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Verse 6

Fifteenth - It is required that he be not a novice - Νεοφυτον· Not a young plant, not recently ingrafted, that is, one not newly converted to the faith; (old MS. Bible); one who has been of considerable standing in the Christian Church, if he have the preceding qualifications, may be safely trusted with the government of that Church. It is impossible that one who is not long and deeply experienced in the ways of God can guide others in the way of life. Hence presbyters or elders were generally appointed to have the oversight of the rest, and hence presbyter and bishop seem to have been two names for the same office; yet all presbyters or elders certainly were not bishops, because all presbyters had not the qualifications marked above. But the apostle gives another reason: Lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. It is natural for man to think himself of more importance than his fellows when they are intrusted to his government. The apostle's term τυφωθεις , puffed up, inflated, is a metaphor taken from a bladder when filled with air or wind. It is a substance, has a certain size, is light, can be the sport of the wind, but has nothing in it but air. Such is the classical coxcomb; a mere puffball, a disgrace to his function, and despised by every intelligent man. Should we not say to those whom it may concern,

"From such apostles, O ye mitred heads,

Preserve the Church; and lay not careless hands

On skulls that cannot teach, and will not learn."

From these words of the apostle we are led to infer that pride or self-conceit was the cause of the devil's downfall. In Ecclus. 10 there are some excellent sayings concerning pride: "Pride is hurtful before God and man." "Why is earth and ashes proud?" "The beginning of pride is when one departeth from God." "For pride is the beginning of sin; and he that hath it shall pour out abomination." "Pride was not made for Men." See verses 7, 9, 12, 13, and 18, of the above chapter.

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