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king the field of faith, wherewith ye Mall be Serm. able to quench all the firie darts of the wicked XIII.
And take the helmet of salvation, and The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Nevertheless it appears from the original * words, that the Apostle alludes not here to the life of a soldier, engaged in wars: but rather to the games, at that time
famous among the Greeks, and in some parts of Asia, which had learned the Greek customs : and, indeed, almost all over the Roman Empire. In which games there were contentions in the way of racing, on foot and in chariots, and in the way of combat.
And the present text is rather to be explained by that in the ninth chapter of the first to the Corinthians, than by that before cited from the epistle to the Ephesians. The passage is to this
purpose: Know ye not, that they which run in a 1 Cor ix. race, run all, but one receiveth the prize. So 24. 26. run, that ye may obtain. And every man that friveth for the masterie, is temperate in all fbings. Now they do it, to obtain a corrups tible crown : but we, an incorruptible. I therefore fo run, not as uncertainly : fo fight
I, not * Αγωνίζε τον καλόν αγώνα της πίσεως
SERM. I, not as one that beateth the air. Where
of those games, running, and boxing.
And perhaps the allusion might be made more manifest, and the ambiguity in fome measure avoided, if the original were rendred: Exercise the good exercise of faith. The word, here rendred fight, is the same with that which is rendred striving for the masterie in the passage just quoted from the first to the Corinthians. Every + one that priveth for the masterie, or every one that ftriveth in the games, is temperate in all things. And we have the same expreffion
again in another place, where St. Paul says: 2 Tim.
1 I have fought a good fight : or, I have exercised a good exercise. He had himself done what he here exhorts Timothie to
It is not unusual with the Apostle, to compare, and very elegantly, the Christian course, that is, the life of private Christians, or of those who are in some office in the
+ Πάς δε και αγωνιζόμενος,
church, to a warfare, and to a contention in Serm. the public and celebrated games, then in use XIII. among the people most renowned for politenesse: in which games some of the most distinguished citizens of those places entered themselves. And these two allusions are joyned together by him in a text, in part quoted already. I hou therefore endure hard- 2 Tim. ii.
3....5 nelle, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ
. No man that wars, entangles bimself in the affairs of this life; that he may please him, who has chosen him to be a soldier. And || if a man strive for the masterie, be is not crowned, unless be strive lawfully.
The general design of the exhortation is : “ Exercise the good exercise of faith, so as " to obtain the prize of eternal life, to which " thou art called in the gospel: and for ob“ taining which, thou hast engaged to exert
thy-self, by that good profession, which “ thou hast already made in the presence of
many witnesses, or spectators.”
In farther discoursing on these words I Thall observe this method,
Η Εαν δε και αθλή τις, έσερανίται, εαν μη νομίμως αθλήση
1. I shall thew what is meant by exerci
fing the exercise of faith. II. Why it is called a good fight or ex
ercise. III. And then conclude with a practical
1. I would consider, what is meant by exercising the exercise of faith.
Some have hereby understood contending for the truth of the gospel, maintaining, and propagating it in the world.
But that, I think, is but one part of the exercise, or contention, here fpoken of. For Timothie appears to me to be here as much, or rather more exhorted as a Christian, than as an Evangelift.
By the fight of faith I fuppose to be intended the fight of the gospel: or that fight, and exercise, which the gospel requires : or which Jesus Christ teaches and recommends in the gospel.
And by the fight, or exercise of faith, I would understand the practise of all virtue, a course of holy obedience to the dictates of reason, and the commands of God. The
connexion affures us of this. St. Paul had SERM.
This exhortation is fitly addressed to pri-
“ The fight of faith, as * one expref“ feth it, includes an open profession, and “ strenuous defending the doctrine of faith, “ and making it good by a life suitable to er the rule of faith.”
This open profession, and zealous defense of truth, accompanied with a suitable practise of virtue, may be fitly compared to the exercises in the Olympic games, because of the difa. ficulty of the performance. There is a neces