2 Timothy 4:6
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
Sermons
Life's Evening HourW.M. Statham 2 Timothy 4:6
Solemn Charge to TimothyR. Finlayson 2 Timothy 4:1-8
A Christian's DeathJ. Main, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
A Christian's DeathA. Waugh, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
A Congruous CrownA. Maclaren, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
A Crown for All the Saints2 Timothy 4:6-8
A Crown of RighteousnessT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
A Crown Without CaresJ. Underhill.2 Timothy 4:6-8
A Last Look-OutC. H. Spurgeon.2 Timothy 4:6-8
A Lost Crown2 Timothy 4:6-8
A Noble CareerB. D. Johns.2 Timothy 4:6-8
A Prisoner's Dying ThoughtsA. Maclaren, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
All Them Also that Love His AppearingA. Roberts, M. A.2 Timothy 4:6-8
An Assured HopeBp. Ryle.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Best At LastBishop Horne.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Bishop Ken in Life and DeathJ. Stoughton, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Byron and St. Paul -- a ContrastJ. E. B. Tinling, B. A.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Calmness in Death -- its PhilosophyHomilist2 Timothy 4:6-8
Carrying on the BattleC. H. Spurgeon.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Contrasted Deaths2 Timothy 4:6-8
Death a DepartureMatthew Henry2 Timothy 4:6-8
Death AnticipatedT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Good-Bye to the WorldT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Guarding the FaithE. Mellor, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Historic Crowns2 Timothy 4:6-8
Joy of a Faithful Minister in View of EternityN. Emmons, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Keeping the FaithBp. Phillips Brooks.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Keeping the Faith2 Timothy 4:6-8
Keeping the FaithJ. Lewis.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Looking Out Toward HeavenT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Loving the Second AdventJ. Vaughan, M. A.2 Timothy 4:6-8
MartyrdomJ. P. Richter.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Moral WarfareT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
More Crowns LeftLife of Father Taylor.2 Timothy 4:6-8
On Keeping the FaithS. Hayward.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Passing on the Torch2 Timothy 4:6-8
Paul the HeroC. H. Payne, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Paul the Martyr, Christian, ConquerorM. Jones.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Paul's Review of His LifeE. N. Kirk, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Preaching for a Crown2 Timothy 4:6-8
Presentiment of Death2 Timothy 4:6-8
Readiness for Death2 Timothy 4:6-8
Ready for HomeW. H. Burton.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Ready to be OfferedT. Whitelaw, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Sayings of Christians At the End of Life2 Timothy 4:6-8
Seeking to Obtain a Crown2 Timothy 4:6-8
St. Paul a Witness for ImmortalityD. Trinder, M. A.2 Timothy 4:6-8
St. Paul Keeping the FaithJ. R. Macduff.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Tete D'ArmeeT. De Witt Talmage.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Christian's CourseS. Hayward.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Christian's Course, Conflict, and CrownJames Brewster.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Crown of RighteousnessS. Hayward.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Crown of RighteousnessH. Melvill, B. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Crown of RighteousnessCanon Liddon.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Crown of RighteousnessD. Trinder, M. A.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Dying ChristianJ. S. Pearsall.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Finished RaceT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Good FightH. W. Beecher.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Heavenly Crown AssuredT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Holy WarA. Fletcher, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Law of SacrificeCanon Knox Little.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Love of Christ's Appearance the Character of a Sincere ChristianW. Harris, D. D.2 Timothy 4:6-8
The Nearness of the Apostle's DeathT. Croskery 2 Timothy 4:6-8
Unconscious Sense of the End of LifeTimbs.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Welcoming DeathW. Jay.2 Timothy 4:6-8
He urges Timothy to increased zeal on account of his own approaching departure.

I. THE IMMINENCE OF HIS DEATH. "For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure is at hand."

1. Mark the calmness with which the apostle contemplates a violent death. There is no tremor, or hurry, or impatience in his last days. The language is singularly composed. He knew that Nero would soon put an end to his life, for that monster of cruelty and crime was even then striking out wildly against the Christians. Nothing but an assured hope and a living faith could maintain the spirit in such trying circumstances.

2. The apostle is not too preoccupied with his own approaching sufferings to forget the cause for which he is now about to surrender his life. He is now more urgent than ever in his instructions to Timothy.

II. THE HAPPY RETROSPECT OF A USEFUL LIFE. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith."

1. The good fight ended.

(1) Every Christian is a soldier.

(2) He has to fight against the threefold enmity of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

(3) He overcomes through faith as his sole weapon (1 John 5:4, 5).

(4) There is a limit to the duration of the fight. Death ends it.

2. The race ended.

(1) It is a long race;

(2) a wearying race;

(3) yet a glorious race, because it has a happy ending.

3. The faith preserved.

(1) It is a precious deposit placed in our hands (2 Timothy 1:14).

(2) Errorists of all sorts are continually striving to wrest it out of our hands by their specious sophistries.

(3) Believers keep it safest who treasure it in their hearts as well as their minds.

III. THE BLESSED PROSPECTS IN STORE FOR HIM. "Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give to me at that day: and not only to me, but also to all them that have loved his appearing."

1. The reward. "The crown of righteousness."

(1) It was the symbol of excellence and glory.

(2) It was a recognition of the righteousness of the wearer.

It was not a crown of ambition. It was not won by inflicting miseries on the human race.

2. The certainty and manner of its bestowal.

(1) It is laid up in reserve securely for its wearers.

(2) It is conferred

(a) as matter of grace, for the Judge "awards" it of grace; and

(b) as matter of righteousness, for, as righteous Judge, he will not allow the works of believers to go unrewarded (Revelation 14:13).

3. The character of those receiving the reward. "Them that have loved his appearing."

(1) Believers do not dread Christ's appearance in judgment.

(2) They look forward with hope, satisfaction, and joy, to the day of final account.

(3) All who love him now will love him at his appearing, when they shall see him in his glory.

(4) The day of reward; the day of judgment. - T.C.







I am now ready to be offered.
The interest o the Second Epistle to Timothy is altogether exceptional. It is the interest of a heart-moving tragedy; and yet the tragic gloom which rolls above its heavens is relieved, is almost illumined with golden glory by a strain and temper of pathetic tenderness. It is, as far as we are concerned, the last earthly utterance of an altogether remarkable man; the last will and testament, so to speak, of one in whose character commanding ability, simple and unswerving purpose, unflagging energy, unselfish enthusiasm, and warm and wide and sunny sympathy were combined in a degree unrivalled in the history of our race. And then, too, St. Paul, as he writes, may indeed be "the aged," but age can scarcely slacken power in such a soul, and here, consequently, he wins the unforbidden homage we pay spontaneously to one who, in the fullest vigour and energy of life, looks straight and calmly into the eyes of death. The text is, I suppose, one of the best-known verses in the Bible, an utterance of profound humility and lofty courage and unvarying truth; it is to us altogether interesting — interesting, doubtless, because it reveals the character of such a one as Paul; but more, a word of worldwide import, for at such moments great men are themselves revelations. Paul was alone in a sense in which he had never been before. The dear Churches — that is, the dear souls, loved with such strength and joy as was in "him to love with — were far away; their faces he would never gaze upon again; the old places were gone; no more would he see the Holy City so rich in memories, no more the long blue line of the Abarim bounding the land of the chosen race, no more the jagged hills of his native Tarsus, no more the dancing waters of the blue AEgean, no more the Aeroceraunian crests, only lately marking the path of his pilgrimage from Corinth to Rome. Nature had closed her doors to the wanderer; from his prison on the Esquiline, or from the cave near the Capitol, or wherever it was that, in their last days, his eyes closed and opened to the light of the Roman summer, those eyes were straining beyond even objects of human affection to the unimagined wonders of another world; he was looking forward. At such a time it is that great natures fall back upon the principles which have governed life; and to us their utterances then, are supremely interesting, for such principles are the exhibition, in fact, of universal law. St. Paul, in his words illustrated by his life, is indeed proclaiming a fundamental law of the Church of his Master. "The Reign of Law!" Need I remind you that of that realm we are all the subjects? It is fundamental, it explains, as it has guided, the Church's influence; it teaches, as it has trained, souls to tread the only way of lasting usefulness. It applies to all. It is not the heritage of the peerless apostle, but also the rule of the quiet Christian; obedience to it decides indeed the value of our choice in crises of destiny, but it also ennobles the "trivial round" of daily life. Here, indeed, it is thrown out in vivid colour from a dark background of death; here, indeed, in full force, it is borne in upon the mind, because it comes as no abstract statement, but the life-rule written in the heart's blood of a living and a dying man. In him it found a wonderful completeness: it is the fundamental law of the Church of Jesus — the Law of Sacrifice. And now, I ask, "How for Paul was the grave transfigured?" and the answer is, "By the same power by which life was governed, by the law of sacrifice." What, then, is sacrifice? By sacrifice, speaking morally and spiritually, as now, I mean this: The willing surrender of legitimate desire in submission to a sovereign, an authoritative claim; and the interest of the text lies in this, not only that it expresses the rich result of that law operating in its completeness in a human soul, but also, it limits the stages of trial by which such completeness was achieved. What, let us ask, were some at least of those stages?

1. First, then, he had wakened up to the reality and requirements of the spiritual life. Man is a creature of two worlds, but of one sphere of being; standing he is within the boundary of time, but one foot is planted across the frontier of eternity. Little we see of man's real working, just here and there a hint is given by the definite act which meets the senses, excites our blame or sets the chorus of praise re-echoing through the halls of history, but day by day and hour by hour man's spirit, shrouded, veiled from his fellow man, is at work in the spirit sphere. Now to waken up to this, and to the consequent requirements of duty in this interior life, is to be brought under the law of sacrifice, because it is at once to be under the necessity of war. "The Prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," is no mere tendency to wrong, but a personal spirit, with a personal power. And surely it has been the experience not only of the saints — the giant explorers in the regions of spiritual life — but the experience of earnest, commonplace children of God, that besides their struggle with their own corruption, they have been conscious of sudden assaults, of well-timed suggestions of sin, alarming, astounding, distinctly to them distinguishable from any picture of imagination; painfully, evidently separated from themselves, and clearly coming with the force and horror of the agency of a personal tempter. The action of the hierarchy of evil was indeed perhaps more evident to the Christians when St. Paul taught and lived than to ourselves. The entire imperial system of Rome might well appear to him an organisation of evil; and indeed, so awfully had the creature forsaken his Creator — read the first chapter of the Roman Epistle and say was it not so? — that that splendid fabric sprung from the genius of Pagan civilisation had become little else than a series of well-worked agencies of sin. It is true that the life of the second Adam permeating the race of the Redeemed has made of modern civilisation a very different story. But tell me, is there not enough in modern life to witness to the presence of the same tremendous power? Can you open your newspaper any morning without being impressed by the fact that the world is trying to get rid of the incubus of the thought of God? without being conscious of tones of thought and views of life nowise condemned by society at large, which would, to say the least, have shocked apostles? Is there not an air of unruffled indifference, or a tone of quiet patronage assumed towards moral evil which give the lie to the brave, the necessary hostility taught us in the Catechism when we were children? Does not this subtle tolerance of sin flow through society, invade the Church, deprave the mind? Hence men lose all sense of the severe requirements of a righteous God, because they have first lost all sense of His character of severe essential holiness; hence, young men, you are the victims (are you not?) in business life of habits of language, alliance with, almost toleration of, which you feel to be inconsistent with any nobility of mind, not to say any sincerity of Christian character. Ah! how are you to escape? Certainly not without struggle. Roused to the facts, roused to the requirements of spiritual life, you find yourself in battle; self must be denied, duty must be done, strength must be sought (faithfulness is needed in sacraments and prayer — faithfulness, too, in using strength when given). You must submit, and heartily, to the law of sacrifice. Spiritual activity on the side of right and truth and purity and duty — this is a stage towards a complete achievement. Paul had learned it; whether his description is drawn from the racecourse or the battle it matters not; he had learned at any rate the necessity of struggle. "I have fought a good fight."

2. It is well, is it not, to awaken to the mystery, to recognise the reality, of the spiritual world? But there is surely a farther stage for the wayfarer in this path of sacrifice. What shall be the standard to measure and direct the struggle of life? To an earnest Christian what God forbids is bad — unutterably, inexcusably bad. Right is right and wrong wrong, without palliation or possibility of compromise. To do good is not merely wiser than to do ill; it is the place, calling, need of the creature; wilful sin, self-chosen evil, is the damnable, ruinous, and sorrowful thing, which may call for a tribute of sadness and pity, but admits of no defence. Need I say it? this necessary revelation of God's will is furnished by the moral law. Conscience speaks first. I do not now pause to define its office or assign its place, or dwell upon the limits of its dominion; only let me remark in parenthesis — Obey your conscience, respect its warnings, listen for its whispers, submit unhesitatingly to its commands; you will be all the wiser, better men. Here Paul had first read and obeyed the will of God, and because he had tong been trained in that sincere and accurate submission, he was ready, when the face of Jesus was flashed upon him from the flaming heaven, above the peaks of the Hauran, at once to recognise, and unconditionally to obey. The prophets, the psalmists, the teachers of Israel had for him enlarged upon and enforced the lessons of that primal instruction, as revelation of the Christ, and the New as well as Old Testament Scriptures have ever since done for us all; but for him and for each since his time, the larger laws of Divine guidance have been particularised and pointed by special providence and special trials. The requirements of that Will are often — at least to human frailty — severe. The heart's most fierce desires are not most easily assuaged, the world's most prized successes are not most surely secured, by obedience to the will of God. No. Splendid indeed the results, moral, spiritual, of such adherence and such submission, but the process is pain. Honestly and earnestly to choose Chat standard is to be subject to the law of sacrifice. Paul chose it, and, like him, each one who does, fulfils, though it be in pain, an allotted mission. "I have finished," says the apostle, "the course marked out for me."

3. But there is one further stage of conquest dependent upon the most stern self-discipline. If there be anything that a man would seem entitled to call his own, it is his thought. Surely in thought, at least, man is free; surely "I can think what I like," as it is the expression of a natural craving, so it is the statement of a truth. Scarcely; for thought, if untrained, undisciplined, and unrepressed, becomes a tyrant, not a slave; and thought, which shares the heritage of our nature's blight, can only fulfil its intended function when purified by submission to the law of sacrifice. My brothers, to plant the footstep of your thoughts on the track of Divine Revelation, to refuse to them the by-paths of ungoverned fancy, to restrain them in their wild impulsive leaps, is to start them, nay, far to advance them, on the journey which ends in God. Be sure that to "learn obedience" to the truths of the Christian Faith, to bathe the mental habits in the cleansing waters of the Spirit, who gives light, humility, courage, and truth, is the one way possible for emancipating the mind from the thraldom of corruption; but to do this, how hard, how full of sorrow, how severe at times the trial and the strain; ah me I as in other things, in this also, "obedience is learned by the things" we "suffer." To leave men's criticism, and desire the Revelation of God; to quit our own miserable inquiries, and choose the path of the Pathless One; to watch against the wilfulness that slights, the sin that weakens our power of believing; this, as it is an evidence of strength, and even of stern decision, is not lacking in an element of trial, requires submission to the law of sacrifice. "Kept the Faith," mark you; for as to reach the path needed some self-conquest, so to keep the track required unflagging earnestness and persevering power. To submit to the Faith, in such an one as Paul, meant moral earnestness; to keep it implied moral force; for him, as for all men, to govern thought by God's revelation implies obedience to the law of sacrifice. Paul, I say, did it, did it utterly, did it also in the face of extremest external difficulty, did it when to be faithful to conviction implied fierce persecution and inevitable death; it is a triumphant climax that last stage of struggle — "I have kept the Faith." So the saintly soul advanced to that completeness of surrender which is completeness of power, and finds expression in the text. In fact, spiritual activity, a creaturely temper, and a humble mind, were the stages of his self-sacrifice. One question remains — Whence came its impulse? whence its sustaining strength? The answer is easy. It came whence only it can come, from supernatural, but personal affection. My friends, we are not all St. Pauls: very much the reverse usually, almost infinitely short of him in spiritual vigour, most of us. But being all professed disciples of Jesus Christ, God demands of each of us in our degree, submission to the law of sacrifice.

1. We are under special trial when the soul is subject to the illumination of some new truth. A light comes — such a course long lived is wrong, or is not the best. We must obey, but to us — for man is very frail and only human — this is sharp.

2. Or we lose something very dear. It may be an old friendship, it may be an old friend; it may be old, long-cherished, long-loved dreams; it may be that the mystery of the freshness of early life, once making all things fresh, has fled. There is, remember, nothing lost without a something gained, if the soul walk by this law, mind this rule.

3. Or, as you may be this week, as you and I have often been, there may be a time of temptation. How sorely some of you are tried I know. How not seldom England's commercial greatness means that young souls must often choose between the loss of place, which means loss of maintenance — some-times too for wife and children dearer than self — and the loss of peace with God. This I am not forgetting. Oh brother, tempted, you or I, to wrong, in the interests of self-advancement, are we not after all only victims submitted to the law of sacrifice? Do not shrink. It is severe and painful, but it is the law of life.

4. And there is death. True, here we have no choice; but still, when that comes, how we shall comport ourselves may depend in very large, in very serious measure, oil our habit of sacrifice now. Every life, believe it, to be trained for God, for goodness, must be trained by sacrifice. Every work, believe it, that you do will be of lasting value in "proportion to the amount of sacrifice entailed in doing. In fact, it is by submission to this law that the Church teaches you how to use the world. This world may be viewed in many lights, so many-sided it is, so strange! For instance, it is a burying-earth, a world of death, a huge and sombre grave. "The world is full of death!" We tread on the dust of a thousand generations, and other pilgrims, children of our children, shall tread on ours when we lie low! Stop! A powerful principle can transfigure everything, even the horror of death. The world is an altar of sacrifice: lives have been lived, and therefore deaths have been died of abundant fruitfulness and unending power. Why? Because these souls, which live each an endless life, have expressed themselves in sacrifice, have lost, have strangled the only death-giving principle, the principle of self, in undying devotion to truth and holiness. Further, then: the world is the vestibule of a palace of complete achievement. However, all here seems stamped with imperfection, branded with the trade-mark of unfinished labour, yet death, on such terms, is in truth the entrance to essential life; sacrifice, the birth-throe of a spirit satisfied.

(Canon Knox Little.)

I. THINGS WHICH MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO SAY THIS.

1. The enjoyment of life.

2. Attachment to friends.

3. The anticipated pain of dissolution.

4. Uncertainty about the future.

II. THINGS WHICH MAKE IT EASY, AT LEAST COMPARATIVELY, TO SAY THIS.

1. The sad experience of life's ills.

2. The consciousness of having finished one's life-work.

3. The pre-decease of Christian friends.

4. An ever-nearing and enlarging prospect of heaven's glory.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

1. The godly, by a spiritual instinct and sagacity, foresee their ends; so did Jacob (Genesis 48:21), and Joshua (Joshua 23:14), and Christ (John 17:2), and Peter (1 Peter 2:14). They always watch and wait for their Master's coming. Their acts, diseases, and disquietments which they meet withal from the world are as so many petty deaths unto them. A man that dwells in an old crazy house where the walls fall down, the foundation sinks, the pillars bend, and the whole building cracks, concludes such a house cannot long stand. As for the wicked they are insensible and secure, and though grey hairs, which are signs of old age and death approaching, be here and there upon them yet they know it not (Hosea 7:9).

2. Death is not dreadful to good men. The apostle speaks of it here not by way of lamentation, but of exultation. Death to him was but a departing from one room to another, from a lower room to a higher, from earth to heaven, from troubles to rest, from mortality to immortality. They are long since dead to the world, and so can part with it more easily. The wicked look on death as a dreadful, dismal thing; but God's people looking on it through the spectacles of the gospel, see it to be a conquered enemy, having its sting taken out (Hosea 13:15), so that what Agag said vainly and vauntingly, a Christian may speak truly and seriously: "The bitterness of death is past" (1 Samuel 15:32).

3. The soul of man is immortal. Death is not an annihilation, but a migration of the soul from the body for a time.

4. The death of the martyrs is a most pleasing sacrifice to God.

5. The death of the martyrs doth confirm the truth. The Church is God's garden, and it is watered and enriched by the blood of martyrs.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

I. THE INFORMATION HERE GIVEN OF PAUL'S DEATH AS A MARTYR.

1. He looked on his death as an offering on behalf of the gospel.

2. He looked on his death as a departure from every temporal bondage.

II. THE DECLARATION HERE GIVEN OF PAUL'S LABOUR AS A CHRISTIAN.

1. As a soldier in the army.

2. As a runner in a race.

3. As a faithful servant to his Master.

III. THE DECLARATION HERE GIVEN OF PAUL'S REWARD AS A CONQUEROR,

1. The preciousness of this reward.

2. The excellent Giver of this reward.

3. The solemn time of obtaining this reward.

4. The liberality of the Giver. "Not to me only," etc.

(M. Jones.)

1. He looks downward into the grave (ver. 6) whither he was going, and there he sees comfort.

2. He looks backward and views his well-spent life with joy and comfort, and in a holy gloriation breaks forth, "I have fought the good fight," etc.

3. He looks upward, and there he sees heaven prepared for him.But doth not this savour of vain-glory and spiritual pride?

1. Answer: Not at all, for the apostle speaks not this proudly, as if he had merited anything at the hand of God.

2. He speaks this partly to comfort Timothy, and to encourage him to walk in his steps, keeping faith and a good conscience.

3. To encourage himself against the reproach of his reproaching violent death, he eyes that heavenly reward and that crown of life prepared for such as have fought the good fight as he had done.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

I. THE VIEW IN WHICH THE APOSTLE REPRESENTS HIS DECEASE.

1. He expresses neither terror nor reluctance, on account of the violent nature of the death which awaited him, but speaks of it calmly as a sacrifice and offering to God. His last and most solemn testimony would thus be given to the truths of God, which he had everywhere proclaimed; and his blood, when poured out, would simply resemble, as his words imply, the mixture of blood and wine which was poured upon the altar in the ancient sacrifices. His death would merely form the concluding part of that offering, which he had made of himself to the service of his Lord; and he seemed rather to welcome than to withhold the termination of the sacrifice. The decease of every Christian may be likewise called an offering. We are all required to "yield ourselves to God"; to present ourselves to him as living sacrifices; and in our dying hour, or in our devout preparations for it, we may bear our testimony to His perfections, by manifesting our firm faith in His promises and our full submission to his will.

2. But the apostle here speaks farther of his decease, in a sense still more applicable to that of all men; "the time of my departure" (or as his words directly signify, "the time of my loosing anchor") "is at hand." Thus he teaches us to take a much more enlarged view of our existence than to regard our death as, strictly speaking, the last of its acts; and rather to consider the dissolution of our mortal frames as the transferring of that existence from the service of God on earth to the presence of God in heaven.

II. THE REFLECTIONS WITH WHICH THE APOSTLE HERE LOOKS BACK UPON HIS LIFE ON EARTH.

1. Justly does he speak of his life as a fight, in which he had been engaged, and which he had maintained with the most unshaken resolution to that very hour.

2. This service he farther likens to a race, to one of those contests of bodily strength, or speed, or skill, in which it was common in those days for men to seek the prize of victory, and in which it was accounted the highest earthly honour to gain the corruptible crown. "I have finished my course." In this course of the Christian he had long and perseveringly run, and he is now approaching the goal with the prize full in his view. He was the more encouraged in his anticipation of the recompense placed before him by the consideration that he had "kept the faith"; that he had not only run the Christian race, but had duly observed the rules of the contest. "If a man strive for mastery, yet is he not crowned except he strive lawfully"; and the first law of the race here spoken of is to "walk by faith," "to run with patience, looking unto Jesus," to be animated in every step and turn of your course by a devout love to His name, a humble trust in His grace, a fervent desire of His glory. In this manner had the apostle kept his fidelity to his Lord, both in fulfilling with diligence the portion of service assigned to him and in his course of labour "living by the faith of the Son of God." By His grace and to his glory he has done the work given him to do; and, through his promised mediation, he now looked for the end of his faith, the salvation of his soul.

III. THE HOPES BY WHICH THE DYING APOSTLE IS CHEERED IN VIEW OF AN ETERNAL WORLD. You are thus called to exercise a rational regard to your own true happiness, looking forward to an eternal blessedness, which can be compared to nothing less than crowns and kingdoms; a settled approbation of perfect righteousness, desiring to receive, as the sources of your felicity, the approbation and favour and future presence of the righteous Judge of all the earth; a benevolent sympathy in the best interests of others, delighting in the thought that so many of your fellow-creatures may participate in your company, in the same blessed inheritance; and finally, a devout sentiment of love to the Son of God, anticipating with joy His own appearing, as the consummation of all His felicity to your own souls and to multitudes of His redeemed of every age and people.

(James Brewster.)

I. THE QUIET COURAGE WHICH LOOKS DEATH FULL IN THE FACE WITHOUT A TREMOR. The language implies that Paul knows his death hour is all but here. As the revised version more accurately gives it, "I am already being offered" — the process is begun, his sufferings at the moment are, as it were, the initial steps of his sacrifice — "and the time of my departure is come." The tone in which he tells Timothy this is very noticeable. There is no sign of excitement, no tremor of emotion, no affectation of stoicism in the simple sentences.

1. We may all make our deaths a sacrifice, an offering to God, for we may yield up our will to God's, and so turn that last struggle into an act of worship and self-surrender.

2. To those who have learned the meaning of Christ's resurrection, and feed their souls on the hopes that it warrants, death is merely a change of place or state, an accident affecting locality, and little more. We have had plenty of changes before. Life has been one long series of departures. This is different from the others mainly in that it is the last, and that to go away from this visible and fleeting show, where we wander aliens among things which have no true kindred with us, is to go home, where there will be no more pulling up the tent-pegs, and toiling across the deserts in monotonous change. How strong is the conviction, spoken in that name for death, that the essential life lasts on quite unaltered through it all! How slight the else formidable thing is made. We may change climates, and for the stormy bleakness of life may have the long still days of heaven, but we do not change ourselves.

II. THE PEACEFUL LOOK BACKWARDS. We may feel like a captain who has brought his ship safe across the Atlantic, through foul weather and past many an iceberg, and gives a great sigh of relief as he hands over the charge to the pilot, who will take her across the harbour bar and bring her to her anchorage in the landlocked bay where no tempests rave any more for ever. Such an estimate has nothing in common with self-complacency. It coexists with a profound consciousness of many a sin, many a defeat, and much unfaithfulness. It belongs only to a man who, conscious of these, is "looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life," and is the direct result, not the antagonist, of lowly self-abasement, and contrite faith in Him by whom alone our stained selves and poor broken services can ever be acceptable. Let us learn too that the only life that bears being looked back upon is a life of Christian devotion and effort. It shows fairer when seen in the strange cross lights that come when we stand on the boundary of two worlds, with the white radiance of eternity beginning to master the vulgar ell lamps of earth, than when seen by these alone. All others have their shabbiness and their selfishness disclosed then.

III. THE TRIUMPHANT LOOK FORWARD. That crown, according to other words of Scripture, consists of "life" or "glory" — that is to say, the issue and outcome of believing service and faithful stewardship here is the possession of the true life, which stands in union with God, in measure so great, and in quality so wondrous that it lies on the pure locks of the victors like a flashing diadem, all ablaze with light in a hundred jewels. The completion and exaltation of our nature and characters by the illapse of "life" so sovereign and transcendent that it is "glory" is the consequence of all Christian effort here in the lower levels, where the natural life is always weakness and sometimes shame, and the spiritual life is at the best but a hidden glory and a struggling spark. There is no profit in seeking to gaze into that light of glory so as to discern the shapes of those who walk in it, or the elements of its lambent flames. Enough that in its gracious beauty transfigured souls move as in their native atmosphere! Enough that even our dim vision can see that they have for their companion "One like unto the Son of Man." It is Christ's own life which they share; it is Christ's own glory which irradiates them.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. We begin with making some observations on THE SOURCES OF THAT CONSOLATION WHICH SUPPORTED THIS EMINENT SERVANT OF GOD AT THE TIME WHEN HIS DEPARTURE WAS AT HAND. It was the reflection upon a well-spent life; it was the consciousness of a strenuous and immovable fidelity in the religious warfare which formed his habitual preparation for death, and laid the foundation of his joyful hopes. The only sovereign and efficacious remedy against the fears of dissolution is to mortify the power of sin within the soul, and to make all our vicious appetites to die before us, for the sting of death is sin. He that hath risen above the influence of sin can live beyond all possibility of any great annoyance from the terrors of the last enemy. How animating a scene is the deathbed of the righteous man! What can disturb his last and peaceful moments The recollection of his trials and patience, the many acts of piety and benevolence which his memory can then suggest, all rise to view, to refresh his retiring soul, to smile upon his departing spirit, and render it superior to the frowns of death, which he is thus enabled to consider, not as a stern and inexorable tyrant sent to execute the vengeance of heaven, but as the messenger of love and peace commissioned to close a troublesome and mortal life, and to put him in possession of one glorious and eternal.

II. From the manner in which the apostle expresses the foundation of his tranquillity and hopes, we may observe, in the second place, WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THAT SERVICE IN WHICH THE CHRISTIAN IS ENGAGED, and of that strenuous and immovable fidelity which is indispensably requisite to complete his character: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." It is the uniform declaration of the Almighty to all the sons of men, that it is no easy thing to be a Christian, but that through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, with the rulers of the darkness of this world, with spiritual wickedness in high places. Our combat does not endure only for a little, nor is our security the reward of a few hours of steady opposition, but almost every step we take through the wilderness of life exposes us to some new attack; we are often assaulted by all the deceivableness of unrighteousness, and through the whole of life we maintain an unceasing struggle. Nor are all our enemies open and declared. Equally dangerous are our secret foes, these insidious passions which lodge within us, ever ready to catch at the bribes of an alluring world, and to open for it a secret passage to the heart. Thus surrounded with dangers on every hand, how absolutely necessary is it to be strong, to quit ourselves like men, to brace the mind with firmness and vigour, to keep the attention constantly directed to every quarter from which we may be assaulted? Thanks be to God, however, we are not left to struggle alone: there is an omnipotent grace which gives strength to the feeble. The law of the Christian dispensation is this: We are commanded to labour with as vigorous efforts as if the whole success of that work depended on ourselves alone, and, at the same time, with the humility and diffidence of a mind conscious of its own imbecility, and sensible of the necessity of Divine grace to render all its endeavours effectual. The man who is thus disposed has no reason to dread the greatest dangers: "He who is with thee is greater than he who is against thee: the Lord is thy life and thy salvation, whom shalt thou fear? The Lord is the strength of thy life, of whom shalt thou be afraid? The sacred influence of His grace shall continually descend to guide thy doubtful steps, to invigorate every languid effort, to teach thy hands to war and thy fingers to fight, and to crown thee with final success and triumph.

III. Which leads us naturally to turn our thoughts, in the third place, TO THAT BLESSED AND GLORIOUS REWARD, SPECIFIED IN THE TEXT, by the expression of a crown of righteousness. This expression has an evident allusion to those crowns bestowed by the ancients on brave and intrepid warriors; to those marks of honour and respect by which they were wont to distinguish particular feats of valour. It intimates to us that high and splendid triumph which shall be at last conferred on the faithful and undaunted servants of the Most High God; that ineffable dignity which shall be bestowed on them in the day of Christ's appearance; and recalls to our thoughts that most interesting period when the Judge of all the earth shall descend with ineffable pomp and majesty, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. How great, O God, is that goodness which Thou hast laid up for them that serve Thee, and wrought for them that fear Thy name before the sons of men. Thou shalt hide them for ever in the secret of Thy pavilion; Thou shalt defend them from the strife of tongues, and from the pride of men. Such honour shall all the saints of God possess; such shall be the reward of the steady friends of Jesus. Thus blessed shall they be who are found holy and undefiled in the world; they shall have a right to the tree of life; they shall enter through the gate into the city, and reign with Jesus for ever and ever.

IV. Our last observation is founded on the declaration in the text, THAT THIS HONOUR SHALL BE CONFERRED ON THOSE. AND THOSE ALONE, WHO LOVE THE APPEARANCE OF JESUS. Shall the treasures of Divine grace ever be prostituted to enrich the unworthy? or, shall the impious man ever be raised to that happiness which he hath always despised? No, the decree hath passed, a decree which shall never be reversed, that unless we are renewed in the spirit of our minds we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. This decree is no arbitrary law; it is founded in nature; it is implied in the very reason of things, that none but the pure in heart are qualified for relishing the pleasures of that immortal inheritance. For, what is heaven? Not a total alteration of state, but reason, and every pious and virtuous disposition dilated and expanded to its highest pitch. What are the immortal joys which it contains but the security, the increase, and the perfection of virtue?

(J. Main, D. D.)

Rev. J. Newton, who lived to a good old age, used to tell his friends in his latter days, "I am like a parcel packed up and directed, only waiting for the carrier to take me to my destination." When Dr. Wardlaw was visited by Norman McLeod in his dying hour, and was asked by him if he could not wish, like Enoch, to escape the pains of death, "No," he said, most touchingly, "I would enter heaven by the way that Jesus went." "I die no more," were the exultant words of old Dr. Redford, as he fell down in death. The Rev. Dr. Punshon, working and suffering, fulfilled a sort of double life until his Divine Master called him home. Then, in deeply reverent tones, looking upward, he said, with a firm voice, "Christ is to me a bright reality. Jesus! Jesus!" What a moment for his beloved wife when she saw a smile of rapture on his face, then marked him bow his weary head, and enter into the rest eternal!

Sir John Burgh, a brave soldier, who received a mortal wound in the Isle of Rees, and being advised not to fear death, but to prepare himself for another world, answered, "I thank God I fear not death; these thirty years together I never rose out of my bed in the morning, that ever I made account to live till night."

There is one more point of tremendous reminiscence, and that is the last hour of life, when we have to look over all our past existence. What a moment that will be! I place Napoleon's dying reminiscence on St. Helena beside Mrs. Judson's dying reminiscence in the harbour of St. Helena, the same island, twenty years afterwards. Napoleon's dying reminiscence was one of delirium —

"Head of the Army." Mrs. Judson's dying reminiscence, as she came home from her missionary toil and her life of self-sacrifice for God, dying in the cabin of the ship in the harbour of St. Helena, was, "I always did love the Lord Jesus Christ." And then she fell into a sound sleep for an hour, and woke amid the songs of angels. I place the dying reminiscence of Augustus Caesar against the dying reminiscence of the Apostle Paul. The dying reminiscence of Augustus Caesar was, addressing his attendants, "Have I played my part well on the stage of life?" and they answered in the affirmative, and he said, "Why, then, don't you applaud me?" The dying reminiscence of Paul the apostle was, "I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge will give me in that day, and not to me only, but to all them that love His appearing." Augustus Caesar died amid pomp and great surroundings. Paul uttered his dying reminiscence looking up through the wall of a dungeon. God grant that our dying pillow may be the closing of a useful life, and the opening of a glorious eternity.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

It is the most melancholy circumstance in the funerals of our Christian friends, when we have laid their bodies in the dark and silent grave, to go home and leave them behind; but, alas I it is not we that go home and leave them behind; no, it is they that are gone to the better home, and have left us behind.

(Matthew Henry,)

Nothing could be more beautiful than Ken's life. His days at Longleat are amongst the treasured memories of one of England's fairest spots; and his last journeys derive a tender pathos from the singular fact of his carrying his shroud in his portmanteau — he remarking that it "might be as soon wanted as any other of his habiliments." He put it on himself some days before the last; and in holy quietness and peace, his death was as beautiful as his life.

(J. Stoughton, D. D.)

Bengel says that Paul was about to deliver up to Timothy before his decease the lamp or torch-light of the evangelical office. Bengel alludes, remarks Dr. James Bryer, to the ancient torch-races of the λαμπαδήφοροι, in which the torch was handed by the runners from hand to hand.

— A brave soldier in the day of battle, if he hears that a regiment has been exterminated by the enemy's shot and shell, says, "Then those of us that survive must fight like tigers. There is no room for us to play at fighting. If they have slain so many, we must be more desperately valiant."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The time of my departure is at hand
I. OUR DEPARTURE. We loose our cable, and bid farewell to earth, it shall not be with bitterness in the retrospect. There is sin in it, and we are called to leave it; there has been trial in it, and we are called to be delivered from it; there has been sorrow in it, and we are glad that we shall go where we shall sorrow no more. There have been weakness, and pain, and suffering in it, and we are glad that we shall be raised in power; there has been death in it, and we are glad to bid farewell to shrouds and to knells; but for all that there has been such mercy in it, such lovingkindness of God in it, that the wilderness and the solitary place have been made glad, and the desert has rejoiced and blossomed as a rose. We will not bid farewell to the world, execrating it, or leaving behind us a cold shudder and a sad remembrance, but we will depart, bidding adieu to the scenes that remain, and to the people of God that tarry therein yet a little longer, blessing Him whoso goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our life, and who is now bringing us to dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. But if I have had to speak in a somewhat apologetic manner of the land from which we depart, I shall need to use many apologies for my own poor talk about the land to which we are bound. Ah, whither goest thou, spirit loosened from thy clay — dost know? Whither goest thou? The answer must be, partly, that we know not. None of us have seen the streets of gold of which we sang just now; those harpings of the harpers, harping with their harps, have never fallen on these ears; eye hath not seen it, ear hath not heard it; it is all unrevealed to the senses; flesh and blood cannot inherit it, and, therefore, flesh and blood cannot imagine it. Yet it is not unknown, for God hath revealed it unto us by His Spirit. Spiritual men know what it is to feel the spirit, their own new-born spirit, living, glowing, burning, triumphing within them. They know, therefore, that if the body should drop off they would not die. They feel there is a life within them superior to blood and bone, and nerve and sinew. They feel the life of God within them, and none can gainsay it. Their own experience has proven to them that there is an inner life. Well, then, when that inner life is strong and vigorous, the spirit often reveals to it what the world of spirits will be. We know what holiness is. Are we not seeking it? That is heaven — perfect holiness is heaven. We know what peace means; Christ is our peace. Rest — He gives us rest; we find that when we take His yoke. Rest is heaven. And rest in Jesus tells us what heaven is.

II. THE TIME OF OUR DEPARTURE, though unknown to us, is fixed by God — unalterably fixed; so rightly, wisely, lovingly settled, and prepared for, that no chance or haphazard can break the spell of destiny.

III. THE TIME IS AT HAND. In a certain sense, every Christian may say this; for whatever interval may interpose between us and death, how very short it is! Have you not all a sense that time flows faster than it did? In our childish days we thought a year was quite a period of time, a very epoch in our career; now as for weeks — one can hardly reckon them! We seem to be travelling by an express train, flying along at such a rate that we can hardly count the months. Why, the past year only seemed to come in at one door and go out at the other; it was over so soon. We shall soon be at the terminus of life, even if we live for several years; but in the case of some of us, God knows of whom, this year, perhaps this month, will be our last.

1. Is not this a reason for surveying our condition again? If our vessel is just launching, let us see that she is seaworthy. It would be a sad thing for us to be near departing, and yet to be just as near discovering that we are lost. I charge every man and woman within this place, since the time of his departure may be far nearer than he thinks, to take stock, and reckon up, and see whether he be Christ's or no.

2. But if the time of my departure be at hand, and I am satisfied that it is all right with me, is there not a call for me to do all I can for my household?

3. Let me try to finish all my work, not only as regards my duty to my family, but in respect to all the world so far as my influence or ability can reach.

4. If the time of our departure is at hand, let it cheer us amid our troubles. Sometimes, when our friends go to Liverpool to sail for Canada, or any other distant region, on the night before they sail they get into a very poor lodging. I think I hear one of them grumbling, "What a hard bed! What a small room! What a bad look-out!" "Oh," says the other, "never mind, brother; we are not going to live here; we are off to-morrow." Bethink you in like manner, ye children of poverty, this is not your rest. Put up with it, you are away to-morrow.

5. And if the time of my departure is at hand, I should like to be on good terms with all my friends on earth.

6. If the time of my departure is at hand, then let me guard against being elated by any temporal prosperity. Possessions, estates, creature comforts dwindle into insignificance before this outlook.

7. Lastly, if the time of our departure is at hand, let us be prepared to bear our testimony. We are witnesses for Christ. Let us bear our testimony before we are taken up and mingle with the cloud of witnesses who have finished their course and rested from their labours. Let us work for Jesus while we can work for Him.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is recorded of one of our most distinguished British essayists, that he addressed to an irreligious nobleman these solemn words, "I have sent for you that you may see how a Christian can die." Many critics have thought that the apostle's request to Timothy, "Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me," was prompted by a desire not only to have his companionship in the time of tribulation, but to impart religious counsel, and above all, that he might be a witness of the last moments of his aged father in Christ, the apostle. Whatever difference of opinion may be entertained of Addison's saying to the nobleman, who can doubt the wisdom and piety of Paul's wish?

I. LIFE PRESENT, OR THE APOSTLE'S REFLECTIONS ON DYING. How calm his mind! Whilst our views and feelings may be altered by the nearness of the last enemy, to Paul it seemed the same whether death was dimly seen in the distance, or the interval be measured by a single step. The words, "I am now ready to be offered" probably contain an allusion to the heathen custom of pouring wine and oil on the head of the victim when about to be offered in sacrifice. The apostle felt himself to be as near to death as that very victim; every preparation having been made, he only had to await the fatal blow. How could such a man fear death when for years he had been a "living sacrifice" in the service of his Master, and was now awaiting death as the consummation of the sacrifice? The other figure is not less beautiful. The apostle had hitherto felt himself bound to the present world as a ship to its moorings, but now anchor was to be weighed, fastenings to be loosened, and sails to be unfurled. But though the vast, the boundless ocean stretched out before him, he felt himself to be no mere adventurer — a Columbus going in search of an undiscovered land. Though known only by report, he knew that the report of this new world was not the speculation or idle conjecture of man. Thus, elsewhere, he is found saying, "having a desire to depart [to loose cable] and to be with Christ, which is far better." How does the repetition of these figures show that his feelings were not transient impulses, but the settled habits of his mind. How intelligent was this confidence! His was not the peace of ignorance, or of a perverted view of the mercy of God. Here was his assurance of a triumph over the last foe, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." And is there not something sublime in this state of mind? What a contrast does it present even to some of those cases of supposed religions triumph over death which men of the world have quoted from classic antiquity, For what was it that made the apostle so resigned, so willing, so longing to meet death? Was it a feeling of misanthropy from the base treatment he had received from his fellow creatures, including even his professed friends? Was it disappointed ambition, the world refusing him its laurels? Was it anxious suspense from being in prisons and deaths oft? Was it the infirmity of old age, drying up all the sources of the enjoyment of life? Whilst these may be the secret motives which have urged many men of the world to desire departure, no such selfishness was enthroned in the apostle's breast, as you may learn from his reflections: "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better." "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."

II. LET US LOOK AT LIFE PAST; OR, THE APOSTLE'S RETROSPECT.

1. Here is life reviewed in reference to its conflicts. Life is not only a race, but a conflict — not only a stretching forward for the prize, but one continuous struggle with besetting foes: it calls not only for activities, but resistance. Say you this is a repulsive view of religion? We reply, is not self-denial necessary for success in all the departments of life? Is it not, moreover, as salutary as indispensable? Instead of complaining of this battle of life, ask yourselves if the self-knowledge thereby obtained, the opportunity afforded for the development of graces, the vigour given by exercise to every virtue, be not more than a compensation?

2. Life is here reviewed in reference to the individual sphere of active duties. We might here propose several questions. Is a man sent into the world by his Creator only to follow out his own inclinations, or is he in any sense born to the fulfilment of some great end in the kingdom of God's providence? We might ask again if the individual believer sooner or later may not find out his particular vocation, and arrive at some satisfactory conclusion as to what end he was born, or for what cause he came into the world. Do not wants, gifts, counsels of friends, oft unmistakably point to the work assigned by the Disposer of all things? Will not the prayer, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to dot" be answered, so that the suppliant shall be able to say, "This is my course." If, then, there is a course prescribed by Divine providence for each of us, is it not our interest as well as our obligation to pursue it?

3. Life is here reviewed in reference to religious beliefs, or our fidelity to truth. By the word faith here is meant the Christian religion, so called because it is a revelation made to man's faith; "the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith." But all cannot say, "I have kept the faith." Could Phygellus, or Hermogenes, or Hymenaeus, utter such words? The patience and the faith of the saints are often severely tried, and blessed are they of whom it was said, "Here are they that keep the faith of Jesus." If any think lightly of adherence to the faith, let them ponder over the deathbed confession of one who had swerved from the truth. "It seemed," says a writer in the Quarterly Review, "that Hume received a religious education from his mother, and early in life was the subject of strong and hopeful religious impressions; but as he approached to manhood they were effaced, and confirmed infidelity succeeded. Maternal partiality, however alarmed at first, came to look with less pain upon this declaration, and filial love and reverence seem to have been absorbed in the pride of philosophical scepticism: for Hume now applied himself with unwearied, and, unhappily, with successful efforts, to sap the foundation of the mother's faith. Having succeeded in this dreadful work, he went abroad into foreign countries, and, as he was returning, an express met him in London with a letter from his mother, informing him that she was in a deep decline, and would not long survive. She said she found herself without any support in her distress; that he had taken away that source of comfort upon which in all cases of affliction she used to rely, and that now she found her mind sinking into despair: she did not doubt that her son would afford her some substitute for her religion; and conjured him to hasten home, or at least send her a letter containing such consolations as philosophy can afford a dying mortal. Hume was overwhelmed with anguish, hastened to Scotland, travelling night and day, but before he arrived his mother had expired." Is it nothing, then, to "hold fast the form of sound words," and, on a dying bed, to exclaim, "I have kept the faith"?

III. LET US NOTICE LIFE TO COME, OR THE APOSTLE'S SUBLIME ANTICIPATIONS. The race was nearly run, the conflict was well-nigh ended; it now only remained that the crown should be bestowed. The crown was to be one of righteousness. Not that the apostle felt he could claim it, for he who styled himself less than the least of all saints would be the first to cast his crown at the feet of the Royal Redeemer, exclaiming, "Thou alone art worthy"; but it was called "a crown of righteousness" because won in the cause of righteousness, and conferred upon him by One who is "not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed towards His name." In every age the attainment of a crown has been the summit of human ambition. For it, usurpers have dethroned monarchs — warriors have stood in the breach — navigators have defied the fury of the deep — philosophers have strained intellect night as well as day; for it the foot-racer, and the boxer, and the charioteer have endured severest bodily discipline — all — all reaching after the goal of worldly honour, all trying to distance their competitors — all dissatisfied with the present, and reaching to that which is before. Now Christianity addresses such aspirants, and points them to something better, to crowns purer, brighter, and more enduring. But what may be the crowns which the Lord the righteous Judge shall bestow, we shall not venture to describe. Sure we are, they are not merely symbols of sovereignty, or ensigns of victory, or tokens of national gratitude to earthly benefactors. The conqueror there will not be crowned with olives, or parsley, or any other such fading leaves. It will not consist in the praises of men, or worldly elevation above the millions of our fellow-creatures. It will not be awarded for human merit, nor will the wearer be conscious of any feeling of claim: the weight of his glory will rather weigh him down. It will not be of such a character as shall endanger his holiness, or that shall afterwards require a thorn in the flesh lest the victor should be exalted above measure. It will not be the joy and rapture of an hour, awakened by the excitement of the novelty, to be followed by ennui and disappointment. It will not awaken envy among the millions of the glorified, but rather raise higher joy as they see one wearing a more brilliant diadem than the rest. The crown will consist in nothing that will divert the mind from the Eternal All, and cause it to seek satisfaction in self. The real joy will be that it has been awarded by God's own Son, placed on the brow by His own hand — that it will reflect higher glory on the Giver — that it will be prostrated at His feet. In a word, the honour will consist in the presence and favour and likeness of God. But we pause and tremble, lest we should darken counsel by words without knowledge. We must wait until we wear it, before we shall fully understand the words — "a crown of life" — "a crown of glory" — "a crown that fadeth not away" — "a crown of righteousness."

(J. S. Pearsall.)

I. AS A DEPARTURE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY. As when the ship puts to sea, it is for the purpose of sailing to another port, so Paul looked forward to death as a "departure" for another country. The sailor does not leave the port with the prospect of an eternal cruise in unknown seas, or for the purpose of ultimately losing himself somewhere in some mysterious, undefined nothing.

II. AS A DEPARTURE TO A BETTER COUNTRY. He was willing to sail. Now Paul was no misanthrope, who had become so sick of human society that he longed to be rid of it. He was not weary of life. Then why did he wish to go? Was he amongst those eternal grumblers who themselves do all the "howling," and then complain that the world is a "howling wilderness"? By no means! His desire to depart was not because this was bad, but because that was "better"; not because he had had enough of Christian society and Christian service — that was good — but because he wished to be with Christ, which was infinitely preferable.

III. AS A DEPARTURE TO A BETTER COUNTRY, WHICH WAS HIS HOME. Paul compared himself to a sailor who, lying in a foreign port, was awaiting orders to sail for home. Such a man, though in a land of pleasure and plenty, would sit and long to be away. As he thought of friends beloved across the sea, he would count the weeks and days when he hoped to see them once again. Not unlike this are the Christian's dreams of heaven.

IV. AS A DEPARTURE FOR HOME, THE TIME OF WHICH WAS FIXED. "The time of my departure is at hand." The Psalmist says, "My times are in Thy hand." "My times!" — that is, all my future is with God. He knows —

1. When I shall depart.

2. Whence I shall depart.

3. How I shall depart.Two Cistercian monks in the reign of Henry VIII. were threatened, before their martyrdom, by the Lord Mayor of that time, that they should be tied in a sack, and thrown into the Thames. "My lord," answered one, "we are going to the kingdom of heaven; and whether we go by land or water is of very little consequence to us." So our thoughts should be fixed on the goal rather than on the path by which it is reached; on the rest that remains rather than on the toil through which it is obtained.

V. AS A DEPARTURE FOR HOME, THE TIME OF WHICH WAS NEAR. "The time of my departure is at hand." The sailor, lying in a foreign port, with his cargo complete, his sails "bent," and the wind fair for home, contemplates with joy the fact that the day is near when the order will come to bid him sail. Thus Paul waited for death. To him the disease, or the accident, or the martyrdom, would be but as the postman who brought the letter — the letter for which he longed with unutterable desire.

VI. AS A DEPARTURE FOR HOME, FOR WHICH HE WAS PERFECTLY READY. "I am now ready," said he. And so he was. As one by one he saw the cords being unloosened which bound him to this world — as loved ones were taken away — as sickness, disease, or age told him that the time was at hand when he was to depart, he viewed the whole with the complacent satisfaction of the sailor who sees his vessel being unmoored to sail for home.

(W. H. Burton.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF A FAITHFUL MINISTER.

1. He loves the gospel which he preaches.

2. He does not shun to declare all the counsel of God, but endeavours to preach the gospel as fully and as plainly as possible.

3. He will uniformly and perseveringly perform the self-denying duties of his office, which are of a less public nature, but of no less importance, than his ministrations on the Sabbath. In visiting the sick and the dying, he will deal plainly as well as tenderly with them. Whenever he is called to converse with persons about the state of their minds, whether they are in stupidity, distress, or doubt, he will not daub with untempered mortar, nor endeavour to comfort those who ought not to be com forted, tie will contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

II. WHAT REASONS HE MAY HAVE TO REJOICE IN THE NEAR PROSPECT OF ETERNITY.

1. He has good reason to rejoice that he chose the work of the ministry in preference to any other employment in life. The most useful employment must be allowed to be the most important and desirable.

2. He has good reason to rejoice in the close of life and in the view of eternity, that God has enabled him to be faithful.

3. He has good reason to rejoice in the close of his ministry, because God has given him assurance that all his faithful labours shall produce some valuable and important effects, either sooner or later.

4. He has good ground to rejoice when the time of his departure is at hand, because God has promised him an ample reward for all his sincere services.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

I. THE IMPORTANCE OF PREPARATION FOR OUR DEPARTURE.

1. This is the last and closing scene of human life.

2. How serious a thing it is to die.

3. Because disease and the period introductory to our dissolution are special seasons given to us in which to glorify God and bring credit to religion.

4. This is the last opportunity we have of doing anything for God, for the Church, for our families, and for the world.

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH A CHRISTIAN SHOULD DIE.

1. Amidst the darkness, languor, and pain of a sick bed, a Christian man ought to engage in com mending the ways of God and religion to those about him. The words of dying saints have been called "living oracles"; and so they should be.

2. We should then attend to the duty of exhorting others who are walking in the ways of the Lord.

3. We ought to commend ourselves and others to God in the devout exercise of prayer.

4. In the exercise of strong faith.

(A. Waugh, D. D.)

Homilist.
I. A SOUL-ABSORBING INTEREST IN THE GREAT CAUSE OF UNIVERSAL TRUTH AND BENEVOLENCE.

II. AN ACCURATE CONCEPTION OF WHAT DEATH REALLY IS TO THE GOOD.

III. DELIGHTFUL MEMORIES OF THE MANNER IN WHICH HE HAD SPENT HIS LIFE.

IV. A SOUL-ENRAPTURING VISION OF THE FUTURE INTO WHICH HE WAS ABOUT ENTERING.

(Homilist.)

The way out of this world is so blocked up with coffin, and hearse, and undertaker's space, and screwdriver, that the Christian can hardly think as he ought of the most cheerful passage in all his history. We hang black instead of white over the place where the good man gets his last victory. We stand weeping over a heap of chains which the freed soul has shaken off, and we say, "Poor man! What a pity it was he had to come to this." Come to what? By the time people have assembled at the obsequies, that man has been three days so happy that all the joy of earth accumulated would be wretchedness beside it; and he might better weep over you because you have to stay, than you weep over him because he has to go. Paul, in my text, takes that great clod of a word, "death," and throws it away, and speaks of his "departure," a beautiful, bright, suggestive word, descriptive of every Christian's re]ease. Now, departure implies a starting-place, and a place of destination. When Paul left this world, what was the starting-point? It was a scene of great physical distress. It was the Tullianum, the lower dungeon of the Mamertine prison. The top dungeon was bad enough — it having no means of ingress or egress hut through an opening in the top. Through that the prisoner was lowered, and through that came all the food, and air, and light received. It was a terrible place, that upper dungeon; but the Tullianum was the lower dungeon, and that was still more wretched, the only light and the only air coming through the roof, and that roof the floor of the upper dungeon. It was there that Paul spent his last days on earth, and it is there that I see him to-day, in the fearful dungeon, shivering, blue with cold, waiting for that old overcoat which he had seat for up to Troas, and which they had not yet sent down, notwithstanding he had written for it. Oh, worn-out, emaciated old man, surely you must be melancholy. No constitution could endure this and be cheerful; but I press my way through the prison until I come up close to where he is, and by the faint light that streams through the opening I see on his face a supernatural joy, and I bow before him and I say, "Aged man, how can you keep cheerful amid all this gloom?" His voice startles the darkness of the place as he cries out, "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand." Hark! what is that shuffling of feet in the upper dungeon? Why, Paul has an invitation to a banquet, and he is going to dine to-day with the King. Those shuffling feet are the feet of the executioners. They come, and they cry down through the hole of the dungeon, "Hurry up, old man. Come, now, get yourself ready." Why, Paul was ready. He bad nothing to pack up. He had no baggage to take. He had been ready a good while. I see him rising up, and straightening out his stiffened limbs, and pushing back his white hair from his creviced forehead, and see him looking up through the hole in the roof of the dungeon into the face of his executioner, and hear him say, "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand." Then they lift him out of the dungeon, and they start with him to the place of execution. They say, "Hurry along, old man, or you will feel the weight of our spear. Hurry along." "How far is it," says Paul, "we have to travel?" "Three miles." Oh, three miles is a good way for an old man to travel after he has been whipped and crippled with maltreatment. But they soon get to the place of execution — Acquae Salvia — and he is fastened to the pillar of martyrdom. I see him looking up in the face of his executioner, and as the grim official draws the sword, Paul calmly says, "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand." One sharp, keen stroke, and Paul does go to the banquet, and Paul does dine with the King. What a transition it was I From the malaria of Rome to the finest climate in all the universe — the zone of eternal beauty and health. From shipwreck, from dungeon, from the biting pain of the elm-wood rods, from the sharp sword of the headsman, he goes into the most brilliant assemblage of heaven, a king among kings, multitudes of the sainthood rushing out and stretching forth hands of welcome; for I do really think that, as on the right hand of God is Christ, so on the right hand of Christ is Paul, the second great in heaven. He changed kings likewise. Before the hour of death, and up to the last moment, he was under Nero, the thick-necked, the cruel-eyed, the filthy lipped. But the next moment he goes into the realm of Him whose reign is love, and whose courts are paved with love, and whose throne is set on pillars of love, and whose sceptre is adorned with jewels of love, and whose palace is lighted with love, and whose lifetime is an eternity of love. When Paul was leaving so much on this side the pillar of martyrdom to gain so much on the other side, do you wonder at the cheerful valedictory of the text, "The time of my departure is at hand"? Now, why cannot all the old people of my congregation have the same holy glee as that aged man had? You say you most fear the struggle at the moment the soul and body part. But millions have endured that moment, and why may not we as well? They got through with it, and so can we. Besides this, all medical men agree in saying that there is probably no struggle at all at the last moment — not so much pain as the prick of a pin, the seeming signs of distress being altogether involuntary. But you say, "It is the uncertainty of the future." Now, child of God, do not play the infidel. After God has filled the Bible till it can hold no more with stories of the good things ahead, better not talk about uncertainties. But you say, "I cannot bear to think of parting from friends here." If you are old, you have more friends in heaven than here. Besides that, it is more healthy there for you than here, aged man; better climate there than these hot summers, and cold winters, and late springs; better hearing; better eyesight; more tonic in the air; more perfume in the bloom; more sweetness in the song. I remark again: all those ought to feel this joy of the text who have a holy curiosity to know what is beyond this earthly terminus. And who has not any curiosity about it? A man, doomed to die, stepped on the scaffold, and said, in joy, "Now in ten minutes I will know the great secret." One minute after the vital functions ceased, the little child that died last night knew more than Jonathan Edwards, or St. Paul himself before they died. Friends, the exit from this world, or death, if you please to call it, to the Christian is glorious explanation. It is demonstration. It is illumination. It is sunburst. It is the opening of all the windows. It is shutting up the catechism of doubt and the unrolling of all the scrolls of positive and accurate information. I remark again: we ought to have the joy of the text, because leaving this world we move into the best society of the universe. You see a great crowd of people in some street, and you say, "Who is passing there? What general, what prince, is going up there?" Well, I see a great throng in heaven. I say, "Who is the focus of all that admiration? Who is the centre of that glittering company?" It is Jesus, the champion of all worlds, the favourite of all ages.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

In one of his last letters Livingstone wrote, "During a large part of this journey I had a strong presentiment that I should never live to finish it. It is weakened now as I seem to see the end towards which I have been striving looming in the distance. This presentiment did not interfere with the performance of any duty: it only made me think a great deal more of the future state of being."

Churchill, in the unfinished "Journey," the last fragment found among his papers, showed a strange unconscious kind of sense of being near his end. He calls it the plain unlaboured Journey of a Day, and closes with the line — "I on my journey all alone proceed!" The poem was not meant to close here, but a greater Hand interposed. That line of mournful significance is the last that was written by Churchill!

(Timbs.)

Of Bradford it is said, that when the keeper's wife said to him, "Oh, sir, I am come with heavy tidings — you are to be burnt tomorrow"; taking off his hat and laying it upon the ground, and kneeling and raising his hands, he said, "Lord, I thank Thee for this honour. This is what I have been waiting for, and longing for."

(W. Jay.)

For a contrast of worldly despair with Christian confidence at the end of life, compare with the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 the following, which are reckoned the last verses of Byron's pen: —

"My days are in the yellow leaf,

The flowers, the fruits of love are gone;

The worm, the canker, and the grief,

Are mine alone.

The fire that on my bosom preys

Is lone as some volcanic isle,

No torch is lifted at its blaze

A funeral pile!"

(J. E. B. Tinling, B. A.)

I have fought a good fight
I. THE TWO ARMIES.

1. The army of the saints.

(1)Their Captain-General is the Lord Jesus Christ.

(2)The officers are the ministers of Christ, and all who are active and useful in His service.

(3)The soldiers are the saints.

(4)The enlisting — conversion.

(5)The uniform — the graces of the Spirit, and the robe of righteousness.

(6)The armour — helmet of salvation, etc.

(7)The instruction of the young soldiers — Bible.

(8)The allies — angels.

2. The army of the enemy.

(1)Generals — sin, Satan, and world.

(2)Soldiers — the wicked.

(3)Allies — evil spirits.

II. THE BATTLE.

1. What kind of a battle?

(1)A good battle.

(2)A hot battle.

(3)A very profitable battle.

(4)A battle that must be constant.

2. Where fought? Whole world.

3. When shall it be finished? At death for each individual soldier; at the day of judgment for the whole army.

III. THE VICTORY.

1. Is certain.

2. Shall be held in ever-lasting remembrance.

(A. Fletcher, D. D.)

1. It is lawful sometimes to speak of those gifts and graces which God hath given us, that we may comfort and quicken others by our example.

2. The sweetest songs of the saints have been towards their last ends. The sun shines sweetliest when it is setting, the wine of the spirit is strongest in the saints when they are drawing to an end. His motions are quickest when natural motions are slowest; as we see in Moses his swan-like song (Deuteronomy 31-33.), and David how sweetly doth he sing a little before he dies of God's mercies to himself, of the covenant of free grace which God had made with him, and His judgments on the sons of Belial (2 Samuel 22:1-8). Joshua dying, how sweetly doth he exhort the people to obedience by setting before them the mercies of God (Joshua 24.). All Christ's sayings are excellent, but none so sweet and comfortable as those which He delivered a little before His death. Wicked men when they die they set in a cloud, and like the going out of a candle they leave a stench behind them: as their bodies, so their names rot and stink when they are dead and gone. As wicked men grow worse and worse and their last days are their worst, so good men grow better and better, and their last days are their best; having but a little time to live in the world, they are willing to leave it with a good savour.

3. The sweet resent which a good conscience hath of a well-spent life is matter of singular comfort and rejoicing in death.

4. Every faithful Christian is a spiritual soldier.(1) In war there is watching, soldiers must stand on their guard continually for fear of a surprisal to the loss of all.(2) In warring there must be arming, another man may go unarmed, but he that is a soldier must be armed.(3) He must have skill and knowledge how to manage his weapons, his hands must be taught to war and his fingers to fight.(4) Courage and valour. Even Rabshakeh could say counsel and strength are for war (2 Kings 18:20). Policy and power are very requisite for a soldier.(5) In respect of hardship a soldier must be a hardy man.(6) In respect of obedience. A soldier is under the most absolute command of any man. He must obey and not dispute the commands of his commander to whom by oath he is bound to be faithful.(7) In respect of order. In war there is much order. Soldiers must keep rank and file, they must abide in that place and keep on that ground on which their commander sets them.(8) In respect of their unsettled abode. A soldier whilst he is in actual service hath no settled abode, but he is always either marching, charging, watching, fighting, lying in his tent for a night or two and is gone.(9) A soldier must attend the wars, he must forsake house, land, wife, children and other lawful delights (for a time at least), and give up himself to his martial affairs; he cannot work and war, follow a trade and fight too; but he must wholly devote himself to his military employment that he may please his commander.(10) In respect of unity, soldiers must be unanimous. United forces prevail much, but if soldiers be divided and mutiny they ruin themselves.(11) Lastly, In respect of activity a soldier's life is a laborious life, they are cut out for action, they must never be idle. Now, the Lord will have us all to fight for these reasons:

1. For the greater manifestations of His own glory. He could deliver His people without fighting, but then the glory of His wisdom, power and goodness in their preservation and deliverance would not be so perspicuous to the world; nor His justice in downfall of His enemies be so apparent to all.

2. For the good of His people, hereby He exerciseth their graces and keeps them from rusting. Virtue decays if it have not some opposite to quicken it, and draw it out; hereby also He proves their valour and makes it more apparent to others. The skill of a pilot is not known till a storm, nor the valour of a soldier till the day of battle.

3. To make us long for our rest in heaven.

4. This spiritual fight is a good fight. His not warring after the flesh, but a spiritual, holy, honourable war (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4).It is a good fight in nine respects.

1. Of the author.

2. The man.

3. The matter.

4. The manner.

5. The end.

6. The armour.

7. The issue.

8. The fellow-soldiers.

9. The reward.It is a great comfort to be an old soldier of Christ. Men cashier old decrepit men out of their camps; but the older soldiers we are in Christ's Church the better and the more acceptable to Him.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

A general retrospect of Christian life may fill the soul with rejoicing at the end of life. It is the life that men live that is the evidence that they are fit to die. As against a selfish, sordid life the gleams of a lately-inspired hope are but doubtful evidences. A consciousness of imperfection and of sins need not dim the hope that men have, nor the triumph that they express in their last hours — nay, it may increase as the sufferings of a campaign lend added lustre to the victory. So, as one glances back and sees how the grace of God sustained him in all the imperfections of a long life, so one may at last be bold to affirm his fidelity and safety and become prophetic of that which is before him. For every man that is born and lives is building; and the builder invariably must hew. For the material of which character is built, as of houses, is either wood or clay, unfitted; and the clay must be moulded, and the brick must be burned, and the carpenter must hew the log, and there will be heaps of chips wherever there has been skilful work. But when at last the mansion stands out in all its fair proportions, and its scaffolding is removed, and the chips and uncleanliness are all taken away, that is what men look at; and he would be a woeful workman that should go, after he has completed his building, to count his chips and all the fragments of stone, lime, and litter. That is indispensable to this process of unbuilding in this life of character, as it is in external dwellings. It is said of Michael Angelo by one of his biographers that when the sacred enthusiasm seized him he went at a statue with such vengeance and vigour, that in one hour he cast off more stones that a workman could carry away in several hours; and Paul was sometimes like that in the vigour with which he was emancipating the true spirit within himself, he had made a good life. He had lived it. He stood therefore in the consciousness: "I am a completed man. No matter how long I was in building; no matter what the dealing was by which I was brought where I am now, I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith, and I know that there is laid up for me the crown." This was a glorious confidence; the rational certainty that our purposes and fulfilments are not inconsistent with the true humility nor with the realisation that we are saved by grace. Paul looked forward. "I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith; henceforth" — manacled, abandoned, as he elsewhere shows himself to have been; the poorest man in creation, the most unfortunate, stripped and barren — "henceforth," he cries, from out of his weary prison, "there is for me" — not captivity — "there is for me a throne, a crown, and a sceptre. I am a monarch." Some men have said this when bereft of reason; but here is a man in the use of his highest reason that is able to say, "A crown is laid up for me"; and as he looked up he could well say, in his thought: "O, crown, wait! I am coming for thee; it is mine; no one shall take it from me; wait for me." "I have a crown laid up for me — a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give to me that day." What is a crown but a sign of eminence, of glory, and of power? What is a crown of righteousness but a crown that is made up of all the elements that constitute righteousness? It was the sum total of all the highest conditions and fruits of his very nature, and the nature was of Divine origin and likelihood. He had the vision of pre-eminent manhood; a glorified love; a glorified conscience; a glorified sympathy, with all that ordains one to the nobler condition of being laid before Him, and all was expressed in that crown of righteousness. "A monarch, and my monarchy lies in the glorification of my whole nature, for I shall be as the Lord." Here was no anticipation of hoping that he should "get to heaven somehow." There was certainly no intimation that he expected to escape into heaven so as by fire. He had no idea of sleeping a thousand years, or ten thousand years, and then appearing in glory. The vision was before him, near at hand, and the step off the platform of this earth was to be a step on to the pavement of heaven. How the elements of grandeur exist in this life! You are the crown-builders, you that are living for Christ and for heaven. No one that was ever disengaging gold from the quartz would ever see in it those miracles of art that at last shall be made out of it. We are creating, in this life, the material for our crown, for all the things in the soul that are of their nature and tendency Divine — every thorough impulse to the right, every impulse that is willing to sacrifice a present pleasure for the sake of higher joy of purity and nobility — all would seem to us to be the scattering of grace in our lives; they are, all of them, flakes of gold; they are, all of them, the material of which crowns are made, and men, in this life, are caged eagles, that, looking out on the sun and heavens, know that they would fly, but they have not room to spread their wings. Ten thousand intimations, ten thousand aspirations, struggling desires, and longings are breaking in the hearts of men, and, because they cannot execute them and bring them forth to real action in this life, they are not dead. In the early spring the root and the bud are checked and held back. They are not an nihilated; they wait. The rose is sealed up and cannot deliver itself, but it is the rose; and the root that dimly throws the evidence of itself above the ground is itself, though it cannot yet develop itself. But by and by, when soft southern rains and sweet suns begin to beam, week after week, the little garden breaks out into blossom. And in this life, where we are checked and hindered and tempted over much, where we find that we cannot carry out our best purposes, and are failing on the right and on the left, the attempts to do it are so many attempts to bud and blossom, but the sun is not warm enough yet. But when, by and by, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing on its beams upon our liberated selves, we shall break forth into the full glory of the kingdom of God.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. SPLENDID ACHIEVEMENTS IN REGARD TO THE DUTIES OF LIFE.

1. Victorious soldiership.

(1)His behaviour was good.

(2)His cause was good.

(3)His Leader was good.

(4)His armour was good.

(5)His victory was good.

2. The successful athlete.

(1)Ambition.

(2)Self-denial.

(3)Concentration.

(4)Perseverance.

3. The faithful steward, lie had —

(1)embraced,

(2)lived,

(3)spread,

(4)defended the truth.

II. GREAT TRANQUILLITY IN REGARD TO THE TRIALS OF LIFE.

1. His knowledge of them.

(1)Of their honours — "To be offered." Martyrdom.

(2)Of their nearness — "Is at hand."

2. His preparedness for them — "Ready."

3. His benefit by them — "Departure."

III. GLORIOUS EXPECTATION IN REGARD TO THE REWARD OF LIFE.

1. In value it will be the highest possible. "Crowns."

2. In principle it will be the most indisputable. "Crown of righteousness."

3. In bestowal it will be the most honourable.

(1)Given by the Highest Being.

(2)On the most august occasion.

(3)In association with the most distinguished company.

(B. D. Johns.)

I. THE PAST FILLED HIM WITH SATISFACTION.

1. He had been a warrior. And his contest was with no phantom or abstraction; not with a mere principle of evil, employed without will or intelligence, but with a real enemy. Paul evidently acted continually under the impression that he was in an enemy's country, — that he was watched by an invisible foe, resisted by a being mightier than priest or prince. He recognised a terrible unity in sin — an energy and ubiquity which are angelic. He considered himself an officer in an army which has regiments contending in battlefields far away from this earth. Paul's enemy was God's enemy. He had no quarrels of ambition, or revenge, or covetousness, or pride, to settle. His eye was fixed on the prince who led the revolt in heaven, and had brought it down to earth. Against him Paul proclaimed an open and uncompromising war — a war of extermination; and he extended it to everything that enlisted under Satan. Hence it began in his own heart, against the traitors long entertained there; and with them he proclaimed an unrelenting war.

2. He had been a racer, also. What was the goal? It was, to attain and accomplish the highest ends man can seek; the highest personal perfection consistent with being on earth; attaining, as he styles it, "to the resurrection of the dead"; the exalting Christ among men; the leading men to him; the confirmation of the Churches in their faith; the leaving behind him writings which should be the means of glorifying God, edifying His people, and converting men, to the end of time. He had aimed at these achievements; and, by the grace of God, he had accomplished them.

3. He had been a steward. His life presented in this aspect a trust discharged. "I have kept the faith."

II. A FUTURE FILLED WITH BLESSEDNESS. He had honoured his Redeemer, and he knew that Christ would honour him. He looked for "a crown." It has been a common thing in the world's history to contend for a crown. The Christian hero here stands on the level of the earthly hero. But, when we come to compare the nature of these respective crowns, the character of their conflicts, and the umpires to whom the warriors look, the Christian rises to an elevation infinitely above the earthly hero. There is nothing selfish in the war, the victory, or the coronation.

(E. N. Kirk, D. D.)

I. Here is a man whose entire being is under THE SUPREMACY OF CONSCIENCE. With other men con science often has theoretical supremacy; with St. Paul its reign was actual. Other men may waver and fluctuate in their obedience to its behests; St. Paul is held to this central power as steadily as the planets to the sun. There was no sham about this man. What he seemed to be, that he was. What he declared to another, that his inmost soul commended as truth and attested to its own secret tribunal.

II. His life was also under the dominion of another regnant power — THE SUPREMACY OF AN OVERMASTERING PURPOSE. Every man needs the inspiration of a great purpose and a great mission to lift him above the pettiness and cheapness which are the bane of ordinary lives. Some great undertaking, with an element of heroism and moral sublimity in it, the very contemplation of which quickens the blood and fires the soul and awakens an ever-present sense of the dignity and significance of life- this is an essential condition of all great achievement. Such an inspiring purpose and ennobling work stirred the heart and stimulated the powers of St. Paul. Though nothing low had previously ruled or influenced him, it happened to him- as it has to many another man at his conversion — that the supreme purpose of life was formed in that supreme hour when the transforming touch of the Divine hand was felt upon the soul, and life's sublime work opened before the clarified vision.

III. But the supremacy of conscience and of a great purpose are not sufficient in themselves alone to produce such a character and such a life as St. Paul presents for our study. To these two ruling forces must be added another — greater than either, and co-ordinate with both — THE SUPREMACY OF AN ALL-CONQUERING FAITH. Christ to him was not a myth, not merely the incomparable Teacher of Galilee, not the theoretic and historic Saviour of men; He was infinitely more than that, the ever-present Partner of his life, the unfailing Source of his strength. His faith perpetually saw this personal Jesus, felt the warm beating of His loving heart, heard His sacred voice in solemn command or inspiring promise, and walked with Him as with an earthly friend. As well separate the spirit from the body, the beating heart from the respiring lungs, as separate this inspired apostle from this inspiring Christ. Anything is possible to such a man. Indeed, it is no longer a question of human ability at all, but of human co-operation with the Divine Christ- the natural man giving the supernatural agency full play and power.

(C. H. Payne, D. D.)

I have finished my course
I. We are to consider THE WAY OR PATH IN WHICH THE CHRISTIAN IS TO RUN.

1. The way in which the Christian is to run is a way of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. The way the Christian is to run is a way of holiness (Psalm 119:32; 1 Thessalonians 4:7). Christians, in proceeding on this course, do it not with the same life and vigour; some appear cold and indifferent, whilst others are quick and lively; some make great advances, whilst others go on by slow degrees. Some begin the heavenly race soon, in the bloom of life, whilst others loiter till towards the evening of their days.

II. We now come to consider HOW WE ARE TO RUN, THAT WE MAY FINISH OUR COURSE WITH ADVANTAGE.

1. That we may run the Christian race well, it is necessary that we cast off every weight.

2. We must begin and continue in a dependence upon Christ.

3. We must run with patience, courage, and resolution.

4. We must be watchful and diligent. Be upon your guard, Christian, the way you run is difficult, and it is attended with many snares and temptations.

5. We must keep pressing forward and persevere to the end of our course. You may meet with many discouragements, but still keep on, the further you go, the less ground remains to be trod, therefore let not your hearts be troubled.

III. THE ENCOURAGEMENT CHRISTIANS HAVE TO RUN THIS RACE.

1. There is a glorious crown before us.

2. He that begins aright shall at length certainly finish his course.

3. Every one that finishes his course shall as surely receive the prize. To conclude, with some improvement of the point.(1) The further-we proceed in our text, the more we see the difficulty of the Christian life, and the vanity of their hopes who content themselves with a mere form.(2) How foolish are all those that run after perishing enjoyments, and neglect the prize of immortality.(3) What arguments are there for running this race.(4) How should every one that has begun this race rejoice in the encouragements that have been offered.

(S. Hayward.)

To this end we must run —

1. Rightly.

2. Speedily.

3. Patiently.

4. Cheerfully.

5. Circumspectly.

6. Resolutely.

7. Perseveringly.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

In our Christian course it is but too generally and too truly observed, that as we grow older we grow colder; we become more slack, remiss, and weary in well doing. The reverse ought to be the case, for the reason assigned by the apostle when stirring up his converts to vigour and zeal and alacrity: he says," For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." In a race the push is made at last.

(Bishop Horne.)

I have kept the faith
What does St. Paul mean by the faith which he has kept? Is he rejoicing that he has been true to a certain scheme of doctrine, or that he has preserved a certain temper of soul and spiritual relationship to God? For the term "faith" is a very large one. There can be no doubt, I think, that he means both, and that the latter meaning is a very deep and important one, as we shall see. But this term, "the faith," did signify for him, beyond all doubt, a certain group of truths, all bound together by their common unity of source and unity of purpose. Paul was too wise and profound not to keep this always in sight. That there must be intellectual conceptions as the base of strong, consistent, and effective feeling is a necessity which he continually recognises; and the faith which he is thankful to have kept is, first of all, that truth which had been made known to him and to the Church by God. The first thing, then, that strikes us is that, when Paul said that he had kept the faith, he evidently believed that there was a faith to keep. The faith was a body of truth given to him, which he had to hold and to use and to apply, but which he had not made and was not to improve. We want, then, to consider the condition of one who, having thus learned and held a positive faith, continues to hold it — holds it to the end. He keeps the faith. We need not confirm our thought to St. Paul. An old man is dying, and as he lets go the things which are trivial and accidental to lay hold of what is essential and important to him, this is what comes to his mind with special satisfaction: "I have kept the faith." The true faith which a man has kept up to the end of his life must be one that has opened with his growth and constantly won new reality and colour from his changing experience. The old man does believe what the child believed; but how different it is, though still the same. It is the field that once held the seed, now waving and rustling under the autumn wind with the harvest that it holds, yet all the time it has kept the corn. The joy of his life has richened his belief. His sorrow has deepened it. His doubts have sobered it. His enthusiasms have fired it. His labour has purified it. This is the work that life does upon faith. This is the beauty of an old man's religion. His doctrines are like the house that he has lived in, rich with associations which make it certain that he will never move out of it. His doctrines have been illustrated and strengthened and endeared by the good help they have given to his life. And no doctrine that has not done this can be really held up to the end with any such vital grasp as will enable us to carry it with us through the river, and enter with it into the new life beyond. And again, is it not true that any belief which we really keep up to the end of life must at some time have become for us a personal conviction, resting upon evidence of its own? I know, indeed, how much a merely traditional religion will inspire men to do. I know that for a faith which is not really theirs, but only what they call it, "their fathers' faith," men will dispute and argue, make friendships and break them, contribute money, undertake great labours, change the whole outward tenor of their life. I know that men will suffer for it. I am not sure but they will die to uphold a creed to which they were born, and with which their own character for firmness and consistency has become involved. All this a traditional faith can do. It can do everything except one, and that it can never do. It can never feed a spiritual life, and build a man up in holiness and grace. Before it can do that our fathers' faith must first by strong personal conviction become ours. And here I think that, rightly seen, the culture of our Church asserts its wisdom. The Church has in herself the very doctrine of tradition. She teaches the child a faith that has the warrant of the ages, full of devotion and of love. She calls on him to believe doctrines of which he cannot be convinced as yet. The tradition, the hereditation of belief, the unity of the human history, are ideas very familiar to her, of which she constantly and beautifully makes use. And yet she does not disown her work of teaching and arguing and convincing. She cannot, and yet be true to her mission. She teaches the young with the voice of authority; she addresses the mature with the voice of reason. And now have we not reached some idea of the kind of faith which it is possible for a man to keep? What sort of a creed may one hold and expect to hold it always, live in it, die in it, and carry it even to the life beyond?

1. In the first place, it must be a creed broad enough to allow the man to grow within it, to contain and to supply his ever-developing mind and character. It will not be a creed burdened with many details. It will consist of large truths and principles, capable of ever-varying applications to ever-varying life. So only can it be clear, strong, positive, and yet leave the soul free to grow within it, nay, feed the soul richly and minister to its growth.

2. And the second characteristic of the faith that can be kept will be its evidence, its proved truth. It will not be a mere aggregation of chance opinions. The reason why a great many people seem to be always changing their faith is that they never really have any faith. They have indeed what they call a faith, and are often very positive about it. They have gathered together a number of opinions and fancies, often very ill-considered, which they say that they believe, using the deep and sacred word for a very superficial and frivolous action of their wills. They no more have a faith than the city vagrant has a home who sleeps upon a different door-step every night. And yet he does sleep somewhere every night; and so these wanderers among the creeds at each given moment are believing something, although that something is for ever altering. We do not properly believe what we only think. A thousand speculations come into our heads, and our minds dwell upon them, which are not to be therefore put into our creed, however plausible they seem. Our creed, our credo, anything which we call by such a sacred name, is not what we have thought, but what our Lord has told us. The true creed must come down from above, and not out from within.

(Bp. Phillips Brooks.)

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY KEEPING THE FAITH.

1. It may signify that we firmly believe the doctrines God has revealed, and steadfastly maintain them. We read of a "faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3). These, therefore, coming from God are certainly worthy of our credit, deserve our notice, and ought to be steadfastly maintained by us.

2. The expression signifies that we faithfully observe the vows and engagements we have brought ourselves under, to our glorious Master, and hold on with integrity and constancy in His service.

II. THE NECESSITY AND IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING THE FAITH.

1. It is the distinguishing characteristic of a real Christian. That profession that is not set upon good principles will never hold.

2. In keeping the faith, the Christian's comfort is greatly promoted. The glorious doctrines of faith are of the most excellent nature; they abundantly recompense the Christian in his steady belief of and attachment to them, by the unspeakable supports they yield in every circumstance and station of life.

3. Keeping the faith is necessary to promote the honour of Christ, and to secure the Christian from those errors and snares to which he stands exposed.

4. Without a steadfast perseverance in the faith our hopes of heaven are vain and deceitful. Perseverence in the faith does not entitle us to eternal life, but there is no eternal life without it. A word or two of improvement.(1) Is keeping the faith the distinguishing character of a Christian? Then how few are there in the present age. The honours of the world lead away some, the sensualities of life ensnare others.(2) Is perseverance in the faith the character of a real Christian? How melancholy must their state be who never yet set forward in the ways of God.(3) Is it so important to keep the faith? Then let us seriously examine our own hearts concerning it.

(S. Hayward.)

I. THE PRECIOUSNESS OF THAT WHICH HE HAD KEPT. He was the emissary of the great Physician, who had but one remedy, one panacea for the one radical disease of man. In Rome he said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation unto every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." In Corinth he would say, "The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but to them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." In Galatia he would say, "God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."

II. THE STRENUOUSNESS WITH WHICH HE HAD GUARDED IT. Think you that he had no difficulties with which to cope? Was there to him no maze in Providence, no labyrinth which he found it impossible to track and thread? Providence in many of its movements was to him, as to us, an impenetrable mystery; but still he "kept the faith." Think you that he found no difficulties in comprehending the dispensations through which God had manifested Himself to man; and that the wonder never rose up in his mind how it was that thousands of years had to pass away before the incarnation of the Son of God and the redemption of the Cross? He must have been less than man, or greatly more than man, if he could have sounded this depth; but still he "kept the faith."

III. HIS SUCCESS IN GUARDING THE FAITH. How he kept it he does not tell us here; but we catch glimpses, here and there, of the secret of his power. He kept it on his knees, kept it when he prayed night and day with tears. And be sure there is no faith, no true faith, no faith that will hold a man firm, which can be kept apart from fellowship with God. We can keep a creed without Divine help — we can keep a creed through the force of prejudice- through the force of obstinacy — through the force of ignorance — through the force of custom and social sanction — through the force of policy. To keep a creed is the easiest thing in the world, for it can lie, made up and dead, in some undisturbed chamber of the brain. But oh! to keep a faith is far from easy; for a faith to be a faith at all must be living, and if it be living, it must meet the onset of a thousand circumstances by which it will be tested. It will be tested by the influence of our obstinate corruption — it will be tested by the temptations of the world, by its maxims and customs — it will be tested by promises of advantage if only we will be faithless to our profession — it will be tested by changes in our circumstances, whether they be from poverty to wealth, or from wealth to poverty — it will be tested by those strange aspects of providence which bewilder at times the strongest minds, and make their feet almost to slip — it will be tested by the indifference or lukewarm ness of those around us. Happy the man who brings his faith through all these things. He is like a fire-safe, which guards its treasure unhurt, amid the flames which have raged around it in vain.

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

To die for truth is not to die for one's country, but for the world.

(J. P. Richter.)

When Bernard Palissy, the inventor of a kind of pottery called Palissy ware, was an old man, he was sent to the French prison known as the Bastille because he was a Protestant. The king went to see him, and told him he should be set free if he would deny his faith. The king said. "I am sorry to see you here, but the people will compel me to keep you here unless you recant." Palissy was ninety years old, but he was ashamed to hear a king speak of being compelled, so he said, "Sire, they who can compel you cannot compel me! I can die!" And he remained in prison until he died.

Paul kept the faith at Autioch, even when the infatuated crowd attempted to drown his voice with their clamour, and interrupted him, contradicting and blaspheming. He kept the faith at Iconium, when the envious Jews stirred up the people to stone him. He kept the faith at Lystra, when the fate of Stephen became almost his, and he was dragged, wounded and bleeding, outside the ramparts of the town, and left there to languish, and, for aught they cared, to die. He kept the faith against his erring brother Peter, and withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. He kept the faith when shamefully treated at Philippi, and made the dungeon echo back the praises of his God. He kept the faith at Thessalonica, when lewd fellows of the baser sort accused him falsely of sedition. He kept the faith at Athens, when, to the world's sages, he preached of Him whom they ignorantly worshipped as the unknown God. He kept the faith at Corinth, when compelled to abandon that hardened and obdurate city, and to shake off the dust from his garment as a testimony against it. He kept the faith at Ephesus, when he pointed his hearers not to Diana, but to Jesus Christ as their only Saviour. He kept the faith at Jerusalem, when stoned by the enraged and agitated mob — when stretched upon the torturing rack, and bound with iron fetters. He kept the faith at Caesarea, before the trembling, conscience-stricken Felix, when he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come. He kept the faith before Agrippa, and, by his earnestness, compelled the king to say, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian"; and even in the closing hours of life, when the last storm was gathering over his head, when lying in the dark and dismal Roman cell, he wrote these triumphant words, "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall given me at that day."

(J. R. Macduff.)

The apostle kept the faith. But does not the faith keep the man? It does; yet only as he keeps it. The battery keeps the gunners only as they stand to the guns. The fort keeps the garrison, yet only as they guard its walls. Never was a time when fidelity on guard was more needed than now, when the sappers are approaching the citadel of the faith, and there is treason in the camp of heaven- men in Christ's uniform, having been so deceived by successful crime, and so blinded by dalliance with mammon as to give utterance and organisation to the shameless sentiment that the prosperity of a community can be built upon sin. It is a true soldier's business to guard the faith. The Roman sentinel that was exhumed at Pompeii, grasping his spear, perished rather than desert his post. He wears the immortality of earth. But he that guards the faith, when dug out of the forces that overwhelm him while he stands his ground, shall inherit the immortality of God, and walk with warrior feet the streets of gold, a living king over a lofty realm.

(J. Lewis.)

A crown of righteousness
I. Let us consider THE PRIZE THE APOSTLE HAD IN VIEW, "a crown of righteousness." Royalty is the highest pitch of human grandeur. Those that wear earthly crowns have got to the very summit of earthly honour, and are in that station in which centres all worldly glory and happiness. What an idea is this similitude designed to give us then of that glorious world, where every saint wears an unfading, incorruptible and immortal crown?

1. This crown consists of perfect and everlasting righteousness. The sparks of this crown are perfect holiness and a conformity to God.

2. This crown was purchased by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It cost a valuable price, and therefore is of inestimable worth.

3. We come to the possession of this crown in a way of righteousness. Its being purchased for us does not lay a foundation for our slothfulness, sin and security.

II. Consider THE PERSON BY WHOM THIS CROWN IS BESTOWED, AND HIS CHARACTER AS A RIGHTEOUS JUDGE. This illustrious person is everywhere represented to be our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, Acts 17:31. Christ is the appointed person, and He is every way fitted for the great and important work, He being God as well as man: He is absolutely incapable of committing the least mistake or error. And He is a righteous judge. He will display His righteousness in the last sentence that He will pass upon every creature.

III. Consider WHEN THIS CROWN SHALL BE COMPLETELY POSSESSED AND BE FULLY GIVEN. It is here said to be given "at that day," viz.: The day of Christ's appearance to judge the world.

IV. Consider THE PERSONS TO WHOM THIS CROWN SHALL BE GIVEN. "To all those who love His appearing." The apostle was one of that happy number. They love His appearing, for then every enemy will be vanquished.

(S. Hayward.)

This assurance is —

1. Attainable.

2. Tenable.

3. Desirable.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

I. THE REWARD. It is described as a "crown of righteousness"; and, without question, such a phrase conveys the idea of some thing exquisitely pure, brilliant, and honourable. The crown is the reward of a conqueror; the righteousness is the diadem of deity Himself. And yet we cannot deny that it would be difficult to follow the idea into detail, and keep unimpaired its interest and its beauty. There is something indefinite in the phraseology, if we wish to ascertain from it the precise character of the recompense. When, however, we turn to the Being, by whom the recompense will be bestowed, and find Him described as "the Lord, the righteous Judge," we "may gain that precision of idea which is not elsewhere to be procured. For we should never forget that, by our thoughts and actions, we lie exposed to God's righteous indignation. And from this we may proceed to another fact. We require you to observe that a surprising change must have been effected ere a sinner can dwell with anything of delight on the title now under review. We press on you the truth, that if the crown is to be bestowed by the hands of the Lord, the righteous Judge, the recipient must have been the subject of a great moral revolution; for he is not only to be acquitted, he is actually to be recompensed. The bliss of an angel may be great, the splendour of an angel may be glorious; but it was not for angels that Jesus died, it was not for angels that Jesus rose. There will be for ever this broad distinction between the angels and the saints. The angels are blessed by the single right of creation; the saints by the double right of creation and redemption. Who, then, can question that the portion possessed by saints will be more brilliant than that possessed by the angels?

II. THE TIME AT WHICH THE CROWN SHALL BE BESTOWED. It must be that day when, with the cloud for His chariot, the archangel's trump for His heraldry, and ten thousand times ten thousand spirits for His retinue, the Man of Sorrows shall approach the earth, and wake the children of the first resurrection. And from this we conclude that St. Paul did not expect the consummation of his happiness at the very instant of his departure from the flesh. He knew, indeed, that to be "absent from the body" is to be "present with the Lord"; he knew that in the transition of a moment the prison dungeon would be exchanged for the palace, the turmoil of earth for the deep rapture of peace which never ends; but he knew also that the crowning time of the saints shall not precede the second coming of their Lord. The crown, indeed, was prepared, but then it was "laid up." It should never be forgotten, that the resurrection of the body is indispensable to the completeness of happiness. If it be not, the whole scheme of Christianity is darkened, for the Redeemer undertook to redeem matter, as well as spirit.

III. THE PERSONS ON WHOM THE CROWN SHALL BE BESTOWED. There is nothing more natural to man, but nothing more opposed to religion, than selfishness. He who has earthly riches, may desire to keep them to himself; he who has heavenly, must long to impart them to others. It is an exquisitely beautiful transition, which St. Paul here makes, from the contemplation of his own portion, to the mention of that which is reserved for the whole company of the faithful: "not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." He could not gaze on his own crown, and not glow with the thought, that myriads should share the coronation. Ye wish to ascertain whether ye be of those who love His appearing. Take these simple questions, and propose them to your hearts, and pray of God to strengthen you to give faithful answers. Do ye so hate what is carnal that it would be delightful to you to be at once and for ever set free from the cravings of earthly desires? Do ye so long to be pure in thought, in word, and in deed, that you feel that perfection in holiness would be to you the perfection of happiness? But, finally, if we would win the "crown of righteousness" which is spoken of by St. Paul, we must use the means.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

The crown of righteousness is a crown whereof righteousness is the material. This crown is of the same fabric and texture as that which it should decorate; it is a crown whose beauty is moral beauty, the beauty not of gold or precious stones, but of those more precious, nay, priceless things which gold and gems can but suggest to us, the beauty of justice, truthfulness, purity, charity, humility, carried to a point of refinement and of high excellence, of which here and now we have no experience. Once and once only was such a crown as this worn upon earth, and when it was worn to human eyes it was a crown of thorns. It may seem to be a difficulty in the way of this statement that the happiness is said elsewhere to consist in the beatific visions — that is to say, in the complete and uninterrupted sight of God, whom the blessed praise and worship to all eternity. "We know we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." But what is it that makes this vision of God the source of its promised happiness? What is it in God that will chiefly minister to the expected joy? Is it His boundless power? Is it His unsearchable wisdom? Will they cry for ever, "Almighty, Almighty, Almighty," or "All-knowing, All-knowing, All-knowing"? Will they, do they not say, without fatigue, without desire for change, "Holy, holy, holy"? And why is this? Because essentially God is a moral being, and it is by His moral attributes that He perfectly corresponds to, and satisfies the deepest wants in our human nature. The "crown of righteousness" means a share, such as it is possible for a creature to have in God's essential nature, in His justice, His purity, and His love; since while we can conceive of Him, had He so willed it, as never having created the heavens and the earth, we cannot, we dare not, think of Him, in any relation with other beings as other than just, true, loving, merciful — in other words, as other than holy. He is, indeed, Himself, the "crown of righteousness," the crown with which He rewards the blessed, and there is no opposition between the idea of such a crown and the beatific vision. They are only two different accounts of that which is in its essence the same. "The crown of righteousness!" Some crown or other, I apprehend, most men are looking for, if not always, yet at some time in their lives; if not very confidently, yet with those modified hopes which regard it as possibly attainable. Human nature views itself almost habitually as the heir apparent — of some circumstances which are an improvement on the present. An expectation of this kind is the very condition of effort in whatever direction, and no amount or degree of proved delusion would appear permanently to extinguish it. But the crowns which so many of us hope may be laid up for us somewhere, and by some one — what are they? There is the crown of a good income in a great mercantile community like our own. This is the supreme distinction for which many a man labours without thought of anything beyond. And closely allied to this is another crown — the crown of a good social position. "I have made great efforts, tempered with due discretion; I have finished the course which has appeared to bring me unbounded pleasure, but which has really meant incessant weariness. I have observed those laws of social propriety, which are never to be disregarded with impunity; and so henceforth there awaits me an assured position, in which I indeed may be reviled, but from which I cannot be dislodged — a position which society cannot but award, sooner or later, to those who struggle upward in obedience to her rules." And, then, there is the crown of political power. "I have fought against the foes of my party or my country; I have finished a course of political activity which has borne me onwards to the end. I have kept to my principles, or I have shown that I had reason to modify or to abandon them; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of political influence which is almost from the nature of the case independent of office, and which a great country will never refuse to those who served it long and have served it well." And once more there is the crown of a literary reputation. "I have had a hard time of it; I have finished what I proposed to it; I have been true to the requirements of a great and exacting subject; henceforth there is reserved for me the rare pleasure of a reputation which wealth and station cannot command, and which envy cannot take away; henceforth I have a place in the great communion of the learned, those elect minds in whom genius is wedded to industry, and whose works are among the treasures of the human race." Here are the crowns, or some of them, for which men toil and with which are they not seldom rewarded. But do they last?... As we get nearer death, the exaggerations of self-love cease to assert themselves; we see things more clearly as they really are; we distinguish that which lasts from that which passes; we understand the immense distinction between all the perishable crowns and the "crown of righteousness." That crown does not pass. It is laid up, it is set aside for its destined wearer by the most Merciful Redeemer, who is also the Eternal Judge, and who watches with an unspeakable, tender interest each conqueror as he draws nearer and nearer to the end of his earthly course, and as, in the name of the great redemption, he dares to claim it.

(Canon Liddon.)

If I had three things to wish, I should wish for Paul's threefold crown.

1. The crown of grace, a great measure of grace to do Christ much service.

2. His crown of joy, a great measure of joy to go through with that service.

3. The crown of glory which he was here assured of.In the words we have first the concluding particle, henceforth, lastly, as for that which remains.

1. A crown is not given till the victory be gained (chap. 2 Timothy 2:5).

2. It notes the perpetuity of the glory, incorruptible, never fading crown (2 Peter 1:4; 1 Corinthians 9:24).

3. It notes the perfection of it, as the crown compasseth the head on every side; so there is nothing wanting in this crown of life. So the saints in glory shall be crowned with goodness when all the faculties of the soul and members of the body shall be perfect and filled with glory.

4. It represents to us the dignity of the saints and the glory of their reward. They are all kings and shall be crowned. The day of judgment is their coronation day.Of righteousness —

1. Because it is purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ. By His perfect righteousness and obedience He hath merited this for us.

2. In respect of His promise, His fidelity bindeth Him to perform it. God hath promised a crown of life to such as serve Him sincerely (James 1:12; 1 John 2:25; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:21).

3. It may be called a crown of righteousness, because it is given only to righteous men, and so it showeth who shall be crowned, and what is the way to it; but not for what merits or desert of ours it is given.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

It is not the diadem of noble, prince, or king, but the wreath of victory for those who have contended (See Matthew 11:12). This crown can never fit the brows of the indolent, the lover of ease, the self-indulgent man of the world who acquiesces in Christian doctrines and Christian customs, whether of worship or social life, because he shuns the trouble of inquiry and of choice. To contend, to strive, to fight is the first condition of conquering, even as the conqueror alone can win the crown. Who, in that day, will deem the contest too hard when he has received the crown? Then, again, it is the crown of righteousness; and righteousness is the square and the perfection of all moral character and virtue, moulded and shaped by Christ's Spirit after Christ's example. Therefore, only that stage of character in which feeling, desire, choice and motive are genuine and pure, can be expressed by this word. This fabric of righteousness thus inwrought into the man himself will receive its topstone from Christ. No bye ways, no short cuts lead to heaven, only the narrow way of righteousness.

(D. Trinder, M. A.)

The royal life which Paul anticipated in heaven will not only be a life of dignity, and power, and grandeur, but it will be all that, without any of the disagreeable concomitants which earthly royalty has to experience. In this world greatness and care are twins. Crowns more commonly prove curses than blessings to those who wear them. Isaac, the son of Comnenus, one of the most virtuous of eastern rulers, was crowned at Constantinople in 1057. Basil, the patriarch, brought the crown to him surmounted with a diamond cross. Taking hold of the cross, the Emperor said, "I, who have been acquainted with crosses from nay cradle, welcome thee; thou art my sword and shield, for hitherto I have conquered with suffering." Then taking the crown in his hand he added. "This is but a beautiful burden, which loads more than it adorns." The crown of the triumphant Christian is a crown of righteousness, which will neither oppress the head, afflict the heart, nor imperil the life of any that receive it.

(J. Underhill.)

Links
2 Timothy 4:6 NIV
2 Timothy 4:6 NLT
2 Timothy 4:6 ESV
2 Timothy 4:6 NASB
2 Timothy 4:6 KJV

2 Timothy 4:6 Bible Apps
2 Timothy 4:6 Parallel
2 Timothy 4:6 Biblia Paralela
2 Timothy 4:6 Chinese Bible
2 Timothy 4:6 French Bible
2 Timothy 4:6 German Bible

2 Timothy 4:6 Commentaries

Bible Hub
2 Timothy 4:5
Top of Page
Top of Page