1 Timothy 2Observe here, 1. The duty which Timothy is exhorted to take care of, and that is, of the duty of public prayer. I exhort thee, that supplications, prayers, and intercessions, with thanksgivings, be publicly made: prayer being a special and principal part of public worship, the minister of God must be assiduous and constant in it; deprecating evils threatened, supplicating for mercies wanted, interceding on the behalf of others, and giving thanks for blessings received.
Observe, 2. For whom we are to pray in general, for all men. Because we cannot pray acceptably for ourselves, if we pray only for ourselves; this is the noblest exercise of charity, and which God has put in the power of the poorest man upon earth to exercise: Let supplications and prayers be made for all men.
Observe, 3. For whom we are more especially and in the first place to pray: for kings, and all in authority, who then were pagans and persecutors.
Mark, He says not for lawful and rightful kings's but for such as have the pre-eminence and power in their hands, for all power is of God, And the powers that be, are ordained of God, Rom 13:2
But why first for kings?
Because they are such great instruments of good to mankind, because they most want our prayers, as they encounter with more difficulties, are exposed to more dangers, and are liable to greater temptations, than other men.
Observe, 4. The arguments which the apostle offers to engage us to this duty, That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty; that is, that we may be secured in the quiet and peaceable possession of our civil rights and interests, and that we may be protected in the free exercise of our religion, and in the practice of godliness; for though no prince can take our religion from us, if we resolve to keep it, yet they may disturb us in the quiet and peaceable enjoyment of it; and therefore it is our interest as well as our duty to pray for kings, and all that are in authority.
Our apostle subjoins his reasons for our praying for all men, because Christ came into the world to save all men, 1Tim 1:15 Because it is the desire of God, as well as the design of Christ, that all men should be saved, and because such prayers are good and acceptable in the sight of God.
Learn hence, 1. That to pray for all men, as well enemies as friends, especially and particularly for rulers and magistrates, is good, acceptable, and agreeable to Almighty God, as all acts of obedience to his commanding will are: This is good and acceptable in the sight of God.
Learn, 2. That it is not only all sorts of men that God and Christ desire should be saved, but our Lord willed, together with his Father, the salvation of all men in general, so far as to make a sacrifice sufficient for all, if they repent and believe, and to offer a general pardon to all on condition of acceptance, and to send his ministers amongst all with the word of reconciliation, accompanying it with an hearty desire that all would accept of it; in short, what Christ offered to all, he undoubtedly purchased for all; but he offers to all pardon and life upon condition of acceptance, therefore he is so far willing that all men should be saved.
Learn, 3. The means and method by which and in which God would have all men to be saved, namely, by coming to the knowledge of the truth; it is evidently false then, which some confidently affirm, that a man may be saved in any religion: no, he cannot come to salvation but by the knowledge of the truth; without the knowledge of God, without faith in Christ, where he has been revealed, and without obedience to the gospel, where it has been made known, there is no possibility of salvation; God would have all men to be saved, by coming to the knowledge of the truth.
The apostle's argument runs thus: We ought to pray for all, because there is one God who is good to all, and one Mediator between God and mankind, who took upon him the common nature of all men, and gave himself a satisfactory and sufficient ransom for all, which was in due time testified and borne witness to by us his apostles.
Learn hence, 1. That the only way of friendly intercourse between God and fallen man, is by and through a Mediator. God cannot look upon fallen men out of a Mediator, but as rebels, traitors, and objects of his vindictive wrath; nor can fallen man, without a Mediator, look up to God, but as a provoked majesty, an angry judge, and a consuming fire.
Learn, 2. That there is no other Mediator between God and man, but Jesus Christ, who was both God and man; for though the apostle calls him the Man Christ Jesus, this is not added to exclude the divine nature from the Mediatorship, but emphatically to declare that nature in which he gave himself a ransom for us; the human nature is the matter of our ransom; the divine nature gave worth and value to it; Christ suffered being man, and satisfied being God.
Learn, 3. That this one Mediator, Jesus Christ, gave himself a ransom for all; whoever perishes under the gospel, it is not because no ransom was paid for him, nor because it was not sufficient for him, for it is most notorious that God has issued forth an universal act of grace, offering pardon of sin and eternal salvation to all men without exception, living under the gospel, upon condition of their believing acceptance; if they reject and refuse it, 'tis to their unutterable and inevitable condemnation.--
Learn, 4. That Christ's mediation and intercession is founded upon redemption; because he gave himself a ransom for all therefore is he, and he only, qualified to intercede for all, in virtue of that sacrifice which he offered for the salvation of mankind: therefore the distinction of the church of Rome, between a mediator of redemption, and a mediator of intercession, is groundless: for who dares plead with an offended god as an intercessor on the behalf of sinners, that has not first, as a redeemer, satisfied the justice of God for sin? As there was no redemption wrought by any, so there is no intercession to be made by any, but by Christ; as there is but one God, so but one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.
Observe here, 1. Our apostle declares his authority to publish the gospel to the Gentiles, and his integrity in the publication of it: I was ordained an apostle, a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
Observe, 2. That according to St. Paul's comission, he gave directions to all sorts of persons for the regular performance of their duty. And first concerning the duty of prayer: I will, that is God by me declares his will, that all men pray; that they pray every where, in the public assemblies, in their private families and apartments; lifting up the hands, in token of expecting to receive an answer from heaven. Lifting up holy hands; let their prayers be holy accompanied with faith and charity; without wrath and doubting; a peaceable heart is as necessary in prayer as a pure hand.
'Tis in vain to ask in prayer the favour of God, with anger and revenge in our hearts against man; to pray with doubting is opposed to faith; to pray in wrath, is opposed to charity. As if the apostle had said, "Pray both in actual faith and love."
There must be faith in prayer, otherwise we cannot lift up holy hands without doubting: there must be love, otherwise we cannot lift up holy hands without wrath. Therefore, says the apostle, I will that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands wihtout wrath and doubting. He and his service must be holy, that will serve God acceptably.
The next apostolical precept here given is to women, concerning their apparel and attire, that at all times, but especially in public worship, they use such apparel as becometh modest and chaste women, expressing by their garb the inward gravity and modesty of their minds; not like proud and alluring persons, with embroidered hair, gold, and pearl, to attract the eyes and hearts of the simple.
Note, 1. That the attire which all persons wear, ought to be such as may answer the end for which apparel was appointed, which was to hide and shroud our nakedness, for differencing and distinction of sexes, as also for distinguishing between the qualities and ranks of persons. Garments also are for defence and protection, and for decency and ornament.
Note, 2. That though persons of quality are not prohibited to wear such garments, though costly, as becometh their degree, yet none are to study the external adorning of the body, so much as to neglect the inner man by good works.
Note, 3. That all that attire is forbidden,
(1.) Which suspected women use, either to provoke to lust in others, or to show inclinations to it in themselves.
(2.) All such attire as by the richness and costliness of it shows pride under mean apparel, and oft-times is.
(3.) All such attire as is unsuitable either to the time or place of worship.
Note, 4. That this precept ought not to be slighted by women, as of small moment; because the two great apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, do both give it in charge unto them.
Note, lastly, That the men are by no means to look upon themselves as unconcerned in this apostolical precept given to women. It is much more inexcusable in them to affect gaiety and gaudy dress; for it is vain and foolish, troublesome and uneasy, the nurse of idleness attended with luxury and wantonness, and very often with immodesty and lewdness; and is the great bane very often of justice and charity. How many are fine and gay, but at the expense, and sometimes at the ruin, of the poor tradesman. And how oft is that spent in vain decking, which ought to be laid out in the poor's clothing.
Still our apostle is directing Timothy how persons should and ought to manage themselves in the public assemblies, and particularly how women ought to behave themselves at the time and in the place of worship. Let, says he, the women in your assemblies, learn in silence, with all subjection to the better sex; for I suffer not a woman to teach publicly, and to usurp authority over the man, to whom God has given authority over her; but rather according to her duty, let her learn in silence.
Here note, 1. That it is only women's public teaching that is here forbidden; not their private teaching their children, or servants, or the younger women, or even their husbands themselves upon a fit occasion. Acts 18:26, we find Priscilla privately instructing Apollos.
Note, 2. That none ought to teach but who have authority; and teaching is exercising that authority. A woman therefore teaching publicly, doth usurp an authority not due unto her.
Note, 3. There were some women in the Jewish church endowed with extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, and particularly with the gift of prophesying, who did teach publicly; as Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and Anna. And it is probable, that the speaking of these extraordinary women encouraged others to do the like, whom the apostle here directs his speech against. I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority &c.
Here St. Paul offers a double argument to enforce the duty of subjection upon the woman, and to prevent her usurping of authority over the man; namely, because the man was first in the creation: Adam was first formed, then Eve, and the woman was first in the transgression. Adam was not deceived, that is, first and immediately deceived, but the woman being deceived, was first in the transgression; she was therefore guilty of her own and her husband's transgression; and accordingly, not only by the law of her creation, but as a punishment for her transgression, God has placed her in a state of subjection, and given the man authority over her; which authority she usurps over him, whenever she undertakes to be a public teacher of him.
These two considerations doth the apostle make use of, to humble the woman, and to keep her within the sphere of her proper duty.
Our apostle having, in the preceding verse, acquainted us with the woman's sin, that she was in the transgression, and first in the transgression; in this verse he informs the woman of a part of her punishment for that her transgression; and that is, the severe pain and extreme peril of child-bearing.
He acquaints her, 2. With her comfort and support under that punishment; and that is, a hope of salvation: She shall be saved in child-bearing.
3. With the condition upon which that hope of salvation is grounded and bottomed: If she continue in faith and charity, and holiness with sobriety.
Learn, 1. That pain in child-bearing is a part of that punishment which was inflicted by God upon the woman for her first sin; and accordingly the woman's sorrow and sensible feeling of the pains of child-birth ought to bring to her remembrance her original and first transgression. Surely when the woman feels the original punishment, it ought to remind her of her original sin, as a child ought to remember his fault at that very instant when he is under his father's rod.
Learn, 2. That the infliction of this punishment, (the pains of child-bearing,) even unto death, is and shall be no hinderance of the woman's eternal salvation, if there be found with her those holy qualifications and gracious conditions which the gospel requires; partly in regard to the relation which God stands in to her, partly in regard of the covenant which God has made with her. A child is as much a child under the rod as in the bosom; neither the father's stroke nor the child's grief can dissolve that relation.
Learn, 3. That faith and charity, holiness and sobriety, with a perseverance therein, are the great conditions of the gospel, upon which the woman's eternal salvation in that hazardous condition doth depend. She shall be saved in child-bearing, if she continue in faith and charity, and holiness with sobriety.
The words may also refer to the woman's temporal deliverance in the time of travail; and the sense runs thus: "She shall be saved in child-bearing, that is, she shall go through the pains of child-birth with safety, if she continue in faith, putting her trust in God for deliverance, in charity exercising compassion to those in the like condition; and in the exercise of temperance, sobriety, and chastity, according to her matrimonial vow."
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