Page images

For, the chief Facts of revelation may be learned by every devout reader. He will have no difficulty in understanding that the worlds were made by the word of God; that God made man perfect; that man fell and lost the divine image, and was driven from Paradise; that God revealed to him the gracious promise of a future Redeemer; that He called Abraham and chose his seed after him; that he delivered Israel from Egypt by the hand of Moses; that he established a ceremonial and typical dispensation till the Messiah should appear; that he raised up Kings and Prophets to rule and instruct his people; that in the fulness of time the Son of God was made flesh, died a sacrifice on the Cross, rose again from the dead, poured out the gifts of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, and established his kingdom in the several parts of the known world.

Nor are the chief Doctrines of Scripture difficult to be ascertained by the humble inquirer. Such are, the evil and guilt of sin; the holiness of the divine law; the corruption of man's whole nature by the fall; his responsibility and accountableness; his condemnation as a transgressor; his inability to save himself; the person and glory of the Son of God, his deity, incarnation, and sufferings; the proper atonement of his death; justification by faith only; the person and operation of the Holy Ghost; the

nature and necessity of regeneration, of repentance, of faith, of love, of prayer, of the hope and expectation of heaven; the perpetual obligation of the moral law; public worship and administration of God's word and sacraments; the doctrines of a future judgment, and an eternity of happiness or misery in heaven or in hell.

The chief Precepts are also obvious to such a student. The two great commandments of the law are, The love of God with all the heart and mind and soul and strength; and of our neighbour as ourselves. From these the whole course of our obedience to God flows. Hence the mortification of sin, patience under afflictions, separation from the evils of the world, forgiveness of injuries, submission to the powers placed over us in church and state, meekness, humility, contentment, resignation, joy-every thing, in short, which is comprehended in our denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and living soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. These are the precepts which, being performed from love to God and gratitude to Him for his mercies, and being united with a humble trust in the alone merits of our Redeemer, are "pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith; insomuch that by them a

lively faith may be as evidently known, as a tree discerned by the fruit'.'

But we proceed to consider THE PERIOD


MUNICATED from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures.

The expression imports, that from an infant, from his earliest childhood

so soon as the opening powers began to make him capable of receiving instruction-he was gradually imbued with a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.

Timothy had been blessed, as it appears from the Sacred History, with pious parents. He was a native of Lystra, a city of Lycaonia in the Lesser Asia. His father was a Greek, and had probably died before the Apostle visited that place. His mother, whose name was Eunice, was a Jewess, and believed. His grandmother Lois also appears to have been a woman of excellent piety. He was himself converted to the Christian faith probably when he was about fifteen or sixteen years of age, during the first visit of St. Paul to Lystra. When St. Paul returned to those parts, after an interval of four or five years, he found him so established in the faith, that he took him with him as his companion in travel, and ordained him to the office of a bishop. Twenty

1 Art. XII.

years had elapsed since Timothy's conversion, when the aged Apostle, during his second imprisonment at Rome, addressed him, in this Epistle, in these tender and affectionate terms, When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and thy mother Eunice, and I am persuaded that in thee also.-Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them, and that FROM A CHILD thou hast known the Holy Scriptures2.

From these brief but important notices we discover how great had been the pious care of these eminent women, who are only known to the Church by this one circumstance-a circumstance beyond measure interesting and instructive-they had nurtured him in the doctrine of Holy Scripture; they had trained him as an Israelite indeed. We may figure to ourselves with what interest Lois and Eunice had taught him the facts and doctrines and prophecies and precepts of the Old Testament. The histories of the Creation and the Fall, of Abraham, of Joseph, of the finding of Moses, of the deliverance from Egypt, of Joshua and Ruth and Samuel, of the Widow's cruse replenished and the Shunamite's son raised, must

2 2 Tim. i. 5. iii. 14, 15.

have been familiar to his infant mind. The different characters of the kings of Israel and Judah, with the captivities of Assyria and Babylon would be explained to him. Nor would the ceremonial institutions of the law be wholly unknown, in their prophetic import, to the child of these daughters of Abraham. Doubtless Timothy learned from them, at an early age, the more remarkable passages of Isaiah's predictions, and lisped in his first devotions the Psalms of David, and treasured up, as he advanced in years, the divine maxims of Solomon. The holy family, if I may so call them, though far from the city of Jerusalem and the Temple worship, yet cherished the faith of the patriarchs; and therefore welcomed, when St. Paul approached their city, the tidings of the Gospel.

Little, probably, did these devout women suspect how eminent a character they were rearing, and how materially the pious education they were giving him would contribute to his labours and success. Least of all did they foresee that the careful knowledge of the Holy Scriptures which they communicated, was to lie at the foundation of his future excellence, and to be the topic of an Apostle's commendation. Happy women, singled out and distinguished by the Christian Church in every age as the patterns of domestic piety, the bright

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »