1 Timothy 6:11-16
11. But thou, O men of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
11. Tu vero, o homo Dei, haec fuge; sectare vero justitiam, pietatem, fidem, caritatem, patientiam, mansuetudinem.
12. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
12. Certa bonum certamen fidei; apprehende vitam aeternam, ad quam etiam vocatus es, et confessus bonam confessionem coram multis testibus.
13. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession,
13. Denuntio (vel, proecipio) tibi coram Deo qui vivificat omnia, et Christo Iesu, qui testificatus est bonam confesionem coram Pontio Pilato,
14. That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
14. Ut serves mandatum immaculatus et irreprehensibilis, usque ad revelationem Domini nostri Iesu Christi;
15. Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords,
15. Quam suis temporibus manifestabit beatus et solus princeps, Rex regnantium et Dominus dominantium,
16. Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen. Amen.
16. Qui solus habet immortalitatem, qui lumen habitat inaccessum, quem vidit nullus hominum, nec videre potest, cui honor et potentia aeterna (vel, imperium oeternum.) Amen.
"He who hath become a soldier doth not entangle himself with matters inconsistent with his calling." (2 Timothy 2:4.)
In like manner, in order to withdraw Timothy from excessive solicitude about earthly things, he reminds him that he must "fight;" for carelessness and self -- indulgence arise from this cause, that the greater part wish to serve Christ at ease, and as if it were pastime, whereas Christ calls all his servants to warfare.
For the purpose of encouraging him to fight such a fight courageously, he calls it
This confession the Apostle calls
Yet the same reason is in force with regard to us in the present day, and indeed applies equally to almost every age. How many things does Satan constantly present to our eyes, which, but for this, would a thousand times draw us aside from the right course! I say nothing about fires, and swords, and banishments, and all time furious attacks of enemies. I say nothing about slanders and other vexations. How many things are within, that are far worse! Ambitious men openly attack us, Epicureans and Lucianists jeer at us, impudent men provoke us, hypocrites murmur at us, they who are wise after the flesh secretly bite us, we are harassed by various methods in every direction. In short, it is a great miracle that any man perseveres steadfastly in an office so difficult and so dangerous. The only remedy for all these difficulties is, to cast our eyes towards the appearing of Christ, and to keep them fixed on it continually. 8
When good men see that the wicked are puffed up with prosperity, they are sometimes cast down; and therefore Paul, for the purpose of withdrawing the eyes of the godly from that transitory splendor, ascribes to God alone "blessedness, principality, and kingly power." When he calls God
But it is objected, that the human soul and angels have their immortality, and therefore this cannot be truly affirmed of God alone. I reply, when it is said, that God alone possesses immortality, it is not here denied that he bestows it, as he pleases, on any of his creatures. The meaning is the same as if Paul had said that God alone not is immortal from himself and from his own nature, but has immortality in his power; so that it does not belong to creatures, except so far as he imparts to them power and vigor; for if you take away the power of God which is communicated to the soul of man, it will instantly fade away; and the same thing may be said about angels. Strictly speaking, therefore, immortality does not subsist in the nature of souls or of angels, but comes from another source, namely, from the secret inspiration of God, agreeably to that saying,
"In him we live, and move, and are." (Acts 17:28.)
If any one wish to have a larger and more acute discussion of this subject, let him consult the twelfth book of Augustine "On the City of God."
"They who draw near to him are enlightened." (Psalm 34:5.)
Yet it is true that, while we are surrounded by this mortal flesh, we never penetrate so far into the deepest secrets of God as to have nothing hidden from us; for
"we know in part, and we see as by a mirror, and in a riddle."
(1 Corinthians 13:9-12.)
By faith, therefore, we enter into the light of God, but only in part. Still it is true, that it is a "light unapproachable" by man.
There is a long dispute in Augustine on this point, because it appears to contradict what is said, in the first Epistle,
"Then shall we see him as he is, because we shall be like him."
(1 John 3:2.)
While he reasons on this subject in many passages, there appears to me to be none in which he explains it more clearly than in the letter which he writes to the widow Paulina.
So far as relates to the meaning of the present passage, the answer is easy, that we cannot see God in this nature, as it is said elsewhere,
"Flesh and blood shall not possess the kingdom of God."
(1 Corinthians 15:50.)
We must be renewed, that we may be like God, before it be granted to us to see him. And that our curiosity may not be beyond measure, let us always remember, that the manner of living is of more importance in this inquiry than the manner of speaking. At the same time, let us remember the judicious caution which Augustine gives us, to be on our guard lest, while we are keenly disputing how God can be seen, we lose both peace and sanctification, without which no man can ever see God.
1 "And thus we see that not without reason does Paul add this word piety, which means religion and the fear of God, and that he connects it with faith, saying that, when we have put our confidence in God, and when we expect from him the means of our support, we must also attend to this, not to live in this world as if it were our end, and not to fix our heart upon it, but to look upwards to the heavenly kingdom. having said this, he next leads us onwards to the love of our fellow -- men and to meekness, as we are also bound to walk in all good friendship with our neighbors; otherwise we shall not shew that we have the righteousness which he has mentioned. And thus let us see that, by all these words, he means nothing more than to confirm the exhortation which he had given, to follow righteousness and sincerity. And how shall we follow it? First, by placing our confidence in God; secondly, by raising our thoughts to the heavenly kingdom; and thirdly, by living in good friendship with each other." -- Fr. Ser.
2 "We see princes whose ambition leads them to risk all that they have, and to place themselves in danger of being striped of all their power. We see soldiers, who, instead of earning wages by laboring in vineyards or in the fields, go and expose their life at a venture. And what leads them to this? A doubtful hope, nothing certain. And though they have gained, and have obtained a victory over their enemies, what advantage do they reap from it? But when God calls us to fight, and wishes us to be soldiers under his banner, it is on no such condition, but we are made certain that the war will be good and successful. And thus Paul intended to comfort believers while he exhorted them, as God also condescends to us by strewing to us what is our duty, and, at the same time, declaring that, when we shall do what he commands us, all will turn to our profit and salvation." -- Fr. Ser.
3 "Nihil actuam esse." The expression reminds us of the beautiful encomium pronounced by the poet Lucan on the unwearied activity of Julius Caesar, that he "thought nothing done, while aught remained to do."
"Nil aetum reputans, dum quid superesset agendum." -- Ed.
4 "By his silence he confirmed the truth of God his Father, and the death which he underwent was intended to give authority to the gospel; so that, when the doctrine of salvation is preached at the present day, in order that we may be confirmed in the faith of it, we must direct our view to the blood of the Lamb without spot, which was shed. As anciently, under the Law, the book was sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice, so now, whenever we are spoken to in the name of God, the blood of Christ must be brought to our remembrance, and we must know that the gospel is sprinkled with it, and that our faith rests upon it in such a manner, that the utmost efforts of Satan cannot shake it." -- Fr. Ser.
5 "Sans macule et sans reprehension:" "Without spot and without censure."
6 That is, they may be either in the accusative case masculine, agreeing with Timo>qeon, or in the accusative case feminine, agreeing with ejntolh>n. -- Ed.
7 "Nonobstant il est beaucoup plus propre de les rapporter a sa personne." "Nevertheless it is much more suitable to view them. as relating to his person."
8 "Believers might, indeed, be weakened in their faith, when they looked at present things. For, as to the great people in this world, what would they wish but to rise above the Church, and trample God under their feet? We see that they sport with religion as with a ball. We even see that they are deadly enemies of it, and that they persecute it with such rage that everybody is terrified at them. We see these things. Yet what shall be said of the children of God? They are pointed at with the finger, they are thought to be fools, so that what is said by the Prophet Isaiah is today fulfilled in us, that unbelievers reckon us to be monsters. (Isaiah 8:18.) "What? These poor fools? What are they thinking about? What do they mean? We must live with the living, and howl with the wolves. They wish to be always in a state of perplexity. They speak of nothing but eternal life, and have no leisure for enjoyment.' Thus it is that we are accounted fools and madmen by unbelievers. And Peter says, (2 Peter 3:2-4,) that this must be fulfilled in us, as the prophet Isaiah had made the complaint in his time; Christians must experience the like in the present day." -- Fr. Ser.