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1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
Ver. 1. To be ready to every ] As the bee, as soon as ever the sun breaks forth, flies abroad to gather honey and wax. A ready heart maketh riddance of religious duties.
2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
Ver. 2. To speak evil of no man ] Unless it be in an ordinance, for the reformation of the unruly; pleasing all in that which is good to edifying.
3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Ver. 3. For we ourselves also ] I Paul, and thou Titus, were as bad as others; let us therefore show all mercy and meekness to others. Aut sumus, aut fuimus, aut possumus esse quod hic est. Either we are or will be or will be able to be who are here.
Serving divers lusts ] As the Persian kings were lords of the world, but slaves to their concubines. a The Assyrians led away the Egyptians naked and barefoot, Isaiah 20:2 , so doth Satan sinners. Hence, though never so great they are called vile perrons, b as Antiochus, Daniel 11:21 , because they have as many lords as lusts Felix, at that very time that he trembled before Paul, could not but covet and expect a bribe from him.
Hateful ] Gr. στυγητοι , of στυξ . Horrible, as hell itself, or justly odious to others.
a Captivarum suarum captivi. Plutarch. Roma victrix gentium, captiva vitiorum. O rem miseram! Dominum ferre non potuimus, conservo servimus. Cic. Epist.
b Arch. A platform, to which one ascends by steps, in front of a church, mansion, or other large building, and upon which the door or doors open; sometimes applied to a double flight of steps ascending to such a front door. ŒD
4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Ver. 4. Kindness and love ] His native good ness, and his communicated goodness to us, not yet existing, nay, resisting.
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Ver. 5. Which we have done ] We that are bankrupts in Adam, would yet fain be doing, and think to be saved for a company of poor beggarly duties; as bankrupts will be trading again, thougth but for pins, &c.
But according to his mercy ] God is no merchant; his kingdom is not partum, but paratum He that said, Coelum gratis non accipiam, I will not have heaven on free cost, went without it. (Vega.)
He saved us by the washing of regeneration ] So baptism saveth us, 1 Peter 3:21 . It sacramentally saveth, by sealing up salvation to the believer: hence it is called the laver of regeneration. It is a noble question in divinity (saith Mr. Burgess, Vindic. Legis.), seeing regeneration is attributed both to the word and to baptism, how one worketh it differently from the other. Or if both work it, why is not one superfluous?
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Ver. 6. Which he shed ] Gr. εξεχεεν , Poured out (as it were by pail fulls) his Spirit (the best thing) upon all flesh (the basest thing), Joel 2:28 .
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Ver. 7. Be made heirs ] Not purchasers; all is of free grace. Horreo quicquid de meo est, ut sim meus. Paul was a most constant preacher of grace. (Bernard. Augustine.)
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Ver. 8. That thou affirm constantly ] Be well settled in it thyself, and avouch and aver it confidently to others; being ready to make it good, if questioned, Διαβεβαιουσθαι .
Be careful ] Bend their wits, and beat their brains, φροντιζωσι .
To maintain good works ] To exceed and excel others in their honest functions and faculties; to be their crafts masters, to bear away the bell from all that are of the same trade or profession. This was Cicero’s study, to be best at anything he ever undertook: should it not then be a believer’s? Αιεν αριστευειν και υπειροχον εμμεναι αλλων, παντων κρατιστον . (Plutarch.)
9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
Ver. 9. But foolish questions ] Such as is that of the Papists, whether an ass drinking at the font do drink the water of baptism, and so may be said to be baptized? Est questio digna asinis, saith Melancthon. Such questionists are (as Stapleton saith of Bodin) magni nugatores, great triflers.
10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Ver. 10. A man that is a heretic ] All heresies are found to flow (saith Chemnitius) either from the supercilious pride of Samosatenus, or from the sophistry of Arius, or from the ignorance of Aetius. (Loc. Com., i. 2.) These men’s wits will better serve them to devise a thousand shifts to elude the truth, than their pride will suffer them once to yield and acknowledge it. And here this rule of St Paul takes place. Nestorius was an unlearned and proud man, but very bold and well spoken; insomuch as thereby he often carried it, and so seduced the emperor Theodosius, as that Cyril, a very good bishop, was thrown out of his place. Howbeit he was afterwards restored again with honour, when the emperor had better bethought himself, and the heretic Nestorius was condemned and cast out. (Zanch. Misc. Epist. Dedicat.)
After the first and second admonition reject ] Or, avoid, devita, which some Popish dolts interpreted de vita tolle, kill them (as Erasmus reporteth), so to justify their bloody practice of putting Protestants to death. But what saith the same Erasmus speaking of Berquin the martyr, burnt by them for religion; Damnari, dissecari, suspendi, exuri; To be condemned, hanged, quartered, burned, beheaded, are things common to good and bad people. (Scultet. Annal.) To condemn, hang, quarter, burn, behead, is a thing common to righteous judges with pirates and tyrants. The judgments of men are various; happy is he that is absolved by God the Judge of all. And this was as much as he dared say against their proceedings, who for saying so much as he did, hardly escaped with this reproach, that for Erasmus they named him Erat-mus; because he so truly but bitterly biteth their ulcers.
11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
Ver. 11. Is subverted ] Gr. εξεστραπται , Is turned topsy turvy, as a tumbler that hath his heels in the air and his head on the earth; as a ship turns up her keel, or as a man "wipeth a dish and turneth it upside down," 2 Kings 21:13 ; some render it thus, He hath the fairest side outward, and make it a metaphor from foul linen, the foul side turned inward; as if he should have said, such a man, whatsoever shows he maketh, is a naughty man. (Mr Cranford on 2Ti 2:17 )
Condemned of himself ] Since, as a headstrong horse, he gets the bit between his teeth, and runs away. Thus did the Pharisees, Toties puncti, et repuncti, minime tamen ad resipiscentiam compuncti, as one saith; they shut the windows lest the light should come in, and so were condemned, by their own consciences. Or, "he is condemned of himself" by excommunicating himself from the holy assemblies (as our church forsakers do), which other sinners are condemned to by the Church. The fornicator, the adulterer, the murderer, &c., are cast out of the Church by the Church officers. But heretics condemn themselves by a wilful departure from the Church; quae recessio propriae conscientiae videtur esse damnatio, and this seems to be the sense of the apostle’s self-condemned, saith Jerome upon this text.
12 When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.
Ver. 12. Come unto me to Nicopolis ] The inhabitants of this city are said so to have hated the braying of an ass, that they would not endure to hear the sound of a trumpet. So some pretend such a hatred of hypocrisy, that they will not abide the profession of piety.
13 Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.
Ver. 13. That nothing be wanting ] Those that labour in the Lord’s work must have all necessary accommodations and encouragements. They must be set forth and brought forward on their journey and in their negotiations worthy of God,3 John 1:6; 3 John 1:6 . Deduetione honorifica, Acts 15:3 ; Acts 20:38 ; Acts 21:5 . A Balaam will not deal hardly with his ass, if once he perceive the Lord to be in him, and to speak by him; shall we deal unworthily with God’s ministers, in whom God is of a truth, 1 Corinthians 14:25 , and hath given unto them the ministry of reconciliation?2 Corinthians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:8 .
14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.
Ver. 14. To maintain good works ] See Trapp on " Tit 3:8 "
That they be not unfruitful ] As drone bees or body lice, living upon others’ labours, and so opening the mouths of heathens who will be ready to say, as he once did, Odi homines ignava opera, philosopha sententia, I hate those that can give fair words, but that is all they are good for. See we not how every creature in its kind is fruitful The sun, moon, and stars in their courses restlessly move to impart their light, heat, and influence to the inferior creatures. The clouds fly up and down emptying themselves, to enrich the earth, from which notwithstanding they reap no harvest. The earth is cut and wounded with shares and coulters, yet is patient, and yields her riches and strength to the tiller; yea, what herb, plant, or tree grows upon the earth which is not in its kind fruitful, spending itself and the principal parts of its sap and moisture in bringing forth some pleasant berry or such like fruit? (Plin.) And shall only man remain unfruitful, and not serve God and man with cheerfulness in the abundance of all things? Shall he be like the cypress tree, which the more it is watered, the more it is withered? Or like cyparet, whose neither fruit, nor leaves, nor berry, nor shadow is useful, but rather hurtful? Hear what Cicero saith, Pudeat illos qui ita vixerunt, ut ad vitam communem nullum fructum afferre possint. Let them learn to be ashamed of their sloth that have so lived, as to have been altogether useless and unfruitful.
15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. << It was written to Titus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Cretians, from Nicopolis of Macedonia. >>
Ver. 15. That love us in the faith ] That best ligament of love. The Church is the only daughter of her mother, and is called Ecclesia , of calling all hers together. Religion hath its name of binding, because it binds men all in a bundle, and makes them be of one heart and of one soul, Acts 4:32 , to serve the Lord with one shoulder, Zephaniah 3:9 , to glorify God with "one mind and with one mouth," Romans 15:6 , there being no such oneness in the world as among true believers.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Titus 3". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent