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A. D. 63. He pursues the subject of Christ's second coming to judgment;
Watchfulness our duty.
those that are drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, 8
gives various intéresting precepts, and concludes with fervent prayer for be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith
BUT concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto 2 you. For yourselves well know that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. 3 For when men shall say, "Peace and safety;" then sudden destruction will come upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they 4 shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that the last day should overtake 5 you as a thief. Ye all are sons of light, and sons of the day; we are not of the night, nor 6 of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as 7 do others; but let us watch and be sober. For those that sleep sleep in the night; and the night; and
avenge on us our crimes and the dishonour done to his name and law. 2. While ministers give the most faithful and pressing exhortations, how pleasant is it to have just cause to commend those whom they address. Jesus in great condescension called his disciples brethren, to intimate his relation, and his own amazing love to them; and to remind them of their union to him and to one another as the spiritual children of God, and as constituting his family. It is their bounden duty to exercise brotherly love towards one another; and when they give such substantial proofs of it as the Thessalonians did, how much is the gospel commended to others. Their love was manifest to all the christian brethren through Macedonia; yet there was cause to pray for its increase. May our love abound, while we live peaceably, attend to our business and calling with diligence, and allure those who are without the pale of the church, to esteem and embrace the gospel.
3. If we are not exempted by the gospel from the common sufferings of men, it opens to us sources of the richest consolation. Our dear christian brethren are successively called hence; they
CHAP. V. 1. Times and seasons. Longer periods are meant by times, and shorter referring to various events, securing within these periods, are meant by seasons. Eccles. iii. i. Dan. ii. 21. Acts i. 7.
2. As a thief in, &c. So our Lord had said, and so the apostle had taught them. Matt. xxiv. 43, and 2 Peter iii. 18.
3. When men, &c. When careless and wicked men shall say, peace, &c. shall like the antediluvians, be eating and drinking, &c. then sudden destruc tion will come on them.
4-8. Not in darkness. In a state of ignorance and security like the wicked or heathens; but have been enlightened to know these things, so that ye all are sons of light, &c.- We are not of the night, &c. Not living as the wicked do, who may be said to be of the night, &c. Hence we are under strong obligation, not "to sleep as others, but to watch, &c. ;" to be sober and temperate, not sleeping through our excess; but watching for the coming of the Lord, and putting on for a breast-plate, faith and love; guarding by these
and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us 9 to wrath, but to the obtaining of salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ; Who died for 10 us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we may live together with him. Wherefore comfort 11 yourselves together, yourselves together, and edify one another, M. even as also ye do..
Now we beseech you, brethren, to know 12. those who labour among you, and preside over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to 13 esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brethren, admo- 14 nish those that are disorderly, comfort the
sicken, droop, and die; yet they die in the Lord, or to adopt the beautiful metaphor of the apostle, they fall asleep in Jesus. What unknown, holy joys does the spirit experience, when released and admited to join kindred, redeemed spirits in heaven, and to see Jesus the mediator of the new covenant! Let the body drop into the grave, and become the prey of death and corruption; even this shall not utterly perish, but at the coming of the Lord, shall be raised in immortal vigour, beauty, and glory. While then we shed the tear of affection over our departed christian brethren; let us not grieve as heathens, who have no hope, either of a resurrection, or of a happy immortality. Let us by faith realize that day, when Jesus shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the acclamation of angels, and the trumpet, of God; and when at his almighty voice the dust of his saints shall start into life, remodelled and fashioned like to himself; and when those who are alive, shall instantly be changed; and all ascend into the clouds to meet and welcome their descending Lord, and to abide, dwell, and reign with him for ever and ever. With such views and prospects, we ought to comfort one another.
the vital part, and having on our heads as a helmet, by which I mean the hope of our final salvation. Eph. vi 13, 17.
9-11. Appointed us to wrath. This is manifest by the design of our Lord's coming. He came not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved. It is also manifest by the gospel, which assures us of salvation to every believer; and as to those who do now believe they have a right to say, that he has appointed them to obtain salvation by Christ, who died for them, to redeem them and preserve them as his people. Hence comfort and edify one another with these delightful truths.
12, 13. Who labour among, &c. Hence they had some regular teachers, who presided over them in Christ, and admonished them; and these they were bound to esteem and honour, on account of their office, and to maintain peace among themselves.
I THESSALONIANS V.
·Prayer for them.
feeble-minded, support the weak, be long- of peace sanctify you wholly; and may your
15 suffering towards all. See that none render
evil for evil unto any man; but always follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and towards all. Rejoice always. Pray with18 out ceasing. For every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus 19 concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings: Prove all things; 22 hold fast that which is good. Abstain from 23 every evil appearance. And the very God
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER V. 1. How solemn is the thought, that it is appointed for all men once to die, and after that cometh the final judgment! But of the precise times and seasons when these events shall occur we are wholly ignorant; yet we know that they must occur, and that the first may happen unexpectedly, as well as the latter. The day of the Lord may come as a thief in the night; and when it cometh, how many will it find in the most perfect security, and unprepared! While men are pursuing schemes of worldly ambition, and expecting years of peace and safety, death cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child. Let believers, as sons of light, as instructed and forewarned of these things, not indulge in such security, nor yield up themselves to carnal pleasure as do those in darkness; but wait and watch for the coming of their Lord. To do this faith must work by love; and the hope of that salvation to which we are appointed, must purify our affections, and animate our souls. And when we enjoy a sense of the love of Christ, dying for our sins, what ground is there to fear either death or judgment? For if when enemies we were reconciled by his death, much more being reconciled we shall be saved by his life, and live with him.
2. While God in mercy spares us and continues us in this state, we should be solicitous to discharge our various duties, and to attend to
despond at the recollection of their sins.The weak. Babes in Christ foster and encourage; and "be long-suffering towards all," knowing that you yourselves have infirmities.
15. See that none, &c. Let both pastors and people regard the following precepts. Comp. Rom. xii. 19—21.
16–22. Rejoice, &c. In your christian privileges and mercies. Pray without ceasing for those supports and blessings you ever need; and for every thing received give thanks; as this is especially the will of God, &c.Quench not the spirit. Oppose not his holy influence attending the gospel preached to you. See Acts vii. 51. Chandler and others understand spiritual gifts, which they suppose might be rendered useless by their negligence or undue use of them.-Prophesyings. See 1 Cor. xiv. 3, &c. Perhaps they despised this gift as not being so singular as speaking some foreign language,
whole frame, spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth 24 you who will also do this. Brethren, pray for us. 25 Salute all the brethren with a holy kiss. 26 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be 27 read to all the holy brethren. The grace 28 of our Lord Jesus Christ be with. you. Amen. The first epistle unto the Thessalonians was written from Athens.
all the admonitions and directions of inspired truth. ministers? We are reminded that we ought to labour in the viñe yard, and preside over and guide the people in the way of the Lord; and when necessary, to admonish them, and by every prudent method promote their edification. Are we members of the christian church? We ought to regard our pastors and teachers; and to esteem them highly on account of the work in which they are engaged. Christian discipline should be maintained, and peace and purity be preserved. The disorderly must be admonished, the weak comforted and supported; and no christian brother should render evil for evil, bot should forgive, and do good so as to gain him. Let believers honour their profession, by their joy in Christ, and their thankfulness for the unspeakable blessings of salvation; and let them show their benevolence towards all men by their fervent prayers for them. Let them be solicitous to enjoy the sacred influence of the Spirit, and do nothing to quench the holy fire he kindles in the breast; not despising, but honouring him as the spirit of prophecy, revealing the divine will. And what can we desire for one another better, than that the God of peace would sanctify us wholly; and that our whole frame, spirit, soul, and body may be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and how should it encourage us that God has promised this, and will assuredly do it for us.
-Prove all things. Which the prophets deliver by comparing what they teach with the known will of Christ as revealed and taught by us; and only hold fast what you find to be good; and not only abstain from evil, but from every evil appearance or form. See Schleus.
23. And may your, &c. I adopt Chandler's rendering of oxoxingas whole frame, and consider the parts as specified in what follows, the spirit, properly so called; the soul, or principle of animal life; and the body, with all its parts
As Timothy and Silvanus join the apostle in this as in the first Epistle, it is evident that they were still with him; and as he abode at Corinth above eighteen months, it is most probable this second Epistle was written from that city. The general design of it was to comfort them under their troubles and persecutions, and to exhort them to a stedfast and christian behaviour. Besides the apostle sets himself to rectify some, mistaken notions which they held about the coming of Christ; and to direct them as to the exercise of christian discipline towards some irregular members of their society.
is a just thing with God to recompense affliction to those that are afflicting you; But to 7
A. D. 54. Paul states his good opinion of their faith, love, and patience; you who are afflicted, he will give rest with us,
and then offers various things for their comfort and joy in their afflictions.
PAUL, and Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father, 2 and the Lord Jesus Christ; Grace and peace be unto you, from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
We ought to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith increaseth exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all towards each other aboundeth; 4 So that we ourselves glory in you among the churches of God, for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and afflictions 5 which ye endure ; For a manifestation of the just judgment of God, and to the end that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom 6 of God, for which ye also suffer: Since it
when the Lord Jesus shall be manifested from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming 8 fire, taking vengeance on those that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And these shall be 9 punished with everlasting destruction, by the presence of the Lord, and by the glory of his power; In that great day, when he 10 shall come to be glorified by his saints, and to be admired by all those that have believed (for our testimony among you hath been believed.) Wherefore we pray also for 11 you always, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and accomplish all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name 12 of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified by
CHAP. I. 1, 2. Paul and Silvanus, &c. See note, 1st Epist. Ch. i. 1, &c.- ·Grace and peace, &c. Here aso ften, grace and peace are prayed for to God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, which shows that they are one in nature, as well as in counsel and design, or they would not be thus addressed by the enlightened apostle.
3, 4. Faith increaseth, &c. Their faith and love and patience increased by exercise, under their severe persecutions; and for this the apostle was unfeignedly thankful, as nothing could prove more decisively the reality of their religion.
5-8. The just judgment, &c. In thus trying you, and that ye may be counted worthy to be the subjects of Jesus, who himself suffered for us, and may share with him that kingdom of God now begun by the gospel, and which will be perfected in heaven. And your enemies will receive a due recompense, while you who are afflicted shall have rest with us in the heavenly kingdom, VOL. III. PART XXIII. 3 B
when Jesus comes in the fire of his anger to punish all that have not obeyed the gospel.
9-12. And these shall, &c. These wicked persecutors at that great day shall be punished with everlasting destruction, being banished from his presence, and from all the glorious displays of his love, grace, and power; and this will assuredly take place, in that great day when he comes to be glorified by his saints for what he has done for them, in redeeming, sanctify. ing, and preserving them; and to be admired with transport by all that have believed in him as their glorious Saviour; and among these you will be found, as our testimony among you hath been believed.This calling, &c. Wherewith ye have been called (see verse 5) by the gospel to the hope of these things; and accomplish or make perfect all the good pleasure of his goodness, carrying the work of faith to perfection by his own mighty power, that the name, &c.
The man of sin,
II THESSALONIANS II.
you, and ye by him, according to the grace of our God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A. D. 54. He desires them to continue stedfast; shows that there will be a departure from the faith; describes the man of sins, and renews his
whom the Lord will destroy. Who op- 4
revealed, the son of perdition; poseth and exalteth himself above every that is called God, or that is the object of worship; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself to be a god. Re- 5 member ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now 6 ye know what hindereth; to the end that he mystery of iniquity already worketh: be revealed in his own time. For 7 the only he who now hindereth will hinder, until he be taken out of the way. And then 8 shall the Wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth, and will destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is 9 Even of Satan, with all according to the
Now we beseech you, brethren, with respect to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and 2 our gathering together unto him, That ye obes not soon shaken in your mind, nor be troubled, either by any revelation of the spirit, or by word, or by letter, as from us, prétend3 ing ing that the day of Christ is near. Let no man deceive you by any such means: for that day will not come, unless there come a ofalling away first, and the man of sin be
most boldline.a REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER I. 1. It affords joy to every
the Lord Jesus, when those who profess his name, not only abide stedfast, but grow in grace amidst opposition and difficulties, Those will be accounted worthy of the kingdom of God, who suffer for it here and who by their patience, and continuance in well-doing, honour their Saviour and conquer their persecutors. Though such a state of trial and suffering is grievous to sense, how often has it been most profitable to the soul; and while afflictions have abounded for Christ, consolation has abounded through him. In the hot-bed of persecution how has the plant of grace flourished, and blossomed, and borne fruit! What the adversary has done to oppress the church, and destroy the faith, has through divine influence and government subserved the interests rests of both; and thus fias God made the wrath of man and the fury of the oppressor to praise him. Persecution in every age has given publicity to a cause, and roused thousands to regard it, who, but for this, would have remained ignorant of it or indifferent to it. Let then those who suffer for Christ not be ashamed, but suffer as becometh saints, that their patience and faith, may grow exceedingly, and others be encouraged by their example.
2. How solemn and awful will the coming of Christ be, and how immensely different will be the recompense awarded to his faithful people, from that of their enemies and persecutors. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, like that in which he appeared on Sinai; and will render a recompense to his adversaries. What heart can endure the thought of that righteous vengeance which he will take on such as know not God, and as obey not the gospel? Of God they have been willingly ignorant; and as to the gospel, they have despised the mercy revealed, and how no mercy is showed to them. They are to be punished with an everlasting destruction by the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power. The coming of Jesus as to his people, is for different purposes, and will have different results. He will come to be glorified in them that believe ; they will hil his coming with anthems of praise and triumph; and his name and work will be the theme of the everlasting song. In his glorious person he will be the object of unceasing admiration; and equally will they wonder and admire at what he does for, and confers upon them. They will then appear to the universe as the trophies of grace, being recovered to holiness, happiness, and glory.
CHAP. II. 1, 2. Gathering, &c. Our being raised from the dead to stand before his tribunal, and be for ever with him in the heavenly state. 1 Thess. iv. 13-12. By revelation, &c. By any pretended revelation, or by word or verbal message, or by any letter, as from us, &c. Be assured that we maintain no such opinion; and if some interpret any expressions in this sense, they mistake my intention and meaning.
3, 4. Unless there come, &c. As I told you, there will be a great apostacy from the christian faith, and the man of sin" will be revealed, that wicked spiritual tyranuy, which, because it will destroy the saints, and will itself finally be destroyed, may be called "the son of perdition," or destruction; and he will oppose every one that is called God, whether magistrates, kings, or emperors, claiming supremacy over them, or that is the object of worship, or of civil worship.In the temple of God. This man of sin shall exist in the christian church, ostentatiously displaying a temporal as well as a spiritual power, (Rev. iii. 12.) receiving the adoration of his people, and the
titles and honours which belong exclusively to God. That the Popes of Rome do and have done this, is certain. See Bishop Newton on the Prophets.
6. Ye know what, &c. Paul had stated in his discourses something more particularly than he thought it prudent to write; especially as to the fall of the Roman empire, which was the thing that hindered the appearance of the man of sin.
7. Mystery of iniquity. Paul, by the spirit, knew that even then those principles were in existence, and powerfully operating, ambition, faction, error, mixing heathen superstitions with the gospel, &c. which would finally raise and establish this enemy of Christ; but as yet the Roman emperors hindered, and would do, until taken out of the way.
8. Wicked one, &c. Justly so called as being most opposed to God and the gospel; but a time will come when the Lord Jesus will signally appear by his servants in providence to overthrow this enemy, and utterly consume and destroy him.
II THESSALONIANST III.
10 false miracles and signs and wonders, And ¦[with all unrighteous deceit among those that are lost; because they received not the love 11 of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God will send them such a mighty working of error, that they will believe 12 falsehood: So that they all will be condemned who believe not the truth, but have [ pleasure in unrighteousness, (773 13: But we ought to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloyed of the Lord, * [ because God hath, from the beginning, chosen you to salvation through sanctification of 14 the Spirit, and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER II. I. While contemplating the awful apostacy here predicted, we may justly exclaim, "O the depth both of the riches and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his ways, and past finding out." Who would imagine, that the gospel having triumphed over the errors of heathenism, and overturned the altars and temples of the gods of the world, would be so corrupted, as to become the occasion of idolatry as gross, in another form? Who could suppose that any of the followers of Jesus, would assume divine titles, and rob God of his glory? That a christian pastor would become lord of his heritage, and assume the prerogative of dispensing with his laws, and of giving others in accordance with his own ambitious designs? This may justly be called, "The mystery of iniquity;" and every one who dares to assume such rights, The man of sin," The torch of knowledge must have been put out, and the fire of love and piety extinguished, before arrogance on the one hand, and servility on the other, could obtain in the christian church; and this must have been permitted as an awful judgment on those who had indeed the truth but obeyed it not, and had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Success prayed for. Therefore, brethren, stand. fast, and bold 15 the doctrines which ye have been taught, whether by our word, or epistle, Now our 16 Lord Jesus Christ himself, and our God and Father, who hath loved, us, and hath given us everlasting comfort and good, hope through grace, Comfort, your hearts, and establish 17 you in every good word and work.
2. Alarming as must have been the prediction of such a falling off from Christ and the truth, and being again involved in darkness and damnable errors; it would afford some comfort that this state of apostacy should not continue always. The man of sin, all-powerful as he conceives himself, must perish, must be utterly consumed by the coming of the Saviour. In his providence he has come, and exposed the errors and delusions of the corrupt hierarchy of Rome; and nothing supports this abominable system of imposture and spiritual tyranny, but the power of the sword. May the Lord hasten its complete and final overthrow. Let us rejoice, that we are not under its dominion; but enjoy liberty of conscience to follow the light of God's word. And there are many, in our country, whom God has chosen to salvation, as they are real believers in the truth, and are growing in holiness and purity. May all such stand fast in the faith once delivered to the saints, and may the Lord Jesus Christ himself and our God and Father, who hath loved us and provided such rich consolation, comfort us and establish us in every good word and work, in the belief of every word of promise, and in the practice of every work of love.
· 9. Working of Satan, &c. With fraud and delusion, in a secret insiduous manner; by false miracles, &c. Chandler justly observes that dog is in construction with each of the preceding terms; and by the version given the sense is manifest. It is well known that the church of Rome has ever pretended to the power of working miracles, and that all kinds of impositions have been practised by her priests and monks.
10. Uurighteous deceit, &c. Pretended revelations, visions, and other pious frauds, as they have been improperly called; and these are believed by a people lost in vice and ignorance, aud perishing for ever, "because they received not the love, &c."
11. For this cause, &c. As they did not receive the truth, God will send them, will permit to prevail among them, not hindering the operation of second causes, “such a mighty working of error, &c."—Falsehood. Macknight supposes transubstantiation to be meant; but the term may comprise the whole system of falsehood believed in that church.
12. So that they all, &c. For their real unbelief of what God has revealed, and for their love and practice of all unrighteousness.
13, 14. But we ought, &c." It is matter of praise to God to contrast your 3b2
state with that of such characters, as you are beloved of the Lord Jesus, and were indeed chosen of God in his own holy purpose, from the beginning, or from everlasting, to salvation through the sanctifying influence of the Spirit on your hearts, enabling you to believe the truth and to obey it; and to this he has called you by the gospel; and you shall obtain the glory of Christ in
15. The doctrines, &c. The truths, whether respecting doctrines or facts, delivered by me in my ministry among you, or in my letters to you or other christian churches.
16, 17. Now our Lord, &c. Here Paul first mentions Christ in his prayer. -Loved us, &c. In Christ, and provided and hath given in his promises sources of comfort which will never fail, as we have, a good hope, a well grounded hope, as it is built on his grace: may this God comfort, &c.
CHAP, III. 1-5 Among you. That we may have the same success in every place as among you; and may be delivered from the designs of unrea sonable and wicked men, who are in a state of unbelief.- Have confidence, &c. - That the Lord Jesus, in whom you have believed, will aid you, so that as ye now do, ye will contiune to do, &c.—May the Lord, &c. The Lord 379