1 Timothy 4

* Of departures from the faith that began already to appear.

(1-5) Several directions, with motives for due discharge of

duties. (6-16)

1-5 The Holy Spirit, both in the Old and the New Testament,

spoke of a general turning from the faith of Christ, and the

pure worship of God. This should come during the Christian

dispensation, for those are called the latter days. False

teachers forbid as evil what God has allowed, and command as a

duty what he has left indifferent. We find exercise for

watchfulness and self-denial, in attending to the requirements

of God's law, without being tasked to imaginary duties, which

reject what he has allowed. But nothing justifies an intemperate

or improper use of things; and nothing will be good to us,

unless we seek by prayer for the Lord's blessing upon it.
6-10 Outward acts of self-denial profit little. What will it

avail us to mortify the body, if we do not mortify sin? No

diligence in mere outward things could be of much use. The gain

of godliness lies much in the promise; and the promises to godly

people relate partly to the life that now is, but especially to

the life which is to come: though we lose for Christ, we shall

not lose by him. If Christ be thus the Saviour of all men, then

much more will he be the Rewarder of those who seek and serve

him; he will provide well for those whom he has made new

11-16 Men's youth will not be despised, if they keep from

vanities and follies. Those who teach by their doctrine, must

teach by their life. Their discourse must be edifying; their

conversation must be holy; they must be examples of love to God

and all good men, examples of spiritual-mindedness. Ministers

must mind these things as their principal work and business. By

this means their profiting will appear in all things, as well as

to all persons; this is the way to profit in knowledge and

grace, and also to profit others. The doctrine of a minister of

Christ must be scriptural, clear, evangelical, and practical;

well stated, explained, defended, and applied. But these duties

leave no leisure for wordly pleasures, trifling visits, or idle

conversation, and but little for what is mere amusement, and

only ornamental. May every believer be enabled to let his

profiting appear unto all men; seeking to experience the power

of the gospel in his own soul, and to bring forth its fruits in

his life.

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