2 Timothy 3

* The apostle foretells the rise of dangerous enemies to the

gospel. (1-9) Proposes his own example to Timothy. (10-13) And

exhorts him to continue in the doctrine he had learned from the

Holy Scriptures. (14-17)

1-9 Even in gospel times there would be perilous times; on

account of persecution from without, still more on account of

corruptions within. Men love to gratify their own lusts, more

than to please God and do their duty. When every man is eager

for what he can get, and anxious to keep what he has, this makes

men dangerous to one another. When men do not fear God, they

will not regard man. When children are disobedient to their

parents, that makes the times perilous. Men are unholy and

without the fear of God, because unthankful for the mercies of

God. We abuse God's gifts, if we make them the food and fuel of

our lusts. Times are perilous also, when parents are without

natural affection to children. And when men have no rule over

their own spirits, but despise that which is good and to be

honoured. God is to be loved above all; but a carnal mind, full

of enmity against him, prefers any thing before him, especially

carnal pleasure. A form of godliness is very different from the

power; from such as are found to be hypocrites, real Christians

must withdraw. Such persons have been found within the outward

church, in every place, and at all times. There ever have been

artful men, who, by pretences and flatteries, creep into the

favour and confidence of those who are too easy of belief,

ignorant, and fanciful. All must be ever learning to know the

Lord; but these follow every new notion, yet never seek the

truth as it is in Jesus. Like the Egyptian magicians, these were

men of corrupt minds, prejudiced against the truth, and found to

be quite without faith. Yet though the spirit of error may be

let loose for a time, Satan can deceive the nations and the

churches no further, and no longer, than God will permit.
10-13 The more fully we know the doctrine of Christ, as taught

by the apostles, the more closely we shall cleave to it. When we

know the afflictions of believers only in part, they tempt us to

decline the cause for which they suffer. A form of godliness, a

profession of Christian faith without a godly life, often is

allowed to pass, while open profession of the truth as it is in

Jesus, and resolute attention to the duties of godliness, stir

up the scorn and enmity of the world. As good men, by the grace

of God, grow better, so bad men, through the craft of Satan, and

the power of their own corruptions, grow worse. The way of sin

is down-hill; such go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being

deceived. Those who deceive others, deceive themselves, as they

will find at last, to their cost. The history of the outward

church, awfully shows that the apostle spake this as he was

moved by the Holy Ghost.
14-17 Those who would learn the things of God, and be assured

of them, must know the Holy Scriptures, for they are the Divine

revelation. The age of children is the age to learn; and those

who 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 and

apostles did not speak from themselves, but delivered what they

received of God, #2Pe 1:21|. It is profitable for all purposes

of the Christian life. It is of use to all, for all need to be

taught, corrected, and reproved. There is something in the

Scriptures suitable for every case. Oh that we may love our

Bibles more, and keep closer to them! then shall we find

benefit, and at last gain the happiness therein promised by

faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the main subject of both

Testaments. We best oppose error by promoting a solid knowledge

of the word of truth; and the greatest kindness we can do to

children, is to make them early to know the Bible.

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