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Verse 1. Rebuke not - Considering your own youth, with such a severity as would otherwise be proper. Verse 3. Honour - That is, maintain out of the public stock. Verse 4. Let these learn to requite their parents - For all their former care, trouble, and expense. Verse 5. Widows indeed - Who have no near relations to provide for them; and who are wholly devoted to God. Desolate - Having neither children, nor grandchildren to relieve her. Verse 6. She that liveth in pleasure - Delicately, voluptuously, in elegant, regular sensuality, though not in the use of any such pleasures as are unlawful in themselves. Verse 7. That they - That is, the widows.
If any provide not - Food and raiment. For his own - Mother and grandmother, being desolate widows. He hath - Virtually. Denied the faith - Which does not destroy, but perfect, natural duties. What has this to do with heaping up money for our children, for which it is often so impertinently alleged? But all men have their reasons for laying up money. One will go to hell for fear of want; another acts like a heathen, lest he should be worse than an infidel. Verse 9. Let not a widow be chosen - Into the number of deaconesses, who attended sick women or travelling preachers. Under threescore - Afterwards they were admitted at forty, if they were eminent for holiness. Having been the wife of one husband - That is, having lived in lawful marriage, whether with one or more persons successively. Verse 10. If she hath washed the feet of the saints - Has been ready to do the meanest offices for them. Verse 11. Refuse - Do not choose. For when they are waxed wanton against Christ - To whose more immediate service they had addicted themselves. They want to marry - And not with a single eye to the glory of God; and so withdraw themselves from that entire service of the church to which they were before engaged. Verse 12. They have rejected their first faith - Have deserted their trust in God, and have acted contrary to the first conviction, namely, that wholly to devote themselves to his service was the most excellent way. When we first receive power to believe, does not the Spirit of God generally point out what are the most excellent things; and at the same time, give us an holy resolution to walk in the highest degree of Christian severity? And how unwise are we ever to sink into anything below it!
I counsel therefore the younger women - Widows or virgins, such as are not disposed to live single. To marry, to bear children, to guide the family - Then will they have sufficient employment of their own. And give no occasion of reproach to the adversary - Whether Jew or heathen.
Some - Widows. Have turned aside after Satan - Who has drawn them from Christ.
Let the elders that rule well - Who approve themselves faithful stewards of all that is committed to their charge. Be counted worthy of double honour - A more abundant provision, seeing that such will employ it all to the glory of God. As it was the most laborious and disinterested men who were put into these offices, so whatever any one had to bestow, in his life or death, was generally lodged in their hands for the poor. By this means the churchmen became very rich in after ages, but as the design of the donors was something else, there is the highest reason why it should be disposed of according to their pious intent. Especially those - Of them. Who labour - Diligently and painfully. In the word and teaching - In teaching the word.
Against an elder - Or presbyter. Do not even receive an accusation, unless by two or three witnesses - By the Mosaic law, a private person might be cited (though not condemned) on the testimony of one witness; but St. Paul forbids an elder to be even cited on such evidence, his reputation being of more importance than that of others.
Those - Elders. That sin - Scandalously, and are duly convicted. Rebuke before all - The church.
I charge thee before God - Referring to the last judgment, in which we shall stand before God and Christ, with his elect, that is, holy, angels, who are the witnesses of our conversation. The apostle looks through his own labours, and even through time itself, and seems to stand as one already in eternity. That thou observe these things without prejudging - Passing no sentence till the cause is fully heard. Or partiality - For or against any one.
Lay hands suddenly on no man - That is, appoint no man to church offices without full trial and examination; else thou wilt be accessary to, and accountable for, his misbehaviour in his office. Keep thy self pure - From the blood of all men.
Some men's sins are manifest beforehand - Before any strict inquiry be made. Going before to judgment - So that you may immediately judge them unworthy of any spiritual office. And some they - Their sins. Follow after - More covertly.
They that are otherwise - Not so manifest. Cannot be long hid - From thy knowledge. On this account, also, be not hasty in laying on of hands.
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