Jared Smith's Bible Doctrine

35 Bible Doctrine – The Significance Of JOHN GILL And His Writings

A transcript of the video teaching

I would like to welcome you back to another study in Bible Doctrine. In our previous six studies, I have given a historic and theological overview of 17th and 18th century Hyper-Calvinism. I began with a definition—Hyper-Calvinism is any teaching which goes beyond that of Calvin himself. Accordingly, Hyper-Calvinism emerged in two waves. The first began with the publication of Calvin’s Institutes in 1536, culminating in the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. This may be regarded as 17th century Hyper-Calvinism. The second began with the publication of two sermons preached by Benjamin Keach in the year 1692, culminating in John Gill’s Body of Divinity in the year 1770. This may be regarded as 18th century Hyper-Calvinism. Both groups were driven by a covenant theology not present in that which came before. That is, the covenant theology of 17th century Hyper-Calvinism, epitomized in the major confessional statements of that era, was an enlargement of that taught by John Calvin; while the covenant theology of 18th century Hyper-Calvinism, represented by the teachings of Keach and Gill, was a refinement of 17th century Hyper-Calvinism. Whereas 17th century Hyper-Calvinism built its teachings around three major covenants, 18th century Hyper-Calvinism built its teachings around only two. In addition to these branches, there were a couple of modifications that deviated from the mainstream. The first was introduced in the 1630’s by Moses Amyraut, revised twenty years later by Richard Baxter. The second was introduced in the 1780’s by Andrew Fuller, popularized in the later 19th century by Charles Spurgeon.

Now, if 17th century Hyper-Calvinism may be represented by the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (from a Baptist perspective), then 18th century Hyper-Calvinism may be represented by the 1729 Goat Yard Declaration of Faith. Since Nehemiah Coxe is believed to be the architect and chief editor of the 1689 confession, he is held in high esteem by those subscribing to it, and therefore his book on the biblical covenants (published in 1681) is of great value to them. And, since John Gill is the author of the 1729 Goat Yard Declaration, he is held in high esteem by those subscribing to it, and therefore his Body of Divinity (published in 1770) is of great value to them. As I do not subscribe to the 1689 confession, and believe Nehemiah Coxe nurtured undeveloped views on the covenants, I will not take time exploring his teachings. But since I do subscribe to the 1729 declaration, believing John Gill nurtured clearer and more consistent views on the covenants, it will be his teachings that will supplement my studies on Bible Doctrine. To that end, I would like to give a little background on the life and ministry of John Gill, together with some of the major works he authored. 

John Gill (1697-1771) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He was born in the year 1697, in Kettering, Northamptonshire. He came to a saving knowledge of Christ at the age of twelve, while sitting under the gospel ministry of William Wallis. He was baptized and became a member of his local church at the age of nineteen, during which time he also began to preach the gospel. Two years later, at the age of twenty-one, he was married to Elizabeth Negus. 

Meanwhile, there was a famous Baptist church in London that had recently lost her pastor, and was actively seeking for a replacement. This church, meeting at the Goat Yard Chapel in Horsley-down, Southwark, had become well known during the thirty-six year pastorate of Benjamin Keach. After his death in 1704, the church appointed Benjamin Stinton, Keach’s son-in-law, as his successor to the pastorate. He held this position for fifteen years, ending with his death in 1719. Shortly afterwards, a few of the members, who had heard of Gill’s ability to preach the gospel, recommended the church invite him to fill the pulpit for several months, that his gifts might be exercised and his ability for a gospel ministry tested. After a short probation period, he was inducted as their pastor in the year 1720. He was then twenty-three years old. 

On the domestic front, John and Elizabeth were blessed with many children. Truly do we read in Psalm 127:3-5: “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them…” I wish I could report that John and Elizabeth were happy to have their quiver full of children, but it pleased the Lord that most would die in infancy. And, although their daughter Elizabeth survived those delicate years, the Lord was pleased to call her home at the young age of thirteen. Thus, John and his wife were not strangers to affliction. They were made to pass through many heart-wrenching losses and grief-stricken experiences. I include these details because I wish to point out the ways in which God chose to soften the hearts of John and Elizabeth, sanctifying to them a gentle and tender spirit. Gill is sometimes represented as an austere, somber and miserable character; one who seldom smiled or was too callous to sympathize with those around him. That, however, is certainly not the case. He was a serious man, but his heart was tenderized by some very harsh and trying circumstances, all of which prepared him to become the loving husband, faithful father and dedicated pastor he proved to be. I must say, however, in the midst of all his losses, God granted a small measure of relief by preserving two children—a son named John, who became a Goldsmith; and a daughter named Mary, who was wedded to a bookseller. These two arrows in their quiver were no doubt the joy and rejoicing of their domestic affairs. And, as an increase to their joy, Mary and John both came to a saving knowledge of Christ, becoming members under the pastoral care of their loving father. In the year 1764, after forty-six years of happy marriage, Elizabeth was called home to glory at the age of sixty-eight. Thus, John continued as a widower for the remaining seven years of his earthly pilgrimage.

With reference to his gospel ministry, he served for fifty-one years as the pastor of the church meeting at Horsleydown, Southwark. Such was the blessings which attended his ministry, that thirty-seven years after (1757) his appointment as pastor, the growing congregation moved to a new chapel at Carter Lane, Southwark. This no doubt confirms, that while he discharged his duties as pastor, he also did the work of an evangelist, though of course, he was an 18th century Hyper-Calvinist. One biographer described the character of his ministry in the following way:

“His natural and acquired abilities were very considerable. He had a quick and clear understanding, a solid and penetrating judgment, a fertile invention, with a strong, capacious, and uncommonly retentive memory. Blessed with these gifts, he was enabled to improve them to the glory of God, which was the grand object he had in view…As a minister, his deportment in the pulpit was grave and solemn: his language plain and expressive: is method natural and easy: his reasoning strong and nervous: his addresses affectionate: his matter substantial, clear, and consistent, well digested, and delivered with great fluency and accuracy, which failed not to command and fix the attention of his hearers. In prayer, he poured out his soul with great freedom and fervency, with much importunity, familiarity and liberty; and, like another Apollos, was mighty in the scriptures, and had the tongue of the learned to speak a word in season. The great doctrines of the gospel which he espoused, and which he at first set out with in the work of the Lord, and constantly and firmly abode by through life, even unto death; were such as respect a Trinity of persons in the godhead; particular and personal Election; the everlasting love of God; the Covenant of grace; the Fall of Adam, and the consequences of it; Particular Redemption, through the Incarnation, Obedience, Sufferings, Death, Resurrection and Intercession of the Son of God; Pardon through his blood; Justification by his righteousness; the Efficacious Grace of the holy Spirit in Regeneration; the perseverance of the Saints in Grace to Glory; the Resurrection of the dead; and eternal Life; these truths, with all those doctrines connected with or dependent on them, this faithful servant of Jesus Christ did constantly labour to explain, illustrate, and defend: at the same time, never omitting to recommend and enforce the several duties which are enjoined us in the sacred oracles of eternal truth. He did not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, and kept back nothing that might he profitable to the people; constantly affirming, that those who believe should be careful to maintain good works. His ministry, by the blessing of God, was very much owned, and greatly succeeded to the awakening, conversion, comfort, instruction, edification, and establishment of many, who enjoyed the opportunity of attending upon it. And it is worthy of notice, that three persons, who had been converted under his ministry, were afterwards called to that important work themselves. As a Pastor, he constantly and carefully watched over the flock committed to his charge, and of which he had taken the oversight, with great affection, fidelity and love; and filled up his place in the house of God with honour and usefulness…Notwithstanding his exalted attainments, he was meek and humble, of a tender and sympathizing spirit; weeping with those that wept; and rejoicing with them that rejoiced: ever ready to acknowledge, that all he had, of parts, learning, and grace, was freely bestowed upon him by that God, from whom comes every good and perfect gift. His conversation quite through life, was honourable and ornamental; such as became the gospel of Christ, which he professed and laboured in.”

During the last months of Gill’s life, he suffered terrible physical pain, particularly in his stomach, rendering him quite frail and undernourished. A few weeks before his death, his nephew enquired how he was getting along. His answer was indicative of his deep love for the Lord and the gospel of salvation:

“I depend wholly and alone upon the free, sovereign, eternal, unchangeable and everlasting love of God; the firm and everlasting covenant of grace, and my interest in the persons of the Trinity; for my whole salvation and not upon any righteousness of my own, nor any thing in me, or done by me under the influences of the holy Spirit; nor upon any services of mine, which I have been assisted to perform for the good of the church; but upon my interest in the persons of the Trinity, the person blood and righteousness of Christ, the free grace of God, and the blessings of grace streaming to me through the blood and righteousness of Christ; as the ground of my hope. These are no new things with me; but what I have been long acquainted with; what I can live and die by. And this you, may tell to any of my friends. I apprehend I shall not be long here.”

He exhaled his last breath on October 14, 1771, at the age of seventy-four years old; his spirit ushered into the presence of the Lord and his body laid to rest in a grave at Bunhill Fields burial ground. You may visit the location today. The inscription on his sepulcher has lost its engraving, unless someone has repaired it since the last time I visited. It was written in Latin, with this translation:

“’In this Sepulchre are deposited the remains of JOHN GILL, Professor of Sacred Theology, a man of unblemished reputation, a sincere disciple of Jesus, an excellent preacher of the gospel, a courageous defender of the Christian faith; who, adorned with piety, learning, and skill, was unwearied in works of prodigious labour for more than fifty years. To obey the commands of his Great Master, to advance the best interest of the church, to promote the salvation of men, impelled with unabated ardour, he put forth all his strength. He placidly fell asleep in Christ the 14th day of October, in the year of our Lord, 1771, in the 74th year of his age.”

May I add a sidenote? It is not wrong to take time reviewing the lives and testimonies of the Lord’s people. What is the Bible, but the narratives of men and women who walked with the Lord? An interest in the life and testimony of John Gill is certainly legitimate, for it pleased the Lord to bequeath to His people a rich repository of gospel teachings through the writings of this man. And since Gill’s Body of Divinity will be used as a supplement for the remaining studies in this series on Bible Doctrine, it is appropriate you have some understanding of who he was and what he accomplished. 

For the remainder of this study, I would like to highlight some of the books he wrote, and I will place them in the order that they were published.

1. “The Urim and Thumim Found with Christ” (1725)

2. “The Ancient Mode of Baptism by Immersion in Reply to Mattias Maurice’s [Book]” (1726)

3. “Exposition of the Song of Solomon” (1728)

4. “Goat Yard Declaration of Faith” (1729)

5. “Treatise on the Doctrine of the Trinity against Sabellianism in the Baptist Churches” (1731)

6. “Lime Street Lectures” (1732)

7. “Prayer and Singing of Psalms” (1733)

8. “Cause of God and Truth” (1735-38)

9. “Truth Defended: A Reply to Burt’s ‘Some Doctrines in the Supralapsarian Scheme Examined’ (1736)

10. “Doctrines of Grace Cleared from the Charge of Licentiousness” (1737)

11. “The Necessity of Good Works to Salvation” (1738)

12. “Vindication of the Cause of God and Truth against Heywood’s Arminian Objections to the Cause of God and Truth” (1740)

13. “Exposition of the New Testament” (1746-48)

14. “Divine Right of Infant-Baptism Examined and Disproved against Jonathan Dickinson” (1749)

15. “Republication of John Skepp’s ‘Divine Energy’”(1751)

16. “Doctrine of the Saint’s Final Perseverance against John Wesley’s ‘Serious Thoughts’” (1752)

17. “Doctrine of Predestination, Stated and Set in the Scripture Light” (1752)

18. “Infant Sprinkling an Innovation” (1753)

19. “Republication of Tobias Crisp’s Works” (1755)

20. “Attendance in Places of Religious Worship, where the Divine Name is Recorded” (1757)

21. “Exposition of the Old Testament” (1763-66)

22. “Reply to Mr. Clark’s Defense of the Divine Right of Infant Baptism” (1765)

23. “Dissertation on the Antiquities of the Hebrew Language” (1767)

24. “Body of Doctrinal Divinity” (1769)

25. “Body of Practical Divinity” (1770)

Of these works, there are four which I recommend every Christian keep in his/her possession:

1. “The Cause of God and Truth” (1735-38)

2. “An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments” (1746-48; 1763-66)

3. “Goat Yard Declaration of Faith” (1729)

4. “A Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity” (1769-70)

For the remainder of this study, I would like to introduce the subject matter and contents for the first two of these works:

1. “The Cause of God and Truth” (1735-38)

This work was Gill’s answer to Dr. Whitby’s “Discourse on the Five Points”. Whitby sought to dismantle the Calvinistic system of doctrine, a work which many believed could not be answered. John Gill responded the challenge, resulting in a four volume refutation, under the general title of, “The Cause of God and Truth”. 

The first volume was published in the year 1735, which expounds and answers sixty passages of Scripture made use of by Dr. Whitby and others subscribing to a universal atonement.

The second volume was published in the year 1736, which deals with several more passages of Scripture in favor of special and distinguishing grace. The topics covered in this volume are: (1) Reprobation, with five proof texts; (2) Election, with ten proof texts; (3) Redemption, with seven proof texts; (4) Efficacious Grace, with sixteen proof texts; (5) Corruption of Human Nature, with six proof texts; (6) Perseverance of the Saints, with eighteen proof texts.

The third volume was published in the year 1737, which answers various arguments employed by Dr. Whitby and others against the Calvinist scheme of teachings. The topics covered in this volume are: (1) Reprobation; (2) Election; (3) Redemption; (4) Efficacious Grace; (5) Freedom of Man’s Will; (6) Perseverance of the Saints; (7) Providence of God; (8) Case of the Heathen. 

The fourth volume was published in the year 1738, which examines the historic writers of Christendom, affirming the teachings of free and sovereign grace. The topics covered in this volume are: (1) Predestination, with nineteen historic witnesses; (2) Redemption, with thirty-three historic witnesses; (3) Original Sin, with twenty-eight historic witnesses; (4) Efficacious Grace, with twenty-one historic witnesses; (5) Perseverance of the Saints, with twenty-two historic witnesses; and the (6) Heathen.

I wish to give two examples from this work, both taken from the first volume, which will demonstrate the judicious way in which Gill handles points of controversy in defense of the faith:

(1) On page 36, Gill responds to Dr. Whitby’s argument, taken from Isaiah 55:1, that the preacher is responsible to give general invitations and free offers of the gospel to unregenerate sinners:

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money: come ye, buy, and eat, yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”—Isaiah 55:1.

Gill responds:

“1. These words are no call, invitation, or offer of grace to dead sinners [see Whitby, p. 341], since they are spoken to such who were thirsty, that is, who, in a spiritual sense, were thirsting after pardon of sin, a justifying righteousness, and salvation by Christ; after a greater knowledge of him, communion with him, conformity to him, and enjoyment of him in his ordinances, which supposes them to be spiritually alive; for such who are dead in sin, thirst not after the grace of God, but the lusts of the flesh; they mind and savour the things of the flesh, and not the things of the Spirit; only new-born babes, or such who are born again, are quickened and made alive, desire Christ, his grace, and the sincere milk of the word, that their souls may grow thereby; besides, the persons called unto, are represented as having no money; which, though true of unconverted persons, who have nothing to pay off their debts, or purchase any thing for themselves; yet they fancy themselves to be rich, and increased in goods, and stand in need of nothing; whereas the persons here encouraged are such, who not only have no money, but know they have none; who are poor in spirit, and sensible of their spiritual poverty; which sense arises from the quickening influences of the Spirit of God upon their souls; nor are Isa. 1:18, 19; Luke 13:3, John 2:16, and 7:24, any offers of grace, as they are with this represented to be.

2. They do not express any power or ability in unconverted persons to come to Christ, seeing they are not directed to such, as is before observed; besides, neither Christ, nor the grace of Christ, are designed by the waters, but the ordinances; the allusion being, as is thought by some, to maritime places, or sea-ports, where ships of merchandise unload their traffic, and people resort to buy things necessary for them. Now where should hungry and thirsty souls, and such that have no money, attend, but on the ordinances, the means of grace? where they may expect to meet with Christ, and of his fulness receive, even grace for grace. Nor,

3 . Do they declare any self-sufficiency in creatures to procure any thing for thomselves by their works; for the things to be bought, wine and milk, suitable to thirsty persons, signify either the doctrines of the gospel, or the blessings of grace, both which are freely given. Buying here is to be taken not in a proper sense, for no valuable consideration can be given to God for his grace; but in an improper one, the manner in which these things were to be bought, being without price; and besides, the persons who are called upon to buy, are said to have no money. This explanation of the words in the several parts of them, will help us to understand the advice and invitation given in other places; such as Rev. 2:18, and 22:17.”

With a clear mind and spiritual understanding, we see here how easy Gill refuted the free will teachings of Dr. Whitby, by rightly dividing the word of truth.

(2) On page 95, Gill responds to another of Dr. Whitby’s arguments, taken from 1 Timothy 4:19, that the atonement of Christ must be sufficient to save all sinners, though its efficiency is limited only to those who believe on Christ:

“For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe.”—1 Timothy 4:19

Gill responds:

“These words stand among others, which are said to contain, in express terms, the doctrine of general redemption. [See Whitby, p. 113] But,

1. If these words represent God, as the Saviour of all men, in the sense of a spiritual and eternal salvation, they prove more than any, unless Origen and his followers, contend for, namely, an universal salvation. To say that Christ is the Saviour of all men, with respect to the impetration of salvation for them, though not with respect to the application of it to them all, is a distinction, which must, in part, make the death of Christ in vain; nor can a mere possibility of salvation, nor a conditional one, nor a putting of men into a salvable state, be intended; for then they that believe, would be only in such a precarious and uncertain state: whereas it is certain, that he that believeth shall be saved. Besides, if God is the Saviour of all men, in the sense of eternal salvation, then he must be the Saviour of unbelievers, contrary to many express passages of Scripture; such as John 3:18, 36; Mark 16:16; Rev. 21:8.

2. The words are to be understood of providential goodness and temporal salvation; which all men have a share in, more or less. God the Father, and not Christ, is here called the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, that is, the preserver of all men; who supports them in their being, and supplies them with all the necessaries of life, and especially them that believe, who are the particular care of his providence; for though he is good, and does good to all men, yet more especially to the household of faith; which was the foundation of the apostles’ trust in him, under all their labours and reproaches, which attended the preaching of the gospel. Which sense of the words is perfectly agreeable both to the analogy of faith, and to the context, and is owned by some who are on the other side of the question.”

As a side note, I wish to say something about a branch of the Primitive Baptists, originating in the United States, who are often labeled and distinguished as conditionalists. They have constructed a framework of teaching based on the distinction Gill makes between a temporal and earthly salvation, and an eternal and spiritual salvation. You will often hear them talk about a time salvation and an eternal salvation. However, what they mean by these designations is quite different from what Gill intended. I do not have the time in this study to enter any meaningful explanation on the issue. I wish only to make reference to it now, since you may sometimes hear the Primitive Baptists quoting Gill, arguing that he made the same distinctions between a time salvation and an eternal salvation as they do. I caution you to investigate this matter further, before accepting their claims to Gill’s teachings on the subject. 

Alright, well my dear friends, if you are at all challenged by the Arminians or Moderate-Calvinists, as to the meaning of various texts of Scripture, I hope you see there is a resource available to you which will prove most helpful, not only in your better understanding of the issues, but in preparing and answer for every one who may ask of the hope that it is you. I highly recommend you make it a matter of priority, this week, to secure a copy of Gill’s “The Cause Of God And Truth”. 

Let me now introduce you to,

2. “An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments” (1746-48; 1763-66)

Gill’s commentary on the New Testament was published between the years 1746-48, while his commentary on the Old Testament was published fifteen years later, between the years 1763-66. Ken Connolly, one of my mentors in the ministry, told me the evidence of a good commentary is one that you frequently return to because the wealth of information provided is never absorbed the first several times it is referenced. If that is a good gauge for a useful commentary, then Gill’s stands head and shoulder above most. The value of his comments is not to be found in linguistics or devotion, but in theology. His systematic theology of the Goat Yard Declaration and Body of Divinity is explained verse by verse from Genesis to Revelation. In other words, what he arranges in his Body of Divinity is demonstrated and proved in his commentary. The two should be consulted side by side. Of course, the key to making use of commentaries is to first do your own study on the passage without consulting others. Read it, study it in context, look up the meaning of the English and original words, meditate on the passage. Only then, after forming your own views on the passage through that process, should you consult a commentary to find what others say on the text. 

The way in which Gill approaches a text should also be mentioned, as it is a key feature which makes his commentary so useful. Prior to giving his own view on a text of Scripture, he will often highlight a number of wrong views imposed on the text, thereby not only giving to the reader his own understanding of the passage, but also clearing away the prejudices many of us bring to our reading of the Scriptures. Although Spurgeon was greatly annoyed by this feature, I believe it is of great benefit to the student of God’s Word. 

I wish now to give a couple of examples from Gill’s commentary, and since we have just looked at his statements based on Isaiah 51 and 1 Timothy 4, I believe it is helpful to see what he says about these same texts in his commentary. 

1. Isaiah 55:1: 

“Ver. 1. Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, &c.] 

These are the words not of the prophet, but of the Lord, as what follows throughout the chapter shows; and are directed to the Gentiles, as Aben Ezra thinks: and indeed their conversion is manifestly spoken of in it; and who, Kimchi says, after the war of Gog and Magog, shall know that the Lord reigns, and shall come and be desirous of learning his judgments and laws. The word “ho” is expressive of calling, as the Jewish commentators rightly observe; and carries in it an invitation, in which there seems to be a commiseration of the case of the persons called and it is delivered in indefinite terms, and very openly and publicly; and has in it the nature of a Gospel call or invitation, to persons described as “thirsty”; not in natural, much less in a sinful sense, but in a spiritual one; thirsting after forgiveness of sin by the blood of Christ; after justification by his righteousness; after salvation by him; after more knowledge of him, more communion with him, and more conformity to him; and after the milk of the word, and breasts of ordinances; being sensible of sin and danger, and having a spiritual appetite, and a desire after spiritual things. Such as these are persons made alive; are in distress, and sensible of it; and have desires formed in them after divine things: and these are invited and encouraged to “come to the waters”; by which are meant not Christ, though he is as “rivers of water”; and sensible sinners are directed to come to him, and that as in a starving and famishing condition, and having nothing to help themselves with; and such things are to be had of him, which like water are refreshing and reviving, as his grace, and the blessings of it; and which serve to extinguish thirst, and free from it; yet not he, nor the grace of the spirit, are intended, which is often signified by water in Scripture; but rather the ordinances of the Gospel, which are the means of conveying grace, and of refreshing and comforting distressed minds; in order to which, such may come and hear the word, come and partake of all ordinances. The allusion seems to be to such places by the waterside, where ships, laden with provisions, come and unlade; and where persons, by a public crier, are informed of it, and are called to come and buy. So water means the water side, (Judges 7:4). Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi, interpret them of the law, and the doctrines of it; and so the Targum, “ho, everyone that would learn, let him come and learn;” but the Gospel, and the doctrines and ordinances of that, seem rather designed: and he that hath no money; not in a natural, but in a spiritual sense: unconverted persons have nothing to support themselves or pay off their debts with, though they fancy they have, and that they are rich, and stand in need of nothing; but sensible souls know they have none, and that they are poor and needy; yet these are invited to come where provisions are to be had, since they are to be had at free cost: come ye, buy and eat; come to the ordinances, partake of them freely, and feed upon the provisions therein made: come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without price; by wine and milk are meant the Gospel and its doctrines, compared to good old generous wine, for the antiquity of them, and for their being of a reviving and refreshing nature; and to “milk”, for its purity and sweetness, and for its cooling and nourishing nature, and because easy of digestion; these are to be bought, and not to be sold. (Proverbs 23:23), but not in a proper sense; no valuable consideration can be given for them, for they are of more worth than thousands of gold and silver; nor have we anything to give to God for them, and the blessings of grace conveyed by them, which is not his own, or can be profitable to him; but in an improper sense, when something thought valuable is parted with for them, as sinful and righteous self, and even everything in life, when called for, and that itself; these are bought without any money or price on our part; they are freely given and received; and on this basis may men expect them, and have them. The Targum is, “he that hath no silver, come, hear and learn; come, hear and learn, without price and money, doctrine better than wine and milk.”

These comments are quite similar to those made by Gill in his book, “The Cause of God and Truth”, but of course he goes into much greater detail in his commentary on the passage. Let us now see what he says about, 

2. 1 Timothy 4:10: 

“Ver. 10. For therefore we both labour, etc.]”

Not in the word and doctrine, though they did; nor in the exercise of internal godliness, though there is a work in faith, and a labour in love; nor with their own hands, at their trades and business, to support themselves, and others; but by enduring hardships and afflictions, as stripes, imprisonment, weariness, pain, watchings, fastings, hunger, thirst, cold, and nakedness; (see 2 Corinthians 11:23- 27).

“And suffer reproach;”

With patience and cheerfulness. The Alexandrian copy, and another manuscript, read, “we strive”; or contend even to an agony, combating with sin, Satan, and the world, with profane men, and with false teachers; and to all this they were animated by the promises made to godliness; and therefore they showed it by their practices, or rather by their sufferings, that they believed it to be a true and faithful saying; and which is further conferred by what follows:

“because we trust in the living God;”

For the accomplishment of the said promises, who has power, and therefore can, and is faithful, and therefore will, make good what he has promised; and since it is life he has promised, faith is the more encouraged to trust in him, since he is the living God, in opposition to, and distinction from, lifeless idols; he has life in himself, essentially, originally, and independently, and is the author and giver of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal, unto others. Wherefore there is good reason to trust in him for the fulfilling of the promises of the present and future life, made unto godliness.

“Who is the Saviour of all men;”

In a providential way, giving them being and breath, upholding them in their beings, preserving their lives, and indulging them with the blessings and mercies of life; for that he is the Saviour of all men, with a spiritual and everlasting salvation, is not true in fact.

“Specially of those that believe;”

Whom though he saves with an eternal salvation; yet not of this, but of a temporal salvation, are the words to be understood: or as there is a general providence, which attends all mankind, there is a special one which relates to the elect of God; these are regarded in Providence, and are particularly saved and preserved before conversion, in order to be called; and after conversion, after they are brought to believe in Christ, they are preserved from many enemies, and are delivered out of many afflictions and temptations; and are the peculiar care and darlings of providence, being to God as the apple of his eye: and there is a great deal of reason to believe this, for if he is the Saviour of all men, then much more of them who are of more worth, value, and esteem with him, than all the world beside; and if they are saved by him with the greater salvation, then much more with the less; and if he the common Saviour of all men, and especially of saints, whom he saves both ways, then there is great reason to trust in him for the fulfilment of the promises of life, temporal and eternal, made to godliness, and godly persons. This epithet of God seems to be taken out of (Psalm 17:7) where he is called, “the Saviour of them that trust”, or believe.

Once more, these comments reflect that which Gill stated in his book, “The Cause of God and Truth”, yet in a more exhaustive and detailed form. 

My dear friends, may I encourage you to track down a copy of Gill’s commentary on the Old and New Testament Scriptures at your earliest convenience? Or, better yet, make it a priority this week, rather than waiting for a convenient time. You have the option of obtaining a free digital copy of these works, which if you cannot find, I am happy to supply. Just contact me. Otherwise you can purchase a printed copy, in which case I point you to the Ossett Bookshop under the management of Jeremy and Lorna Roe. And then, once you have these works available to you, remember, they are only useful to the extent you make use of them. So don’t allow them to sit unused on your bookshelf, or tucked away in a file on your hard drive. Keep them constantly before you, and get into the habit of turning to them throughout the week, either as a basic reference to help you better understand the Scriptures, or as a tool to better equip you to articulate and defend the faith. 

Alright, well, in our next study, I hope to speak about the 1729 Goat Yard Declaration Of Faith. Until then, may the Lord be pleased to manifest His presence to you, and I pray His richest blessings be bestowed as you continue to walk with Him.