1 Timothy 1:5-11
5. Now, the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
5. Porro finis praecepti est charitas, ex puro corde, et conscientia bona, et fide non simulata.
6. From which some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling;
6. A quibus postquam nonnulli aberrarunt, deflexerunt ad vaniloquium,
7. Desiring to be teachers of the law understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
7. Volentes esse legis doctores, non intelligentes quae loquuntur, neque de quibus affirmant.
8. But we know that the law I good, if a man use it lawfully;
8. Scimus autem quod lex bona sit, si quis ea legitime utatur:
9. Knowing this, that the law I not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers for man-slayers,
9. Sciens illud, quod justo non sit lex posita, sed injustis et inobsequentibus, impiis et peccatoribus, irreligiosis et profanis, parricidis et matricidis, homicidis,
10. For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men -- stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
10. Scortatoribus, masculorum concubitoribus, plagiariis, mendacibus, perjuris, et si quid aliud est, quod sanae doctrinae adversatur;
11. According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
11. Secundum Evangelium gloriae beati Dei, quod concreditum est mihi.
Those unprincipled men with whom Timothy had to deal boasted of having the law on their side, in consequence of which Paul anticipates, and shews that the law gives them no support but was even opposed to them, and that it agreed perfectly with the gospel which he had taught. The defense set up by them was not unlike that which is pleaded by those who, in the present day, subject the word of God to torture. They tell us that we aim at nothing else than to destroy sacred theology, as if they alone nourished it in their bosom. They spoke of the law in such a manner as to exhibit Paul in an odious light. And what is his reply? In order to scatter those clouds of smoke, 1 he comes frankly forward, by way of anticipation, and proves that his doctrine is in perfect harmony with the law, and that the law is utterly abused by those who employ it for any other purpose. In like manner, when we now define what is meant by true theology, it is clearly evident that we desire the restoration of that which had been wretchedly torn and disfigured by those triflers who, puffed up by the empty title of theologians, are acquainted with nothing but vapid and unmeaning trifles.
But here arises a doubt, that Paul appears to prefer "love" to "faith." I reply, they who are of that opinion reason in an excessively childish manner; for, if love is first mentioned, it does not therefore hold the first rank of honor, since Paul shows also that it springs front faith. Now the cause undoubtedly goes before its effect. And if we carefully weights the whole context, what Paul says is of the same import as if he had said, "The law was given to us for this purpose, that it might instruct us in faith, which is the mother of a good conscience and of lose." Thus we must begin with faith, and not with love.
"A pure heart" and "a good conscience" do not greatly differ from each other. Both proceed from faith; for, as to a pure heart, it is said that "God purifieth hearts by faith." (Acts 15:9.) As to a good conscience, Peter declares that it is founded on the resurrection of Christ. (1 Peter 3:21.) From this passage we also learn that there is no true love where there is not fear of God and uprightness of conscience.
Nor is it unworthy of observation that to each of them he adds an epithet; 2 for, as nothing is more common, so nothing is more easy, than to boast of faith and a good conscience. But how few are there who prove by their actions that they are free from all hypocrisy! Especially it is proper to observe the epithet Which he bestows on "faith," when he calls it
"Ignorance is rash;" as he says that, "puffed up by their carnal mind, they intrude into things which they know not."
Having such adversaries, in order to restrain their haughty insolence, Paul remonstrates that the law is, as it were, the sword of God to slay them; and that neither he nor any like him have reason for viewing the law with dread or aversion; for it is not opposed to righteous persons, that is, to the godly and to those who willingly obey God. I am well aware that some learned men draw an ingenious sense. Out of these words; as if Paul were treating theologically about the nature of "the law." They argue that the law has nothing to do with the sons of God, who have been regenerated by the Spirit; because it was not given for righteous persons. But the connection in which these words occur shuts me up to the necessity of giving a more simple interpretation to this statement. He takes for granted the well -- known sentiment, that "from bad manners have sprung good laws," and maintains that the law of God was given in order to restrain the licentiousness of wicked men; because they who are good of their own accord do not need the authoritative injunction of the law.
A question now arises, "Is there any mortal man who does not belong to this class?" I reply, in this passage Paul gives the appellation "righteous" to those who are not absolutely perfect, (for no such person will be found,) but who, With the strongest desire of their heart, aim at what is good; so that godly desire is to them a kind of voluntary law, without any motive or restraint from another quarter. He therefore wished to repress the impudence of adversaries, who armed themselves with the name of "the law" against godly men, whose whole life exhibits the actual role of the law, since they had very great need of the law, and yet did not care much about it; which is more clearly expressed by the opposite clause. If there be any who refuse to admit that Paul brings an implied or indirect charge against his adversaries as guilty of those wicked acts which lie enumerates, still it will be acknowledged to be a simple repelling of the slander; and if they were animated by a sincere and unfeigned zeal for the law, they ought rather to have made use of their armor for carrying on war with offenses anal crimes, instead of employing it as a pretext for their own ambition and silly talking.
Here Paul glances at several classes, which include briefly every kind of transgressions. The root is obstinacy and rebellion; which he describes by the first two words.
1 "Pour demesler tout ce qu'ils entassoyent pour esblouir les yeux des simples." "In order to sweep away all that they heaped up for the purpose of blinding the eyes of plain people."
2 "Il Tonne a cl~acune vertu son epithet. "He gives to each virtue its epithet."
3 "Here he makes use of a metaphor taken from those who shoot with a bow; for they have their mark at which they aim, and do not shoot carelessly, or at random. Thus Paul shews that God, by giving us the law, has determined to give us a sure road, that we may not be liable to wander like vagabonds. And, indeed, it is not without reason that Moses exhorteth the people, 'This is the way, walk ye in it,' as if he had said that men do not know where they are, till God has declared to them his will; but then they have an infallible rule. -- Let us carefully observe that God intends to address us in such a manner that it shall not be possible for us to go astray, provided that we take him for our guide, seeing that he is ready and willing to perform that office, when we do not refuse such a favor. This is what Paul meant by this metaphor; as we are told that all who have it not as their object to rely on the grace of God, in order that they may call on God as their Father, and may expect salvation from him, and who do not walk with a good conscience, and with a pure heart toward their neighborhood, are like persons who have wandered and gone astray." -- Fr. Ser.
4 "De vanite et mesonge." "For vanity and falsehood."
6 "And in Popery what are the articles that shall be held as most certain? What angel, or what devil, revealed to them that there is a purgatory? They have fabricated it out of their own brain, and, after having attempted to produce some passages of the Holy Scriptures, they have at length become bewildered, so that they have no defense of their purgatory, but its antiquity. 'There it is! It has been always held.' Such is the foundation of faith, according to the learned Papists. And then we must not call in question that we ought to apply to the departed saints as our advocates and intercessors. To go to God without baying as our guide St. Michael, or the Virgin Mary, or some other saint whom the Pope shall have inserted in his calendar for the occasion, would be of no avail. And why? On what ground? Will they find in all the Holy Scriptures a single word, a single syllable, to shew that creatures, that is, deceased persons, intercede for us? For in this world we ought to pray for one another, and that is a mutual obligation; but as to deceased persons, not a word is said about them." -- Fr. Ser.
7 "All vices are contrary to sound doctrine. For what is the advantage to be derived from the Word of God? It is the pasture of our souls; and, next, it is a medicine. We have bread and various kinds of food for the nourishment of our body: the word of God is of the same use for our souls. But it is more advantageous in this respect, that, when we are diseased with our vices, when there are many corruptions and wicked desires, we must be purged of them; and the Word of God serves us for various purposes, for purging, for blood -- letting, for drink, and for diet. In short, all that physicians can apply to the human body, for healing its diseases, is not a tenth part of what the Word of God accomplishes for the health of our souls On that account Paul speaks here of sound doctrine. For inquisitive and ambitious persons are always in a diseased state; they have no health in them they are like those unhappy patients who have lost their appetite, and who suck and lick, but cannot receive any nourishment. But when the Word of God is applied in a right manner, there must be a contest; there was a war against every vice; and the Word of God must condemn them in such a manner that the hearts of men shall be touched and pierced -- shall be humbled and laid low with sincere repentance to groan before God; and, if there be nothing else, that they shall at least be convinced, that they shall have remorse within themselves, that they may so be an example to all that are not altogether incorrigible. This is the way in which the Lord wishes that his word may be applied to a good use." -- Fr. Ser.