But thou, O man of God
Not only by creation, as every man is; nor merely by special grace, as everyone is, that is chosen of God, redeemed by Christ, and regenerated and sanctified by the Spirit; but by his peculiar office, as an evangelist and minister of the word, being qualified for, and devoted to, and employed in the service of God. The phrase is taken out of the Old Testament, where the prophets, Elijah and Elisha, are so called, ( 2 Kings 1:9 ) ( 2 Kings 4:7 2 Kings 4:9 ) ,
flee these things;
the Arabic version reads "these abominations"; namely, all questions and strifes of words, from whence so many evils follow, ( 1 Timothy 6:4 1 Timothy 6:5 ) and all worldly gain, selfish interest, and mercenary views in religion; a wicked resolution to be rich, at any rate, and an immoderate love of the things of the world, and an eager pursuit after them, which expose to great danger, and even utter ruin; things very unbecoming any professor of religion, but much more a minister of the Gospel.
And follow after righteousness;
not for justification before God, that he had followed after, and attained unto, which is the righteousness of Christ, and not of the law; but for the honour of religion before men; and intends the doing of justice between man and man, giving everyone their own, which in undue affection for the world sometimes leads men from:
spiritual religion, holiness of heart, and conversation, which has the promise of this life, as well as of the other, and with contentment is great gain; wherefore to pursue this is much better than greedily to run after the riches of this world, or with the false teachers to suppose that godliness lies in worldly gain, or in securing to a man his worldly interest:
the grace of faith, which looks not to things seen, which are temporal, but to things not seen, which are eternal; and leads off the mind from sublunary enjoyments to God, and Christ, and the glories of another world; and is the leading grace to all others, and the foundation of good works, without which there is no pleasing in acts of moral righteousness, or in any acts of religious worship, which may be called godliness:
to God, which is inconsistent with serving mammon, or with an immoderate love of money; and to Christ, which will put a man on seeking, not his own things, but the things of Christ; and to the saints, which will direct him to serve them by acts of beneficence and liberality:
in bearing reproaches and indignities; in suffering injuries, loss of goods, imprisonment, and every sort of persecution, for the sake of the Gospel; which a covetous disposition will not admit of: last of all,
or humility, not seeking great things, but being content with a lower station of life; for generally it is pride that puts men upon a determination to be rich at any rate: it may also design meekness in instructing the ignorant, in refuting error, and in reproving offenders.