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6. Love of Money

1Let as many as are servants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed. 2And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but let them serve them the rather, because they that partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. These things teach and exhort. 3If any man teacheth a different doctrine, and consenteth not to sound words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4he is puffed up, knowing nothing, but doting about questionings and disputes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5wranglings of men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, supposing that godliness is a way of gain. 6But godliness with contentment is great gain: 7for we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out; 8but having food and covering we shall be therewith content. 9But they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal, whereunto thou wast called, and didst confess the good confession in the sight of many witnesses. 13I charge thee in the sight of God, who giveth life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed the good confession; 14that thou keep the commandment, without spot, without reproach, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 15which in its own times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power eternal. Amen. 17Charge them that are rich in this present world, that they be not highminded, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the life which is life indeed. 20O Timothy, guard that which is committed unto thee, turning away from the profane babblings and oppositions of the knowledge which is falsely so called; 21which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with you.

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5 Of men corrupt in understanding, and that are destitute of the truth It is certain that here he censures the sophists, who, neglecting edification, turn the word of God into trivial distinctions, and an art of ingenious discussion. If the Apostle only shewed that the doctrine of salvation is thus rendered useless, even that would be an intolerable profanation; but far heavier and fiercer is that reproof, when he says that evils so pernicious, and plagues so hurtful, spring from it. From this passage, therefore, let us learn to detest (σοφιστικὴν) sophistry as a thing more destructive to the Church of God than can easily be believed.

That godliness is gain The meaning is, that godliness is a gainful art; that is, because they measure the whole of Christianity by gain. Just as if the oracles of the Holy Spirit had been recorded with no other design than to serve the purposes of their covetousness, they traffic in it as merchandise exposed to sale.

Withdraw thyself from such. Paul forbids the servants of Christ to have any intercourse with such persons. He not only warns Timothy not to resemble them, but exhorts him to avoid them as dangerous plagues; for, although they do not openly resist the gospel, but, on the contrary, make a false profession of adhering to it, yet their society is infectious. Besides, if the multitude see that we are on familiar terms with those men, the danger is, lest they insinuate themselves under the guise of our friendship. 117117     “Il y a danger que nostre amitie ne leur serve d’une couverture pour avoir entree a abuser les gens.” — “There is danger lest our friendship serve as a disguise for obtaining access to deceive people.” We should therefore, labor to the utmost, that all may know, that so far are we from being agreed with them, that they have no communication with us. 118118     “When we hear that they who thus misrepresent the word of God make merchandise of our souls, as the Apostle Peter says (2 Peter 2:3,) and that they make traffic of us and of our salvation, without any conscience, and that they make no scruple of plunging us into hell, and even to set aside the price which was paid for our redemption, it is certain that they ruin souls, and also mock at the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we hear all this, ought we not to hold such teachers in abhorrence? Besides, experience shews us that we have good reason for attending to this warning of the Apostle Paul. For to what a pitch has religion arrived! Has it not been made like a public fair? What has it become in Popery? The Sacraments are exposed to sale, and everything else belonging to our religion has a fixed price put upon it. Not more did Judas sell the Son of God in his own person than the Pope and all that filth of his clergy have sold the graces of the Holy Spirit, and all that belonged to his office and to our salvation. When we see this, have we not good reason for being on our guard?” — Fr. Ser.




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