"When Paul wrote to Timothy from Rome, with his hands chained upon his knee, musing, as he says, with joy, on the tears and embrace of their last parting. He now waits his last sentence, and ere the imperial sword can fall upon his neck, he must see Timothy again. What is the tone of the letter, written at a crisis like that, -- the letter which resigns the expectation so long cherished, of living till Messiah comes?
Does he indite a threnody (prescribe a song of lamentation), of disappointment? Does he caution Timothy against sacrificing himself to impetuous hopes, and tell him that zeal is well enough, but that after all we must take men as we find them? On the contrary, his words fan every noble fire in the young man's heart: like the voice of the retired victor, looking on and feeling the blood glow at sight of the race again, they spur the dear Athlete to fresher effort, and bid him mark the goal. The spirit of fear'-- 'tis no gift of God's; -- only the spirit of love and power! Let the good soldier of Jesus press on in hope, heedless of any shame and hardship that may befall a faithful man; stir up the gift that is in him; be instant in season and out of season; keep a patience never spent by failure; and in the last extremity remember in whom he has believed. Glorious Apostle! Would that every leader's voice could burst, as he falls, into such a trumpet sound, thrilling young hearts that pant in the good fight, and must never despair of victory!" James Martineau.