Page:An Exposition of the Old and New Testament (1828) vol 6.djvu/695

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689
PHILEMON.

servant in the Lord : one fit therefoi-e for the ser- vice iiitiiTiHtecl. When Paul says to Titus, Be dili- gent to come to mc to jYico/io/is, for I have deter- mined there to winter, it is plain that the epistle was not written from Nicopolis, as the postscript would have it, for then he would have said, I determined here, not there, to winter. . The other personal charge to Titus, is, that he would bring two of his friends on (heir journey dili- g-ently, and see them furnished, so that nothing should be wanting to them. This was to be done, not as a piece of common civility only, but of Chris- tian piety, out of respect both to them and the work they were sent about, which probably was to preach the gospel, or to be some way serviceable to the churches. Zenas is styled the lawyer, whether in reference to the Roman or the Mosaic law, as hav- ing some time been his profession, is doubtful. Apol- los was an eminent and faithful minister. Accom- panying such i)art of their way, and accommodating them for their work and journeys, was a pious and needful service. And to further this, and lay in for it, what the apostle had before bid Titus teach, {v. 8. ) he repeats here. I 4. And let our's also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. Let Christians, those Avho have believed in God, learn to maintain good works, especially such as these, supporting ministers in their work of preach- ing and spreading the gospel, hereby becomingyf/- low-hel/iers to the truth, 3d epistle of John, v. 6 — 8. That they be not unfruitful. Christianity is not a fruitless profession ; the professors of it must he fill- ed with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Je- sus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. It is not enough that they be harmless, but they must be pro- fitable, doing good, as well as eschewing evil. " Let our's set up and maintain some honest labour and employment, to provide for themselves and their fa- milies, that they be not unprofitable burthens on the earth ;" so some understand it. Let them not think that Christianity gives them a writ of ease ; no, it lays an obligation upon them to seeli some honest work and calling, and therein to abide with God. This is of good report, will credit religion, and be good to mankind; they will not be unprofitable members of the body, or burthensome and charge- able to others, but enabled to !)e helpful to those in want. To maintain good works for necessary uses; not living like drones on the labours of others, but themselves fruitful to the common benefit. The apostle concludes with salutations and bene- dictions. , All that are with me, salute thee Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace he with you all. Amen. Though perhaps not personally known, (some of them at least,) yet all by Paul testify their love and good wishes to Tjtus, owning him thereby in his work, and heartening him to go on therein. Great comfort and encouragement it is to have the heart and prayers of other Christians with and for us. Greet them that love us in the faith, or for the faith, who are our loving fellow-Christians. Holiness, or the image of God in any, is the great endearing thing, what gives strength to all other bonds, and is itself the best. Grace be with you all. .imen. This is the closing benediction, not to Titus alone, but to all the faithful with him : which shews, that though the epistle bears the single name of Titus in the in- scription, yet it was for the use of the churches there, and they were in the eye, and upon the heart, ot the apostle, in the writing of it. «* Grace be with you all, the love and favour of God, with the fruits and effects thereof, according to need; spiritual ones, especially, and the increase and feeling of them more and more in your souls." This is the apostle's wish and prayer, shewing his affection to them, his desire of their good, and a means of obtaining for them, and bringing down upon them, the thing re- quested. Observe, Grace is the chief thing to be wished and begged for, with respect to ourselves or others ; it is, summarily, all good, jimen shuts up the prayer, expressing desire and hope, that so it may, and so it shall be.





AN


EXPOSITION,


WITH


PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS,


OF THE


EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO PHILEMON.


Completed by Mr. J. Smith.





THIS epistle to Philemon is placed the last of those with the name of Paul to them, perhaps because the shortest, and of an argument peculiar and different from all the others ; yet such as the Spirit of God, who indited it, saw would, in its kind, be very instructive and useful in the churches. The occasion of it was this — Philemon, one of note, and probably a minister in the church of Colosse, a city of Phrygia, Vol. vi.—4 S