For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,…
1. Note that godliness must not so lie hid in the heart, but it must appear in the eyes of the world, neither must it be neglected till death, but exercised in this present world: a point the more needful to be propounded, in that every man naturally wisheth with Balaam to die well and godly; but forgetting the practice of piety in their life time, we see the most men would be put in mind of God at their death, and send for the minister when the physician hath left them hopeless of life, yea, albeit they have forgotten the Almighty, and neglected acquaintance with Him all their days, yet at the finishing of them they would seem to seek unto Him. But it is most righteous with God that an ungodly life be finished with a proportional death, whatsoever it seemeth to be: and, therefore, it is a safe rule worthy our remembrance, that whatsoever we would be found doing on our dying day, to be doing it every day while we live.
2. Note hence that it is a most deceitful and desperate argument thus to conclude — If I be ordained to salvation let me never pray, never serve God, and do what I will I shall be saved, and on the contrary; and hence to cast off all the care of godliness; for this openly proclaimeth want of grace, which directeth men to the means, and leadeth them the way of salvation in this present world. God in wisdom hath combined to every end His means in all His ordinary courses; as to natural life, bread, sleep, physic; so to the spiritual, the word, sacraments, prayer, sobriety, righteousness, piety; and therefore the argument will be found in the contrary thus: If God have appointed me to die the death of the righteous, He hath ordained me to the means, namely, to live the life of the righteous; if to glory, then to grace; if to the full revelation of glory hereafter, then to the firstfruits of it here in grace; if to the city of the great King hereafter, then to the suburbs here; there is no jumping to heaven, no more than a man can leap from one city to another upon earth,
3. Note hence what is the proper end of every man's life in this present world, namely, that in the way of a sober, righteous and religious life, he may attain everlasting happiness hereafter. Alas, how do many pervert the end of their lives, some to get wealth, honour, and great estates; others to sit down to eat and drink, and rise up to play; others to trade in some one or other special sin and lust, but let us that will be wise to salvation, seeing it is called today, and our acceptable time and day of salvation is come upon us, beware of hardening our hearts. Let us not dare to strive against the Holy Ghost in the ministry, for contemners of grace in this present world shall never partake of the glory of the just hereafter.
(T. Taylor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,