2 Timothy 4:9
Make every effort to come to me quickly,
A Faithful FriendT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
Best Men -- Lessons from Their LifeHomilist2 Timothy 4:9-11
CompanionshipU. R. Thomas.2 Timothy 4:9-11
Counteractives to WorldlinessJ. Leifchild, D. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
Crescens is Gone to Galatia, Titus to DalmatiaT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
Danger of the World2 Timothy 4:9-11
DemasT. J. Crawford, D. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
DemasR. T. Verrall, B. A.2 Timothy 4:9-11
DemasM. G. Pearse.2 Timothy 4:9-11
DemasT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
DemasT. M. Herbert, M. A.2 Timothy 4:9-11
DemasT. Guthrie, D. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
Demas the DeserterT. L. Cuyler, D. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
Friends in AdversityG. Whitefield.2 Timothy 4:9-11
Good Men Easily Reconciled to Good MenT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
Isolation UndesirableA. J. Morris.2 Timothy 4:9-11
Luke, the Beloved PhysicianH. A. Nelson, D. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
Man's Craving for SocietyA. J. Morris.2 Timothy 4:9-11
St. Luke an Example of Trite FriendshipR. S. Barrett.2 Timothy 4:9-11
St. Luke the EvangelistH. Melvill, B. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Apostasy of DemasH. Melvill, B. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Apostasy of DemasJ. N. Norton, D. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Beloved PhysicianW. B. Carpenter, M. A.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Border-Land Between Christ and the World2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Connection Between Love of the World and ApostasyG. Fisk, LL. B.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Damager of BackslidingR. Sibbes.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Falling Away of DemasCanon Puckle.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Foolish Love of the WorldJohn Flavel.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Friendship of St. Luke and St. PaulW. G. Abbott, M. A.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Quarrel About John MarkE. H. Higgins.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Relapsed ChristianJ. Leifchild, D. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Society of Good Men DesirableT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The World Pictured by FancyW. L. Watkinson.2 Timothy 4:9-11
Worldliness Fatal to ReligionS. Coley.2 Timothy 4:9-11
The Apostle's Loneliness and Need of Assistance and ComfortT. Croskery 2 Timothy 4:9-12
PersonalR. Finlayson 2 Timothy 4:9-22

The longing for sympathy and help in his hour of trial was natural. "Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me." There were several reasons for his desire to see Timothy, apart from the natural anxiety to see the most attached of his faithful disciples.

I. THE APOSTLE HAD BEEN DESERTED BY DEMAS. "Demas hath forsaken me."

1. This brought great distress to the apostle:

(1) Because Demas had been a fellow labourer and friend (Colossians 4:14).

(2) Because he forsook him at a critical time in his personal history, when he was already disheartened by the Asiatic deserters and in the near prospect of death.

(3) Because there was a special need for such as Demas to stand by the gospel in the city which was the heart of paganism, and to show courage and constancy in persecution.

2. The cause of the desertion was more distressing. "Having loved this present world." It may have been love of life or love of ease, or the desire to get back to old associations at Thessalonica (probably his native place), or the desire for pleasure or wealth. But it was a fatal passion. The love of this world is inconsistent with the true life, for all that is in the world is evil - "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life." It is all, in the present order of things, opposed to God and destructive to man. Nothing but Christ can deliver us from the power of this present evil world (Galatians 1:4).

II. THE APOSTLE WAS NOW ALMOST ALONE. Other fellow labourers had gone on their errands of usefulness to various quarters - no doubt with his heart's consent: Crescens to Galatia; Titus to Dalmatia, on the Adriatic; Tychicus, an old friend, and once before sent to Ephesus, goes back there by the apostle's directions. Luke alone of all the ministers of Christ keeps the aged apostle company; for though such brethren as Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia now dutifully attend upon him, yet the apostle is anxious to see Timothy, and begs that Mark may accompany him, for "he is useful to me for ministering," both in evangelistic and in personal service. - T.C.

Come shortly unto me.
I. HUMAN COMPANIONSHIPS ARE VERY NECESSARY. The ear thirsts for a friend's voice; the heart hungers for a friend's love.

II. HUMAN COMPANIONSHIPS ARE VERY CHANGING. Changes are caused by distance, death, depravity.

III. HUMAN COMPANIONSHIPS ARE OFTEN GREAT BLESSINGS. Luke was with Paul. Mark was to be brought to him. Timothy was coming to him.

IV. HUMAN COMPANIONSHIPS SOMETIMES PROVE GREAT AFFLICTIONS. Demas, Alexander. Men suffer most when "wounded in the house of their friends."

V. HUMAN COMPANIONSHIPS MUST SOMETIMES FAIL US. Friends are sometimes scared by poverty, failure, shame. Besides, companionship can do little in our intense bodily pain, mental anguish, spiritual conflict, throes of death.

(U. R. Thomas.)

1. Personal presence is to be preferred before writing.

2. The society and help of good men is much to be desired. There is much comfort and good to be gained thereby.

3. The strongest Christians sometimes may be helped by weaker. A Paul may stand in need of a Timothy.

4. A minister upon weighty and just occasions may lawfully be absent from his flock for a time.

5. We may love one friend more than another. Timothy was Paul's beloved son in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2).

(T. Hall, B. D.)

I. THE BEST MEN, IN THE PRESENCE OF DEATH, ARE NOT DISREGARDFUL OF HUMAN SYMPATHY. Even Christ took three disciples with Him to Gethsemane.

II. THE BEST MEN ARE SOMETIMES EXPOSED TO GREAT SOCIAL TRIALS. All of us are constantly losing friends, from one cause or another.

III. THE BEST MEN ARE SUBJECT TO COMMON NEEDS. Men, if they are to be clothed, must procure their own garments; if they are to be educated and informed, must use their own faculties.

IV. THE BEST MEN ARE SOMETIMES TROUBLED BY THEIR INFERIORS. "Alexander the coppersmith." It requires no greatness to do mischief. The most contemptible characters are always the most successful in this work. Lessons —

1. Value true friends.

2. Anticipate social desertions.

3. Do not look for miraculous interpositions to supply your needs. Do not be painfully surprised if you have enemies.


To-day Colonel C. came to dine with us, and in the midst of our meal we were entertained with a most agreeable sight. It was a shark, about the length of a man, which followed our ship, attended with five smaller fishes, called pilot-fish, much like our mackerel, but larger. These, I am told, always keep the shark company, and, what is more surprising, though the shark is so ravenous a creature, yet, let it be never so hungry, it will not touch one of them. Nor are they less faithful to him; for, as I am informed, if the shark is hooked, very often these little creatures will cleave close to his fins, and are often taken up with him. — Go to the pilot-fish, thou that forsakest a friend in adversity, consider his ways, and be ashamed.

(G. Whitefield.)

Man is a social being. He is made to feel for, and with, his fellow-men. Sociality is a joy, a strength, a light to him. He is revealed, regaled, renewed, by fellowship. When there is community of views, sympathy of feelings, it causes a wonderful development of his nature, and gives it wonderful power. It is a lamp, a feast, a buttress of his being. It is everything whereby he can be ministered unto, or help to minister. God is social: "The God of the spirits of all flesh." Christ is social: "The Head of the body, the Church." Christianity is social: "The fellowship of the gospel." Man is social: "Come shortly unto Me."

(A. J. Morris.)

"One man is no man." True, there are some cold, misanthropic souls that shun their fellows, like some plants that shrink and shrivel at a touch, and that even take an awful pride in solitude and isolation; but this is disease, or sin, or both. The finest natures are furthest removed from it.

(A. J. Morris.)

Demas hath forsaken me
I. HIS PREVIOUS HISTORY. (See Philemon 1:24; Colossians 4:14). You see from this noted instance of unfaithfulness how far a man may go in the profession of Christianity, how richly he may seem to be partaking of its privileges, and how highly he may be honoured by its most de voted friends, and yet have no part or lot in it at last. Trust not in mere professions, however loud — in mere external privileges, however distinguishing — in mere intellectual gifts, however excellent — in mere occasional impressions, however lively, in mere outward services to the cause of Christ, however zealous. You may be a fellow-labourer with Paul, and yet a castaway.

II. HIS SUBSEQUENT FAITHLESSNESS. He refused to stand by the apostle in his hour of trial, withheld from him his former sympathy, withdrew from those Christian labours in which he had once been noted as a sharer with him, and shunned to be any longer seen in his society. He was not prepared to "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." That want or weakness of faith which he had hitherto concealed from others, and, probably, from himself also, could not be any longer disguised. That world which he had long loved secretly, without perhaps being aware of the strength of his attachment to it, he now openly clung to and embraced.

III. THE CAUSE. Preferring his temporal interests to his Christian duties, he went back and walked no more with the apostle. To love the world, and the things that are in the world, is one of the chief sources of danger to our soul's welfare — of which we are taught in Scripture to beware. It is true there is no reason why a Christian should not engage as industriously as other men in the necessary business of life, and avail himself as thankfully of its varied blessings. It is one thing, however, to use this world in due subordination to religion, and it is quite another thing to serve if as our master, or to rest in it as our chosen portion. Even with those who do not thus love the world, its influence is hostile in many things to their spiritual welfare. Countless are the hindrances it places in their way — wily and ensnaring the allurements which it spreads for them. By its fair looks, and winning smiles, and flattering and crosses, entices them to sin; while, on the other hand, its frowns, and threats, promises, it and hardships, deter them from duty. Now, if such be the influence of the world even over those who do not set their hearts upon it, how much more powerful must its influence be on such as have yielded up to it their full affection! In them, alas! the wicked world without is fatally, seconded by the wicked heart within. The world no sooner knocks, than the kindred spirit is ready to open a wide and effectual door for its admission. Temptations to vanity meeting with a vain heart find it not only a sure but an easy conquest. So was it in the case of Demas. His worldliness of spirit led him to forsake the Christian cause, when he saw that he could not longer adhere to it without endangering or prejudicing his temporal interests. How many a fair promise has it blighted! how many a hopeful beginning has it checked! how often, when the good seed was ready to spring up, have "the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches," checked the rising plant, and rendered it unfruitful!

(T. J. Crawford, D. D.)



1. You are forsaking honour and conscience.

2. You are forsaking the company of those you most respect.

3. And not only so, but you are forsaking the pursuits which will most ennoble your natures.

4. But worst of all, in forsaking religion, you are forsaking you God and Saviour.

III. TO COMPLETE THIS SUBJECT, LET US ASK FOR WHAT, CONSIDERED AT ITS VERY BEST, YOU LEAVE ALL THAT IS BEST AND NOBLEST AND HIGHEST? Demas had forsaken Paul, because he loved the then present world. I suppose that, in some shape or other, is the reason why you have forsaken religion to the extent to which you have forsaken it. It is really Satan's trap into which you have gone; but the bait has been this present world. You do not love penury, disease, privation, remorse, anguish, death. Oh, not at all I you love pleasure, success, money-getting, if you can get it easily. All the other things, the dark sides of this present world, drunkenness, debauchery, covetousness, immorality, over-reaching, you are net in love with these. No! You are lovers of pleasure, according to your idea of pleasure. Suppose you could gain the world, the whole world (and at best it will be an utterly unnoticeable and infinitesimal portion of it you will ever get), and in the chase should lose your own soul!

(R. T. Verrall, B. A.)

Now, whatever may have been the circumstances under which Demas first made profession of Christianity, it is very clear that that profession must have exposed him to hardship and danger, for he became a companion of St. Paul at the very time when that apostle was hunted down by persecution. It is not, therefore, to be supposed that, in embracing Christianity, Demas was conscious of acting with any insincerity. He must have considered himself a firm believer in Christ, and must have been so considered by those who had the best power of judging. Ah! it is in this that the case of Demas is full of melancholy warning. We do not find that he was scared by the perils which encompassed the profession of Christianity. It was love of the world which caused this promising disciple to make shipwreck of faith, and of a good conscience. He who could scorn danger or endure hardship could not withstand the blandishments of the world, which plied him with its pleasures. We have no security but in constant prayer, in constant war" and it should make you more diligent than ever in supplication, more vehement than ever in resistance, to hear St. Paul say of Demas — Demas who ministered to him in prison, Demas whom he called his fellow-labourer — that Demas had forsaken him, "having loved this present world." And now we would turn your thoughts from the progress which Demas must have made in Christianity to the advantages which he enjoyed. We wish you to observe him, not merely as forsaking St. Paul, but as forsaking him when that apostle was on the very eve of martyrdom. Who can question that there came to him, in the solitude of his prison, glorious visitations from the invisible world, that the consolations of God abounded towards him, and that, whilst the fetters were on the body, the spirit soared as with an eagle's wing, and gazed upon the inheritance that fadeth not away. Oh! to have been with him as he had to tell of the comforts and satisfactions thus vouchsafed, to have stood by him as the soul came back from its sublime expatiations, laden as it were with the riches of Paradise! Who could have doubted the truth of Christianity — who could have refused to adhere to its profession — who could have hesitated between its promises and any present advantage — with the prisoner Paul for his preacher, with the prisoner Paul for his evidence? Ah, be not too confident! It was the prisoner Paul whom Demas forsook. Forsook? Why, one would have thought the common feelings of humanity would have kept him constant! To desert the old man in his hour of trial — to leave him without a friend as the day of his martyrdom approached — who could be so ungenerous? Ah! pronounce not a hasty judgment. Demas did this — Demas who had for a long time been assiduous in ministering to the apostle — and Demas did this only because, like many — too many — amongst ourselves, he loved this present world. Learn ye, then, how weak are those extraordinary advantages when the heart is inclined to yield to the fascinations of the world — how these fascinations may be said to steal away the heart, so that he who is enslaved by them loses, to all appearance, the best sensibilities of his nature. And let no hearer henceforward think, that because he may have delight in hearkening to the pathetic or powerful speech of a favourite minister, he must be rooted in attachment to Christ and His religion. Let no minister henceforward think, that because he has gained an influence over men's minds, he must have gained a hold on their hearts. And in what mode may Christians hope to deliver themselves from love of the world? This is an important question. It is useless to show how fatal is the love, if we cannot show also how it may be subdued. There is no denying that the world addresses itself very strongly to our affections, and that the correspondence which subsists between its objects and our natural desires, gives to its temptations a force which can hardly be exaggerated; and we are sure that these temptations are not to be withstood, unless love of the world is dispossessed by love of something better than the world. You will not cease to love the world, you will not grow weaker in attachment to the world, through the influence of any proof, however elaborate, that the world is not worth loving. It is only by fixing the affections on things above, that they can be drawn from things below. There may be weariness, there may be dissatisfaction, there may be even disgust with the vanities of earth, but nevertheless these vanities will occupy the heart, unless displaced by the realities of heaven. You see, then, what you have to do. You have to meditate upon God and upon heaven, striving to acquire higher and higher thoughts of Divine majesty. There is not one of you who will become a Demas, if you keep this in mind. This is what you may call a recipe against apostasy. It is not a recipe composed upon abstract and speculative opinions, but drawn from the known workings and pleadings of the heart. The heart will attach itself to what it feels to be a greater good in preference to a lesser.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

In the long line of the Doges, in the grand old palace in Venice, one space is empty, and the black curtain which covers it attracts more attention than any one of the fine portraits of the merchant kings. From that panel, now so unsightly, once smiled the sallow face of Marine Falieri, afterwards found guilty of treason against the state, and blotted out, so far as might be, from remembrance. The text reveals the fate of one who had filled a much more honoured place, and who, yielding to temptation, sank to still lower depths. Poor, foolish Demas has gained for himself a most unenviable notoriety. Once he was not only a Church-member, but he was accounted as no ordinary man among his brethren. Twice in the friendly salutations with which St. Paul usually closes his epistles he mentions Demas with honour (Philemon 1:24; Colossians 4:14). Two years later he wrote in sorrow of heart, "Demas hath forsaken me," etc. It was neither cowardice nor self-indulgence which had caused his ruin, but simply the love of the world; the very danger to which so many are exposed in our own day, when the beguiling blandishments of sin, rather than the terrors of persecution, are the devil's most successful devices. There is no shadow of a reason to suppose that Demas had not devoted himself at the outset in downright sincerity and earnestness to God's service; but his weakness was such as might prove the ruin of any one who does not keep every avenue to his heart diligently guarded, lest an inordinate love of temporal things force an entrance there. It is recorded of the King of Navarre, then claiming to be a good Protestant, that being urged by Beza to behave himself in a more manly way for the cause of God, he made answer, that he was "really the friend of the reformers, but that he was resolved to put out no further to sea than he might get safely back to shore in case a storm should unexpectedly arise." In other words, he would not hazard his hopes of the crown of France for the sake of his religion. You know the sequel of his story. Like Demas, he loved "this present world "better than he loved God. He proved a traitor to his religion, and bartered his heavenly crown for a fading one of earth. Some years ago, a young woman was hanged in England for murder, who had been tempted to commit the awful deed for the sake of a five pound note, and this note proved to be a counterfeit! To run such a risk, and to receive such bitter wages! Do those people fare better than this wretched woman who desert God's service for the world's poor bribes? Can the possession of hoards of wealth, or the fading memories of past enjoyments, bring peace in a dying hour? An Arab lost his way in a desert, and was in danger of perishing from hunger, when he was fortunate enough to reach a brackish well, and close by he discovered a little leather bag. "Ah! here's just what I need," he cried, with joy; "dates, or nuts, to appease my gnawing hunger!" He hastily opened the bag, but only to east it away with contempt. It was filled with pearls! What value did they possess for one who was about to die? Just as much as the world will be to those who have sold everything else to gain it.

(J. N. Norton, D. D.)

I was very much affected — as probably you have been affected — by reading the accounts of the punishment of deserters in the army. Nothing in battle is so blood-chilling and horrible. It is so cool, so individual, so premeditated a life-taking. The leading forth of the offender before his whole regiment; the rehearsal of his disgrace to all his comrades; the pinioning of his arms; the bandaging of his eyes that he may not see what comrade takes his life; the open coffin beneath him hungry for its prey; the file of soldiers all aiming at one poor fluttering heart (as if sportsmen should shoot a bird already caged); the ringing volley; the lightning-like death under a dozen wounds — all this is enough to drive the kindred of the deserter to the verge of madness. The mother whose son lies in the sacred mould of Gettysburg or Chattanooga is happy in comparison with her whose hapless boy was blown into eternity from the coffin of a deserter! And why is the deserter's doom made so awful? Simply because the crime is so great and the consequences of the crime so fatal to the interests of an army and of the cause for which an army fights. If desertion will destroy an army, then the army must destroy desertion. His crime is punished so fearfully that other men will be deterred from imitating his bad example. Now history has marked to infamy more than one deserter of his country, or of a sacred cause. Benedict Arnold stands already in American history, bandaged, pinioned, shot through with the volleys of a nation's abhorrence! In Scripture history hangs Judas the arch-deserter. In our text we read of another. Paul has pilloried the unhappy man. Every man who has ever brought disgrace on his Christian profession, or has fallen out of his church-standing had some secret reason for his fall. He deserted under the seduction of some besetting sin. If we could come at the sad roll of all the backsliders or open apostates we might read over the specifications like these: "Deserted from moral cowardice," or "Deserted through neglect of prayer," or "Deserted from love of the wine-bottle," or "Deserted through the enticements of irreligious associates," or "Deserted through unbelief." Demas's name has the Holy Spirit's specification beside his name. He deserted for "love of the world!" "Whoso loveth the world, the love of God is not in him!" This is the last we read of poor Demas. Tradition says that he sank so low as to become a priest in an heathen temple! But if this were so or not we need not discuss. We do know that he forsook his Master's cause in its hour of peril, and preferred the "world" to Christ. Paul encountered the world; went into its thickest, saw its brightest allurements; met its fiercest assaults, and its most attractive lures to his ambition. He never deserted. Why? He never loved it; he so loved Jesus that he could not love the world. Demas loved the world. It would have done him no harm if he had not. It will do you none as long as you keep it out of your heart. But when it works into the soul it eats out the loyalty to Christ and consumes the spirituality of the soul. Do you remember reading in your childhood, in that favourite volume of Oriental stories, about Sinbad's voyage into the Indian Ocean? Do you remember that magnetic rock that rose from the surface, surrounded by a placid and a glassy sea? Silently the ship was attracted towards it; silently the bolts were drawn out of the vessel's sides one by one, by the magnetic rock! And when the fated vessel drew so near that every bolt and clamp was unloosed, the whole structure of bulwarks and masts and spars tumbled into helpless rubbish on the sea, and the sleeping sailors awoke to their drowning agonies! So stands the magnetic rock of worldly enchantments! Its attraction is silent, slow, but powerful to the soul that floats within its range! Under its spell, bolt after bolt of resolution, clamp after clamp of Christian obligation is drawn out. One neglect of duty paves the way for another. One desertion accustoms the man to the path of evil, until he is used to what a Christian never should "get used to" — sinning! A backslider gets so accustomed to neglect of secret devotion that he passes by the bolted closet-door with as little concern as he passes by the doors of his neighbours in the street. He becomes habituated to a deserted Bible, a deserted sanctuary, a deserted Sabbath-school, to a neglected heart, to a deserted Saviour. At length he finds that the Friend he has deserted, deserts him. The God whom he has offended withdraws His presence. This is the penalty of sin! No deserter from Jesus escapes unpunished. And a most invariable penalty which the forsaker of God suffers is — a sense of God's frowns, which sometimes drives the transgressor to recklessness, sometimes to despair. Then does the unfaithful Christian find that "it is an evil thing and a bitter to depart from the living God." His by-path meadow leads to "Doubting Castle" and the dungeons of "Giant Despair."

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)


1. This man was no hypocrite. He had not turned Christian for some selfish hope of worldly good or gain. There never are many of these. In those days probably there were none.

2. Nor was he a timid follower of Jesus. It was rather bleak and stormy for Mr. Facing both ways to show himself, who is usually a very dainty and delicate fellow and cannot stand much exposure. Like the cuckoos and the swallows his season is the summer, and the first touch of frost is enough to send him away.

3. Nor was he moved only by a passing glow of enthusiasm. It is not unlikely that some were — the devotion of an impulsive nature to the noble and the good, especially to the noble and the good in persecution. They receive the seed of the Word with joy, but anon the sun is up and it is withered, for it has no root.

4. And further, it was not that Demas had no religious opportunities and fellowship. That little company, knit together as it was by such bonds of sympathy and fellowship constantly met in Paul's house. Think how the soul of Demas was stirred by the great utterances of St. Paul.

II. WHAT WAS IT THAT RUINED HIM? Having loved this present world.

1. Was it avarice? — the cursed love of gold? — That vice that grows with the years and fattens on its gains: that creeps from prudence to saving, from saving to scraping, from scraping to grubbing, from grubbing to gripping the gold more than life. So clutching his money-bags does Demas go forth, leaving Paul the aged forsaken. The love of money makes many a Demas still. If that was it, pity him. Of all pitiable, ill-tempered, miserable people in the world, this is the worst. Of all fools hell laughs most loudly at the miser, who could not use it when he had it and then left it behind. But how can we warn him? Alas, Demas is the first to sigh and shake his head, and say how dreadful it is, and never suspect that you mean him. The miser never thinks himself rich.

2. Was it love of pleasure, of the world's ways and the world's approbation? The world kills more men with its smiles than with its frowns. Samson can kill the young lion that roars against him, but is himself coaxed to death by Delilah.

3. And yet again, it may have been neither avarice nor worldliness that killed him, but a gradual process of spiritual neglect. So away on the coast I have seen some projecting crag, bold and mighty, joined, as it seemed, and rooted with all the solid continent: one with the ground that stretched down through the round world and away under the seas to the shores of the far west, and inland bound to the hills that were topped and crested with the granite crags — there it stood facing the blasts of the Atlantic, defying them and looking proudly forth on the wild seas that stormed and tossed below it. Yes, winds and waves would never have fetched it down. But within were hollow places, tiny streams that washed the deepening water-courses: then came the silent frosts that gnawed at it, crumbling underneath it; so hollowed out within; then came some day the crash and din of thunder and clouds of dust that darkened heaven and the proud headland was hurled far down below, dashed by the tumbling seas and swept triumphantly by the wild waves. Oh, are you the man, whose prayers were once fervent pleadings with God, and now they are an empty round of phrases? Thy danger is great. A little longer — only that, a little longer, and of thee too it must be spoken — he hath forsaken me.

4. Here is the record of the basest ingratitude. A black ingratitude that rouses our indignation. St. Paul had most likely been the means of bringing him to the knowledge of the truth. He could not have failed to lead him to the richer enjoyment of the truth. Now when his company would have cheered the apostle in his dungeon loneliness we find the record — "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world." Ah, thou Demas of to-day, think how the Lord Jesus Christ hath come down from His glory in very love to thee. He sighs — He saith, Thou hast forsaken Me. Oh, Demas, thou hast made a bad bargain. Thirsty ambition in place of quietness and rest. The devil as thy master in place of the loving Lord. The bondage instead of the life of goodness. And for wages at the last heaven given up for hell. Thou hast a thorn in thy pillow. Thy religion is dead, buried; but its ghost haunts thee still and will haunt thee. It meets thee in still and lonely places and whispers of what used to be. Thy religion gone and thyself spoiled for this world, and undone for the world which is to come.

(M. G. Pearse.)


1. That they may be made conformable to their head, Christ Jesus, who was left alone of His beloved disciples, and had none to comfort Him.

2. That they may fly to Christ, in whom all true comfort lies.


1. Because they rest on their own strength, and there is no support in man to uphold himself.

2. Because Satan, that grand apostate, is fallen from the truth himself, and he labours to draw others to fall back with him.


1. Labour for a true grace.

2. Get a strong resolution against all oppositions.

3. Labour to know the truth, and to practise what thou knowest.

4. Get the love of God in thy heart.

5. Strive to grow daily in a denial of thyself.

6. Labour to have Divine truths engrafted in thee, that so they may spring forth in thy life.

7. Grow deeper and deeper in humiliation.

IV. THE LOVE OF CHRIST AND THE WORLD CANNOT LODGE TOGETHER IN ONE HEART. They are two masters, ruling by contrary laws.

(R. Sibbes.)

1. The expression, "Demas hath forsaken me," etc., probably means, in the first instance, that he loved his life too well to risk it by farther companionship with one, all but condemned, and whose martyrdom might be the signal for his own.

2. But the expression involves something more. That "love of this present world," which assaulted Demas under the lone roof of the apostle, is what we can all understand, and a snare which is more or less laid for us all. It was the result of not having counted the cost of what might be required of him; a perilous "looking back," after "having put his hand to the plough," and therefore being "unfit for the kingdom of God." In his former home at Thessalonica there might be a comparative security to be obtained. There he might find a comparative easement from a confessor's labour; a retirement from the responsibility of a more marked and active disciple. There, at all events, he might not be called upon to defend his faith; to sustain it against the onset of impiety and false doctrine; but might indulge the illusion of adhering to it in what the world calls "peace." There, in short, freed from the severer claims of an appointed trial, he might live as seemed best in his own eyes; and cling to the vain hope of reconciling the duty of a Christian with the divers conflicting habits and temptations, which beset the man of "this present world."

(Canon Puckle.)


1. It is lawful (in some cases) to name men. The apostle, to make others fear apostasy, names this backslider. Our application must be as a garment fitted for the body it is made for: a garment that is fit for everybody, is fit for nobody. What is spoken in general to all, few will apply to themselves. The only way to benefit our people is to apply the plaster to their particular sores. This made Ahab to put on sackcloth (1 Kings 21:20), and brought in so many thousand converts (Acts 2:37). One preacher that thus faithfully applieth the Word to his people, shall do more good in one year than another that preaeheth in a general way, and never cometh home to the consciences of the people, shall do in many.

2. The godly must look sometimes to be forsaken by their bosom friend. Demas was Paul's intimate acquaintance and coadjutor, yet "Demas bath forsaken me." True friend ship is like a well-built arch which standeth at first at a greater distance, and thence leisurely groweth up into a greater closure at the top, and so it will stand the better for weight.

3. Eminent professors may become grand apostates. Demas is a preacher of the gospel, Paul's coadjutor, and is joined with Luke the evangelist (Colossians 4:14), yet for all this "Demas hath forsaken me." Nothing but sincerity can pre serve us from apostasy. Let us therefore, especially at our first setting forth, dig deep, lay a good foundation, consider what the truth may cost us, and ask ourselves whether we can deny ourselves universally for Christ. If we cannot, or will not, we are not fit to be Christ's disciples, we shall shrink in the wetting, and start aside like a broken bow when a temptation comes (2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11).

4. The inordinate love of this present world is the highway to apostasy. It is not the world or the creatures which are good in themselves, but the excessive and inordinate love of them, which ruins men.

5. This world shall have an end and all things in it, it is not an everlasting world, it is but this present world, whose pomp and pleasures soon vanish away (1 Corinthians 7:29, 30, 31).

6. Sin blotteth a man's name, and blemisheth his reputation. Demas, for his worldliness, had a brand set on his name to the end of the world.

7. It is an aggravation of a man's sin to sin deliberately against light and conviction. Demas doth not sin here through passion or fear, but deliberately.(1) He sinned against great light, he being a professor, yea, a preacher of the gospel, could not offend (in this kind especially) through ignorance.(2) Demas sinned against great love. God had enlightened him, and made him a preacher of the gospel, gave him a room in the affections of his chosen vessel Paul, who made him his coadjutor.(3) He sinned against the light of good example. Paul went before him in doing and suffering, and glories in all as comfortable and honourable, yet Demas deserts him, and is not this our sin?(4) To sin upon a light temptation aggravateth a sin. Now Demas had no just ground for flinching. If he feared suffering for Christ, he knew the promise, That he who forsaketh father, or mother, or lands, or life, for Christ, shall have a hundred fold in this present world, and could he have brought his life and estate to a better market? If he loved the world and found sweetness in that, is there not more sweetness in Him that made the world?(5) To draw others into sin, aggravateth sin. Demas, by his evil example, brought an evil report on the gospel, and did tacitly and interpretatively say there is much more sweetness in the world than in Christ, and so drew others from the truth.(6) The greater the person that sins the greater is his sin. Theft in a judge is worse than in an inferior person; for Demas, a teacher of others, to teach apostasy, draws men into sin. Such cedars fall not alone, but crush the shrubs that be under them.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE ACCORDING TO DEMAS. , assuming that Demas left Paul in order to go back to his friends, expressively describes his purpose by saying, "He chose to luxuriate at home." If that was so, he did only what most Christian people are doing now. He still believed in Jesus as the Saviour of sinners, and hoped to be accepted for His sake; he purposed to abstain from the things forbidden by the law; and, this done, he thought himself at liberty to seek and enjoy the full measure of worldly good which he was able to obtain. In other words, he wished to lead a Christian life, but with the least possible quantity of self-denial. He wished, in the selfish acceptation of the phrase, to make the best of both worlds. His Christian ideal was a negative one, and consisted in not breaking the gospel commandments, rather than in laboriously doing, or being, anything great or good. It may often happen — in our case it will generally happen — that the best service we can render to others and to Christ is to be done at home; yet it is possible, it is common, to remain at home, and not to render it, but simply to luxuriate there, our lives regulated by that love of this present world which Demas showed. Indeed, whatever the sphere may be in which we are best able to serve others and Christ — whether the home circle, or the wider arena of social life, or the haunts of business, or the Sabbath-school, or the sick, or the poor — are we not tempted to occupy it after the manner of Demas?

II. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE ACCORDING TO PAUL. Not, how little can I do, but, how much, was the ruling principle with Paul. Not, what would be easiest for me, but, what most acceptable to Christ. Not a cold calculation in the interest of self, but a warm devotion to the welfare of all. Loyalty, gratitude, generous enthusiasm, are its features; and, surely, they are among the noblest qualities of human character. Cold and grudging selfishness marks the other conception. They hardly deserve to be called two forms of the Christian life, for only one has the Spirit of Christ at all. Yes, let us remember even the nobleness of Paul was but a reflection of the nobleness of Christ. It was at that source the flame of his soul was kindled: "The love of Christ constrained him."

III. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE BEGUN WITH PAUL AND ENDED WITH DEMAS. The Spirit which founded the Christian Church was the spirit of Paul; but, as soon as the days of its freshness and persecution were over, the spirit of Demas prevailed. And the history of individuals is apt to be similar.

(T. M. Herbert, M. A.)

In old times your London Bridge and our Netherbrow Port in Edinburgh were garnished with human heads; and in days when tyrants and persecutors were on the throne, alongside those of many notorious criminals, many a good and patriotic head hung there to bake and wither in the sun. That may appear to you a barbarous custom; in a sense it Was; notwithstanding, it came down, in a way, almost to our own times. Years ago, yet in our time, in sailing down your Thames, you saw certain strange and fearful objects standing up within tide-mark on the shore, between you and the sky; they were gibbets, with dead men hung in chains. Contrary as such a custom is to the feelings and sentiments of the present day, the object of those who observed that custom was a good one. They had a better end in view than merely the frightening of those who, happening to pass that way by night, heard the wind whistle though the holes in the empty skull, or the rusty chains creak as the body swept round and round. Piracy, with all its awful atrocities on men and women, was a much more common crime in those days than it is now; and the sailors who dropped down the river and passed these frightful objects, carried away with them a salutary lesson. They were pirates who were hung in chains, and they who looked saw in them the abhorrence with which society regarded, and the vengeance with which justice would pursue the perpetrators of so great a crime. "Rebuke before all," said the apostle, "that others may fear"; and these men were thus hung in chains that others might see and be afraid. Nevertheless, these monuments of sin and of justice, however offensive they may be to our taste, or however suitable they might be to the ruder customs of ruder times, were not perpetual. The work of decay went on, and bone dropping away from bone left empty the chains; mother earth received into her bosom the last relic of her guilty child, and the crime and the criminal were soon forgotten. More enduring monuments of sin and its punishment than these have perished in the wreck of all things. For long ages the stony figure of a woman stood, with her cold, grey eyes turned on the sea that had buried the sinners, but not the saints, of Sodom. Lonely and awful form — the travellers that skirted the shores Of the Dead Sea, and the shepherds that tended their flocks on the neighbouring mountains, regarded her with all horror and terror; and never did living creature deliver such a sermon on the words, "Whoso putteth his hand to the plough and looketh back, is not worthy of the kingdom of God," as did that dumb statue! But time that destroys all things destroyed that, and now travellers have sought in vain for even the vestige of a relic that, were it found, would be far more interesting and far more impressive than all your Greek and Roman marbles, anything dug out of quarry or carved by sculptor's chisel. She who, loving the world too well, looked back on Sodom, has ceased to exist in stone: she lives, however, in story, and we would do well, in and amid the temptations of this world, often to "remember Lot's wife." The purpose our fore fathers had in hanging pirates in chains, and the purpose God Himself had in turning that woman into a pillar of salt, the Apostle Paul had in his treatment of this man whom he holds up here as a beacon to all future ages. He did not write this of Demas to revenge himself on Demas; he was above that. He did not write, "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved the present world," out of spleen or anger against this poor and pitiable apostate. Nothing of the kind. Nor was Demas the only man that at one time forsook Paul. There were others stricken with such panic, as will sometimes seize the bravest troops. All his friends deserted him. Ah! but even then there was an essential, and now there is an eternal difference between them. I donor deny that others fled, but then they returned, they rallied; they washed out with martyr's blood the stains of their disgrace. They fled, I grant; they fled the field, but only for a time — Demas for ever; they abandoned the fight — Demas the faith. Theirs was the failing of the disciples for whom our Lord pled the kind apology, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Demas's was the sin and crime of Judas. He abandoned for aye and for ever the cause of Jesus.

I. DEMAS'S HISTORY AND DEMAS'S FALL. Men live after they are dead, I do not mean merely that they live in another world after they are dead, but that, in a sense, alter they are dead they live here — some in their good works, and others in their bad. Many a man would never have been heard of in this world at all but for his crimes. His crimes are the salt, wherewith his memory is salted; he lives in them. But for them he had passed a happy life, obscure, no doubt, but happy; and when he died had gone down to his grave unnoticed and unknown. Now that is not the case of Demas. The truth is, if this Second Epistle to Timothy had never been written, or if it had pleased God to have let this Second Epistle to Timothy perish, like some other writings of the apostles, perhaps you might have called this church after Demas; Demas might have had his name in the calendar of saints. This man fell from a height which few of us have reached or ever will reach, and all the more impressive, therefore, is the story of his fall. He was indeed a fallen star! The reverse of Paul, who fell a persecutor and rose an apostle, this man was an apostle, but is an apostate now; he was a professor, but he is a renegade now; he was a brave soldier of the cross, but he is a base deserter and traitor now, having deserted and abandoned all for which a man should live. What a fall was there! Scripture drops the curtain on Demas just where we see him here, like a dishonoured knight from whose heels the spurs he has won have been hacked — just where we see him as a soldier who, his facings plucked from his breast, is dismissed as a deserter. No other word in Scripture about Demas after that; the curtain drops, and he vanishes. But let tradition lift her curtain, and if she speaks the truth — and there is no reason to doubt her story — it happened that Demas, as I could have prophesied, or you or any one else — went from bad to worse, down and down, and lower still, from one depth of infamy to another, till in the last sight we get of Demas, there he is yonder, a priest in a heathen temple, offering sacrifices to dead stocks and stones! Unhappy, miserable man, whether he died, as he might have died, with a recollection of better days, stung with remorse, howling in despair, or whether he died defiant of Christ, like Julian the royal apostate, who, when vanquished by the Christian hosts, caught the sword from his mortal wound, and tossed it up to heaven, and cried, expiring in the effort, "The Nazarene has conquered!" Unhappy man, whether he died one way or the other!

II. WHAT MADE DEMAS FALL? what brought him down from his high position? Sailing once on a Highland loch where the crags went sheer down into the water, the boatman called my attention to a very remarkable fragment of rock. There it stood, tilted up on its narrow edge, threatening destruction to every one below it, and to all appearance ready, at the touch of an infant's finger, to leap with a sudden plunge into the depths below. What had tilted that enormous table into that upright position? No arms of brawny shepherds had set it there; no earthquake, rolling along the mountains and turning it upward, as earthquakes sometimes do, had turned it, nor had lightning, leaping from a cleft on the mountain's summit, struck it, split it, shivered it, or raised it on its narrow edge. The task belonged to a much quieter and less obtrusive agent than these. Borne on the wings of the tempest, or dropped by some passing bird, a seed fell into a crevice of the rock; sleeping the winter through, but finding there a shelter and a congenial soil, it sprang with the spring, fed by rains and by dews it grew, and put up its head and spread out its branches, and struck deep its roots, worming them deep into the crannies of the rock, and wrapping it round and round. That table, as they grew, and thickened, and strengthened, was slowly and silently raised and separated from its bed, and then one clay there came a storm roaring down the glen, and seizing the tree, whose leafy branches caught the wind like sails, turned that tree into a lever, and working upon the rock, raised it and set it where I saw it just on the edge of the dizzy crag, and there it stood, waiting till another storm should come to hurl it over into the mossy waters of that wild mountain lake. Whether that stone has fallen yet I do not know, but it will fall; and just as that shall fall, so fell Demas; so many have fallen, and so you and I, but for preserving grace, would fall too. Do not mistake the Bible. The Bible does not say a word against the world. It is not the world, it is not riches, it is not fame, it is not honour, it is not the innocent enjoyment of the world that the Bible condemns; it is the love of the world. Beware of that! Let it once enter, let it get lodgment in your heart, though it is simply a tiny seed, let it grow there, let it be fed by indulgence, let it strike its roots, let it worm them into the crevices and crannies of your heart, and it will do this so silently that you will never suspect it, and you will never know it, and others will never know it, till one day the storm shall come. What was it that brought on Demas's fall? Why was it that persecution destroyed Demas? Why, because persecution acted on Demas just as the storm did on the tree that got its seed into the rock. But that that tree had its seed and its roots round about that rock, the rock had defied all tempests, though they blew their worst; and Demas — persecution might have made him a beggar, persecution might have cast him into the deepest dungeon Rome had, persecution might have brought him to the scaffold, but if Demas had never loved the world, all that persecution had done would have been to destroy his wealth, to destroy his health, and to destroy his life, but it had never destroyed him; and on that day when Paul stood with his grey head before a mighty crowd coming to see him die, Demas had stood at his side; they bad stood together in the battle-field, they had stood together in the pulpit, they had stood together before Jews and heathens, and that day had they stood together again; one chain of love, as of iron, binding them still, they had fought together and they had fallen together, their heads had rolled on the same scaffold, one chariot had borne these brothers to the grave, and over their mangled remains, carried by devout men to burial, a weeping church had raised one monument, and I will tell you what she would have put on it; copying the words of David she might have said, "They were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided." Alas! I have an epitaph for Demas, taken from the same touching lament, but consisting of other words — "How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!" Such is the epitaph of Demas! He was laid in an apostate's grave, and, not excepting a drunkard's, there is no grave the grass grows on so hopeless as the apostate's. Lessons:

1. "Put not your trust in princes," says David. "Put not your trust in preachers," says Demas. A blazing star quenched in darkness, oh! how does Demas teach them that stand high to walk humbly, and them that are high-placed not to be high-minded. It is well to carry a low sail, even when the wind blows strong.

2. Have you a pious father or mother, a pious wife or children, pious brothers or sisters — are you a servant in a pious family, or are your friends pious and your associations good? Ah! how does this teach you not to count too much on man! Why, there is Demas; what is your society to his? Demas lived in the holiest society out of heaven; Demas was the bosom friend and associate of one of the holiest, and I will say of one, in point of soul, of the noblest and loftiest men that ever lived — the Apostle Paul. There is no man in this house so little likely to be engrossed with the business, to be entangled with the cares, to be fascinated with the pleasures of this world, as was that man Demas; and yet he fell; he fell, and if he fell, who of us is to stand? Oh! how does his history sound in my ear like that old prophet's voice, "Howl, fir-tree, for the cedar is fallen!"

3. Ah, what a lesson is this for you and me, and all those who live under the best religious influences, for us to take care that we do not reckon upon them, but that we watch and pray lest we enter into temptation. The world's smiles are more to be dreaded than its frowns; its sordid sophistry, than its sharpest sword. Let the love of the world get into a man's heart, and there is no pleader, no counsel, no man that ever made the worse appear the better, so successful as that is; for the world has a tongue to convince the man who has the love of it, that virtue is vice, and vice is virtue.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

He reminds us of the piteous spectacle of a man emerging from the watery element in which he has been plunged, and for a moment gaining a footing upon the shore, but caught by the retiring wave, or losing his hold, he is once more carried into deep water with the danger of being finally engulfed in the waves, unless by another strenuous effort he should regain the shore and reach a standing above the power of the surge.

(J. Leifchild, D. D.)

Having loved this present world
Love of the world — love of the world's opinions, and the world's habits, and the world's tastes, and the world's privileges, and the world's dispositions, for their own sakes, diminish faith, by bringing us more into contact with visible things. It is the privilege of faith to gaze upon the invisible, to behold and to lay hold of those things which the natural eye sees not, which the natural intellect comprehends not, and which the natural powers cannot grasp. But if the love of the world constrains me to grovel in the dust, to be busied and exercised and made careful over much with the things that are seen, soon may the far-scanning sight of faith be impaired and enfeebled, till at length it scarcely deserves the name, and brings not the comfort and imparts not the joy. Do we not know that the natural eye, when engaged upon minute visible objects which have to be brought near to it, accommodates itself to the distance; and the strong and healthful eye at length becomes short-sighted, and cannot gaze upon the distant prospect in its brightness, and looks confusedly on the landscape that woos admiration? And so it is with the spiritual perception. Let me be em ployed in the minute things of this world — the poor trifles after which the men of this world toil — and I may look upwards in vain; the spiritual sun may be shining upon me, in its meridian splendour, but my sight may be so dimmed, that with my purblind spirituality I shall be forced to look up and say — Where is it? The love of the world also diminishes our hope; because it induces us to seek, and in a certain sense enables us to find, satisfaction in present enjoyment. The young heart gazes upon the world and upon its enticements, and is it not constrained to say — "How delightful — how attractive"? And the grey-headed worldling, who has luxuriated in worldly enjoyments, has no range of hope beyond that which the little limited circle of his present existence gives him. Let me be content with present enjoyment — let me be content with worldly success — let me be satisfied with all I can perceive while passing as a traveller rapidly through this world, and I apprehend I should not be over-much anxious to build up a "hope" that is "full of immortality"; I should be inclined to say — "I want no better heaven, I do not wish for anything beyond this, I do not desire to hope for more." How it becomes us to entreat you, with all earnestness and affection, to beware of a Christian profession which does not separate you from the world! Nothing is more delusive than to become acquainted with the letter of God's Word, to feel desires after the experience of its comfort, to make a Christian profession, to join Christian assemblies, to mingle in Christian ordinances, and yet to be still numbered with those who say to the world by their conduct — "Thou art my God!" But if you find your profession has been genuine — if you have "tasted that the Lord is gracious" — beware of the first symptoms of decline.

(G. Fisk, LL. B.)

Judge in thyself, O Christian! is it meet

To set thine heart on what beasts set their feet?

'Tis no hyperbole, if you be told,

You delve for dross with mattocks made of gold.

Affections are too costly to bestow

Upon the fair-faced nothings here below:

The eagle scorns to fall down from on high,

The proverb saith, to pounce a silly fly;

And can a Christian leave the face of God

T' embrace the earth, and dost upon a clod!

(John Flavel.)

In Brazil there grows a common plant, which forest dwellers call the matador, or "murderer." Its slender stem creeps at first along the ground; but no sooner does it meet a vigorous tree than, with clinging grasp, it cleaves to it, and climbs it, and, as it climbs, keeps at short intervals sending out arm-like tendrils that embrace the tree. As the murderer ascends, these ligatures grow larger and clasp tighter. Up, up, it climbs a hundred feet, nay, two hundred if need be, until the last loftiest spire is gained and fettered. Then, as if in triumph, the parasite shoots a huge, flowery head above the strangled summit, and thence, from the dead tree's crown, scatters its seed to do again the work of death. Even thus worldliness has strangled more Churches than ever persecution broke.

(S. Coley.)

As you love your souls, beware of the world; it has slain its thousands and ten thousands. What ruined Lot's wife? — the world. What ruined Achan? — the world. What ruined Haman? — the world. What ruined Judas? — the world. What ruined Simon Magnus? — the world. What ruined Demas? — the world. And "what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

In the mirage of the desert, objects are said to become strangely distorted — a mud-bank exhibiting the appearance of a magnificent city with domes and towers, a few stunted bushes are transformed into a forest of stately trees. Is not the world with its hollow, fading distinctions thus transformed in our idle, foolish fancy? We attach an importance to its treasures, praise, ambitions, pleasures, utterly false and exaggerated.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

Centuries ago it was dangerous for any one to live on the border-land between England and Scotland. Let us take care not to dwell on the border-land between Christ and the world.

Let the declining Christian strive against the deteriorating and retrograding tendency to worldliness. Let him exercise his faith in strong realisations of celestial things, which alone are able to counteract the debasing impressions of terrestrial ones. Let him accustom himself to look upon all things here in the light of eternity. The fascinations of the world will then appear to him as a brilliant bubble, which will soon burst, and its troubles but as a dark vapour that appeareth but for a little while and then vanisheth away. For his warning, let him contemplate the fearful catastrophe threatened to those who draw back from God to the world. He has only to open his eyes to see in what numerous instances this passage of Scripture has been verified: "They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare," etc., resembling covetous merchants, who overload their vessel with a freight which impedes its course and endangers its safety. What a fatal shipwreck of faith and a good conscience have many suffered from this cause: and who can tell whither it may carry him who surrenders himself to its influence? Upon the principle of a relapse being more difficult to cure than the original disease, let him be doubly on his guard against this tendency.

(J. Leifchild, D. D.)

Crescens to Galatia
1. Good men will be doing good wherever they are. Paul was now a prisoner, yet he preached constantly in prison, and there converted Onesimus (Philemon 1:9).

2. Though some may forsake us and the truth, yet God hath others that are faithful. What if Demas be gone, yet Crescens, Titus, Timothy, Mark, and Luke abide constant; no storms nor tempests can beat them off; if Saul oppose David, yet Jonathan will stick to him.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

Only Luke is with me

1. There was the power of friendship. From the earlier references to Demas, we may conclude that he had been associated with the apostle in companionship in trial and labour. Intimacy and affection were motives to stay with him.

2. There was the sense of chivalry. However Demas might be tempted to go, a noble spirit would have said, Not now, when it is a time of comparative loneliness, need, and danger.

3. Interest in the faith. From his former relationship with St. Paul we must assume knowledge and admiration for the faith. He had seen Christianity, accepted it, and had been privileged to witness its power in the personal piety and devotedness of St. Paul.


1. The world's temptation of Demas was probably not through her seductive glitter of pleasure and pomp, but through her frowns. The apostle was under a cloud. Few seem willing to take him by the hand. Notice how joyously he recognises the courageous kindness of Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:16, 17).

2. Perhaps we may hazard a conjecture respecting the character of Demas. May he not have been one of those whose religious life is just strong enough, or rather weak enough, to live in a religious atmosphere, but utterly unable to live when unsupported by Christian society?

3. The way in which such a character would desert. Not openly, but by degrees. Excuses to omit dangerous duties, and even at the last perhaps only leave St. Paul on some plausible pretext to go to Thessalonica. The old apostle saw through it: "Having loved this present world."


1. While Demas at Thessalonica, St. Luke at Rome. His helpfulness to St. Paul. The knowledge of the physician, with its frequently induced sympathetic power and insight. The spiritual refreshment of a brotherly heart. Demas lives the life of him who seeks to save life, but loses it in all its nobility and opportunities of doing kindness. Luke is ready to lose life, but saves its true vitality.

2. For the retrospect of Christendom tells us that St. Luke in his devotedness has saved his life, while Demas has lost it. The latter is a beacon-warning; the former a guiding light, a name in the Church — loved where Christ is loved, honoured where the apostle is honoured, for constancy, kindliness, and intrepid faith.Learn therefore that —

1. Chivalry is not strong enough against the world-spirit.

2. A religion which is only dependent on the personal influence of others will prove faulty in the time of trial.

3. Thus only the inner strength supplied by Christ can keep us strong; not Paul, not Apollos, not the wisdom of men, but Christ. For the difference between St. Luke and Demas was not in outward circumstances. They were equally tried. It is Christ in us which is the hope of glory, a glory the earnest of which is seen in the scorn of earth and the triumph of faith over her frown or her smile.

(W. B. Carpenter, M. A.)

We know but very little, historically, of St. Luke. His birthplace appears to have been Antioch, the metropolis of Syria, and, from his profession as a physician, we conclude him to have been, as indeed his writings prove him, a man of liberal education. Antioch was distinguished as the seat of literature; and St. Luke had probably availed himself of the advantages presented by his native place. We have no information in regard to the calling and conversion of St. Luke, and of his becoming a physician of the soul as well as the body. Many suppose him to have been converted by St. Paul at Antioch, and so to have had no acquaintance with Christianity until after the death of its Founder. Others again maintain that Luke was one of the seventy disciples whom Jesus sent forth to publish the gospel. However this may have been, it is in connection with St. Paul that St. Luke is first mentioned in the New Testament. From Acts 16. to 28, we learn that he accompanied St. Paul in many of his labours and journeyings, and was with him at Rome daring his two years' imprisonment. We are wholly without authentic information as to the after life of St. Luke. Various spheres of labour are assigned to him by various writers, and much obscurity rests on the time, place, and manner of his death. The most ancient authors, however, say nothing of his martyrdom; and this would seem to show that he died a natural death; though others, indeed, allege that he went out of life stretched on an olive tree. But whilst so little material is furnished by the biographers of St. Luke, we are in possession of his writings, and by these "he, being dead, yet speaketh." There has never been debate in the Church that the Gospel which bears his name, and the Acts of the Apostles, were written by St. Luke. These were his legacies to all after ages, and for these must he be held in honour so long as there is any love for the gospel. And with these writings in our hands, who that has any sense of the worth of revelation will hesitate to describe St. Luke as "a brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches"? Or who, like St. Paul, if he had no other companion, would not feel that, in having this evangelist, he had books on which to draw that he could never exhaust, and which would continually furnish him with spiritual information, so that he could never be in loneliness, never at a loss for guidance and instruction, even though he should have to say with the apostle in our text — "Only Luke is with me." And what we venture to assert is, that the history which he has produced outweighs, in value to ourselves, either of the other three which the New Testament contains. We venture to affirm that, if only one Gospel is to be preserved, that that Gospel should be the Gospel according to St. Luke. The debate must lie between the Gospels of St. Luke and St. Matthew; for neither in the Gospel of St. Mark, nor in that of St. John is any account given of the parentage and birth of Jesus Christ; so that, with no other document in our hands, we should be uninformed upon facts which lay at the very root and foundation of Christianity. We should have no proof of the fulfilment of prophecies declaratory that Christ should be born of a virgin, without taint of original sin; and we could therefore make no way in building up the fabric of our most holy faith. You will admit, then, that if only one Gospel be retained, it must be that of St. Matthew or St. Luke, inasmuch as these contain what is wanting in the others, the account of Christ's miraculous nativity, and this account is indispensable to our knowledge of redemption; but if we are to choose between the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke, the far fuller manner in which St. Luke gives the circumstances of the birth of our Saviour might of itself determine upon which to decide for the history. And when you add to this that St. Luke is the evangelist who has preserved for us the parables and incidents most adapted to our case, and most comforting to our feelings, and that from his writings we draw a prayer which is the very epitome of petitions, "God be merciful to me, a sinner"; that it is he who draws for us that most affecting of pictures, the picture of the father's rushing to meet the prodigal son whilst yet a great way off, folding him in his arms, and giving him his embrace; that in the pages, moreover, of this evangelist it is that we behold the good Samaritan pouring oil and wine into the wounds of the sufferers; that we are warned by the sudden summons to the rich fool, who, within a hair's breadth of death, talked of building larger barns; by the torments of Dives, who exchanged the luxuries of a palace for the plagues of hell; that we are comforted by Christ's gracious words to the thief on the cross; — ay, if it be thus true that we turn to the Gospel of St. Luke for whatever is most exquisitely tender, most persuasive, most encouraging, most startling in the registered actions and sayings of the Saviour, then it is not to be doubted that our chief debt of gratitude is due to this evangelist; that if we had lost all the others — Cresceus unto Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia, Matthew, Mark, and John having departed from this present world — it might still be with the tone of those who felt they had kept the one from whom most might be learned, that we took up the language of our text and exclaimed with St. Paul, "Only Luke is with me." We now turn to look at the Acts of the Apostles, a work which stands quite by itself, and whose worth, therefore, cannot be measured by comparing it with others. If we had not this book we should have no inspired record whatever of the actions and sayings of the first preachers of Christianity, and consequently its value must be estimated by the injury which would be occasioned by the total want of such a record. The removal of the Acts from the New Testament would be altogether a different thing from the removal of one of the Gospels; in the latter case the deficiency would be at least partially supplied by the remaining writings, whereas in the former there would be left no document to which we could refer. The book of the Acts is to the Holy Spirit what the Gospels are to the Saviour — a record of His entering on His office, and fulfilling His great work in the scheme of human redemption. And can we dispense with one record any more than with the other? Is it not indispensable to the completeness of the evidences of Christianity — the showing how each Person in the ever-blessed Trinity has interposed on our behalf — that we should be able to point to apostles and to apostolic men, receiving supernatural gifts, and going forth with a more than human strength to a warfare with principalities and powers? It is one thing to prove a work valuable, and another to show that its loss would be fatal. It is this that we endeavour to do, by exhibiting the Acts as the Gospel of the Holy Ghost, and as the record of transactions which involve the interest and the permanence of the whole Gentile Church. And when we have shown you that without this book you would be left ignorant of the coming of the Comforter; that you would know nothing of the manifestations by which the seal of Divinity was finally set on Christianity — yea, be unacquainted with redemption as the joint work of the three Persons in the Godhead; and when we have further shown you that, take away this book, and you take away all the register of God's ordering the removal of the middle wall of partition, so that the Gentiles might be received without submitting themselves to the institutions of Moses, and we think we have shown enough to convince you that you owe St. Luke, at least, as much for his Acts of the Apostles as for his Gospel; and, therefore, we again say — Crescens might have departed to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia, and you might be left alone in a prison, almost without associates, almost without books; but could you be lonely? could you be forced to speak as if deprived of high companionship and intercourse with those in whom a Christian has the deepest interest, and access to the best stores of comfort and of knowledge, if you could say of yourself, as St. Paul says in our text — "Only Luke is with me"?

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Most of that which goes by the name of friendship is as rootless as an aquatic plant that turns its broad leaves and flowers to the summer's sun. Men desecrate the holy name of friendship by applying it to alliances, conferences, and leagues. But true friendship is one of the sweetest and best of earthly things, if, indeed, it can be called earthly. Friendship is the best developed fruit of love. It is the escape for the pent-up soul. Friends can do for each other what modesty forbids them to do for themselves. They can keep down each other's vanity, and keep up each other's courage. Friendship has the physician's skill, the nurse's vigilance, the mother's devotion. How may we procure this blessed boon? Friendship cannot be created by the jugglery of oaths and grasped hands. True friendship ought to be grounded in the love of God; it ought to be well chosen, cemented by nature and religion, developed by time, tested by adversity, consecrated by associations. Let such friendship be held at high value. Let no trivial thing imperil it. Let it be cherished by confidence unstinted, by demonstrations of affection, by sincerity and truth, by faith and trust, by mutual forbearance and sacrifice. Such friendship will be an oasis in the arid waste of selfishness, and it will be an anticipation for the life to come.

(R. S. Barrett.)

That St. Paul should be drawn to St. Luke is no wonder, for there must have been great similarity in their tastes, both being men of highly cultivated minds; but that St. Luke should throw in his lot with St. Paul, the homeless, persecuted man, who was an outcast from his own people, and who went in constant danger of his life — this betokens a strength of mind such as is met with but rarely, and a friendship of no ordinary kind. And we can hardly guess at the value to St. Paul of the friendship of such a man as St. Luke, even if we take it on the low standard of the value of services which he would be able to render to the Apostle. Being an educated man, he would be able to assist in many ways; for instance, as his amanuensis, and as being more competent than others to deal with the more cultivated heathen with whom they were brought in contact. But all this would be as nothing compared with the common bond which would knit their souls together, their love for their risen Lord. The world can show us friendship, and that, too, of a high order; it has done so in past history; it can do so, no doubt. even now. Similarity of tastes, the pursuit of a common object, the necessities of daily life, may draw men very closely together, and make them friends in the sense in which the world uses the term. But there is a deeper sense than that; for Christianity has done the same for friendship as it has for whatever else it has touched — it has raised and it has sanctified it. St. Paul and St. Luke were not only friends, but each had a common friend in the Lord Jesus. In Christ Jesus they were knit together by a bond stronger than any which the world could forge, and the secret of St. Luke's devotion to St. Paul was not only community of taste and feeling, but the love of God which was shed abroad in their hearts through Jesus Christ their common Lord and Master. We often hear people speak of others as their friends, or of themselves as being the friends of others; but it would be well if we thought a little more about what a friend might, or what a friend ought to be, before we allowed ourselves to use the word. How can there be true friendship between the Christian and the man of the world? How can there be true friendship between those whose deepest and purest feelings are not in accord?

(W. G. Abbott, M. A.)

To account for his being alone with Paul at that solemn and trying time we do not need to charge unfaithfulness upon all who had been Paul's companions during his confinement in Rome. Did Paul keep Luke there, perhaps, because he needed his professional care in his old age, after so many toils and hardships and exposures by land and by sea? Did Luke refuse to leave him because his watchful eye saw that Paul needed his professional care more than Paul knew or would willingly acknowledge? Had he the tact to conceal this professional solicitude under the equally true desire to enjoy Paul's company and instruction, and to fill his own mind and memorandum-book with those memories which the Holy Spirit was moving him to write to "most excellent Theophilus" and to us? If I might not be a minister of the gospel, a pastor taking care of souls, I know not what else I would rather be than a physician, skilled to minister at bedsides and in chambers of the sick, worthy to be looked to by anxious households when the chill shadow of death makes them shudder, worthy to be trusted as a sentry by a community when the "pestilence walketh in darkness." The highest skill in medicine is not all that such a trusted and beloved physician must have; or, rather, skill in a physician includes much more than knowledge of anatomy and physiology and the materia mediea. It includes high acquaintance with the human soul in its peculiar powers and in their relations to the body. It involves not merely knowledge of the body, as a thing which it has dissected, a machine whose parts it has taken asunder and handled. It involves reverence for that body as the supreme handiwork of Jehovah, whose infinite skill and care are illustrated in all its joints and members, all its parts and organs, all its processes and powers. It involves tender appreciation of all the liabilities and capabilities of such a soul in such a body. It involves genuine sympathy with sufferers, suffusing and beautifying, not enfeebling nor hindering the business of relieving, making it not less effective and successful business because clothed upon with graces which present it ever as intercourse, conversation, fellowship.

(H. A. Nelson, D. D.)

A faithful friend will not forsake us in our deepest distress. A faithful friend — and such a one was Luke — loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17). Though Paul be a prisoner and ready to be martyred, yet Luke keeps with him still; though all forsake him, yet he will stick to him. Pot-friendship will vanish, especially in adversity. Job (Job 6:15) complains of his friends that they had deceived him like a brook; they were not like a river which is fed by a spring and hath a perennity of flowing, but like a brook which runs in moist times when there is least need of it, but in a drought it fails; like swallows which fly about us in summer, but in winter they leave us and hide themselves in hollow trees or the like. Such vermin abound which run to full barns, but outrun them when empty. Most worship the rising, few the setting sun.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

Take Mark, and bring him with thee
(see Acts 15:36-39): —

I. THE SHARP QUARREL BETWEEN PAUL AND BARNABAS. They were both good men, both men of cultivated spirit and of fine Christian character, and yet they got into a violent passion about a matter that one would think might have been easily arranged if discussed forbearingly and wisely. The only wise thing about the whole matter was the separation. It is far better for Christian people who cannot work comfortably together to separate than to keep up an endless bickering, or a dull, sulky anger which only reveals the smouldering fire that sooner or later is sure to burst forth.

1. The most godly men are still liable to sharp and sudden falls.

2. Those who are engaged in the same work may have antagonistic views on matters of prudence.

II. THE TWO DIFFERENT STAGES OF MARK'S LIFE. Sometimes a poor-looking material works out better than we expected. The unpromising youth often surprises us by very superior development in after years. Soldiers who have quailed before the first fire of their first battle have distinguished themselves as brave men in after years. There is really nothing more common than this contradiction of all early promises, both for good and bad, which daily life brings to us. Life and character have so many sharp turnings that you can never calculate what direction they shall ultimately take. This was the case with John Mark. In the former of these passages he is brought before us as a young man. The opinion Paul had of him then was a very contemptible one. He had set his hand to the plough, and looked back. Seventeen years after Paul is in prison at Rome, and writes thence this letter to Timothy. And in it comes this honourable and affectionate mention of the very man who seventeen years before he had held at so cheap a rate, "Take Mark, and bring him with thee, for he is profitable to me for the ministry." A bright midday to a very unpromising morning! We are constrained to suspect, after all, that, though Paul had prudence and justice on his side, on that former occasion, yet Barnabas had the finer intuition when he kept his faith in his nephew, notwithstanding his disgraceful delinquency. After-events certainly proved that the unpromising youth had in him the making of a strong man. How much of Mark's after strength was due, on the one hand, to the paternal faith and protection of Barnabas, and, on the other hand, to the tonic administered to him by Paul's contemptuous refusal, we cannot say. Probably both had a good effect. The scornful glance with which a brave man looks on a delinquent, by inflaming his self-respect, may, while it mortifies his soul, impel him to bolder things. And, on the other hand, to feel that though we have miserably failed, there is one heart that still believes in our capacity, and one hand that never loses its grasp of ours, is heaven's good angel to our life. Many a coward life. has been made brave by that ministering angel. Many a one-time sinner has been made a saint by the faithfulness with which one hand has continued to hold his in confident love, and not seldom that hand has been the soft hand of a brave and trusting woman. Stick to the coward a little longer, and you may, by God's grace, make a brave man of him yet! Stick to the sinner a little longer, and you may yet write his name in the roll of the saints!

(E. H. Higgins.)

There was formerly a sharp contention between Paul and Barnabas about this Mark, who for fear forsook Paul and left him in Pamphilia (Acts 13:13; Acts 15:37-39), which made Paul that he would not suffer him to visit the brethren. Superiors in gifts and grace may sometimes have need of the help of inferiors. A Paul may send for u Mark to help him.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

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