The Duty Of A Pastor To His People 2 TIMOTHY 4:16 by John Gill


The Duty Of A Pastor To His People
2 TIMOTHY 4:16
by John Gill
(London: Aaron Ward, 1734)
Thou hast given a standard to them that fear thee;
that it may be displayed because of the truth
— Psalm 60:4
SERMON 71
Preached At The Ordination Of The Reverend
George Braithwaite, M.A. March 28, 1734.

2 TIMOTHY 4:16
Take heed unto thyself, and unto thy doctrine;
for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself,
and them that hear thee.
THE part of the work of this day assigned to me, is to give a word of
exhortation to you, my Brother; who have been at this time solemnly
ordained a pastor or overseer of this church, Your tong standing, and
usefulness in the ministry, might justly excuse every thing of this kind, did
not: custom, and the nature of this day’s service, seem to require it. You
will there.. fore suffer a word of exhortation, though it comes from a junior
minister, since you know in what situation we are; our senior ministers are
gone off the stage of this world, who used to fill up this place, and whose
years best became it: Our fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do
they live for ever? Give me leave to address you in the words of the great
apostle of the Gentiles to Timothy, Take heed unto thyself, and unto thy
doctrine; for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself, and than that hear
thee; since this epistle was written, not for his sake only, but for the use
and service also of other ministers of the gospel in succeeding ages; that
they might know how they ought to behave themselves in the house of
God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth.
In it the apostle gives a large account of the proper qualifications of the
officers of churches, bishops, and deacons; and in this chapter descends to
some particular advice and directions to Timothy, and which are designed
for the benefit and advantage of other preachers of the word, and pastors
of churches. I shall not take any notice of them here, seeing I shall have
occasion to make use of them in some parts of the following discourse; and
shall therefore immediately attend to the words of my text, in which may be
observed,.3
I. A charge or exhortation given to Timothy.
II. Some reasons to support it, and engage his regard unto it.
I. Here is a charge or exhortation given, which consists of three parts:
First, To take heed to himself.
Secondly, To take heed to his doctrine.
Thirdly, To continue therein.
First, The apostle exhorts Timothy to take heed to himself. This is not to
be understood of him merely as a man, that he should take care of his
bodily health, his outward concerns of life, or make provision for his
family, if he had any; not but that these things are to be equally regarded by
a minister of the gospel, as by any other person. Though he ought to be
diligent in his studies, laborious in his work, and preach, the gospel in
season and out of season; yet he ought to be careful of the health of his
body, and not destroy his natural constitution. The words of the wise man
are applicable to our present purpose,
be not righteous over-much, neither make thyself over-wise, why
shouldest thou destroy thyself? (

Ecclesiastes 7:16)
The apostle Paul, in this epistle, advises Timothy to take care of himself in
this sense, seeing he had much work upon his hands, and but of a weakly
constitution; he exhorts him, that he would
drink no longer water, but use a little wine, for his stomach’s sake,
and his often infirmities; (

1 Timothy 5:23)
and it is alike true of a minister as of any other man, what is elsewhere said,
If any provide not far his own, and especially for those of his own
house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
(

1 Timothy 5:8)
But this is not what the apostle has here in view, when he says take heed to
thyself.
Nor is this exhortation, given to Timothy under the character of a believer,
or private christian. There are some things which are common to ministers,
and. private Christians; their cases, in some respects, are alike, and.4
cautions to them are equally necessary: they have the same corruptions, are
subject to the same temptations, and liable to the same daily failings and
infirmities; and therefore such, whether ministers or people, who think they
stand, should take heed lest they fall. Unbelief, and distrust of divine
providence, presence, power, and assistance, have a place in the hearts of
ministers as well as others, and sometimes rise to a considerable pitch, and
do very much prevail; when such advice as this must be needful, take heed,
brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing
from the living God. There are many instances which might be produced,
in which this exhortation would appear to be suitable to Timothy, and so to
any other gospel minister, considered as a believer and a christian.
But I apprehend, that the apostle regards him in his ministerial capacity, as
a preacher of the word; and is desirous, that he would take heed to himself,
as a minister, and to the ministry which he had received in the Lord, that
he fulfill it. It becomes a minister of the gospel to take heed to his gifts
bestowed upon him, by which he is qualified for his work, that he does not
lose, but use and improve them; to his time, that he spends it aright, and
does not squander it away; of the errors and heresies which are in the
world, that he is not infected by them; to his spirit, temper, and passions,
that he is not governed by them; to his life and conversation, that it be
exemplary, becoming his office, and makes for the glory of God; and to the
flock committed to his care, which is the other part of himself.
1. A minister ought to take heed to his gifts bellowed upon him, whereby
he is qualified for the work of the ministry. Jesus Christ, when he ascended
on high, received gifts for men, such as were proper to furnish, and fit them
for ministerial service; and he has given them to men,
he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists,
and some parlors, and teachers: (

Ephesians 4:11)
that is, he gave gifts, to qualify them for these several offices; and he still
continues to give gifts to some, by which they become capable of
discharging the work and office of pastors of churches; and where these
are given, they ought to be taken care of.
Now, a minister of the gospel should take heed to his gifts, that he does
not lose them.
The gifts, and calling of God are without repentance.
(

Romans 11:29).5
Gifts of special and saving grace are irreversible; God never repents of
them, or revokes them, or calls them in; where they are once bestowed,
they are never taken away; but gifts fitting men for public work and
usefulness, as they may be where true grace is not, so they may be
removed, when saving grace never will. This we may learn from the
parable of the talents, where our Lord says,
Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him which hath
ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall
have abundance. But from him that hath not shall be taken away
even that which be hath. (

Matthew 25:29, 30)
Wo therefore to the Idol Shepherd, (

Zechariah 11:17)
the shepherd of no account, who is good for nothing; for an idol is nothing
in the world; who leaveth the flock, makes no use of his gifts, deserts his
station, forsakes the flock; the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his
right eye; his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be
utterly darkened. All his light and knowledge, his abilities and usefulness,
shall be taken from him. Hence the apostle exhorts Timothy, to keep by the
holy Ghost the good thing which was committed to him; by which he
means, not grace, but either the gospel, or the gift of preaching it; grace
cannot, gifts may be lost.
Moreover, a gospel minister should take heed to his gifts, that he uses them
Neglect not the gift that is in thee, says the apostle to Timothy;
which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands
of the presbytery. (

1 Timothy 4:14)
A minister may be tempted to neglect, lay aside, and disuse his gifts, for
want of success in his work, or because of the flight and contempt which
may be cast upon him, or by reason of the rage, fury, and persecutions of
men; something of this nature was discouraging to Timothy in the exercise
of his gifts, which occasioned the apostle to
put him in remembrance, that, says he, thou stir up the gift of God:
which is in thee, by the putting on of my. hands; far God hath not
given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound
mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,
nor of me his prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the
gospel, according to the power of God. (

2 Timothy 1:6-8).6
As if he should say, “Let not that gift which God has bestowed upon thee
lie dormant, and be neglected by thee, through a timorous and cowardly
spirit; but boldly and bravely preach the gospel of the grace of God, though
thou art sure to endure much affliction and persecution.” Wo to that man,
who, from any consideration whatever, wraps up his talent in a napkin, and
hides it in the earth; such an one Christ, at the great day of account, will
call wicked and slothful ; and give orders to
cast such an unprofitable servant into outer darkness, where shall
be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (

Matthew 25:26, 30).
Besides, a minister ought not only to take heed that he uses his gifts, but
also that he improves them; and indeed, they are generally improved by
using. Gifts, like pieces of armor, through disuse, grow rusty,
f1
but the
more they are worn the brighter they are. There are several things, which
have a tendency to improve, and, with the blessing, of God, do improve
spiritual gifts, such as prayer, meditation, and reading. These the apostle
directed Timothy to, for the improvement of his mind:
Till I come says he, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to
doctrine; (

1 Timothy 4:15)
meditate upon these things, give thyself wholly to them, (Us toutoiv
iodei) or, be thou in them; be constantly intent upon them, that thy
profiting may appear to all, (Ev pasin) or in all things, that is, in all parts
of useful knowledge. It is the duty of ministers to stir up the gift of God
which is in them. (

2 Timothy 1:6) Gifts are sometimes like coals of fire,
covered and buried in ashes, to which there is an allusion in this passage,
f2
which must be stirred up, or blown off, that they may revive and be re-inflamed,
and so communicate more light and heat. It is true, ministers
cannot procure gifts for themselves, nor increase them of themselves; but
God is pleased to give to his servants greater abilities, more light and
knowledge, in the diligent use of means, for unto every one that hath, that
is, that has gifts, and makes use of all proper methods to improve them,
shall be given, and he shall have abundance.
2. A minister ought to take heed to his time, that he spends it aright, and
does not squander it away. Time is precious, and ought to be redeemed,
and diligently improved, by all sorts of men; but by none more than the
ministers of the gospel, who should spend it in frequent prayer, constant
meditation, and in daily reading the scriptures, and the writings of good.7
men; which are transmitted to posterity for the benefit and advantage of the
churches of Christ. They should give themselves up wholly to these things,
and daily, and diligently study to shew themselves
approved unto God, workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth. (

2 Timothy 2:25)
They ought not to spend their time in an unprofitable manner, or in
needless and unnecessary visits. It is a mistake which prevails among
church-members, that they must be visited, and that very often: if ministers
are not continually calling on them they think themselves neglected, and are
much displeased; not considering, that Ouch a frequency of visits, as is
desired by them, must be the bane and ruin of what might otherwise be a
very valuable ministry; and at the same time furnishes an idle and lazy
preacher with a good excuse to neglect his studies, and that with a great
deal of peace and quietness of conscience, whilst he fancies he is about his
ministerial work. I would not be understood, as though I thought that visits
were needless things, and that they are no part of a minister’s work: I am
sensible, that he ought to be diligent to know the state of his flock; and that
it is his business to visit the members of the church, at proper times, and on
proper occasions; what I complain of, is the too great frequency of visits as
is desired, and when they are unnecessary.
3. A minister ought to take heed to himself, that he is not infected with the
errors and heresies which are in the world. There always have been, and
still are, heretics among men, and there must be; that they which are
approved, are faithful and approved ministers of Christ, might be made
manifest, to the churches, and the world, by their zeal for truth, and against
error. And whereas ministers, as well as others, are liable to have their
minds corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ, and to be led away
with the error of the wicked, and for all from their own stedfastness; it
becomes them therefore, to take heed to themselves. This was the reason
of the apostle’s advice to the elders of the church at Ephesus, at his taking
his leave of them; when he said to them, take heed to yourselves, and to all
the flock: — for, says he, I know this, that after my departing, shall
grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock; also of your
own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away
disciples after them. Take heed, beware therefore, of these perverse men
and things, left you also be drawn after them, and be carried away by them.
Our Lord Jesus Christ thought it necessary to exhort his own disciples, to.8
beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees; and to take heed,
that they were not deceived by false Christs, and false prophets. Ministers,
of all men, ought to be most careful to shun error, and avoid false
doctrines; since their seduction may be the means of a greater spread of
them, and of the ruin of multitudes of souls.
4. A minister ought to take heed to his spirit, his temper, and his passions,
that he is not governed by them. The preachers of the gospel are men of
like passions with others: Some of Christ’s disciples were very hot, fiery,
and passionate; they were for calling for fire from heaven to consume such
who had displeased them; hence our Lord said unto them,
Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. (

Luke 9:55)
One that has the government of his passions, and can rule his own spirit
and temper, is very fit to rule in the church of God.
He that is flow to anger, is better than the mighty; and he that
ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh, a city. (

Proverbs 16:32)
But if a man is influenced and governed by his passions, he will be led by
them to take indirect and imprudent steps; and to manage affairs with
partiality, to the prejudice of the church, and members of it.
5. A minister ought to take heed to his life and conversation, that it be
exemplary to those who are under his care. Private Christians may, and
ought to be examples one to another; they should be careful to maintain,
(Proivaoqai

Titus 3:8) or go before each other in good works; but
more especially, ministers ought to be examples to the flock. This is the
advice the apostle gave Timothy ;
be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in
charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (

1 Timothy 4:12).
They ought to be careful how they behave themselves in their families, in
the church, and in the world; that they give no offense in any thing, that
the ministry be not blamed, and so become useless and unprofitable. This
was what the apostle Paul was careful of, with respect to himself, and his
ministry;
I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.
(

1 Corinthians 9:27).9
I do not indulge, but deny myself all carnal lusts and pleasures, left that by
any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away;
that is, not one rejected of God, or a reprobate; for he knew whom
he had believed, and was persuaded, that nothing could separate him from
the love of God;. he had no fearful apprehensions of this kind; though he
was jealous and cautious, left: he should be guilty of misconduct in his
outward conversation among men; and so become adokimov rejected, and
disapproved of by men, and be useless in his ministry. Every Christian
ought to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior, but most especially the
preachers of it their lights should so shine before men, that they seeing
their good works, may glorify their father which is in heaven. The name of
God, the ways of Christ, and the truths of the gospel, are blasphemed, and
spoken evil of, through the scandalous lives of professors, and especially
ministers. Nothing is more abominable
f3
than that one, whose business it is
to instruct and reprove others, is himself notoriously culpable; to such a
person and case, the words of the apostle are very applicable,
Thou therefore that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?
Thou that preachest, a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou
that sayest, a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit,
adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law
dishonorest thou God? for the name of God is blasphemed among
the Gentiles through you. (

Romans 2:21-24).
6. A minister ought to take heed to the flock, committed to his care; which
is but the other part of himself. There is a mutual relation, a close union,
between a pastor and, a church; they are in some, sense one, and, their
interests are one; so that. a pallor, by taking heed to himself takes heed to
his flock, and by taking heed to his flock takes heed to himself, Hence
these two are joined together in the apostle’s advice to the elders of the
church at Ephesus,
Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the
holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church.
(

Acts 20:28).
Pastors of churches should be careful that they feed the saints with
knowledge and understanding; that they feed. the flock, and not
themselves; that they perform the whole office of faithful shepherds to
them; that they strengthen the diseased, heal the sick, bind up the broken,.10
bring again that which was driven away, and seek up that which was lost;
all which they should take diligent heed unto, since they must be
accountable to the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, for all those who
are under their care. But so much for the first branch of the exhortation; I
proceed to consider,
Secondly, The second part of the charge, which is to take heed to his
doctrine, that is, to the doctrine to which he has attained, which he has a
knowledge of, and ought to preach to others; otherwise the doctrine is not
his own but another’s; as Christ says of himself as man,
My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. (

John 7:16)
Christ received his doctrine from his Father, and his ministers receive it
from him, and deliver it to the people. The doctrine which a gospel minister
preaches, is in the same sense his, in which the apostle Paul calls the
gospel, my gospel, or our gospel; not that it was a system of doctrines
drawn up, and composed by him; but what was given him by the revelation
of Christ, was committed to his trust, what he ought to preach, and in
which he was made useful to the souls of many.
Now a minister ought to take heed to his doctrine, that it be according to
the scriptures,
all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, (

2 Timothy 3:16)
True doctrine springs from it, is agreeable to it, and may be confirmed and
established by it; therefore
if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God
(

1 Peter 4:11)
He should be careful, that his doctrine has a place in the word of God, that
it takes its rise from it, is consonant to it, and capable of being proved by
it:
To the law, and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this
word, it is because there is no light in them. (

Isaiah 8:20)
Whatever doctrines do not spring from these fountains of light and truth,
or are disagreeable to them, must be accounted divers and strange
doctrines..11
Care should also be taken by a minister of the gospel, that his doctrine be
the doctrine of Christ; that is, such as Christ himself preached, which he
has delivered out by revelation to others, and of which he is the sum and
substance.
We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to
the Greeks foolishness. (

1 Corinthians 1:23)
This doctrine is most likely to be useful for the conversion of sinners, and
comfort of saints; and a man that does not bring this with him is to be
discouraged and rejected
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ,
hath not God: He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath
both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring
not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him
God-speed. (

2 John 9,10).
Moreover, a minister should take heed that his doctrine be the same with
that of the apostles. It was the glory of the primitive christians, that they
continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine; and it must be the excellency
of a man’s ministry, that it is agreeable to that faith which was once
delivered to the saints. Jesus Christ received his doctrine from his Father,
which he delivered to his apostles:
I have given unto them says he, the words which thou gavest me,
and they have received them; (

John 17:8)
who also were guided by the spirit of truth into all truth, as it is in Jesus;
and under the inspiration of the same spirit have left the whole of it in
writing to the churches of Christ; which should be the standard of a gospel-ministry
throughout all generations.
Besides, it becomes a preacher of the Word to be careful that the doctrine
he teaches be according to godliness; that it is not contrary to the moral
perfections of God, or has a tendency to promote a loose and licentious
life; but that it is agreeable to, and may be a means of increasing, both
internal and external holiness. Sin, as it is a transgression of the law, so it is
contrary to sound doctrine; which sound doctrine is
according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God.
(

1 Timothy 1:10, 11).12
The gospel no more countenances sin, than the law does; the grace of God,
the doctrine of the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, the news of it to
sinners, hath appeared to all men, Gentiles as well as Jews; teaching us,
that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,
righteously, and godly in this present world. Whatever doctrines are
subversive of true piety, or strike at the life and power of godliness, are to
be rejected:
if any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words,
even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which
is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting
about questions, and strife of words, whereof cometh envy, strifes,
railings, evil furnishings, etc. (

1 Timothy 6:3-5).
Again, it is highly necessary, that a pastor of a church should be careful
that his doctrine be such as makes for the edification of the people; it ought
to be solid and substantial, suited to their capacities, and what is food
convenient for them; he should nor, therefore, give heed to fables, and
endless genealogies; he ought, in his ministry, to shun prophane and vain
bablings, and oppositions of silence, fairly so called. He should not strive
about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers; and should
carefully and diligently
avoid foolish and unlearned questions, knowing that they do
gender strifes. (

1 Timothy 1:4;

6:20;

2 Timothy 2:14, 16,
23).
In a word, he should take heed, that his doctrine be found and incorrupt,
pure. and unmixed, and that it be all of a piece, and consistent with itself.
He ought to speak the things which become sound, doctrine; that is, such
things as are agreeable to it, and consistent with it, and which are
wholesome and healthful to the souls of men. In his doctrine he ought to
shew uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, and use
sound speech, which cannot be condemned; (

Titus 2:1, 7, 8)
he should not teach for doctrines the commandments of men, or join, or
mix divine truths with human inventions. The chaff and the wheat should
be kept separate; nor should he blend law and gospel, grace and works
together; and so be like them that corrupt the word of God,
kaphleuontev ton logon tou Qeou, “adulterate it, by mixing it with
their own fancies;” as unfair dealers in liquors mix water with them, which.13
is the sense of the word here used; but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the
sight of God,
f4
should a gospel-minister speak in Christ. He ought to take
heed that what he preaches is consistent with itself; that it has no yea and
nay, no contradiction in it, and does not destroy itself; and so bring a
reproach upon him, and he become useless to his hearers;
for if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare
himself for the battle? (

1 Corinthians 14:8)
consistence, harmony, and connection of things with each other, are the
beauty and glory of a man’s ministry; which must needs recommend it, and
make it most useful, profitable and pleasant.
It is also very adviseable that he take heed that he express his doctrine in
the best manner, and to the best advantage. He ought to be careful about
the manner as well as the matter of his ministry; that he speak plainly,
intelligibly, and boldly, the gospel, as it ought to be spoken: Elocution,
which is a gift of utterance, a freedom of expression, with propriety of
language, is one of the gifts fitting for public usefulness in the work of the
ministry; and which may be improved by the use of proper means. The
example of the royal preacher is worthy of our imitation,
because the preacher was wise he still taught the people
knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in
order many proverbs: the preacher sought to find out acceptable
words; and that which was written was upright, even words of
truth: (

Ecclesiastes 12:9, 10)
he not only fought for proper and agreeable truths, but was careful to
express them in the most acceptable manner.
To conclude this head; when a minister has used his care and diligence
about his doctrine, that it be according to the scriptures, agreeable to the
doctrine of Christ and his apostles; that it be according to godliness, and
makes for the use of edifying; that it be found and incorrupt, pure and
unmixed, and consistent with itself; and that it be expressed in the best
manner, and to the best advantage, he ought to take heed to defend it
whenever opposed; for ministers are not only set to preach the gospel, but
for the defense of it; they should by sound doctrine both exhort and
convince gainsayers; (

Titus 1:8) for which purpose; they should use the
two-edged sword, the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God; and is.14
both an offensive and defensive weapon, by which, at once, error is
refuted, and truth established, I go on to consider,
Thirdly, The third part of this exhortation, which is to continue in them.
Some read the words, Continue with them, (Epimene autoiv) that is, with
the people at Ephesus, where Timothy was, and where the apostle would
have him remain; as appears from what he says to him at the beginning of
this epistle,
I besought thee to abide hill at Ephesus. (

3:14)
But I choose rather to consider them as they are in our translation
rendered, continue in them; that is, in the doctrines which thou dost well to
take heed unto. Much such advice does the apostle give to Timothy, in his
second epistle to him, continue thou, says he, in the things which thou hast
learned, and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned
them. It is very unbecoming ministers of the word, to be like children
tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine; daily shifting sides, and
changing sentiments.
He that would be a preacher of the gospel to others, ought so to study the
scriptures, and learn the doctrines of grace, as to be assured of them, to
beat a point, at a certainty concerning them; that he may be able to speak
them boldly, as they ought to be spoken; and when he has so done, he
ought to adhere to them, abide by them, and continue in them; even though
a majority may be against them, for we are not to follow a multitude to do
evil. (

Exodus 23:2) Truth is not to be judged of by the number of its
admirers; if this was a sure and safe rule to go by, the church of Rome
would have the best pretensions to the truth of doctrine, discipline, and
worship; for all the worm wondered after the beast. (

Revelation 13:3)
It should be no discouragement to a gospel-minister to observe, that there
are but few that receive the doctrines of grace. Yea, he should abide by
them, though they are opposed by men of learning and reputation. Truth
does not always lie among men of that character; God is pleased to hide
the mysteries of the gospel from the wise and prudent, and reveal them
unto babes; and by the foolishness of preaching confound the wife, and
save them that believe. It was an objection to our Lord’s ministry, that not
any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him; but this people
who knoweth not the law are cursed. (

John 7:48, 49)..15
Ministers of the gospel should abide by, and continue in the doctrines of it,
though it is only received by the poor and ignorant, and opposed by the
rich and wife: Nay, they ought to do so, though there are some things in
them which cannot be comprehended by corrupt and carnal reason; this
should be no objection to a reception of them, or continuance in them.
There are some things in the gospel which eye hath not seen, nor ear
heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, that is, a natural man, to
conceive of; wherefore it is no wonder,
that the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God,
for they are foolishness unto him, neither can be know them,
because they are spiritually discerned. (

1 Corinthians 2:9-14).
Nor should the charges and imputations of novelty and licentiousness
frighten and deter the ministers of Christ from abiding by the doctrines of
grace, since there were the very reproaches and calumnies that the
doctrines of Christ and his apostles were loaded with, What thing is this?
What new doctrine is this? Say some concerning Christ’s ministry;
(

Mark 1:27,

Acts 17:19) and so the Athenians to Paul, May we
know what this new doctrine whereof thou speakest is? They looked upon
the more substantial truths of the gospel as novelties, upstart notions, such
as were never heard of before; nay, they were accounted by same as having
a tendency to open a door to all manner of wickedness and looseness of
life; which occasioned the apostle to say,
And not rather; as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm,
that we say, Let us do evil that good may come; whose damnation
is just. (

Romans 3:8).
In a word, it becomes Christ’s ministers to, abide by, and continue in the
doctrines of grace, though they risk their good name, credit, and
reputation, are in danger of losing their outward maintenance, or worldly
substance, yea, life itself;
for whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; but whosoever shall
lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
(

Mark 8:35)
I now hasten briefly to consider,.16
II. The reasons given by the apostle to support the whole of this charge or
exhortation; and to engage Timothy’s, and so every other gospel-minister’s,
regard unto it.
First, His first reason is, For is doing this thou shalt save thyself. Jesus
Christ is the only efficient and procuring cause of salvation:
There is no salvation in any other; say there is none other name
under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
(

Acts 4:12)
Ministers cannot save themselves by any works of righteousness done. by
them; no, not by their ministerial, services; it is in vain to expect salvation,
by any, or from any other than Christ Jesus: But ministers, by taking heed
to themselves, may, through a divine blessing, and the influences of the
Spirit of God, save themselves from an untoward generation, and be
preferred from the pollutions of the world; may keep their garments, their
outward conversation garments, so that they do not walk naked, and others
see their shame. By taking heed to their doctrine they may save themselves
from being infected with false doctrines, errors and heresies: those roots of
bitterness, which springing up in churches, trouble same, and defile others,
And by continuing in their doctrines, may save themselves from the blood
of all men, with whom they are concerned. The work of a minister is an
awful, solemn, and weighty one; if he does not warn and instruct both the
righteous and the wicked, their blood will be required at his hand; but if he
perform his office faithfully, he delivers his soul, that is, he saves himself
from such a charge against him; as did the apostle Paul, who could say,
I am pure from the blood of all men; for I have not shunned to
declare unto you all the counsel of God. (

Acts 20:26, 27)
Thus, by a minister’s taking heed to himself and to his doctrine, and
continuing therein, he saves himself from all just blame in his character and
office; and may be truly accounted a
good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith,
and of good doctrine, whereunto he hath attained. (

1 Timothy
3:6)
Secondly, His other reason is, thou shalt also save them that hear thee;
that is, by being an example to them both in word and conversation, thou
shalt be the means of preferring them both from erroneous principles and.17
immoral practices; or, thou shalt be instrumental in their eternal salvation.
Ministers are instruments by whom souls believe, and so are saved; the
word preached by them being, by the grace of the spirit, an engrafted
word, is able to save them; and the gospel being attended with the
demonstration of the spirit; is the power of God unto salvation. What can,
or does, more strongly engage ministers to take heed to themselves, to
their doctrine, and abide therein, than this? That they may be useful in the
conversion, and so in the salvation of precious and immortal souls, which
are of more worth than a world:
He that converteth a firmer from the error of his way, shall save a
soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (

James 5:20)
A hopeful view of this supports ministers in their work, and carries them
cheerfully through many difficulties that attend it; for such souls whom
they have been useful to, will be their joy, and crown of rejoicing, in the
great day of the Lord. These reasons, I trust, will engage you, my Brother,
who have been this day set apart to the pastoral office in this church, in
take heed to yourself, your gifts, time, temper, life and conversation, and to
the flock now committed to your care: And I conclude, that these will also
engage you to take heed to your doctrine; that it be according to the
scriptures, the doctrine of Christ, his apostles, and true godliness; and such
as will be profitable to them that hear it; that it be found and incorrupt,
pure and unmixed, and consistent with itself; that it be delivered out in the
best manner you are able, and defended, to the utmost of your ability, by
which you will abide, and in which you will continue: In doing this you will
be most likely to be instrumental in the conversion of sinners, and
edification of saints. God give success to all your ministrations.
FINIS.18
FOOTNOTES
ft1
Adde, quod ingenium longa rubigine laesum Torpet, — Ovid.
ft2
Verbum anazwpurrein etiam modeste cum officii admonet. Signiticat
autem ignem cineribus tectum excitare, sopitam savillam in flammam
proferre. Asetius in

2 Timothy 1:6. In the same sense as here is the
word used in Marc. Antonin. dc seipfo. 1. 7. f. 2. Vid. Gataker.
Annotat, in ibid.
ft3
Quae culpare soles, ea tu ne feceris ipse; Turpe est doctori, cam culpa
redarguit ipsum. CATO.
ft4
2 Corinthians 2:17. kaphleountev Metaphora sumpta est ab
hospitibus & caupouantibus, quibus in more est, vinum aqua
corrumpere. Sic Graeci interpretantar, kaphleuein, kakeuein ton
oikon, hoc est vinum corrumpere, & phlon, dicunt olim significaviffe
oinon vinum. Aretius in loc.

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