« AnteriorContinuar »
the children of the day : we are not of the night, nor of 6 darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as the rest of mankind do, 7 but let us watch and be sober. For they who sleep, sleep in the
night; and they who are drunken, are drunken in the night*. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breast-plate 9 of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For
God hath not destined us to wrath, but to the obtaining of salvation 10 by our Lord Jesus Christ ; who died for us, that whether we
wake or sleep, whether we be living or dead, we should live togeth11 er with him. Therefore comfort one another, and edify each
[the other] as also you do.
REFLECTIONS. Since we continually see so many around us suddenly surprised into the eternal world, and fixed in that state in which judgment will find them, let us be very careful, that the day of the Lord may not overtake us as a thief, but that we maintain a continual watch. How many are at this hour speaking peace and safety to themselves, over whose heads instantaneous destruction is hovering, such a destruction that they shall never be able to escape, never able to recover from it !
Let us endeavour to awaken ourselves and each other. Are we not indeed all children of the day? Let us rouse ourselves, and use the light, that by it we may dispatch our labours, and, favoured by it, be guarded against the most sudden attacks of our spiritual enemies. Let us be sober and vigilant, lest our adversary the devil break in upon us by a surprise, which the unexpected weapons by which he attacks us may render yet more dangerous.
Our own armour is described and provided, if we seek it from the magazine of God. Let faith and love ever defend our breast. Let the hope of salvation cover our head. Let us adore the divine clemency and mercy, that we are not appointed unto wrath, but enjoy the views of such a salvation, to be obtained by Jesus Christ. As he hath done his part to procure it for us, having died for this important purpose, let us exert ourselves to the utmost in our proper sphere for securing it, that we may lay hold on eternal life. Then may we be happi. ly indifferent to life or death : while we continue in the body; when that is sleeping in the grave, and our souls remain in the invisible world ; and when our sleeping dust shall be roused, and both soul andbody live in unremitting vigour and energy, beyond the need of that repose which is now so necessary, still in each of these different siates we shall live with him; and he will make the progression of the soul from one state of being to another, its progression to stages of increasing holincss and joy, In the persuasion of this, let us comfort, exhort, and edify each other, and we shall feel the energy of the exhortations we give, and the sweetness of the consolations we administer.
* Getting drunk in the day-time was reckoned highly indecent even by the heathens. M.
A variety of short practical exhortations. Ch. y. 12, &c.
12 DUT we beseech you, brethren, to know those that labour
D among you, and preside over you in the Lord, and admon13 ish you ; and to esteem them exceedingly in love, on the account 14 of their work. Ind be at peace with one another. And we ex
hort you, brethren, admonish them that are disorderly; comfort
the feeble-minded ; succour the weak ; be long-suffering toward 15 all. See that no one render to any evil for evil, but, always pur· sue that which is good ; both towards each other, and towards all 16 men. Be always rejoicing. Pray incessantly*. In every thing 18 give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus, with re20 gard to you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. 21 Try all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all 23 appearance of evil. And may the God of peace himself sanctify
you entirely; and I pray God that your whole constitution or · frame, spirit, soul, and body, may be kept blameless to the appear24 ance of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he who hath called
you, who also will do what he hath promised. 25 Brethren, pray for us. Salute all the brethren with an holy 27 kiss. I adjure you by the Lord, that this epistle be read to all the 28 'holy brethren. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with - you. Amen.
REFLECTIONS. What a variety of excellent instructions does this short section contain! yea, how much is expressed in some of its shortest sentences! But how hard is it for our degenerate hearts to learn these lessons which so few words are sufficient to express! This habitual joy in God, this constant disposition to prayer, this thankful temper, that upon every call may overflow in thanksgiving, this abstinence from every appearance of evil. “Blessed Lord ! we need a better spirit than ourown to teach us these things. May thy grace be with 29, and may none of us quench the spirit, nor despise those ordinances which by his heavenly communications he so often owns !” Let us endeavour, by the daily importunity of prayer, to engage more of his efficacious and purifying influences, to sanctify the whole frame of our nature, our spirits, our souls, and our bodies ; that we may so understand and choose, so love and delight in divine things, and maintain so regular and constant a command over our appetites of flesh and blood, and all the irregular propensities of animal nature, that we may be continually fit for the appearance of Christ, and be more like what we hope we shall be, when presented before the presence of his glory.
* That is, at all proper seasons.
To promote this, let us watch over one another in the Lord. Let Christian societies preserve a regular discipline, with a due mixture of zeal and tenderness. Let the friendship of private persons be rendered mutually subservient to religious improvement, and let a due regard be ever paid to those who labour among them, and preside over them in the Lord. They will not require a blind submission to their dictates, if they rightly understand the gospel they are to teach. They will allow, they will encourage, they will urge their hearers to prove all things, which even the apostles themselves, with all their plenitude of inspiration, did not think it beneath them to do. But they who thus candidly inquire, and are determined to hold fast what is truly good, knowing how excellent an office the ministry is, knowing how much the edification of the church depends upon it, will esteem those that bear it very highly in love for their works sake, and in whatever instances they may be constrained, by what they judge to be the evidence of truth, to differ from their brethren, or even from their teachers, will be solicitous to maintain harmony and love in the societies to which they belong, as it becomes them to do who are the disciples of that wisdom from above, which hath taught them inseparably to connect their regards to purity and peace.
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE
IT is generally supposed that this second epistle was written in the
same year as the first, while Paul continued at Corinth. The general design of it is, to confirm the Thessalonians in their Christian profession, and to comfort them under the sufferings to which they were er. posed. Besides which the apostle sete himself to rectify some mistaken apprehensions they seem to have entertained about the coming of Christ ; and to direct them in the exercise of Christian discipline towards some irregular members of the society.
The apostle expresses his joy in their adherence to the Christian cause,
and animates them against future persecutions, by the glory they had in prospect. Ch. i.
I D AUL, and Sylvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the
I Thessalonians, which is in God our Father, and the Lord 2 Jesus Christ. Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father,
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We ought always to give thanks to God on your account, breth
ren, as it is fit, because your faith groweth exceedingly, and the 4 love of every one of you all towards one another aboundeth : so
that we do ourselves boast of you in the churches of God, on ac
count of your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tri5 bulations which you endure; which shall be a display of the right
eous judgment of God, that ye may be approved worthy of the 6 kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer. For it is a righteous
thing with God, to repay tribulation to them who bring tribulation 7 on you; anrl unto you who suffer tribulation, rest with us, when
the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty an8 gels, with flaming fire, to execute vengeance on those who know
not God, and on those who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus 9 Christ. Who shall be punished with eternal destruction, from the 10 presence r of the Lord, and from his glorious power; when he
shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all
them who believe, in that day, and by you in particular, because ll our testimony among you was credited. In which regard*, we
pray always for you, that our God would render you worthy of
this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and 12 the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ may be glorified in you, and that you may be glorified in him according to the grace of our God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
REFLECTIONS. How wisely has the apostle chosen the representation we have now been reading, to promote the glory of our Saviour's name, by strengthening the saints who are already established, and awakeningany who might be careless and irregular, by the very same considerations, which may so justly awe and intimidate the enemies of the church ! How forcible in all these views is the description we here read, of the glorious and triumphant appearance of our Lord! Let it be ever placed before our eyes. He shall surely come in flaming fire, to take vengeance on all his enemies. The troublers and persecutors of his people shall have their peculiar share in it, and it is most righteous with God that they should. Yet it is not intended for them alone, but for all who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ. How diligently should we examine, what our knowledge of God is and what our obedience to his gospel; whether the one be merely speculative, and the other verbal, or our knowledge practical, and our obedience sincere and universal! Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power, is a vengeance dreadful enough, one would imagine, to awaken, even by its distant sound, all who are not sunk into the last and lowest degrees of insensibility. Who can stand in his presence when once he is angry? Who can resist his power? But there are a happy number, who shall be glorified by him; and (which should give us peculiar joy) in whom he
* “On which account.” M. “For which purpose.” W.
also shall be admired and glorified, in that day and for ever. The holy and blessed creation of God shall see to all eternity, from what ruin Jesus could raise, and to what felicity he could exalt, those who were once the captives of Satan, the slaves of sin, and the heirs of death and hell. May the expectation of it influence our hearts in a suitable manner! May all the good pleasure of God's goodness be fulfilled in ws, and the work of faith with power! Then while our faith groweth exceedingly, our mutual love will abound, our patience will be adequate to every trial, and we shall be approved, as in some measure, through divine grace, worthy of that kingdom to which God hath called us.
Paul cautions them against expecting the day of judgment immediately, and
foretels that antichrist was first to come. Ch. ii. 1-12.
I PUT I beseech you, brethren, with respect to the appearance
of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto 2 him, that ye be not soon moved from the steadiness of your mind,
nor troubled, either by any pretended spirit of prophecy, or by
word, or by epistle*, as from us, as if the day of Christ were just 3 at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means : for that day shall
not come till there come first an apostacy, and the man of sin be re4 vealed, the son of perdition : who opposeth and exalteth himself
above all that is called God or the object of worship; so that he
himself, as God, setteth himself in the temple of God, shewing 5 himself, that he is Godt. Remember ye not that, being yet with 6 you, I told you these things ? And now ye know what restraineth 7 him, that he might bef revealed in his own time. For the mys
tery of iniquity doth already work : only there is onell that bin8 dereth, till he be taken out of the way. And then the ungodly
one shall be revealed, whom the Lord will destroy by the breath 9 of his mouth, and abolish by the brightness of his coming. Even
he whose coming is according to the energy of Satan, by all
lying power, and signs, and wonders, and in all manner of un10 righteous deceit, among those who shall perish; because
they received not the love of the truth, that they might be say* Alluding to his former epistle to them, Ch. iv. 12, &c.
+ " That he is A God.” -M.-This is generally understood by protestants of the papal-power and of its usurpation in divine things. And to what else is it equally applicable?
t“ From being revealed.” D. · The C. T. makes a better sense, and is more agreeable to the original. M. renders it, “ What now restraineth him IN ORDER To his being revealed
Il Dr. Geddes properly explains this of the Roman emperor, who would not suffer ecclesiastical power to grow to an exorbitant height, while he held his seat at Rome. (Geddes' Tracts, Vol. II. p. 10.) Many good modern commentators give it the same turn; and Tertullian, Augustine, and Chrysostom, agree in saying, that antichrist was not to appear till after the fall of the Roman empire. See Tillotson, Vol. II. p. 193. VOL. II.