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A practical and polemical commentary, or, exposition upon the third and fourth chapters of the latter epistle of Saint Paul to Timothy wherein the text is explained, some controversies discussed, sundry cases of conscience are cleared, many common places are succinctly handled, and divers usefull and seasonable observations raised / by Thomas Hall ...
Hall, Thomas, 1610-1665.
Wing H436; ESTC R14473
fare the better for them every day why is the heap of chaff kept from burning but because there 's some wheat mixt with it but if once the wheat were out the chaff should soon be set on fire When once the number of Gods Elect is accomplisht the world shall not stand a moment 'T is just with God to take them from us for our abusing them we cast dirt and God casts dust on them many great men are fallen of late in this our English Israel nigh an hundred godly Ministers are taken from us within the space of three years past many of them young and eminent for Piety so that we this day are weakned both in Church and State Ioseph is not and Simeon is not and Benjamin is not all these things are against us This is and should be a Lamentation to us Now since there is such aboundance of false fire and fein'd zeal in the world we had the more need to try our own Some are mislead by a blind zeal Rom. 20.2 Others by an indiscreet zeal Matth. 26.51 Luke 9.52 53 54. Iohn 8. ult Others by an hyrocritical zeal they pretend Religion but they intend their own inriching So Demetrius pretended the preservation of Religion when indeed he intended his own silver Trade Acts 19 24. 1. True zeal is known by the Rise and Original of it 1. If it be wrought in our hearts by the Spirit of God we are not born zealous for God his Truth and People but by nature are full of enmity to all these Acts 9.1 Phil. 36. Paul in his natural state persecutes the Church out of a blind zeal many mistake the fire of their own flints and the fire of Hell for this celestial fire But the Author of all true zeal and Heavenly fire is the holy Spirit of God which is oft called fire Acts 2.3 4. Matth. 3.11 because like fire it inlightens and heats our cold and frozen hearts Luke 24.32 A man that hath fire in his bosom will quickly be sensible of it Prov. 6.27 28. 2. T is operative like fire daily burning up our lusts purging out our dross and working out our scumme 'T is the true purgatory fire which all beleevers pass through Isay 4.4 2. It springs from knowledge as David first beleeved and then spake so the zealous man first knows Gods Will and then is zealous in the prosecution of it Blind zeal is rather fury and madness rashness and rudeness then zeal 'T is celeris cursus extra viam It 's like mettle in a blind Horse which carries the Rider into many dangers Like a Ship without a Pilot which runs it self on many Rocks and Sands Like wild-fire in a Fools hand or the Devil in the Demoniack which cast him sometimes into the fire and anon into the water The Jews had a zeal after Legal Rites and Ceremonies but 't was a blind zeal that But spoiled all Rom. 10.2 as without knowledg the mind is not good so neither is the man nor his zeal Prov. 19.2 as blind obedience is no obedience so blind zeal is not zeal Such is the zeal of Papists and Sectaries 3. It springs from a Love to Christ this constrains us to do and suffer for Christ. 2 Cor. 5.14 As Christ loved us and spent himself for us so the sense of this love being shed abroad in our hearts will make us to spend our selves for him This fire of Gods love to us will make us contemn all other fire 4. When it springs from a Love and Compassion to our Brethren when all our admonishions and reproofs come from a spirit of love and tenderness and are mixt with meekness and mourning this is true zeal Thus Samuel 1.16 tells Saul plainely and sharply of his sin yet mourns for his person Lot reproves the Sodomites for their wickedness yet calls them Brethren Gen. 19.7 Christ was angry at the sin yet mourned for the sinners Mark 3.5 So doth Paul 2 Cor. 12.22 Hot and moist is the best temper both in nature and grace When men rave and rage and are full of bitterness then Satan casts out Satan and they do more hurt then good These hate the sinner and not the sin when the good man is merciful to the sinner but cruel and unmerciful to the sin 2. True zeal is known by its End viz. Gods glory It can be content to decrease so Gods honor may increase Iohn 3.30 As true zeal comes from God so 't is for God and his glory and not for self The hypocrite may seem very zealous but 't is for his own ends like the Shecaâites that would be cirumcised that they might get cattle Gen. 34.33 Iehu did an act that for the matter was good but his selfish Vain-glorious ends marred all and made it murder Hosea 1.4 3. By the properties and effects of it which are five 1. It increaseth by opposition Like Fountain-water 't is hottest in the coldest weather As water cast on lime by an Antiperistasis burnes more fiercely The more the wicked oppose Gods Law the more David loves it Psal. 119.126 If Michol mock David for dancing before the Ark he 'l resolve to be yet more vile 2 Sam. 6.22 True zeal over-looks and over-leaps all lets and impediments difficulties are but whet-stones to fortitude Heroick spirits know not what discouragements mean Many waters of opposition cannot quench this ardent love but intend it rather Cant. 8.6 7. As we see in Iacob Gen. 32.24 25 26. and the Woman of Canaan Tell Caleb there are Anakims and he 'l say le ts go up couragiously against them Numb 13.30 Tell Paul of bonds why he fears not death Hypocrites make a great shew till they meet with oppositions and then like snailes they pull in their horns 2. It will make us abound in duty if there be the fire of zeal within there will be a flame of a holy Conversation without love especially zealous love is bountiful it thinks it can never do enough for God he 's glad he hath any thing of worth to lose for him and resolves with the Martyr if he had as many lives to lose as he hath haires on his head and as much blood to venture as there is water in the Sea it should all go for Christ. They are ready to act to their power yea and beyond their power 2 Cor. 8.3 Zeal is a very high and intensive heat of all the affections it makes us burn in our love to God in our desires after him our joy in him our fear to offend him our indignation against all that speak or do any thing against him or his Psal. 139.21 Ier. 13.9 10. 'T is not so much any one Affection as the intensive Degree of all when they are all improved to the utmost for the furtherance of Gods glory and the good of his People A zealous man is a man of mettle and spirit he 's all life and activity 'T
thousands of Saints have gone before us in it 3. This following of them will evidence our salvation and assure us of our reigning with him in glory 1 Thes. 1.4 5 6. know Brethren your Election but how because ye became followers of us Peter Martyr tells a story of a deformed man had married a very deformed wife and being desirous to have handsome children he bought abundance of curious Pictures and caused his wife every day to view them and as he saith the man had handsome children The application is plain Let us set the beautifull examples of Gods Abrahams Pauls c. before us and then though by nature we are deformed yet by the assistance of Gods spirit enabling us to follow the holy examples of his people we shall become beautifull and lovely in Gods eye 2. Observe That 't is lawful sometimes and in some cases to mention those Graces which God hath given us Paul here to comfort and quicken Timothy tells him of his Faith Patience Long-suffering Afflictions and how the Lord delivered him out of all In other places he mentions what he had done and suffered for Christ. 1 Cor. 11. totall Phil. 1.12 13 14 c. Iob 29. and 31. declares his innocency and integrity to the world Self-commendation is lawful in eleven cases Caut. But then the Matter the measure the Manner and End must be good it must not be to advance our selves or exalt our own names as many Sectaries do who call themselves Saints The holy ones the servants of the living God but to bring glory to God and exalt his name What the Pharisees spake proudly and falsely a believer may speak humbly and truly Lord I blesse thee that I am not as vile as the vilest since by nature I am as vile as any 't is thy Free-Grace and distinguishing-love that hath made the difference My Doctrine Q. d. Thou hast known my doctrine to be sound and sincere without the mixture of humane inventions Nudus nudÃ¨ nudam patefeci veritatem I have faithfully fed Christs flock with the sincere milk of his word and not as the false Prophets do with the chaffe of their own deceits and dreames One speciall note whereby to know a true Minister is his doctrine this is that fruit by which you may discern a false Propheâ from a true one Matth. 6.16 by their fruit i. e. by their doctrine you may know them if they teach such things as infect the judgement with error or taint the life with uncleannesse though they seem never so holy note them for false Prophets Our Saviour by the truth of his doctrine proved himself to be sent of God Iohn 7.16 17 18. and 12.49 50. Paul commands Timothy to keep the pattern of wholsome words 2 Tim. 2.13 and Titus must be careful in appointing Ministers for the Church to chuse such as hold the faithful word Titus 1.7.9 Morall Vertues may be found with a false faith let not those Apples of Sodome deceive you for as there may be good doctrine where the life is bad so there may be false doctrine where the life is seemingly good Look therefore in the first place to the doctrine and in the second place to the vertues which seem to commend it so doth Paul here first he tells you his Doctrine was found and now he comes to declare his Graces and how he lived 2. Manner of Life Q. d. Thou hast not onely known my doctrine bnt my life also neither hast thou onely known an action or two but thou hast known the whole course and Series of my life partly as an eye-witnesse and from credible witnesses and clear demonstrations and how my conversation and doctrine have agreed Note That 't is an Houourable thing to joyn with sound doctrine an uncorrupt exemplary life and conversation They that believe in God must be Patterns of good works thus must Ministers perswade and induce beliefe Believe me for my works sake whether my doctrine be of God Iohn 13.38 It aggravateth the sin of unbelife when both doctrine and manners of life testify that it is of God Matth. 21.32 A Minister with true doctrine and a bad life weakens the credit of the truth he teacheth pulls down what he builds declares a profane heart in despising the doctrine delivered from God and incurres the Pharisaicall brand Matth. 23.3 They say but do not 3. Purpose Q. d. Thou hast throughly known my ends and aymes the intention and scope of all my doings and sufferings of my life and doctrine Thou knowest very well that I never sought my self my own ease profit pleasure or applause but the glory of God and the good of his Church have been the ultimate end of all my actions Quest. But who can know another mans purpose Answ. A close Hypocrite will hide it much but a sincere man cannot but manifest it to such as live familiarly with him and observe him Hence Note That good men have good aymes ends and purposes 'T is not sufficient that a mans actions be materially good but they must be formally and finally good the bent and intent of the heart must be right 'T is the end which denominates the action and makes it either good or bad Religious duties are to be tried not onely by their Acts but specially by their Ends. A man may do that which for matter is right in the sight of the Lord yet if he do it not with an upright heart all is nothing 2 Chron. 25.2 Iohn in destroying the house of Ahab did that which was right in Gods sight but because his End was Selfe God afterward deales with him as with a Murderer Hosea 1.4 Let us therefore get honest ond good hearts Luke 8.15 and then our intents and purposes will be good and we shall finde acceptation with God in what we do 1 Kings 3.6 and 2 Chron. 30.18 19 20. 4. Faith Long-suffering Love Patience Foure Graces which grace and adorne a Christian but specially a Minister of Christ. My faith q. d. thou hast throughly known my fidelity and faithfulness in the discharge of my Ministerial duties viz. in Preaching Praying Watching and disputing against gainsayers So the word faith is used Titus 2.10 shewing all good faithfulnesse viz. in the discharge of their duties 2. It notes Pauls firme affiance and confidence in God by which he was enabled to undergoe all those labours dangers and difficulties which he met with in his way without despair or despondency as Antipas is said to be faithfull to the death Rev. 2.13 so Paul persevered in the faith of Christ even to the end Obsorve 'T is a Ministers glory to be faithful in his place and calling that we are which we are in our Relations and Callings When a Minister is studious in the Law of God diligent in praying preaching and watching over the flock doing all out of a love to God and deep compassion to the soules of the
smells that which delights others drives them into a rage Objection How are all the godly persecuted when we see many good men pass quietly through the world and never loose their goods or lives for Christ Answer 1. God is pleased sometimes to grant unto his Church some Halcyon dayes he gives them intervals and breathing fits that they may fit themselves for fresh encounters The rod of the wicked shall not alwayes rest on the lot of the righteous least they faint and be weary Satans time of persecution is limited both in respect of manner and measure Yet in the most peaceable times there will be some scoffing Ismalites or some thorny Cananites to molest us and keep our Faith Patience and other Graces in exercise These dogs will be barking when they cannot bite and be raising lies and slanders when they can do nothing else 2. Martyrs are of two sorts Habitual ones when a mans heart is ready to part with Father Mother and all for Christ and thus every Godly man 's a Martyr quo ad animi praeparationem dispositively and habitutually 2. There 's an actual Martyr when a man actually forsakes all for Christ and layes down his life for him Now this high degree of Honour is peculiar to some and not to all the godly though all suffer yet all suffer not in the same Degree Manner and Measure God respects our infirmities and hath one Discipline for young beginners and weak beleevers and another for his old beaten souldiers as Isay Paul Peter Iohn Baptist c. All are not in the like troubles yet none are altogether without troubles and if men should let us alone yet the Devil will not Revelations 2.10 Our life on Earth is a perpetual warfare Iob 14.14 the end of one combate is but the beginning of another within or without in body soul goods or good name we must still be exercised So that albeit God call not all to a Degree of sufferings yet he exempts none from some Degree or other 2. As we must look for persecution from all sorts of men so we must prepare for persecutions of all sorts viz. Cordis Oris Operis viz. Mental Verbal Real 1. In their hearts they hate you and this is the root of all persecution There is a setled enmity between Christs seed and Satans seed Genesis 3.15 to uphold us Christ hath pronounced us blessed First When men hate us Secondly When they separate us from them Thirdly When they reproach us And fourthly When they cast us out Luke 6.22 Neither is it a light but a cruel deadly hatred Psalm 25.19 They hate me with a cruel hatred and try them with cruel mockings Hebrewes 11.36 Sions enemies are cruel and have no mercy Ier. 6.23 yea their mercies are cruelties Proverbs 12.10 Neither doth God onely observe the hatred but also the look of his enemies a sowre countenance is persecution in Gods esteem Vultu laeditur pietas Genesis 4.6 and 31.2.5 yea and a jeering gesture is observed by him Isay 57.4 3. There 's persecution in reproachful words Thus Ismaels mocking of Isaac is called persecution Galathians 4.29 and the Martyrs of old were tried with cruel mockings Hebrewes 11.36 Let a man live in the purest Church or Family in the world and there professe Religion in the power of it and he shall be sure to be smitten with the Tongue what ever else befal him Abraham had a well-ordered Family yet Ismael was found there 3. There 's persecution in Good-name Goods Person 1. The Saints are oft tried in their Names they passe through bad report as well as good 2 Corinthians 6.8 They are called mad drunk pestilent turbulent persons Acts 2.13 and 17.18 19. and 28.22 Ieremy was counted a man of contention a common barreter Ier. 20.7 2. In their goods Ahab gets Naboths Vineyard Iob is plundered of all The Saints had their goods spoyled Hebrewes 10.34 3. In person The world loves her own but she 's a step-mother to the people of God God hath chosen them out of the world therefore the world hates them Iohn 15.18.19 and 17.14 1. They meet sometimes with blowes Pashur smites Ieremy and the Apostles were scourged Acts 5.40.41 Matthew 10.17 2. Bonds and imprisonment Ioseph's put in the stocks Ieremy is cast into the dungeon Daniel into the Lions den Paul and Silas into prison Acts 16.24 and those Martyrs Heb. 11.36 3. They are brought before Kings and Rulers who are enraged against them As Saul against David Herod against Christ and Nero against Paul 4. They will excommunicate you and cast you out Isay 66.5 Iohn 9.34 and 16.2 5. Banishment David was banisht by Saul Elijah by Ahab Iohn was banisht into the I le of Patmos Revelations 1.9 so Hebrewes 1.3.8 were the Saints of old 6. Death it self Iohn 16.2 the beast kills the Saints Revelations 11.7 8. We read of thirteen several Trials that the Saints endured of which this was one Hebrewes 11.33 to 38. Hence the Churches troubles are called Great Ier. 30.7 Lamentations 1.12 Cyprian tells us that under Decius some Christians were sowed up in skins of Lions or Bears and then torn in pieces by dogs others have been cast to Lions some were drowned others rosted some thrown from rockes and dasht in pieces Vse This may inform us that temporal felicity and external prosperity is no mark of a true Church 'T is rather a mark of a false Church for we read that the wicked oft flourish usque ad invidiam Psalm 73. Ier. 12.1 but the Crosse is the proper badge of Christs Disciples A true note of the Church must be proper and inseparable but this is neither For 1. External prosperity is common to Turkes and Tartars who have for the most part more External riches and Temporal felicitie then the Church of God 2. The Church is a true Church without it persecution and not carnal Peace is the badge of the true Church as you have seen before But this point is so fully handled by others that I shall refer you to them for further satisfaction See Burroughs Moses choice cap. 7. p. 62. Gerheards Loc. com Tom. 3. p. 1314. D. Mortons Apolog. l. 2. c. 35. Camero Tract in quo Eccles. Rom. praejud Exam. cap. 8. fol. p. 338 c. Sharpii Cursus Theolog. P. 2. p. 185. 2. It shewes the folly of the Millinaries who looke for a Church in this world that shall be free from troubles and free from persecution Then shall the Saints on earth if you will beleeve Doctor Homes be Sinlesse Sorrowlesse Temptationlesse c. Now whether shall we beleeve Saint Paul who tells us that all who live godly in this life must suffer persecution or a Doctor that is lead away with fancies as I shall make appeare God willing when I come to 2 Tim. 4.1 3. When you see God changing the condition of the Saints do not you change your condition concerning them Doe not cânsure them for
preach the Gospel purely and sincerely not shrinking from his Duty for any persecutions or troubles whatsoever Evangelists were Extraordinary Officers but Temporary they were Coadjutors and Helpers of the Apostles in spreading and publishing the Gospel They for the most part attended on them and watered what they planted Acts 8.39 40. Ephesians 4.11 such a one was Timothy as appeareth 1 Corinthians 4.17 and 16.10 and 2.1 1. Philippians 2.19.22 Now Paul maketh ân honourable mention of Timothies office First The better to incourage him in the faithfull discharge of his Duety against all Opposition Secondly That the VVorld might see he had Authoritie for what he did 4. Sincerity Least any should accuse thee of negligence make full proof of thy Ministery fulfill and accomplish it Let it be fully known q. d. So behave thy self in this Office that men may be able to charge thee justly with nothing but rather approve of thee in all things Let the VVorld see that thou makest it thy own and onely work to winn soules by a faithfull discharge of every part of thy Ministery both in publick and private revealing the whole Counsel of God and boldly rebuking all sorts of sinners By Ministery is not here meant any Civil Office or attendance on the Poor as the Word importeth in Scripture but it noteth the Office of Preaching the Gospel which is called The Ministery Colossians 4.17 and the Preachers of it Ministers 1 Corinthians 5.3 Colossians 1.7 by way of Eminency Verse 6. The Apostle giveth a Reason for this his so serious an Exhortation drawn from the time of his death which he discerned to be now at hand and therefore he Exhorteth Timothy to be so much the more diligent that the Church might not suffer by his negligence after his departure g. d. So long as I lived I was a Father a Counsellor and a quickner of thee both by word and example thou hast hitherto had my help but now thou must shift for thy selfe and swimme without one to hold thee up for the time of my Martyrdome is now at hand Hence briefly Observe That we must not onely be goâd whilest we have good company as King Joash was when de had good Jehojada the Priest to quicken him 2 Kings 12.2 but when good men leave us yet must we not leave our goodnesse Galathians 4.18 Philippians 2.12 A man that is truely good is alwayes good in all places times and companies he is still the same In this verse we have Pauls intimation of his death Verse 7. We have a briefe Narration of his life Verse 8. VVe have his hope and expectation after this life 1. By a Spiritual instinct he saw that his departure was at hand and his Martyrdome near He was now in his last bonds and he saw the cruell actings in Nero's Court against him and therefore he concludes he had not long to live 2. The Terms and Titles by which the Apostle setteth forth his death unto us are worth the observing 1. He calleth it an offering I am now ready to be offered up as a sweet sacrifice to God in my Martyrdome for his Name 'T is usual in Scripture to put that in the Present Tense as done which yet was not done till afterward Thus Christs body is said to be broken and his blood powred out Matthew 26.28 i. This was shortly after to be done on the Crosse So Matthew 26.45 Iohn 20.15 and 14.3 The Word in the Original is very Pathetical and Emphaticall it signifieth a Drink-offering he was now ready to be offered up as a Drink-offering on Gods Altar he chuseth this word rather then that of Sacrifice 1. because the Drink-offering saith Chrysostome was offered up whole but so was not the Sacrifice for part of it was given to the Priests 2. This consisting of Wine and Oyle which was powred out when a meat-offering was made was most fit to set forth the death by which he should die viz. by shedding his blood for Christ which he cheerfully powred out as a Drink-offering to God in sealing of his Truth This is the most genuine sense of the Word it signifieth a Libation or Drink-offering of which we have frequent mention in the Law which the Septuagint render by the word in the Text when they powred out Wine Water Oyle or the like in Sacrifice to God this they called a Powred-out-offering or an effusion because it was onely of moist things Thus Genesis 14. Exodus 30.9 Leviticus 23.13 Numbers 6.15 and 15.5.12 and 28.7 Deuteronomy 32.33 2 Samuel 23.16 17. 2 Kings 16.13 Ieremiah 32.29 and 44.17.25 So that by this allusion he seemeth to Intimate the manner of his death which was not by being offered as an Holocaust or Burnt-offering by fire as the Martyrs were but by a death wherein his blood was shed and powred out viz. by beheading He doth not say I shall now be slain as some vile guilty person but I shall now be offered up in Martyrdome as a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God 3. He useth this Metaphorical word to intimate his Confirmation of the Truth he had preached As the aspersion of blood Blood or Wine was used in sacrifices for the Confirmation of Covanants or as Covenants were confirmed by effusion of VVine which the parties contracting had first tasted of so his death was not onely an oblation or Sacrifice but a Libamentum a Drinke-offering powred out for Comformation of the Gospel which he had preached The Apostle expresseth this more clearly Phil. 2.17 Yea if I be offered upon the Sacrifice and service of your faith â joy with you all q. d. I have not onely laboured amongst you but if I may die for the confirmation of your Faith and be powred out as a drink-offering for the sealing of the Doctrine which I have taught you it shall be that whereof I shall rejoyce together with you Let Nero kill me because I converted you and others to the Faith it shall not troâble me but I will freely give my self in sacrifice for you that you may be ân Oblation to God and my Blood the Drink-offering that so I may offer up an intire Sacrifice to God Briefly the Levitical Sacrifice consisted of two parts 1. There was the Victima the Sacrifice it self viz. a Bullock a Râm or the like 2. There was the Libamen the Drink-offering of Wine Oyle or the like now the Philippians faith was the sacrifice which was seasoned with Pauls blood as a Drink-offering 2. He setteth forth his death unto us by the term of A departure or dissolution T is not a destruction but a resolution or loosing of the soul from the bonds of the body Death is a taking asunder the parts of which we are composed 't is a freeing the soul from this house of Clay The same word is used Philippians 1.23 I desire to be dissolved q. d. I desire to be discharged and released out of the Prison of
plainly that what ever he was it was by grace 1 Cor. 15.10 By the grace of God I am that I am and through Christ that strengthened him he could do all things Phil. 4.13 and that 't was mercy and not merit that ever he was faithful 1 Cor. 7.25 But being a man of a good conscience and knowing whom he had believed in an Holy confidence exultation and triumph he breaks forth into this heavenly gloriation and publisheth this his Cygnean song I have fought a good fight c. For though in the case of Justification we must renounce our own righteousness yet out of that case we may rejoice in the good we have done 2. He speaks this partly to comfort Timothy and to incourage him to walk in his steps keeping Faith and a good conscience that as he died now in the peace thereof so he walking in the way which he had prescribed might attain to that end 3. To incourage himself against the reproach of his reproaching violent death he eyes that heavenly reward and that crown of life prepared for such as have fought the good âight as he had done who was now to dye not as a Malefactor but a Martyr not for any evil that he had done but for his fidelity to Christ whose faithful servant he proves himself to be by a threefold Metaphor in the Text. 1. The first is taken from a valiant Champion I have fought a good fight or I have strove a good strife and wrastled a good wrastling The life of the Apostle was a continual conflict he was never out of action but was still combating either with his own flesh and corruption 1 Cor. 9.25 Rom. 7. or with Satan 2 Cor. 12.7 or else with the instruments of Satan with Jewes and Gentiles with Pharisees and Sadducees with false brethren and seducers and such like beasts as Elymas the Sorcerer Hymenaeus and Philetus Alexander the Smith the Epicures at Athens and the beastly men at Ephesus 2 Cor. 15.32 If after the manner of men I have fought with the beasts at Ephesus what advantageth it me if the dead rise not Some take this Text literally that Paul did really fight with wild beasts it being one kind of punishment commonly inflicted on the primitive Christians when any thing went amiss presently they cast the Christians to the Lions imputing the cause of their calamities to them But the most genuine and proper sense of the words seems to be this viz. that Paul had contested with such men at Ephesus as wee Barbarous in opinion and beastly in practice such as Demetrius and his followers Acts 19.9 Such wicked men the Scripture frequently stiles beasts Psal. 68.30 Dan. 7.3 4. 2 Tim. 4.17 Grotius and Dr. Hammond his disciple do illustrate this from 2 Cor. 1.8 9. where Paul received the sentence of death in Asia of which Ephesus was the Metropolis q. d. If as 't is the manner of men to be put to fight with beasts in their Amphitheaters so I have been put to fight with bestial men at Ephesus and have with them been exposed to so manifest and great peril what am I the better or to what purpose have I done it if there be no Resurrection This sense agrees best with the scope of the Text especially seeing Luke describing that which happened to Paul at Ephesus Acts 19. makes no mention of his being cast to wild beasts to be torn by them and of his miraculous deliverance from them so great a matter would not have been omitted by the Evangelist who carefully sets down far lesser sufferings of the Apostle So then the Apostle glories how much he had done and suffered for Christ what death and dangers he run for him he reckons eight distinct perils in one verse 2 Cor. 11.26 Besides other hazards that he run 1 Cor. 4.9 to 14. and 2.23 to 28. He bare in his body the marks of the Lord Iesus Gal. 6.17 Yet in all these fights and conflicts he conquered still for he fought not as one that beat the air but the enemy if he had to do with Hereticks he reproved them sharply if with his own flesh he did not lightly chastise it but by force of armes he brought it into subjection 1 Cor. 9.26 27. Object But doth not the Scripture condemn fighting in a Minister 2 Tim. 3.3 and 2.24 Tit. 1.7 Answer This doubt is easily resolved by distinguishing Fighting is twofold 1. Corporal and that also is twofold 1. Lawful as when a man fights in defence of the truth and of his Relations 2. Unlawful as rash drunken quarrelling and fighting and this is that the Apostle condemns in a Minister he must be a man of patient and peaceable temper not given to fighting and quarrelling else a Minister may as occasion requires correct his children and servants and se defendendo strike an assaulter 2. There is a spiritual fight against sin and Satan and of this the Apostle here speaks Paul was a warriour his weapons were spiritual 2 Cor. 10.4 his adversaries spiritual or for spiritual respects and his victories were spiritual Rom. 7.24 25. God had placed him in the head of his Army he kept his station in despight of all opposition and through Christ that strengthned him came off a conquerour And in this sense every Minister must be a striker else God will strike him he must be a man of strife and contention not a beast must come in his way but he must give him a bang He must not play with them but fight with them he must not flatter or humour them in their sins but throw salt on them and reprove them We have seen the Apostles activity he fought We now come to the Adjunct of this fight 't is a Good sight He calls it That good fight Emphatically as being good for Matter Manner End and issue hence the Article is doubled Other fights as corporal ones for Masteries at the Olympick games such agones wrastlings and combatings are poor low sensual things not worth the mentioning but the fight that I have fought is that good fight against sin and Satan no battles like these no agonist or champion like this spiritual one who fights the good fight of faith 1 Tim. 6.12 q. d. I have fought that excellent glorious pleasant and profitable fight Glorious in Gods eye profitable to the Church Phil. 1.12 13. and pleasing and profitable to my self what ever the world judge of it and though my end may seem reproachful in their eye yet 't is glorious in mine and 't is my joy that I have broke through all impediments I have not fled from my colours nor been faithless in Gods Covenant but like a faithful Souldier of Christ I have fought against the temptations of Satan the persecutions of the world the corruption in mine own bosom and the oppositions of false Teachers 2. The second Metaphor is taken from a strenuous runner I have finisht
mention not Vain-gloriously but Thankfully against both men and devils and beastly Barbarians I have contended for the Gospel constantly and couragiously My life is a race and I have run my course even to the very goal in despight of all opposition I have maintained and defended the truth of Christs Gospel inviolably according to my Christian profession and office Apostolical and now from henceforth I comfort my self with the expectation of that crown of immortality which upon the gracious promises of a righteous God is laid up for me and not for me onely but for all the faithful who love Christ and long for his coming Observations 1. 'T is lawful sometimes to speak of those gifts and graces which God hath given us that we may comfort and quicken others by our example But of this see the Observations on chapter 3.10 2. The sweetest songs of the Saints have been towards their last ends The sun shines sweetliest when it is setting 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 as we see in Moses his Swan-like Song Deut. 31. and 32. and 33. and David how sweetly doth he sing a little before he dies of Gods mercies to himselfe of the covenant of free Grace which God had made with him and his judgements on the sons of Belial 2 Samuel 23.1 to 8. Ioshua dying how sweetly doth he exhort the people to obedience by setting before them the mercies of God Ioshua 24. All Christs sayings are excellent but none so sweet and comfortable as those which he delivered a little before his death His last Sermon and Prayer how sweet are they Iohn 13.14 15 16 17. Iacob dying how sweetly doth he bless his sons Gen. 49. Steven dying prayes for their life who put him to death so did the Martyrs Doctor Prestons last Sermons were on the Attributes Doctor Sibbs his last Sermons on that comfortable Text Iohn 14.1 and Master Robert Boltons on the Joyes of Heaven Wicked men when they die they set in a Cloud and like the going out of a candle they leave a stench behind them as their bodies so their names rot and stink when they are dead and gone As wicked men grow worse and worse and their last dayes are their worst so good men grow better and better and their last dayes are their best having hut a little time to live in the world they are willing to leave it with a good savour Observation 3. 3. The sweet resent which a good Conscience hath of a well spent life is matter of singular comfort and rejoycing in death The Apostle was now near to death and what doth he rejoyce in why 't is in this that by the assistance of Christ he had fought a good sight and finisht his course and therefore he had hope as the righteous have even in death Proverbs 14.32 Elijah that had been zealous for the Lord of Hosts can with comfort desire the Lord to to take his soul 1 Kings 19.4.10 Hezekiah that great reformer when he heard that he must die yet comforteth himselfe with this that he had walked before God in sincerity and singleness of heart Isay 38.3 this upheld Iob in the middest of all his trials Iob 27.5 6. This comforted the Apostles when they were in deep distress 2 Corinthians 1.12 This is our rejoycing the Testimony of our Conscience that in simplicity and godly sincerity we have had our conversation in the world Not that the conscience of our sincere walking is the Deserver but the Assurer of our salvation Well-doing may Evidence to us our Election though it cannot Merit it 2 Peter 1.10 Men of good consciences sit at a continnal Feast Proverbs 15.15 a good heart or a quiet merry heart as some Translations render it Is not may be or shall be hereafter but is already a reall Feast and hereafter shall be consummate 'T is not a dead Ignorant secure benummed erroneous seared Conscience but it is an inlightned inlivened renewed pure conscience which is purged from the guilt of sinne by the blood of Christ and delivered from the Tyranny of sinne by the Spirit of Christ This this onely is a good Conscience This puritie of Conscience breedeth Peace and Peace breedeth Joy and Spirituall Mirth this reconcileth those Translations which render it a quiet or merry heart which is true in respect of the effects and fruits of a good conscience Now this good conscience is called a Feast 1. Because at a Feast there is variety of dainties and dishes abundance of cates and delicates 't is not a Feast without variety and plenty and more then ordinary fare So at this Feast there is great variety 1. Here is Ioy this is most sutable and seasonable at a Feast not a carnal sensual external inferiour joy but a spiritual supernatural Holy Heavenly solid serious well-grounded durable Joy which none can take from us Iohn 16.22 They rejoyce in the Lord alwayes Psalm 33.1 Philip. 4.4 yea even in Tribulation Romans 5.3 Iames 1.2 and that with a superlative transcendent Joy hence called Ioy unspeakable and glorious 1 Peter 1.8 and compared to Joy in Harvest when the husbandman after long toyl reapeth the fruits of his labours Isay 9.3 yea it surpasseth that joy Psalm 4.7 it mortifieth our delights to these low things makes us to rejoyce in them as though we rejoyced not 1 Cor. 7.31 Lo this is the first dish which is served in at this Royal Feast Matthew 13.44 Acts 16.34 and therefore it is called by a special propriety the joy of Gods people Psal. 206.5 2. At this Feast here is Peace not a Fading unsetled transitory Peace such as wicked men have but 't is a well grounded and a well bottomed Peace 't is built on the Word and it's foundation is laid in Humiliation it had a storm before it came to this calme 2. 'T is not an ordinary but a transcendent Peace such as passes all human understanding Phil. 4.7 mans wit cannot sufficiently conceive it nor value it according to its worth To have Peace with men and Angels is a mercy but when the soul lieth groaning under the sight and sense of sinne then for the Spirit to speak Peace to us to assure us that God in Christ is reconciled to us this is a mercy of mercies David had this Peace and therefore he fears not though ten thousand should compass him about Psalm 3.6 Peter that was in great danger of his life yet having a good cause and a good conscience he sleeps in Peace Acts 12.6 3. 'T is an everlasting peace Christ hath bequeathed it to his for ever Iohn 14.27 Peace I leave with you my Peace I give you The Lord hath bound himself by Covenant to continue it it is more firme then the pillars of the Earth or the Poles of Heaven Isay 54.9 The mountains shall depart and the hills be removed but my
that he doth 2 Peter 2.9 to him belong the issues from death Psa. 68.20 when we be in extreme danger and in the jawes of death yet he hath many secret passages and back doores to conveigh us out at He hath a thousand wayes to deliver us by Means without means by weak means by contrary means Sometimes he changeth a Lion into a Lamb as Saul into Paul or else he stops the mouths of these Lions by restraining their cruelty Or by setting one Lion against another as the Philistines against Saul 1 Samuel 23.27 The Turks against the Papists he divided the Pharisees and Saduces amongst themselves whilest Paul escaped Acts 23.6 7. Or else he makes his children Lions to their enemies So that the dread of them falls upon them Hester 9.23 or else he breaks the teeth of these Lions So that they cannot do the mischief they intended Ps. 3.7 This may comfort Gods people in their deepest distress though these Lions may be too strong for us yet there is a stronger then they Isa. 31.43 There is no Protector like this great Protector of us all He is El-shaddai God Almighty and Alsufficient to supply our wants and help us in our straits though others may forsake us yet he hath promised that he will never do it Heb. 13.5 There