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1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
Ver. 1. I charge thee therefore ] Matters of greatest importance must be pressed with greatest vehemence. As God putteth not forth great power but for great purpose, Ephesians 1:18-19 , so neither must we use great earnestness but in affairs of great moment. It is a weakness to be hot in a cold matter, but worse to be cold in a hot matter. Farellus persuading Calvin (then a young student, and bound for Italy) to stay and help in the Lord’s work at Geneva, pronounced God’s curse upon his studies (which Calvin pretended) in case he stayed not. Whereupon, Non ausus fuit Calvinus ad Farelli tonitrua plus quam Periclea, saith mine author, iugum vocationis, quod sibi a Domino imponi videbat, detrectare. Calvin dared not stir after such a charge, but staid it out there to his dying day. (Melch. Adam. in Vita Calv.)
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Ver. 2. Be instant ] Gr. επιστηθι , stand over it, stand close to it. Chrysostom, at Antioch, having preached many sermons against swearing, was at length asked when he would preach upon another subject? He answered, When you leave swearing, I will leave preaching against swearing.
In season, out of season ] On the Lord’s day, on the week day, Volentibus nolentibus die importunus, Tu vis errare, tu vis perire, ego nolo, saith Augustine. Let men know, whether they will or not, that for lack of preaching they shall not perish. The shewbread stood all the week before the Lord; to show, that preaching is not out of season on any day. The friars of Basil held that it was Lutheranum diebus profanis praedicare, heretical to preach on working days. (Melch. Adam.) But Anthony Person, martyr, told his persecutors that they were bite sheeps and not bishops for neglecting to preach. It being as great a wonder at Rome to hear a bishop preach as to see an ass fly, said Dr Bassinet. But Bishop Ridley preached usually every sabbath day and holy day; so did Bishop Jewel, Dr Taylor, martyr, Mr Bradford, even during his imprisonment; preaching, reading, and praying was all his whole life. He did sharply reprove sin, pithily improve errors, sweetly preach Christ crucified, earnestly persuade to a godly life.
With all longsuffering, &c. ] Si decimus quisque, si unus persuasus fuerit, ad consolationem abunde sufficit, saith Chrysostom. If you gain but the tithe of your hearers, or less, it is well.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
Ver. 3. Sound doctrine ] Which, as honey, vulnera purgat, ulcera mordet, purgeth green wounds, but causeth pain to exulcerate parts. (Alex. Aphtod. problem.) Children, though they love and lick in honey, yet will not endure to have it come near their lips when they have sore mouths. There are those who are mad against the medicine, and fly in the faces of their spiritual physicians that come to cure them: they are sick of a Noli me tangere, refuse to touch me, and had rather perish in their sins than part with them. These must be pitied as people out of their right minds, and pulled out of the devil’s paws; this, saith Jerome, is sancta violentia, optabilis rapina, a holy violence, a desirable rapine; they will thank us, if ever they recover; as if not, yet our reward is with the Lord. The physician is paid, whether the patient live or die. A minister must exhort "with all longsuffering," and often sigh out with good old Jacob (troubled at his children’s untowardness), "Lord, I have waited for thy salvation," Genesis 49:18 .
Having itching ears ] Which must have clawing preachers; such as will never auriculas mordaci radere vero (Horat.), deal plainly and faithfully with their souls.
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Ver. 4. Turn their ears from the truth ] Aristotle writeth (De Mirabil. Auscult.) that vultures are killed with oil of roses. Sweet smells enrage tigers. Swine cannot live in some parts of Arabia, saith Pliny, by reason of the pleasant scent of aromatic trees there growing in every wood.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Ver. 5. Endure afflictions, do the work ] Honor ministerii est in onere, dignitas in diligeutia, corona in contemptu.
Make full proof ] πληροφορησον , or, accomplish thy ministry. So executing every part of it, as to make it thy whole business. Verbi minister es, hoc age, was Mr Perkins’ motto. Thou art a minister, look to it.
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
Ver. 6. Ready to be offered ] To be poured out as a drink offering upon God’s altar. a Thus the apostle expresseth himself emphatically, pathetically, elegantly, setting forth by what death he should glorify God, viz. by being beheaded. Whether my death be a burnt offering, a drinkoffering (by fire or sword), or a peace offering (that I die in my bed), I desire it may be a freewill offering, a sweet sacrifice to the Lord.
The time of my departure ] He makes nothing of death. It was no more between God and Moses but "Go up and die." So between Christ and Paul, but launch out, and land immediately at the fair haven of heaven.
a σπενδομαι . He speaks of it as done already.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Ver. 7. I have fought a good fight ] The nearer anything is to the centre, the more strongly and swiftly it moveth. The wine of the Spirit is strongest in the saints, when they are drawing to an end. His motions are quickest when natural motions are slowest, most sensible when the body begins to be senseless, most lively when the saints are dying. See this in Moses’ swanlike song; David’s last discourse to his son Solomon and his nobles; our Saviour’s farewell to the world in that last sweet sermon and prayer of his, John 13:1-38 ; John 14:1-31 ; John 15:1-27 ; John 16:1-33 ; John 17:1-26 , wherein there is more worth, saith Mr Baxter, than in all the books in the world besides. When excellent Bucholcer was near his end, he wrote his book de Consolatione Decumbentium, Of the Comfort of Sick People. Then it was that Tossanus wrote his Vade mecum; Dr Preston, his Attributes of God; Mr Bolton, his Joys of Heaven; and before them all Savonarola, the Italian martyr, his Meditations upon the 51st Psalm, Verbis vivis, animatis sententiis, et spiritus fervore flagrantissimis, in most lively expressions, and with most heavenly affections. (Sixtus Senens.) Indeed, the saints are most heavenly when nearest to heaven; like as rivers, the nearer they grow to the sea, the sooner they are met by the tide.
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Ver. 8. There is laid up a crown ] Beyond a crown the wishes of mortal men extend not. Alexander inviting many to supper, provided a crown of 180 pounds to be given to those that drank most. Forty-one killed themselves with drinking to get that crown. Shall these do more for a trifle than we will do for heaven?
A crown of righteousness ] So salvation is called; not for that it is of right due to us, but because it is purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ, and shall be freely given to those that are justified by faith.
9 Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
Ver. 9. Do thy diligence, &c. ] We want much of our comfort in the want of a friend,Ecclesiastes 4:9; Ecclesiastes 4:9 . Optimum solatium sodalitium. How doth David bemoan the loss of Jonathan! How did Dr Taylor prize the company of his fellow prisoner, that angel of God, as he called him, John Bradford! What a mercy did St Paul count it that sick Epaphroditus recovered! Philippians 2:27 .
10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
Ver. 10. Demas hath forsaken me ] Blazing comets, as long as they keep aloft, shine bright; but when they begin to decline from their pitch, they fall to the earth. Jonathan followed the chase well, and with greedy pursuit, till he met with the honey; so doth many a Demas.
Having loved this present world ] Or, embraced it, αγαπησας : that withered harlot had taken him with her eyelids; that old Circe a had bewitched him, that shall one day be burnt up by fire, for her enticing men. Divorce the flesh from the world, and then the devil can do us no harm. He hath no way to entangle us but to say, as he did to our Saviour, Mitte te deorsum, Cast thyself down, embrace this present world, follow after these lying vanities.
And is departed unto Thessalonica ] Where he became an idol priest, as saith Dorotheus. So Harding (Bishop Jewel’s adversary) was one while a thundering preacher, wishing he could cry out against Popery as loud as the bells of Oseney; yet afterwards proved a filthy apostate, and an utter adversary to the truth: and yet the world favoured him not; for the most he could get of his Holiness for all the good service he did him was but a prebend b of Gaunt, or to speak more properly, saith Dr Featly, a gaunt prebend. Stapleten (another turncoat) was made professor of a petty university, scarce so good as one of our free schools in England. Saunders was starved. Allin was commonly called the starveling cardinal. If any of the world’s darlings speed better, let them take that counsel that was given by one to John III, king of Portugal, viz. to meditate every day a quarter of an hour on that divine sentence, "What shall it profit a man to win the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
a In Greek and Latin mythology the name of an enchantress who dwelt in the island of Aea, and transformed all who drank of her cup into swine; often used allusively. ŒD
b The portion of the revenues of a cathedral or collegiate church granted to a canon or member of the chapter as his stipend. ŒD
11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
Ver. 11. For he is profitable ] Once unprofitable, Act 15:38 See Trapp on " Act 15:38 " but now profitable, Phm
12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
Ver. 12. Tychicus have I sent ] For what end, see Ephesians 6:22 . See Trapp on " Eph 6:22 "
13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee , and the books, but especially the parchments.
Ver. 13. The cloak that I left ] O supellectilem Apostolicam! (Eras. in loc. ) Oh, what a small deal of household stuff had this great apostle, saith Erasmus; a cloak to keep off the rain, and a few books and writings. Tota etiam supellex mea est chartacea, saith he in another place: All my stock is in books. (Eras. in Farrag. Epistol.) And of judicious Calvin it is reported, that all the goods that he left behind him, his library being sold very dear, came scarcely to 300 florins, that is, about 90 pounds of our money. "Seekest thou great things for thyself?" Jeremiah 45:5 .
But especially the parchments ] Notebooks of his own making or collecting: these are highly prized by students. Julius Caesar, being forced to swim for his life, held his Commentaries in one hand above water, and swam to land with the other, a And what a sweet providence of God was that, that when Heidelberg was sacked and ransacked by the Spaniards, Ursin’s Catechism, enlarged by Pareus, but not yet published, was taken among other books for pillage, and by him dropped in the streets, but taken up by a young student, and afterwards printed by Philip Pareus, to the great benefit of all good people!
a Maior fuit cura Caesari libellorum quam purpurae.
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
Ver. 14. Alexander the coppersmith ] Who was once martyrio propinquus, saith Calvin, near unto martyrdom in Paul’s cause, Acts 19:33 . A glorious professor may become a furious persecutor. "Let him that stands take heed lest he fall."
The Lord reward him ] This is neither a curse nor a railing speech, saith an ancient, but a prediction well beseeming an apostle, that avenged not himself, but rather gave place to wrath, Romans 12:19 . (Author quaest. apud Just. Mar.)
15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
Ver. 15. He hath greatly resisted our words ] Or, our preachings, not our persons only. This was a foul fault. See1 Thessalonians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:8 ; Exodus 16:8 .
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Ver. 16. No man stood with me ] So that Paul might have said as Socrates did, φιλοι, ουδεις φιλος , My friends, I have never a friend. And as Plato, A friend is a very mutable creature, ευμεταβλητον ζωον . Or, as he in Plautus, Ut cuique homini res parata est, firmi amici sunt. Si res lassae labant, itidem amici collabascunt.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
Ver. 17. The Lord stood ] God is never so sweet and so seasonable to his saints as in the day of their deepest distress. He loves to help those that are forsaken of their hopes.
The preaching might be fully known ] Or, soundly proved to be a divine ordinance, by my constancy and contempt of death.
Out of the mouth, of the lion ] Nero, who first orientem fidem Romae cruentavit, as Tertullian speaketh, put Christians to death, and made a bloody decree, that whosoever confessed himself a Christian should, without any more ado, be put to death as a convicted enemy of mankind. Tertullian calleth him Dedicator damnationis Christianorum, The dedicator of the condemnation of Christians.
18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Ver. 18. And the Lord shall deliver ] Experience breeds confidence. St Paul got an opportunity after this from Rome to make an excursion to plant and confirm Churches, returned again to Rome, and was there martyred by bloody Nero, as the story is told.
Unto his heavenly kingdom ] So David argues from temporals to eternals, Psalms 23:5-6 .
19 Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
Ver. 19. Salute Prisca, &c. ] See Trapp on " Rom 16:3 "
20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
Ver. 20. At Miletum sick ] See Trapp on " Php 2:27 "
21 Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.
Ver. 21. Do thy diligence, &c. ] The apostle quickeneth Timothy, as Cicero did his friend, Quamobrem si me amas, &c., si dormis expergiscere, si stas ingredere, si ingrederis curre, si curris advola. Credibile non est quantum ego in amore et fide tua ponam. Make all possible haste hither, for I rely much upon thy love and loyalty.
And Claudia ] An English (or rather British) woman, who went to Rome, was converted by Paul, married a Roman gentleman called Pudens (as here) for his parts, but before called Rufus. It is thought she sent the gospel first into England. (See Antiq. Britan., Camden in Britan., Matth. Parker, Bale, Godwin’s Catalogue, Speed’s Chron., &c.) This is no article of our faith.
22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. << The second epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.>>
Ver. 22. Grace be with you ] God’s blessing be with you always, Amen. Even now toward the offering of a burnt sacrifice, said that martyr (Lau. Saunders) in a letter to certain friends.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 4". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34