I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as did my forefathers, as I constantly remember you night and day in my prayers.
I. THE APOSTLE'S AFFECTIONATE INTEREST IN HIS YOUNG DISCIPLE. "I give thanks to God, whom I serve from my forefathers in a pure conscience, as unceasing is the remembrance I have of thee in my prayers night and day; greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy."
1. The apostle begins all Epistles with the language of thanksgiving. God is the Object of thanksgiving, both as God of nature and as God of grace, and there is no blessing we have received that ought not to be thankfully acknowledged.
2. It is allowable for a good man to take pleasure in the thought of a consistently conscientious career. His service of God was according to the principles and feelings he inherited from his ancestors "in a pure conscience" (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:14).
3. Ministers ought to be much engaged in prayer for one another so as to strengthen each other's hands.
4. The thought of approaching death makes us long to see the friends who have been most endeared to us in life.
(1) The apostle remembered Timothy's sorrow at their last parting.
(2) Though he had commanded him before to stay at Ephesus, he now desired to see him, because he was alone in prison, with Luke as his only companion.
(3) The sight of Timothy in Rome would fill him with joy beyond that imparted by all the other friends and companions of his apostolic life.
II. THE APOSTLE'S THANKSGIVING FOR TIMOTHY'S FAITH. "Being put in remembrance of the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that also in thee."
1. The quality of this faith. "Unfeigned." Timothy was "an Israelite indeed," who believed with the heart unto righteousness, his faith working by love to God and man, and accompanied by good works.
2. its permanent character. "It dwelt in him." Faith is an abiding grace; Christ, who is its Author, is also its Finisher; and salvation is inseparably connected with it.
3. The subjects of this faith. "First in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice."
(1) Lois was his grandmother by the mother's side, for his father was a Greek; and Eunice, his mother, was probably converted at Lystra, at no great distance from Tarsus, the native city of the apostle (Acts 16:1; Acts 14:6).
(a) It is pleasant to see faith transmitted through three generations. It is sin, and not grace, that is easily transmitted by blood. But when we are "born, not of blood, but of God," we have reason to be thankful, like the apostle, for such a display of rich family mercy.
(b) We see here the advantages of a pious education, for it was from the persons named he obtained in his youth that knowledge of the Scriptures which made him wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15).
(c) How often Christian mothers have given remarkable sons to the ministry of God's Church! (Augustine and Monica.)
(2) Timothy was himself a subject of this faith. He did not break off the happy continuity of grace in his family, but worthily perpetuated the best type of ancestral piety. - T.C.
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience.
(Anon.)Ich Dien, "I serve," upon his crest, which is on the Prince of Wales's escutcheon to this day.
(J. L. Nye.)
(J. Alleine.)hearts to their gods, but that the Athenians only gave their gifts to their gods." Thus a heart without a gift is better than a gilt without a heart.
(J. Barlow, D. D.)
With pure conscience
(W. T. Davison, M. A.)
(J. C. Ryle, D. D.)
Without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and
(H. D. M. Spence, M. A.)I. THE SIGNS OF THE DELIGHT AND SATISFACTION WHICH THE APOSTLE TOOK IN TIMOTHY, AS RECORDED IN THE TEXT. St. Paul prays for Timothy with satisfaction, uniting thanks with his prayers (ver. 3). This proves what a well-grounded satisfaction the apostle felt in Timothy. The. delight and satisfaction which the apostle took in Timothy are also evinced in his strong desire to see him (ver. 4). We cannot be surprised that the apostle craved the presence of Timothy. He was now a solitary old man, and a prisoner. Of his disciples and fellow-labourers, Titus was gone unto Dalmatia, Tychicus he had sent to Ephesus, Trophimus was sick at Miletus, Mark was absent, and only Luke remained with him. Besides, ingratitude and desertion had sorely tried his affectionate spirit: Alexander the coppersmith had done him much evil; Demas had forsaken him and the faith together; and when first brought up for trial before the imperial tribunal, none of the disciples had stood by him to cheer and second him. To Timothy, therefore, and to the remembrance of his pious and unfailing affection, the apostle clung very closely; and his presence he desired as his greatest earthly solace and support. The delight and satisfaction which the apostle took in Timothy he also testified by expressing his confidence in his Christian character, but especially in his faith, the root of all which is Christian in the character of any one (ver. 5). St. Paul knew him well. During fourteen or fifteen years had this friendship endured, and many were the trials to which ii had been put — trials of the constancy of Timothy's affection, trials of the integrity of his principles. But Paul had found no decline in his affection, no instability in his Christian principles; he therefore trusted him unfeignedly.
II. THE CAUSES OF THAT DELIGHT AND SATISFACTION.
1. As the great cause, the first cause, the mover and originator of all secondary and inferior causes, St. Paul thanks God for the gifts and graces with which He had enriched Timothy.
2. But God works by means. The means which He employed, the causes to which as to instruments we must look in creating in Timothy such a trustworthy and reliable Christian character, were these three — maternal piety, early biblical education, and the ministry of the apostle.
(H. J. Carter Smith, M. A.)
(Sword and Trowel.)
(J. Barlow, D. D.)
(J. Barlow, D. D.)
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