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by me the preaching might be fully known, “ and that all the Gentiles might hear; and “ I was delivered out of the mouth of the “ lion'." Though his fate was decided, yet time appears to have been allowed him for preparation; perhaps in hopes also that, through the frailty of human nature, he might be induced to renounce the dangerous doctrines of which he was the promulgator, rather than become a martyr to their truth.

And to what are his thoughts directed during the fearful interval between the sentence and its execution ? To the preservation in unsullied purity of that religion which it had been the object of his maturer years, and more sacred conviction, to plant in the earth : “I charge thee, therefore, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who

shall judge the quick and the dead at his “ appearing and his kingdom, preach the “ word; be instant in season, out of season;

reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” “Only Luke,” says

y 2 Tim. iv. 16, 17.

• Ibid. 1, 2.

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he, “is with me. Take Mark and bring him “ with thee; for he is profitable to me for " the ministry.” Here is no mention of St. Peter ; no prophetic hint of his appearance or future arrival at Rome; still less at his establishing there a dominant church, and being the first of an uninterrupted succession. “ Tychicus,” he says,

“have I sent to Ephesus :” and twice he charges Timothy

to do his diligence to come to him shortly;" and “to come to him before the winter;" probably wishing that beloved disciple to witness his execution. He likewise gives him an injunction, in a preceding chapter of this short Epistle, which I must cite to you, as evincing his extreme anxiety to guard the sacred truths of Christianity from the slightest intermixture of error on their first promulgation. “Thou, therefore, my son,” he

says, “be strong in the grace that is in “ Christ Jesus : and the things that thou “ hast heard of me among many witnesses, “ the same commit thou to faithful men,

who shall be able to teach others also.

* Chap. ii. 1, 2.

K

The words of my text point out to you the melancholy circumstances of the writer, and under the contemplation of what event these arrangements were made: “For I am now “ ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.”

This, my brethren, is all that we know of the end of St. Paul : it is pregnant with instruction, and capable of personal application to all of us, no less than confirmatory of the faith which we profess. If our bodies are not to be offered up to martyrdom, they are doomed to dissolution: and so uncertain is the tenure, so short the lease by which the soul holds possession of them, that we may also add : “ the time of our

departure is at hand.” O may we then have the same hope and consolation as the Apostle! May each be able to say to himself in modest confidence, (for there will then be no disposition to boast,) “I have

fought a good fight, I have finished

my course, I have kept the faith,” in practice as well as profession, in obedience as well as belief: “henceforth there “ is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous “ judge, shall give me at that day; and not “ to me only, but unto all them also that “ love his appearing

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b 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8.

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