« ZurückWeiter »
the Gospel is so great, that he not only stands in no need of consolation himself, though now cast into a prison: but he can even urge others to witness for Christ. Hence we infer, that The Spirit of God inspires believers with such courage and magnanimity, that they rise above the dread of bonds; and, when cast into prison, seek not those external comforts which man can impart, but abound in strong inward consolations, and become a source of encouragement and joy to those who are weak. Again-Paul's love to Christ is so ardent, that he not only bears testimony of him in word, but retains this boldness in circumstances the most adverse. He will be faithful even unto bonds and death; and, in short, he exercises the utmost care, lest his bonds should shake any in their attachment to the Saviour, and in the profession of their faith. Hence arise the subsequent Inferences:
1. Christ must be loved sincerely.
2. Sincerity is evidenced by bearing testimony of Christ.
3. Our testimony of Christ is to be borne, not only in prosperous times, but likewise in seasons of adversity.
4. We ought not to be confounded or ashamed, if our testimony of Christ be rejected,
5. To be imprisoned for the name of the Saviour, is a glorious evidence that our testimony of him is sincere and constant.
6. We ought not to be deterred from confessing Christ, because others have shrunk from the duty.
7. Love to Jesus should possess such influence over the soul, that, were it to expose us to the severest calamities, and to inevitable death, we should remain unmoved (1 Cor. xv. 58. Col. i. 23.) and even unabashed.
8. Firm faith derives so much strength from love to the Saviour, that it renders us careless of ourselves, in seasons of atfliction, and only anxious that none be turned aside from the right way. Vide 1 Thess. iii. 1-5.
Again, Paul was actuated by so fervent a desire of fulfilling his apostolic office, in proclaiming the Gospel, that he preached Christ even to bonds; and now that he was imprisoned and enjoyed less liberty of speech, he incited others by his letters, to bear their testimony of Christ without fear. (Compare Chap. ii. Ver. 2.) Hence we deduce the following Infer
1. A minister should make use of his utmost exertions in fulfilling his office.
2. A minister who abandons his care for the church
when men oppose obstacles and hindrances, does not fulfil his duty.
3. A faithful minister, when restrained by persecution from preaching, casts his eyes on others who do not fear to have fellowship in suffering; or, who seem ready to turn aside; &c.
Inferences deduced from the first External Source.
The text may be accommodated to the General Scope of the whole epistle or book. The General Scope of the epistle to Timothy is as follows. Paul wishing Timothy to come to him, endeavours previously to prepare and fortify his mind against the calamities which, at that period threatened the church at Ephesus, and especially that at Rome. Here, if we consider the Subject, the following Inferences are deducible.
1. Calamities often happen to Christians suddenly (not however by chance, but in the gracious providence of God.)
2. When calamity befals Christians suddenly, it is possible for them to be cast down from their steadfastness.
3. They should therefore be seasonably warned of
it, by those experienced Christians who foresee its approach.
4. When thus warned, they are better able to conpose their minds, in order to meet the impending calamity.
If we advert to the person of Paul, the following Inferences are deducible.
1. It is right for a minister to call fellow-labourers to his assistance, not only in prosperous times, but also in seasons of adversity.
2. It is, however, incumbent on him not to do this precipitately, but carefully to prepare for the events which seem about to take place.
3. It is also his duty to fortify the mind of the person whom he intends to call.
4. If he should perceive any thing in himself, that is likely to offend the weaker mind of the other whom he purposes to call, or to deter him from affording the necessary assistance, it becomes his part seasonably to anticipate and remove the scruples, which the other may possibly imbibe.
If we advert to the Person of Timothy, we may derive the subsequent Inferences.
1. A minister ought neither to accelerate this de
parture from his own church, nor defer going to another, through fear of calamities.
2. He ought to fortify his mind against such calamities, in order that he may be "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” 2 Tim. ii. 15.
3. The danger of others ought not to intimidate him, but render him cautious and prudent; and rather create in his bosom, a like readiness to endure sufferings.
With reference to this Source, we might likewise consider the church at Ephesus from which Timothy was summoned, and that at Rome, to confirm which was the object of his being called; and, thence, deduce many Inferences concerning the dismissal of ministers from a church, and their call to one.
The words of the text may also be separately accommodated to the Scope; and, thence, Inferences theoretical and practical, will be deduced, in the following manner.
“ Be not thou ashamed.”_Paul hastened Timothy, but he pre-required of him, boldness. Hence, a minister can promise himself little or no assistance from a fellow-labourer who is not possessed of spiritual boldness; since, through fear of shame and im