Verse 25. "Likewise also the good works of some" - Though those who are very holy and very useful in the Church cannot be unknown, yet there are others not less holy who need to be brought forward; who do much good in private; and their character and good works are not fully known till after diligent inquiry. These are they who do not let their left hand know what their right doeth.
1. AFTER so long and minute an examination of the subjects in this chapter, little remains to be said in the way of farther and more satisfactory explanation. The whole account concerning the widows, who they were, and what their provision, and what their occupation, and how supported, are to me questions of considerable difficulty. In the notes I have given the best account of the different subjects in my power. If the reader be satisfied and edified, I have gained my end.
2. On the subject of the imposition of hands, or what is vulgarly but improperly called ordination, I have not said much here, having given my views of the subject elsewhere in these notes. See on chap. iii. 1, &c. I must again state my conviction that what is said on this subject in this chapter, and indeed in the epistle, is rather to be understood prophetically; and to have been intended for a much lower age of the Christian Church. That any person should, from impure or secular motives, desire to be appointed to the ministerial office at such a time, when poverty and persecution were the least they would reasonably expect, to me seems altogether inexplicable. But that many, after the Church got accredited and established, and an ample revenue appointed for its ministers by emperors and kings, should wish to get into the priesthood for its emoluments, is a melancholy truth, which every year's experience testifies. To those who have the authority from the state to appoint ministers for the Church, this chapter reads a solemn and awful lesson. And not to them only, but to all who have the appointment of ministers or preachers in every sect and party. How few are there who would kindle a fire on God's altar were there not secular emoluments attending it! I am afraid the Scottish poet spoke the truth who said:-"' Tis gow'd maks sogers feight the fiercer, Without it, preaching wad be scarcer." Gold or money is the primum mobile through every department of life.