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Theological Seminary, 


Case, .P.'.v!s.ion£^,2.(c?5; 

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Booh, No '.A't.... 






Vol. IV. 








Vol. IV. 

" Affer ammum rectum et simplicem, veritaiis supra ctBtera aviantem, 
" prcejudiciis vacuum. Ne protinus tanquant nova, tanquam itiaudita et 
" absurda damnaveris, qua; tibi nova, tibi inaudita, et absurda occurrent. 
" Ha qua dicimus, non cum aliorum judicus, non cum vulgi inveteratis 
*' ojnnionibus compone, ut hide rem esstimes, sed cum autoris divini verbis, 
" scopo, ipsoque rationis JUo. Hinc tibi Veritas petenda est : hinc de 7wbis 
"/erenda sententia. Equidem nos sicubi lapsi, out D. Autoris mentem non 
" satis assecuti sumus, amice advioniti, ultra manus dabimus, gratesque in- 
" super accumulabimus." Slichtingius Praef. ad Heb. 



(Successor to Mr. Johnson,) 







ThESSALONICA was a very considerable mari- 
time towiij a place of great trade and opulence, and 
the metropolis of Macedonia. Its ancient name was 
Thermse, and it stood upon the Thermsean Bay ; 
but having been rebuilt and enlarged by Philip King 
of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, he 
gave it the name of Thessalonica, in commemora- 
tion of a great victory which he had obtained over 
the ThessaHans. It is now called Saloniki ; and is 
to this day a place of considerable trade, and in 
possession of the Turks. 

A.D. 5 1, while Paul and Silas, with Luke, Timo- 
thy, and other associates, were engaged in preach- 
ing the gospel in the Lesser Asia, a vision appeared 



to the apostle, inviting him into Macedonia. Re- 
garding this as a divine suggestion, Paul and his 
companions immediately crossed the sea to Nea- 
polis, and thence advanced to Philippi, a consider- 
able city of that district of Macedonia, where they 
preached the gospel with great success, and con- 
verted many. But Paul having restored to her 
senses a young woman who was insane, her keep- 
ers, who had exhibited her as inspired, and who had 
enriched themselves by vending her supposed ora- 
cles, enraged at their loss, excited the indignation 
of the magistrates and populace against the apo- 
stles, who were severely beaten and imprisoned, 
without being heard in their own defence. This 
transaction is related by Luke, who was an eye- 
witness, and probably a fellow-sufferer. Acts xvi. 

After they were set at liberty, and the magistrates, 
at the requisition of the apostle, had made proper 
concessions for their illegal and brutal behaviour, 
Paul and his associates passed on to Thessalonica ; 
and in that city they resumed their ministry with 
undaunted courage. Three sabbath days they rea- 
soned with the Jews in their synagogue, arguing 
from the scriptures the Messiahship of Jesus. And 
not wholly without success ; for some even of the 
Jews believed : but their principal success, at least 
at the beginning, appears to have been amongst 
the devout Gentiles and the pious \vomen, who 
were worshipers of the one true God, Acts xvii. 

P'rom Luke's history it would be natural to con • 


elude, that the apostle and his companions conti- 
nued no longer than three weeks or a month at 
Thessalonica ; but as it appears from the first epi- 
stle to the Thessalonians that the church consisted 
chiefly of converts from the idolatrous Gentiles, of 
whom the evangelist makes no mention ; also that 
during the apostle's residence in that city he and 
his party maintained themselves chiefly by manual 
occupations, concerning which Luke is also silent ; 
and, further, it being evident from the epistle to the 
Philippians that these generous converts sent more 
than once a supply for his relief while he continued 
at Thessalonica, there can be no doubt that he re- 
sided in that city a considerable time, probably some 
months. At last, the Jews, envying the apostle's 
success, excited a tumult against him amongst the 
lower classes of the people, and accused him and 
his associates, before the magistrates, of treason 
against the Roman emperor. And though the ma- 
gistrates, upon inquiry into the case, had the good 
sense to dismiss the charge, it was found advisable 
to send away Paul and Silas by night to Bersea, to 
screen them from the fury of the populace. Acts 
xvii. 10. 

At Bersea the apostle found among the Jews, 
hearers more candid and inquisitive than those at 
Thessalonica; and continued prosecuting his mini- 
stry with considerable success, both among the Jews 
and heathen, till a fresh tumult was excited against 
him and his companions by certain malicious emis- 
saries from the Jews at Thessalonica; in conse- 


quence of which Paul immediately left the city, and 
was conducted to Athens, leaving Silas and Timo- 
thy behind, with a strict charge to follow him with 
all convenient speed. Acts xvii. 15. 

With this direction Timothy soon complied; but, 
for what reason does not appear, Silas did not join 
the apostle at Athens. During the residence of Paul 
in this city, and while Timothy was with him, it was 
the apostle's intention to have visited Thessalonica 
again in person, and more than once he was upon 
the point of carrying his resolution into effect, but 
was prevented by some unknown obstruction ; per- 
haps by the information that it would not be safe 
for him to return at present. Being, however, im- 
patient to receive intelligence of his persecuted 
friends, he sent Timothy, his only associate at 
Athens, to Thessalonica, to bring him some ac- 
count of their state. In the mean time, the apo- 
stle, not meeting with much success at Athens, re- 
moved to Corinth about the latter end of the year 
■ A.D. 51, Acts xviii. 1 ; and here he resided and 
exercised his ministry with great success for nearly 
two years. Nor was it till after the apostle had 
been for some time at Corinth that Timothy came 
to him from Thessalonica in company with Silas. 
The intelligence which Timothy communicated to 
the apostle was in the main agreeable, but in part 
otherwise. Their faith continued firm ; but they 
had fallen into some errors of doctrine, and were 
imperfect in the practice of Christian morals. And 
it was in this view of iheir case, in order to confirm 


what was right, and to rectify what was amiss, that 
the apostle indited this epistle, probably in the 
spring of A.D. 52 ' ; joining with his own the names 
of Silas and Timothy, who were well known to the 
Thessulonians as his associates in the ministry of 
the gospel. 

This short but excellent epistle is one of those 
the genuineness of which has never been called in 
question. The apostle inscribes it with his own 
name; and it has from age to age been cited as his, 
without any hint or suspicion that it could have 
been the production of any other author. The in- 
ternal evidence of its authenticity is likewise very 
strong. The undesigned coincidences with Luke's 
history, the Hght which that history and the epistle 
mutually reflect upon each other, and the conse- 
quent support which they afford to each other's au- 
thority, are stated very pointedly and forcibly by 
Dr. Paley2. The history illustrates the strong ex- 
pressions and representations of the epistle, and the 
epistle supplies the omissions in the history. And 
the solemn charge at the close of the epistle, '' that 
it should be publicly read to the whole church," is 
a convincing proof that the writer was no impostor. 

' In the spring of a.d. 52.] " This epistle," says Dr. Priest- 
ley, " was written a.d. 52, and is therefore the oldest writing of 
any Christian. Being undoubtedly authentic, and not written 
after, but during the time of the transactions it alludes to, it 
supplies a most indisputable evidence of the certainty of those 
facts which necessarily imply the truth of the whole Christian 

" Horce Paulince, chap. ix. 


To which may be added, that the state of things 
alluded to in the epistle could only have existed in 
the infancy of the Christian church ; and that the 
pious and benevolent spirit which breathes in every 
sentence of the epistle, and the tendency of the 
whole to promote piety and virtue, and the love of 
truth and goodness, cannot fail to impress upon the 
mind of the reader the most favourable sentiments 
of the character of the writer. 

It appears from the epistle, that the Thessalonian 
converts had adhered with great firmness to the 
Christian faith amidst many dangers and persecu- 
tions ; that they entertained a great affection for the 
apostle and his associates, and lived in love and har- 
mony with each other. It nevertheless also appears 
that they had fallen into some considerable errors 
concerning the state of the dead ; and that the cha- 
racters of some among them fell very short of the 
evangelical standard of purity and universal virtue. 
The main design, therefore, of the apostle in this 
epistle is, to establish their minds in the profession 
of the Christian faith; to rectify their errors in 
points of doctrine ; to remind them of the perfec- 
tion of the Christian morality, and to enforce the 
practice of universal virtue. 

In the prosecution of this design, the apostle, 
having introduced the epistle in his usual fomi, 
joining likewise the names of Silas and Timothy 
with his own, 

In the First place returns thanks to God for the 


great success of the gospel at Thessalonica, in con- 
sequence of the miraculous energies by which it 
was confirmed. He bears witness to the exemplary 
fortitude and zeal of the Thessalonian converts, 
and to the high reputation which they had acquired 
through all the adjacent regions by the astonishing 
and happy change which they had undergone, in 
their conversion from heathen idolatry to the belief 
and profession of the doctrine of Christ. Ch. i. 

Secondly, The apostle makes a solemn and af- 
fecting appeal to the Thessalonians with regard to 
his own character and conduct during his residence 
among them. He particularly alludes to the cou- 
rage with which he exercised his ministry at Thes- 
salonica after the infamous treatment which he had 
experienced at Philippi : He asserts his absolute 
freedom from all corrupt motives in preaching the 
gospel, and particularly from self-interest and am- 
bition : He reminds them of the gentleness of his 
manners, of his affectionate solicitude for their im- 
provement, of the example of honourable industry 
which he had set before them, in supporting him- 
self by his own manual labour, and finally, that as 
he had himself exhibited a just pattern of Christian 
virtue, so he had strongly inculcated upon them the 
indispensable necessity of maintaining a character 
correspondent to their Christian profession. Ch. ii. 

Thirdly, The apostle thanks God for their cor^ 
dial reception of the gospel of Christ, and for their 


inflexible adherence to it under the persecutions 
which they endured, which were similar and equal 
to those which the believing Hebrews suffered from 
their unconverted countrymen, of whose abandoned 
character, and approaching doom, he gives an af- 
fecting delineation and an alarming warning. Ch. 
ii. 13—16. 

Fourthly, The apostle relates, that having been 
prevented by the violence of persecution from gra- 
tifying his earnest desire of malting a visit to Thes- 
salonica, and of enjoying the society of friends whose 
final happiness was the object of his most ardent 
wish, he had at last determined to send Timothy, 
his only associate at Athens, to Thessalonica, to 
visit, to encourage, and to comfort them. And the 
apostle assures them, that it was a particular object 
of this evangelist's mission to remove any ill im- 
pression which might have been made upon their 
minds by the persecutions to which he was himself 
exposed. And being anxious to hear of their state, 
he expresses the joy he felt at the good tidings 
which Timothy had brought of their perseverance 
in the faith, and their affectionate remembrance of 
him ; which he assures them was on his part reci- 
procal. He earnestly prays that he may be permit- 
ted to make them a visit ; and in the mean time he 
expresses his fervent desire that they may improve 
in mutual affection, in general benevolence and in 
universal virtue. Ch. ii. 17 — iii. 13. 

Fifthly, The apostle earnestly cautions the 
Thessalonians against those vices to which the hea- 


then were most addicted ; and particularly warns 
them against every species of impurity, as utterly 
inconsistent with the profession of Christianity. — 
He also recommends mutual afibction and habitual 
industry. Ch. iv. 1 — 12. 

Sixthly, The apostle corrects some erroneous 
opinions which they appear to have entertained con- 
cerning the state of the Christian dead. And hav-* 
ing assured them that the great design of the mis- 
sion of Christ was to reveal the doctrine of the re- 
surrection of the dead, of v/hich his own resurrec- 
tion was a pattern and a proof; he informs them 
that believers who will be found alive at the final 
appearance of Christ, will enjoy no advantage over 
those who are dead. For that the dead will be 
raised, while those who will then be living are un- 
dergoing a necessary change in the constitution of 
their bodies: and that the whole human race shall 
bear their part, at the same time, upon this solemn 
occasion. Ch. iv. 13 — 18. 

Seventhly, The uncertainty of the time of the 
second appearance of Christ, is urged by the apostle 
as a powerful motive to vigilance and activity in the 
discharge of duty. Ch. v. 1 — 11. 

Eighthly, The apostle closes the epistle with 
practical exhortations. Particularly, he recom- 
mends respect and affection to their Christian in- 
structors ; a peaceable spirit ; tender vigilance over 
each other ; reciprocation of mutual good offices ; 
prayer and thanksgiving; a proper estimation of 
spiritual gifts, and particularly of prophecy ; caution 


in judgement, and abhorrence of vice. He then 
expresses his earnest wish for their perfection in 
virtue ; assuring them, that God will impart every 
necessary aid for this purpose. And having sent his 
salutations, and enjoined the public reading of this 
epistle in the church, he takes leave with his usual 
apostolical benediction. 




1 HE apostle Paul, joining with his own the names Ch. i. 
of Silas and Timothy, inscrioes the epistle to the 
church at Thessalonica, ch. i. 1. 

Pa UL and Silvanus, and Timothy ', to the Ver. 1. 
church of the Thessalonians^ who helieve in God 
the Father ^f and in the Lord Jesus Christy favour 
he to yoUy and peace ^. 

' Paul and Silvanus, and Thnothij.'] Silvanus was unques- 
tionably the same with Silas, and was with the apostle at Co- 
rinth when he MTOte this epistle. Acts xviii. 5. Indeed the in- 
troduction of his name, and that of Timothy, is a proof that the 
epistle was written from Corinth, and not, as the postscript 
says, from Athens. Dr. Chandler observes, that " though Paul 
joins the names of Silas and Timothy with his own, he is far 
from meaning to represent them as of equal rank and autho- 
rity." See ch, iii. 2, iv. 2, v. 27. Dr. Benson accounts for Paul 
not assuming, in the inscription to this epistle, the title of an 
apostle, by the supposition that his authority had not been 
called in question at Thessalonica. 

* To the church who believe in Cod the Father, &c.] Dr. 


ch. I. This epistle is indited by Paul, who is the mes- 

^''' • senger of Jesus Christ to preach the gospel to the 

idolatrous heathen, and who lately incurred great 

persecution and hazard in exercising his mission at 

Benson observes, that " the two fundamental articles of Chris- 
tianity are, that there is only one living and true God; and tliat 
Jesus is the Christ, or the great prophet and saviour of the 
world. The idolatrous Gentiles believed neither ; the Jews and 
devout Gentiles believed the first ; the Christians believed both, 
and without it they could not have been entitled to Christian 
communion." To be in God and Jesus Christ, is to believe in 
God and in Jesus Christ. See 1 John v. 20. Dr. Benson, in 
his note upon this verse, has given the various senses in which 
the word church is used in the New Testament, He observes, 
that " the word sKK\r)(ricx. sometimes signifies any assembly 
whatever. Acts xix. 32, 39, 40 ; but is most commonly used in 
a religious sense. It signifies, 1. All who profess the Christian 
religion. Acts v. 11, 1 Cor. xii. 28, and other places. 2. Only 
true and faithful Christians, Eph. i. 22, 23, v. 25, 29 ; Col. i. 

18, 24. This has been called the true or invisible church, as the 
preceding is sometimes called the visible, the universal, or the ca- 
tholic church. 3. Most commonly one assembly or congregation, 
such as statedly meet together for the worship of God. 4. A fa- 
mily joined together in worshiping God through Jesus Christ. 
5. The professed people of God on earth called the church 77ii- 
litant ; and sometimes good men in a state of happiness called 
the church triumphant. Comp. Eph. v. 27 with Eph. v. 23. 
fi. Qu. Whether churches, 1 Cor. xiv. 34, may not signify the 
assemblings of the same Christians at diflerent times for Chris- 
tian worship ? Dr. Benson adds from Le Clerc on 1 Cor. xvi. 

19, that using the word " church " for a place, was a significa- 
tion of it wliolly unknown in the times of the apostles ; in v/hich 
the word sjcxXijcfa was always used for an assembly, as well 
among the Christians as by the Greeks." 

^ Favour, &c.] The words " from God our Father and the 
Lord Jesus Christ," which conclude the sentence in the re- 
ceived text, are omitted in some ancient manuscripts and ver- 
sions, and are not noticed by the Greek commentators ; with 
iVIr. Wakefield, therefore, 1 leave them out. It is observed 
that bishops and deacons are not mentioned in this inscription 
by the apostle, probal^ly because sucii officers did not then exist 
among them. See Grotius and Benson. 

I, T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 13 

Thessalonica. With his, are joined the names of Ch. i. 

. Ver. 1. 

Silas and Timothy, his beloved and faithful asso- 
ciates in the ministry of the gospel, and who were 
also his fellow-labourers and fellow-sufferers in that 
great and opulent city; who are, therefore, well 
known to the believers there, and who feel, and are 
in this way anxious to express, their sympathy and 
affection for them. And it is inscribed in our united 
names to the body of professing Christians at Thes- 
salonica, who are distinguished from their heathen 
neighbours by the knowledge and worship of the 
one true God, the Father of all mankind, and from 
both Jews and heathen, by an acknowledgement of 
Jesus of Nazareth as the true Messiah, and a pro- 
fessed subjection to him as their teacher and mas- 
ter. And for the dear friends for whose instruction 
and salvation we have exerted our earnest and united 
efforts, the best wish that we can form is, that they 
may enjoy that inward and unspeakable peace and 
satisfaction which is the genuine fruit of a practical 
belief in the gospel, that free and precious donation 
of God to man. 



Ch. I. The apostle expresses his joy and gratitude for 
the success of the gospel at Thcssalojiica, and 
for the great and extensive reputation ivhich 
the 7tew cojiverts from heathenism had acquired 
by their fortitude and zeal. Ch. i. 2 — 10. 

I. The apostle assures them of his grateful and 
affectionate remembrance of them in his devout ad- 
dresses to God, ver. 2, 3. 
Vei . 2. Tf^e give thanks to God always for yo2i all, 
making mention of you ivithout ceasing > in our 
3. prayei's, remembering in the presence (f our God 
and Father 2, your active faith, your laborious 
lovely and your patient expectation of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

* Making mention of you without ceasing.'] Benson, Wal<e- 
ficld, and many other versions and commentators ancient and 
modern, join ahaXeiitrws {without ceasing) to ver. 2. See Rom. 
i. 9, 10, 2 Tim. i.3. 

* Remembering in the presence, &c.] So Benson and Chand- 
ler, " He remembered these things before God," says Dr. 
Chandler, " thankful to him that they were wrought in them, 
and earnestly praying to him that he would continue and esta- 
blish them." 

3 Laborious love.] " the laboriousness of your love." Wake- 
field. Dr. Chandler observes, that " the original word xottoj 
signifies difficulties and troubles, and that the apostle means 
those difficulties and afflictions and dangers to which cither their 
love of Christianity or tlicir peculiar ati'cction to the apostle ex- 

Vcr. 3. 

Sect. I. I. T H E S S A L O N 1 A N S. 1. 15 

Such, my brethren, is our affection for you, and ch. i. 
so deeply do we interest ourselves in your conversion 
to the Christian doctrine, and in your adherence to 
your profession, that we continually bear you upon 
our hearts in our daily exercises of devotion. And 
in the awful presence of that Great Being who 
vouchsafes to acknowledge the high and endearing 
relations of a God and Father to the converted Gen- 
tile, as well as to the believing Jew, we often reflect 
with heartfelt satisfaction upon your Christian vir- 
tues ; upon that faith which is in you a powerful 
and operative principle productive of good works ; 
upon that love which grudges no toil, and which 
shuns no dangers for the good of others, and to the 
genei'ous efforts of which v/e have ourselves been 
so much indebted ; of that firm expectation of the 
second appearance of our master Jesus Christ to 
judge the world and to reward his true disciples, 
which induces you to undergo with fortitude and 
cheerfulness the losses and sufferings to which you 
may now be exposed for his sake. And when we 
call to mind these distinguished virtues of our Thes- 
salonian brethren, our hearts overflow with gratitude 

posed thera." It is supposed that the apostle here particularly 
alludes to the care which they took to screen his person when 
the Jews excited a tumult at Thessalonica, and to their sending 
him away privately to Berea. Acts xvii. 10. Gr. work of faith, 
labour of love, patience of hope. " Remembering without ceas- 
ing before our God and Father, your effectual faith, your labo- 
rious painful love, and your patient hope or expectation of the 
Lord Jesus Christ." Chandler. This construction is not un- 
common. Col. i. 22, The body of his Jlesh: i. e. his fleshly 
body. Sec also Col, iii. 14, Eph. vi, 12, 

1 6 Sect. I. I. T H E S S A L O NM A N S. 2. 

Ch. I. to God, and our lips abound in praises and thanks- 
Vcr. 3. givjj^gg QjT yQ^j. account. 

2. The apostle declares that when he first preached 
the gospel to them, he soon became assured of their 
right of admission into the family of God, by the 
proofs which he was enabled to give of his divine 
mission, and by the success of his ministry; of 
which facts they were themselves witnesses, ver. 

4. ' JVe know ^ brethren, beloved of God'^, that he 

5. halh chosen you, because the gospel preached by us 
came to you, not in word only, but also m power, 
and in the holy spirit "^, and ivith great conviction *, 

* We know, <S:c.] i. e. we are assured that you are equally 
with the Jews the beloved and chosen people of God ; because 
our doctrine was confirmed by the holy spirit, and was received 
by you with full conviction. " The election spoken of," say.s 
Dr. Chandler, " is evidently their election to be the church and 
people of God, to all the privileges and advantages, and means 
of salvation by Christ, and to eternal life and blessedness, as 
the great end of their faith. The great question in these early 
days was, not about any particular secret choice of persons, 
unconditionally and absolutely to eternal life. This controversy 
the primitive church knew nothing of j the debate was of another 
nature, and precisely this : Whether circumcision and the ob- 
servation of the law of Moses, as well as faith in Christ, were 
necessary to render the Gentiles equally partakers of the privi- 
leges of the kingdom or church of God with the Jews them- 
selves ? This the Jews pleaded and persecuted for ; and the 
apostle Paul as strenuously and constantly denied." 

'^ Beloved of God.'] This is the proper arrangement of the 
words ; and not, as in the common version, " your election of 
God." See Benson, Chandler, Wakefield, Newcome. 

•'' In power, and in the holy spirit.] " If we did only and barely 
aifinn it, then might our enemies the Jews have reproached and 
denied it. But it was; in power : we confirmed it bv miraculous 

Sect. I. I. THESSALONIANS. 2. 17 

as ye hiow what kind of persons ive ivere among Ch. i. 

you for your sakes. "* ' 
My dear brethren ; for such I may now justly call 

works. And in the holtj ghost : we conferred on you the extra- 
ordinarjr gifts of the holy sph-it, as the sure evidence of your 
being made children of God." Chandler. This is unques- 
tionably the apostle's meaning. He constantly refers all his 
success to his miraculous powers, 1 Cor. ii. 4, 5, without which 
it would have been quite impossible that a doctrine so hostile 
to the prejudices and to the passions of mankind should have 
made so rapid and extensive a progress. One is grieved, there- 
fore, that such a critic as Rosenmuller should endeavour to ex- 
plain away the obvious meaning of the words. " SvvaiJi^is ■x.a.i 
iryvjixa, dytov, vis et spiritus sanctus : i.e. dotes dmnoe, qucB se 
exserebant in Paulo, dum ea docuit qucc ah hominibus excogitari 
nan poterant. Alii sv SuvaiJLSi vertunt miraculis patrandis : Sed 
niiracula Paulus Thessalonicce nan videtur patrasse. Lege his- 
toriam Act. xvii." Rosenmuller. But Luke's account is very 
brief. The epistle shows that the apostle's residence and 
success at Thessalonica far exceeded what is reported in the 

And let me here be permitted to obsei-ve, that whatever 
learned or speculative men may think or say, a belief in mira- 
cles, that is, in certain deviations from the established course 
and order of nature, or what is sometimes sneeringly called 
supernaturalism, is absolutely indispensable to a belief in the 
Christian religion. Christianity is itself a miracle j it is a doc- 
trine supernaturally communicated to the first teachers of it, 
and it is supported altogether by miracles j by the resurrec- 
tion of Jesus, and by the gifts of the holy spirit to him and his 
apostles. Whoever denies the resurrection of Jesus, or his mi- 
raculous powers, must believe him to have been an impostor, 
and his apostles the wilful abettors of an impious fraud. And 
for men who cast this imputation upon the first teachers of the 
gospel to assume the name of Christians is an abuse of language, 
whatever veneration they may profess for the morality of the 
gospel, or for the character of its founder, or whatever may be 
the respectability of their own character. 

But, let it be remembered, that though Christianity requires 
a belief in miracles, it by no means challenges implicit faith. 
On the contrary, it offers in behalf of its two great miracles. 
The resurrection of Christ, and The gifts of the holy spirit, a 

VOL. IV. (J 

1 8 Sect. I. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch. I. you, since God our common Father has selected 
you from the idolatrous heathen, has favoured you 
equally with ourselves with the privileges of the go- 
spel, and has adopted you into his family, and given 
you his spirit ; I assure you that when I first came 
with my fellow-labourers to preach the gospel at 
Thessalonica, I entertained great hope of success, 
and was fully convinced that great numbers in that 
opulent and populous city would become converts 
to the Christian doctrine. For whereas, in some 
places where this doctrine was published, few mi- 
racles were permitted to be wrought, and few spiri- 
tual gifts were communicated; and whereas I was 
restrained by a divine impulse from exercising my 
apostolic mission in other places where I intended 
to preach, I met with no such discouragements nor 

kind and a degree of historical evidence which never existed in 
the w^orld before, vi^hich exceeds the evidence of any fact re- 
corded in ancient history ; vi^hich is fully proportioned to the ex- 
traordinary nature, the antecedent improbability, and the un- 
speakable importance of the facts to be proved, and the fallacy 
of which would be a violation of the laws of the human mind, 
as real and far more incredible than any of the miracles essen- 
tial to the support of Christianity are of the laws of matter and 
the course of nature in the external world, 

* With great cotiviction.'] 'n\y)po<popia, aTrXy)pi^opsui,plenefero, 
vietaphora desumta de navihus, cum ventis implentur vela secun- 
dis." Schleusner. " It signifies," says Dr. Chandler, " the 
full motion of a ship, with all her sails :" and he understands it 
" either of the abundant confirmation of the Christian doctrine 
by the gifts of the holy spirit, or of the full conviction produced 
by this evidence," " Their readily embracing the gospel," 
says Dr, Benson, "^ upon the apostle's preaching and working 
miracles, and their having thereupon received the spirit, was 
the surest proof of their election. God imparted the spirit unto 
none but those who believed ; i. e. only to his professed people, 
wlio were called and chosen." 

Ver. 5. 

Sect. I. I. THESSALONIANS. 3. 19 

obstructions when I came to you. But on the con- Ch. 
trary I not only plainly taught you the doctrine of 
Jesus, and argued the divinity of his mission from 
the prophecies of the Old Testament, which ought 
to have been satisfactory to the unbelieving Jews ; 
but I was also enabled, in confirmation of the doc- 
trine which I had in charge, to work various splen- 
did miracles by power communicated to me from 
above ; and to impart to the new converts those 
gifts of the holy spirit, which were to themselves 
and to others the most satisfactory evidence of a di- 
vine authority. And by these means the gospel did, 
as might naturally be expected, triumph over the 
opposition of its enemies ; and in a short time, like 
a vessel in full sail and with a prosperous breeze, it 
made its way with astonishing rapidity and success. 
Nor is it necessary for me to enter into particular 
details : you well remember what we were, what we 
taught, and what wonderful powers we exhibited, in 
order to excite your attention and to bring you to a 
proper conviction of the truth of the gospel. 

3. This happy conviction of their acceptance 
with God was fully confirmed by the exemplary 
conduct of the Thessalonians after their conver- 
sion, ver. 6, 7. 

And ye hecame imitators of us, and of the 
Lordly having received the word amidst great 

' And of the Lord.] Mr, Wakefield, upon the authority of 
the /Ethiopic version, leaves out xaj (and), and joins ra Ky^js 



Ch- 1, affliction with joy in the holy spirit i, so that ye 
"* '• became examples to all the believers in Macedonia 
and Achaia 2. 

The success of the gospel among you was pro- 
portioned to the means employed for your conver- 
sion. Some among my own countrymen, and many 
of the Gentiles who had before been worshipers of 
the true God, and who might therefore be expected 
to listen to the discoveries of his will, embraced the 
gospel. And, what is still more worthy of admira- 
tion and joy, great numbers even of idolatrous hea- 
then were deeply impressed with the tokens of divine 
interposition, and became sincere converts to the 
Christian faith. Yes, my brethren, you became not 
only proselytes to my doctrine, but imitators of my 
example ; for I once like you was alienated from the 
gospel. But why do I speak of myself "^ you be- 
came imitators of Jesus himself, your master and 
mine, our great en sample, our glorious chief. He 
was a sufferer before he triumphed ; and in the pro- 

to tlie next clause, which he venders, " receiving the doctrine 
of the Lord." Griesbach does not notice this various reading. 

' Joij in the holy spirit.'] The gifts of the spirit vi^ere a proof 
of their being the children of God, or his chosen people ; and 
were likewise the pledge of their title to immortality. " Well, 
therefore," says Dr. Benson, " might it cause them to rejoice, 
even in the midst of persecution. Acts v. 41 5 Rom. xii. 12; 
Eph. i. 13, 14 ; Col. i. 1 1 j Rom. viii. 14—17." " Cum gau- 
dio magno, cum Icetitia quae esset a spiritu sancto effecta, slue, 
nata ex evangelio quod Paulus Thessalonicensibiis tradidisset.' ' 

* Macedonia and AchaiaS\ The whole of the countries pos- 
sessed by the Greeks in Europe were by the Romans reduced 
to two provinces, Macedonia and Achaia. See Dr. Macknight. 

Sect. I. I, T H E S S A L O N I A N S, 4. 21 

spect of the reward set before him, he bore the ch. i. 
cross and despised the shame. You are his faith- ^^'"* '^' 
ful followers : you profess his doctrine amidst dan- 
gers and persecutions. But, possessed of those gifts 
of the holy spirit, which are a sure pledge of the 
truth of the gospel, and of the accomplishment of 
your glorious expectations, you rejoice even in tri- 
bulation. So that you are yourselves become shin- 
ing examples to the neighbouring churches of the 
excellence and energy of Christian principles. 

4. The apostle expresses great satisfaction in the 
high reputation which the Thessalonian converts 
had gained by their faith, their fortitude, and zeal, 
ver. 8—10. 

For, from you hath the ivord of the Lord re- 8. 

sounded^ i not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but 
in every place your faith towards God hath spread 
abroad , so that we need not to say any thing con- 
cerning it : For they themselves declare concerning 9. 
us'^ what kind of entrance lue had among you; and 

' Resounded.'] Grotius observes, that many of the Thessalo- 
nians were merchants who travelled into foreign parts for the 
sake of commerce, and who would naturally spread the intelli- 
gence of the extraordinary events which had happened at Thes- 
salonica, of the impression which had been made upon the minds 
of many of their countrymen, and of the great change which 
it had produced in their conduct, 

* They themselves, &c.] " that is," says Dr. Chandler, 
" those of Macedonia and Achaia, and other places who know 
. of your conversion : they show of us, aitayysXXHtn, publish and 
declare concerning us to others, in what manner and with what 
evidence we preached the gospel to you." " Those who were 

22 Skct. I. I. THESSALONIANS. 4. 

Ch. I. how ye turned to God ^ from idols, to serve the liv- 
Ver. JO. ing and true God, and to expect his Son from hea^ 
ven whom he raised from the dead; even Jesus, who 
is our deliverer from impending wrath^. 

The beneficial influence of your example has dif- 
fused itself far and wide. For truly, my Christian 
brethren, the extraordinary change produced in you 
by the preaching of the gospel, has not only excited 
the astonishment of your heathen neighbours and 
your fellow-citizens of every description, but it has 
been proclaimed abroad through all the adjacent 
iiountries, and is become the topic of general con- 
versation and wonder. In our progress from place 
to place, in the accomplishment of our apostolic 
mission, it is our usual practice to relate in the 
towns and cities to which we come, and where we 
are about to open our ministry, the success which 
we have met with in thjse regions through which 
we have already passed. But with regard to Thes- 
salonica this is quite unnecessary. The report of 

with us declare what kind of an admission," &c. " aoroi TTf^t 
t;|xco)/," Philalethes. 

' And how ye turned to God.'] Dr. Benson observes, that 
" the two fundamental articles of Christianity are here again 

* Impending wrath.'} rr,^ opy^iS t">jS ^fxoaevijf . " impending 
anger." Philalethes. " the punishment which is to come," 
Newcome. " who shall hereafter save us (fvaoixevov is the 
reading of some copies) from that wrath that shall finally come 
upon all who do not believe nor obey the gospel." Chandler. 
N.B. Griesbach takes no notice of the various reading which 
Dr. Chandler suggests. " Hie prcesens pro futuro, bis. pvo- 
f//€voj' pro f/v<roiia¥Oy, dcinde ep^oiJ.Byri^, pro venturae," Roscn- 

Ver. 10. 

Sect. I. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 4, 23 

your conversion to the Christian faith has every ch. i. 
where anticipated our intelligence. For whither- 
soever the citizens of your opulent and populous 
metropolis are led, either by the affairs of govern- 
ment, or the concerns of commerce, or upon their 
own private business or amusement, they are all 
eager to relate the wonderful events which have 
lately taken place among you. And in particular 
they recount our appearance in your city, our pub- 
lic teaching, and our extraordinaiy works ; to which 
they subjoin the amazing change of views, princi- 
ples, and conduct which this new doctrine and these 
surprising works have produced upon their fellow- 
citizens ; so that great numbers have been prevailed 
upon to forsake the religion of their country, and 
the customs of their ancestors, to abandon the wor- 
ship of the heathen gods, and the deified heroes, in 
order to devote themselves to the worship and ser- 
vice of the one true God; of that glorious and 
eternal Being, who is the maker of heaven and 
earth, and all things therein, and who is the only 
proper object of religious adoration. And they fur- 
ther report, as a remarkable singularity in the cha- 
racter of these new proselytes, that they all profess 
to live under the awful expectation of the speedy 
appearance of a glorious person whom they call 
their Master and Lord, who, having suffered a vio- 
lent death as a witness to the truth, was by the 
power of God raised from the grave, and thus de- 
clared to be his first-born Son ; who afterwards as- 
cended to the right hand of God, and is constituted 

24 Sect. II. I. THESSALONIANS, 1. 

Ch. I. by his heavenly Father the judge both of the living 
Ver. 10. ^^^ |.|^g jgjjjj . ^^^^ ^Yia^ the name of this holy and 
exalted person is Jesus of Nazareth ; who will also 
most assuredly rescue all who receive and obey his 
gospel from that vengeance which will in due time 
inevitably fall upon those who are immersed in the 
gross and odious vices which prevail in so lament-' 
able a degree in the heathen world. This, my 
Christian brethren, is the report which is every 
where circulated concerning you ; a report which 
is highly to your credit ; and which affords us, your 
teachers, and your affectionate faithful friends, the 
most heartfelt satisfaction . And I now mention it 
to you, that you may be stimulated by it to support 
the honourable character which you have so justly 
acquired, and to persevere in your adherence to the 
Christian faith, and in the practice of Christian 


Ch. u. The apostle asserts the fidelity, the purity, the 
affection, and disinterestedness with which he 
and his associates had preached the gospel at 
Thessalonica, and he appeals to the Thessalo- 
nians, and to the Supreme Being himself, to at- 
test the veracity of his declaration, Ch. ii. 1-^ 

1 . He reminds them of the courage with which 

Sect. II. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 1. 25 

he and his associates opened their ministry at ci». ii. 
Thessalonica, after the injurious and contumelious 
treatment which they had endured at PhiUppi, ver. 

For yourselves, brethren, know that our enter- Vcr. l . 
ing in among you was not in vain ^ Btit though 2, 

we had before suffered, and had been ignominiously 
treated"^, as ye know, at PhiUppi, we were bold in 
our God^ to declare to you the gospel of God\ 
amidst great opposition ^. 

' In vain.'] " xsvij, without influence on your belief, ch.i. 9 ; 
and on your practice, ch. i. 7 , 8, ii. 13, 14." Newcome. Chand- 
ler observes that the word signifies either fruitless or deceitful; 
in the former sense it connects with the last verses in the fore- 
going chapter, and in the latter sense with the verse imme- 
diately following, 

* Ignominiously treated^] vtpio-^Bvrsg,. " had suffered bodily 
injury." Wakefield. The history of this infamous usage is given. 
Acts xvi,, and the judicious reader will observe how the history 
and the epistle illustrate and confirm each other. It was con- 
sidered as the highest indignity to beat a Roman citizen with 
rods, and the Porcian law expressly exempted them from it. 
One of the heaviest charges of Cicero against Verres is the fre- 
quent inflicting of this disgraceful punishment upon Roman 
citizens. See Chandler on the text. 

' Bold in our God^ s'!rapprjo-iaarcc(ji.s^cc. " This word," says 
Dr. Chandler, " sometimes signifies, ' to speak with courage, 
and void of fear 5' sometimes, ' to speak openly and plainly, 
without ambiguity or disguise 5' sometimes, ' to speak in the 
most public manner before others;' and sometimes, ' to speak 
with full persuasion and confidence of encouragement and sup- 
port ;' and the word seems to take in all these kindred senses, 
which the history also justifies. Acts xvii. 1 — 3." In our God. 
" The gods of the heathen," as Dr. Benson observes, " were 
not able to inspire their votaries with such courage and con- 
stancy in promoting religion and virtue." 

* Pf^e were bold in our God to declare the goxpel of God.'] 
" The repetition of the word God is truly emphatical, and with 
the highest elegance and propriety." Chandler. 

* Amidst great opposition?^ iv ttoXXuj ayujvi. " with much 

26 Sect. II. !. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 1. 

Ch. II. You cannot, my friends, be surprised that the 
Ver. 2. circumstances of our mission among you, and of 
the extraordinary success which attended it, should 
have become, as I have just mentioned to you, 
the topics of general convei-sation through all the 
neighbouring countries ; for you yourselves well re- 
collect all the circumstances of it, both with respect 
to the character and conduct of the teachers, and 
the number and zeal of the converts to their new 
and sublime doctrine. You know that we neither 
came with false pretences to a divine authority, nor 
were our labours among you ineffectual and fruit- 
less. You had heard of the savage cruelty with 
which we had been treated at Philippi ; and how, 
though we were Roman citizens, the magistrates 
had presumed to violate our sacred privileges by in- 
flicting stripes upon us, and that even without hear- 
ing what we had to say in our own defence. And 
when, sensible of their misconduct, they requested 
us to depart, we came immediately to Thessalo- 
nica ; and, while we were yet smarting with the 
wounds we had received at Philippi, we boldly, pub- 
licly, and without any artifice or disguise, as became 
the messengers of the God of truth, taught at Thes- 
salonica the same novel and obnoxious doctrine for 
which we had lately suffered so much at Philippi. 
And in the exercise of our ministry among you we 

earnestness." Newcome. " in so great a struggle." Wake- 
field. " in much danger." Chrysostom, Erasmus, Grotius, 
Benson, Raphelius. " The word signifies ' great opposition,* 
or, • great hazard,' Piiil. i. 30." Chandler. 

Skct. II. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 2/ 

met, as usual, with great opposition : first from the ch. ir. 
Jews, and afteiivards, at their instigation, from the ^^^' ^• 
heathen rabble ; in consequence of which we were 
exposed to great hazard, and ultimately obliged to 
withdraw from the city. And you cannot but have 
remarked that the part which we have acted is very 
different from that which the boastful teachers of 
the heathen philosophy would have done in similar 
circumstances. The reason is, that we placed our 
confidence not in senseless idols, but in a God who 
is omnipotent to protect his faithful servants ; and 
in publishing to you the joyful tidings of salvation 
we were conscious that we were acting in obedience 
to his authority, and fulfilling the high commission 
with which we were intrusted. 

2. The apostle asserts the competency, the pu- 
rity, and the veracity of himself and his associates 
in the ministry of the gospel, ver. 3, 4. 

/f'r, our exhortation was not of error ', nor of 3. 
impurity ^^ noriuith deceit"^. But as we wereap- 4. 

^ Of error ^ KXavrj;. ^'^ we ourselves being deceived." New- 
come. Dr. Chandler observes, that " in these and the follow- 
ing verses the apostle plainly refers to certain teaciiers who 
were chargeable with these immoral views and practices}" and 
he supposes that the heathen philosophers are principally, if 
not solely, alluded to, both as the Thessalonian Christians, 
being chiefly converted heathen, must be ignorant of Jewish 
controversies, and because " these words are the plainest de- 
scription that can be of the generality of the heathen philoso- 
phers, who were chargeable with every one of the corrupt and 
the mean practices which the apostle disclaims." 

* Nor of impurihj.'] " nor with impure and sensual doctrines 
or views. Sec 2 Pet. ii. 10, 14 3 Jude 4, 8 3 Rev. ii. 6, 15. Ham- 

28 Sect. II. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch.ii. proved by God-^ to be intrusted with the gospel, tve 
speak accordingly, not to please men^, but that God 
who approveth our hearts ^. 

The characters of those who profess to teach the 
fashionable systems of heathen philosophy are suf- 
ficiently notorious. Many of them are themselves 
bewildered in tlie labyrinths of error. Many of 
them, both by their instruction and their conduct, 
countenance the most licentious and abominable 
practices ; and many, to please their hearers, teach 

mond, Wall." Newcome. " The philosophers were in these 
respects infamously crhninal." Chandler. Some by aJcaSa/^crjaj 
understand insincerity only, and Bentley conjectures that the 
true reading is av^pMirapecryuai, men-pleasing, as better suiting 
the connexion ; but this reading is unauthorized, and the pre- 
ceding interpretation is unusual, and both are unnecessary. See 
Benson and Bowyer. 

' Nor with cleceit.l sv SoKo}, " not with an intention to de- 
ceive others." Newcome. — " Lucian says of the philosophers, 
that the impudence of their hypocrisy was intolerable." Chand- 
ler. — " They used no craft or artifice ; did not artfully conceal 
some parts and adulterate others ; did not assert the necessity 
of the Gentile Christians observing the law of Moses in order 
to please the Jews ; did not model Christianity according to the 
old heathen religion, or contrive methods to make them easy in 
their vices, to draw in the Gentiles." Benson. 

* Approved by God.'] hhy.iit.a.iTiiB^a.. " Tiiis word," says 
Dr. Chandler, " has a stronger signification than that of mere 
allowance, and denotes fully to approve." See Horn. i. 28, 
xiv. 22. 

* To please men.'] " St. Paul strove to ])lcase men as far as 
he could honestly, and for their real good, Rom. xv. 2, 1 Cor. 
X. 33 ; but he never studied to please men, when thereby he 
must have been unfaithful, and displeased God. Gal. i. 10; 
I Cor. iv. 1, vii. 25." Benson. 

'^ Who approveth, &c.] " The word is the same as before, 
and should be rendered, %vho approveth our hearts: who knows 
the simplicity of our views, and approveth them " Chand- 

Skct. II. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 29 

doctrines which they themselves do not believe. In Ch. ir. 
short, they are influenced by the most selfish mo- "' ' 
tives, and consider themselves as accountable to no 
one for their conduct. But this, you well know, 
was not our character. Whatever our enemies may 
believe or report concerning us, we are conscious 
that our doctrine is of divine authority. No indul- 
gence was granted by us to that dissoluteness of 
manners which is so prevalent in the heathen world. 
Nor did we dare to conceal or to disguise any part 
of the message which we had in charge, in oi'der to 
make it more palatable to our hearers. But having 
had the unspeakable honour of being selected by 
God himself, as proper instruments to be employed 
by him in publishing the joyful tidings of peace and 
good-will to mankind, we strenuously exert ourselves 
to maintain this honourable character, and to per- 
form, with the strictest fidelity, the duties of our 
important office. And with this object fully and 
continually in view, though we do not desire to give 
unnecessary offence, and are even anxious, as far as 
may be consistent with duty, to gratify the taste and 
to conform to the innocent prejudices of our hear- 
ers ; yet, upon the whole, we feel little solicitude for 
human applause, and are supremely desirous of ap- 
proving ourselves to Him who is witness to all the 
thoughts and purposes of the heart ; who is the only 
infallible judge of character, and in whose sight we 
cheerfully hope that our conduct is regarded with 
complacency, however we may be censured and 
condemned by men. 

30 Sect. II. I. THESSALONIANS. 3. 

Ch. ir. 3. The apostle further affirms that neither he 
nor his associates were influenced by pride, covet- 
ousness, or vain-glory, in preaching the gospel at 
Thessalonica, ver. 5 — 7. 

Ver. 5. -For neither at any time • did ive use flattering 
speech^, as ye knoxu^ nor a pretence for covetous- 

6. nesSy God is witness 3. Nor froin men sought we 

7. glory; neither frojnyoUy nor from others^. When 

' For neither at any time^ Dr. Benson supposes, that the 
apostle had been charged by his enemies with the faults of 
which he clears himself in the beginning of this chapter, viz. 
of imposture, impurity, guile, flattery, covetousness and vain- 

- Use Jlattering speech.l ev Aoyai xoXaxetaj eyeyijSijjW-Ev* "a 
very correct and emphatical manner of writing. It signifies, 
either to use flattering speeches, or to be reported of as given to 
flattery : q. d. you neither heard me doing it, nor ever charged 
me with it," Chandler. Benson's interpretation is preferable j 
which he says " is the usually given by all commentators, 
ancient and modern." And he justly asks, " what occasion there 
was for his solemn appeal to the Thessalonians themselves {as 
ye know) if some persons had not suggested such accusations." 
He does not say, as Dr. Chandler (who is unaccountably pre- 
judiced against Dr. Benson) insinuates, that the construction 
given by Hammond, Le Clerc, and Chandler, is bad Greek; but 
he has said and proved that the passages they quote do not jus- 
tify the sense they give to the apostle's language. And surely, 
when the words of the text admit of two senses. Dr. Chandler's 
usual method of attributing both to the apostle cannot generally 
be correct, 

' As ye know — God is witness^ How far the apostle had flat- 
tered his hearers, they themselves could testify ; but how far he 
was influenced by avarice and self-interest, while he pretended 
to have no object in view but the benefit of his hearers, could 
be known only to God. — " itpo^atrig " says Dr. Chandler, " is 
ti pretence, or colour io cover over, and more securely carry on, 
any secret design. The philosophers were notorious and infa- 
mous for their covetousness." 

* Neither from you, nor from others^ " If his enemies ob- 
jected," says Dr. Benson, " 'Though you sought not glory from 

Sect. II. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 3. 31 

we might have assumed authority ^ as apostles of Ch. ii. 
Christy we were gentle^^ among you. -^^'"' ''• 

There are some teachers who are desh-ous at any 
price to secure the applause and the favour of their 
hearers ; there are others whose object is to enrich 
themselves at their expense ; and there are some 
who are ambitious of the reputation of superior ta- 
lents, and the pride of rank and dignity ; and there 
are not wanting those who have accused us of being 
governed by a similar spirit. These charges we re- 
pel with indignation ; and we appeal to you, and to 
God himself, to attest our innocence. Much as we 
loved you, and earnestly desirous as we were to gain 
your attention and your affection, you will bear us 

theThessalonians, yet you love the admiration and applause of 
mankind,' to such an objection the apostle replies by denying 
the charge. And indeed that would have been but a poor re- 
ward for all their astonishing labours, and great fatigues, their 
cold, hunger and nakedness, their buffetings and scourgings, 
their insults, dangers, and the many and grievous sufferings to 
which their faithful and assiduous preaching of the gospel ex- 
posed them." 

' Assumed authority. ~\ ev ^a§Ei sivaci. Dr. Benson and Dr. 
Chandler have shown that (5a§og is used by classical writers to 
express gravity, dignity, and authority ; and this sense is un- 
questionably best suited to the connexion. Dr. Chandler re- 
marks that the 6th, 7th, and 8th verses are ill pointed ; " and 
by this means (says he) one of the most beautiful and moving 
passages I ever met with in the whole course of my reading is 
almost quite kept out of the reader's view." He rectifies the 
punctuation, which is also adopted by Griesbach, and which I 
have followed. 

^ Gentle.!; yjifioi' " This word," says Dr. Chandler, " signi- 
fies humane, indulgent. Profane writers make it the epithet of 
a father, to signify the most indulgent and affectionate father. 
Helena, speaking of Hector, says of him, irari^p w; rjifiof aisi. 
Iliad, ii.vei: 770. 

12 SficT. II. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 4, 

Ch. II. witness that we never attempted to secure this object 
Ver. 7. ^y any mean compliances with your humours and 
prejudices, or by flattering you in your errors and 
your vices. And that we did not, under pretence 
of instructing you in the Christian doctrine, and 
teaching you the way of salvation, mean to make a 
gain of you, and to become rich by your liberality, 
God is witness, who knows the disinterested spirit 
with which we have embarked in this glorious ser- 
vice. x\nd we were equally clear of the imputation 
of ambition and the desire of applause. We did 
not court the admiration either of you or the public. 
We were above such unworthy motives. Indeed, 
as an apostle of Christ, who received my commis- 
sion immediately from him, who possessed super- 
natural gifts and powers in a degree equal to the 
very chief of the apostles, and who was particularly 
designated to the high office of apostle of the Gen- 
tiles, I might very consistently have claimed the re- 
spect due to my superior rank. But this was not 
my ambition. I chose to associate among you as 
an equal and a friend, or rather, as an indulgent fa- 
ther. And, instead of affecting airs of superiority, 
I was mild and gentle in my behaviour to you all. 

4. The apostle reminds the Thessalonians that 
his whole conduct towards them was, in the highest 
degree, affectionate and kind, ver. 7, 8. 
8- As a nursing-mother ' cherishes 2 her own chil- 

As a nursing-mother?^ So Mr. Wakefield 3 imd it is evident. 

Skct. II. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 4. 31 

dren^ so ivc, affectionately loving you 3, would with ch. ir. 
pleasure * have imparted to you^ not the gospel of ^^^''' " 
God only, but even our own lives ^ because ye were 
dear to us^. 

Indeed, my friends, so far was I from desiring to 
usurp any undue authority over you, that I felt no 
emotions towards you but those of kindness and 
compassion. I even felt for you as a tender mo- 

as all must observe who consult the original, that the apostle Ls 
speaking of a mother who nurses and suckles her own child. See 
Benson and Macknight. 

* Cherishes.'] ^xXirv. " The Greek," says Dr. Chandler, " is 
more emphatical than our translation, ' cherishes and suckles 
her own children, warms them in her bosom, and feeds them with 
her milk.' " 

^ Affectionately loving you.l l[M£ipoy>svoi. " l[j:,£ipsi, £Tri5v[, 
^sXst. Hesych. Non tantum a poetis usurpatur, ut vult Grotius. 
Fid. Raphel.'' Chandler. 

* Would with pleasure.'] gu^oKSjw-sv. See Chandler. 

* Fe were dear to us.] " How tender, how engaging (says 
Dr. Chandler) are these expressions of this divine apostle ! Tlie 
fondness of an indulgent father to his children is very great : 
the tenderness of a mother is yet stronger. It is peculiarly 
strong to their tender infants, but strongest of all to them when 
they cherish and warm them in their bosoms, and especially 
when they hang upon the breast, and are suckled with their 
milk. Nature cannot furnish out an image of greater tender- 
ness than this : such was our apostle to his Thessalonians, He 
considers them as in the infancy of their conversion j himself as 
the tender mother nourishing and cherishing them ; the gospel 
of God as the milk with which he fed them ; his very soul and 
life as what he was willing to part with for their safety and be- 
nefit. He could die for them, if their preservation and welfare 
required it. Could the fcndest passion of the tenderest mother 
carry her further, or prompt her to do more for the helpless in- 
fant drawing in life and warmth and nourishment from her 
breast ? I think nothing can exceed the elegance, the strength, 
the tender passion, the moving affection of this description ; 
and that a rnan must have no bowels that does not find them 
moved, by so fine, so lively, and warm a scene." 

V^OL. IV. D 

Ver. 8. 

34 Sect. II. 1. T H E S S A L O NM A N S. 5. 

Ch. II. tlier for the helpless infant at her breast ; who not 
only delights to impart to her beloved babe the 
warmth and nourishment that it needs, but would 
also, with pleasure, sacrifice her own life for the 
preservation of her child. So, likewise, did I, ani- 
mated with equal tenderness and affection for you, 
first impart to you, in the midst of difficulties and 
dangers, the sincere milk of the gospel, the word of 
truth and salvation ; and with equal pleasure would 
I now, for your sakes, sacrifice life itself, if this 
should be necessary, to secure your interest in the 
invaluable blessings of the Christian covenant. Be- 
lieve me, then, when I assure you that I feel the 
strongest attachment to you; and suffer not the 
injurious calumnies of our enemies to excite in 
your minds any unfavourable suspicions concern- 

5. The apostle suggests to their recollection the 
example of industry which he had set them, in la- 
bouring for his own subsistence while he was em- 
ployed in preaching the gospel to them, ver. 9. 

Moreover ' , ye remember^ brethren^ our labour 
and toil^ ; how, iv or king night and day that we 
might not be biirthensome^ to any of you, lue 
preached unto you the gospel of God. 

' Moreover.'] yap, introducing a collateral observation. 

' Labour and toil.'] The apostle is here evidently speaking 
of the pains which he and his companions took in working for 
a subsistence. See Chandler. 

' That we might not be burtliensome.] Dr. Benson observes 
here, that " ministers have a right to a maintenance from the 

Sect. II. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. a. ^O 

III an opulent and commercial city like yours, 
the enemies of the gospel are disposed to calum- 
niate the serious professors of the Christian reli- 
gion, as men who neglect their secular concerns ; 
and to upbraid the teachers of it as encouraging 
idleness, both by their doctrine and example. But 
you recollect, my brethren, that our conduct while 
we exercised our ministry among you gave no coun- 
tenance to this foul aspersion. For though, while 
we devote our time to the instruction of others, we 
have a right to a decent maintenance from those 

people to whom they preach ; and it is not their duty in all 
cases to labour for bread with their own hands. This appears 
both from reason and from scripture. St. Paul often gave up 
his just rights, either, 1 .) That he might give no occasion to 
charge him with covetous and worldly views ; or, 2.) That he 
might cut off all occasion from false apostles to claim a main- 
tenance from his example j or, 3.) That idle and slothful 
Christians might not pretend from his example to vindicate 
their idleness." Dr. Benson adds, that it was the custom of 
the Jews to teach their children a trade, even though they gave 
them a liberal education. Acts xviii. 3. 

To these observations of Dr. Benson's I would take leave to 
add what appears to be at least equally just : that where the 
persons who enjoy the benefit of a minister's instructions either 
cannot or will not raise a competency to support his family;, it is 
neither criminal nor disgraceful in a minister to use any b.o- 
nourable means for his own support 5 and that it would be nei- 
ther improper nor undesirable that young men who are edu- 
cating for the ministry should also acquire the knowledge of 
some profession or occupation, by which they might maintain 
themselves and their families in a decent and reputable manner. 
Dr. Benson also remarks the propriety and decorum of the apo- 
stle's not noticing to the Thessalonians, vt^ho were probably 
poor, the supplies which he and his associates occasionally re- 
ceived from Philippi during their residence at Thessalonica ; 
and which he very prope/ly mentions v^'ith gratitude in his let- 
ter to the Philippians, Phil. iv. 16". 

D 2 

Ver. V. 

ib Sect. II. 1. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 6. 

Ch. II. for whose benefit we labour, yet we were far from 
"* ' insisting upon this right while we resided among 
you. And indeed you cannot but remember, that 
while we employed the greater part of the day in 
teaching both publicly and privately the important 
truths of divine revelation, the remainder of our 
time was usually spent in hard labour for our own 
subsistence ; and that to this end we encroached 
even upon the hours of necessary repose ; that so 
we might not put you to inconvenient expense in 
maintaining us, and that we might preclude the 
cavils of those who were disposed to represent us 
either as idle or as mercenary. 

6. He reminds the Thessalonians of the piety and 
sanctity of the preachers of the gospel, and how 
earnestly it had been recommended to them to fol- 
low the example of their teachers, ver. 10 — 12. 

10. Ye are ivitnesses, arid God^ is witness, how ho' 
lily^ and righteously^ and unblameably, we behaved 

1 1- ourselves among you that believe^: as ye know how 
we exhorted"^, and comforted^ and charged every 

' Ye are witnesses, and God.l " A very solemn appeal this," 
says Dr. Chandler, " upon a very important occasion ; and a 
noble period, full of majesty and grace." 

* How hoUly, &c.] " holily towards God, righteously to- 
wards men, unblameably, i. e. without giving any just occasion 
of complaint in the manner of our instruction, or in the me- 
thods we made use of to bring you to the acknowledgement of 
the truth." Chandler. 

^ Exhorted.'] ri/jisv is to be understood after itoipaxaXsvres. 
Grotius mentions it as a Hebrew idiom ; but Benson and 
Chandler, and before them Blackwall, notice it as an ellipsis 
not uncommon in the best Greek authors. 

Sect, II. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 6. 37 

ojie ofyoUy as a father his childreriy that ye should Ch. ir, 

walk in a maimer worthy of Gody who inviteth you 
into his glorious kingdom *. 

We are very sensible that there are many who 
are disposed to traduce our characters, and to re- 
present us as impious and wicked men, who, under 
a pretence of a divine commission, are accomplish- 
ing their own base and sinister designs. But of 

■* Worthj of God, &c.] " How affectionate, how engaging, 
how powerful," says Dr. Chandler, " this manner of instruc- 
tion ! The character of a father implies tenderness and autho- 
rity. As such he exhorts them, he comforts them, he charges 
them J /xaprup8ju-£vo(, beseeching and conjuring them in the 
most solemn manner ; and testifying to them the absolute ne- 
cessity that they should walk worthy of God." " Kingdom and 
glory,'" says Dr. Benson, " are put by a usual hendiadys for 
glorious kingdom. The glory in God's temporal kingdom was 
the shechenahj that refulgent cloud which resided between the 
two cherubim, overshadowing the ark of the covenant in the 
holy of holies, Exod. xiii. 21, 22. To that the apostle seems 
here to allude ; but the Christian church has no such external 
visible gloiy. Its glory is truth, charity, and holiness." He 
adds, that " Two motives are here suggested to induce the 
Christians at Thessalonica to live a holy life. 1 .) The nature 
and character of the true God whose worshipers they now 
were. 2.) This holy God had called them into his glorious 
kingdom, the Christian church, from a state of ignorance, ido- 
latry, and vice, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God." 

" If the most unquestioned indications of an upright mind in 
this epistle," says Dr. Priestley, " be properly attended to, 
(and I will venture to say there is no instance upon record of 
any hypocrite writing in this manner,) and it be compared with 
the equally unquestionable zeal of the apostle in preaching the 
gospel, and the marks of a sound mind in conducting himself 
with the greatest prudence and judgement, a conviction of the 
truth of Christianity will be the necessary result. Let any un- 
believer account for the character, the conduct, and the mode 
of vpritingof this apostle, upon any other supposition, if he can. 
If any person thinks that he can, I will venture to say he either 
has not duly attended to all the circumstances, or has little 
knowledge of human nature." 

Ver. 12. 

\S Skct. II. I. T H ESS ALONI AN S. 6. 

Ch. II. such criminal views and conduct our consciences 
Vcr. 12. acquit us ; and you, my friends, amongst whom we 
lately resided, and who were witnesses to our whole 
conduct, will give your verdict in our favour. But 
you could only witness our external conduct. There 
is a Being who searches the heart ; and to him we 
humbly but confidently appeal for the purity of our 
motives, and the sanctity of our conduct. He knows 
the reverence of our hearts with regard to himself, 
the rectitude of our behaviour to our fellow-crea- 
tures, and our entire freedom from every thing de- 
serving of censure, whether in doctrine or practice, 
in our intercourse with you, who received the Chris- 
tian doctrine. And you remember, my dear friends 
and children in the gospel, what paternal vigilance 
and tenderness we exercised over you : exhorting 
some, comforting others, and earnestly pressing it 
upon all to regulate your conduct agreeably to your 
Christian profession. You have renounced idolatry, 
and are become worshipers of the true and living 
God: act always as in his presence, and make it 
your supreme concern to serve and please him. He 
has invited you, though heathen, to become subjects 
of that glorious kingdom which he has established 
in the world : a kingdom not dignified, indeed, with 
external splendour, but glorious in knowledge, in 
holiness, and in peace : you have accepted the hea- 
venly call. Prize highly your inestimable privilege ; 
and show by your whole conduct that you are true 
and approved members of this holy and honourable 

Skct. III. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 1 . 39 


The apostle compresses his gratitude to God for Ch. ii. 
the fortitude and zeal of the Thessalonia?i con- 
verts, in a season of severe persecution; and 
denounces the approaching judgements of God 
upon the Jewish nation. Ch. il. 13 — 16. 

1. The apostle gives thanks to God for the suc- 
cess of the gospel at Thessalonica, and the good 
effect it produced upon those who were converted 
to the faith, ver. 13. 

For this cause also lue give thanks to God con- Ver. 13. 
tinually i, that when ye received the doctrine con- 
cerning God which ye heard from 7is 2, ye accepted 

' For this cause, &c.] See ch, i. 2. The apostle having stated 
his own views and conduct, and those of his associates, when 
they first introduced the gospel at Thessalonica, now enlarges 
upon the effect which it had produced upon the Thessalonians, 
and shows that their mission had not been in vain. Ch. ii. 1. 
See Benson. 

' Doctrine of God, &c.] Xoyov axoijf itoLp ■^tjt.wv rs ©es, the 
word of the report of, or concerning God. Comp. Heb. iv. 2, 
Matt. xiv. 1 ; the doctrine which they heard concerning God 
from the apostles. This Dr. Chandler thinks to be the true 
critical meaning of the place. The word received occurs a se- 
cond time improperly in the common version ; the words in 
the original being different. " The first word, irapaXa^ovTsg, 
signifies *^ taking any thing proposed into consideration, so as 
to pass a proper judgement upon it.' The second, eSs^aaSs, 
signifies ' to approve and embrace in consequence of serious 
examination.'" See Chandler and Benson. 

10 Sect. III. 1. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. I. 

Ch. II. not a doctrine of men, but a doctrine of God^, as 
^^'" ^'^' in truth it is; iv/iich also powerfully operateth in 
you who believe. 

And now, my brethren, having reminded you of 
the circumstances in which we first preached the 
gospel at Thessalonica, and of the temper and spirit 
which we manifested among you, I rejoice in the 
recollection of your own conduct upon the same 
interesting occasion. To many, indeed, our argu- 
ments were unavailing, and upon their minds the 
miraculous powers wliich we exercised made no 
valuable impression : but we bless God that this 
neglect of the gospel was not universal. We can 
never forget the candour and seriousness with which 
you listened to our instructions, as messengers of 
God ; and in our daily devotions we never omit to 
offer up our thanksgivings to God, for your firm 
conviction of the truth, and for your public fearless 
profession of the doctrine which you heard. And 
we also bless God that you had good reason for 
your conduct. The doctrine you embraced is not 
the invention of man ; it is, and will most assuredly 
appear to be, the truth of God, and a truth of the 
greatest practical importance. You are yourselves, 
my friends, the living proofs of it : no other doc- 

' Not a doctrine, &c.] Dr. Chandler thinks that the particle 
as in the common version is twice inserted without any rea- 
son ; the sense being much better without it. " The apostle," 
he observes, " had double reason of thankfulness to God : that 
the doctrine he preached concerning God was really from him ; 
and that he had been instrumental to persuade tlie Thessalo- 
nians to embrace it," 

Sect. III. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 41 

trine could have inspired that fortitude and zeal, Ch, u. 
and cheerful hope, which you have experienced and ^^' ' 
manifested in the trying circumstances in which 
you have been placed. 

2. Tlie apostle traces a resemblance between the 
circumstances of the Thessalonians and those of the 
Jewish converts in Judea ; and after describing the 
character of the unbelieving Jews, he concludes 
with a solemn denunciation of the approaching 
judgements of God upon that perverse and incor- 
rigible people, ver. 14 — 16. 

For ye^ brethren^ are become like^ the churches 14. 

of God in Judea which are in Christ Jesus ^: in- 
asmuch as ye also have suffered from your oivn 
countrymen^ the same things ivhich they \\^v^from 
the Jews. 

That the gospel of Christ has been cordially em- 
braced by you, and has produced its genuine effect 
upon you, is evident from the firmness and forti- 

' Are becoine like.'] ^iiur^rai. So Wakefield. Gr. imitators. 
" Ccetus Christianorum Judaici sc. Pala>stinenses,JudcEorum odia 
magis experti sunt, quain ecclesice regionum ceterarum Asiatica- 
rum, et EuropcEaruiii ; nam Judcci pracipne erant ii, qui Chris- 
tianos persequebantur." RosenmuUer. "as you yourselves are 
a plain instance." Pyle. 

^ Which are in Christ Jesus.'] which believe in Christ, which 
profess the Christian religion : " a defective form of expression 
which must be supplied in some such way. They worship one 
God and believe in Christ Jesus." Chandler. 

■* Your own countrymen^ The heathen idolaters considering 
the Christians at first only as a sect of Jews, did not give them- 
selves any trouble about them till they were instigated by the 
Jews. Tills was particularly the case at Thessalonica and Be- 
rea, &c. Acts xvii, .5, 13. 

42 Sect. III. I. T H £ S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch. II. tilde which you have discovered under the persecu- 
' tions which you have endured. For your situation 
at Thessalonica bears a very near resenibhince to 
that of the Christian converts in Judea. Your 
fellow-citizens, though heathen, and as such in ge- 
neral indifferent to the rise and progress of new 
opinions and sects, have been instigated by the 
Jews to persecute you with as much rancour as the 
Jews in Judea persecute the believers there. And 
indeed I am constrained to bear a sad and reluctant 
testimony to the wickedness and the ruin of my un- 
happy countrymen. 

15. Jf^ho both killed the Lord Jesus and the pro-' 
phets ', and have persecuted us, and ivho please not . 

16. God^, and are against allmen"^, not suffering us^ 

' The pi'ophets.'] The word iSisg, their own, is omitted in the 
manuscripts of best authority, and in the Vulgate and other 
ancient versions. It was probably a marginal gloss. See Gries- 

* Please not GofZ.] A meiosis, by which much more is under- 
stood than the words express. The apostle means that the con- 
duct of the Jews was in the highest degree displeasing to God. 
See Chandler and Benson. 

^ Arc against all men.'] " svavYioi denotes enemies ; in a state 
of hostile opposition." Chandler. This was the character which 
the Jews bore among the heathen, whom it is vvell known that 
they regarded with hatred and contempt. 

Non monstrare vias, eadem nisi sacra colenti; 
QucEsitnm adfontem solos deducere verpos. 

Juvenal. Sat. xiv. 
Adversiis alios omnes hostile odium. Tacitus. See Eisner. — 
" against Gentiles, whether converted or unconverted j and 
against converted Jews." Newcome. This severe descrip- 
tion of the Jews is confirmed by Josephus, who frequently calls 
them ^Bocvyeis, haters of God; and who, in a passage which 
has often been cited iVoin his Jetvish War, b. vi. c. 13. § 6. de- 
clurcs tluit " he thinks that if the Romans had dt laved to talic 

Sect. III. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 4o 

to declare salvation to the Gentiles : thus conli- ch. ii. 
nually filling up the measure of their sins^. But ^^^'' ^^' 
ivrath is overtaking them ^ to titter destj'uction 7. 

With regret I say it ; but truth compels me to 
declare, that the crimes of my deluded countrymen 
have now nearly reached their utmost limit, and that 
their ruin is impending and inevitable. For they 
have been the murderers of Jesus, our lord and 

vengeance on these wretches, they would either hnve been 
Svvallowed up by an earthquake, or that the city would have 
been swept away by a deluge ; or that they would have par- 
taken of the thunders of Sodom ; for that they were a more im- 
pious generation than those who suffered these calamities." See 

* Not suffering t<s.] xcyADJvrwv. So Wakefield, forbidding, 
hindering. " The meaning is, " not forbidding us to preach in 
order to their salvation, but to preach the doctrine of the pos- 
sibility of their salvation by faith alone." Chandler. 

* Filling up, &c.] "This," says Dr. Benson, " is an allusion 
to filling up a vessel to the brim. The vessel was filled a great 
way before, but this filled it up quite. A similar allusion is used 
Gen. XV. 16, Matt, xxiii. 32." 

^ Is overtaking them.'] s(pQa<rE' " literally, hath overtaken, on 
account of its nearness and certainty," Wakefield. " That de- 
solation was drawing nigh when the apostle wrote this epistle ; 
and the destruction of their temple, city, and nation, happened 
within twenty years after." Benson. 

^ To utter destruction.'] sig rs\o;. " finally, at last." H. 
Stephens, Grotius, Knatchbull, Benson. " to consummation, 
to utter destruction." Newcome, and others. So LXX. Numb, 
xvii. 13 j Josh. vii. 24, x. 20; Job vi. 9; Amos ix. 8 ; 2 Chron, 
xii. 12. " wrath is coming on them to the full. Such wrath 
as shall perfect and consummate their destruction." Chand- 
ler. This epistle was written a.d. 52. The destruction of 
Jerusalem and the temple happened about twenty years after- 
wards. This event the apostle foreknew either by inspiration, 
or by the recorded prophecy of Jesus previous to his crucifixion, 
Mr. Wakefield translates the words, " complete jnmishmcnt is 
overtakini? them." 


Sect. III. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 

Ch. II. master, whom they ought to have received as their 
promised Messiah, and who gave the most ample 
proof of his divine legation : yet even him they de- 
livered up to the Roman power, under a false charge 
of treason and blasphemy, and insisted upon his 
public crucifixion. The prophets who foretold the 
mission of Christ, had been treated by their prede- 
cessors with similar cruelty. And if we, the apostles 
and messengers of Jesus, and the authorized wit- 
nesses of his res'irrection, have hitherto escaped, 
it has been owing to want of power, not of inclina- 
tion on their part: for they have beaten and impri- 
soned us, and forbidden us to teach the doctrine 
of Christ; and some of our number have even been 
put to death. Thus they are acting in a manner 
most highly offensive to the Supreme Being, whom 
they profess to venerate, while they oppose his will 
and destroy his holy and authorized messengers. 
They are the enemies of the human race ; holding 
all mankind in contempt and abhorrence, though 
equally with themselves the creatures and children 
of God. And this malignity of spirit they evince 
in a way v/hich renders it doubly odious, by giving 
every obstruction in their power to the promulga- 
tion of the gospel among the Gentiles, and refusing 
them admission into the kingdom and family of 
God. Thus they add crime to crime, without any 
interruption or remission, till, the measure of their 
iniquities being full, divine justice will no longer 
forbear to strike. And dreadful indeed will their 
approaching catastrophe be. The denunciations 

Sect. IV. I. THESSALONIANS. 1. 45 

of the crucified prophet will be literally fulfilled. Ch. ii. 
The ruin of the nation will be complete. And the 
awful consummation is at hand. 


The apostle, having been disappointed i?i his 
intention of making the Thessalonians a visits 
and having sent Timothy to Thessalonica to 
learn the state of their affairs^ expresses the 
highest satisfaction in the report which that 
evangelist had made concerning their perseve- 
rance in the faith^ and their affection to him : 
and he concludes with testifying his earnest de- 
sire to visit them, and his best luishes for their 
estahlishment in faith and holiness . Ch. ii. 17 
— iii. 13. 

1 . Having been compelled to leave them abrupt- 
ly, he was earnestly desirous of seeing them again, 
but had hitherto been prevented from executing his 
purpose, ver. 17, 18. 

Now we, brethren^, having been bereaved of Ver. 17. 
you^ at an hours warning^, in person, not in 

' Now we, brethren^ Dr. Benson observes that "the apostle 
has called his converts at Thessalonica, brethren, beloved, or 
beloved brethren, no less than seventeen times in this epistle : 
whereby he not only testified his very ardent affection for them, 
but acknowledged the Gentile as well as Jewish converts for 
Christian brethren." 

* Bereaved of you.'] aKopfixyKr&svfSi. See Wakefield. " O^- 

46 Sect. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 1. 

(:h, II. heart, have earnestly endeavoured ivith great de- 
Ver. 18. sire^ to see your face. Accordingly, we intended 
to come to you, even I Paul, more than once, but 
Satan hindered 2is °. 

My dear brethren, you recollect how suddenly, 
and with how little previous notice, I was torn from 
you as a father from the children of his affection, 
in consequence of the tumult which was raised at 
the instigation of the Jews. But though I was per- 
sonally compelled to withdraw from you, my heart 
still remained with you, and my tenderest affec- 
tions are fixed upon you : so that ever since I left 
you I have never ceased to devise the means of 
gratifying my ardent desire to visit you again. Hi- 
therto, however, my efforts have been fruitless : for' 
though I Paul, your teacher and apostle, have re- 

Qavos, yovEcuv esrTjpyjy-^vos, y^oLi rsKvuiv." Hesychius. " He 
compares the uneasiness he was under/' says Dr. Chandler, 
" to the distress of a father robbed of, and torn from, his chil- 
dren, at an hour's warning, and forced to leave tliem in cir- 
cumstances of the most helpless danger." 

^ At an hour's warning.'] irpog^ov wfaj. So Dr. Chandler, 
and unquestionably right ; though this sense is overlooked, as 
he observes, by almost all interpreters. Mr. \\\^kefield's ver- 
sion is, " at a moment's warning." It is not true that the apo- 
stle was separated from them for a short time only, for it was 
six years before he saw them again ; and if it had been fact, 
it would have been beside the apostle's purpose to have men- 
tioned it. 

' Earnestly endeavoured, t^'c] The apostle expresses with 
great emphasis his earnest desire to see the Thessalonians 
again. " The word," says Dr. Chandler, " .signifies, ' I dili- 
gently endeavoured.' To raise the idea, he adds, ' I more abun- 
dantly endeavoured ; ' and to iiiake his diligence appear as strong 
as words could do it, concludes, * I more abundantly endea- 
voured to see you with great desire.' " " Amat Paulus, voca- 
bula per se augentia, ampUiis augere," Grotius. 


Skct. IV. r. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 47 

peatedly intended and endeavoured to take a journey ch. ir. 
to Thessalonica, some impediment or other has al- ^'^^'' * 
ways occurred to prevent me ; and particularly the 
malignity of the Jews, and the peculiar enmity 
which they harhour against me, and which would 
lead them to sacrifice my life, if they could once 
get me into their power. 

*2. The apostle states the delight he felt in the 
prospect of meeting his Thessalonian converts at 
the coming of Christ, ver. 19, !20. 

For ivhat is our hope'^ or joy, or crown of iri- 
umph''y in the presence of our Lord Jesus'^ at his 

' ^atan Jiindered ms.] " wicked men, the instruments of Sa- 
tan." Newcome. The word Satan signifies adversanj, and 
in the Old Testament is constantly used in thus sense. In the 
New Testament it occurs thirty-three times ; and commonly 
expresses, the principle of opposition personified, whatever be 
the cause or the object of the obstruction. Paul's paralytic dis- 
order is called Satan, 2 Cor. xii. 7, because it obstructed his 
preaching the gospel. Peter is called Satan, Matt. xii. 2G, 
because he contradicted what Jesus had just declared. Satan 
sometimes signifies the heathen power, and sometimes the per- 
secuting power J but it never signifies what it is usually under- 
stood to express, the chief of apostates and fallen angels. — 
Dr. Priestley explains it, " one adversary or other has prevented 
me." " ImpedivU uutein hoc Satanas, injectd ei necessitate 
disputandi S(Pphis ciuu Stoicis et Epicureis qui Athenis erant.'" 
Grotius. " Tlie enemy here intended," says Dr. Benson, 
"was evidently the unbelieving Jews at Thessalonica." It was 
some unknown impediment. 

' For what is our hope.'] Dr. Chandler observes that it is 
" uncertain whether the apostle here refers to the crov^Mi of tri- 
umph worn by the conqueror, or to the garland of victory in the 
games." Dr. Benson remarks, that " as Paul expected to know 
his own converts in the great day, we may therefore hope to 
know our friends in a future state." 

* Or croicn of triumph.} /cay^ijcrew;, S3 Wakefield. "" a 

43 Sect. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch. II. coming ? Are not even ye ^ ? Ye are indeed our 
"■ ' glory and onr joy '^. 

If it should be in my power, I will make another 
eflbrt to visit you soon ; but I may perhaps be again 
disappointed ; and possibly in this world I may ne- 
ver have another opportunity of seeing you again. 
But there is a day advancing when we shall be sure 
to meet : it is the day of our Lord and Master Jesus, 
when he shall return to raise the dead and to judge 
the world. And to what think ye that I look for- 
ward with delightful anticipation, as the brightest 
crown, the most transporting bliss of that trium- 
phant day ? — It is to the happiness of meeting you, 
my beloved brethren, my dear Thessalonian con- 
verts, my joy and pride, at the tribunal of our ho- 
noured Lord and judge — approved, acknowledged, 
and rewarded by him. Yes ; it is to meet, never 
to part any more. This will be happiness indeed. 
And of this triumph, blessed be God, it is not in 

crown of which a man boasts." Le Clerc. " Vocatur corona, 
non quotidiuna, sed quce diebus sumiuce Iceiiti^ ad eximium or- 
natum sumltur. Sic Paulum omabnnt tarn pradarce per Mace^ 
doniom structce ah ipso ecclesice." Grotius. 

* In the presence of our Lord Jesus.'} The received text adds 
Christ; but this word is wanting in the Alexandrine, Clermont, 
and Corbey manuscripts, and in the Syriac, Vulgate, and other 
versions. See Griesbach ; who however retains it in his text, 

^ Are not even ije P} " Construi hcecsic debent.'' Grotius. See 
also Chandler and Benson. 

« Ve are indeed, &c.] So Mr. Wakefield. The old English 
version is, Yes, ye are indeed our glory and joy. " The particle 
yap, which we render for, should have been translated even. 
For this use of the particle, see Herodotus Hist. I. i. 8, V. iii; 
12." Chandler. 

Sect. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 3. 40 

the power of our worst and most inveterate ene- ch. ii. 
mies either to hinder or to deprive us. ^^'* ^^• 

3. The apostle, moved by the tender anxiety 
which he felt on their account, had sent Timothy 
from Athens, to visit, to console, and to encoui'age 
them, ch. iii. 1 — 3. 

So t/ic?i, bci7ig no longer able to refrain^^^ zve vej-^V' 
willingly acquiesced^ in being left at Athens alone ^ 
and sent Timothy, our brother, and a fellow worker 2. 

ivith God in the gospel of Christ ^j to support and 
encourage you^ concerning your fidelity T ; that 3. 

7ione of you ^ may be moved9 by these our afflic- 

' Refrain.'] " s'^yuj properly signifies to cover : here it sig- 
nifies, to suppress the impatience of our desires." Chandler. 
^' being able to endure no longer." Wakefield. 

* Willingly acquiesced.'] See Chandler. " we have submit- 
ted." Wakefield. " I cheerfully preferred " Benson. Tlie 
word evSoKT/jo-ixiAsv expresses the readiness with which the apostle 
acquiesced in being left by himself at Athens. 

' Timothy, &c.] The copies read these clauses variously : 
I adopt the reading of Griesbach. 

° Support and encourage.] So Wakefield. ITapaxaXeo-a; sig- 
nifies both to exhort and comfort : the apostle might intend to 
include both significations. 

' Your fidelity.] See ver. 5 : not concerning their faith, but 
their firm adherence to their profession. 

^ That none of you.] ruj iirjSsvx. The best copies read to 
{x.rjSava, for sig ro x. r. A. Griesbach : see ver. 13. Benson and 

^ Be moved.] " a-ocivsa-Sa.1, proprie adulor, hlandior, pellicio, 
non solum de canibus caudam blande moventibus, traivei, xoXa- 
xivst. Hesychius. Hinc, quaiio, concutio, et metaphorice, com- 
moveo, turbo." Schleusner. The word is commonly understood 
as a metaphor, taken from a dog's moving his tail, either from 
joy or fear ; but more frequently in the former sense. And Dr. 
Chandler supposes that " the apostle meant that Timothy was 
to caution the Thessalonians against being fawned and flattered 


50 Sect. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N 1 A N S. 3. 

Ch. in. tions,for ye yourselves know that we are appointed 

^^'••^- to this K 

So solicitous was I, my brethren, on your ac- 
count, so apprehensive lest something amiss might 
have happened in consequence of our abrupt depar- 
ture from Thessalonica, of the persecutions which 
we endured, and of the perils to which you were 
yourselves exposed, that I could no longer refrain 
from taking some steps to relieve my own anxiety, 
and to fortify your principles. And as it was not 

out of their faith and hope, by views of security and other 
worldly advantages." The common, and perhaps the more pro- 
bable, interpretation is, that they should not be deterred from 
their profession by the persecution of the teachers of the gospel. 
• Appoitited to this.'} " This is the natural lot of us apostles." 
Acts ix. 16. Newcome. — " In those early ages," says Dr. 
Priestley, " men were not tempted by any honours or emolu- 
ments of this life. They were apprized that they were not to 
expect any advantage from the scheme in this world, but that 
all their hopes of reward were to be in another. Now what 
could induce men in the cool possession of themselves, as the 
apostles evidently were, and thousands of others, naturally 
lovers of life and of the pleasures and advantages of it, as well 
as other men, to entertain these great and distant prospects, 
and to sacrifice every thing else to them, but the most well- 
grounded faith in the gospel, or such evidence as could not 
but command the assent of men in their circumstances, who 
had every possible opportunity of judging ; and which there- 
fore ought to satisfy us?" " This word," says Dr. Chandler, 
" is very justly translated. I see no reason to soften the mean- 
ing of it so as to exclude the positive order and appointment of 
God. The word is used both in sacred and profane writers to 
denote something fixed and determined. Luke ii. 34, Philip, i. 
17. Nor is there any thing unworthy of God in such an ap- 
pointment. He called them out to be public examples of faith, 
patience, and constancy. He appointed them to the honour of 
being martyrs and confessors for the truth, that hereby he might 
spread the Christian doctrine, approve their fidelity, and ren- 
der them worthy tlie crown of victory." 

Sect. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 4. 51 

in my power to visit you, I very cheerfully proposed Ch. iir. 
to remain at Athens by myself, in a situation of con- ^^^' '^' 
siderable difficulty, and amongst persons who were 
perfect strangers, many of whom were insolent and 
prating sceptics, and dispatched Timothy, my faith- 
ful and beloved associate in the ministry of the go- 
spel, and indeed I may add, a fellow- worker with God 
himself in the same glorious cause, to Thessalonica, 
to confirm your faith, and to administer those ad- 
vices and consolations which would be most effec- 
tual to encourage you to persevere in your Chris- 
tian profession. And I particularly charged him 
to caution you against being warped from your in- 
tegrity by the consideration of those sufferings to 
which the most eminent of the preachers of the 
Christian doctrine are exposed ; for you cannot but 
recollect what you so often heard me declare, that 
ease and interest were not the objects we had in 
view in the exercise of our ministry ; that suffering 
was as familiar to us as teaching, and was, in fact, 
a part of our ministerial and apostolic office. It was 
the divine appointment, and we knew from the be- 
ginning what we had to expect. 

4. The apostle, though he had distinctly fore- 
warned them of what was to happen, yet being 
anxious for their stedfastness, had sent to inquire 
after their state, ver. 4, 5. 

For, indeedy when we were with you, ive told 4. 
you beforehand^ that we should suffer trouble, even 
as it came to pass, and ye kno2v. For this cause, 5. 


52 Sect. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 4. 

Ch. III. hetng no longer able to endure, I sent to hnoiu 
Ver. 6. your fidelity^, fearing, lest by some means the se- 
ducer 2 might have seduced you, and our labour 
might be in vain. 

I did not flatter you, my brethren, when you first 
embraced the Christian religion, that either you or 
your teachers would lead an easy and quiet life in 
the open profession of this novel and obnoxious 
doctrine. While I was yet with you, before the 
storm burst, previously to any offence which was 
taken at us or at our doctrine, and while we were 
even held in admiration in consequence of the dis- 
play of our miraculous powers, I told you that this 
tranquillity would be of short duration, and that 
sorrow and suffering would speedily overtake us ; 
and so it proved, as you well recollect. These suf- 
ferings, therefore, which we so distinctly foretold, 
can constitute no reasonable objection against the 
authority of our mission. Knowing, however, the 
advantage which the artful enemies of the gospel 
would make of the persecutions of its ministers, I 
was eager to send my beloved colleague to inquire 
into your state, fearing lest the terrors of persecu- 
tion should have alarmed you, or the artifices of 

1 Your fidelity .'] " By profane authors," says Dr. Chandler, 
" this word ttig-ii is frequently used to signify the ' fidelity of 
subjects to a prince,' and of ' one man to another in the per- 
formance of promises J ' and should have been xewAexeA fidelity 
or constancy y See ver. 7, where Mr. Wakefield renders it per- 
severance. Compare ver. 8. 

* Seducer.] Tfsipa^ujv " one that solicits and persuades an- 
other to a criminal action, by whatsoever methods it may be. 
This is the sense of it also in profane authors." Chandler. - 

Sect. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 5. 53 

the enemy have seduced you from your allegiance Ch. in. 
to the gospel, and should have made void our la- 
bours and our hopes, 

5. The apostle expresses the utmost satisfaction 
in the report which Timothy had made of their ad- 
herence to Christianity, and of their affection to 
him, ver. 6 — 8, 

But Timothy ^ being lately returned^ from you to 6. 

u^, and having brought us good tidings of your 
fidelity and affection, and of the kind remembrance 
ivhich you constantly have of us, being as earnestly 
desirous to see us, as lue are to see you'^ ; for this 7. 

cause, brethren, we were comforted concerning you, 
in all our affliction and poverty^, by your fidelity . 
For now ive live indeed 6, seeing that ye stand 8. 
firmly in the Lord, 

' Timothy being lately returned^ " Timothy having come 
back to us just now from you." Wakefield. The expression 
seems to indicate that the epistle was written soon after Timo- 
thy's return ; who, together with Silas, came to the apostle at 
Corinth, from which city, therefore, this epistle was dated. See 
Acts xviii. 5. 

* As earnestly desirous to see us, &c.] " These words are part 
of Timothy's report, who assured the apostle that their affec- 
tionate reniembrance of him was such, that they had as warm 
and passionate a fondness for seeing him, as he could have for 
seeing them." Chandler. 

* Affiiction and poverty^ ayxyx.rf " this word signifies a ne- 
cessity and pressure of any kind but particularly the distress of 
poverty, which seems to be the meaning of the word in this 
place." Chandler. The apostle was now at Corinth, where he 
refused to accept supplies from the new converts, and chose to 
maintain himself by his own manual industry. Acts xviii. 1 — 
4 ; 2 Cor. xi. 9, 10, xii. 13 — 18, He was assisted by contri- 
butions from Macedonia, 2 Cor. xi, 9, and probably found it 
difficult to procure subsistence. 

54 Sect. IV. 1. T H E S S A L O N 1 A N S. 6. 

Ch. III. And now, my brethren, with unspeakable satlsfac- 
"' * tion I acknowledge that mysolicitude is relieved, and 
that my fears concerning you have been happily dis- 
pelled by the return of Timothy, and the pleasing 
intelligence which he has brought. Having left 
Athens, and being now at Corinth, Silas and Ti- 
mothy have lately joined me here. And though, as 
you perceive, I am destined to wander from place 
to place, and am but poorly provided with the ne- 
cessaries of Hfe, having determined to accept of no- 
thing from these opulent Corinthians ; yet, amidst 
poverty and distress, I am soothed and cheered with 
the favourable report which my faithful associate has 
made of your firm adherence to your Christian pro- 
ftjssion, of your love to each other, and of your af- 
fectionate attachment to me, your instructor and 
friend. For Timothy has informed me that you 
long as earnestly to see me, as I do to see you. 
Whatever, therefore, may be the disadvantages of 
my external condition, I am far from meaning to 
complain. No, my brethren, since this evangelist is 
come back with the joyful tidings of your firm ad- 
herence to the doctrine of Christ, I feel myself a 

* fVe live indeed, &c.] euv does not always imply that the 
case is dubious. See 1 John iii. 2. " How does this generous 
and benevolent apostle," says Dr. Benson, 'Ureat his converts 
like his children, and with the bowels of a father overlook all 
his own persecutions and distresses as long as things went well 
with them ! If they had not persevered, it would have greatly 
troubled and afflicted him. But it was joy, it was transport, it 
was life worth enjoying, to hear of their perseverance and sted- 
fastness in the Christian faith. Here is a pattern for all the 
pastors of the Christian church." 

Skct. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 6. 55 

happy man : to be assured of your continual pro- ch. iii. 
gress in faith and holiness, this is life indeed ; life ^^'- ^• 
worth enjoying: it is health, wealth, and happi- 

6. The apostle expresses his devout gratitude to 
God for the satisfaction which he felt on their ac- 
count, and his earnest prayers that he may be per- 
mitted to visit them soon, ver. 9 — 1 1. 

For what thanks are lue able ' to render to God 9. 

conceiving yoUy in return for all the joy ivith ivhic/i 
we rejoice on your account before our God? Night 10. 

and day^ praying most earnestly that lue may see 
your face, and make up what is wanting to insure 
your fidelity 3. But may our God and Father him- 11. 

' For what thanks are we able to render in return^ avratrii- 
^Hvai. " the word signifies, ' to give something in return as 
an acknowledgement for favours received.' The interrogation 
increases the vehemence and warmth of the sentiment. His 
gratitude was stronger than he was able to express." See 
Chandler, whose translation I have followed. 

* Night and day.'] " An allusion to the com])utation of the 
Jews, who began their day at sunset." Benson. 

^ Wanting to insure your Jidelity .•] " i. e. to impart some spi- 
ritual gift. Rom. i. 11. Grotius." Newcome. " It is an imagi- 
nation of some interpreters, (says Dr. Chandler, alluding to 
Dr. Benson and others,) that when the apostles first planted a 
church, they taught them only the plain and fundamental ar- 
ticles of Christianity, and the necessity of repentance and new 
obedience ; and when the converts had digested these, then 
they instructed them in the more minute doctrines of Christi- 
anity. But I think this is a mistaken observation j nor do I 
well comprehend which of the real articles of Christianity are 
properly minute ; I would hope no articles of the Christian 
doctrine deserve this character. The true meaning of the Greek 
expression is ' those things which are yet wanting towards your 
fiddity •; their conatancy in the faith had not yet attained its 

56 Sect. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 6. 

Ch. III. self\ and our Lord Jesus Christ direct our way'^ 
ver. 11. •; -^ 

u7ito you. 

So delighted am I with the intelligence I have 
received concerning you, that I am at a loss for 
words to express my gratitude to the Father of mer- 
cies for the joy and transport which I feel on your 
account, when, in the hour of retired devotion, I 
bear you upon my heart before God. And indeed 
it is the constant theme of my earnest solicitation, 

full establishment and support ; not that they had received but 
an imperfect knowledge of Christianity from the apostle, but 
that tliere was yet something wanting to confirm them in the 
faith they had embraced, which even Timothy could not supply. 
What these things were, Grotius hath with great judgement 
pointed out, Rom.i. 11, that he might impart some spiritual 
gift either upon greater numbers, or in larger abundance." 

Dr. C. supposes another alternative : that the apostle alludes 
to moral precepts, in which he had imperfectly instructed them. 
But surely this supposition is to the full as objectionable as Dr. 
Benson's minute doctrines. 

' Our God and Father.'] " Here, as upon all occasions," 
says Dr. Priestley, " the title of God is appropriated to the 
Father, and Christ is not entitled to that appellation, but is 
quite distinct from God, as much as any other man can be." 

'^ .^nd our Lord Jesus Christ direct our way.] Dr. Benson, 
Dr. Chandler, and other expositors understand this text as a 
prayer to Christ, and as authorizing what they call mediatorial 
worship of him. Dr. C. adds, that " Lord in the next verse 
unquestionably signifies Christ, and that the prayer is with great 
propriety addressed to him," But Dr. Priestley, with much 
greater propriety, observes, that " though God and Christ are 
here joined together, it is by no means a proper example of 
prayer to Christ ; but as all power is given to Christ, with re- 
spect to his church, and he frequently appeared to Paul, and 
directed the course of his apostolical journeys, it was natural 
for him to desire to have the same direction to go where he 
wished himself." To direct us, &c. The word signifies to make 
straight: i. e. to remove impediments and obstructions. The 
apostle visited Macedonia twice after this, but not till six years 
♦U'ter this epistle was written. Sec Benson. 

Sect.IV. I. THESS ALONI ANS. 7. 57 

morning and evening, to be permitted to visit you Ch. iir. 
again, and to administer those instructions and 
encouragements, and those additional supplies of 
the holy spirit which may be requisite to your per- 
fection in faith and holiness, and to your resolute 
perseverance in your Christian profession. And 
may that God who, in the gospel covenant, vouch- 
safes to acknowledge himself as common Father to 
Jew and Gentile ; and may Jesus Christ, our gra- 
cious Master, who superintends my mission, and 
directs my course, be pleased to remove every im- 
pediment which obstructs our mutual wishes, and 
speedily to open a free passage for me to visit you 

7. The apostle further prays that the Thessalo- 
nians may improve in mutual affection and general 
benevolence, and that they may persevere in the 
practice of duty till the coming of Christ, ver. 12, 

y^nd may the Lord^ cause yoii to increase and 12. 

' May the Lord cause you to incrcaseJ] 6 Kvpios. This word 
is wanting in the Syriac : the Alexandrine copy reads Qsog, 
God; and the Clermont, with three other uncial manuscripts, 
reads xvpiog Irjosg, the Lord Jesus. With these conflicting 
authorities, it cannot be ascertained which is the true reading ; 
nor whether the word Lord signifies Christ, or God his Father. 
I incline to the former sense, and think the prayer is addressed 
to Christ ; who during the apostolic age maintained a personal 
intercourse with the church, which since that period has been 
withdrawn : which intercourse laid a foundation for personal 
applications to him, especially on the part of the apostle Paul, 
all whose motions were directed by him, which applications in 
other individuals, and in succeeding times, would be unautho- 

58 Sect. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N 1 A N S. 7. 

Ch. III. aboujid in love * toivard each other, and toward all 
Ver. 13. men, even as we^o toward you^: so as to esta- 

rized and idolatrous. The apostle prays that the Lord would 
cause them to increase and abound in love ; perhaps not by any 
immediate operation upon the heart, but by supplying them with 
means and opportunities of improvement in the doctrine and 
spirit of the gospel. Archbishop Newcome cautiously observes 
upon ver. 13, that " we have here a repetition of the antece- 
dent, if we suppose Ku^fof in ver, 12 to be genuine^ and rightly 
imderstood of the Lord Jesus." 

" In these two verses," says Dr. Benson, " the apostle first 
prays to God the Father, and then unto our Lord Jesus Christ." 
And he introduces a note discussing the question of prayer to 
Christ, in which he comes to this conclusion : " That supreme 
and ultimate worship is due to God, and to him alone : media- 
torial worship is due to our Lord Jesus Christ, and to him alone." 
He adds, " If we follow the scripture model, we shall very sel- 
dom address our Lord Jesus Christ directly j and when we do, 
we should always remember to address him as mediator." Of 
which mode of address, however, the learned expositor has sup- 
plied us with no example from the New Testament, Dr. 
Chandler expresses himself with even more confidence upon the 
subject than Dr. Benson. Upon ver. 1 1 he observes, that " the 
prayer is directed with great propriety and dignity to God our 
Father, who is styled God peculiarly and emphatically, and who 
is the original, eternal, supreme, and indefectible source of all 
good ; and to our Lord Jesus Christ, the mediatorial secondary 
source, the Father's eternal repository of good, in and by whom 
he enriches the whole rational creation, and especially his church 
on earth, with all necessary blessings." And he observes on 
the words ver. 1 2, Maij the Lord cause you to increase, " The 
Lord here unquestionably signifies Christ ; and the prayer is 
with great propriety addressed to him because he had so loved 
them as to give himself as a propitiation for their sins." And 
he introduces a long paragraph at the end of his paraphrase 
upon this chapter, in which he vindicates at large the propriety 
and expedience of the mediatorial worship of Christ, 

Thus it appears that these two learned and pious Arians re- 
garded it as a duty to pray to Christ; and, together with 
Clarke, Emlyn, and other eminent Arian divines of tlie age in 
which they lived, they saw nothing in what they called media- 
torial and secondary worship, inconsistent with the doctrine of 
the unity and sole supremacy of God the Fuilitr ; whose crea- 

Sect. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 7. 59 

hlishyour hearts unhlameahle in holiness in the Ch. iii. 
presence of our God and Father ^ at the coming of ^^^' ^^' 
our Lord Jesus Christ, with all his saints 3. 

ture Jesus is, and his delegate, as they believed, in the forma- 
tion, support, and government of the universe. And in this 
conclusion they were completely justified, if their premises were 
true : for what impropriety can there be in addressing a friend 
who is known to be present and within hearing, whether he is 
seen or unseen ? and who can be a proper object of worship, if 
the Lord our Maker is not ? The practice of worshiping Christ 
prevailed very generally among the Arians of the last century j 
and had they lived in the present day, they would have thought 
it very hard to be denied the name of Unitarians, as the small 
remnant of their successors, who worship Jesus, now do. Nor 
can I see any reason for extending that epithet to all Arians of 
all descriptions, even to those who, like Dr. Clarke, actually ex- 
clude the agency of the Deity from his works, and who represent 
him as merely the silent spectator of the operations of the Lo- 
gos, with the exception only of those who, very consistently 
surely with their own views of the case, address prayer to this 
omnipotent, omnipresent Logos, their Maker, Supporter, and 
Lord. This arbitrary limitation was never thought of till the 
time of Dr. Price, who first introduced it, and defined an Uni- 
tarian to be one who does not worship Christ : a definition 
which excludes Chandler, Benson, Emlyn, Peirce, and almost 
all the learned and pious Arian divines who were Dr. Price's 
predecessors, and at least his equals in theological learning. 
Yet, since the time of Dr. Price this modern definition has be- 
come a great favourite with many. Names do not alter the 
nature of things, and are of no use any further than they con- 
vey distinct ideas. Dr. Lardner, for the sake of perspicuity, 
limited his use of the word Unitarian to those who believe the 
proper humanity of Jesus Christ ; or rather to those who do 
not ascribe to a created being either the attributes, the works, 
or the worship which is appropriate to the Great Supreme. In 
this definition he is followed by Mr. Lindsey, Dr. Priestley, and 
many others. And the consequence of using the word con- 
stantly in this sense is, that none of tlieir readers can mistake 
their meaning. Others, however, choose to use the word in a 
laxer sense, including all Arians under the name of Unitarians 
•excepting those who pray to Christ. And after defining their 
terms, they have no doubt a right, as all writers have, to use 
them in the sense so defined. But this change of signification 

00 Sect. IV. I. T H E S S A L O N 1 A N S. 7. 

Ch. III. In the mean time, my dear Christian brethren, 
my earnest and affectionate prayers are daily offered 

has been attended with the inconvenience which might natu- 
rally be expected ; it has introduced a lamentable degree of ob- 
scurity and confusion into many publications in other respects 
excellent. But let this pass. What is most extraordinary in 
the case is, that many who adopt Dr. Price's definition, and 
whose zeal is more conspicuous than their logic, value them- 
selves highly upon it as if it were some great discovery in theo- 
logy, and are by no means backward in challenging for them- 
selves a superior degree of candour and liberality ; while, with 
a warmth of indignation not justified by the occasion, they ani- 
madvert upon those of their brethren, who prefer Dr. Lardner's 
old and strict definition of Unitarianism to Dr. Price's new and 
lax one. Just as if there were a moral merit in a verbal difl'er- 
ence ; or, as if a writer were not at liberty, out of two defini- 
tions of the same term, to adhere to that which to his judge- 
ment appears the most correct. 

The truth is, that Arianism, whether high or low, and by 
whatever name it is called, is in every shape erroneous and un- 
scriptural. Carried to the extreme of Dr. Clarke, who main- 
tains that the Logos is the Creator, Preserver, and Sustainer of 
the universal system, it sets up another God in the place of the 
Supreme, and excludes the Deity from his works ; it deposes 
God from his throne. And so far as Arianism ascribes to a crea- 
ture the attributes and works of God, it is erroneous and per- 
nicious, it leads to polytheism and idolatry. It has no founda- 
tion in reason or in revelation, it tends to distract the mind, 
and to alienate the heart from God, who is the only Creator and 
Lord of all, and the only proper object of worship. With sen- 
timents most friendly to the persojis of those who are involved 
in this ancient error, it is the indispensable duty of every one 
who is enlightened in the truth as it is in Jesus, to enter his 
protest against their doctrine, and to detect and expose its fal- 
lacy and pernicious tendency to the utmost of his power. Truth 
can enter into no compromise with error. What fellowship 
hath light with darkness ? 

' Abound in love.l " The first afl'ection due from them was to 
one another as brethren and friends ; but Christianity teaches, 
and the love of God and Christ inspires, a more diffusive cha- 
rity, love to human nature, as such: yea, to our very enemies." 

- Even as we.'] " How did the apostle love them ? He loved 


up to God for your stability and improvement; that Ch. iii. 
your conduct may be in every view worthy of your ^'' ' 
Christian profession. May God grant, and by the 
powerful operation of the genuine principles of the 
gospel may he bring it to pass, that your love to 
each other as fellow-Christians, exposed to the same 
difficulties, and heirs of the same immortal hopes, 
may increase and abound exceedingly. Also, that 
you may feel a warm benevolence to your fellow- 
creatures, to all who are partakers of the same 
nature, and capable of tlie same improvements in 
knowledge and virtue. And as our love and com- 
passion to you was manifested in our exertions for 

them as a father his children : so as to be soHcitous and intent 
upon promoting their salvation ; so as to be content to be per- 
secuted, and to live in perpetual straits to do them good ; yea, 
.so as to give up his life, if that were necessary, to secure their 
constancy and happiness. Generous apostle ! How like the 
master he served ! It is thus. Christians, you should love one 
another." Chandler. 

' Saints.'] dytcvv. Some copies of little account read ayys- 
Awv, angels. See Grotius and Griesbach. Dr. Chandler says, 
" the word signifies both." It is of no practical consequence, 
Christ being represented under the character of a sovereign and 
a judge : in consistency with this symbol celestial beings are 
represented as his attendants and officers, to add to the dignity 
and pomp of his appearance. How far such descriptions are to 
be understood in a literal sense the awful event only will ex- 
plain. And this will probably be widely different from our pre- 
sent imperfect and confused conceptions of it. 

Dr. Benson concludes his notes upon this passage with the 
following reflections : " l.The apostles often put" their con- 
verts in mind of Christ's coming to judgement, to excite them 
to the practice of universal righteousness, to pre])are for that 
important and decisive day. 2. Our religious virtue must hold 
out to the end of life, if we would be prepared for the coming 
of Christ. 3. Our Christian course ends when we die, and ter- 
minates in the coming of Christ." 

62 Sect.V. I. THESSALONIANS. 1. 

Ch. III. your conversion, be you equally solicitous for the 
conversion of others. — This cordial, tender, uni- 
versal benevolence, discovering itself in generous 
and habitual exertions to promote the happiness of 
all around you, is in fact the best means of fulfill- 
ing the duties which the gospel enjoins. In the 
practice of universal virtue may your hearts be firmly 
established, and amidst difficulties and temptations 
may you faithfully and honourably persevere, till 
that day, the arrival of which may be more speedy 
than we are aware, when our Lord and Master shall 
appear again, accompanied by all his faithful fol- 
lowers redeemed from the grave ; whom he will pre- 
sent before his Father and our Father, his God and 
our God, as those who shall be entitled to the pro- 
mises and the rewards of the gospel. In that 
chosen company, and upon that awful occasion, 
may it be your honour and happiness to appear as 
his approved disciples, and to participate in his glo- 
rious triumph. 


The apostle earnestly exhorts the Thessalonians 
to the practice of universal virtue^ and particu- 
larly to chastity, benevolence, prudence, and in- 
dustry. Ch. iv. 1—12. 

1 . The apostle strictly enjoins by the authority of 
Christ, that in the whole of their conduct it should 

Sect. V. I. T H E S S A LO N I A N S. 1 . 63 

be their chief and growing concern to please God, Ch, iv. 
ver. 1,2. 

Finally^ therefore, brethren, we intreat and ive Ver. I. 
exhort you ', m the Lord Jesus^, according as ye 
have received from us how ye ought to walk and to 
please God, and as indeed ye do ivalk^, that ye 
would excels still more. For ye know what charges 2. 

we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus'^. 

In the sequel of this epistle I shall take the li- 
berty of giving you some plain hints of advice re- 
specting your conduct as professors of the Christian 
religion ; which from the report of Timothy appears 
to be particularly requisite. And first of all, I ear- 
nestly request as a favour conferred upon myself, 
and as a teacher of the Christian doctrine I se- 

' We intreat and we exhort youJ] We intreat. " we request 
and desire it of you as a favour done to ourselves. We exhort 
implies superiority : it supposes both the capacity and the right 
of admonition." Chandler. 

* In the Lord JesusJ] " in his name, by your regard to him - 
and as you would approve yourselves to him as your judge." 
Chandler. Newcome, who translates " by the Lord Jesus/' 
observes, '' Some render ' in the Lord Jesus :' that is, as pro- 
fessors of faith in him." This appears to be the true sense of 
the phrase. To be in Christ is constantly used in the apostle's 
writings to signify being a Christian, See Rom. xvi. 7,9, 11. 

' And as indeed ye do walk.'] This clause is found in the 
Alexandrine, Clermont, and many other manuscripts, and in 
the iEthiopic, Italic, and other versions. It is much in the apo- 
stle's style ; who is always desirous to commend where he can, 
and especially previous to the introduction of a reproof. See 

* Excel.'] TfspKra-svyjte. " It expresses, having abundance or 
plenty of any thing : hence it denotes to exceed or excel. See 
Eccles. iii. 19, Apocryp. Syr. xi. 12, xix. 24." Chandler. 

* By the authority of the Lord Jesus.] Snx, rs Kv^is. So New- 
come and \Vakefierd, 

^4 Sect. V. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch.iy. riously exhort you, that you will remember and re- 
duce to practice the advice which I gave you while 
I was present with you. I taught you, that as disci- 
ples of Jesus it must now be your governing prin- 
ciple to please God, and in the whole of your tem- 
per and conduct to approve yourselves to his all- 
penetrating eye. And I taught you how this was 
to be done ; namely, by the love and practice of 
universal virtue. It gives me great satisfaction to 
hear that this is indeed your general character ; and 
that with regard to most of you the efficacy of the 
doctrine of the gospel is apparent in the holiness 
of your lives. My desire is, that you should not 
rest satisfied with present attainments, but that you 
should continually endeavour to excel, not only your 
heathen neighbours, but even yourselves and one 
another ; and that in this generous emulation you 
should make rapid advances towards perfection of 
character. For this you know was the purport of 
those solemn and often-repeated charges which I 
delivered to you as the apostle of Jesus Christ, in 
the name and by tlie authority of my Master, and 
yours ; who will acknowledge none as his disciples 
but those who obey his laws, and follow his perfect 

2. The apostle strongly insists upon the neces- 
sity of chastity, and solemnly warns the Thessalo- 
nians against those impurities which were the dis- 
grace of the heathen world, ver. 3 — 8. 
3. For this is the will of God, even your sanctifica^ 

Sect. V. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 65 

tion 1 : that ye should abstain from fornication -, Ch. iv. 

that every one of you may know how to preserve 4. 

his body^ in sanctity and honour, not in lewd pas- 5. 

siojis like the heathen'^, who know not God; and 6. 
that no one may transgress against^, nor injur e^^ 

' Sanctijication.'] " dyiXTiuog, Ka'^a.§su(ns , Hesychius : sepa- 
mtion from the pollutions of the world, and consecration to the 
purposes of eligion and virtue." Chandler. 

- Fornication.^ " Tropvsicc;, every s]3ecies of lewdness : so it 
is used by the best Greek writers." Chandler. 

'^ To preserve his body .'] (tksvos, his vessel. " Quippe etenim 
corpus, quod vas quasi constitit ejus." Lucr. iii. 441. See New- 
come, Benson ; and Chandler, who considers it as an allusion 
to vessels of the temple consecrated to God, and entitled to re- 
spect and reverence. 

* Lewd passions, like the heathen.'] ' sv itxha zitihiJ^ias. " The 
first word signifies the passions in general, the other signifies 
desire in general, particularly after riches, empire, pleasures, 
and especially after criminal lusts." See Chandler. Archbi- 
shop Newcome renders the words, " the passion of desire;" 
Mr. Wakefield, " lustful passions." Dr. Whitby, Dr. Benson, 
and Dr. Chandler, quote many passages from ancient writers, 
to show the extreme profligacy and shameless debauchery of the 
heathen world. Dr. Priestley remarks, '• We may be surprised 
that the apostle should think it necessary to animadvert at all 
upon such vices as are recited in this address to Christians ; 
but till men were apprized of the purity of the Christian pre- 
cepts, they had no idea of much blame in very gross vices. But 
in a short lime after, such things were not heard of among Chris- 
tians. It is proper that these things should be observed, in 
order to give us a just idea of the value of Christianity, and how 
great a blessing it has been to mankind in a moral respect." 

This excellent author, after noticing, upon ver. 3, some of the 
abominable practices which were used among the Egyi^tians, 
adds, " As the apostle observes, fleshly lusts war against the 
soul, and debase the mind. It is, however, the utter and mani- 
fest inconsistency of these vices with the Christian character, 
that gives many persons of the present age a dislike to it. For 
in these respects the maxims of modern unbelievers are as loose 
as those of the ancients." 

* Transgress against.'] utsptaivsiv a stronger word than 

GO Skct. V. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 


Ch. IV. his brother^ in this concern^ ; for the Lord -wWX 
pimish all such offences 3, eve7i as we formerly de- 
clared and testified to you. 

And in the first place, my brethren, I cannot 
conceal my apprehensions that, having lately been 
converted from gross idolatry, you are not suffi- 
ciently apprized of the great stress which the go- 
spel lays upon purity of character. You are re- 
quired to live so as to please God, and I assure 
you that there is nothing which he more explicitly 
commands as an indispensable requisite to the at- 
tainment of his favour than an entire separation 
from the vices and abominable practices of your 
heathen state; and particularly from impurity in 
every degree and in every shape, in thought, word. 

a.^ctp'tavBiv •. and signifies to transgress in a bold and aggravated 
manner. See Chandler, from Eustathius. 

" Nor injure.'] irXsovsKtsiy. See Wakefield's Silva Critica, 
P. i. p. 106. " to covet, or circumvent.'" See Benson, "by 
craft and violence to defraud a man of his property." Chandler. 
UXsovs^ia, is unquestionably used by the apostle to express in- 
ordinate lusts. In that sense it is probably used here. The apo- 
stle, to express himself decently, expresses himself obscurely. 
See Locke on Eph. iv. 19. 

' His brother .] i. e. his fellow-Christian ; but it w^ould be 
equally criminal to act in the same manner with respect to hea- 
then. Dr. Benson, therefore, conjectures that the apostle al- 
ludes to some particular fact which had been communicated to 
him by Timothy. 

^ In this concern.] sv rcy Tfpa.yfji.ocTi. Sec W^akefield, New- 
come, &c. Raphelius and Chandler produce several quotations 
from ancient authors to show that tlie words have this sense. 
See2Cor. vii, 11. 

^ Will punish all such offences.] " vv'ill punish all these 
things." Wakefield. " skSikos' he who punishes another justly 
for his crimes." Chandler, " is an avenger of all such." New- 

Sect. V. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 67 

and deed. To please God you must be well skilled C'l. iv. 
in the art of governing yourselves, and restraining 
your passions within the limits of virtue and ho- 
nour. You must utterly forsake those lascivious 
practices which are so common amongst your hea- 
then neighbours, and so disgraceful to their cha- 
racter. They, indeed, have an apology which you 
have not. They have no just conceptions of the 
character and attributes of God, of his word and 
will ; they worship deities of their own invention, 
whose example encourages, and whose rites require 
the most odious impurities. The true God whom 
you have learned to worship is of a very opposite 
character. He is purity itself. He strictly pro- 
hibits every violation of the law of chastity, and has 
solemnly declared that such offences shall be visited 
with condign punishment. And this doctrine we 
inculcated upon you when we were with you, though 
I fear that some of you have almost forgotten it ; 
and we at the same time solemnly assured you that 
what we delivered to you upon this subject was dic- 
tated by the highest authority. 

J^oi' God hath not called us to impurity y hut to 7. 

holiness: hey therejoreywho scorneth^, scomethiiot 8. 

* He who scorneth.'] " 6 aSsTcuv, aOerej, arii/.a^£i." Hesy- 
chius. " Proprie, loco suo moveo, contemno et contumeliose 
tracto." Schleusner. " to reject any thing with contempt as 
false and groundless ; or to throw it away with dishonour and 
scorn." Chandler, Gal. ii. 21 ; Jude ver. 8 ; comp. 2 Pet. ii, 10 ; 
Luke X. 16 ; John xii. 48, Dr. Benson observes, that " as the 
apostles honestly informed their converts that they must expect 
persecution, so thev told them the truth notwithstanding their 


68 Sect. V. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch. IV. man hit God, who hath given his spirit, that holy 

^"' ■ spirit', unto us. 

1 speak and write by the authority of God, who 
hath invited us to participate in the privileges of 
the gospel, not to indulge ourselves in the uncon- 
trouled gratification of the inferior powers of our 
nature, but to separate and distinguish us from the 
rest of mankind by purity and self-government. I 
fear that some of you, who are but imperfectly con- 
verted from the immoralities of your heathen state, 
may dislike the restrictions of the gospel, and may 
even be disposed to sneer and scornfully to reject 
my advice as unreasonable and impracticable, and 
contrary both to the doctrine and example of the 
most celebrated sages of the heathen world. But, 
let the presumptuous scorner know, that his con- 
tempt falls not upon weak and fallible men, but 
upon that God whose ministers and messengers we: 
are ; who, whatever they may think, has inspired 
us by his own spirit, the spirit of holiness and pu- 
rity, to denounce in his name the most awful judge- 

prejudices, and did not draw in converts by the baits of sen- 
sual pleasure." He further adds, " that perhaps some of the 
younger or the more gay and thoughtless converts might be 
apt to smile at the apostle's strictness, considering how their 
heathen neighbours judged and acted, and the principles in 
which they had been educated. ITie apostle, therefore, here 
puts on an air of uncommon seriousness and gravity, ami lets 
them know that the ridicule and contempt reached higher than 
they imagined." Dr. Chandler gives an excellent summary of 
the apostle's advice. 

' His spirit, that holy spirit.] to ttvsv^x aura ro ur/iov. See 

Skct. V. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 3. 69 

ments against those who violate the laws of chas- Ch. iv. 
tity ; and who will, another day, assuredly vindicate ^^'' ' 
the honour of his word. 

3. The apostle commends the affectionate and 
benevolent spirit of the Thessalonian believers, and 
exhorts them to cherish and extend it, ver. 9, 10. 

N^oiv^ concerning brotherly kindness, we have no 9. 

occasion to wrke 2 to you, for ye are yourselves 
divinely instructed to love one another 3 ; and in- 10. 

deed ye do this toward all the brethren throughout 
Macedonia : bat we exhort you, brethren, to excel 
therein still more. 

I lament that the corrupt habits of your former 
life, and the imperfection of your views of that sub- 
limity of character to which the gospel is intended 
to elevate us, has made it necessary for me to insist 
so much at large upon the virtue of chastity. It is 
with pleasure that I now advert to another duty in 
which you are known to excel, the duty of sympa- 
thy and kindness to your brethren in the faith, who 
are also, generally speaking, your brethren in afflic- 
tion. To your honour be it spoken, you readily 
learned that divine lesson which is one of the first 

- We have no occasion to write.'] Dr. Benson observes, that 
this form of speaking plainly supposes that there was great need 
to write to them, to recommend purity and ehastity. Some of ' 
the most approved manuscripts and versions read «%o/x£y. See 

^ Divinely instructed, &c.] i. e. " by the precepts of God in 
the gospel." Newcome. Benson remarks, " that the expres- 
sion implies that they had not only been taught, but that they 
hud also followed divine instruction." See Isai. liv. 13, 

70 Sect. V. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 4. 

Ch. IV. that is taught in the school of Christ, to love and 
^"■" ^^* to be kind to one another. And this lesson I re- 
joice to hear that you have practised, not only in 
your own city, but throughout your whole province : 
so that there is not a Christian brother in all Ma- 
cedonia who needed your assistance to whom that 
assistance was denied. Go on, my brethren, in 
this honourable course. Aspire after yet greater 
excellence in this godlike virtue. The spirit of 
kindness and good-will is the genuine spirit of the 
gospel of Jesus. 

4. The apostle exhorts them to prudence, peace, 
and industry, and to a conduct which might be cre- 
ditable to their profession, ver. 11, 12. 
11. And that ^je be ainbitious^ to be quiet '^, and to 
7iiind your mvn concerns 3, arid to ivork with your 

' That ye beambU'mis.'] So Wakefield. " that ye earnestly 
strive." Newcome. " (piXoTj/x£<cr6ar ' to be actuated by the love 
of praise and honour ;' hence it denotes great diligence and 
vigour in any affairs whatsoever. This is the true import of 
the word in the place before us ; and it should have been ren- 
dered, ' that ye diligently or earnestly study,' " Chandler, 

^ To be quiet.'] r^'xv'xjx'^siv . " to live an orderly, quiet, and 
peaceable life j not to intermeddle with affairs which did not 
belong to them. Timothy had probably informed him that the 
Thessalonians were too much given to this busy, impertinent 
spirit, 2 Thess. iii. 6, which was too much the temper of the 
Grecians in general." Chandler. Perhaps some of the Chris- 
tians at Thessalonica boasted that they were ambitious to ma- 
nifest a public spirit, and were willing to neglect their own 
private affairs in order to become benefactors to the public ; 
vvliercas the apostle's advice is, that they should be ambitious 
to be quiet, and to let other men's business alone. 

^ And to mind your own concerns.'] irpacaativ to, iJw " to 

Sect. V. I. T H p: S S A L O N I A N S. 4. 71 

own hatids^, as ive formerly charged j/ou, that y on ch. iv. 
Tnai/walk vreditably '^ toivards those who are 2vith- ^^^^' ^'" 
oui^i and may warit nothing''. 

I have reason to fear that some of you abuse the 
privileges of your profession to idleness and imper- 
^;inence; and that in expectation of being main- 
tained out of the common stock, and under pre- 
tence of zeal for the gospel, you neglect your proper 

confine themselves to their own particular attairs, without offi- 
ciously meddling with the concerns of others." Chandler. 

* To icork, &c.] " The original word denotes labouring and 
ivorking of any kind, and is particularly used of agriculture, and 
the employments which fall to the lot of the poorer sort of man- 
Ivind," Chandler. It should seem that the converts atThessa- 
lonica consisted chiefly of persons who maintained themselves 
by their industry. 

" Creditably^ £U(rynijjxvwg, " Hesychius says, the word sig- 
nifies those who move gracefully in dancing. Hence it signifies 
(/ece«</?/ in general." Chandler, "becomingly." Newcome. 

^ Without:'] i. e. the heathen who are without the pale of the 
church, Mark iv. 11 3 I Cor. iv. 12 j Col. iv. 5. 

' Atid may want nothing.'] f^i^Ssvos %fl£<ay s^ijre, or may have 
need of no man. Dr. Chandler observes, that " these admoni- 
tions were necessaiy in the beginning of Christianity, to pre- 
vent the reproach, that it took persons off from their labours 
and employments, and encouraged idleness in tliose who pro- 
fessed it," " Perhaps," says Dr. Benson, " under pretence 
of spreading Christianity, and of a zeal for the spiritual good of 
others, they neglected their own affairs, and brought on po- 
verty. This led them to frequent the houses of those who were 
richer, by base flatteries to court their favour, pragmatically 
and officiously to concern themselves in their affairs, and to live 
upon their substance. Upon the rise of new sects such idle 
busy-bodies are more common. But they are out of the way 
of their duty, and bring up an ill report of religion 5 even 
though they should be daily and hourly talking upon religious 
subjects, or at every. body's table^ and in all companies, pro- 
claiming their zeal against errors and heresies, and for pro- 
moting truth and purity. They are a common nuisance, and 
ought to be discouraged if the churches woidd have peace." 

72 Sect. VI. I. THESSALONIANS. 1. 

Ch. IV. business, and officiously obtrude yourselves into the 
"' " houses and company of persons with whom you 
have no concern, and thus, in a busy commercial 
city like Thessalonica, you expose the Christian 
religion to the scoffs of unbelievers, as though it 
encouraged an idle, intrusive, meddlesome disposi- 
tion. Let such persons remember the advice we 
gave them when we were ourselves at Thessalonica. 
Let it be their ambition not to obtrude themselves 
where they are not wanted, and to proffer advice 
where it is not asked, but to live quietly at home ; 
to attend to their own business, to maintain them- 
selves and their families by their own industry : and 
thus to procure themselves an honourable inde- 
pendence, and to recommend Christianity to their 
neighbours, as a religion which not only insures 
future felicity, but which, by enjoining prudence 
and diligence, contributes likewise to the temporal 
advantage of its consistent professors. 


The apostle forbids all eitravagant lamenta- 
tions over deceased Christians; and comforts 
the Thcssalo7iians, by represcntijig to them the 
Christian doctrine concerning the resurrection 
of the dead, Ch. iv. 13—18. 

1 . The apostle forbids extravagant lamentations 

Sect. VI. I. THESSALONIANS. 1. 7^] 

over the Christian dead, because of the assured ex- ch. iv. 
pectation that God by Christ would raise them 
from the grave, ver. 13, 14. 

Ahiv, we ' would Jiot have you ignorant, brethren, Ver. 13. 
concerning those luho are fallen asleep-, that ye 
grieve not^ even as othei's ivho have no hope^. 
For as^ ive believe that Jesus died and rose agaiuy 14. 

* We would not, <Sfc.] ^eXofj^ev. This is the reading of the 
best manuscripts, and is adopted into the text by Griesbach 
and Newcome. 

* Fallen asleep.} Dr. Chandler observes, that " under this 
image of sleep death is frequently represented in the ancient 
writings both of Greece and Rome ; and he produces some 
beautiful passages to this purpose. He adds, that " it is with 
unspeakably greater propriety that revelation speaks of death 
under the similitude of sleep ; not only on account of its being 
release from all the labours and afflictions of life, but because it 
is to be succeeded by a resurrection to new life and vigour." 

^ That ije grieve not.'] Dr. Benson justly remarks, that 
" Christianity aims not at rooting out the affections, but to 
moderate and duly regulate them. The apostle does not forbid 
them to sorrov/ at all, but to sorrow like those without hope. 

* Others who have no hope:] i. e. the heathen world. The 
wisest philosophers spoke very doubtfully upon the subject. 
And the generality of the heathen world had no hope whatever 
concerning the dead : for if they believed them to exist at all, 
it was, even though in Elysium, in a state far inferior to what 
they enjoyed on earth. See Dr. Chandler, and the references in 
his notes. Lucian, in his treatise on mourning, gives an ac- 
count of the popular belief concerning the dead ; who were 
supposed to be confined in a deep place under the earth, void 
of all light. He also describes the extravagance of their mourn- 
ing and lamentation upon the death of any of their valuable 
friends : " All were dissolved in tears, and nothing was to be 
seen but beating of breasts, pulling their hair, tearing their 
cheeks, rending their garments, throwing dust upon their 
heads, rolling upon the earth, and beating their heads against 
the ground ; uttering the bitterest complaints, and breaking 
out into the most passionate laraentatioiiii." 

■^ For as we, &c.] "^£< signifies ' seeing that,' Rom, v. 10, Li j 

74 Sect. VI. I. THESSALONIANS. 1. 

Ch. IV. c^^n so we believe that God through Jesus * ^vill 
Ver. 14. l)ylfig with him those who are fallen asleep. 

It gives me pain to learn that some valuable mem- 
bers of your society have been removed by death ; 
and the more so as I hear that you have allowed 
yourselves in some extravagant expressions of grief 
upon the occasion which were quite unworthy your 
profession and expectations as believers in the go- 
spel : especially as your sorrow was in a considerable 
degree enhanced by some erroneous opinion which 
you had taken up concerning the solemn appear- 
ance of Christ to judgement. Such passionate ex- 
pressions of despair only become those who are 
utter strangers to the hope of the gospel. Allow 
me, then, to repeat, what you have so often heard 
before, the doctrine which the gospel teaches con- 
cerning the state of departed believers : who are 
not so properly speaking dead^ as fallen into a deep, 
sound sleep, from which they are soon to be awak- 
ened, refreshed and vigorous, to a new and heavenly 
life. And with these views you will easily see how 
unreasonable it is for you to indulge in the same 
extravagance of grief which is pardonable in your 

1 Cor. XV. 11; Gal.iv. 7." Benson. Dr. Chandler observes, 
that the sentence is evidently defective ; and ought to be thus 
translated : " If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so 
we also believe," &c. 

' Through Jesus.'] So Wakefield and Newcome. Chandler 
also prefers it, though it is allowed that $ta with a genitive 
sometimes signifies iw. Rom.ii. 27, iv. 1 1 3 2 Cor. v. 10; 1 Tim. 
ii. 15. Observe, the apostle consoles his friends with the hope 
of a resurrection : he says nothing of their present happiness in 
an intermediate state. 

Sect. VI. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 75 

heathen neighbours, who have no hope of a future Ch. iv, 
life. Recollect then, my brethren, that the funda- ^^'* * 
mental article of the Christian faith is, that Jesus 
died and rose again ; that he did not suffer in ap- 
pearance only, but in reality ; and that he really, 
and in very deed, rose to a new and immortal life. 
If we do not know and firmly believe this fact, we 
are not the disciples of Jesus. But if we do be- 
lieve, there is another equally important fact, which 
is inseparably connected with it ; namely, that God 
by Christ will raise all those who now are, or who 
at his final appearance will be, asleep in their graves. 
And that he will return again for this glorious pur- 
pose is as certain, and as firmly believed by us, as 
that he himself is risen and is now alive. We can- 
not believe one without the other ; for the event 
which has already taken place is the proof and 
pledge of that which is to succeed. When Jesus 
appears, God will by him raise the Christian dead, 
and introduce them into a state of glory and happi- 
ness with him, their revered and beloved master 
and Lord. 

2. The apostle consoles them with the assurance 
that believers who are living when Christ returns 
will have no advantage over those who will then 
be dead ; but that these likewise will be raised in 
time to bear their part in the awful solemnities of 
the scene, ver. 15 — 18. 

Moreover J this ive declare to you hy the command 15. 

70 Sect. VI. I, T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch, IV. of the Lord^f that we who are left alive ^ at the 
Ver. 15. cQjiiing of the Lord shall not anticipate'^ those 
who are fallen asleep, 

I am informed that some of you apprehend that 
your dead friends will sustain some peculiar disad- 
vantage, and in particular, that they will be deprived 
of that glorious and interesting spectacle which 
will be exhibited to the astonished world at the 
final awful appearance of Jesus Christ ; when he 

^ B!j command.'] £v Koyai. See Macknight; and Chandler, 
who observes, that the subject was of such a nature as could 
not be known without express revelation. 

* Wc ivho are left alive, &c.] Grotius observes here, that 
Paul thought it possible that he might live to the time of the 
general judgement. To this opinion Dr. Chandler accedes, 
upon the principle " that the time of the general judgement is 
absolutely uncertain, and that it will come suddenly and unexr 
pected." Our Lord expressly says, that the times and seasons 
the Father has reserved in his own power. Acts i. 7 ; and Mark 
xiii. 32 he declares, that the day and the hour when the Son 
of Man should come was concealed even from himself. It is 
of importance to remember, that the prediction of an event does 
not necessarily imply either the knowledge of the event, or of 
the season when it was to happen ; and it seems not impro- 
bable that the apostles and primitive converts expected that 
the day of judgement would take place before the end of the 
generation then living. Most interpreters, however, under- 
stand the apostle in this passage as speaking of all Christians 
in all ages as constituting one body or people. See Deuti xxvi, 
6 — 9 ; Ps. Ixvi. 6 ; Matt, xxiii. 35. Benson, Newcome. 

' Shall not anticipate^ a /7.13 (p^ " shall not be "be- 
fore, or go before." Newcome, — Mons. Saurin's conjecture, in 
his note upon this text, may possibly be just. The Thessalonian 
Christians were earnestly desirous of seeing the splendid spec- 
tacle of Christ's appearance to judgement, and bitterly la- 
mented that their departed friends would be deprived of thig 
grand exhibition : to alleviate these apprehensions, the apostle 
communicates to them the information in this paragraph. See 
Doddridf>-e'u note in loc. 

Sr.r.T. VI. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 77 

returns to raise the dead and to judge the world, ch. IV. 
of which those of us who shall be then living will ^*^'^'- *^' 
be the admiring witnesses : and I hear that this 
is the excuse which you offer for the extravagant 
tokens of your grief. But for this suspicion I assure 
you that there is no foundation. I am authorized 
by Jesus our revered Master himself, to declare that 
those of us, whosoever they may be, who may hap- 
pen to live to the awful period of his second com- 
ing, shall in this respect have no advantage over 
our sleeping brethren ; and that we shall not be 
introduced to this magnificent scene a moment 
sooner than those who will be at rest in the tomb. 

For the Lord himself'^ ivill descend from heaven ' 6. 

■• Vor the Lord himself, &c.] This pompous representation 
of the descent of Christ to raise the dead and to judge the 
world, is intended to excite in the mind of the reader an awful 
sense of the solemnity and importance of that great event. How 
far it is to be accomplished in any thing like a literal sense the 
event itself can alone explain. The representation seems to be 
that of a conqueror advancing in a triumphal procession, at- 
tended with the acclamations of the spectators : a herald pro- 
claiming his commission, and trumpets announcing his ap- 
proach. Some suppose that the shout is the voice of Christ 
himself; but the word more properly expresses the acclama- 
tion of numbers. The word archangel, ox principal messenger, 
seems to mean nothing more than the officer appointed for the 
purpose ; as we say " the principal herald at arms." And the 
trump of God is a loud-sounding trumpet, alluding probably to 
the trumpet on Mount Sinai. Mr. Evanson thinks that the 
apostle here refers to the sound of the archangel's trumpet in 
the Apocalypse, Rev. xvi. 17 ; and infers from it that this epistle 
was written after the Apocalypse, and that the apostle bears 
testimony to it as divinely inspired ; but the argument, though 
ingenious, does not appear to be so conclusive as the learned 
writer seems to apprehend. See Evanson. — With acclamation. 

78 Sect. VI. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch. IV. with acclamation, with the voice of an archangel, 
and with the timmpet of God; and the dead in 
Christ ivill rise first, 

A most magnificent and awful spectacle it will 
indeed be ; such as no human tongue can tell, no 
human heart conceive. Jesus, who was once dead, 
but is now alive and ascended into the highest hea- 
vens, will then descend from his throne of glory in 
all the pomp of a conqueror in a triumphal proces- 
sion. His followers and friends will joyfully greet 
him, and with loud acclamations will hail his ap- 
proach : celestial heralds will proclaim his commis- 
sion ; and a trumpet, far louder and more energetic 
than that which once sounded upon Mount Sinai, 
will rouse the astonished universe, will even pene- 
trate the tomb, and summon the whole race of man- 
kind to appear at the dread tribunal. Under such 
imagery, though infinitely short of the sublime rea- 
lity, may some faint conception of the grandeur 
and solemnity of the scene be conveyed to the mind. 
One fact, however, is literally true ; that is, that all 
who have died in the faith of Jesus shall be raised 
to life before any change takes place in those who 
will then be the living inhabitants of the earth. 
17. Afterward, we who are left alive will be caifght 


1 together ivith them i?ito the clouds, to meet the 

^ Caught up .'I literally, " snatched up;" it expresses not a 
voluntar}' act of their own, but an effect suddenly, forcibly, 
and supernaturally produced. See Chandler. What will really 
happen, in this as in the former case, the event alone can dis- 

Sect. VI. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 79 

Lord in the ah'; and so we shall ever he with the ch. IV. 

Immediately after this astonishing event, and 
not, as you apprehend, before it, we whose lives 
may be prolonged to this awful period, shall under- 
go a great and instantaneous change ; for we shall 
be exempt from the stroke of death, and shall be 
suddenly transformed into the resemblance of our 
glorified Master. And then, in company with those 
who have been raised to life, we shall be at once, 
by a divine energy, transported into the clouds to 
meet our descending Lord in the regions of the at- 
mosphere ; and after having been acquitted at his 

^ And so we shall ever, &c.] Dr. Priestley observes, that 
" the phrase ' being with the Lord ' evidently refers to the 
state after the resurrection. It is after the meeting of the Lord 
in the air, and not before, that any persons are said to be with 
him. On the hypothesis of the dead being supremely happy, 
and continuing to be so till the resyrection, it would have been 
so far from being necessary to have' informed them, that those 
who should be alive at the coming of Christ would have no ad- 
vantage over those who had been dead ; that these would have 
had a great and manifest advantage over their brethren, hav- 
ing enjoyed the greatest happiness in the presence of God and 
of Christ many ages before them. All that the apostle was 
able to say was, that they who are now dead shall not be upon 
the whole' in a worse condition than those who shall be alive, 
because they would be raised to immortal life before any 
change should take place in the living." It is evident that the 
apostle is here speaking only of the resurrection of the just : 
the dead in Christ, true believers. His subject did not lead him 
to treat of the resurrection, of the wicked. It is a very unjust 
insinuation of Orobio the Jew, in his controversy with Lim- 
borch, and afterwards of Mr. Gibbon, that the apostle made 
proselytes to Christianity by persuading men that believers 
should be translated to a state of happiness without dying. See 
Doddridge and Macknightj also Limborch's Call. p. 75. 

80 Sect. VI. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch. IV. bar, and acknowledged by him as his friends, we 
Ver. 17. g]^jjii i^g admitted to his society, and shall spend a 
happy eternity with him and with each other, in 
the best company and in the most delightful and 
useful employments. 
18. TVhercforc comfort 1 ye one another with these 

These important facts, which I have thus stated, 
you may firmly depend upon as a revelation from 
God, which it will be your wisdom to improve both 
for exhortation and comfort. Exhort one another, 
my Christian brethren, to be diligent and unwearied 
in your preparation for this awful scene, that when 
'u'^your Lord cometh, whether it be sooner or later, 
you may be in a proper posture to receive him, 
and may not be ashamed in his presence. Also, 
console one another with these glorious truths. 
When you lose your pious friends by death, remind 
each other that they are only fallen into a sound 
and undisturbed repose, from which they will soon 
awake, refreshed and vigorous, to a happy and im- 
mortal life. And, in the prospect of your own 
speedy dissolution, let not your spirits be unreason- 

' Comfort ije, &c.] The word signifies both to comfort and to 
exhort ; and, as Dr. Chandler observes, " the apostle might in- 
tend to be underetood in both senses." Dr. Priestley remarks, 
" This is abundant consolation. It may, indeed, appear more 
desirable to enter upon a state of happiness immediately after 
death ; and this may be a reason why Christians are so ready 
to adopt this opinion. But we ought to be satisfied with the 
happiness which God has promised us, and which will be re- 
vealed in due time : viz. at the resurrection of the just." 

Sect. VI. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. Appendix. 


ably depressed. Jesus, your pattern and your chief, Ch. iv. 
died and rose again ; and because he Uves, we shall 
live also. 


The interpretation which is given to this passage 
by the late learned and ingenious Newcome Cappe, 
in his Essays on Sanded Scripture, vol. ii. is so 
extraoJIpary, and so remote from the common in- 
terpretation, that it would not be doing justice to 
the reader not to state it. ^ 

He supposes that the Thessalonian Christians 
expected that Christ would soon return to establish 
a temporal kingdom in the world, from the privi- 
leges and blessings of which those would of course 
be excluded who were not converted to the Chris- 
tian faith. That on this account many were in 
distress because of their unconverted friends, who, 
in the language of the apostle, are said to be asleep. 
And that the design of the apostle is to console 
them with the hope that many of their friends who 
were now heathens and idolaters would be con- 
verted, not in time to become subjects of the tem- 
poral reign which was never to take place, but in 
time to enter nearly at the same time with them, 
that is, at death, upon their future everlasting re- 
ward in the presence of Christ. 

" Ver. 13. Your concern for those friends who 
are not yet awakened to receive Jesus and his go- 


82 Sect, VI. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. Appendix. 

Ch. IV. spel, is indeed to be commiserated, yet it is not al- 
together a hopeless case. 

"14. The coming of Christ is not a personal 
but a figurative advent. Personally, Jesus is in 
heaven. The awakening of these sleepers is not 
beyond the power of him who brought Jesus from 
the dead. The power to which Jesus is exalted 
encourages some hope that by means of Jesus, 
that is, through the holy spirit, many who have 
hitherto been insensible to his call, God will col- 
lect and unite to him, to partake in the glories of 
the heavenly state. 

" 15. For this I must tell you c-v Xoyc^, in the 
language of the Lord, that we who are already 
Christians shall not be beforehand with them who 
are yet unawakened, if, in the end, they be reco- 
vered, and brought to the acknowledgement and 
obedience of the truth. 

" 16. Christ will indeed come from heaven while 
many are yet living ; as heretofore by the holy spirit, 
so by and by in many signal and alarming events. 
But this coming does not promise to those who are 
Christians any advantage over those who hereafter 
may be such. The resurrection of the friends whom 
we are now lamenting may happen first. 

*' 17. And it will not be till after that, together 
with them, and not before them, or without them, 
we and they indiscriminately, as we are sum- 
moned out of this world, shall be conveyed in 
clouds to dwell with Christ in heaven. Thus^ not 
otherwise ; ihen^ not sooner ; there, not elsewhere, 


shall we be with the Lord, and with each other, ch. iv. 
for ever. 

** 18. Wherefore, comfort one another concern- 
ing the spiritually dead, whom ye lament and love, 
with considerations such as these." 

I am almost tempted to say that, if such an in- 
terpretation is admissible, it is impossible for words 
to convey distinct ideas. But I correct myself: 
for it often happens that interpretations which ap- 
pear most natural to one, appear the reverse to an- 
other. And, as Dr. Price says, we are apt to wonder 
at one another. I have no doubt that the pious 
and ingenious author was fully satisfied of the just- 
ness of his interpretation ; and it helped him over 
a great difficulty in his hypothesis, that the resur- 
rection takes place immediately after death. But 
it may be permitted to ask, if this be the true sense 
of the text, how came it to escape every preceding 
interpreter, ancient and modern ? 


The apostle exhorts the Thessalonlans to pre- ch. V, 
pare for the apj)earance of Christy arguing par- 
ticularly from the uncertainty of the precise time 
when this great event shall take place, Ch. v. 

1 . He reminds them that Christ will appear at 

84 Skct.VII. I. TH ESSALON I ANS. 1. 

Ch. V. a season when he is least expected by the unbeliev- 
ing world, ver. 1 — 3. 

Ver. 1. But concerning the exact timely hrethren, there 
is no occasion ^ that I should write to you. 

With respect to that awful event which is the 
subject of our discourse, the final appearance of 
Jesus Christ to raise the dead and to judge the 
world, I have already stated all that is necessary to 
confirm your faith, to govern your practice, and 
to administer to your consolation; and particu- 
larly to remove the apprehensions you entertained 
with respect to the superior advantages of the living 
believers above the dead at that interesting crisis. 
As to the exact period when this important event 
will take place, I have nothing to add to what I 
mentioned to you while I resided among you, and 
which you no doubt recollect. 
2. For ye yourselves know perfectly 3 that the day 
of the Lord^ is coming ^^ even as a thief by night ^. 

* The exast time.'] So Wakefield. Literally, " the times and 
seasons :" XP^^'^^> '''»^*5 denotes large periods ; xaipoi, seasons, 
particular times When particular events were to take place. See 
Chandler. Acts i. 7; Eccles. iii, 1 ; Dan.ii. 27. 

* There is no occasion.'] Some good copies read '/^psix srt. See 
Griesbach. ' *' it need not be written to you." Wakefield. 

' Know perfecting " from the tenor of my instructions." 
Newcome. See also Benson and Chandler. 

* The (lay of the Lord.] Hammond interprets this phrase, 
" of the destruction of Jerusalem." Dr. Benson believes him 
to be singular in this interpretation, and confuted by Le Clerc 
and Whitby ; the latter expositor thinks that the apostle is 
treating of both events. 

* Is coming.] So Wakefield. Macknight remarks, that " the 
verbs are in the present tense in this paragraph, to denote the 


You cannot have forgotten what I taught you by Ch. v. 
the authority of Christ himself: that the awful ^^^''•-• 
crisis is rapidly advancing, and that it will eventually 
come upon us when least expected ; just as a thief 
breaks into a house at midnight, when all the fa- 
mily are asleep and secure, not entertaining the 
least apprehension of so disastrous an event. In 
fact, the hour of our Lord's appearance is absolutely 
unknown to all of us ; nor will he give notice of the 
precise time of the event, any more than a thief 
gives notice of the hour when he intends to rob 
the house. 

JVhile men are saying peace " and security^ then 3. 

sudden destruction is coining upon them^ as pangs 
upon a woman ivith child, and they shall not 

The event of Christ's coming to judgement will 
be as sudden and as calamitous to the generation 

certainty and instantaneousness of the event." This might 
lead to the mistake which gave occasion to the second epistle. 

® A thief by night.'] By this comparison our Lord himself 
illustrates the unexpectedness of his coming, Matt. xxiv. 43 j 
see also 2 Pet. iii. 10, Rev. iii. 3. " to denote," says Dr. Chand- 
ler, " the uncertainty of the time, the unexpectedness of the 
event, and the state of security and fearlessness in which man- 
kind should be involved." " The apostle's expressions of un- 
certainty as to the precise time of this event are so far (says this 
learned writer) from being any reflection upon his authority, 
that it is rather a proof of his integrity and prudence, in that 
he plainly acknowledges that he had no revelation in tliis ar- 

' PfHiile smj'mg peace, Sec] Tliis circumstance is taken notice 
of by our Lord himself, " from whom (says Dr. Chandler) I 
doubt not but the apostle had it," Matt. xxiV. 39^ 40 ; sec also 
2 Pet. iii. 4. 


Ch. V. then living, as the deluge to the generation which 
^^'' * were overwhelmed by it. Men will be thinking of 
nothing less than the catastrophe that is approach- 
ing ; they will be immersed in vanity and pleasure, 
and will ridicule the expectation of Christians as a 
weak and unmanly superstition. But in an hour 
when they least expect it, the awful catastrophe 
will burst upon them, like the pangs of child-birth, 
and will overwhelm them in universal and inevita- 
ble ruin. 

2. Christians being forewarned of this event, 
ought to hold themselves in a state of habitual 
preparation for it, ver. 4 — 6. 

4. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness ', that the 
day should overtake you as a thief. 

The heathen world do not know, and will not 
believe, that such a catastrophe will ever take place : 
whenever it shall come, therefore, it must be to 
them a day of surprise and terror. But you, my 
brethren, are better informed: you are assured that 
• this event is actually approaching, though you know 
not the exact hour of its arrival : it ought not, there- 
fore, to be an object of surprise or dread to you ; 
you ought to be, and I trust you are, in a state of 
habitual preparation for it. 

5. Ye all are sons of lights, and sons of day ; we 

• In darkness.'] " Darkness/' says Dr. Benson, " does not 
here mean wickedness, but gross ignorance in matters of reli- 
gion. John iii. 20, Eph. v. 8." " HaTX?^a,Syi, should surprise 
you." Wakefield. 

Sect. VU. I. THESSALONIANS. 2. 87 

are not sons of night and of darkness : therefore c hv. 
let us not sleep 3 as others do, but let us keep ^"^' " ^' 
watch 4 and he sober. 

The idolatrous and unbelieving world are in- 
volved in midnight darkness ; they see nothing be- 
fore them, and they sleep or riot in the midst of 
danger and on the verge of destruction. But you, 
my brethren, who are believers in the doctrine of 
Christ, are brought out of darkness into broad day- 
light : you see your true state, you know what im- 
portant events are at hand. You have learned how 
you may best prepare for them ; so that what will 
to others be a season of terror and dismay, will to 
you, if you improve your knowledge, be a time of 
joy and triumph. From us believers the thick veil 
of ignorance and of prejudice has been removed : 
we are no longer under the dark and dangerous 

' Sons of light, &c.] " A usual Hebraism, which implies that 
one thing- is in some respect the cause of another. Light is 
properly the parent and original of every Christian as such : 
they are formed as Christians in their principles, tempers, 
and lives, by the heavenly light of gospel truth." Chandler. 
" vlos, hebraismus : scepe dicitur de eo qui studiosus, vel parti- 
ceps est alicujus rei." Rosenmuller. 

' Let us not sleep.'] " Sleep is here taken in the figurative 
sense, to denote the thoughtless, indolent, careless, secure and 
fearless temper of mind, vi^hich is the condition of persons op- 
pressed with natural sleep." Chandler. 

"* Let us keep ivatch,'] " that v/e may guard against surprise, 
and prevent danger." Chandler j who adds, that" Christians 
are to consider themselves as engaged in a hazardous warf?ire 
against subtle and powerful enemies ; in which the want of vi- 
gilance and sobriety would be as truly criminal, and as certainly 
destructive, as in a soldier to be dissolved in sletp^ or enfeebled 
bv drunkenness." 


Ch.v. delusion of idolatry and superstition. Our con- 
^'* ' duct, therefore, ought to correspond with our ad- 
vantages. We have not the same excuse that 
others have for negligence and vice. Enlightened 
as we are by the cheering beams of the gospel, let 
us avoid the indolence, the false security, the cri- 
minal excesses, of our idolatrous neighbours : let 
us rouse ourselves to the active discharge of duty, 
and, like soldiers upon guard, let us by vigilance, 
fidelity, and temperance, approve ourselves to our 
exalted Chief, 

3. It is the indispensable duty of those who pro- 
fess themselves the faithful disciples of Christ, to 
gird on the armour of the gospel, and vigorously 
to perform the duties of their post, in expectation 
of the promised reward, ver. 7 — 10. 

7. For those who sleep, sleep hy night ; and those 
who are drunken, are drunken hy night '. 

The darkness of heathenism affords some plau- 
sible excuse for indolence and indifference ; and 
countenances, or shelters, the most licentious prac- 
tices : as the shades of the night are by some al- 
lotted to repose, and by others they are made the 
screen for intemperance and excess, of which they 
Would be ashamed in open day. 

8. But let lis who are of the day be sober, putting 

' Drunken by night.'] " Raphelius produces passages from 
Polybius, to prove that it was regarded as disgraceful by the 
heathen to be seen intoxicated in the day-time." Dr. Chandler j 
who adds, " I \\h\\ this wavS universally true in our times." 

Sect. VII. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 3. 89 

on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a heU ch. v. 
met the hope of salvation 2. ^'^'■' ^• 

Let us then, my brethren, who have emerged 
from the dark gloom of heathenism and prejudice, 
and who enjoy the glorious light of the gospel-day, 
renounce the disgraceful deeds of darkness, and 
carefully avoid all intemperance and excess. As 
faithful and vigilant sentinels upon guard, let us 
gird on the armour of the gospel. And, in parti- 
cular, let us defend the heart, and guard against all 
unreasonable and criminal affections by a steady and 
practical faith in the discoveries of the gospel ; and 
by ardent active love to God and man. And let 
the glorious hope of immortality, founded on the 
promises of the gospel, be a helmet to defend us 
from the poisoned arrows of popular superstition, 
and to preserve the intellect ever calm and clear for 
the investigation of moral and Christian truth. 

« Putting on the breastplate, &c.] The apostle here pursues 
the allegory of a soldier upon duty; and gives the Christian 
suitable armour for the parts most exposed, and where the 
wounds would be most dangerous. I have adopted Dr. Chand- 
ler's explanation of the fitness of the armour for the part to 
which it is applied : "faith and love for the breast, the seat of 
the affections ; and hope of salvation for the head, the seat of 
reason." I am not, however, without some doubts whether this 
be not carrying the allegory further than the apostle intended ; 
who perhaps meant nothing more than that faith, and love, and 
hope, were the best defence of a Christian against the super- 
stitions and the vices of the heathen world. " Ostendit quo- 
modo prceparare se debeant Christiuni ad diem ilium, nempe fide, 
amore, spe. Instructus his virtutibus, paratus est quandocunque 
ille dies venerit. UtriS, firmissima persuasio Jesum esse Mes- 
siavi, auctorem nostrce salutis. ayairrj, benevolentia erga omnes 
homines. b\vi$, spes (cternce salutis." IlosenmuUer. 


€h. V. For God hath not appointed ^ us to wrath, but 

^^'' ^' to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ ; 

10. who died for us^, that whether ive be awake or 

asleep^ when he appears, we may live together with 


It is with good reason that I remind you of the 
hope of salvation ; for though the appearance of 
Christ will be for the destruction of the unbelieving 
world, it will issue in the final triumph of his faith- 
ful disciples. For let me assure you, God does not 
intend our punishment, but our deliverance from 
sin and death, at that awful season, when his son 
shall return to raise the dead and to judge the world. 
He once appeared in a humble form, and suffered 
death to ratify that covenant which imparts to us 
the blessings of life ; and which insures final and 
everlasting felicity in the presence of God and 

1 God hath not appointed, &c.] See John iii. 15^ to which 
there is perhaps an allusion here. 

* Who died for us.} " Christ died for us men, and for our 
salvation ; inasmuch as by his blood he sealed and established 
that new covenant, wherein pardon of sin, and a resurrection 
to eternal life, are promised to all sincere penitents, and pre- 
vailingly holy persons." Benson. 

^ Asleep.'] We have here a remarkable instance of the apo- 
stle's custom of changing the ideas which he annexes to his 
words, without previous notice to the reader. In this passage 
the word sleep is used in no less than three different senses : 
ver. 7, it signifies natural rest ; ver. 6, it expresses remissness 
and negligence in the practice of duty ; and here, ver. 10, it is 
unquestionably used to express the sleep of death. See Benson. 
— " SensKS est, ut sive superstites, sice moriui deprehendamur die 
iilo extremo, pariter omnes beate cwn Christo vivamiis. dikd, 
pariter omnes, ut Rom. iii. 12." Rosenmuller. q.d. we may 
all live with one another, and with him. 


Christ to every sincere believer, whether it be his ch. v. 
lot to be found alive or dead at the season of the ^^' ' 
great consummation of all things. 

4. The apostle closes the subject with a suitable 
exhortation, ver. 11. 

Therefore encourage'^ one another and edify ^ ^'* 
each other y as indeed ye do^. 

Upon the whole, therefore, considering the cer- 
tainty and importance of the second advent of 
Christ, the uncertainty of the time when it shall 
take place, and your own interest in it, let me ear- 
nestly exhort you seriously to reflect upon it, and 
to apply these weighty considerations to the best 
purposes. Encourage one another in the practice 
of duty ; comfort one another under suffering and 
bereavement : improve each other in faith and love, 
in fortitude and piety. But I need not enlarge upon 
this topic. It is with great satisfaction that I hear 
how solicitous you are to promote each others ad- 
vancement in Christian virtue ; and I am persuaded 
that you are making rapid progress towards Chris- 
tian perfection. 

* Encourage^ TrapocKaXsire. The word is the same as that 
which is used ch. iv. 18 j which shows that the apostle is still 
insisting upon the same subject. It signifies either to comfort 
or to exhort. 

* Edify :'] or, build up. " improve each other." Wakefield. 
' Js indeed ije rfo.] Dr. Benson observes that " the apostle 

took every opportunity of speaking well of them where there 
was a foundation for it 5" and adds that " praise mixed with 
exhortation renders it both more agreeable and of greater effi- 



Ch. V. The apostle concludes with some appropriate 
exhortations, with a general salutation, and with 
the apostolical benediction. Ch. v. 12 — 28. 

1 . The apostle recommends respectful and affec- 
tionate behaviour to their faithful teachers and su- 
perintendants, ver. 12, 13. 
Ver. 12. Nolu we intreat you, brethren, to acknowledge 
those who labour ' among you, and preside over 
13, you in the Lord^, and admonish you: and to 

' Acknowledge those, &c.] As no mention is made of bishops 
and deacons in either of the epistles to the Thessalonians, if is 
conjectured that the church was not then completely organized, 
and that its officers had not, at the time when the apostle wrote, 
assumed those names. But when a church was formed in any 
city, it was customary, and indeed absolutely requisite for the 
good order of the society, to select a few of the most intelligent 
and experienced persons to superintend the affairs of the so- 
ciety and to conduct public worship. These, whether regular 
presbyters or temporary officers, are the persons of whom the 
apostle is here speaking ; and their office, as Dr. Chandler ob- 
serves, was threefold : they were labourers in the ministry of 
the word, see 1 Cor. xv. 10, 1 Tim. v. 17 3 they presided in the 
meetings of the society, 1 Tim. ibid.; and they admonished, i. e. 
they exhorted and reproved, their hearers. The word denotes, 
says Dr. Chandler, affection and authority. The duties en- 
joined upon the Thessalonians towards their teachers were also 
threefold : they were to know, i. e. to reverence and respect 
them ; to love them exceedingly ; and to live in peace with 
them. See Chandler and Benson. 

* In the Lord.'] " in things relating to Christianity." New- 


love them exceedingly on account of their office ; ch. V. 
and live in peace with them 3. ^^^■' ^^* 

1 now proceed to offer a few hints of advice, as 
to your conduct towards the officers of the church. 
I mean those respectable persons who on account of 
superior age, experience, wisdom, and piety, were 
selected from among you to labour in the ministry 
of the gospel, to preach the doctrine of Christ to 
their unbelieving countrymen, and to preside in 
your Christian assemblies, to preserve order and 
decorum when you meet together for public wor- 
ship ; whose duty it is to instruct the ignorant, to 
admonish the irregular, and to maintain discipline 
and order in the church. Their office, while it is 
exercised with prudence, fidelity, and kindness, is 
both honourable and laborious, and in a high de- 
gree useful: it also exposes them to peculiar hazard. 
I intreat and I charge you therefore, my Christian 
brethren, to acknowledge these your superintend- 
ants under the character with which they are in- 
vested; to submit to their authority, to listen to 
their instructions, and to receive with humihty and 
thankfulness their just and faithful animadversions 
and reproofs. Treat them with respect, provide 
liberally for their subsistence. Love them exceed- 

' hive in peace with them.'] avroi;. This is the reading of 
the Clermont and other manuscripts, and of many of the an- 
cient versions. The common reading, kxvroii, is also well sup- 
ported, and gives a very good sense ; though the other seems 
more agreeable to the connexion, and is marked by Griesbach 
as probable. " to live in peace with them^ because of their of- 
fice." Wakefield, 


Ch. V. ingly, as indeed you ought, for the firmness and 
*''• ^^' faithfulness with which they discharge the hazard- 
ous and painful duties of their station. Do not re- 
sent the freedom of their reproofs ; and do not put 
them into competition with each other, and split 
yourselves into parties under different leaders. 

2. He reminds the presidents of the Christian 
society of the duties of their office, ver. 14. 
14. But we exhort you^ hretkreii ', admonish those 
who are disorderly^; comfort the feeble-minded'^^ 

' We exhort you, brethren.'] " I think," says Dr. Benson, 
" with the Greek and Latin interpreters, that the apostle here 
turned his address from the people to their spiritual ofuides and 
teachers ; and that he exhorted them to do what in the preced- 
ing verses he had intimated to be their peculiar work and of- 
fice." Dr. Hammond thought these officers to have been the 
bishops of the several churches subject to the metropolitan 
church of Thessalonica. " But," says Dr. Benson, " what may 
we not say if we indulge to fancy, or give way to warm ima- 
gination r The scripture is an utter stranger to metropolitan 
bishops with their suffragans, or to metropolitan churches with 
their subordinate churches : every congregation was a Chris- 
tian church, and none of them subject to any other." Mac- 
knight agrees with Benson, that this exhortation is addressed 
to the teachers. 

^ Disorderly.'] aracKtss. " This," says Dr. Chandler, " is a 
military term, and denotes a soldier that breaks his ranks, de- 
serts his post, or neglects his duty." It here alludes to that 
impertinent intrusion into other men's affairs, upon which the 
apostle insists more at large in the second epistle. 2 Thess. iii. 

^ Feehle-mincled.] oXiyo^'v^sg, those of little souls. It is used 
in the Old Testament as a translation of what in the Hebrew 
signifies the humble in spirit. Isa. Ivii. 1.5. Dr. Chandler, from 
Aristotle, explains it of a person " who has a mistaken opinion 
of himself, and indulges worse thoughts of his own condition 
than he ought to do." Some of the Thessalonians might be 
o])pressed with a sense of guilt, and others with a dread of per- 

Sect. VIII. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. &5 

succour the tueak 4, be of a patient spirit toward ch. v. 

alio. Ver. J4. 

And as to you, my brethren in the ministry, I 
earnestly beseech you to persevere faithfully in per- 
forming the duties of your office, even such as re- 
quire no small share of resolution and self-denial. 
Remind those who neglect their own concerns to 
meddle with the affairs of others, that the Chris- 
tian religion requires that every man should attend 
to his proper business. Administer comfort to the 
dejected and desponding mind that distrusts its own 
resolutions, despairs of its final safety, and always 
bodes the worst. Afford needful assistance to those 
whose faith is feeble and wavering ; who do not en- 
ter thoroughly into the liberal spirit of the gospel, 
and are in bondage to former superstitions. Teach 
them the rational and manly simplicity of the doc- 
trine of Christ, and help them to throw off the yoke 

sedition. These were men who needed consolation and encou- 
ragement. " Eos qui in adversis animo sunt dejecto.'" Rosen- 

* Succour the weak^ avrs^^^eaSe. It signifies, to assist a per- 
son who is holding a burden at one end, by laying hold of it at 
the other, q.d. lend a helping hand, &c. See Rom. viii. 26. 
The weak were probably persons of scrupulous consciences, who 
laid stress upon rites and ceremonies, distinctions of food, and 
observance of days, &c. ; being ignorant of the liberal spirit of 
the gospel. The superintendants of the church were to bear 
with their prejudices, and gradually to instruct them in the li- 
beral spirit of the gospel. See Rom. xiv., xv., I Cor. viii. Ben- 
son and Chandler. 

^ Of a patient spirit^ So Worsley. /xaxjsoSojtiEjre. " The pre- 
judices of some, the stupidity and want of capacity of others, 
and the infirmities of mankind in general, call for tenderness 
and great patience." Benson. 

96 Sect. VIII. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 3; 

Ch. V. of servitude. Finally, bear patiently with those who 

Ver. 14. j^j.g ignorant and dull, and even with those who are 

obstinate and refractory, and do not hastily give up 

your attempts to be useful, nor relax your exertions 

to instruct or to reclaim. 

3. The apostle recommends mutual forbearance 
and universal good-will, and presses the duties of 
habitual cheerfulness, prayer, and thanksgiving, 
ver. 15—18. 
15. Beware • that none render evil for evil to any 
one ; hut always pursue kindness to each other and 
to all men. 

Acquire, my brethren, (and I now address you 
all,) the magnanimous and forgiving spirit of the 
gospel. Among your heathen neighbours it is ac- 
counted as honourable to avenge yourselves upon 
an enemy, as to requite a friend. Be you vigilantly 
upon your guard against this revengeful spirit. On 
the contrary, make it your study and your ambition 
to do good, and to show kindness to all men, upon 
all occasions ; not only to Christians, but to unbe- 
lievers ; not only to friends, but even to enemies : 

• Beware.'] " 'Opxrs," says Dr. Chandler, " often denotes, 
take heed, beware.'' The apostle, now addressing the society at 
large, forbids the retaliation of injuries; which was a practice 
very common, and much approved both by Jews and heathen. 
Matt. V. 43. " But the words," as Dr. Chandler observes, 
" are to be understood of private revenge only, not of seeking 
to the magistrate for protection from injury and violence. This 
is often necessary to the preservation of the public peace. But 
Christianity entirely forbids all private malice, enmity, and re- 
venge : the instruction is absolute and universal." 

Skct. VIII. I. T H E S S A L O N 1 A N S. 3. 97 

bless those who curse you, and pray for those who Ch. v. 
persecute you. 

Be always joyful'^. ^"- ^^■ 

Let no losses, persecutions, or bereavements, de- 
press your spirits, and produce unreasonable dejec- 
tion. Your relation to God as your Father, your 
expectation of the speedy appearance of Jesus 
Christ, and your assured hope of Uving for ever 
with him in glory and happiness, may well comfort 
your darkest hours ; and inspire you with an habi- 
tual joy and triumph, which the vicissitudes of life 
can neither destroy nor interrupt. 

Pray without ceasing^. *^* 

' Joyful^ " The advice means. Ever maintain a cheerful, 
easy, happy disposition in every condition and circumstance of 
life ; not only in peace and plenty, but under affliction and 
persecution for righteousness' sake." Chandler. See Matt. v. 
11,12 5 IPet.iv. 13, 14; Rom. v. 2. 

' Prmj without ceasing.'] Prayer is a direct address to God : 
but it is not at all essential to prayer that it should consist 
wholly or chiefly of petition. Adoration, confession, thanks- 
giving, and the like, are at least equally becoming and equally 
important. The apostle could not mean to advise the Thessa- 
lonians to be always actually engaged in prayer, for that vpould 
be impossible. But he might mean to recommend an habitual 
impression of God upon the mind, and a spirit of habitual de- 
votion. " This," says Dr. Priestley, " it is our duty and great 
happiness to cultivate. It is the perfection of the religions tem- 
per and character." The apostle is generally and justly 
thought to allude to the morning and evening sacrifice in the 
temple, which is called the continual burnt-offering, Exod. xxix. 
38 — 42, Numb, xxviii. 24 — 3 1 . The hours of sacrifice were 
nine in the morning and three in the afternoon j and these 
were the hours of prayer to the devout Jews, either in the tem- 
ple or in private. And it is in allusion to this custom that the 
expressions, " dwelling in the house of God for ever ;" " serv- 
ing him day and night in his temple j" " Anna departed not 
from the temple," Luke ii, 37 ; " the apostles were in the tem- 

voL. rv. u 

)8 Sect.VIIL I. TH ess ALON 1 ANS, 3. 

Ch. V. Let your lives be scenes of habitual uninterrupted 
^^^* ^^' intercourse with God. Meditate upon his charac- 
ter; adore his attributes; rejoice in his govern- 
ment; confide in his care; submit to his will; 
aspire after his favour ; and express these grateful 
and joyful emotions of your hearts in suitable and 
appropriate language in the proper stated seasons 
of secret or of social worship, which will be more 
acceptable to God than the morning and the even- 
ing sacrifice. And let the fear and love of God 
possess and govern your hearts. 
18. At all times i give thanks, for this is the will of 
God, through Christ Jesus, concerning you. 

Possessed of the privileges, and animated by the 
hopes of the gospel, it becomes you, my Christian 
friends, at all times to maintain a grateful spirit. 
Be thankful, therefore, in adversity as in prosperity ; 
in sickness as in health ; in persecution as in a sea- 
son of peace and liberty ; under losses and bereave- 
ments as in the enjoyment of wealth and friends ; 
in death as in life. This is the true spirit of the go- 
spel ; this is the spirit which God expects and re- 
quires of you, and for which the mission and doc- 
trine of Christ lay a just and ample foundation. 

pie continually," Luke xxiv. 53 ; &c. are to be understood. In 
this view the apostle is understood to recommend praying con- 
stantly, morning and evening. See an excellent note of Dr. 
Benson's on the text. 

' At all times ^ So Mr. Wakefield ; who thinks Haipcy, or 
yjovu.', to be understood here, as in 1 Tim. iv. 8, and elsewhere. 
" For every thing give thanks." Newcome. " Upon all suit- 
able occasions, and i;i all the various events of life." Chandler. 

Sect. VIII. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 4. 99 

4. The apostle offers advice concerning spiritual Ch. v. 
gifts, ver. 19—22. 

Quench not the spirit^. Ver. 19. 

Extinguish not that holy fire which has heen 
kindled amongst you. Neglect not those gifts of 
the spirit with which you are severally endowed ; 
use them not upon improper occasions ; apply them 
not to improper purposes ; interrupt not each other 
in the exercise of them ; value them in proportion 
to their real importance ; tempt not God to with- 
draw them from you ; improve them to promote 
the knowledge and the success of the gospel. 

Undervalue Qiot prophesyings^; but (like good 20,21. 
money-changers) prove all things* ; holdfast the 
best^; abstain from every kind of evil ^. 22. 

' Quench not, &c.] A beautiful allusion to Acts ii. 3, 4, where 
the descent of the holy spirit is said to have been accompanied 
with the appearance of tongues or spiral forms of flame, and to 
have resided upon each of the disciples present. A similar al- 
lusion is made by the apostle, 2 Tim. i. 6. " The spiritual 
gifts," says Dr. Benson, " like the fire upon the altar, could be 
kindled only from heaven ; but might be stirred up, fed with 
fuel, or quenched by men." 

' Undervalue not, &c.] s^sSsvsirs- " the word signifies," says 
Dr. Chandler, " ' a supercilious contempt of another, arising 
from pride and hauglitiness, and overvaluing one's own quali- 
fications.'" itpoi^yiraia^, prophecy; which was of two kinds: 
foretelling future events, or public instruction ; sometimes, 
probably, by supernatural suggestion. It appears from 1 Cor. 
xiv. that this gift was greatly undervalued in comparison with 
the gift of tongues, which, though more showy, was of less use. 
That chapter is a complete commentary upon this text ; which, 
as is usual in epistolary writings, would otherwise have been 
totally unintelligible to us, though easily understood by those 
to whom the epistle was addressed. See Benson in loc. 

* But (like good money-changers) prove all things.'] $£ (but) 
is found in the best copies, and is admitted by Griesbach. It 



Ch.v. There is a diversity in spiritual gifts. Some 
Ver. 22. ^j.g more showy, and therefore more coveted, than 
others. To be enabled to instruct others in the 
doctrine of Christ is, however, a gift more useful 
than any of the rest, even though it may not be ac- 
companied with the graces of elocution. Let not, 
then, this gift be undervalued and made light of; 
but let it be most highly esteemed by you. I do 
not, however, mean to say that you are to admit as 

connects this with the preceding verse. " Paulus dicit, yiveaSs 
(ppCivi[j.oi rpairs^itai, be skilful money-changers, 'prove all tilings." 
Cyril. This sentence is also cited by Origen^ Chrysostom, and 
many other ecclesiastical writers, as a text of scripture ; some 
ascribing it to Clirist, and others to Paul. It is not, however, 
to be found in any copy or version of the New Testament now 
extant. Perhaps, therefore, Lardner is right in the conclusion, 
that " a passage so often quoted, if it had ever been in the New 
Testament, could never have been lost out of it." The vmters, 
therefore, who cite it, could in this case only mean that the ad- 
vice was to be found in sense, but not in words : q. d. as dealers 
in money take great pains to distinguish the genuine from coun- 
terfeit coin, so do you take pains to distinguish between true and 
false doctrine. See Lardner's Credib. part ii. vol. iii. p. 37o. It 
may, however, reasonably be suspected that the words would 
not have been so often quoted had they not been found in some 
ancient copies, and believed tc be genuine. Upon the authority 
of Cyril, therefore, I introduce them in this place, where they 
suit the connexion ; but I introduce them \vith much hesitation. 
Dr. Whitby very justly observes, that " the apostle does not 
here bid the guides ofthe church try all things, and the people 
hold fast \that they deliver unto them j but gives an injunction 
common to all Christians." 

* The best^ " to y.akw, a hebraism for ro xuXXtrov." Wake- 

* Abstain, &c.] With Dr. Chandler, I connect this advice 
with the preceding. The word sihg signifies sort or kind, as 
well as appearance. " q. d. have nothing to do with such kind 
of prophecies as, after examination, do not appear to proceed 
from the spirit of God," 

Si^cT. VIII. I. T II E S S A L O N I A N S. 5. 101 

true whatever any teacher may advance without due ch. v. 
and diligent examination. No, my brethren, there v^*"- --• 
is much error and false doctrine abroad, which as- 
sumes to be the doctrine of Christ. You must act 
like cautious dealers in the precious metals ; you 
must learn, like them, to examine and to weigh ; to 
distinguish counterfeit from sterling gold ; reject- 
ing what is spurious, and retaining, holding fast, 
and treasuring up, only that which is pure and ge- 
nuine. But as to that doctrine which will not bear 
the process of trial, whatever pretensions it may 
make to the character of sound and evangelical 
Christianity, after due examination, reject it with- 
out hesitation, as worthless dross. 

5. The apostle prays that God would preserve 
and complete the virtues of their character, ver. 23, 

And may tkc God of peace "^ hwiself sanctifif 23. 

' The God of peace.'] This expression, in comparison with 
1 Cor. xiv. 33, seems to imply that some confusion and alter- 
cation had already taken place in the church at Thessalonica, 
in consequence of a competition and rivalship of spiritual gifts, 
which the apostle was desirous to suppress. Dr. Chandler con- 
siders the same subject as continued from ver. 19 — 23: viz, 
"' Quench not the spirit:' improve And exercise bis gifts, 
' Despise not prophesyings :' neither undervalue the gift, nor 
those who possess it. ' Prove all things:' bring all prophe- 
syings to the test. ' Hold fast that which is good :' sucli as ap- 
pear worthy of the spirit embrace and adhere to. ' Abstain from 
all appearance of evil :' what is not consistent with truth and 
holiness reject. And that you may do all this with temperance 
and candour, may God himself, who is the God of peace, who 
loves, approves, and commands it, sanctify you wholly, keep 
you pure and unmixed from the disorders and vices of the 

[02 Sect.VIII. 1. THESSALONIANS. 5. 

Ch. V. yoti entirely. And may your entire person *, the 

Ver. 23. ^p^if^ ^^^ (he soul, and the body, be preserved 

unblameahle unto the coming of our Lord Jesus 

24. Christ. Faithful is he who invited you^ and he 

will perform his promise 2. 

For the credit of the gospel, and for your own 
credit and improvement, I am anxious that you 
should live in peace ; that there may be no unplea- 
sant rivalry or jealousy with respect to your spiritual 
gifts ; and that your examination of doctrines may 
not be a source of personal animosity. And to this 
end, may that God, who is the author of the gospel 
of peace and the lover of concord, preserve you en- 
tirely in this, as in other instances, from the conta- 
mination of the unbelieving world. And O that 
every one of you might, in every respect, both as to 

world ; a pecviliar separate people, devoted to his service and 

' Yoxir entire person.] See Chandler's note. The apostle 
here alludes to the philosophy of the Stoics, Platonists, and 
others, who represented man as consisting of three distinct 
parts : the spirit, or rational mind ; the sensitive soul, the seat 
of the affections ; and the body, the mansion of both. It is 
universally allowed that the apostle does not, in this passage, 
mean to countenance, much less authoritatively to teach, the 
pliilosophy to which he here alludes. The same principle is ap- 
plicable to other similar cases, v. g. to the doctrine of an inter- 
mediate state, and to those of apparitions and of demoniacal 
possessions, which were jrobably borrowed from the oriental 
philosophy. The apostkss and evangelists were plain men, who 
were authorized to teach the plain doctrine of a future life, and 
a judgement to come ; but who were not inspired to settle any 
nice questions in metaphysics or philosophy. See Benson in loc. 

* His promise.] So the ellipsis is supplied by Mr. Wake- 
field : " He who called you may be relied on for the perfonn-. 
ance of his promise." 

Sect. VIII. I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 6. 103 

mind and body, in thought, in inclination, and in Ch. v. 
outward action, be preserved perfectly innocent, and 
pure, to that day when you will be summoned to 
the tribunal of our common Master, Lord, and 
Judge! And be assured, my brethren, that the 
merciful God, who invited you to participate in the 
invaluable blessings of the gospel, will prove faith- 
ful to every promise that he has made. Be you 
true to yourselves and to your profession, and you 
need not doubt that your best wishes will be ful- 
filled, and your highest expectations will be ex- 

6. The apostle requests an interest in their 
prayers ; he sends his affectionate salutations ; he 
requires the epistle to be publicly read, and con- 
cludes with a solemn benediction, ver. 25 — 28. 

Brethren^ pray for us. 25. 

My Christian brethren, those of you especially 
who are engaged in the work of public instruction, 
and who can, therefore, sympathize with us in our 
labours, our difficulties, and our perils, pray for us ; 
that we may be duly qualified for our work, and 
successful in it ; and that we may be delivered from 
the malice of unreasonable and wicked men. To 
know that we are the object of your prayers will be 
a source of comfort and encouragement to us. 

Salute all the brethren luith a holy kiss"^. 26. 

' A holy kiss.'] This was an ancient eastern custom, Gen. 
xxvii. 26, Prov, xxiv, 26. In the Jewish synagogues the men 
and women had seats in different parts of the synagogue; and 

104 SjiCT.VlII. I. THESS ALON I ANS. 6. 

Ch. V. Assure my Christian brethren of my affectionate 
**"■ • salutations and cordial good wishes for them. 
27. I adjure you by the Lord^, that this epistle be 
read to all^ the holy brethren. 

This epistle, though addressed to the whole 
church at Thessalonica, will of course be delivered 
into the hands of you, my brethren, who are the 

this custom was adopted by Christians in their places of wor- 
ship. See Benson on 1 Pet. v. 14. 

' I adjure you.'] 'Opxi^cu v[' I larj you under the solemn 
obligation of an oath. There were two forms of taking an oath 
among the Jews : when a man pronounced the oath himself, 
and when he was adjured by another. In all cases an execra- 
tion was supposed to attend the oath. Our Lord answered 
upon oath before the high-priest. And the example of the apo- 
stle in this instance shows that oaths are not unlawful upon 
solemn occasions. Matt, xxvi. 63. See Benson and Whitby. 
Beza supposes this and the two preceding verses to have been 
addressed to the elders of the church. " 7r^oerwcr<, sivepresby- 
teris primuni epistola in manus tradebatur. His salutem cceteris 
Christianis dicendam injungit apostolus, eosque monet, ne sibi 
soils epistolam servent, sedcum reliquis de plebe Christianis, prce- 
legendo commujiicent." Rosenmuller. 

* Be read to all.'] Dr. Benson remarks, that " the epistle 
was to be read publicly to all the church. St. Paul was not 
for having the scriptures locked up from the common people } 
neither did he recommend it to them, before they read the scrip- 
tures, first to read a system of divinity drawn up by uninspired 
and fallible men." " St. Paul, by adjuring them in so solemn 
a manner to read this epistle, might perhaps design to introduce 
the reading of his epistles into the Christian churches. They 
would thereby be led to regard them as the rule of their faith 
and practice as Christians." " How easy was it," adds this 
learned expositor, " for the primitive Christians to distinguish 
Paul's genuine epistles from any counterfeit ones ? when he 
sent them to the several churches by trusty and well known 
persons ? when he ordered them to be read publicly upon the 
receipt of them ? when he wrote them with his own hand, or 
took care to affix the salutation written with his own hand ? 
And if the genuineness of them was once ascertained^ how 
easy was it to transmit tlieni to posterity '." 


superintendants of the church ; and, as it contains Ch. v. 
some things which may possibly give offence to 
some professed beUevers, you may perhaps be un- 
wilUng to incur the odium of communicating it to 
the society. But to save you from that difficulty, 
I now enjoin it as a solenm charge, and require you, 
as you will be responsible for your conduct to our . 
Lord and Master at his final appearance, that you 
do cause this letter to be pubUcly produced and 
read when every member of the society is present ; 
that all may hear, and that each may apply the ad- 
monitions and precepts to his own case; and so that 
all may be instructed, warned, and edified. 

The favour of our Lord Jesus Christ ^ be with 2^* 
you. Amen. 

I conclude with expressing my earnest desire and 
prayer for you all, that you may all participate in 
the everlasting blessings of that gospel which is the 
free gift of God by Jesus Christ ; and that you may 
be numbered amongst the faithful friends and fol- 
lowers of our great Master at his second coming. 

' The favour, &c.] " The original word signifies \iOi\\ favour 
and the effect of itj the apostle doubtless included both." 





1 HE apostle in his first epistle to the Thessalo- 
nians had expressed himself so strongly concerning 
the second coming of Christ, the near approach of 
the day of judgement, and the serious interest both 
of himself and them in this awful event, that he 
seems to have excited a very general expectation in 
the minds of the Thessalonian Christians, of the 
immediate arrival of that solemn event ; which ex- 
cited great consternation and alarm. This alarm 
having been reported to the apostle, perhaps by the 
person who was employed to carry the letter, he 
thought it necessary to write immediately to check 
their unfounded apprehensions. This letter, there- 
fore, he wrote from Corinth, while Silas and Ti- 


motby were still with him ; whose names he joins 
with his own in the introductory salutation : and 
it is generally agreed that this epistle was written 

A.D. 52. 1 

Of the genuineness of this epistle no doubt has 
ever yet been entertained. The original was au- 
thenticated by the concluding salutation, which 
was written with the apostle's own hand. It is a 
public epistle, addressed to a considerable body of 
Christians, to whom no doubt it was publicly read, 
and by whom it would probably be preserved with 
great care. And though it is the shortest of Paul's 
public epistles, yet it contains several passages in 
which the apostle alludes to discourses which he 
had delivered when he was at Thessalonica, or to 
events which happened at the time: which allu- 
sions, though necessarily obscure to a modern 
reader, would be well understood by the persons 
to whom the epistle is addressed, and would never 

' Grotius is singular in supposing that this epistle was writ- 
ten previously to the former, that it was dated in the second 
year of Caligula, about a.d. 39, in whose extravagance and ina- 
piety the prophecies of the second chapter were fulfilled, ac- 
cording to Grotius's interpretation, who was very unwilling to 
allow that any of the predictions in the New Testament re- 
ceived their accomplishment in papal Rome. He supposes the 
epistle to have been addressed to a small number of believing 
Hebrews who escaped from the persecution which followed 
Stephen's martyrdom, and who settled at Thessalonica. But 
he conjectures that the epistle was not sent till the reign of 
Vespasian. His arguments are trifling in the extreme j one is, 
that ch. iii. 17, he notes the manner of identifying his epistle : 
ch. ii. 13, he speaks of them as chosen to salvation from the 
beginning. The probability is, that this great man was in- 
fiucnced by his hypothesis more than he was lumscU' aware. 


have occurred to one who had attempted to forge an 
epistle in the apostle's name. Also the language 
and sentiments of the epistle harmonize with the 
apostle's character and professions as represented 
in Luke's history, or in the other acknx)wledged 
writings of Paul ^. Finally, this epistle is inserted 
in all the ancient catalogues of undisputed canoni- 
cal books ; it is found in all the best and most an- 
cient manuscripts without exception, and in all ver- 
sions ; and it has been received and cited from age 
to age without dispute as the genuine production 
of the apostle Paul. 

A more decisive proof, perhaps, of the genuine- 
ness of this epistle is the prophecy which it contains 
of the man of sin, chap, ii,, so palpably fulfilled in 
the corruptions and usurpations of the antichristlan 
church, and particularly in papal Rome. 

It has been doubted whether the mistake of the 
Thessalonians originated in their misunderstanding 
the apostle's first letter, or whether some person had 
not forged a letter in the apostle's name, which he 
here disavows. The former supposition is probably 
the true one. No person who reads the first epistle 
to the Thessalonians can be surprised that the 

^ See Paley's Horce Paulinee, chap. x. The ingenious writer 
argues from the apostle's referring to his conversations with tlie 
Thessalonians for an explanation of the language of his letter, 
ch. ii. 5 ; from his refusal to accept a subsistence from the 
Thessalonians, and maintaining himself by his own labour, 
ch. iii. 8 (comp. Phil. iv. 15, Acts xx. 34) ; and from his cor- 
rection of the mistake made by the Thessalonians of the an- 
nunciation of Christ's appearance in the first epistle. 


Christians to whom it was written should expect 
the speedy advent of Christ to judgement : though 
certainly the apostle gave no room for the expecta- 
tion which they seem to have taken up, that this 
event would arrive in less than a year. 

It has been judiciously remarked, that as the apo* 
stle in this letter does not repeat his cautions against 
impurity, nor his exhortations to respect their spi- 
ritual superintendants, there is great reason to be- 
lieve that the advice he suggested in his former 
epistle had in these cases produced its proper effect. 
But the hints which he had given to officious and 
idle persons who neglected their own concerns to 
intrude into those of other men, to the great dis- 
credit of their Christian profession, not having been 
properly regarded by them, he animadverts upon 
them in the second letter with greater severity. 

The apostle introduces the epistle with his 
usual evangelical salutation, joining the names of 
Silas and Timothy with his own, Ch. i. 1, 2. He 

First, Thanks God for the constancy and forti- 
tude with which they suffered persecution ; and com- 
forts them with the assured expectation of the ap- 
pearance of Christ to reward their fidelity, and to 
punish their enemies and persecutors ; and prays 
that God would enable them to persevere to the 
end in their adherence to the gospel, ver. 3 — 12. 

Secondly, He corrects the error into which they 
had fallen concerning the coming of Christ: He 


denies that he himself, or any person authorized by 
him, had ever declared that this event would take 
place immediately: Reassures them that previously 
to this event a great and general apostasy would take 
place, the characters of which he particularly de- 
scribes ; but that even this apostasy would not hap- 
pen till some great obstruction was removed. Ch. ii. 

Thirdly, The apostle expresses his gratitude for 
their election to gospel privileges, and his hope that 
they will, by the grace of God, be preserved from the 
apostasy. He requests that they would pray for his 
success, and for his deliverance from persecution ; 
and expresses his confidence that they will comply 
with his advice, and persevere in faith and virtue. 
Ch.ii. 13— iii. 5. 

Fourthly, He enters a strong protest against 
the character and behaviour of those impertinent, 
idle, and disorderly persons who infested the church 
at Thessalonica, and disgraced the Christian pro- 
fession. He earnestly admonishes such persons to 
reform their conduct ; and he exhorts the rest to 
mark and shun the society of those who are incor- 
rigible by other means, that they may be brought 
to shame and repentance, ver. 6 — 15. 

Fifthly, The epistle concludes with the saluta- 
tion and benediction written with the apostle's own 
hand, ver 16 — 18. 

" The sum of what has been said," says Dr. Ben- 
son, " comes to this : viz. That this epistle may be 


looked upon as a supplement to the former ; that 
the main point about which he wrote this second 
epistle was to rectify a mistake into which they had 
fallen concerning the speedy coming of Christ. But 
he has also added many other things of considerable 
importance: comforting the Thessalonians under 
their persecutions, and reprehending the idle and 
disorderly among them. These three things the 
apostle hath more especially laboured, that he might 
prevent the ruin or great decay of the Christian re- 
ligion at Thessalonica. And it is to be hoped that 
he succeeded in his design. For we find from the 
fathers that there was a Christian church at Thes- 
salonica many ages after this." 




The apostle, after a suitable introduction, gives Ch. i. 
thanks to God for the increase of their faith and 
love, and for their fortitude under persecution ; 
he encourages them with the assurance of an 
ample recompense at the appearance of Christ, 
and concludes with affectionately commending 
them to the powerful protection of God. Ch. i. 


IHE apostle introduces his epistle with the usual 
salutation, joining the names of Silas and Timothy 
with his own, ver. I, 2. 

Pa UL and Silvanus, and Timothy ', to the Ver. I. 

' Paul, &c.] The opening salutation is the same with that 

114 Sect. I. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 1. 

Ch. I. church of the Thessalonians, believers in God our 
Ver. 2. Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ : Favour he 
unto you, and peace from God our Fat!ier ', and 
from our Lord Jesus Christ. 

We, who lately addressed an epistle to the church 
at Thessalonica, even I, Paul, with my associates 
Silas and Timothy, now unite in writing a second 
epistle to the body of Christians in that opulent and 
populous city ; to those who distinguish themselves 
from heathen idolaters on the one hand, and from 
prejudiced Jews on the other, by believing in the 
unity and paternal love of God, and by a professed 
subjection to Jesus of Nazareth as their Master, 
and acknowledgement of him as the true Messiah. 
And as a testimony of our affection for them, we 
repeat our earnest wish that they may enjoy an abun- 
dant participation of the blessings of the gospel, 
which is, through Jesus Christ, the best gift of God 
to man. 

of the former epistle, which, as Dr. Benson observes, may be 
regarded as a presumptive argument that the two epistles were 
written by the same person. 

' God our Father.] " It cannot but be observed," says Dr. 
Priestley, '^ that, in the usual tenor of scripture language, God 
and Christ are carefully distinguished ; the appellation of God 
being" given to the Father only, exclusively of Christ, as well as- 
of all other beings." 

Dr. Benson very pertinently observes, that " when the apo- 
stle says sv ®suj — xat Kupiui, in God our Father, and in the- 
Lord Jesus Christ, it plainly shows that St. Paul did not design 
to say, ver. 2, ' God the Father of us and of the I-ord Jesus 
Christ ;' though our Lord did use an expression like tliat, John 
XX. 17. In this text, and in 1 Tiiess. i. 1, ev is to be understood 
before Kupiw, and aifo before Kuoo. See 2 Thess. ii. 1 6 j 1 Tim. 
ii.2; 2Tim. i. 2." 


1. The apostle thanks God for their increasing Ch.i. 
faith and love, and for their fortitude under those 
severe persecutions, the existence of vi^hich was a 
decisive proof of a future retribution, ver. 3 — 5. 

JVe ought to thank God^ always concerning Ver. 3. 
yoUy hrcihren^ as it is Jit ; because your faith 
groweth exceedingly^ and the love of every one of 
you all toward each other is increasing. 

The report which we have received of your cha- 
racter and conduct since we wrote our last epistle 
fills us with joy and gratitude. And as we have 
been accustonned in our daily exercises of social 
worship to give thanks to God for your profession 
of the Christian faith, and your exercise of Christian 
love, it is now our duty to express our gratitude 
for that distinguished improvement which you have 
made in these fundamental principles of Christian 
virtue, of which we have heard so favourable an 

So that we ourselves boast of you amojig the 4. 

churches of God, on account of your patience and 
fidelity under all the persecutions and afflictions 
which ye endure; which are a proof ^ of the right- 5. 

* We ought to thank God, &c.] " In the former epistle the 
apostle thanked God for the beginnings of their faith, love, and 
patience, 1 Thess. i. 3, G — 10, ii. 14, iv. 9, 10 5 in this and the 
following verses he mentions their increase in these virtues. 
This is another confirmation of this being a second epistle to 
the Thessalonians." Benson. It seems not unlikely that the 
messenger by whom the former letter had been sent had 
brought back' to the apostle a favourable account of the improv- 
ing character of the Tliessalonian converts. 

•^ A proof, &c.] " svdstyixa, argumentum finnum uncle colligi 

I 2 

116 Sect. I. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch. I. eous judgement of God, that ye may be accounted 
^®' • ^' worthy > of that kingdom of God'^^for which ye even 

With much regret we hear that the cruelty of 
your persecutors does not yet relent. But having 
been also informed of the fortitude with which you 
undergo the severest sufferings, and of your faithful 
adherence, notwithstanding, to the profession and 
to the promises of the gospel, we cannot but con- 

tiito possit, aliquando Deum gravissimas pcenas, ah adversariis 
religionis Christiance sumpturum, et Christianos oppressos felici- 
tatis ccterncs, prcemio ornatur urn esse." Schleusner. " svhiy^a, 
cx.mhi^iS-'" Hesychius. " I know of no stronger proof," says 
Dr. Benson, " of a righteous judgement to come, than the 
persecutions of good men, and the present triumphs of the 

' Accounted worthy.'] " xocra^iwQy^vai, dignum habeo, dignum 
reddo, nancisci aliquid, consequi, ut consequamini felicitatem 
ceternnm." Schleusner. " A proof of the just appointment of 
God in vouchsafing to you that kingdom of God." Wakefield. 
" Counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which ye suffer. 
The sufferings you endure, you bear on account of it ; ani- 
mated by the hope of attaining it, and because you will not re- 
nounce your inheritance of it : and hereby God will manifest his 
own righteousness, and demonstrate the equity of his procedure 
in your being accounted worthy to be made possessors of it. 
For what can be a greater instance of equity in God, than that, 
as they bore their sufferings with constancy, he should reward 
their patience and fidelity, and approve himself faithful to his 
own engagements, by conferring the promised kingdom upon 
them ?" Chandler. 

In short, their worthiness consisted not in possessing a merit 
which might claim the reward as a right ,■ but in acquiring those 
qualifications to which the promise was annexed. 

* Kingdom of God.] " Not the * Christian church,' but the 
' state of future happiness intended for virtuous believers.' The 
profession of the faith and hope of the gospel was the reason, 
both why their enemies persecuted them, and of their own 
amazing patience." See Benson. 

Sect. I. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2, IJ/ 

gratulate you upon your heroic conduct ; and we ch. i. 
are continually boasting of you wherever we go, and ^^''" ^* 
holding up your example to other Christians, for 
their encouragement under similar trials. And be 
assured, my brethren, that such sufferings as yours, 
borne with such a temper and in such a cause, can- 
not fail of their proper recompense. They are them- 
selves a proper proof of a future judgement under 
the righteous government of God ; and are pre- 
paring you for a glorious station in that blessed 
and innnortal state, the lively expectation of which 
supports you under all your sufferings. 

2. God himself regards it as an act of justice, 
that sufferers should be rewarded, and persecutors 
punished ; and it is his will that this awful distinc- 
tion should take place at the final appearance of 
Jesus Christ, ver. 6 — 10. 

Forasmuch as it isjtist in the account of God^ 6. 

to recompense affiiction to those ivho afflict you, but 7. 

to you who are afflicted rest with us *, when the 
Lord Jesus shall he manifested from heaven ^. 

* Forasmuch as it is justJ] " siire^ is not a note of doubting 
but of confirmation. See Rom, viii. 9," Benson, " Forasmuch 
as it is a righteous thing with God) i. e. in his judgement and 
estimation," Chandler, 

* Rest with MS.] i. e. " the apostles and preachers of Christ." 
Chandler ; who observes, that " the word we render rest some- 
times signifies ' exemption from labour and hazard,' particularly 
of war J sometimes, ' remission from hard usage ;' sometimes, 
* the cheerful indulgence which is the effect of liberty :' q. d. 
being partakers with us in Christ's sufferings, you shall be par- 
takers with us of his glory." 

* IHien the Lord Jesus, &c.] " that is," says Dr, Chandler, 

118 Sect. I. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch.i. And lean assure you, my brethren, from the 
«r. 7. highest authority, that we are not deceived in the 
conclusions we draw from the persecutions of the 
virtuous and faithful, that there is a judgement to 
come. For the righteous God himself regards it 
as an equitable thing, and as that which the honour 
of his government requires, to protect the innocent 
sufferer, and to inflict a just retaliation upon their 
cruel persecutors. And the gospel revelation teaches 
us when this awful distinction shall take place. 

" when he shall leave for a season those heavenly mansions in 
which he now resides." " Jesus is now," says Dr. Benson, 
''in the third heavens, hid from mortal eyes." That there is 
some place in which Jesus now resides invisible to men, is an 
undoubted fact _: and tliat this place may be called heaven, if 
by heaven be meant a state of honour, activity, and happiness, 
is equally indubitable. But that there is any such place above 
the clouds which corresponds with the popular notion of hea- 
ven, where God manifests his peculiar glory, and where Je.sus 
dwells at an inconceivable distance from this world and from all 
human concerns, is highly improbable ; it is contrary to every 
correct idea of the structure of the universe, and is altogether 
destitute of proof. The apostles express themselves upon the 
subject according to the popular notions of the Jews ; but they 
never profess that they were authorized to give a sanction to those 
notions, which were crude and unphilosophical in the extreme. 
The apostle Paul probably knew nothing more and meant no- 
thing more than that, as Christ had ascended into the atmo- 
sphere, into the region of the clouds, and had there disappeared. 
Acts i. 9 ; so, at his last coming, he will again appear in the 
clouds, from whence he will descend to the seat of judgement. 
But as to his present local residence, as he knew nothing, so 
he says nothing about it. Dr. Priestley well observes, that 
" we see here, as in the former epistle, that these persecuted 
Christians are referred for their reward to the second coming of 
Christ to raise the dead and to judge the world. No hint is 
given them of any recompense between the time of death and 
the resurrection, which the apostle could never have over- 
looked if he had known of any such state." 

Vcr. 7. 

Skct.I. 11. THES salon IAN S. 2. UD 

Your oppressors shall be punished ; and you, toge- Ch. i 
ther with us, who, like you, are exposed to con- 
tituial persecution for the sake of Christ, shall enter 
upon your final and everlasting reward, on that day, 
when Jesus, our exalted chief, will appear again in 
the clouds of heaven. 

TFith the angeh of his might, in flaming fire ^, 
executing vengeance on those ivho kfioiv not Gody 
and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus 
Christ 2. These shall suffer punishment, even ever- 
lasting destruction'^, from the presence of the Lord, 

■ ' Angels of his might, in flaming fire^ Angels are any instru- 
ments, animate or inanimate, by which divine Providence exe- 
cutes its purposes. Maim, de More Nevochim, part. ii. c. 6. 42. 
The apostle uses these expressions perhaps in allusion to the 
appearance upon Mount Sinai, to heighten the ideas of his 
readers with respect to the solemnity and grandeur of the scene. 
How fiir they are to be understood literally, the event only can 
explain, and it would be fruitless to inquire. 

-' Who know not, &c.] Dr. Benson thinks, that " by 'those 
who know not God,' the apostle means heathen persecutors ; 
and by ' those who obey not the gospel,' Jews." He adds, 
" There is no doubt but Christ will at last punish professed 
Christians who have not obeyed the gospel, as well as infidels ; 
but I do not apprehend that that is said here." The word 
Xpirs is omitted in some of the most ancient manuscripts and 

' These shall suffer punishment, even everlasting destruction.'] 
Dr. Priestley observes, " that these terms, literally interpreted, 
would imply that the wicked are to be finally destroyed. But 
the term destruction is often used in scripture to denote cala- 
mity in general, and such as has its period ; and if the wicked 
be raised from the dead and continue to exist, it is not possible, 
unless the constitution of their natures be entirely changed, but 
that their sufferings will in length of time work a favourable 
change in the state of their minds, so that after an adequate 
punishment their sufferings may be remitted." Dr. Chandler 
says, " The word oXeSoo; never implies an entire extinction of 
the thinking principle ; but that in this connexion it expresses 

120 Sect. II, I. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch.i. and from the glory of his power ^^ when he shall 

Ver. 10. ^Qjj^g iji ff^^f ^^y fQ fjg glorified by his saints, and 

to be admired by all those who have believed, and 

by you particularly 2, because our testimony among 

you hath been believed. 

the entire extinction of that life which they receive at the resur- 
rection by the reunion of the soul and body." " This destruc- 
tion," says he, "this second death, shall be final and irreversi- 
ble." But what is to become of the thinking principle, the soul, 
after it has been thus finally separated from the resurrection 
body he does not say, nor how long its connexion with that 
body is to continue. 

The apostle Paul, 1 Cor. xv. 22, assures us, that all who die 
in Adam shall be made alive in Christ. But no one can doubt 
that the resurrection here announced is a resurrection to hap- 
piness : all mankind, therefore, will be raised to a life of ulti- 
mate happiness. But in the text we are told, that they will be 
punished with everlasting destruction ; which, however, a.s Dr. 
Chandler well observes, does not signify extinction of being. 
To reconcile the apostle to himself, therefore, it must mean a 
suffering that will end in happiness : q. d. The wicked shall be 
punished till he ceases to be wicked, till wickedness is de^ 
stroyed. Or, perhaps, till he himself is weary of existence : he 
shall seek for death and it shall flee from him. 

' From the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his 
power. •'^ i.e. to an exclusion from his presence: or, this pu- 
nishment will be inflicted by an act of the glorious power of 
Christ, who will then be visibly present. — " which destruction 
shall proceed from the Lord, and the fearful exertion of his glo- 
rious power." Newcome. 

• fVhe7i he shall come in that day, and by you particularly.] 
This is Dr. Benson's construction of this obscure passage, and 
it appears to me the most eligible. He observes, that the tra- 
jection of the words in that day is exactly similar to Rom. ii. 1 2, 
16 ; also that supplying the ellipsis by the words by you partim 
cularly, saves the parenthesis and makes the sense clear 
Others, however, think this construction harsh and inadmis- 

The apostle declares that the wicked shall be punished at the 
same time when Christ shall be glorified and admired in and by 
all true believers, and consequently in and by the Thessalo- 
nians , who will then, and not before, be admitted to their final 

Sect. I. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 121 

He will then appear in the awful pomp of a sove- Ch. i. 
reign and a judge, amidst lightnings and thunders, 
armed with divine power to execute the just judge- 
ments of God upon the enemies and persecutors of 
his church, whether heathen or Jews. These shall, 
in their turn, be dragged to the bar of eternal jus- 
tice, and shall hear that sentence of condemnation 
passed upon themselves which they have been so 
eager to pass upon you. And this awful sentence 
to a punishment worse than death, the intensity 
and duration of which will be far beyond all thought 
and expectation, will most assuredly be executed 
upon them to its utmost extent, by their offended 
Judge, in the exertion of those great powers which 
uill be communicated to him for that pui-pose. And 
in that tremendous day when he shall thus inflict 
vengeance upon persecutors, he shall be celebrated, 
with transports of joy and anthems of praise, by his 
chosen friends, for the faithful performance of all his 
promises; and the hearts of those who have be- 
lieved in his doctrine shall exult with grateful ad- 
miration, when they see how far the displays both 
of his mercy and his justice exceed their highest ex- 

triumph. Grotius and Chandler take sidrsvQji in the sense 
of irifsv^riasrar 7. d. Because in that day our testimony con- 
cerning you shall be believed, or will be evidently confirmed. 
Believers will admire when they see the accomplishment of 
the divine word. One copy reads sTfirca&ri' this reading Mr. 
Wakefield approves, and renders the passage thus : " When 
he is come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired on 
that day by every believer of our testimony which was esta- 
blished among you by proof." — " eo quod doctrina nostra vobis 
propodta certa reperietur illo die." RosenmuUer. 

122 Sect.I. II. THESSALONI ANS. 3. 

Ch. I. pectations. In this solemn and magnificent scene 
*^^" ' I rejoice to think that you, my friends, will bear an 
honourable and glorious part, because you gave cre- 
dit to the doctrine which we taught you, and in cir- 
cumstances of great difficulty and danger you have 
faithfully adhered to the profession of the gospel. 

3. The apostle prays that God would enable 
them to carry into effect all their pious and bene- 
volent purposes ; by which they would do honour 
to the gospel, and promote the interest of Chris- 
tianity in the world, ver. 11, 12. 

il. 2h which end we also pray for you always, that 
our God would make you luorthy of this calling, 
that he would execute with powei" every kind pur- 

12. pose of generosity'^ and work of faith, that the 
name of our Lord Jesus Christ rnay be glorified 
by you ^ and ye by hirn, according to the grace of 
our God, arid of ouv Lord Jesus Christ. 

* Every kind purpose of generosity^ Dr. Chandler observes, 
that " the word ayaSwcruvTj, though several times used in the 
New Testament, is never applied to God, but always to men ; 
and signifies the virtue of beneficence, or goodness of disposi- 
tion. He therefore renders the passage thus : " that God would 
fulfill every kind intention of generosity." Mr. Wakefield's 
translation is, " that our God would make you worthy of this 
call, and fully execute with power every intention of goodness 
and work of faith." 

' That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified by 
you. Sec.'] viz. " that when their enemies saw their exemplary 
charity, their fortitude and patience, &c. they might have a 
high veneration for him by whose name they were called, and 
be prevailed on to embrace his religion." Chandler. 

The address of the ajjostle in tliis first part of his epistle ap- 
pears to me to have escaped the notice of most expositors. The 

Skct. I. II. THESS ALONIANS. 3. 123 

And that you may not be disappointed of this ch. i. 
glorious hope, it is the subject of our earnest and ^^^' ^^' 
daily prayer for you, that God would in his great 
mercy increase and perfect your qualifications for 
that divine reward, to the expectation of which you 
are invited by the gospel. And we further pray that 
he will by his efficacious energy enable you to carry 
into complete effect all the kind and generous pur- 
poses of your hearts, and to produce those fruits of 
benevolence and good works which are the genuine 
result of a well-grounded faith in the Christian doc- 
trine. Thus by your excellent example the Chris- 
tian religion will be recommended to the notice, the 
esteem and love of your heathen neighbours ; and 
in return you will yourselves derive unspeakable be- 
nefit and everlasting honour from the profession 
and practice of this divine religion : a recompense 
which indeed neither you nor we can claim upon 
the ground of merit and of right, but which is the 
free gift of the infinite mercy of God, abounding to 

main design of the epistle is to correct the error of the Thessa- 
lonians, in supposing that the day of judgement was very near 
at hand. This error appears to have excited in their minds the' 
greatest terror and alarm, and the correction of it would have 
a tendency to lead them to the contrary extreme of careless- 
ness and security. To guard against this danger, the apostle 
states in the strongest language the certainty and solemnity of 
the event, and affectionately reminds them of their own interest 
in it. Arclibishop Nevvcomc has a similar remark : " This epi- 
stle," says he, " furnishes a remarkable instance of St. Paul's 
manner. The Thessalonians appear to have concluded that the 
day of judgement was approaching. The apostle wrote to cor- 
rect that error ; and he shows in this chapter how full his mind 
was of the subject, which he docs not directly enter on till the 
beginning of the second chapter." 

124 Sect.1I. II. THESSALONIANS. 1. 

Ch. I. true believers through Jesus Christ our Lord, whom 
Ver. 12. ]^g Y\as constituted the messenger of his grace to a 
sinful world. 


Ch. II. The apostle states and rectifies the error into 
which they had fallen concerning the immediate 
appearance of Christ to judgement ; and fore- 
tells a great apostasy which would previously 
take place. Ch. ii. 1 — 12. 

1 . The apostle cautions them against supposing 

that he had ever intended to affirm that the day 

of judgement was to take place immediately, ver. 


Ver. 1. Now we intreat yoUy brethren, concerning^ the 

appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our as- 

2. sembling unto him 2, that ye be not hastily shaken 

from your right mind^, nor greatly alarmed^, as 

» Concerning, &c.] This is very generally allowed to be the 
proper interpretation of vitsp in this connexion, where it seems 
to be used for irspi, which is indeed the reading of two manu- 
sci-ipts. See Griesbach. 

• Our assembling, &c.] " our being raised from the dead to 
stand before his tribunal." Newcome. This is not exactly the 
idea : the Thessalonians expected the immediate appearance of 
Christ, and consequently that they should be summoned into 
his presence without dying. 

' Shaken from your right mind.'] SaXeow is used of ships that 
are tossed by the waves : either " be not so agitated as to lose 

Sect. II. II. T H E S S A LO N I A N S. I. 12i 

though we hy the spirit had taught or written 5 that Ch. ii. 
the day of the Lord is instantly coming^, 

I am concerned to hear that you have by some 
means fallen into a very great mistake with respect 
to that most solemn and certain event, the public 
appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ to raise the 
dead, and to convene all the tribes, and every indi- 
vidual of mankind, to his tribunal, to receive their 
final and awful sentence from his lips ; and that 
you expect this great event to happen in the course 
of a few months. I am further informed that it is 
reported among you that I am the author of this 
persuasion, and that it is in consequence of some- 
thing which I have said, or written, under the im- 
mediate influence of inspiration, that this alarming 
expectation has been excited. It is by no means 

the quiet possession of your minds, or to be moved from the true 
sense of my words in a former letter." Chandler. 

* Greatly alarmed.'] dposia-Qoci, to speak, to sound, to be struck 
with terror. Hesychius. — " strepitu percellor, acperterrefio, a 
^pvos, clamor tumultuantium." Schleusner. " It expresses 
surprise and trouble at the report of disagreeable news. Matt, 
xxiv. 6, Mark xiii. 7." Chandler. 

* Js though we by the spirit had taught or written.'] Lite- 
rally, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as from us. 
Spirit is often used for inspiration, 1 John iv. 1, 6. This was 
the report which alarmed them, that the apostle by inspiration 
had declared or written, &c. 

" That the day of the Lord is instantly coming.] The best 
copies read Lord for Christ .- see Griesbach. f^'^ill come in- 
stantly : " svsrr/Ksy, quasi instet dies Christi : nempe hoc anno : 
instare dicitur quod jam prcesens est. Rom. v'm. 38; I Cor. iii. 22, 
vii. 26 ; Gal. i. 4 j Heb. ix. 9." Grotius. " that the day was 
now instantly coming." Chandler. " They might possibly 
apprehend that Christ would come in a few months, weeks, or 
days ; and it was of very great moment to rectify that mis- 
take." Benson. 

126 Sect. II. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch. II. surprising that such intelligence should have excited 
^'" in your minds the utmost consternation. But I in-* 
treat you, my brethren, to calm your spirits ; for I 
solemnly assure you, that how firmly soever I may 
believe, and how earnestly soever I may desire to 
inculcate, the certainty, the solemnity, and the 
speedy approach of the appearance of Christ, and 
whatever strong expressions I may have used in my 
last epistle, which you may have interpreted in too 
literal a sense, or whatever reports may have been 
circulated by others concerning me, I never did de- 
clare, or believe, that this great day was so near at 
hand as you now apprehend. 

2. He assures them that a remarkable apostasy 

would first take place, the characteristic symptoms 

of which he particularly describes, ver. 3, 4. 

3. Let no one deceive you^ by any means ; for the. 

apostasy must first come^, and the man ofsin^ be 

' Let no one deceive j/om.] It is possible that the error of the 
Thessalonians might have originated in a misconception of the- 
apostle's own strong language in his first epistle, ch. iv. 15, 
V. 2 — 4 ; and that rumours once propagated might be exagge- 
rated without any intention to deceive. But the advice here, 
connected with the particular direction at the close of the epi- 
stle, ch. iii. 17, how to distinguish a genuine from a spurious- 
letter, may perhaps justify the suspicion that some one had 
forged an epistle in the apostle's name. See Benson. 

• The a-postasy must first come.] See Mr. Wake/ield. The 
expression in the original is elliptical : on sxv ^tj e aO^; y] airo- 
ra-a-ioc Ttpwtdv. " For, that day will not come, unless there 
come a falling away first." So Archbishop Newcome. The 
a])ostasy. The article seems to imply that it was an event 
which he had mentioned to the Thessalonians before, ver. 5. 
" The word signifies," says Chandler, " ' a hostile sei>aration- 

Sect. II. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 127 

revealed, that son of perdition who setteth himself ch. ii. 
in opposition to, and exalteth himself above, every ^^'' * 

of one part of a nation from another/ ' rebellion against a 
prince,' or, ' a mutinous revolt of soldiers against their gene- 
ral.' In tliis place it apparently means a revolt from God." 
RosenmuUer, in his notes upon this chapter, after having stated 
the opinion of Hammond, who considered Gnosticism as the 
great apostasy, and Simon Magus as the man of sin — of Schoet- 
genius, who understood the revolt of the Jews as the apostasy^ 
and the pharisees and rabbis who provoked the revolt as the 
man of sin — of Grotius, who believed Caligula to be the man of 
sin, and the wickedness and impiety of his reign to be the apo- 
stasy — of Wetstein, who interprets the apostasy, of the civil 
wars of Galba, Otho, and V-itellius, and the man of sin, of Titus 
V'espasian, and the Flavian tamily — and of Koppe, who sup- 
poses that the apostle alludes to Dan. xi. 36, and to prophecies 
then current of calamities M'hich should precede the reign of 
the Messiah, declares his own judgement to be in favour of 
Noesseltus, who interprets the day of the Lord, as referring to 
the destruction of Jerusalem, the apostasy, to the revolt of the 
Jews, and the man of sin, to the false prophets and Messiahs, 
who urged them on to revolt ; and particularly to the zealots, 
of whose impieties and cruelties during the siege of Jerusalem, 
Josephus has given so affecting a description. And he sup- 
poses that he who restrained the apostasy, was Claudius, du- 
ring whose reign the Jews remained quiet. This whole doc- 
trine it is believed that the apostle learned from the prophecy 
of Christ in the evangelists. That the apostle alluded to Christ's 
more awful appearance to judge the world, this critic does not 
deny ; especially as it appears that our Lord's prophecy in Mat- 
thew terminates with a description of the final judgement. But 
he makes no distinction between the two events in this pas- 
sage, either because the Thessalonians did not distinguish 
them, or that he himself confounded them. " Conjungit Pau- 
las mentionem utriusque adventus sive quod sciret ulrumque a 
Judceis, quales fuerunt Thessalonicenses, millo modo discerni, 
sed unum in tempus conjici, sive quod ipse tempus nesciret." ■ 

The great objection to this hypothesis is. Why need the 
Thessalonians give themselves so much concern about the re- 
volt of the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem ? He an- 
swers, that all their trouble and persecution came from the 
Jews : " habebatque mcximam vim ad animos Thcssalonicensium 
('liristianoruin iranquillandos denuiiciatio, fore ut Romani Jn- 

128 Sect. n. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

one that is entitled 
placeth hijnself in 
himself as a god 2. 

Ch. II. one that is entitled divine or august ', so that he 
***"■ ■ placeth hijnself in the temple of God, exhibiting 

decorum furore lacessiti horum sedliionem ulciscerentur, contra 
Christiani, lahef aetata JudcRorum wipotentia liberarentur a per- 
petud Judceorum vexatione." 

But why then regard this event with terror rather than ex- 
ultation ? The answer to this will hardly be deemed satisfac- 
tory : " guum id quod inopinatum accklat, celeriterque oppri- 
mat animurn, terrihile videri soleat." The suddenness of the 
event, however desirable, excited consternation. The words 
J<a •rrvsvy.aroi, ver. 2, Noesseltus and Rosenmuller refer to our 
Lord's prophecy, Matt. xxiv. 

' The man of sin.] Dr. Benson, in his admirable Dissertation 
upon the Man of Sin, has stated and well confuted various in- 
terpretations Avhich have been given to this prophecy, and in 
common with most protestant expositors, he explains it of the 
papal power. His arguments are irrefragable as far as they go. 
But I agree with Mr. Evanson, in his Letter to the Bishop of 
Worcester, that the antichristian power is by no means limited 
to the church of Rome, but that it extends to all civil establish- 
ments of a corrupt Christianity, of which the papal power forms 
only one, though a veiy conspicuous, feature. The eastern as 
well as the western, the protestant as well as the popish churches, 
are included in this comprehensive symbol ; and, if I am not 
mistaken, it will easily appear to an attentive observer, how 
much more correctly and literally the prophecy is accomplished 
when applied to this object, and explained upon this large 
scale, than upon any other interpretation. The man of sin : 
" one who was to commit all sort of wickedness himself, and 
to lead others into sin." So Dr. Chandler, from a Greek com- 
mentator, which is the sense adopted by almost all expositors ; 
but I conceive without sufficient reason. In the language of 
the New Testament, sin &ign\&es heathenism ; and sm«ers are 
heathen idolaters. Publicans and sinners are tax-gatherers and 
heathen. The woman who washed and anointed our Lord's 
feet was a sinner, Luke vii. 37 : i. e. probably a notorious ido- 
later. See Gal. ii. 15, " sinners of the Gentiles." The words 
man of sin, therefore, are probably intended to express that 
the apostate church would be an idolatrous power. 

" There have been various interpretations," says Dr. Priest- 
ley, " of this famous prophecy ; but I cannot help thinking 
that the application of it to those corruptions of Christianity 

Sect. 11. 11. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 129 

Let no person mislead you intentionally, or ch. ir. 
otherwise, by pretending to any authority from me ^•^^•'^• 
to contradict the doctrine which I plainly taught 
you from the first. For I now repeat the assurance 
which I then gave you, that near and certain as the 
appearance of our Lord is, it will be preceded by 
another very remarkable event : a general and al- 

that we cM popish, and to that astonishing usurpation of power 
by the bishops of Rome, is by much the most easy and natural. 
That the apostles had an historical knowledge of the fulfilment 
of this prophecy, is not probable. The real use of prophecy re- 
spects those who see the accomplishment of it." 

' IVho exalteth himself above every one entitled divine or au- 
gust.'] ©fovij o-£?ao-fx,a,godor emperor. " SsfaT-jw-a, omnem rem 
sacram, quae sanct^ et cum religione colitur, signijicat, 2 Thess. 
ii. 4. Deorum omnium, omnisque divini cultus, superlms cou' 
tenitor, ut Koppiusrecte transtulit. Quern Wctstenius {N. T. T. 
ii. p. 3 10.) Titum, sive domum Flaviam, non autem ut aliis visum 
est Pontificem Romanum, aut Caium, aut Simonem Magum, esse 
arbitratur." Schleusner. 

Civil magistrates are called gods ; august, a-stocirjj.ix,, alludes 
to the title of the Roman emperor. Acts xxv. 2o. It means that 
the antichristian power should set up itself as a rival to, and 
even claim superiority over, the civil power, not even excepting 
that of the emperor himself. A fact sufficiently notorious in 
the history of mankind. 

• So that he placeth himself in the temple of God.] The re- 
ceived text reads, " he places himself as God; but the words cu; 
dsw, as a God, are not found in the most ancient manuscripts 
and versions, and are properly omitted by Griesbach and New- 
come. The temple of God is the Christian church, 1 Cor. iii. 
9, 16, 17 ; 1 Tim. iii. 15 5 1 Pet. ii. 5 5 Rev. iii. 12. Such 
was the interpretation of the ancient Christian writers. See 
Benson. Exhibiting himself as God: i.e. though professing 
to be an ecclesiastical power, he usurps and exercises civil au- 
thority. " The word Koc5i<rai," says Chandler, " should have 
been translated he seateth or placeth himself; it denotes inso- 
lent and violent intrusion. And the word that we render show, 
should have been translated publicly declaring himself that he is 
a God, contrary to all law, reason, and truth." 


130 Sect. II. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 3. 

Ch. II. most total apostasy from the purity of the Christian 
^'* * faith, and from the meekness and humility of the 
Christian spirit. Little as you may expect it, a 
formidable idolatrous power will make its appear- 
ance ; which, after having proved the ruin of mul- 
titudes, will itself in the end be totally extermi- 
nated. This singular power will set itself in vio- 
lent opposition to, and will upon every occasion 
exalt itself above, the civil, and even the imperial 
authority. And in the temple of the true God, in 
the Christian church itself, in which ftone but spi- 
ritual authority, the authority of reason and revela- 
tion, ought ever to be exercised, this wicked demon 
will insolently intrude itself, usurping and openly 
and avowedly exercising civil authority, for purposes 
the most unjust and oppressive. 

3. The apostle reminds them that he had com- 
municated this information to them before he left 
them, and that he had likewise told them by what 
circumstances the immediate appearance of this 
apostasy was prevented, ver. 5 — 7. 

6. Remember ye 7iot, that whilst I was yet with 
you I told you these things ? 

Do you not recollect, that while I was personally 
labouring among you, I plainly stated all these things 
upon divine authority ? and could you suppose it pos- 
sible that I should now teach a different doctrine ? 

6. Andyeknoiu what restraineth now\ that he 

* Ye know what restraineth now.'] The apostle means the Ro- 
man power. This he had explained to tiie Thessalonians when 

Skct. II. II. TH ESS ALO N I AN S. 4. 131 

may not he revealed till his proper time 2. For the Ch. 11. 
mystery of iniquity is already inwardly ivorking'^^ ^^' '' 
only till he luho noiv restraineth it shall be removed 
out of the way ^. 

And if you recollect yourselves, you will remem- 
ber that I told you what that other power now ex- 
isting is which prevents the immediate appearance 
of this antichristian power, and keeps it back till 
the time destined for the public manifestation of it. 
For, to say the truth, much of this corrupt and over- 
bearing spirit already exists in the church, but at 
present it works privately, and is kept under re- 
straint ; and so it will continue to be, till the abo- 
lition of that power which at present keeps it in 

4. The apostle mentions some further particu- 

he was with them. At present he only hints at it ; that he may 
not lay himself open to the charge of disloyalty and disaffec- 
tion to the Roman government. See Newcome. " This," says 
Dr. Benson, " was the opinion of all the ancient commentators 
both Greek and Latin." 

* That he may not, &c.] " Literally, ' to the end that he 
may be revealed in/ &c." Newcome. 

^ Is already inwardly working.'] So Macknight. Even in the 
apostolic age the Christian doctrine began to be corrupted by 
the Gnostics and Docetse, and an ambitious spirit began to 
show itself very early ; but it was, in a great measure, kept 
under, while Rome was under heathen emperors. 

* Only till he, &c.] So Dr. Chandler ; who maintains that 
there is no ellipsis. Mr. Wakefield's version is, " but he who 
now hindereth must be removed, and then," &c. Chrysostom 
says. When the Roman empire shall be taken away, then shall 
the man of sin comej when that shall be overthrown, he shall 
invade the vacant seat, and attempt the empire both of man 
and God." Benson. 

132 Sect. II, II. T H E S S AL O N I A N S. 4. 

Ch. 11. lars concerning the character, the progress, and the 
termination of the apostate power, ver. 8 — 10. 

Ver. 8. And then ahall that lawless one he revealed^ y 
whom the Lord Jesus ivill consume with the breath 
of his mouth, and ivill disable with the manifestation 
of his presence^. 

' That lawless one, &c.] o avoju-o;. " who sets himself up 
above all laws, human and divine." Chandler. Grotius, who 
interprets the man of sin, of the emperor Caligula, under- 
stands the person here predicted of Simon Magus, He is sin- 
gular in his opinion. Expositors almost universally regard the 
whole description as relating to one and the same object, the 
antichristian power. Protestant interpreters commonly apply 
the description to the church of Rome j but it is more appli- 
cable to the establishment of a a corrupt and persecuting Chris- 
tianity by the civil power, in the reign of Constantine the 
Great. This took place, agreeably to the language of the pro- 
phecy, immediately upon the downfall of the Pagan empire, 
whereas popery, properly so called, did not commence till some 
centuries afterwards, as protestants themselves allow. And 
why, indeed, should one apostasy be foretold rather than an- 
other ? why the corrupt, persecuting, idolatrous establishments 
of the West, rather than those of the East ? Aye, why the apo- 
state, usurping, oppressive Catholic, rather than the apostate, 
persecuting, Protestant church, of every description, almost 
without exception ? for all, when in power, have been equally 
intolerant ; all have made themselves drunk with the blood of 
the martyi's of Jesus j all have bound upon the necks of those 
whom Christ made free, an iron yoke grievous to be borne ; all 
have enforced their respective creeds by pains and penalties ; 
all have propped up their disjointed fabrics by fraud and false- 
hood, by fine and imprisonment, by torments and death ; and 
if Popery has slain its ten thousands. Protestantism may at least 
boast of having slain its thousands. 

Wherever, therefore, a church professing Christianity exists, 
wielding the power of the state to establish and support its own 
corrupt, unscriptural, and idolatrous system, there is a limb of 
the great apostasy ; there, in the temple of God, sits the man 
of sin, exalting himself above all that is called God's, whose 
coming is according to the operation of Satan, and whom the 
Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, and con- 
sume with the brightness of his appearance. 

StxT. II. II. THESS ALONI ANS. 4. 133 

When this restraining power shall be overthrown, ch. ii. 
then, as I before told you, that apostate power which ^*'"' ^' 
will act in opposition to the laws both of God and 
man, will immediately discover itself. But be as- 
sured, that whatever character it may affect, or what- 
ever tyranny it may exercise, its duration shall be 
limited. It may prevail to a degree of enormity 
beyond what could possibly have been expected, but 
error, idolatry, and violence, shall gradually recede 
before the progressive influence of the doctrine of 
Christ, and this formidable phantom shall vanish 
and disappear before the glorious and irresistible 

' Whom the Lord Jesus will consume, &c.] Tlie word Jesus 
is inserted by Griesbach upon the best authorities. avaXwffcr 
" This word," says Dr. Chandler, " is generally used of a gra- 
dual consumption : viz. ' the waste of time j' ' the consumption 
of an estate ;' or, ' being devoured by worms ;' by "^ the breath 
of his mouth,' he understands, ' the doctrine ef the gospel,' 
which first dooms him to destruction, and then gradually ac- 
complishes it. Rev. xix. 15, Isa. xl. 4.*' xatapyrjosi, he ex- 
plains, to render ineffectual, to strip him of his authority and 
power by means of a superior force. See Ezra iv. 21, 23, v. 5, 
vi. 8 ; and by the coming of Christ he understands, " the clear 
manifestation of his doctrine, and the prevalence of it among 
mankind." This interpretation appears to be very rational, 
and has been adopted in the paraphrase. It may perhaps be 
thought an objection to it that the best copies for avxXwosi 
read avB\si, which expresses rather a sudden and forcible, than 
a gradual removal. See Griesbach. See Grot, in ver. 7. Some 
understand the expression, of the facility with which Christ will 
destroy the man of sin at his appearance. Comp. Ps. xxxiii. 6, 9. 
So Benson. " This may refer to some signal overthrow of the 
papal dominion before the day of judgement." Nevvcome. See 
Rev. xvlii. xx., which many suppose to refer to the same event. 
Others again think that the apostle refers to the coming of 
Christ to judgement, and that the apostasy will continue to that 
time. The event alone will fully explain the prophecy. Dr. 
Benson observes, that "^ the latter part of this verse should be 
inclosed in a parenthcsi."." 

134 Sect. II. II, T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 4. 

Ch.ii. light of evangelical truth. So that, antecedently to 
""■ ■ the appearance of Christ to judgement, this great 
apostasy shall be destroyed, and the pure un cor- 
rupted principles of the gospel shall universally 
prevail. In the mean time great evils and disor- 
ders will arise from the temporary ascendency of 
the antichristian power. 
3- Even him ivhose coming is according io the ope- 
ration of Satan^, with all false miracles and signs 
10- and tvonders 2, and wit! i all iniquitous deceit among 
those that are lost 3, because they received not the 
love of the truth that they might escape^. 

' According to the operation of Satan ] Satan is a word of 
various import both in the Old Testament and the New. It 
signiiies opposition; and is often put for the principle of op- 
position personified, Matt. xvi. 23. In Luke x. 18, it plainly 
signifies the heathen idolatrous power, which was to recede ra- 
pidly before the light of the gospel. Kev. ii. 13, " thou dwell- 
cst where Satan's seat is." Here it signifies the idolatrous per- 
secuting power. See also Luke xxii. 31. In Rev. xii. 10, xx. 2 
and 7, it seems to be used for the antichristian persecuting power, 
and in that sense it appears to me to be used here. The 
man of sin, the lawless one who was to be displayed imme- 
diately after the heathen empire was overthrown, was to be 
both an idolatrous and a persecuting power, and was to use the 
same methods, both of fraud and violence, to impose upon and 
to mislead those who were indifferent to truth, which had been 
used by heathen and idolatrous persecutors. This was noto- 
riously the case with that corrupt Christianity which was sup- 
ported by the civil power under Constantine, and with all cor- 
rupt establishments of Christianity to the present day, of every 
description, and in all parts of the world. 

' With all false miracles, &c.] " The word 4>£vSys .seems 
equally to belong to all the foregoing substantives." ^Vakefield. 

^ Those that are lost.} " in a state of final perdition, while 
guilty of religious im])Osture." Newcome. But I think the ex- 
pression refers to the deceived rather than to the deceivers ; and 
that it denotes their being lost to the Christian religion, rather 

Sect. II. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 5. \o5 

The power to which I allude is an idolatrous ch.ii. 
power, exalting itself in the Christian church, and 
armed with civil authority ; and, like other heathen 
superstitions, it will endeavour to support itself by 
persecution, and by false pretences to miraculous 
powers, to arts of sorcery, and other gross delusions, 
which may impose upon the understandings of the 
weak and ignorant. — And these impostures will 
have great effect upon a race of men who, while they 
profess the Christian name, will be utter strangers 
to the genuine principles and spirit of the Christian 
religion ; and who will have fallen into this wretched 
state in consequence of a criminal indifference to 
truth, and a disgraceful neglect of those important 
doctrines, an habitual and practical regard to which 
would have preserved them from so shameful a de- 

5. The apostle further declares, that this delu- 
sion should be permitted to prevail, as a just pu- 
nishment of professing Christians for their indif- 
ference to truth, ver. 11, 12. 

than their exclusion from final salvation ; for no doubt there 
are many virtuous characters, even in the most corrupt church, 
as there also were even in the heathen world. 

* They received not the love of the truth that they might 
escape:'] i. e. that they might escape from apostasy and from 
those delusions of the vian of sin, from which the love of truth 
would effectually have preserved them. To be saved, in this con- 
nexion, no more relates io final salvation, than to be lost in the 
preceding clause relates io final perdition. Dr. Chandler justly 
observes, that " an upright, honest regard to truth and right- 
eousness is the surest preservative in the world against destruc- 
tive errors." Sec also Benson on ver. 11. 

136 Skct. II. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 5. 

Ch. II. And for this reason, God will send them cu 

^^ 12. ^^^^ghty delusion ^, to believe that lying power 2, to 

the end that^ all might he condemned'^ who he- 

lieved not the truth, but took pleasure in iniquity ^. 

' God will send them a mighty delusion.'] " will permit to 
prevail among them, not overruling second causes." Nevi^come ; 
who renders the clause, " a mighty working of error." " such 
effectual delusion." Wakefield. It means a delusion of the gross- 
est kind, which shall induce them to believe the most palpable 
absurdities and falsehoods, and to receive them as fundamental 
doctrines of Christianity. 

* Thai lying power.] So Wakefield. They would not embrace 
the sacred truth of the gospel, and therefore they must entertain 
that error, those false and lying doctrines which were contraiy 
to and subversive of it. 

' To the end that^ " ha, in this verse expresses the pvent." 

* Might be condemned.'] " judged and condemned by the 
righteous sentence of God." Chandler. 

^ Who took pleasure in iniquity^ " in such deceit." Wake- 
field. " The word signifies, * entirely to approve and acquiesce 
in any thing as matter of their clioice, and perfectly agreeable 
to them." Chandler, 

Dr. Chandler adds, " I think it is impossible we should be 
lit a loss how or where to apply this prophecy. Every part of 
it is such a perfect description of the papacy of the church of 
Rome, that if St. Paul had been alive, and seen the usurpation, 
and pride, and apostasy of that See, he could scarce have de- 
scribed it in stronger and in livelier colours, or by more pecu- 
liar and distinguishing characteristics, than he hath done in the 
prophecy before us." It cannot indeed be denied that the 
church of Rome is a very considerable branch of the apostate 
church ; but it is not the whole of it. And there are other 
churches, nearer home, which if the apostle Paul had visited, 
it is much to be feared that he would have found even in them, 
both in doctrine and in practice, too near a resemblance to that 
corrupt idolatrous doctrine, and that arrogant persecuting spirit, 
which was to characterize the a|)Ostasy of the latter days. 

There is no reason to regard establishments as such, that is, 
the protection and encouragement of Christianity by the civil 
magistrate, as constituting a mark of the apostate church. 
Those establishments only are atitichrisliau which support coi- 

Sect. II. II. THESSALONIANS. 5. 13/ 

A practical belief of the genuine doctrines of the ch. ii. 
gospel is, as I have just observed, the great preser- ^^^' ^^' 
vative from error and vice, and indifference to truth 
lies at the foundation of all the future corruptions 
of the Christian religion, both in faith and practice. 
As a just punishment for this want of enlightened 
and active zeal, God will permit so strong a spirit 
of delusion to possess the apostate church, that men 
professing Christianity will openly reject its most 
obvious and salutaiy truths, and greedily imbibe the 
most gross, palpable, and pernicious errors. The 
consequence of which will be proportionate depra- 
vity of morals ; which, with regard to multitudes, will 
terminate in just and insupportable punishment. 

rupt doctrine and idolatrous worship : such as that of Jesus 
Christ, the holy spirit, the Virgin Mary, and other dead men 
and women ; and above all, when these corrupt doctrines and 
heathenish practices are enforced by pains and penalties and 
persecutions. This completes the character of the vian of sm. 
And to say the truth, there are many churches not established 
by law, who exhibit as much of the spirit of the apostate church 
as popery ever did. What can we think of those wiio in the 
seventeenth century, when petitioning for their own toleration, 
expressly stipidated that their Antitrinitarian brethren should 
be excluded ? Or of their descendants in the present day, who 
while applying for the repeal of persecuting statutes which bear 
bard upon themselves, insist that chains much heavier than 
their own shall continue to bind the consciences of catholics ? 
If this be not the spirit of antichrist, it is hard to say what is. 



Ch. II. The jpostle expresses his gratitude to God for 
their election and invitation to the privileges 
of the Gospel ; exhorts them to stcdfastness ; 
offers his prayers for theniy and requests theirs 
for himself atid his associates, and declares his 
entire confidence in their good principles and vir- 
tuous resolutions . — Ch. ii. J 3 — ill. 8. 

1. The apostle gives thanks to God for their 
election, and for their invitation to participate in the 
privileges and hlessings of the gospel, ver. 13, 14. 
Ver. 13. But lue ought^ alwaijs to give thanks to God on 

' But ice ought, &c.] The apostle having denounced the 
judgements of God upon those who througli indifference to 
truth had exposed, or would expose, themselves to gross and 
pernicious dt^lusions, proceeds to comfort the Thessalonians, by- 
assuring them that they were not the persons to whom he al- 
luded ; and by expressing his confidence in their adherence to 
the Christian doctrine. The apostle speaks of them as beloved 
of God, in the Jewish sense of the words, as being distinguished 
by privileges : see Rom. ix. 13. They were chosen from the be- 
ginning, as having been selected to receive the benefit of the 
gospel soon after its first publication in Macedonia. Acts xvii., 
1 Thess. ii. 2. They were chosen to salvation, or rather to deli- 
verance: see ver. 10. i.e. to a deliverance from idolatry and 
vice. This was accomplished by belief of the truth, i. e. by a 
profession of faith in Christ ; and by sanctification of the Spirit, 
or a visible separation from the unbelieving world by the gifts 
of the holy spirit. Rom. viii. 15 — 17. Being thus chosen, they 
were by the preaching of the apostles invited to the profession 
of the gospel 3 and the great design of all wa.s, that they might 

Sect. III. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. I. 139 

your account^ brethren beloved by the Lord, he- Ch. ir. 
caitse God hath from the beginning chosen you to 
salvation^ through sanctification of the spirit ^^, and 
belief in the truth: unto which he hath invited you Ver. 14. 
through our gospel, to obtain the glory of our Lord 
J'esus Christ. 

Think not, my dear brethren, who are most 
highly favoured by God, that it is my intention to 
represent you as in the number of those who will 
be. justly condemned because of their indifference 
to truth. On the contrary, I continually thank God 
on your account, as I am in duty bound, that it was 
his pleasure to select you among the first of your 
countrymen to be rescued from the bondage of ig- 
norance and idolatry, to be consecrated to himself 
and separated from your heathen neighbours by 
your profession of the Christian faith, and your par- 
ticipation pf the gifts of the holy spirit : and our 

obtain final happiness, the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, that 
of which he is now in possession, and which he has promised 
to bestow. — Tlius we see how Utile mystery there is in the apo- 
stle's doctrine, if his expressions are interpreted in a fair and 
proper sense, and how little foundation is laid in the scriptures 
for the strange doctrines of absolute and unconditional election 
and reprobation by an eternal and arbitrary decree. See Chand- 
ler and Benson. 

' Sanctification of the spirit!] " Kyi\)\i.a, denotat ilia dona 
spiritus, quibus Tliessalonicenses convicti de veritate, et emendati 
mente fuerunt, ipsa doctrina Cliristi, quae, quoniam perfectior est 
lege Mosaica, scepe in N. T. ttvsvy.a, appellatur." Rosenmuller. 
So Wakefield, by a spiritual purification. More correctly, as I 
think. Dr. Chandler : " by the spirit in his extraordinary giftn 
God gave them the assurance that he had accepted them : this 
wa.s the wonderful evidence and sure token that God had sanc- 
tified, and separated them to himself." 

140 Sect. III. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 

Ch. II. gratitude is still further enhanced by the recollec- 
tion that we ourselves were honoured as the mes- 
sengers to communicate to you the glad tidings of 
the gospel, and to invite you to enter into the Chris- 
tian community; the privileges of which, if duly 
improved, will ensure your ultimate admission into 
that everlasting state of glory and felicity which 
Jesus our master has revealed, of which he, as our 
forerunner, is already in possession, and into which 
he will finally introduce all his faithful followers. 

2. The apostle exhorts them to stedfastness in 
their profession of the gospel, and prays for their 
establishment in it, ver. 15 — 1/. 
15. Therefore^ brethren, stand Jirvi\ and holdfast^ 
the lessons^ which you have been taught by us, 
whether by discourse or by letter. 

Possessed of these privileges, and animated by 
these hopes, let no consideration induce you to for- 
feit your glorious prize. Whatever assaults may be 
made upon your faith and virtue, stand fast ; hold 
firm, and do not for a moment abandon those pre- 

^ StancJ firm.'] rrjKsre. "This word," says Dr. Chandler, 
" is used to denote great firmness, constancy, and resolution, 
in maintaining our purposes, standing unmovably against, and 
vigorously resisting, all opposition." 

^Holdfast.'] K^atEirs. " It signifies to hold %con7M(?s<, and 
firmly to maintain what we have in possession." Chandler. 

^ The lessons.'] irapaSocrsig. " It sometimes signifies unwrit- 
ten traditions, transmitted from generation to generation. Here 
it cannot have that sense, and would more properly have been 
rendered institutions or doctrines." Chandler. So Wakefield. 
" the truthsj whether respecting doctrines or facts." Nevvcome. 

Sect. III. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. 141 

clous truths which we taught you when present, Ch. IL 
and have written to you since we departed, and 
which lie at the foundation of all our immortal ex- 

A^ow may our Lord Jesus Christ himself^, and 16. 
God even our Father ^ who hath loved us, aiid gra- 
ciously given ^ us everlasting consolation and good 
hope, encourage your hearts and establish you in 17- 

eve^-y good doctrine and ivork. 

Persevere, my Christian friends, and may our 
lord and master Jesus Christ assist you by his doc- 
trine, by his example, by his promises, and by the 
gift of his spirit. And may the great God himself, 
his Father and our Father, who has approved his 
paternal affection towards us by freely and gra- 
tuitously imparting to us the rich consolations and 
everlasting hopes of the gospel, grant his blessing 
to your virtuous efforts, encourage and comfort you 
amidst perils and sufferings, establish your faith in 
the doctrine of the gospel, and render that faith 

* May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, &c.] " This is only an- 
other mode of praying that these Christians may obtain all the 
blessings of the gospel of which Christ is the founder ; and the 
expression is not to be understood literally, as if Christ had 
himself immediate access to the hearts of men, and admini- 
stered consolation to them. Indeed God himself does this only 
by means of natural causes : by such knowledge as is naturally 
adapted to produce that effect. In like manner, God gives us 
our daily bread, but not in a miraculous way." Priestley. — 
Chandler and Benson understand this as a direct prayer to 

' Graciously given.'] So Wakefield. " by the gospel 

scheme has inspired us with eternal consolation." Harwood. 

142 Sect. III. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 3, 

Cb. II. abundantly productive of the fruits of iioliness and 

Ver, 17 

universal virtue. 

3. The apostle requests that they would pray for 
his protection and success, ch. iii. ver. 1, 2. 
Ch. III. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the doctrine 
of the Lord may run and be glorified^, even as 
2. among you^: and that ive may be delivered from 
inconsistent^ and wicked men; for all are not 

* Run and be glorified.'} " an allusion to the races in the an- 
cient games, in which he who ran with the greatest speed ob- 
tained the most honourable prize. The apostle prays that the 
gospel may spread through the nations with the greatest speed, 
that it might obtain the crown of success." Chandler. " may 
have free course." Newcome. " that the doctrine of the Lord 
may continue running and gaining glory." Wakefield. 

' Even as among you!] " This is giving them the highest 
commendation, and speaking of them in the most respectful 
manner." Chandler. 

' From inconsistent, &c.] aroifusv. " Tliere is scarcely any 
English word," says Dr. Chandler, " which exactly answers it. 
The ancient glossaries variously expound it, by wicked, filthy, 
strange, lawless, irrational, absurd. It signifies something which 
has not place ; and, by an easy figure, what is absurd, indecent, 
unbecoming, and excites surprise.'" The expression here is, as 
he observes, " perfectly agreeable to the place before us ;" as 
the apostle refers probably to converted Jews, who endeavoured 
to depreciate his character, and oppose his doctrine, whose con- 
duct therefore was peculiarly inconsistent, and might justly ex- 
cite surprise. The apostle was at Corinth when he wrote this 
epistle, where a formidable party was soon formed against him, 
at the head of which was some eloquent judaizing Christian ; 
and he might already discover with pain the symptoms of this 
bad spirit in the Corinthian church. Indeed it is certain that 
he did observe it ; which was the reason that he conducted him- 
self there with peculiar caution, and refused to receive any 
remuneration for his services. 2 Cor. xii. 13, xi. 9 — 12. 

* All are not faithful:] Literally, all men have not faith ; 

Sect. III. 11. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 4. HPj 

Upon this subject little remains to be added. I Ch. iir. 
request your prayers for myself and ray associates 
in the ministry, that we may not labour in vain : 
but that the gospel of Christ, which we preach, 
may advance with a rapid and glorious career, and 
that it may be as successful here at Corinth and in 
other places as it has been at Thessalonica, and 
may produce the same effects of love and good 
works amongst others which it produces among 
you. And pray likewise for us, that the object of 
our ministry may not be defeated by those absurd 
and inconsistent professors of Christianity, who 
from prejudice, or pride, or other bad motives, op- 
pose our doctrine and depreciate our character. 
For, strange as it may seem, persons of this descrip- 
tion are not uncommon among us, and men pro- 
fessing to be believers in Christ, are in fact enemies 
to Christian truth, and to those who teach it. 

4. He expresses his cheerful hope that by the 
assistance of Christ they will adhere faithfully to 
the doctrines and the precepts of the gospel, ver. 

Bui the Lor d^ is faithful who will establish yon ^ 3. 

a frivolous observation, if he meant only to say, " that all were 
not believers :" but very pertinent and much to his purpose if 
he intended to assert that, " though they professed to believe, 
they were not faithful to his doctrine." See Chandler j who 
renders the words, " credit, or trust, is not due to all." 

^ The hord^ I am inclined to think, with most expositors, 
that Christ is the person here intended ; and that, by a figure 
of speech, he is said to do that which is accomplished by his 
doctrine and promises. 

144 Sect. III. II. T H E S S A L O N' I A N S. 4. 

Ch. in. and preserve you from the evil one ' . And we have 

^'■- '*• confidence in the Lord^ concerning you, that ye 

both perform and will perform what ive enjoin you, 

B. And may the Lord direct your hearts unto the love 

of God, and the patience of Christ 3. 

It is however a satisfaction to think, that though 
men are treacherous Christ is faithful. His doc- 
trines are true : his promises shall be fulfilled to 
their utmost extent : his gospel shall support you 
under all your trials : it shall keep you from sink- 
ing in the season of persecution : it shall preserve 
you from apostasy, and from returning to your for- 
mer subjection to the powers of darkness. And in- 
deed I am fully persuaded that you are so firmly 
attached to the principles of the gospel, that you 
will continue to comply cheerfully with all my apo- 

' From the evil one.] r» TTovryoa. See Chandler and Wake- 
field : i. e. will preserve you from apostasy ; from returning 
again to ihe dominion and empire of Satan, the symbolical mo- 
narch of the unbelieving world, whose authority you renounced 
when you became the subjects of Christ. The evil one, the 
devil, Satan : i. e. " the adversaries of the gospel ; especially 
the unbelieving Jews." Benson. 

* fVe have confidence in the Lord, &c.] q. d. We entertain a 
pious and Christian confidence concerning you ; being con- 
scious of the authority by which we speak, and of the power 
of Christian principles ; believing you to be sincere in your 
profession, and recollecting your past fidelity and perseverance, 
we are confident that, by the help of God, you will continue to 
obey our injunctions. 

' May the Lord — patience of Christ.'] " The equivalent ante- 
cedent is here used for the pronoun, as John iv. 11." New- 
come ; who, with the common version, renders the words, the 
patient waiting for Christ. The literal translation is, the pa- 
tience of Christ : i. e. says Dr. Chandler, " the patience which 
Christ exercised ; as Jam. v. 11, the patience of Job, is that 
patience of which he was so great an e.\amplc." 

Sf.ct. IV. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 1 . 1-^5 

stolical injunctions, as you now do, and have hi- Ch. III. 
therto done. 

And may your increasing knowledge of the prin- 
ciples, and your happy experience of the power and 
excellence, of that gospel which by the command 
of Christ, whose servants and messengers we are, 
we have communicated to you, produce its genuine 
effects upon every heart ! May it particularly guide 
you to that first of duties, the love of God, the 
most ardent gratitude for his great me cy by Jesus 
Christ, manifesting itself in all its genuine effects 
of love and good works ! And may nothing move 
you from the profession of the gospel ; but in all 
your dangers, your trials, and your sufferings, look 
to your great exemplar Jesus Christ : imitate his pa- 
tience, fortitude, and magnanimity ; and, supported 
by his grace, be willing to suffer as he suffered before 


The a postle animadverts upon the conduct of 
some idle, officious and disorderly persons in the 
church of Thessalonica ; recommends quiet and 
industry after his own example : 07'ders that the 
untractable should undergo the censure of the 
church, and concludes with the apostolical bene- 
diction written with his own hand. Ch. iii. 6 — 1 8. 

1 . He cautions the Thessalonian Christians to 


14(5 Skct. IV. II. THESSALONIANS. 1- 

Ch. IH. avoid the society of idle and disorderly persons, 
ver. 6. 

Ver. 6. Now we command you\ brethren^ in the name 
of our Lord tlesus Christ, to withdraw yourselves 
from e^)ery brother who walketh irregularly 2, and 
not agrccahly to the instructions ivhich they re- 
ceived from us^. 

I regret that I am under the necessity of again 
introducing a disagreeable subject which I men- 
tioned in my last letter, especially as I find that my 
friendly cautions have not been attended with the 
desired effect. I now, therefore, my beloved bre- 
thren, in the name and by the authority of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, require and charge those of you whose 

' We command, &c.] The apostle had given the Thessalo- 
nians a hint in his former epistle, 1 Thess. iv. 11, against idle- 
ness and otncious intrusion. This advice, however, appears to 
have been little regarded by those to whom it was addressed. 
And the apostle having been informed, perhaps by the mes- 
sengers who had returned after having carried his first letter, 
that this idle meddlesome spirit had increased, possibly under 
the pretext that the day of judgement being so near it was of 
no use to attend to any worldly concerns, in this second epistle 
he animadverts upon it with greater severity, and very pro- 
perly holds out his own example of industry and independence, 
to show that a belief in the approaching advent of Christ ought 
by no means to slacken their attention to the duties of their 
stations. The apostle here expresses himself with a tone of 
authority. " The word," says Dr. Chandler, " implies an 
authoritative order such as generals give to their soldiers, or 
princes to their subjects." 

^ Who walketh irrei'ularhj.'] arcocfuj^' " who does not keep 
his rank, and by breaking it puts others into confusion 3 a mi- 
litary term." Dr. Chandler. 

' Instructions which they received from ?/s.] itapxhtrsig, tra- 
ditions. Seech, ii. 15 5 theij received from us: i.e. either by 
word of mouth while we were with you, or by the epistle which 
we lately sent. The received text reads, " he received." 

Sect. IV. I/. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 2. H/ 

conduct Is irreproachable, to withdraw yourselves Ch. in. 
immediately from the society of those professors of 
the Christian religion who neglect the Christian dis- 
cipline and rule of life, whose behaviour is a dis- 
grace to their profession, who treat my instructions 
and admonitions with contempt, and whose mis- 
conduct introduces confusion and disorder into the 

2. The apostle states his own exemplary conduct 
while he resided among them, in working diligently 
for his subsistence though he had aright to a main- 
tenance from them, ver. 7 — 9. 

For ye yourselves know how it hecometh you to 
imitate us. For we were not irregular among you : 
nor did we eat any mans bread at free cost. But 
with labour and fatigue^ we luorked night and day, 
that we might not he burthensome to any of you 4. 

You recollect without doubt perfectly well the 
instruction which we gave you, and the example 
which, from the knowledge we had of the character 
of the inhabitants of Thessalonica, I and my asso- 
ciates thought it advisable to exhibit for your imi- 

* With labour and fatigue, &c.] See 1 Thess. ii. 9. The apo- 
stle probably knew that there were many idle people at Thes- 
salonica who would profess Christianity^ if they could be main- 
tained by it in idleness and gossiping. To preclude expecta- 
tions of this kind, he and his associates waved their claim to a 
maintenance, and worked diligently at their manual occupa- 
tions to earn a subsistence. Yet it appears that even this 
would not have been sufficient for their support without the 
kind assistance repeatedly sent to them by the Philippians, 
Phil.iv. 16. 


148 Sect. IV. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 3. 

Ch. III. tation. In no respect did we deviate from our cha- 
^^'- ^' racter as Christian teachers : nor did we encourage 
idleness by our example. We accepted gratuitous 
support from no one : but while we employed the 
day in teaching publicly and privately the doctrine 
of Christ, we worked hard, early and late, at our 
manual occupations, in order to procure subsistence 
for ourselves, that we might neither put any of 
you to inconvenience to maintain us, nor encourage 
others by our example to fasten themselves upon 
you for support. 

9. A^ot because we were destitute of authority ', but 
to make ourselves an example to you, that ye might 
imitate us. 

Though we maintained ourselves, it was not be- 
cause we had no just claim upon you for a decent 
and liberal support : for it is but reasonable, and 
Christ has directed, that a suitable compensation 
should be made to the preachers of the gospel for 
the occupation of their time, and thoughts, and la- 
bours. But in this instance we waved our just right 
for the sake of setting a beneficial example to you. 

o. The apostle reminds them of the maxim which 
he had laid down to discourage idleness. 

10. . For iiidccd"^, luheiiwe were with you, we gave 

' 'Not destitute of authority?^ See 1 Cor. ix. 1 — 14, 2 Cor. 
xi 7 , &c. " Not because we have no right." Nevvcome. 

* For indeed. 1 We worked with our own hands, /or we had 
laid down this maxim, &c. and we were willing to show that 
our doctrine and practice were consistent. See Ben.son. 

Sect. IV. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 4. 141) 

you this chargCy If any man will not work^ let him ch. iir. 
not eat ^. \^v.\o. 

That the design of our example might not be 
mistaken, we accompanied it with positive precept, 
and gave you this maxim as a warning against idle- 
ness, That the man who will not do what he can to 
support himself, has no right to expect to be sup- 
ported by others. 

4. He advises idle and officious persons to mind 
their own business and to hve in peace, ver. 1 1, 12. 

For we hear that some among you walk irregu- ] i. 

larly, doing no business, but being impertinently 
busy^. A^ow those who are such, ive charge and 12. 

' If any man, &c.] " It is not charity to support idleness ; 
nor have they any right to eat bread, who can labour for it, but 
refuse." Chandler; who observes, that " by the laws of Solon, 
idleness was discouraged, and by those of Draco it was pu- 
nished with death." " This seems to have been a proverb 
both among Jews and heathen." Benson, 

■* Doing no business, but being bnpertinently busy.'] f;.YjS£y 
spya^oi^svs;, aAAa 'rrspiBpya.^o[/.sviis. Dr. Chandler observes, 
" There is a turn of words in the Greek which can scarcely be 
imitated in any other language : q.d. We hear there are some 
who do no business, but are busy-bodies. The word signifies, 
' to be curious and inquisitive into the aft'airs of others, imper- 
tinently to meddle in thin^^s in which we have no concern.' " 
Perhaps they might ramble from house to house, and dissuade 
every body from working, pretending that Christians now had 
nothing to do but to talk about the day of judgement. This 
idleness and impertinence would create much mischief in fa- 
milies, and expose Christianity to great scandal among unbe- 
lievers. Dr. Benson has a good note ujDon the great evil of a 
busy, meddlesome, calumniating spirit in general, especially of 
religious detraction. But possibly the misconduct of the Thcs- 
salonians upon which the apostle so justly animadverts, was 
merely such as I have represented. 

1.50 Sect. IV. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 4. 

Ch. III. exhort^ by our Lord Jesus Christy that they work 
quietly and maintain themselves \ 

The admonition which I suggest is but too sea- 
sonable. For I am credibly informed, through the 
same channel by which I learned your great error 
concerning the day of judgement, that some among 
you who make a profession of the Christian religion 
act in a manner very unworthy of their character, 
making use of the general expectation of the im- 
mediate appearance of Christ, or of some other plea 
equally groundless, as an excuse for idleness. And 
as though all attention to secular business were now 
superfluous, they totally neglect their proper occu- 
pations, and going about from house to house, they 
intrude into the concerns and disturb the peace 
of their neighbours with their senseless babbling. 
Now, as the apostle of Christ, I strictly charge, and 
as affectionately concerned for their welfare I ear- 
nestly exhort and intreat, all persons of this descrip- 
tion to reform their conduct immediately, and as 
they tender the authority of Christ, and value their 
connexion with the Christian community, to return 
to their occupations without delay, to keep them- 
selves quiet, and to support themselves by their own 
industry ; so that they may give no trouble to their 
fellow Christians, and may offer no occasion to un- 
believers to report that Christianity encourages idle- 
ness and impertinence. 


And maintain themselves.'} Literally, eat their own bread . 
" the bread earned by their own industry." Newcomc. 

SiiCT. IV. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 5. 151 

5. The apostle gives advice to regular and well- Ch. iii. 
disposed Christians how to conduct themselves with 
respect to such as are idle and disorderly, ver. 13 

But, brethren^, be not ye ivcarij s in u'cll-doing '^. Vcr. 13. 

As to you, my Christian friends, who are not 
chargeable with the faults upon which I have animad- 
verted, I intreat you not to be discouraged from the 
practice of virtue, nor to be restrained from acts of 
benevolence and sympathy, by the occasional abuse 
of your kindness by these unworthy intruders. 

And if any one disobey our injunctions in this ^^• 
epistle, mark that man ^, and hold no intercourse 
ivith him^, that he may be ashamedT . Yet, regard 15. 
him not as an enemy, but admonish 8 him as a bro- 

' RvLi, brethren.'] The apostle having finished Iiis advice and 
reproof to the culpable, now addresses himself to those Chris- 
tians who had supported a good character^ and gives them ad- 
vice suitable to the occasion. See Benson. 

^ Be not ye weary!] " The original word signifies ' to fail 
in any thing through negligence, sloth, or dejecting fear.' " 
Chandler, from Hesychius. 

■* Well-doing i] " Not virtue in general, but the practice of 
kindness and beneficence. Gal. vi. 9." Benson. He adds, " The 
ancients thus interpreted the words, ' let not their sloth hinder 
your charity in giving tliem what is necessan,' to preserve life.' " 

* Mark Hint man.] Grotius and Le Clerc understand the ad- 
vice, q. d. " signify that man in an epistle to me." This is a 
sense that the words will bear, but the common interpretation 
better suits the connexion. See Benson and Chandler. 

^ Hold no intercourse.] " avoid his company, keep him at a 
distance." Chandler. 

' That he may be ashamed.] Ivcc Burpx-rtr,. " The word," says 
Dr. Chandler, " is very emphatical ; it includes the double no- 
tion both of shame and of a change of sentiment and conduct." 

* Regard him not as an enemy, but admonish, 6:c.] They 

152 Sect. IV. II. T H E S S A L N I A N S. 6. 

Cb. III. Further, if it should happen, which indeed I am 
^^' ' unwilling to suppose, that any one of these officious 
meddlers should persist in wilful disobedience to the 
advice I have now given, you will do well to pass a 
suitable censure upon him : and agree among your- 
selves to hold no intercourse with him, and not to 
admit him into your houses. This, if any thing, 
will bring him to himself, it will make him ashamed 
of his conduct, and will produce reformation. But 
do not carry your censures too far ; do not, imme- 
diately at least, exclude him from the Christian 
church : but as a fellow Christian, who has been 
misled, suggest to him those considerations which 
will bring him to a better mind. 

6. He expresses his good wishes for them all, 
ver. If). 
16. A^ow the Lord of peace himself^ give i/oupeace^, 
hy all means ^ at all times 3. The Lord be with you 

were not to excommunicate, but to admonish, vsSergjre. " The 
word," says Dr. Chandler, " signifies to rebuke, correct, or 
chastise for a fault." The apostle advises that it should not 
be managed with too great severity. 

' The Lord of peace.'] " May the Author of all good grant 
you all kinds of happiness." Dr. Priestley. I rather, with most 
interpreters, suppose that Christ is the person intended. " He," 
says Dr. Chandler, " is called by Isaiah the Prince of Peace, be- 
cause he has reconciled both Jews and Gentiles to God and to 
one another, creating peace between God and them, and com- 
mantUng them to follow the things that make for peace." 

2 Give 1J0U peace .•] i. e. by his gospel infusing a pacific spirit. 
This prayer, or rather devout wish, was peculiarly seasonable ; 
H3 impertinence of intrufiion on the one hand, and severity of 
reproof on the other, might provoke contention, 

^ By all means, at all times.} So Mr. Wakefield 3 who, upon 

Sect. IV. II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S, 7. 153 

Beware that you do not interrupt the peace of Ch. iii. 
the church on the one hand hy an intrusive spirit, ^^' ' 
or on the other by harsh censure. And may Jesus 
Christ, the great messenger of peace, by the spirit 
of his gospel, communicate and preserve to you, at 
all times, and without interruption, the invaluable 
blessing of peace in its most extensive signification. 
May his gospel, with all its blessings, be the por- 
tion of you all without exception. 

7. The epistle concludes with the benediction 
written with the apostle's own hand, ver. 17, 18. 

The salutation by the hand of me Paul^ ivhich 17. 

is my token in every epistle. Thus I am worit to 
write*. The favour of our Lord Jesus Christ he 18. 
luith you all. Amen. ^ 

the authority- of the Syriacand vEthiopic, leaves out tpdtvo, and 
understands jcaifou. Many good copies read rmtw, place. See 

* Thus I am wont to write.'] stco ypa(po). Mark xv. 6. " He 
released: i.e. he was wont to release." Benson, Glassius. 
The apostle seems to have suspected that somebody had forged 
an epistle in his name, see ch. ii. 2 ; and therefore he gives them 
a token by which they may always distinguish a genuine from 
a spurious epistle, viz. the form of the concluding benediction, 
and its being wholly written by himself. Some suppose he wrote 
in cypher j but this supposition is unnecessary. It is probable 
that he wrote Greek ill. Gal. vi. 11 5 and the peculiarity of his 
hand-writing would be a sufficient proof of its genuineness. 
The expression in every epistle implies, that these Epistles to the 
Thessalonians were not the first which the apostle had written ; 
but as they are of the earliest date of those which are still ex- 
tant, it is obvious that some epistles which the apostle wrote 
are lost. 

* The favour, &c.] " May all the blessings of the gospel at- 
tend you." Dr. Priestley. 

1 54 Si:cT, IV, II. T H E S S A L O N I A N S. 7. 

Ch. in. The body of this epistle is written by a person 
®'' ■ whom I employ for that purpose ; but the saluta- 
tion which follows is in my own hand. This is the 
mark by which the genuineness of an epistle of mine 
may always be known, so that you will be in no dan- 
ger of being imposed upon by any spurious letter 
pretended to be sent by me. Observe the hand- 
writing, in which I express the following cordial 
wish for your happiness. May the gospel, with all 
its blessings, which is the free gift of God by Jesus 
Cluist, be yours, now and for ever. Amen. 





1 IMOTHY was a native of Lystra, a city of Ly- 
caonia in the Lesser Asia. His father was a hea- 
then, but his mother was a Jewess, and both she 
and her mother were persons of eminent piety, who 
bad taken great pains to instruct Timothy from his 
childhood in the knowledge of the Jewish scrip- 
tures. 2 Tim. i. 5. iii. 14, 15. These pious wo- 
men had probably been converted to the Christian 
religion during the first visit which the apostle had 
made at Lystra a.d. 47, when he and Barnabas, 
after having been worshiped as Gods, because of 
the miraculous cure of the lame man, were perse- 
cuted at the instigation of the unbelieving Jews, 
and the apostle Paul was nearly stoned to death by 


the mob. Acts xiv. The second visit which the apo- 
stle made to Lystra was a.d. 51, when Timotliy 
being grown up to manhood, and having obtained 
by his exemplary conduct a high reputation among 
the Christians at Lystra, and Iconium, and his fa- 
ther being probably dead, the apostle determined to 
take him as an associate in the mission. Acts xvi. 
Having been set apart for this purpose by prayer 
and imposition of hands by the elders of the church, 
1 Tim. iv. 14, and endued with spiritual gifts by 
the apostle, he accompanied Paul and Silas in their 
journeys : nor does it appear that he ever afterwards 
left the apostle, except when he was deputed upon 
some special mission. And Paul joins the name 
of Timothy with his own in the inscription of se- 
veral of his epistles. 

The time when this epistle was written has been 
a subject of considerable discussion. It is generally 
concluded that it was written to Timothy at Ephc- 
sus, soon after the apostle had quitted that city to 
go into Macedonia, ch. i. 3. One such journey is 
recorded in the history of the Acts, ch. xx. But 
as it appears, from the first epistle to the Corin- 
thians, that Timothy was not with the apostle at 
Ephesus when he wrote that epistle, and as in this 
letter to Timothy he expresses an expectation of 
returning speedily to relieve him from the burden- 
some office which he had imposed upon him, it has 
been argued, that this epistle was not written to 
Timothy upon that occasion, but in the course of 
another journey, which is not mentioned by Luke ; 


imd which is supposed to have taken place about 
A. D. 65, after the apostle's release from his first 

But as, when the apostle took leave of the elders 
of Ephesus at Miletus, Acts xx. 25, he solemnly 
declares that he knew that they would see his face 
no more, it is unreasonable to believe that he ever 
visited Ephesus again, unless we have the most di- 
rect and indisputable evidence of the fact : but no 
such evidence is produced ; and many circumstances 
are alleged which are thought to make it probable 
that this epistle was written during the journey re- 
corded by Luke. From the similarity betv/een the 
directions given to Timothy and those addressed to 
Titus, it seems probable that these epistles were 
written nearly at the same time: and we have some 
reason to conclude that the epistle to Titus was sent 
by the apostle before he left Ephesus. It seems 
likewise evident, from the very particular description 
which the apostle gives of the qualifications of bi- 
shops and deacons, that Timothy's business at 
Ephesus was to select proper persons for these ho- 
nourable offices ; but it is very improbable that the 
cliurches in and about Ephesus should have been 
left in an unorganized state, till after the apostle's 
release from his first imprisonment. Indeed, we 
know that they were not so ; for the elders or bi- 
shops of Ephesus came to meet the apostle at the 

' The advocates of tliis hypothesis are Pearson, Whitby, 
Basnage, Cr^ve, Fabricius, Mill, Paley, and Macknight. 


port of Miletus, in his way to Jerusalem. The apo- 
stle when writing to the Corinthians (I Cor. xvi. 

11) exhorts, that no person should despise Timothy 
on account of his youth, and in this epistle (ch. iv. 

12) he advises the evangelist to conduct himself 
with such gravity and circumspection that no per- 
son may treat him with contempt because of his 
youth. These epistles therefore were probably writ- 
ten nearly at the same time. And this advice would 
be more suitable to the age of Timothy at this time, 
than it would ten years afterwards, when he had 
passed the season of youth. It is true that the evan- 
gelist was not at Ephesus when the epistle to the 
Corinthians was written : but the apostle undoubt- 
edly expected to see him before he left Ephesus 
(1 Cor. xvi. 11), and when he departed he might 
expect to return soon ; intending perhaps to pro- 
ceed directly to Corinth and to return immediately ; 
but meeting Titus in Macedonia, he received from 
him such an account of the state of things at Co- 
rinth, as induced him to postpone his visit to that 
city for a year. Instead therefore of returning to 
Timothy at Ephesus, he directed Timothy to come 
to him at Macedonia ; where we accordingly find 
his name united with the apostle's in the inscription 
of the second epistle to the Corinthians, which pro- 
bably was not written till more than a year after 
the epistle to Timothy. For these reasons Dr. 
Lardner and others have concluded that this epistle 
was written from Troas, or Macedonia, late in the 


spring, or early In the summer of a.d. 56, before 
the apostle had had an interview with Titus '. 

Nevertheless, the objections against this hypo- 
thesis appear to me absolutely insurmountable. It 
is morally impossible that the apostle Paul, writing 
in confidence to his pupil and associate Timothy, 
immediately after he had left Ephesus in conse- 
quence of the tumult excited by Demetrius and the 
artists, in which his own life had been exposed to 
the most imminent peril, and appointing him du- 
ring his absence to superintend the concerns of the 
church at Ephesus, should not in the whole course 
of the epistle make the most distant allusion to those 
dreadful disturbances, by which he had himself been 
driven from the city probably some weeks or months 
sooner than he intended. And the argument de- 
rives tenfold strength from the consideration that 
in the second epistle to the Corinthians, which was 
written more than a year afterwards, when his feel- 
ings must of course be considerably abated, he al- 
ludes to the tumult at Ephesus, and to the dangers 
to which he had been exposed in Asia, in language 
almost expressive of horror ; which plainly shows 
how sensibly the recollection even at that distance 
of time affected his feelings, and how deep an im- 
pression these scenes had left upon his mind. 
Whereas, in the epistle to Timothy, written when 
he had hardly recovered from the first alarm, he 


' This is the opinion of Lightfoot, Baronius, Estius, Benson, 
Doddridge, Lardner^ Grotius, Hammond, Witsivis, i*vfc. 


takes no more notice of Demetrius's tumult than if 
it had never happened. In fact, nothing can be 
conceived more quiet than the apostle's mind ap- 
pears to have been from the beginning to the end 
of the epistle. This state of mind would have been 
utterly impossible in the supposed circumstances. 

It seems therefore necessary to look out for an- 
other date to this epistle ; and I beg leave, with great 
diffidence, to offer one which, though not wholly free 
from difficulties, appears to me less objectionable 
than either of the preceding hypotheses. 

If Dr. Ashworth's supposition, which, to say the 
least, is as probable as any other, be allowed; namely, 
that the apostle Paul visited Crete in some portion 
of the three years which are assigned for his resi- 
dence in Ephesus and its vicinity, taking Titus with 
him as his associate in that mission, he would pro- 
bably leave the concerns of the church at Ephesus 
in the hands of the evangelist Timothy, who had 
been his companion in the ministry about four or 
five years. And as it is possible that the apostle 
might be induced to undertake this mission, on a 
sudden, in consequence of some unforeseen oppor- 
tunity which occurred, he might not have had time 
to communicate to Timothy those particular in- 
structions which it would be necessary to give to 
so voung a man when he was invested with such 
an important trust. He avails himself therefore of 
the first opportunity which offered after his arrival 
in Crete, to dispatch a letter containing specific 
directions for his conduct in the arduous circum- 


Stances in which this youthful evangelist had been 
left : which epistle would also be his warrant with 
the Ephesians for any measures which he might 
think necessary to pursue. This was the First Epi- 
stle to Timothy : which, therefore, if these suppo- 
sitions be allowed, ought to be dated from Crete. 

This hypothesis seems to afford the easiest ex- 
planation of all the circumstances. It accounts for 
the style and tone of the epistle, as addressed to the 
evangelist when he was very young ; and more espe- 
cially, for that particular detail of the qualifications 
of those who were to be selected as officers of the 
church, which would not have been so necessary to 
a person of maturer age and experience. It easily 
accounts for the total silence of the apostle upon 
the subject of the disturbances at Ephesus, and the 
dangers to which he and the other teachers of the 
gospel had been exposed in that superstitious city ; 
and for that calmness and quietude of mind with 
which this epistle was dictated, so different from 
that which appears in the Second Epistle to the Co- 
rinthians. If it be objected that the apostle would 
hardly have intrusted such important powers to so 
young a person, Timothy being at this time pro- 
bably no more than four- or five-and-twenty, that 
objection holds equally against the supposition that 
the apostle wrote the letter at the time when he left 
Ephesus in his way to Corinth, after the tumult of 
Demetrius. In fact, we know, from the tenor of 
the epistle, that Timothy was a very young man at 



the time when It was written ; and let it be remem- 
bered, that the officers which he was appointed to 
select, were not like bishops, presbyters, and dea- 
cons of modern times, but merely committees of 
respectable men to regulate the public meetings of 
the assembly, to instruct and exhort the members, 
or to manage its temporal concerns, and to provide 
for the poor. It was also very desirable, for the sake 
of order and regularity, that this arrangement should 
be made as speedily as possible without waiting for 
the apostle's return, which must necessarily be un- 
certain ; and Timothy, though young, must have 
been eminently qualified to take the lead in this bu- 
siness ; because the Ephesians, being new convertSj 
were of course strangers to the customs of the 
churches, while Timothy, who had travelled with 
the apostle for several years, had seen the method 
in which the churches planted by him had been re- 
spectively organized. It should seem, therefore, 
that when the apostle left Ephesus, he fully ex- 
pected to return soon ; but, knowing that his move- 
ments were not altogether in his own power, being 
sometimes impeded by his enemies, and at other 
times directed by express interposition of Christ 
himself, he appointed Timothy to superintend the 
affairs of the church during his absence ; and upon 
his arrival in Crete he wrote this epistle, to in- 
struct his young associate how to act if he should 
himself be prevented from returning at the time 


It adds considerably to the weight of the argu- 
ment, that the Letters to Timothy and Titus have 
a great affinity to each other, not only in subject but 
in style ; nearly as great as that between the epi- 
stles to the Colossians and the Ephesians. The 
Epistle to Titus being written less in detail than 
that to Timothy, being addressed to an older man. 
This circumstance greatly adds to the presumption 
of their having been written nearly at the same time, 
and upon similar occasions, which, upon this hy- 
pothesis, they were ; the Epistle to Timothy hav- 
ing been sent at the commencement, and that to 
Titus at the termination, of the apostle's mission 
to Crete. 

One considerable objection obviously occurs to 
this hypothesis, which with some will be regarded 
as fatal. The apostle, at the beginning of his epi- 
stle, says, I Tim. i. 3, " I besought thee to remain 
at Ephesus when I went into Macedonia''' And 
this is the reading in all copies and versions now 
extant. But that this letter could not have been 
written in the journey recorded Acts xx. when the 
apostle quitted Ephesus after the tumult of Deme- 
trius, must, I think, be sufficiently apparent ; and 
that the organization of the church at Ephesus 
would not have been left till after the apostle's re- 
lease from his first imprisonment, and when Tinio- 
thy was no longer a young man, is, I conceive, al- 
most equally improbable. The difficulties in both 
cases are avoided by the proposed hypothesis ; for 


the adoption of which we must either accept the 
reading of Hilary, " I besought thee to remain at 
Ephesus {cum ires) when you were about to set out 
for Macedonia ;" or we must suppose some early 
corruption of the text, which it is not now in our 
power to rectify : this, however, is not without ex- 
ample in the sacred writings. 

Upon the whole, it appears probable to me that 
the First Epistle to Timothy was written by the 
apostle from Crete, some time in a.d. 55. 

The First Epistle to Timothy is one of those, 
the genuineness of which was never disputed by the 
ancient churches, and there seems no reason to call 
it in question now. It is a composition of great 
value, both as it establishes the divine authority of 
the Christian religion by the testimony which it 
bears to those extraordinary facts upon which its 
evidence rests ; and as it illustrates the moral ten- 
dency and beneficial effect of the Christian doctrine 
in the pietv, benevolence, and zeal of these its ear- 
liest professors, and most eminent and successful 
teachers. And this epistle is particularly useful, as 
it delineates the temper and character which may 
justly be expected in those who are appointed to 
the honourable office of teachers and ministers in 
the church. 

It is plain, from the tenor of the epistle, that 
the apostle Paul had left Timothy at Ephesus with 
power to instruct and organize the church during 


his absence. And the design of the epistle is, to 
suggest salutary advice to the youthful evangelist 
to enable him to conduct himself with propriety and 
dignity, in a situation of great difficulty and deli- 

Chapter First. The apostle, after a suitable 
INTRODUCTION, wams the evangelist against false 
teachers, zealots for the law, and immoral in their 
conduct; he expresses his gratitude for his own 
conversion to the Christian religion, and his call to 
the apostolic office ; he exhorts Timothy to perse- 
vere in the same honourable profession, and not to 
apostatize from the truth like some whom he men- 
tions, and whom he had found it necessary to ex- 
clude from Christian communion. 

Chapter Second. The apostle requires that 
Christians should intercede for all men, and espe- 
cially for those who are invested with civil authority, 
that peace and truth may every where prevail, ver. I 
— 8. He then enjoins upon the female sex mo- 
desty, reserve, and silent subjection, enforcing his 
injunctions by arguments drawn from the Mosaic 
account of the first human pair, ver. 9 — 15. 

Chapter Third. The evangelist having proba- 
bly been directed to select proper persons to super- 
intend the church, and to instruct its members, the 
apostle proceeds to enumerate the qualifications re- 
quisite for the honourable and successful discharge 
of the pastoral or episcopal office, ver. 1 — 7. He 
afterwards specifies the proper qualifications of dea- 


cons and their families, whose office in the church 
he represents as highly honourable and useful when 
performed with fidelity and discretion, ver. 8 — 13 ; 
and concludes this part of his subject with express- 
ing a hope that he should soon return to his friend, 
whom he in the mean time encourages to zeal and 
activity, by a brief representation of those facts 
which constitute the basis of the Christian faith, 
ver. 14 — 16. 

Chapter Fourth. The apostle foretells the great 
apostasy, the distinguishing characterof which would 
be to impose distinctions and mortifications incon- 
sistent with the liberal spirit of the gospel, ver. 1 — 5. 
He exhorts the evangelist to avoid such useless di- 
stinctions, and all other trifling questions, and to 
insist wholly upon those important doctrines which 
were the foundation of Christian hope, and the best 
motive to virtuous practice ; and for the sake of 
which they willingly suffered persecution, ver. 6 — 
1 1 ; and he particularly recommends it to him to 
secure the respect of others by a strictly virtuous 
and exemplary deportment, by diligent application 
to the improvement of his mind, and by a faithful 
persevering discharge of the duties of his office, 
ver. 12 — 16. 

Chapter Fifth. The apostle directs his young 
friend, in what manner to administer reproof with 
the best effect, ver. 1,2. He then details the qua- 
lifications of widows who were justly entitled to be 
entered upon the list of such as were to partake of 


the charitable distributions of the church, remind- 
ing him that these distributions could be only in- 
tended for those who were advanced in years, and 
who supported the most virtuous and honourable 
characters, ver. 3 — 16. He requires that the pastors 
of the society should have an equitable and liberal 
compensation for their labours, and that accusations 
against them should not be lightly received, ver. 17 
— 20 : and the apostle concludes this chapter with 
a solemn injunction upon the evangelist to observe 
his directions, to be impartial and dehberate in his 
proceedings, advising him to take due care of his 
health, and reminding him that the difference in 
human character required a correspondent difference 
in his treatment of different persons, ver. 21 — 25. 

Chapter Sixth. The apostle strictly requires 
servants, or slaves, to learn from the principles of 
Christianity to yield a steady and cheerful obedience 
to their masters, whether Christians or heathen, and 
animadverts severely upon those who taught that 
Christianity put an end to civil distinctions, ver. 1 
— 5. He represents the promises of the gospel as 
the most valuable treasure, and the best antidote 
against covetousness, 6 — 10. He solemnly enjoins 
upon the evangelist to persevere in the practice of 
virtue, in the profession of Christianity, and in the 
faithful discharge of his public duty, as he will an- 
swer for himself at the appearance of Jesus Christ, 
ver. 11 — 16. He charges him to direct the opu- 
lent to a wise and virtuous use of their wealth. 


ver. 17 — 19; and having cautioned him against 
those who were desirous to corrupt the purity of 
the Christian faith with the vanities of a false phi- 
losophy, he concludes the epistle with his apostoli- 
cal benediction, ver. 20, 21. 

The Postscript to this epistle, which states that 
it was written from Laodicea, is unquestionably er- 




After a suitable i?itroduciio?i, the apostle 'reminds Ch. i. 
the etmngelist of the reason why he had left him 
at Ephesus to supply his place in his absencey 
and urges him to resist the attempts of those 2vho 
would impose the observance of the ceremonial 
law. Ch.i. 1—11. 


The apostle affectionately inscribes the epistle to 
the evangelist, ver. 1,2. 

PAULy an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the ap- Ver. 1. 
pointment of God our Saviour, and of Christ Je- 
sus^ our hope, to Timothy, my true son in the faith; 2. 
favour, mercy, peace, from God our Father, and 
from Christ Jesus our Lord. 

' Of Christ Jesus.l This is the true reading : vide Griesbach. 
The received text reads^ " the Lord Jesus Christ." 

170 Sect. I. I. T I M O T H Y. 3. 

Ch. I, I who am an apostle of Christ, commissioned to 
^^'■- ^- teach his doctrine and to bear witness to his resur- 
rection, being appointed to this honourable office 
by the will of God, who is our deliverer from the 
yoke of idol worship and of ceremonial institution, 
and by the immediate interposition of Jesus Christ, 
whose doctrine is the foundation of our immortal 
hope, who appeared to me in the way to Damascus, 
and honoured me with a commission to teach the 
gospel, — I, Paul, address this epistle to my beloved 
Timothy, whom I have converted to the Christian 
doctrine, who follows my example with filial love 
and reverence, and for whom I feel the tenderest 
paternal regard ; and to him I most sincerely wish 
an increasing participation of the blessings of the 
gospel, which are the free gift of divine mercy, and 
the possession of which comprehends every thing 
truly desirable both for this life and the next ; to 
him may these blessings be communicated in the 
richest abundance from the mercy of God our be- 
nevolent Parent, and from Jesus our Master, who 
has been appointed by God as the medium of this 
his gracious dispensation to mankind. 

2. He exhorts Timothy to continue at Ephesus, 
and to silence the false teachers, as he had given 
him in charge, ver. 3, 4. 
3. Continue ^ at Ephesus, as I intreated thee when 

' Coniinm'^ irpoa-iisivcci, in the imperative mood, Castellio, 
KniUchbull, Bowyer, Wakefield. 

Sect. I. I. T I M O T H Y. 2 171 

/ ivent into Macedonia^, that thou may est charge ch. i. 
certain persons not to teach different doctrines^ nor Ver. 4. 
to pay attention to fables^ and to endless genealo- 
gies^, which promote disputes, leather than that 
dispensation of God^, which is by faith. 

Being under the necessity of leaving Ephesus 
abruptly, and sooner than I intended, and before I 
had completed the settlement of the large society 
of Christians in that city and its vicinity, I in- 
treated you to remain there while I proceeded to 
Macedonia in my way to Corinth. And I particu- 
larly requested that you would strictly charge cer- 
tain persons who were disposed to set themselves up 
as teachers without being lawfully appointed to that 
office, or properly qualified for it, and who were in- 

- Wlien I went into Macedonia.'] iropsvoixsvos. So all copies 
and versions. One copy of Hilary reads cum ires Macedoniam, 
when you were going to Macedonia, q. d. When I set out from 
Ephesus you intended a voyage to Macedonia ; at my intreaty 
you remained at Ephesus. At any rate this epistle could not 
have been written upon that journey to Macedonia, which is 
mentioned by Luke, Acts xx., and it is very improbable that it 
should have been deferred till after the apostle's release from 
his first imprisonment. A more probable period than either is 
assigned in the Introduction to this epistle, together with the 
arguments by which that hypothesis is supported : but upon the 
supposition there maintained, a mistake nmst have slipped into 
some very early copy in this sentence. See Griesbach, ed. 2. 

^ Endleas genealogies^ It is doubted whether the apostle 
means Jewish genealogies, or the Gnostic fiction of the genea- 
logies of the yEons. Dr. Benson has assigned probable reasons 
for supposing the latter. Many Jewish philosophers were Gno- 
stics. The apostle would hardly have called Jewish genealogies, 
fables. He himself boasted of his descent from Abraham. 

* Dispensation :] oiKovofMiay. Such is the reading of the best 
authorities. The received text reads oiHoSou.ta.v, edification. See 

172 Sect. I. I. TIMOTHY. 3. 

Ch. I. clined to impose upon their brethren the observance 
^^' ' of the Jewish ritual, not to presume to teach a doc- 
trine so different from that pure and spiritual Chris- 
tianity which I had taught them ; and particularly 
that they should not pay the least regard to the 
lying legends of Jewish rabbis, or to those intricate 
genealogies and unintelligible speculations which 
might supply arguments for perpetual wrangling, 
but could contribute nothing to the credit or the 
diffusion of that new and heavenly dispensation, 
which is appointed by God as the object of our 
Christian faith. 

3. The design of the apostle's instruction is to 
promote universal benevolence, while the crude doc- 
trines of the false teachers only led to frivolous and 
unintelligible disputes, ver. 5 — 7. 
5. JVow the purpose of that charge ' is love, out of 
a pure heart and a good conscience, and undissem- 
bled faith. 

The true doctrine of Christ, which I have incul- 
cated among them, produces love to God and man, 
together with a tranquil and happy state of mind, 
which originates in purity of heart, in the testi- 
mony of an approving conscience, and a practical 
faith in the gospel. And because it operates these 
beneficial effects, I urged you to charge those who 
usurp the office of teachers, at their peril to teach 

' Of that charge .-] 7. d. which I exhorted you to give to the 
false teachers, ver. 3. Griesbach includes ver. 5 — 17 in a pa- 

Sect. I. I. T I M O T H Y. 4. 173 

any thing inconsistent with it. And you well know ch. I. 
that this instruction was far from being unneces- ^^^' ^' 

F)'0?n which some having swerved^ have turned 6. 

aside to vain talk ; desiiing to be teachers of the 7- 

law, but understanding jieither what they say, nor 
concerning ivhat they so positively affirm. 

Son^e weak and vain persons, losing sight of this 
main object of evangelical instruction, have taken 
upon them to teach many foolish and unnecessary 
things ; imposing many rites and ceremonies upon 
the behevers in Christianity, which are of no use in 
themselves, and which the author of our religion 
has not enjoined. Nor are these people in fact tho- 
roughly acquainted with that ritual, the observance 
of which they are so ready to impose ; but while they 
pretend to be teachers of the law, tliey betray gross 
ignorance both of its specific injunctions and of its 
grand design. 

4. The law is useful as a restraint upon vice, 
but not as a ritual obligatory upon believers, ver. 8 

N^ow we know that the law is excellent, if a 8. 

maji use it agreeably to its design 2. 

• Agreeably to its design.'] voiii^uig, lawfully. " agreeably to 
the purpose for which the law was given, and without imposing 
the observance of its ceremonies on believers in the gospel." 
Newcome. Dr. Priestley obsei-ves, that " lest it should be ima- 
gined Paul meant to undervalue the law, he expressly declares 
that that was not his intention, and shows what was the proper 

174 Sect. I. I.TIMOTHY. 4i 

Ch. I. I am far from being an enemy to the Mosaic 
V«r- 8. jj^^^ jjg j^y slanderers maliciously represent. I ac- 
knowledge it to be of divine original ; and that at 
the time when it was delivered, and to the people 
for whom it was designed, it was of great use. And 
the moral part of it is still obligatory upon all man- 
kind. But let not the ceremonial law, with the ad- 
ditional load of Pharisaic tradition, usurp the place 
of the gospel. 
9. Knowing this, that against a just person there 
is no law in force. 

Believers in the Christian religion are justified 
by faith without the works of the law ; they are 
brought into a state of privilege and hope by the 
simple act of belief in Christ, and by making a 
public profession of their belief independently of a 
compliance with the Mosaic ritual. And if they 
live up to their profession and their future expecta- 
tions, they are not obnoxious to that sentence which 
the moral law denounces upon all impenitent of- 
fenders. These are principles which we must settle 
in our own minds, when we take into consideration 
the present extent and obligation of the law of 
—9. But laws are madeybr the lawless and the wi' 
rulyy for the impious and the ivicked,for the un- 
holy and profane, for parricides and murderers, 
10. for fornicators, for sodomites, for man-stealers^ 

end of the law with respect to the moral, which was the most 
important use of it ; namely, to be a restraint upon vice and 
wickedness, several kinds of which he here enumerates." 

Skct.1. I. timothy. 4. 17^ 

for liars, for perjured persons ; and if there be Ch. I. 
a7ii/ other thing contrary to that wholesome doc- 
trine of the glorious gospel of the blessed^ God^ Ver. 11. 
which has been committed to my trust. 

Laws are made to prevent crimes, by denouncing 
condign punishment upon those who are guilty: 
of these some are atrocious offences against society 
and the public peace, and demand the severest cog- 
nizance of the civil magistrate. Others are offences 
of a more private nature : violations of good mo- 
rals, infringements upon that delicacy of character, 
which the gospel requires, that glorious gospel of 
which I have the honour to be an authorized 
preacher and an apostle, and which enjoins the 
strictest purity of heart and life, without which 
none can be admitted into the blissful presence of 
God. These crimes, though highly blameable, can- 
not always be arraigned before an earthly tribunal ; 
but they do not escape the notice of omniscience. 
And the sentence, which the moral law of God 
passes upon these offences, shall be as certainly 
executed in due season upon the obdurate and 
impenitent, as the punishment denounced upon 
crimes of the greatest notoriety, and the most hor- 
rible aggravation. 

* Blessed God^ [jt,a)iapia, blessed, perfect in happiness. 
Wakefield renders it holy, and refers to Hesychius. 

176 Sect. II. I. TIMOTHY. 


Ch. I. The apostle, after having ea pressed in the 
warmest terins his devout admiration and gra- 
titude for his conversion to the faith, and his 
call to the apostolic ojffice, renews the charge of 
fidelity to Timothy, and warns him of the dan' 
ger of apostatizing from the faith. Ch. i. 12 

I. The apostle, having mentioned that he was 
intrusted to preach the gospel, takes occasion to ex- 
press his great thankfulness for his conversion to the 
Christian faith, and his call to the apostolic office, 
ver. 12—14. 
Ver. 12. Noiv I return thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, 
ivho has given me ability ^ , that he accounted me 
13. faithful, having put nie into the ministry; tvho 
was before a blasphemer and a persecutor, and 
injurious ; but I obtained mercy, because I acted 
ignorantly in my state of unbelief 

I am intrusted to preach this glorious gospel ; 
and truly, when I recollect this fact in all its cir- 
cumstances, I am lost in admiration and gratitude 
for the great honour conferred upon one so unde- 

' Who has givenme abilitt/.'] sv^vvaii.ojffa.v'ri ju.e, who granteth 
7ne strength. Wakefield. — 9. d. who supplied me with miraculous 
powers, &c. " by the co-operation of his spirit." Newcome. 

Skct.h. I. timothy. 1. ^77 

serving of It. And first of all, I thank my Master Ch. r. 
Christ Jesus, who is the head of the church, and 
from whom I have received those gifts and powers 
by which I am qualified for the discharge of the 
apostolic office, that he should regard me, I will 
not say as worthy of this honourable station, but 
rather as one who would discharge the duties of 
the office with fidelity, zeal, and courage, and who 
would not by any mean and temporizing conduct 
betray the confidence reposed in me. It is truly 
wonderful that he should have vouchsafed thus to 
honour me, who before my conversion distinguished 
myself by the most malignant opposition to the 
Christian name; being a reviler of Jesus and of his 
doctrine, a spiteful persecutor of his disciples, treat- 
ing them in the most insolent and injurious man- 
ner. Yet, great as my offence was, it was forgiven ; 
because my misconduct arose from an error of 
judgement, rather than from malevolence of heart. 
In my unhappy state of unbelief, I acted ignorant- 
ly, being seriously persuaded in my wretched, mis- 
guided conscience, that I ought to do all that I did 
against the doctrine and the disciples of Jesus of 

' And the favour of our Lord was exceedingly 14 

abundant, together with 2 that faith and love which 
are in Christ Jesus. 

• Together with ;] q. d. in producing that faith in Christ and 
love to him which then became the ruling principles in my 
breast. " Faith is opposed to St. Paul's former unbelief, and 
lovp to his former spirit of persecution." Nevvcome, 


178 Sect. II, I.TIMOTHY. 2. 

Ch. I. The mercy and goodness of Christ went far be- 
Ver. 14. y^^j ^l^g measure of my guilt and folly ; and from 
a bigoted persecuting unbeliever, it transformed me 
into a humble, charitable, holy, zealous disciple, 
and preacher of the gospel. The power and grace 
of Christ wrought an immediate and total change 
in my views, my principles, my affections, and my 
conduct ; and made me the reverse of all that I had 
been before. 

2. The apostle represents the mercy manifested 
to him as an encouraging motive to faith and peni- 
tence, ver. 15, 16. 

15. It is a certain truths and worthy of cordial re- 
ception ', that tiesus Christ came i?ito the world to 

16. save sinners y of whom I have been^ the chief Ne- 
vertheless ^ for this cause 1 obtained mercy ; that 
in mCy as chiefly Jesus Christ might display the 
utmost forbearance, as an example to those tvho 
should hereafter believe on him to everlasting life. 

There is no doctrine more true, more important, 
or more worthy of being cordially and universally 
received and professed, than this. That Jesus Christ 
came into the world to bring all mankind, whether 
the Jews who had forfeited their privileges, or the 

* Of cordial reception.'] irxa-rjs a'rrooo)(yjs . Raphelius observes, 
that Traj is used for SM/HmMs." Newcome. " all joyful accep- 
tation," Wakefield. 

' / have beeti^ An instance of et[JA expressing past time, 
' In me, as chief.'] -rfpturcy. Benson supposes the apostle 
means to say, he was the first blasphemer and persecutor who 
had been converted since the effusion of the spirit. But this, 
Macknight observes, is contrary to Acts ii. 33 — 41, vi. 7. 

Sect. II. I. T I M O T H Y. 3. 17i 

heathen who never possessed them, into a state of Ch. i. 
privilege and of hope, rescuing them from the bond- 
age of the Mosaic law, and from the impure rites 
of idol worship, and introducing them into the 
light, the liberty, the peace, and privilege of the 
gospel state. 

Of those who are thus benefited by the gospel, 
none was ever more unworthy than myself, who 
was not only an unbeliever, but a furious persecutor 
of the church ; who had, therefore, forfeited all 
claims to mercy : yet my honoured Master singled 
me out as the object of his compassion ; and this 
he did, not from any merit of my own, but that my 
example might be an encouragement to others, 
blind and furious as myself, to repent and reform, 
and embrace the gospel, in humble dependance 
upon that mercy which, having been extended to 
such an one as I was, will never be denied to any 
sincere penitent ; and which will advance to a happy 
and immortal life every one who believes and obeys 
the gospel. 

3. The apostle, excited by the recollection of this 
distinguishing goodness, ascribes the glory of all to 
God, ver. \7. 

A^ow to the ruler of the ages '^i the incorruptible ^ 17. 

* To the ruler of the ages^ rui ^a,<ri\si tcuv aicuvcuv, " unto 
the king of the several ages or dispensations, viz. the age be- 
fore the law, that under the laio, and that under the Messiah, 
or the last age. Unto him that disposed these three grand dis- 
pensations, so as that one should make way for another, he 
here very pertinently ascribes praise. Lewis Capel informs us 
V 9 

180 Sect. II. I. T I M O T H Y. 3 

Ch. I. the invisible, the only God^, be honour and glory, 

^'' '■ for ever and ever. Amen. 

Mercy like this can never be sufficiently adored 
and praised. And though I acknowledge my great 
obligation to Jesus Christ, who was the immediate 
instrument of communicatingtheseinvaluable bless- 
ings, and conferring upon me these distinguishing 
honours, I do not forget that they are all ultimately 
to be traced to the free and infinite mercy of his 
God and our God. To Him therefore who is the 
author of all the dispensations of mercy to man- 
kind, whether the patriarchal, the Mosaic, or this 
new dispensation under the Messiah, which com- 
prehends all his rational offspring ; to Him who 
ever lives to fulfill his purposes of jnercy, and who 
is ever really, though invisibly, present with his 
faithful servants ; to Him who alone is God, pos- 
sessed of every perfection natural and moral, with- 

tliat this was one of the Jewish doxologies. Let God be blessed 
for ever, who hath created this age and the age to come; and 
that expressions like this are frequent in the Jewish liturgy." 
Benson. See also Macknight. " Now unto the king of the 
ages, to God, uncorruptible, invisible," &c. Wakefield. " Now 
to the king eternal, immortal, invisible." Newcome. 

The apostle had been expressing his gratitude to Christ, who 
had appeared in person to convert him to the faith, to invest him 
with the office of an apostle, to endue him with the necessary 
powers and qualifications, and who was with him to superin- 
tend and direct him in the whole course of his ministry. But 
he does not forget that Christ himself is no more than an in- 
strument in the hands of God ; whose supreme agency he here 
acknowledges, and to whom, as the Lord of all, the only God, 
he renders divine honours. 

• The only God.} The received text reads, " the only wute 
God;" but the word <xo(pM is wanting in the best manuscripts, 
and is dropped by Griesbach and Newcome. 

Skct. II. I. TI M OTH Y. 4. 181 

out an equal and without a rival ; to Him be honour cii. i. 

and praise through every dispensation, and to the ^'" '* 
end of time. Amen. 

4. The apostle now resumes his charge to Ti- 
mothy, whom he urges to fidelity and resolution, 
and warns against the dangers of apostasy, ver. 

This charge^ I commit to thee, Oaon Timothy, 18. 

agreeably to prior solemn declarations^ concern- 
ing thee, that according to them^ thou may est 
maintain a good ivarfare. 

My dear Timothy, my beloved son in the faith. 

' T)ih charge.'} TrapayysXiav , ver. 3. Timothy remained to 
give a charge, ver. 3 ; the design of this charge was to promote 
faith and love, ver. 5 : the apostle now proceeds to give his 
charge in detail. 

' Prior solemn declarations.'] Mangey conjectures s-rfi 7a, 
concerning thee. See Bowyer. Wakefield reads with the .^thi- 
opic, sTTi [JiE, concerning me; but gives it up as unintelligible. 
npo<pr)r£ias may express something which has been said before : 
meaning perhaps nothing more than either the high character 
given of Timothy by some eminent Christians at Derbe and 
Lystra, before the apostle admitted him as an associate (see 
Acts xvi. 2), or the solemn admonition, which had been ad- 
dressed to him previously to entering upon his mission. Dr. 
Priestley, and many others, understand it of " some prophecy, 
pointing out Timothy as a proper person to be intrusted with the 
preaching of the gospel 5" and adds, " it is evident from other 
circumstances that such a spirit of prophecy was then in the 
church." It does not, however, appear necessary to suppose 
that there was any thing supernatural in the case. It is gene- 
rally allowed that the prophets did not always speak from in- 

* According to them."] sv autais' i. e. in conformity to the testi- 
monies borne to your character by the prophets or teachers of 
Derbe and Lystra. In this sense, says Dr. Benson^ sv is usedj 
Mutt, vi. 7. Comp. 1 Tim. iv. 14. 

182 Si:cT. II. I. TIM OTH Y. 4. 

Ch. I. when I was about to engage you as my associate at 
Ver. 18. Ly5|.j.r^^ J inquired your character of the believers 
there, and was then assured by some of the most 
eminently gifted teachers of the church that I should 
find in you a zealous advocate of the pure gospel, 
and a determined opposer of the corrupt doctrine 
of the Jewish teachers, and they accompanied their 
commendations of your character with earnest ex- 
hortations to the same effect. I charge you, there- 
fore, my beloved friend, to fulfill the expectations 
which have been raised concerning you : be stre- 
nuous in your opposition to those who would cor- 
rupt the gospel of Christ, and approve yourself a 
valiant champion of Christian truth. 
19_ Retaining faith and a good conscience, ivhich 
latter soyne having rejected, have also suffered ship- 
wreck of their faith. 

There are two things which you must, as a good 
soldier of Jesus Christ, strenuously retain. The 
first is, uncorrupted faith, the Christian faith in its 
original purity, unmixed with heathen philosophy on 
the one hand, and with Jewish fables and ceremo- 
nies on the other. The next is, a clear conscience, 
a pure heart, and a virtuous life, without which 
faith will be of little use. And indeed there are 
some unhappy persons, who, having first polluted 
their consciences by their vices, and having lived in 
habitual contempt and neglect of the moral pre- 
cepts of the gospel, have, as a natural consequence, 
rejected the belief of it altogether, and represented 
the whole as a fable and a fraud ; or at lea^jt, while 

SjiCT.II. I. TIMOTHY. 4. 183 

they have retained the profession of the Christian ch. i. 
religion, they have subverted its grand design by ^"' ^ 
teaching doctrines unfavourable to good morals as 
the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. 

Of ivkich number are Hymenccus and Alexan- 20. 
dcr J, whom I have delivered over to Sata7iy that 
they may be taught not to blaspheme. 

Of this misconduct there are two notorious in- 
stances at Ephesus, with which you are probably 
acquainted; namely, Hymenseus and Alexander. 
These were men of bad principles and immoral 
lives; and for that reason they rejected or cor- 
rupted the gospel, and gave me great trouble dur- 
ing my residence at Ephesus. But, to prevent fur- 

' HymeruEus and Alexander.'] Alexander was a coppersmith, 
2 Tim. iv. 14, once it seems a professor of the Christian reli- 
gion J but being of an immoral character, he was by the apostle, 
together with Hymenaeus, " delivered over to Satan," that is, 
excommunicated, see 1 Cor. v. 5, After which they apostatized 
from the Christian faith, denied the doctrine of the resurrec- 
tion of the dead, 2 Tim. ii. 17 ; and became, Alexander espe- 
cially, bitter enemies of the apostle Paul. At the time of the 
riot at Ephesus, Alexander was urged on by the Jews, Acts 
xix. 33, probably to inflame the multitude still more against the 
apostle and his followers : but the populace, finding that he 
was a Jew, probably confounded him with the Christians, and 
would not give him a hearing. These men are mentioned again 
in the second epistle : Hymenaeus as persisting in his mischiev- 
ous errors and corrupting others, Alexander as the personal 
enemy of the apostle himself, and neither of them reformed by 
the discipline inflicted. 

If, as many believe, the apostle delivered these men into the 
hands of the devil to cure them of blasphemy, he certainly sent 
them to a bad school. To suppose, that delivering to Satan was 
the miraculous infliction of disease, is perfectly gratuitous. The 
apostle disowned them, and excluded them from the Christian 


Ch. I. 
Ver. 20. 

t5Ecr.lII. I. Tl M OTH Y. 1. 

ther mischief, I thought fit to exclude them from 
the Christian community, and have consigned them 
to the society of those unbelievers and idolaters 
whose company they love, and whose works they 
practise. I shall be sincerely glad if this public 
stigma which has been fixed upon them, may be a 
means of bringing them to serious consideration, 
and of inducing them to repent of that malignant 
opposition which they now make to the doctrine of 
Christ, and to the preachers of the gospel. 


Ch. II. The apostle enjoins general intercession, as an 
expression of benevolence acceptable to God, luho 
wills that all mankind, without distinction, should 
participate in the blessings of the gospel. Ch. ii. 

I . The apostle enjoins intercession for all man- 
kind, and especially for magistrates and men in ex- 
alted stations, as an acceptable expression of uni- 
versal good-will. Ch. ii. 1 — 4. 
Vcr. 1. I exhort, therefore, in the first place, that sup- 
plications ', prayers, intercessions and thanksgiv- 
ings, be made ^for all 7ncn 3. 

' SuppUcatious.'] " By Serjosis I understand petitions for a 
supply of our wants ; by irpoaiDy^y^, vows to tlie Almighty in 
return 3 by nyrtv^aic, meditations, and that intercourse which 

Sect. III. I. T I M O T H Y. 1. 185 

I know but too well the narrow spirit which pre- ch. ii. 
vails among my countrymen, who regard themselves ^^''- ^' 
as the favourites of heaven, and look upon the 
Gentile world with contempt and abhorrence, as 
more deserving of anathemas than benedictions. 
I fear lest the same spirit should be infused by false 
teachers into the converts to the Christian faith. 
But let it be deeply impressed upon the mind of 
every disciple of Christ, that the religion of Jesus is 
a law of kindness and universal good-will ; and 
therefore I strictly charge you, that whenever the 
believers at Ephesus assemble together for religious 
worship, prayers should be offered up for all man- 
kind, deprecations of impending calamities, and 
petitions for necessary blessings ; also that thanks- 
givings should be rendered to God for his great 
goodness to all his reasonable creatures. 

passes between God and our own souls." Bishop Barrington, 
Bowyer. " Ssricrsis , deprecations ; rpOtravxjxs, prayers for good 
things; evTsv^sis, intercessions ; ivyjx.pis'iXi, thanksgivings. I do 
not apprehend," saith Benson, " that the apostle was very soli- 
citous nicely to distinguish between supplications, prayers, and 
intercessions, but used them all to intimate, tliat he would not 
only have them praise God, but put up all sorts of petitions for 
ail men, by what name soever these petitions were usually 

* Be made!] TtoisiaSai. Bishop Bull understood this of a di- 
rection to compose liturgies for the church at Ephesus : " an 
instance of prejudice which," Dr. Doddridge says, " almost 
made him weep." 

^ All men.l This exhortation is almost universally understood 
to refer to the narrow-mindedness of the Jews ; who in the first 
captivity were taught to pray for those in whose land tliey were 
captives, see Ezra vi. 10 ; but under the Uomans were unwill- 
ing to pray for their oppressors^ and constantly stirring up 

186 SfCT.lll. I. TIM*© THY. I, 

Ch. n. PfiT' kings ^ and all who are in high stations ^ that 
Yer. 2. ^^ 1 jj^^y lead a peaceable and quiet life in all piety 
and virtue. 

The enemies of the gospel will be desirous of 
representing you as seditious and disloyal ; they will 
intentionally confound you with those zealots of 
the law, whose obstinacy in refusing to pray for theis 
heathen governors gives great and just offence. But 
let the Christians at Ephesus be exhorted to pray for 
the emperor, and for all subordinate civil authori- 
ties, whose office it is to preserve the public peace. 
And let them recommend both their persons and 
their government to the divine protection and bless-! 
ing, that so they may give no just occasion of of- 
fence, and that, by their dutiful submission to the 
civil power, they may obtain that protection from 
it which will ensure peace and security, and will 
enable them to pass their lives in the exercise of 
piety and the practice of virtue, so as to command 
universal respect. 

3. For this is right and acceptable in the sight of 

4. God our Saviour, who ivilleth that all men should 
be saved", and come to the acknowledgement of 
the truth. 

* That we may lead^ Mr. Wakefield, upon the authority 
of the Arabic, renders it, " that they may go through a quiet 
and peaceful life with all veneration and respect." This autho- 
rity is hardly sufficient for changing the received text, which ad- 
mits of so good and pertinent a sense. Beza proposes to omit 
the point at ovtcov. q. d. all placed in authority for this end, 
that we may lead a peaceable life. See Bowyer. 

' IVho willeth that all men should be saved.'] This expression 

Sect. III. I. TIMOTHY. 2. 187 

This spirit of pious philanthropy is honourable Ch. ii. 
to the Christian religion ; and it is highly pleasing ^'^' ' 
to God, who has by his great mercy in the gospel 
delivered us from the bondage of idolatry and vice, 
and from the narrow spirit of the Jewish oeconomy : 
who is also the common parent of the whole hu- 
man race ; whose good pleasure it is, that the gospel 
should be published to all mankind without distinc- 
tion, and that the great deliverance we have expe- 
rienced should be extended to every individual, of 
every nation, who will accept of the gracious offers 
of salvation; who has also commissioned the apostles 
and other teachers of the Christian doctrine, to make 
thegospel known through the whole habitable world, 
that all may be instructed in its truth, and partici- 
pate in its blessings. 

2. The apostle, in pursuance of this argument, 
asserts the universal importance of the Christian 
doctrine, which he was specially appointed to preach 
to the Gentiles, ver. 5 — 7. 

is explained by the succeeding clause, that " they should come 
to the acknowledgement of the truth :" to be saved, therefore, 
is to become professors of the gospel, by which they were saved 
from idolatry on the one hand and Judaism on the other. It 
has no reference to the happiness of a future life any further 
than the profession of the gospel might be the means of virtue. 
See Newcome. Dr. Macknight well explains it, " who com- 
mands all men to be saved from heathenish ignorance and 
Jewish prejudices." When it is said that God wills they should 
be saved, the meaning is, that it is his pleasure that the gospel 
should be preached to all; without distinction of Jew or Gen- 

188 Sect, 111. I. T 1 M O T H Y. 2. 

ch. II. For there is one God, and one mediator between 
Ver. 5. Qq^ ^^^ men^ the man Christ Jesus ' . 

There is no reason why one nation or class of 
men should regard themselves as entitled to greater 
privileges than another ; for there is one God, the 
benevolent and impartial parent of all mankind, the 
God of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews, and 
equally disposed to promote the happiness of all 
his creatures. And to manifest his love to all men 
equally, of whatever nation or country, he has de- 
puted one person only as the chief messenger of his 
will. He has not sent into the world one prophet 
to the Jews and another to the heathen : much less 
has he commissioned an angel or celestial spirit to 
communicate his will to one people, and a frail 
human being to teach another: but he has ap- 
pointed his faithful servant Jesus Christ, a man like 
ourselves, subject to all the innocent weaknesses 
and infirmities of human nature, but amply qua- 
lified for the discharge of the high commission with 
which he is intrusted, to be the instructor of all 
men, whether Jews or heathen, ajid the great me- 
dium of divine connnunication. 

' The man Christ Jesus.'] Not the God-mnn, nor any the 
least intimation that he was any thing more than a man. A 
mediator is one who is the medium of divine communication, 
as Moses was to the Israelites : it does not at all imply tlie 
notion oi atonement or propitiation. " Had the apostle," saith 
Dr. Priestley, " thought him to be a being of a higher nature 
than that of man, it cannot be supposed but that in this place 
more especially, he would have denominated him by that higher 
rank, whatever it was 5 and es])ecially if he had conceived hiiu 
to be yo great a being as the Maker of man and all things." 

Sect. III. I. TIMOTHY. 2. 189 

Who gave himself a ransom^ for all men, the ch. n. 
testimony 3 reserved /or its proper time. ^^'"* ^' 

It was necessary for the accomplishment of the 
purposes of divine providence, that the distin- 
guished person who was appointed to be the me- 
dium of divine communication with all mankind, 
as Moses was with the Jewish nation, should suffer 
a public death ; and to this catastrophe Jesus of 
Nazareth, who was anointed and set apart for this 
honourable office, voluntarily and cheerfully sub- 
mitted. And this sacrifice which he made of his 
life for the benefit of all mankind, may be called a 
ransom, a price of redemption from bondage, a 
means of deliverance to the heathen from the thral- 

' A ransom for all.'] avriXvtpov. Estius saith, that this was a 
word used when life was given for life. It signifies in general, 
the means of deliverance. Mr. Wakefield renders it deliver- 
ance. Benson understands avriXurpov as Xvtpov, the price put 
down for the ransom of a captive. One great mistake on this 
subject is, that the apostle is understood to speak of deliverance 
from sin and its punishment, when he only means, deliverance 
from the yoke of heathenism and the ceremonial law. 

' The testimony.'] i/,aprvpiov. 1 adopt Benson's interpreta- 
tion : " an eminent and stedfast witness of the truth in the age 
in which it was appointed that he should live and die." Benson 
also has some good remarks upon the voluntary submission of 
Christ to suffering and death. 

The Alexandrine MS. wants ro fxaprvptoy. q d. " who gave 
himself a ransom at the proper time." The Clermont and other 
copies read oo to v.. r. A. q. d. " the testimony to which was 
given at the proper time." One copy reads to [xuryipiov, the 
mysterij, i. e. the call of the Gentiles ; which Beza and Wake- 
field prefer, but decline to adopt against the authority of all 
the versions. Castalio and Bengelius connect this clause with 
the succeeding : q. d. " a doctrine to be borne witness to in due 
season, of which 1 am appointed a preacher." Bowyer, Gries- 

190 Sect. Ill, I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. II. dom of idolatry and vice, and to the Jew from the 
"• * yoke of the law ; for by this event the Jewish cove- 
nant was abrogated, and the new and universal 
dispensation of grace and mercy was introduced. 
The death of Jesus, the mediator, may also be re- 
garded as a signal testimony to the truth of his 
doctrine, and to the divinity of his mission. And 
this important event took place at the season ap- 
pointed in the counsels of infinite wisdom, a time 
which was upon the whole the fittest and the best ; 
after it had been made sufficiently apparent, that 
the light of nature and the speculations of philo- 
sophy were not of themselves capable of enlighten- 
ing and reforming the world. 
7. Of luhich doctrine ' / have been appoiiited a 
preacher^ and an apostle, {I speak the truths, I 
speak not falsely,) an instructor of the Ge?itileszn 
faith and truth. 

I again repeat it in justification of my own con- 
duct, and as a public warrant to you, Timothy, in 
following my directions at Ephesus, and in teach- 

• Of which doctrine.] etg 0, as concerning. Newcorae ; who 
remarks, that the latter clause in ver. 6, and the beginning of 
ver, 7, may be rendered, "for a testimony to the world at the 
proper season : i. e. when the fullness of time came. For which 
testimony I have been appointed, &c." 

• I speak the truth.'] The received text adds, " in Christ:" 
these words are wanting in the Alexandrine, Clermont, and 
other copies, and in the Syriac, Vulgate, and other versions, 
and are dropped by Griesbach, Newcome, and Wakefield. Dr. 
Owen says, " As they occur, Rom. ix. 1. without any mark of 
reprobation, I see no reason why they should be thought com- 
mentitious here." Bowyer. Nor would they be rejected here^ 
if they were supported by equal authority. 

Skct. IV. I. T I M O T H Y. 1. Wl 

ihg that doctrine which you have learned from me, Ch. n. 
that of this gracious dispensation, thus attested and '* 

ratified by the death of Jesus Christ, I have the 
honour to be constituted by him a teacher and an 
apostle, a publisher of the doctrine which he first 
taught, and a witness of his resurrection from the 
state of death. And what is still more astonishing, 
and to a prejudiced and narrow-minded Jew may 
appear wholly incredible, which nevertheless I so- 
lemnly aver to be a real and a serious truth, lam 
authorized and required by Christ, who is my mas- 
ter, and the director of my missionary labours, to 
be an instructor of the Gentiles in the purity and 
simplicity of that faith, the profession of which will 
introduce them into a state of privilege and hope, 
and a practical regard to which will ensure their 
ultimate and everlasting felicity. 


TfiE APOSTLE requires, that the public offices of 
worship should be conducted by men only, for- 
bidding women to officiate in public, and enjoin- 
ing upon them at all times to observe that deco- 
inim of dress and behaviour, which becomes the 
modesty and delicacy of the sex. Ch. ii. 8 — 15. 

1 . The apostle requires that the public offices 
of religion should in all places be conducted by 
men, ver. 8. 

192 Sect. IV. I.TIMOTHY. 1. 

Ch. II. I direct therefore that the men pray ' hi every 
Ver. 8. pidQe 2^ lifting up holy hands 3, without wrath or 




Being appointed by Jesus Christ an apostle in his 
church, with full powers to teach his doctrine, and 
to regulate its external concerns, and having ex- 
hibited to the church at Ephesus ample evidence 
of this authority thus intrusted to me, I now pro- 
ceed to mention some regulations, which, for the 
sake of decency, good order and general edification, 
I require to be observed by the churches, and which 
in my absence I delegate to you full authority to 
carry into effect. And in particular I enjoin, that 
the religious services of the Christian society shall 
be conducted by the men only, who are better qua- 
lified to speak in mixed assemblies than persons of 
the other sex. Let this rule be universally observed ; 
and let public prayers be offered up to God, where- 
ever it may be convenient to a society of believing 
worshipers to assemble. Under the Christian dis- 
pensation there is no distinction of places any more 

' That the men pray.'] A direction that men only should 
conduct public devotion. See Benson. 

' In every place.'] An allusion to the Jews ; who limited the 
presence of God to the temple and the synagogue. Vide Ben- 

' Holy hands.'] An allusion to the custom of washing hands 
before prayer. 

* Without vmith or disputing.] " q. d. without resentment 
of Christians to persecutors ; of Jews and Judaizers to Gen- 
tiles." Benson. " H'ithout disputings about the admission of 
Gentiles into the church, and the universal obligation of the 
law, or about Jewish fables and genealogies." Vide Benson 
and Newcome. 

Sect. IV. I, T I M O T H Y. 2. 19.3 

than of times; and prayers offered up from the Ch. ii. 
meanest edifice, or from the open fields, are as ac- ^^' 
ceptable to God as if they were presented in the 
synagogue, the temple, or any other consecrated 
edifice, however splendid. One qualification is in- 
dispensable : namely, that the hands which are 
held up to God should not only be externally but 
morally pure ; and that the heart from which these 
prayers proceed should be free from all malevolent 
passions, and especially from religious bigotry; from 
that angry spirit, which is too often generated and 
fomented by disputes concerning times, and places, 
and modes of worship ; and from that rancour 
which those who entertain different opinions upon 
these subjects are too ready to indulge with respect 
to each other. 

*2. The apostle recommends to the women sim- 
plicity and decorum in dress, and forbids tliem to 
assume the office of public teachers, ver. 9 — 12. 

I likewise require that the ivomen should adorn 9. 

themselves luith decent apparel"^, luith modesty and 
discretion. Not so much ^ luith braided hah\ or 

' Decent apparel.'] " suitable in point of decorum, consi- 
dering their station in life, and what becomes them as Chris- 
tians." Newcome. 

* Not so much.] Literally, " not with braided hair (or curls), 
&c. but with good works." Archbishop Newcome well explains 
the text, " not so much with, &c. and not only \vith, &c. See 
John vi. 275 Eph. vi. 12." It is a well known Hebrew form 
of expressing the comparative degree. The apostle could not 
mean to forbid Christian women to dress in a manner becom- 
ing their rank and station in life ; or to represent curling the hair 

194 Sect. IV. I. T I M O T H Y. 2^. 

Ch. II. gold, or pearls i or costly array , as with good ivorks, 
which becovieth women professing reverence for 

As some of the new converts are persons of rank 
and fortune, I forbid not women of their quality and 
station from wearing that apparel which is usual 
and decorous. Let them, if they please, upon pro- 
per occasions, assume the ornaments of dress ; but 
let them never exceed the limits of modesty and 
discretion, nor let them affect splendour in their 
attire when they assemble with their fellow Chris- 
tians for the worship of God. Above all things let 
them remember, that the most precious ornaments 
of 'the female sex, and especially of those who, 
having renounced idolatry, profess to be worshipers 
of the true God, and disciples of Jesus Christ, con- 
sist in acts of charity and beneficence. The habit 
of doing good is a glorious robe, which well becomes 
persons of every age and condition of life, and espe- 
cially those who are blest with affluence. It will 
never tarnish, and never wear out. 
1 1 Let the woman 7'eceive inst?'UCtion in silence ^ 

or ornaments of gold and jewellery as in themselves immoral. 
Christianity lays no stress upon things indifferent : what the 
apostle forbids is foolish vanity in dress, expense beyond what 
persons can really or conveniently afford, and which will cramp 
their benevolence ; an affectation of finery which is inconsistent 
with simplicity and unbecoming their station in life ; and in a 
word, a solicitous attention to external appearance, to the neg- 
lect of piety, charity, and good works. 

' Professing reverence,'] or, worship of God ; i. e. the true 
God, distinct from idols. See Newcome and Wakefield. 

' hi silence.'] " in the church. 1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35." New- 

Sect, IV, I. T I M O T H Y. 3. 195 

with entire submission. But I suffer not a woman Ch. ii. 
to teachy nor to usurp authority over the maiiy but * 
require her 3 to remain in silence. 

It does not agree with the delicacy of the female 
sex to put themselves forward as public teachers. 
Though some are inclined to encourage this prac- 
tice, it is what I disapprove, and in virtue of my 
apostolic authority I expressly forbid. Let the wo- 
men confine themselves to the duties of their proper 
sphere, and let them not intrude into the province 
of the men, who by the greater vigour of their con- 
stitution, and the firmer tone of their organs, are 
better qualified for public speaking. Let the women 
therefore attend as hearers in respectful silence; 
and if they desire further information, let them ask 
in private of those who are able and willing to com- 
municate instruction. 

3. The apostle enforces the injunction by argu- 
ments borrowed from the Mosaic account of the 
creation and fall of man, and concludes the subject 
with a promise of blessings to the virtuous, ver. 

For Adam was first formed, and Eve after- 13. 

The book of Genesis informs us that Eve was 
made for Adam, and not Adam for Eve ; and there- 
fore the woman should acknowledge the superiority 
of the man. 

Bui require her,] See a similar construction ch, iv. 3. 

19G SrcT. IV. I.TIMOTHY. S. 

Ch. II. Aho Adam ivas not seduced^ ^ut the woman 
being seduced was ^v\Vi-^ of transgression^ . 

The understanding of Eve was easily imposed 
upon by the smooth and subtle discourse of the 
serpent, and she was therefore persuaded to eat the 
forbidden fruit. But Adam fell in consequence of 
his attachment to Eve, not because his understand- 
ing was deluded. The woman therefore should be 
in subjection to the man, as possessing a superior 
intellect, and being more capable of discerning 
between right and wrong 2. 

The apostle concludes this head of discourse 

' Was guilty of transgression.'] So Newcome, Wakefield 
gives a difltrent version : " Adam was not deceived, but be- 
came a transgressor through the error of the vi'oman." 

* Between right and wrong.'] Such is the nature of the apo- 
stle's argument ; which, to say the truth, is of no great weight, 
and will hardly bear him out in his conclusions, any further 
than as it was an address to the professed principles of those 
who were zealots for the Mosaic ritual. That it is proper for 
men to take the lead in the public services of Christian assem- 
blies is obviously just, and will be generally allowed. And the 
apostle had undoubted authority to enjoin a decorous silence 
upon the female sex. It is likewise sufficiently evident that it is 
equally indecorous for the woman to usurp authority over the 
man in the affairs which properly fall within his department. 
But that degrading subjection of the female sex which was 
common in the East, and which the apostle seems to favour, 
is neither consistent with wisdom, with justice, nor with the 
liberal spirit of modern times. And if the authenticity, and the 
literal interpretation of what is commonly called the Mosaic 
account of the creation, and the fall of man, should be admitted, 
which are very problematical, the apostle's argument would still 
be very precarious. If the priority of Adam's creation proves 
his superiority to Eve, the priority of the creation of brutes 
would prove their superiority to Adam. And if Adam knowingly 
violated the command of God, his folly was surely far greater 
than that of Eve, who had been imposed upon by the serpent. 

Sect. IV. I. T 1 M O T H Y. 3. 197 

with the promise of blessing to the pious and obc- ch. ii. 

Nevertheless^, she shall be preserved m child- Ver. 15. 
bearings if they continue * in faith and love and 
holiness luith soberness of mind. 

Though the inferiority of the woman is thus esta- 
blished, and though she was condemned to a severe 
penalty in consequence of the Fall, yet she shall be 
in some measure redeemed from the curse ; and the 
pains and sorrows of childbirth, if not removed, 

' Nevertheless, &c.] An extremely difficult text. Newcome 
suspects rijf rswoyovias to be an interpolation, or marginal 
reading crept into the text j but he owns the supposition is un- 
supported by authority. The sense given in the paraphrase is 
the most common, and upon the whole the most probable. It 
is adopted by Locke, Benson, and Newcome. Locke, on Rom. 
vii. 5, cites several texts in which Sia has the force of in, or du- 
ring, viz. Rom. iv. 1 1 J 2 Cor. v. 10 j Eph. iii. 6. So the Greeks 
say, <J*' rjfjLspa; during the day, Sia vuktos during the night. — 
It is not indeed literally true, that Christian females are re- 
lieved from the sufferings and dangers of child-bearing : but 
the practice of Christian virtue is the best preparative for suf- 
fering, and affords the best support under it. Rosenmuller 
renders the verse : " Consequetur auteni saluteni cum procreatis 
Uteris, si permanserint in fide, et amore, et sanctitate vit<e cum 
teniperantia ;" she shall be saved with her children, if they con- 
tinue in faith and love, &c. He observe.*;, the Syriac renders 
rsKvoyovia, children; that this translation preserves the con- 
struction 3 and that Six with a genitive, as is well known, is 
sometimes put for cruv, with. See Rom. ii. 27. iv. 11. q. d. The 
woman and her children shall be saved, if they are well edu- 
cated and practise virtue. Mr. Wakefield's translation is simi- 
lar to that of Rosenmuller : " notwithstanding, their offspring 
will be saved, if they continue in faith, and love, and sanctity 
with sobermindedness." Some understand the passage as re- 
ferring to Christ, the promised seed. But this is an arbitrary 

■* If thcij continue.'] " See a like change of number Psalm 
cxxvii. 5." Newcome. 

198 Skct.V. I. TI M OT H Y. 1. 

Ch. II. shall at least be mitigated to those who have learned 
^"*" '^' to bear them with a christian spirit, and who adorn 
their profession by the practice of christian virtue. 


Ch. III. The apostle^ to assist Timothy in the choice of 
proper persons for ecclesiastical offices, describes 
the qualifications requisite in those lojio are ap' 
pointed to officiate as bishops or superintendants 
in the church. Ch. iii. ver. 1 — 7. 

1. Ife represents the episcopal office as very 
honourable, ver. 1. 
Ver. J. This is a true observation ', If any man be ear- 
nestly desirous^ of the episcopal office, he desireth 
an honourable employment. 

Many are eager to be appointed bishops or super- 
intendants in the church ; some may perhaps be 
prompted by a mean ambition of superiority and 
fancied pre-eminence ; some may not be sufficiently 
apprized of the importance of the office, of the 
various duties that are attached to it, or of the many 
qualifications requisite to the faithful, honourable 

' This is a true observation.'] Literally, " This is a faithful or 
credible saying." This clause is added to the end of the pre- 
ceding chapter by Markland and Wakefield. See Bowyer. 

' Earnestly desirous.'] opsysrai. Vide Macknight. Dr. Priest- 
ley strongly recommends reviving the office of elders in dis- 
senting churches, as the only proper way to support disci- 

Skct.v. I. ti moth Y. 2. 199 

and successful discharge of it ; while some, I doubt ch. ill. 
not, have just views, and are influenced by the best ^^^^' '* 
motives. They do not look up to it as to an office 
of ease, of emolument, or of power, but as a post 
of labour, of danger, and of usefulness. But what- 
ever be the views and motives of the respective 
candidates, it is a certain fact, that he who is am- 
bitious of the episcopal office is ambitious of a very 
honourable and very important employment; an 
employment, which, in the present critical situation 
of the church at Ephesus, will require consummate 
prudence and sagacity, will demand constant vigi- 
lance and activity, will expose its possessors to im- 
minent perils, but which, if faithfully and wisely 
discharged, will be productive of great honour to 
himself and advantage to the church. It will be his 
business, in connexion with his colleagues and fel- 
low-labourers, to instruct the ignorant, to preserve 
the doctrine of the church pure and uncorrupted, 
to resist the encroachments of the false teachers, to 
maintain good order and discipline, to warn the 
unruly, to dismiss from the Christian community 
those who cannot otherwise be reclaimed, to keep 
the church in unity, holiness and peace, to preclude 
every just occasion of offence to unbelievers, and to 
maintain a fair and honourable reputation. 

2. Having thus stated the importance of the 
office, he proceeds to describe the qualifications re- 
quisite for the honourable and successful discharge 
of it, ver. 2—7. 

200 SixT. V. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. III. A bishop then must he blameless i, — As the law 

^'' • required that priests should be free from natural 

blemishes, the gospel requires that its ministers 

should be exempt from moral stains, and that their 

characters should be pure and without reproach ; 

the husband of one ivife ^, — one who is not guilty 
of polygamy, and who has not, from insufficient 
reasons, divorced one woman and married another : 
for these practices, though allowed among the hea- 
then, and tolerated by the Jews, are inconsistent 
with the superior purity and strictness of the Chris- 
tian law ; 

vigilant 3, — guarding against the introduction of 
error and vice ; 

• Bhmeless.'] a.vsirtXrjTrtoy. An allusion to the law of the 
priesthood. Vide Benson. The directions here are similar to 
those given to Titus, ch. i. 5, &c. No doubt, therefore, Timothy 
was left at Ephesus with the same view as Titus was left in 
Crete. The apostle had not yet resided at Ephesus long enough 
to organize the church completely to his mind : — a presump- 
tion that the epistle was written before the apostle had com- 
pleted his long three years residence at Ephesus j during which 
he must have had ample time to organize the Ephesian church. 
It also furnishes a further presumption, that the letters to Ti- 
mothy and Titus were written at no great distance of time from 
each other. These circumstances countenance the supposition 
that PhuI visited Crete from Ephesus, and that the c])istle to 
Timothy vvas dated from Crete. That the elders and bishops 
of Ephesus were the same, is evident from Acts xx. 17 — 28. 

* The husband of one tvife.'] See Benson, Newcome, Dod- 
dridge. Some infer from hence, that none but a married man 
might be a bishop; others, that a Christian minister may not 
marry a second wife. But the interpretation in the commentary 
seems to be the most rational, and is most generally adopted. 
How inconsistent is this direction of the apostle with the Po- 
pish doctrine of the celibacy of the priests ! 

' Vigilant.'] vrifa>Mv might be rendered so6cr or I (^m per ate ; 

Sect.V. I. TIMOTHY. 2. 201 

self -governed'^ ^ — ^^^^^ ^ mind well regulated, and ch. in. 
free from the domineering influence of turbulent ^'■''*' ^* 
and unruly passions ; 

decent^ — in his. outward behaviour, so as not 
only to avoid giving offence, but to attract esteem 
and respect by a grave and becoming deportment ; 

hospitable^ — to strangers, and particularly to 
those who are employed as missionaries to propa- 
gate the gospel, accommodating them with every 
thing necessary for their subsistence and comfort, 
while they remain with him, and supplying them 
with whatever may be requisite to promote tlie de- 
sign of their mission when they depart. The bishop 
must also be 

ready to teach, — being himself well- instructed in 
the genuine doctrine of the Christian religion ; im- 
pressed with a strong desire to communicate in- 
struction even to those who are most ignorant, or 
in the meanest station : and likewise possessing a 
facility of conveying his ideas in a clear, intelligible 
and impressive manner ; 

not addicted to luine, not a striker T;- — for these 3. 

but that is mentioned in the next verse. Sec Muclinight and 

* Self-governed.'] (roj'Pfiova, sancc mcnlis. " whose mind is 
well regulated 5 one who governs his passions." Macknight. 

* Dccenti] koo-ijaov, of comely behaviour. " The former re- 
spects the inwnrd man, this the outward." Macknight. 

® Hospitable.'] " Hospitality was more necessary when there 
were no public houses." Newcome, Macknight, and Benson. 

' Not a striker.] The W'ord ai<r)(^pciKsp$rj, not greedy of filthy 
lucre, which follows in the received text, is omitted in the best 
manuscri])ts, and by Grie^5bach. Dr. Priestley observes, " that 
ft may seem extraordinary that any mention should be made of 

202 Skct. V. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. III. vices are absolutely inconsistent with the meek and 
' holy spirit of the gospel, and are particularly dis- 
gusting in the teachers of its sublime doctrine : 

but mild, not contentious^ not covetous; — not 
ready to take offence, nor delighting in angry quar- 
rels, but of a peaceable and gentle temper ; breath- 
ing the spirit of that gospel which he teaches, which 
contains the joyful message of peace and good-will 
to men. Nor is it fit that a superintendant of the 
church should be of an avaricious spirit, eagerly 
grasping after wealth, and unwilling to employ it 
to the purposes of benevolence and hospitality ; 

4. one ivho governs his own family well, keeping 
his children in subjection ivith all gravity. 

A bishop who is to sustain the rank of a father 
in the church, must first show that he knows how 
to exercise with discretion the authority of a father 
at home. He must govern his own family well, 
with a prudent mixture of gentleness and resolu- 
tion, so as to secure the reverence and esteem of 
his household. And in particular, if he have chil- 
dren, he must have trained them up to habits of 
good order and respectful obedience. 

5. For if a man know not how to govern his own 
family y how can he take care of the church of God? 

such vices as these ; and particularly as disqualifications for the 
office of bishop. It shows that the reform of conduct was the 
work of time ; these facts are inconsistent with the idea of any- 
sudden or miraculous change being wrought in the mind. Men 
first change their opinion and profession upon proper evidence} 
and better principles would, when they had time to operate^ 
produce a proper change in heart and life." 

Sect. V. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 203 

If a person, for want of prudence and a proper ch. in. 
dignity of character, cannot keep his own family in ^^'"* * 
order ; if his children are insolent or disobedient, 
rude and ungovernable ; if he fails in the regula- 
tion of that small society, over which his authority 
is almost absolute, how can it be reasonably ex- 
pected that he will superintend with discretion the 
concerns of the church, or maintain order and dis- 
cipline in a society so much larger, where the tem- 
pers and dispositions of the members are so much 
more various and unmanageable, which is conse- 
quently so much more difficult to be governed, and 
where his authority will be so much less ? 

Not one newly converted, lest^ being elated, he 6. 

fall under the condemnation of the accuser '. 

It would be improper to choose a new convert 
to exercise an office of high trust and authority in 
the church, whatever his rank in life, or whatever 
his qualifications and talents may be ; for, to say 
nothing of the improbability of his being properly 
instructed in the Christian faith, and of the impro- 
priety of elevating him above other Christians of 
greater knowledge and experience, it can hardly be 
doubted that an elevation so sudden and unex- 
pected would inspire too high an opinion of him- 
self, and prompt him to some indiscretion in his 
language or his conduct ; of which the vigilant and 

' r/ie accuser,] 5'ia?oX2u, The enemies of Christianity, who 
were ready to propagate re])orts to the disadvantage of Chris- 
tians and of the gospel, and to invent calumnies. There is no 
reason to think thiit the devil is at all alluded to by the apostle. 

204 Sect. V. I, T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. III. malicious enemies of Christianity would gladly avail 
Ver. 6. themselves to his personal disadvantage, and to that 
of the church over which he might be chosen to pre- 
7. He must likewise support an honourable cha- 
racter among those who are luithmit, lest he fall 
into 7'eproach and the snare of the accuser. 

A bishop or superintendant of the church must 
be a person who has always maintained a good 
character in the world, who has never been guilty 
of any notorious vices or indiscretions ; so that he 
may be held in estimation even among unbelievers, 
and tliat no one may have any ground to cast re- 
proach upon him. Otherwise, if by any flagrant 
instance of misconduct he has injured his character, 
he will never be able to discharge his duty with 
true satisfaction of mind ; his instructions, admo- 
nitions and reproofs, will want their due weight 
and influence; and the enemies of Christianity 
will either insidiously endeavour to seduce him from 
the faith, and to draw him again into vice and dis- 
grace ; or, by exaggerated reports, and vile insinua- 
tions, they will endeavour to blast his character, to 
injure his usefulness, and to bring the society over 
which he presides into contempt. So that nothing 
can be more essential to the usefulness of a super- 
intendant, or a bishop of the church, and to the 
interest of the community over which he presides, 
than a clear conscience and an honourable cha^ 

Six r. VI. I. TI MOTH Y. 1. 205 


The apostle describes the characters and qua- Ch, iii. 
Ufications requisite in those ivho were candidates 
for the offices of deacons or deaconesses. Ch. ili. 

1 . The apostle specifies the qualifications of those 
who were fit to be appointed to the office of dea- 
cons, ver. 8 — 10. 

In like manner the deacons must be grave, not Ver. 8. 
double-tongued ^ , not addicted to much luine, not 
greedy of dishonourable gain. 

As the deacons are chosen to superintend the se- 
cular affairs of the church, and occasionally to assist 
in the office of Christian instruction, great atten- 
tion should be paid to the characters of those who 
are appointed to this honourable station. 

Like the bishops or elders, they should be men 
of grave and respectable characters, who are not 
likely, by any levity of conduct, to expose them- 
selves or their office, their doctrine, or the society 
whose concerns they are appointed to manage, to 
contempt. They must also be men of simplicity 
and sincerity, consistent in their language, not ap- 

' liot double-tongued.'] JiAoya;, " prone to hollowness and 
deceit," Nevvcome. 

206 Sect. VI. I.TIMOTHY, ! . 

Ch. III. plauding men to their faces and condemning them 
*''^* * when absent, not teaching one doctrine at one time 
and another at another, in order to gratify preju- 
dice, to promote their interest, or to gain applause. 
Neither must they be addicted to intemperance, 
that degrading vice, nor to mean and dishonourable 
gain : they must not be of a covetous and merce- 
nary spirit, lest, being intrusted with the funds of 
the society, they should apply to their own use what 
is intended for the decent support of the officers of 
the church or the relief of the poor. 
9. Retaining the mystery of the faith with a pure 
conscience ^ . 

The deacons ought to be well-instructed in the 
whole doctrine of Christ, but especially in that very 
interesting discovery vvhich was to former ages an 
unknown mystery, but which is now made manifest, 
to the no small discontent and confusion of narrow- 
minded Jews, but to the unspeakable delight and 
gratitude of the Gentile believers, that the heathen 
who is converted to the faith of Christ, shall be 
admitted to equal rights with the believing ^ftw^ 
though he may not submit to the bondage of the 
law. And this great principle he must hold with a 

' With a pure conscience^ Dr. Benson thinks tlnit there is 
an allusion here to the case of Hymenseus and Alexander, ch. i. 
Dr. Macknight observes, that " the apostle's direction implies, 
that he should be both sound in the faith and conscientious in 
maintaining it." The mystery of the faith was the call of the 
gentiles. A man invited to be a deacon ought both to be con- 
vinced of the truth of this doctrine, and courageous in avowing 
it ; and who would, therefore, be impartial in the distribution 
of the donations of the church. Acts vi. See Benson. 

Sect. VI. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 207 

clear conscience : he must not only believe, but Ch. iii. 
profess this important article of the Christian faith ; ^'' * 
and he must not, in order to avoid the displeasure 
of Judaizing bigots, suppress the truth of the go- 
spel, and sacrifice the liberty of the Gentile church : 
nor must he, in the distribution of the donations 
of the church, show any partiality to the Hebrew 
above the Gentile convert. 

And let these also be first proved^ and theUy if 10. 
irreproachable ^i let them take the office of deacon. 

As it is improper to elect a new convert to the 
office of a bishop or superintendant of the church, 
it is also inexpedient to appoint such an one to the 
office of a deacon. Let such officers be chosen 
from among believers of knowledge and experience 
who are of considerable standing in the church, men 
of tried integrity, and whose character is an orna- 
ment to their profession. And being publicly no- 
minated, if no objection be alleged against them, 
and if they appear to be generally approved, let 
them then assume and exercise the office. 

2. The apostle gives similar directions with re- 
spect to the qualifications of women who were ap- 
pointed to the offices of deaconesses, ver. 1 1. 

- Irreproachable.'] " a.vzyv.K-qtoi, qui non in jus vocari potest 
propter scelus manifestum." Schleusner. q.d. against whom, 
when proposed, no objection can be made. Dr. Macknight ob- 
serves, that " it was a custom in the church, which obtained 
probably from the apostolic age, to publish the names of those 
who were intended for ecclesiastical functions, that if any one 
had aught to accuse them of, they might show it :" to this cus- 
tom he supposes an allusion here. 

208 Skct. VI. I. TIMOTHY. 2. 

Ch. III. In like mminer the women ' ought to he grave, 
Ver. 11. ^2Q^ slanderers'^, te?nperate, faithful in all things. 
The same directions which I have given concern- 
ing the quahfications of a deacon, I repeat with re- 
spect to those women, whom, in the present cir- 
cumstances of the cJiurch, it is expedient to appoint 
to the office of deaconess : and whose duty it is to 
visit and instruct those of their own sex, to attend 
the sick, to reUeve the poor, and to entertain stran- 
gers. Let the women, who may be selected for 
this useful office, be grave and decent in their de- 
portment, and free from all unbecoming levity in 
their behaviour. Let them not be too severe in ani- 
madverting upon the failings of others ; and, above 
all things, let them abstain from false and malicious 
accusations. Let them beware of excess, and vigi- 

' The women^ The women here mentioned are commonly 
supposed to be the wives of the deacons ; but there is no reason 
to believe that the apostle would give directions concerning 
them any more than about the wives of the bishops. It is cer- 
tain from Rom. xvi. that women exercised the office of deacon- 
esses to those of their own sex in the primitive church, and to 
these probably the apostle alludes in this place. This was the 
opinion of Chrysostom and most of the ancient writer.*), and is 
well supported by Benson and Macknight. It is also adopted 
by Newcome. Macknight thinks that Ttpzar^vri^ss, Tit. ii.3, 4, 
were female elders appointed to instruct the young of their own 
sex ; 1 Tim. v. 2, 9, 10, the same persons are called tvidoics. — 
He has a pertinent quotation from Clement of Alexandria, to 
prove that these female teachers were so called j and indeed it 
is probable that they were chosen from the of widows. 

* Not slanderers.'] Sioc^oKas. "false accusers." See ver. 6, 
and Ainsworth on Lev. xix. 16, xxi. 7. Tliey were not to slan- 
der any body ; and especially not to blast the characters of the 
poor, and so cut them off from the charitable relief of the Chris- 
tian church," Benson, 

Skct. VI. 

I. TI MOTH Y, 3. 209 

Ver. 11. 

lantly guard against the odious habit of intempe- Ch. iir 
ranee. And as they are intrusted with the public 
purse for the rehef of the poor, the sick, and the 
stranger, let them discharge this duty with the 
strictest fidelity, and upon no consideration let them 
divert the contributions of the church to purposes 
different from those for which they were designed. 

3. He directs that deacons should be men who 
govern their own famiUes with discretion, and that, 
by meritorious exertions in inferior offices, they 
should quahfy themselves for more honourable sta- 
tions, ver. 12, 13. 

Let the deacons he husbands of one wife only, 12. 

ruling their children and their own families well. 
For they who have discharged the office of a dea- 13. 

con well, acquire for themselves an honourable 
ratik^, and great freedom of speech ^ in the faith 
which is in Christ *Tesus. 

The directions I gave concerning the bishop I 
now repeat with respect to the deacons. That no 
person be appointed to that office who is a polyga- 
mist, or who, having divorced his first wife from 
insufficient reasons, is now married to another. 
And let those persons be chosen who have previ- 

' An honourable ranki] An excellent step or degree : i. e. will 
be advanced to the higher office of presbyter or bishop. See 
Macknight, Benson, and Doddridge, Freedom of speech : 
great confidence in persecuting times. See Newcome. 

* Great freedom of speech^ "And in these times of perse- 
cution great confidence in asserting and teaching the faith which 
Christians profess," Newcome. 


210 Skct. VI. 1. TI MOTH Y. 4. 

Ch. III. ously shown their capacity for discharging the office 
^"' well, by governing their families with discretion, 
and by having trained up their children in habits 
of virtue and filial piety. For if the famiUes of those 
who are appointed to offices in the church are dis- 
orderly and untractable, it reflects discredit upon 
the heads of those families, and will be a disgrace 
to the church. And though the rank of a deacon 
be inferior to that of the bishop or principal teacher, 
it is nevertheless an office of great respectability, 
and they who discharge its duties faithfully and well, 
will be esteemed and honoured by the church, and 
will in due time probably be advanced to superior 
stations. And in the mean time the testimony 
of their conscience, and the esteem in which they 
are held by wise and good men, will encourage them 
to teach the doctrine of Christ with manly free- 
dom ; and their wholesome doctrine, supported by 
the excellence of their example, will be crowned 
with success. 

4. This advice he has delivered to regulate the 
conduct of the evangelist during his own absence 
from Ephesus, whether for a longer or a shorter in- 
terval, ver. 14, 15. 

14. / ivrite these things unto thee in expectation 

15. of coming to thee very soon i; but if 1 delay ^ that 

' In expectation of corning very soon.'] tCLyidv, ox, as the 
Alexandrine and others read, evra;>^e<. It is quite impossible 
that when the apostle set out lor Macedonia, Acts xx. after 
the tumult of Demetrius, intendino^ to visit Corinth, and to 

Skct.VI. I. TIMOTHY. 4. 211 

thou may est know how thou oughtest to behave Ch. ill. 
thyself in the house of Gody ivhich is the church ^^^' ^^' 
of the living Gody as a pillar and support of the 

I am now in a situation, as you very well know, 
from which I expect speedily to return, and to re- 
lieve you from the weight of responsibility which I 
have imposed upon you. But as I am not my own 
master, and know not what may happen, lest my 
absence should be prolonged beyond what I at 
present purpose or expect, I have written these ne, 
cessary directions and advices, that you, who, by 

settle the disorders which prevailed in that church, he should 
have expected to return speedily to Ephesus. This, therefore, 
could not have been the time when he wrote his letter. But if 
he wrote from Crete, agreeably to the hypothesis which has 
been proposed in the Introduction, he of course fully expected 
to return very soon, which would be his justification for having 
delegated such extraordinary powers to this youthful evangelist. 
Yet still it was possible that he might be either prevented by 
his enemies, or restrained by Providence, from returning to 
Ephesus so soon as he proposed. To provide for this contin- 
gency, he v/rites the letter which contains these particular di- 
rections to his young substitute. In this case, however, the 
apostle appears to have returned as soon as he intended, and 
to have relieved the evangelist from his burdensome responsi- 

' As rt pillar, &c.] The church is not the " pillar of truth," 
for it is represented as the temple itself. Somerville, Bengel, 
Griesbach, and llosenmuUer, end the sentence at ^wvrog. q.d. 
" that thou mayest know how to behave thyself in the house of 
God, which is the church ot the living God. The pillar and 
ground of the truth, and without controversy, great is the my- 
stery," &c. With Benson, Wakefield, Newcome, and others, 
I have preferred applying the epithets piikr and ground of truth 
to the evangelist himself. See Gal. ii. 9, Rev. iii. 12. There is 
probably an allusion to the temple of Diana at Ephesus, or to 
Jhe tempU- of Jerusalem. 

212 Sect. VI. 1. T I M O T H V. 4. 

Ch. III. sustaining the office of an evangelist, are consti- 
* tuted a pillar of the church, and a main support of 
Christian truth, may know in what manner to dis- 
charge the duties incumbent upon you in the ar- 
duous situation which you are now occupying at 
Ephesus ; that, by simplicity of doctrine, and wis- 
dom of conduct, you may indeed approve yourself 
a firm support and graceful ornament of that holy 
edifice, which is not, like the temple of Jerusalem, 
decorated with external splendour, nor, like the cele- 
brated temple of Diana, consecrated to a senseless 
idol, but which is a spiritual and living temple, de- 
dicated to the living and eternal God. This glo- 
rious building is the great body of believers, who 
are by their profession of the Christian doctrine 
consecrated to God, whom he claims as his pecu- 
liar property, among whom he dwells by the gifts 
and energies of his holy spirit, and whom, if they 
are faithful and obedient, he will raise, by his al- 
mighty energy, to a new, a glorious, and an end- 
less life. 

Sect. VII, I. TIMOTHY. 1, 2i; 


The apostle^ after solemnly enumerating the Ch. ni. 
principal facts upon which the evidence of the 
divine origin of the Christian religion isfoundedy 
proceeds to foretell many circumstances of the 
grand apostasy, against which he urges the evan- 
gelist to put the Ephesians iipon their guard, 
Ch. iii. IG— iv. 7. 

1 . The apostle distinctly, but briefly, states some 
of the fundamental facts of the Christian religion, 
ver. 16. 

And without dispute , great is the mystery of Vcr, 16, 
religion ' . He who 2 was manifested in the flesh ^, 

' The mystery of religion .-] q. d. Other religions have their 
mysteries, but the Christian religion contains a greater mystery 
than all : viz. that the gospel should be preached to, and re- 
ceived by, the heathen world j for this is what the apostle com- 
monly means by the word mystery. See Eph. i. 9, iii. 3 j of 
which he never speaks but with admiration. EucrsJeia' " ipsa 
religio Christiana, quae pietatem non solum commendat, sed etiam 
promovet." Schleusner. — " The mystery of godliness, or, of true 
worship, is confessedly great. The long concealed and now dis- 
covered doctrines of the true religion, which is called svas^sia, 
in opposition to the atrstsia of the heathen." Newcome. 

^ He who.'] There are three readings of this passage : ©2, 
God; OY. , he who ; and O, that which. The Ephrem manuscript 
reads 02, he who; and probably the Alexandrine. This is 
adopted by Griesbach, who observes that ©2 and O are much 
more likely to be corrupted from OS, than vice versa. " All the 
old versions," says Dr. Clarke, {Doct. of Trin. No. 88, 89,^ 

2 14 Sfxt. VII. I. T I M O T H Y. 1. 

Ch. in. was justified by the spirit'^, appeared to his ines- 
sengers^y was proclaimed to the nations ^^ was 

" have who or which. Also all the ancient Fathers, though the 
copies of many of them have it now in the printed text ©sof, 
God ; yet from the tenor of their comments upon it, and from 
their never citing it in the Arian controversy, it appears that 
they always read 6g, who ; ox, o, which." He adds as a note, 
" It must not be judged from the present copies of the text in 
Nyssen and others, but from the manner of their commenting 
upon the place, how the text was read in their days." The edi- 
tors of the Greek Fathers, misled by their prejudices, altered 
the text of their authors to agree with the received text. So 
Griesbach observes, it is certain that Cyril of Alexandria did 
not read Qsog, though that reading is frequently found in the 
printed text of that writer. Nor is it cited by any Greek father 
before the fifth or sixth century. Macedoni'us, bishop of Con- 
stantinople in the sixth century, is charged with corrupting the 
text. Archbishop Newcome says, that " if we read oj, he who, 
we have a similar construction Mark iv. 25 ; Luke viii. 1 8 5 
Rom, viii. 32. See Dr. Benson's judicious note on the text. 
Also Griesbach's excellent note; and the judgement of Wet- 
stein, Owen, and Nichols in Bovvyer. 

^ Manifested in the fieshi] He was a real man, and not a 
man in appearance only, as the Gnostics and Docetae taught, 
to whom the apostle seems to allude. See ch i.4, vi. 20. Com- 
pare also 1 John iv. 2, 3, 2 John ver. 7. Perhaps the expres- 
sion manifested in the flesh may allude to his appearance in a 
very humble form, not at all adapted to his high pretensions 
and claims. 

■• Justified by the spirit.'] q. d. Mean as was his appearance 
in comparison with the magnitude of his claims, he fully justified 
the character he assumed by his miracles, by his resurrection, 
and by the gifts of the holy spirit. " was justified by the mi- 
raculous and extraordinary gifts of the spirit." Benson. 

* Appeared to his messengers :] " ivpdvj ayysXoti, seen by mes- 
sengers." Wakefield, i. e. He appeared to his apostles, to those 
whom he appointed to be the witnesses of his resurrection and 
the heralds of his gospel. This is an obvious and a most im- 
portant sense, well suited to the connexion. That he was seen 
by angels, or celestial spirits, according to the common inter- 
pretation, is scarcely intelligible, and at best irrelevant. See 
Benson ; also Gosset in Bowyer, 

* Proclaimed to the nations.'] This publication of the gospel 

Skct. VII. I. T I M O T H Y. 1. 215 

believed on in the worlds ^ was taken up into cj,. m^ 
glo7'y 8. Ver. 16. 

In the great and opulent city of Ephesus, which, 
on account of the magnificence and celebrity of the 
temple of Diana, may be regarded as the metropolis 
of heathen idolatry, you hear much of the solemn 
mysteries of heathen worship. But to all who im- 
partially consider the subject it will appear beyond 
all contradiction that the Christian religion, which 
teaches the true worship of the Supreme Being, 
reveals far more extraordinary and more useful my- 
steries than heathenism can boast. 

Jesus of Nazareth, a man in all respects like his 
brethren, who appeared in a humble form during 
his personal ministry, and who suffered an ignomi- 
nious death, justified his pretensions to a divine 
legation by the miracles which he wrought, and 
particularly by his resurrection from the dead. Of 

to the Gentiles is the great mystery which was so long unknown, 
so utterly unexpected, and so offensive to the Jews : which had 
been revealed to the apostle, which he was commissioned to 
teach, and upon which he so fondly insists as an unexampled 
display of divine mercy. See Benson. 

' Believed o«.] zitis'^^^fi- Wakefield supposes sTdfBvSrj is here 
to be taken for sirirwSrj, as he has himself translated it 2 Thess. 
i. ] 0, Rom. iii. 2. He would render it established by evidence. 

' Was taken up into glorij :'] or, gloriously received. aysXr^tpSr), 
was received. This word is applied to our Lord's ascension, 
Mark xvi. 1 9, Acts i. 2, 11 , 22. See Luke ix. 5 1 ; and the clause 
is generally understood of that remarkable event. A friend of 
Dr. Benson understands it of the glorious reception which the 
gospel obtained in the world : see Acts xx. 13, 14, xxiii. 31 j 
Kph. vi. 15 ; 2 Tim. iv. 11 ; which justify this translation of 
avfXijif Sv;. The objection against which interpretation is, that it 
coincides with the preceding clause • but if Mr. Wakefield's 
interpretation be admitled, this objection is precluded. 

216 StcT. VII. I.TIMOTHY. 2. 

ch. III. this interesting event we have the clearest evidence ; 
"■ * for he showed himself alive after his suffering, to 
the apostles, whom he had chosen to be witnesses 
of this important fact, and to be his messengers to 
publish his gospel through the world ; and among 
others he condescended to appear even to myself. 
In consequence of this assurance, and in virtue of 
the important trust which was confided to them, the 
apostles of Christ have published his gospel to all 
mankind, without distinction of Jew or Gentile ; 
and the doctrine which they taught has been so 
powerfully attested by the various miracles which 
they have been enabled to perform in confirmation 
of it, that it has already met with a glorious recep- 
tion in the world: thousands both of Jews and 
Gentiles have embraced the Christian faith, and 
become members of the Christian community, and 
the present success of the gospel is a happy earnest 
of its perpetual establishment, and its increasing 
prosperity. Finally, this distinguished teacher as- 
cended up into heaven in the presence of his apo- 
stles ; from whence he will return at the appointed 
time, in power and great glory, to raise the dead 
and to judge the world. 

2. The apostle proceeds to predict the great apo- 
" stasy of the latter days. Ch. iv. 1 — 5. 
Ch. IV. y^cl ' the spirit expressly dedareth % that in 

' Yet.'] So Ncwcome, who explains it thus in his note : 
However, important and instructive as thcjse truths arCj the 

Sect. VII, 1. T 1 M O T H Y, 2. 2 17 

latter times ^ some will apostatize^ from thefaith^ Ch. iv. 
attending to deceitful spirits 5, a7idto doctrines con- ^'^' * 
cerning demons 6. 

Such is the present state of the Christian reli- 
gion, so pure in its doctrine, so satisfactory in its 
evidence, so extensive in its propagation, and so glo- 
rious in its prospects, that it seems natural to ex- 
pect that the whole world will soon be converted 
to the profession of it. But the spirit of prophecy 
distinctly announces a state of things very contrary 
to our fond expectations and desires ; for I am au- 
thorized expressly to declare, that in after times, at 
what period God only knows, some professing 
Christians, and those not a few in number, nor in- 
significant in rank and influence, will grossly apo- 

holy spirit hath revealed that corruptions of the Christian doc- 
trine will arise." 

' Expressly declareth.'] Macknight supposes, " with an au- 
dible voice ;" but this is improbable. Joseph Mede suspects an 
allusion to Dan. xi. 36 ; and that the latter times are, the last 
period of the Roman empire, about a.d. 400. 

' Li latter times.'] " in the times long after the apostle's 
days." Benson. See 2 Tim.iii. 1. " Non est temporibus ultimis, 
sed secuturis." RosenmuUer. 

■• Some will apostatize :] not all, even though it may be a 
great majority. See Bishop Newton, Dr. Benson, and Arch- 
bishop Newcome. 

' Deceitful spirits.'] " false prophets, pretending to inspira- 
tion." Newcome. See Macknight. 

" Demons^ The spirits of dead men ; the objects of popular 
worship. See Bishop Newton and Archbishop Newcome. Doc- 
trines of, I. e. concerning, demons. F'or a similar construction 
see Gal. ii. 20, Heb. vi.2." Benson. " doctrines about dead 
men." Wakefield. " The doctrine concerning the spirits or 
souls of dead men," says Dr. Priestley, " makes one of the 
most important articles in the corruptions of the church of 

218 Sect. VII. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch IV. statize from the primitive faith ; and will introduce 
^'''' '• doctrines foreign to the truth and to the spirit of 
genuine Christianity. They will listen to men who 
falsely pretend to be divinely inspired, and who will 
lead them into gross and dangerous errors. And 
in the first place, they will teach strange doctrines 
concerning departed men ; that their spirits are still 
in a conscious state; and that by the prayers of the 
church, and the use of certain unmeaning ceremo- 
nies, they may be canonized, and become entitled 
to religious worship : thus introducing an idolatry 
into the Christian religion very little dififerent from, 
or superior to, those abominable rites which they 
profess to have renounced. 

2. Through the hypocrisy of liars ^ whose con- 
sciences are seared. 

This miserable and mischievous idolatry will be 
introduced by the instruction and recommendation 
of men professing extraordinary piety, but who in 
fact are mere deceivers, teachers of falsehood, and 
hardened in iniquity beyond all feeling of remorse, 
and all sense of shame. 

3. Forbidding to marry, commanding abstinence 
from meats'^, tvhich God created to be received 

' Forbidding — commandijig.'] " Ante a.tii'xt'j^aii est ellipsis 
participii xsXsvovtujv. Similis vero ellipsis 1 Cor, xiv. 34." 
Rosenmuller. " A bold ellipsis well supplied by our transla- 
tion." Benson. " Our author abounds in these hyperbata," 
says Mr. Wakefield, who translates the passage, " giving com- 
mands about abstinence from marriage and from meats." " In 
the grand apostasy this has been eminently fulfilled in the bi- 
shops, monks, friars, nuns, and secular priests, in whom mar- 
riage is looked upon as worse than adultery." Also, " the 

Skct. VII. I. T I M O T II Y. 2. 219 

with thanksgiving by those who believe and ac- ch, iv. 
knowledge this truth 2, that every creature of God ^ *^'- ^• 
is good, and that nothing is to be refused if it be 
received tuith thanksgiving ; for it is made holy by ^• 

the divine appointment "^ and by prayer'^. 

Another mark of this lamentable apostasy will 
be the disparagement of marriage, which God has 
instituted for the most wise and beneficent pur- 
poses ; and the encouraging, and in some cases 
absolutely enjoining, celibacy, under the absurd 
pretence of superior purity and elevation of mind. 
These lying teachers will also lay great stress upon 

trifling distinction of meats which the church of Rome observes 
in Lent, and on two days every week throughout the year, is 
exactly agreeable to what was here predicted." Benson. " The 
doctrine of fiisting, and the abstinence from particular meats at 
particular times, is so particularly pointed out here, that it is 
extraordinary that the prophecy should not have prevented its 
own accomplishment." Dr. Priestley, 

^ Thla truth, that every creature, &c.] So Wakefield 5 with 
whom Rosenmuller agrees : " earn neinpe veritatem, quam 
statim ver. 4 commemorat."' This implies that the indiscrimi- 
nate use of food is not lawful to those who entertain conscien- 
tious scruples upon the subject. See Rom. xiv. 23. 

^ By divine appoincmcni.'] So Wakefield. Literally, " by the 
word of God," as in the common version. " The gospel," says 
Dr. Benson, " has abolished the ceremonial law, and the di- 
stinction between meats clean and unclean." " The discri- 
minating notes of these apostatizers," says Archbishop New- 
come, " belong remarkably to the church of Rome." 

* And by prayer^ Bishop Newton observes, that " man is 
free to partake of all the good creatures of God, but thanks- 
giving is the necessary condition. What then can be said of 
those who have their tables spread with the most plentiful gifts 
of God, and yet constantly sit down and rise up again without 
suffering one thought of the giver to intrude upon them ? Can 
such persons be reputed either to believe or acknowledge the 
truth'" Sec Macknight. 

220 Sect. VII. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. IV. distinctions of food ; enjoining upon some, habi- 
* tual abstinence from every kind of animal food ; 
appointing long annual fasts ; and setting apart 
particular days, in which abstinence from certain 
kinds of food will be represented as highly merito- 
rious, and the indiscriminate use of meat, as a great 
and almost unpardonable sin ; thus discovering a 
spirit directly opposite to that of the gospel, which 
teaches that every thing which is fit for the food 
of man may at any time be lawfully used by him, 
being created for this purpose by the benevolent 
Maker of all, who requires no other condition of 
the participation of his bounty, but a grateful ac- 
knowledgement of his goodness, and the temperate 
use of his blessings. There are indeed some, who, 
having been educated in Jewish prejudices, are not 
yet fully acquainted with their Christian liberty. In 
them it would be improper to indulge indiscrimi- 
nately in the use of those kinds of food which the 
law pronounces unclean, till their minds are fully 
satisfied of the lawfulness of it. And the gospel 
makes allowance for uninformed and weak con- 
sciences, while it prohibits all infringement of the 
rights of others. The liberty, therefore, of using 
any kind of food indiscriminately, can with pro- 
priety be extended only to those who, being well 
instructed in the liberal genius of the Christian 
doctrine, and who, being apprized that all ceremo- 
nial distinctions are abolished by the Christian law, 
believe and acknowledge that all the creatures of 
God, capable of administering nourishment to man, 

Sect. VII. I. TIMOTHY. 3. 22 1 

are in a moral and ceremonial sense equally good ; Ch. iv. 
and that nothing is to be rejected as unclean which "' 
is received with a thankful spirit. For that, what- 
ever distinctions of food might be permitted or en- 
joined under the Jewish dispensation, the gospel 
sets them all aside, and allows the free use of every 
kind of food, being all sanctified and made lawful 
by the express appointment of God in the aboli- 
tion of the ceremonial law, and by that blessing 
of God, which Christians, who act consistently 
with their principles, will never fail to implore upon 
their food, and by those thanksgivings which they 
will habitually render to him for the riches of his 

3. The apostle urges Timothy to insist upon 
these topics in his public instructions, and to dis- 
courage the growth of a spirit of superstition among 
the beHevers at Ephesus, ver. G, 7 . 

If thou remind the brethren of these things, thou 6. 

wilt be a good minister of Jesus Christ , nourislied 
up in the words of the faith, and of that good 
doctrine to which thou hast attained \ But reject 7. 

profane and old women s fables'^, and exercise thy- 
self i?i piety 3. 

' To which thou hasl attained^ " Kapr^xoXdhiyias , quam es 
assecutus. Nmirum sensu et inteUigentia." Rosenmuller. " with 
which thou art acquainted." Wakefield. " to which thou hast 
adhered." Benson ; who insinuates that possibly Timothy might 
lean rather too much to those Jewish prejudices in which he 
had been educated ; which might induce the apostle to repeat 
his cautions. 

• Reject, 8vC.] " Affanias procul hale ti ie eorum, qui vel ex 

222 Sfxt. VII. I. T I M O T H Y. 3. 

Ch. IV. If you inculcate faithfully and strongly upon the 
^^^' ^' brethren at Ephesus the fundamental principles of 
the Christian doctrine, which I have thus briefly 
stated ; if you warn them of that great apostasy 
which is to take place in future times ; and if you 
caution them against those superstitious practices 
which directly lead to it, which some are too ready 
to introduce, and particularly against the affecta- 
tion of superior purity, the great merit of celibacy, 
and that useless distinction of meats and days, upon 
which the Jewish zealots lay so great a stress, you 
will thus approve yourself a faithful minister of the 
gospel, thoroughly instructed in its salutary truths ; 
and you will show that you have not taken so much 
pains to acquire information to no purpose. And 
let me once more warn you to reject all those 
foolish, traditionary tales, which the Jewish rabbis 
relate in order to countenance their trifling and 
puerile injunctions, which are only fit for the nur- 
sery, and which every man of right understanding 
must hold in contempt ; and take pains to improve 

Paganismo vel judaismo ad Chrisfi cultum transierunt." Rosen- 
muller. " Instead of acquainting iiimself with the idle tradi- 
tions of the Jews, or tracing out the fabulous generations of 
the ^ons, Timothy was to exerci;ie himself in acquiring the 
more extensive knowledge, and in attaining the more complete 
practice of pure Christianity." Benson. See ch. i. 4. Profane 
old women's or old wives' fables. " Fabulns istas vocat pro- 
fanas, quia nulla Dei revelatione nituntur; dcinde aniles : i. e. 
absurdas, non minus quam illas quas aniculce pueruUs recitant." 

' In piety.] " Exerce ie pofius ad veram pietatew." Rosen- 
muller. See oh. iii. 16. 

Skct. VII. I. T I M O T H Y. 3. 223 

in the knowledge and the practice of that pure and Ch. iv. 
rational and manly religion, which alone is accept- 
able to God and beneficial to mankind. 

It is impossible to read this section with atten- 
tion, without remarking the precision and distinct- 
ness with which the apostle here, as well as upon 
other occasions, foretells the grand apostasy which 
was to take place through the whole Christian 
church ; which, though eminently conspicuous in 
the church of Rome, is not altogether limited to 
it. And from the extreme improbability of the 
event, when it was foretold, we may certainly infer 
his prophetic inspiration, and the truth of the doc- 
trine which he was authorized to teach. While, 
on the other hand, this circumstantial prediction of 
a state of things so contrary to what might natu- 
rally have been expected and desired, may lead us 
to acquiesce in it, as what was foreseen and intended 
by Divine Providence for the accomplishment of 
the most beneficial, though unknown, purposes; 
and which shall in due time certainly terminate in 
the perpetual and universal triumph of truth and 

224 Sect. VIII. I. TIMOTHY. 


Ch. IV. The apostle states the great importance of 
practical religion^ ajid tirges Timothy to maiii' 
tain an exemplary behaviour. Ch. iv. 8 — 16. 

1. The apostle states the great importance of 
practical religion, the reward annexed to which will 
make ample compensation for all temporal suffer- 
ings, ver. 8 — 1 1 . 
Ver. 8. For bodily exercise ^ is profitable for little^ but 
piety is profitable for all things^; having a prO' 
7nise both of the present and of the future life. 

' Bodily exercise^ a-wiLaruy] yv^vaa-ia. Whitby, Estius, 
Doddridge and Newcome, understand this phrase as an allu- 
sion to the gymnastic exercises, and the celebrated games of 
Greece. Benson and Macknight understand it " of the corpo- 
real mortifications recommended and practised by the Essenes, 
an ascetic sect of the Jews. " Tuiiva^siv proprie est exerceri 
in gymnasils: inde ccepit transferri ad omnia quae agendo disci- 
miis." RosenmuUer; who thinks that the apostle, by the ex- 
pression bodily exercise, alludes to those superstitious practices 
against which he had been warning his young disciple and 

^ For little— for all things.'] " irpos oXiyov, i. e. %i9vov 

ifpoi Travra, i. e. ^povov." RosenmuUer. Wakefield also trans- 
lates the passage, " Bodily exercise is profitable for a short time 
only, but godliness is profitable for ever." " Bodily exercise 
profiteth little, viz. for health and strength, for obtaining a cor- 
ruptible crown. Godliness has the promise of the life which 
now is, see Mark x. 30, Rom. viii. 28. Good men have reliance 
on God, peace of mind and conscience, hope of future happi- 
ness, and those temporal blessings which industry, temperance. 

Skct. VIII. I. T I M O T H Y. 

I have been urging you to exercise yourself in Ch. iv, 

the practice of true religion, to make a serious busi- 
ness of it, and to endure all that labour and self- 
denial which may be necessary to your success in it. 
Follow my advice, and be assured, Timothy, your 
labour will not be lost. That bodily exercise, which 
is necessary to success in the celebrated games of 
Greece, may be useful to promote health, vigour, 
and agility, to secure the garland of victory and the 
applause of nations. But these are comparatively 
trifling things. The rewards of true religion are 
infinitely superior. Health, competence, content, 
and cheerfulness, together with the divine blessing, 
are the natural and the promised rewards of indus- 
try, integrity, prudence, and piety in this life ; to 
which the revelation of the gospel annexes the grand 
prize of immortality. While others therefore con- 
tend for that which, if obtained, is at best a corrup- 
tible crown, we strive for one that is incorruptible. 
They labour for time, we for eternity. 

This is true doctrine 3, and ivorthy to he received 
by all. 

What I have declared concerning the importance 
of true religion, and the rewards annexed to it, is a 
solemn and momentous truth, which cannot be too 

integrity, and frugality, have a natural tendency to produce." 

' This is true doctrine.'] Dr. Benson observes that " St. Paul 
has used this expression four times, 1 Tim. i. 15, 2 Tim. ii. 11, 
Tit. iii. 8, and in this place. They were all matters of certain 
truth and of great importance ; and the apostle used this ex- 
pression to call up men's attention to them." 

VOL. IV. a 

Ver. 8. 

226 Sect, VIII. I. T I M O T H Y. 1. 

Ch.iv. often inculcated, too firmly believed, nor too stea- 
dily regarded. 

Ver. 10. /o/*, with this vieWj we both labour and suffer 
reproach^ because we trust in the living God^ who 
is the protector of all men^ especially of believers •. 
As a proof that 1 am sinceie in what I advance 
concerning the importance and the rewards of true 
religion, I may appeal to my own labours and suf- 
ferings in this honourable cause. For you well 
know that my life is devoted to the instruction of 
mankind in the great truths of the gospel, and the 
practice of evangelical piety ; every where insisting 
that this, and this alone, can ensure peace here, 
and happiness hereafter. For this, I am on the 
one hand reproached by the Jews, as treating with 
contempt the rites of the law, and on the other, I 
am persecuted by the heathen, as seducing men to 
renounce the religion of their ancestors, and to 
confine themselves to the worship of the one true 
and living God, who is indeed the only proper ob- 
ject of religious adoration, the benevolent parent, 
preserver, and benefactor of the human race, and 
to whose mercy in Jesus Christ, believers, especially, 
are under the highest obligations. 
11. These things give in charge and teach. 

Herein, O Timothy, I strictly and solemnly en- 
join you to follow my example, and whatever la- 
bours may be necessary, or whatever reproach you 

' The protector, &c.] a-corrj^' " the protector and preserver 
of all mankind, but his goodness has been most abundant to 
Christians." Archbishop Newcome. 

Sect. VIII. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 22/ 

may incur, persist in teaching the importance of Ch. iv. 
practical religion, and in charging those to whom ^'' * 
your discourses are addressed, to maintain an habi- 
tual and supreme regard to God. 

2. The apostle exhorts Timothy to conciliate re- 
spect by exhibiting himself as a pattern of Christian 
virtue, and diligently to improve himself in those 
qualifications which were requisite to his reputation 
and success as an evangelist, ver. 12 — 15. 

Let no man despise thy youtli'^: but be thou an 12. 

example to the believers, in conversation, in beha- 
viour ^y in love^, in fidelity , in purity. 

You are very young for the important station that 
you occupy in the church, and it will require great 
discretion in you to behave in such a manner as 
may best comport with your character and office. 
Be therefore constantly upon your guard, that you 
give no just occasion for harsh and severe remarks; 
exhibit to all the Christians at Ephesus an eminent 

' Despise thy youth!] Tliis caution is a strong presumption 
in favour of the supposition that this epistle was written a.d. 55 
or 36, and negatives the hypothesis which places the date ten 
years later, when such a caution would have been unnecessary. 

' In behaviour^ "§o(py},vivendi, et agendi ratio." Schleu- 
sner. In this sense the word is commonly used in the New Tes- 
tament } and Schleusner has referred to Polybius and Arrian to 
prove that the word is used in the same sense by Greek authors, 
in confirmation of which he also refers to Wesselingius. Ste- 
phens in his Thesaurus denies that the word is used in that sig- 
nification by classical writers. See Macknight. 

* In love.'] The received text adds, " in spirit;" but these 
words are wanting in the Alexandrine and other copies and ver- 
sions, and are rejected by Griesbach. 


228 Skct. VIII. 1, TI M O T H Y. 2, 

Ch. IV. example of discretion and good sense in your con- 
versation, of prudence in your general behaviour, of 
a kind and tender disposition of spirit, of faithful- 
ness to your promises and to your profession, and 
of temperance, purity, and strict habitual self-go- 

13. Till I come, give attention to reading , to ex- 
hortation, to instruction. 

Whether my return to Ephesus be speedy, as I 
hope, or whether it be deferred to a more distant 
period than I at present intend or foresee, be sure 
to occupy the interval, whether longer or shorter, 
in the faithful and judicious discharge of the duty 
of your station. Attend to the reading of the Scrip- 
tures, both privately for your own benefit, and pub- 
licly for the instruction of the church. Admonish 
and exhort your hearers to the discharge of those 
duties which the gospel requires, and instruct them 
in the pure doctrine of the Christian religion, warn- 
ing them against those errors with which Jewish 
superstition, or heathen philosophy, would deform 
the simplicity of Christian truth. 

14. Neglect not the gift * which is in thee, which ivas 

' The gift, &c.] The extraordinary gifts of the spirit. See 
Benson, Doddridge, Newcome, Macknight. " Recte ven. 
Noesselt. statuere videtur : miocis N. T. omnibus, qui tradunt, 
quosdam, susceptdjide Cliristiand, per apostolos, impositis mani- 
bus, quanquam ct adhihita invocatione et accuratiore in doctrind 
Christiana institi'Jione, spiritu sancto imbutosfuisse, nihil aliud 
quceri et inteWgi debere, qiuan effectani his omnibus singularem 
animorum concitatiovem, qua tanquam divini Numinis affiatu se 
senserintimpulsi, nt illam doctrinain lceti,ac iniperlerritiprqfite- 
rc/Uur." RoseuniuUer, 


Sect. VIII. J. T I M O T H Y. 2- 229 

conferred upon thee because of previous recomnien- c;ii. iv, 
dation'^y with the imposition of the hands of the pres- 

Vcr. 14. 

That the extraordinary gifts of the holy spirit were not so 
common as some have imagined, may be readily conceded. But 
to maintain, vvith this writer, that giving the spirit by imposi- 
tion of the apostle's hands never signifies any thing more than 
exciting courage and zeal, appears to me to be quite irrecon- 
cileable to the language of the New Testament, and to lead, by 
natural consequence, to explaining away the miracles of the go- 
spel altogether ; for few of the miracles of the New Testament 
rest upon more direct evidence than the gifts of the holy spirit 
to the primitive converts. Gal. iii. 2 — 5, 1 Cor. xii. 

' Because of previous reco)nmendation.'] Eicc ifpopriTBias.'] See 
ch. i. 18, and the note there. The apostle took Timothy with 
him as a companion upon the recommendation of the brethren 
at Lystra and Iconium, Acts xvi. 2. These brethren, whose re- 
commendation weighed so much vvith the apostle, were probably 
men of eminence, and prophets or teachers in the church : and 
the apostle received Timothy in consequence of their prophecies, 
or previous testimonies concerning him. 

This appears to me to be an easy solution of a difficult text. 
And it only requires that the word ttpoipr^rsia, should be under- 
stood in its proper and primary sense as a previous but not in- 
spired declaration. And it is not easy to see why the evange- 
list Timothy should be the object of inspired prophecies : thougli 
it was very becoming for him to be, and we know it as a fact 
that he was recommended to the apostle by the brethren at 
Lystra and Iconium. It is generally allowed that the word ttpo- 
(pr/TTi; does not always signify an inspired person, nor irpO'prirsia 
an inspired declaration : see Matt. xiii. 33, Tit. i. 1 2, Rom. xii. 6, 
1 Thess. V. 20. Bengelius proposes to " connect Sicc Tr^oa^- 
rziccs withTSTrpeo-forefis, and to inclose the intermediate words 
between commas. Imposition of hands was made by one, viz. the 
apostle : Prophecy w^as made by many, and by equals, who 
wished Timothy success;" 9. ri. given thee at the recommen- 
dation of the presbytery with the imposition of my hands. 
See Bowyer. " Which was given thee bij authority : i. e. of 
teachers, or, ' for the purpose of teaching,' according as the 
word Tcpop^Tii'j.g is taken in the singular or the plural number." 
Wakefield. " according to the prophecies, or, after some 
prophecies." Benson; who refers to Mark ii. 1, Acts xxiv. 17, 
as authorities for this sense of hx. " According to prophecy: 

230 Skct. VIII. i. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

ch. IV. I have conferred upon you the office of an evan- 
er. H. ggiJsj-^ g^j^jj tjjg gjfts Qf ti^e spirit, agreeably to the 
earnest recommendation of persons of the greatest 
experience and most eminent piety in Lystra and 
Derbe. After which, by solemn imposition of 
hands, you were commended by the elders of those 
churches to the blessing of God, when I associated 
you with myself in my evangelical mission. Let 
not these gifts lie dormant in your breast ; nor let 
the duties of your office be neglected, but let them 
be exercised and improved to their proper use, either 

i. particular inspiration moving him so to do." Macknight. 
*' agreeably to the predictions of the Christian prophets." New- 
come. " QucB data est tibi per prophetiam." Grotius j who re- 
marks, that prophets are said to do what they foretell, Ch.i, 18, 
Jer. i. 10. " Quod datum est tibi per prophetiam: cum scilicet 
prophetce, instinctu spiritus sancti, juberent te in Evangelii mini' 
strum eligi: testantes etprcedicantes insignem te virum in dicendo 
et adhortando fore." Slichtingius, Both these learned com- 
mentators suppose that inspired prophets marked out Timothy 
as a fit person to be employed as a missionary of the gospel } 
and with them Crellius agrees. Przipcovius takes Tr^o^Tjre<aj in 
the accusative case, and understands the apostle that gifts were 
conferred upon Timothy for the purpose of teaching — ad prophe- 
tandum, hoc est, docendum ; which is one sense that Mr. Wake- 
field has assigned. But this cannot be the meaning of the word 
ch. i. 18 ; which speaks of prophecies which went before con- 
cerning him. 

Perhaps the word x'^pt(r[j.a, may signify an office gratuitously 
conferred. 1 Pet. iv. 10. — " munus in ecclesia Christiana rfe- 
viandatum." Schleusner. See Rom xii. 6, and the true inter- 
pretation of the text may be, " Neglect not thine office, i. e. of 
evangelist, which was conferred upon thee, or given to thee, i, e. 
bij me ; in consequence of previous recommendation, with im- 
position of the hands of the presbytery :" which, as Dr. Benson 
observes, " was frequently done in the apostle's days where no 
t<piritual gift was imparted, when a superior blessed or prayed 
for an inferior," and when any were solemnly designated and 
set apart for some important office. Sec Acts xiii. 3. 

Sf.c'r. VIII . I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 23 1 

for converting the heathen, or for the edification of Ch. iv. 
the church. 

Make these things thy care ^ be wholly in them. Vet. 15. 
that thy improvement in all things may be appa- 

Regard the honourable and faithful discharge of 
your office at Ephesus as your proper and most im- 
portant business ; let it engross your whole mind, 
devote yourself entirely to it ; suffer no foreign con- 
sideration, no motives of self-indulgence, or secu- 
lar advantage, to draw off your attention from it; 
and let your application to the various branches of 
your ministerial duty be so constant, and indefati- 
gable, that all may bear testimony to your faithful- 
ness, to your improvement, and to your success. 

Take heed to thy self , and to thy doctrine; conli- 16. 

nue in them ^yfor by doing this, thou wilt save both 
thyself and thy hearers 3. 

■ Make these things thy care.} " The word [/.sKbTyj" says 
Dr. Benson, " is used to denote all the preparatory exercises 
of mind or body, which are made use of by those who are de- 
sirous of excelling- in any art or science. It is applied to those 
who were training up for rhetoricians, or to those who designed 
to contend in the agonistic games, or to engage in the dangers 
and fatigues of war. The apostle recommends to Timothy, by 
proper previous exercises, to qualify himself for excelling in the 
discharge of the work of an evangelist." " Hcec vieditare, in 
his, totus esto," Rosenmuller. 

^ Continue in them.'] These words are j^robably a marginal 
gloss : they are wanting in the ^thiopic. Owen ap. Bowyer. 

' Wilt save both thyself and thy hearers.'] " These advices," 
says Dr. Priestley, " are very intelligible, and peculiarly excel- 
lent and important. They show the necessity of ministers la- 
bouring to form their own minds, of their acquiring useful know- 
ledge, and using their utmost endeavours for the improvement 

232 Skct. VIII. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. IV. I conclude what I had to recommend concerning 
"' * your personal and public conduct with two general 
advices ; take heed to thyself, and take heed to thy 
doctrine. Let your conduct be exemplary, and your 
doctrine truly evangelical, the pure, uncorrupted 
truth of the gospel. Persevere in this honourable 
course. If you forsake the path of virtue, or the 
truth of Christianity, you will lose the benefit, and 
forfeit the reward of your past wisdom and fidelity. 
But by inflexible adherence to the practice of vir- 
tue, and to the purity of the Christian doctrine, 
you will in the first place ensure your own salvation, 
and in the second place you will do all that can be 
done for the salvati(»n of your hearers. In many 
instances success will probably attend your pious 
labours ; and where this is wanting, still you will 
not have laboured in vain ; your work will be with 
the Lord, and your reward with your God. 

of their hearers. The apostle likewise intimates, though in a 
more indirect manner, the value of their labours with respect to 
their people. And if there be a duty of ministers, there must 
be a corresponding one on the part of the people, and of equal 
importance. If the ministers are to communicate instruction, 
the people are to receive it, not implicitly, but to give their best 
attention, and then judge for themselves. If it be the duty of 
the ministers to exhort, it is that of the people to improve by 
the word of exhortation." 

Sect. IX. I. T I M O T H Y. 1. 233 


The apostle gives directions to Timothy as to the Ch. V, 
most prudent method of administering reproof, 

' and lays down 7'ules concerning the relief of those 
widows luho were to be siipported by the churchy 
and also concerning the qualifications and main- 
tenance of others y who were to be employed in its 
offices among pei^sons of their own sex. Ch. v. 

1 . The apostle gives advice to the evangelist, as 
to the best method of administering reproof, ver. 

Do not harshly rebuke an elderly man *, but be- Ver. 1. 
seech him, as a father ; and the younger men as 
brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger 2. 

as sisterSy ivith all purity. 

It does not become you who are a young man to 
administer reproof in a harsh and offensive manner 
to those who are more advanced in life, nor will such 
reproofs ever produce a good effect. If then you see 
any thing amiss in a man that is much older than 
yourself, modestly, and with becoming humility, ad- 

' An elderly 7nan.'] The opposition in the two clauses of the 
verse shows that the word irpsa-'^vtBoos is here used to express 
the age, not the ojice, of the person reproved. Dr. Benson has 
an excellent note upon the wisdom of the apostle's advice. 

234 Skcx. IX. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. V. monish him of his fault, and request him to change 
Ver. 2. Yiis conduct; addressing him as a father, with the 
respect due to his age and station. If you would re- 
prove younger men, so as to produce a good effect, 
you must speak to them with the kindness of a bro- 
ther, and let it appear that you do not reprove be- 
cause you take pleasure in finding fault, but because 
you regard it as an indispensable, though a dis- 
agreeable duty. In like manner, administer reproof 
to elder women as to mothers, and to the younger 
as sisters, with that modesty and decorum which 
will not fail to produce a proper effect, and which 
becomes your character as a minister of the gospel. 

2. The apostle directs, that widows should be 
taken care of; but that those widows who had fa- 
milies capable of supporting them, should be main- 
tained by their families, ver. 3, 4. 

3, Support 1 widows who are ividows indeed^. 
Let those widows who are women of good cha- 
racter, who have no near relations, and who have 
not the means of supporting themselves, be main- 
tained out of the public stock. 

4. But if any widow have children or grand-chil- 
dren^ let these learn first to shoiu piety at home^, 

' Support!] " rii/.x, honour ; i. e. support or maintain : see 
ver. 17; also Matt. xv. 4, 5, 6, Mark vii. 9 — 13, Acts xxviii. 
10." Benson. 

' Widows indeed^ " who arc what that word importcth, really 
bereaved and desolate." Benson. Grotius and Calvin suppose 
an allusion to the etymology of the word : X^pooj, dcslituo, 

' First to shoiv piety at home.} Mucknight'a translation is. 

Sect. IX. I. TIMOTHY. 3. 235 

and to requite their progenitors, for this is accept- Ch. v. 
ahletoGodK ^^'••^• 

If any widows have descendants capable of main- 
taining them, there is no reason why they should 
be supported at the public expense. Let children 
and grand-children, when they have provided de- 
cently for their own families, regard it as an indis- 
pensable duty to maintain their aged parents, and 
thus to requite the care that was bestowed upon 
them in the helpless years of infancy and childhood. 
This conduct is acceptable to God ; it is a branch of 
true religion, and will be creditable to your Chris- 
tian profession. 

3. The apostle requires, that widows who are 
really destitute should be decently supported, and 
animadverts severely upon those widows who lead a 
life of dissipation, and upon all who are unwilling 
to contribute to the relief of their aged parents, ver. 

But she who is a widoiv indeed, and left alone, 6. 

hopeth in God, and continueth in supplications and 
prayers night and day ^. 

" Let these learn first piously to take care of their own families, 
and then to requite their parents." Duty to parents was called 
piety. See Newcome in loc. and Wetstein on Acts xvii. 33. — 
" Rectvus de Uberis viduarum Juec intelliguntiir. Nam bvitb^siv 
v.. r. X. proprie est venerari, colere favnliam suam, i. e. susten- 
tare. Oi-K0g,familia et omnesquiad earn pertinent, matres etiani, 
et avice." RosenmuUer ; who quotes a passage from Chrysostom 
giving the same interpretation. 

* Acceptable to God.'] The received text reads " good and ac- 
ce]itablc ;" but the best copies' omit the words kxXov v.a.i, and 
Griesbach leaves them out of the text. 

236 Sect. IX. I. T I M O T H Y. 3. 

Ch. V. I have directed you to maintain widows who are 
^^'^' widows indeed. By this expression, I mean those 
widows who are both solitary and pious ; widows 
who have no children or near relations able to afford 
them needful assistance ; and whose character is an 
ornament to their profession ; who believe in God, 
who obey the gospel, and who maintain a spirit of 
habitual devotion by the regular performance of re- 
ligious exercises at stated and convenient seasons. 

6. JBui she who rioteth in pleasure i /.9 dead while 
she liveth. 

A widow who, being at liberty from the restraint 
of the conjugal state, gives herself up to a life of 
luxury and dissipation, is a disgrace to a religious 
community ; and with respect to every virtuous 
principle, and to every valuable purpose of life, she 
is as though she were dead. 

7. These things also give i?i change, that they may 
be blameless. 

Give these directions to the Ephesians, concern- 
ing the distinction to be made between those wi- 
dows who do, and those who do not need, and 

' Night and day.'] " who prays morning and evening, who i.s 
stated and regular in devotion." Doddridge. 

' Who rioteth in pleasure.'] So Newcome. Dr. Whitby ob- 
serves, that the original word cTTraraAwcra especially refers to 
drinking strong and costly liquors. Is dead. The same thought 
occurs in some heathen writers. " It was reckoned a beautii'ul 
saying of Pythagoras, that a worthless man is a dead man. That 
the same tliought is not as much admired in St. Paul," says Dr. 
Benson, " can proceed from nothing but an unreasonable par- 
tiality for what is of heathen e.xtraction, and an ungenerous 
contempt of what is Jewish or Christian." 

Ver. 7. 

Sect. IX, I. T i M O T H Y. 4. '^37 

merit, to be supported from the funds of the society, Ch. v, 
that they may know how to conduct themselves 
with discretion and propriety. 

JSut if any provide not for his own, hut espe- 
cially for those of his own household, he hath re- 
nounced the faith, and is worse than an unbe- 
liever 2. 

I haye directed that those who are able shall 
maintain their, widowed parents. This direction, 
I am confident, will be disputed by none who are 
worthy of the Christian name. For if any one who 
is able to maintain a widowed mother should rather 
suffer her to be dependent upon public charity, and 
indeed if he does not provide according to his abi- 
lity for every member of his family, he might as 
well make a formal and public renunciation of 
Christianity at once. He has renounced it, in fact, 
by refusing to comply with its most obvious requi- 
sitions ; and he is in truth a greater enemy to the 
gospel than an avowed unbeliever; for his conduct 
in neglecting a duty which is practised by unbe- 
lievers themselves, is a scandal to the honourable 
cause which he professes to espouse. 

4. He describes the character and qualifications 
of those widows who were to be admitted as dea- 

' Worse than an tmbeliever.'] " graviter accusal liberos et ne- 
potes divites, qui sinebanl ecclesice oneri esse eos quos ipsi alere 
debehant. Ethnico pejor : quia Ethnici suas primum domos tu- 
taniur, suasque necessitudines fovendas omnibus modis censent. 
Cicero in Ep. ad Capitonem : suos quisqiie debet tueri." Rosen- 

1:38 Skct. IX. I. T I M O T H Y. 4. 

Ch. V. conesses, and employed as instructors of their own 
sex, ver. 9, 10. 

Ver. 9. Let not a widow be admitted upon the list ^ who 
is under sixty years of age, having been the wife 
10. of one man^i in reputation for good works; if 
she have educated children^ if she have entertained 
sti'angers, if she have washed the feet of the saints^, 
if she have relieved the afflicted^ if she have dili- 
gently attended to every kirid office *. 

Let all widows who are in want of relief, and who 
maintain good characters, be maintained from the 
contributions of the church, and let them be em- 

^ The list/] that is, of deaconesses. Archbishop Newcome 
inserts the word into the text ; and Benson, Doddridge, and 
all the commentators agree that this must be the apostle's 
meaning ; for surely he could not intend that no widows who 
were under sixty years of age should participate in the alms of 
the church. 

* The wife of one man.l Women could divorce their husbands. 
Mark X. 12, PoU Sijnop. See ch. iii. 2. Newcome. Also Ben- 
son's note on ch. iii. 2. In the case of tlie fornicator at Co- 
rinth, 1 Cor. v., the woman had divorced the father to marry 
the son. 

' Washed the feet.'] " a usual piece of civility, as well as a 
great refreshment in the eastern countries to wash a person's 
feet, or to take care that it should be done for them." Gen, 
xviii.4,xix. 2 ; Luke vii. 38, 44 3 Johnxiii.5, 14, 15." Benson, 

* Attended to every kind office.] See Wakefield. Dr. Mac- 
knight justly observes, that the poor widows cannot be sup- 
posed to have done all this at their own expense. Hence he 
infers, that having been deaconesses in the younger part of life, 
at the age of sixty they vrere advanced to the office of instruc- 
tors or female presbyters. This idea of Dr. Macknight is per- 
haps countenanced by Rom. xvi. 1, as an aged woman would 
hardly have undertaken so long a journey. It is also possible 
that widows who received alms might be employed by the church 
in performing the offices of humanity and hospitality previously 
to their appointment to the office of deaconess. 

Sect. IX. I. TIMOTHY. .5. 239 

ployed as occasion may require in acts of public ch. v. 
hospitality and charity. But let not such persons ^^'"' " 
be admitted to the honourable distinction of per- 
manent officers in the Christian society, till they 
have reached their sixtieth year ; nor then, unless 
they have always led virtuous and irreproachable 
lives. An aged widow may be received with pro- 
priety into the number of deaconesses and instruc- 
tors, if she have not for any cause whatever divorced 
herself from her own husband, and married another 
while the former was living; which practice, how- 
ever it may be allowed by the laws of heathen states, 
is forbidden by the purity of the Christian institute. 
If such a person, while in her noviciate, have given 
useful instruction to the children who were placed 
by the church under her care ; if she have provided 
lodging for strangers whom the church has enter- 
tained ; if she have condescended to the humblest 
offices of kindness and hospitality, and have washed 
the feet of the guests of the church ; if she have vi- 
sited and succoured the afflicted and distressed, and 
have abounded in works of humanity and kindness 
while she was a widow, receiving the church's alms ; 
such a person may with propriety be advanced to 
those offices which the Christian church has allotted 
to the female sex. The excellence of her charac- 
ter will be a pledge for her future conduct, and 
will do credit to any station in which she may be 

5. He assigns reasons why he disapproves of ad- 

240 Sect. IX. I. TIMOTHY. 


Ch. V. mitting younger widows to this honourable station, 

ver. 11-— 15. 
Ver. 1 1. But younger luidows refuse ; for ivhen they groiu 
weary of the restraints of Christ they ivill marry i ; 
\2. exposing themselves to censure 2, because they vio- 
late their first promise"^ . 

Discreet, steady, and aged matrons are the only 
persons properly qualified to occupy the station of 
female deacons and instructors. If, therefore, any 

' They grow weary of restraint!] xararpy}viacrwa-i. Erasmus 
derives the word from " ssfsiv, metaphora sumpta a jumentis, 
quce cum pabulo ferociunt, avellunt habenas, et suopte arbitrio 
Jeruntur." — " s-p-^vioiv, ut nos doccnt Gr(scorum grammalici, est 
S'epsiv yjviai" Grotiusj who explains the passage, " Posf^wam 
tcsdere eos ccepit istius servitutis quam ecclesice promiseratit. Per 
Christum intelUge ecclesiam." Glassius and Le Clerc translate 
the clause, " who do not obey the reins." Estius observes, 
that X/Jira is governed by Kara, in composition : q. d. They pull 
the reins contrary to Christ. " when they grow weary of the 
restraints of Christ, they wish to marry." Wakefield. The 
apostle's idea seems to be, that widows when they become 
deaconesses, or teachers, are as it were married to Christ, and 
pledge themselves to devote their whole time to the service of 
the church : but if they quit their stations and marry again, 
which young widows would often be inclined to do, they as it 
were violate their conjugal faith, and expose themselves to cen- 
sure for their irresolution. Dr. Priestley supposes that the apo- 
stle refers not merely to their marrying again, but to their mar- 
rying unbelievers. 

^ Exposing themselves to censure.'] " are blameable." Wake- 
field : not, as in the public version, " having damnation." — 
" Kcijxa vocat judicium probarum, ab earum facto disseiitiens." 
Grotius. For the difference between xpi[Ma and xaTa}ipifji.a see 
1 Cor. xi. 32. " y.p. non decfiterna damnatione, sed latiore sensu 
de culpa sumitur, seu vitio reprehensioni obnoxio." Rosenmuller. 

' Their first promise .•] that is, " the promise they had made 
of leading a single life, and devoting themselves to the offices 
of religion." Macknight. " v. g. se eleemosynis non abusuras, 
et vifam honestam acturas, ecclesio'que inservituras esse." Rosen- 

Sect. IX. I.TIMOTHY. 5. 241 

who are younger should desire to be admitted, let ch. v. 
them be refused ; for, however zealous they may ^"'" ''* 
be for a time, they will probably by degrees grow 
weary of the restraints to which they have sub- 
jected themselves, and may choose to enter again 
into the conjugal state. Thus they bring them- 
selves into disgrace by violating the resolution they 
formed when they were admitted into those offices 
of the church, which are appropriated to, and can 
only with propriety be performed by, matrons who 
are not involved in the cares and troubles of the 
conjugal life. 

And withal, being idle, they learn to go about 13. 
from house to house, and are not oiily idle, but tat- 
tlers also, and meddlers, speaking things which they 
/ought not. 

If young and indiscreet women are admitted to 
be instructors and deaconesses, the nature of their 
office leading them to go from house to house to 
communicate instruction, to visit the sick, and to 
perform the offices of religion and humanity, they 
soon contract a gossiping disposition, and pass their 
time in idle talk, and impertinent scandal, offi- 
ciously meddling in the concerns of other people, 
and imprudently betraying the secrets of families. 

/ ivould therefore have the younger widows 14. 

marry, bear children, manage domestic affairs, 
give no occasion to the adversary to speak reproach^ 

It is wrong for the younger women to aspire to 
those offices which require the leisure of a single 


242 Sect. IX. I. T I M O T H Y. 6. 

ch. V. life, the engagements of which it is often inconve- 
Ver. 14. ^\QY\t to keep, and always disreputable to violate. 
Let then such persons enter again, if they think fit, 
into the conjugal state, and fulfill the duties of that 
honourable relation with discretion and credit, and 
let them not give occasion to the adversaries of the 
Christian religion to calumniate its professors, by 
assuming offices unbecoming their character and 
time of life. 
1 5. Por some have already turned aside after Satan • . 
I am thus particular in my advice, because I have 
already seen instances of the bad consequence of 
young women intruding into the province of aged 
matrons ; for some, by indiscretion, having forfeited 
the esteem of the Christian community, have apo- 
statized from the Christian faith, and have returned 
to their former state of darkness and heathenism. 

6. He concludes this subject by urging it upon 
all Christians, who had it in their power, to support 
their aged and poor relations, and not suffer them 
to become a burden to the church, ver. 16. 

If any believer'^ have relations that are widows y 


' After Satan?j^ " some have already turned aside from Chris- 
tianity, and gone among the unbelievers." Benson : see ch. i. 20^ 
" Secutce sunt Satanam : i, e. ad idololatriam redierunt." Ro- 

• If any believer.'] si rig iriros fj TdT^, " if any man or wo- 
man who believeth." Newcome. — " Christianus, aut Christi- 
ana." RosenmuUer. But it is observable that the apostle 
cautiously avoids tlie word Christian : which was no doubt given 
by their enemies at Antioch as a term of reproach, though it is 
now deservedly held in high estimation. A Christian is the 
tiighest sti/le of man. 

Sect. X. I, T I M O T H Y. 1. 243 

let such support thcm^ and let not the church be Ch. v. 
burdened, that it may support those that are wi- ^^''' ^^' 
dows indeed, 

I once more request, and indeed require, all 
persons professing faith in Christ, who have mo- 
thers, or other female relations, in a widowed state, 
to maintain them decently, if it be in their power. 
And let not the church be burdened with them, 
when their own families are in circumstances com- 
petent to their support. But let the funds of the 
church remain entire for the use of those widows 
who are infirm and destitute, and who have no 
children or other near relations who can do any 
thing for them. These are the proper objects of 
public bounty, and of these there will always be a 
sufficient number whose necessity will require all 
that can be conveniently spared from the public 


The apostle gives directions concerning the pro- 
per treatment of the elders of the church ; he 
charges Timothy to be very cautious with respect 
to the characters of those ivhom he set apart to 
public offices ; and advises him to be careful of 
his own health, Ch. v. 17 — 25. 

1. The apostle enjoins it as a reasonable thing, 
as well as a divine precept, that the elders and 

244 Sect.x. I. timothy. 1/. 

Ch. V. teachers of the church should have a competent 
and liberal support, ver. 17, 18. 

Ver. 17- Let the elders who preside^ ivell he esteemed 
worthy of a liberal maintenance 2, especially those 
who labour in teaching the zvord^. 

Let those grave and experienced persons who are 
chosen out of the Christian society to superintend 
its concerns, to appoint the proper seasons of as- 
sembling to regulate the order of public services, 
to manage the temporal affairs of the society, and 
to compose differences which may arise among its 

' The elders xvho preside.'] Compare Heb. xiii. 7, 17, 24, 
Rom. xii. 8, 1 Thess. v. 12. The presiding elder apix)inted the 
time and place of meeting when the Christians held their assem- 
blies in private, through fear of persecution. They directed 
public worship ; they settled which of the spiritual men were to 
pray or teach, and in what order 3 they decided controversies, 
] Cor. vi. ; and they managed the temporal afl'airs of the so- 
ciety." See Benson and Macknight. 

'^ Liberal maintenance.'] SiirXrjs rtixrjS, double honour, or, price. 
Matt, xxvii. (1. " double reward." Newcome, Wakefield. See 
ver. 3 : i.e. a large reward. Mutt. xv. 6, Acts xxviii. 10. It is 
an allusion to the portion of the first-born, Deut. xxi. 17. See 
also 2 Kings ii. 9, a double portion of the spirit of Elijah. " a 
liberal maintenance out of the public stock." Whitby, " p/z<s 
stipend'd." Rosenmuller. 

•* Labour in teaching.] Literally, " who labour in the word, 
and in teaching." Newcome. Some, who presided, did not teach, 
others were instructors as well as presidents. See Heb. xiii. 7. 
See Whitby's note. " It was not expected," says Dr. Priestley, 
" that all the elders of a church should teach ; but notwith- 
standing this, they might be very well employed in attending 
to the good order of the society. These, however, would not 
in general require any assistance ; but those who actually gave 
their time and labour to the cliurch, so as to give little or no at- 
tention to any other business by which they might maintain 
themselves, would have a natural right to maintenance from 
those tQ whom their lime and labour were devoted." 

Sect. X. I.TIMOTHY. 1. 245 

members, and who discharge the duties of their Ch. v. 
important office with discretion, and to the satis- 
faction of the church, be supported in decency and 
comfort from the public stock; and particularly 
those who are appointed to the honourable office 
of Christian instructors, and who are so much en- 
gaged in teaching the young and the ignorant, and 
in converting the heathen, that they have not time 
to attend to their own private concerns. It will be 
to the credit of the society, and to the furtherance 
of the gospel, that such persons should be treated 
with the respect due to their characters and labours ; 
and that they should not be impeded in their work 
by the want of any thing requisite to their subsist- 
ence and comfort, nor taken off from their important 
employment by a necessary attention to their secular 

For the Scripture saith (Deut. xxv. 4), Thou 18. . 
shalt not muzzle the ox that is treading out the 
corn ; and The labourer is worthy of his hire *. 
Lev. xix. 13. Luke x. 7. 

The law of Moses humanely required, that the 
ox which was employed in treading out the corn 
should be at liberty to satisfy his own hunger ; and 
it is a common observation, the reasonableness of 

■* The labourer, &c.] This observation occurs only Luke x. 
7 : hence some have inferred that the apostle quotes the gospel 
of Luke as of the same authority with the Pentateuch ; but 
this is a precarious conclusion. It was probably a proverbial ex- 
pression, and cited as such both by our Lord and the apostle. 
" Extat quidem locus similis Matt. x. 10. An vero Paulus Evan- 
gclium Mafthcci legcrit valdc dubhim est." Rosenmuller. 

246 Sect.X. I. timothy. 2. 

Ch. V. which is obvious to every understanding, and which 
Ver, 18. jjjjjgg^ ^jjs applied by Jesus himself to the very case 
that I am now stating, that * the labourer is worthy 
of his hire,' and that a person who devotes his time 
and powers to the benefit of others has an equitable 
claim to a compensation for his services. And no- 
thing can be more absurd or unreasonable than to 
suppose that the superintendants of Christian 
churches, and the teachers of the gospel, are not 
entitled equally with others to a just equivalent for 
their time and service. 

2. The apostle directs Timothy how to act when 
accusations were brought against any of the elders 
of the church, ver. 19 — 21. 
19. Receive not an accusation against an elder, un- 
less on the testimony ^ of two or three ivitnesses. 

It is of great importance that the characters of 
those who are appointed to the superintendance of 
the church, and whose office it is to instruct others 
in truth and duty, should be unspotted. Having 
then appointed proper persons to govern and in- 
struct, do not lightly receive a charge against them ; 

• Unless on the testimony,] So Doddridge, " without two 
or three witnesses," Wakefield, " before," Public Version 
and Newcome. There is no good reason why the accusa- 
tion should not be received unless in the presence of witnesses, 
but a very good reason why it should not be attended to unless 
it could be proved by a competent number of credible witnesses. 
— " Do not give ear to any thing which may stain their reputa- 
tion, unless the matter can be attested by two or three credible 
witnesses: Dcut. xi.x. 15^ Mutt, xviii. l8j John viii. 17." Ben- 

Skct.X, I. TIMOTHY. 2. 247 

and listen not to any reports to their disadvantage, cii. v. 
if not confirmed by two or three credible witnesses, ^^^' ^^' 
upon whose testimony you may safely rely. 

Rebuke offenders before all^, that others also 20. 
may fear. 

When you have obtained satisfactory evidence 
of the misconduct of any of the officers or teachers 
of the church, let their punishment be proportioned 
to the enormity of their offence, aggravated as it is 
by the publicity of their character and the dignity 
of their office, by the danger of their example, and 
by the occasion that it will give to the enemies of 
Christianity to reproach their religion. Rebuke 
them severely, and rebuke them publicly, not only 
that they may be made ashamed of their offence, 
and be brought to a due sense of their guilt, but 
that others also may see that no elevation of rank, 
or dignity of office, can protect an offender from 
deserved censure, and may take warning to avoid a 
similar conduct, lest they fall into similar dis- 

' Before all.'] " This was the custom of the synagogue. Vi- 
tringa de vet. Synogog. p, 729." Benson. The connexion 
shows that the apostle is speaking of presbyters and officers of 
the church. — " quos coram ceteris preshyteris omnibus coargucn- 
dos jnbet apostolus." Rosenmuller. — " Tliis shows," says Dr. 
Priestley, " how attentive the early Christians were to the good 
conduct of the members of their societies j and in their situa- 
tion among unbelievers it was peculiarly necessary, but it i.s 
certainly highly proper even in our circumstances. It is a bad 
symptom of the decline of the spirit of religion, v.'lien the mem- 
bers of Christian societies consider themselves as entirely de- 
tached from each other, and feel no interest in their good or bad 

248 Sect. X. I.TIMOTHY. 2. 

Ch. V. I Strictly charge thee, before God, and the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and the chosen messengers ', that 

' The chosen messengers^ sKXs'A.rujv ayysXujv. The word 
angel is repeatedly used in the New Testament to signify a mes- 
senger. Matt. xi. 10, Luke vii. 24. The disciples of John are 
called inessengers : in the original, angels. Luke ix. 52, The 
disciples who were sent to announce the approach of Christ are 
called messengers: Gr. " angels." 1 Cor, xi. 10, the women are 
required to wear a veil, because of the angels, i. e. messengers } 
who were sent from the assemblies of the men to attend those 
of the women, and before whom it would be indecorous to ap- 
pear without a veil. See the note on this passage. James ii. 25, 
the spies sent by Moses are called ayysXoi, messengers. I Tim. 
iii, 1 G, he appeared to angels : i. e. messengers, to his apostles. 
See note in too. Gal. i. 14, " ye received me as an angel {i. e. 
a messenger) of God." The angels of the churches in the first 
three chapters of the Apocalypse, are universally understood to 
signify the ministers of the seven churches ; and Mr. Wake- 
field well translates the word ayyeXog in the first chapter of 
the Epistle to the Hebrews messenger, explaining it of the for- 
mer prophets and messengers of God. See Schleusner in verb. 
The elect angels, therefore, arc those eminent believers who 
were selected to accompany and assist the apostle, who knew 
Timothy's situation, and who were no doubt very solicitous that 
he should conduct himself with prudence, firmness, and fidelity, 
in discharging the duties of his important office. In their pre- 
sence, therefore, as well as in that of God and Christ, the apo- 
stle urges upon his beloved disciple and substitute his solemn 

lliis interpretation, which appears to be so obvious, so in- 
telligible, and so appropriate, seems to have escaped all the 
commentators, who with one consent interpret the phrase as of 
spirits superior to mankind ; of whose existence even, we have 
no certain information, much less can we know any thing of 
their orders and laws, of their offices and employments : who, 
if they exist at all, and it is indeed probable that millions of 
orders of intelligent beings exist in the boundless universe, in 
all probability know as little of what is passing in this dimi* 
nutive planet, as we know of them. At least, we have no evi- 
dence that they know any thing about, or, have any concern 
with this world and its inhabitants. But that the apostle here 
refers to these superior classes of beings, appears to have been 
the opinion of Erasmus, Grotius, Crellius, Slichtingius, Whitby, 

Skct.X. I. TIMOTHY. 2. 249 

thou observe these things without prejudice, doing Ch. v. 
nothing with partiality 2. 

The office which I have now assigned thee re- 
quires great resokition and fortitude to perform 
well. But the duties of it are indispensable in the 
situation in which you are placed, considering the 
character which you support at Ephesus, and the 
gifts and powers which you possess ; and therefore 
I strictly charge you, as in the presence of God, 
the searcher of hearts, and of Jesus Christ, whose 
minister you are, and at whose judgement seat you 
will be called to give an account of your conduct ; 
and likewise in the presence and with the concur- 
rence of those faithful messengers and preachers of 

Benson, Nevvcome, Wakefield, Rosenmuller, &c. &c. Dr. 
Priestley hiniself swims with the stream. " This (says he in 
his note upon the text) is speaking according to the oriental 
style ; considering God as a great prince, attended by his an- 
gels or ministering servants. As acting under the inspection 
of this great being, thus magnificently attended, Paul gives this 
solemn charge to Timothy." The reason of this great and uni- 
versal mistake appears to be, that the early commentators, con- 
ceiving of Jesus Christ as a great superangelic being, naturally 
enough imagined that the apostle referred to angels or beings 
of a superior nature to mankind. But those critics of the pre- 
sent day who entertain more correct views of the person of 
ChrivSt, will easily discern how much more apposite the expres- 
sion is, if it be interpreted of those delegates of the churdhes^ 
who often accompanied the apostle in his journeys, and somfe of 
whom probably remained with Timothy, when he was left at 

' Prejudice — partiality?^ See Wakefield. — " without prefer- 
ring one man before another." Newcome. — " irpoy.pif^a, judge- 
ment formed before the matter has been duly examined j irpocr- 
xXjtTif, leaning to one side. Partiality is judgement guided by 
favour; prejudice is judgement dictated by hatred." Mac- 

250 Sbct.X. I. TIMOTHY. 3. 

Ch. V. the gospel who have been selected by the church 
^"*'*^' as my associates in labours and in dangers, and 
who are anxiously solicitous for your credit and 
success ; that you pay due regard to the directions 
that I have given, and this, without prejudice or 
personal pique on the one hand, or unbecoming 
partiality on the other ; that you conduct yourself in 
these circumstances with a firmness and fidelity 
which becomes the faithful minister of Christ, who 
has no other concern than to perform his duty with- 
out fear or affection, or any improper bias what- 
ever, and without regard to any personal conse- 

3. The apostle gives to Timothy a strict charge 
to be very careful in inquiring into the characters 
of those men who might be recommended to public 
offices, and he introduces a friendly hint to take 
care of his own health, ver. 22 — 25. 
22. Put thy hands * on no man precipitately^ and he 
not a partaker in the sins of others. Keep thyself 

As it is better to prevent offences than to punish 
them, I advise you to be extremely circumspect 
with regard to the characters of those who are re- 
commended to offices of dignity and importance in 
the church. When any are selected by their fellow- 

' Put thy hands.'] Dr. Macknight observes, that " this is one 
instance among others that in the apostolic age men were or- 
dained to ecclesiastical functions by imposition of the hands of 
those who were in the niinistiy before them." 

Sect. X. I.TIMOTHY. 3. 25 1 

Christians, and presented to you for approbation ch. v. 
and confirmation in the office of elder or deacon, ^^'' ^^* 
by imposition of hands and prayer, first inquire dili- 
gently into their moral conduct, and do not, by 
hastily introducing into office persons of doubtful 
character, render yourself in a considerable degree 
chargeable with the evil consequences which will 
inevitably follow, if men of mean abilities and im- 
moral lives are made rulers and teachers in the 
church. Let your whole conduct in this, and in all 
respects, be spotless and free from reproach. 

Do not any longer drink water only, but use a 23. 
little wineyfor the sake of thy stomach andthy fre- 
quent infirmities *. 

Having hinted at your personal duty, it reminds 
me of observing, that one important duty is, to 
take care of your health, without which it is impos- 
sible for you to go through the fatigues of your 
office ; and, that you may not exhaust yourself by 
your exertions, I advise you to indulge yourself in 
the moderate use of wine, and not to drink water 

The sins of some men 3 are notorious^ leading on 24. 

• Do not, &c.] Sir Norton Knatchbull thinks, that as this 
verse interrupts the sense, it was introduced by the apostle as a 
postscript in the margin, and by some officious transcriber in- 
serted into the text. See Doddridge, and Bowyer's Conjectural 
Emendations. Some think that the apostle gently reproves Ti- 
mothy as too much addicted to an ascetic life. 

' The sins of some men.'] See ver. 22. q. d. " In setting men 
apart to the ministry, you may be deceived without guilt. The 
sins of some are manifest before the final judgement 5 but 
others so conocul them that they will not appear till the sen- 

252 Skct. X, I. TI M O T H Y. 3, 

Ch. V. to conclcm7iatio7i, whereas the sins of others follow 

^"--*- ihem. 

But to return to the subject of appointing per- 
sons to ecclesiastical offices ; I would observe, that 
it is not always easy to discern the real characters 
of men. Some persons are notorious offenders, 
whom it may be hoped that the church would never 
elect ; and whom, if they were presented, you would 
immediately reject, as men whose characters allowed 
no room for hesitation. But there are others, whose 
vices are concealed, whose real characters it is diffi- 
cult to detect, in whom, after the greatest circum- 
spection you can use, you may be deceived, atid 
whose crimes may perhaps not be completely deve- 
loped till the final judgement. If you should happen 
after due inquiry to institute such persons into the 
office of teachers and preachers of the gospel, what- 
ever injury the church may sustain, your conscience 
will be clear. 
25. So also the good ivorks of some are manifest, 
and those that are otherwise cannot be concealed. 

The same observation may be applied to persons 
of an opposite character. Some are eminently 
virtuous ; their piety, their benevolence, their habi- 
tual regard to God and duty are so conspicuous, 
that calumny itself cannot fasten any scandal and 
reproach upon them. In others, equally animated 

tencc of theii- judge." Newcomc. I rather prefer the inter- 
pretation of Doddridge .- " leading on to joass judgement on 
thcni without any diffiailty," Dr. lienson gives a similar para- 

Sect. XI. I. T I M O T H Y. L 20^ 

by a principle of rectitude, their virtues are less Ch. v. 
conspicuous, they live in the obscurity of retire- ^'^'•-'** 
ment, or they studiously conceal from human eyes, 
the good they do. Such virtue, however, cannot 
be wholly or long concealed. By diligent inquiry 
you may perhaps find them out, and advance them 
to those posts of dignity and importance to which 
their merit entitles them, but from which their 
modesty and humility would keep them at a di- 
stance. At all events, how little soever their merits 
may be known and acknowledged in the present 
state, they will not fail to be brought to light and 
crowned with honour in that day v/hen the secrets 
of all hearts sliall be revealed, and all shall be re- 
warded according to their works. 


The apostle requires that Christian slaves be Ch. vi. 
taught to yield due obedience to their masters, 
and animadverts with great severity upon those 
false teachers who, from mercenary views, 
taught a different doctrine. Ch. vi. 1 — 10. 

1 . He requires that slaves be instructed to yield 
obedience to their masters, and by no means to fail 
in due respect to those of them who were converted 
to the Christian faith. Ch. vi. 1, 2. 

Let all who are under the yoke of servitude ' Ver. 1. 

' Lei all who arc under the yoke of servitude.^ Literally, " as 

254 Sect. XI. I. T I M O T H Y. I« 

Ch. VI. esteem their masters tvorthy of all honour ; that the 
^'* najne of God and his doctrine may not be calum- 

Many of the zealots for the law, in order to in- 
gratiate themselves with, and to make gain of, their 
proselytes, represent Christian slaves as released hy 
the profession of the Christian religion from all ob- 
ligation to serve Christian masters. But do you, 
Timothy, teach a different doctrine, and let it be 
known that Christianity makes no change in men's 
civil relations ; but as it requires humanity on the 
part of the master, it equally enjoins obedience 
and fidelity on the part of the slave. I require that 
this doctrine should be inculcated upon Christian 
slaves ; and that they should be taught to regard it 
as an indispensable duty to serve their masters with 
honesty and zeal : that so the doctrine which God 
has revealed for the universal reception and salva- 

rtiany slaves as are under the yoke." See Newcome. It was a 
doctrine of the pharisaic Jews, that proselytes were released 
from all antecedent civil and even natural relations. And it is 
not improbable that some of the Jewish converts might cany 
the same principle into the Christian community. TheJudai- 
zing zealots probably taught, that by the profession of Chris- 
tianity slaves were emancipated from Christian masters. 
Against this principle the apostle always enters his strong pro- 
test ; and teaches that the profession of Christianity makes no 
difference in the civil relations of men. 1 Cor. vii. 17 — 24. 
The apostle no doubt well knew that the principles of genuine 
Christianity would eventually lead to the utter extermination 
of slavery ; but the process was to be voluntaiy and gradual, 
not violent and immediate. See Benson, Macknight, Priestley, 

' Calumniated^ " evil spoken of. As if it set men free from 
civil obligations." Newcome. 

Sect. XI. I. T I M O T H Y. 1. 255 

tion of mankind, may not be misrepresented and Ch. vi. 
calumniated, as introducing disorder and confusion 
into civil society. 

And let not those who have believing 7nasters ^^ 

think lightly of them, because they are brethren 2, 
but serve them the more willingly, because those 
who are partakers of the benefit 3 are believers and 

Neither let Christian slaves imagine that their 
masters, though Christians, are under any obliga- 
tion to restore them to liberty; or that because 
they are equally members of the great family of be- 
lievers, possessed of the same privileges, heirs of the 
same eternal inheritance, they are for this reason re- 
leased from civil subjection, and are entitled to treat 
their masters with neglect and contempt. Let Chris- 
tian slaves therefore be as prompt in their obedience 
to the orders of Christian as of heathen masters. 
And indeed let the consideration, that the masters 
whom they serve, and who are benefited by their in- 

^ Brethren.'] " Though brethren, and upon a level with their 
slaves in a religious account, they remain superior, and just as 
they were in a civil and temporal account. See note on Phile- 
mon, ver. 12, 14, 16." Benson, 

5 Partakers of the benefit .•] i. e. of the service of the slave. 
See Benson, Newcome, and Macknight. Dr. Benson observes, 
that " evspyso-ia, is a word never used to express the blessings 
of the gospel," The public version is, "because they are faith- 
ful and beloved partakers of the benefit :" 7. d. do them service, 
the rather because they are partakers of the blessing of the go- 
spel, in common with you their slaves. This also is the sense 
given in Mr. Wakefield's translation, " but serve them, as be- 
lievers and beloved, partakers of the same benefit, with a more 
hearty service," But Dr. Benson's interpretation seems pre- 

256 Sect. XI. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. vr. dustiy, are believers in Christ, and beloved of God, 
^'"' "' and that they are bound by the Christian law to 
treat those under their authority with humanity and 
brotherly kindness, be an additional motive to still 
greater alacrity and zeal in the performance of 

2. The apostle expresses great displeasure at 

those who taught a contrary doctrine, ver. 3 — 5. 

—2,3. These things teach and exhort. If any one 

teach otherwise^ and adhere not i to the ivholesome 

ivords of our Lord Jesus Christy and to the doc- 

* Adhere noi,] ti^o^rzoys-rai, " consent not." Public Version. 
'' attend not." Wakefield. — Dr. Bentley conjectures that the 
true reading was probably itfit^fTiyzrcu, or irpocrsysi, as ir^oas- 
yzw Xoyois is a known phrase both in sacred and profane 
writers : see 2 Pet. i. 19 j Acts viii. G, xvi. 4 ; Heb. ii. 1 ; Tit. i. 
14 5 1 Tim. i. 3, 4 : whereas there is no precedent of a similar 
application oi Trpoaspy^oixai. And he conjectures thai some ma- 
nuscript may possibly be found which contains this reading. 
See Phileleutherus Lipsiensis, part i., p. 72, and Benson in loc. 
No such manuscript, however, has yet been discovered : never- 
theless, the conjecture is so probable, that it is mentioned by 
Griesbach in his second edition ; and has been adopted ex- 
pressly by Benson and Doddridge, and virtually by Archbishop 
Newcome. Nor does there appear to be any valid reason why 
conjectural criticism should not occasionally be applied to the 
sacred writings, as it is allowed to be to profane authors ; for 
it is not to be supposed that all transcribers and copyists were 
inspired. It ought, however, to be very cautiously applied to 
texts which are of weight in theological controversy. See John 
i. 1, Rom. ix. 5, and the notes in the Improved Version. Rosen- 
muller denies the necessity of adopting Bentley's conjecture, 
and appeals to Philo as using the phrase irpoa-sX^siv r»v» yvw/x^, 
for acceding to an opinion. And Schleusner refers to Munthe's 
Obs. Philolog. e Diod. Sic. for a similar authority : but no e.K- 
ample of this use of the word has been produced out of the New 
Testament or the Septuagint. 

Sect, XI. I. T 1 M O T H Y. 2, 257 

tri7ie which is according to godlijiess, he is vain *, ch. vi. 
and knoweth nothings but is raving 3 about ques- ^^^' ^" 
tions and verbal disputes*. From which arise 
envt/y contention J calumnies^ unjust suspicions, per- 5. 

verse debates^ of men whose minds are corrupted 
and adverse to the truth, who regard gain as 
piety 6. 

This doctrine, concerning the duties of slaves, I 
require you to teach and inculcate upon all of that 
description who embrace the faith of Christ ; and 
exhort them to behave accordingly. And do not 
suffer any to be seduced into a profession of Chris- 

^ He is vain.'] rfiriKpwrat. " he is besotted." Wakefield, 2d 
edit. He once approved of the reading in the ^Ethiopic Version, 
rerv<f>XujTai, he is blind ; but upon further consideration gave 
it up. It is a reading supported by one manuscript only, and 
that of no great account. 

' Raving.'] vo<rojv, " raving and delirious in a fever." Dod- 
dridge J who observes, that the word expresses the effect of a 
disease on the mind, in which view raving appears a more pro- 
per word than doting. " he is sick of the wrangling disease." 
Bishop Wilkins's Sermons, p. 73. 

•• Questions and verbal disputes.] " The Greek may be re- 
solved into ^rjTrjo-sis xa» fJ^a,^o(,5 itspi Xoycuv. Perhaps questions 
were raised concerning the extent of liberty under the gospel. 
The apostle treats the subject with warmth, because some had 
maintained opinions about it which caused the religion of Christ 
to be evil -spoken of." Newcome. 

* Perverse debates.] " Siatpi^ai are disputes in the philoso- 
phical schools ; SiaTra.§oi,rpt^ai are perverse disputes." Mac- 
knight. See also RosenmuUer. 

* Gain as piety.] gucefejav. Seech, iii. 16. At the end of this 
verse the received text adds, " cx,<piToi.ffo OLito twv rQi8rujv,fi-om 
such turn away." This clause is omitted in the Alexandrine, 
Cambridge, and other manuscripts, and in many ancient ver- 
sions, and is not necessary to the sense. See Griesbach, who 
nevertheless retains it in the text. Newcome marks it as 


258 Sect. XI. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. tianlty by the false expectation that they shall 
"'* ' thereby be released from their present degraded 
condition in society. If any person teach a doc- 
trine contrary to this, if the zealot for the law art- 
fully preaches up the immediate emancipation of 
Christian slaves, and thus departs from that wise 
and salutary doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of true 
and rational religion, which, not interfering with 
the civil states of men, is calculated gradually to 
ameliorate their condition, by infusing milder prin- 
ciples and gentler habits, both into individuals and 
communities ; if any man, I say, thus departs from 
the true doctrine and the genuine law of Christ, 
he is chargeable with a very criminal degree of 
vanity and self-conceit, in presuming to set up his 
own erroneous opinions in opposition to the truth 
of the gospel ; he discovers a deplorable ignorance 
of the true genius and spirit of the Christian reli- 
gion. If he is in earnest, he must be out of his 
mind ; he raves like a man in the delirium of fever, 
who is utterly incapable of forming a deliberate 
judgement ; and introduces ferocious disputes about 
words that have no meaning. The consequences 
of this haughty and disputatious spirit are very 
pernicious ; it gives rise to envy and strife, to the 
use of harsh and abusive language concerning those 
who differ in opinion, and to unjust suspicions of 
their sincerity, because they will not submit to the 
decision of these self-constituted instructors. Such 
a conduct likewise gives occasion to pernicious de- 
bates among men of corrupt minds, who are not 

Sect. XI. I. T I M O T H Y. 3. 259 

desirous of discovering and diffusing truth, but ch. vi. 
who endeavour by sophistical reasonings to blind ^^'" ^' 
the understandings of others, and who have no re- 
gard whatever for religion, any further than as it is 
the means of enriching themselves. 

3. The apostle represents the folly of an exces- 
sive eagerness after unlawful gain, ver. 6 — 8. 

But piety with a sufficiency ^ is great gain. 6. 

The belief of the Christian religion, and a title 
to its invaluable blessings, is the greatest treasure 
that a man can possess ; and if, in addition to this, 
he acquires a decent competence of the blessings 
of life, he has reason to regard himself as possess- 
ing every thing that a wise man can desire. 

For we brought nothing into the world, and it is 7. 

evident that we can carry nothing out. Having 8. 

thei^efore food and covering^, let us he content with 

We come into the world in a naked and desti- 
tute condition, and in a short time we must leave 
it in as naked and destitute a state as we came 
into it. It is therefore great folly to indulge un- 
reasonable anxiety with regard to the accommoda- 
tions we shall possess during our short transitory 

• Sufficiency.'] avrap-nsixg . So Diodati, Macknight; Wake- 
field, who observes, that what follows justifies this translation. 
See 2 Cor. ix. 8. Piety (svas'Seia,) here, as in the preceding- 
verse, stands for the whole of religion. See ch. iii. 16. 

• CoveringJ] " (TY.itCoLV^ot.roi: this word expresses clothes, lodg- 
ing, and covering of every sort." Macknight, Wakefield. — "2>£. 
tunt tegumentttj domus, tecta, ceque ac vestes." RosenmuUer. 


260 Sect. XI. I. T I M O T H Y. 4. 

Ch. vr. residence here, and much more to use any dlsho- 
*'^' ' nourable means of improving our condition. It is 
far more becoming to be content and thankful for 
what Httle we may possess : and if we are suppHed 
by the good providence of God with decent apparel, 
with convenient habitations, and with plain and 
wholesome food, with this provision we ought to 
be content and thankful. 

4. The apostle further represents the pernicious 
consequences of a covetous temper, especially in 
those who profess to be teachers of the gospel, 
ver. 9, 10. 
9. jBuI they who are determined to he rich * fall 
into the temptation and snare of many sejiseless 
and mischievous desires 2, which plunge men into 
7min and destructioii. 

The men whose sole aim it is to acquire wealth, 
and who are willing to sacrifice every thing to this 
mean and unworthy pursuit, may perhaps attain 
their wish : but in the prosecution of their purpose 
they will expose themselves to many temptations 
to violate the rules of justice and integrity, and in 
the possession of their object they will be tempted 
to indulge in those licentious gratifications to 

» Determined to be rich.'] " resolved to be rich at all adven- 
tures." Benson ; who remarks in his note, '* That this was pe- 
culiarly levelled at the false teachers, the whole strain of the 
apostle's discourse is a proof." Compare ver. 5, 10, 11. 

• Into the temptation, &c.] For this construction see Wake- 

Sicr, XI. I. TI iM OTH V. 4. 261 

which great opulence furnishes so easy access, and Ch. vi. 
which will eventually overwhelm them in disgrace ^'^' ' * 
and destruction. 

F'oj' the love of money is the root of all mischief ; 10. 

which some 3 having vehemently coveted^ have erred 
from the faith, and pierced themselves through'^ 
with many sorroivs. 

Where the love of gain is the predominant prin- 
ciple, the ruling passion in the breast, it is impos- 
sible to enumerate all the mischiefs which result 
from it. Where this sordid passion takes posses- 
sion of the teachers of the Christian religion, it 
leads them to sacrifice the genuine truths of the 
gospel to the prejudices of their hearers ; and to 
teach what they know to be false, because they find 
it profitable. This, though it wears the semblance 
of wisdom, will be found eventually to have been 
the greatest folly. For sooner or later they will be 
roused to a sense of their guilt ; and the reproaches 
of their consciences, like the wounds of a dagger, 
will fill their hearts with insupportable anguish and 

' Which some, &c.] " Observe that ijf , attracted by ^iXup- 
yvpias, agrees in sense with apyvom, contained in (ptXapyv- 
pias." Newcome. 

* Pierced themselves through.'] irspisifsipav. " it. undiquaqne 
infigo et perforo ; ex itspi undiquaque, et itsiouj trans/igo." 
Schleusner. " stabbed themselves from head to foot, so as to 
be pierced through and through." Macknight ; Doddridge, who 
observes, " that this happily expresses the innumerable out- 
rages done to conscience by those madmen who have taken up 
this fatal resolution, that they will at all adventures be rich," 

262 Sjicr.XII. I. TIMOTHY. 


Ch. VI. The apostle solemnly charges Timothy to be 
faithful and courageous in discharging his office i 
. he advises him to remind the rich of their pecu' 
liar duties ; he again renews his charge of fide- 
lity^ and concludes the epistle ivith commending 
him to the divine blessing, Ch. vi. 11 — 22. 

1 . The apostle warns Timothy to avoid the evil 
practices of the false teachers, and exhorts him to 
attend to every branch of duty, ver. 11, 12. 
Vcr. 11. But do thou, O man of God^^flee these things, 
and pursue righteousness, piety, fidelity, love, pa- 
tience, meekness. 
' I have faithfully represented to you the extreme 

danger of an eager attachment to riches, especially 
in a minister of the gospel ; and now I solemnly 
charge you, O Timothy, as one who sustains a sa- 
cred character, and who has not only been solemnly 
set apart to the office of the ministry, but furnished 
with supernatural qualifications for the discharge 
of it, to avoid every appearance of a mean and mer- 
cenary spirit. Practise universal virtue, live in the 
fear and love of God, adhere to truth in your de- 
clarations, and be faithful to your promises ; culti- 

' man of God :'\ i. e. " minister of Christ. See 2 Tim. iii. 
17." Newcomc. " Man of fiod signifies an inspired person 
or prophet. 2 Pet. iii. 21." lienson. 

Sect. XII. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 263 

vate universal active benevolence, bear with patience ch. vr. 
affliction and persecution, and cherish a forbearing ^^''' ^^' 
and forgiving spirit. 

Maintam the honourable contest of faith -, lay 12. 
hold on eternal Ife, to ivhich thou hast been in- 
vitedy and hast co??fessed^ a good confession before 
many witnesses. 

Though I earnestly recommend meekness and 
forbearance, I am far from desiring you to desert 
the cause of truth ; on the contrary, contend ear- 
nestly for the purity of the faith, and do not yield 
in any point to those who would corrupt the sim- 
plicity of the gospel by the introduction either of 
Jewish rites, or mysterious philosophical specula- 
tions. Persist with undaunted resolution in this 
honourable contest, and thus secure your title to 
eternal life. This is the glorious prize for which 
you have been invited to contend ; and as you have 
in many instances made a noble and a public stand 
in defence of truth, I trust that your future conduct 
will not disgrace your past transactions, nor sully 
the reputation you have already acquired. 

2. He enforces the charge by reminding the evan- 
gehst of the approaching judgement, ver. 13 — 16. 

• Maintain, &c.] Dr. Benson observes,. " This is not an al- 
lusion to tlie life of a soldier engaged in wars and battles, but 
to the contentions in the Grecian games ; which is a common 
allusion with St. Paul. 1 Cor. ix. 24—27, Phil. iii. 12—14, 2 
Tim. iii. 5. See West's Dissertation on the Olympic Games" 

' And hast confessed^ c<;i*oXoy>;<raf. Macknight says, that the 
aorist h;is the force of ail imperative, and rcudcib it " confess 

264 Sect. XII. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. VI. In the presence of God\ who giveth life to all^ 

^^' ' and of Jesus Christ 2, who before Pontius Pilate 

14. witnessed a good confession^ I charge thee that 

thou keep this commandment unspotted^ unblamc' 

able, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus 


So deeply am I impressed with the importance of 
the charge' which I have now given you, of main- 
taining a temperate yet firm adherence to Christian 
truth, that I would urge it upon you by every con- 
sideration that can interest your feelings or excite 
your attention. In the presence of God, of that 
God from whom all derive their existence, by whose 
power the virtuous will be raised to immortality. 

' In the presence of God^ Dr. Benson supposes, that in 
ch. V. 21 there is an allusion to the splendour and magnificence 
of the Persian court, and the same allusion is resumed in this 
text ; but, for the reasons assigned in the note upon the former 
passage, the supposition seems to be needless and unsupported, 
both there and here. 

^ And of Jesus Christ.'] There appears to have been a pecu- 
liar personal presence of Christ with his church, and especially 
with the apostles, and with Paul in particular, during the apo- 
stolic age, which since that time has been withdrawn, at least 
in its sensible manifestations ; to which presence the apostle 
here alludes. Indeed the apostle always appears to speak and 
act as if Jesus were personally present with him. See 2 Cor. 
xii. 8 — 10, Matt, xxviii. 20, and the Improved Version, and 
Bishop Pearce on the text. Also Mr. Lindsey's Sequel to his 
Apology, p. 74. 

3 Until the appearing^ Grotius observes, that the apostle 
expresses himself as though he thought it possible that Timothy 
might live till Christ's second appearance ; and refers to his 
own notes upon 1 Cor. xv. 52, 2 Cor. v. 2, 3, 1 Thess, iv. 15. 
So Rosenmuller : " Loquitur Paulus ad Timotheum tanquam 
qui vivere posset ad tempusy quo Christui ad judicium venturus 

Sect, XII. I. T I M O T H Y. 2. 265 

and who can, and will, infinitely compensate to all ch. vi. 
his faithful servants every sacrifice which they can ^^^' ' 
make in the cause of truth and duty ; and in the 
presence of Jesus Christ, our glorious chief, from 
whom both you and I received our commission, 
who himself exhibited an eminent example of firm 
and undaunted fidelity, when in the presence of the 
Roman governor he boldly avowed the important 
truth, that he was born to reign (John xviii. 37), 
which he knew would be immediately followed by 
a sentence of crucifixion, I now most solemnly 
charge and enjoin, that you preserve the truth of 
the Christian doctrine without any stain of error in 
principle, without any reproach of immorality in 
conduct, as long as you live, and as far as lies in 
your power, till the day of the second appearance 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, to raise the dead and to 
judge the world: when fidelity tried and approved 
shall receive an ample reward. 

Which in its proper season he luill exhibit^ rvho 15. 
is the blessed and the only potentate, the King of 
kings and Lord of lords, luho alone hath immor- 16. 
tality, inhabiting inaccessible light, whom no man 
hath seen, or can see*, to lohom he everlasting 
honour and dominion ^. Amen. 

^ Light inaccessible, &c.] Dr. Benson very probably conjec- 
tures that there is an allusion here to the schechinah or cloud 
of glory upon the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, to 
which no one had access but the high-priest. — " Lucem inacces- 
sam inhabitans : sensus est, cujus majeslatem nemo comprehendere 
mentc potest." RosenmuUer. 

* Everlasting dominion.] " qui summo honore est di^nu^, et 

266 Sect. XII. I. TIMOTHY, 3. 

ch. VI. To this awful and magnificent appearance of our 
Ver. 16. (Jivine master we look forward with joyful expecta- 
tion, though concerning the precise period of its 
arrival we may be left in ignorance. Nevertheless, 
we are assured that it will be brought to pass, at 
the destined and the fittest season, by that omni- 
potent Being who alone possesses essential power, 
whose infinite happiness is a proof and pledge of 
the ultimate felicity of the whole rational creation, 
whose throne is highly exalted above all earthly 
potentates, all created authorities and powers, from 
whom all beings derive their existence, their per- 
cipient and active faculties, and all the shadow of 
dignity and authority which they possess ; who is 
indeed the only proper agent in the universe, go- 
verning and disposing all things by his own wise, 
benevolent, and sovereign will ; who alone possesses 
in his own essence immutable immortal life, and 
who alone can communicate immortality and hap- 
piness to whomsoever he pleases; whose nature 
and attributes are absolutely incomprehensible, and 
will ever remain unknown to the most exalted and 
capacious of created intelligences, to whom belongs 
universal dominion, and to whom be ascribed ever- 
lasting honour. Amen. 

3. The apostle desires that Timothy would re- 
mind the rich of their important duties, ver. 17 — 

mjus imperium est eetenium. Kf>a.ros acvpc est iiiipciium, yUl. 
jiesijdiiuin." RoscnmuUcr. 

Sfxt. XII. 1. T I M O T H Y. 3. 267 

Them that are rich in this ivorld charge * that Ch. vr. 
they be not elated in mind, that they do not trust in ^'' 
uncertain riches, but in the living God^, who richly 
giveth us all things to enjoy. 

Though not many in the superior ranks of life 
can be induced to embrace the humble and despised 
religion of Jesus, yet as there are some of this de- 
scription at Ephesus, it is right that they should be 
informed of the duties which our holy religion en- 
joins. Charge them therefore not to think too 
highly of themselves on account of their wealth, not 
to place their confidence in that which is so little 
able to afford true satisfaction, and which may va- 
nish from them before they are aware, and when 
they flatter themselves that they are most secure. 
But let them learn to put their trust, not in sense- 
less idols, but in that God who lives from everlast- 
ing to everlasting, and who is the fountain of life 
and happiness ; who is kind and liberal to all his 
human offspring, and from whom we all derive the 
blessings and comforts that we possess. 

That they do good, that they be rich i?i good *8. 
works, ready to distribute, ivilling to communi' 

Charge them further to make a good use of their 

' Charge, &c.] Dr. Benson observes, that " Timothy might 
perhaps be afraid to insist upon such things from those who by 
their riches were persons of some distinction, and therefore the 
apostle interposes his authority. " And it has been remarked 
that this advice to the rich clearly proves that there was no com- 
munity of goods at Ephesus." See Doddridge. 

- The living God.] " not in Diana, nor any other of the hea- 
then gods made and provided for by mankind," Benson. 

268 Skct. XII. I. T I M O T H Y. 3. 

Ch. VI. wealth, to abound in acts of kindness, to employ 
"' their riches in honourable and useful undertakings, 
to impart liberally to those who are in want, to 
concur cheerfully in every pious and benevolent 
design, and to contribute generously towards car- 
rying it into execution. 
!!>• Laying up in store for themselves a good secU' 
rity ' against the time to come, that they may obtain 
that luhich is the true life^. 

Tell them that, by employing their wealth to the 
purposes of beneficence, and in promoting the in- 
terest of truth and virtue, they are laying out their 
riches to the best account, they are treasuring up 
for themselves an inexhaustible store of that most 
valuable of all possessions, peace of mind, pleasing 
reflections, and joyful hopes ; and thus, that they 
will not only ensure the truest enjoyment of the 

■ A good security.'] Gr. ^e/*eX<ov, " foundation." Le Clerc 
proposes Y.siiJ.r^Xm , a treasure : but for this there is no autho- 
rity, 0£/>ta occurs Tobit iv. 9, " by almsgiving thou treasurest 
up to thyself a good deposit." " a good provision." Wakefield. 
— Archbishop Tillotson {Sermons, fol. vol. i. serm. 7,) observes, 
thatdg/xeAjoj " is sometimes used for an instrument of contract, 
whereby two parties do oblige themselves mutually to each 
other." — " Omne notat, quod certum est, nee facile peril." 
Schleusner. In this sense the word seems to be used 2 Tim. 
ii. 19 5 ^"fJ th'*'^ ^s Dr. Benson observes in his judicious note 
upon that text^ " affords the most satisfactory interpretation 
here. For if ^Bfj^sXiog signifies a bond or article of security for 
some future glorious possession, then treasuring it up will be 
easily understood. But * treasuring up a foundation ' sounds 
oddly, and is not easy to be understood." " Durius paiillo: 
q.d. cumulantes divitias perpetuo duraturas." Rosenmuller. 

'- The true life.'] The received text reads aiwvis, eternal, but 
the best copies read oxrw;, which is adopted by Gric.'^bllc•h and 

Sect. XII. I. TIMOTHY. 4, 269 

present transitory state of existence, but will acquire ch. vi. 
a title to that glorious inheritance which is revealed ^'■'" ' 
l>y Christ, which is incorruptible, undefiled, and will 
never fade away, and which alone deserves the 
name of a true, substantial and happy life. 

4. The apostle renews the solemn charge of fide- 
lity to his trust, and concludes the epistle with re- 
commending the evangelist to the divine blessing, 
ver. 20, 21. 

O Timothy! guard thy deposit^: avoiding pro- 20. 
fane babblings^ and oppositions of sciencCy falsely 
so called; which some pretending to, have erred 21. 
concerning the faith. The favour of God ^ be with 
thee. Amen. 

O Timothy ! my pupil, my son in the true faith, 
and my representative in office, I conclude this long 
epistle with the solemn charge, that you will with 
the utmost care, resolution and perseverance, pre- 
serve pure and unconupted that sublime and holy 

3 Thy deposit^ " the doctrine that is committed to thy trust." 
Newcome. Dr. Benson observes, that " the apostle has kept 
this point in view through the whole epistle, and now sums it up 
at parting." 

^ Profane babblings.'] ■nivotpiuviacs, " f. v.a,ivofwvia.s, profane 
new-coined words, as, Vulg. Vucum novitates. Chrysoslom, Ter- 
tullian, et al. in Wetstein." Bowyer. 

* The favour of God.] So Newcome supplies the ellipsis. 
" Nempe Dei Pairis et Christi." RosenmuUer. 

The Postscript dates the epistle from Laodicea the metropolis 
of Phrygia Pacatiana j and some copies, from Athens. These 
postscripts are of no authority, and are wanting in the best 
manuscripts; but they at least show the early, prevalence of 
an opinion that the Epistle was not written from Macedonia : 
and consequently an early difierent reading of ch. i. 3. 

270 Sect. XII. I. T I M O T H Y. 4. 

Ch. VI. doctrine which is committed to thy trust, of which 
trust thou must hereafter give an account. Avoid 
with the utmost circumspection, on the one hand, 
those Jewish innovations which would impose the 
rites of Moses upon the disciples of Christ, and 
encroach upon the liberties of the Gentile church ; 
and, on the other, guard against those abstruse 
speculations of heathen philosophy, which, being 
hostile to the simplicity of the gospel doctrine, would 
introduce mysterious and unintelligible notions to 
recommend Christianity to those pretenders to 
science who cannot be satisfied with a system which 
common people can comprehend. This is a snare 
in which some of the teachers of the gospel have 
been already entangled, and while they have involved 
themselves in the subtleties of useless science, they 
have deviated from the simplicity of the Christian 

Being thus faithfully warned, keep strictly upon 
the watch against those corruptions of the Chris- 
tian doctrine ; adhere steadily to the simplicity of 
evangelical truth ; and may you enjoy in their highest 
purity the blessings of that gospel, which is the 
free and inestimable gift of God by Jesus Christ. 





The Second Epistle to Timothy is one of 
those apostolical writings, concerning the genuine- 
ness and authenticity of which there has never been 
any dispute. 

It is certain, that it was written from Rome while 
the apostle was a prisoner there; but a question has 
arisen, whether this epistle was written during the 
apostle's first or second imprisonment ; and like- 
wise, whether Timothy at that time resided at 
Ephesus, or at some other place. 

It is the current tradition of antiquity, that Paul 
was imprisoned at Rome twice. The first time was 
about A.D. 61, when he was sent thither by Festus 
after his appeal to Caesar, of which an account is 


given in the history of the Acts of the Apostles. 
At that time Luke was his companion ; and the 
apostle, after he had obtained a hearing before the 
emperor, was permitted to reside two years in his 
own house under the guard of a soldier. Here 
Luke's history closes : but the tradition of anti- 
quity is, that after he had obtained his liberty, he 
visited the churches which he had planted in Greece 
and Asia, after which he returned again to Rome, 
where having converted the emperor's cupbearer, he 
was by Nero's order seized and put to death. This 
event is commonly believed to have taken place 
nearly at the same time when that profligate prince 
excited a cruel persecution against the Christians 
under pretence that they had set fire to the city, and 
in order to screen himself from the charge '. 

The apostle writes to his friend, ch. iv. 8 : *' I am 
now ready to be offered up, and the time of my de- 
parture is at hand ; I have fought a good fight, I 
have finished my course." From these strong ex- 
pressions, which appear to indicate an expectation 
of speedy dissolution, many have inferred that this 
is the last epistle which the apostle wrote, and that 
it must have been indited a very short time before 
his death. But that this conclusion is unfounded, 
is evident from other passages in the epistle, which 
plainly indicate the apostle's expectation of the 
further prolongation of his life and labours. "Do thy 
diligence," says he, ver. 21, "to come to me before 

' See Lardner's History of the Jpostles and Evangelists, 
ch. xi. ad Jin. 


winter : The cloak, or portmanteau, which I left at 
Troas with Carpus, bring with thee, and the books, 
but especially the parchments, ver. 13. Take Mark 
and bring him with thee, for he is profitable to me 
for the ministry," ver. 1 1 . These directions clearly 
prove that the apostle expected to live till Timothy 
and Mark could come, and that he should make 
use of the articles which Timothy was desired to 
bring. Also, that he should employ the two evan- 
geHsts as his coadjutors in the Christian ministry 
at Rome, which is evidently inconsistent with the 
expectation of immediate martyrdom, and likewise 
with the probable situation of the apostle in his 
supposed second imprisonment. The apostle there- 
fore seems to have intended nothing more by the 
expressions above mentioned than that he was now 
advanced in years, and that his season of active 
seiTice was almost over. He might also be ap- 
prehensive that he should remain a prisoner for 
life ; and that, though he was for the present re- 
prieved, and it might be some time before he was 
summoned to appear again at the imperial tribunal, 
the issue of his second appearance would be fatal^. 

Upon the whole, therefore, the opinion concern- 
ing the date of this epistle which was held by Dr. 

' This is the more probable, as it is certain that appearances 
were judged to have been very unfavourable when he was sum- 
moned to make his first defence, 2 Tim. iv. 16. And towards 
the dose of his first imprisonment, when upon the whole he 
expected to be released, yet he appears to have been not with- 
out some apprehensions of a contrary issue. See Phil. i. 20 — 2b, 
ii. 17,23,24. 



Lardner and many other learned men appears to 
me the most probable : viz. that it was written in 
the spring of a.d. 61, near the commencement of 
the apostle's jfirst imprisonment ', and soon after 
he had obtained an audience of Nero ; in conse- 
quence of which he was permitted to reside in a 
house of his own, to which all his friends had li- 
berty of access. In confirmation of this supposition 
it may be remarked, that it appears from ch. iv. 11, 
that Luke was with him when he wrote this epistle ; 

' The principal authorities in favour of this date of the epistle 
are Lightfoot, Baronius, Estius, Hammond, Witsius, Grotius, 
RosenmuUer, Lardner, and Priestley. On the other side are 
Whitby, Doddridge, Benson, Macknight, and Paley. The argu- 
ments upon which the advocates for a later date of the epistle 
lay the principal stress are, 1 .) The strong language of the apo- 
stle, ch, iv, 6 — 8. 2.) The apostle does not, as in his other 
epistles, express any expectation of release ; but, ch, iv. 18, 
only that the Lord would deliver him from every evil work, and 
preserve him to his heavenly kingdom. But if this epistle was 
written at the beginning of the imprisonment, he might be very 
doubtful of its issue. 3.) Ch. iv. 20, Erastus abode at Corinth. 
What need was there to inform Timothy of this, who was with 
him when he left Corinth ? Acts xx., and must have known that 
Erastus staid behind. 4.) Ibid. Trophimus have I left at Mile- 
tum sick. Trophimus was with Paul at Miletus, and accompanied 
him to Jerusalem, Acts xx. Ans. Beza and Grotius for Miletum 
are inclined to read Melita; but Lightfoot and Lardner rather 
infer from Acts xxvii, 2, 7, that the ship in which Paul was, 
touched at Miletus. But surely in this case Timothy would 
have met the apostle at Miletus, or at least he must have heard 
of Trophimus long before Paul wrote. Upon the whole, though 
the two last objections may not be easily obviated, the evidence 
appears to preponderate greatly in favour of the epistle having 
been written during the first imprisonment. In fact, as Lardner 
observes, we have no evidence of his ever being imprisoned a 
second time ; and least of all, that he would be allowed time to 
write and to receive nn .inswcr to his letter. If the apostle had 
been arrested during the rage of Nero's persecution, he would 
have been almost immediately put to death. 


and though we are sure that this evangelist accom- 
panied him in his first imprisonment, we have no 
evidence whatever that he was with him when he 
returned to Rome. Also, ch. iii. 11, the apostle 
reminds Timothy of his persecutions at Antioch, 
at Iconium, and at Lystra, hut makes no aUusion 
to liis former imprisonment at Rome, which he 
could hardly have failed to have done, had this 
epistle heen written during his second confinement 
there. It cannot be doubted that Timothy hastened 
to Rome immediately upon the receipt of this letter ; 
and this circumstance will account for the mention 
of his name, together with that of the apostle, in the 
epistles to the Philippians, the Colossians, and Phi- 
lemon ; these epistles having been written a short 
time before his release from his first imprisonment. 
Mark having also accompanied Timothy, and re- 
maining with the apostle, his name occurs in the 
salutation to Philem.on, ver. 24. Demas, who when 
the apostle wrote to Timothy, ch. iv. U), had for- 
saken him probably through fear of persecution, 
and was gone to Thessalonica, appears afterwards 
to have recovered his courage, and to have returned 
to the apostle, who mentions him with honour in 
the Epistle to Philemon, as his fellow-labourer. 

It is highly probable that Timothy was at Ephe- 
sus when he received this letter. The apostle sends 
his salutations to the family of Onesiphorus, who 
resided at Ephesus, and to Prisca and Aquila, who 
appear to have fixed their abode in that city. He 
desires Timothy to bring with him the articles which 


he had left at Troas, which, though not directly in 
his way from Ephesus, was nevertheless the route 
which the apostle had taken in passing into Greece, 
and was probably the common route of those who 
wished to shorten the passage by sea. He warns 
Timothy against the errors of Hymeneus, and the 
malignity of Alexander, both of whom he mentions 
with disapprobation in his first epistle, which was 
unquestionably sent to Timothy at Ephesus. It is 
presumed that this evangelist took leave of the 
apostle at Miletus in his way to Jerusalem, no fur- 
ther mention being made of him in the history, 
and that he returned with the elders to Ephesus, 
where he remained till the apostle sent this letter 
inviting him to Rome. 

The main design of the apostle in this epistle is 
to fortify the mind of the evangelist against those 
discouraging apprehensions which the sufferings 
and persecutions of the first teachers of the gospel 
might naturally excite: to raise him above the 
sense of shame and fear in the cause of truth, and 
to animate him to a resolute and faithful discharge 
of the duties of his office by his own example, by 
the example of Christ, and by the prospect of a 
future retribution. 

First. The apostle, after a suitable introduc- 
tion, expresses his great tenderness for the evan- 
gelist, and his earnest desire of an interview with 
him. Ch. i. 1 — 5. 


Secondly. He urges Timothy to firmness and 
fidelity, and exhorts him not to be ashamed of vi- 
siting him in his confinement, which was indeed his 
honour, not his disgrace ; he expresses much dis- 
approbation of the conduct of some who had de- 
serted him in his sufferings, and highly applauds 
the zeal and affection of Onesiphorus, who had 
visited and succoured him in his confinement, 
ver. G— 18. 

Thirdly. The apostle earnestly exhorts his 
friend to he a faithful and assiduous teacher of the 
gospel, and to make up his mind to incur all dan- 
gers, and to endure all hardships and fatigues, with 
a view to the glorious recompense promised by the 
go'spel, and encourages him by his own example. 
— Ch. ii. 1—13. 

Fourthly. The apostle requires Timothy to 
charge his hearers not to lose time in discussing 
unprofitable questions, and especially not to give 
countenance to antichristian errors, which, if they 
do not exclude from salvation, at least tarnish the 
character. He urges him to the practice of virtue, 
to decline trifling discussions, and to communicate 
instruction in a familiar and impressive manner, 
ver. 14— 2G. 

Fifthly. The apostle warns the evangelist of 
the corrupt doctrines and practices of the latter 
days, which will assuredly terminate in the confu- 
sion and ruin of their authors and abettors. Ch. iii. 

Sixthly. He solemnly charges Timothy to ad- 


liere faithfully to the doctrine in which he had been 
instructed by himself, which was confirmed by the 
Jewish scriptures, with which the evangelist was 
familiar, which had been the constant theme of the 
apostle's discourses, and for the sake of which, as 
Timothy well knew, he had often endured cruel 
persecution, vfr. 10 — 17. 

Seventhly. The apostle, under a deep impres- 
sion that the season of life and active usefulness was 
near a close, solemnly charges the evangelist to be 
resolute, diligent, and faithful, in preaching the pure 
uncorrupted doctrine of the gospel. Ch. iv. 1 — 8. 

Eighthly. He urges Timothy to come to him 
immediately, states his reason for it, complains of 
the desertion of some of his companions, repre- 
sents his danger, and expresses his confidence in 
God. He gives some directions and commissions 
for the evangelist to execute in his way, mentions 
some interesting incidents, repeats his injunction 
to come to Rome, and concludes with salutations 
and the apostolical benediction, ver. 9 — 22. 

This epistle has been justly regarded as contain- 
ing within itself, a satisfactory evidence of the truth 
and divine authority of the Christian religion. The 
apostle Paul, one of its most zealous and active 
teachers, at the close of life, persecuted by his ene- 
mies, deserted by his friends, in the midst of a long 
imprisonment, and in the near prospect of a violent 
death, Vv^riting a confidential letter to an intimate 
friend, a favourite pupil, whom he had trained up 


to the ministry, who had been the faithful associate 
of his labours and his persecutions, and to whom 
he looked as the chief instrument under Divine Pro- 
vidence of carrying on the great cause in which he 
was embarked, in which he had laboured, and for 
which he suffered ; in these critical circumstances, 
far from expressing any suspicion of the justice of 
his cause, of the truth of his doctrine, and the pro- 
priety of his conduct ; far from regretting the sa- 
crifices which he had made, the labours that he had 
undergone, and the sufferings which he had en- 
dured, in the promulgation of the Christian doc- 
trine, and in fulfilling the duties of the apostolic 
office, he every where adopts the language of joy 
and exultation, and earnestly exhorts his friend and 
associate to persevere with alacrity in the same 
honourable course, even though it would probably 
lead to a catastrophe similar to his own. This un- 
paralleled fortitude, this holy triumph, this joyful 
exultation, is utterly inconsistent with the suppo- 
sition of hypocrisy, of imposture, of artifice and 
intention to deceive. It is the genuine language 
of the heart ; it is the natural expression of a firm 
conviction of the truth and importance of the doc- 
trine which he taught, and of a consciousness of the 
divine authority under which he acted. And as 
self-deception, in the apostle's case, was absolutely 
impossible, the Christian doctrine which he was 
commissioned to teach must have been of divine 




The APOSTLEy after his usual salutation^ cjc- Ch. r. 
presses his affectionate regard to Timothy, and 
his earnest desire to see him, and reminds the 
evangelist of the necessity of firmness and ivis- 
dom in discharging the duties of his office. 
Ch.i. 1—7. 


1. iHE apostle introduces the epistle with his 
usual title and salutation, ver. 1, 2. 

Paul, an apes tie of Jesus Christ, by the ap- Ver. 1. 
pointment of God, in relation to the promise of life ^ 

' Promise of Zi/e.] " He was an apostle for the purpose of 
announcing this jironiise to the world," Newcome. Sec Tit. i. 
1 — 3. The promise of the Mosaic covenant was that of a tern- 

282 Sect. I. II. T I M O T H Y. 1. 

Ch.i. by Christ Jesus, to Timothy my beloved son ^,fa- 
^''* • vour, mercy, peace, from God our Father, and 
Christ tiesus our Lord^. 

Tliis epistle is indited by me, Paul, who am by 
the authority of God appointed to be an apostle of 
Jesus Christ ; being commissioned and sent forth 
by Christ my Master, to bear testimony to his re- 
surrection, and to preach his gospel ; and especially 
to proclaim the joyful tidings of a life to come, 
which is the great and peculiar promise of the 
Christian dispensation. And it is addressed to Ti- 
mothy my beloved friend, whom I regard with the 
affection of a parent, whom I converted to the know- 
ledge and the faith of the gospel, for whose welfare 
I feel the tenderest concern, and for whom I can- 
not form a better wish than that he may participate 
abundantly in the blessings of that glorious doc- 
trine which is the free gift of God, by his holy ser- 

poral life in the land of Canaan 5 that of the gospel is eternal 
life in a better state and world. See Benson and Macknight. 

' My beloved son.'] This is generally mulerstood of Timothy 
as being a convert of the apostle. " These two verses," says 
Dr. Priestley in his Notes on the New Testament, " may be 
thus paraphrased : ' I, Paul, particularly appointed by God to 
be an apostle of his son Jesus Christ, the great object of whose 
gospel is the revelation of a future life, direct this epistle to 
thee, Timotliy, whom I consider as my own son, being con- 
verted by me to the faith of Christ. May God grant thee all 
the blessings of the gospel.' " 

- Favour, meraj, peace, kcJ] i. e. all the blessings of the go- 
spel which flow from the unmerited, unpurchased mercy of God 
our Father, and which were dispensed to mankind by Jesus 
Christ our Lord and Master, whose disciples we are, and who 
has honoured me with an apostolic mission. This is not a prayer 
to Clirist in person ; it is only a wish for those blessings of 
which he was the mcdiuui of cominunicalion. 

Sect. I. II. T I M O T H Y. 2. 283 

vant and messenger Jesus Christ our honoured Mas- Ch. i. 
ter, and which announces the joyful tidings of peace 
and pardon, life and immortahty. 

2. The apostle expresses his kind remembrance 
of Timothy, and his earnest desire to see him, ver. 

I give thanks to God, whom I serve as my fore- S. 

fathers did 3, ivith a pure conscience, {inasmuch^ 
as I inccssantli/ make mention of thee in my even- 
ing and morning prayers'", being earnestly desirous ^* 
to see thee, for I recollect thy tears ^, that I may 

■' As my forefathers didi] CLito Tfpoyovcvv. " d, Vexemple de." 
L'Enfant, and Beausobre. " Majoruni meorum vestigia secu- 
ttts." Beza. " Majorum exerapio : Eundem Deum colebnt Pau- 
las, quern coluerant majores ejus. Non enim alius Deus est 
Jud(Eorum, alius Deus Novi Testamenti." Rosenmuller. Sec 
Newcome. Some explain Rom. ix. 3, by giving ctts the same 
signification wliich it has here ; but I think improperly. See the 
note there. The apostle had probably been charged by the Ju- 
daizers with apostatizing from the worship of his ancestors. He 
here defends himself from that imputation ; and Dr. Benson 
thinks that the expression a pure conscience contains an oblique 
reflection upon the sinister motives of the judaizing zealots. 

* Inasmuch, &c.] I follow Dr. Benson in the position of 
the parenthesis, so tliat the construction of the sentence is, " I 
give thanks to God — when I call to remembrance thy nndis- 
sembled fixith." According to tlie more usual interpretation oJ; 
is made to stand for ori, and the apostle thanks God that he 
makes mention of him in his prayers ; i. e. that he has just rea- 
son so to do. See Newcome. 

^ Make mention of thee in mtj evening and morning prayers."] 
In the original, 7iight and day ; in allusion probably to the con- 
tinvuU burnt-offering morning and evening. Compare 1 Thess. 
V. 17, Dan. viii. 11, 12. 

^ Recollect thy tears.] See .AiCts xx. 37, 38. It is supposed 
that the evangelist Timothy parted from the ajiostle at Miletus, 
and tliut he returned tu Ephesus with the ciders of that church ; 

284 Sect. I. II. TIMOTHY. 2. 

Ch. I. be filled with joy,) when I call to remembrance 
"' ' thine undissembled ' faith, which dwelt 2 first in 
thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice ^, 
and which dwelleth, / am persuaded, in thee also. 
I am represented by many who wish to injure my 
character and to disparage my labours, as an apostate 
from the rehgion of my ancestors, because I zea- 
lously support the liberty of the gentile churches, 
and because I every where teach that converts from 
heathenism are under no obligation to submit to 
the ceremonial law. But this report is a foul asper- 
sion. For being myself a Jew, I continue to observe 
the rites of the law, and every morning and evening 
I offer my humble adoration to the one living and 
true God in the way that my pious forefathers did ; 
and my conscience bears its testimony to the purity 
of my affections, and to the sincerity of my devo- 
tions. In these my daily supplications I constantly 
remember my beloved friend, imploring the divine 

and that the apostle here alludes to the tears which he shed 
upon that occasion. 

' Thine vndissembled faith.'] " Timothy," says Dr. Benson, 
" not only believed right, but he also acted right ; he would not 
hypocritically conceal or disguise his sentiments, as the Ju- 
daizers appear to have done." 1 Tim. ii. 1, 5 — 7, 19, 20. 

2 Dwelt first, &c.] gvoijtrycrg- " inhabited: it was not a mere 
profession, or a transient feeling, but a fixed principle. See 

^ Lois — Eunice^] These pious women were Jewesses, Acts 
xvi. 1 . They had taken very meritorious pains to instruct Ti- 
mothy in the Jewish scriptures, 2 Tim. iii. 15; and probably 
prepared his mind for receiving the instructions afterwards com- 
municated by the ajiostle. Dr. Benson remarks " the unde- 
signed coincidence of the epistle with the history as an internal 
mark of the gcnuiiicncs'5 of the cpifstlc." 

Sect. I. II. T I M O T H Y. 3. 285 

blessing upon him, and expressing my earnest de- ch. I. 
sire that he may be directed and preserved on his ^*'"' 
way to Rome, where it would afford me the highest 
gratification to have an interview with him, as I have 
not forgotten the tears which he shed at our last 
painful separation at Miletus three years ago. And 
when I call to mind your faith and piety, of the ge- 
nuineness and energy of which you have given so 
many satisfactory proofs, I offer my devout thanks- 
givings to the God of mercy and truth, who first 
opened the heart of your excellent mother and her 
venerable parent to the reception of the great truths 
of the gospel, and whose blessing, co-operating with 
their wise and pious instructions, prepared your in- 
genuous spirit for the admission of the same glo- 
rious doctrines, which I am convinced (and I re- 
joice in the conviction) are now the ruling princi- 
ples of your conduct and the sure foundation of 
your hope. 

3. The apostle exhorts Timothy to make the best 
use of his eminent qualifications for the Christian 
ministry, ver. 6, 7. 

For which reason I remind thee to kindle up'^ 6. 

that free gift of God^ which is in thee by the im- 

* To kindle up.} So Mr. Wakefield. In' the public version, 
stir up. " The original is ava^uuTTvpsiv, which signifies to ' blow 
or stir up a fire when it does not burn sufficiently.' " Benson j 
who adds, that " possibly there might be some danger lest op- 
position and persecution should damp Timothy's zeal." 

^ That free gift of God.'] " The endowments of the spirit." 
Newcomc. Dr. Priestley, in his notes, remarks that " Paul had 

28G Skct. I. If. T I M O T H Y. 3. 

Ch. I. position of my hands '. For God hath not given 
us the spirit of fearfalness, hut of power ^ and of 
love, and ofiuisdom 2. 

Knowing the sincerity of your profession, and 
your earnest desire of usefulness, and being likewise 
apprized of the difficulties and discouragements 
which occur in the faithful discharge of the Chris- 
tian ministry, and which might appall a mind less 
firm and vigorous than yours, my first and most 
earnest advice is, that you would devote yourself 
wholly to the duties of your important office. Stir 

imparted to Timothy those gifts of the spirit which were pecu- 
liar to that age ; but it is probable that it depended in a great 
measure upon men themselves whether they were more or less 
distinguished by them, the Divine Being imparting them most 
freely to those who were most zealous and active in the Chris- 
tian cause." 

' Imposition of my handsJ] See 1 Tim. iv. 14 ; where the gift 
is said to be conferred by the imposition of hands of the pres- 
bytery. Perhaps the texts may be best reconciled by adopting 
Bengel's reading in the first epistle. See the note. 

^ Offearfulness, &c.] This was the spirit of the law, which 
was a yoke of bondage, Rom.viii. 15 5 Gal. iv. 3, 7 5 Heb. xii. 
18 — 24. " of fear in the midst of persecution." Newcome. 
Of power: " in miracles and spiritual gifts." Newcome. (]f 
love: " universal benevolence : love to God and man, the cha- 
racteristic of genuine Christianity. Of wisdom: of prudence 
in displaying miraculous powers, in avoiding or softening per- 
secution, in teaching and admonishing." Newcome. " Non 
vult Deus lit animo simns timido, sed forti, amoris prudcn- 
tieeque pleno. Hcec idea dicit, quod aliquanium mctuehat ne Ti- 
motheus, conspectis ilUs perpetuis malis, qua; Paulum et Chris- 
tianos premebant, oh id lahasceiet. ttv. osiXiag animus timidus. 
Animo timido opponitur rv. hv. animus fortis periculis et vexa- 
iionihus resistens. Ex amore proximi fortUudo ilia nascitur. 
Conjuncta esse debet cum hue fortifndine in admonerido, et cas- 
tigamlo malos charitas et cru:(pp. moderatio, ut doctor moderate 
segerat in munere sua." RosenmuUer. 

Sf.ct.I. II. TIMOTHY. 3. 2S7 

up and fan the holy fire that is kindled in your Ch. i. 
breast, and cause it to burn continually with a ^^'' '* 
bright, a cheering, and an enlivening flame. Call 
forth into vigorous and constant exercise those qua- 
lifications for diffusing the knowledge and the power 
of the gospel, with which you are so eminently en- 
dowed, and which were in a very extraordinary man- 
ner communicated to you ; when, after having been 
chosen as an associate v;ith me in the ministry of 
the gospel, the elders of the church united in re- 
commending you to the divine blessing, and the 
gifts of the spirit were imparted by the imposition 
of my hands. And remember, my beloved friend, 
that the spirit which the gospel infuses, is not a 
spirit of indolence or timidity which shrinks from 
difficulties and from dangers, but it is a spirit of 
wisdom, of power, and of goodness, which, arming 
the chosen defenders of the Christian faith with su- 
pernatural powers, inspires them at the same time 
with undaunted courage, tempered with discretion, 
and which, filling the heart with love to God and 
benevolence to man, diligently seeks, wisely dis- 
cerns, and unremittingly pursues, the most effica- 
cious means of diffusing the knowledge, the power, 
and the blessings of the gospel. 

288 Skct. II. II. TIMOTHY. 


Ch. I. The apostle, eoopressing his entire confidence in 
the truth, the importance and the ultimate sue- 
cess of the gospel, encourages Timothy to per- 
severe in the faithful discharge of his ministry, 
whatever the pei'sonal co7isequences might be. 
Ch. i. 8—14. 

1 . The apostle exhorts him not to be ashamed 
either of the gospel or. its suffering ministers, but 
to be willing to be a fellow-suflferer with them in 
the same glorious cause, ver. 8 — 10. 
Ver. 8. Be not then ashamed of the testimony concern- 
ing our Lord^, nor of me a prisoner^ for his sake; 
but take thy share i?i the afflictions of the gospel^, 
according to the power of God^. 

' The testimony concernmg our Lord.'] So Nevvcome. Mr. 
Wakefield renders it, " the testimony unto our Lord." The 
original is ambiguous : it either expresses the doctrine which 
Christ attested, or the office of giving testimony to it ; the go- 
spel itself, or the ministry of the gospel. I have included both 
in the paraphrase, though the former appears to me preferable. 

- Of me a prisoner.'] Dr. Benson supposes that " the Judai- 
zers had objected to Timothy the sufferings of Paul, and inti- 
mated how scandalous it was to adhere to one who was so 
odious to mankind, and treated by them as a malefactor." 

3 Take thy share, &c.] See Doddridge. Dr. Priestley ob- 
serves, that " the apostle holds out no prospects of advantage 
in this life. On the contrary, he was ready to lay down his own 
life in the Christian cause. Has this the air of imposture ? " 

* According to the "power of God.] " according to the support 

Ver. 8. 

Sect. II. II. T 1 M O T H Y. I. 289 

Having thus imbibed the spirit of the gospel, ch. i. 
and being eminently qualified to preach the joyful 
tidings, be not ashamed of that glorious doctrine 
which our master taught, for which he suffered, 
and the divine authority of which he amply attested, 
nor of the office of the Christian ministry. And 
think it no disgrace to acknowledge yourself an as- 
sociate with me in this honourable work, though I 
am now impoverished, calumniated, and suffering 
imprisonment for the sake of Christ, and for the 
zeal with which I have defended the liberty of the 
Gentile church. Zealots may indeed represent me 
as a wretch deserted by God and man. Listen not 
to their malicious calumnies; but rather be willing 
to take your full share of disgrace and suffering in 
the cause of Christian truth and liberty ; relying 
with confidence upon divine support. And shrink 
not from persecution in the promulgation of that 
gospel which God has supported and will continue 
to support by his great power in defiance of all op- 

Who hath saved us ^ and invited us ^ with a holy 

that God affords." Newcome. " that gospel whose truth has 
been confirmed and sealed by the power of God." Harwood. 
The elliptical style of the apostle makes his meaning ambi- 
guous. Both senses are good. The later seems to me most 
agreeable to the apostle's usual style. Mr. Wakefield says he 
is quite at a loss which to prefer, 

* Who hath saved us, and invited w*.] " who hath called us 
to salvation." Wakefield. " who hath placed us Gentiles, as 
well as Jews, in a state of salvation." Newcome. See Benson. 
The salvation of which the apostle speaks is, deliverance from 
bondage, both from the yoke of the law, and from the bondage 
of idolatry and vice. 


290 Sect. II. II. T I M O T H Y. 1. 

Cl». I. invilatio7i •, not in co7isideration of our works ^ but 
^^*" ^' because of his own purpose, and of that favour 
which was given us 2 in Christ *Tesus before the 
ancient dispensations 3. 

The God who has attested the gospel of his son 
by the gifts of his spirit, and who supports his faith- 
ful messengers under their severest trials, has gra- 
ciously invited all men, whether Jews or Gentiles, 
to participate in the invaluable blessings of the go- 
spel : and he requires of those who are disposed to 
accept of his invitation, to separate themselves from 
the unbelieving world by a public profession of faith 
in the gospel. This gracious invitation is sent to 
us, not because we have merited any favour from 
him by the perfection of our obedience either to 
the moral or the ceremonial law, but because he 
had resolved, purely from the impulse of his own 
unlimited benevolence, before the Mosaic law was 

' A holy invitation .] i. e. an invitation to separate them- 
.selves from the unbelieving world, as worshipers of the true 

■^ fVas given us ;] i. e. " which he determined to give us. 
See John v. 22, xvii. 24 ; 1 John v. 1 1 ; Eph. i. 4, 5 ; Tit. i. 
2." Benson. "We see here," says Dr. Priestley, "how fa- 
miliar this language is with the sacred writers, things being 
said to be actually done by God, when they could only be in- 
tended to be done. How natural, then, is it to interpret what 
our Saviour says concerning the glory which he had with God 
before the world was, of the glory which was designed for him 
before the beginning of the world, which does not imply his 

3 Ancient dispensations.'] So Newcome. Gr. secular times. 
The Primate refers to Rom. viii. 28, 29 5 and explains the words 
of that " undeserved favour which God determined to bestow 
on us, i. e. all mankind, through Chnst Jesus, before the se- 
cular ages, i. e. all former dispensations." 

Sect. II. II. TIMOTHY. I. 291 

instituted, and even before time began, to commu- Ch. i. 
nicate these blessings to mankind by the mission of ^'^' ' 
Jesus Christ. This gracious purpose was long con- 
cealed in his own breast, and the saints and pro- 
phets of former ages were wholly ignorant of it. 

JBut which hath now been made manifest by the '^* 

appearance ^ of our Saviour '^ Jesus Christy who 
hath abolished deathly and spread abroad the 
light '^ of an incorruptible life^ by the gospeL 

* Appearance^ sitKpxvsicis' the word properly signifies a 
" public splendid appearance of a luminous object 3" it is ap- 
plied by ancient writers to the appearance of the gods. It here 
expresses the public ministry of Christ, which was made illus- 
trious by his miracles ; and is used in other places by the apo- 
stle to express the " glory of Christ's second coming." I Tim, 
vi. 14 J 2 Tim. iv. 1, 8 j Tit. ii. 13 j 2 Thess. ii. 8. See Schleus- 

* Saviour.'] See ver. 9. Jesus Christ was the deliverer from 

* Abolished death.'] Ka-fapysio, proprie et generatim, ot'iosum, 
inutilem, vel inefficacem reddo, quocunque modo hoc fiat, ex 
Kxra. et apysuj cesso. Luc. xiii. 7 ; Rom. iii. 3 ; Gal. iii. 17." 
Schleusner. " who hath indeed made death ineffectual." 
Macknight ; who in his note remarks, that " Christ hath not 
abolished temporal death to any one, but he has deprived 
death of its power to continue mankind in the state of death. 
See Heb. ii. 14, 1 Cor. xv. 26." 

' Spread abroad the light.] (pivTiixavros. So Mr. Wakefield, 
*' not brought to light, as if reason could not discover a future 
state : the word signifies to throw light upon, to illustrate. 
' MocXXov ev SoXwv 'Oftijjsov s^ujtiasv ij ITeitncrrparoj- Solon il- 
lustrated Homer better than Pisistratus.' Diog. Laert, p. 36." 
Harwood. See Schleusner, " sig (pws aysiv, Suidas. Illumi- 
nando patefacere, docere." H. Stephens. See Newcome, and 
Wetstein on 1 Cor. iv. 5. Dr. Whitby produces many perti- 
nent passages to show the very obscure notions which the hea- 
then philosophers and moralists entertained of a future life ; 
but of a resurrection of the dead they had no conception at all. 
The Jews entertained some imperfect expectations of it. But 
the doctrine of Christ has placed it in the clearest light. Dr. 

u 2 

292 Sfxt.II. II. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Oh. r This merciful design is now made manifest to the 
Ver. 10. ^,|^oJe world by the public mission of Jesus Christ, 
the appointed deliverer from the burdensome yoke 
of ceremonial institutions, and from the more griev- 
ous bondage of sin and death. This glorious Sa- 
viour has, as I may say, already put an end to the 
dominion, and drawn the sting, of death, by the as- 
surance which he hath given that all the posterity 
of Adam shall be raised to life, and not a single 
trophy shall remain of all the triumphs of this 
mighty and universal conqueror. The gospel of 
Christ diffuses a cheering radiance over the dark- 
ness of the grave, and asserts in the clearest and 
most unambiguous language that delightful truth, 
which was before only the object of dim conjecture 
and anxious surmise, the resurrection of mankind 
to a new and glorious state of existence, which shall 
never more be subject to dissolution or decay. 

2. The apostle glories in his office as a preacher 
of the gospel, and in his sufferings for it, and ex- 
presses his firm confidence that the Christian doc- 
trine will prevail to the end of time, ver. il, 12. 

Priestley well observes, that " notwithstanding all the corrup- 
tions of Christianity, this one great doctrine was never, in 
fact, denied by any one who ever bore the Christian name- 
Agreeing in this one great truth, we agree in every thing that 
is of primary use, and that has a practical influence in life." 

8 An incorruptible /j/e.] Or. life and incorruption. Dr. Ben- 
son justly remarks, that " these expressions plainly show that 
the apostle is not speaking of the immortality of the soul, but 
of the resurrection of the dead and the consequent state of in- 
corruption and immortality. See I Cor. xv. 53." 

Sect. II, II. T I M O T H Y. 2, 293 

Of which I have been appointed a herald, and ch. i. 
an apostle, and a teachei' of the Gentiles. ^^^' ' 

In relation to this most interesting doctrine, I 
have been appointed by a special commission from 
our great instructor Jesus Christ to the honourable 
office of proclaiming it to the world. I have even 
been invested with the dignities and privileges of 
the apostolic character ; and what is stili more asto- 
nishing, and continually excites my grateful admi- 
ration, I who was once a bigoted Pharisee and a 
blaspheming persecutor, have been specially autho- 
rized to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, and to 
assert their freedom from the ceremonial law. 

For which cause also I am suffering these bonds ' : 12, 

nevertheless I arii not ashamed^, for I know whom 
I have believed^, and I am persuaded that he is 
able to keep what he hath committed to me'^ until 
that day, 

1 These bonds.] So Wakefield, Or, these things ; alluding to 
his poverty, desertion, and danger, as well as to his imprison- 

^ / am not ashamedJ] He thought it no disgrace to suffer in 
the cause of truth. " 1 have no misgivings." Wakefield. Kom. 

^ / know, &c.] " By appearing to Paul on the way to Da- 
mascus, and by bestowing on him spiritual gifts, Jesus con- 
vinced him that he was risen from the dead, and was indeed the 
Christ, and no impostor." Macknight. 

* He is able to keep, &c.] tijv TrapaSrjxvjv jj^s, my deposit. The 
expression is ambiguous : it signifies either " what 1 have com- 
mitted to him," viz. my future hopes and happiness. Newcome. 
See also Whitby : or, " what he hath committed to me," viz. 
the gospel-doctrine. The latter is most probable. The word 
occurs only in two other places, 2 Tim. i. 14, and 1 Tim. vi. 
20 ; in both which it undoubtedly signifies the gospel, and 
therefore probably here. Also, this sense best suits the con- 

294 Sect. II. II. T I M O T H Y. 2, 

Ch. I. And indeed, as you well know, the imprisonment 
' which I now suffer, and the imminent dangers to 
which I am exposed, are entirely owing to the fide- 
lity, zeal, and courage, which I manifested in exe- 
cuting my commission. Nevertheless, I do not 
repent of what I have done, nor am I ashamed of 
the doctrine which I have taught : nor do I expe- 
rience any secret misgivings with regard to the 
issue of this divine cause, or of the ultimate state 
of those who are embarked in its defence. Be as- 
sured, Timothy, I have not taken up this profession 
upon slight grounds. I know the character of that 

nexion. The apostle, though a great sufferer, is not ashamed. 
Why? Because he is confident that the gospel which hetejiches, 
and for which he suffers, will be preserved by its divine Author 
to the end of time, whatever becomes of the ministers and 
teachers of it. " Tfapa.Srj}ni), proprie, depositum. Metaphoric^, 
omne quod alicujus ciirce est demandatum, 2 Tim. i. 12. Deuvt 
posse potenter tueri et conservare heme do<tr'mam,fidei mece eom- 
missam." Schlcusner. " Earn posse doctrinarn mihi iraditam 
conservare adjinem usque mundi," Rosenmuller. " I am per- 
.suaded he is able to preserve in the world till his future coming 
that sacred deposit with which he has intrusted me." Harwood. 
Macknight adopts the same interpretation. But Doddridge, 
Whitby, Wakefield, Worsley, Newcome, and Priestley, adhere 
to the public version. Benson illustrates both interpretations, 
but in his paraphrase adopts the latter. Wakefield, in his ma- 
nuscript notes in the margin of Wetstein, now in possession of 
my learned friend Arnold Wainewright, Esq., gives the prefe- 
rence to the sense of " a deposit committed to the apostle ;" 
which differs from that given in his translation, " what I have 
committed to him," which, however, is favoured by 1 Pet. iv. 
19, to which he refers. 

U7itil that day : " nempe diem judicii, dicit enim apostolus 
Deus conservare potest et conservabit religionem, etsi ego sun in 
vinculis. Si ego non possum doccre, alii docehunt, nee unquam 
dcerunt doclores, usque ad illntn diem Jcsu Chrisfi.'^ Rosen- 

Siicr. II. II. T I M O T H Y. 3. 295 

Being who is the great objeet of my faith and hope. Ch. i. 
I know how well he is able, and how immutably he ^^' 
is resolved, to support his own cause, and to carry 
on his own benevolent designs. I am well assured, 
and I triumph in the thought, that when my season 
of service is over, the inestimable treasure which is 
now committed to my trust shall not be lost, but 
shall be transferred to othtn- good and faithful hands 
in regular succession, and safely kept to the great 
day of consummation, when the glorious plan shall 
be complete in all its parts, and the gracious pur- 
poses of infinite wisdom and mercy shall be fully 

3, The apostle earnestly presses Timothy to a,d- 
here stedfastly to the doctrine which he had taught 
him, ver. 13, 14. 

Holdfast thai model of salutary words ' ivhic/i '3. 

thou hast heard from 7ne, with faith and love in 

' Model of salutary words.] " vitoruTTtoa-ii, pvoprVe, delineatio, 
brevis ac rudis designatio et adumbratio operis. Exemplar, in 
animo injixum ; quod ideam, Platonici vocant. 2 Tim. i. 13, for- 
mam doctrince vercc ac salutaris, a me fibi traditce, in animo tun 
expressam habe." Schleusner. " Inviolably adhere to that model 
of salutary instructions." Harwood. Dr. Benson understands 
the sound words which the apostle here recommends to signify 
the words of the apostle himself as distinguished from the words 
of any uninspired and fallible men ; and supposes that judai- 
zing Christians and false apostles are obliquely reproved for 
coining hard words and mysterious phrases. See ch. ii. 2, 14, 
iii. 7, 13, 14, and iv. 3. " Sound words," says he, " signify 
the pure gospel doctrine delivered in the plain simple manner 
of the apostles." It may, however, be doubted whether the 
apostle meant any thing more than the salutary doctrine of 
the gospel. 

296 Skct. II. II. T I M O T H Y. 3. 

Ch. I. Christ Jesus. Keep^ through the holy spirit which 
resideth in us, that excellent deposit i. 

1 instructed you in the true doctrine of Christ in 
plain and simple language. Retain firm hold of 
this invaluable doctrine, and in your discourses to 
others adopt the same plainness and simplicity of 
speech. Do not, to avoid offence, or to attract ad- 
miration, veil the salutary truths of our holy reli- 
gion in obscure or pompous or mystical phraseo- 
logy. And let Christian faith be combined with 
Christian love. Be kind to all, and exercise can- 
dour to those who differ from you, even to your bit- 
terest opponents. But never sacrifice the cause of 
truth under pretence of moderation. Guard with 
the most jealous vigilance the grand and sacred de- 
posit which has been placed in your hands as well 
as in mine : employ the gifts and powers with which 
you as well as myself are endowed, in supporting 
the Christian faith : and fail not to transmit the 
doctrine of Christ to those who are to come after 
you in the same state of purity, simplicity and per- 
fection, in which you have received it from me. 

' 'Deposit'^ itapd^YiKYiy this is the reading of the best manu- 
scripts. See Griesbach. The common reading is iraf aKaradijxjjv, 
the sense the same : viz. " the pure gospel." See ver. 12, where 
the same word is used. 

Sect. III. II. T 1 M O T H Y. I. 29/ 


TtiE APOSTLEy lamenting the desertion of his Ch. I. 
Asiatic associates, and applauding the courage 
and kindness of Onesiphorus, urges Timothy to 
make a judicious selection of persons who should 
succeed to the office of Christian instructors, and 
to continue firm and faithful in his adherence 
to Christian principles, and to the duties of Ma 
office. Ch. i. 15. — ii. 7. 

1 . The apostle expresses his regret at the apo- 
stasy of some of the Asiatic Christians ; and men- 
tions, in terms of high approbation and gratitude, 
the fidelity, zeal, and friendship, of Onesiphorus, 
ver. 15 — 18. 

Thou knowest this 2 that all those who are in Ver. 15. 

2 Thou knoivest this, &c.] The Greek writers in general un- 
derstand the apostle as speaking, not of the Asiatic churches in 
general, but of the Asiatic Christians who were with him at 
Rome. " 0< sv trj Acr<a" rer sfiv o\ ex. ri;? Aa-ixs." CEcumenius 
in loc. Such is also the judgement of Estius, Mosheim, Beau- 
sobre, Lardner, Doddridge, and Priestley. See Lardner's Hist, 
of Apostles, ch. xii. sect. 10. Some intelligence of the apo- 
stle's situation at Rome, and of the cowardly conduct of these 
Asiatics, might have reached Timothy before the arrival of this 
epistle. He might, being at Ephesus, have heard of their re- 
turn home. Benson^ Newcome, and others, understand the ex- 
pression of a general apostasy of the Christians in Asia to the 
tenets of the Jud.aizcrs, of which the apostle had been informed, 
uiul whif'h ho mentions in order to excite tlie zeal of the evan- 
gelist. But :tn apo>)tasy so general i:> not probable. 

298 Skct.III. II. TIMOTHY. 1. 

Ch. I. Asia have deserted me, of whoni are Phygellus 
^*' ' and Hermogenes. 

Some disciples from Asia accompanied me to 
Rome, or found me there. Tliey at first professed 
great regard for me ; but, when they saw the dan- 
ger to which I was exposed, and the great animo- 
sity of the Jews, they were intimidated, and went 
over to the party of my opponents, who are zealous 
for the observation of the law, esteeming it no doubt 
most safe and reputable, and, with others of my as- 
sociates, they have left me, and have returned to their 
homes. Of this you have probably been already in- 
formed. In the number of these apostates it grieves 
me to insert the names of Phygellus and Hermo- 
genes, two eminent persons, of whose faith and for- 
titude I once entertained better hopes, and whose 
unexpected and unkind desertion of me in my pre- 
sent circumstances gives me the deepest concern. 

16. May the Lord show mercy to the family of 
Onesiphorns,for he often refreshed me ', and was 

] 7. not ashamed of this my chain ". But ivhen he was 
at Rome, he sought for me very diligently, and 

18, found ine^. The Lord grant him that he may find 

' Refreshed me.'] avs^v^s. " cooled and refreshed mc, by 
visiting me in my confinement and supplying my wants when 
I had like to have been scorched to death, by the heat and vio- 
lence of persecution." Benson. 

- Of this my chain.'] ri^v aXvciv [j,s. "this chain of mine." 

'' He sought for me very diligently.] This is no proof, as Dr. 
Lardner justly observes, tliat the apostle was in very dose con- 
finement. For how should a stranger, as Oncsiphorus was, 
hnd out any man in a great city without inquiry - And when 

Sect. III. II. T I M O T H Y. 1 . 299 

mercy from the Lord'^ in that day. And his many cm. i. 
services in Ephcsus ^ thou knoivest very well. ^^*"* ^^' 

May the blessing of God rest upon the head of 
Onesiphorus and of all his family. His conduct 
towards me has formed an honourable contrast to 
that of his countrymen, to whom I have just al- 
luded. His conversation, his tender sympathy, his 
generous liberality, have often relieved, encouraged, 
and consoled me in the season of distress and dan- 
ger. His kindness to me has been like a refreshing 
breeze amidst the heats of summer. Though I was 
a despised and deserted prisoner, bound in chains, 
yes, in that very chain which galls my limbs while 
I am writing this epistle, and though Onesiphorus 
was a man of note and opulence, he thought it no 
disgrace to avow his affection for me and for the 
cause in which I suffer. But when he came to 
Rome, with much trouble and some hazard, he 
inquired after me with unwearied diligence till he 
found me ; and he then administered to me the 
relief which his generous spirit prompted him to 
impart. I cannot express the sense I feel of my 
obligation to this kind, generous, and disinterested 

he had found out his residence, he does not appear to have met 
with any difficulty in repeating his visits to the apostle. This 
was also the opinion of Witsius. See Lardner ubi sup. 

* The Lord grant, &c.] " an usual Hebraism, in which the 
noun is repeated for the pronoun. See Gen. i. 26, 27, xix. 24 ; 

1 Kings viii. 1 1 j 2 Chron. vii. 2 ; 1 Cor. I 7,8; I Thess. i. 9 ; 

2 Thess. iii. 5." Whitby, Benson, Newcome. 

' His many services in Ephesus, &c.] oax ^ujxovijcre. See 
Wakefield. The Syriac and \'ulgatc versions read fA9(, which 
appear to have been followed by our translators. 

300 Sect, III. II. TIMOTHY. 2. 

Ch. I. friend, much less can I make him any adequate re- 
Ver. 18, |.y,.jj^ ]\|ay God reward him abundantly for all his 
kindness in that great day to which our glorious 
Master has directed our views and hopes, when 
even a cup of cold water given to a suffering disci' 
pie shall not be forgotten, and when virtue shall 
obtain its promised recompense. Nor is it in Rome 
only that I have received benefits from him. So 
long ago as when I resided at Ephesus you remem- 
ber how respectfully, how hospitably, he entertained 
us ; with what tender affection, and upon how many 
important and trying occasions, he generously of- 
fered his services to us ; and how much we stand 
indebted to his friendship and his zeal. Such worth 
and disinterestedness of character cannot be too 
highly prized, and ought never to be forgotten. 

2. The apostle further advises Timothy to be firm 

to his principles, and to be discreet in the choice of 

those who were to be the instructors of others, 

ch. ii. 1—2. 

Ch. II. TlioUy therefore^ my son ', strengthen thyself in 

^^' ' the grace 2 which is by Christ tiesus. 

• Thou, therefore, my son^ " There is something," says Dr. 
Priestley, " exceedingly affecting and edifying in the manner in 
which this old servant of Christ writes to one much younger than 
himself in (he same service." 

- The grace.'] sv %a/j<rj. See ch. i. 6, 7, 8. " 'The grace 
that is in Christ Jesus,' means ' the blessings which God be- 
stows upon men by him.' " Priestley. " The gracious gospel." 
Wakefield, " Exert yourself with vigour in propagating the 
Christian dispensation." Harwood. " Fortis ato in admini- 

Sect. III. II. T 1 M O T H Y. 2. 301 

As SO many, from timidity or other motives, are Ch. ii. 
deserting the cause of truth, it is pecuHarly incum- 
bent upon us who remain faithful to redouble our 
activity and zeal. Permit me, then, my dear Timo- 
thy, whom I love with the affection of a parent, and 
to whose conversion I have been so happily instru- 
mental, to press this duty home upon you. In the 
very important station which you so honourably and 
usefully occupy at Ephesus, it is of the utmost 
consequence that your faith should be firmly esta- 
blished in the doctrine of the gospel, and that your 
heart should be comforted and encouraged by those 
glorious discoveries which God of his infinite mercy 
has vouchsafed to reveal to mankind by his holy 
servant and messenger Jesus Christ. 

And what thou hast heard from me before many 2. 
witnesses 3, the same do thou intrust * to faithful 
men^ who will be qualified to teach others also. 

strando munere a Christo tibi concredito. Xa§is, ut Rom. xii. 3, 
videtur h. I. esse munus apostoUcum." RosenmuUer. 

^ Before many witnesses.'] " Sia. iroXXwv li.a.prvpojv. So hot. may 
be understood 2 Cor. viii. 18, and perhaps Gal. iii. 19." Ben- 
son ; who supposes that the apostle glances at the private and 
clandestine manner in which the Judaizers taught their doc- 
trines. They crept into houses, and were afraid of being disco- 
vered. Newcome explains the phrase, " in the course of my 
public preaching." Harwood renders it, " those truths whieh 
I have imparted to you, and which have been attested by such 
a variety of witnesses." So Macknight. " ha,, coram. Hanc 
TTiS $ix significationem multis probat Krebsius ad Act. vii. 53." 

* Intrust^ TfocpaQs, alluding to ifapaSijxijv, a deposit, ch. i. 
12, 13. Dr. Benson observes, that " it is plain the apostle ex- 
pected that Christianity would continue in the world after their 
decease, and that they appointed a succession of men to teach 

302 Skct. III. II. T I M O T H Y. 3. 

Ch. 11. I liave taught you the plain simple doctrine of 
Christ, not, as my calumnious opponents teach 
theirs, in a mean and clandestine manner, as if I 
were afraid or ashamed of letting my principles be 
known. No : what I have taught I have taught pub- 
licly, conscious of the authority with which I was 
invested, of the truth and importance of my doc- 
trine, and of the purity and simplicity of my mo- 
tives. This heavenly deposit committed to my 
trust, and by me consigned to your charge, do you, 
O Timothy, with the same fidelity deliver over to 
others, who, by their firmness and integrity, will 
preserve it pure and uncorrupted ; and who, by the 
clearness of their conceptions and their ready ut- 
terance, shall be qualified to act the part of wise, 
faithful, and successful instructors to the succeed- 
ing generation, when apostles and evangelists are 
silent in the dust. 

3. The apostle earnestly exhorts his friend to the 
exercise of persevering fortitude, diligence, and self- 
denial, as the only ground upon which he can hope 
for acceptance and success, ver. 3 — 7. 
^' Bear ihypart^ therefore^ in suffering ', as a good 
soldier of Jesus Christ. 

You have enlisted yourself under the banner of 
Jesus Christ, and you well knew that you then en- 

• Bear thy part in suffering.'] ffvy}ia,Kota^y}<rov is the reading 
of the Alexandrine, Ephrem, Clermont, and other ancient co- 
pies, and of the Syriac and Coptic versions. It is approved 
by Griesbach. 

Sbct. hi. II. T I M O T H Y. 3. '503 

gaged yourself in a service of toil and danger. Do Ch. ir. 
not then shrink from the difficulties with which you 
may be called to encounter. Be content to suffer 
as others do in the same honourable cause, and 
maintain your allegiance to the end of life. 

No one 2 who entereth into military service em- 4. 

bari'asseth himself with the affairs of this lifcy that 
he may please him ivho hath enlisted him. 

If you were to enter into the Roman army, you 
could not expect to obtain the approbation of your 
commander, and the reward due to faithful and ap- 
proved seivice, by remaining at home and occupy- 
ing yourself in the concerns of civil life, instead of 
devoting yourself to the duties of a military state : 
nor can you approve yourself the faithful soldier of 
Christ unless you make a serious business of your 
profession, and devote yourself entirely to the du- 
ties of it. If secular interest, or ease, or security, 
or any personal gratification, be the primary ob- 
ject of pursuit, you are disqualified from serving 
Christ in the important post which he has assigned 

Also^ if any man contend in the games, he win- 5. 

- "No one, &c.] Or perhaps, ' every one who entereth upon the 
military profession avoideth embarrassing himself with the con- 
cerns of this life, lest he should displease his commanding of- 
ficer.' See Wakefield, and Rosenmuller. Dr. Benson observes, 
from Grotius, that " the Roman soldiers were not suffered to 
be tutors to any persons, curators of another man's estate, proc- 
tors for other men's causes, or to undertake husbandry or mer- 
chandise." *' As soldiers, we ought to be bolli active and fear- 
less." Dr. Priestley. 

304 Sect. III. II. TIMOTHY. 3. 

Ch. II. neth not the croivriy unless he contend according to 

"^^'•^' therulesK 

The most honourable distinction among the 
Greeks is, to win the chaplet at their celebrated 
games. But you well know that no one, let his 
rank, his fortune, or his interest be what it may, 
can ever attain this grand object of public ambi- 
tion, without having first submitted to all that self- 
denial, and to all those laborious and hazardous 
exercises, which are required by the rules of the 
games as previous qualifications, nor without the 
most eager and unremitted exertion while the con- 
test continues. If the conditions are not observed, 
the prize is lost. Nor will that unfading crown, that 
far more glorious and enduring prize which awaits 
the conqueror in the Christian race, be ever confer- 
red upon him who loiters in his career, or who, from 
indolence or timidity, or any other unworthy con- 
sideration, neglects to comply with the terms re- 
quired by the great Master of the course. 
6. The husbandman must labour before he be par- 
taker of the fruits^. 

The man who will not plough, nor sow, shall 
never reap. The plenteous harvest is the precious 

' According to the rules .-] i. e. " the rules prescribed to such 
as mean to contend in the Grecian games. He will not obtain 
the crown unless he use the proper exercise, diet, &c." New- 
come. The crown was of parsley, laurel, or bay. See Raphelius. 

^ The husbandman, &c.] So Wakefield. " Ordo naturalis 
verborum videfur talis esse, rov ysujpyov ir^cvrov y.oTTiujvra, i. e. 
KExoirixyiOTO, Ssi k. r. \. agricolam defriictibus percipere cequum 
est, at ita demuin, si prius laboraverit." Rosenmullcr. 

Sect. IV. II. T I M O T H Y. 1 . 305 

reward of much previous and persevering toil and ch. ii. 
industry, nor can the harvest of immortal hliss be ^^^^' ^' 
obtained upon any other terms. The reward, both 
in quantity and in value, shall be proportioned to 
the previous labour ; for whatsoever a man soweth, 
that shall he also reap. 

Co?isider ivhat I say^ and the Lord will give 7. 

thee 3 understanding in all things. 

Reflect, my dear friend, upon the hints which I 
have suggested; apply them to your own case; 
act continually upon such principles and with such 
views. If you are sincerely solicitous to obey the 
call of duty and to live up to the spirit of your pro- 
fession, you shall not want for direction and sup- 
port. The God whom you serve, and whose bless- 
ing you devoutly implore, will be your counsellor 
and your strength. To his favour, guidance, and 
protection, I affectionately commend you. 


For the encouragement of the evangelist, the 
apostle sets before him the example of Jesus, 
and his oivn; and from various considerations 
he enforces firmness, faiti fulness, and prudence, 
Ch. ii. 8—15. 

1 . The apostle reminds Timothy of the mission, 

3 The Lord will give thee.'] The most approved copies read 
Su/a-ei for Sujvj, which better connects with the illative particle 
yap. for the Lord will give, &c. See Benson and Griesbach. 

306 Sect. IV. II. TIMOTHY. 1- 

Ch. II. the descent, the character, and resurrection of Jesus 
Christ, ver. 8. 

Ver. 8. Remember *Jesus Christ ', of the race of David ^ 
who was raisedfrom the dead, according to the go- 
spel^ which I preach. 

To animate you to duty, often think on the cha- 
racter, the conduct, and reward of our great Master. 
Be not misled by the speculations of a vain philoso- 
phy. Whatever may be pretended by men who are 
ashamed to avow the truth, the man Jesus, who 
descended from the royal house of David, is the 
true Christ. He is not a man in appearance only, 
nor a human body inhabited and possessed by a 
spirit of a superior order. The gospel which I 
teach declares him to be a real man, born and de- 
scended like other men, and in no way distinguished 
from his brethren, except by his high commission 
as a prophet of God. His death was not imagi- 
nary, but real ; and so likewise was his resurrection. 

' Remember Jesus Christ.'] Dr. Priestley observes, that " the 
apostle's design here is to guard Timothy and others against 
the tenets of the Gnostic teachers. They said it was Jesus and 
not Christ that was descended from David. In allusion to this 
opinion, the apostle here says, that Jesus Christ, meaning his 
whole person, was of the seed of David, his proper descendant, 
a man, like Jews or other men ; and that he had a proper re- 
surrection in the flesh, as a pattern of our resurrection, which 
the Gnostics explained away. This was the pure gospel which 
Paul preached, and for which he was then suffering." 

" The gospel which I preach.] So Newcome. Gr. vuj gospel. 
Some of the ancients suppose that Luke's gospel is here referred 
to. Euseb. Ecc. Hist. 1. iii. c. 4. But the apostle uses the same 
phrase Rom. ii. IG, xvi. 25, before that gospel was written. See 
Benson. Indeed it is not probable that these histories had ob- 
tain€d the title of Gospels at so early a period. 

Skct. IV. U. T I M O T H Y. 2. 307 

Regard these important events as undoubted facts, Ch. ii. 

the reality of which is not for a moment to be 
called in question, and a firm belief in which is to 
be the governing principle of your conduct as a 
Christian and an evangelist, 

2. He reminds the evangelist that this was the 
doctrine for the propagation of which he was him- 
self at that very time a prisoner and sufferer, ver, 
9, 10. 

For which ^ I am suffering affliction, even unto 
bonds, as an evil-doer; but the word of God is not 
bound '^. 

These are the interesting truths in the publica- 
tion of which I am incessantly employed, and on 
account of which I am even now suffering many 
hardships and afflictions; so that, although it has 
been the constant employment of my life ever since 
my conversion to the Christian faith, to promote 
the moral improvement of my fellow-creatures, I 
am here in confinement like a common malefactor, 
as if I had been guilty of crimes which merited ex- 
clusion from human society. Well, — under all my 
sufferings I have one consolation still : a consola-^ 
tion which never fails. Prisoner as I am, the glo- 

Ver. 8. 

5 ¥oT vMch.'] sv cJ. See Matt, vi. 7, Heb. xi. 2, Whitby, 
Wakefield, Newcome. 

•* The word of God, &c.] A liyely turn of expression, which 
strongly illustrates the generous bent of the apostle's mind. 
He cares little about himself, if the gospel has its free and glo- 
rjous course. See Macknight. " ea semper propagabitur, etsi cgq 
sum in vincuUs." Rosenmuller. 

V 9 


308 Skct. IV. II. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. II. rious gospel is free and iinconfined. I cannot in- 
deed go, as I once did, from place to place, to pro- 
claim the joyful tidings. But that sacred cause, the 
cause of truth and righteousness, that cause of which 
God is the patron and protector, cannot fail to make 
its way, and, in the end, to triumph over all opposi- 

Therefore ', / endure all things for the sake of 
the chosen ^ people, that they also may obtain the 
salvation 3 which is through Christ Jesus with ever- 
lasting glory. 

I suffer grievous wrongs ; I am deprived of many 
comforts ; I am bereaved of that greatest of bless- 
ings, personal liberty ; and I feel these injuries to 
their utmost extent. Yet, knowing the important 
purposes which are answered by the sufferings of 
the advocates for truth, I do not repine. It was my 
zeal for the liberties of the Gentile church, whom 
God hath chosen to visit with his mercy, which 
incurred the resentment of my countrymen, and 

' Therefore^ Snx, rar'o. q. d. Why do I endure and volun^ 
tarily submit to these sufferings ? Ans. For this reason : that 
the elect may be saved and brought to everlasting glory. — A 
writer in Bowyer (Battier) connects harsro with the preceding- 
verse : q. (1. " but the word of God is not therefoke bound." 

- Chosen people :] i. e. Gentiles. See Newcome. Benson also 
.supposes the Gentiles to be here particularly alluded to. But 
as the apostle in the context alludes also to the Gnostics, he 
may possibly, by the elect, mean Christians in general. 

3 The salvation, &c.] The apostle distinguishes between 
salvation through Christ, and everlasting glory : the former is 
present deliverance from ignorance, idolatry, and vice 5 the 
latter is the final recompense of virtue in a future life. See 
Eph. ii. 5,8. 

SiccT. IV. II. T 1 M O T H Y. 3. oO[) 

which was the occasion of this tedious imprison- ch. ii. 
nient. And there is no suffering to which I would ^"' ^'^' 
not wilHngly submit, if it might be the means of 
converting idolatrous heathen to the faith of Christ, 
and of inducing them to accept the privileges of the 
gospel so freely tendered to them, and by a wise 
improvement of the means of virtue, to obtain an 
interest in that everlasting felicity which is the great 
promise of the gospel to every practical believer. 

3. The apostle excites his friend to vigorous and 
persevering exertion, by reminding him that to such 
exertions only are the promises annexed, ver. 1 1 

This is an undoubted ti'utli * ; If we have died 1 1 . 
with him, we shall also live with him ; if ive svf- 12. 
fei\ we shall also reign with him ; if we renounce 
him, he also will renounce us ; if we are faithless 5, 13. 

^ This, &c.] What ? Dr. Newcome replies, " The assertion 
implied in ver, 1 0, that God admits the Gentiles into the gospel 
covenant," It is generally understood as referring to the 
maxims which follow : and ya/j, with which they are intro- 
duced, is understood as an expletive, or rather an inchoative 
particle after e<. See Benson, and Wakefield. Perhaps it is to 
be understood elliptically : q. d. Be ready to bear all things j 
for if we have died, i: e. have been ready to offer up our lives 
with him and for him, &c. Dr. Priestley observes, " This 
seems to have been a saying current among Christians, de- 
rived, mediately or immediately, from our Saviour himself. All 
Christians have one interest with Christ their head. They 
contend, they suffer, and they triumph together." 

^ If we are faithless.'] "A man maybe unfaithful," says 
Dr. Benson, " by denying the Christian religion, or rejecting 
it ; by corrupting it, or mingling another doctrine with it j or 
by living unworthy of it. If wc arc unfaithful, yet Christ is 

310 Sect. IV. 11. T I M O T H Y. 3. 

Ch. II. he mil cmitmue faithful: he cannot renounce him' 

Ver. 13. j^, '^ '' 


The profession, and especially the preaching of 
the pure uncorrupted doctrine of Christ, exposes us 
to many temporary inconveniences and sufferings ; 
but it does not leave us without an adequate re* 
compense. It is indeed, my friend, a most certain, 
ft most solemn, and a most glorious truth, that 
whatever sacrifices we may be called to make in 
the cause of truth and virtue, nay, if we even suffer 
death itself for the sake of Christ and his gospel, 
we shall be acting a safe, a wise, and an honour- 
able part. He died for us, and rose again ; if we 
die with him and for him, we, like him, shall rise 
to a glorious and immortal life. If we suffer per- 
secution for his sake, we shall hereafter share with 
him in his throne, and participate in his everlasting 
triumph. To these animating considerations there 
is also an alarming counterpart, which may justly 
awaken our utmost solicitude. If we who make a 
profession of Christianity, and who are placed in 
eminent stations in the church, who know the truth 
and' the infinite importance of the doctrine we are 
commissioned to teach, if we, I say, from indolence 
or timidity, or from any other unworthy motive. 

faithful, and must disown us." He adds, " that the unfaith- 
fulness here spoken of seems to be, denying the Christian reli- 
gion in time of persecution." 

' Renoutice himself.'] " He will not deny what he has en- 
gaged to perform." Dr. Priestley. " Negare potest nos, sed 
non potest negare seipsum ; negare non potest se esse Christum^ 
et vera esse quas ipse docuit." Ilosenmuller. 

Skct. IV. II. T I M O T H Y. 4. 31 1 

should be induced to desert our post, and abandon Ch. ii. 
our profession, our case is wretched beyond expres- '^^' ' 
sion. He has himself declared that he will another 
day disown those who now disown and forsake him ; 
and in vain may we flatter ourselves that we shall 
escape his just animadversion. We may violate our 
engagements, but he will never swerve from his de- 
clarations, either of reward or punishment. He will 
never contradict himself. And his veracity, his wis- 
dom, and even his benevolence, are pledged to the 
performance of his threatenings, equally with the 
accomphshment of his promises. 

4. The apostle exhorts Timothy to insist upon 
the great truths of the Christian religion, to warn 
his hearers against unedifying speculations, and to 
approve himself a wise and faithful minister of the 
gospel, ver. 14, 15. 

Remind tho-m of these things, earnestly charging 14. 

them 2 before the Lord, not to dispute about words, 
which is of no use 3, but to the subversion of the 

Perseverance in the doctrine and spirit of the 

^ Earnestly charging them.] Siaaa^fupofisyos. See Wake- 

■' Which is of no use.'] " These words," says Dr. Priestley, 
" refer to the idle fables and genealogies of the Gnostics about 
the emanations of inferior intelligent beings from the Supreme, 
and their descent to earth, which subverted the hearers by giv- 
ing them false ideas of the nature and object of the gospel." 
" Dum enim tales verboriim pugnas audiunt, nihil certi esse in 
religione Christiana putant ac dicunt ; et sic fides eorum subver- 
iilur." Roscnmullcr. 

J 12 Sect. IV. II. TI M O T H Y. 4. 

Ch. II. gospel is a duty of the highest importance. Remind 
Ver. 14, y^yj. hearers, therefore, of the great danger of apo- 
stasy, or of tempting others to apostatize from the 
Christian faith. And solemnly warn them, as they 
will answer for it at the tribunal of their Lord and 
Judge, that they do not waste their time in fruit- 
less speculations. Disputes concerning superior 
intelligences and emanations from the Supreme 
Being, though they assume the name of science, 
and wear the appearance of something very grand 
and sublime, are at best nothing more than contro- 
versies about unmeaning words ; for the subject it- 
self is beyond our comprehension. And when these 
fanciful opinions are so blended with the truths of 
the Christian religion as to supersede the most ma- 
terial and important facts upon which the Christian 
doctrine rests, they become, not only unprofitable, 
but highly injurious, and entirely mislead and per- 
vert those unhappy persons who give attention to 
them, by filling their minds with the most erro- 
neous notions concerning the nature and design of 
the gospel. 
15. Diligently endeavour to present thyself before 
God ^, approved by him, a labourer that needeth 
not to be ashamcdy rightly dividing " the luord of 

' To present tin/self before God.] See Rom. xii. I. "in this 
life." Newcome. 

- Rightly dividing.'] " This phrase probably alludes to the 
business of a steward in a great family who gives to each his 
portion. Thus Timothy was to suit his admonitions to persons 
of all characters." Dr, Priestley. 

" Ope- 

Sect.V. II. TIMOTHY. I. 313 

The day will come when you must give an ac- ch.ii. 
count unto God, of the manner in which you have ^^'- '^• 
fulfilled your important trust. Be earnestly soli- 
citous upon that awful occasion to stand accepted 
and approved by him. In the mean time, consider 
yourself as consecrated to God, perform every duty 
as a tribute which you owe to him, as a sacrifice 
which you offer for his gracious acceptance. Be 
assiduous : expose not yourself to the reproach of 
having, through indolence or timidity, neglected 
the task assigned you. Like a faithful and a wise 
steward, distribute to every one his proper portion ; 
and dispense the truths of the gospel with sagacity 
and discernment, adapting your discourses to the 
circumstances and situation of your hearers, so that 
every one in his turn may be instructed and edified. 


The apostle cautions Timothy against the er- 
rors of the G?iosticSy which were then beginning 
to prevail in the church ; and directs him to the 
use ofihe best means to reclaim men from error, 
and to cc^ifirm them in truth and virtue. Ch. ii. 

1. The apostle cautions Timothy against dan- 

" Operam da ut teipsum prceheas operarium Deo prubatinn 
valde gnavum ec stremmm, qui rede tractat doctrinam veram, 
0/»9oro/x£j>' ii(cpe est via recta inccdcie," RoscnmuUcr, 

oH Skct. V. II. TIMOTHY. 1. 

Ch. II, geroLis errors, especially those which related to the 
doctrine of the resurrection, ver. IG — 18. 

Ver. 16. But avoid profane'^ empty declamation, for they 
1 7. who use it 2 luill proceed to further impiety ; and 
their doctrine will corrode like a gangrene. 

I have been advising you, my dear friend, to 
adapt your discourses to the understandings and 
the characters of your hearers. Now, in order to 
this, you must abstain from that vain declamation 
which, however it may please the ear, or whatever 
pompous title it may assume, conveys no useful 
instruction to the mind, and is at the remotest di- 
stance from evangelical truth. Public teachers, 
whose discourses are of this complexion, may be 
expected to recede further and further from the 
faith and practice of the gospel, till, in the end, 
they become openly wicked, and apostatize altoge- 
ther from the Christian faith. Such fantastic doc- 
trines as are now professed and taught by men who 
call themselves Christians, are by no means matters 
of indifference. They gradually corrupt the minds 
of those who are infected by them, till, in the end, 
the whole moral constitution comes to be incurably 

' Profane^ " ^ztr^kaz. Proprie dicitur profmus, omnis qui 
a sacris arcetur et mysteriis ; qui quasi limine, rev pYjXcu, et ostio 
tcmpli arcendus est. In N. T. de rebus dicitur, et omne quod est 
nlienuma religione Christiana, significaty Schleusner. 

- Theij who use it.] " The construction in tne original is 
imperfect. The verb wants a nominative, and the relative an 
antecedent. Wetstein says that the Clermont seems to have 
read at first o-crstsis. Dr. Owen observes, ' that such a no- 
minative plural ))roperly authenticated would set the whole 
right.' " Bowycr. 

Sect.V. II. TIMOTHY. 1. 315 

diseased, and a total mortification of every virtue ch. ii. 
which belongs to the Christian character is the un- ^^''* ^^ 
happy and inevitable result. 

Of which number is HymencrMS and Philetus, — 17. 
who have ei'redfrojii the truth, sayi?ig that the re- 18. 

surrecdon is already past '^, and subvert the faith 
of some. 

A sad example of the truth of these remarks Is 
to be found in two persons of learning and elo- 
quence, who embraced the Christian faith, and 
who, impressed by the powerful evidence of truth, 
avowed their belief in the gospel of Jesus. I mean 
Hymenseus and Philetus. But these men, educated 
in the prejudices of a false philosophy, were dis- 
gusted with the Christian doctrine of a resurrection 
of the dead, as the proper ground of expectation of 

' The resiirrectmi is alreacJi/ past.l Dr. Benson agrees with 
those who conjecture that Hymenseus and Philetus contended 
that the resurrection was to be understood in a figurative and 
spiritual sense, or that it was the same as regeneration or pro- 
.selytism; and so past at baptism. He observes, " that this was 
the doctrine of Marcion and the Gnostics." The probability is, 
that they were philosophers before they became Christians ; 
and, like other philosophers, they held the Christian doctrine 
of the resurrection of the dead in great contempt. 

" From this," says Dr. Priestley, " it is evident that the 
apostle meant the Gnostics 5 and likewise, that he thought 
their tenets had an immoral tendency. They thought that the 
Christian resurrection could be nothing more than a new life -, 
a state of vice being usually called a state of death, in the 
schools of philosophy as well as by Christian teachers. Also, 
believing the immortality of the soul, and holding matter in 
very great contempt, they were persuaded that the body would 
never rise again. But this was a dangerous doctrine. Whereas 
the doctrine of the real resurrection of Christ in the flesh, as 
the pattern of a real universal resurrection, was a new and 
striking thing, capable of producing the greatest effects." 

316 Si:cT. V. II. TI M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. II. a future life. They have not, indeed, directly re- 
Vei. 18. nounced the Christian faith; but have explained 
away its leading article. Interpreting figuratively 
what was intended literally, they have taught that 
the resurrection means nothing more than a change 
from heathenism to Christianity; and that it is 
already past with regard to those who profess the 
Christian religion. This doctrine has made some 
proselytes, and its consequences must be very per- 
nicious. For, by setting aside this essential requi- 
site to a future life, the resurrection of the dead, 
they lose all that is peculiar, and all that is valuable 
in the gospel revelation. 

2. The apostle illustrates the great importance 
of adhering to the essential doctrines of the Chris- 
tian religion, ver. 19 — 21. 
l!>. Nevertheless ', the covenant of God^ standeth 

^Nevertheless.'] o [isvroi. "This refers to ver. 16. The in- 
termediate verses should be in a parenthesis." Dr. Mangey. 

- The covenant of God.'] Pyle says that ^siJi^sXiog signifies 
either " a foundation of a building," or, " an indenture UTi- 
ting." Tillotson says that it is sometimes used as an instru- 
ment of contract. Dr. Benson adopts this sense of the word, 
and explains it thus : " Hymenaeus and Philetus would have 
set aside the gospel covenant. But nevertheless the covenant 
of God stood firm, having the seal still hanging to it_, to show 
that it was genuine, and in full force and obligation. On one 
side of the seal is an inscription denoting what God will do. 
On the other, an inscription denoting what Christians ought 
to do. And as long as the covenant stood firm, and had the 
seal hanging to it, all was secure and well, and their attempts 
to subvert it were idle, and would end in their own ruin." 

The majority of commentators, with Grotius, take the word 

Sect.v. II. timothy. 2. 317 

firmy having this seal: The Lord approve th them ch. ii. 
that are his 3. And, Let every one who nameth ^'^'- ^^• 
the name of the Lord, depart from iniquity. 

Whatever errors men, misled by prejudice, or 
puffed up with vanity, may fall into, the doctrine 
of Christ and the terms of acceptance with God re- 
main unalterable. The gospel covenant is ratified 

in its primary sense^ of " a foundation of a building, upon 
which it was not unusual to place inscriptions." " These," 
says Archbishop Newcome, " may have been common an- 
ciently, as they are now." See Rev. xxi. 14. But Tillotson 
remarks, that " o-ippocyis is only an inscription upon a seal, and 
has no relation to a foundation." See Benson's note, " Fun- 
damentum quod Deus posuit firmum stat. Evertiint quidem doc- 
tores mendaces quorundam fidem ; totam vero cedijicii molem, to- 
tarn ecclesiam nunquam destruent. Habens inscriptionem banc : 
a-<^. hie est quod lapidi vel cedibiis inscribitur, Oiun singulas cedes 
habuisse inscriptiones quibus ab aliis distinguerentur demonstravit 
JVarnekros." Rosen muller. 

^ The Lord approveth them that are his.'] Tliis is a quotation 
from Numb. xvi. 5, LXX., in which the words are applied to the 
case of Korah and his wicked accomplices, who rebelled against 
Moses : " Even to-morrow will the Lord show who are his, 
and who are holy." And on the next day they were all de- 
stroyed : " the earth opening her mouth and swallowing them 
up, and all that belonged to them ; and they went down alive 
into the pit." — '^ Nothing," says Dr. Benson, " could have 
been more pertinent to the apostle's present purpose than this 
allusion. Though his modesty would not permit him to speak 
in plainer terms, yet in writing against thejudaizing impostors, 
he could not in a more lively and emphatical manner have 
pointed out their wickedness and danger in opposing him who 
had such clear evidences of a divine mission, than by com])aring 
them to Korah and his accomplices, who had so daringly op- 
posed Moses, and perished in an exemplary manner for that 
high act of wickedness." Dr. Benson supposes, that in the 
latter clause of the verse. Let him, &c. depart from all iniquity, 
there is a further allusion to Numb. xvi. 27, where it is said 
that the Israelites departed from the tabernacle of Korah, &c. 
And that the apostle means to warn believers to " depart from 
the tents of Hymenseus and Philetiis." 

318 Sect. V. IJ, T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch.ii. by a seal which bears a double inscription. The 
first declares what God hath done on his part. He 
hath borne his testimony to the men who were com- 
missioned to propagate the gospel by the gifts of 
the holy spirit. And let those who presume to 
reject a doctrine so authenticated, and to treat the 
teachers of it with contempt, beware, lest, following 
the example of Korah and his company, who re- 
jected Moses, they should incur a like fearful doom. 
The second inscription expresses the duty of those 
who are parties in the Christian covenant. Avow- 
ing Jesus as their Master, let them ever be mindful 
of the indispensable obligation under which they 
are laid, to guard with the utmost vigilance against 
all error both in doctrine and practice, and to with- 
draw from the society of those who would pervert 
their most sacred principles. 

20. But in a great house there are not only vessels 
of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth, 

21. and some to honour and some to dishonour K If 

' Some to honour, and some to dishonour^ " The ' vessels 
to dishonour ' are those vessels of wood and of earth which are 
appointed to the uses of the servants ; while the * vessels to 
honour ' are those made of gold and silver, which are appror 
priated to the use of the master." Hallet's Notes on S.S., vol. ii. 
p. 147. " Some (says Dr. Benson) hy vessels to ho7wiir ha.\e 
understood the apostle Paul, Timothy, and other faithful 
preachers of the^gospel j and by the vessels to dishonour, the 
judaizing teachers who wickedly corrupted the Christian doc^ 
trine. Whereas others suppose that they are both spoken of 
good men, who are more or less honourable, as they take care 
to avoid what is evil, and to excel in the practice of what is good, 
Dr. Clarke says {Sermons, vol. .\. no. 4), " By dishonour meani 
in^, not usclcssness and being wliolly rejected^ as some under.:. 

SfiCf. V. II. TIMOTHY. 2. 310 

a man^ therefore, thoroughly purifi/ himself from ch. n. 
such things, he will be a vessel to honour, set apart ^^^' " ' 
and ft for the masters service, and prepared for 
every good nse. 

Though I have alluded to the doom of Korah, I 
am far from intending to insinuate that under the 
gospel dispensation, which is a covenant of mercy, 
every error shall entail the same terrihle catastrophe 
which overwhelmed that contum.acious rebel and his 
infatuated adherents ; much less, that involuntary 
misapprehensions will incur eternal condemnation. 
Nevertheless I warn you that error in doctrine is not 
to be regarded as a matter of indifference. As far 
as it prevails, it in a degree contaminates the cha- 
racter, and becomes a considerable impediment to 
usefulness. For, as in a spacious and magnificent 
house there are precious vessels employed for ho- 
nourable purposes, and meaner vessels for inferior 
uses, so, in the church of God, they who faithfully 
adhere to the pure uncorrupted doctrine of the go- 
spel, and whose practice is regulated by it, will be 
highly esteemed by the great Master of the house- 
hold, and will be honoured by him as instruments 
of distinguished usefulness ; while others who, mis- 
led by prejudice, blend and disfigure the doctrine 
of Christ by a debasing mixture of human inven- 

stand it, but only a less degree of value and esteem, as the na- 
ture and design of this similitude plainly require 5 which, though 
they be indeed within the house^ and not wholly excluded, yet 
no man who has a worthy sense of religion can long content 
himself with being of their number without desiring further iiU' 

320 Skct. v. II. TIMOTHY. 3. 

ch. 11. tions, though, because of their sincerity, they will 
^^'' " ' not be absohitely cast away, yet being only qualified 
for inferior uses, they will be placed in less honour- 
able stations. It is therefore the indispensable duty 
of every one, to the best of his ability, to clear his 
mind from all pernicious prejudices, that so he may 
lay a foundation for more extensive usefulness. 

3. The apostle warns the evangelist to set a 
guard upon his own spirit, ver. 22. 
22. Avoid unreasonable desires ^ But follow right- 
eotisnesSf fidelity, love, and peace, with all those 
who call upon the Lord with a pure heart. 

' Avoid unreasonable desires.'] vscuTspixas zitihijuag. They 
who with the public version translate the clause " flee youthful 
lusts," forget how unsuitable this advice would be to the age 
and character of Timothy, who, according to Dr. Macknight, 
was at that time thirty-eight years of age ; or, if the epistle 
was written during the first imprisonment, three or four years 
younger. Schleusner gives to vsivtsptKos the sense of " omne 
quod magnum est, acre atque vehemens." " Fuge temerarias 
cupiditates." RosenmuUer : " In his autem studiis site cupidita- 
tihiis hahet locum inanis glorice sectatio." The learned writer 
adds, " alii vswrspmov volunt esse novitium, ut cupiditates no- 
vitiae sint cupiditates rermn novitiarum, noviter repertarum et 
proditarum, quarum homines, juvenes prcesertim, solent esse CU' 
pidi, quo ceteris videantur esse sapientiores." And this indeed 
appears to me to be the true meaning of the passage. Avoid 
the desire of novelty : be not eager after new things, in order 
to make a display, and to excite admiration ; but keep to the 
good old track, of faith, and love, and peace, in which all men 
of true piety and virtue walk. Macknight, who is almost the 
only English expositor who seems aware of the difficulty, though 
he gives the common and incorrect translation, judiciously ob- 
serves in his note," that the apostle does not mean sensual lusts 
only, but ambition, pride, love of power, rashness, and obsti- 
nacy. At the time when this epistle was written , Timothy was in 
the season of life which is most susceptible of these passions," 

Sfxt.V. II. TIM OTH Y. 4. 321 

You are placed in a conspicuous situation, in Ch. ir. 
which it is peculiarly incumbent upon you to keep ^*^* """ 
your affections under severe discipline. Guard, 
therefore, vigilantly, against excess of every kind. 
Restrain the emotions of ambition. Be not carried 
away with the love of power. And do not indulge 
a taste for novelty ; do not affect the puerile vanity 
of always saying new things in order to excite admi- 
ration ; but be content with plain truth, and prac- 
tical piety. You may possibly be under temptation 
occasionally to defend the purity and simplicity of 
evangelical truth with undue warmth of spirit. Be 
upon your guard against intemperate zeal. Practise 
universal virtue. Firmly adhere to Christian prin- 
ciples. Be always employed in doing good. Main- 
tain a peaceable spirit ; and as far as may be con- 
sistent with duty, live upon good terms both with 
believers and with unbelievers. Such is the ge- 
nuine character of those who are sincere in their 
profession of the Christian faith. 

4. The apostle exhorts Timothy to abstain from 
useless controversies, and to adopt the gentlest and 
the most efficacious means of reclaiming those who 
had been betrayed into error, ver. 23 — 26. 

But foolish and uninstructive controversies avoids 23. 

knowing that they beget luranglings ^. 

* Wrangymgs?\ " Here he plainly adverts to the doctrine of 
the Gnostics, whose subtle discussions he often mentions with 
equal dislike and contempt." Dr. Priestley. " Ma,yjj,s, rixas, 


Ch. II. Many who profess to believe the gospel, but who 
are strangers to its true spirit, who are puffed up 
with self-conceit, and are desirous of corrupting the 
simplicity of the faith, affect to be raising questions 
upon subjects of a mysterious nature, which, while 
they wear a semblance of sublimity, are, in fact, 
trifling and useless, such as no person of sound un- 
derstanding and of real knowledge would give him- 
self the trouble to discuss. Such questions as these 
avoid with care, as leading to nothing but endless 
and angry debate. 

24. But the servant of the Lord oi/ght not to 
wrangle, but to be gentle to all men, ready to 
teach, jpatient of wrong. 

This disputatious temper is highly unbecoming 
a minister of the gospel, who ought ever to bear in 
mind, that the service of Christ, and the promulga- 
tion of truth and holiness, not his own literary or 
philosophical reputation, must be his primary pur- 
suit. In this view, it becomes him to cultivate a 
mild and gentle spirit, to be ready upon every oc- 
casion to communicate instruction in the most ac- 
ceptable and impressive manner, and to bear with 
meekness and patience the angry contradictions and 
the perverse misrepresentations of ignorant, preju- 
diced, or malignant opposers, not rendering evil for 

25. With meekness, instructing those who set them- 

jurgia, lites. Gellius\\v. duobiis Grammaticis, Clamantes, 
compugnantesque (|xa;^«/xexBc) eos reliqui." RosenmuUer. 

Sect.V. il. timothy. 4. 323 

selves in opposition^ if, by any means ^^ God may ch.ii. 
grant them a change of mind to the acknowledge- ^"' ^^' 
ment of the truth : so that being rescued by him" 26. 
out of the snare of the devil, they may recover their 
senses to do the will of God. 

Far from retaliating abusive language and unkind 
behaviour upon those who desire to promote quar- 
rels and divisions in the church, let the faithful mi- 
nister of Christ, with good manners and good tem- 
per, set before them the evidences of Christian truth 
and the grounds of his own persuasion . Who knows 
but they may be brought to reason ? who can tell 
but that God may in his good pleasure open their 
understandings to see, and their hearts to feel, the 

' If, by any means.'] " Markland and Dr. Owen observe that 
fLijTrorg is used for eworc. See Luke iii. 15, Bowyer. Knatch- 
buU shows that it is equivalent to i<rwi, forte.'"'' Newcome. 
Whitby produces many instances from the LXX. where it is 
used in the same sense. Gen. iii. 22, xxiv. 5. 

^ That being rescued by him .•] i. e. that the opposers being 
rescued. *' e^wypr)u.£voi, rescued alive." Wakefield, by him : 
i. e. by the servant of the Lord. avavojv{/wcr<v, " may recover 
their senses." Wakefield, avavijfpcy, " to recover from intoxi- 
cation, to recover reason after a temporary stupefaction." Har- 
wood. out of the snare of the devil: the false accuser, the God 
of the heathen world, the entanglements of heathenism — to do 
the will of God : stg to sxsiva ^eXri[jt,x, to the will of him, the 
remote antecedent, God. I agree with Mr. Wakefield and 

Dr. Harwood in referring aura to SsXos Kvpia as its antece- 
dent j and together with Grotius, Newcome, Whitby, Ben- 
son, and others, in referring exeivs to Qsog. This makes the 
sense easy and intelligible. The exposition of Dr. Benson is 
very judicious : " And that they may awake out of this intoxi- 
cated sleep which would otherwise end in death, being taken 
alive out of the snare of the devil, by him, that is, by the faith- 
ful servant of the Lord, that for the future they may do the will 
of God." 


324 SixT. VI. 11. T I M O T H Y. 1. 

ch. II. light and power of truth when plainly and fully ex- 
Ver. L'G. j^jj^j^gj ^q x'lew, and thus induce them to surrender 
their prejudices and their pride ? In this way may 
you and others, by the exercise of prudence and for- 
bearance, save from destruction and bring to their 
sound understandings those who are intoxicated 
with self-sufficiency and prejudice, and recover to 
purity of faith, and the practice of duty, those who 
are now the most determined and malignant ene- 
mie.s of the gospel. 


Ch. III. The apostle describes the bad characters of hi/- 
pocritical professors, and the wicked artifces of 
seducing teachers, who luotild in future time ap- 
pear in the church, but iuhose artful and malig' 
nant opposition would in the end be hajfled and 
exposed. Ch. iii, 1 — 9. 

I . The apostle warns his friend of the approach 
of difficult times, and describes the characters of 
false professors who would endeavour to subvert the 
truth, ver. 1 — 5. 
Ver. 1. But know this, that in the last days difficult 
times i will come. 

' In the last days difficidt times, &c.] Dr. Whitby and others 
interpret this prophecy of the approaching dissolution of the 
Jewish state, and of the obstinate and increasing wickedness of 
the Jews and judaizing teachers. In confirmation of this hy- 

Sf.ct. VI. II. T I M O T H Y. 1. 325 

In the course of your ministry, my dear friend, ch. in. 
short as that period has been, you have known ^^^ ' 
many who have totally apostatized from the faith ; 
you have seen some who, from vanity, or shame, or 
prejudice, have been desirous to corrupt the doctrine 
of the gospel ; you have been the mournful witness 
to some who«5e characters have been a disgrace to 
their profession. But I solemnly warn you, Timo- 
thy, that though my course will soon be finished, 
you will probably live to see times much worse than 
any which have hitherto occurred. For, strange as 
it may seem, in those awful periods that are advan- 
cing, men will, from one inducement or another. 

pothesis, it is observed that the phrase, the last days, often 
bears this sense in the Nevv Testament ; that the caution, ver. 
5, implies that the persons here described, and with whom the 
evangelist was to avoid all intercourse, were then in existence ; 
and the prediction, ver. 9, that these delusions should be ex- 
posed and abandoned in a short time, agrees with the system of 
the judaizing teachers and with no other. But this interpreta- 
tion depends very much upon the sense of the words sa-^ccrai 
Yji/.e^ai, last days; which, Dr. Macknight remarks, are some- 
times used to express /K<Mn<y in general. See Gen. xlix. 1, 
And in this sense the prophecy of speedy destruction might be 
applied as properly to Gnosticism as to Judaism. And it is dif- 
ficult to say what propriety there would be in warning Timothy, 
who lived at Ephesus, against the bad principles and practices of 
the Jews : many, therefore, are inclined to tliink that the apostle 
had Gnosticism chiefly in view. But, as it is certain that the 
prophets did not always understand the full import of their own 
l>redictions, (see 1 Pet. i. 10, 11,) and as some parts of the 
description of the false teachers are thought to be characteristic 
of the religious orders of the Romish communion, it is not im- 
possible, as Dr. Benson and Dr. Priestley contend, that the 
grand apostasy might be the more immediate object of the spirit 
of prophecy in this passage. — " Paid ex com. 5. Pauliim agcrc 
dtiis,qucc Timotheo iivciUe cienturapittabnt." RoscuinuUer. 

326 Skct. VI. II. T I M O T H Y. 1. 

Ch. III. profess the Christian religion, whose temper is di- 
rectly the reverse of the Christian spirit. 

Ver. 2. For these men ' will be selfish, covetous y arro- 
gant, proud, evil-speakers, undutiful to parents, 

3. ungrateful, unholy, destitute of natural affection", 
implacable^, slanderers, intemperate, savage*, ene^ 

4. 7nies to goodness, treacherous, headstrong, con- 
ceited^, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, 

6. retaining the form of godliness 6, but rejecting its 
poiuer : from such also turn aivay. 

By the spirit of prophecy I announce to you, that 
before the awful advent of our Lord and Master, 
whether that event be nearer or more remote, men 
who bear the Christian name, and who profess to 
be followers of the humble, the self-denying, the 
meek, and the holy Jesus, will act a part the very 

■ These mew.] o» ccvSpojitor the men to whom the prophecy 
referred : professing Christians, See Wakefield. 

^ Destitute of natural affection.'] S'opyrj, the natural affection 
which parents have to their children, and even brutes to their 
young. As children would be undutiful, ver. 2, so parents would 
be unnatural. 

3 Implacable.'] " irreconcileable." Wakefield. '" covenant- 
breakers." Newcome. The word atj-nwhi has both these signi- 

^8ava^e?^ o(,vy}i/,spoi, " immitis, immansuetus. Aypios, Suiclas." 

* Conceited.] rBTu<poji/.£VOi, " infatuated." Wakefield. 

^ Retaining the form, &c.] " These vices," says Dr. Priest- 
ley, " were to abound in the last times, and among men pro- 
fessing godliness, and therefore in the Christian church. That 
persons of that character then existed, is evident from Timothy 
being warned of them ; and they could not be any other than 
the Gnostic teachers. It should seem, therefore, that in the apo- 
stle's idea the evil had then begun to operate." 

Sect. VI, II. T I M O T H Y. I. 327 

reverse of that which his law prescribes, and his cii. iii. 
example exhibits. "* "' 

With all their pretensions to superior excellence, 
self-interest and the love of money will be their pre- 
dominant passion. Valuing themselves upon their 
pretended knowledge, or upon their zeal for external 
forms, they will treat with supercilious disdain those 
whom they regard as their inferiors in station or pri- 
vilege ; nor will they hesitate to use the most con- 
tumelious language in speaking of those who may 
oppose their pretensions or their party. These false 
professors will sacrifice their nearest kindred to su- 
perstitious principles, or interested considerations, 
and under the hypocritical pretence of duty to God, 
they will neglect those offices of filial piety which 
are due to the superior wisdom, or increasing in- 
firmities, of their parents. To God and man they 
will return evil for good. They will forsake the 
paths of virtue 7. They will be as negligent in the 
care which they owe to their children, as in the at- 
tentions due to their parents. Under pretence of 
zeal for religion, they will keep no faith with men 
of opposite principles, and will wantonly violate their 
most sacred engagements. They will calumniate 
without scruple those who are the unfortunate ob- 
jects of their envy and jealousy, how unspotted so- 
ever their character may be. They will impose no 
restraint upon their appetites and passions. They 

' Wilt forsake, &c.] avocnoi, qui foedu putiant, qulbits nihil 
sancliim et venenmdum tsl." llosenmulk'r. 

328 Sect. VI. II. TIMOTHY. 2. 

Ch. III. will show no mercy to those who have offended 
^^' ^' them ; but will be fierce and violent in their ex- 
pressions of resentment. Conscious of their own 
depravity, they will hate excellence in others, and 
will be the declared enemies of all good men. They 
will betray the secrets of those who unadvisedly 
place confidence in them, and who may intrust them 
with their most hidden purposes and thoughts. 
Conceited with the fancy of superior wisdom, they 
will scorn to ask advice or to consult the dictates 
of prudence. They will pretend to raptures of de- 
votion ; but will, in fact, be the votaries of sensual 
pleasure, and will render their religious profession 
subservient to the gratification of their passions. 
They will make great pretensions to piety, and will 
be zealous for the forms of religion ; but will be 
utter strangers to its genuine spirit and practical 
influence. It will be some time before these great 
corruptions in doctrine and practice have reached 
their utmost limits. But the spirit of the apostasy 
is already beginning to work. And as I before cau- 
tioned you to avoid errors in doctrine, I now faith- 
fully and solemnly warn you against the more fatal 
eiTors in practice. Let me conjure you to re- 
nounce all kind of intercourse with men whose 
characters resemble what I have now described, 
how fair and how pompous soever their profession 
may be. 

2. The. apostle describes the artifices of these hy- 
pocritical teachers, whichi nevertheless, will be even- 

Sect. VI. II. T I M O T H Y. 2. 329 

tually detected, and will expose their authors to me- cii. III. 
rited disgrace, ver. 6 — 9. 

For of suck are those ivho insmuate themselves ^ Ver. 6. 
into families, and captrvate lueak women, laden 
with sijiSy led by various passions, ever learning 7. 

but never able to come to the Jmowledge of the 

Of these hypocritical and vicious teachers there 
are none against whom it is more necessary to be 
upon your guard, than against fawning sycophants, 
who assume a modest and gentle demeanour in order 
to introduce themselves into the houses of those 
whom they mean to seduce, and who, by their 
smooth discourse and accommodating doctrine, win 
the hearts of silly women, who, conscious of their 
infirmities, are desirous to reconcile the profession 
of religion with the gratification of their passions. 
These weak and vicious females often pretend to be 
seeking after Christian instruction, but the depra- 
vity of their hearts effectually prevents their ever at- 
taining a truly correct and practical knowledge of 
revealed truth. 

' Who insinuate themselves, &c.] Dr. Benson interprets this 
" of the practices of the religious orders of the church of 
Rome." Dr. Priestley observes, that " for such low cunning 
the priests and monks of that communion have been notorious, 
?ind that the specious insinuating manners of the Gnostics were 
also noted by the apostles and other Christian writers." He also 
thinks that the apostle here refers to the nice subtilties of the 
Gnostic doctrines, " than which nothing could be more unin- 
telligible." Ol ev^yvovrs;' " who creep or slide in like a snake." 
Benson, RoscnmuUer. Such characters are but too common 
all denominations. 

330 Skct. VI. II. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

ch. III. And as Jannes and Jambres ' withstood Moses, 

Ver. 8. gQ ^Q these also withstand the truth ; being 7nen of 

cori'upt minds y disapproved'^ concerning the faith, 

9- But they shall not proceed very far ; for their folly 

will be 7nade evident to all men, as that of those men 

also was. 

Nor is it much to be wondered at that these silly 
creatures become dupes to the artifices of their false 
teachers, who, to promote their own sinister views, 
inculcate systems of doctrine which give encourage- 
ment to licentiousness of manners. For as the ma- 
gicians of Egypt practised their contemptible arti- 
fices to elude the authority of Moses, and to encou- 
rage Pharaoh to refuse the demand which he made 
in the name of God, so do these men, in order to 
maintain that ascendancy which they have obtained 
over the minds of their proselytes, resist by every 
artifice in their power the efforts of those faithful 
teachers who would enlighten their understandings 
with Christian truth. And being men of corrupt 
hearts, destitute of all virtuous principle, and, not- 
withstanding all their professions, grossly ignorant 
of the Christian faith, and disowned by all virtuous 

' Jannes and Jajnbres.'] The names of these magicians arc 
not mentioned in the Pentateuch, but tliey occur in the Targnm 
of Jonathan upon Exod. vii. 1 J , and in both the Talmuds, Also 
in the writings of Numenius the Pythagorean. Origen contr. 
Celsiwi, lib. 4. See Priestley. 

2 Disapproved.'] »Jox.i[j!,oi' a metaphor taken from metals, 
which are rejected if they be not pure, and according to the 
standard, Uom. i. 28; 1 Cor. ix.27 j Tit. i. 16. " quorum sen- 
tentice de religione niinime probandcc, ideoque rejidendee sunt, et 
repudiandcc." RoscnmuUcr. 

Sect. VII. II. TIMOTHY. I. 331 

and sincere believers, they hesitate at no means, ch. in. 
however scandalous, for the accomplishment of their ^^'' ' 
design. But these gross corrupters of the Christian 
doctrine, however successful for a time, shall not be 
suffered to pass beyond the prescribed limits. For 
the day of reformation shall arrive at the appointed 
season, when the crimes of these hypocrites shall be 
brought to light, and they and their delusions shall 
sink into universal contempt, similar to that of the 
impostors of Egypt, when, being no longer able to 
continue their frauds, they were constrained to ac- 
knowledge their own disgrace, and with shame and 
ignominy to confess, that those splendid works which 
they had calumniated as the sleight of men, were, in 
truth, no other than the finger of God. 


The APOSTLE exhorts Timothy^ after his own ex- 
ample, to adhere faithfully , at all hazards y to the 
simplicity of the gospel, the truth of which was 
attested even by the scriptures of the Old Testa- 
ment, upon which the apostle pronounces a just 
commendation, Ch. iii. 10 — 17. 

I . The apostle reminds Timothy of his labours 
and sufferings for the gospel, of the purity of his 
motives, of his Christian temper, and of the deli- 
verances he had experienced ; and appeals to the 

332 Skct. VII. II. T I M O T H Y. 1. 

Ch. III. evangelist as a witness to the truth of his declara- 
tions, ver. 10, 11. 
Ver. 10. But thou hast intiinatchj knoimi ' my ilorAriiie, 
conduct ^, purpose, JldcUtij, long-sujfenug, love, pa- 
11. tiencc, persecutions, sujf'erhigs. JVIiat things be- 
fell me III Antioch, at Iconiunt, at Lystra 3/ JFhat 

' hitmatehj knoicn.'] " 'napa.v.oKah'ju, proprie, crqnh passibus 
incedo cum alio, nee a latere discedo miquam, d'di^entcr ciamvin, 
perscrutor." Schleusner. See Raphelius Obx. in Luc. i. 3. The 
apostle probably refers to the intimate acquaintance which Ti- 
mothy had with his character and views, in consequence of his 
having been so long his friend and associate. 

^ Conduct,'] or, manner of life, ayujyr^. " Vitcc institutum. 
Vivendi rationeni, et moduni." — " Scipio to]lo\\ed a diflercnt 
course of life : ayujyrjV rs /Sj8." Polybius. See Raphelius in loc. 

3 M^hat things, &c.] I follow, but with diffidence, the punc- 
tuation of Battier, in Bowyer ; who places a full stop at ira.h,- 
l^atriv, and a note of admiration at the end of the following sen- 
tences : it suits the construction of the original, and gives u 
.spirit to the passage, but 1 doubt whether it is quite agreeable 
to Paul's usual style of writing. It has been before observed, 
that it is unaccountable that Paul should have referred to events 
so remote, without taking tlie least notice of his long imprison- 
ment at Cesarea and ai Rome, if this letter was written, as is 
commonly supposed, in the apostle's second imprisonment. The 
events to which he here alludes are related in Acts xiii. xiv. At 
Antioch in Pisidia, the Jews excited the principal inhabitants of 
the city to expel the apostles from the place, ch. xiii. oO, 51 . 
They fled to Iconium, where, after having preached the gospel 
with great success, the unbelieving Jews stirred up a tumult to 
assault and stone the apostles ; Avho, being apj)rized of it, 
escaped to Lystra, ch. xiv. 1 — 7, Lystra was the birth-|)lace, 
or at least the residence, of Timothy, who must therefore have 
been well informed of all that passed. Here Barnabas and Paul 
could with difficulty restrain the peo])le from ottering a sacrifice 
to them, in consequence of their having healed a lame man. But 
afterwards, at the instigation of the Jews from Antioch and Ico- 
nium, the populace stoned Paul, and thinking liim dead drew 
him out of tiie city; but he soon recovered, and tiie next day 
accompanied Barnabas to Dcrbe, ver. 8 — 20. 

Sect. VII. II. TIMOTHY. J. 333 

persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me ch. hi. 
out of them alL ^"- '^• 

There are some professors of the Christian reli- 
gion wlio accommodate their principles to their 
secular interest ; or who at least, being speculative 
believers, conform to the fashions of the world in 
order to escape persecution. The reverse of this 
mean and dishonourable dissimulation has ever been 
my conduct, as you my beloved pupil, my intimate 
friend, my chosen associate, are fully apprized. You, 
Timothy, are perfectly acquainted with the doctrine 
which I have taught, and in which I was completely 
instructed by Jesus Christ. You know how far my 
practice has been correspondent with my teaching : 
to you I have communicated all my purposes of use- 
fulness, and the plans which I had formed for car- 
rying those purposes into effect. You have been 
witness to the fidelity with which I discharged the 
trust reposed in me, not presuming to corrupt the 
doctrine of Christ, in order to make it more palata- 
ble to the hearers, nor declining to preach it to the 
Gentiles equally with the Jews. You also know the 
forbearance which I have exercised under great pro- 
vocations, the kindness which I manifested even to 
my bitterest enemies, and the meekness and fortitude 
with which I supported the severest trials. You well 
know what these persecutions and sufferings were ; 
some of which occurred to me in your native place, 
at the very commencement of our acquaintance, 
when your young and tender spirit would be most 
strongly impressed and most deeply wounded by 

334 Sect. VII. II, TIMOTHY. 2. 

Ch.iii. them. I cannot myself, even at this distance of 
"• • time, recollect them without horror. What indi- 
gnities did I sustain from the machinations of the 
unbelieving Jews at Antioch, at Iconium, at Ly- 
stra ! And in the last place in particular, your na- 
tive town, what imminent danger did I encounter, 
when these vile emissaries nearly accomplished their 
nmrderous purposes, by persuading the thoughtless 
populace, who but just before had been with diffi- 
culty restrained from worshiping me as a God, to 
stone me as a malefactor who was not fit to live ! 
It is indeed wonderful that I am still alive : and I 
can ascribe my preservation to nothing less than to 
the seasonable and even miraculous interposition of 
God, to rescue me from the malice of my persecu- 
tors, and to continue my life and my capacity for 
service as long as it shall be his will to employ me 
in his work. 

2. The apostle declares that similar to his must 
be the condition of all faithful professors of the go- 
spel, while impostors and their abettors should for 
a time proceed with little opposition, ver. 12, 13, 
12. Yea,_ and indeed •, all who resolve to live reli- 
giously in Christ Jesus * will suffer persecution. 

' Yea, and indeed.'] iravrsg $s >c. r. X. Dr. Benson re- 
marks (after Hutchinson) the elegance of inserting Ss after xa< 
in the beginning of a sentence, when an author is going to add 
something more or greater than he has said already. Comp. 
Acts V. 32. See Xenophon Cyrop. lib. i. p. 63, 8vo, with Hut- 
chinson's note. 

'■^ In Christ Jesus .•] i. e. *' as Christians." Newcome. Dr. 

Sect. VII. II. T I M O T H Y. 2. 335 

Nor is my case by any means singular; for ch.iii. 
though my situation and character, as the apostle *'^* * 
of the Gentiles, expose me to peculiar dangers and 
sufferings, yet in fact all who are determined to 
profess Christian truth, and to lead a Christian life, 
must expect to meet with similar trials, and will in 
some shape or other be persecuted, either by mis- 
guided professors of the gospel, or open enemies to 
it. And you, my beloved friend, as well as others, 
if you are an upright, faithful, zealous and active mi- 
nister of Christ, must expect a similar treatment. 

But bad men and impostors 3 ivill grow worse I3. 
and worse t deceiving and being deceived'^. 

Very different indeed will be the condition of 
those who corrupt the gospel to accomplish their 
own sinister purposes. They will escape the per- 
secutions to which fidelity would have exposed them. 

Priestley observes, that " here the apostle opposes his princi- 
ples and conduct to those of the Gnostics, who, in general, 
avoided all persecution, by complying with the demands of the 
times, and contented themselves with speculating concerning 

3 Impostors!] yotiTSi. Dr. Benson observes, " that the word 
properly signifies sorcerers, magicians, jugglers, like Jannes and 
Jambres. " Toy};, incantator, prcestigiator , qui prcestigiis, 
aliisve vialis artibus imponit." Schleusner. They who interpret 
this passage as a prophecy of the grand apostasy, suppose this 
word to be an allusion to the pretended miracles of the church 
of Rome. 

* Deceiving, &c.] <]. d. Bad men and their seducers, de- 
ceivers, and those who are willingly deceived by them, shall 
grow worse and worse. Dr. Priestley observes, " One error 
leads to another, and one vice leads to another ; and the de- 
gree of infatuation and wickedness to which some men arrive, 
and which they will even apologize for, would not be credited, 
if both history and observation did not prove it." 

336 Sect. VII. II. T I M O T H Y. 3. 

Ch. III. and will stand high in the estimation of those who 
Ver. 13. vvould have rejected truth with abhorrence. So shall 
these crafty impostors, and their willingly deluded 
disciples, the deceived and the deceivers, go on from 
error to error, and from crime to crime, till they are 
in the end overtaken by those judgements which are 
in reserve for the obstinate and the impenitent. 

.3. The apostle exhorts his friend to adhere firmly 
to those doctrines which he had learned of him, and 
which were confirmed by the Jewish scriptures, into 
the knowledge of which he had been early initiated, 
ver. 14, 15. 
14. But co7itinue thou in the doctrines which thou 
hast learned ^i and been convinced of ^, knowing 
frmn whom^ thou hast learned them. 

' Continue in the doctrines which thou hast learned.'] Dr. 
Benson observes in an excellent note upon this passage, that 
" fierce controversies and warm disputes create conterttions 
among Christians, and divide them into parties and factions. 
They also tend to the subversion of the hearers. If once you 
unhinge some persons, and cause them to doubt of the truth 
of what they learned in younger life, they are ready to doubt 
of every thing, and throw off all religion as a fallacy. But not- 
withstanding this, what mistakes have been imbibed in educa- 
tion ought to be rooted out, though gradually, and with a gentle 
hand. And disputes and controversies are so far from being of 
a dangerous tendency, that they are the very things which pre- 
serve knowledge in the world, and rouse men to attention. Let 
human authority take away the liberty of free debate, and thick 
darkness will soon follow. Had Timothy been taught by the 
Judaizers, and brought up from his infancy in wrong principles, 
St. Paul would not have exhorted him to have continued in the 
things which he had learned and been assured of. But he was 
to continue in them because he knew of whom he had learned 
tliem : viz. of a true aj)()stle ; and that tliey were agreeable to 

Sect. VII. II, T I M O T H Y. 3. 3o7 

You see, Timothy, I hold out no secular advan- ch. in. 
tages to induce you to persevere in your Christian ^^^'"' ^'*' 
profession. I have even faithfully warned you of the 
dangers and persecutions which in present circum- 
stances are the inseparable concomitants of the faith- 
ful fearless discharge of the Christian ministry. Yet 
do not desert the cause. I solemnly charge you, at 
every hazard, to adhere firmly, and with an unwa- 
vering spirit, to those inestimable truths which you 
have learned of me. You certainly know that I am 
neither a wicked man nor an impostor. You have 
had abundant proof of my apostolical mission, and 
of the divine authority of my doctrine. Let no con- 
sideration induce you to desert the path of truth. 

And that from a child thou hast known the 15. 

sacred u'riti72gs\ which are able to make thee 

the scriptures of the Old Testament, with which he had been 
acquainted from his infancy." 

' Convinced of.'] ens'^^s. " convinced of by proof." Wake- 

' From whom.'}; Tfccpa tivog. Some good copies read rivujv, in 
the plural number. Some suppose that Timothy had received 
instruction from Barnabas as well as Paul, as he certainly had 
from his pious mother and grandmother, to whose early care in 
instructing him in the Jewish scriptures the apostle immediately 

* From a child, &c.] Dr. Priestley remarks, that "by scrip- 
tures the apostle could only mean the Jewish scriptures, in the 
knowledge of which Timothy had been educated by his mother 
and grandmother, who were both Jewesses, though his father 
was a Gentile. The Jews were, and to this day are, remark- 
able for making their children acquainted with the scriptures. 
What a reflection is this upon Christian countries, and even 
upon this of ours, in many parts of which a great majority of 
the people cannot read at all, and with regard to many of 
whom better things might be expected ! though their children 


338 Sect. VII. II. T I M O T H Y. 3. 

Ch. III. wise 1 unlo salvatioii through faith in Christ 

v^-"-'^- Jesus^. 

You have a still further inducement to adhere 
faithfully to the Christian doctrine, inasmuch as it 
has been your felicity to have been early and care- 
fully instructed, by your pious parents, in tlie Jewish 
scriptures, and especially the prophetic writings. 
And whatever false interpretations some may give 
to them, or whatever erroneous conclusions they 
may draw from them, be assured, that when pro- 
perly understood, they bear convincing testimony to 
the truth of the Christian doctrine. Not only do 
the prophecies receive their proper accomplishment 
in Jesus of Nazareth, but the patriarchal, the Mo- 
saic, and the Christian dispensations, are all essen- 
tial parts of the same wise and beneficent system 
which infinite wisdom has formed for the gradual 
instruction and amelioration of mankind. So that 

are taught to read, they are very indifferent about their in- 
struction in those things which it most of all concerns them to 
know. To the Jewish scriptures the apostle exhorts Timothy 
to join the study of Christianity, and they both make but one 
great scheme of revelation, and can never be separated." 

• Make thee wise.'] " <T0(pi7ai has here the sense of the Hebrew 
conjugation hiphil." Benson. 

2 Through faith, &c.] The apostle urges Timothy to perse- 
verance in the Christian doctrine, for which he assigns two rea- 
sons ; the first is, that he knew that he had received it from an 
apostle of Christ, an authorized and qualified teacher. The se- 
cond reason is, that he had been early instructed in the Jewish 
scriptures. Consequently the apostle's meaning must be, that 
those scriptures well understood contain satisfactory evidence 
of the truth of the Christian religion. This observation, there- 
fore, is to be understood of the inspired prophetic scriptures, 
and probably of them alone. 

Sect. VII. II. T I M O T H Y. 4. 339 

the right apprehension of the sacred writings of the ch. iir. 
Old Testament will lead you to believe in Jesus as ^"'' ^^' 
the true Messiah, and by a practical regard to his 
doctrine, which is the truest wisdom, to secure that 
ultimate and everlasting felicity which will be an 
infinite compensation for every temporary loss or 

4. The apostle concludes his observations and 
advices with a high and just encomium upon the 
Jewish scriptures, ver. 16, 17. 

All scripture inspired by God^ is also profit- !<»• 

^ All scripture, &c.] Ilao-a ypcL(pr^, ^soTfvsvros v-oci w(p£Xiixog, 
K. r. \. The Vvord xa< is wanting, Dr. Benson says, in one MS., 
and certainly in the Syriac, Arabic, and Vulgate versions. See 
Griesbach. It is omitted by Grotius, and in the versions of 
Wakefield and Harwood. — If this reading be adopted, the apo- 
stle does not define what scripture is divinely inspired ; but if 
the XXI should be retained, and it has the authority of manu- 
scripts in its favour, the common version may be allowed : All 
scripture is given by inspiration of God. In this sense the word 
scripture must necessarily be restrained to the sense which suits 
the connexion : that is, to the prophetic scriptures, of which 
alone the apostle is treating, 'i o understand it, as some do, as 
a general authoritative assertion of the plenary inspiration of 
all the books of the Old Testament, is, to say the least, very 
injudicious ; and it is hard to believe that the apostle intended 
to make a declaration so palpably erroneous. But he probably 
intended no such thing : he referred only to the prophetic 
scriptures, which, if genuine, are unquestionably inspired. 
Archbishop Newcome supposes that Paul not only means to 
include all the Old Testament, but as much of the New as was 
then written ; but it is plain that the apostle is only treating of 
those scriptures which Timothy had learned in his childhood, 
and which contained those proofs of the divine mission of Christ 
which were necessaiy to furnish the man of God, the Christian 
minister and evangelist, for the good work of reasoning with, 
and converting, or confuting, the Jew.s. " ita.. yp. x. r. K. 

z 2 

MO Skct. VII. II. T I M O T H Y. 4. 

Ch. III. able^ for instruction, foi' conviction^, for correc- 
Ver. 17. tion "^yfor discipline in righteousness'^, that the man 

Either all scripture is given by inspiration^ as Chrysostom and 
most of the protestant interpreters ] or, omitting the comma 
after ycaipij, ' All divinely inspired scripture is also profitable,' 
as Grotius and most of the popish commentators. \\'hichsoever 
way it is pointed, the expression must not be understood to 
comprehend the books of the New Testament which were not 
yet collected together, but the sacred writings of the Old Tes- 
tament, mentioned ver. 15, as Michaelis observes." Bowyev. 
" The writers of the New Testament," says Bishop Barrington 
in Bowyers Appendix, " always distinguish between ypcx/fii) 
and y(,a.(^a.i.. Tlie former signifies some portion of scripture, 
the latter the scripture in general. ' Every portion of scripture,' 
says the apostle, ' inspired by God, is profitable,' " &c. 

"The intention of the apostle," says Dr. Priestley, " was 
not to make any declaration concerning the inspiration of the 
.scriptures, but to show the proper use of them in inculcating 
those good moral principles from which so many persons at 
that time departed ; and it will sufficiently justify his thus in- 
cidentally calling the scriptures inspired, if they were written 
by prophets or men inspired by God, or if any thing that they 
wrote had been delivered by particular commission from God, 
which, no doubt, many things contained in the scriptures were. 
But such men were certainly capable of expressing them in 
words, and of committing them to writing, without any further 
inspiration ; and therefore there is no occasion to suppose that, 
as writers, they had any inspiration at all. Also, together with 
what they delivered as from God, which is easily distinguished, 
they might mix advices, &c. of their own, which, with the ])est 
intentions, should discover the natural weakness of men. Tlie 
weakness of the apostles, as men and as writers, in reality 
proves that the doctrine they delivered was not their own, and 
that the power by which they were supported was from God 

' Is also projilable.'] That the scriptures are of great general 
use for instruction and edification, cannot be denied: but this 
is not the apostle's meaning here. His object is to show that 
the prophetic scriptures are admirably adapted to qualify an 
evangelist to preach the gospel to Jews and Gentiles, and he 
distinctly shows in what particulars they are useful to the Chris- 
tian preacher. This view of the apostle's design has been too 

Skct.VII. II. TIMOTHY. 4. 341 

of God^ may he complctc^\ perfectly Jilted for ch. iir. 
every good work. ^'' '' 

much overlooked by commentators, and tliis oversight has mis- 
led many in their interpretation of the text. 

- For conviction'] TTpoi t'Kiyyjiv. See Harwood and Benson. 
" sXiyx/iS, proprie, demonstralio, prohatio, qucE fit argumentis 
certis et rationibus indubitatis , qua rei certUudo efficitur, argii- 
mentimy Schleusner. See Heb. xi. 1 . The apostle's meaning 
is, that the prophetic scriptures of the Old Testament supply 
the Christian teacher with decisive arguments in favour of the 
divine mission of Christ. 

^ For correction^ " ttpos sirxvopBuxriv, proprie, correctio ejus 
quod incurvatum est. Omnis restitutio in integrum ct meliorem 
statum. Apud Polybium; de corrections erroris et fal^ae opi- 
nionis:' Schleusner, and Raphelius. The apostle means that 
the right understanding of the Jewish scriptures would correct 
the erroneous opinions into which the Jews had fallen concern- 
ing the nature and design of the dispensation of the Messiah. 

■* Discipline in righteousness.'] " itaihia, omnis institutio et 
disciplina puerilis. Qucevis alia institutio et disciplina, qua quis 
utitur ad formandos et imbuendos animos." Schleusner. The 
apostle means that the Jewish scriptures explicitly declare the 
terms upon which the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom are 
to be obtained ; the institute which it will require, the character 
which it will form, and to which its promises (Stxccioa-vvT^, its jus- 
tification,) are annexed. See Jerem. xxxi. 31 — 34, Heb. viii. 8. 

^ The man of God.] This was a title which was given to the 
prophets under the old dispensation. See 2 Kings iv. 40, 5rc. 
It is applied to Timothy as an evangelist endued with extraor- 
dinary powers, 1 Tim. vi. ] 1 3 and may perhaps be intended to 
express Christian ministers in general. See Newcome. Dr. 
Benson, on 2 Pet. i. 21, says, that " the expression man of 
God occurs about fifty times in the Old Testament, and always 
signifies an inspired person, or prophet." ' 

•^ Complete.] aprio^. The Clermont and Corbey copies read 
rsXsiiis, and the old Italic and Vulgate perfectus. " Apyiog, 
integer, perfectus, omnibus numeris absolulus." Schleusner ; who 
says that it is a word used by arithmeticians and geometers to 
express two figures or numbers which exactly coincide. Ra- 
phelius {Annot. Philol.) observes, that it is used by Herodotus 
in the sense oi paratns, ready. The apostle's meaning is, that 
the evangelist having been instructed by himself in the Chris- 
tian doctiinCj and being also perfectly conversant with the 

342 SiiCT. VII. II. T I M O T H Y. 4. 

Ch. III. Of those books which are held in the highest esti- 
^^'' ^^* mation by the Hebrew nation, certain portions are, 
and others are not, of divine authority. A sound 
judgement will discriminate : and whatever respect 
may be due to the productions of wise and good 
men, the inspired scriptures alone are entitled to 
our entire confidence, and are the only authority to 
which we can with propriety appeal as a confirma- 
tion of the Christian revelation. With respect to 
the inspired scripture, therefore, I may say, that the 
whole is profitable and edifying, and that every part 
has its appropriate use. One portion of the Jewish 
scriptures is calculated to instruct those who peruse 
and understand them, in the advent of the Messiah, 
in his character and offices, and in the nature of that 
spiritual kingdom which he would be authorized to 
establish. The prophetic writings also contain the 
most convincing evidence of the mission of Christ, 
having received their proper accomplishment in 
him, and in no other person. The same scriptures 
are likewise well adapted to correct the extravagant 
errors into which the Jews are so prone to fall, both 
with respect to the temporal nature of the Messiah's 
kingdom, and to the perpetuity and universal obli- 
gation of the Mosaic institute. Finally, the Jewish 
scriptures themselves plainly teach the proper disci- 
pline of the new dispensation, as consisting, not. 

Jewish scriptures, would be completely qualified for the per- 
formunce of every branch of his office of preaching the gcspel, 
both to Jew and Gentile. 

Sbct. VIII. II. T I M O T H Y. 1. 343 

like the old covenant, in the observation of outward Ch. in. 
rites, but in the love of God and man, and in the ®'' '* 
practice of universal virtue. So that by a careful 
perusal of the writings of the Old Testament, in 
connexion with the instructions which you have re- 
ceived from me, you will become complete for the 
ministry of the gospel ; an evangelist perfectly qua- 
lified for the honourable and successful discharge 
of the various duties of your arduous office, whether 
for the conversion of the heathen, or for the con- 
viction or confutation of the Jews. Such is the 
high estimation in which I hold the sacred oracles 
of the Jews, though I am calumniated by my adver- 
saries as despising and disparaging their authority, 
and as endeavouring to subvert their design. 


The apostle gives a solemn charge to Timothy Ch. IV. 
to he faithful, firm^ and persevering, in the duties 
of his office, and enforces the charge by various 
important considerations. Chap. iv. 1 — 8. 

1 . The apostle presses upon the evangelist dili- 
gence, earnestness, patience and perseverance, in 
the duties of his ministry, from the consideration 
of the divine inspection, and the account which he 
would give to Christ at the great day. Ch. iv. 
ver. 1, 2. 

344 Sect. VIU. H, T I M O T H Y. 1. 

Ch. IV. / solemnly charge thee therefore, in the presence 

Ver. 1. 

of God, and of Jesus Christ i, who luill hei'cafter 
judge the living and the dead, and by his appeal^- 
ance, and by his kingdom ", proclaim the word, be 
urgent in season, out of season ^, convince, reprove, 
exhort, with the utmost patience of instruction^. 

' Of Jesus Christ.'] The oldest co])ies and versions have not 
the words rs Kvpis, of the Lord, and they are also omitted in 
Griesbach's edition and Nevvcome's translation. In the pre- 
sence of Jesus Christ, that is, as though Jesus Christ were now 
actually present with me or you. If Jesus Christ is to judge 
the world in person, he must, no doubt, be personally and in- 
timately acquainted with the characters and conduct of men. 
But probably the event may not exactly correspond with the 
literal signification of the words. And it is by events only that 
prophecy can be truly interpreted. 

* And by his appearance, &c,] The best copies read xa* for 
y.xTcc. 'See Griesbach and Newcome. q.d. I charge you, as you 
will ansvver for it at his glorious appearance, when he shall 
come to take possession of his kingdom. 

' In season, out of season.'] svxaipws, oiKatpuji. " when you 
can do it in safety, and when it will expose you to danger j in 
private, as well as in public 5 on Lord's days, and on other days." 
Benson. Dr. Priestley observes, that " there cannot be any 
charge more solemn than this 3 and as the duties here enume- 
rated are no other than those of every minister of the gospel, 
not only ought all ministers to be zealous in the discharge of 
what they aj)prehend to be their duty, of which they are to give 
so solemn an account, but the peo])le ought also to" bear with 
their zeal, v/hich is intended for their good, though in conse- 
quence of their not giving the same attention to the subject of 
religion, they may not immediately perceive the importance of 
some articles on which their ministers may see reason to lay 
great stress." 

* With the utmost patience of instruction.] Dr. Benson says, 
'• It is observable that the apostle never mentions patience and 
lenity when he putteth Titus upon reproving j whereas he fre- 
quently recommends them to Timotliy, ch. ii. 24, 25, iii. 10. 
Whether Timothy's being of a warmer temper than Titus, or 
the obstinacy of the persons with whom Titus had to do, might 
occasion this difl'ercnce in the apostle's exhortations, does not 
iiow plainly aj)pcar." 

Sect. VIII. II. T I M O T H Y. 1. 345 

You, O Timothy ! have been favoured with ad- ch. iv. 
vantages beyond ahnost all others, to qualify you for ^^'' *" 
the honourable and sacred office with which you are 
invested. You have enjoyed the instructions and 
the example of an apostle, you are wiell acquainted 
with the Jewish scriptures, you are endov/ed with 
extraordinary gifts and powers. Let then your ex- 
ertions be proportioned to your qualifications. 

I solemnly adjure you therefore, in the name and 
presence of that great God who searches the hearts, 
who communicates to all their several talents and 
qualifications for usefulness, and who strictly ob- 
serves how these talents are employed ; I adjure you 
further, in the name and as in the presence of our 
revered master Jesus Christ, who is appointed to 
the high and glorious office of judging the living 
and the dead, at whose tribunal we must hereafter 
appear, who will make inquisition into our conduct, 
and reward us according to our works : Yes, my 
friend, I solemnly adjure you, by the approaching 
solemnities of that awful day, to which, as the disci- 
ples of Jesus, we look forward with anxious expecta- 
tion, when Jesus shall appear again in pomp and 
majesty, to raise the dead and to judge the world ; 
and by the glories of that celestial empire which 
will then commence, and in the honours and the 
triumphs of which we hope, and, if faithful to our 
profession, shall certainly bear a conspicuous part : 
upon all these important and weighty considerations 
I adjure and charge you, as a Christian evangelist, 
proclaim the gos])el upon all occasions, and in every 

346 Sect. VIII. II. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

ch. IV. place, with energy and courage; press home the 
Ver. 2. glorious doctrine upon the hearts of your hearers, 
not only at stated seasons of public worship and 
instruction, but upon every opportunity of commu- 
nicating evangelical truth which may accidentally 
occur, and watch for such opportunities, whether in 
public or in private : confute the opposers and the 
corrupters of the gospel, and establish the truth by 
the most convincing evidence : reprove those who 
are departing from the simplicity of the faith, or 
whose conduct is a disgrace to their profession : ex- 
hort your hearers to perseverance in Christian doc- 
trine, and in virtuous practice. Let me add, that 
though I desire you to be zealous, I would enter a 
caution against heat of temper and imprudent zeal. 
Let patience and forbearance accompany your in- 
structions. Indulge no resentment against those 
who are unwilling to Hsten to your doctrine, who 
even treat it with contempt, and load you with re- 
proach. Meekly persevere in the performance of 
your duty, and leave the result to God. 

2. The apostle enforces the exhortation, from the 
consideration of the increasing number of unfaithful 
teachers, and of prejudiced and immoral hearers, 
ver. 3 — 5. 
3. For a time will come, when men ivill not endure 
this salutary doctrine ^, but to soothe their eai's ^ 

' SaJutarri doctrine.'] vyiccivstryjc, sound, wholesome, healthful 
ihcirine. " That is sound doctrine/' says Dr. Bcni^jon, " which 

Sect. VIII. II. T I M O T H Y. 2. 347 

ivill multiply to themselves teachers according to Ch. IV. 
their own inclinations, and will turn away their Ver. 4. 
attention from truth, andivill go aside to fables^. 
Perhaps you are ready to complain that men are 
unwilUng to hear the gospel, and you are thereby 
discouraged from preaching it. But be assured, 
Timothy, that, bad as the state of things in that re- 
spect now is, it will in a short time be much worse. 
You may now teach the plain unsophisticated truths 
of the Christian religion, and may enforce its moral 
precepts, and you will have many hearers who will 
be instructed, pleased, and edified, with your doc- 
trine. But in a few years the case will be altered. 
Men professing Christianity will not endure to hear 
those salutary truths which would make them wiser 

promotes a holy life. And it is the love of vice which renders 
men averse to sound doctrine, and puts them upon follovi^ing 
such teachers as will gratify their humours and inclinations j 
and please their ears or fancies, without attacking or condemn- 
ing their opinions and their vices." 

* But to soothe their ears.] So Wakefield. Gr. " having itch- 
ing ears." For this collocation of the words, see Markland apiid 

^ To fables.'] Dr. Priestley says, " The doctrines to which 
the apostle here alludes were undoubtedly those of the Gnostics. 
He did not live long enough to see the rise of other and greater 
corruptions of Christianity, though they were in some respects 
of a similar nature. Had the apostle lived to have seen the rise 
and progress of such doctrines as the trinity, original sin, pre- 
destination, and atonement, his indignation would have risen 
much higher than it did against any doctrines held by the Gno- 
stics, because they were much further removed from the genuine 
principles of Christianity. Compared with these doctrines, which 
infringe upon the great article of the unity of God, and which 
derogate from the equitable principles of his moral government, 
the notions of the Gnostics were only idle fables." 

348 Sect. VIII. II. T I M O T H Y. 2. 

Ch. IV. and better. They will become very nice and cap- 
tious in their judgement concerning their teachers. 
And in the choice of instructors each will expect to 
have his own taste gratified in preference to the edi- 
fication and improvement of all. And they will 
chiefly prize and value those instructors who will 
teach them how to reconcile the hope of future hap- 
piness with the gratification of their passions. For 
this reason they will desert the simple intelligible 
doctrine of the gospel, and a serious plain practical 
ministry, and will delight in nothing but either the 
charms of eloquence, or those wild, abstruse, and 
fictitious notions which, while they perplex and con- 
found their understandings, contribute nothing to 
the improvement of their character. 
5. But be thou watchful upon all occasions ', en- 
dure evil treatment 2, perform the work of an evan^ 
gelist, fully execute thy ministry'^. 

' Be watchful.'] vvj<ps av -ffaa-i, " be thou sober on all occa- 
sions." Waliefield. " maintain a severe and universal tempe- 
rance." Harwood. This is the projier sense of the word 
vYjtpca, and it is included in the exposition ; but the word also 
signifies to walch, and this sense best suits the connexion. See 
Newcome, Benson, and Schleusner. — Timothy must be very 
much altered if he needed to be cautioned against intempe- 
rance. See 1 Tim. v. 23. 

'■^ Endure evil treatment.'] See Macknight. " patiently bear 
the ill treatment which the enemies of the gospel will give 
thee." " KaHOTrafiryffoy, endure iiardship." Wakefield. " en- 
counter difficulties." Harwood. " sufl'er hardships." New- 

3 Fully execute thy minixtry.] 7tXYjpo(popri(Tov. " fulfill thy 
ministry." Newcome. Comp. ver. 17. " Perhaps vXyj^'juo-ov, 
as Luke xiii. 25. Col, iv. 17." Mangey apud Bowycr. 

Sect. VIII. H. T I M T H Y. 3. 349 

Let these considerations, Timothy, induce you Ch. iv. 
to maintain a strict and habitual government over ^'^"^" * 
yourself, that you may not upon any occasion be 
thrown off your guard, or by inadvertence or im- 
prudence discredit your profession and injure your 
usefulness. Let not your character be in the least 
degree assimilated to that of these false teachers. 
And keep a vigilant eye upon the churches intrusted 
to your care. Oppose to the utmost of your power 
the first symptoms of that evil spirit which I have 
described. You will meet with much opposition 
from the enemies of truth; you will be calumniated, 
insulted, and persecuted by those who, to answer 
their own sinister purposes, would debase and cor- 
rupt the gospel. Regard it not. Arm yourself with 
fortitude and Christian magnanimity. Be not dis- 
mayed. Resolve at all hazards to perform the whole, 
and every part of your duty, as a minister of the go- 
spel, as an associate, and an authorized successor 
of the apostles. Shrink not from your appointed 
share, whether of labours or of sufferings ; and aim 
at nothing but the complete discharge of the various 
and arduous duties of the province which has been 
assigned you, whatever be the consequence. 

3. The apostle is the more earnest in his exhorta- 
tion, from a conviction that his own season of ser- 
vice is drawing to a close : and he takes occasion to 
express to the evangelist the high satisfaction which 
he feels in the review of his conduct, and his trium- 
phant expectation of a future reward, ver. 6 — 8, 

350 Sect. VIII. II. T I M O T H Y. 3. 

Ch. IV. For the libation is already poured out upon my 
®''' • head^, and the time of my departure is near. 

I am the more earnest, my dear friend, in these 
exhortations to diligence and fidehty, as I am very 
apprehensive that my season of service is drawing 
rapidly to a conclusion, when I shall no longer be 
able to assist you either by my advice or my exam- 
ple. My time of life, and my situation as a prisoner 
waiting for the judgement of the emperor, lead me 
to expect that my residence here will be but of short 
duration. I see the preparations made to offer me 
up. The Hbation is already poured upon the vic- 
tim's head. I stand before the altar : and in a few 
short months, or perhaps weeks, the sacrifice will 

' For the libation, &c.] ijSij ^itsvhi/.ai. " For the libation 
is already poured out upon my devoted head." Harwood ; who 
observes, that " it is a sacrifical term ; that the apostle alludes 
to the libation that was poured on the victim before it was sacri- 
ficed." " '^Ttsv^oj, proprie libo : vinum effando victimce in hO' 
norem Dei. Metaphorice, paulatim absumor, 2 Tim. iv. C. Jam 
enim, omnes vires mece sensim minuuntur et absumtintur." Schleus- 
ner. " Jam nunc aspergor vino : prceparor ad mortem, ut vic- 
timcB Solent." Grotius. "lam now ready to be poured out," 
Newcome. " as a libation upon God's altar." Doddridge. 

Mr. Wakefield's translation in his first edition was : " I am 
now pouring out my libation : q. d. in grateful acknowledge- 
ment to God for my victory." The apostle represents himself 
as a conqueror at the games, who, having received his award, 
was offering his sacrifice, and preparing to depart. A very 
beautiful and interesting image. But the learned author, upon 
recollection probably conceiving that the original would not 
well bear that interpretation, altered his translation in his se- 
cond edition to, / am pouring out myself as a libation. I follow 
the interpretation of Grotius and Harwood, who take the verb 
in a passive sense, and understand the apostle as describing 
himself as a victim standing before the altar, upon which the 
libation has been poured, and which is just ready for tlie knife. 

Sect. VIII. 

II. TIMOTHY. 3. 351 

be complete. The fatal blow will be struck ; and Ch. iv. 
I shall bid adieu to this scene of warfare and suffer- 
ing. But think not that I look forward to that 
awful hour with feehngs of despondency or dismay. 

/ have contended in a good cazise, I have finished 7- 

the race^ I have kept the faith 2. As to ivhat re- ^^ 

maineth^ a crown of righteousness is reserved for 
me^ ivhich the Lord, the impartial judged, will 
award to me in that day ■+, and not to me only, hut 
to all those also luho love his appearance. 

2 I have kept the faith.'] " been faithful to my engagements, 
by an honourable observance of all the laws of the game." 
Wakefield. Seeii.5. Dr. Benson denies that the expres- 
sion TY/V ririv can bear this sense, and interprets it 
" of faithfully discharging the duties of a high public station." 
" I have maintained an inviolable fidelity." Harwood, 

' Impartial judge.'] '' impartial umpire." Wakefield. Dr. 
Benson says, " he here represents the great judge, who had 
been witness to all his behaviour, v^-ith a crown in his hand, 
which he will bestow upon him as the reward of his faithfulness 
and of his coming ofi;" victor." 

* In that day.] " the gi-eat day of judgement j" " for so," 
says Dr. Benson, " the phrase generally signifies throughout 
the New Testament." " With what satisfaction," says Dr. 
Priestley in his note upon this text, " does the apostle here 
reflect upon his conduct as a preacher of the gospel ! and what 
encouragement must this have given to Timothy, and ought to 
give to us to follow him in the same work of zeal and labour of 
love !" He adds, " I cannot help observing in this place, that 
the rewards which the apostle expected were, in his idea, to be 
conferred only at the time of the general resurrection, called, 
by way of eminence, that day, the time of the appearing of 
Jesus Christ, when he shall come to raise the dead and judge 
the world. Had he had any expectation of receiving the re- 
ward, or any part of the reward, of his labours immediately 
after death, he could not have been so ungrateful as to have 
entirely overlooked it." 

lliere is little foundation for the remark of Dr. Doddridge 

352 Sect. VIII. II. TIMOTHY. 3. 

Ch. IV. Think not, Timothy, now that I am come to the 
close of life, and review my conduct as a preacher 
of the gospel, and an apostle of Christ, that I re- 
pent of my faithful adherence to my revered master, 
or that I regret any of the labours, or the sufferings, 
which I have undergone in his cause. No, my friend, 
I triumph in the recollection that I have successfully 
and perseveringly maintained, and am novi^ conclud- 
ing, an arduous but an honourable struggle with 
the enemies of the Christian faith ; that I have now 
finished a glorious race which has required uninter- 
mitting vigilance, and has called forth all the ener- 
gies of my soul. And I am proud to say, that I 
have resolutely and firmly adhered to the cause in 
which I was embarked, and to the principles with 
which I entered upon the contest ; and that amidst 
great opposition, and many struggles, I have pre- 
served the Christian doctrine pure and uncorrupted, 
and the liberties of the Gentile church inviolate. 
Nothing now remains but to receive the prize. Not 
indeed a chaplet of fading flowers, or withering 

upon this text, that " though it certainly proves that the great 
and most glorious reward of faithful Christians is referred to the 
day of general judgement, it would, nevertheless, be very pre- 
carious to argue from hence that there shall be no prelibation 
and anticipation of this happiness in a separate state. And 
when the many texts which have been so often urged in proof of 
that intermediate happiness are considered, it is surprising that 
any stress can be laid on the objection which can be drawn from 
such passages as this." It may surely be asked, where those 
many texts are to be found which speak of prelibations and «7Z- 
ticipations of future happiness antecedently to the day of judge- 

Sect. VIII. II. T I M O T H Y. 3. 353 

leaves, but a diadem of everlasting glory and feli- Ch. iv. 
city, which my honoured Master, the impartial um- 
pire of the course, who has been witness to my re- 
solute and persevering efforts, will place upon my 
head in that day to which he has directed the hopes 
and expectations of his faithful servants : that aw- 
ful, that delightful day, when he will himself appear 
to fulfill all his glorious promises, and when every 
honest exertion in his cause, and every sacrifice for 
truth and righteousness, shall meet with ample com- 
pensation, and be crowned with everlasting honour. 
For be assured, Timothy, that this glorious prize 
is not limited to myself alone, or, to those who, like 
me, are apostles of Christ. It is held forth to you, 
to every faithful minister of the gospel, to every sin- 
cere and approved disciple of Jesus in every age, who 
by a practical adherence to the profession of the go- 
spel, and by earnest endeavours to extend its domi- 
nion to the utmost of his power, demonstrates that 
he has imbibed its spirit, lives under the influence 
of its awful expectations, and is supremely solici- 
tous to obtain the final approbation of his Lord and 
Master. May you, my friend, by bearing a willing 
part in his labours and sufferings, make good your 
title to participate with him in his final and ever- 
lasting triumph. 

VOL. lY. 2 A 

354 Sect. IX, II. TIMOTHY. 

CIi. IV. 
Vcr. 8. 


The apostle expresses his earnest desire to see 
his friend: he gives a brief account of his pre' 
sent situation^ and concludes with a salutation, 
a doxology, and the apostolic benedictioii. Ch. 
iv. 9—22. 

1 . The apostle expresses his earnest desire to see 
Timothy, and the rather as many had quitted him ; 
and he requests that the evangehst would take the 
charge of certain articles which he had left atTroas, 
ver. 9—13. 

y. Do thy utmost to come to me speedily. 

Many of my associates and fellow-labourers have, 
for one reason or another, quitted my company, so 
that 1 am left alone here among strangers. Your 
society and assistance in these circumstances will be 
peculiarly acceptable to me. Endeavour therefore 
to come to Rome as soon as you conveniently can. 

10. For Demas hath forsaken 7ne * through love of 
the present worlds and is gone to Thessalonica ; 
Crescens to Galatia ; Titus to Dahnatia 2. 

• Demas, &c.] Demas is mentioned with honour by the apo- 
stle in his epistle to Philemon, ver. 24, as his fellow-labourer 
in connexion with Mark and Luke ; it is probable, therefore, 
that he soon recovered from his alarm, and returned to the apo- 
stle. See Lardner's Histonj of the Apostles, vol. ii. p. 283, cd. 2. 

■^ Titus to Dahnatia^ From the manner and connexion in 

Skcx.IX. II. TIMOTHY. 1. 355 

My situation here was so very perilous, that De- ch. iv. 
mas, whose possessions and connexions in this world ^*^*' ^^' 
engross too great a share of his affections, took the 
alarm, and is gone to Thessalonica to be out of the 
way of danger. Crescens hkewise, and even Titus, 
have left me : the former having returned to Asia, 
and the latter having crossed the sea into Dalmatia. 
I do not, however, doubt that they, the two latter 
at least, will employ themselves usefully in their re- 
spective stations, though I would rather have en- 
joyed their society, aid, and comfort, at Rome. 

Luke only is with me. Take Mark and bring II. 

him with thee : for he will be useful to me as a 

All however have not deserted me. Luke, and 
he alone of my Asiatic friends, is still with me : the 
fearless associate of my labours and my dangers, and 
the faithful historian of my apostolic mission. In 

which the name of this evangelist is here introduced, it is highly 
probable that he had made this excursion from timidity, and 
without the apostle's concurrence. Luke remained while the 
others fled, and it is not impossible that he might feel some re- 
sentment at the cowardice of his companions. This is the last 
we hear of Titus : it does not appear that he ever returned to 
the apostle, and possibly it was for this reason that his name is 
never once mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, which might 
be composed by Luke during his residence with Paul at Rome. 
The apostle, however, does not insinuate that cither Titus or 
Crescens or Demas had apostatized from the faith ; but he cer- 
tainly gives no intimation that he h?.d himself sent either of 
them upon an evangelical mission. Demas is mentioned with 
honour in connexion with Luke, Col. iii. !4. See also Benson 
on 2 Tim. iv. ] 0. These circumstances favour the sui));osition 
that this epistle was written at the beginning of the apostle's 
first imprisonment, as stated in the introduction to this epistle, 

2 a 2 

556 Skct.IX. II. TI M OTH Y. 1. 

Ch. IV. your way to Rome call upon Mark and bring him 
Ver. 11, ^j|.j^ y^^^ L'j,^ Demas, he once deserted the ser- 
vice, being alarmed at the prospect of difficulties 
and perils •. But he has long since retrieved his 
character. And though I formerly declined his so- 
ciety, and even parted with Barnabas rather than I 
would accept the company of Mark, I now think 
very differently of him, and desire his presence and 
assistance as an active, faithful, and useful minister 
and associate, 

J2. ^-^/id I have sent Tyckicus to Ephesus'^, 

He will set you at liberty and supply your place, 
so that when he arriyes I hope you will set out im- 

13. IF hen thou comes t, bring with thee the bag^ 
luhich I left at Troas with Carpus^ and the books^ 
but especially the parchments ^. 

' He. once deserted.'] See Acts xiii. 13, xv. 38, 39. 

^ / have sent Tychicus.'] If Tychicus went to Ephesus, and 
was the bearer of this epistle to Timothy, he certainly returned 
to Rome before the end of the apostle's imprisonment, as he 
was, together with Onesimus, the bearer of the epistles to the 
Ephesians, the Colossians, and Philemon, which were all writ- 
ten a short time before the apostle's release. See Eph. vi. 21 j 
Col. iv. 7, 9 ; Philem. ver. 1 0, 22. 

^ The bag^ " (psXovyjS, omtie inlegumentum et Invohicrum ali- 
ciijus rei." Schleusner. Probably the apostle means the cloke- 
bag or portmanteau which contained his books and parchments. 
It is hardly to be supposed that it could be an object of any im- 
portance to the apostle to send for an old cloke which he had 
left with his friend several years before. See Benson. 

"• Books and parchments.'] Books were probably manuscripts 
written upon a less durable substance, such as bark or papyrus. 
Parchment was more durable, and probably contained the more 
valuable writings. Learned men have trifled egregiously in 
ronjetturing what these fjarchments contained. Sec Macknight. 


SttcT. IX. II. T I M O T H Y, 2. .35/ 

You will pass through Troas in your way. Call ci.. iv. 
at the house of Carpus, and bring with you the port- 
manteau and the books which I left under the care 
of that valuable friend some years ago. If you can- 
not bring all, I particularly request that you would 
at least bring the volumes which are written upon 
parchment, and which I value most. I foresee that 
my confinement here will probably be of some du- 
ration, and it will be convenient to have my books 
at hand. 

2. The apostle warns Timothy against the wic- 
ked practices of Alexander, who was a bitter enemy 
to the apostle's doctrine, ver. 14, 15. 

Alexander the coppersmith^ has done me gi^eat i4. 
injury : the Lord luill reward him according to his 
works ^. Against luhom he thou also upon thy 15. 

guardyfor he vehemently opposes our doctrine. 

Benson on Epistles, vol. ii. p. 510. Troas, on account of the 
narrowness of the passage by sea, appears to have been fre- 
quented as a convenient station for travellers who desired to 
cross from Asia into Greece. It was probably Timothy's best 
way to Rome as winter approached. The apostle Paul, in his 
way from Greece to Syria, though in haste, passed from Philippi 
to Troas. Acts xx. 

* Alexander the coppersmith.'] Probably the same man whom 
the Jews wished to bring forward during the tumult at Ephesus, 
Acts xix. 33 ; and the same whom the apostle had excommuni- 
cated as an apostate, 1 Tim. i. 20. He is supposed to have 
been a Jewish Gnostic. See Dr. Priestley on the text. 

^ The Lord will reward him, &c.] This is the reading of the 
Alexandrine, Ephrem, Clermont, and Corbey manuscripts. 
Griesbach marks it as of high authority; and it relieves the 
difficulty arising from the supposed execration of the apostle, 
which is expressed in the received text. 

358 Sect. IX. II. TIMOTHY. 3.. 

Ch.iv. This man is a bitter enemy to the gospel, and 
Ver. 15. especially to the doctrine which you and I think it 
our duty to teach and to enforce, the perfect liberty 
of the gentile church. By his malicious opposition 
helms done me all the injury he could ; and though, 
as I mentioned to you in a former letter, I have ex- 
pelled him from the communion of the Christian 
church, and so far diminished his influence among 
professed believers, he seems to be exasperated ra- 
ther than reformed by this measure of needful se- . 
verity. I however have proceeded against him to 
the utmost limits of my apostolical authority. If 
he persist in his malignant and injurious conduct, he 
must be left in the hand of God, who will inflict upon 
him condign punishment. In the mean time be you 
upon your guard against his malice and enmity, and 
by prudence and firmness repel every attack, and de- 
prive him of every advantage against you. 

3. The apostle informs Timothy, that though he 
was deserted by his timid friends at his first ap-. 
pearance at the imperial tribunal, nevertheless God 
supported and rescued him, and that he continues 
to place entire confidence in the divine protection, 
ver. 16—18. 
16. At my first defence no one was zuith me, but all 
men forsook me • .- may it not he imputed to their 

' All forsook jHc] As the apostle was writing to Timothy, 
to whom the Roman convert.s were unknown, he probably al- 
ludes chiefly in this passage to ihe Christians who had been his 

Sect. IX. II. TIMOTHY. 3. 359 

When my cause was first brought to a hearing, ch. iv. 
the Christians here, as well as those who accom- ^^^' ' 
panied me from Asia, were seized with a sudden 
panic, and would not venture to appear with me in 
court, but left me to plead my cause alone. Such 
timid conduct was hardly to be expected from men 
who had made so many solemn professions of at- 
tachment to my person, and of zeal for truth. But 
the case was perilous, and human nature is frail. 
Their misconduct was the effect of timidity, not of 
insincerity. I heartily forgive them, and I pray God 
to forgive them too. 

But the Lord stood di/me^ a?id gave me strength; 17. 

that by me the preaching of the gospel might he 
fully aceomplishedf and that all the Gentiles might 
hear : and I was rescued from the lioris mouth 3. 

Though my friends deserted me, the Lord was 
at hand, and graciously inspired me with wisdom, 
courage, and eloquence, which raised me above the 
need of human support, and enabled me, in the pre- 
sence of myaccusers and my judges, to proclaim with 

companions out of Asia, and to vvhose firmness and friendship 
and zeal he no doubt principally looked for support. See Ben- 
son ad Jin. 

* The Lord stood by me.'] Perhaps the apostle means his 
master Jesus Christ, who had originally invested him with the 
apostolic office, and had frequently appeared to him in the 
course of his ministry j and who would no doubt be with him 
upon this important occasion. See 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9, Acts xxii. 
18. But the expression is ambiguous. 

^ The lio7i's mouth.'] Mr. Wakefield understands this as a 
proverbial expression, and not as alluding to any individual, 
whether the emperor or his deputy 3 whlcli, however, is the 
opinion of most expositors. 

360 Sect. IX, II. TIMOTHY. 3, 

Ch. IV. such undaunted boldness and convincing energ}' the 
^''" ' ■ truths of the gospel, as produced the most salutary 
impressions upon all who heard me, and contributed 
to the object of my apostolical mission, in making 
known the Christian doctrine to all classes and de- 
scriptions of men, whether of high or low degree, 
whether Jews or heathen. The consequence of this 
defence was an immediate order for a relaxation of 
my confinement ; and my unexpected escape from 
a situation so critical and hazardous, is like deliver- 
ance from the very jaws of a lion. 
18. And the Lord will rescue me ' from every dan- 
ger 2, and will preserve me for his heavenly king- 
dom. 3. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 
The Lord, whom I faithfully serve, and who has 
hitherto been my powerful protector, will continue 
to protect me still : and while he has any work for 
me to perform, he will guard me from impending 
dangers, and will preserve and enable me to go 
through every labour which may be requisite for 

' The Lord, &c.] See the note upon verse 17. The apostle 
at this tune was uncertain of tlie issue of his imprisonment. In 
his letters to the Philippians, Colossians, &c., written above a 
year afterwards, he expresses great hope of release. 

* From every danger.'] spya'ffivrjpii, evil work. See Wakefield. 
— *' Multi intelllgunt de indigno quovUfacinore, quod in se apo- 
stolus admiftere posset : alii vero, defacinore quovis, quod in eum 
falsi fratres, aut nominis Christiani hostes viachinari possent." 

3 Preserve me for his heavenly kingdom.] tig, " that he will 
bring me safe to it." Benson. Or perhaps that he will preserve 
me for it ; for the purpose of promoting the progress of the go- 
spel, the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of righteousness and 
truth and peace in this world. Eic sometimes signifies in order 
to. See Rom. i. 17, xvi. 26. See Macknight's Introd. Ess. 4. 

Sect. IX. II. T I M O T H Y. 4. 30 1 

the promulgation of the gospel and the establish- ch. iv. 
nient of his kingdom in the world. And longer than ^*'^- '^• 
this I desire not to live : for life is of no value when 
usefulness is ended. But in every situation, and to 
tlie remotest period of existence, I would acknow- 
ledge the goodness and celebrate the praises of him 
who honoured nie with the apostolical mission, and 
who has hitherto preserved and encouraged me in 
the discharge of it. Amen. 

4. The apostle concludes the epistle with saluta- 
tions and a benediction, ver. 19 — 22. 

Salute Prisca ** and Aqv'ilay and the family of 19. 

Remember me affectionately to those dear and 
venerable friends from whom I have received so 
much kindness, and to whose assistance I am so 
much indebted. 

Erastus ^ remains at Corinth^ hut Trophimus I 20. 
have left sick at Miletus 7. 

* Prisca.'] In the Acts called Priscilla, which is probably a 
diminutive of the other. Acts xviii. 2, 26. See Benson. Dr. 
Owen takes Priscilla to be the true name, for which Prisca is 
an easy contraction. Bowyer. 

* The famihj, &c.] Onesiphorus himself might be still at 
Rome J or at least not returned from his journey. See 2 Tim. 
i. 16. 

^ Erastus^ He was chamberlain of Corinth, and is men- 
tioned Acts xvi. 23, \ix. 22. — The apostle perhaps had requested 
Erastus to meet him at Rome, expecting that the friendship and 
patronage of a person of his rank and consequence might be of 
some use to him in the imperial court. 

" Miletus, &c.] Grotius conjectures it should be MeXizri, and 
supposes that Trophimus was left at Melita after tlie shipwreck. 
But Miletus was also a citv in Crete, mentioned bv Strabo and 
Plinv. ' ' 

362 Sect. IX. II. T I M O T H Y. 4. 

Ch. IV. It did not suit Erastus to accompany or to follow 
er. 20. j^g ^Q Rome, as I wished and he intended ; the du- 
ties of his office constrained him to continue at Co- 
rinth. Trophimus would have been glad to have 
attended me throughout, and he set off with me : 
but he fell sick by the way, and I was obliged to 
leave him at Miletus. 
21. Do thy utmost to come to me before winter^. 

I am here a prisoner and almost alone. My old 
friends have left me, and I have not yet formed 
many new connexions. I shall therefore pass a so- 
litary and uncomfortable winter if you and Mark do 
not give me your company. I again therefore re- 
quest that you will set off as soon as possible after 
the receipt of this letter, and come to me at Rome 
before the stormy season sets in, and navigation 
becomes unpleasant and dangerous. 

Etihulus and Pudens^ and Lirius and Claudia ^, 
and all the brethren 3 salute thee. 

Our pious friends here, some of whom are per- 

' Before winter'^ " From hence," says Dr. Benson, " we 
may conclude that this epistle was written some time in the 
spring or summer." 

2 Eubulus, Pudcns, &c.] " Pudens is said to have been of the 
senatorian order j and Claudia, a British lady converted by St. 
Paul ; but without sufficient authority. Linus is said by the an- 
cients to have been afterwards the first bishop of Rome." Benson, 

^ All the brethren.'] " This is an intimation that there were 
Christian brethren still at Rome, and that the whole church was 
not dispersed and broken up." Benson. 

" No person," says Dr. Priestley, " can read these saluta- 
tions from particular persons to particular persons, without 
being satisfied that this is a genuine epistle, written as other 
epistles of that age were. The circumstances of the cloke and 
other minute particulars, give us, however, no idea of his wri- 

Sect. IX. II. T I M O T H Y. 4. 363 

sons of distinction, who have heard of your character Ch, iv. 
and zeal, and who entertain a high respect for you, 
desire to be affectionately remembered to you. 

The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy Spirit, Fa- 22. 
vour be with you. Amen, 

I conclude with the best wish I can form for you. 
May Jesus Christ, our great and common master, 
be with you, as he has been with me. May he be 
your instructor, protector, and comforter, as he has 
been mine. May he dispose and qualify you to preach 
his gospel with fidelity, courage, and success. And 
finally, may all who attend your ministry, and parti- 
cularly the Christians at Ephesus, who have enjoyed 
the chief benefit of your evangelical ministrations, 
abundantly participate with you in the blessings of 
the everlasting gospel. Amen. 

ting from inspiration, because we cannot imagine any want of 
it to such a man as Paul, in writing such an epistle as this ; but 
that such a letter should be written by him in the circumstances 
in which he then was, is a very important consideration in fa- 
vour of the truth of Christianity, because it cannot be accounted 
for without supposing the truth of the leading facts in the gospel 

N.B. The Postscript is wanting in most of the ancient manu- 
scripts and versions, and is not of the least authority. See 
Griesbach. It states that the Second Epistle to Timothy or- 
dained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was 
written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the 
second time. 



T I T U S. 


Titus, to whom this epistle is addressed, was a 
Greek (Gal. ii. 3), and was probably converted from 
idolatry by the apostle Paul, who calls him his ge- 
nuine son in the faith (Tit. i. 4) ; but the time of 
his conversion cannot be ascertained. It is a re- 
markable circumstance that Luke never mentions 
the name of Titus in his history ; though it appears 
from the epistle that both of them were companions 
of the apostle ^ and were probably associated in the 
same ministry. 

The name of Titus first occurs in the Epistle to 
the Galatians 2 ; where it appears that he accompa- 

Probably to the church at Corinth, 2 Cor. viii. 16 — 18. 
Gal.ii. 3. 



nied Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem a.d. 49 or 50, 
when they went up to consult the apostles concern- 
ing the obligation which the converted Gentiles were 
said to be under to submit to the Mosaic ritual ; 
upon which occasion the apostle declares, that he 
would not suffer Titus to resign his Christian liberty 
in order to gratify the prejudices of the Jewish bi- 
gots. After this, we hear no more of him till the 
date of this epistle, though he was probably the oc- 
casional, if not the constant, attendant upon the 
apostle in his mission i. 

Luke gives no account in his history of the first 
promulgation of the gospel in Crete ; and learned 
men have assigned different times for this event, 
according to their different hypotheses. It is a mat- 
ter of little consequence. The opinion which ap- 
pears to me the most probable, is that which repre- 
sents the apostle as having made an excursion into 
Crete, in the course of the three years in which he 
resided principally at Ephesus. He went thither 
perhaps in the beginning of the year 56 y or the lat- 
ter end of 55, and took Titus with him ; and having 
made a considerable number of converts, he re- 
turned to Ephesus, leaving Titus behind to settle 
the affairs of the church, and to establish good order 
and good morals among the new converts. Soon 
after his return he wrote this letter to Titus, to 
encourage and support him in those vigorous mea- 

' 2 Cor. viii. 23. The apo.stlc culls him his partner and fel- 


sures which it was necessary for him to adopt among 
a people so ignorant, vicious, and unruly. The apo- 
stle directs Titus to remain in Crete till he should 
be relieved by Tychicus or Artemas (ch. iii. 12), 
after which he desires him to come to him at Ni- 
copolis, where he then proposed to pass the winter. 
But, having received a letter from the Corinthians 
soon after his return to Ephesus, and learning from 
their messengers the deplorable state of the church 
at Corinth, the apostle appears to have altered his 
plan. Deferring his intended journey to Corinth, 
he determined to remain at Ephesus till Pentecost 
(I Cor. xvi. 5) ; and being solicitous to know what 
impression his epistle had made upon the Corin- 
thians, he sent Artemas to relieve Titus 2, and di- 
rected that evangelist to go immediately to Corinth, 
and to meet him at Troas in the summer of a.d. 
56 (2 Cor. ii. 12). Not finding Titus at Troas, 
he went forward to Macedonia, where it appears 
that he met this evangelist, who gave him an ac- 
count upon the whole agreeable, though not alto- 
gether satisfactory, of the state of the Corinthian 
church. The apostle, having received this informa- 
tion, resolved to postpone his visit to Corinth for a 
year, and in the mean time he went probably into 
Dalmatia and Illyricum to preach the gospel, and 
took Titus with him. Upon his return to Mace- 


' Acts XX. 4. Tychicus went with Paul to Asia ; probably, 
therefore, not Tychicus, but Artemas, had been sent to Crete 
to relieve Titus." 


donia, the apostle sent that evangelist, together with 
Luke, and another eminent person, to carry his se- 
cond epistle to the Corinthians, and to hasten their 
collection for the benefit of the Hebrew Christians ; 
recomniending Titus to them as his partner and 
fellow-helper (eh. viii. 23). Soon afterwards the 
apostle came to Corinth himself i. The last men-* 
tion which is made of Titus is 2 Tim. iv. 10 ; from 
which it appears that he had been with the iipostle 
during his imprisonment at Rome, and that he went 
fiom him to Dahnatia, which Dr. Lardner regards 
as a presumptive argument that he had visited that 
country before. But whether Titus went upon this 
occasion with, or, without the approbation of the 
apostle, does not appear ; probably the latter, as the 
apostle complains of being deserted by every body 
but Luke. And this, perhaps, might be the reason 
why Luke, taking offence at Titus on account of his 
abandonment of the apostle in the season of danger, 
might purposely leave out his name in his history 
of the apostolic missions. 

The design of the epistle is, to direct the evan- 
gelist to the choice of persons properly qualified to 
superintend the Christian churches, and to animate 
and support him in those vigorous measures which 
might be necessary to the preservation of order and 
discipline among the new converts from an unruly 

' See Lardner's Hist, of Apostles, &c., ch. xii. § 6 ) Benfiun's 
and Doddridge's Ficfacca to the Epistle to Tituis. 


people ; and likewise to explain those relative and 
personal virtues upon which it would be necessary 
for the evangelist to insist, as indispensable requi- 
sites to the Christian character. It has been ob- 
served, that there is a remarkable resemblance be- 
tween this epistle and the First Epistle to Timo- 
thy 2, which was no doubt written nearly at the 
same time, and upon a similar occasion, but that 
the apostle is more concise in his exhortation to 
Titus, who was probably a man of considerable 

^ Archdeacon Paley, in his Horce Paulina, has noticed the 
visible affinity between the Epistle to Titus and the First Epi- 
stle to Timothy, as a presumption in favour of the genuineness 
of both. He particularly mentions, that the writer accosts his 
two friends witli the same salutations, and passes on to the 
business of his Letter with the same transition : 1 Tim. i. 2, 3, 
Titus i. 4, 5 ; — that the advice to both evangelists is similar, 
] Tim. i. 4, Titus iii. J), 1 Tim. iv. 12, Titus ii. 15 ;— that the 
phrase " this is a faithful saying," occurs three times in the first 
epistle to Timothy, once in the second, and once in this, and 
in no other part of Paul's writings ; — that the word sound, as 
applied to words or doctrine, is used twice in the first epistle 
to Timothy, twice in the second, and three times in the epistle 
to Titus, and no where else in the New Testament ; and that 
the phrase God our Saviour is found only in these epistles. 
Also, that similar terms are employed in the epistle to Titus, 
and the first to Timothy, in describing the qualifications re- 
quired in those who should be advanced to stations of authority 
in the church. 

Hence the learned writer concludes, that the two epistles 
were written nearly at the same time, and both of them in the 
interval between the apostle's first and second imprisonment. 
The former supposition is indeed highly probable ; but it is an 
insurmountable objection against the latter, that the preaching 
of the gospel in Crete should have been delayed to so late a 
period. A more probable date has, I think, been assigned to 
both the epistles ; but of this the reader will judge. Paley's 
HorcE Paulina, chap. xiii. 

VOL. IV. 2 B 


ability, and of greater age and experience than Ti- 


In the prosecution of his purpose, First, The 
apostle, in the introduction to the epistle, so- 
lemnly announces himself as the authorized teacher 
of that doctrine of life which, having been promised 
in past ages, had by Jesus Christ been explicitly 
revealed ; and expresses his devout wishes for the 
happiness of his convert and his friend. Ch. i. 1 

Secondly. The apostle assigns his special rea- 
son for leaving Titus in Crete : namely, to appoint 
superintendants over the churches ; which leads 
him to insist upon the qualifications necessary to 
the honourable and successful discharge of the epi- 
scopal or pastoral office. And he further takes no- 
tice of the peculiar difficulty which would attend 
the discharge of this office in Crete, arising from 
the profligate character of the Cretans themselves ; 
which fully corresponded with the description given 
of them by one of their own poets, and which re- 
quired uncommon vigilance, prudence, and forti- 
tude, in those who were to be their instructors in 
the faith, the advocates of pure religion, and the 
guardians of Christian morals, ver. 5 — 16. 

Thirdly. The apostle directs the evangelist to 
enforce upon the aged and the young of both sexes, 
an habitual regard to the duties appropriate to their 
respective ages and characters. Ch. ii. 1 — 8. 

Fourthly. He directs Titus to exhort slaves to 


obedience, meekness, and fidelity, upon evangelical 
principles. These exhortations he enforces by the 
consideration, that the design of the gospel is to 
redeem men of all ranks from the dominion of ig- 
norance and vice, and to introduce all equally into 
a state of privilege and hope, ver. 9 — 15. 

Fifthly. He exhorts subjects to obey their civil 
rulers, and to live in peace, and notices the great 
and beneficial change which a thorough conversion 
to the Christian religion introduces into the social 
state, and the unspeakable goodness of God in call- 
ing the Gentiles to the hope of life by Jesus Christ, 
Ch. iii. ver. 1 — 7 • 

Sixthly. The apostle directs professing Chris- 
tians to follow useful and reputable occupations, 
and to avoid trifling disputes : he advises Titus to 
expel from the Christian community men of a con- 
tentious and contumacious spirit; and concludes 
the epistle with a chaige to Titus to come to him 
at Nicopolis ; commending to his notice Zenas and 
Apollos ' ; repeating his exhortation to recommend 
industry to those who professed the Christian faith ; 
and adding, finally, his salutations and benediction, 
ver. 8—15. 

The epistle is said, in the Postscript, to have been 

' Apollos was certainly with the apostle at Ephesus when he 
wrote the First Epistle to the Corinthians ; and as he declined 
going to Corinth, he might perhaps make a visit to Crete, 
I Lor. xvi. VI. 


written from Nicopolis > ; but it is more probable 
that it was written from Ephesus in the spring of 
A.D. 56.2 

* There were several cities of that name ; one in Thrace, 
which is the city supposed by Theodoret and Chrysostom to 
have been intended by the apostle : in this opinion they are 
joined by Lardner. Jerom understood it of Nicopolis in Epirus, 
which took its name from the victory at Actium. Paley agrees 
with Jerom. 

"^ Dr. Lardner places the date of this epistle a.d. 56, after the 
apostle left Ephesus. I follow Dr. Ashworth, who supposed it 
to have been written in the same year, before he left Ephesus. 
Dr. Doddridge thought it was written between the first and 
second imprisonment at Rome : Mill places it in (j4, Pearson 
in 6."». Lardner thinks it not probable that Crete should have 
remained so long without the knowledge of the gospel. 




1. A HE apostle announces himself as the autho- ch. l 
lized teacher of that doctrine of life, which having, 
under the former dispensation, been the subject of 
promise, is now explicitly revealed by Jesus Christ, 
and expresses his devout wishes for the happiness 
of his convert and friend. Ch. i. 1 — 4. 

Paul, a servant^ of God, and an apostle of Ver. 1. 
Jeszis Chriatyfoi' promoting^ the faith of the chosen 

' A scrvnnf.'] iaXos, a slave. " This is the only epistle of Pail 
in which he begins with calling himself a servant of God : 1 Pet, 
ii. 16. The apostle might allude to the case of the Hebrew slave, 
who, when he might have had his liberty in the seventh year, 
declared he loved his master and would not be released, but 
obliged himself to be a servant for life." Benson. 

- For promoting.] xatct Ttiriv, according to the faith, xxra, 
suastsiacv, according to godliness ; i. e. which promotes faith and 
godliness. Vide Doddridge, Worsley, Raphclius. " Not ac- 
cording to, but for proinotiug of: place vcr. 2, 3, in a paren- 

374 Sect. I. T I T U S. 1. 

Ch. I. of Gody and the acknowledgement * of the truth 
Ver. 2. which promoteth godliness y {concerning the hope of 
everlasting life^ which God^ who cannot falsify ^pro- 
3. mised before the ancient dispensations^ ^ hut which 
promise^ he hath in its own times ^ manifested by 
the preaching which hath been committed to me ac- 
cording to the appointment of God our Saviour^) 
A. to TituSy my genuine son 5, in the common faith 6, 
favour and peace '^ from God ouv father, and the 
Lord Jesus Christ 8 our Saviour. 

The apostle, intending to give directions to Titus 

thesis." Owen ap. Bowj^er. — Griesbach begins the parenthesis 
at xaro,. 

' Acknovjledgement^ STftyvojinv, " agnitio, verius quavi cog- 
nitio." Erasmus. — To acknowledge is a stronger expression than 
knowledge (yvcjcrij) : it signifies not only to know, but to admit 
and embrace it. 2 Cor. i. 13, 14. See Benson. 

- Before the ancient, dispensations.'] So Newcome. " ^povcav 
aiujviwv, before the secular ages.'' Benson, i. e. before the times 
or jubilees under the law : vide Benson's note. 

3 But which promise.'] " but hath manifested his word." 
Newcome. Xoyov, " promise." Wakefield, Macknight. 

■* Its own times.] xixtpois iSiOig, in his own proper time. " Per- 
haps he alludes to prophecies, particularly Daniel's seventy 
weeks." Benson. " in due time." Newcome. So Castalio, 
Beza. " in its season." Wakefield. 

* Genuine son.] yvyja-iuj' i. e. one who holds the Chris- 
tian doctrine in the purity in which it was taught by the apo- 
stle. " my own son." Newcome. " my true son." Wake- 

^ Connnon faith.] xoivr^v, faith common to Jews and Gentiles. 
This phrase is not used to Timothy, but to Titus a Gentile 
Christian, and therefore particularly proper and beautiful. See 

' Favour and peace.] eXsog, mercy, is wanting in the best co- 
pies. Vide Benson, Mill, Griesbach. 

^ Lord Jesus Christ.] Kvpia, Lord, is wanting in the Alexan- 
drine MS., and in the Coptic and Vulgate versions. Vide Ben- 
son and Griesbach. 

Skct. I. TITUS. 1. 3/5 

concerning a proper choice of persons to superintend Ch, r. 
the affairs of Christian societies, and to preach the 
gospel in Crete, very properly introduces this ad- 
vice, by announcing his own official and sacred 
character, and giving a brief and comprehensive 
summary of the doctrine he taught. 

He first professes himself to be the servant of 
God, his property, his redeemed, devoted, willing 
slave; subject to his unlimited and uncontrouled 
authority, and acknov/ledging no other rule of con- 
duct than his will and pleasure. 

Of Jesus Christ he declares himself to be an apo- 
stle^ appointed to that high and honourable office 
by Jesus Christ himself; who, after his resurrec- 
tion, had appeared to him for that purpose, and had 
given him a charge to preach the gospel to the 

The design of his mission was, to promote the 
faith of the chosen of God; it was to establish the 
faith of those who already believed, and who, pub- 
licly professing the Christian doctrine, had been ad- 
mitted into the society of those who are described 
as having been chosen by God out of the idolatrous 
and unbelieving world, to enjoy the privileges and 
hopes of the gospel. 

But the apostle's mission further extended to the 
instruction of those who were not yet enlightened, 
who having been chosen were by him to be invited 
to the belief and profession of the gospel. He 
taught the gospel alike to the idolatrous heathen, 
and to the prejudiced Je\vs ; and he taught it not as 

^7f^ Skct. I. T 1 T IJ S. I, 

Ch. I. a matter of speculation, but as a great energetic 
practical principle of virtue and piety. 

And the doctrine which the apostle taught related 
chiefly to that hope of everlasting life, luhich God, 
ivho could not falsify ^ had promised. Christianity 
produces its effect upon the hearts and lives of men, 
by revealing the unspeakably important doctrine of 
an everlasting state of righteous retribution. This 
it is which distinguishes the gospel from every other 
system of philosophy and moral instruction. It 
places the expectation of a life to come, upon the 
promise of a faithful and unchangeable God ; and 
it is by the hopes and fears of a future life thus au- 
thoritatively confirmed, that the Christian religion 
produces its beneficial effects upon the heart, and 
makes men wiser and better. 

This promise was made antecedently to the an- 
cient dispensations . The expression is somewhat 
obscure. It signifies literally, before eternal times. 
Hence some have dreamed of what they call an eter- 
nal covenant of redemption ; that is, of some my- 
sterious transaction between the Father and the Son 
for the salvation of men, from all eternity, before 
time began. Others, with better appearance of rea- 
son, have understood the phrase of the promise 
which God made to Adam after the Fall, previously 
to the patriarchal or the Mosaic dispensations. The 
more probable interpretation is, that the apostle al- 
ludes to the promise which was made to Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, and to the ancient patriarchs, be- 
fore the giving out of the law upon Mount Sinai. 

Sect. I. TITUS. *• 377 

It may be rendered, " the times of the ages." And ch. i. 
it is well known, that age is often put for dispensa- 
tion, and the plural sometimes for the singular. 
And the apostle, in most of his epistles, appeals to 
the promise of God to Abraham, that in him should 
all families of the earth be blessed, Gen. xii. 3, as a 
summary and promise of the gospel antecedently to 
the promulgation of the law. Most probably, there- 
fore, he alludes to the same promise here. 

It was then obscurely insinuated ; it is now ex- 
plicitly revealed. God, in his own time, under the 
gospel dispensation, which was promulgated at that 
time, which, to his unerring wisdom, appeared most 
expedient, has published to all mankind the pro- 
mise, which was before known to few, and has au- 
thorized his holy servant and apostle to proclaim the 
glad tidings to all mankind without distinction; 
thus approving himself to be the faithful God, the 
Saviour, the deliverer of the Jew from the bondage 
of the law, and of the heathen from the yoke of 
idolatry and vice, and introducing all into a state 
of liberty, of reconciliation and of hope. 

The apostle, invested with the high commission 
to proclaim these joyful tidings, addresses himself 
in the beginning of this epistle, to Titus, his ge- 
jiuine son in thej'ailh, whom he had converted from 
error to truth, from immorality to virtue, from the 
worship of idols to the knowledge of the living and 
the true God ; and who approved himself the ge- 
nuine disciple of the apostle, by adhering stedfastly 
to the doctrine which he hud received from him, 

'^78 Sect. I. T I T U S. 1. 

Ch. I. neither blending it with heathen philosophy, nor 
^"■•^- corrupting it with Jewish superstition. He ad- 
dresses Titus as his genuine son in the coj7imon 
faith, in that faith which was intended for the be- 
nefit of the Gentile as well as the Jew ; in that go- 
spel which promised eternal life to all of every na- 
tion who received its doctrines, and who yielded a 
practical subjection to its authority ; and to this be- 
loved son, as the best expression of his affectionate 
and paternal regard, he wishes grace and peace, in 
the continued possession of his interest in the go- 
spel, of that gift which originated in infinite mercy, 
and which is productive of unspeakable peace and 
satisfaction of mind; a blessing which we derive 
from God, who acknowledges the endearing rela- 
tion of a father to the Christian family, who are 
thus raised to partake of the adoption and inherit- 
ance of sons ; and from the Lord Jesus Christ, 
whom we acknowledge as our master, and who was 
commissioned by his heavenly father to save us 
from vice and ruin, and to raise us to knowledge, 
to virtue, and to immortality. 

Skci.1I. TITUS. 1. 379 


The apostle gives Titus some directions coH' Ch. I. 
cerning the election of proper persons to super- 
intend the churches of Ci'ete^ an office which the 
notorious vices of the Cretans made it necessary 
to fill with persons of the greatest prudence and 
respectahilitij of character, Ch. i. ver. 5 — 16* 

1 . The apostle describes the qualifications of the 
man who was worthy of being selected for the epi- 
scopal office, ver. 5 — 9. 

For this purpose I left thee in Crete, that thou Ver. 6. 
mighiest proceed to set right i ^vhat was left un- 
done 2, and mightest appoiiit 3 elders in every city 
as I gave thee in charge. 

' Proceed to set right.'] So Wakefield, "pergas corrigere." 
Erasmus. See Macknight. — " Ut reliqua pergas ordinare. To 
eifi ill compositione significat interdum post alium venire, it in 
opere ejus immutare quid, aut ei supplementum addere."' Rosen- 

- To set right what was left undone.'] So Wakefield. " set 
right the things that are wanted." Newcome. Dr. Priestley 
observes : " It is evident that elders and bishops were the same 
persons, for in one verse they are called elders and in the ne.xt 
verse bishops j and as every city or toAvn, for there were no 
great cities in the island, had bishops, it is evident that they 
could not be diocesan bishops having ministers of other churches 
subordinate to them." 

3 Appoint.] The ajjostle gives no hint that the concuirencc 
nf the members of the society woidd be necessary to give vali- 
dity to tlic appointment of Titus. Probably the Cretans were 

380 Sect. II. T 1 T U S. 1. 

Ch. I. My numerous engagements making it necessary 
Ver. 5. Jqj. jijg |.Q return to Ephesus before I had organized 
the many converts to Christianity in the different 
towns of Crete into regular societies, and appointed 
the proper superintendants, being well satisfied with 
regard to your prudence, activity, knowledge and 
zeal, I left you behind, Titus, my beloved associate, 
to finish this important work ; and I now renew the 
charge which I gave you at my departure, that you 
will immediately proceed to select the most prudent 
and respectable characters in each society to super- 
intend its spiritual concerns. 
6. Jf^^^y 0^^ ^^ irreproachable, the husband of one 
wife *, having children ivho are believers, not ac- 
cused of dissolute?iess, nor disobedie?it 2. 

One of the first qualifications of a man who is 
selected to superintend the church is, that he be 
unblameable in the management of his own family; 
one who has no more than one wife, who is neither 
a polygamist, nor divorced from his first wife with- 
out sufficient reason, and married to another. If 
he have children, it must appear that he has brought 

too ignorant and too imperfectly reclaimed from their vices, and 
likewise too much under the influence of judaizing zealots, to 
be capable of making a proper choice for themselves. 

' Of one wife:'] i. e. of one wife at a time. The apostle did 
not mean to condemn second marriages, much less to prohibit 
marriage altogether to the priesthood. ^Vhitby appeals to the 
authority of Chrysostom, dicumenius, and Jerom. 

- Disohedient:] Dr. Priestley observes, that " Christianity 
did not act as a charm, or suddenly, but gradually, there being 
in the first place a change of belief^ or speculative principles 
only, and these producing in time a change of conduct." 

Sect. II. TITUS. I. 381 

them up in the knowledge of truth and the practice ch. i. 
of virtue. The children of a Christian bishop must Ver. 6. 
not be idolatrous heathen, they must not lie under 
the reproach of dissipation and riot, they must not 
be undutiful to their parents. For how shall he be 
able to govern the church, who cannot support dis- 
cipline in his own house ? 

For the bishop 3 7nust be irreproachable y as the 7, 

steward of God. 

The man whom you appoint to be the overseer 
of the church, to instruct the ignorant, to confirm 
the wavering, to administer Christian ordinances, 
to lead the devotions of his fellow-worshipers, and 
to support discipline in the new-formed church, by 
whatever name he is called, whether elder or bishop, 
whether there be one only, or whether two or more 
are united in the same important charge, must be a 
person of unblemished morals, both in his personal 
and relative capacity ; for he is the steward of God, 
appointed to dispense the truths of the gospel, and 
the riches of divine mercy by Jesus Christ: the dig- 
nity of his character therefore must correspond with 
that of his office. 

A^ot self-willed ^y not prone to anger ^y not one 

^ For the bishop.'] " this overseer of the church." Wakefield. 
Compare ver. .5. From hence it is clear, that in tlie apostolic 
age an elder and a bishop were synonymous terms. Compare 
Acts XX. Whitby admits that the names were then common ; 
which he states as the opinion of Chrysostom, Theodoret, and 

* Not self-willed.} auflaJij, " obstinate, morose, and arro- 
gant," Doddridge ; who observes, that " Raphelius, in his Notes 
from Herodotus, has taken great pains to show that this is the 

382 Sect. II. TITUS. 1. 

Ch. I. who sits long over ivine, no striker^ not greedy of 

'^^'•T- dishonourable gain. 

The man who undertakes the superintendence of 
the church must not be one who insists upon hav- 
ing his own way in every thing, who will never 
yield either his inclination or his opinion to those 
of others, obstinate in his purpose, morose in his 
manners, and haughty in his demeanour ; he must 
not take fire upon every slight provocation, and re- 
sent every supposed affront ; he must not be addicted 
to drinking, unwiUing to leave his wine, valuing 
himself upon his taste and judgement in intoxicat- 
ing liquors, or upon the quantity which he can swal* 
low ; he must be no brawler, but must keep at the 
utmost distance from that quarrelling and fighting 
which is the general and almost inevitable conse^ 
quence of hard drinking. And finally, he must be 
perfectly clear from that low vice, the love of mean 
and dishonourable gain, to which the Cretans are 
so much addicted, that there is no baseness to 
which they will not submit if they can get any thing 
by it. 
8, But a friend to hospitality \ a lover of good' 

proper signification of the word." — " Sibi placens, in cujus gestu, 
sennone, vnltu, quid tumldum et prrpfractuvi apparet, quod est 
indicium animi plus (pquo placentis sibi." RosenmuUer. 

^ Not prone to anger.'] So Macknight. " not passionate." 
Wakefield. 2 Tim. ii. 24, 26. 

' A friend to hospitality.'} This was a necessary virtue where 
there were no public accommodations for strangers as in mo- 
dern times. " Not in the modern sense of hospitality," says 
Whitby : " that is, a great table for persons of quality to come 


Sect. 11. TITUS. 1. 383 

ness'^, self -governed^, jiist, holy^ temperate; hold' cu. i. 
mgfast the true doctrine^ as he hath been taught y ^^''* * 
that he may he able ^ both to encourage by whole- 
some instruction, and to confute those tvho contra- 

On the contrary, the man who deserves to be se- 
lected by you to this honourable office must be at- 
tentive to strangers, and willing to receive and to 
entertain them according to his ability ; he must 
delight in acts of kindness, in the society of the 
wise and good, loving goodness wherever he finds 
it ; he must subdue all the inferior powers into un- 
resisting Eubjection to the laws of reason and vir- 
tue ; he must be correct in all his transactions with 
others ; must maintain a sanctity of character, as 
becomes a member of the Christian community, 
and be moderate in the enjoyment of innocent gra- 
tifications. And finally, he must adhere strenuously 

- A lover of goodness.'] So Wakefield. " a lover of good 
men." Newcome. 

' Self-governed.'] So Newcome. (Tw<pp'jva., " chaste." Wake- 
field. " prudent." Macknight and Benson. Macknight ob- 
serves, " It consists in the government of the angry passions : 
differing from syKcatrj, which signifies one v,ho bridles his ap- 

■* Holding fast.] Avr£;^o/.t.evov " signifies holding fast, in op- 
position to one who would wrest it from him." Macknight. — 
mrs Ao/a, "true doctrine." Wakefield, Macknight, Newcome. 
Benson paraphrases it, " one who is tenacious of the Christian 
revelation as 1 taught it among them." 

^ That he may be able.] " that he may be able to encourage 
some by wholesome instruction, and to confute others who con- 
tradict." Wakefield. Compare this description of the qualifica- 
tion.s of an elder or bishop with that given by the apostle to Ti- 
motliv, 1 Tim. iii. 1 — 7. 

384 Sect. II. TIT U S. 2. 

Ch. I. to the word of truth, the genuine doctrine of the 
gospel which I first taught, and which you continue 
to preach, without corrupting it by any foreign mix- 
ture, either from the Jewish or the heathen schools. 
And thus he will be qualified to administer instruc- 
tion and consolation to those who are upright in 
their profession, which will promote their moral 
health and vigour; and to confute the ignorance 
and bigotry of others who would oppose and adul- 
terate the gospel. 

2. It was necessary to be careful in the selection 
of proper persons to act as elders or bishops in the 
churches of Crete, on account of the profligate cha- 
racters of the Cretans themselves, and the perverse 
zeal of the judaizing teachers, ver. 10 — 16. 

10. For many are unruly ', vain talkers^ ^ and deceiv- 

11. ers, especially those of the circumcision^. Whose 
mouths must he stopped^ who subvert whole fami- 
lies^, teaching things which they ought not , for the 
sake of dishonourable gain. 

' Unndij.'] avvrroray.rcii, " very unmanageable persons." 

^ Fain talkers.'] " persons who utter a multitude of foolish 
and trifling things on the subjects whereof they speak." Mac- 

3 Those of the circumcision.] This seems to imply that the 
gospel had been preached some time in Crete to give the Ju- 
daizers an opportunity of making proselytes. Perhaps the apo- 
stle means unconverted Jews ; who we know would from the 
beginning be very active in their opposition to the gospel. 

•* Whole families.] " It appears from hence," says Dr. Ben- 
son, " that some whole families of Gentile Christians had gone 
off and joined the Judaizcrs." Subvert : '' a metaphor taken 

Sect. II. TITUS. 2. 385 

It is the more necessary to appoint men of great P^- ^• 
respectability of character to be the teacliers and 
pastors of the churches, because there are many 
who are taking great pains to corrupt the gospel of 
Christ, and to seduce the unwary from the path of 
pure Christianity. There are many who will not 
submit themselves readily either to your authority, 
Titus, or to mine ; who are filling the minds of 
those who listen to them with crude and mischievous 
notions ; who endeavour to pervert the understand- 
ings of their hearers. Some of them are heathen 
philosophers, but I principally allude to Jewish zea- 
lots, who wish to combine the bondage of the law 
with the liberty of the gospel. You must appoint 
teachers, whose reputation and whose doctrine will 
bear down the absurdity of these bigots, who, if 
they are left to themselves, will undermine the prin- 
ciples of the new converts, and seduce whole fami- 
lies to their pernicious principles. And I can as- 
sure you that these fanatical teachers, notwith- 
standing all their pretended zeal, have no other 
motives, but to make a trade of their profession, 
and to enrich themselves at the expense of their 

One of themselves, a teacher '"> of their ow7iy hath 12. 

from those who overturn houses by sapping the foundation." 

* A teacher.'] t(po<py\rrig . So Wakefield. — " a poet." New- 
come ; who observes, " they are called prophets from their pre- 
tensions to inspiration." " The person here referred to is 
generally supposed to be Epimenides ; and if so, the propriety 
of the epithet ff^o^ijnjf rather than iroiijrijf may easily be disco- 

VOL. IV. 2 c 

38(5 Sf.ct. II. TITUS. 2. 

gh. I. said. The Cretans have ever been liars J, mischieV' 
^*^^' ^"' ous bi^teSy greedy gluttons^. 

This character is given of them by their own poet : 
" TheCretans are a lying, savage, intemperate, brutal 
people ;" and you know that this is the opinion uni- 
versally entertained of them. 

13. This testimony is true ; for which causey rebuke 
theiii sharply^, that they may be sound in thefaith^ 

14. not attending to Jewish fables, and to the com- 
niandments ofrnen^ who apostati%e^ from the truths 

I cannot but admit the truth of this description 
of the Cretans by their national poet. You plainly 
perceive, therefore, what sort of men you have to 
deal with, so that you must speak out boldly ; it 

vered from Diog. Laertius in Vit. Epimenidis." Dr. Owen npjid 

' Ever been liars.'] " They had the reputation of liars, from 
their saying what was true, viz. that Jupiter, who was wor- 
shiped in Greece, was born and died among them, and from 
their showing his sepulchre." Priestley; who remarks that 
♦• this letter was a private one, not to be communicated to the 
persons whose characters are thus described ; and consequently 
that it was not designed for the use of posterity, though in the 
course of divine providence it has been happily preserved to us." 
See Benson, and V\^arburton apud Benson. " Polybius," 
says Dr. Owen, " often mentions the Cretans, but scarcely 
ever without reproach." Bowyer. 

2 Greedy gluttons.} yarepsi apyai. " greedy bellies." Wake- 
field. S'joift gluttons : "i.e. insatiable devouring gluttons." 
Benson, from Dr. Jeremiah Hunt. " slow, that is, idle indo- 
lent gluttons." Newcome. 

5 Sharply.'] airoro/xa;f , cut them to the quick, that the sound 
and healthy part be kept from infection. See Benson, 

* Commandments of men :] whether relating to holy times, or 
distinctions of food, kc. Compare Rom. xvi. See Newcome. 

* Who apostatize] " who turn tltemselves from the tmth." 

Skct. II. TITUS. 2. 387 

will not do to temporize, and flatter and counte- Ch. r. 
nance them in their criminal practices. You must ^'* ' 
tell them plainly that Christianity positively requires 
the entire renunciation of all these odious vices, 
and the habitual, uniform practice of virtue ; and 
that no positive rites, not even such as have been 
appointed by God himself, and much less Jewish 
traditional precepts and Pharisaic ceremonies, will 
be of the least avail to their acceptance with God, 
without sincere and deep repentance. Thus, by 
probing their vices to the quick, and cutting out 
the gangrene, you will introduce sound principle 
and a healthy state of mind ; and will teach them 
to treat these mercenary apostates, together with 
their idle tales, and their unauthorized impositions, 
with the contempt they deserve. 

To the pure all things are pure; but to the poU 15. 
luted, and the UTifaithful^, nothing \^ pure; hut 
even their understanding and conscience are poU 

To the enlightened and practical believer all days 
are equally holy, and all kinds of food are equally 
lawful and innocent ; but to him who corrupts the 
faith, and who, from secular motives, introduces 
Jewish rites into the Christian system, all things are 
impure ; every day is unholy, every action is crimi- 
nal ; his intentions are evil, his motives are base, his 
affections are depraved, and his whole character and 
conduct is offensive in the sight of God. 

* Unfaithful.'] So Benson ; who observes, " that they appear 
to have known and believed right, but to have acted wronq." 


3SS Sect. III. TITUS. 

Ch.i. They profess to know God^ but mtjjeir actw7is 
they deny him ; they are odious and U7itractable ' , 
and approve themselves by no one good work. 

These false teachers, who would mix Judaism 
with Christianity, make a great parade of their 
being the true worshipers of God, and represent 
themselves as the only persons authorized to teach 
religious truth ; but their conduct gives the lie to 
their profession. In practice they are atheists, and 
by the indulgence they allow to their vicious pro- 
pensities, they plainly show that their profession is 
insincere ; for their vices are odious, their conduct 
insolent and ungovernable, and with all their pom- 
pous profession of superior knowledge of the go- 
spel, they have not a single good quality to atone 
for the long and black catalogue of their crimes. 


Ch. II. The apostle directs the Evangelist to enforce 
upon the aged and the young of both sexes the 
duties of their respective stations and characters y 
and to be himself an example of Christian vir- 
tue, Ch. ii. 1 — 8. 

1 . He tells him what advice to give to men ad- 
vanced in life, ver. 1,2. 

• They are odious and untr act able.'] So Wakefield. " /3Je- 
XvKTot, digni quos omnes exsecrentur, exosi Deo et hominibus. 
ahyjij.oi, inutUes sicitt )mwmi qui rcjicinnfur." RosenmuUer. — 

Sect. III. TITUS. 1. o89 

But speak thou the things which become whole- ch. n. 

some doctrine *. 

Having stated the quaUfications and duties of bi- 
shops and pastors, allow me now to address a few 
words of exhortation, Titus, to yourself. And first 
of all, pay no regard to those airs of superiority 
which the false teachers affect, and by no means 
imitate them in representing rites and ceremonies 
as substitutes for moral duties ; but teach that doc- 
trine which alone is truly healthful to the mind, 
however unpalatable to the impostor and the hypo- 
crite ; enforce the truth, that there is no salvation 
without sincere repentance and the pr<u*tice of sub- 
stantial virtue and piety, and that every one must 
faithfully perform the duties of his station. 

That the elderly vien"^ be sober, grave, self- 
governed, sound in faith, in love, in patience. 

Admonish those men who are advanced in life, 
especially such as may be appointed to offices in 
the church, to keep themselves at all times perfectly 

^ Wholesome doctrine.'] Jyiaivatnj. " True doctrine is called 
wholesome, because it invigorates the faculties of the soul, and 
keeps them in a healthy state." Mucknight, Dr. Benson ob- 
servco, that in this chapter the apostle shows Titus what lie 
himself WHS co teach, as he had shown him in the preceding 
what the bishop.- should teach, 

■^ Elderly me)!.] Upsa^urccs is here understood to signify t!ie 
deacons or other officers of the church, by Hammond, Le Clerc, 
and some of the ancients. Macknight would translate it elders; 
and observes, that the advice given to them is tlie same as that 
given to elders and deacons. 1 Tim. iii. 2, 8. Dr. Benson re- 
marks, iliat " Titus is not directed to treat the old men as /a- 
iliers, &c. He was now older than Timotuy vv.i.s when St Paul 
wrote his first eifisuc to him, and might therefore be supposed 
capable of acting with more prudence and authority." 

Vcr. 1. 

390 Skct. 111. T I T U S. 2. 

Ch. II. sober, never to indulge in any excess ; also to be 
vigilant and attentive to the duties of their office; 
to maintain a grave and dignified deportment, and 
not to allow themselves in levities which in youth 
might perhaps be pardonable. Let them govern 
their tempers and their appetites, and keep them 
in due subjection to the dictates of reason and the 
law of God. Let their faith be not merely specu- 
lative, much less corrupt, but pure, vigorous, opera- 
tive and salutary. Let their love be not pretended, 
but sincere ; not partial, but universal. Let them 
love God with their whole heart, and their neigh- 
bours as themselves ; and let them bear, with dig- 
nified composure, the infirmities and sorrows of de- 
clining years; and not, by peevishness and fruitless 
complaints, increase their sufferings, lessen their 
character, and occasion additional trouble to those 
whose office it is to attend their persons, to admi- 
nister to their wants, and to relieve their infirmities. 

2, The aged women are to be admonished to 

perform their duty, and particularly to instruct the 

younger persons of their own sex, ver. 3 — 5. 

3. That the elderly ivomen * likewise be in bcho' 

viour 2 as becometh holy persons 3, not slanderers y 

' Elderly.'] So Wakefield. It is supposed that the apostle 
here alludes to deaconesses : an office known to exist in the 
primitive church. Rom. xvi. 1, 

'^ In behaviour.'] Ka.roiS-y}i>.an- it extends to dress and per- 
sonal appearance in general. — " In habitu cultuque corporis qui 
Chrintianos deed." Schleusncr. " Vox kcht. latins hie sumitur : 

Sect. III. TITUS. 2. 391 

not addicted to excess of wine ^, teachers of that Ch. ir. 
which is right. ^^' ' 

Admonish women advanced in life, and especially 
those who are appointed to offices of importance in 
the church, with regard to their own sex, to dress 
with propriety, and to regulate their general beha- 
viour by the principles of the Christian religion, 
which prohibits its professors from conforming in 
an excessive degree to the follies and fashions of 
the world, especially when the time of life and dig- 
nity of station may be expected to elevate the mind 
to better things. L^t them be tender of the cha- 
racters of others, remembering how difficult it is to 
recover a lost reputation ; let them not, therefore, 
wantonly or maliciously circulate, much less invent, 
reports to the prejudice of their neighbours. Let 
them also, above all things, abstain from drunken- 
ness, a vice odious and contemptible in all, particu- 
larly in the female sex, and most of all in those who 
are advanced in life, and who sustain offices which 
require the greatest decorum and propriety of be- 
haviour. And let them fulfill the duties of their 
years, and of their office, in instructing young per- 
sons of their own sex how to conduct themselves in 
a decent, honourable, and Christian manner. 

nee amictum tantum, sed et gestum, incessum, vultum, &;c. com- 
plectiiur'' RosenmuUer. 

' Holy persons.'] " sacred persons, because employed in sa- 
cred offices." Macknight, Compare 1 Tim. iii. 11. 

■• Not addicted.'] Gr. enslaved. Newcome. — " Non temere 
prepcipiendum hoc ait <ttatis provectioris feminis. Xaipst tu) 
oivuj Tj ijXjy.»a aur)j. Schol. Vet, Horn,"' RosenmuUer. 

Ver. 4. 

392 Skct. III. T I T U S, 2. 

Ch. II. That they may form the minds * of the young 
women to love their husbands, to love their children, 
to be discreet, chaste, luell employed at home^, sub- 
missive to their husbands, that the doctrine of God 
be not evil spoken of^. 

Let elderly women, and especially those matrons 
who are appointed, in consequence of superior years 
and experien' e, to superintend and instruct the 
younger persons of their own sex, instruct and ad- 
monish the young married women to be kind and 
affectionate lo their husbands, whether Christians 
or heathen ; to love their children, and to manifest 
their maternal affection by contributing cheerfully 
to their support, and especially by instilling into 
their tender minds the principles of virtue and ge- 
nuine Christianity, to command their passions, and, 
even under great provocation, to be meek and gen- 
tle ; to abhor every thing that is inconsistent with 
the most delicate sentiments of honour and virtue ; 
to live much at home, and in the prudent faithful 

' Form ihe miiuh.'] (rw^povi^ojcn. See Newcome's margin. 
" that they may iwA^rMc^." "persuade." Macknight. " cuj(p. 
facere ut quissaplat, hortari, docere." Rosenmuller. — " ut pru- 
denliam doceant adolescentidas." Vulgate. 

^ Well employed at hotne.'] omspyss. So the Alexandrine, 
Ephrem, and many of the best copies read, instead of oocyf »j, 
keepers at home, which is the reading of the received text. — 
oiKupyss ayaSas, "good oeconomists." Worsley. " well em- 
])loytd :" this is the punctuation of Hen. Steph. See Bowyer. 
\i ayoL^ai is kept separate, it signifies good, benign. 

3 The doctrine of Cod be not evil spoken of.'] " This caution 
is given in op{)osition to the error that tlie gospel set its 
professors free from human relalionb." Newconie. Compare 
1 Tim. vi. 1 . 

Skct.III. TITUS. 3,4. 393 

discharge of domestic duties ; and, from a regard to ch. ii. 
the will of God, to yield that subjection to their hus- ^^^' ^' 
bands which the reason of things and the custom of 
the country require ; so that the doctrine of Chris- 
tianity may not be traduced, as relaxing the duties 
of relative life, but may be the more approved and 
admired the better it is understood, as being the 
best source of domestic peace and union. 

3. Titus is directed what advice he is to give to 
young men, ver. 6. 

J/i like manner^ exhort the young men to be self- ^' 


Admonish the young men to lay a proper restraint 
upon their appetites and passions, and to maintain 
that strictdiscipline over the mind which will be pro- 
ductive of inward peace, and will display itself in a 
consistent and dignified behaviour, that will do credit 
to their Christian profession. 

4. The apostle urges the evangelist to be himself 
an example of every Christian virtue, ver. 7, 8. 

In all things show thyself^ a pattern of good 7. 

works; in teachings uncorr aptness^, gravity y whole- 8. 

* Show thyself. "l So Wakefield. Gr. " showing." 
'■ Uncorruptness.'] With Newcomc 1 read aipSo^cjav, which 
has the sanction of the most ancient copies. The received text 
reads aS^aipSopiav, " in doctrina integritatem." Schleusner. — 
Mr. Wakefield conjectures that the true reading is aoia.'poptccy, 
ijiup sine respecta personanun se gerit, neque minus pauperi con- 
sidil quam diviti, polcntique." Sijlva (JriticOj P. i. p. 71 . In thy 
doctrine impartiaL 

>04 Sect. III. T I T U S. 4. 

Ch. II. some doctrine^ which cannot he condemned^ ^ that 
he who opposeth it may be ashamed, having no evil 
to say ofus^. 

If, Titus, you expect to do any good by your 
teaching, you must follow it up by a good example; 
and that not only in one or two instances, but in the 
habitual practice of all the virtues of the Christian 
character. And particularly with regard to your 
public instruction, do not presume to corrupt the 
pure word of God with any human mixtures, in 
order to make it more palatable to your hearers. 
Teach it with becoming gravity, mindful both of 
the Being in whose name you speak, and of the 
great importance of the message which you have to 
deliver. Let your doctrine be salutary and practi- 
cal, such as will bring the mind into a healthy active 
state ; let it be free from all unnecessary harshness 
and asperity of language ; let it have a direct ten- 
dency to make your hearers wiser and better ; and 
let it be so temperate and guarded that no one will 
dare, or be able, to find fault with it ; so that the 
spiteful, bigoted, judaizing teachers, the enemies of 
the gospel, who are also your enemies and mine, 
may blush with shame and remorse, when they see, 

' Which cannot be condemned.'] " Possibly Titus, who wTis a 
Gentile convert, and who had no prejudices in favour of the Ju- 
daizers, might be in some danger of speaking with some harsh- 
ness of them, and of their wicked attempts ; and in the warmth 
of his zeal he might be led to say things which had better not 
have been said. Or at least the fear of such impropriety of lan- 
guage might lead the apostle to give him this caution." Benson. 

^ Ofus^ All the ancient copies read ijju-wv, us, instead of 
t5]xaiv, yoxi, which is in the received text. See Griesbach. 

Sect. IV. TITUS. 1. 395 

that after all the calumnies they liave propagated, ch. n. 
they can really allege nothing truly blame-worthy ^'^'- '^^ 
against our character or our language, and that our 
innocence and prudence is an impenetrable shield 
against the venomous shafts of their inveterate ma- 


The apostle states the i7isiructions which are 
to be given to servants, and the peculiar motives 
by which they are to be enforced, and encourages 
Titus to zeal and fidelity. Ch. ii. 9—15, 

1 . The apostle details the instructions which it 
would be proper to give to servants, ver. 9, 10. 

Exhort 3 bond-servants ^ to be submissive to their y- 

oivn 5 masters, to be desirous of pleasing them in 
all things, not contradicting, not secretly steal- 10. 

ing 6, but shotuing the utmost fidelity 7, that they 
may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all 

^ Exhort.] " Supply from ver. 6." Newcome. 

■* Bond -servants. 1 $8\8S, slaves. 

^ Their own.'] tSiois, own masters : not only to Christ their 
common Master, but to the individuals virhose slaves they are. 

^ Secretbj stealing.] vo<r(pt^oixev8s, stealing privately through 
fear of detection. Compare Acts v. 3. — " not thieving." 
Newcome. — " not wasting or privately embezzling their mas- 
ters' goods." Benson. 

' The utmost fidelity^ Gr. " showing all good fidelity." So 
Newcome. — " the utmost faithfulness." Wakefield. 

396 Sect. IV. TITUS. I. 

ch. II. There are some who represent the Christian reli- 
*^' • gion as dissolving all civil obligations, and who teach 
that Christian servants and Christian slaves, upon 
their profession of the Christian faith, are released 
from obedience to their masters and immediately ac- 
quire a title to personal liberty. But though Chris- 
tianity redeems men from spiritual bondage, it leaves 
their civil and political condition as it found it, only 
operating a gradual improvement by the gentle but 
powerful influence of moral principles. It requires, 
therefore, the faithful discharge of the proper duties 
of a servant to a master, enforcing those obligations 
by additional motives peculiar to itself. Let Chris- 
tian slaves, therefore, be taught that they owe entire 
obedience to their masters in all things lawful, whe- 
ther those masters be heathen or Christian, and as 
much after their conversion to Christianity as in 
their heathen state ; and let them know that tlieir 
subjection to Christ, our common master, by no 
means releases them from their antecedent duties. 
Let them also be taught, that they must be desirous 
of pleasing their masters, that they must study their 
tempers, their situation, and their wants, and en- 
deavour, if possible, to anticipate their wishes ; if 
they find any of them morose in their temper, un- 
reasonable in their injunctions, or harsh in their lan- 
guage, they must bear all with meekness and gen- 
tleness ; and, how grievous soever the provocation, 
must carefully refrain from the use of all petulant 
and reproachful retorting, and from all dishonest 
and undutiful coitduct. Whenevei' their masterb^ 

Sect. IV. TITUS. 2. 397 

property Is trusted to their care, they must not pre- Ch. ir. 
suine, they must not even think of secreting any part 
to their own use, how secure soever they may be 
from detection. In every concern they must act 
with the strictest fidehty, that they may adorn the 
Christian religion, that they may lead men to think 
well of the gospel and its professors, and thus ma- 
nifest their gratitude to God, who has saved them, 
by the gospel of his son, from the bondage of hea- 
thenism, and has brought them into a state of li- 
berty, hope, virtue, and happiness. 

2. It is a great motive to the performance of 
these duties, that the blessings of the gospel are 
extended to all without distinction of rank, and that 
the great design of it is, to render all who profess 
it virtuous and happy, by the awful and animating 
expectations which it excites, ver. 1 1 — 14. 

For the favour of God, which bi'ingeth salva- H- 

tion > to all men, hath shone forth". 

The gospel revelation, which originates in the 
goodness of God, and is the best gift of divine 

' Which bringeth, &c.] " Either hath appeared to all men, 
as Theophylact ; or, with others, that bringeth salvation to all 
men." Estius apud Bowyer. 

2 Hath shone forth.'] e'!rs<pocvYj, " hath shined out or risen 
like a bright sun, or a cheering constellation, upon a benighted 
or dark world." Benson : vide also Macknight. " Tlie gospel 
is called the grace of God, either because it is the greatest 
favour which God has bestowed on man, or because it teaches 
the doctrine of God's great favour to men." Macknight. The 
gospel, that grace of God which containeth the promise of ever- 
lasting salvation. 

398 Sect. IV. TITUS, .2. 

Ch. II. mercy to mankind, the design of which is to save 
■ men of all nations and ranks, without any distinc- 
tion of Jew or Gentile, bond or free, from ignorance 
and superstition, from vice and misery, has risen 
upon the world like the morning sun, and diifuses 
its glorious light through all nations. 
12. Instructing us that, denying ungodliness i and 
worldly desires, we should live soberly and right- 
eously and religiously 2 in this present luorld. 

The design of the gospel is not to impose rites 
and ceremonies, to introduce innovations into civil 
life, and to substitute forms of worship for practi- 
cal religion, but to reclaim men from impiety and 
vice, and to make them truly and habitually vir- 
tuous. It is intended to teach men to renounce all 
false conceptions of God, and of the worship and 
service that he requires, all superstitious notions, 
all idolatrous rites, and all those vicious affections 
and criminal practices which the world regards with 
indiflference, and which the prevailing superstitions 

' Ungodliness.'} " By ungodliness" isays Dr. Benson, " I 
would understand atheism and irreligion, blasphemy, perjur)', 
profane cursing and swearing, contempt of God, a want of due 
reverence to him, neglect of his worship, judging hardly or 
speaking with disrespect of his providence, disobedience to his 
will. By worldly lusts may be understood the other vices of 
mankind : every thing contrary to the sobriety and righteous- 
ness recommended in the next verse. All Christians are con- 
cerned to avoid these things ; but they might be here con- 
demned with a peculiar view to the character of the Cretans." 

2 Soberly, &c.] " soberly, i. e. wisely regulating our passions, 
affections, and appetites : righteously, i. e. with justice and 
equity, kindness, and beneficence towards men ; godlily, i. e. 
paying due homage, submission, and obedience 1;o God." Beny 

Sect. IV. T IT U S. 2, o99 

tolerate and encourage ; and it requires that we ch. it. 
should live in the conscientious discharge of every ^*^'^" "' 
religious and moral duty ; in the strict government 
of the appetites and passions ; in the exercise of 
justice, fidelity, and kindness to our fellow-creatures; 
and in the diligent performance of the duties we owe 
to the Supreme Being ; to fear and love him, and 
to live under a commanding sense of his presence 
and inspection in all our transactions with men, in 
all our intercourse with the world. 

Earnestly expecting that blessed hope^^ even the ^^' 
manifestation of the glory of the great God, and 
of our saviour * */esus Christ, 

' Earnestly expecting that blessed hopeJ] " gladly entertain- 
ing the happy expectation." Wakefield. See Acts xxiv. 15, 
2 Tim. iv. 8. 

* Of the great God and of our Saviour.'] " Our Saviour at 
the last day will appear clothed in his own glory, attended by 
his Father's gloiy. Matt. xvi. 27, Mark viii. 38, Luke ix. 26. 
By the great God, therefore, must be understood the one God 
and Father of all, who is here and every where else most evi- 
dently distinguished from our saviour Jesus Christ. This title 
is never applied to Jesus Christ in the scriptures, but frequently 
to the Father, and to him alone." Benson. Beza and others 
render the words, our great God and saviour Jesus Christ; and 
they say that the appearance of God is a phrase never used in 
the New Testament. But most certainly Christ is never called 
the great God, nor had the apostle any conception that his 
words could be so perverted. Macknight well observes, " It is 
not the appearance of God, but of the glor^' of the great God 
here mentioned." Both Newcome and Wakefield render the 
clause, " the appearance of the gi-eat God, and of our saviour 
Jesus Christ." 

" From this expression," says Dr. Priestley, " some have 
hastily inferred that Jesus Christ and * the g^eat God' were the 
same person. But a saying of our Saviour himself will clearly 
explain this : he says, that he shall return in his own glory, and 
in the glory of his Father, and of the holy angels- The appear- 

400 Sect. IV. TITUS. 2. 

Ch. II. Chiistianlty requires the practice of these duties, 
"' * and enforces them hy the most powerful sanctions ; 
elevating us to the awful and delightful expectation 
of a second appearance of our honoured Master 
Jesus Christ : an appearance, not in the humble 
form in which he first published his gospel in the 
world, and died upon the cross. Oh, no ! when he 
shall return again, he will appear in his own glory, 
and in the glory of his great God and Father, and 
all his holy angels with him ; and being seated on 
the throne of his glory, the dead, both small and 
great, shall be judged by him according to their 
works. Yet, even then, he will maintain the cha- 
racter of the Saviour and the friend of his faithful 
14. TV ho gave himself for us^ that he might redeem 
us from all iniquity ^^ and purify to himself a pe- 
culiar people 2, zealous of good works 3. 

ance of the great God, therefore, signifies nothing more tTian 
that glorious presence of God which will accompany Jesus 
Christ when he shall return to raise the dead and judge the 
world." " Dicitur hcec Dei et Christi majestas, quia Deus ma- 
jestatem illam Christo tribuit. Alii utruvique pradicatum ad idem 
suhjectum. Christian nempe, refenmt, contra quani sentoitiam 
vide qxice Moldenhawerns rede monuit, in annotationibus ad hunc 
locum." Rosenmuller. 

' Redeem us from all iniquity .-] i. e. to recover us from a 
Gentile state. " Here," says Dr. Priestley, " we see the true 
meaning of Christian redemption. It is a deliverance from ini- 
quity, and all the effects of it, by making us virtuous and good, 
and by no means a deliverance from the wrath of God by the 
death of Christ. The phrase • peculiar people' is borrowed from 
the Old Testament, where the .Jewish nation is said to be a pe- 
culiar people, that is, distinguished from all other nations for 
great and valuable purposes. In like manner, in the Christian 

Skct. IV, TITUS. 


This Saviour was lately upon earth in a very Ch. ii. 
bumble form, and after be had fulfilled bis ministry 
in preaching the gospel he suffered death upon the 
cross, that he might put an end to the Jewish dis- 
pensation, and introduce and seal a new, a univer- 
sal, and perpetual covenant, extending to heathen as 
well as to Jews ; to recover those of us who were 
under the dominion of ignorance, idolatry, and vice, 
to truth, piety, and virtue ; and the great design of 
all was to set apart for himself a people distinguished 
from all the rest of mankind by their zeal, not for 
speculative opinions, not for useless and burdensome 
rites, but for the practice of substantial and universal 
virtue. This, under the Christian dispensation, is 
the main distinction between those who are the true 
and approved servants of God, and the unbelieving, 
idolatrous, and wicked world. 

3. The apostle enjoins it upon Titus to insist 
strongly upon these topics, ver. 15* 

dispensation, all good meii may be considered as the peculiar 
people of Christ, without any distinction of nations." 

^ A peculiar people.l icspmcnov. Compare Ex. xix. 5, Deut. 
vii. 6. The Jews were formerly the peculiar people of God. 
Now, believing Gentiles are taken into that honourable rela- 
tion. " Populus eximius, proestans : a i(spi£i[j.i, superior sum, 
antecello." Rosenmuller. 

3 Zealous of good works.} " When our Lord arid his apostleii 
have laid such stress upon good works, and have frequently 
declared them absolutely necessary to salvation, none who pro- 
fess Christianity ought to neglect the practice of them, much 
less speak of them with aversion and contempt." Benson, 

VOL. IV. 2 D 

402 Skct.IV, TITUS. 3. 

Ch.'ir. These things ^ speak and exhorty and reprove 
' with all authority. Let no man despise thee 2. 
Let these important topics which I have now 
suggested, viz. the great design and the awful ex- 
pectations of the gospel, be the constant theme of 
your discourse both in public and in private. Upon 
these principles ground all your exhortations to the 
different classes of mankind, to perform the duties 
which the gospel requires ; for if this will not in- 
Jiluence men to repent of their crimes, and to live 
in the practice of virtue, nothing will. If any ob- 
ject to your doctrine, and are desirous of substituting 
the observation of ceremonies for the performance 
of duty, confute and expose their pernicious errors : 
and if any act upon these dangerous principles, re- 
prove them with prudence, with fidelity, and with 
authority, mindful of the commission under which 
you act, and knowing the powers with which you 
are invested, and the purposes for which they were 
given ; do not tamely submit to insults, which 
would lessen your character and impede your use- 

1 These things.'] Dr. Benson observes, that " by instruction 
and authority from the apostles Evangelists might teach, preach, 
reprove, rebuke, exhort ; but they are never said to have testi- 
fied the grand fact of Christ's resurrection." 

2 Let no man despise thee.l Compare Tim. iv. 12. The apo- 
stle does not say to Titus, Let no man despise thy youth : a 
proof that Titus was older than Timothy. See Benson and 

Sect. V. TITUS. 1. 403 


The apostle exhorts Titus to press upon his Ch. iii. 
hearers the due performance of their civil and 
social duties, which he enforces by considerations 
peculiar to the Christian religion. Ch. iii. 1 — 7. 

1. The apostle exhorts Titus to remind his 
hearers of their duties to magistrates and civil au- 
thorities, and to recommend a quiet, peaceable 
spirit, ver. 1, 2. 

Admonish them to he submissive to authorities Ver. 1. 
and powers, to he ready to obey them in every good 
ivork 3. 

Remind the converts in Crete that they are not, 
by their profession of the Christian religion, ab- 
solved from their obligation to obey their civil 
rulers, as the Jewish zealots often teach their mis- . 
guided proselytes. Christianity is no enemy to so- 
cial order : let believers know, therefore, that their 
religion requires them to yield subjection to the civil 
authorities, in what hands soever they maybe lodged, 
and in whatever manner they may be exercised, even 

^ To obey them in every good work.'] TtsiSapx^iv itpog ttav. 
So Wakefield. " Put them in mind of a ready obedience to 
these in every good work." By others the clauses are kept 
distinct: " Put men in mind to be subject to principalities and 
powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work," 

404 Sect. V. TITUS. 


Ch. in. though the magistrate should be a heathen, and his 
government oppressive and unjust. As the Chris- 
tian rehgion is far from abridging men's civil rights, 
so neither does it confer any civil privilege. And 
as the Christian converts must submit to their civil 
governors, whatever their character may be, so they 
must be active, ready, and cheerful in their obe- 
dience, when they are required to do any thing 
which may contribute to the peace and prosperity 
of the community ; and at all times they must be 
attentive to their social duties. 
2. To calumniate no man, to avoid contention, to 
he gentle, showing all meekness to all men. 

The disciples of Christ, whose doctrine is a law 
of kindness, are strictly prohibited from using harsh 
and opprobrious language. They must not need- 
lessly speak evil of others, even when it may be done 
with truth ; much less may they calumniate and blast 
the reputation of their neighbours by false and ma- 
licious misrepresentations of their language, cha- 
racter, or conduct. Quarrelling and fighting are 
utterly inconsistent with the spirit of Christianity, 
which strongly inculcates gentleness, forbearance, 
and a meek and forgiving spirit to all men of all 
countries, parties, and sects, whatever injuries they 
may commit, or whatever provocations they may 

2. The mercy of God in the gospel dispensation 
purifies the heart from the unsocial and malignant 
passions which were indulged in an unconverted 

Sect. V. TIT U S. 2, 405 

state, and infuses a spirit of universal goodness, Ch.iii. 
ver. 3—7. 

For we also * were formerly without understand- Vtr. 3. 
mgy disobedient, erring^ enslaved to various appe- 
tites and pleasures 2, livijig in malice and envij, 
odious y and hating one another^. 

For we who are now converted to the Christian 
religion, and whose lives are regulated by the pre- 
cepts and by the spirit of Christianity, were in our 
unconverted state as immoral and as profligate as 
the unchristianized world still is. We were once 
destitute of all just sentiments of religion, disobe- 
dient to the laws of God and man, wandering in the 

' For we aho^ Benson and Priestley think the apostle only 
is intended, Newcome only Gentiles, Macknight only Jews. 
Probably both Jews and Gentiles are to be included : q. d. We 
may well be disposed to exercise meekness and gentleness to 
others, having ourselves needed it so much while we remained 
in an unconverted state. 

- Appetites and pleasures.'] STftQvi^iais km T^Sovaig. Dr. Ben- 
son observes, that " these words do not always express impure 
desire and voluptuousness (vide Steph. Thesaur.), but merely 
intense inclination, Mark iv. 19, 1 Thess.ii. 17 ; and pleasure, 
which is not inconsistent with Saul's character before his con- 
version." He remarks, that " the apostle does not mention 
idolatry, adultery, theft, &c., which were the gross vices of ido- 
latrous Gentiles," 

^ One another.'] The iEthiopic reads aJeXipsj , the brethren; 
which, if admittetl, would be peculiarly applicable to Paul. See 
Benson. Dr. Benson's principal reason for limiting this de- 
scription to the apostle himself seems to be, that the abundant 
effusion of the holy spirit, noted ver. 6, was only applicable to 
himself as an apostle. But it seems not unlikely that the apo- 
stle might use this expression to denote the abundance of spi- 
ritual gifts communicated to the primitive believers ; and that 
he might mean to include believers in general, without except- 
ing those whose conduct antecedent to their conversion had, 
iike his own, been least stained with the grosser vices. 

406 Sect. V. TITUS. 2. 

ch. III. paths of error and vice, the wretched slaves of ap- 
^^^' ^- petite and passion, intemperate, malignant, envious, 

odious, and delighting to injure each other. Such 

was once our disgrace and misery. 

4. Bzii when the kindness of God our saviour ^ and 

5. his love toward man^ shone forth, he saved ^ us, not 
by works of justification^ which ive did, but accord- 
ing to his mercy, by the laver of regeneration 3, and 

' Saved^ " delivered us from the miserable and wicked state 
in which we were living before we believed the gospel." Mac- 
knight. See Newcome and Benson. " shone forth." Mac- 
knight. See ch. ii. 11 . 

2 By works of justification^ " justifying works j works tend- 
ing to gain us admission into the gospel covenant." Newcome. 

^ The laver oj regeneration.'] Katpov proprie balneum, per 
metonymiamsubjectilavacTum, ipsa aquain balneo." Schleusner. 
When a Jew or a heathen was converted to the Christian reli- 
gion, the change which took place in his apprehensions, in his 
affections, in his character, and his expectations, was so great 
and extraordinaiy, that it seemed as though he had become an 
inhabitant of a new world ; and this change is sometimes com- 
pared to a resurrection from the dead (see Rom. vi.) ; and some- 
times, as in the text, to a new birth. Compare John iii. 3 — 7, 
1 Pet. i. 3, 23. They who are introduced into this state are 
said to be saved, i. e. rescued from the bondage of idolatry, or 
from the yoke of the law (see ver. 5) ; and this 7iot by works of 
righteousness which they had done, but by the/ree mercy of God, 
who had invited them into the gospel covenant, without any 
antecedent claim of merit in them, entirely of his own gratu- 
itous goodness. And as baptism was the appointed symbol by 
which the believer was to express his conversion to the Chris- 
tian faith, his transition from the unbelieving world into the 
holy community, this rite is sometimes spoken of as if it were 
the actual change, of which it was the authorized symbol. So 
Acts xxii. 1 6, Ananias says to Paul, " Arise and be baptized, 
and wash away thy sins." See also John iii. 5, 1 Pet. iii. 21. 
And in the text we are said to be saved by the u-ashing or the 
laver of regeneration, in connexion with the renovation of the 
holy spirit. Hence it was, that the word TraXiyysvscria, rege- 
neration, was used by the early ecclesiastical writers for bap- 

Sect. V. TITUS. 2. 407 

by the renovation of the holy spirit *, which he shed Ch iir. 
on us richly through Jesus Christ our saviour. ^^'" ^' 

Such was the unhappy condition both of Jews 
and Gentiles, when the joyful tidings of the gospel 
were proclaimed to the world ; but when this best 
gift of God to man, this strongest proof of divine 
benignity and good-will, enlightened the benighted 
world with its beautiful ray, God our creator and 
deliverer saved us thereby from the darkness, the 
errors, the vices, and the misery of our former state. 
And this he did, not because we, in consequence of 
our wise improvement of past privileges, had enti- 
tled ourselves to still superior advantages. Far from 
it : on the contrary, our apostasy and vices had in- 
curred a just sentence of condemnation ; and our 
present improved and happy state is entirely owing 
to the free unmerited mercy of God, whose good- 

tism, which was the emblem of the change produced. And a 
baptized person was said to be regenerated: referring solely to 
his external and professed, not to his moral state. Vide Justin 
Martyr, Irenaeus, Clem, Alex, and Theophilus, as referred to 
by Whitby in loc. But this use of the symbol for the thing .sig- 
nified, gradually introduced that enormous error which prevails 
in the Roman, and in some Protestant churches, that Baptism 
is Christian regeneration : so that a child born in original sin, 
and therefore liable to eternal misery, is sanctified and saved 
by being washed by a duly authorized priest : and even the 
greatest sinner, by being baptized, receives immediate and un- 
qualified forgiveness. Who that looks into the New Testament 
could ever have thought it possible that such monstrous ab- 
surdities could have been fastened upon it ? and who would 
suspect that such absurdities could have found advocates among 
men of learning in the present enlightened and inquisitive age ? 
' Renovation of the holif^ spirit.'] " that renovation of mind 
which the holy spirit usually communicated to converts in those 
ages had the strongest tendency to produce." Newcome. 

408 Sect. V. T I T U S. 2. 

Ch. III. ness prompted him to interpose for our relief; and 
*'^' ' by whose blessing upon the means of instruction, 
we have been induced to enter ourselves as members 
of the Christian community, by the solemn rite of 
baptism ; and have, as it were, been introduced into 
a new world, in which our views, our feelings, our 
expectations, and our conduct, as well as our privi- 
leges and obligations, are totally changed from what 
they formerly were. To which happy renovation, 
the abundant effusion of the holy spirit from Jesus 
Christ, who has been appointed by God to be the 
deliverer of mankind, has in no small degree contri- 
buted, having supplied us with the most convincing 
evidence of the truth of the Christian doctrine, and 
thereby excited the most glorious and interesting 
7. That, being justified through his favour, ivc 
might become heirs, as to the hope ^, of eternal life. 
He gave us the gospel freely, and poured out his 
spirit upon us abundantly, that we might be con- 
vinced of the truth of the evangelical doctrine ; and 
that, by our cordial acceptance, and our public pro- 
fession of the Christian religion, we might be ad- 
vanced to the character and privilege of sons, and 
might become expectants of the inheritance of ever-* 
lasting life; a glorious and awful expectation, which. 

' As to the hopeJ] xar' sXinSa. " Include this between com- 
mas, to connect xXTopovo[ji,oi with ^u;y)s, which would otlierwise 
want a genitive. Piscator, Knatchbull, Grotius. Tlic words 
seem to disturb the sense, and may therefore be omitted. They 
<ire wanting in one manuscript. Dr. Owen." Bowyer. 

Sect. VI. TITUS. 1. 409 

to every virtuous believer, shall in due time be ful- Ch. iii. 
filled to its utmost extent; and which in the mean ^*''' ^* 
time may justly animate them to the discharge of 
every duty, and console them under every loss and 
every suftering. 


The apostle directs the evangelist to recommend 
honourable industry^ to avoid useless disputa- 
tions y to dismiss contentious and factious persons 
from the society ; and concludes the epistle with 
S07ne particular charges, with salutations^ and 
the apostolical benediction, Ch. iii. 8 — 15. 

1 . The apostle desires that Titus would insist 
strongly upon honourable industry, ver. 8. 

This doctrine ^ is ivorthy of credit. And these 
things 3 / willy that thou strongly affirm ; so that 
they who have believed in God may be careful to 
excel 171 reputable occupations^. These are ho- 
nourable and useful to mankind. 

^ This doctrine ;] i. e. " the doctrine he had laid down in the 
four preceding verses." Newcome. 

3 These things.] rsrwj'. " these heirs of the hope of life, 
the converts from idolatry in Crete," Macknight. " these 
things." Newcome, Wakefield. 

* Excel in reputable occupatians.'] xxXuuv spycuv ifpoifccc-Qcii. 
i. e. good works in general. Macknight, &c. ; but the same ex- 
pression occurs again ver. 14, where, from the connexion, Mac- 
knight allows it signifies honefjt occupations and trades : it 

410 Sect. VI. TITUS. 1. 

Ch. III. The doctrine which I have advanced concerning 

"■ * the great goodness of God in our salvation by Jesus 
Christ, and in raising us to the hope of life by the 
gift of his spirit, is a truth of the greatest moment, 
and the belief of it is of the highest practical im- 
portance. And with regard to the converted Gen* 
tiles, who are thus unexpectedly become heirs of the 
hope of immortal life, I strictly charge you to incul- 
cate upon them the practice of virtue, as a necessary 
means of obtaining it ; and as the Cretans are as 
notorious for their indolence as for their intempe- 
rance, and as there are some persons who are dis- 
posed to teach, or to believe, that a life of indo- 
lence, and wasting time in angry disputes upon 
frivolous questions, is acceptable to God, I charge 
you, Titus, on the contrary to insist steadily upon 
this point, that all who have embraced and still 
continue in the Christian faith, who, having been 
converted from idolatry, have become the wor- 
shipers of the one true God, shall pursue some 
honest and reputable occupation, by which they 
may be able to maintain themselves and their fa- 

seems probable, therefore, that this is the meaning- here, trpoi- 
S'uo'Sai, " bona opera tueri,juvare." Newcomc, Kypke, Ellys. 
" that those who trust in God may study to be foremost in 
good works." Wakefield. — " be careful to stand tip for good 
works." Benson. Grotius's observations are excellent : 
" Prcpesse bonis operihus non est aliud quam domum suam fa- 
cere honesti alicujus opificii officinam, omnes suos excrccre in 
labonbus honestis, non agere vitam lenonum, parasitorum, sce- 
nicorum, aruspicitm, aut Ins similem. Hunc sensiim nobis nion- 
strat eadem sententia rcpetita infra 14. Opponuntiir hcec ei quod 
inodo dc Cretcnsibiis dixerat yasre§£s apyai." 

Sect. VI. TITUS. 2,3. 411 

milies without being a burden upon the commu- ch. ill. 
nity. It is by honourable industry in the proper ^"- ^' 
business of Hfe that the disciples of Christ will do 
the most credit to their profession ; for it is by 
these means that they will make themselves most 
useful to mankind, both by their good example and 
their beneficent actions. 

2. The apostle dissuades Titus from useless con- 
troversy, ver. 9. 

But avoid foolish questionSy and genealogies ^y 9- 
and disputes y and contentions about the lawy for 
they are unprofitable and vain. 

Time is too precious to be wasted upon trifling 
disputes, either in settling intricate genealogies, or 
in quarrelling about distinctions of food, distinctions 
of days, or other subjects which the zealots of the 
law of Moses, burdened with the additional encum- 
brances of Pharisaic tradition, are so eager to in- 
troduce, which they so rigorously impose, and for 
which they so intemperately contend. 

3. The apostle advises Titus to dismiss from the 
Christian society men of a contentious and factious 
spirit, ver. 10, 11. 

Reject a man IV ho is a fomenter of divisioiis^ lo. 

' Genealogies.'] Bengelius and others suppose the Gnostic 
doctrine of the Mons to be referred to here ; but being men- 
tioned in connexion with disputes about the law, it seems pro- 
bable that Jewish genealogies are particularly alluded to. 

■^ A fomenter of divisions.] al§ariKOv avQpujTtov, a heretic- i. e. 
"a man who teaches what he knows to be erroneous." Whitby, 

412 Sect. VI. T I T U S. 3. 

ch. HI. after the first and second adnwnitioii\ knowing 
Ver. II. fj^^^ ^^^^.^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ ivholly perverted-, and erreth^, 
being self-condemned^. 

Macknight^ Newcome. " a man who errs in fundamental 
doctrine J and self-condemned, because he publicly avows that 
which furnishes mutter for his condemnation." Doddridge. " a 
man who foments divisions, or sects, or parties." Wakefield, 
" The word aipso-jj, heresy, does not with the ancients," says 
Dr. Benson, " signify doctrine, but a seclov party. It is usually 
rendered sect in our common translation. In 1 Cor. xi. 19 it is 
rendered heresies, but in the margin sects: as it is most reason- 
able to understand it Gal. v. 20, 2 Pet. ii. 2, where it is trans- 
lated heresies. Schism is a rent, a groundless faction or divi- 
sion among members of the same congregation ; heresy has its 
foundation in schism. A heresy is a sect, faction, or party 3 
or, the persons of which that party consists. Vide 1 Cor. xi. 18, 
19: ' 1 hear there be divisions {raarg. schisms) among you 5 
and I partly believe it, for there must be also heresies (marg. 
sects) among you^ that they who are approved may be made 

" A heretic, then, (cclpsriKOs) is a sect-maker, or sectary : 
one who makes or follows a sect or party. Among the philoso- 
phers the word was of a middle signification. Acts xxvi. 5 
heresy is used in a good sense 5 but when it is condemned as 
one of the works of the flesh, it is used in a bad sense. 

" Those who to the best of their judgement take Christ for 
their head and guide in religious matters, though such men may 
perhaps mistake the meaning of several texts, or judge wrong 
as to points of doctrine, and though others may perha])s exclude 
them from their communion, yet they constitute a true church 
of Christ, though few in number ; and those who oppose them 
and renounce communion with them are the heretics, how nu- 
merous soever they may be, and how great soever their worldly 

Such are the judicious observations of Dr. Benson in his ex- 
cellent note upon this text. — Archbishop Newcome refers to 
Bishop I'earcc'.s Sermon upon the subject, as above all worthy 
of being consulted. 

' Reject after admonitio7t.'] " It is not said. Imprison him, 
tease him with artful examinations, or ])ut him to the torture 
to make him confess ; and then, if he will not recant, roast him 
by a blow and lingering, lire. Such rulc-i never proceeded froin 

Srcr. VI. TITUS. 3. 413 

If any men of a contentious overbearing disposi- Ch. in, 
tion, and particularly, any of the warm zealots for "" 
the law, should, notwithstanding your efforts to 
maintain the peace, the order, and the liberty of 
the Gentile church, and to banish these frivolous 
and vexatious questions, persist in propagating their 
obnoxious tenets, and should disturb the peace of 
the society by forming parties in opposition to the 
doctrine that we are authorized to teach, it is my 
advice to you, once or twice, to warn such sectaries 
in a calm and serious manner of their guilt and 
their danger, and to expostulate with them con- 
cerning the impropriety of their conduct in destroy- 
ing the harmony of the society, by dividing it upon 
questions of so little importance : and if they refuse 
to listen to your advice, and to alter their conduct, 
discard them from the church, and regard them no 

the apostles of our Lord, but from the ministers of Satan. Ex- 
citing the rage of the populace, or, awakening the zeal of the 
magistrate, inflicting pains and penalties, &c., has never yet 
been found the way to enlighten men's understandings, or to 
make them better Christians or honester men. Titus was not 
rashly to reject a heretic : if upon repeated admonition he re- 
pented, he was not to reject him at all ; but if he did not there- 
upon amend, he was to be rejected as incorrigible, and as no 
longer under the evangelist's care and inspection." Benson. 
" Reject, avoid, withdraw thyself from." Newcome. 

* Is wholly perverted^ e^srpaitrai. The word is applied to 
buildings ; and signifies, to be overturned from the foundation. 
Estius, Macknight. 

•^ Erreth^ dfjox^tavu}, " aherro a scopo proposito .•" to err 
from the mark, to wander from the road ; to sin. Schleusner. 

* Being self-condemned^ " He that thus breaks off from the 
unity of the church, doth in effect inflict that punishment upon 
himself which the church useth to malefactors ; that is, cutting 
himself oft' from the church." Hammond. 

414 Sect. VI. TITUS. 4. 

Ch. III. longer as members of the Christian community : 
"' ' for it is plain that people who are so zealous for 
Jewish rites are utter strangers to the doctrine and 
spirit of Christianity. If they were ever acquainted 
with it, they are now entirely alienated from it; and 
by setting themselves up at the head of factions and 
parties in opposition to us, they do in effect renounce 
communion with us, and pass a sentence of excom- 
munication upon themselves. 

4. Ke directs Titus to come to him at Nicopolis, 
and to give every necessary assistance to Zenas and 
Apollos, ver. 12, 13. 
12. When I shall send to thee Artemas or T'ychicus, 
endeavour to come to me to Nicopolis ^^for I have 
determined to pass the winter there. 

I propose to stay a few months longer at Ephesus, 

' Nicopolis.'] If the hypothesis be admitted that the Epistle 
to Titus was written from Ephesus in the beginning of a.d. .56, 
the apostle must have changed his plan of passing the winter 
at Nicopolis, After having received the Epistle from the Co- 
rinthians and returned his answer, he determined to postpone 
his visit to Corinth till he had learned how his Letter had been 
received, and the effect which it had produced. For this pur- 
pose, having sent Artemas to Crete to relieve Titus, he directed 
that evangelist to go directly to Corinth, and having seen how 
matters stood there, to make a report to him at Troas : intend- 
ing at that time to stay at Ephesus till Pentecost. But being 
obliged to depart sooner than he intended in consequence of 
the tumult occasioned by Demetrius and the artists, he did not 
find Titus at Troas, and being impatient to receive tidings from 
him, he crossed over to Macedonia, where he met him. Titus, 
therefore, must have left Crete immediately upon Artemas's 
arrival ; and meeting Paul in Macedonia, probably accompa- 
nied him to Illyricura, and passed the winter of the year 56 with 
the apostle there. 

Sect. VI. TITUS. 5. 415 

and at the latter end of the year I intend to go to Ch. iii. 
Nicopolis in Thrace, where I mean to pass the win- "' *" 
ter. Before that time I shall send either Artemas 
or Tychicus to relieve you from the duties of your 
laborious office, after which I hope you will come 
to me at Nicopolis and spend the winter with me. 

Diligently help forward on their ivay Zcnas^ the IS. 
teacher of the law^ andApollos^ that they may want 

Two of our friends, Zenas, who before his con- 
version to Christianity was an eminent teacher of 
the Jewish law, and Apollos, so well known in the 
churches as an eloquent preacher of the gospel, are 
now upon a journey, intending to promote the know- 
ledge of the Christian religion in the countries which 
they visit, in their way they mean to pass through 
Crete. When you see them, give them every assist- 
ance to render their visit pleasant and useful while 
they remain with you, and to help them forward in 
their journey, and assist them in the purposes of 
their mission, when they depart from Crete. 

5. The apostle again recommends honourable in- 
dustry, and, after a general salutation, he concludes 
the epistle with the apostolical benediction, ver. 14, 

And let our converts also learn to excel in repu- 14. 

table occupations * for necessary exigencies^ that 
they be Jiot unfruitful. 

^ Reputable occupations, &c.] vid. ver. 8. " for necessary 
uses, in respect to the wants of their fellow-Christians. As 

41G Sect. VI. TITUS. 5. 

Ch. in. Having mentioned the assistance which I wish 
Ver. 14. y^y ^Q affbrd to Zenas and Apollos, it reminds me 
once more to request that you will urge the converts 
from heathenism to the Christian faith to distin- 
guish themselves from their indolent and intempe- 
rate neighbours by industry in their proper callings, 
that so they may have something in store to lay out 
for useful purposes, and particularly to promote the 
knowledge and the practice of the Christian religion 
among those who have not yet been blessed with 
the light of truth ; and to assist in bearing the ex- 
penses of missionaries who, like these two eminent 
teachers of the gospel, are willing to devote them- 
selves to this laborious and hazardous office. Thus 
they will prove to the world that the faith which 
they profess is an operative and useful principle, 
when they see its beneficial effects, in producing 

concerning liberality and hospitality to them; especially to 
propagators of the gospel." Newcome. 

" The apostle," says Dr. Priestley, " now concludes his epi- 
stle with giving directions about particular things. These little 
circumstances, though of no use to us in any other view, are of 
the greatest use in proving the genuineness of the epistles. 
They are so written, as that no man can seriously believe them 
to be forgeries : accordingly, it never was doubted either that 
they were Paul's, or that they were written in the circumstances 
to which he alludes. The proof of the truth of the gospel history 
from this one circumstance is of a peculiarly clear and .satisfac- 
tory kind to those who properly attend to it ; but few appear to 
me to have done this. It would be quite as easy to account for 
the writing of the Epistles of Cicero, upon the supposition of 
there being no truth in the Roman history, as to account for 
the writing of these of Paul, on the idea of there being no truth 
in the Christian history ; so exactly do they correspond to one 

Skct. VI. T I T U S. 5, 417 

industry, sobriety, economy, and liberality, among ch. lir. 
those who were formerly idle, intemperate, sordid, ^^^'' '"*• 
and selfish. 

^11 who are zviih me salute thee. Salute those 15. 
who love us in the faith. The favour of God be 
with you all. 

The Christians at Ephesus send their affectionate 
salutations to you. Salute in my name all those 
who are our friends in the true and uncorrupted 
faith. With regard to those who debase the Chris- 
tian doctrine by mixtures of Jewish ceremonies, I 
know that they are no friends of mine, and that they 
are fully aware that my unwearied efforts are conti- 
nually exerted to oppose their pernicious errors. To 
send Christian salutations to such would be hypo- 
crisy in me, and by them would be regarded as an 
insult. To conclude : As I have written this Epi- 
stle, not merely for the instruction of you, my con- 
vert to the faith, my companion in labour and in 
danger, and my representative in Crete, but for the 
benefit of the whole community of Christians in 
that extensive island, my apostolical benediction rest 
upon you all ! May the favour of Almighty God 
be with you! Possessed of this, you will be safe 
and happy. 

VOL. IV. 2 E 





The antiquity of the Epistle to the Hebrews 
has never been disputed. It was written in the 
apostolic age, and anterior to the destruction of 
Jerusalem and the Temple ; for it contains many 
expressions which plainly imply that the Temple 
service was then existing. And as the epistle was 
certainly written by a Hebrew Christian and ad- 
dressed to believing Hebrews, if that dreadful ca- 
tastrophe had actually taken place, it is morally im- 
possible that there should not have been some di- 
rect mention of it, or some plain allusion to it. 

The author of this epistle is uncertain. It is 
commonly ascribed to the apostle Paul : but the 
ancients were divided in their opinion concerning 
it ^ ; some giving it to Paul, others to Barnabas, or 

1 « 

This epistle," says Dr. Lardner, " was generally re- 
ceived in ancient times by those Christians who used the Greek 

2 e2 


Clement, or Luke. It was a prevalent opinion among 
the ancients, and has been adopted by some modern 
critics, that the apostle dictated the epistle in He- 
brew, or Syro-Chaldaic, and that it was translated 
into Greek by Luke or Clement, or rather that the 
ideas and arguments are Paul's, but that the style 
and language are Luke's. 

That the language of the epistle is not that of 
the apostle Paul, is very generally allowed ; and the 
reasons for this opinion are assigned by Origen, 
who was a competent judge of style and composi- 
tion, being himself a good writer in Greek. "The 

language and lived in the Eastern part of the Roman empire, 
Clement of Alexandria before the end of the second century- 
received the epistle as Paul's, and quotes it without hesitation. 
It is not, however, expressly quoted as Paul's by any Latin 
writer in the first three centuries." Lardner's Works, vol. vi. 
p. 395, Dr. Kippis's edition. 

Some writers, both ancient and modern, have supposed that 
the Epistle to the Hebrews vvas written in Hebrew or Syriac, 
and translated into Greek. This hypothesis was defended by 
J. D. Michaelis, but refuted (says RosenmuUer) by Semler, who 
proved that the apostle wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews in 
Greek, in a Dissertation pnhVisheiX at Haile, 1/61. It seems, 
however, strange, that an epistle to the Hebrews should have 
been written in Greek : a language which it is probable that 
most of those who lived in Palestine did not understand. Some, 
therefore, have thought that tlie epistle was not addressed to 
them, but to the Hebrew Christians dispersed through the Ro- 
man empire. Lardner agrees with those who think the epistle 
was originally written in Greek, and argues against Spanheim 
and VVetstein from the occun-ence of Greek paronomasias, or 
the concurrence of words of similar sound : a proof which he 
thinks unanswerable. The quotations from the Old Testament 
being all made from the LXX., and that even where it mate- 
rially differs from the Hebrew, is ii'Kewise a strong presumption 
that the Epistle was written in Greek. 


style of the Epistle to the Hebrews," says thut v 

learned Father, *' hath not the apostle's rudeness 
of speech ; but as to the texture of it, it is very ele- 
gant Greek, as every one vi^ill allow who is able to 
judge of differences of style. If I were to speak my 
opinion, I should say that the sentiments are the 
apostle's ; but the language and composition an- 
other's, who committed to writing the apostle's 
sense, and, as it were, reduced into commentaries the 
things spoken by his master ; so that if any church 
receive this epistle for Paul's, it is to be commended ; 
for the ancients ascribed it to Paul ; but no person 
certainly knows the composer but God. But the 
report transmitted to us by some is, that Clemens, 
who was bishop of Rome, wrote the epistle, and by 
others that it was written by Luke, who wrote the 
Gospel and the Acts '." 

' See Euseb. Eccl. Hist. lib. vi, cap. 25. Dr. Lardner's opi- 
nion isj that Paul dictated the epistle in Hebrew j and another, 
who was a great master of the Greek language, immediately 
wrote down the apostle's sentiments in his own elegant Greek. 
But who this assistant of the apostle was, is altogether un- 
known. " This is an admirable epistle," continues this learned 
writer, " but singular in sentiments and language : somewhat 
different in both these respects from all the other writings in 
the New Testament. And whose is the language, as seems to 
me, is altogether unknown, whether that of Zenas or Apollos, 
or some other of the apostle's assistants or fellow-labourers." 
Lardner's Works, vol. vi. p. 410. 

Eusebius says : " Paul having written to the Hebrews in 
their own language, some think that the evangelist Luke, and 
others that Clement, translated it into Greek." Hist. Eccl. lib. iii. 
cap. 38. 

Philaster, bishop of Brescia about 380, says : " There are 
some who do not allow the Epistle to the Ilebrews to have been 
written by Paul, but say it is either an epistle of the apostle 



That the apostle Paul was not the author of this 
epistle is, I think, sufficiently evident : and though 
I was once inclined to the opinion of those who 
think that the ideas are Paul's, but the dress and 
language Luke's, upon further consideration I in- 
cline to believe that the apostle had no concern ei- 
ther in the matter or the form of this epistle : for 
though he frequently borrows the language of the 
scriptures to express his own ideas, and occasion- 
ally, perhaps, indulges in that loose and figurative 
interpretation of the Old Testament which was the 
fashion of the age, he never carries his allegorical 

Barnabas, or of Clement bishop of Rome : but some say it is 
an epistle of Luke the evangelist. Moreover some reject it, as 
being more eloquent than the apostle's other vi^ritings." 

Jerome, about 392, says : " The epistle called to the He- 
brews is not thought to be Paul's because of the difference of 
argument and style ; but either Barnabas's, as TertuUian 
thought, or the evangelist Luke's, according to some others, 
or Clement's, bishop of Rome, vi'ho, as some think, being much 
with him, clothed and adorned St. Paul's sense in his own lan- 
guage. Moreover he wrote as a Hebrew to Hebrews, in pure 
Hebrew, it being his own language ; whence it came to pass, 
that being translated it has more elegance in the Greek than 
his other epistles," See Lardner, vol. vi. pp. 408, 409. 

" Cujus scriptoris sit hcec Epistola non mirum est hodie dubi- 
tari, cura etiam veteres dubitaverint." Grotius; who thinks it 
impossible that Paul should be the author : " ideoquod PauUnee 
epistolcB inter se sint germance, pari charactere et dicendi modo : 
hcec vero manifeste ab iis discrepet, selectiores habens voces 
GrcEcas, leniusquejiuens, non autem fracta brevibus incisis, ac 
satebrosa." He concludes that the epistle was written by Luke. 
The truth is, as Origen states it, that God only knows the au- 
thor ; and it is in vain to bewilder ourselves in conjecture. It 
is not, however, improbable that it was written by a hea^r or 
an associate of Paul ; which may account for his arguing income 
instances from the same premises as the apostle. Comp. Heb. ii.8 
with 1 Cor. XV. 27. 


reasoning to that great, and 1 had almost said extra- 
vagant extent, in which the writer of the Epistle to 
the Hebrews indulges himself. 
J Still, however, it cannot be denied that the epi- 
stle was written in the apostolic age, and probably 
by some apostolic man ; some associate of the apo- 
stles : not Luke, who was probably a Greek ; whose 
compositions are chaste and elegant, and whose taste 
and judgement could never stoop to the verbal and 
declamatory mode of reasoning adopted by this au- 
thor ; which, however, might not offend Barnabas 
or Apollos, who were Jews by birth. The fashion 
of allegorizing the Old Testament might not be 
unpleasing to those who were accustomed to Jewish 
habits of thinking and reasoning, and who were not 
proficients in the dialectic art. It is, however, quite 
impossible that such writing and reasoning should 
have any claim to inspiration. Nevertheless, what- 
ever may be thought of the arguments upon which 
the writer builds his conclusions, the conclusions 
themselves are undoubtedly true. The reasonings 
are adapted to the principles and the prejudices of 
the simple and uninformed Hebrew believer ; but 
the doctrine is plainly that of the apostles ', such 

' " Distinguenda sunt argumenta quihiis auctor hujus epistoI<z 
ut'itur ab ipsis veritatibus, quas proponit. Bene Clericus ad Ham- 
mond, ad Heb. ix. 16. de auctore hujus epistolce, ' Capita omnia 
doctrines Chrisiiance, quae persequitur, verissima sunt, et possunt 
ex reliqua scripiura prohari : sed ratio, qua ilia illustr at, plane 
est simiUs consuetudini illorum temporum, ut ex Philone intelli- 
gere licet, in quo sunt passim ejusmodi accommodationcs locorum 
,S.S. rntiocinationesqueinde deduclca, in quihus nulla grammalicce 


as the author had derived from the purest sources, 
uncorrupted with the base alloy either of Pharisaic 
tradition or of heathen philosophy. 

There is a very considerable resemblance between 
the Epistle to the Hebrews, and that which is extant 
under the name of Barnabas. In both, the doctri- 
nal part consists of strained allegorical interpreta- 
tions of the Old Testament scriptures. The latter, 
however, carries his figurative interpretations to a 
still more extravagant extreme than the writer of 
the Epistle to the Hebrews, and takes to himself 
no small degree of credit for his own ingenuity ' . 

ratio habetur, nee aliud spectalur, nisi ut res ipsa quce iis illus- 
tratur, sit vera. Is mos erat iUius cctatis, qiiem non magis mirari 
debemus, quam nostras ipsorum consuetudines hodiernas.' " Ro- 

' This writer explains the law concerning the distinction of 
animals into clean and unclean, as intended to recommend 
moral purity, which he illustrates by some fanciful instances. 
Of one animal he says that it changes its sex every year ; and 
of another, that it brings forth its young at its mouth. And he 
accounts for his own superior knowledge upon these subjects by 
special divine communications. See Barnab. Epist. part i. c. 10. 
The difference is so great between the nonsense of the doctrinal, 
and the wisdom of the practical part of this short epistle, that one 
might be tempted to believe that they were written by different 
authors. There is nothing in the Epistle to the Hebrews so 
absurd as these examples from that of Barnabas, though some 
of the analogies are equally far-fetched and irrelevant : parti- 
cularly those which relate to Melchizedec, ch. vii. Dr. Lardner 
says, that " Barnabas often argues like the author of the Epi- 
stle to the Hebrews, but without borrowing from him." Works, 
vol. ii. p. 20. It is not denied that the Epistle of Barnabas, 
with many fanciful analogies, contains many excellent things j 
Dr. Lardner, p. 12, justly observes, that " the first part is an 
exhortation to constancy in the belief and profession of the 
Christian doctrine, without the rites of the Jewish law. The 
second part contains moral instruction." 


Nevertheless, in both these Epistles the practical 
part is excellent. In that of Barnabas, the moral 
instruction, which is found only in the Greek ori- 
ginal, and not in the Latin version, is in no respect 
unworthy of the very chief of the apostles. Some 
learned men, among whom is Jeremiah Jones, think 
that the Epistle of Barnabas is a forgery of the se- 
cond century : but the prevailing opinion is, that it 
is the production of some Hebrew Christian of the 
apostoUc age, and that, if it were originally written 
by Barnabas, it has been tampered with by some 
early scribe. At any rate, it exhibits a specimen 
of the manner in which the scriptures were then 

There is, however, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
besides a great superiority in style, an ingeimity and 
coherence not to be found in the Epistle of Barna- 
bas. The design of the author is to reconcile the 
minds of the Hebrew Christians to the doctrine of 
a suffering Messiah, and to warn those wavering be- 
lievers of the danger of apostasy. And he conducts 
his argument with a considerable degree of inge- 
nuity, and in a way which was most likely to make 
a favourable impression upon the feelings of the 
Jewish believers. He begins with expatiating upon 
the superior dignity of the messenger of the new 
covenant above all former prophets and messengers 
of God : and it is not till after he has stated that 
the person commissioned upon this important er- 
rand could not with propriety be an angel from 
heaven, or a being of any order superior to man- 


kind, that he ventures to introduce the name of 
Jesus, as a person who, having by the gracious 
appointment of God tasted of death for the benefit 
of all, was for that reason already crowned with 
glory and honour, and ordained to universal domi- 
nion. And having shown how expedient, and even 
necessary, it was that the great deliverer of man- 
kind should himself be a suffering human being, 
he proceeds to reconcile the believing Hebrews to 
this state of things, by running a parallel between 
the Mosaic and the Christian dispensations, and by 
illustrating the great superiority of the latter, even 
in those articles in which the Jews were accustomed 
principally to glory * as the peculiar excellencies of 
their own institution. He particularly argues that 
the new dispensation possesses a superior lawgiver, 
a superior promise, a superior chieftain, and above 
all a superior priesthood, a superior temple service, 
a superior victim, and a superior mode of conse- 
cration and sacrifice : and, from the whole, he infers 

' Rosenmuller, after stating the objection which the unbe- 
lieving Jews urged against the Christian revelation as every- 
way inferior to that of Moses, adds, " Contra hos igitur Paulus 
ostendit Jesum Nazarenum longe superiorem esse angelis, Mose, 
Pontijice Maximo F. T., omnibusque reliquis sacerdotibus ; ex 
ejus viorte et cruciatihus pro nobis perpessis, multo majora, et 
diutiirniora bona ad nos redundare, quam ad Judceos ex cultu 
Levitico, &;€. Ex his aliisque argumentis probat, Christianam re- 
ligionem esse multo prcestantiorem, perfectioremque ilia vetere 
Judaica, et adhortatur Ckristianos ad constantiam in religione, 
et omnium virtutum indcfessum studium. In toto hoc argumento 
tractando auctor se accommodat ingenio eorum, qui a Judaica 
ad Christianam religionem tra)isicrant, eosque a primis dementis 
reUgionis ad altiora drtcit." 


the extreme danger of apostasy, against which he 
frequently and solemnly warns them in the most 
earnest and aflectionate language. 

This epistle is divided into two Parts — Doctri- 
nal and Practical. The former extends to the 
eighteenth verse of the tenth chapter, and the latter 
to the end of the epistle. 


The writer endeavours to reconcile the Hebrews 
to the offensive doctrines of the Christian dis- 
pensation, by showing its superiority in every im- 
portant particular to the institutions of Moses; 
and to illustrate his argument, 

First, The author asserts the pre-eminence of 
the founder of the new dispensation over all former 
prophets and messengers of God, and infers the 
superior regard which is due to the dispensation 
introduced by him. Ch. i. 1 — ii. 4. 

Secondly. He argues that the nature of this 
dispensation required that the first teacher of it 
should not be an angel or a celestial spirit, but a 
suffering human being, of the same nature with 
those whom he came to redeem from death. Ch. ii. 

Thirdly. The author briefly argues the supe- 
riority of Jesus to Moses. Ch. iii. I — 6. 

Fourthly. The o^est promised to believers, and 
into which Jesus conducts his followers, being su- 



perior to that into which Joshua led the Israelites, 
the neglect of the proper means of securing it must 
be proportionably criminal and dangerous. Ch. iii. 
7— iv. 13. 

Fifthly. He expatiates upon the priesthood of 
Jesus, and in particular he argues at large the su- 
periority of the priesthood of Christ, which is after 
the order of Melchisedec, to the Levitical priest- 
hood, which was after the order of Aaron ; and from 
these premises he infers the temporary duration and 
speedy abolition of the ceremonial law and the Mo- 
saic institute. Ch. iv. 14 — vii. 

Sixthly. The author then proceeds to his main 
point of reconciling the minds of the believing He- 
brews to the very offensive doctrine of a crucified 
Messiah, by representing the death of Christ as that 
of a victim of a superior nature, whose blood was 
shed to ratify a covenant far superior to that of 
Moses, of which sacrifice those of the Levitical in- 
stitute were nothing more than types and shadows. 
Ch. viii. 1— X. 18. 

With this important argument, which he labours 
with great industry and ingenuity, and which he sets 
in a variety of lights, he concludes the Doctrinal Part 
of the epistle. 


The Second Part of the epistle contains the prac- 
tical application of the doctrine which the au- 
thor had advanced. 


First. He urges the believing Hebrews to pa- 
tience and to perseverance, and again warns them 
of the extreme danger of apostasy. Ch. x. 19, &c. 

Secondly. He defines the nature of faith, and 
exemplifies the excellence of this valuable principle 
in the conduct of the Jewish worthies, whose his- 
tory is recorded in the Old Testament. Ch. xi. 

Thirdly. From these examples, from the cha- 
racter of Christ, and his fortitude under sufferings, 
and from the pre-eminent glory of the gospel dis- 
pensation, he urges the believing Hebrews to endure 
persecution with courage, and to adhere faithfully 
to their profession. Ch. xii. 

Fourthly. He exhorts them to the practice of 
various virtues, and to yield a respectful submission 
to their Christian and apostolic instructors. Ch.xiii. 


Fifthly. He concludes the epistle with ear- 
nestly recommending himself to their prayers, with 
devout wishes for their improvement, with apolo- 
gizing for the freedom which he had used, and with 
the usual benediction, ver. 18, &c. 

In the Exposition of this celebrated epistle I have 
adopted that interpretation which, to the best of my 
judgement, after the most serious examination, ex- 
presses the true meaning of the writer. This in 
some instances differs considerably from the usual 
and popular mode of explaining the text : but I 
hope that it is supported by evidence sufficient to 


convince the candid, the serious, and the inquisitive; 
for such only are open to conviction. All, there- 
fore, that I request of the reader is, that he would 
read with candour, and judge with impartiality: 
and may the Spirit of Truth guide him into all 
truth ! 



The Author endeavours to reconcile the ch.i. 

MINDS of the believing HeBREWS TO THE 


The writer asserts the superiority of Jesus to 
all former prophets and messengers of Gody and 
argues the superior regard due to the dispensa- 
tion ivhich he was comrnissioned to introduce. 
Ch. i. 1— ii. 4. 

1 . 1 HE author expresses in bold and highly figu- 
rative language the dignity of the character, and the 
importance of the message, of the Head and Pub- 
lisher of the new dispensation, ver. 1 — 3. 

432 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. I, 1. 

Ch. I. God, ivho in 7nany parts y aiidin many way s'^, 
2. spake formerly to our fathers by the prophets, in 
these last days hath spoken to us by his son^y 
whom he hath appointed heir 3 of all thijigs, ivith 
a view to ivhom * he even constituted the former dis- 

' In many parts and in many ivays^ ttoXvi^spu^, in viany 
parts: i.e. partly by one prophet, partly by another. See Peirce, 
Newcome, Macknight. TtoXvTpoirwi- " This clause," says Dr. 
Macknight, " does not refer to the different manners in which 
God revealed himself to the prophets, but to the different ways 
in which the prophets communicated the revelations they re- 
ceived to the fathers ^ they did it in types and figures, &c., 
whereas the gospel revelation was spoken by Christ and his 
apostles in one manner only, namely in plain language." 

2 By his son.'] sv vIm, by a son. Wakefield. It does not follow 
that Christ is of a different nature from former prophets because 
he is called a son, any more than that the servants of a house- 
hold are of an inferior nature to the family whom they serve. 
It is a distinction of rank, not of nature. 

3 Heir of all things:'] that is, "lord of all things." See Gal. 
iv. 1 . Vide Crellius, Whitby, Macknight. Christ is lord of all 
things, as the whole human race, Jews and Gentiles, are to be- 
come subject to his spiritual authority ; that is, to the gospel. 

* With a view to whom.] 5'*' 8 rovs aiivvas e^oi^cev. Aiujv, 
though it may sometimes signify world (which is however 
doubted by Sykes), .see Heb. xi. 3, yet is often used for age or 
dispensation. Matt. xii. 32, xiii. 39 j Mark x. 30 ; Luke xviii. 
30 ; 1 Cor. ii. 6, x. II j Col. i. 2(5 ; Heb. vi. 5, ix. 26. Aia 
with a genitive commonly expresses the instrumental cause, 
but sometimes also the final cause ; and in this sense Grotius 
understands it here, and supposes a reference to an old pro- 
verb amongst the Jews, that the world was made for the Mes- 
siah. He appeals to Beza in support of this interpretation of 
di 8. Beza on Rom. vi. 4. See also the Scholiast on the Plutus 
of Aristophanes, p. 6., ed. Basil. Also Thucydides Hist. lib. vi. 
§ 7. Jj' STTep iravra ZKivhvevw, " for whose sake they put every 
thing to hazard." — J<a Xoyujv, "with a view to conversation." 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. I. 1. 43: 

That God, whom we of the Hebrew nation have Ch. i. 
been taught to acknowledge and adore as the sole 
unrivalled Almighty Sovereign of the universe, se- 
lected long ago the posterity of Abraham to be the 
depositaries of his law, and to preserve in the world 
the knowledge and worship of himself as the one 
true and living God. This glorious Being, who 
communicated his will to our forefathers in past 
ages by his servants the prophets, revealing it gra- 
dually and occasionally, sometimes by visible ap- 
pearances, sometimes by audible voices, and some- 
times by visions and dreams, hath now, of late, 
been pleased to make an entire revelation of his 
gracious purposes to mankind, by the clear and 
direct instruction of a teacher expressly commis- 
sioned for this end, upon whom such distinguished 
honour has been conferred, that in comp:.rison with 

Joseph, Antiq. lib. xviii. c. vii. § 7 , S, c. x. § 3. — ha, voog, " with 
a view to be understood." 1 Cor. xiv. 19. See Locke on the 
place. " I think the words should be translated ' for whose 
sake/ or, ' upon whose account,' he made even the ages." Dr. 
Chandler on Eph. i. 11. This is a remarkable concession, 
as Dr. Chandler was a high Arian ; of which doctrine this text 
is commonly regarded as one of the chief arguments. Mr. 
Simpson, Ess. viii. considers the plural form as the Hebrew su- 
perlative : " by whom he constituted the ages," ravg aiwvas' 
q. d. this last and most important dispensation, the dispensa- 
tion of the Messiah. According to this interpretation, the pre- 
position ha, retains its usual signification. " Per Christum vere 
nova et alia secula Deus condtdit, dum per euni plane novam, et 
a priore longe diversam, rerum ac mundifaciem induxit." " Se- 
cula Deus per Christum fecisse diritur, non quod omnia, quce un- 
quam extiterunt secula per eum condiderit, sed quod condiderit 
aliqua, nempe nova et a priorihus diver sa, Usque longe feliciora." 
Crellius, Slichtingius, 

VOL. IV. 2 F 



Ch. I. him all former prophets are but as servants in the 
household in respect to a son. This illustrious per- 
son is appointed to an inheritance worthy of his 
rank : the dominion over all things is given to him ; 
and though he is not yet in full possession of all 
his glory, it is nevertheless the fixed purpose of his 
God and Father that all the nations of the earth 
shall in due time bow to his authority, and submit 
to his auspicious government. And indeed it is 
with a view to this last, most beneficial, universal, 
and perpetual dispensation, that all preceding dis- 
pensations have been introduced and established. 
The various revelations made from time to time to 
the ancient patriarchs were intended to prepare the 
way for a more glorious and universal diffusion of 
moral light ; and all the rites and ceremonies of the 
law point to the same happy termination. All had 
a reference to this great teacher, and received their 
accomplishment in him. 
3- Who being i an effulgent ray 2 ofJiis bnghtnesSy 

1 Who hc'ing?^ This context contains a description in higlily 
figurative language of the character and condition of Jesus as 
the Messiah. He is distinguished from all preceding prophets, 
as a son from a servant j — he is made heir of all things, that is, 
Jews and Gentiles are equally the subjects of his kingdom. 
N.B. For this sense of the phrase all things, see an excellent 
dissertation by Mr. Tyrwhitt in Commentaries and Essatjs, vol. 
ii. No. 1. — With a view to him all former dispensations were 
arranged. — He is a ray of the divine brightness, as he clearly 
teaches the will of God j — he is an exact image of God himself, 
as he controuled the laws of nature at pleasure by the voluntary 
power of working miracles which was imparted to him 3 — he 
conducts all things by tlie powerful authority of God ; — his 
cause and kingdom are carried on in the world by the irresistible 

Part I. H E B R E VV S. Sect. I. 1. 435 

and an CiVact image of himself^, and conducting ch. i. 
all things bij his powerful authoritij ■*, after he had ^^^' ' ' 

agency of the Almighty ; — he made purification of sin j — he 
consecrated a new aiul holy community to God ; — and he is set 
down at the right haiid of supreme majesty, or of the majesty on 
high, as he is risen from the dead, has ascended to heaven, and 
is advanced to universal spiritual dominion. The attentive 
reader here sees, what from the great influence of prejudice is 
not usually observed, the regular gradation of qircumstances 
from the original designation of this great teacher through his 
life, doctrine, miracles, and death, to his glorious resurrection 
and ultimate advancement to the dignity and honour intended 
for him. And all this without offering any other violence to the 
language of the writer than what is usually offered to figurative 
language, viz. that of not understanding it in a literal sense. 
And in truth the common interpretation recedes as far from the 
literal sense, or nearly so, as the interpretation here given. 

- Effulgent ray.'] aTtxuyaajxot,, rjXia (psyyo;, the splendour of 
the sun. Hesychius. airauyvj, ij sTtXaix^is, effulgence. Suidas, 
Doddridge, Macknight. " Ig wv. Participium uv est et prce- 
sentis et prceteriti imperfecti teviporis." Crellius. See John ix. 
25, The writer is here describing the character of Christ during 
his personal ministry. 

^ An exact image of himself.'] y^a^a^ryjo tyjS vitos'ctffsuig avta. 
Xa^aKTr^p is the engraving of a seal, or the impression made by 
a seal upon wax. 'Tvofccaii is substance: the image of his sub- 
stance is the image of himself. See 2 Cor. ix. 4 ; Slichtingius, 
Crellius, and Grotius in loc. The meaning is probably the same 
as that of bv [^op(pri Qss, Phil. ii. 6 ; and is to be explained of 
the possession of miraculous powers. Christ being the image 
of God no more proves his participation of the divine nature, 
than Adam being made in the image of God proves him to have 
been also divine. Sykes has an excellent note upon the word 
hypostasis ; which, he says, " seems never to have been used to 
signify person till long after St. Paul's days, and should not be 
rendered so here. We. find the term in metaphysical books ap- 
])lied to certain properties of the One God a.-; eminently subsist- 
ing in him. Plato talks of three hypostases, not meaning three 
persons ; for unity and goodness made two of these hypostases. 
Taking, then, hypostasis as signifying Essence with its proper- 
ties, the Son is properly the imap:e or just representation of 
God's properties, goodness, kindness," &c. 

^ Conducting all things, &c.] <psDwv re ra itavrcc ruj pr^tj^ari 
2 F 2 

436 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. 1. 1. 

cii. r. f^y hhnselfmade the purification of sins i, sat down 
^^'*' ^* at the right hand of supreme majesty 2. 

This illustrious teacher, like a beam of heavenly 
radiance, has diffused the clearest light over the 
divine dispensations: and by the mighty works 
which he was enabled to perform he exhibited a 
most striking and awful resemblance of that Being 
who has all the powers of nature under his con- 
troul. During his personal ministry, being armed 
with authority from God, he thus introduced his 
kingdom and established his doctrine : and when, 
by an event which, however unexpected and sur- 
prising, was far from being disgraceful to his person 
or his cause, he had prepared the way for the recon- 
ciliation of enemies and the introduction of aliens 
into covenant with God, he was quickly raised from 
this state of temporary depression, and advanced to 

rvj? Sv¥a[xea}^ aurs. Crellius understands this clause as exege- 
tical of the precedine- : " (pepEiv hoc loco nihil aliud est quam 
movere, agitare." tfr. Nevvcome explains it " bearing belore 
him ;" as the Greek word is used in the phrase ayeiv xa< (pspsiv 
TTavra. AJrs undoubtedly refers to Gpd ,- the author uses kavta 
in the next clause where he means to speak of Jesus himself. 
See Peirce. " Verhum potenti(s per hehraismum est vcrhiun pa- 
tens." Crellius, q. d. Ordering all things in the new dispensa- 
tion by authority from God. 

' Purification of sins.'] Tlie ybrd oitr, ^[/.(uv, in the received 
text, is wanting in the Alexan^ine and other manuscripts. The 
writer with great address oiplts the express mention of the ob- 
noxious subject of the crucifixion of Jesus. What he means by 
purification of sin he explains more at large, ch. ix. and x. Si 
eavTs, by himself, is wanting in some good copies. 

* Right hand of supreme majesty.'] So Mr. Wakefield. Or, 
" the majesty on high :" i.e. in heaven. An expression bor- 
rowed from 1, and often applied to Christ to express 
the dignity and authotfty to which he is now advanced. 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. I. 1. 437 

a degree of dignity and glory, superior to what had ch.i. 
ever been conferred on any preceding prophet, how- ^^'■- '^• 
ever venerable or illustrious. 

Observe here the address of the author of this 
epistle, and the tenderness with which he treats the 
prejudices of his readers, in not immediately men- 
tioning the name of Jesus the despised Nazarene, 
nor introducing the obnoxious circumstance of his 
crucifixion, till he had prepared their minds for it, 
by expressing in the strongest language the dignity 
of his character and office, and only obliquely hint- 
ing at his death in that view of it upon which he 
afterwards expatiates, and which would be most 
likely to reconcile the minds of the Hebrew Chris- 
tians to so mortifying a subject. 

This address of the writer has been misunder- 
stood by modern interpreters, and indeed by the an- 
cients, who were converts from heathenism, and 
who knew little or nothing of Jewish prejudices, 
customs, and modes of thinking. And those figu- 
rative expressions of the writer, which were only 
intended to describe the dignity of our Lord's cha- 
racter, and the divine energies and authority by 
which his mission was supported, have been strange- 
ly misapplied, as if they taught some unknown and 
incomprehensible emanation of the person of the 
Son from that of the Father, and some mysterious 
communication of the divine essence or substance, 
and participation of the divine government of the 
universe, which never entered into the thoughts 

438 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. 1. 2. 

Ch. I. either of the writer himself or of the simple Hebrew 
Christians to whom the epistle is addressed, and 
who had always been taught to believe that there 
is one God only, who made the heaven, the earth, 
and the sea, and all that is therein, who sustains 
and governs all things without an equal, a rival, 
or a vicegerent, 

2. The writer asserts the great superiority of the 
Leader of this new dispensation to all former pro- 
phets and messengers of God, alluding to his resur- 
rection from the dead, ver. 4 — 6. 

For the explanation of the writer's argument, it 
is necessary to observe, that the same word in the 
original Ts sometimes translated angel, that is, a 
supposed celestial spirit, and sometimes messenger, 
and the connexion of his discourse requires that in 
this chapter, and the beginning of the next, it should 
be translated messenger, as referring to those former 
prophets who had been mentioned in the first verse. 

In order likewise to understand the relevance of 
the writer's quotations, it must be remembered that 
in the scripture phraseology, sonship implies an in- 
heritance. The Israelites were sons of God, and 
their inheritance was Canaan. Christians are also 
sons^ and their inheritance is a resurrection to ever- 
lasting life. Christ is the Jirst-horn son, because 
he is the first who rose from death to immortality ; 
and he is said to be superior to all other prophets, 
without excepting even Moses himself, who is prin- 
cipally alluded to, though, to avoid ofience, not cx^ 

Part I. 

HEBREWS. Skct. 1. 2. 439 

Ver. 3. 

pressly named, because the Christian inheritance to ch. i. 
which Jesus leads, and of which he is the first par- 
taker, is infinitely superior to that of Canaan. 

It is also evident that this writer frequently quotes 
passages of scripture merely from the sound of the 
words 1, without any regard to the connexion or to 
the true meaning of the text ; and that the argu- 
ments are often of no intrinsic value, being ad- 
dressed merely to the professed opinions, and some- 
times, it should seem, even to the ig?iorance of his 
readers. The writer of this epistle, whoever he was, 
is more of an eloquent declaimer than a judicious 
reasoner. Christianity is not bound to defend all 
her advocates : the doctrine may be, and undoubt- 
edly is true, though some of the arguments alleged 
by its friends may be inconclusive, and some of its 
advocates injudicious. 

Let us now return to the proofs which this writer 
produces of the superiority of the great teacher, 
whom he does not yet name, to all former prophets. 

Being become so much greater than those mes- 
sengers 2, as he hath obtained by inheritance a more 
excellent name thaji they. 

^ The writer quotes from the sound of words. "] " The Jews," 
says Dr. Priestley in his preface to this epistle, " having no 
other books, were always meditating upon their scriptures; 
which led them to apply passages in them to all occasions, 
proper and improper, and to draw from them arguments which 
will not always bear strict examination. This was perfectly 
natural in their circumstances ; and if we had found the case 
to be otherwise, we should have wanted a valuable argument 
of the genuineness of these writings, as not suiting the men or 
the times." 

" Those messengcrg.'] And again ver. .">, Utiio uliat one of 

440 Part I. HEBREWS. Sucx. 1. 2. 

Ch. I. Having been put into possession of the great in- 
"• ' heritance, he has obtained the title of a son, while 
former prophets and messengers of God, however 
eminent their character, or however important their 
mission, were not graced with that honourable ap- 
5. For unto luhat one of those messengers said God 
at any time^ Thou art my son ', this day have I 

those messengers. See Sykes. rwv ayyaXwv, those messengers : 
viz. 01 'n'^oi^rjTai, ver. 1 . This inteqDretation, suggested many 
years ago by an ingenious friend, is adopted by Mr. Wakefield 
in his New Translation. It is surprising that it was never 
thought of before. But the Gentile Christians from the begin- 
ning misunderstood the expressions 3 and the original error 
seems to have been propagated from age to age almost without 
intermission. The Hebrew Christians must, however, have un- 
derstood the writer in the true sense j for it is evident that they 
were always strictly Unitarian. See Dr. Priestley's Hist, of Early 
Opinions, vol. iii. book iii. ch. viii. — xii. It was of great im- 
portance to establish the fact that Jesus was a prophet superior 
to all former prophets and messengers of God, without excepting 
Moses himself 3 who is unquestionably the person chiefly al- 
luded to, though not yet expressly named. But of what use is 
it to the inhabitants of this planet to know any thing concern- 
ing the arrangement of a supposed celestial hierarchy, or to be 
informed that other guardian angels, who were before the col- 
leagues of Christ, are now become his inferiors ? or who that 
allows himself to reflect calmly and dispassionately, can sup- 
pose that a formal revelation should be made of a fact in which 
men are so little interested ? See Peirce in loc. 

' Thou art mij son^ The second Psalm is generally under- 
stood as a prophecy of the Messiah, both by Jewish and Chris- 
tian interpreters 5 and Mr. Peirce in his note upon this passage 
has given a learned and able vindication of this interpretation. 
Dr. Priestley, however, denies the inspiration of this Psalm, and 
assigns plausible arguments for his opinion. Theol. Repository, 
vol. iv. p. 98 — 103. " Omnes Hebraifatehantur, quicquid prcc- 
clarum et magnum de pits hominihus ct regibus Israelitarum dic- 
tum esset in Libris Vet. Test, id scnsu viulto cminentiore perti- 
nere ad Messiam, a prophelis varie prcffguralum. ISic omnes 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. 1.2- 441 

Hehrcci fatehantur, Psalmum secundum, quanquam iji Davide 
aliquo modo impletuni, sensu tamen arcano et sublbniore ad ip- 
su)7t Messiam pertinere, qui siipra omnes Fdius Dei, dicendus sit : 
a Deo genitus, i, e. ad imperium' evectus. Hoc semel monuisse 
sujficiat." RosenmuUer. 

- I will be to him a father, &c.] Mr. Peirce labours to prove, 
but I think unsatisfactorily, that this passage is also a predic- 
tion of the Messiah, 

^ yind when he introduces, &c.] iraXiv ncia.ya.yr, v.. r. K., " and 
when he again bringeth in his first-born into the world, i.e. 
after his resurrection. Mr. Peirce observes, that " the order 
of the words in the original leads to this sense, and they cannot 
without violence offered to them bear another translation." 

■* He saith.'] Some think that this citation is made from Deut. 
xxxii. 43, where the LXX. have the very words which are here 
quoted. But as nothing corresponding to them is found in the 

Ver. 0. 

begotten thee? and again ^ I will be to him a fa- ch. 
ther^ and he shall be to me a son^? 

You recollect a passage in the second Psalm 
(Ps. ii. 7.) which the Jewish nation universally in- 
terpret of the Messiah : he is there called a Son ; 
and the spirit of prophecy represents God as giving 
him that appellation upon a glorious occasion, 
which though then future is spoken of as present, 
and which has now actually taken place. 

There is also another passage (2 Sam. vii. 14), 
which, though spoken by Nathan to David, of So- 
lomon, is also applicable in a iax more important 
sense to the Messiah, the purport of which is, I will 
provide a glorious inheritance for him, and will di- 
stinguish him above all his brethren, above all other 
prophets, teachers, and messengers. 

And when he introduces the first-born again^ 
into the world, he saith '^, Let all the messengers 
of God pay homage to him. 

442 Pakt I. HEBREWS. Sect. 1. 2. 

Ch. I. The xcviith Psalm may be understood as a pom- 
®'' pous representation of the introduction of the Mes- 
siah's kingdom ; and in ver. 7 are these words, Pay 
homage to him, all ye messengers of God : these 
being interpreted as an address to the Messiah, are 
an acknowledgement of his superiority to all for- 
mer prophets. This call upon the messengers of 
God is made upon some grand public occasion 
when this superior prophet is inaugurated into his 
office. As applied to the great teacher, whose dig- 
nity and office I am now describing, it signifies that 
his second appearance in the world, after his tempo- 
rary removal from it, was the circumstance which 
constitutes his great superiority over all former mes- 
sengers of God. 

It needs but little discernment to see how very 
precarious this argument is, and how entirely it 
depends upon his reader conceding the principles 
upon which it is founded. It is also made still more 
obscure by the unwillingness of the author as yet to 
introduce the offensive doctrine of the crucifixion of 

Hebrevv or the Siimaritan, Mr. Peirce suspects them to have 
been an interpohition ; and with the generality of interpreters 
he supposes the citation to be made with a little variation of 
expression from Ps. xcvii. 7. That learned writer contends that 
the Psalm (and even the passage in Deuteronomy) refers to the 
time when the Gentiles would be gatliered into the church, that 
is, to the reign of the Messiah, which commenced at the resur- 
rection of Christ ; and consequently, that the application of the 
prophecy by the writer of the Epistle is correct and pertinent. 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. 1. 3. 443 

3. Though former prophets are described under ch. i. 
very honourable characters, the author of the new 
dispensation is entitled to superior honours, and 
advanced to universal dominion, ver. 7 — 9. 

And concerning • these messengers indeed the Ver. 7. 
scripture saith", TFlio maketh his messengers 
ivinds^ and his ministers aflame of fire. 

Former prophets and holy men, who were com- 
missioned to reveal the will of God to mankind, 
were as ready as the wind or the lightning to obey 
the orders of the Almighty ; yet still, like those in- 
animate but powerful agents, they acted only in a 
subordinate and ministerial capacity. 

This citation is made from Ps. civ. 4. The de- 
sign of that beautiful and sublime ode is to cele- 
brate the displays of the divine attributes in the 
works of creation and providence : the true version 
of the words in their original connexion is, He 
maketh the winds his messengers and the flames 
of fire his ministers. By a bold prosopopoeia they 
represent winds and lightnings as the servants of 
the Almighty, and yielding obedience to his orders. 

' Concermng^ ttpo; rss ay/sKss, " concerning these mes- 
sengers." Grotius remarks this as a peculiarity in the style of 
Luke. Luke xix. 20. But Hallet produces an example from 
the writings of Paul, Rom. viii. 31. Introd. to Peirce on Heb. 
p. xxxi. 

* The scripture saitli?^ This citation and the succeeding ones 
are from the Septuagint versiouS: a presumption, as some think, 
that the epistle was originally written in Greek. " The scrip- 
ture saith, not he saith : the nominative case is not ©to;, but 
ypxfri understood." Dr. Owen. See Bowycr. 

444 Part 1. HEBREWS. Skct, 1. 3. 

Ch. I. But this writer, citing the passage more from regard 
■ ' ' to the sound than to the sense, inverts the meaning 
of the psahnist, and appUes the words as descriptive 
of the character of the former prophets and mes- 
sengers of God. 

8. But concerning the son it salth, God is thy 
throne ' for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy king' 

9. do7n is a sceptre of rectitude. Thou hast loved 
righteousness and hated iniquity ; therefore Gody 
even thy God^, hath anointed thee with the oil of 
gladness above thy associates^. Ps. xlv. 6, 7. 

The xlvth Psahn, which, though originally com- 
posed to celebrate the nuptials of Solomon, is by 
the interpreters of our nation commonly applied to 
the Messiah, represents that great prophet as sus- 
taining a character far superior to that of any of his 

' God is thy throne.'] " Deus ipse est secies tua pcrpetua." 
Grotius. So Wakefield. Newcome adopts the common trans- 
lation^ " thy throne, O God 5" and as those are called Gods to 
whom the word of God came, there is no material objection to 
this translation : understanding by the word of God, a prince, 
or a mighty, perhaps, an inspired chief, " God is the support 
of thy throne." Sykes. 

^ God, even thy God."] Qsos, 0£o; as. " The first ©£0j should 
be inclosed between commas, being the Attic vocative, as in the 
preceding verse. Therefore, ' O God, tliy God hath anointed 
thee,' &c." Mangey and Markland, apud Bovvyer. 

3 Associates^ Dr. Doddridge says, " It seems to be inti- 
mated here, that as Christ took the special charge of Judea, 
angels were charged with the government of otlier countries, in 
reference to which they are called his fellows or companions," 
But I am persuaded that the author of this epistle makes no 
allusion whatever to the groundless notion of guardian angels. 
The associates here mentioned are former prophets and mes- 
sengers, beings of the same nature, who, like Jesus himself, 
were commissioned to reveal the will of God to men. 

Part I, 

E B R E W S. Sect. 1. 3. 445 

predecessors ; for while they are described as menial Ch. i. 
servants, this last and greatest prophet is repre- 
sented in a regal capacity, as invested with high dig- 
nity and authority ; as a just and righteous prince, 
who, because of the superior excellence of his cha- 
racter, and importance of his commission, is ad- 
vanced by his Father and his God to, and power- 
fully supported in, a station of glory and felicity far 
beyond those who like him were honoured with a 
divine commission though in an inferior degree. 

The psalm which is here cited is applied by the 
Jews to the Messiah, and by Christians to Christ. 
Whether it be a prophecy at all, will bear a ques- 
tion ; and how far a prophecy can be admitted as 
containing a double sense, is a case of exceeding 
great difficulty ; but nothing can be argued from 
the use made of the prophecies by this writer, be- 
cause it is plain, from the last citation, that he is 
satisfied with texts whose sound alone, however 
distant from the true meaning, is applicable to his 

It is a strange interpretation which some inge- 
nious and learned men * have given of this passage. 

■♦ Some learned men.'] Mr. Peirce expounds the text in this 
manner : " Therefore, O God, thy God hath anointed thee to a 
vastly greater regal authority and power than ever belonged to 
the angels, who before thy inauguration were partners with thee 
in the government of the world." The learned autlior observes, 
in his note upon the passage, " It seems not an unreasonable 
supposition, that, notwithstanding their holiness and integrity, 
they might be liable to such mistakes as Christ was not," 


446 Part I. HEBREWS, Skct. 1. 4. 

Ch. I. viz. that Jesus Christ, who had formerly been em- 
ployed like other guardian angels, his equals, in 
superintending a particular district, had conducted 
himself so well in his peculiar province, that, as the 
reward of his merits, he was now advanced to uni- 
versal dominion, and his former colleagues are made 
his subjects. Surely divine revelation was commu- 
nicated to teach mankind something of more im- 
mediate importance than these imaginary revolu- 
tions in the celestial hierarchy. The design of the 
gospel is to make men wise unto salvation ; and it 
contains no information that is not directly condu- 
cive to this purpose. 

4. The writer having mentioned God as the sup- 
porter of the throne of the son, now in the language 
of the psalmist, Ps. cii. 25, expresses his confidence 
in the divine immutability as the pledge of the per- 
petual duration of the Messiah's kingdom, ver. 10 
10. And: Thou, Lord^, in the beginnwg hast 

But can any reflecting person seriously believe that the go- 
vernment of the world was ever committed to the care of imper- 
fect and fallible beings, who, because of their incapacity^ were 
afterwards deposed, and the forms of government changed ? 

' Thou, Lord.'} " In Ps. cii. 25, tiiere is no corresponding 
Hebrew for thou, Lord. Jehovah must be supplied from ver. 21, 
22, or God from ver. 24." Newcome. The words however are 
found in the LXX. and were probably dropped by negligence 
from the Hebrew copies. The immutability of God is here 
declared as a pledge of the immutability of the kingdom of 
Christ. "To show," says Emlyn {Works, vol. ii. p. 340), 
" how able his God who had anointed him was, to make good 
and maintain what he had granted him, a durable kingdom 

Pakt I. HEBREWS. Sect. I. 4. 447 

fmmded the earth, and the heavens are the works Ch. I. 
of thy hands. They ivill perish, but thou remain- Ver. 11. 
est 2 ; they will decay altogether like a ga^^ment, 
and like a mantle^ thou wilt fold them up, and 12. 
they ivill be changed; but thou art the same, and 
thy years will not fail. 

This sublime description of the eternity, the im- 
mutability, and the almighty power of God, in which 
the devout psalmist represents the supreme Being 
as remaining unchangeable in all the glory of his 
attributes from age to age, while at his pleasure 
worlds and systems rise and disappear in long suc- 
cession, and the splendid firmament itself is folded 
up and laid aside like a robe, inspires a joyful as- 
surance that the kingdom of his son, supported by 
the arm of his omnipotence, shall bear down all op- 
position, and shall endure to the end of time. 

These words are, by readers whose minds are 
biassed by popular prejudice, supposed to be ad- 
dressed to Christ; but there is nothing in the con- 
nexion which necessarily leads to this conclusion. 
As they stand in the hundred and second Psalm 
they are evidently addressed to God ; and a Jew, 
writing to his countrymen, would never presume to 

for ever and ever." See Lindsey's Sequel to his Apology, 
p. 488. 

* Thou remainest.'] or^ thou shalt remain. See Peirce and 
Macknight. $iau.£vsis. " thou wilt endure tliroughout." 

^ A mantle.'] tts^itoKaiov , " an upper garment or cloak," 
Beza understands it of the coverma: of a tent. 

448 Pakt I. H E B R E VV S. Sect. 1.5. 

Ch.i. hold that language concerning a prophet, however 
Vtr. 12. dignified, whicli in their sacred writings was uni- 
formly appropriated to the Deity. 

5. It was the commission of former prophets not 
to establish the new dispensation, but to prepare 
the way for it, ver. 13, 14. 

13. Moreover^ to ivhich of those messengers hath he 
ever said^ Sit thou at my right hand until I make 

14. thine enemies thy footstool ^ ? Are they not all ser- 
vants swift as winds ^, sent forth upon their mini- 

' Thine enemies thy footstool?'] Dr. Macknight observes, 
that " the eastern princes used to tread upon the necks of their 
vanquished enemies, in token of their utter subjection. Josh. 
X. 24. And some of the more haughty ones, in mounting their 
horses, used them as a footstool." 

^ Servants swift as winds?j^ Xeim^yiy.x itvzvit.X'ta,, ministering 
winds. See ver. 7. The writer probably alludes to the compa- 
rison he had just made, and means to represent all former pro- 
phets as eager in their inferior and menial stations to obey the 
orders of their sovereign, to wait upon the future heirs of salva- 
tion, i. e. to deliver those prophecies of the Messiah which would 
induce those who came after them to receive the gospel. 

Our translation uses the phrase ministering spirits, which im- 
mediately leads the English reader to conceive of angels in this 
connexion as incorporeal beings. That the words will bear this 
sense cannot be denied ; but there is no reason to suppose that 
the word iti'suaara is used here in a different sense from that 
in which it is used in the context. Mr. Peirce, in his Note, 
endeavours to accommodate the passage to his own strange 
hypothesis of a revolution in the celestial hierarchy. He al- 
lows, however, that the presumption is in favour of the trans- 
lation viinistering ivinds. 

But even admitting that " ministering spirits" is the true 
translation, it would not follow that angels were alluded to. 
In the Hebrew idiom a man's spirit means himself, viz. 2 Tim. 
iv. 22. " The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit," i. e. with 
thee. Compare Philem. ver. 25, 1 Cor. ii. 11. " Are they not 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. 1. 5. 449 

stry for the sake of those ivho ivere to be the heirs^ Ch. I. 
of salvation? \^r.\A. 

In the hundred and tenth Psalm Jehovah is in- 
troduced as addressing a highly exalted person, 
whom the psalmist calls " his lord " in these re- 
markable words, *' Sit thou at my right hand until 
I make thine enemies thy footstool." This we all 
agree ^ to apply to the Messiah, and to be prophetic 
of his high dignity and ultimate universal authority 
and dominion. But do you find any passage in the 
Jewish scriptures in which this language, or any 
thing like it, is addressed to any other prophet ? 
Are they styled lords ? are they at the right hand 
of God ? are they promised universal empire ? No: 
their office, however honourable and important, was 
of a humbler nature. They were only servants under 
the divine controul, swift as the winds to obey the 
orders they received. Their office was indeed ho- 
nourable, though secondary and inferior to that of 
the Son. They were harbingers of the Messiah's 
kingdom, who by their predictions of his advent, 
and of the nature and extent of the authority which 
he was to exercise, prepared the minds of men for 

all ministering spirits ? " is therefore no more than if the writer 
had said, " are they not all ministers?" 

' IVho were to be heirs.'] " for the sake of those who should 
afterward belong to the Christian church." Peirce ; who ob- 
serves that the writer only speaks here " of professed Chris- 
tians, enjoying the gospel, and the subjects of Christ's visible 
kingdom and church on earth." 

■♦ This we agreed See Grotius and Whitby. The latter proves 
by many testimonies that the Jewish writers interpret this Psalm 
of the Messiah. 

VOL. IV. 2 G 

45U Pakt I. H E B R E W S. Sect. I. G. 

ch. I. the reception of liis doctrine, and supplied the most 
'^'"' ■ satisfactory proofs of the divinity of his mission. 
Thus the former prophets were appointed by God 
to be the instructors and the guides of those who 
were then to be, and who now are, by their instru- 
mentality, the disciples of this new dispensation, 
and partakers of its inestimable benefits. 

tj. From the pre-eminence of this new and glo- 
rious teacher he infers the superior regard due to 
the dispensation introduced by him. Ch. ii. 1 — 4. 
Ch. II. J'^or t/iis cause lue intsrht to sive the more ear- 

Vtr. 1. . . . 

nest attention to the things which we have heardy 
lest at any time we let them escape ' . 

The superior dignity of the teacher requires su- 
perior attention to the doctrine, which we may be 
sure is of proportionably greater importance, and 
most worthy of being received and remembered by 
2. For if the doctrine delivered by J7iessc7igers' ivas 

' Let them escape^^ 'rrapappvuiiisv, rim out as leaking vessels. 
The word means that we should not let what we have heard slip 
b]i us, or run out, through any negligence or carelessness. — 
" The figure is taken from water, which easily flows by one if 
it be not stopped, and by that means kept." Sykes. " ne 
qiiando prcctcr/iuere ea sinamus." Bos. 

- Messengers.'] ocyysAOis, by former prophets, as in the con- 
text, commonly interpreted angels, and A^Tiitby has a learned 
note to establish this sense of the word. We know that pro- 
phets and messengers, viz. Moses, Aaron, Joshua, &c., were 
employed at the giving out of the law from Sinai (see Exod. 
xxiv. 12) ; but that any celestial created spirits were concerned 
in it we have no satisfactory evidence. 

Part I. H E B R E W S. Skct. I. 6, 451 

of such authority that^ every transgression anddis- Ch. ii. 
obedience received a just retribution, how shall ive Ver. 3. 
escape if ive neglect so great a salvation 4, tvhich 
having been first published by the Lord, was con- 
firmed to us by those that heard him^, God at '*• 
the same time bearing testimony by signs and won- 
ders^, and various mighty works, and distributions 
of the holy spirit, according to his own will? 

This new dispensation cannot be neglected with 
impunity : for, consider with yourselves, if the legal 
dispensation which was introduced by messengers 
and servants, and the dignity and importance of 

^ Was of such author itij that, &c.] So Wakefield. /SsfaJOf, 
" stedfast, and every transgression," t&c. Newcome, according 
to the construction of the original. " The threats denounced 
in the law were all put in execution exaptly and rigidly, i. e. in 
the wilderness." Sykes. 

* Salvation.'] i. e. deliverance in general, whether from the 
bondage of the law, or from the yoke of idolatry and vice. See 
Tit. iii. 5. It is not necessary to suppose that eternal life and 
happiness is here intended. Archbishop Newcome explains it 
of " the doctrine and the means of salvation proposed by such 
high authority." 

* By those that heard him.] From this expression Grotius 
infers that this epistle was not written by an apostle, but by 
some disciple of the apostles, such as Luke, to whom he inclines 
to ascribe it. It is, to say the least, a strong presumption that 
Paul was not the author j for he always expressly disavows 
having learned the Christian doctrine from men, even though 
they were apostles, and affirms that he learned it from Christ 
alone. See Gal. i. 11 . He never would have used the language 
which occurs here without some qualification. 

^ Signs and wonders, &c.] It is not easy, nor is it material, 
to know the distinctions of the miraculous powers here men- 
tioned. Peirce has an excellent note upon the passage. 
" Some," says Archbishop Newcome, " distinguish thus : that 
(rrjf^Biov is a miracle wrought as a sign ; rspas, one wrought on 
inanimate nature ; and ovvcu^s, one wrought on animate na- 

2 G^ 

452 Part I. HEBREWS, Sect. II. 1. 

Ch. n. which must have been far inferior to that to which 
I now allude, was so strongly enforced, that condign 
punishment, without mitigation or reprieve, was in- 
flicted upon the voluntary offender, can we in simi- 
lar circumstances hope for mercy ? Can we expect 
to escape the most distressing consequences if we 
reject a dispensation of so much greater value, which 
was first published by the glorious personage of 
whom the prophets were the harbingers, which was 
further taught and explained to us by his messen- 
gers, who learned it from his lips, and whose doc- 
trine was attested in the most solemn and convin- 
cing manner by those miracles which God enabled 
them to perform, and by those miraculous powers 
which he authorized them in various instances to 
communicate to their disciples. Let not any one 
think that the rejection of this divine institution is 
a matter of little consequence ; or, that a doctrine 
introduced into the world with this splendour of 
miracles may be opposed, abandoned, or even neg- 
lected, without the utmost hazard. 


The JVRITER argues^ from a variety of considc' 
rations^ that the nature of the Christian diS' 
pensation required that the first teacher of it 
should be not an angel, or a celestial spirit y but 
a suffering man, — Ch. ii. 5 — 18. 

1. He affirms that the Christian dispensation 

Pakt I. HEBREWS. Sect. II. I. 453 

was not committed to the direction of angels, ch. ii. 
ver. 5. 

Moreover^ unto angels^ (God) hath not com' Ver. 5. 

' Moreover, unto arigels."] Moreover, yep, introducing, not 
an inference, but a collateral remark. The author enters upon 
a new subject : having proved that the founder of the new 
dispensation was superior to all former prophets and messen- 
gers of God, he now sets himself to prove that, exalted as he 
is in dignity, he is nevertheless in nature inferior to angels j 
and is in this respect altogether similar to his brethren. ** Aa~ 
gels:" so Wakefield. Here the connexion requires that the 
word which in the preceding section means human beings, mes- 
sengers of God, should now be taken in the sense of celestial 
spirits ; such as angels are supposed to be. This change in the 
signification of a word, without giving notice of it, though a 
great fault in composition, is not out of character in our au- 
thor, who writes rhetorically rather than logically ; and often 
takes the liberty of playing upon his words. In ver. 7 of the 
first chapter, he uses the words in a sense totally different 
from their original meaning as they stand in the civth Psalm, 
And if the common interpretation be correct, he changes the 
sense of ifveii^oc in ver. 14, from the sense in which he uses it 
ver. 7, without giving any notice of the alteration. 

It is not often that a writer sets himself to prove, that a 
human being is a human being, and nothing more than a hu- 
man being. But this writer, as though he were aware that the 
lofty expressions which he had used were liable to be misun- 
derstood, endeavours to guard his readers against this miscon- 
ception by stating in the most explicit terms, that by all he had 
said concerning the dignity of the Founder of the new covenant, 
and his superiority to the angels or prophets of the old dispen- 
sation, he never intended to represent him as superior to angels 
or celestial beings ; for as it had been foretold of him that he 
should be inferior to angels, so in fact it wa.s indispensably re- 
quisite to the accomplishment of the object of his mission, that 
he should be a proper human being in every respect similar to 
those whom he came to redeem from vice and misery ; and not 
only so, but that he should also be a sufferer and a victim pre- 
viously to his advancement to his kingdom and glory. 

Such were the pains which the sacred writers took, and thia 
writer in particular, to impress upon their readers a correct 
judgement concerning the person of their Master, and to pre- 

454 Part I. HEBREWS, Siccr. II. I. 

Ch. II. mitted the world to come ', conceiving which zve 

The prophets of God, who are called his angels, 
or messengers, were employed by him to conduct 
the Jewish dispensation, sanctioned by temporal 
promises and threatenings, in its origin, and through 
the various stages of its progress ; and I have just 
been proving to you, by arguments the most con- 
clusive, that the great prophet of the new dispensa- 
tion is superior to them all, as a son to a servant, 
as a master to his emissaries and messengers. You 
are not, however, from the ambiguity, or from the 
strength of language which I have used, to draw 
conclusions which were not designed, nor to infer 
that the person of whom I have been discoursing 

vent their figurative expressions from being misunderstood. 
Yet such was the shame and scandal of the cross, and the dread 
of being exposed to scorn as the disciples of the crucified Naza- 
rene, that in the very age of the apostles, and in defiance of 
the plainest language of the New Testament, men began to 
introduce tliose corrupt opinions concerning Christ, v.'hich gra- 
dually grew up to the deification of his person, and ultimately 
to the monstrous doctrine of a Triune God 3 which for fifteen 
centuries has been the belief and the disgrace of the apostate 

^ The Korhl to vome^ otxstj.svriV y.sAXs<ra.v. It is agreed 
among critics, that the Christian (Uspensation is here intended ; 
but why called o/xaaevryv ju-eAAacrav, Ihcjutnre inhnhiled world ? 
Some think because it is styled a new creation, Isa. Ixv. 17 ; 
others represent the expression as synonymous with aiwv, and 
render it the succeeding age; the temple being standing when 
this epistle was written. See Newcome's Translation. Dr. 
Macknight and others suppose the writer to allude to the ob- 
ject of the divine promise under the Christian dispensation, 
namely, a future life, as distinguished from the promise of the 
Mosaic covenant, which was onlv tlic earfhlv Canaan. 

Part I. H K B R E W S. Skct. II, 2. 455 

is a being of a nature superior to man. The re- ch. u. 
verse is true. For though the disj)ensati()n which 
I have described, and which has been introduced 
in the awful and magnificent manner which you 
have heard, is a dispensation greatly superior to 
any which preceded it, and is enforced by the mo- 
mentous sanctions of a future Hfe, yet I can assure 
you that the direction of it is not connnitted to ce- 
lestial and angelic beings, but that the illustrious 
founder and teacher of it is a mere human being, 
a man like ourselves. 

2. The writer further remarks, that certain cir- 
cumstances are foretold concerning the Messiah in 
the book of Psalms, one of which still remains un- 
fulfilled, while the others have received their accom- 
plishment in the person of Jesus, ver. G — i). 

Hui a certain writer 2 hath somewhere icstijlcd, 6. 

sayingy fVliat is man that thou art mindful of 
hiin, or any son of man"^ that thou regardest him? 
Thou madest him a little lower ^ titan the angels '% 7. 

* A certain writer.] I cannot think that Mr. Peirce, not- 
withstanding all the learning and ingenuity which he has ex- 
ercised upon the subject, has by any means proved, in a satis- 
factory manner, that the eighth Psalm was a prophecy of 
Christ. This is one instance among many of the very loose 
manner of quoting and applying scripture so familiar to the 
writer of this epistle, and probably to the .Jews of his time, 

^ Man, or any son of man.'} See Wakefield, 

* A little lower.'] ^/sap^u rt, Peirce and many others ob- 
serve that this expression may be translated, " for a short 
Ijme;" whicii translation best accommodates the Arian hypo- 
Ihesis ; but the common translation is equally correct, and bet- 

456 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. II. 2. 

Ch. II. thou crownedst hiin with glory and honour, and 
thou hast set him over the works of thy hands •. 

Ver. 8. Thou hast subjected all things under his feet. 
Now in thus subjecting all things to him, he hath 
left nothing that is not subjected to him^. 

This quotation from Psalm viii. 4 — 6 may be 
understood as prophetic of some illustrious person 
who is to be appointed universal governor, and to 
whose authority all things without exception are to 
be made subject. 
—8. But now we do not yet sec that all things are 
subjected to him. 

There is no person who has yet appeared to 
whom this part of the prophecy can apply ; and 
therefore it is not from this circumstance that we 
can discover the illustrious object of it. But there 
is one, a distinguished character to whom I have 
all along alluded, and whom I shall immediately 

ter adapted to the original Psalm : there is, therefore, no rea- 
son to alter it. See Sykes. 

* Angels.'] The original word is Elohim, gods; and probably 
mjeans to express beings of an order superior to mankind. It 
never signifies messengers, which is the primary sense of the 
word (l«bD) that is commonly translated angel. 

' And thou hast set him over the works of thy hands."] This 
clause is wanting in the Clermont and Corbey and in many 
other ancient manuscripts, and likewise in the Syriac version ; 
but it is found both in the Hebrew and the LXX., and is proba- 
bly genuine. 

2 He hath left nothing, &c.] The apostle Paul, 1 Cor. xv, 
27, applies the same text to the dominion of Christ : hence 
some have concluded that Paul was the author of this epistle ; 
but this is precarious. The aj)oslle's inference is didcrcnt, viz. 
it is raf\nifest that he is excepted who did put all things undiy 

Part I. HEBREWS. Skct, II. 2. 457 

name, in whom the first part of the prophecy hath Ch. ir. 
received its proper accomplishment ; and in whom, ^'' * 
without doubt, the last and the most glorious part 
will in due time be amply verified. 

But we see Jesus 3, who was made a little lower 9« 

than angelsy that he, by the gratuitous goodness 
of God^ might taste death for every man, for the 
sufferhig of death ^ crowned with glory and ho' 

The person whom I mean is Jesus, the head of 
the new dispensation ; a name by many despised 
and abhorred ; but to you, I trust, dear and vene- 
rable. He is the master that we serve, the founder 
of our faith, greatly pre-eminent over all former 
prophets and teachers. Not indeed in his nature; 
for he like them is inferior to angels ; and it was 
fit he should, for he was destined to be a sufferer ; 

' We see Jesus.'] Observe here, that this is the first mention 
of the name of Jesus, which the author does not introduce till 
he has raised in the minds of the Hebrew Christians the highest 
ideas of his office and character j and though it Ls necessary to 
mention his sufferings, he does it in the slightest manner, it is 
only tasting death ; which he represents at the same time as 
an event fraught with the most beneficial consequences to all 
mankind, as the result of the free goodness of God, and as im- 
mediately connected with and crowne<i by his advancement to 
the highest dignity and honour. This caution of the writer in 
introducing the name of Jesus has escaped the notice of most 
expositors. He seems to have intended the epistle for the in- 
spection of the unconverted, as well as the converted Hebrews ; 
and the fear of hurting the prejudices of the Jews, shows that 
the writer was educated in the school of Paul. See Peirce on 
ver. 11. 

* For the suffering ofdealh.'] The hyperbaton in this verse is 
noticed hy all the critics. 

458 Paut I. H E B R E W S. Sect. II. 2. 

Ch, II, and, by the free goodness of God, lie was, for the 
"' * benefit of all mankind, delivered up to a temporary 
death. But this event was so far from being dis- 
graceful to him, or to his cause, that by his resur- 
rection from the grave and ascension to the right 
hand of God, which was the reward of his voluntary 
sufferings, he is advanced to greater dignity and 
honour than any human being before him ever at- 
tained, which plainly points him out as the proper 
object of the remarkable prophecy which I have just 
cited, and as destined in the divine councils to be 
tlie future lord and governor of all things. 

Upon this paragraph we may observe, I. That 
this passage makes it probable that the epistle was 
written, if not by Paul himself, j'ct by one of the 
companions or hearers of that apostle : for the same 
prophecy is quoted with the same view, I Cor. xv. 

2. The eighth Psalm does not appear to have 
any peculiar claim to be regarded as prophetic of 
the Messiah. It is a poetical composition which 
beautifully expresses the condescension and good- 
ness of the divine Being in the formation of man, 
and in the dominion granted to him over the infe- 
rior creatures. This therefore is an additional in- 
stance of quotation by accommodation from the 
Old Testament, so familiar with this writer, and 
with the Jews in his time. 

3. The word Elohim, which in this Psalm is 
translated angel, is not the same with that which 

Paht 1. HEBREWS. Skgt. II. 2. ^'^^ 

is usually so translated, and it never signifies a mes- Ch. ii. 
senger. It is commonly rendered God, or Gods, 
and it expresses the dignity of the human race, as 
being little inferior to celestial spirits. The writer 
here applies the expression to Jesus in the same 
sense, and means thereby to show that he was not 
an angel but a man. He insinuates that it was re- 
quisite that he should be a man, that he might be 
liable to death, of which, if he had been a celestial 
spirit, he would not have been susceptible. He was 
inferior to angels that he might taste of death. 

4. He tasted death for every man, i. e. all were 
benefited by his death, which sealed a new and uni- 
versal covenant, in which all mankind were parties. 
This is explained hereafter : at present, for the pur- 
pose of softening the prejudices of the Hebrews, it 
is just alluded to as the result of the merciful ap- 
pointment of God. He did but taste of death : he 
saw no corruption : he was raised on the third day, 
before any change took place ; and the reproach 
was obliterated almost as soon as it began. 

5. The parts of the prophecy which are repre- 
sented as actually fulfilled are. First, that he was 
made lower than the angels, a mortal man, who by 
divine appointment suffered death. Second, that 
he is now advanced to glory and honour, that is, 
raised from the dead and exalted at the right hand 
of God. 

6. One part of the prophecy remained unful- 
filled. " We do not yet sec all things put under 

460 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. II. 3. 

Ch. II, Nor do we, who live at the distance of seventeen 
*'■ • centuries, yet see this prediction completely veri- 
fied. But if there be truth in prophecy, the reli- 
gion of Jesus will eventually become the religion 
of the world. The doctrine of the cross will ulti- 
mately bear down all opposition ; and those events 
which, to our limited apprehensions, appear most 
hostile to its progress, will in the end appear to 
have been essential parts of the wise and mysterious 
plan of Providence, and subservient to the ultimate 
and universal triumph of the Christian cause. 

3. That there was an expediency in appointing 
that the Saviour of men should be a sufferer, ver. 
10. For It became hiriiyfor whom are all things and 
by whom are all things^ to make the leader of many 
sons * to glory y even the captain of their salvation^ 
perfect through sufferings *. 

' The leader of many sons^ Wakefield, sig So^av OLyay^vfa: 
" It is not God that is here said to be bringing many sons to 
glory, for then it would have been in natural construction 
ayay^iVTi, not aya.yovra, but it is the Captain of their Salva- 
tion vvho was to bring many sons to glory. The sense of the 
place is. It became the goodness and wisdom of God to make 
his Son, who was to bring many sons to glory, — sons, who were 
to go through many sufferings in this life, — to make his Son, I 
say, an example to them to bear sufferings, to encourage them 
to persevere steady and immovable, till they obtained the re- 
ward of their sufferings." Sykes. 

- To make perfect through sufferings.'] " tsXeiwa-ai, to bring 
to an end, to finish, to perfect : the possession of his kingdom 
was the perfection of our Leader." Sykes. Dr. Doddridge ap- 
proaches nearer to the true meaning of the author: " It be- 
came him, &c, to make the leader of salvation completely fit 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. II, 3. 461 

You might naturally expect, like the rest of your Ch. ii. 
nation, that the great deliverer would appear as a "* ' 
prince and a conqueror ; whereas it is evident, as I 
have just observed, that the honour to which Jesus 
is advanced was attained by the suffering of death : 
and, however contrary the event may prove to our 
views and hopes, there can be no doubt, that the 
glorious Being who is the first cause and the last 
end of all, and by whose councils the whole plan of 
man's salvation is conducted, had the wisest and the 
best reasons for what he has chosen to bring to 
pass. And we may be assured that no better way 
could be devised for executing his gracious pur- 
pose, than by appointing him, who was ordained to 
conduct multitudes of the sons of God to glory and 
felicity, and to be himself the first who should take 
possession of it as their pattern and forerunner, to 
become qualified and completed for this high and 
sacred office, and as it were consecrated to it, by 
passing through a previous scene of suffering and 
death. Some of the most obvious reasons for this 
appointment I shall proceed to state. 

for the full execution of his office by a long train of sufferings, 
whereby he was, as it were, solemnly consecrated to it." 
Tliere can be no doubt that this is the sense in which the word 
rsXsiou), to make perfect, is used in this epistle (see ch.vii. 28), 
and this sense, as Peirce observes, is confirmed by the words 
which immediately follow. See ver. 1 1 . 

" I would observe," says Dr. Priestley, " that all that fol- 
lows in this chapter has no other object, and he never could 
have written it with any other idea, than that of Christ being 
as much a man as any of his followers who bore the Christian 

462 Part I. H E B R E W S. Sect. 11.4. 

Ch. II. 4. This glorious leader and his followers are all 
equally the spiritual descendants of Abraham, ver. 
11. For both he who sancUfieth ', and they ivho are 
sanctified ^ are all^ of one Father 3; for ivhich 
cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren. 

' He who sanctifieth'] " is he that puts persons into a sepa- 
rate state from others in respect to God ; and they that are sanc- 
tified ought to live up to the relation they stand in to God," 

■^ Are all^ Peirce thinks that by the use of the universal 
term all, the writer means to allude in a manner as inoffensive 
as possible to the conversion of the Gentiles. 

^ Of one Father.] s^ ivoj. The original is elliptical : some 
supply the elli])sis with the word God, ver. 9. " Tiie sanctifier 
Christ, and the sanctified, his disciples, are all of one Father, 
God." Newcome. So Sykes. " all of one family ; all the de- 
scendants of Adam, and in a sense the seed of Abraham," 
Doddridge. " E^ kvog sc. al^aaToj, vel avsp^arog, vel ysvss. 
Omnes eandem hahent, vel habere debebant naturam : quarn in- 
terpretationem sequentia confirmant. cap. v. 1. Conveniens erat 
aiictorem salutis humance non esse angelum, sed humana natura 
prceditum.'" Rosenmuller. " All of them are of one father 
Abraham — the father of the faithful, the great pattern of be- 
lieving." Peirce. This is the interpretation adopted in the 
paraphrase, but I am doubtful whether that of Rosenmuller does 
not better suit the connexion. " They are all," says Dr. Whitby, 
" of one original and nature." It is the professed design of 
the writer in this section to show that the founder of the new 
dispensation, though far superior in rank to all preceding pro- 
phets, was nevertheless a human being in the proper sense of 
the word, and nothing more than such. As such, he acknow- 
ledges that he is not ashamed to call his disciples his brethren ; 
that like them he is dependent upon the protection of God, to 
whom he is to give an account of his mission, and to present 
at the throne of God those who through divine mercy have 
been saved by him, his children, his beloved disciples, who are 
also beings of the same order and nature with himself. After 
which, the writer proceeds to show how necessaiy it was that 
he who came to save from the curse of the law should himself 
be a man like his brethren subject to the law. 


Part I. H E B R E W S. Sect. II. 4. 463 

This illustrious teacher, who sanctifies his dis- Ch. ii. 
ciples and separates them from the unbelieving 
world, as a people consecrated to God, and they 
who are thus consecrated by him, are all of them 
sons of God, the common parent of mankind, they 
are all beings of the same species, partakers of the 
same common nature, and are all the children of 
Abraham the holy patriarch, who is renowned for 
the confidence which he placed in the promises of 
God. He does not therefore assume any superio- 
rity over his faithful disciples; but though honoured 
with such an important mission he represents him- 
self as their brother in rank, and their companion 
in tribulation, equally with them depending upon 
and confiding in the promises of God, to whom all 
his success was owing. 

Sayi7ig, I ivill declare thy name unto my bre- i2, 

thren *, m the mkiat of the assembly I will cele- 
brate thy praise. 

This is the language which David, in the twenty- 
second Psalm, ver. 22, puts into the mouth of that 
lioly person who is the object of this prophecy, and 

It may be remarked that this writer, who so explicitly asserts 
the proper humanity of Christ, makes no reserve, puts in no 
salvo in favour of a superior and divine nature which was not 
subject to these humiliations. In truth, he had no idea of any 
such distinction. The fable of two distinct natures existing in 
one person was not then invented. 

* To my brethren^ " The passage here cited," says Peirce, 
" is taken from Ps. xxii. 22 ; and the whole Psalm seems to 
me to belong entirely and solely to Christ. That he was not 
ashamed to call his disciples brethren, we learn from John xx. 
17, Matt. XXV. 40, xxviii. 10." 

464 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. II. 4. 

Ch. II. who is the same that we now call our master ; and 
"' ' who thus condescends to speak of his faithful disci- 
ples as his brethren. 
13. ^nd again, I will continue to put my trust in 
him. And again ^ Behold /, and the children 
whom God hath given me 2. 

The same conclusion may be drawn from a pas- 
sage in the prophecy of Isaiah, ch. viii. 17, 18; 
where a great teacher predicted under the name of 
Immanuel, who is the person of whom I am speak- 
ing, the head of the new dispensation, declares his 
resolution to place his confidence in God under great 
difficulties and trials ; and thus approves himself a 
genuine son of Abraham : and as he immediately 
speaks of his disciples as children given to him by 
God, they likewise are with him the spiritual de- 

' And again!] The two clauses here cited stand together in 
Isaiah viii. 17, 18 j but being cited as separate testimonies, it 
has been conjectured that the writer takes the former from 
Psalm xviii. 2, or 2 Sam. xxii. 3. See Peirce and Sykes in loc. 
But it seems equally probable that the words xa* vaXiv have 
been repeated from the first clause, by the inadvertence of 
some early transcriber. This was the opinion of Wall. See 

- Behold /, &c.] This is language which, according to the 
interpretation of Mr. Peirce and Mr. Dodson, the prophet puts 
into the mouth of Immanuel, or the Messiah. It seems to be 
introduced here to sliow that the Messiah was the heir of Abra- 
ham's faith ; and that believers, being his spiritual children, 
were together with him the spiritual descendants of Abraham. 
See Peirce in loc. and Dodson on Isa. viii. 17. " The argu- 
ment," says Peirce, " stands thus : All that believe in God, 
whether they are Jews or Gentiles, are children of Abraham. 
Christ, as appears by this testimony, believed in God ; conse- 
quently he must himself be a son of Abraham ; and all be- 
lievers, whether Jews or Gentiles, must be his brethren." 

Part I. H E B R E W S. Sect. II. '>. 46t 

scendants of the believing patriarch, and heirs of Ch. ii. 
^i . Ver. 13. 

the promise. 

In this way does the author represent to the be- 
lieving Hebrews that the great leader of the Chris- 
tian faith was, and that it was foretold that he would 
be, like their renowned ancestor, eminent for his firm 
and cheerful reliance upon God in seasons of great 
difficulty and trial, and thus he gradually reconciles 
their minds to the acknowledgement of a suffering 

5. As he came to deliver men, and not angels, 
from the curse of the law and the fear of death, it 
was necessary that he should be a man and not an 
angel, ver. 14 — 16. 

Inasmuch then as these children partook in com- 14. 
mon of flesh and bloody he also in the very same 
manner participated'^ in the same^ that through 
death he might destroy^ him who hath the power of 
death, that is, the devil ^j and might deliver those is. 

' In the very same manner participated.'] Tfapa'TrXr/triODs [is- 
T'sa-^e. The expression in the public version, " took part" of 
the same, seems to imply that the participation of human na- 
ture was, in Jesus, a voluntary act j an idea which the original 
by no means conveys. Mr. Peirce well observes, that the word 
itapaTfKrja-iujs does not here import ' a faint likeness,' or ' re- 
semblance,' but * a proper and exact conformity ;' he partook 
of flesh and blood as completely as the children do." 

■* Destroy'] xarajyijs^* The word properly signifies to render 
ineffectual. Rom. iii. 3l'. See Dr. Macknight. It might have 
been rendered, to defeat, to bring to nought. 1 Cor. i. 28, ii. 6, 
XV. 24. See Peirce. 

^ That is, the devil.'] Some have thought that the devil is 
VOL. IV. 2 II 

466 Part I. HEBREWS, Sect. II. 5, 

Ch. II. ivho through fear of death luere all their lifetime 
Ver. 16. subject to slavery. For it layeth not hold of an- 
gels'^, hut it layeth hold of the posterity of Abra- 

said to have the power of death, because he is the inflicter of 
death ; a power which Mr. Peirce, who is willing to attribute 
it to him to a certain extent, justly thinks ought not to be at- 
tributed to him universally. But, in fact, whfit evidence is 
there that he possesses it in the least degree ? Peirce himself, 
and many others, understand the expression as an allusion to 
his having tempted our first parents in paradise, and thereby 
bringing death upon themselves and their posterity ; an as- 
sumption for vvhich the account of the Fall lays no foundation. 
But what inference is too incredible or too foi-midable, if the 
fact be once admitted, that a being such as the devil is com- 
monly described to be, shares with the Supreme in the govern- 
ment of the universe ? 

The devil, which is sometimes a personification of the prin- 
ciple of evil, is, in this passage, probably put for the accusing 
and condemning power, that is, the law, which accuses, con- 
victs, and passes a sentence of condemnation upon all who are 
subject to its authority, and vA\o break its commands ; and 
might well fill the hearts of all who are amenable to its tribu- 
nal with dismay. It is the law which thus possesses the power 
of death, and which being abolished by the death of Christ, all 
who believe in him are released from its condemning sentence, 
and emancipated from the fear of death. 

For this interpretation, which appears to me to remove all 
difficulties from a very obscure text, 1 am indebted to the late 
Samuel Prime, Esq. of Whitton, whose zeal in biblical research 
was only equalled by his enlightened liberality in the diffusion 
of Christian knowledge. 

' It layeth not hold of angels. -"l i. e. the fear of death. This 
interpretation is advanced by the late Rev. John Palmer of Mac- 
clesfield, and ingeniously and learnedly supported by him in the 
Theological Repository, vol. v. p. 161. It is greatly to be pre- 
ferred to that of Sykes, Peirce, Newcome, and others; viz. 
" For indeed he, i. e. Christ, helpeth not angels." The text 
as it stands in the public version, " Verily he took not on him 
the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abra- 
ham," is a lamentable proof how much King James's transla- 
tors were misled by their prejudices. Perhaps the words might 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. II. 5. 467 

The great object to be accomplished by the mis- ch. ii. 
sion of Christ was to deUver his brethren the chil- ^^^' ^^' 
dren of Abraham from the fear of death ; a fear 
which in some persons, and in some circumstances, 
is so prevalent as to take away all comfort and to 
make life itself a burden. 

This is a fear to which angels and beings of a 
superior order are not exposed, not being liable to 
mortality ; but it is in a peculiar degree incident to 
the descendants of Abraham, who are not only, as 
men, subject to the universal law of death, but who 
are also placed under a law which pronounces sen- 
tence upon every transgressor, without remission, 
exposing to a fearful and unknown doom every one 
who falls short of sinless obedience. 

It was therefore expedient that he who was com- 
missioned to deliver his brethren from the curse of 
the law, should be, not an angel, or a being of su- 
perior order, who could feel no true sympathy with 
their condition ; but a proper human being, in every 
respect like themselves, not only as a man, but as 
one of the posterity of Abraham, born under the 

be rendered thus : He, i. e. the devil, the accusing power, layeth 
not hold of angels, but of the seed of Abraham. This would 
keep up the spirit of the allegory. And this interpretation would 
supply a very obvious answer to Dr. Sykes's just and pertinent 
question : " Why should it be said that Christ came to help 
the seed of Abraham, and not the seed of Adam ?" The true 
answer to which is : That it was the posterity of Abraham onli/, 
who, living under the dominion of the law, were subject to its 
accusation, and whose lives became a burden to them in con- 
sequence of that sentence of condemnation of which they were 
apprized, and from which they could not escape. 

2 H 2 

468 Part I. HEBREWS, Skct. II. 6. 

Oh. II. law, exposed to the weaknesses and fears of human 
"' ' nature, and who hhnself suffered the penalty of the 

Not indeed as a transgressor, for his obedience 
was perfect, but with a nobler purpose ; that by 
death he might destroy him who had the power of 
death, that is, the devil. Do not mistake me : do 
not imagine that Jesus died to exterminate some 
evil spirit who possesses power to increase the ago- 
nies of death. No such mischievous being exists 
in the works of God. The devil which Christ abo- 
lished by his death, was the accusing and condemn- 
ing power, the law itself, which with relentless se- 
verity pronounced sentence upon transgressors, and 
thus possessed the dreadful power of adding horror 
to the horrors of death. But the death of Christ, 
which sealed the covenant of pardon and peace, has 
put an end to the law, and disarmed death of its 

We see here with what caution and ingenuity 
the sacred writer insinuates to the believing He- 
brews that most offensive of all doctrines, that the 
law having answered its purpose is now completely 
abolished, and that believers under the new cove- 
nant are no longer subject to its yoke. 

6. A complete resemblance to his brethren was 
requisite to inspire the leader of the new dispensa- 
tion with sympathy, and to qualify him for the office 
of high -priest, ver. 17, 18. 

Pabt I. HEBREWS, Skct. H. 6. 46,^ 

Sa that it was right ^for him in all things to be ch. ii. 
like to his brethren, that he might be a merciful and ^*^^' ^^* 
faithful high-priest ^ in things relating to God, in 
order to propitiate the sins of the people^. 

It was quite necessary that this great deliverer 
should be in every circumstance similar to his bre- 
thren, both as to his being a real man, and subject 
to the dominion of the law ; for without this he 

' It was right.'] See Wakefield's translation. 

^ A inerciful and faithful high-priest.} This is the first men- 
tion of Jesus Christ as a high-[), upon which character the 
writer afterwards expatiates at large. He is merciful and faith- 
ful, gXgij/Awv Kaj Ttis'os, i. e. the high-priest of a dispensation in 
which 7nercy is promised to faith, as distinguished from works, 
which were required by the law, on the failure of which it pro- 
nounces a sentence of condemnation. 

3 To propitiate the sins of the people.'] Not sis to IXocaKsaSat 
tfspi Tcuv di/^aptK/jv, not, as is commonly rendered, to propitiate, 
or " make reconciliation for the sins of the people," but to pro- 
pitiate or reconcile the sins themselves. Mr. Peirce, who admits 
this to be the literal interpretation, says " there is no sense in 
it." But if it be interpreted as a prosopopoeia, the sins, the ac- 
cusing powers, which clamour for punishment, may be quieted, 
appeased, silenced, by the dispensation of the gospel, as the 
law, the condemning power^ is abolished by it. 

Dr. Sykes also observes, " The form of expression here is 
quite unusual : lAatDcsfrSa* ©gov, or icspi aiia-ptiuiv, to appease 
God, or to appease God on account of sins, is frequent; but the 
expression here used, to reconcile sins, or appease sins, is some- 
thing very particular." He well explains it, that " Christ, as 
a high-priest, did his part that our sins might be passed over, 
and not brought to account." Had it occurred to these learned 
writers to consider sins in this connexion as a personification 
of the accusing power, as prosecutors invoking the penalty of 
the law, the construction of the language would have been 
easily explained. 

The meaning probably is, to remove all legal obstructions 
and disqualifications, so that those who were excluded as sin- 
ners from the privileges of the old covenant might be admitted 
to the benefits of the new dispensation, and might be called and 
made holij. 

470 Pakt I. HEBREWS. Sect. 11, 6. 

Ch. If. would not have been duly qualified to exercise that 
office which he now sustains, and upon which I 
shall presently expatiate more at large, namely that 
of a high-priest, under a dispensation which pro- 
claims mercy to those who believe : under which 
character he conducts the Christian dispensation as 
one grand act of temple worship ; and thus he si- 
lences the clamours of sin, invoking vengeance and 
condemnation, as he abolishes the law which passes 
the sentence of death. 

This I believe to be the true meaning of the 
writer, whose words are not that he propitiates God 
for the sins of men, but that he propitiates the sins 
themselves. Having in the preceding sentence per- 
sonified the law as the condemning power whose 
sentence aggravated the terrors of death, but which 
was abolished by Christ, he now personifies the sins 
of transgressors as accusing powers, which were not 
utterly destroyed like the law, but which were si- 
lenced and pacified by that dispensation of grace, 
to the ministration of which Christ was consecrated 
by his death, and which proclaimed mercy to those 
who believed. On which account Christ is called a 
merciful 2inA faithful high-priest ; or a high-priest 
of that dispensation which requires faith as the con- 
dition of mercy. 
18. For wherein he hath suffered being tried y he is 
able to help ^ those who are under trial. 

' Able to help.'] ^orj^crxi " means to encourage, to strengthen, 
not by any supernatural aid, but by the example which Christ 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. III. 471 

If it was an angel that suffered and not a man, ch. ii. 
or if he suffered as some think only in appearance, ^^^- ^^• 
his instructions would lose their effect, and his 
example would be of no use ; for the cases of the 
teacher and the disciple would be totally dissimi- 
lar : but just in the degree in which he has suffered 
he can benefit his fellow sufferers. Since, there- 
fore, he was a man like ourselves, who had all the 
frailties, all the feelings, and all the fears of a hu- 
man being, and who suffered all the pains which 
any other man in the same circumstances would 
have endured, and since, by the exercise of faith 
and resignation, he triumphed over the fear of 
death, and was in due time raised from the grave, 
his doctrine and example may now be of the most 
essential benefit to his fellow sufferers, both as it 
teaches them to bear affliction of every kind with 
dignity and fortitude, and as it enables them to 
triumph over death in its most terrible aspect, by 
exciting the assured and glorious hope, that be- 
cause he lives they shall live also. 


The iriiiTER briefly touches upon the superiority ch. iii. 
of Jesus to Moses. Ch. iii. 1 — 6. 

The writer of this epistle having, ch. i., stated 

himself exhibited of suffering in the cause of truth and of God." 
Thcvlog. Repos. vol. v. p. 165. 

472 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. III. 1. 

Ch. III. the great superiority of the founder of the new dis- 
pensation to all former prophets and teachers, and 
having, ch. ii., proved that in order to accomplish 
the purposes of his mission it was necessary that he 
should be not an angelic being, but a frail and suf- 
fering man, advances now to assert the superiority 
of Jesus to Moses. Upon a subject so delicate and 
so unacceptable to the prejudices of his countrymen 
he touches with great tenderness and brevity, and 
the train of his argument stands thus : 

Believers in the gospel constitute one great fa- 
mily, ver. 2, 6, of which the father and ruler is 
God, ver. 4. To this family Moses in his place 
was a faithful servant, the Mosaic institute being 
intended to prefigure and attest the Christian dis- 
pensation, ver. 5. Whereas Jesus is a son in the 
same family, appointed by the Father to rule over 
the whole household, ver. 6. 

With this general key to the author's meaning 
it will be easy to interpret particular expressions. 

1 . He calls upon the believing Hebrews to con- 
sider the perfect resemblance between the fidelity 
of Jesus and that of Moses, ver. 1, 2. 
Ver. 1 . JVherefore^ holy brethren ' , partakers of the hea- 
venly callings consider attentively this apostle and 
2. high-priest 2 of our profession, t/esus 3, who was 

' Hohj brelhren.'] See Pcircc on the text, who recollects no 
other instance in which Christians are directly addressed under 
this character, and supposes an allusion to ch. ii. 11, 

2 High-priest.'] As an a])ostle, or divine messenger, he was 
superior to Moses ; as u high-priest, he excelled Aaron. 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. III. i. 473 

faithful to him who appointed him *, as Moses also ch. in. 
ivaSy in all the family of God ^. ^^' "' 

My beloved fellow worshipers, children of the 
same father, brethren of the same deliverer, sepa- 
rated by your faith in him from the unbelieving 
world, and consecrated to the service of God ; who 
have wisely accepted the invitation of the gospel, 
and have been admitted to participate in its divine 
privileges and exalted hopes, reflect seriously upon 
the facts which I have just stated. Meditate upon 
the conduct of Jesus our master, the authorized 
teacher, the great high-priest of that new dispensa- 
tion into which we are introduced ; remember that 
he was a frail suffering mortal man like ourselves, 
who felt and endured all that we should feel and 

^ JesMs.] The received text reads Jesus Christ. But Xpirov 
is omitted in the Alexandrine and other ancient manuscripts, 
and in the ^thiopic and Vulgate versions, and by Griesbach. 
It is plain that this writer purposely avoids speaknig of Jesus 
as the Messiah, till he directly asserts, and in his way proves, 
his superiority to Moses, ver. 6. 

■* To him who appointed.'] rui 7toiy)(xavrf for this sense of the 
word TTOisuj see Mark iii. 14, and Peirce's note. Some of the 
ancients objected to the genuineness of this epistle, because 
Jesus is here represented as viade by God. 

^ Family of God.] In the original it is " his family," that 
is, as some understand it, the family committed to See 
Archbishop Newcorae's Translation, The writer unquestion- 
ably alludes to Num. xii. 7, where God saith, " My servant 
Moses is not so, who Is faithful in all my house," The house 
or family here mentioned is therefore the family of God — it is 
all the household — it includes, therefore, the Christian as well 
as the Jewish church — in this family Moses is declared to be 
nothing more than a servant — but Jesus, as the Messiah, is 
universally allowed to be a son, and therefore, by the authority 
of the Jewish scriptures themselves, Moses is inferior to Jesus. 

4/4 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect, III. 2. 

Ch. III. endure in similar circumstances : consider how hard 
a task he had to accomphsh, and mark the faith- 
fulness, the zeal, the fortitude, the perseverance with 
which he fulfilled the office assigned him. Of Mo- 
ses, the great prophet and minister of the old dis- 
pensation, we read, Numbers xii. 7, that God bore 
testimony to him, that his servant Moses was faith- 
ful in all his house ; and what can be more evident 
than that the same honourable character is equally 
applicable to him who has been appointed to the 
still more dignified office of publishing the new and 
better covenant ? 

2. Jesus is superior even to Moses himself, being 
a son and a ruler in that family in which Moses 
sustained no higher character than that of a faith- 
ful servant, ver. 3 — 6. 
3. For ' he hath received as much greater honour 
than Moses, as the ruler of a household^ hath 
more honour than the household. 

You may be surprised, and your feelings may be 
shocked at what I am about to assert ; but you will 
find it strictly true. This Jesus, this frail suffering 

' FoT^ " ycLp, referendum ad. v. 1 . Nunc enim ratio affertur, 
cur attendere deheamus Jesum, quia nempe major est Mose." 

^ The ruler of a household.'] 6 xaraa-Ksvaa-a; . " the regu- 
lator of a family." Wakefield, " He who framed the house- 
hold, he who constituted, disposed, set in order any society, 
hath greater honour than that society or any part of it," New- 
come, " OiK. est familia — o Kar. non est JEdilis, tit midti vo- 
lunt, sed omnibus rebus nceessariis, instrucns domum clfamiliam. 
V. Matt, xi, 10." RosenmuUcr, 

Part I. H E B 11 E \V S. Sect. III. 2. 475 

man, of whom I have been discoursing, is superior ch. in. 
to our great prophet and lawgiver, even to Moses ^*^'-^- 
himself. And as I have alluded to that scripture 
in which Moses is declared to have been a faithful 
servant to the household of God, I will add, that 
Jesus, our teacher and lawgiver, is as much supe- 
rior to Moses, as the ruler of a family is to anyone 
of the domestics, or even to all united. 

For every household is under some ruler , but he 4. 

who ruleth all things is God^. 

In every family there must be some person who 
has the management and chief direction of the 
affairs of the household ; and in the great moral 
family to which I allude, the church of God, in all 
its comprehension and to its utmost extent, the chief 
manager, the parent and governor of the whole, is 
God. It is he that appoints to every individual his 
respective station and employment, and to him they 
are accountable. 

ylnd Moses indeed was faithful in all the fa- 5. 

7mli/ of God * as a servant ^ for a testimony ^ to 
those things which were afterwards to be spoken. 

^ He who ruleth all things^ " Every society is and must 
be ordered and regulated by somebody who is considered as 
superior to those who are under his jurisdiction ; and to show 
that this is a true state of the case, it extends to all things, and 
to the government of all ; even to God the supreme governor 
of all, who, therefore, has the supreme glory and honour." 

* The family of God.] So Wakefield. Gr. in all his family. 
See ver. 2. 

* For a testimony?^ " The meaning seems to be, that Moses 
was designed to prepare God's church for the message which 

476 Part I. HEBREWS. SiXT. III. 2. 

Ch. III. The scripture assures us that Moses was faithful 
^^'' ^' to the great family of God, in which he bore a di- 
stinguished office : but it expressly declares that the 
character he sustained was only that of a servant ; 
and the office he performed to the universal house- 
hold, including all the people of God, of all ages 
and countries, was by bearing testimony to the truth 
and divinity of the doctrine which was to be pub- 
lished by a greater teacher at a remote period of 
time. This he did both directly, by announcing 
that such a teacher and prophet would appear, and 
indirectly, by arranging his institute under divine 
direction, so as to be typical of, and preparatory to, 
another and a better dispensation. 
^' Hut Christ 1 as a son, over his family 2, ivhich 

Christ was to bring ; and that by his writings he so testified of 
Christ, as that they who duly attended to wliat he said might 
come to a certain knowledge of "the truth of what Christ should 
deliver when he came. This is a further hint of the superiority 
of Christ to Moses. If Moses was thus to prepare men for 
Christ, it is but reasonable to think that Christ was superior 
to him." Peirce. " Moses was faithful to his declaration of 
those things which were afterwards more particularly spoken of. 
He declared that one should arise like himself. And the pro- 
phets afterwards spoke of several particulars about the person 
of the Messiah, his sufferings, and his being to be cut ofl'." 

' But Christ.'] This writer uses mvch address to avoid giving 
a shock to the prejudices of his countrymen ; and there can be 
little doubt that the epistle was intended for the perusal of the 
imbelieving as well at; the believing Jews, and perhaps chiefly 
for those who were in a state of susj)ense, the number of whom 
was, no doubt, very considerable. He does not mention the 
obnoxious name of Jesus till ch. ii. 9, after having prepared the 
way by a sublime description of his character and office ; and 
at the same time connecting his sufferings with the state of 
gloiy to which he was advanced in consequence of them, and 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. III. 2. 477 

family^ ive are^ if we hold fast the confidence'^, Ch.iir. 
even the rejoichig of our hope, firm ^ unto the end, ^'^^- ' 

Your surprise at luy assertion of the superiority 
of Jesus, the founder of the new dispensation, to 
Moses, the legislator of the Sinai covenant, will be 
considerably diminished, when I remind you that 
Jesus is the Christ : that this glorious but suffering 
man, of whose dignity and humiliation I have been 
so long discoursing, is that very Messiah of whom 
Moses prophesied, and to whom the hopes and ex- 
pectations of our nation have been so long and so 
eagerly directed. But the Messiah is by all ac- 
knowledged to be the son of God ; and therefore, 
of course, he takes precedence in that household 

of their great benefit to mankind. And he never gives him the 
title of the Messiah till it becomes necessary to his argument 
to establish his superiority to Moses, and to reconcile the He- 
brews to so offensive a doctrine. And even here he carefully 
avoids introducing any mention of his having been a sufferer. 
I do not recollect that any of the expositors have noticed the 
extreme caution with which he connects the names of Jesus 
and of Christ ; though many have remarked his prudence in 
concealing his own. 

2 Over his family/] that is, God's. Not as a son, over his 
own hoase, which Peirce says " is utterly disagreeable to the 
scope of the context, and spoils the sense." See Griesbach, 
Newcome, and Sykes. 

' Which familyj] 6; is the reading of the Corbey MS., and 
marked by Griesbach as of considerable authority. The reading 
of the received text is, whose family. 

* Confidence.'] KxppTf'na.v . Mr. Peirce thinks there is an 
allusion here to the profession made of their faith and hope at 
baptism, which they expressed with joy and glorying. See iii. 
14, X. 22, 23. 

^ Firm.] /Ssfaiav is wanting in the Syriac version : Peirce 
says it is exegetical, and gives the translation in the text. See 
ver. 14, where it occurs again. 

478 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. IV. 

Ch. in. over which his Father has appointed him to pre- 
^'^'" ^' side ; and in which Pvloses, however illustrious and 
venerable, occupies only the humble station of a 
servant. Of this happy and highly privileged fa- 
mily, we, my friends, are the honoured members, if 
we courageously persevere in the profession of that 
faith which we solemnly declared at our baptism, 
and in which we gloried, and if we stedfastly adhere 
to the joyful hope of the gospel and regulate our 
conduct thereby to the end of life. 


The rest promised to believers^ and into which 
Jesus introduces his foUoiuers, being far su- 
perior to that of Canaan^ into which Joshua 
led the Isj^aelites^ the writer solemnly warns the 
Hebrews, from the exa7nplc of their rebellious 
ancestors^ of the extreme danger of neglecting 
that state of sabbatism, which Jesus grants to 
his followers, by which he means their evange- 
lical state. — Ch. iii. 7 — iv. 13. 

The writer was aware how revolting the doctrine 
he had advanced was to the prejudices of his read- 
ers : and therefore he immediately enters a caution 
against the natural effect of such prejudices, by re- 
minding them of the great danger of apostasy from 
the faith. Their ancestors had forfeited the pro- 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. IV. 1. 4/9 

mised land because they would not give credit to Ch.iii. 
Moses, notwithstanding the miracles to which they 
had been witnesses in Egypt and the wilderness ; 
and they will sustain a far greater loss, namely, that 
of all the privileges and blessings of the gospel 
(which is what he means by rest), if they cease to 
believe in Jesus as the Messiah, after all the evi- 
dence which they have had of his divine mission. 

1. He introduces from Psalm xcv. an account 
of the rebellion and punishment of the Israelites 
in the wilderness, ver. 7 — 11. 

Wherefore^ as the holy spirit saith •, To-day, Ver. 7- 
ivhen ye" shall hear his voice, harden not your 
hearts, as in the bitter provocation 3 in the day of s. 

that trial i?i the ivilde?yiess, ivherewith'^ your fa- 9. 

' Tlxe. holy spirit saith.'] Perhaps the writer meant nothing- 
more than to say, that a pious writer thus expresses himself in 
the person and under the character of God. If he meant, as he 
is usually understood, to assert the inspiration of the Psalmist, 
it would by no means follow that the Psalmist was actually in- 
spired, because this unknown writer, whose own inspiration is 
very problematical, affirmed it. The Psalmist himself lays no 
claim to inspiration ; and there is nothing either in the senti- 
ments or the language of that beautiful ode, which an intelligent 
and pious though uninspired writer might not be very well sup- 
posed to have written. 

^ When ye.'] See Macknight ; and Whitby, who proves this 
to be the proper sense of sav. Gen. xiii. 8, Job vii. 4, &c. 

^ The bitter provocation.]^w. See Macknight. 
" exacerbatio." Schleusner. 

* IVhereivith.] ou. " According to the manner of the Greek 
construction, this word relates to the m itsi.pacriJ.s, temptation, 
rather than to £pr,[xu>, the unlderness ; and this translation makes 
the Greek agree exactly with the Hebrew." Pcirce. 

480 Part I. HEBREWS. Skct, IV. 1. 

Ch. III. thers tried me '^^ proved me^y and saw my ivorhs 
Vev. 10. forty years'^. Therefore was I grievously of 
fended^ with that generation^ and said. Their 
hearts are always wanderings and they consider ^ 
not my ways ; so I sivare in my anger ^ They shall 
not enter into my rest S. 

There Is a passage in the book of Psalms (xcv. 7 
— 11) in which the writer, whether David or some 
other pious man, animated with a spirit of devotion 
and zeal, earnestly exhorts his countrymen, in the 
name and person of God, to obey his voice, and 
not to resist his will as their ancestors had done in 
the wilderness. There, though they had seen the 
wonderful works of God for forty years together, 
they murmured at his dispensations, and rebelled 
against his authority, till at last, as the just pu- 

' Tried wie,] " distrusted his power or goodness." Whitby. 

^ Proved me.'] sSoy.iiji,a,<rav. " went about to try and prove 
him whether he could or would punish sinners ; and to provoke 
and dare him to do his worst." Pococke ap. Whitby. 

' Saw viy works forty years."] Mr. Peirce supposes that the 
Hebrew copy which this writer used might agree in its punc- 
tuation with his quotation from it. 

* Grievously offended.] Tr^offwpi^Sjtra, So Peirce. " exceed- 
ingly displeased." Macknight. " I was enraged." Wakefield. 
See Macknight's note on ver. 17. 

* They consider not.] en syvujo'a.v. So Wakefield. " They 
always err, not from ignorance, but from perverseness of dis- 
position, and they have utterly disliked my method of dealing 
with them." Macknight. To know is a common hebraism for 

^ They shall not enter.] Gr. If they shall enter : q. d. " I am 
not the true God if, &c." Newcome. The citation does not en- 
tirely agree either with the Hebrew or the LXX., but perhaps 
the author quoted from memory, or his copy might read differ- 

PxBT I HEBREWS. Sect. IV. 2, 3. 481 

nishment of their transgressions, the whole genera- ch.lll. 
tion of those who had grown to maturity when they ^*'"* ^^' 
left Egypt, died in the wilderness before they reached 
the promised land. 

2. He warns the Hebrews against following this 
evil example, ver, 12. 

So likewise 7 take heed, brethren, lest there be 12. 
in any of you an evil heart of unbelief , in aposta- 
tizing from the living God^. 

The warning addressed by the Psalmist to his 
contemporaries may with equal justice be addressed 
to you. After all the mighty works, and the extra- 
ordinary scenes, to which you have been witnesses, 
suffer not your prejudices to gain the ascendancy 
over your understanding, so as to induce you to re- 
ject a doctrine which God has so fully attested, be- 
cause it contains some truths at the first proposal 
of which your feelings are disposed to revolt, 

3. He exhorts them to animate each other to 
zeal and perseverance, ver. 13 — 15. 

£ut exhort one another daily, while it is called^ 13, 

" To-day ^^^ lest any of you be hardened through 
the deceitfulness of this sin ^^. 

"^ So likewise.] See Newcome. This verse connects with oia 
in the seventh verse. 

^ The living God.'] " the God who ever lives to punish 
those who offend." See Whitby, 

^ While it is called " To-day."'] a^piS « "^o crriaspov xaXsitxi' 
i. €. " as long as you can use this expression, that is, every 
day." Sykes. Mr. Peirce proposes putting vex. 14 in a pa- 
VOL. IV. 2 I 

482 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. IV. 3. 

Ch. in. From day to day that proclamation of thePsalmist 
^'* ■ is addressed to you : " To-day while you hear his 
voice harden not your hearts." I solemnly charge 
you to excite each pther's serious attention to the 
important admonition : lest the many plausible pre- 
tences which are continually occurring to induce 
you to desert your profession should unhappily pre- 
vail over your better judgement and your Christian 
14. (/or ive are made partakers of Christ ', if ive 
retain firm to the end the confidence with which ive 

I am the more earnest in exhorting you, and in 
urging you to exhort one another to perseverance, 
because it is only by steady practical adherence to 
those great principles of the Christian doctrine with 
which you set out in your pious career, that you can 
attain the reward promised in the gospel and share 

renthesis, resuming the sentence ver, 15, with a little altera-- 
lion in the con.struction, not unlike the manner of Paul. See 
Gal. iii. 4 — 10. See Peirce and Bowyer. 

'° This sin .-] i. e. the sin of apostasy and unbelief, which has 
many plausible pretences to offer in its own behalf. See Gro- 
tius in loc. 

' Partakers of Christ."] " partakers of the benefit of Christ's 
office." Peirce. " the blessings of Christ's house." Macknight. 
" sharers with others of the doctrine or the benefits." Sykes. 

- The confidence with which we began.'] " the begun confi- 
dence; literally, the beginning of the confidence. Perseve- 
rance in faith and obedience is requisite to your enjoying the 
privileges of Christ's house." Macknight. " vtrofaartf, confi- 
dence, is used in the Old Testament for hope or expectation. 
Ruth i. 12, Ezek. xix. 5 ; here it is used for that hope which is 
grounded upon Jesus Christ." Sykes, See ver. C. 


HEBREW S. Sect. IV. 4. 483 

in your master's triumph. Therefore exhort each Ch. in. 

While it is said^. To-day when you shall hear Ver. 15. 
his voice, harden not your heart as in that bitter 

Hearken to the solemn admonition while it is 
continued, and comply with it before it be too late. 
Be warned by the sad example of your rebellious 

4. He argues the extreme danger of apostasy 
from the case of the Israelites in the wilderness, 
ver. 16 — iv. 1. 

For who when they heard did bitterly provoke ? 16. 
Yea, did not all they 2uho came out of Egypt under 
Moses * ? 

Can you flatter yourselves that the numbers of 
those who apostatize will secure impunity to each ? 
But was this any security to your rebellious ances- 
tors ? Who were the persons that provoked God 

3 While it is said, &c.] " If ver, 1 4 be read as a parenthe- 
sis, then £v rcu \sye<r&a,i will be resuming what he said ver, 13, 
' Exhort one another whilst you are saying, or can say. To-day,* 
&c. See Ps. xli. 3. 10," Sykes, 

•* Did not all, &c.] See Griesbach in loc. " This turn of the 
sentence better suits the writer's argument, as well as the suc- 
ceeding clauses. It is ably defended by Whitby." See Pyle, 
and Bengel in Bowyer. " The common reading is that of 
Newcome, For some, when they had heard, provoked God; 
however, not all who came out of Egypt under Moses, viz. 
Caleb and Joshua." " Accedo Chrysostomo, Theodoreto, et 
aliis, qui JicEc verba interrogative sumunt. rivss yocp. yxp non 
est particula rationem reddens, sed interrogatio. Sic igitur co- 
hcerent ver. 15, 16. AA^' », Annon ? " Uosenmuller. 
2 I 2 

484 pAjiT I. HEBREW S. Sect. IV. 4 

Ch. III. with their murmurs when they heard the report of 
the spies ? Was it a small proportion of the peo- 
ple only ? Or was it not rather the whole congre- 
gation of Israel whom Moses had conducted out of 
Egypt, with the exception of two individuals only, 
namely, Joshua and Caleb ? And yet their num- 
bers did not screen them from punishment. Nor 
will numbers rescue you. 

17. u^nd with whom was he grievously offended forty 
years ? Was it not with those who sinned, whose 
carcases Jell in the desert P 

Do not you recollect that the apostates were the 
persons with whom God was offended ; those who, 
when they left Egypt, professed allegiance to him, 
but afterwards distrusted him and rebelled against 
him ? And did they not all in the course of forty 
years perish in the desert ? Did any who were guilty 
escape punishment ? 

18. ^?id to luhom did he siuear that they should 
not enter into his rest, but to those who believed 

Who were the persons that were excluded from 
the land of promise ? The rebels who refused to 
obey the voice of God. And why did they refuse ? 
From unbelief : because, though they had been wit- 
nesses to the astonishing miracles by which they had 
been rescued from the land of Egypt, they could not 
trust the power and the promise of God to settle 
them in Canaan : and they were so disheartened by 
cowardly fears at the lying report of the spies, that 
when ordered to advance they refused to obey. 

Pakt I, HEBREWS. Sect, IV. 4. 485 

So we see > that tkey could not enter in because ch. iii. 
of their unbelief. Let us therefore fear^ lest, a ^"; ^' 
promise being left of entering into his rest, any of Ver. 1. 
you^ should faW^ short of it. 

From what has been said, it is evident that dis- 
trust of the promise of God, a want of faith in his 
power and goodness, was the primary cause of the 
apostasy and destruction of your ancestors in the 
wilderness. And we are in circumstances similar 
to theirs. To us likewise a rest is promised. We 
are invited to participate in all the glorious privi- 
leges of the new dispensation. The condition of 
this covenant is faith in the appointed messenger 
of God. Let us then be solicitous, and I do indeed 
feel the most earnest solicitude on your account, lest 
any one of you should, in consequenceof any unrea- 
sonable and inveterate prejudice, renounce your pro- 
fession and forfeit all your privileges and your hopes. 

We have here another instance of this writer's 
extreme caution, and fear of wounding the preju- 
dices of his countiymen. The rest he alludes to 
is the privileges of the gospel ; which can be ob- 
tained upon no other terms than a belief in Jesus 
as the Messiah. This he obliquely hints at, but 

' So we see.] xa< ^X£'7ro[/.sy' this translation is justified by 
Dr. Whitby. 

* Any of you.'] He was not anxious for himself, but fearful 
for them. Some copies of little note read tjhawv, us. 

^ Should f all. 1 8oy.r, vrep-^Ksvai, should seem to fall ; a com- 
mon Atticism which does not imply a doubt. See Newcome, 
Peirce, Wakefield. 

486 Part I. H E B 11 E W S. Sect. IV, 5. 

Ch. IV. does not expressly mention, because he has not yet 
^'^' ' said what he deems sufficient to reconcile their 
minds to the doctrine of a suffering Messiah. 

5. The writer notes the similarity between the 
circumstances of the ancient Israehtes and the be- 
lieving Hebrews, both having a promise of rest of 
which faith was the condition, ver. 2, 3. 

2. I^or we have i^eceived glad tidings i as they also 
did ; but the word ivhich they heard did not profit 
theyn, not being mixed luith faith in the hearers, 

I have been cautioning you to be upon your 
guard that you do not forfeit the promised rest : 
and there is good reason for this caution ; for the 
circumstances of your ancestors and your own pre- 
sent condition are very similar. To them were 
announced the glad tidings of a land where they 
should rest after the fatigues and dangers of the 
wilderness : to us is announced a better rest ; the 
state of light, of peace, and liberty, which the go- 
spel brings. To your unhappy ancestors the pro- 
mise was of no value, for they gave it no credit. 
Nor will the promise of the peace of the gospel be 
of use to us if we will not believe. 

3. (/or lue who are believers 2 do enter into this 

■ Glad tidings^ Aichbishop Nevvcome renders the words, 
*' For unto us glad tidings have been proclaimed, as well as 
unto them." See also Peirce, and Wakefield. 

- IVe who are believers.'] 1 inclose this clause in a parenthe- 
sis, which makes the sense and connexion of the succeeding 
clause easy and intelligible, Mr. Peirce, in an excellent note. 

Part I. HEBREWS. Skct. IV. 6. ^^7 

7'est) agreeably to what is said. So J sware in my Ch. iv. 
angei\ They shall 7iot enter ^ into my rest. 

The indispensable condition of obtaining the 
blessings of the gospel is faith : believers, and only 
such, are admitted into rest ; either that of Canaan 
or this of the gospel. Unbelievers are excluded 
from these privileges, just as your ancestors in the 
wilderness excluded themselves from the promised 
land, by refusing to believe in Moses speaking by 
authority from God: which sad consequence of their 
folly and their crime is represented as provoking God 
to anger, and inducing him solemnly to declare that 
they should not enter into Canaan. 

6. The rest of which the Psalmist speaks was 
not the rest of the sabbath, ver. .3 — 5. 

And although the ivorks were finished from the —^' 
foundation of the world (for the scripture * some- 4. 

where saith thus eoncerning the seventh day : And 
God rested on the seventh day from all his ivorks) ; 

has vindicated at large the interpretation given in the exposi- 
tion to the clause in the parenthesis. 

3 Theij shall not enter..'] The form of expression in the ori- 
ginal is, " If they shall enter/* &c. This was the Hebrew form 
of taking an oath : viz, God do so to mc, and more also, if the 
head of Elislia shall stand, &c. 2 Kings vi. 31. See the note on 
ch. iii. 11. 

* For the scripture.] Including the 4th verse in a parenthesis 
seems to make the writer's meaning more distinct. See Peirce. 
The argument is, that as the psalmist speaks of a rest from which 
the Israelites were to be excluded long after the institution of a 
sabbath, of which institution they had enjoyed the benefit, it is 
plain that the sabbath was not the rest intended in the psalm. 

488 PABt I. HEBREWS. Sect. IV. 1, 

ch.iv. yet in this it saith again. They shall not enter into 
''^' my rest. 

The rest to which David alludes cannot be the 
rest of the sabbath ; for that day of rest, according 
to the Mosaic writings, was instituted from the be- 
ginning of the world, when God rested from his 
labours. The patriarchs, therefore, and the Israelites 
in the wilderness, enjoyed this rest, not excepting 
even those who, by the righteous judgement of 
God, were excluded from Canaan. The observation 
of the Psalmist, therefore, glances at some blessings 
that were still future. 

7. Neither was that rest to which the Psalmist, 
in the name of God, invites his readers, the rest of 
Canaan, but something more distant still, even that 
of which believers are now put into possession, ver. 
6. Seeing then ^ that a promise is left that some are 

' Seeing, then, that a promise is left.'] Peirce contends for 
this sense of the clause. Upon the authority of Dr. Macknight, 
I adopt this construction of the paragraph, though with some 
diffidence^ and take ver. 9 as the conchision from ver. 6, 7, in- 
cluding ver. 8 in a parenthesis. This seems to me to make the 
easiest sense. But Mr. Peirce doubts whether ccpoc, ver. 9, can 
be the proper redditive for sifsi, ver. 6 j si being the more usual 
antecedent. Also, ver. 7, itaXiv ought to have xa< prefixed to it, 
if there are two distinct arguments. According to Peirce, the 
train of argument stands thus : Since some are to enter in, and 
the first did not possess it, therefore he by David fixes another 
day for seeking an entrance, &c. ; plainly showing that the rest 
alluded to was different both from the sabbath and from Ca- 
naan, and therefore he concludes, ver. 9, that this rest is still 
in reserve, &c. 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. IV. 1, 489 

to enter therein^ and seeing that they to ivhom the ch. iv. 
glad tidings were first proclaimed did not enter in^ 
because of unbelief ; moreover y seeing that he mark- Ver. 7. 
eth out a certain day, saying by David so long 
afterwards, To-day , as the expression is, To-day, 
when ye shall hear his voice, harden not your 
heart. (But if Joshua had introduced them into 8. 

that rest, God ivould not afterwards have spoken 
of another day.) Therefore there remaineth a sab- 9- 

bath rest '^ for the people of God. 

If you consider the case calmly, and reason upon 
it consistently, you must allow that the rest to which 
David alludes can be no other than that happy state 
of peace and privilege which we enjoy under the dis- 
pensation of the Messiah. 

The Psalmist calls upon his countrymen to at- 
tend to the voice of God, that is, the voice of pro- 
mise, similar to the promise made to their ances- 
tors ; this promise still remains to be accomplished, 
and it shall be fulfilled. It remains, — for the de- 
luded wretches to whom it was first made believed 
it not, and forfeited its blessings. And many ages 
afterwards God by the Psalmist renews his promise ; 

"^ A sabbath-rest.] o-af?ar«r/xo;. This is the free and happy 
state which believers enjoy under the gospel : it is a perpetual 
sabbath. The writer no doubt means to insinuate the great su- 
periority of the state of believers in Christ to that of the Jews 
in Canaan, of the Christian leader to Joshua, and of the Chris- 
tian sabbath, which extends through every day in the week, to 
that of Moses, which was limited to one day in seven. — "Ad 
hujus quietis participationem perducet iios resnrrectionis dies. 
Interim et in hac vita est ejus gustus aliquis, turn in pace con- 
scienti<p, turn i« libcrtate a ritibus judaicis." Grotius. 

490 Part I. HEBREWS. Skct. IV. 7. 

Ch. IV. and in the time of David, the Israelites are invited, 
^"" ^' even then, to attend to the promise of God. Also, 
though the Hebrew nation under Joshua took pos- 
session of Canaan, yet even after this there is a pro- 
mise of rest which would not have been made if the 
possession of Canaan had been the sole object of 
the promise. Since, therefore, a rest is promised 
which is neither the rest of the sabbath nor that of 
Canaan, but is predicted even in the time of David 
as a future blessing, it can be no other than the go- 
spel dispensation. This is that delightful sabbath 
of which the believers in Jesus, who are now the 
chosen people of God, are invited to partake. 

We may here remark, 1 . This is a specimen of 
that loose species of reasoning from the scriptures 
of the Old Testament, which was common among 
the Jews at the time when this epistle was written, 
and the conclusions from which are, to say the 
least, very precarious. 

2. The state of things under the gospel dispensa- 
tion is, by this writer, called a sabbatism, or sabbath 
rest. It was a rest from the yoke of ceremonial in- 
stitutions, as well as a release from the bondage of 
ignorance, idolatry, and vice, and from the con- 
demning sentence of the law. This way of repre- 
senting the privileges and the blessedness of Chris- 
tianity was adopted by the earliest Christian writers '. 

' The earliest Christian icriters.'] Justin Martyr, in his Dia- 
logue with Trypho, represents the Christian dispensation as a 
perpetual sabbath. " The new law," says he in his argument 

Part I. H E B R E W S. Si;cr. IV. 8. 401 

The happy state into which beUevers are introduced Ch. iv. 
is by them represented as a sabbath ; and under the ^'^' ' 
Christian law they acknowledge no other sabbath 
but that of an habitual rest from all wickedness, 
and the habitual practice of all virtue : and there- 
fore the Christian sabbath is not limited to any par- 
ticular day ; but the whole life of a true Christian is 
a perpetual sabbath, wholly consecrated to God. 

8. The writer urges the Hebrew Christians to 
an earnest solicitude for the attainment of this rest, 
ver. 10, 11. 

Moreover, he who enter eth into God's rest, hath 10. 
rested also from his own works, as God did from 
his 2. 

He who, by faith in the Messiah, has actually 
become a partaker of the privileges of the gospel, 
rests, like God, from his former works : he divests 
himself of all his former prejudices, and gives up all 

with the Jew, " will have you keep a perpetual sabbath j and 
you, when you have passed one day in idleness, think you are 
religious, not knowing what was commanded you. The Lord 
our God is not pleased with such things as these. If any among 
us is guilty of perjury or fraud, let him cease fi-om these 
crimes ; if he is an adulterer, let him repent ; and he will have 
kept the kind of sabbath truly pleasing to God." Just. Martvr'.s 
Dial. Tryph. p. 229, ed. Par. 

* He who, &c.] The writer speaks of Christians as 
having already entered into God's rest ; this expression, there- 
fore, cannot mean the happiness of a future life, but the peace 
and liberty of the gospel state. And the works from which they 
rest are the superstitions, idolatries and vices of their uncon- 
verted state. " Utitur hie scriptor verba a.opis's, non tantum quia 
futiiriim illud certlssimum est, verum efiam quia in hoc ipsa vita, 
utjam dhimus, quidarn ejus qaieiis gustns datur." Grotius. 

492 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect, IV. 9. 

Ch. IV. his superstitious, idolatrous, and vicious practices, 
"■ that he may lead a holy and new life, becoming the 
state into which he is introduced. 
11. Let us earnestly endeavour^ therefore^ to enter 
into that rest, lest a7iy one fall after the same ex- 
ample of unbeliefs. 

Take great pains to surmount your prejudices, 
and to establish your faith in Jesus as the Messiah, 
how revolting soever to your feelings, recollecting 
the crime and punishment of your ancestors, and 
entertaining an habitual fear, lest being chargeable 
with a similar offence any one of you should fall 
into a similar condemnation. 

9. He concludes this digression with the remark 

' The same example of unbelief 7\ Refusing to believe in 
Moses forfeited the land of Canaan, and not believing that 
Jesus is the Christ excludes from all the benefits of the Chris- 
tian covenant. Much, I think, of the beauty of this passage is 
lost, and much of the pertinence of the writer's observations 
and reasonings is overlooked, in consequence of the rest of 
which he speaks, being almost universally understood of the 
happiness of a future life, instead of the state of relief and li- 
berty under the dispensation of the Messiah, which I have little 
doubt was the idea which was uppermost in the author's mind, 
Grotius is the only commentator who seems to have glanced at 
this interpretation. See his note upon ver. 9, 10. It appears, 
however, by the following extract from RosenmuUer, that the 
interpretation here proposed has been adopted by some modern 
theologians in Germany, and particularly by the celebrated Gries- 
bach. — " Ven. tamen Griesbachiusin Progr. ] 7 92 scripto, eorum 
sententiam probat, qui avctiravjEivs nomine indicari volunt, cessa- 
tionemab operibus Mosaicce legls: quietem ac Uberationem ajugo 
cervicibtis judceoriivi imposito, quod neqiie patres eorum nee ipsi 
ferre poterant, .Act. xv. 10. quod vcro excutiunt, qui aures suas 
dant Christo blonde compctlanti ad me venite, S<c. Matt. xi. 28 — 


Part I. HEBREWS. Sbct. IV. 9. 493 

that the gospel produces a thorough change in those Ch. iv. 
who cordially embrace it, and that the hypocritical ^^^' ' 
professors of religion shall not escape with impu- 
nity, ver. 12, 13. 

For the word of God^ is living'^ and poiver- *2. 

ful'^y and sharper than any two-edged sword, and 
pierceth even to the dividing asunder of soul and 
spirit 5, and of the joints and marrow 6, and is a 
discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the 
heart. Neither is there any creature that is not 13. 

manifest before it : but all things are naked and 
open'} to the eyes of him ivith whom we have to do^. 

' Word of God.'] " The word uttered by Christian teachers 
and prophets in that age of divine illumination. See ver. 2, 
ch. ii. 2, vi. 5." Newcome. 

3 Living.'] " full of life, of spirit, and animation. 1 Pet. i. 3." 

"• Powerful.'] " Efficacious in converting mankind, in teach- 
ing, exhorting, and comforting them when converted. 1 Cor, 
xiv. 3, 1 Thess. ii. 13." Newcome. 

^ Soul and spirit.] An allusion to the philosophical but 
groundless notion, that man consists of three parts, body, soul, 
and spirit. 1 Thess. v. " The gospel influences the passions by 
the most affecting motives, and convinces the reason by the 
most powerful arguments : it pervades the inmost recesses of 
the human mind." Newcome. 

^ Joints and i7iarrow.] " This seems to allude to the di- 
viding into its several parts the carcases of the beasts that were 
sacrificed. But the word or power of God can penetrate further 
than the knife of the priest, even to the thoughts and intents 
of the heart." Dr. Priestley. 

' Open.] reTpccyni}Xi(r^sva — a Tpa^'^Xos, collum : Tpayr^Xi^siv 
est retorquere, reflectere alicujus collum. Hie fades sursum ver- 
titur, fit igitur conspicua, magis vcnit in conspectum. Dr. Sykes 
thinks that the allusion is " to the custom of skinning a beast 
quite to the neck, and at last skinning neck and all; whence 
the word comes to signify quite open, made open to every part r 
q. d. as is the meat in a market after it is skinned and laid open, 

494 Part I. H E B R E VV S. Sect. IV. 9.. 

Ch. ly. The gospel of Jesus, which is the doctrine of 
God, is a living operative principle ; where it is duly 
received, it penetrates the heart and separates what 
has been long most intimately united. It divides 
the Jew from his prejudices, the gentile from his 
superstitions, and the sinner from his crimes ; and 
entering as it were into the recesses' of the mind, 
for it sees every thing in every person, it speaks 
peace to the humble and the upright. 

Nor can the hypocritical professor escape its no- 
tice and its just rebuke. If unbelief lies at the bot- 
tom of the heart, whatever be the profession of the 
lips, the word of God discovers it there, and passes 
a just sentence of exclusion from all the benefits of 
the gospel. And this sentence shall be ratified by 

and we can look upon it and examine it perfectly," See New- 

^ Of him with whom we have to do."] itpog Iv -rjif.iv o Xoyo;. 
" coram illo verbo de quo nunc agimus." Grotius. "of God 
the inspirer of this word." Newcome. *' concerning whom 
we are speaking ; or, with whom we have to do j or, to whom 
we must give account." Sykes. 

Crellius remarks, that some understand the word of God as 
expressive of the person of Christ, and others, of the doctrine 
of his gospel j with neither of which the description well agrees. 
He adds : " Quocirca per sermonem istum Dei intelligenda sunt 
Dei deer eta, quibus incredulos, et contumaces, interitui etsuppli- 
ciis destinat : cujus generis est illud ipsuni Deljuramentum, quo 
patres illos, et in ilUs omnes corum similes, a sud reqidete ex- 
cludere constituit .-" q. d. Endeavour to enter into rest ; for the 
word of God, which excludes unbelievers, cannot be imposed 
upon, cannot be eluded, and will certainly fulfill its purpose in 
the punishment of the guilty. " Verum est quod Deus mina' 
iur et promitiit — Minec Dei gravissime animam vulnerant, et 
tristissiinos habent effectus — comminationes Dei etiam ad cogitata 
nostra pertinent. Minis Dei tribuitur quod propria Dei estJ" 
RosenmuUer, similar to Crellius. 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sk.ct. V. 


that Being whose word it is, who knoweth all things, Ch. iv. 
who is the author of our existence and the disposer 
of our lot, and whose omnipotence shall fulfill all 
the purposes of his wisdom, and the declarations of 
his will. 


The IVRITER argues the superior dignity of the 
priesthood of Chiist to that of Aaron. Heb. iv. 
14 — vii. 

Before we enter upon the discussion concerning 
the priesthood of Christ, it may be proper to re- 
mark, that many lay an unwarrantable stress upon 
this writer's figurative language, and suppose some 
great mystery to be involved in the priesthood of 
Christ ; whereas, in truth, no greater mystery is 
contained in comparing Christ to a high-priest, 
than in comparing him to a shepherd or a house- 
holder. In order to enter thoroughly into the 
meaning and spirit of this writer, we must keep in 
mind that he has two objects in view. The first is, 
to abate the exorbitant attachment of the Hebrew 
Christians to their ceremonial institute ; and the 
second, to reconcile their minds to that most ob- 
noxious of all doctrines, a suffering Messiah. To 
accomplish this design, he represents, in a variety 
of ways suited to their capacities and views, the 
superiority of the Christian dispensation to that of 

496 Part I. HEBREW S. Sect. V. 

Ch. IV. Moses, even in those particulars which they regarded 
as the most glorious distinction of their own ritual. 
Amongst other things, they gloried in the splen- 
dour and magnificence of the Levitical priesthood : 
to meet which prejudice, he reminds them, that the 
Messiah is predicted under the character of a high- 
priest of an order superior to that of Aaron K And 
as every priest must offer a sacrifice, so this great 
high-priest offered himself to God, a victim of far 
greater value than any of the sacrifices under the 
law : and by this figurative representation he endea- 
yours to soften the minds of his prejudiced coun- 
trymen. This allusion he illustrates by a variety of 
arguments and quotations from the Jewish scrip- 
tures, some of which are indeed of little intrinsic 
value, but which were well adapted to the concep- 
tions of his readers, and to their peculiar habits of 
thinking and reasoning. 

In the prosecution of his subject this writer. 
First, describes the character of Jesus and his qua- 
lifications for the priestly office, and asserts his di- 
vine designation thereto: ch. iv. 14 — -v. 10. Se- 
condly, he introduces a pertinent digression con^ 

' Superior to that of ^aron.'] " Let us come, saith he, to 
God's throne of grace with freedom, as having there such a 
high-priest in whom are all things by way of excellency to be 
found for which the Levitical priesthood was ordained and re- 
paired to, as having, 1 . A better prifsthood, viz. after the order 
of Melchisedec, ch. vii. ; 2. A better consecration, viz. by an 
oath; 3. Abetter tabernacle in which he ministers ; 4. Abetter 
sacrifice offered there ; 5. A better covenant established in his 
blood." Whitby. See Dr. Priestley's excellent note. 

Pabt 1. HEBREWS. Sect. V. i. 1. 497 

cerning the importance and difficulty of the subject, Ch. iv. 
and the great danger of apostasy: ch.v. 11 — vi. 
Thirdly, he demonstrates at large that Christ, as 
a priest after the order of Melchisedec, is greatly 
superior in dignity to Aaron and his descendants : 
ch. vii. 

The writer describes the character of Jesus, as- 
serts his qualifications for the priestly office, and 
vindicates his claim to a divine appointment. Ch. 
iv. 14— V. 10. 

1. The character of Jesus as a high-priest is an 
encouragement to perseverance and to hope, ver. 14 

Having therefore a great high-priest ", who is Ver. 14. 
passed into the heavens^, Jesus the son of God'^t 
let us hold fast OMX profession. 

'^ A great high-priest.'] The writer resumes the subject which 
he had introduced ch. ii. 17, 18, iii. 1, Jesus is a great high- 
priest, as he was superior to all former prophets and messen- 
gers of God : ch. i. See Peirce. 

-^ Passed into the heavens.'] " passed through the heavens in 
order to obtain the highest." Sykes. The Jewish high-priest 
entered once a year into the holy of holies, which was the re- 
sidence of the shechinah, Jesus is here described as having 
entered into the heavens, or passed through the heavens to the 
immediate residence of God himself, of whom the cloud of glory 
on the mercy-seat in the Jewish sanctuary was only a symbol. 

* Jestis the son of God.] He had before spoken explicitly of 
Jesus as the Messiah, ch. iii. 6 ; he here expressly calls him 
the Son of God, a title appropriated to the Messiah; and who 
is so called, as appears from the explanation of the word in the 
New Testament, because he was the first who was raised from 
the dead to an immortal life. Rom. i. 4, Col. i. 18. 
VOL. IV. 2 K 

498 Part I. HEBREWS. Skct. V. i. 1 . 

Ch. IV. Having already stated the superiority of Jesus, 
the Messiah, to Moses our celebrated lawgiver, and 
represented the danger of rejecting his claim, how- 
ever novel and revolting to preconceived opinions, 
I proceed now to another topic, at which indeed I 
have already hinted, to illustrate the superior ex- 
cellency of Jesus in his priestly office : and having 
already mentioned that this suffering man, who, in 
his character of Messiah, is the son of God, has as- 
sumed the office of a high-priest, and in this capa- 
city is entered not into an earthly sanctuary, but 
into heaven itself, and into the immediate presence 
of God in our behalf, let us persevere in the profes- 
sion of his religion, that we may not lose the benefit 
of his official interposition. 
15. For IV e have not a high-priest who cannot sym- 
pathize ivith our infirmities, hut one ivho hath suf- 
fered trials 1 in all respects like ourselves, though 
ivithout sin 2. 

Our great high -priest, so highly exalted, is ne- 
vertheless a man like ourselves, and has in the 
course of his mission and ministry passed through 
trials and sufferings similar to ours ; yet his faith 

' Suffered trials?^ ifsirstpacriievov. The Clermont and many 
of the ancient writers read •jtsirsipaiJt.svov, pierced; which is 
marked by Griesbach as of great authority. " The meaning is, 
that he was pierced tlirough, or underwent in the severest manr 
ner all the evils of life." Sykes. 

2 M^ithout sin .■] i. e. without deserting his post, and aposta- 
tizing from his profession ; and therefore he can sympathize 
with, and is a proper example for, others in similar situations. 
" without falling away from truth, or doing any thing amiss." 

Part I. H E B R E W S. Skct. V, i. 2. 499 

and fortitude failed not. He now sympathizes with Ch.iv. 
us. We share in his compassion : let us imitate 
his fortitude, his resolution and his piety. 

Let us therefore approach with confidence to the 16. 
throne of grace 3, that we may obtain mercy and 
find favour for seasonable relief'^. 

As our high-priest is already in the most holy 
place, we also may take couiage to approach the 
mercy-seat, where, in answer to humble supplica- 
tion, we shall obtain mercy to forgive past trans- 
gressions, and all seasonable assistance to carry us 
through present and future difficulties. 

The meaning of the writer, stripped of his figu- 
rative language, is this : The resurrection and as- 
cension of Jesus is a clear proof of his divine mis- 
sion and of his acceptance with God : if his disciples 
imitate his example of faith, and fortitude, and piety, 
they likewise shall be accepted, and in answer to 
their earnest prayers they shall be supplied with all 
the assistance which is requisite to their ultimate 

2. The qualifications and duties of a high-priest 
are described, ver. 1 — 3. 

' The throne of grace ^ the mercy-seat, our high-priest being 
already there. See Peirce. 

■* Seasonable relief.'] fiorjQstcc is " help obtained in conse- 
quence of crying aloud for it." Macknight. " that we may 
find favour to have help vi^henever it is wanted. Seasonable 
opportune help, if at any time we should fall into times of per- 
secution," &c. Sykes. 

2 k2 

500 Part I, H E B R E W S, Sect. V. i. 2. 

Ch. y. ^^ow ever?/ Jugh-priest taken from among men • 
^' ^- is appointed in behalf of men in divirie services^ to 
offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins 2. 

You know, my brethren, the official duties of the 
high-priest: it is his business to take the lead in 
religious worship, especially upon great occasions ; 
and particularly, to offer both voluntary sacrifices 
and sin offerings. 

2. Who can be imldly affected'^ towards those who 
err tkrough ignorance^, being himself encompassed 

3. with iifirmity ; and for this reason he ought, as for 
the people y so for himself also, to offer sacrificesybr 

> Taken from among men!] This implies, that Jesus was taken 
from among men ; that is, that he was properly a man, other- 
wise the parallel will not hold. 

2 Sacrifices for sins^ The high-priest's duty was to officiate 
for the people in presenting before God both free-will offerings 
as tributes of gratitude, and sin-offerings, particularly on the 
day of atonement. 

-'' Mildly affected.l See Newcome. " [terptCTrccGsiv, modice 
affici:' Bud?eus. Peirce observes that " the word is borrowed 
from the Platonists, in opposition to the Stoics. The wise man 
is moderate in his affections, not destitute of them." 

* Those who err through ignorance.'] Literally, those who are 
ignorant and out of the way : a common hcndiadys for those 
who err through ignorance. See Peirce. 

* For himself also.] Hence Grotius infers, that Christ must 
have offered for himself a sacrifice for sin ; i. e. that he might be 
delivered from those sufferings to which he was liable for the 
sins of mankind : ch. vii. 26, 27. Grotius's notion of Je.sus 
offering a sacrifice for his own sin is certainly right ; but the 
author means by sin, not moral evil, but ceremonial impurity. 
" In this respect," says Dr. Priestley, " he shows that the He- 
brew high-priest resembled the Christian ; since his offering for 
himself as well as for the people showed that he was liable to 
transgression as well as they : the sacrifices that he offered being 
for sin." But it does not appear to have occurred to Dr. Priest- 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sixr. V. i. 3. 501 

The law makes no provision for wilful transgres- ch. v. 
sion ; but sacrifices are provided to reinstate those ^'^' '^' 
who, by ignorance and inadvertency, forfeit the 
blessings of the Mosaic covenant. It is the high- 
priest's duty to offer these sacrifices ; and being him- 
self liable to these inadvertencies, he will the more 
readily sympathize with others in the same situa- 
tion, and be more disposed to offer sacrifices for 
others, being himself in need of a similar purifica- 
tion. How far this analogy holds, and the great 
comparative superiority of the Christian high-priest, 
will hereafter be explained. 

3. The writer vindicates the divine designation 
of Jesus to this high office, ver. 4 — 6. 

^nd as no one taketh this honour to himself^ A. 

hut he who is called by God as Aaron was, so also b. 

Chi'ist did not assume to himself the honour oj being 
made a high-priest, but he conferred the office upon 
him who said to him^ Thou art my son, this day 
have I begotten thee ^ : as he saith also in another 6. 

Icy at the time, that the sacrifices in both cases were offered for 
ceremonial and involuntary, not for moral offences. 

^ This day, &c.] Hence Whitby, Peirce, and others, infer 
that Jesus did not enter upon his priestly office till after his re- 
surrection; which Doddridge and others vehemently oppose. 
But the controversy appears to me to be as trivial as it would 
be to dispute when he entered upon the office of a shepherd. 
These learned writers do not appear to have sufficiently ad- 
verted to the fact, that the author of this epistle strains the al- 
legory of Christ's priestly office merely to accommodate himself 
to the prejudices of the Hebrew Christians. 

Ver. 6. 

502 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. i. 4. 

ch. V. psalm, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order 
of Melchisedec. 

A divine appointment is essential to the validity 
of the priesthood. We all know that Aaron was 
constituted the high-priest by immediate direction 
from God, and the priesthood was made hereditary 
in his family. Jesus also is divinely appointed to 
a similar office. Nor would he have presumed to 
have arrogated this honour without a divine desig- 
nation to it. And that he is so appointed is evi- 
dent : for I have already established the important 
fact that Jesus is the true Messiah. And of the 
Messiah God saith in the second psalm. Thou art 
my son, this day have I begotten thee : in allusion, 
as I have before observed, to his resurrection from 
the dead. But of the same distinguished personage 
it is also said in another psalm. Thou art a priest 
for ever after the order of Melchisedec. I shall 
therefore, in the subsequent discourse, assume it as 
the principle and ground of my argumentation, that 
Jesus is, by divine appointment, a high-priest of this 
rank and description. 

4. Jesus was qualified for his office by the disci- 
pline of sufferings, ver. 7 — 10. 

Hcy in the days of his flesh, having offered 
•prayers and supplications with strong crying i and 
tears to him who vjas able to deliver him from death. 

' IVith strong cri/btg.'] Referring lo his agony in the garden 
of Gethsemane, related by three of the evangelists. 

Part I. HEBREWS. Skct. V. i. 4. 503 

and having been delivered from his terror^, though ch. v. 
he were a son, learned obedience by his sufferings ; ^^' ' 
and having been made perfect 3, he became the au- 9. 

thor of eternal salvation * to all that obey him ; 
having been addressed by God^ as a high-priest 10. 
according to the order of Melchisedec. 

This Jesus, who is now our great high-priest, 
was once a sufferer, and by his sufferings was dis- 
ciplined to obedience and to sympathy. During his 
personal ministry, and especially as it drew near to 
a close, having a clear and distinct foresight of the 

- From his terror.'] sia-aK^a-Qsis o(,Tforris suXa^siag. Dr. Whitby 
has fully justified this translation in his excellent note upon this 
text. That eitraxscrQgj; signifies deliverance in answer to prayer, 
IS evident from Ps. xxii. 21, xxxiv, 6, Iv. 2 ; and that suAafsia 
signifies /ear in general, is clear from Josh. xxii. 24, Heb. xii. 
28, xi. 7, Acts xxiii. 10. Our Lord was not delivered from 
those suflerings which were the objects of his dread, but from 
that distress of mind which would have prevented him from 
passing through them with becoming dignity and fortitude. 
And the history of his sufferings shows, that after the paroxysm 
of terror and agony in the garden, the whole of his behaviour 
through every stage of his succeeding unparalleled sufferings, 
was calm, collected, and heroic, in the highest degree. " in 
hoc exauditus,fidt ut ab isto metu Uberaretur." Grotius. 

3 Made perfect.'} TgXgjwSei; seems here to mean nothing more 
than his being in consequence of his sufferings perfectly quali- 
fied for the office of high-priest. " consuminato opere." Gro- 

* Author of eternal salvation.'} Having taught the doctrine, 
and being himself an example of the fact 3 having led the way 
to eternal life. 

* Addressed by God.'] Tfpoo-ccyopevkti. In Psalm ex. God is 
the speaker, and he addresses the Messiah as a high-priest after 
the order of Melchisedec. This is the circumstance to wliich 
the writer alludes. Macknight renders the words, " being sa- 
luted by God." " something more than called : just as a. man 
is saluted or proclaimed emperor." Sykes. 

504 Part I. HEBREWS. Skgt. V. ii. 

Ch. V. indignities to which he was to be exposed, and the 
^^^' ^' cruel sufferings he was to endure, the exquisite sen- 
sibility of his mind was for a season overpowered, 
and he earnestly and repeatedly implored of his hea- 
venly father that if possible the bitter cup might pass 
from him ; but he tempered his desires and his di- 
stressing apprehensions with the humblest and most 
dutiful resignation to the will of God : Neverthe- 
less, if it may not pass from me, thy will be done. 
And you cannot fail to recollect, that though his 
heavenly Father did not grant the direct object of 
the petition, the crucifixion of the Messiah being 
an essential part of the wise plan of providence, yet 
he bestowed what was a full equivalent. He calmed 
all his painful apprehensions, and infused that for- 
titude and dignity of spirit which so eminently di- 
stinguished the closing scenes of his Hfe. Thus, 
though the son of God, the true Messiah, his mind, 
like that of other men, needed the discipline of suf- 
fering to form it to a proper temper both of resig- 
nation and of tender pity, such as I have before 
described to be essential qualifications of a high- 
priest : and being thus eminently qualified for his 
office, he was at the proper season invested with it, 
and became the pattern and the guide of his obe- 
dient disciples to everlasting life; having long be- 
fore been announced by God himself in the lan- 
guage of prophecy as a high-priest after the order 
of Melchisedec. 

The writer now introduces a pertinent digression 

Part I. HEBREWS. Skct. V. ii. I. 505 

concerning the importance and difficulty of the sub- ch. v. 
ject upon which he is about to discourse, and the 
danger of apostasy ; expressing at the same time his 
good hopes concerning the beheving Hebrews, and 
earnestly exhorting and encouraging them to per- 
severe in their Christian profession. Ch. v. 11 — 
vi. 20. 

A former digression was introduced (ch. iii. 7), 
by way of caution to the believing Hebrews, imme- 
diately after the writer had announced the very of- 
fensive doctrine, that Jesus, the crucified man, was 
the true Messiah and superior to Moses. The pre- 
sent digression is introduced upon a similar occasion, 
and for a similar purpose, now that he is about to 
establish the equally obnoxious fact, that the priest- 
hood of Jesus, after the order of Melchisedec, is ap- 
pointed to supersede the Levitical priesthood, and 
with it the whole of that institute, of which their 
ministration constituted an essential part, in order 
to make way for a new and a superior dispensation. 
He previously warns them, therefore, of the great 
danger of apostasy from the Christian faith, how 
offensive soever the doctrines of the Christian reli- 
gion may be to their feelings and prepossessions. 

1 . He informs them that he has much to ad- 
vance concerning the analogy between the priest- 
hood of Jesus and that of Melchisedec, which, how- 
ever, he is apprehensive that they v;ill hardly be able 
to understand, ver. 11 — 14. 

506 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. a. 1 . 

Ch. V Conceiming whom we have much to saxjy and 
^^*'- ' ^' difficult to be explained^ to you who are dull of ap- 
prehension ' . 

There is a spiritual and mystical sense in the his- 
tory of Melchisedec which I am desirous of open- 
ing to you ; but your plain unlettered understand- 
ings have been so much used to take the story in 
its literal sense, that I fear I shall hardly be able to 
make you comprehend its figurative meaning. 
12. For whereas by this time ye ought to be teachers ^ 
ye have need on the contrary 2 to be taught your- 
selves the first elements 3 of the oracles of God, and 
are become such as have need ofjnilk^, and not of 
strong food. 

' Dull of apprehension.'] " dull of hearing." Wakefield. 
" remiss, careless; that has little or no desire to hear or learn." 

* On the contrary^ irocXiv. So Wakefield. " ye have again 
need that some one should teach you." Gronovius, Peirce, 

^ The first elements.'] 'fa, roj%e(a ttj? apyr^q, " the very ele- 
ments." Sykes, Whitby remarks, that all the ancient com- 
mentators understand by first principles " the humanity of 
Christ; because the preachers of the gospel spake of that only 
to them vi'ho were not yet perfect in the faith." A memorable 
concession, not much to the credit of the doctrines so sup- 
pressed. He refers to Theodoret, whose words he quotes ; to 
Chrysostom, to CEcumenius, Theophylact, and Irenseus. 

■* Ye have need of milk, &c.] " you are to be taught the first 
principles of revelation, instead of being taught what concerns 
the office of Christ, and what you are to suffer or go through 
for his name's sake. Not that the apostle would have some 
doctrines taught to some, and other doctrines taught to others j 
or some doctrines concealed, while others only are to be taught j 
but as Christians are able to improve in the knowledge of the 
oracles of God, so they were to go on to perfection." Sykes. 

I am inclined to believe, that as the allegorical interpretation 

Part I. H E B R E W S, Skgt. V. ii, 1. 507 

I am very apprehensive that instead of improving Ch. v. 
you are gone backward in religious knowledge; that ^'' 
instead of being qualified to be teachers of others, 
as might reasonably have been expected from the 
date of your conversion, you have forgotten some 
of the first principles of the Christian doctrine; and 
that you are really returned to the state of infants in 
understanding, who can apprehend only the easiest 
and the plainest principles ; instead of having grown 
up to manly sense, capable of relishing and digesting 
strong and wholesome though unpalatable truths. 

For every one ivho partaketh of milk only, is un- 
skilled 171 the doctrine of justification &, for lie is but 13. 
an infant : but strong food belongeth to full grown 

of the Old Testament was at that time much in fashion, they 
who found out a sense the most remote from the true and pri- 
mary signification of the words were considered as the most 
learned, they were men in understanding who relished strong 
meat, while they who understood and approved only the pri- 
mary and literal meaning were babes who were fed and pleased 
with milk. This writer, who was no apostle, and who appears 
to be well satisfied with his own skill in figurative interpreta- 
tion, speaks disparagingly of the Hebrew converts, because of 
their want of skill in this sort of learning, and their disrelish 
to it. 

* Justification.'] This is a phrase which often occurs in the 
epistles of Paul, particularly in those to the Romans and the 
Galatians. It signifies a covenant or privileged state : that 
state which the Jews had forfeited by their violations of the 
Mosaic law, and into which Jews and Gentiles were now intro- 
duced by faith in the gospel independently of all ritual institu- 
tions. Rom.iii. 21 to the end. The use of this expression, so 
common in the writings of Paul, though it will not of itself 
prove that the apostle was himself the author of the epistle, 
may be considered as a ])resumption that the writer, whoever 
he might bo, was at least a companion of the aposllcj and fa- 
miliar with his style and manner. 

508 Paut I. HEBREWS. Skct. V. n. I. 

Ch. V. incriy who by habit have their senses exercised to the 

Ver. 14. discernment both of good and evil. 

They who are satisfied with simple and obvious 
interpretations of scripture are not well skilled in 
the doctrine of Christ, the belief of which brings 
us into a state of privilege and covenant with God. 
But they who see into the mystical sense of the Old 
Testament are men of understanding, capable of 
judging of the force of an argument, and of distin- 
guishing between right and wrong. 

Upon this singular paragraph it may be remarked, 

1. That it is plain that by the things hard to be 
understood the writer means the allegorical turn 
which he gives in the following discourse to the 
history of Melchisedec. 

2. That he censures, in language bordering upon 
severity, the ignorance of the Hebrews with respect 
to the allegorical meaning of the Old Testament. 
This was a favourite method of interpretation in 
the age in which this author wrote, and for that 
reason he is the more excusable, it being the error, 
not of himself in particular, but of the age in which 
he lived. The same method of interpreting the 
writings of the New Testament was very early in- 
troduced into the Christian church ; so that plain 
Christians, who contented themselves with under- 
standing plain language in its obvious sense, were 
regarded with contempt * as simple ignorant people ; 

Contempt.] Vid. Eusebius's L'cd. Hiatortj; nlicic Papias, 

PartL HEBREWS. Sect.V,ii.2. 509 

and by these means the tenets of a false philosophy ch. v. 
were early engrafted upon Christianity, which, when ^^^- '^• 
they could not be supported by the obvious sense 
of the scriptures, were pretended to be proved by 
the mystical interpretation. 

I cannot therefore agree with the author of this 
epistle in the censure which he passes upon the be- 
lieving Hebrews ; for I do not conceive that a my- 
stical interpretation of a plain historical narrative is 
either a judicious or an useful way of interpreting 
the scriptures either of the Old Testament or the 

2. Notwithstanding his apprehension that they 
may not thoroughly comprehend his meaning, he 
nevertheless proceeds to advance the doctrine to 
which he alludes, ch. vi. 1 — 3. 

Wherefore^ dismissing^ the first principles of the ch. VI. 
doctrine o/" C/^m^3J let us advance"^ totvards per- 

Ver. 1. 

a venerable man, contemporary with the apostles, is treated 
with contempt for his attachment to the literal interpretation ; 
and Origen is highly commended for his early inquiries into the 
mystical sense of the scriptures. Euseh. lib. iii. c. 31. 

2 WherefoTP, dismissing.'] " Since, considering the time, ye 
ought to understand higher doctrines :" ch. v. 12, Newcome. 
See also Peirce. 

' The principles of the doctrine of Christ!] " tov rij; ajj%ijf 
ra Xpira \oyov, hy a hypallage, or rr^v re Aoya ra Y^pis's ap^ijy, 
which seem to carry the same sense as the first elements of the 
oracles of God: ch. v. 12," Owen apud Bowyer. " let us 
leave discoursing on the principles of the doctrine of Christ." 

* Let us advance!] " I ^o on to offer you something more 
solid and fit for you as adult persons." Peirce ; who observes 
that " the writer seems to have had an eye to what he had said 

510 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect.V. ii,2. 

Ch. VI. fection {iiot laying again the foundation i of repent- 
ance from dead works^ and of faith towards God, 
Ver. 2. of the doctrine of baptisms, and of the imposition 
of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and 
3. of the everlasting judgement) : and this let us do 2, 
if God pertnit. 

Since therefore all of you ought to be well in- 
formed in the doctrine of Christ, and some of you, 
I trust, are so, I shall cease to insist upon those fun- 

in the last verse of the foregoing chapter." Eph. iv, 11 — 15; 
Col. i. 28. 

' The foundation^ Mr. Peirce considers the Old Testament 
as a more obscure representation of Christ, and that the Jewish 
religion contained a rough draught, or imperfect rudiments, of 
Christianity 5 the insisting upon which, after the meaning of 
them had been set in so clear a light by the coming of Christ, 
is waved by the author. He explains, therefore, all the articles 
here enumerated as expressive of something under the Jewish 
dispensation. But the fact is, that the author takes great pains 
to explain the allusions of the Old Testament, whether real or 
imaginary : these he calls the strong meat for men advanced to 
maturity ; whereas he insists but little upon the obvious princi* 
pies of Christianity, which, though of the highest importance in 
themselves, were level to every capacity, and which he calls 
" milk for babes." These, therefore, appear to me, as to the 
generality of expositors, to be the true sense of the articles here 
specified. Dr. Macknight adopts Mr. Peirce's interpretation. 

" Fundamental doctrines," says Dr. Sykes, " were not in 
those early days the same as they grew to be in ages of con- 
tention, when Christianity came to be a matter of abstruse, 
metaphysical, unintelligible jargon, involved in thick darkness 
and covered with mystery ; but men were taught the easy and 
plain doctrines of faith in one God, the Father Almighty, and 
in Jesus Christ his son our Lord, and repentance from dead 
works, and the meaning of laying on of hands, and of baptism, 
and a resurrection, and a future judgement." 

- Let us do.] " Include in a parenthesis, from not laying 
again, ver. 1, to judgement, ver. 2. And ver. 3 we should read 
iroiTiO-tai/^sv asip£p«;jM,g9a, ver. 1." Markland ap. Bowyer. See 

Pakt I. H E B R E W S. Sect. V. ii. 2. 511 

darnental articles of the Christian faith which are cu. vi. 
familiar to you, and with divine permission I shall v^'-^- 
proceed to instruct you in those points which are 
better adapted to the manly age of Christian disci- 
pline, and shall lay open to you the hidden mean- 
ing of the Old Testament scriptures, that you may 
clearly discern the analogy which subsists between 
the old dispensation and the new, and the decided 
superiority of the latter. 

The writer still alludes to his proposed mystical 
interpretations, which he calls meat for strong men, 
as distinguished from the great first principles of 
Christianity, which he represents as milk for babes. 
Of these principles he has here given a distinct enu- 
meration, which, having been drawn up by an apo- 
stolical man in the apostolic age, may be justly re- 
garded as the only genuine apostles' creed, differing 
indeed in many articles from the ancient symbol 
which now bears that venerable name, and much 
more from those masses of absurdity, which the 
ignorance and arrogance of those who have usurped 
the authority of Christ in succeeding ages, have pre- 
sumed to impose upon the ignorance and credulity 
of the Christian world. 

(1 ) The first of these fundamental articles is '* re- 
pentance from dead works 3," that is a change of 

3 Repentance from dead works.'] " works which lead to death, 
or works wrought by those who are dead in sins. See 1 Tim. v. 
6." Newcome. Dr. Sykes observes, that " dead works are no 
where mentioned but in tliis epistle, and that they are such as 

512 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. n. 2. 

Ch. vr. mind with respect to the importance of those ce- 
^^' ■ remonial practices which the Mosaic institute im- 
posed, and upon the breach of which the law inex- 
orably pronounced sentence of death. These rites, 
upon which the Hebrews once laid so mighty a 
stress, and in which they once placed their chief 
confidence, were given up as of no use, and ex- 
changed for the milder requisitions of the gospel. 

(2.) "Faith towards God," believing the record 
that God has given of his son, 1 John, v. 1 1, and 
admitting the mission and doctrine of Jesus upon 
the authority of his divine credentials. 

(3.) "The doctrine of baptisms ^" the baptism 
of water, by which they who embraced the Chris- 
tian religion publicly professed their faith in Christ, 
and the baptism of the holy spirit, by which that 
faith was ratified and confirmed. 

(4.) " The imposition of hands V' which was a 

lead to death, such as God will punish with death." But the 
writer seems rather to mean a change of mind (ij,Era.vota) with 
regard to ritual impositions. The Hebrews laid too much stress 
upon the works of the law ; the gospel requires that they should 
build their hopes upon faith in Christ, which brings forth fruit 
unto holiness, the end of which is everlasting life. Whereas, 
by the works of the law no flesh living can be justified. The 
law leaves its votaries under a sentence of death : the works of 
the law, therefore, may justly be called dead works : and the 
first principle in which the converted Jew was instructed, was 
to renounce the hope of justification by the law ; he was taught 
repentance from dead works. |u.£ravo»a is used in the same 
sense ch. xii. 17. 

' Baptisms.'] " that is, Christian baptism ; the plural for the 
singular superlative. Compare Eph. iv. 5." Simpson's Notes on 
Scripture. — " jSaifrio-jxoj est haptismus quiin plures homines con- 
fertur." RosenmuUer. 

* Imposition of hands,'] viz. " the use and purport of this 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect.V.ii. 2. Sl.'J 

rite practised in the apostolic age as a token of the Ch. vi 

effusion of the holy spirit, and also as a solemn de- 
signation to the office of an elder or an evangelist, 
where no supernatural powers were pretended to 
be communicated. 

(o.) " The resurrection of the dead 3" is justly 
introduced as a fundamental article of the Christian 
faith, and is with great propriety mentioned to the 
believing Hebrews, whose views upon this subject, 
previously to their acquaintance with the Christian 
doctrine, were very limited and obscure. 

(6.) The most essential doctrine of all is, " the 
eternal judgement'-," or that awful decision, which 
assigns both to the righteous and to the wicked 
their respective portions in the future life : for the 

Ver. 3. 

practice, sometimes to give the holy ghost ; sometimes to ap- 
point persons to offices. Acts vi. 6, xiii. 3 ; sometimes to heal. 
Acts ix. ]2, 17." Sykes. 

■' Resurrection of the dead.'] This is a doctrine not taught 
in the Old Testament, though a future life was probably ex- 
pected by the pious Jews, and after the return from the captivity 
the Pharisees taught the resurrection. But it was represented 
as a privilege belonging to the Jeu's only. See Joseph. De Bell. 
Jud. lib. vii'i. c.S, § 14. 

* The eternal judgement,'] " the effects of which will conti- 
nue for ever." Newcome. — Mr. Peirce understands the ex- 
pression of those tremendous judgements of which the books 
of Moses give an account, such as Sodom andGomorrha, Pha- 
raoh and his host, &c. ; not thinking it likely that the writer 
would pass over a doctrine of such consequence. But the writer 
M-as far from meaning to represent these doctrines as of no mo- 
ment; on the contrary, he holds them up as the fundamental 
doctrines of the gospel, but at the same time so obvious, that 
all who professed faith in Christ believed and acknowledged 
them ; but he declines to insist upon them at present, it being 
his design to enlarge upon certain doctrines which, though im- 
portant, were remote and obscure. 
VOL, IV. 2 L 

Ver. 3. 

514 PartI. HEBREW S. Sect, V. ii. 3. 

Ch. VI. Clipistian revelation most explicitly and positively 
announces that we shall all appear before the judge- 
ment seat of Christ, to receive the things done in 
the body according to that we have done, whether 
it be good or whether it be evil. 

Such are the fundamental articles of the Chris- 
tian faith, and happy had it been for the Christian 
world had they been left in the simplicity of this 
primitive and apostolic representation. 

3. The writer solemnly warns his readers of the 
great danger of apostasy, ver. 4 — 8. 

For it is impossible to renew ' those to repentance 
who have been once enlightened ^ and have tasted the 
heavenly gift^, and have been made partakers of 
the holy spirit^, and have tasted the excellent word 

' For it is impossible to renew.'] q. d. " I speak particularly to 
you wlio are disposed to go on to perfection. To apostates I 
have nothing to say. For {yap) it is impossible," &c. Owen, 
see Bowyer. Tlie construction requires that the word corre- 
sponding to avaxatvi^eiy should in the translation be placed 
before the accusatives depending upon it. Macknight, New- 
come. — It is impossible, because whatever could be said or done 
to that end had been said or done already. Le Clerc on Ham- 
mond, Newcome. 

- lleuvenly gift.] " the bounty of God bestowed on men 
through the gospel, John iv. 10, Rom. v, 17," Newcome. 
" To taste this gift is to perceite, to be sensible of the truth of 
such gift." Sykes. 

^ Made partakers of the holy spirit.] " If it be imagined that 
every Christian enjoyed some extraordinary gift of the holy 
spirit, this is more than can be inferred from this place ; for if 
a person were convinced of the truth of the gospel by a careful 
study of the scriptures, or by seeing himself, or being fully sa- 
tisfied of the miraculous powers arid assistances of the first 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. n. 3. 515 

of God \ and the mighty morks of the age that Ch. vi. 
was to co?ne^y and yet have relapsed^, since they Ver. 6. 
again cnicify to themselves the son of Gody and ex* 
pose him to public infamy '^ . 

Without dwelling therefore any longer upon these 
obvious principles, I shall immediately proceed to 
those more difficult subjects to which I have al- 
luded ; for indeed it vi^ould be a total loss of time 
and labour to attempt to reclaim those who have 
apostatized from the Christian faith in opposition 
to that commanding evidence which has been ex- 

preachers of the gospel, he might be properly enough said to 
be a partaker of the holy ghost. However, if the apostle be 
thought to speak of such as actually had the gifts of the holy 
ghost, and yet fell away from Christianity, his reasoning is still 
stronger, and the unlikelihood of bringing such back to truth 
still greater." Sykes. 

* Excellent word of God.l xaXov " the good word of God 
dictated by the spirit." Newcome. *' the comfortable and sure 
word of God, wliich instructs men how to act with uprightness 
and honesty in every station and circumstance of life." Sykes. 

^ Mighty works of the age to come.'] " had experience of the 
extraordinary miracles wrought in this ^e of the Messiah." 
Peirce. To the same purport Newcome, Wakefield, Sykes. — 
** experlri, quid religio Christiana efficere possit." Rosenmuller. 

^ And yet fiave relapsed.] irapa.%'i(rov7as ita.Xiv, " have fallen 
away again." This punctuation is more correct than that which 
joins iraXiv to avaxaivi^er/', where it is redundant. Erasmus, 
Peirce, Bowyer. Macknight observes that is here taken 
in its adversative sense. Also that " our translators have, after 
Beza, without any authority inserted the word if (if they fall 
away), that the text might not appear to contradict the Calvi' 
nistic doctrine of the perseverance of the saints." 

' Expose him to infamy I] " By their practice they in effect 
crucify the son of God, and expose him to infamy. See Matt. i. 
19." Peirce. " They treat him as if they thought he deserved 
the sentence executed upon him." Sykes. " avaraof«v idem, 
est quod favpsv, nee significat rur^yxs crucifigere." Rosenmuller. 
2 l2 

516 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. ii. 3. 

Ch. VI. hibited before you, and which effected your conver- 
^"' ^' sion to the gospel doctrine. It is indeed a hopeless 
case, and morally impossible to recover those who 
have relapsed into their former state of unbelief after 
having discerned the evidences of Christian truth, 
and having enjoyed the liberty which the gospel 
gives ; after having even participated in the spiritual 
gifts, and been convinced by them of the divine 
authority of the doctrine of Jesus, having not only 
been witnesses to the stupendous miracles wrought 
by the first teachers of Ch.ristianity, but having 
themselves been endued with miraculous powers. 
Persons who resist evidence like this are absolutely 
irrecoverable, as no stronger evidence will, or can, 
be produced to overcome their prejudices. Such 
persons, by their conduct, show that they regard 
Jesus as an impostor, and that, in their judgement, 
he deservedly suffered an ignominious death : and 
corresponding to their principles and their conduct 
will be their final state. 

7. Fo7' the land ^ ivhich drinketh in the rain that 
falleth often vpon it, and produceth herbage useful 

to those for whom it is cultivated, receiveth a bless- 

8. ing from God ^: but that which beareth thorns and 

' For ilve land.'] " These cannot be restored, for (yap) as 
good men resemble fertile ground, these resemble what is bar- 
ren." Newcome. 

2 Receiveth a blessing from God.] See Gen. i. 11, xxvli. 27. 
Wakefield places avo ©sa after vsrov, without which he says the 
passage is absurd. His version is : " the land which drinketh 
the rain that is often falling upon it from God, and beareth 
herbage useful to the tillers of it, receiveth praise." 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. ii. 4. 517 

briars, is rejected, and near to a curse 3 ; whose end Ch. vi. 
is to be hirncd up *. 

A fertile soil, which thrives under the cultivater's 
hand, and is enriched by the rain from heaven, is 
acceptable and useful to the proprietor, and by fur- 
ther cultivation becomes more abundantly fruitful : 
and in like manner, they who attend to and im^ 
prove Christian instruction shall advance in know- 
ledge, virtue and usefulness, and in the favour of 
God. But as rocky barren land, which resists all 
the arts of cultivation, and produces nothing but 
thorns and briars, at length wearies out the patience 
of the husbandman, and is left by him under the 
original curse, and for want of water and manure 
is burned up by the scorching heat of the sun ; so 
shall they, who wilfully stop their ears against the 
mild and gentle voice of instruction and discipline, 
be, after sufficient season of trial, abandoned by 
God and man, and left to suffer the just and awful 
consequences of their own obstinacy and folly, 

4. The writer expresses his good hope concern-^ 

3 Near to a cursei] " near being pronounced barren." New- 
come. An allusion to the curse. Gen, iii. \7 , 18. The writer 
uses a soft expression, that he might not appear to represent 
their case as already desperate : they were nigh unto a curse." 

•• Whose end is to he burned Mp.] Dr. Macknight observes, that 
" a principal part of the eastern agriculture consists in leading 
rills of water from ponds, &c,, to render the fields fruitful. 
When this is neglected, the land is scorched by the heat and 
drou";ht of the climate." 

518 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. ii. 4. 

Ch. VI. ing the character and state of the Hebrew Chris- 
tians, founded upon their past conduct, ver. 9, 10. 

Ver. 9. Butf beloved ^y we are persuaded better things 
ofr/ouy and things that belong to salvation, though 
we thus speak. 

My dear brethren, though I have thought it ne- 
cessary, in order to put you upon your guard, to re- 
present the great danger of apostasy from the faith, 
I am very far from intending to insinuate that you 
are chargeable with this great offence. On the con- 
trary, I entertain the best hopes concerning you, 
that you still maintain, and will continue to hold 
fast, that firm faith and that unshaken fidelity, and 
will persevere in the practice of those evangelical 
virtues, which will ensure your eternal happiness. 
10. For God is not unjust, so as to for get your active 
love^ which ye have shown to his name^, in having 
relieved and in still continuing to relieve the saints'^. 
You have shown your love to God and your re- 
gard to his authority, not by empty professions, but 
by active obedience, and particularly by the kind 
sympathy which you have manifested, and the sea- 
sonable relief which you have afforded, and which 

' But, beloved^ Mr. Peirce observes, that this softening ex- 
pression is much in the manner of Paul. See 2 Tbess. ii. Ii3> 
Epb,iv. 20, Rom. viii.9. 

2 Your active love^ ts spye xxi rr,s ayairrjs, your work and: 
love: "an hendiadys." Newcome, Griesbach, upon the au- 
thority of many copies, drops the words ra mvov. 

^ Shown to his name.'] " ro ovojw-a ©ss, ipse Deus. Sensus :■ 
ex obsequio apud Deum." RosenmuUer. 

* Relieve the sabits.'] See Wakefield. In what manner they 
had particularly exerted themselves he describes ch. x, 33, 34. 

PahtI. HEBREWS. Sect.V. ii.o. 511) 

yoa still continue to administer, to afflicted and ch. vi. 
persecuted Christians : and you have served a just '^"' ^^' 
and bountiful master, who will not forget your 
kindness to his suffering friends, but will regard it 
as done to himself, and will publicly acknowledge 
it, and honourably requite you for it another day. 

5. His design is to encourage and stimulate them 
to Christian perseverance, ver. 11, 12. 

But ive desire that every one of you would show 11. 

the same diligence even to the end, in order to the 
complete consummation^ of youv hope. 

My only design in suggesting these alarming ad- . 
monitions is to engage every individual among you, 
without any exception, to persevere in the same ac- 
tive faith and pious duty^ and in the same kind and 
benevolent conduct, to the end of life, and to suffer 
no consideration whatever to alienate your hearts 
from your Christian profession, and then you may 
rest assured that your hopes shall in due time re- 

* The complete consummalion.'] Connect svSsixvua^xi with 
a^^pi teXos, " show the same diligence to the end." Bengelius 
ap. Bowyer. kiias-ov, we desire not only that many, but that 
every one of you without exception. See Peirce. " itfo^ Tr,v 
'Tf>^yjp6<poptav ry]s sXinSos, non est rectitudo, sed impletio, siv&con- 
summatio. Col. ii. 2, 1 Thess. i. 5, 2 Tim, iv. 5." Grotiusi.— 
" spes plena." Rosenmuller. " that your hope may be com- 
plete — my hope." Macknight. " the object of hope, Jesu* 
Christ: that you may acknowledge him to the end of life.'* 
Peirce. Rather joining the construction of Bengel with the 
interpretation of Peirce : We desire that every one of you 
would show to the end of life the same diligence' in the service 
of God, that you may ultimately obtaiti the object, the consum- 
mation of your hop«r, in your everlasting salvation. 

520 Paut I. HEBREWS. Skct. V. ii. 6. 

. Ch. VI. ceive their complete accomplishment, and that your 
highest expectations shall be greatly exceeded. 
Ver. 12. That ye be not slothful^, but imitators of them 
who through faith and patience inherit the pro- 
juises -. 

And my desire also is to rouse your exertions in 
the practice of duty, and to induce you to imitate 
the bright examples of your brethren in different 
parts of the world, who, by the exercise of persC" 
vering faith in the great doctrines of Christianity, 
are in actual possession of the privileges promised 
to the spiritual descendants of Abraham, and joyful 
expectants of infinitely better blessings in reversion, 

(). He reminds them that it was by perseverance 
in faith that Abraham eventually obtained the pro- 
mised blessing, ver. 13 — 15. 
]3. A^oiv xuhen God made the promise ^ to Abraham ^ 

' Slothful.'] " vwdpos, tardus ad sperandum : qui non facile 
sperat, sed semper dubitat : proprie, tardus ad ambulandum ; 
pro homine stupido sumitiir, ch. v. 11." RosenmuUer. 

'■' Inherit the promises. 1 Commonly understood of those who 
by death are supposed to be advanced to future ha])pincss, and 
this text is alleged as an argument for the intermediate state. 
See Doddridge. I think, with Peirce, that the v.-riter alludes to 
the converted Gentiles, or in general to all who were stcdfast 
in the profession of Christianity. " He means such good Chris- 
tians as had persevered in their profession of Christ, and were 
now in possession of what God had ])romised to Abraham.' 

3 God made the promise.'] " This alludes to tlie promise made, 
to Abraham, upon the occasion of his offering uj) Isaac, (ien, 
xxii. li"), 16 ; which was the only time when llic promitie to tbisj 
patriarch v,;i.s confirmed by an oath." Pcircc. 

Pari I. H P: B R E W S. Skct. V. n. 6. 521 

because he could swear by no greater, he sware by Ch. VI. 
himselfy saying. Assuredly I lu'tll abundantly bless Ver, 14. 
thee, and I ivill abundantly multiply thee. And 15> 
thus Abraham having waited patiently obtained 
the promise *. 

Our pious ancestor Abraham is an eminent ex- 
ample of that patient perseverance in faith which I 
recommend to you. God commanded him to quit 
his native country, and promised him a posterity by 
Sarah in whom all nations should be blessed : he 
believed and obeyed. And after Isaac was born, in 
a season of great trial, when, as the history relates, 
he had shown a readiness to offer this child of pro- 
mise upon the altar, as a reward of his unhesitating 
faith, the supreme Being bound himself by an oath 
to fulfill every promise he had made to his virtuous 
and faithful servant : and the faith of the patriarch 
remaining unshaken under these severe trials, he 
was in due time rewarded by the accomplishment 
of the promise ; first in his own person, in the gift 
and preservation of his son ; afterwards in a nume- 
rous progeny descending from him ; and ultimately, 
in the innumerable multitude of his spiritual de- 
scendants, who, being the heirs of his faith, are also 
co-heirs with him of the divine promise. 

■^ Obtained the promise.'] " Abraham waited with patience 
many years ere he could see any posterity from Isaac ; but at 
length what was promised about the increase of his family was 
made good, and he obtained, not the promises but the promise, 
the particular promise of blessing and multiplying him, or en- 
larging liis family." Sykcs. 

52*2 rA)KT I. HEBREWS. Sect. V, u. 7. 

Ch. vr. 7. The promise and the oath of God are the 
ground of a believer's hope, ver. 16 — 18. 

Vep. 16. /or men indeed swear by one who is greater, and, 
to tliem an oath for confirmation is an end of all 
contradiction ^ . 

Oaths amongst men are an appeal to God, the 
searcher of hearts and the judge of all, for the truth 
of a declaration ; and what a man solemnly avers 
or promises upon oath is generally believed, and the 
oath silences all objection. 
17. JVIierefore 2, God being willing very abundantly 
to manifest to the heirs of the promise the immu- 
tability of his covnsely included it in an oath 3. 

Thus God himself, in great condescension to hu- 
man infirmity, and to our imperfect mode of con- 
ception, and in order to impress upon the minds of 
believers a more deep and affecting sense of the value 
and of the immutability of his promise, made that 

' An end of contradiction^ ccvtiXoyia.? . " Tliat the apostle 
is here speaking of promissory oaths," says Dr. Whitby, " is 
evident from the occasion of this discourse, viz. the promise 
made to Abraham. Now, thevse oaths being equally conducive 
to this good end in all ages, we have just reason to believe that 
Christianity allows of them for these ends." " The thing 
promised should be unquestionably good and in our power." 

^ Wherefore^ zv cJ. Peirce. " in which view." Wakefield, 
i. e. lia mro, quam ob causam." RosenmuUer. 

' Included it in an oath.'] eixEirtrsvcrev epxiy. " placed his 
promise, as it were, in the middle of an oath." Peirce j which 
is the sense given by the Syriac version. " p-fcr. intervcnire, 
ef speciatim, inlervenire jurejurando : interpnnerejusjurandnm." 
RosenmuUer. " interposed an 00th." VVakcficld. " by an 
oath." Newreme ; who explains it, " transacted the mntlcr 
between himself and mankiud," 

Part I. H E B R E W S. Sect. V, a. 7. 523 

promise the subject of an oath ; and sware by his ch. vr. 
own great and venerable name that he would confer ^^'^' ^'^' 
the most important blessings upon the posterity of 
the believing patriarch, provided that they became 
the heirs of his faith and expectants ot the pro- 

That hy two hmmdable things, in which it was is. 

impossible for God to dcceivCy we might have strong 
encouragement '^f who have fied for refuge^ to lay 
hold on the hope set before tis <>. 

■♦ We might have strong encouragement.^ It is asked who are 
we to understand by we? Probably, the Hebrew believers only } 
for to Abraham and his posterity only was the promise made, 
which was confirmed by oath. And as the author is only ad- 
dre-ssing the believing Hebrews, it is not at all necessary to 
suppose, with Peirce, that he is speaking of Gentile converts 
only, or, with Sykes and others, that he includes all believers, 
all who are the spiritual seed of Abraham. The discourse will 
be more intelligible if the words are restricted to Hebrews only. 
They were the natural posterity of Abraham ; to them, as such, 
was that promise made, which was confirmed by an oath ; to 
them that promise was now fulfilled by the mission of Jesus as 
the Messiah, and by the new dispensation which he hath in- 
troduced, confirmed by the promise and the oath of God : he 
earnestly exhorts the believing Hebrews to flee for refuge both 
from the old and worn out dispensation which was just about to 
be dissolved, ch. viii. 13, and from the danger of unbelief and 
apostasy, which he had just described, ch, vi. I — 9. 

* Who have fled for refuge •] as the man -slayer to the city 
of refuge from the avenger of blood. Numb. xxxv. 6, Josh. 
xxi. 27. See Grotius. The idea is beautifully illustrated by Dr. 
Doddridge : " 'ITiither (to the hope of the gospel) let us flee 
for our lives ; flee, as if we heard the footsteps of the avenger 
of blood just behind us, and our lives depended upon the speed 
of the present moment." 

** The hope set before us .] the new dispensation, the gospel, 
the foundation of hope. " 5<farr,ff-a», i. e. Big to Kparrjtrai, qui 
€0 cotfugwnis, utfirmiter leneamus spcm nobis propositam ,vempe 
eiangeliv."' RoscnmuUcr. " to lay hold of Christ, who h the 

524 Part I, HEBREW S. Skct. V. n. 8. 

Ch. VI. This condescension of God, in ratifying his pro- 
"' ' mise by his oath, is intended for our encourage- 
ment and consolation, who are the heirs of this 
precious promise. For we, lying under a sentence 
of condemnation by the law, and fleeing from the 
avenger of blood to the gospel of Jesus, as to ti city 
of refuge, could hardly be induced to think ourselves 
secure if our feeble wavering hopes were not con- 
finned and established by the most solemn and ex- 
plicit declarations of the God of eternal truth : but, 
relying upon his unchangeable covenant, we now 
banish every fear. 

8. The hope of believers is now fixed upon that 
state of blessedness of which Jesus is gone to take 
possession in their name, ver. 19, 20. 
19- Which hope ive keep fast as an anchor of the 
soul both steady and strong, and luhich also enter- 
eth luithin the veil^. 

This confidence in the divine promise is an an- 
chor, firm and strong, which will never fail, and 
which keeps our little bark safe and steady amidst 
the billows of affliction and persecution : and this 
hope penetrates within the veil and fixes itself upon 

hope proposed to us, Hope is here put for the object of hope." 

' 'Entereili within the veil.'] " Hope is to the soul in tlie midst 
of temptations, what an anchor is to a ship tossed about in the 
sea 5 it is a stay upon which we may rely firm and sure ; and 
it is what will lead us to heaven itself, that true Holy of holies 
which lies within the veil : i. e. that part of tlic tabernacle which 
was behind or within the second veil." Sykcs. 

Part I. K E B R E VV S. Sect. V, in. 



the throne of God : the ^reat object of it being a Ch. vi. 
state of eternal peace and happiness in the divine 

Whither q\xx forenmner hath entered for us , even 
^Testis, made a high-priest for ever^ according to the 
order of Melchisedec^. 

And this alkision to the veil of the temple, which 
separates the holy from the most holy place, brings 
me back to the subject of my discourse : for into 
this holy of holies, where God resides, has Jesus 
our forerunner already entered, as a pattern of the 
high honour and felicity to which his faithful fol- 
lowej-s are hereafter to be admitted ; and, if I may 
so express it, to plead their cause and to assert their 
right in consequence of the gracious promise of 
God, and even to take possession of it in their 
name, in order to bestow it hereafter upon his vic- 
torious and persevering followers. Thus officiating 
in the double capacity of a king and a priest, after 
the example of his prototype Melchisedec. 


The writer, returning from his digression, pro- f^''- vii. 
ceeds to state at large that the dignity of Jesus, as 
a priest after the order of Melchisedec, is greatly 
superior to that of the Levitical priesthood, which 
institution he is therefore commissioned to super- 
sede. Ch. vii. 

^ Oriler of Melchisedec.'] " The author returns to his subject 
from which he had digressed. Ch. v. 11." Newcome. 

52G Part I. H E B R E VV S. Skct. V. »i. 

Ch.vii. I. He argues the superiority of Melchisedec to 
Abraham and Levi, ver. 1 — 10. 

We have had repeated occasion to remark, in the 
course of this epistle, how frequently the writer rests 
his argument upon the ambiguity of words, and 
reasons from passages in the Old Testament which, 
in their primary sense, bear no relation to the sub- 
ject of his discourse. This mode of reasoning is 
evidently inconclusive, and in the present enlight- 
ened age is altogether discarded ; but it was ad- 
mired and approved in the age when this epistle 
was written, and was probably well adapted to the 
crude conceptions and to the inveterate prejudices 
of the simple and illiterate Hebrews. 

The paragraph which we are now about to con- 
sider is a remarkable instance of that kind of loose, 
allegorical, and verbal reasoning to which I allude. 
The design of the writer is sufficiently obvious ; so 
likewise is the weakness and inconclusiveness of his 

But learned expositors having first assumed as a 
principle, that the epistle is under the impulse of 
inspiration, and then seeing that the obvious sense 
of the author is inconsistent with this supposition, 
have puzzled themselves to invent a meaning less 
repugnant to their groundless hypothesis : and it is 
curious to observe the difficulties into which they 
plunge themselves by their respective systems. Some 
have thought that the whole history of Melchisedec 
was an allegory ; others have fancied that Melchi- 
sedec was the holy ghost, or Jesus Christ in his 

Paht I. H E B R E W S. Sect. V. in. 527 

pre-existent state; or some other celestial sprit, Ch.Vll. 
who upon this occasion appeared to Abraliam ; or, 
that he was Shem the son of Noah '. Whereas the 
truth is, that the author has taken a very plain and 
simple narrative from the Old Testament, and has, 
by a fanciful comment, strained it to his purpose of 
proving the superiority of Christ to Aaron, and to 
the whole order of Levitical priests : and it is far 
better to acknowledge at once that this mode of rea- 
soning is injudicious and inconclusive, than to ex- 
pose the evidences of Christianity to the scoffs of 
unbelievers, by first pleading for the plenary inspira- 
tion of the sacred writers, and then, in order to save 
their credit, annexing such a meaning to their lan- 
guage as every man of understanding must see to 
be foreign to the author's design. 

Without therefore pretending to justify 2 the au- 

• Shem the son of Noah.'] This was the interpretation of the 
Jewish rabbis. See Whitby. That very learned and very ho- 
nest writer enumerates, and thinks it worth his while to confute, 
these absurd suppositions. 

^ JVithout pretending to justify.'] " Because the allegorical 
writers of the Jews," says Le Clerc, " at that time accommo- 
dated innumerable passages to the Messiah, not relying upon 
any grammatical interpretations, but a certain old custom of 
explaining the scripture after this manner^ and because they 
interpreted Psalm ex. of the Messiah, the sacred writer makes 
use of that interpretation to his purpose : and because they ac- 
knowledged the Messiah ought to be like Melchisedec, he rea- 
sons against them from their own concessions, not against other 
men who might have denied what he affirmed. Otherwise, if 
the thing be considered in itself, no stronger grammatical argu- 
ment t;an be drawn against others from that history : and there- 
fore such things are not to be too much urged now^ because that 
way of explaining scripture is gone out of use." See Whitby 
on Heb. vii. 1. 


528 Part I, HEBREWS. Skct. V. ni, K 

Ch. VII. thor's reasoning, I shall proceed to state that rea- 
soning as it is ; but for the better understanding 
his meaning, I shall first introduce that very brief 
account of Melchisedec which is contained Gen. 
xiv. 18—20. 

" And Melchisedec, king of Salem, brought forth 
bread and wine, and he was priest of the most high 
God, and he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram 
of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, 
and blessed be the most high God who hath deli- 
vered thine enemies into thy hands ; and Abram 
gave him tithes of all the spoilsy 

This is all that is said concerning this celebrated 
person in the Old Testament, except Psalm ex. 4, 
supposed to be addressed to the Messiah: ** The 
Lord hath sworn and will not repent. Thou art a 
priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." It 
is from this account that the author of the epistle 
draws his parallel. 

1 . He introduces a parabolical description of this 
.eminent person, ver. I — 3. 
Ver. I. For this Melchisedec ', Jcing of Saleni-, priest 

" In his observcitions upon this subject," says Dr. Priestley, 
" we find more of imagination than of judgement : it proceeds, 
however, upon such an application of the scriptures as the Jews 
were accustomed to, and laid much stress upon ; and therefore 
would have weight with those to whom he wrote, as I doubt not 
they had with himself; but this should not prevent our judging 
for ourselves, and rejecting whatever does not appear to be 
sufficiently well founded : and there is nothing that is more 
open to objection than his reasoning concerning Melchisedec." 

' For this Meldmedec] Jesus is a priest after the order of 

Part I. H E B R E VV S. Skct. V. iii. 1 * 529 

of the most high God, who met Abrahmn returning Ch. VI I. 
frofu the slaughtiT of the Icings, and blessed him, 
to whom even Abraham divided a tenth part of all Ver. 2. 
the spoils, being first by interpretation king of 
righteousness, and then king of Salem also, which 
is, king of peace, without recorded father 3 or 3, 

mother, mid without priestly pedigree, having nei- 
ther beginning of days nor end of life *, but re-' 

Melchisedec. " For this Melchisedec resembles Christ in many 
respects." Newcome. " It does not appear," says Dr. Priest- 
ley, " that Melchisedec was more of a priest than Abraham 
was. He was a petty prince ; and in these times all princes 
were likewise priests of their several tribes, and occasionally 
offered sacrifices as did Abraham." 

^ Kitig of Salem:'] Probably Jerusalem. See Ps. Ixxvi, 2. 
" Jerom says, that Salem was a village near Scythopolis, where 
the ruins of Melchisedec's palace were still to be seen." Sykes. 

3 Without recorded father.'] " Without recorded mother," 
Newcome. Eisner Obs. Sac. ver. 2, p. 347, shows that it was 
usual to apply the words aTra.rojp, ai/.rjTcup, to persons whose 
parents were unknown j and he rightly interprets the text as 
expressing that the name of Melchisedec was not to be found 
in the genealogies of the priests. To explain the text as com- 
paring Jesus to Melchisedec, because he had no mother in his 
divine nature, and no father in his human nature, is unworthy 
of the good sense of some expositors who have given this in- 
terpretation. See Peirce and Doddridge. Mr. Wakefield trans- 
lates the passage thus : " of whose father, mother, pedigree, - 
birth, and death, there is no account." 

* Neither beginning of days nor end of life.] The priests under 
the law began their ministrations at thirty years of age, and 
ended when they were fifty. See Numb. iv. The writer means 
that there is no recorded limitation of Melchisedec's priesthood 
Mr. Peirce would render ixpxv ^^V omnino prorsus, and trans- 
lates the text thus : " having plainly neither an end of days nor 
of life." He argues, that it would not be proper to say, that 
Melchisedec resembled the Son of God in not having a begin- 
ning of the days of his priesthood, because we certainly know 
when the days of the priesthood of Christ began, viz. at his re- 
surrection. This, liowever, will not be universally allowed. And 

VOL. IV. 2 M 

530 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. in. !. 

Ch. vn. senibling the son of God^ remaineth a jmest con- 

Having just remarked that Jesus is a perpetual 
high-priest after the order of Melchisedec, I proceed 
now to state more particularly the circumstances of 
resemhlance: and in recurring to the brief history 
of this distinguished character in the book of Ge- 
nesis, you may observe that he was both a king and 
a priest, and that his very name and titles express 
that he was a righteous and a peaceful prince ; he 
blessed Abraham and received tithes from him ; he 
had no title to his office by descent and pedigree ; 
and as there is no repoit either of his birth or death, 
this eminent person, to whom we have compared 
the son of God, may be figuratively regarded as a 
living and perpetual priest : at least, as no account 
is given of any successor to him in office, we may 
presume that he had none. 

2. The writer argues the superiority of Melchi- 
sedec to Abraham, ver. 4 — 7. 
4. - Now consider how great tins man was 2, to ivJiom 

it is sufficient for the writer's purpo&e that Melchisedec h:ul no 
antecedent and no successor. 

' ResevMing the Son of God.'] The eighth verse is acommeu- 
tary upon this chuise. Nothing is said of Melchisedec's death : 
therefore we may suppose him alive, that he is still exercising 
his office, and that no one is to succeed him. 

- Consider how great this man was.] The superiority of Mel- 
chisedec to Abraham is here inferred from his taking tithes of 
him. " But though," says Dr. Priestley in his note upon ver. 1 , 
" Abraham gave Melchisedec a tenth of the spoils which he had 
recovered fiom the kiners whom lie had defeated, it does not 

Part I. H E B R E W S. Srcr. V. in. 1, 531 

even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth part of Olu vii. 
the spoils. 

If he who receives the tribute is greater in office 
and higher in dignity than he who pays it, you must 
acknowledge the superiority of Melchisedec even to 
Abraham our great and honoured ancestor. 

And indeed those of the sons of Levi who i^eceive 5. 

the priesthood^ have authority 3 under the law to 
take tithes of the people, that is, of their own bre- 
thren, though sprung from the stock of Abraham ; 
but he whose pedigree "* is not reckoned yj'owi them, 6. 

received tithes from Abraham, and blessed him that 
had the promises . Now,ivithout all contradiction, 7. 

the inferior is blessed by the superior^. 

Those descendants of Levi v.'ho hold the priestly 
office, namely the posterity of Aaron, are authorized 
by the law of Moses to receive tithes, and thus are 
elevated to an official superiority over their brethren, 
descended from the same ancestor, the patriarch 
Abraham: and they claim their dues upon the 
ground of their descent from the stock of Aaron. 
But Melchisedec had no such pedigree to plead, 

appear that he gave it with any religious view, or as any thing 
which was due to him. It was perhaps to indemnify hira for 
what he had suffered from the incursions of those kings." 

^ Authority^ " svroAijy, permission. John x. 18, Matt. xix. 
7, 8, compared with Mark x. 4, 5." Peirce. 
, •» Pf'hose pedigree.'] " whose genealogy is not reckoned from 
the same stock with them." Newcome. 

^ The inferior by the superior.] to eXxrrov for o sXattujy, the 
less by the greater. See John vi. 37. " He who blesses is sup- 
posed to be in higher favour with God." Newcome. " Though 
Pharaoh was blessed by Jacob, the superiority of the patriarch 
consisted in nothing more than his greater age." Priestley. 

2 M 2 

i32 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. in. I. 

Ch. vii. and yet he received tithes from Abraham himself, 
"' '■ our great progenitor. And what still more strongly 
proves the superiority of his rank, he even pro- 
nounced a blessing upon him, upon the very man 
to whom the promise was made, t/iat in him all 
nations should be blessed: and Abraham himself 
submitted to be blessed by Melchisedec ; and thus, 
as all will allow, acknowledged in that royal priest 
an official superiority. For it is the superior that pro- 
nounces, and the inferior that receives, the blessing. 

?i. The superiority of Melchisedec is further ar- 
gued from his being represented as a living priest, 
ver. 8. 
8. A7id i7i one case men who die receive tithes^ but 
in the other he received them, concerning whmn it 
is testified that he liveth '. 

' He livelh.'] i. e. nothing is mentioned in the history of Mel- 
chisedec concerning his death. " The difference here consi- 
dered is, that of men who die, and of one of whom it is wit- 
nessed that he liveth. Men that die have their successors, to 
whom tithes are paid : but Melchisedec is not said to have any 
successor ; but himself to continue a priest for ever. So much 
then as a priest for ever is superior to a successive priesthood, 
so much must that of Melchisedec excel that of Aaron." Sykes . 

It is not to be supposed that the author of the epistle was so 
weak as to believe that Melchisedec never died, and that he 
was, at the time when the epistle was written, a living priest ; 
but he ingeniously seizes upon every circumstance, and every 
expression, in the brief histoiy of that eminent person, which 
can by any means be twisted so as to serve his purpose of illus- 
trating the superiority of the priesthood of Melchisedec, which 
is that of the Messiah, to the priesthood of Aaron, which is that 
of the law. 

It is observable that the writer speaks of the Jewish prlest.s 
as at.//!«< lime receiving tithes ; and that here, and upon all 

Part I. HEBREWS. Seut. V. in. 1. 533 

The priests, the descendants of Aaron, are dying ch. vii. 
men, and the priestliood is transmitted from gene- 
ration to generation : but Melchisedec has no suc- 
cessor : he appears in the history as a living priest ; 
and though there can be no doubt that he died many 
ages ago, yet, as he is represented in the history as 
a Hving man, and no mention is made of his death, 
we may take advantage of this circumstance in ex- 
plaining the similitude, and may in our imagina- 
tions conceive of Melchisedec as exercising an im- 
mortal priesthood. 

4. Melchisedec's superiority is further argued, as 
the Levitical priests themselves, who received tithes, 
virtually paid tithes to him, ver. 9, 1 0. 

^^nd, if I may uae the e.vpressioji *, cve7i Levi^ 9. 

who receiveth iilheSy paid tithes through Abraham^ 

occasions, he, without any affectation, alludes to the temple 
service as then e.Kisting ; which is a proof that the epistle was 
written in the apostolic age, and though not penned by Paul, 
the style proving the contrary, was probably written by an apo- 
stolic man, and contains apostolic doctrine, though shrouded 
and obscured by allegorical interpretations and inconclusive 

- If I may use the expression.} d; Birog enrsiv, " in a manner." 
Wakefield. He softens the harsh expression of Levi paying 
tithes before he was born, by a qualifying clause equivalent to 
the Latin phrase ut ita dlcam. Grotius and Raphelius in loc. If 
there was any validity in the argument, it would prove, a.s has 
been often observed,'that Melchisedec superior to Christ as 
well as to Levi. See Whitl)y on the place, who guards against 
the conclusion which some are disposed to draw, that all the 
posterity of Adam sinned in him, as being in the loins ot Adam 
when he sinned. 

534 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. iii. 2. 

Ch. VII. for he was yet in the loins of his father when MeU 
^^' ' chisedecmet h}o\2\\2cci\. 

1 will mention another argument in favour of the 
superiority ofMelchisedec to Aaron and his descend- 
ants ; but I do not indeed profess to lay any great 
stress upon it. Isaac was not begotten when Abra- 
ham paid tithes ; and therefore all the descendants 
of Abraham by Isaac, and consequently Levi and all 
his posterity, including the priests of the house of 
Aaron, who are themselves the receivers of tithes 
according to the law, may be considered as having 
paid tithes in the person of their great progenitor : 
thus virtually acknowledging the superiority of the 
order of Melchisedec to that of Aaron, and conse-' 
quently the superior dignity of the priesthood of 
Christ to that of the descendants of Levi. 

II. The writer infers, fjom the premises which 
he has advanced, that the Lcvitical dispensation is 
to be superseded, and a new dispensation to be in- 
troduced under the direction of a superior priest- 
hood, ver. 1 1 — 28. 

I. The Levitical dispensation is to be superseded, 
ver. 11 — 19. 

1.) He draws this conclusion from the change 
which is to take place in the nature and character 
of the priesthood itself, ver. 11, 12. 
11. Now if perfection'^ were to be obtained by the 

'• If perfectio7i.2 The word fiXBicJo-i? only occurs once more 

Part I. HEBREWS. Skct. V. m. 2. 535 

Levkical priesthoody concerning which 2 the people ch. vii. 
received a laWy what further 7ieed was there that ^*' ' 
another priest should rise according to the order of 
Alelchisedec, and that he should not be called ac^ 
cording'^ to the order of Aaron? For if the priest- 12. 

hood be changed, there is of necessity a change of 
the law also *. 

If the promise which had been made to our great 
ancestor Abraliam, that all the families of the earth 
should be blessed in him, could have been accom- 
plished by the ministry of the priests, the descend- 
ants of Aaron, who were instituted agreeably to the 

in the New Testament, viz. Luke i. 45. It is there used in the 
sense of the fulfilment of prophecy, and is translated. There 
shall be performance of those thiflgs which were told her. The 
word is probably used in the same sense in the present con- 
nexion, q. d. " If a full accomplishment of the things pro- 
mised had been made by the Levitical priesthood, there would 
have been no need of any other priesthood to come after it." 

- Concerning which.'] sir avrri. See this translation vindicated 
by Peirce. It was an observation of little moment, and indeed 
hardly consistent with truth, that the law was given under the 
Levitical priesthood ; but it was of great importance to remark, 
that the law concerning the priesthood was so interwoven with 
the whole Mosaic institute, that one could not subsist without 
the other : so that, to supersede the priesthood was to abolish 
the law. 

^ jind not according.'] Mill and Wakefield reject the last 
clause of the eleventh verse upon the authority of the iEthiopic 
version, " but evidently without reason," says Dr. Owen, itp. 

■» There is of necessity a change of the Zaw;.] " How does this 
follow ? The truth is, so much of the law concerns the priest- 
hood immediately, all their sacrifices, purifications;, the great 
day of atonement, and the temple service, that, supposing these 
to be set aside or abolished, tiicir law itself may properly be 
said to be rhanucd.'" Svkcs. 

536 Pakt I. HEBREWS. Skct. V. in. 2. 

Ch. VH. laws given by Moses concerning them, there would 
surely have been no occasion for the introduction 
of a priesthood of a different order, with different 
offices, privileges, and powers. There must have 
been some singularly important reason why the in- 
spired Psalmist should have announced the future 
appointment of a priest after the order of Melchi- 
sedec, rather than that of Aaron. For you cannot 
but observe that the necessary consequence of a 
change in the nature and functions of the sacerdo- 
tal office is the abrogation of the whole Mosaic in- 
stitution ; the very being of which depends upon 
the continuation of an order of priests similar to 
that which was originally appointed by Moses. So 
that a prophecy of the change of the priesthood is 
in effect a notice from the highest authority that the 
law itself would be repealed. 

2.) ITie argument is further corroborated by the 
consideration, that this predicted priest was not to 
be of the Aaronic family, but of a different tribe, 
ver. 13, 14. 

13, Moreover, he ofivhovO these things are spoken 
belongeth to another tribe, out nf which no one gave 

14 attendance at the altar. For it was plain of old^ 

' He of whom.'] i<p ov for -ffspi «. q. d. the high-priest, of 
whom these things are spoken : see ver. 6. Dr. Owen apud 

'^ It was plain of old.'] Mr. Peirce justifies this sense of the 
word Ttpo^'Mv, as distinguished from iiOLTa,Qr,Xav in the next 
verse. Mr. Wakefield also adopts it, and mentions il as the in- 
terpretation given by the -Ethiopic translator. 

Paj»t I. H E B R E W S. Sect. V. in. 2. 537 

that our Lord was to spring^ out of Judah^, Ch.vii. 
with respect to ivhich tribe Moses spake nothing ®'' 
conceiming the priesthood. 

A change of the functions of the priestly office 
must have involved in it a change of the law ; but 
the scriptures foretell not only a change of the func- 
tions, but even of the family of the priests : for you 
cannot but admit, as our whole nation doth, that 
the cxth Psalm is a prophecy of the Messiah. Now 
it is allowed by all that the Messiah was to descend 
from the tribe of Judah and from the family of 
David, who were by law prohibited from exercising 
any of the functions of the priestly office. But the 
existence of the Mosaic institute, depends upon the 
continuance of the family of Aaron, for the law 
makes no provision for a succession of priests if 
that line should fail 5. The prophecy, therefore. 

^ Was to spring.'] avarsraXxs, was to spring : this is Mr. Wake- 
field's translation, which the connexion requires, " Gram- 
marians observe, that the preterperfect is sometimes used for 
the present." Peirce. 

^ Out of Judah.'] That the Messiah was to descend from the 
tribe of Judah was inferred from the prophecy of Jacob, Gen. 
xlix. 1 0. That he was expected to be the descendant of David, 
who was of the tribe of Judah, is also apparent from Matt. xxii. 
42, Lukfexx. 41. 

^ The law made no provision for a succession of priests.'] This 
is a remarkable fact, and a presumptive evidence of the con- 
sciousness of the divine authority under which the Jewish law- 
giver acted. After the death of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron had 
but two sons left, Eleazar and Ithamarj and as the whole Jew- 
ish polity depended upon the continuance of the priesthood, a 
person who had legislated upon the principles of human pru- 
dence only, would have made some provision for a succession 
of priests, if the line of Aaron should fail. 

538 Part I. H E B R E W S. Skct. V. m. 2. 

Ch.vii. which foretells the transfer of the priestly office 
^^' ^' into another family, does in efl'ect announce the 
abolition of the law of Moses. 

3.) This conclusion is further strengthened by 
the prediction of the perpetuity of that priest, who 
was the object of the prophecy, ver. 15 — 17. 

15. And this is still far more evident, if another 
priest ariseth ', according to the similitude of Mel- 

16. chisedec; luho becometh such, not according to the 
laiu of a carnal^ commandment, hut according to 

17. the power of an indissoluble life, /or the scripture 
testifieth, " Thou art a priest for ever, according 
to the order of MelchisedecT 

There is another circumstance which proves the 
abolition of the Mosaic institute still more strongly 
than any which I have already mentioned. Whe- 
ther Melchisedec himself be alive or dead, it is evi- 

' If another priest ariseth.'] si, if. Owen aptid Bowyer, 
Whitby, Peirce, and Newcome, give £< the sense of In, that, 
or because. With Sykes, I adhere to its usual sense if, q. d. 
" it is still more evident that the law must be changed if a 
priest ariseth who is never to die, but to live for ever." 

2 Carnal.'] (rapKivriS. Griesbach. The law concerning the 
priesthood is called a carnal commandment, because the priests 
vvlio were appointed by it were frail and dying men ; whereas 
that which appointed Jesus as high-priest was a law which sup- 
posed the person so ajjpointed, to possess immortal life and 
vigour, for it ordains him to be an cverliisting ])ricst. See 
Peirce, and Macknight, and Whitby. " A carnal command- 
ment is opposed to the power of an indissoluble life. A carnal 
commandment, therefore, is a law which concerns t!ic llesh that 
dies : whereas a priesthood for ever, does not depend upon 
ttesli, which in the common course of things soon comes to an 
end." Sykes. 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. ni. 2. 539 

dent that the person typified by him, and who was ch. vii. 
to be appointed a priest, according to his similitude ^"* ^''* 
and order, is not Hke the priests of the Hne of 
Aaron, constituted by a law which supposes the 
priest to be a frail and dying man, and which pro- 
vides successors accordingly, but by an edict which 
implies that he should possess immortal life and 
energy. For this is the strain of the prophetic de- 
claration, this is the language of the salutation ad- 
dressed to him by Jehovah : " Thou art an ever- 
lasting priest, according to the order of Melchise- 

4.) The incompetency of the Mosaic ritual is a 
further and sufficient reason for its abrogation, ver. 
18, 19. 

There isy therefore, cm abolition'^ of the former 18. 
commandment because of its iveakness and unpro- 
fitableness, {for the law made nothing perfect^,) 19. 

3 There is an abolition.'] The opposition does not lie between 
the two clauses of ver. 19, as is commonly supposed, but be- 
tween that and ver. 18, including the clause /or the laiu made 
nothing perfect in a parenthesis, and yivstcci being understood. 
Peirce says, the construction seems to have been mistaken by 
all commentators. This construction is adopted by Estius,Ben- 
gelius, Markland (see Bowyer), Newcome, Wakefield. 

■* The law made nothing perfect.'] " The apostle," says Dr. 
Sykes, " teaches that the law made nothing, i. e. no man, per- 
fect : he considers it as what it was, instituted for temporal 
purposes ; and consequently unfit and unable to attain the ends 
which the Jews expected from it. They expected to be justified 
by God by their observance of the law. No, says the apostle, 
the law did not propose to make the observers perfect ; and 
therefore the Hebrews ought to recur to Christ." " The law 
WHS unfit and unable to make Ihc priesthood perfcctj for it made 

540 Part I. H E B R E W S. Sj-.ct. V. in. 2. 

Ch. VII. but an introduction of a belter hope ' by wfiich lue 
*^' ' draw near to God^. 

nothing perfect, and if it made nothing perfect it could not 
make the priesthood so, or confer the advantages to be ex- 
pected from the office." I'circe. 

Neither of these ingenious and learned expositors appears 
to me to have correctly apprehended the writer's meaning. 
Addressing the Hebrews upon their own principles, he argues 
the superiority of the new covenant by Christ, over the old one 
introduced by Moses ; and contrasts the perfection of the priest- 
hood of Christ, with the imperfection of that of Aaron. Both 
covenants agree in this, that no ))rovision is made for the wilful 
transgressor. The soul that sinneth it shall die, is the language 
of the old covenant. And if a man sin wilfully after receiving 
the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice 
for sin, is ihe doctrine of the new. 

But under the law there were many ways by which a person 
contracted ceremonial pollution, such as touching a dead body 
and the like, for recovery from which, provision was made by 
certain sacrifices and ablutions, by which they were restored 
to ceremonial purity : but the neglect of which excluded them 
from the pale and privileges of the commonwealth of Israel. 
Now it is obvious that many of these ceremonial pollutions 
might be contracted through inadvertence unknown to the 
parties themselves ; and in the course of a year there would 
hardly be a single individual Israelite who had not through in- 
advertence forfeited his privileges as a member of the commu- 
nity of Israel. To obviate this calamity the annual day of atone- 
ment was appointed, for sins of ignorance only, Ileb. ix, 7, 
when the high-priest entered into the holy of holies, and 
.sprinkled the blood of the victim before the mercy-seat, after 
having made a confession of the sins of the people, and having 
laid his hand lipon the head of the scape-goat, which was after- 
wards sent into the wilderness as a symbol that the sins so 
atoned were done away : while the .sprinkling of the blood in- 
dicated that the covenant was renewed, and the congregation 
reconsecrated. See Lev. xvi. This institution, however, was 
imperfect, for, 1. It required annual repetition. 2. The priest 
was obliged to offer a sacrifice annually for himself as well as 
for the people. 3. The priest was mortal, and the office suc- 

In all these views the new covenant greatly eNcclled the old. 
1 . The one sacrifice of Christ was equal to all the saci ificcs of 

Part I. HEBREWS. Skot. V. m. 2. 541 

The arguments which I have advanced plahily Ch. vii. 
prove, notwithstanding the strong prepossession of 

the law : it consecrated both hhnself antl his followers once for 
all, so that under the new dispensation there are no ceremonial 
pollutions, no sins of ignorance ; but the individual who is 
once admitted into the Christian community can never be ex- 
cluded from it but by his own voluntary transgression. 2. The 
high -priest is perfect, and being once consecrated is consecrated 
for ever. 3. He is immortal, and being at the right hand of 
God in heaven, he is ever present in the celestial holy of holies, 
interceding, that is, officiating as a priest in the most holy 
place, so that the benefit of his redemption extends to every 
believer through every age. 

In this manner the author of this epistle carries on a very 
ingenious parallel between the Aaronic priesthood and th* 
priesthood of Christ, to the great advantage of the latter, in 
order to soften the prejudices of his Hebrew readers : all the 
while meaning nothing more than that the dispensation intro- 
duced by Christ relieves those who yield obedience to it from 
the yoke, the ceremonies and the sacrifices of the law, that it 
requires nothing but the practice of virtue, and is intended to 
last for ever. 

With this key, if I mistake not, it will be easy to understand 
the scope, the reasonings, and the allusions of this writer, and 
to see how little foundation this celebrated epistle lays for the 
modern unscriptural doctrine of atonement, of which it w 
thought to be the main support, and upon which many lay such 
an unwarrantable stress. 

' Jn infrnduction of a better hope."] The new dispensation is 
here called a better hope, because it leads us to hope for that 
perfection which the law could not reach : a perfect priest, a 
perfect service, an immutable and everlasting covenant, from 
the blessings of which nothing can exclude but wilful (Jisobe- 

^ By which we draw near to God.'] Under this new covenant 
we have access to God, as reconciled through his son. All our 

fiast ceremonial and legal offences are forgiven : with the true 
srael of God we are admitted into the holy place, where we 
take our stand as acceptable and approved worshipers, sepa- 
rated from the unholy and unclean : no longer needing an an- 
nual atonement for legal tran.sgression, but continually abiding 
in the love and favour of God, unless we exclude ourselves by 
actual, transgression . 

542 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. in. 2. 

€h. VII. our nation to the contrary, that the dispensation of 
' '^' Moses is to be abrogated and annulled by the su- 
perior dispensation of the Messiah : and it is fit 
that it should be so ; for the dispensation of rites 
and ceremonies was not able to fulfill the elevated 
expectations which the promises of God to our pious 
ancestors, and particularly to Abraham, justly ex- 
cite. I have shown that the Levitical priesthood is 
imperfect and inadequate to the desired end. And 
no wonder, for the law could make nothing perfect ; 
and though it answered a temporary purpose, and 
was partially beneficial, it fell far short, both in ex- 
tent and in degree, of the complete accomplishment 
of the promise. This dispensation therefore is justly 
set aside, and a new ceconomy is introduced, which 
lays a foundation for better hopes, and will be pro- 
ductive of far more extensive and durable blessings : 
this is the dispensation of which Christ is the head, 
by which not merely a separate and privileged order 
of men, but all believers, without distinction, are 
admitted into the sanctuary of God, and are encou- 
raged to approach the throne of mercy. In con- 
formity to the institutions of this new and liberal 
dispensation, we now regulate our modes of wor- 
ship, and by its merciful declarations we are autho- 
rized to regard the great object of our religious ho- 
mage as a reconciled God, a father and a friend, 
from whose favour nothing can separate us but our 
own voluntary transgression. 

2. The great superiority of Jesus, the high-priest 

Part I. H E B R E W S. Sect. V. in. 2. 513 

of the new dispensation, is illustrated and esta- ch.vri. 
blished, ver. 20—28. ^'"- '^• 

1.) He was inaugurated with an oath, ver. 20 

Moreover^ inasmuch as he was 7iot made a high- 20. 
priest iv'ithout an oath, (for they indeed were made 21. 
jrriests without an oath, but this ivith an oath, by 
him. who said to him. The Lord hath sivorn, and 
will not repent. Thou art a priest for ever, after 
the order of Melchisedec,) by so much was Jesus 22. 
made the surety • of a more e.vcellent covenant 2. 

Having proved, from premises which cannot be 
controverted, that the Jewish scriptures themseh'es 

' The surett/.l syyvos, a sponsor, or surety: this is the only 
place in which the word occurs in the New Testament. The 
priests under the Mosaic covenant were sureties that God 
would perform his promises to the Jews, because they offered 
those sacrifices which were the appointed ratification of the 
divine promise. Jesus is the surety of the new covenant, be- 
cause his blood ratifies the promises of it. See Peirce. 

^ More excellent covenant.^ SiccQrjxrj, a covenant, the usual 
sense of tire word improperly rendered testament. The Mosaic 
dispensation was the old covenant, in which the contracting 
parties were God and the Jewish nation : the promise of the 
covenant was the possession of Palestine : the conditions of 
the contract were, abstaining from idolatry and obedience to 
the ceremonial law : the sanction and seal of the covenant was 
the blood of the victims. 

Tlie Christian dispensation is the new covenant, in which 
God and believers are the contracting parties : the promise of 
the covenant is a resurrection to immortality : the conditions 
of this covenant are faith and obedience : the mediator and 
surety of the covenant is Jesus Christ, and the sanction and 
seal of it is his blood shed upon the cross. " The reasoning 
is," says Dr. Sykes, " the more solemn and awful the manner 
is in which any one is appointed to his office, the more import- 
ant is the office." 

544 Paht I. H E B R E W S. Sf.ct. V. iii. 2. 

Ch. vir. announce the abolition of the institution of Moses, 
^'' ^^" and the introduction of another and better order of 
things, I now advance to state, upon grounds equally 
satisfactory, that Jesus, the high-priest of this new 
dispensation, sustains an office of far greater dignity 
than any of the priests, the descendants of Aaron : 
and my first argument is taken from the superior 
solemnity with which Jesus was inaugurated into 
his sacred office. It cannot indeed be denied that 
Aaron and his posterity were, by divine direction, 
selected and consecrated to exercise the office of 
priests under the Mosaic institution : and this was 
no doubt a very solemn designation. But the so- 
lemnity with which Jesus was publicly announced 
to this high and holy office was far superior : for 
when the inspired psalmist foretells the priesthood 
of the Messiah, he declares, in the name of God, 
that this appointment is confirmed and ratified by 
the immutable oath of God himself. And as the 
appointment of the priesthood under the Mosaic 
dispensation was a proof and pledge of the mercy 
of God to his chosen people, and of his willingness 
to maintain a gracious intercourse with them, and 
to fulfill his promises to them, so is the appoint- 
ment of Jesus, the true Messiah, as the high -priest 
of the new dispensation, a pledge of the faithfulness 
of God to that covenant of mercy into which all 
believers are now introduced, and of the full accom- 
plishment of all the great and precious promises 
contained in it : and the superior solemnity of his 
inauguration proves a proportionable superiority 

Part I. HEBREWS. Skct. V. in. 2. 545 

both in the importance of its blessings, and in the Ch.vii, 
dignity of him who is the pledge and surety of its ^^^' ^'* 

Observe here, 1 . That the gospel dispensation is 
called a covenant, an engagement between two con- 
tracting parties, and not a testament, or will, to 
which it is difficult to annex any distinct idea. In 
this covenant God promises to all who believe, 
eternal life, as the reward of faithful obedience. 
This is a notion which the author here introduces 
incidentally, and upon which he afterwards insists 
at large. 

2. Of this covenant Jesus is the surety : not as 
though the promise of God could not be credited 
without the addition of human security, nmch less 
can it be supposed that the writer means to insi- 
nuate, as some strangely maintain, that Jesus is 
surety for the sinner's debt, or a substitute to bear 
the divine wrath in the sinner's stead : but Jesus is 
the surety of the gospel covenant, first, because his 
mission is a proof and pledge of the divine mercy; 
and secondly, because his death was the seal, or so- 
lemn ratification, of the evangelical promise. This 
is the topic upon which the writer enlarges in the 
succeeding chapters. 

2.) The priesthood of Christ is perpetual, ver. 23 

^nd those priests indeed ivere many^ because 23. 
they were hindered from continuing by death ; but 24. 

VOL. IV. 2 N 

546 Part I. H E B R E W S. Sect. V. iii. 2, 

Ch.vii. hCy because he ronthiueih for ever, retaineth the 

Ver. 25. priesthood without succession • : luhence also he is 

able to save completely'^ those who approach to 

God through him, as he ever liveth to intercede for 


' Without succession.'] aTta^a^arov, " a priesthood that does 
never pass from one to another. The Aaronical priests were 
many and successive ; but our high-priest, by reason of his con- 
tinuance for ever, exercises an unchangeable priesthood. This 
is another reason for the superior excellence of the Christian 
covenant." Sykes. 

■^ To save cample fehj.'] acv^Siv st; ro TravrsAsj, itav tsXo; syjov 
— £ic TtoLMTsKs^, pvorsus, perfeclP, plene, consiuiimate, cmniiio." 
Schleusner. " Christ living for ever himself could save for 
ever them that came to God through him. llavrsXes always 
signifies completely." Sykes. 

The writer is here running a parallel between the functions 
of the Aaronic high-priest and Jesus Christ the high-priest of 
our profession, in order to show the great superiority of the 
latter. The Aaronic priests, in their successive generations, on 
the day of atonement sanctified the people, and restored to the 
commonwealth of Israel those who had forfeited their privileges 
by sins of ignorance : ch. ix, 7. Christ is an immortal high- 
priest ; he ever lives to save completely those who approach to 
God through him. Believers in the gospel are saved through 
Christ J by faith in him they are rescued from the bondage of 
idolatry and vice, and from the condemning sentence of the 
law. They draw near to God tlirough him : they become a 
holy people, admitted to worship in the holy place"; separated 
by their profession from the unbelieving world. If they apo- 
statize, they are turned out of the sanctuary into the congre- 
gation of unbelievers, and delivered over to Satan : but if they 
do not wilfully transgress, nothing can exclude them from the 
new covenant. Under the law, sins of ignorance excluded from 
the Mosaic covenant ; to the blessings of which they were re- 
stored by the offices of the high-priest on the day of atonement. 
Not so under the gospel : no sins of ignorance, no involuntary 
violations of ritual precepts, exclude from the new covenant. 
Christ has completely saved his disciples from all lapses of this 
kind ; and as he lives for ever, so the benefits of his salvation 
extend to all his followers to the end of time. 

3 He ever liveth to intercede for them.'] svrvy^avuj is a word 

Part I. H E B R E W S. Skct. V. m. 2, 547 

The descendants of Aaron were frail and mortal, Ch.vir. 

and provision was made for the transmission of 

of very general import. It signifies to interpose in anyway, 
either vtcsp for, or xara against, another. See Sykes. Mr. 
Wakefield rentiers it, " to manage their concerns for them." 
He refers to Epictetus, sect. 40, and to Heb. ix. 24 ^ and ob- 
serves, " there is no neod of authorities to establish this sense 
of the word. It is applied to Christ only twice in the New Tes- 
tament, here and Rom. viii. 34 ; and upon the slender founda- 
tion of these two te.Kfs is built the modern and popular doc- 
trine of Christ's intercession, and pleading withllie Father the 
merits of his blood and righteousness : a doctrine upon which 
many lay a mighty stress, though it is no where to be found in 

I have ventured to use the word intercede, taking it in the 
sense of a learned writer in the Commentaries and Essai/s, vol. ii. 
p. 26.> } viz. " to officiate, to discharge the office of a high- 
priest on their behalf." The Jewisli high-priest on the day of 
atonement was to sprinkle the blood of the victim upon, and 
before, the mercy-seat. See Lev. xvi. 19. He was not instructed 
to offer any prayer or to utter a word. By this action he inter- 
ceded, interposed, did all that God required for the people, and 
they were atoned, reconciled, restored to covenant, which they 
had lost 'by sins of ignorance. But Christ is the Christian 
high-priest, who is passed into the heavens to the right hand of 
God, into the holy of holies; where he appears, not like the 
Jewish high-priest for a short time, once in a year, but con- 
tinually and for ever. And by this appearance alone, without 
any verbal address or any external act, he intercedes ; and ac- 
complishes that purpose completely, and for ever, which the 
Jewish high-priest effected on tlie d;iy of atonement only, viz. 
preserving a memorial, that all legal offences had ceased, and 
that nothing but their own voluntary apostasy can exclude his 
followers from the privileges of the covenant. 

Not that any thing real, or virtual, is said or done by the 
Christian high-priest ; or that our Lord ever, properly speak- 
ing, performs the office of high-priest at all, any more than he 
sustains the character of a shepherd, a householder, or a hus- 
bandman. Nothing of this sort occurs in any other portion of 
the Christian scriptures, and here it is only introduced meta- 
phorically by this ingenious but unknown writer ; who pursues 
the figure as far as it will bear, for no other purpose than to 
reconcile the Hebrew believers to the offensive doctrine of a 
crucified Messiah. 

2 N 2 

Yti: 25. 

548 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. iii. 2. 

Ch. VII. their office from generation to generation : but the 
priest who is solemnly introduced as invested with 
an office similar to that of Melchisedec, is at the 
same time announced as one who was to exercise a 
perpetual priesthood. Nor is any provision made 
for a successor to him in office, nor any notice given 
of the introduction of a succeeding dispensation. 
Such a priest is Jesus : being raised from the dead, 
he lives for ever: to him therefore no successor is 
nominated ; and to the end of time all who are 
as it were introduced by him into the sanctuary of 
God, shall derive from him all the blessings which 
in his sacerdotal capacity he is authorized to con- 
fer ; because he is already in the most holy place, 
where he will ever be engaged in the duties of his 
sacred office. In other words, since Christ is risen 
from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of 
God, the law of ceremonies is superseded, * sins of 
ignorance are abolished, sacrifices and days of ex- 
piation are unnecessary, the office of a priest is su- 
perfluous, every thing which the law requires may 
be considered as accomplished in Jesus ; and no 
believer to the end of time can ever be excluded 
from the benefits of the new dispensation but by 
his own voluntary act, by wilful presumptuous 

3.) The qualifications of Jesus for the sacerdotal 
office are peculiar and transcendant, ver. 26 — 28. 
26L For svch a high-priest svited us >, who is holy, 

* Such a high-priest suited us.} " tvpsirs, conveniebat, talent 

Part I. HEBREWS. Siicr.V. iii.2. 549 

hamiless, unpolluted, separate from sinners^^ and 
raised above the heavens^. "" ^' 

The gospel dispensation being so much superior 
to that of Moses, required the ministrations of a 
superior high-priest ; and such is that exalted high- 
priest whom God has appointed for us : eminent 
for his moral virtues as well as for his sacerdotal 
qualifications ; pious towards God ; benevolent to 
men ; exempt from all ceremonial impurity ; sepa- 
rated from the unholy and unbelieving world ; set 
apart for the service of the spiritual sanctuary, and 
admitted into heaven itself, the most holy place, the 
immediate presence of God. 

pontificem nobis dari: necessarius nobis erat talis pontifex mnxi- 
mus." Rosenmuller, " became us." Public Version. " was 
proper for us." Wakefield. The superior dignity of the dis- 
pensation required a proportionate superiority in its chief of- 

^ Holy, harmless, unpolluted, separate from sinners.'] holy, 
o<rios, not dyios. It expresses a moral quality, not a separation 
to the service of God. " pious, merciful^ Peirce. Harm- 
less, axaxos. " If the former character be understood to ex- 
press his respect to God, this may import his innocence towards 
men." Peirce. Unpolluted, aiMuvroi. " This is analogous to 
what was prescribed for the high-priests under the old law ; 
who were above all others to avoid legal defilements, and more 
especially on the great day of expiation, when they were to go 
into the most holy place." Peirce. — " Qui non tantum poUuius 
non fuerlt istis contaminationibv^ externis, sed nee ullo vitio." 
Rosenmuller. Separate from sinners. Free from all sin, ce- 
remonial and moral : completely sanctified, and dedicated to 

^ Raised above the heavens."] " exalted above the angels." 
Peirce. But surely there can be no doubt that the writer al- 
ludes to what he Iiad said a little before, ch. iv. 14, where he 
speaks of Christ as liuving passed into the heavens, as the high- 
priest into the moJit huly I'lacc. 

550 Part I. H E B R E W S. Sect. V. in. 2. 

Ch.vii. The writer means nothing more than that Jesus 
is fully qualified for the office to which he is ap- 
pointed ; but in order to accommodate himself to 
the prejudices of the Jewish Christians, he uses 
language expressive of the qualifications of a Jewish 
high-priest, not meaning to be taken in a strict 
literal sense. 
27. TFho needeth not from time to time ', like those 
high-priests 2, first to offer sacrifices for his own 
sins, and after that for those of the people, for this 
he did once for all^, when he offered up himself. 

' From time to time.'] v.aS} y^\j.zpa.v, dadij, from time to time. 
The word is indefinite, and often used for time. The expression 
is equivalent to ■ko.t sviavrov (ch. x. 1.), every ijear. The day 
of atonement came but once a year. Peirce, Sykes. 

- Like those high-priests.] The duty of the high-priest on the 
day of atonement is described Lovit. xvi. j where he is required, 
first to offer a sacrifice for his own sins, and then for tliose of 
the people. Bat it was only for ceremonial pollution and sins 
of ignorance, not for voluntary transgressions. This is expressly 
stated Heb. ix. 7. 

^ This he did once for all.'] tuto ya.p E-noiriosv. This text has 
greatly puzzled the commentators ■ and is indeed, when rightly 
understood, a complete refutation of the popular doctrine of the 
atonement : viz. that Christ died to expiate, or make atone- 
ment, or offer satisfaction, or appease the wrath of the Father 
for the sins, the moral offences of mankind. Tins 11 k did once 
for all : What ? The construction plainly requires, that the an- 
tecedent should be, * he offered sacrifice first for his own sins, 
and after that for those of the people.' So Grotius : " Videtur 
hie et supra did c. v. 3. Christus quoque obtulisse fwn scepius 
quidem, sed semel pro peccatis non populi tantum, sed et suis." 
So Crcllius : " PriucipaUter hie de oblatione pro ipsius ponti- 
ficis peccatis agi, ex superiorihus, ipsoque rationum contextu ma- 
nifestum est." To avoid, however, the shock which it would 
naturally give to the feelings of those who did not understand 
the author's meaning, and indeed in perfect consistency with 
their own mistaken views of the subject, most of t!ie cornmcnla- 
tois introduce an exceptive clause, unwarranted by the texL 


Part I. H E B R E W S. Skct. V. m. 2. 55 1 

.. You know that the high-piiest every year, upon Ch. vii, 
the day of atonement, first offers a sacrifice for his ^'^' '' 

So Peirce expounds the passage, " Who has no need, like the 
priests under the law, from time to time to offer up sacrifice 
first for his own sins, and after that for the peoplt'.s. For this 
latter he did once for all, v/hen he offered up himself; and as 
to the former, he had no occasion to do it at all." So also 
Sykes : " He had no sins of his own, and therefore could not 
offer for them." And Doddridge : •' of the former of these he 
never had need, nor could there be any room for it : and this 
last he did once for all." See also Whitby, Rosenmuller, &c. 
And, no doubt, if the writer of the epistle had entertained the 
same ideas of the doctrine of the atonement which these learned 
and pious expositors did, he would have made the same reserve ; 
whereas, as Crellius justly remarks, the context plainly points 
out the sins of the high-priest as the principal object. 

In what sense, then, can it justly be said that Christ " offered 
up a sacrifice for his own sins ? " It is universally agreed, that 
Christ in his moral c'naracter was sinless : it is impossible, 
therefore, that he should have offered sacrifice for his own rcoral 
offences, for he had none. Grotius and Crellius, by the sins of 
Christ understand his sufferings, which were terminated by his 
death : but this interpretation, unnatural in itself, is success- 
fully opposed by Whitby. The plain interpretation is, that the 
sins of Christ were merely ceremonial, such as the high-priest 
was accustomed to expiate on the day of atonement : ch. ix. 7. 
Our Lord sprang out of Judahj of which tribe Moses spake no- 
thing concerning the priesthood : ver. 14. He was, therefore, 
as to the priesthood, in an unconsecrated state ; that is, cere- 
monially a sinner. And as Aaron was consecrated to his priestly 
office by the blood of animal sacrifices, so Christ was conse- 
crated to his nobler office by his own blood. In this sense he 
offered a sacrifice for his own sins. This way of representing 
the death of Christ was adapted to conciliate the prejudices of 
the Hebrew Christians. Also, as the posterity of Aaron were 
successively removed by death (ver. 23), successive priests were 
consecrated by successive sacrifices. But Christ lives for ever, 
a consecrated priest, and has no successor. Further, priests 
under the law were subject to infirmity, and might desecrate 
themselves by ceremonial pollution and inadvertent acts : ver. 
28. It was necessary, therefore, that they should be reconse- 
crated by daily and by annual sai;rificcs ; 'but Christ being in- 

552 Part I. H E B R E VV S. Skct. V. iii. 2. 

Ch. VII. own involuntary transgressions, by which he has ce- 
remonially desecrated his character and disqualified 
himself for his office : and after this service he offers 
another sacrifice for the involuntary transgressions 
of the people, by which they have excluded them- 
selves from the privileges of the Mosaic covenant : 

capable of ceremonial desecration, his one sacrifice is sufficient. 
He is now perfect for ever. 

And, let it be remarked, in the very same sense in which 
Christ offered a sacrifice for his own sins, in that very sense did 
he offer sacrifice for the sins of the people. There is no distinc- 
tion. But the sins of Christ were not moral, but ceremonial : 
the contrary supposition is absurd. Such, then, and no other, 
are those sins of the people for which Christ offered a sacrifice j 
like his own, they are not moral, but ceremonial. No sacrifices 
are appointed for moral offences, either under the old dispensa- 
tion, or the new; no atonement, no appeasing of divine wrath, 
no satisfaction to offended justice. But as Christ by his one 
sacrifice consecrated himself for ever, transferred himself from 
a ceremonially unholy to a ceremonially holy state ; so, exactly 
in the same way, those who believe the gospel are by the sacri- 
fice of Christ made ceremonially pure. From sinners they be- 
come saints ; they are transferred from the community of un- 
believers and enemies to that of believers who are reconciled 
to God 5 and from this holy community nothing can exclude 
them but wilful apostasy, voluntary transgression : and for 
these no sacrifice is provided. 

What the writer means is this : that as Aaron and his sons 
were consecrated to the priestly office by sprinkling of the real 
blood of the animal victim. Lev. viii. 30 : so converts to the go- 
spel are consecrated to God by the figurative apjjlication of the 
blood of Christ ; and he gives this view of the purpose of the 
death of Christ, merely to reconcile the minds of tlie Hebrews 
to a fact, to them the most mortifying that could possibly be 
conceived, the crucifixion of the Messiah. 

" We have been directed," says Dr. Priestley, " to a variety 
of circumstances as implying the superiority of the jiriestliood 
of Jesus to that of Aaron : but it is only by way of figure that 
he can be said to be a priestat all j being in reality no more a 
priest than he was a door or a vine, or any thing else to which 
he is occasionally compared." 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. in. 2. 553 

and thus, according to the divine appointment, they ch. vir. 
become reinstated in their forfeited charter. But ^^'* ^^• 
the high-priest of the new dispensation is under no 
such degrading obHgation. Being indeed of the 
tribe of Judah he was ceremonially unholy, and 
therefore needed a rite of consecration to his priestly 
office. This rite was his own death : the voluntary 
sacrifice of himself has consecrated him for ever to 
the service of God, and, as he cannot again contract 
ceremonial impurity, he can never need another sa- 
crifice of consecration. The same observation may 
be applied to all believers. Being consecrated to 
God by faith in Jesus, while they continue to be- 
lieve they need no stated renewals of their covenant 
obligation. Till they exclude themselves by apo- 
stasy, or voluntary transgression, they remain the 
holy servants of God, entitled to all the privileges 
of the Christian community. 

This, I doubt not, is the true sense in which the 
author uses the harsh expression that Jesus offered 
up a sacrifice for his own sins. Jesus was the ho- 
liest of the human race ; and this the >vriter ex- 
pressly declares. The sins therefore for which he 
offered a sacrifice were those ceremonial disqualifi- 
cations which were inconsistent with the office of 
high-priest. These iie represents as removed by 
his death, in order to accommodate himself to the 
notions of the Jews, who thought that no person 
or thing could be consecrated without shedding of 

554 Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. V. in. 2. 

Ch. VIT. Observe further, that in the very same sense in 
which Jesus is said to have offered sacrifice for his 
own sins, in that identical sense he offered sacrifice 
for the sins of the people : and that is not in a moral 
but in a ceremonial sense. He was descended from 
Judah and not from Levi, and therefore was cere' 
monially unclean, in the eye of the law a sinner; 
and, figuratively speaking, he was consecrated by 
his own blood. And the Mosaic law being now 
abrogated, Jews and Gentiles are all equally in an 
unholy uncovenanted state, that is, in a legal sense, 
sinners. The blood of Jesus ratified the new cove- 
nant, and all who believe become thereby ceremo- 
nially holy: they are introduced into a privileged 
state, which if they improve, they shall ultimately 
partake of all its promises in their fullest extent. 
Not a word is said of the sacrifice of Christ satisfy- 
ing the justice of God, and making compensation 
for moral offences. 
x'8. For the law constituleth high-priests men liable 
to infirmity ; but the declaration by oath, which was 
after the law ^ constituteth a son, made perfect, for 

It is highly reasonable that the Jewish high- 
priests should at stated times renew their sacrifices ; 
because, being liable to inadvertencies, and even to 
external accidents, by which they were occasionally 
disqualified, it became necessary to the validity of 
their ministrations that their inauguration sliould 
be as it were from time to time renewed. i3ut that 
great high-priest, who vvas long after tlte promulga- 

Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. VI. i. 555 

tion of the law designated to his office by the so- Ch. vii. 
lemnity of an oath, is liable to no such imperfec- 
tion. He cannot, by any ceremonial defect, disqua- 
lify himself for his high station ; but being, by his 
resurrection from the dead, declared to be the son 
of God, he remains for ever a consecrated priest, 
complete in every qualification of the sacerdotal 


The fVRiTER now pi^cecds to reconcile the minds Ch. vill. 
of the believing Hebrews to the very offensive 
doctrine of a siffering Messiah, by representing 
the death of Jesiis as the sacrifice of an illus- 
trious victim to ratify the conditions of the new 
and better covenant. Ch. viii. 1. — x. 18. 


The writer represents the priestly office of Christ 
as executed in the heavenly sanctuary, of which the 
grand Mosaic tabernacle was but a faint imperfect 
copy, ver. 1 — 6. 

When God commanded Moses to construct a 
magnificent tabernacle for the purposes of religious 
worship, he not only gave him the most explicit di- 
rections concerning even the minutest particulai's, 
but he exhibited to his view upon the Mount an 
4«xact model of the building which was about to be 

556 Pakt I. H E B R E W S. Sect. VI. i. 

Ch.vili. reared, requiring a strict conformity to this model 
in every particular in his future operations. See 
Exod. XXV. The writer of this epistle, in order to 
accommodate himself to the prejudices and feelings 
of the believing Hebrews, represents this visionary 
tabernacle as having a real existence in heaven, and 
describes Jesus as the officiating priest in this CC" 
lestial sanctuary, and performing offices here similar 
to tliose performed by the priests of the Mosaic ta- 
bernacle, but in a style as much superior as heaven 
to earth, and as a perfect model to a faint imperfect 

This is the idea and the scenery which we must 
carry in our minds if we are desirous to understand 
the sense and design of the author in the following 
chapters : and it must be particularly noted, that as 
the tabernacle which Moses saw in the Mount was 
a visionary and not a real structure, so every thing 
which the writer here advances concerning Christ's 
officiating in this visionary sanctuary, is also vision- 
ary and scenicalj and not real. The majority of 
readers, and even of commentators, not adverting 
to this circumstance, having understood that in a 
literal which was intended in a symbolical sense, 
have run into the most unaccountable and unintel- 
ligible, not to say absurd, doctrines concerning the 
priesthood of Christ, and the satisfaction made by 
his atonement to the divine justice for the sins of 
men ; nothing of which is intended or alluded to 
by the author, whose whole meaning terminates in 
this tiimple proposition, that the new covenant was 

Part I, HEBREWS. Sect. VI. i. I. 55/ 

ratified by the blood of Jesus. Let him now speak ch. viri. 
for bunself. 

1. To prepare the way for what lie was about to 
advance concerning the purposes of the death of 
Christ, he briefly recapitulates the circumstances of 
his sacerdotal office and exaltation, ver. 1,2. 

Now the chief article ' of what has been said is Ver. I. 
this^ TVe have such a high-priest'^, who is now 
sitting at the right liand of the throne of the Ma- 
jesty in the heavens 3, a minister of the most holi/ 2. 
placed, even of the tine tabernacle^ which the 
Lord hath fixed , and not man^. 

' The chief article.l The Alexandrine manuscript reads sv 
for stfi. q. d. This is the chief among all the things which have 
been said. In this sense the text is understood by the Syriac 
and Vulgate, and by Chry.sostom and CEcumenius. See Peirce, 
Whitby, and Grotius. 

^ Such a high-priest.'] rotsrov that is, such an one as became 
ijs, .such as I have described. See ch. vii. 2(1, 

' The right hand of the throne.'] See Ps. ex. 1. i. e. a priest 
who corresponds with the prophecy, after the order of Melchi- 
sedec, both priest and kir.g. The phrase, " at the right hand 
of the throne," expresses dignity and authority : how far it is 
personal with regard to Christ, is no where revealed. But he 
rules his church by his gospel ; that is, his law. 

■* Most holy place^ " dytov, the most holy place. See ch. ix. 
8, 12, 24, X. 19." Newcome. 

^ Ellen of the true tabernacle.] -/.ai, ei^en ; an expression exe- 
getical of the former. Tne true tabernacle is not heaven, as 
Newcome and others explain it, but that tabernacle which Mo- 
ses saw in the Mount ; which he supposes to have a real exist- 
ence in heaven, and to be the sanctuary in which Jesus in his 
exalted state officiates. 

^ Which the Lord hath fixed.] The tabernacle which Moses 
saw was made by God himself, of which that constructed by 
Moses was a poor imperfect copy. 

ftSS Part I. HEBREWS. Sect. VI. i. 2. 

Ch. viir. I have written much to illustrate tlie distinction 
between the priesthood of Melchisedec and that of 
Aaron, and to show the great superiority of Jesus, 
who is a priest of the former description, to the 
Levitical priests, who are of the order of Aaron. 
The main point that I mean to establish is this, 
which I would have you keep in mind, that you may 
understand what I have further to advance, namely, 
that we who are parties in the new dispensation have 
a high-priest in every respect suited to the dispenj^a- 
tion under which we live ; perfect in his character, 
completely qualified for his office, who in his regal 
capacity is advanced to the highest station of dig- 
nity and authority in the church ; and in his sacer- 
dotal office has entered into that celestial sanctuary 
which God himself has constructed ; into that ori- 
ginal and splendid tabernacle, wliich no human skill 
or power could have reared, and which was exhi- 
bited to Moses as a model for that tabernacle which 
he was commanded to build. 

2. Under the character of a priest it was the 
office of Jesus to present a sacrifice, ver. 3. 
3. Moreover^ every high-priest is vonstituted to offer 
both gifts and sacrifices : therefore it is necessary 
that this high -priest also should offer something. ^ 
You well know that the business of the high-priest 
is to offer gifts and sacrifices : such was the duty of 
Melchisedec, and such the office of Aaron and his 
successors : since therefore Jesus is foretold under 
the character of a high-priest, you are naturally led 

Part I. H E B H E W S. Sect. VI. i. 3. 559 

to expect that he likewise must have somewhat to Ch. viii. 
offer ; and so lie has : 
soon explain at large. 

offer ; and so he has : what this offering is I shall 

'A. By the law of Moses he was excluded from 
officiating in the earthly temple, ver. 4 — 5. 

Ih/.t if he were on earthy he would not he a 
priest > ; since there are priests who offer gifts ac- 
cording to the law ; who perform divine service 2 
ivith the copy and shadow "^ of heavenly tlwtgs ; as 

' He would not he a priest.'] It is debated among divines, 
wliether Jesus officiated as a priest on eartii. The controversy 
is frivolous ; because it is only in a loose and figurative sense 
tliat he is said to be a priest at all. As he voluntarily submitted 
to death for the benefit of mankind, he may be said as a priest 
to have bfl^red himself as a sacriMce. But it suited the design 
of the author of this epistle to represent Jesus as not interfering 
with the Levitical priesthood, and therefore as not invested with 
the sacerdotal office til