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The Epistles to Timothy---christian Use of the Old Testament

The Epistles to Timothy---christian Use of the Old Testament

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2 Timothy iii, 1.
This know altOy that in the last days perilous times shaU come.

2 Timothy iii, 1.
This know altOy that in the last days perilous times shaU come.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 05, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE EPISTLES TO TIMOTHY---CHRISTIA USEOF THE OLD TESTAMET.BY THOMAS AROLD, D.D.2 Timothy iii, 1.This know altOy that in the last days perilous times shaU come.So little regard has been paid to chronological order in thepresent arrangement of St. Paul's Epistles, that the twofirst written are immediately followed by the two latest of all ; the two to the Thessalonians, I mean, are immediatelyfollowed by the two to Timothy. We may thus pass atonce from the beginning of St. Paul's written Gospel toits end, from a period only a few months later than hisfirst crossing over into Europe, to one in all probabilityonly a little while preceding his death. And in doingthis, we may compare the more full language of hopewhich abounds in his earlier Epistles, with the darkeranticipations which are more common in his later ones*For although it was revealed to him very early, as we seeby the second Epistle to the Thessalonians, that the pro-gress of the Gospel would be grievously obstructed, stillthe full sense of the extent and greatness of the evil doesnot appear to have possessed his mind so thoroughly then,as we find it to have done some years afterwards, when itwas not only a matter of expectation and belief, but of actual experience.246 THE EPISTLIS TO TIMOTHY.To those wlio love to realize past times, and to bringthem before their minds with something of the freshnessand distinctness of the scenes actually present to them, itis often a grievous disappointment to find great chasms
here and there in tlie records of history, where the road, so tospeak, has been almost wholly carried away, and there is nopossibility of restoring it. But of all these chasms, noneis so much to be regretted as that wide one of more thana century, in which all full and distinct knowledge of theearly state of Christianity after the date of the ApostolicalEpistles has been irretrievably buried. In the ApostolicalEpistles themselves we have a picture clear and lively,from which we can gain a very considerable knowledge of what the Christian Church then was. But from theseEpistles, which merely as historical monuments are soinvaluable, — from these records, undoubtedly genuine, un-corrupted, uninterpolated, and in which every thing isdrawn with touches equally faithful, l)old, and distinct, — we pass at once into a chaos. We come to works of disputed genuineness, with a corrupted text, full of inter-pohitions ; and which, after all, are so different from theApostolical Epistles in tlieir distinctness and power of touch, that even if we could rely on their authenticity,the knowledge to be derived from them is exceedinglyvague and scanty. In this absence of good and trust-worthy records, all manner of wild guesses, and storieseither without any foundation or greatly altered andexaggerated, grew up plenteously ; and it is suflBcientlystriking that while we have a legendary account pretend-ing to relate the place and manner of the deaths of all theApostles, there are scarcely two of the whole number,of whose deaths we have even so much as a statement of probable authority.Thus God has, as it were, encircled the goodly gardenCHRISTIA USE OF THE OLD TESTAMET. 247of Scripture truth in which there grows the tree of life,with a wide belt of desert on every side ; preserving it
manifestly distinct from all other and merely humancultivation, and condemning to a more than ordinaryblindness those who can see but little difference betweenthe garden of the Lord and the howling wilderness thatreaches up to its very walls. We stop then at the lastEpistle of St. Paul to Timothy, with something of thesame interest with which one pauses at the last hamlet of the cultivated valley, when there is nothing but moorbeyond. It is the end, or all but the end, of our realknowledge of primitive Christianity ; there we take ourlast distinct look around ; further the mist bangs thick,and few and distorted are the objects that we can discernin the midst of it.But this last distinct view is overcast with gloom. * Inthe last days perilous times shall come.' Then therefollows a picture of what men would be, who in word andform were Christians, but indeed led the lives of theworst heathens* Those who had the form of godliness, orof Christianity, — for the two words in the Epistles toTimothy are generally synonymous, — those who had theform of Christianity, were yet false, unholy, disobedient,lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Into whathands then was the Church of God to fall, when such menas these were to be its members ? But the Apostle reliesthat Timothy would in his own generation struggleagainst this evil, because he had from a child beenfamiliar with that revelation of God which was profitablefor the teaching of truth and for the removing of error,for corecting all that was amiss, and fostering every seedof good in us, for the perfecting of God's servants in allgood works. This is St. Paul's testimony to the import-ance of the Scriptures of the Old Testament, when as yetS4S THE EPISTLES TO TIMOTHY.the truths of Christ's Gospel were known nu»e by thehearing of the Apostles' preaching than by the reading of 

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