on 1-timothy 4 :2
Speaking lies in hypocrisy - Persons pretending, not only to Divine inspiration, but also to extraordinary degrees of holiness, self-denial, mortification, etc., in order to accredit the lies and false doctrines which they taught. Multitudes of lies were framed concerning miracles wrought by the relics of departed saints, as they were termed. For, even in this country, Thomas a Becket was, deemed a saint, his relics wrought numerous miracles; and his tomb was frequented by multitudes of pilgrims! However, as he works none now, we may rest assured that he never did work any. In 1305, King Edward I. was prevailed on by his clergy to write to Pope Clement V. to canonize Thomas de Cantelupo, bishop of Hereford, because a multitude of miracles had been wrought by his influence; In tantum, says the king, quod ipsius meritis et intercessionibus gloriosis, lumen caecis, surdis auditus, verbum mutis, et gressus claudis, et alia pleraque beneficia ipsius patrocinium implorantibus, caelesti dextra conferuntur. "Insomuch that, by his glorious merits and intercessions, the blind receive their sight, the deaf hear, the dumb speak, and the lame walk; and many other benefits are conferred by the right hand of the Divine Being on those who implore his patronage." And therefore he prays that this dead bishop may be added to the calendar, "that he and his kingdom may enjoy his suffrages and merit his patronage in heaven, who had the benefit of his conversation on earth." Nos attendentes, per Dei gratiam, fideles in Christo, nosque praecipue, et populum regni nostri, ejus posse suffragiis adjuvari, ut, quem familiarem habuimus in terris, mereamur habere patronum in caelis. Foedera, vol. i., p. 976. Edit. 1816.
Having their conscience seared with a hot iron - They bear the marks of their hypocrisy as evidently and as indelibly in their conscience in the sight of God, as those who have been cauterized for their crimes do in their bodies in the sight of men. It was customary in ancient times to mark those with a hot iron who had been guilty of great crimes, such as sacrilege, etc. And the heathens supposed that even in the other world they bear such marks; and by these the infernal judges knew the quantum of their vices, and appointed the degrees of their punishment. There is a saying much like that of the apostle in the invective of Claudian against Rufinus, whom he supposes to be thus addressed by Rhadamanthus, one of the infernal judges: -
Quid demens manifesta negas? En pectus InUstae
Deformant Maculae! vitiisque inolevit imago,
Nec sese commissa tegunt.
"Thou fool, why dost thou deny what is so manifest? Behold the deep-burnt marks deform thy conscience; the appearance of them has grown up with thy vices; neither can the crimes which thou hast committed hide themselves."
on 1-timothy 4 :2
Speaking lies in hypocrisy - ἐν ὑποκρισει ψευδολόγων en hupokrisei pseudologōn. Or rather, "by, or through the hypocrisy of those speaking lies. So it is rendered by Whitby, Benson, Macknight, and others. Our translators have rendered it as if the word translated "speaking lies" - ψευδολόγων pseudologōn - referred to "demons," or, "devils," δαιμονίων daimoniōn - in the previous verse. But there are two objections to this. One is, that then, as Koppe observes, the words would have been inverted - ψευδολόγων ἐν ὑποκρίσει pseudologōn en hupokrisei. The other is, that if that construction is adopted, it must be carried through the sentence, and then all the phrases "speaking lies," "having their conscience seared," "forbidding to marry," etc., must be referred to demons. The preposition ἐν en, "in" may denote "by" or "through," and is often so used.
If this be the true construction, then it will mean that those who departed from the faith did it "by" or "through" the hypocritical teachings of those who spoke lies, or who knew that they were inculcating falsehoods; of those whose conscience was seared; of those who forbade to marry, etc. The meaning then will be, "In the last days certain persons will depart from the faith of the gospel. This apostasy will essentially consist in their giving heed to spirits that lead to error, and in embracing corrupt and erroneous views on demonology, or in reference to invisible beings between us and God. This they will do through the hypocritical teaching of those who inculcate falsehood; whose consciences are seared," etc. The series of characteristics, therefore, which follow, are those of the "teachers," not of "the taught;" of the ministers of the church, not of the great body of the people.
The apostle meant to say that this grand apostasy would occur under the influence of a hypocritical, hardened, and arbitrary ministry, teaching their own doctrines instead of the divine commands, and forbidding that which God had declared to be lawful. In the clause before us - "speaking lies in hypocrisy" - two things are implied, "first," that the characteristic of those referred to would be that they would "speak lies;" "second," that this would be done "hypocritically." In regard to the first, there can be no doubt among Protestants of its applicability to the papal communion. The entire series of doctrines respecting the authority of the Pope, purgatory, the mass, the invocation of the saints, the veneration of relics, the seven sacraments, the authority of tradition, the doctrine of merit, etc., is regarded as false. Indeed, the system could not be better characterized than by saying that it is a system "speaking lies." The entire scheme attempts to palm falsehood upon the world, in the place of the simple teaching of the New Testament. The only question is, whether this is done "in hypocrisy," or hypocritically. In regard to this, it is not necessary to maintain that there is "no" sincerity among the ministers of that communion, or that "all" are hypocritical in their belief and their teaching. The sense is, that this is the general characteristic, or that this is understood by the leaders or prime movers in that apostasy. In regard to the applicability of this to the ministers of the Papal communion, and the question whether they teach what they know to be false, we may observe:
(1) that many of them are men of eminent learning, and there can he no reason to doubt that they Know that many of the Catholic legends are false, and many of the doctrines of their faith contrary to the Bible.
(2) not a few of the things in that communion must be known by them to be false, though not known to be so by the people. Such are all the pretended miracles performed by the relics of the saints; the liquefying of the blood of Januarius, etc.; see the notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:9. As the working of these tricks depends wholly on the priesthood, they must know that they are "speaking lies in hypocrisy."
(3) the matter of fact seems to be, that when young men who have been trained in the Catholic Church, first turn their attention to the ministry, they are sincere. They have not yet been made acquainted with the "mysteries of iniquity" in the communion in which they have been trained, and they do not suspect the deceptions that are practiced there. When they pass through their course of study, however, and become acquainted with the arts and devices on which the fabric rests, and with the scandalous lives of many of the clergy, they are shocked to find how corrupt and false the whole system is. But they are now committed. They have devoted their lives to this profession. They are trained now to this system of imposture, and they must continue to practice and perpetuate the fraud, or abandon the church, and subject themselves to all the civil and ecclesiastical disabilities which would now follow if they were to leave and reveal all its frauds and impostures. A gentleman of high authority, and who has had as good an opportunity as any man living to make accurate and extensive observations, stated to me, that this was a common thing in regard to the Catholic clergy in France and Italy. No one can reasonably doubt that the great body of that clergy "must" be apprized that much that is relied on for the support of the system is mere legend, and that the miracles which are pretended to be performed are mere trick and imposture.
Having their conscience seared with a hot iron - The allusion here is doubtless to the effect of applying a hot iron to the skin. The cauterized part becomes rigid and hard, and is dead to sensibility. So with the conscience of those referred to. It has the same relation to a conscience that is sensitive and quick in its decisions, that a cauterized part of the body has to a thin, delicate, and sensitive skin. Such a conscience exists in a mind that will practice delusion without concern; that will carry on a vast system of fraud without wincing; that will incarcerate, scourge, or burn the innocent without compassion; and that will practice gross enormities, and indulge in sensual gratifications under the mask of piety. While there are many eminent exceptions to an application of this to the Papal communion, yet this description will apply better to the Roman priesthood in the time of Luther - and in many other periods of the world - than to any other "body of men" that ever lived.
on 1-timothy 4 :2
4:2 These will depart from the faith, by the hypocrisy of them that speak lies, having their own consciences as senseless and unfeeling as flesh that is seared with an hot iron.