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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT
1 TIMOTHY 6
Ver. 1-2. Lest the name and doctrine of the Lord be blasphemed, or ill spoken of by infidels, when such as were converted refused to be servants. — Let them not despise them, &c. That is, they who were servants under Christian masters, ought to think themselves more happy on that account, being brethren, and partakers of the same benefit of faith and grace. Wi. — If servants be insolent and disobedient, their infidel masters will blaspheme the Christian religion, as if that were the cause of their disrespectful behaviour. And let them not be arrogant, or aspire to an equality with their Christian masters, under pretence that the profession of the same religion makes them brothers; but rather serve them with greater submission and affection, as partakers of the benefit of the same faith, the same baptism, the same hope, &c. Calmet.
Ver. 4. But sick about questions, unprofitable disputes, blasphemies, which may either signify against God, or railing one against another, conflicts, &c. and dissensions of men corrupted in their minds: such is the character and description he gives of those ancient heretics, which applies to heretics in general. Wi.
Ver. 5. Supposing gain to be piety. The sense is the same, that they make a shew of piety only for gain-sake. Wi.
Ver. 6. But piety with sufficiency, or when a man hath what is sufficient to support his necessities, is certainly great gain, is accompanied with the most valuable advantages, the treasure of a good conscience, peace of mind, the grace of God, and hereafter a recompense of eternal glory. Wi. — That man is certainly rich, however small his possession, if he desire nothing more below, and aspires eagerly after that blessing above, which alone can fill his heart. Mediocrity is an enviable state; it frees us from the dangers of riches, and from the temptations of extreme poverty: with this lot let us be content. Why should we fix our hearts on the fleeting possessions of the day: we had not them yesterday, and to-morrow they will not be ours; for as we were born so we must die.
Ver. 9. For they who wish to become rich. He does not say, as S. Chrys. observes, they who are rich; as persons may be rich, and make good use of their riches to God's honour, and the good of others. But such as would be rich, who seek riches, and have their heart and affections upon riches, fall into various temptations of injustice, of pride, and vanity, into hurtful lusts, which drown and plunge men into perdition, &c. Wi.
Ver. 10. The root of all evils is covetousness, or the love of money, as it is in the Greek; a covetous man being ready to sacrifice his soul for money. Wi. — This truth is verified and illustrated by the example of Judas, in the gospel; of Ananias and Saphira, in the Acts; of Demas, mentioned by S. Paul in his second epistle to Timothy; and many others, who have made shipwreck of their faith through eagerness to gain riches. Whoever seeks visible and terrestrial goods with great avidity, cannot be supposed to retain much faith in things that are celestial and invisible. He quits a future real and substantial good to seek for a delusive happiness that presents itself, but which will prove a source of present and future evils.
Ver. 11. But thou, O man of God. This, says S. Chrys. is one of the highest title and commendations that can be given to any man. So are called Samuel, Elias, Eliseus. 1 K. ii and ix. 3 K. xxxiii. Wi.
Ver. 12. Fight the good fight. Lit. strive a good strife. S. Paul oftentimes brings this comparison of men striving for a prize. — And hast confessed a good confession before many witnesses, not only when baptized, not only when thou wast ordained a bishop, but by thy constancy and sufferings and persecutions, says S. Chrys. though we know not the particulars. Wi. — Timothy had made profession of his faith at his baptism, at his ordination, and during the whole course of a life which, through many labours and persecutions, had been dedicated entirely to promote the faith. D. Thomas. — Like him let us also combat, if we aspire after the same triumph and prize.
Ver. 13. Under Pontius Pilate, &c. Some expound it of the words and particular testimony Christ gave when he said he was king, but not of this world, who came to teach the truth. We may rather understand it with others, of all Christ taught and suffered under Pilate, or whilst he was governor of Judea. Wi.
Ver. 14. That thou keep the commandment. Some understand that of fighting manfully; others of loving God; others rather comprehend all that S. Paul had commanded him, and all the instructions given. — Unto the coming of our Lord; which coming, he in due time will shew. This is the construction by the Greek. Wi. — This coming will be desirable for Christians who have preserved or recovered their baptismal innocence, and for pastors who have faithfully fulfilled their ministry; but terrible, in the extreme, for all who have lived in the constant neglect and omission of their duties.
Ver. 16. Who only hath immortality; i.e. is immortal of himself, and by his own nature. — Light inaccessible; to human eyes or understandings. Wi.
Ver. 17. Charge the rich of this world not to confide in such uncertain goods; to strive to be rich in good works; to communicate in lending, assisting, giving to others, by which they will lay up an everlasting treasure. Wi.
Ver. 20. O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust. He does not mean his charge of bishop, nor the graces of God, but the true and sound doctrine delivered to him either by writing or word of mouth, according to the common interpretation. See S. Chys. Vincentius Lirinensis, Commonitorii, c. xvii. This is confirmed by the following words, avoiding the profane novelties of words: (in the Greek empty, vain, babbling). The apostle here condemns new words, which change the doctrine; but sometimes to express the ancient doctrine, new words may be found necessary, as those of trinity, incarnation, consubstantiality, transubstantiation, &c. as S. Athan. S. Aug. and others observed. See 2 Tim. i. 14. — Oppositions of knowledge falsely so called. S. Chrys. understands in particular the errors of the Gnostics, so called from the same Greek word, who were the successors of Simon Magus. But they perhaps not having the name when S. Paul wrote, we may rather understand heretics in general, who all pretend to an uncommon knowledge in Scriptures, when they follow their own private judgment, and so fall from the faith. Wi. — Keep the deposit, viz. of faith, which has been committed to thee. Throughout this whole epistle the apostle beseeches Timothy, in the most earnest manner, as a guardian of the faith, to preserve it without change. He every where condemns sects, heresies, and changes in faith. It would be well for the modern religionists, to inform us and themselves, why S. Paul is so particular in insisting upon union of faith, under pain of damnation, if it was the intention of Christ that men should differ on questions of religion. Let them tell us what S. Paul means, or else say plainly that they differ from the apostle's religion, and have formed theirs upon a more liberal scale. A.