The Apostle is prosecuting the Subject of his Advice to Timothy; in this Chapter. He exhorts, that Prayers be made, that Women be adorned with plain Apparel. He closeth with a sweet Promise.
(1) В¶ I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
We shall do well to observe, what the Holy Ghost hath here commanded by Paul, on the subject of prayer. It is for all men. By which we learn, what is here meant, by praying for all, in this indiscriminate manner. The passage indeed explains itself: that we may lead a quiet, and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty. It is simply for temporal things, similar to what God commanded the Prophet on the subject of prayer, when the Church was going into captivity. Seek the peace of the city, (saith the Lord), whither I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. Jeremiah 29:7. And the close of this paragraph, becomes a further confirmation. For this is good, and acceptable, in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of truth. What saving is this, which God our Savior is said, that he would have all men to have? Not salvation surely. For if so, how comes it to pass, that all are not saved; or that any is lost. The loss of a single soul, if this were the sense of the passage, would prove, that what God willed, came not to pass. And this would throw down all God's divine attributes. But, if the words be interpreted by what went before, in allusion to temporal safety; then it follows, that our prayers for all men, while having an eye only to their temporal prosperity, are in perfect agreement, with all men having temporal safety in Christ: and which Christ, as the Maker, and Upholder of all things, is the sole cause of. See 1 Timothy 4:10 and Commentary.
Reader! I take occasion from this passage, to offer a short observation on prayer, which I conceive to be of no small importance, to regard, in our spiritual life. I mean, in always confining our petitions in prayer for spiritual blessings, to the Church; in conformity to the pattern of Christ. I pray not for the world, (said Jesus), but for them which thou hast given me. John 17:9. It is certainly most suitable, and becoming in the Church, and every individual of the Church, to follow Christ's example in this, as well as upon every other occasion which is imitable. As we know not who are, or who are not, the members of Christ's body, in numberless cases, we cannot often speak of persons as Jesus did; yet, we shall still follow the Lord's steps in this particular in prayer, if we always qualify our petitions for spiritual blessings for any, with subjoining: If it be the Lord's holy will and pleasure. A child if God, when seeking grace for his family, for his little ones, and bringing them to ordinances with this view, to present them before the Lord, for his blessing; will not err, as long as he asketh, all he asketh for them, with this gratifying clause: If it he thy holy will. It was thus the people brought their sick and diseased to the Lord Jesus, in the days of his flesh; beseeching him that they might only t ouch the hem of his garment. Mark 6:55-56. And if we do the same now, in the day of Christ's power; here we ought to rest. And, if the Lord gives a spirit of prayer for them; it is a blessed hope, that the Lord will answer it in mercy. Further we cannot presume, neither to be wise above what is written, or to dictate to the Lord of his doings.
(5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (6) Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (7) Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
Every portion in these verses is important, and merits our special attention. When Paul here speaks of One God, in allusion to the unity of his divine nature, and essence, he evidently is speaking of that unity, as manifested to the Church, in the Covenant transactions of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; by way of showing the unity of design, in all the grace shown the Church, from the Holy Three, in One. And hence, having declared this oneness in God, both in his nature, and purposes; the Apostle immediately adds: and one Mediator between God and men; the Man Christ Jesus. I admire the Apostle's manner of expression, on this subject. He first sets down the unity, both of the essence, and of the grace, in relation to Covenant-settlements in the divine nature, as existing in a plurality of Persons: One in nature, and one in design. He then introduceth Him, by whose mediation alone, (for he expressly calls him One Mediator, because, in fact, there could be no other:) the purposes of this Covenant, could only be transacted. And, while the very nature of his Office implied his Godhead; the Apostle no less, took care to express his manhood; and therefore, calls him the Man Christ Jesus. As both the Person of Christ, and the office of Christ, as Mediator, are points of infinite consequence, for the Reader to have a clear apprehension concerning, he will not be displeased, if I consider the subject somewhat more particularly.
The very idea of mediation, carries with it the conviction, that some breach must have existed, between two, or more parties, which, before this quarrel, had been in amity with each other. Such was the case between God and man, when Christ came forth, under this character, of Mediator. When at creation, Adam was first formed, we are told, that God saw everything which he had made, and behold it was very good. Genesis 1:31. Consequently, there was perfect harmony at that time, between God and man. But, when Adam fell by transgression, a deadly breach took place. And Christ, as God and man in one Person, could be the only Mediator, to make it up. How Christ accomplished it, is not in this place so much dwelt upon, for this is fully set forth in other parts of scripture. But the Apostle is here chiefly adverting to his Person, and his office, as Mediator. A few words on each, will serve, under the Lord's teaching, to set the matter in a clear light. The Lord graciously instruct both Writer and Reader.
A Mediator, to bring about a reconciliation between parties so dissimilar, as an holy God, and unholy man; must be supposed, in the very nature of things, to possess abilities of a very peculiar kind, and such as but for the wonderful, and mysterious union, of God and man in one Person, never could have been found. He, that undertook to make up the awful breach, which sin had made, between God and man; must know, what was suitable to the dignity of God to receive; and what corresponded to the nature of man to offer. And, as in the latter instance, it was evident in the first face of things, that man had nothing in himself to offer, but by a substitute, which Christ in his human nature could only accomplish: so in the former, none but God, who knew what sin is, and what became suitable for God to receive, could form any one conception whatever, of the plan, by which peace might be obtained; and, therefore, Christ in his divine nature, could only be competent, both to the knowledge, and to the accomplishment. And such, therefore, is Christ: God and Man in one Person. And, of all subjects upon earth, as connected with our redemption, this is the most blessed, and consolatory. He, that undertook to mediate peace by the blood of his cross: and He alone, by partaking of both natures, God and man, became, what Job so ardently longed to behold, a proper Days-man, as the Patriarch called him, that could lay his hand upon both parties. Job 9:33. He, and He alone, the man God's fellow, as God himself called him, became the only One, competent to the arduous work. Zechariah 13:7. And oh! what grace, love, mercy, tenderness, wisdom, and compassion, are all manifested, in the high undertaking?
In this office of mediation, it behoveth him, who acted in this high character of Mediator, to do justice to God; and yet, to do it in such a way, and manner, as should be not ruinous to man. And this, the Lord Jesus accomplished, in becoming the sinner's Surety; whereby, in his obedience and death, he did more to glorify God, than could have been done by the punishment of man, to all eternity. Hence, his Godhead not only furnished ability, for the performance of both, but stamped upon both an infinite value, which more than recompensed the injury done by man; and procured a redundancy of merit, for the everlasting happiness of man in the favor of God, which an whole eternity can never fully repay. And herein lay the blessedness of Christ, as God-man-Mediator, the only possible One suited to the office. For had Christ not been God, the merit of his obedience could not have satisfied. In this case, there would not have been an Almightiness of power in him, to raise our nature from the ruins of the fall; neither, to have conquered sin and Satan, death and hell, by his personal victories; in the triumphs over which, our salvation was everlastingly concerned. And had Christ not been man, his obedience would not have been the obedience the law required; neither could he have made his soul an offering for sin. But now, by the union of both, in one Person, he hath manifested himself to have been the One, and the only One, all-sufficient, and all-glorious Mediator between God and man; the man Christ Jesus. Hebrews 2:14
Let the Reader next attend to what is said, of his giving himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time. A wonderful expression! Gave himself. Not any costly offering; not gifts of gold, nor all the spices of the East: Not thousands of rams, nor ten thousands of rivers of oil. But himself. The Holy Ghost lays great stress upon this precious word, him and himself: See Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3 : See Commentary. A ransom for all. Who are meant by all? Not surely all mankind. For in that case, all that is said of his elect Church, would be an unnecessary distinction. Besides, if all mankind are included in this ransom; then all must he everlastingly saved: and the final destruction of the ungodly, which scripture asserts, cannot take place. But the all for whom Christ gave himself a ransom, is explained in the latter part of the verse; those who are testified of in due time: that is, in whom God the Spirit regenerates, and witnesseth to their spirits, that they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14-16. Our Lord himself, when speaking of the subject of his giving himself a ransom, declares that it is for many; which is to the same purport. See Matthew 20:28. And Paul takes up the same subject as his divine Master, through the whole of his preaching, when declaring himself an Apostle for this purpose, to be a teacher of the Gentiles, on those great points in faith and verity.
(8) I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. (9) В¶ In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; (10) But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. (11) Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. (12) But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. (13) For Adam was first formed, then Eve. (14) And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (15) Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
I do not think it necessary to swell our pages by a Comment on what is so plain as to need none. I will only, therefore, detain the Reader to observe, on the latter part of this paragraph, a word or two, in relation to what is said of our first Parents. The question is, did the Holy Ghost, by Paul, mean to throw the whole blame upon the woman, being deceived; when it is said, Adam was not deceived? I confess I dare not speak decidedly upon it. But yet, I rather think, the man was the greater transgressor of the two. The Woman was deceived by the subtlety of the Serpent. But Adam was not deceived, the Holy Ghost saith. And, as he sinned against light and knowledge; and chose to be involved with his wife in the ruin, rather than obey God; it should seem, that he was the most daring sinner. But, be this as it may, the sweet conclusion of promise, with which the Chapter ends, comes in to the relief of both, in a very gracious manner. She shall be saved in child-bearing; that is, not an absolute promise, that women of faith, and in the love of God, shall all be carried through the hour of nature's extremity, in the bearing of children; notwithstanding the sentence on the first woman, in the garden, for her transgression, that in sorrow she should bring forth children: Genesis 3:16. for well we know, many a gracious woman hath died in that season. But the promise seems to be of a spiritual nature. And the child-bearing here spoken of, is of Eve's seed, even Christ. In the child-bearing of Him, shall she (and all of faith in Christ like her) be saved, notwithstanding the original, and actual transgressions, of herself, and all her children. This appears to me to be the meaning of the passage. Eve herself, personally considered, could have no other interest in the promise, than in this, or somewhat a similar spiritual sense, since she herself had been dead for ages before this promise was given.
IN the opening of this Chapter, we derive authority for the use of prayer, not only for the Church, but for the world: while the precept, which enjoins prayers for all men, plainly directs, to what the subject of those prayers should lead. And, while the Church becomes a blessing, as a dew from the Lord, in the midst of many people, to keep the whole community from consuming drought; the Church derives protection, in temporal quietness, from the prosperity of the nation where it dwells.
Blessed Mediator of thy people! Every renewed view of thee, is refreshing to the soul! Lord! let it be testified in due time, to all thy blood-bought children, the infinitely precious ransom, which thou hast given of thyself, to redeem them from all iniquity. And oh! let the sweet assurance of salvation, in the child-bearing, when our great Emmanuel was born of a woman, open an everlasting source of consolation, to all his faithful seed. And if it please our God, let all the faithful daughters of thy chosen generation, while partaking in the Eve-fruit of transgression, in passing through the hour of sorrow, partake also in this sweet promise in thee; and cause them by thy Holy Spirit, to continue in faith, and charity, and holiness, with sobriety.