that bark against God’s servants, aiming at nothing but to bring them into contempt, or rather to make their doctrine be despised and abhorred. Wishing to shut the mouths of such people, Paul says that he is satisfied with having the authority and warrant of Christ. As if he had said, ‘Men may reject me, but it is enough that I am declared to be faithful by him who has all authority in himself, and who, being the heavenly Judge, hath pronounced it. When he put me into that office, he declared that he reckoned me to be his servant, and that he intended to employ me in preaching his gospel. That is enough for me. Let men contrive and calumniate as much as they may, provided that I have Christ on my side, let men jeer at me, it will be of no avail; For the decision pronounced by the Lord Jesus Christ can never be recalled.’ Thus we see what was Paul’s intention, namely, that he does not here mean that Christ foresaw in him anything as the reason why he called him to so honorable an office, but only that, by putting him into it, he declared and made it evident to men, that he intended to make use of him.” — Fr. Ser.

ft19 “Par incredulite, ou, n’ayant point la foy.” “Through unbelief, or not having faith.”

ft20 “En la definition du peche contre le S. Esprit, Incredulite est le terme general; et le Propos malicieux, qui est le contraire d’ignoranee, est comme ce que les Dialecticiens appellent la difference, qui restraint ce qui estoit genera!.” “In the definition of the sin against the Holy Spirit, Unbelief is the general term, and malicious intention, which is the opposite of ignorance, may be regarded as that which logicians call the difference, which limits what was general.”

ft21 It may deserve consideration whether a large portion of this able argument might not have been avoided, by means of a different collocation of the passage. “Who was formerly a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and an oppressor, (for I did it ignorantly in unbelief,) but l obtained mercy, and tlhe grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” — Ed.

ft22 “Sinon d’autant que les honames disputent tousjours, et sont en doute en eux — mesmes touehant leur salut.” “But because men are always disputing, and are in doubt in themselves about their salvation.”

ft23 “Il se faut bien donner garde de cuider que l’Apostre ait ainsi parle par une faeon de nmodestie, et non pas qu’il se pensast en son coeur.” “We must guard against thinking that the Apostle spoke thus under a presence of modesty, and that he did not think so in his heart.”

ft24 “If we consider what is the chief service that God demands and accepts, we shall know what is meant by saying that humility is the greatest sacrifiee that he approves. (<091522>1 Samuel 15:22.) And that is the reason why it is said that faith may be regarded as the mother of all the virtues; it is the foundation and source of them; and, but for this, all the virtues that are visible, and that are highly valued by men, have no solid value; they are so many vices which God condemns. After we have loudly praised a man, and placed him in the rank of angels, he shall be rejected by God, with all his fine reputation, unless he have that obedience of faith. Thus it will be in vain for men to say, ‘I did not intend it, that was my opinion;’ for, not withstanding their good intention and their reputation, they must be condemned before God as rebels. This would, at first sight, seem hard to digest. And why? For we see how men always endeavor to escape from the hand of God, and resort to many indirect means. And when can they find this palliation, ‘I intended to do what was right, and why not accept my good intention?’ When that can be alleged, we think that it is enough, but such palliations will be of no avail before God.” — Fr. Ser.

ft25 “Qu’il estoit le premier ou le principal de tous les pecheurs.” “That he was the first, or the chief, of all sinners.”

ft26 “Nostre vocation, e’est a dire, la grace que Dieu nous a faite en nous appellant.” “Our calling, that is, the grace which God has displayed in calling us.”

ft27 “De la grace de Dieu sur lay.”

ft28 “Pour le recommender a l’Eglise, et luy donner authorite.” “In order to recommend him to the Church, and to give him authority.”

ft28A “What is human life, and what is the whole of its course? A navigation Not only are we travelers, as the Scripture tells us, (<600211>1 Peter 2:11,) but we have no solidity. They who travel by land, either on foot or on horseback, have still their sure and firm road; but in the world, instead of being on foot or on horseback, we must be, as it were, on a sea, and we have no solid footing. We are like people who are in a boat, and who are always within half a foot of their death; and the boat is a sort of grave, because they see the water all around ready to swallow them up. Thus is it with us, while we live here below. For, on the one hand, there is the frailly that is in us, which is more fluid than water; and then all that surrounds us is like water, which flows on all sides, while at every minute winds, and storms. and tempests arise. Let us therefore learn that our life is but a kind of navigation, which we perform by water, and that we are, at the same time, exposed to many winds and storms. And if it be so, what shall become of us when we have not a good boat or a good pilot?” — Fr. Ser.

ft29Deh>seiv, if we attend to its etymological import, is derived ajpo< tou~ dei~sqai, ‘from being in want’ and is a petition for that ou= deo>meqa, ‘which we want.’ It is very correctly defined by Gregory Nazianzen in his 15th Iambic Ode: De>hsin oi[ou th<n ai]thsin ejndew~n, ‘consider that when you are in want of anything, your petition is de>hsiv.’ If we attend again to the customary usage of the word, it signifies ‘a petition for a benefit.’ My opinion is, that the various names express one and the same thing, viewed under various aspects. Our prayers are called deh>seiv, so far as by them we declare to God our need; for de>esqai is “to be in need.’ They are proseucai<, as they contain our wishes. They are aijth>mata, as they express petitions and desires. They are ejnteu>xeiv, as we are permitted by God to approach Him, not with timidity, but in a familiar manner: for ejnteu>xiv is a familiar conversation and interview.” — Witsius on the Lord’s Prayer.

ft30 “Ne plus ne moins que la terre est destinee a produire ce qui est propre pour nostre nourriture.” “Neither more nor less than the earth is appointed to produce what is adapted to our nourishment.”

ft31 “Christ is said to be the one Mediator in the same sense that God is said to be the one God. As there is but one Creator of man, so there is but one Mediator for men. As God is the God of all that died before Christ came, as well as of those that died after; so Christ is the Mediator of all that died before his coming, as well as of those that saw his day. They had Christ for their Mediator, or some other; some other they could not have, because there is but one. They might as well have had another Creator besides God, as another Mediator besides the man Christ Jesus. In regard of the antiquity of his mediation, from the foundation of the world, he us represented, when he walks as Mediator ‘in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks,’ with ‘hair as white as wool,’ a character of age (<660114>Revelation 1:14); as God is described so in regard of his eternity, (<270709>Daniel 7:9.) There is but one God from eternity; but one Mediator, whose mediation hath the same date as the foundation of the world, and runs parallel with it.” — Charnock.

ft32 “He gave himself ajnti>lutron uJpe<r, ‘a ransom for’ all. If this does not imply the notion of Vicarious, I very much question whether language can express it. Lu>tron is a Ransom; which conveys a vicarious sense, in its most common and authorized acceptation.  jAnti<, which is equivalent to Instead, still more fully ascertains and strengthens the idea. ( jAnti<, <400222>Matthew 2:22.) By this word the LXX. translated the word tht, (tabhdth.) And that tht denotes the substitution of one instead of another, no student of the sacred language will venture to deny. (See <012213>Genesis 22:13; <101833>2 Samuel 18:33; <121024>2 Kings 10:24.) JTpe<r, which is translated For, and denotes a substitution of one in the place of another; this, added to all, renders the expression as determinate and emphatical for the purpose as words can possibly be. Thus writes Clemens Romanus, To< ai=ua aujtou~ e]dwcen uJpe<r hJmw~n jIhsou~v Cristo<v oJ Ku>riov hJmw~n, cai< th<n sa>rca uJper th~v ea>rcov hJmw~n, cai< th<n yuch<n uJpe<r tw~n yucw~n hJmw~n. “Jesus Christ our Lord gave his blood for us, and his flesh for our flesh, and his soul for our souls.” (Ephesians 1 ad Corinth.) Exactly to the same purpose Justin the Martyr expresses himself: ‘He gave his own Son a ransom (uJpe<r) for us, the holy for transgressors, the sinless for the sinful, the righteous for the unrighteous, the immortal for the mortal.’ (Ep. 1 ad Diogn.)” — Hervey’s Theron and Aspasqo.

ft33 “Quand il l’appelle Rancon, ou, Pris de redemption.” “When he calls him the Ransom or Price of our redemption.” — “Christ came to give up his life as a lu>tron. Now lu>tron properly denotes the ransom paid, in order to deliver any one from death, or its equivalent, captivity, or from punishment in general. It has been satisfactorily proved that, among both the Jews and the Gentiles, peculiar victims were accepted as a ransom for the life of an offender, and to at one for his offense. — The ajnti>lutron of this passage is a stronger term than the lu>tron of <402028>Matthew 20:28, and is well explained by Hesych., ajnti>doton, implying the substitution, in suffering punishment, of one person for another. See <461503>1 Corinthians 15:3; <470521>2 Corinthians 5:21; <560214>Titus 2:14; <600118>1 Peter 1:18.” — Bloomfield.

ft34 “Le temps propre et la droite saison.” “The fit time and: proper season.”

ft35 “En monstrant une contenance contraire a ce qui est en le coeur. “By showing a countenance opposite to what is in their heart.”

ft36 See Commentary on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians, vol. 1.

ft37 “Pource que e’est un cas particulier et extraordinaire. “Because it is a peculiar and extraordinary case.”

ft38 “Il commande done qu’elles demeurent en silence; c’est a dire, qu’elles se contiennent dedans leurs limites, et la condition de leur sexe.” “He therefore commands them to remain in silence; that is, to keep within their limits and the condition of their sex.”

ft39 “Que la femme par son peche amendast son condition.”

ft40 “Et ta volonte sera sujete a la sienne.” “And thy will shall be subject to his will.”

ft41 “Qu’il ne donna lien a aucune persuasion du diable.” “That he did not yiel to any persuasion of the devil.”:

ft42 “C’estoit une chose pour descourager les femmes, et les mettre en desespoir.” it was fitted to discourage women, and to reduce them to despair.”

ft43 “Ou, Si aucun a affection d’estre evesque.” “Or, If any one hath a desire to be a bishop.”

ft44 “Let us know that the Holy Spirit, speaking of those who are ordained ministers of the word of God, and who are elected to govern the Church, calls them Pastors. And why? Because God wishes us to be a flock of sheep, to be guided by him, hearing his voice, following his guidance, and living peaceably. Since, therefore the Church is compared to a flock, they who have the charge of guiding the Church by the word of God are called Pastors. And next, the word Pastor means Elder not by age, but by of office: as, at all times, they who govern have been called Elders, even among heathen nations. Now the Holy Spirit has retained this metaphor, giving the name Elder to those who are chosen to proclaim the word of God. He likewise calls them Bishops, that is persons who watch over the flock to show that it is not a rank unaccompanied by active exertion, when a man is called to, that office, and that he must not make an idol of it, but must know that he is sent to obtain the salvation of souls, and must be employed, and watch, and labor, for that purpose. We see then the reason of these words; and since the Holy Spirit hath given them to us, we must retain them, provided that they be applied to a good and holy use.” — Fr. Ser.

ft45 “Et non pas le premier qui se pourroit presenter.” “And not the first that might offer himself.”

ft46 jAnepi>lhpton — “This is properly an antagonistic term, signifying, ‘one who gives his adversary no hold upon him;’ but it is often (as here) applied metaphorically to one who gives others no cause justly to accuse him. So Thucydides, v. 17, toi~v ejcqroi~v ajnepi>lhpton ei+nai. “ Such (says a celebrated writer) is the perfect purity of our religion, such the innocence and virtue which it exacts, that he must be a very good man indeed who lives up to it.” And when we consider the still greater requirements in a teacher of religion, (who is to be an example to others,) and reflect on the injury done to religion through the side of false professors, how much reason will there appear that such a one should be, as the apostle says, blameless.” — Broomfield.

ft47 “Qu’il condamne en 1’Evesque d’avoir deux femmes ensemble vivantes.” “That he condemns in a bishop the having two wives living at the same time.”

ft48 “La polygamie estoit une chose toute commune entre les Juifs.” “Polygamy was a thing quite common among the Jews.”

ft49Nhfa>lion, ‘vigilant or circumspect.’ In which sense the word occurs in the later writers; as, for instance, Phavorinus. The force of the word is well expressed by the Pesch. Syr., ‘mente sit vigilanti’ Instead of nhfa>lion, (the reading of many of the best MSS. and all the early editions,) nhfa>leon was introduced by Beza, but without any sufficient reason; and the former has been rightly restored by Wetstein, Griesbach, Matthaei, Tittnhann, and Vater. Here, then, we have a quality suggested by the very term ejpi>scopov, which imports vigilant superintendence.” — Bloomfield.

ft50 “Recueillant volontiers les estrangers;” Willingly entertaining strangers.”

ft51 “Let every one know that the virtues which are here required in all ministers of the word of God, are in order to give an example to the flock. It is highly proper for every one to know that, when it is said that ministers should be wise, temperate, and of good moral behavior. it is in order that others may be conformed to their example; for it is not for three or four only, but for all in general, that these things are said. This is the way: in which the example of men must be profitable to us, so far as they shall conduct themselves properly, according to the will of God. And if they depart from that will ever so little. we must not yield to them such authority as to follow them on that account; but we must attend to what Paul says, that we ought to follow men so far as they are entirely conformed to the pure word of God, and are imitators of Jesus Christ, to lead us in the right way.” — Fr. Ser.

ft52 “Il faut que tels s’employent a autre chose.” “Such persons ought to be employed in something else.”

ft53 “Some expositors, ancient and modern, take this to be equivalent to uJbristh<n or aujqa>dh; which is, indeed, much countenanced by three vices in this clause, standing opposed to the three virtues in the next. But considering that we have at <540308>1 Timothy 3:8 the expression mh> oi]nw| prose>contav used of the deacons, here at least the physical sense must be included; and, according to every principle of correct exegesis, it must stand first. In the word pa>roinov, the para< means beyond, denoting excess. So the expression in <350205>Habakkuk 2:5, ‘he transgresseth by wine. “ — Bloomfield.

ft54 “Ne convoiteux de gain deshonneste.” “Not covetous of dishonourable gain.”

ft55 “Dives fieri qui vult, Et cito vult fieri.”  — Juvenal

ft56 “Que I’Evesque ne sache que c’est de vivre au Monde. “That the bishop shall not know what it is to live in the world.”

ft57 “C’est a dire, de la moinerie.” “That is, from monkhood.”

ft58 “The house of a believer ought to be like a little church. Heathens, who did not know what a church is, said that a house is but an image and figure of any public government. A poor man, living with his wife and children and servants, ought to be in his house like a public governor But Christians ought to go beyond this. Every father of a family should know that God has appointed him to that place, that he may know how to govern his wife and children and servants; so that God shall be honored in the midst of them, and all shall do Him homage. Paul speaks of children; and why? Because he who wishes to discharge his duty as pastor of a church must be like a father to all believers. Now, let us suppose that a man cannot govern two or three children which he has in the house. They are his own children, and yet he cannot keep them in subjection; they are deaf to all that he says to them. How then shall he be able to govern those who are at a distance, and who may be said to be unknown to him, who even refuse to become wiser, and think that they have no need of being instructed? How shall he be able to keep men in dread when his own wife is not subject to him? Let us not, therefore, think it strange if it is required in all pastors, that they be good fathers of a family, and know what it is to govern their own children well. It is not enough to condemn the children, but we must condemn the fathers, when they permit their children to be worse than others.” — Fr. Ser.

ft59 “The words eijv cri~ma ejmpe>sh| tou~ Diabo>lou are, by most expositors ancient and modern, understood of falling into the same condemnation and punishment that the devil fell into through pride, which is supported by the authority of the Pesch. Syr. Several eminent expositors, from Luther and Erasmus downwards, take tou~ Diabo>lou to mean the “calumniator,” or slanderous enemy of the gospel, the noun being, they say, used generically of those who seek an occasion to calumniate the Christians; but, as Calvin observes, ‘it rarely happens that “judgment” means slander.’ Moreover, the expression Dia>bolov would thus have to be taken of just condemnation.” — Bloomfield.

ft60 “Que le nom d’Evesque estoit commun a tons prestres. et qu’entre prestre et evesque il n’y a nulle difference.” “That the term bishop was common to all presbyters, and that there is no difference between presbyter and bishop.”

ft61 See Calvin’s Inst. of the Christian Religion, vol. 3.

ft62 “Des serviteurs domestiques, et non pas des diacres de l’Eglise.” “To domestic servants, and not to the deacons of the Church.”

ft63 “Les Evesques, e’est a dire, pasteurs de l’Eglise.” “Bishops, that is, pastors of the Church.”

ft64 “By the word flesh Paul declares that Christ was true man, and that he was clothed with our nature; but, at the same time, by the word manifested, he shows that there were two natures. We must not imagine a Jesus Christ who is God, and another Jesus Christ who is man; but we must know that he alone is both God and man. Let us distinguish his two natures, so as to know that this is the Son of God who is our brother. Now I have said that God permits the ancient heresies, with which the church was troubled, to be revived in our time, in order to excite us to greater activity. But, on the other hand, let us observe, that the devil is constrained to do his utmost to overthrow this article of faith, because he sees clearly that it is the foundation of our salvation. For if we have not that mystery of which Paul speaks, what will become of us? We are all children of Adam, and therefore we are accursed; we are in the pit of death; in short, we are deadly enemies of God, and thus there is nothing in us but. condemnation and death, till we know that God came to seek us, and that, because we could not rise to him, he came down to us. Till we have known this, are we not more than wretched? For this reason the Devil wished, as far as he could, to destroy that knowledge, or rather to mix it with his lies, so as to be perverted. On the other hand, when we see that there is such majesty in God, how shall we dare to approach unto Him, seeing that we are full of misery? We must therefore come to this union of the majesty of God with human nature. And thus, in every respect, till we have known the divine majesty that is in Jesus Christ, and our human weakness which he hath taken upon him, it is impossible for us to have any hope, or to be capable of having recourse to the goodness of God, or of having the boldness to call upon him, and return to him. In a word, we are entirely shut out from the heavenly kingdom, the gate is shut against us, and we cannot approach to it in any way whatever.” — Fr. Ser.

ft65 “When he says, ‘They are justified together,’ the meaning is, They are all righteous from the greatest to the least, without a single exception. By this commendation he distinguishes the law of God from the doctrines of men; for no blemish or fault can be found in it, but: it is in all points absolutely perfect.” — Calvin’s Com. the Book of Psalms, vol. 1.

ft66 Calvin’s Com. On the Ep. To the Galatians and Ephesians.

ft67 “A force d’yvroye et mauvaises herbes,” “By means of damel and pernicious herbs.”

ft68 “Apres avoir mis le terme general, a scavoir Doctrines des diables, et puis une espece, a seavoir hypoerisie; maintenant ail met deux poinets par. tieuliers de ceste hypocrisies.” “after having employed the general term, namely, Doctrines of devils, and next mentioned one class, namely, hypocrisy, he mentions two individual instances of that hypocrisy.”

ft69 “Tatian, by birth an Assyrian, and a disciple of Justin Martyr, had a great number of followers, who were, after him, called Tatianists, but were nevertheless more frequently distinguished from other sects by names relative to the austerity of their manners. For, as they rejected with a sort of horror all the comforts and conveniences of life, and abstained from wine with such a rigorous obstinacy as to use nothing but water even at the celebration of the Lord’s Supper; as they macerated their bodies by continual fastings, and lived a severe life of celibacy and abstinence; so they were called Encratites, (temperate,) Hydroparastates, (drinkers of water,) and Apotaetites, (renouncers.)” — Moshezn’s Eccl. History.

ft71 “C’est pour mieux exposer et declarer le mot precedent.” “It is for the purpose of explaining more clearly and fully the preceding word.”

ft72 “He who wishes to be faithfully employed in the service of God must not only avoid, as Paul says, the lies and superstitions that tend to poison souls; but he must avoid profane fables, that is, subtleties that cannot edify, and that contain no instruction which is good for the salvation of souls. Here is a passage that well deserves to be considered; for we see that it was a part of the corruptions which came into the world, and which, even at the present day, prevail in Popery. True, there will be doctrines in the highest degree absurd, and errors most foolish and debasing. We know that idolatry is as gross and flagrant among them as it ever was among the heathens, that the whole worship of God is corrupted, and, in short, that there is nothing which is not spurious. Such errors ought to be held in abhorrence by us; but there is an evil which is still more concealed, and which is unknown to the common people. For although the doctrine of the Papists were not false as it really is, though it were not perverse; yet it is “profane,” as Paul calls it here. And why? They have questions which they debate, about things in which there is no profit. Were a man to know all the questions that are debated in the schools of theology of Popery, there would be nothing but wind. Yet they give themselves the greatest trouble about these matters, and can never succeed; for they put forward questions that cannot be answered but by divination; and though a man should wish to search out the secrets of God, about which nothing is said in the Holy Scripture, does he not plunge into an abyss? Now the Papists have had that pride and audacity, to wish to inquire into those matters which ought to be unknown to us. And thus it was that God withdrew his truth, when the world so corrupted it.” — Fr. Ser.

ft73 “Si les benefices de Dieu trouvoyent entree a nous, et que nous fussion disposez a les recevoir.” “If God’s benefits found admission to us, and if we were disposed to receive them.”

ft74 “The word Savior is not here taken in what we call its proper and strict meaning, in regard to the eternal salvation which God promises to his elect, but it is taken for one who delivers and protects. Thus we see that even unbelievers are protected by God, as it is said (<400546>Matthew 5:46) that “he maketh his sun to shine on the good and the bad;” and we see that all are fed by his goodness, that all are delivered from many dangers. In this sense he is called “the Savior of all men,” not in regard to the spiritual salvation of their souls, but because he supports all his creatures. In this way, therefore, our Lord is the Savior of all men, that is, his goodness extends to the most wicked, who are estranged from him, and who do not deserve to have any intercourse with him, who ought to have been struck off from the number of the creatures of God and destroyed; and yet we see how God hitherto extends his grace to them; for the life which he gives to them is a testimony of his goodness. Since, therefore God shows such favor towards those who are strangers to him, how shall it be with us who are members of his household?: Not that we are better or more excellent than those whom we see to be cast off by him, but the whole proceeds from his mercy and free grace, that he is reconciled to us through our Lord Jesus Christ, since he hath called us to the knowledge of the gospel, and then confirms us, and seals his bounty toward us, so that we ought to be convinced that he reckons us to be his children. Since, therefore, we see that he nourishes those who are estranged from him, let us go and hide ourselves under his wings; for, having taken us under his protection, he has declared that he will show himself to be a Father toward us.” — Fr. Ser.

ft75 “Le mot Grec que nous traduisons Sauveur.” “The Greek word which we translate Savior.”

ft76 “Be very careful to lead a holy and blameless life. Let it be your care to set a good example to those who are to be taught by you, of sobriety, temperance, justice, and a due government of the tongue. Let it not be said that you preach what you will not practice; for you may be sure, that perverse sinners who will not hear good advice will endeavor to countenance themselves in sin by a bad example, Examples sometimes do good, where precepts are of very little force. He is a wise and happy instructor, who can say with sincerity, in some degree, after the Apostle, when he addresses himself in a solemn way to his hearers: ‘those things which you have learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do.’ Such serious religion is what every one that dispenses the bread of life must practice.” — Abraham, Taylor.

ft77 Our author may have had in his eye the advice of the poet: —

“Vos exemplaria Graeca
Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna.”
“Peruse the Grecian models night and day.”

It has always been a prominent feature in the character of a good man, that “his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” — (<190102>Psalm 1:2.) How much more may we reasonably expect that the servant of Christ, who speaks to the — people in the name of his Master, and whose office it is to “shew them that which is written in the Scripture of truth,” (<271021>Daniel 10:21,) shall devoutly and laboriously read the oracles of God! — Ed.

ft78 “Pour l’assemblee des prestres, c’est a dire, des pasteurs et anciens de l’Eglise.” — “For the assembly of presbyters, that is, of the pastors and elders of the Church.”

ft79Tau~ta mele>ta, meaning, ‘Exercise thyself in these things, make them thy perpetual care and study;’ both this and the next phrase, (ejn tou>toiv i]sqi,) being, in the best writers, used of diligent attention.” Bloomfield.

ft80 “Mais perseverant jusqu’au bout.” — “But persevering till the end.”

ft81 “Et de se garder pur de tous vices.” — “And to keep himself pure from all vices.”

ft82 “Quand is cheminent et perseverent.”

ft83 “Les Pasteurs et Evesques.” “Pastors and bishops.”

ft84 “From what the Fathers and Greek commentators tell us, it appears that those persons were maintained from the funds of the Church; and from what follows, it is clear that they filled an office; the name ch>rai being as much one of office as dia>conev, though the exact nature of its duties has not been determined. That the persons who held it instructed the younger females in the principles of the Christian faith, is pretty certain; but whether they were, as some say, ‘the same as the deaconesses,’ is yet a disputed point. It would seem that they were not necessarily the same; but that, having once been such, during the life of their husbands, they were not removed from that office. Otherwise, it would seem their duties were different from those of the deaconesses; and if we were to call them by such a name as would designate their chief duties, we might call them ‘Female Catechists.’ That these differed from the deaconesses is certain from the positive testimony of Epiphanius. Yet they might occasionally assist them in their duty of visiting the sick. Be that as it may, the existence of such an order as the ch>rai requires no very strong testimony from ecclesiastical history; since, from the extremely retired life of the women in Greece and other parts of the East, and their almost total separation from the other sex, they would much need the assistance of such a person, who might either convert them to the Christian faith, or farther instruct them in its doctrines and duties.” — Bloomfield.

ft85 “C’est a dire, qu’on oublivit l’amour que nature enseigne.” “That is, that they forgot the love which nature teaches.”

ft86 “This word is compounded of ajnti<, (‘ instead of,’ or, ‘in return for,’) and pelargo<v, ‘a stork.’ The stork is a bird of passage, and is mentioned, along with the crane and the swallow, as knowing the appointed time, (<240807>Jeremiah 8:7.) Its name, in the Hebrew, means Mercy, or Piety; and its English name, taken (indirectly at least) from the Greek storgh<, signifying natural affection. This accords with our knowledge of its character, which is remarkable for tenderness, especially in the young towards the old birds. It is not uncommon to see several of the old birds, which are tired and feeble with the long flight, supported at times on the backs of the young; and the peasants (of Jutland) speak of it as well know that such are carefully laid in their old nests, and cherished by the young ones whom they reared the spring before. The stork has long been a peculiar emblem of filial duty.” — Eadie’s Cyclopoedia.

“The stork’s an emblem of true piety,
Because when age has seized and made its dame
Unfit for flight, the grateful young one takes
His mother on his back, provides her food,
Repaying thus her tender care of him
Ere he was fit to fly.” — Beaumont.

ft87 Non est vivere, sed valere vita.

ft88 “Ou, il a renonce’ a la foy.” “Or, he hath renounced the faith.”

ft89 “Quelles vefues on doit recevoir a estre entretenues aux depens de l’Eglise.” “What widows ought to be received, to be supported at the expense of the Church.”

ft90 This observance was usually administered by, or under the superintendence of, the mistress of the house; and, being in the East particularly grateful, is meant to designate, generally, kind attention to the guests.”  —  Bloomfield.

ft91 “A Rome on appeloit Vestales les vierges consacrees a une deesse nommee Vesta (comme qui diroit aujourd’huy les nonnains de saincte Claire) et ceste Claude en estoit une qui a este fort renomnmee.” — ”At Rome they gave the name of Vestals to virgins consecrated to a goddess called Vesta, (as if we should say, at the present day, the nuns of St. Claire) and that Clauda was one of them that was highly celebrated.”

ft92 “Une tortue ou limace.” — ”A tortoise or a snail.”

ft93 “Percunctatorem fugito; lam garrulus idem est.” — Hor.

ft94 “Let us ponder well this doctrine of Paul; for, although he treats here of widows in particular yet we are all admonished, that, in order to perform our duty towards God, it is not enough that our conscience be pure and clean, and that we walk without any bad disposition; but we ought likewise to add such prudence that enemies shall have their mouth shut when they wish to slander us, that their impudence may be known, and that we may always be ready to give an account of what we have done, and that they may have no presence for blaspheming against the name of God and his word, because there will be no appearance of evil in us. True, we cannot avoid being slandered; but let us always attend to this, that no occasion may be given on our part, or by our imprudence.” — Fr. Ser.

ft95 “Since the gospel is preached to us, it is Jesus Christ who holds out his scepter, and shews us that he wishes to be our king, and to take us for his people. When we have thus made profession of the gospel, if we do not persevere till the end, if it happen that we debauch ourselves in any way, not only do we refuse to be in obedience to the Son of God, but we give to Satan all mastery over us, and he will seize it, and we must be in his service in spite of our teeth. If this is dreadful and absolutely shocking, ought we not to be better advised than we have been to conceal ourselves under the wings of our God, and to suffer ourselves to be governed by him, till he renew us by his Holy Spirit in such a manner that we shall not be so giddy and foolish as we have been? For that purpose, let us consider that we must have our Lord Jesus Christ for our guide; for if we wish to be truly the people of God, the saying of the Prophet must be fulfilled in us, that the people shall walk, and David their king shall go before them. Let us always have his doctrine before our eyes, and let us follow him step by step, hearing his voice as that of our good Shepherd, (<431004>John 10:4).” — Fr. Ser.

ft96 “Les prestres ou anciens.” “presbyters or elders.”

ft97 “He shews that we might do many other things, and might allege that we had no leisure; but yet we must consider chiefly what it is to which God calls us. They who would wish to be reckoned pastors ought to devote themselves especially to that word. And how? In order to study it secretly in their closet? Not at all; but for the general instruction of the Church. That is the reason why Paul chose to add the term doctrine. It was quite enough to have said, word; but he shews that we must not privately speculate what we shall think fit, but that, when we have studied, it is that others may profit along with us, and that the instruction may be common to the whole Church. — This is the true mark for distinguishing properly between the pastors whom God approves and wishes to be supported in his Church, and those who claim that title and honor, and yet are excluded and rejected by him and by the Holy Spirit.” — Fr. Ser.

ft98In this passage Paul did not look to himself, but spoke by time authority of God, in order that the Church might not be destitute of persons who should teach faithfully. For the devil, from the beginning, had the trick of attempting to hunger good pastors, that they might cease to labor, and that there might be very few who were employed in preaching the word of God. Let us not view the recommendation here contained as coming from a mortal man, but let us hear God speaking, and let us know that there is no accepting of persons, but that, knowing what was profitable to the whole Church, and perceiving that many were cold and indifferent on this subject, he has laid down a rule, that they whose duty it is to preach the gospel shall be supported; as we see that Paul speaks of it in other passages, and. treats of it very fully in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, though he likewise mentions it in the Epistle to the Galatians.” — Fr. Ser.

ft99 “Equite et humanite.”

ft100 See Commentary on the Corinthians, vol. 1.

ft100A “Que les docteurs ou pasteurs fideles.” “Than faithful teachers or pastors.”

ft101 “Repren publiquement.” “Rebuke publicly.”

ft102 “Combien que la vie de leurs moines et prestres soit la plus meschante et desbordee qu’on scauroit dire.” — ”Although the life of their monks and priests be the most wicked and dissolute that can be described.”

ft103 “Gratian, a Benedictine of the 12th century, was a native of Chiusi, and was the author of a famous work, entitled “Decretal,” or “Concordantia Discordantium Canonum,” in which he endeavored to reconcile those canons that seem to contradict each other. He was, however, guilty of some errors, which Anthony Augustine endeavored to correct in his work entitled “De emendatione Gratiani.” Gratian’s “Decretal “forms one of the principal parts of the canon law.” — Gorton’s Biog. Dict.

ft104 “Et qu’on regarde seulement le faict.” “And when we look at nothing but the fact.”

ft105 “Let us remark that he wishes to distinguish them from those who rebelled. For the devils were not created wicked and malicious as they now are, enemies of all that is good, and false and cursed in their nature. They were angels of God, but they were not elected to persevere, and so they fell. Thus God reserved what he chose among the angels. And so we have already a mirror of God’s election of us to heaven, by free grace before we came into the world. Now, if we see the grace of God displayed even to angels, what shall become of us? For all mankind were lost and ruined in Adam, and we are an accursed, and, as the Scripture tells us, are born “children of wrath.” (<490203>Ephesians 2:3.) What must we become if God do not choose us by pure goodness, since from our mother’s womb (<195106>Psalm 51:6) we are corrupted, and are alienated from him? This gracious election must prevail, m order to separate us from the reprobate, who remain in their perdition. We ought, therefore, carefully to remark this passage, that Paul, when speaking of the angels, shews that their high rank proceeds from their having been chosen and elected by God. And so, by a still stronger reason, we are separated from all other visible creatures, only because: God separates us by his mercy.” — Fr. Ser.

ft106 “Sans jugement precupite, ou, sans preferer l’un a l’autre., “Without hasty judgment, or, without preferring one before another.

ft107 “Une trop soudaine hastivete.” “A too sudden haste.”

ft108Kata< pro>sclisin, ‘through partiality” or undue favor. So Clemens, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, has cata< proscli>seiv (through partialities.) The word properly signifies a leaning towards, or upon. — Bloomfield.

ft109 “Laquelle on appelle Ordination ou Consecration.,’ “What is called Ordination or Consecration.”

ft110 “To whom does the Apostle speak? Is it only to ministers who preach the doctrine of the gospel? Is it only to magistrates, and to those who have the sword and the administration of civil government? No, but to all Christians, great and small. It is then said, that we must not partake of the sins of others. And in what manner? By reproving them. (<490511>Ephesians 5:11.) And so he who intends to flatter his neighbor, and who shuts his eyes when he sees that God is offended, and especially he who consents to it will be still more blamable. Let us seriously think, that we shall have a hard account to render to God, if we have walked amidst the corruptions of the world, so as to make it appear that we approved of them. And so much the more ought we to meditate on this doctrine, when we see that there is such boldness in sinning, that custom appears to have become the law. Let a man be convinced that he is doing wrong, yet provided that he has many companions, he thinks that he is excused. ‘Among wolves we must howl,’ it will be said. Now we see that the sins of others will not excuse us before God, and though the whole world sin along with us, we shall not fail to be involved in the same condemnation. Let us think of that.” — Fr. Ser.

ft111 “In the year 1084, was instituted the famous order of the Carthusians, so called from Chartreux, a dismal and wild spot of ground near Grenoble in Dauphine, surrounded with barren mountains and craggy rocks. The founder of this monastic society, which surpassed all the rest in the extravagant austerity of their manners and discipline, was Bruno, a native of Cologne, and canon of the cathedral of Rheims in France. This zealous ecclesiastic, who had neither power to reform, nor patience to bear, the dissolute manners of his Archbishop Manasse, retired from his church, with six of his companions and, having obtained the permission of Hugh, bishop of Grenoble, fixed his residence in the miserable desert already mentioned. He adopted at first the rule of St. Benedict, to which he added a considerable number of severe and rigorous precepts. His successors, however, went still farther, and imposed upon the Carthusians new laws, much more intolerable than those of their founder, — laws which inculcated the highest degrees of austerity that the most gloomy imagination could invent.” Mosheim’s Eccl. Hist

ft112 “Par moyens secrets, et comme par dessous terre.” “By secret and underground arts.”

ft113 “Let us learn to honor the graces of God when they shall be placed before our eyes; and when we shall see a man who has some token of the fear of God and of faith, let us value him so much the more, that we may seek to cherish the closest friendship with him, that we may bear with him as far as we are able, and that we may desire to be on good terms with him. And let every one consider what is said here, that, since God has thus brought us together, it is that we may know that it is in order that he may make us all his heirs, that we have one Spirit to guide us, one faith, one Redeemer, one baptism, for all this is included in the word Benefit. since therefore we have that, let us learn to esteem the graces of God, in order that they may lead us to all mutual kindness, and that we may act in accordance with the lesson which Paul teaches us in another passage, (<490402>Ephesians 4:2,) namely, that we owe to each other brotherly love for that is “a bond’ which ought to be reckoned sufficient fur uniting us.’ — Fr. Ser.

ft114 “Il y a danger que nostre amitie ne leur serve d’une couverture pour avoir entree a abuser les gens.” “There is danger lest our friendship serve as a disguise for obtaining access to deceive people.”

ft115When we hear that they who thus misrepresent the word of God make merchandise of our souls, as the Apostle Peter says (<610203>2 Peter 2:3,) and that they make traffic of us and of our salvation, without any conscience, and that they make no scruple of plunging us into hell, and even to set aside the price which was paid for our redemption, it is certain that they ruin souls, and also mock at the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we hear all this, ought we not to hold such teachers in abhorrence? Besides, experience shews us that we have good reason for attending to this warning of the Apostle Paul. For to what a pitch has religion arrived! Has it not been made like a public fair? What has it become in Popery? The Sacraments are exposed to sale, and everything else belonging to our religion has a fixed price put upon it. Not more did Judas sell the Son of God in his own person than the Pope and all that filth of his clergy have sold the graces of the Holy Spirit, and all that belonged to his office and to our salvation. When we see this, have we not good reason for being on our guard?” — Fr. Ser.

ft116 “Qui estans addonnez au gain de la bourse, font servir la piete et la doctrine de vraye religion a leur gain.” “Who, being devoted to the gain of the purse, make piety and the doctrine of true religion contribute to their gain.

ft117 “Avec suffisance, ou, contentement.” “With sufficiency, or, with contentment.”

ft118 “Toutesfois les successeurs ne laissent pas de suyvre le mesme train.” “Yet their successors do not cease to follow the same course.”

ft119 “Man wants but little; nor that little long.” — Young’s Night Thoughts.

ft120 “Dives fieri qui vult, Et cito vult fieri.” — Juvenal.

ft121 “C’est avarice, ou, convoitise des richesses.” “Is avarice, or, an eager desire of riches.”

ft122 ”And thus we see that not without reason does Paul add this word piety, which means religion and the fear of God, and that he connects it with faith, saying that, when we have put our confidence in God, and when we expect from him the means of our support, we must also attend to this, not to live in this world as if it were our end, and not to fix our heart upon it, but to look upwards to the heavenly kingdom. having said this, he next leads us onwards to the love of our fellow — men and to meekness, as we are also bound to walk in all good friendship with our neighbors; otherwise we shall not shew that we have the righteousness which he has mentioned. And thus let us see that, by all these words, he means nothing more than to confirm the exhortation which he had given, to follow righteousness and sincerity. And how shall we follow it? First, by placing our confidence in God; secondly, by raising our thoughts to the heavenly kingdom; and thirdly, by living in good friendship with each other.” — Fr. Ser.

ft123 ”We see princes whose ambition leads them to risk all that they have, and to place themselves in danger of being striped of all their power. We see soldiers, who, instead of earning wages by laboring in vineyards or in the fields, go and expose their life at a venture. And what leads them to this? A doubtful hope, nothing certain. And though they have gained, and have obtained a victory over their enemies, what advantage do they reap from it? But when God calls us to fight, and wishes us to be soldiers under his banner, it is on no such condition, but we are made certain that the war will be good and successful. And thus Paul intended to comfort believers while he exhorted them, as God also condescends to us by strewing to us what is our duty, and, at the same time, declaring that, when we shall do what he commands us, all will turn to our profit and salvation.” — Fr. Ser.

ft123A “Nihil actuam esse.” The expression reminds us of the beautiful encomium pronounced by the poet Lucan on the unwearied activity of Julius Caesar, that he “thought nothing done, while aught remained to do.”

“Nil aetum reputans, dum quid superesset agendum.” — Ed.

ft124 ”By his silence he confirmed the truth of God his Father, and the death which he underwent was intended to give authority to the gospel; so that, when the doctrine of salvation is preached at the present day, in order that we may be confirmed in the faith of it, we must direct our view to the blood of the Lamb without spot, which was shed. As anciently, under the Law, the book was sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice, so now, whenever we are spoken to in the name of God, the blood of Christ must be brought to our remembrance, and we must know that the gospel is sprinkled with it, and that our faith rests upon it in such a manner, that the utmost efforts of Satan cannot shake it.” — Fr. Ser.

ft125 “Sans macule et sans reprehension:” “Without spot and without censure.”

ft126 That is, they may be either in the accusative case masculine, agreeing with Timo>qeon, or in the accusative case feminine, agreeing with ejntolh>n. — Ed.

ft127 “Nonobstant il est beaucoup plus propre de les rapporter a sa personne.” “Nevertheless it is much more suitable to view them. as relating to his person.”

ft128 “Believers might, indeed, be weakened in their faith, when they looked at present things. For, as to the great people in this world, what would they wish but to rise above the Church, and trample God under their feet? We see that they sport with religion as with a ball. We even see that they are deadly enemies of it, and that they persecute it with such rage that everybody is terrified at them. We see these things. Yet what shall be said of the children of God? They are pointed at with the finger, they are thought to be fools, so that what is said by the Prophet Isaiah is today fulfilled in us, that unbelievers reckon us to be monsters. (<230818>Isaiah 8:18.) “What? These poor fools? What are they thinking about? What do they mean? We must live with the living, and howl with the wolves. They wish to be always in a state of perplexity. They speak of nothing but eternal life, and have no leisure for enjoyment.’ Thus it is that we are accounted fools and madmen by unbelievers. And Peter says, (<610302>2 Peter 3:2-4,) that this must be fulfilled in us, as the prophet Isaiah had made the complaint in his time; Christians must experience the like in the present day.” — Fr. Ser.

ft129 “It will be useless to say to us, What are the riches of this world? We see that there is no certainty of them. What are honors? They are but smoke. What is even this life? It is but a dream. There is but a turn of the hand, and we become dust and ashes. It will be useless to argue with us on these grounds. All this will serve no purpose, till God has been presented to our minds, till it has been demonstrated to us that we must direct all our affections and confidence to him alone. And that is the reason why all the fine remonstrances urged by the philosophers had no effect. For they spoke of the frailty of this earthly life and the uncertain condition of men. They showed that it was vain to think of finding happiness in our possessions, in our lordships, or in anything else. They showed that it is delusive to think of having anything here below on which we might vaunt ourselves. Those great philosophers knew nothing about God, yet being convinced by experience, discussed and argued ably on these subjects. But still they did no good, because they did not seek the true remedy, to fix the hearts of men on God, and to inform them, that it is He alone in whom they can find contentment, and till we have come to this, we shall always be involved in many perplexities.”

ft130 Kenofwni>ai, derived from ceno>v, “empty,” and fwnh<, “a voice,” literally signifies “empty voices” or “words.” — Ed.

ft131 “Autrement, ou, diverse doctrine.” “Differently, or, different doctrine.”

ft132 “Que tu as soigneusement suivie.” “Which thou hast carefully followed.”

ft133 “Les prestres on aneiens.” “The presbyters or elders.”

ft134 “Repren publiquement.” “Rebuke publicly.”

ft135 “Avec suffisance, ou, contentement.” “With sufficiency, or, with contentment.”

 


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