Second Timothy - Provision for Perilous Times

The house which, in the first epistle, was looked at in its rule, is
here contemplated in its ruin. The church, as an economy set up on the earth, like
every other economy, had utterly failed. Man fails in everything. The apostle seems, as it
were, to be weeping over the ruins of that once beautiful structure. He calls to
remembrance the tears of his beloved Timothy. He is glad to have even one sympathizing
bosom into which to pour his sorrows.

Who can fail to see that our lot is cast in the very midst of the evils
and dangers here contemplated? Why should we desire to blind our eyes as to the truth? Why
deceive ourselves with vain dreams of increasing light and spiritual prosperity? Is it not
better far to look the true condition of things straight in the face? Why should we
imagine that man, under the Christian dispensation, would prove a single whit better than
man under all the dispensations which have gone before, or under the millennial
dispensation which is yet to follow? Let my reader ponder these things, and then accompany
me, while I seek by the grace of God, to unfold some of the divine provisions for
"perilous times."


This connects the soul immediately with
Christ, in the power of a link which must, of necessity, be placed in front of all
ecclesiastical associations however important they may be in their due place. It is a link
which shall endure when all earthly associations shall have been dissolved for ever.
Timothy had this faith dwelling in him before ever he entered the house of God. He was
connected with the God of the house previous to his manifested association with the house
of God. If a man be destitute of this faith, he must, sooner or later, break down. He may
be urged on, for a time, by the impulses of surrounding circumstances and their influence,
but the perilous times will soon rise to a head, and then will come the awful crisis of
judgment, from which none can escape save the happy possessors of "unfeigned


The soul that is built upon this, in
the divine energy of "unfeigned faith," is able to resist the rapidly rising
tide of evil and is divinely furnished for the most appalling times. The church may go to
pieces, and all who love that church may have to sit down and weep over its ruins; but
there stands that imperishable foundation, laid by God’s own hand, against which the
surging tide of error and evil may roll with all its fury, and have no effect, save to
prove the eternal stability of that rock and of all who are built thereon. If we suffer
our feet to be moved from the rock, if we surrender ourselves to the impulse of
surrounding circumstances and influences, we shall never be able to make head against the
special forms of evil and error in these "perilous times."


We must hold truth directly from God,
through the medium, and on the authority of "the holy Scriptures." God may use a
man to show me certain things in the Word; but I do not hold them from man, but from God.
It is in the very midst of the perils of the "last days," that one has the most
urgent need of "unfeigned faith" and "the holy Scriptures." We cannot
get on without them. When every heart is full to overflowing of deep and earnest
attachment to the Person and cause of Christ, then it is comparatively easy to get on. But
the condition of things in Second Timothy is the very reverse of all this. Unless one is
abiding in unquestionable knowledge of "the holy Scriptures", he must assuredly
make shipwreck. Let us never stoop to purchase fellowship at the heavy price of all that
is "lovely and of good report" (Phil. 4:8).


The venerable pilgrim looks back
over the course which he had run and over the battlefield whereon he had fought. He stands
on the confines of the earth and in the very midst of the ruins of that church whose rise
and progress he had watched with such intense solicitude. He had poured forth the tears of
tender though disappointed affection over its decline and fall. He fixes his eye on the
goal of immortality which no power of the enemy can prevent his reaching in triumph. It
teaches us that the more vivdly we enter into the glories of heaven, the more faithfully
shall we discharge the functions of earth - the more we realize the nearness of eternity,
the more effectively shall we order the things of time.