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SERMON I.

I Tim. i. 15.

This is a certain truth, and worthy of all ac

ceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

This epistle was written in the year of our Lord fifty-six, when Timothy most probably was about twenty-six or twenty-seven years of age, and not long after St. Paul had been obliged to quit Ephesus on account of the disturbance raised by Demetrius and the silversmiths against the apostle and his companions. These artificers, who were in great numbers, were exasperated against them, because their preaching against idolatry had diminished their trade of making shrines as we translate it, i.e. making little temples with images of the goddess Diana in them, which the people were wont to buy to carry about with them and for their private

devotion

VOL. I.

B

devotion at home; the like idolatry to which is at this day practised both by the Greek and Roman church towards the images of Christ and the saints.

Paul having staid two years at Ephesus, we may be assured that he had succeeded in bringing over many to the knowledge and worship of the one living and true God, and a holy and virtuous life in obedience to the Gospel; otherwise he would never have remained so long in one place. As the service, however, was now become difficult on account of the late tumults, and other disorders creeping in among the members of the church or congregation, we see the ground of

many

of the cautions which he gives to this excellent young man.

In the beginning, having reminded him of the reason which occasioned the apostle's entreaty that he should stay behind him at Ephesus; viz. that he might discountenance and

put a stop to the Jewish and heathen mixtures with which some were already adulterating the Gospel, which tended to subvert the truth concerning God and Christ, and to make void their obligations to a holy life ; and having rebuked some of them for pretending

to

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