2 Timothy 3* The apostle foretells the rise of dangerous enemies to thegospel. (1-9) Proposes his own example to Timothy. (10-13) Andexhorts him to continue in the doctrine he had learned from theHoly Scriptures. (14-17)1-9 Even in gospel times there would be perilous times; onaccount of persecution from without, still more on account ofcorruptions within. Men love to gratify their own lusts, morethan to please God and do their duty. When every man is eagerfor what he can get, and anxious to keep what he has, this makesmen dangerous to one another. When men do not fear God, theywill not regard man. When children are disobedient to theirparents, that makes the times perilous. Men are unholy andwithout the fear of God, because unthankful for the mercies ofGod. We abuse God's gifts, if we make them the food and fuel ofour lusts. Times are perilous also, when parents are withoutnatural affection to children. And when men have no rule overtheir own spirits, but despise that which is good and to behonoured. God is to be loved above all; but a carnal mind, fullof enmity against him, prefers any thing before him, especiallycarnal pleasure. A form of godliness is very different from thepower; from such as are found to be hypocrites, real Christiansmust withdraw. Such persons have been found within the outwardchurch, in every place, and at all times. There ever have beenartful men, who, by pretences and flatteries, creep into thefavour and confidence of those who are too easy of belief,ignorant, and fanciful. All must be ever learning to know theLord; but these follow every new notion, yet never seek thetruth as it is in Jesus. Like the Egyptian magicians, these weremen of corrupt minds, prejudiced against the truth, and found tobe quite without faith. Yet though the spirit of error may belet loose for a time, Satan can deceive the nations and thechurches no further, and no longer, than God will permit. 10-13 The more fully we know the doctrine of Christ, as taughtby the apostles, the more closely we shall cleave to it. When weknow the afflictions of believers only in part, they tempt us todecline the cause for which they suffer. A form of godliness, aprofession of Christian faith without a godly life, often isallowed to pass, while open profession of the truth as it is inJesus, and resolute attention to the duties of godliness, stirup the scorn and enmity of the world. As good men, by the graceof God, grow better, so bad men, through the craft of Satan, andthe power of their own corruptions, grow worse. The way of sinis down-hill; such go on from bad to worse, deceiving and beingdeceived. Those who deceive others, deceive themselves, as theywill find at last, to their cost. The history of the outwardchurch, awfully shows that the apostle spake this as he wasmoved by the Holy Ghost. 14-17 Those who would learn the things of God, and be assuredof them, must know the Holy Scriptures, for they are the Divinerevelation. The age of children is the age to learn; and thosewho would get true learning, must get it out of the Scriptures.They must not lie by us neglected, seldom or never looked into.The Bible is a sure guide to eternal life. The prophets andapostles did not speak from themselves, but delivered what theyreceived of God, #2Pe 1:21|. It is profitable for all purposesof the Christian life. It is of use to all, for all need to betaught, corrected, and reproved. There is something in theScriptures suitable for every case. Oh that we may love ourBibles more, and keep closer to them! then shall we findbenefit, and at last gain the happiness therein promised byfaith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the main subject of bothTestaments. We best oppose error by promoting a solid knowledgeof the word of truth; and the greatest kindness we can do tochildren, is to make them early to know the Bible.
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