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Volume 34 - Page 149 of 261 Index | Zoom | |
when Timothy did arrive at Athens, the Apostle's deep concern for the faith of the
Thessalonians made him, however reluctantly, send Timothy off again:
"Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens
alone; and sent Timothy our brother . . . . . For this cause, when I could no longer
forbear, I sent to know your faith" (I Thess. 3: 1-5).
How perfectly free the Apostle was from airs, pretensions, affectations. In II Tim. 4:
he is a self-acknowledged martyr; he knows that he has finished his course; he is
assured of a crown. Does he pause, for one moment, to strike an attitude? Never! In the
course of his statement concerning his triumph, he drops from the skies to the earth, and
reveals his intensely human heart, saying,
"Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me, for Demas hath forsaken me" (II Tim. 4: 9, 10).
Then, after other statements and instructions--in which he finds time to speak well of
Mark, who once turned back (II Tim. 4: 11)--he says to Timothy:
"The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the
books, but especially the parchments" (verse 13).
In view of death, one might almost have forgotten parchments and books, but how
lovely to see this utter lack of affectation in his request for the cloke left behind at Troas.
So, on the Apostle goes, to the end of the epistle. Alexander the coppersmith is
remembered, and the sad fact that at his first defence the Apostle was forsaken is
immediately countered by that irrepressible catching up of a subject: "No man stood with
me . . . . . Notwithstanding the Lord stood by me" (verses 16 and 17).
The same swift play with words is seen in II Tim. 2: 9: "I suffer trouble, even unto
bonds", and then, quick as a flash, he adds: "But the word of God is not bound."
Incidentally, it is seldom that we hear this passage read with any intelligent appreciation
of the mind that prompted it.
So, to return to chapter 4: He immediately passes from the reference in verse 8 to
the crown to be given at the appearing of the Lord, to the urging of Timothy to come
quickly: he has no sooner speaks of the heavenly kingdom, than he salutes the saints and
says to Timothy: "Do thy diligence to come before winter" (verse 21).
Such is a sketch, and but a sketch, of the earthen vessel. Less than the least of all
saints, yet not one whit behind the chiefest of the Apostles. A man of many moods, and
several evident infirmities, but so enraptured by the Christ of God, so enthralled with His
great love, that, time and again, we forget the earthen vessel for the glory it contained.
May we not believe that if sanity and sanctity are near one another in sound and meaning,
that it would be well for us all to be able to manifest the same human traits as were seen
in spirit where the Apostle shines so brightly in the reflected glory of the Lord he loved.
We do not pretend to have given a portrait of the Apostle but, as we have said, only a
sketch, which may serve its turn until we and he, together, shall be transfigured into that