5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
5. Huius rei gratia reliqui to Cretae ut ea quae desunt corrigas et constituas per civitates presbyteros sicut ego tibi disposui
6. If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, Having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly.
6. Si quis sine crimine est unius uxoris vir filios habens fideles non in accusatione luxuriae aut non subditos
This, indeed, belongs to all pastors; for the churches will always stand in need of increase and progress, as long as the world shall endure. But in addition to the ordinary office of pastors, the care of organizing the church was committed to Titus. Till the churches have been already organized, and reduced to some order, pastors were not usually appointed over them. But Titus held some additional charge, which consisted in giving a form to churches that had not yet been properly arranged, and in appointing a fixed kind of government accompanied by discipline. Having laid the foundation, Paul departed; and then it became the duty of Titus to carry the work higher, that the building might have fair proportions.
This is what he calls correcting those things which are still wanting. The building of the Church is not a work so easy that it can be brought all at once to perfection. How long Paul was in Crete -- is uncertain; but he had spent some time there, and had faithfully devoted his labors to erect the kingdom of Christ. He did not lack the most consummate skill that can be found in man; he was unwearied in toil; and yet he acknowledged that he left the work rough and incomplete. Hence we see the difficulty; and, indeed, we find, by experience, in the present day, that it is not the labor of one or two years to restore fallen. churches to a tolerable condition. Accordingly, those who have made diligent progress for many years -- must still be attentive to correct many things.2
Here it is highly proper to observe the modesty of Paul who willingly permits another person to complete the work which he had begun. And, indeed, although Titus is greatly inferior to him, he does not refuse to have him for
And yet we must not imagine that Paul intended that Titus should correct those things which he had left undone, either through ignorance, or forgetfulness, or carelessness, but those things which he could not finish on account of the shortness of the time. In short, he enjoined Titus to make that correction which he would himself have made, if he had remained longer in Crete; not by varying -- not by changing anything, but by adding what was wanting; because the difficulty of such a work does not allow every part of it to be done in a single day.
But it may be thought that he gives too much power to Titus, when he bids him appoint ministers for all the churches. That would be almost royal power. Besides, this method takes away from each church the right of choosing, and from the College of Pastors the power of judging; and thus the sacred administration of the Church would be almost wholly profaned. The answer is easy. He does not give permission to Titus, that he alone may do everything in this matter, and may place over the churches those whom he thinks fit to appoint to be bishops; but only bids him preside, as moderator, at the elections, which is quite necessary. This mode of expression is very common. In the same manner, a consul, or regent, or dictator is said to have created consuls, on account of having presided over the public assembly in electing them. Thus also Luke relates that Paul and Barnabas ordained elders in every church. (Acts 14:23.) Not that they alone, in an authoritative manner, appointed pastors which the churches had neither approved nor known; but that they ordained fit men, who had been chosen or desired by the people. From this passage we do indeed learn, that there was not at that time such equality among the ministers of Christ but that some one had authority and deliberative voice above others; but this has nothing to do with the tyrannical and profane custom which prevails in Popery as to Collations. The apostles had a widely different mode of procedure.
As this passage presents to us a lively portrait of a lawful bishop, we ought to observe it carefully; but, on the other hand, as almost everything that is here contained has been explained by me in the Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy, it will be enough at present to touch on it slightly. When he says, that a bishop must be
First, he demands that the children shall be "believers;" whence it is obvious that they have been educated in the sound doctrine of godliness, and in the fear of the Lord. Secondly, that they shall not be devoted to luxury, that they may be known to have been educated to temperance and frugality. Thirdly, that they shall not be disobedient; for he who cannot obtain from his children any reverence or subjection -- will hardly be able to restrain the people by the bridle of discipline.
1 "Mais que les autres estoyent macons ou charpentiers." "But that the others were masons and carpenters."
2 "Those who are guided by ambition would wish to be thought clever people on the first day; they would wish to enjoy such reputation as to have it thought that they discharged their duty so faithfully that nothing more could be desired. On the contrary, when we have labored during our whole life to edify the Church of God, still we shall not succeed to the full extent. Let us therefore know that we must not presume so far on our industry or our virtues, that he who is endued with more abundant graces call suddenly have edified the Church of God to perfection; but we must assist each other. He who is farthest advanced must know that he cannot do everything, and must bend his shoulders and ask assistance from those whom God has appointed, and must be well pleased that others make progress, provided that all aim at serving God and advancing the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we look well to ourselves, there will always be reason to grieve, because we are very far from having performed our duty. And those who make themselves believe this or that, and say, 'Here is a church so well reformed that nothing more is needed'-are mistaken; for if they knew what reformation is, they would beware of thinking that there was no room for finding fault. Whatever pains we take in arranging matters, and bringing them into order, there are indeed many things which, when once begun, will follow in a regular train; but as to reaching perfection, we are very far from it."--Fr. Ser.
4 "Prend sur soy toute l'envie, voulant qu'on luy impute tout ce que The fera en cest endroit." "Takes all the blame on himself, wishing that to him may be imputed all that Titus shall do in this matter."
5 "It is true, that the servants of God will never be without blame; as he even says, that they cannot avoid walking amidst disgrace and reproach. It is true, that Paul lived so virtuously that no fault could be found with him, and that too, before he came to the faith of Jesus Christ; so that he lived without reproach, and was a mirror and a jewel of holiness. Indeed he know not what he did, for hitherto he had not been directed by the Spirit of God; but he led a life so good that it was not liable to any reproach. And yet he tells us that he was pointed at with the finger, was mocked at, was reproached, was even accursed among believers, whose ingratitude was such that in his absence he was reviled and loaded with many slanders. So it is with the servants of God. But when Paul demands that they shall be without crime, he means that we should inquire and ascertain if the life of a man be pure and without blame, and if he continues to conduct himself in that manner. Although we cannot shut the mouths of all slanderers, that they shall not revile us, yet we must be without crime; for it is said, that we shall be reviled as evil-doers, but we shall be pure and innocent. And in what way? Before God we shall have this testimony, that he approves of us, and that all the talk against us is a lie."--Fr. Ser.