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not believed the truth, but have taken plea- have not believed the truth concerning the things which procure sure in iniquity.
the pardon of sin and the favour of God, because they have taken
pleasure in iniquity. hath the signification proper to **T*xqvw, as xpiris often hath that be taken out of the way. For the bishops of that see, having very of xxruxpiros. This miserable endorihe teachers and people who early obtained from the Christian emperors decrees in their own reject true doctrine from their delighting in sin, is written to put favour, soon raised themselves above all other bishops; and, by a Christians in all ages on their guard against corrupting the truth variety of artifices, made the authority and influence of the whole for the sake of worldly interest.
body of the clergy centre in themselves; and claimed that infallible 2. Have not believed the truth, but have taken pleasure in un. authority, which was formerly exercised by general councils, of righteousness. -Eudoxncxvtis signifies both to take pleasure in a making articles of faith, and of establisbing rules of discipline for thing, and to approve of it. From this we learn, that it is not the the whole Christian community, and of determining in the last resimple ignorance of truth which exposes men to damnation. In sort all differences among the clergy, and of anathematizing every many cases this may be no fault in the ignorant. But it is men's one who did not submit to their unrighteous decisions. In this man. refusing to believe, through their taking pleasure in unrighteous ner did the bishops of Rome establish in their own persons, a spiri. ness, which will prove fatal to them; for a disposition of that sort, tual dorpinion over the whole Christian world. But not content with renders the wicked altogether incurable.
this height of power, by dexterously employing the credit and in. It is now time to inform the reader, that learned men have dif fluence which the ecclesiastics, now devoted to their will, had over fered greatly in their interpretation of this famous prophecy: the laity in all the countries where they lived, they interfered in Nevertheless, the diversity of interpretation given of this and of many civil matters also, till at length they reared that intolerable the other prophecies of God, does not prove them uncertain. The fabric of spiritual and civiltyranny conjoined, whereby the anderfacts and circumstances mentioned in these prophecies, are for standings, the persons, and the properties, not of the laity only, but the most part so peculiarly marked, that they will not easily apply, of the clergy themselves, have for a long time been most grievous. except to the persons and events intended by the Spirit of God. ly enthralled, in all the countries where Christianity was professed. And therefore, in every case where different interpretations have This height, however, of spiritual and civil power united, the been given of any prophecy, the proper method of ascertaining bishops of Rome did not allain, lill, as the apostle foretold, that which its meaning is to compare the various events to which it is thought restrained was taken out of the way; or till an end was put to the to relate, with the words of the prophecy, and to adopt that as the authority of the Roman emperors in the West, by the inroads of the event intended, which most exacuy agrees, in all its parts, to the barbarous nations; and more especially till the western empire was prophetic description.
broken into the ten kingdoms, prefigured in Daniel's visions by the According to this rule, though many different interpretations ten horns of the fourth beast. For then it was that the bishops of have been given of the prophecy under consideration, that, in my Rome made themselves the sovereigns of Rome, and of its terri. opinion, will appear the best founded, which makes it a prediction tory, and so became the little horn which Daniel beheld coming up of the corruptions of Christianity, which began to be introduced among the ten horns, and which had 'the eyes of a man, and a into the church in the apostle's days, and wrought secretly all the mouth speaking great things,' to shew that its dominion was foundtime the heathen magistrates persecuted the Christians; but ed in the deepest policy, and ihat its strength consisted in the bulls, which shewed themselves more openly, after the empire receiv. excommunications, and anathemas, which, with intolerable aued the faith of Christ, A. D. 312, and by a gradual progress ended dacity, it uttered against all who opposed its usurpations. And in in the monstrous errors and usurpations of the bishops of Rome, process oftime the bishops of Rome, having got possession of three when the restraining power of the emperors was taken out of the of the kingdoms into which the western empire was broken, signifiway, by the incursions of the barbarous nations, and the break ed by three of the horns of Daniel's fourth beast being plucked up ing of the empire into the ten kingdoms, prefigured by the ten by the roots before the little horn, they called themselves the horns of Daniel's fourth beast. Now, to be convinced of this, we Vicars of Christ, on pretence that Christ had transferred his whole need only compare the rise and progress of the papal tyranny, authority to them. They also thought to change times, and laws, with the descriptions of the man of sin, and of the mystery of as Daniel foretold. For, as the vicars of Christ, they assumed the iniquity, given in the writings of Daniel and Paul.
power of saving and damning men at their own pleasure, and alterAnd, first, we have shewed in note 1. on ver. 7. that the mystery ed the terms of salvation, making it depend, not on faith and holiof iniquity, or the corrupt doctrines which ended in the errors and ness, but on the superstitious practices which they had establishusurpations of the see of Rome, were working secretly in the apos ed; and sold the pardon of sins past, and even the liberty of sinning tle's days, as he affirms ver. 7.; and that the power of the Roman in future, for money. Moreover, they openly made war with the emperors, and ofthe magistrates under them, was that which then, saints who resisted their corrupt doctrines and practices, and preand during the succeeding ages, restrained the mystery of iniquity vailed against them, and wore out the saints of ihe Most High; for in its working, and the man or sin from revealing himself
. For by the cruel and bloody persecutions which they obliged the while the power of the state continued in the hands of the heathen princes who acknowledged ibeir authority to carry on against rulers, and while they employed that power in persecuting the those who adhered to the pure doctrine and worship of Christ, they Christians, the corrupt doctrines and practices introduced by the destroyed incredible numbers of them. Nay, by the terror of their false teachers, did not spread so fast as they would otherwise have excommunications and interdicts, they forced even the most done. At least, they were not produced to public view as the powerful sovereigns to bend to their yoke. Thus 'with their mouth decisions of Heaven, to which all men were bound to pay implicit did they speak very great things. At length they assumed the right obedience. But after the heathen magistrates were taken out of of conferring kingdoms, and of deposing princes; and actually dethe way by the conversion of Constantine, and after he and his posed some, with the help of the potentates of their communion, successors called the Christian bishops to meet in general coun: who put their mandates in execution. Lastly, to render this exercils, and ensorced their assumption of divine authority by the civil cise of their tyranny the more effectual, they arrogated the power power, then did they in these councils arrogate to themselves the of loosing subjects from their oaths of allegiance; whereby they right of establishing what articles of faith and discipline they made void the most sacred of all moral obligations, the obligation thought proper, and of anathematizing all who rejected their de of oaths. But this impious scheme of false doctrine, and the crees; a claim wbich, in after-times, ihe bishops of Rome trans- spiritual tyranny built thereon, agreeably to the predictions of ferred from general councils to themselves. li was in this period the prophet Daniel and of the apostle Paul, began at the Reformathat the worship of saints, and angels, and images, was introduced; tion to be consumed by the breath of the Lord's month; that is, celibacy was praised as the highest piety; meats of certain kinds by the Scriptures put into the hands of the laity, and by the were prohibited; and a variety of superstitious mortifications of preaching of true doctrine out of the Scriptures. the body were enjoined, by the decrees of councils, in opposition Upon the whole, I think every impartial person who attentively to the express laws of God. In this persod likewise, idolatry and considers the foregoing sketch must be sensible, that in the superstition were recommended to the people by false miracles, bishops of Rome, all the characters and actions ascribed by Daniel and every deceit which wickedness could suggest; such as the to the little horn, and by Paul to the man of sin and the lawless one, miraculous cures pretended to be performed by the bones and are clearly united. For, according to the strong working of Satan, other relics ofthe martyrs, in order to induce the ignorant vulgar to with all power, and signs, and miracles of falsehood, they have opworship them as mediators: the feigned visions of angels, who they posed Christ, and exalted themselves above all that is called God, or said liad appeared to this or that hermit, to recommend celibacy, an object of worship; and have long sat in the temple of God, as fastings, mortification of the body, and living in solitude: the ap God, shewing themselves that they are God; that is, they exercise parition of souls from purgatory, who begged that certain super the power and prerogatives of God. And seeing, in the acquisition stitions might be practised, for delivering them from that confine. and exercise of their spiritual tyranny, they have trampled upon all ment. By all which, those assemblies of ecclesiastics, who by their laws human and divine, and have encouraged their votaries in the decrees enjoined these corrupt practices, shewed themselves to most enormous acts of wickedness, the Spirit of God hath, with the be the man of sin and larrus one in his first form, whose coming greatest propriety, given them the appellations of the man of sin, was to be with all power, and signs, and miracles of falsehood, and the son of perdition, and the lauless one. Farther, as it is said that who opposed every one that is called God, or an object of worship. the man of sin was to be revealed in his season,' there can be little For these general councils, by introducing the worship of saints doubt, that the dark ages, in which all learning was overturned by and angels, robbed God of the worship due to him; and by substi. the irruption of the northern barbarians, were the season allotted tuting saints and angels as mediators in the place of Christ, they to the man of sin for revealing himself. Accordingly we know, that, degraded him froin his office of mediator, or rendered it altogether in these ages, the corruptions of Christianity, and the usurpations useless. However, though they this opposed God and Christ by of the clergy, were carr to the greatest hei it. In short, the an. their nnrighteous dorrees. they did not yet exalt themselves above nals of the world cannot produce persons and events, to which the every one who is called God, or an object of worship. Neither did things written in this passage can be applied with so much fitness as they yet sit in the temple of God, as God, and openly shew them. to the bishops of Rome. Why then should we be in any doubt con. selves to be God. These blasphemous extravagancies were to be cerning the interpretation and application ofthis famous prophecy? acted in after-tines, by a number of particular persons in succes. Al the conclusion of our explication of the prophecy concerning sion ; I mean by the bishops of Rome, after the power of the Chris. the man of sin, it may be proper to observe, that the events foretold tian Roman einperors, and of the magistrates under them, should in it, being such as never took place in the world before, and in all
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God 13 But I do not mean that ye Thessalonlans will be concerned always concerning you, brethren, beloved of either in this revolt against God or in the punishment thercof. For the Lord, because God (unSTO) hath chosen we are bound, as I told you before,(chap. i. 3.), to give thanks to God you from the beginning to salvation, through always concerning you,brethren, greatly beloved of the Lord Jesus; sanctification of spirit 2 and belief of truth ; because God hath chosen you from the beginning to obtain salvation,
through sanctification of your spirit, and through belief of truth; 14 To which he called you, by our gospel, 14 To which he called you, by means of our gospel, in order to to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus your obtaining a share of the glorious inheritance which our Lord Christ.
Jesus Christ will bestow on his faithful servants. 15 Well then, brethren, (snxets) stand, and 15 Well then, since they shall perish who love not the truth, brehold fast! the traditions which ye have been thren, stand firm, and hold fast those precepts and doctrines which taught, whether by OUR word or by our letter. ye have been taight, whether by our preaching or by our letter ;
and give no ear to those who say the end of the world is at hand. 16 And may our Lord Jesus Christ him 16 And to enable you so to do, I pray that our Lord Jesus self, and God even our Father, who hath loved Christ himself, and God even our Father, who hath loved 118 all us,' and given us everlasting consolation? and as a father loves his children, and hath given us everlasting congood hope through grace,3
solation under the miseries of life, and a well-founded hope of
eternal life through mere favour, 17 Comfort your hearts, and establish' you 17 Comfort your hearts under afflictions for the gospel, and in every good word and work.
establish you in every good doctrine and practice, in opposition
to the attempts of impostors to seduce you. probability never will take place in it again, the foreknowledge of the apostle terms lois doctrines in general traditions, 2 Thess. iii. 6. ihern was certainly a matter out of the reach of human conjecture, 'Withdraw yourselves from every brother who walketh disorder. or foresight. It is evident, therefore, that this prophecy, which ly, and not according to the tradition which he received from us.' from the beginning hath stood on record, taken in conjunction This appellation Paul gave to the doctrines and precepts of the gos. with the accomplishment of it verified by the concurrent testi. pel on a double account; first, because they were delivered by mony of history, affords an illustrious proof of the divine original Christ and by the Spirit to the apostles, merely on the authority of of that revelation of which it makes a part, and of the inspiration revelation : and, secondly, because the apostles delivered them to of the person from whose mouth it proceeded.
the world on the same authority, without attempting to prove them Ver. 13.-1. God (402650) hath chosen you from the beginning to by any other argument. See Col. ii. 6. note. According to this ac. salvation.}-- According to Chandler, siasto denotes such a choice count of the matter, the precept in the text, 'Hold last the traditions of a person 10 an office or honour, as puts it in his power to accept which ye have been taught,' applies to none but to the doctrines that office or honour, but leaves him at liberty to refuse it, if he and precepts which the apostles, and other inspired teachers, depleases. Farther, by **'«ezus he understands the beginning of the livered to the world as revelations from God. And no doctrines gospel, the first preaching of it to the Thessalonians, and interprets merit the name of traditions, in the scripture sense of the word, the passage thus: God, from the time the gospel was first preach. but such as were taught by the apostles of Christ, or by other ed to you, hath chosen you to salvation, and hath declared his spiritual men, who received them by immediate revelation from choice of you by sanctifying you to his service, throngh the gifts him. And though the inspired teachers, to whom these doctrines of the Spirit and belief of the gospel. But I rather think 47'*775 were revealed, communicated them to the world first of all by word here signifies from the beginning of the world; a sense which the of mouth, they cannot now be known to be theirs, but by their phrase has, 1 John iii. 8. Also I am or opinion, that'sanctification holding a place in those writings which are allowed to be the of spirit' denotes the sanctification of the Thessalonians through genuine productions of these inspired teachers. The traditions, the influences of the Spirit; and that 'belief of the truth' signifies therefore, on which the church of Rome lays so great a stress, a real faith. So that, addressing the Thessalonians as believers, are of no manner of value. his meaning is, Ye Thessalonians, and all true believers without Ver. 16.–1. May our Lord Jesus Christ, and God even our Father, exception, were included in the covenant which God made with who hath loved us.)-This, and what follows, though standing immankind after the fall, in the view of Christ's obedience
to death; mediately connected with God even our Father,' must be under. and were chosen to be heirs of salvation, through sanctification of stood as repeated concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, unless éxyx. spirit as the means, and through faith counted to them for right. nous is put for os ay umur, which is scarcely to be admitted: For eousness. The same sentiment we have likewise 1 Pet. i. 1, 2. the clause, 'may our Lord Jesus Christ,' will be a sentence withSec Ephes. I. 4, 5. 1 Thess. i. 4. notes.
out meaning, if it is not completed in one or other of the methods The judgment which the apostle passedon this occasion concern just now mentioned. In this passage, the same operation is ing the Thessalonians, was not founded on any particular revela. ascribed to the Son as to the Father, agreeably to what Christ tion concerning their state, but was merely a judgment of charity. himself hath told us, John v. 19. 'What things soever he doth, He had discerned in the greatest part of them, srom the first, a these also doth the Son likewise.' great love of truth, and had been witness to the operation of that 2. And given us everlasting consolation. That is, the ineans of love, in leading them to a holy manner of living; and therefore, never failing consolation; as is plain from the following verse, in concerning the most of them, he did not doubt of their continuing which the apostle wishes that Christ and God might actually comin holiness, through the efficacy of the same principle.
fort their hearts. 2. Through sanctification of spirit.)- The apostle uses the word 3. And good hope through grace.}-Good hope is an emphatical ex. spirit here in the sense which it has 1 Thess. v. 23. where it denotes pression, signifying hope, not of ordinary blessings, but of such as the mind or rational principle.-1 Pet. i. 2. 'Sanctification of spirit' are great and lasting, and the hope of which is well founded, being signifies the cleansing of the mind from the errors of heathenism. founded in the grace and favour of God, which is unchangeable.
Ver. 15 --1. Stand, and hold fast.)-Kextsy is to hold a thing in Ver. 17. Establish you.)-Errečno signifies to support a thing in consequence of rictory; and therefore, to hold it firmly and sure such a manner as to render it firm, and preserve it from falling. ly, by ihe greatest exertion of strength.
Here it is applied to the mind, and denotes the establishment of it 2. The traditions which ye have been taught. ]—In the apostle's in the belief of every good doctrine, and in the practice of every writings, traditions are those doctrines and precepts which per virtue, by strengthening its faculties, and giving it just views of sons divinely inspired taught as the doctrines and precepts of God, the doctrines and precepts of religion, and by infusing into it a whether they taught them by word of mouth or by writing. Thus sincere love of both.
CHAPTER III. View and Nlustration of the Matters contained in this Chapter. In the end of the foregoing chapter, by praying God speedily and successfully propagated throug 1 the world, to comfort and establish the Thessalonians, the apostle in as it had been among the Thessalonians, ver. 1.-and sinuated, that God's assistance, obtained, whether by their that they might be delivered from those brutish and unown prayers or by the prayers of others, is the best pre reasonable men of the Jewish nation, who pretended to servative from apostasy and sin. Wherefore St. Paul, at have faith in the true God, but had it not, ver. 2.-Howthis time, being deeply affected with the malice and rage ever, that the malice of the Jews might not terrify the of the unbelieving Jews, who, while Gallio was procon Thessalonians too much, he put them in mind of the sul of Achaia, had made an insurrection, in which his life power and faithfulness of Christ, who will not suffer his was endangered, he besought the Thessalonians to pray servants to be tempted above what they are able to bear, to God in behalf of him and his assistants ; that, by their ver. 3.-then prayed God to direct them all to that which bold and faithful preaching, the gospel might be as was good, ver. 4.-And because his former letter had
not reclaimed the disorderly among them, he, in the namo inconsistent with the care of thelr salvation, ver, 11.-such and by the authority of Christ, commanded the faithful idle persons he commanded immediately to correct their to avoid the company and conversation of them who had disorderly way of living, ver. 12.-And the faithful he not obeyed his former order concerning working for their exhorted, not to become weary of honestly working for own maintenance, ver. 6.—And to add the more weight their own maintenance, and of doing acts of charity to to his command, he put the Thessalonians in mind, that the really needy, ver. 13.-At the same time, that his when he and his assistants were with them, they did not, injunctions might be better obeyed by the disorderly than on pretence of their being employed in preaching the formerly, he desired the rulers of the church, if any regospel, lead an idle life, ver. 7.-nor intrude themselves fused to do the things commanded in this letter, to point into the houses of the rich, nor live on other people's la- them out to the faithful, that they might put them to bour; but wrought daily for their own maintenance, ver. shame, by avoiding their company, as he had directed, 8.–This course they followed, not because they had no ver. 14.—yet they were not to regard them as enemies, right to maintenance from their disciples, but to make but to admonish them as brethren, who might still be themselves examples of prudent industry to the Thessa- reclaimed, ver. 15.-Next, to shew his great affection to lonians, ver. 9.–Farther, he put them in mind, that when the Thessalonians, he prayed for all manner of happiness he was with them, he commanded, if any man did not to them, ver. 16.–Lastly, to authenticate this epistle, tho work, none of them should give him to eat, ver. 10.- apostle with his own hand wrote the salutation; and deAnd because he was informed, that there were still among clared it to be the mark by which all his genuine letters them persons who did not work at all, but who went might be distinguished from such as were forged, ver. 17. about idly observing and censuring other people's ac —and finished this epistle with his apostolic benediction, tions, pretending perhaps, that, as the day of judgment ver. 18. was at hand, to employ themselves in worldly affairs was NEW TRANSLATION.
COMMENTARY. Caap. III.—1 Finally, brethren, pray for Cuap. III.-I To conclude, brethren, pray, both in public and us, that the word of the Lord may run, and be in private, for us, that we may have liberty to preach every-where, glorified, even as (irgos, 293.) among you.l (Col. iv. 3.), with courage (Eph. vi. 16.) and fidelity, that the gos
pel may be quickly spread, and be glorified by the faith and obedi
ence of mankind, even as it is among you. 2 And that we may be delivered from bru 2 And that we may be delivered from brutish and ill-disposed tish' and wicked men; for all men have not men, such as the heathen priests, but especially the unbelieving faith.2
Jewish zealots. For all men have not faith ; have not a desire to
know and do the will of God. 3 (As, 100.) However, the Lord is faithful, 3 However, though they persecute you, the Lord Jesus is faithwho will establish and keep you from the evil ful, who, according to his promise, will establish and keep you one.
from being seduced by the devil and his instruments. 4 For we are persuaded in the Lord con. 4 For, by our knowledge of the faithfulness of the Lord, we are cerning you, that the things which we come persuaded concerning you, that the things which we have commanded you, ye both do, and will do.!
manded you, he enables you, and will still enable you to perform. 5 Now, may the Lord direct your hearts to 5 Now, may the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God, the love of God, and to the patience of Christ.? and to the patience which Christ exercised in all his afflictions,
that ye may be preserved from apostasy. 6 Now we command you, brethren, by tho 6 In my former letter, (chap. v. 14.), I ordered your rulers to name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye with rebuke them who walked disorderly ; but their rebukes have been draw yourselves from every brother who walk- disregarded. Wherefore now we command you, brethren, by the eth disorderly,' and not according to the tradi- authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye shun the company of tion’ which he received from us.
every brother, who, having been once and again admonished, still walketh disorderly, and not according to the precepts which he
received from me. Ver. 1. Even as among you.)-This is a very high commendation own perseverance, when they found him so anxious to be doof the Thessalonian brethren, and was designed to encourage them
livered from brutish and wicked men. in their attachment to the gospel.
Ver. 4. Ye both do, and will do.)-The apostle in this expresses Ver. 2.-1. Delivered froin brutish and wicked men.)-ATO**, his good opinion of the greatest part of the Thessalonian brethren, which I have translated brutish men, literally signifies men who but not of every one of them without exception, as is plain from hare no place; that is, who deserve to have no place in society; verses 11-14. consequently unreasonable brutish men, who act merely from the Ver. 5.-1. May the Lord direct your heart to the love of God, Impulses of their passions, and who, like wild beasts, should be (*#0 FS üzrokovn) and to the patience of Christ.}-May the Lord di. aroided. No doubt the apostle, when he wrole this, had the rect your heart to imitate the love which God hath shewed to man. heathen priests and pbilosophers in his eye, as well as the unbe. kind, and the patience which Christ exercised under suffering. lieving Jewish zealots. Yet secing the latier were so exceedingly This sense the patience of Christ has Rev. i. 9. a partaker in the enraged against him for preaching salvation to the Gentiles, with. kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. Others, by the love of out requiring them to obey the law of Moses, that they followed God,' understand the Thessalonians' love to God; and by the him from place to place, and raised a furious storm of persecution patience of Christ,' their patience waiting for the second coming against him wherever they found him, by inflaming both the rulers of Christ, mentioned 1 Thess. i. 10. But I prefer the first sense, and the people against him; it is noi improbable that they were for the reason assigned in the next note. particularly pointed at in this passage, especially as they had lately 2. And to the patience of Christ. As 'the patience of Job' made an insurrection at Corinth, with an intention to have tho is the patience of which Job was so great an example, so 'the apostle put to death.
patience of Christ' is the patience which he exercised in his 2. For all men have not faith.)-Faith, in this passage, does not sufferings. signify the actual belief of the gospel, but such a desire to know Ver. 6.-1. Walketh disorderly.)-Araxto, disorderly persons, and to do the will of God, as will dispose a person to believe the are they who profess to be subject to the discipline of the gospel, gospel, when fairly proposed to him.- In this the apostle glances yet do not walk according to its precepts. See 1 Thess. v. 14. noie l. not only at the Jews, who boasted of their faith in the true God, What the apostle condemned under this description was idleness, and in the revelations of his will which he had made to them, but (ver. 11.), and by the solemnity with which he introduces his at the Greek philosophers likewise, who had assumed to them. charge, we are taught that it is most offensive to God, and danger. Belves the pompous appellation of lovers of wisdom or truth. ous to ourselves and others, to encourage, by our company and
Ver. 3. Kecp you from the evil one. -ATO TOU Toyugou. This is conversation, such as live in the practice of any open and gross the name given in other passages of scripture to the devil, Matt. vi. sin. May all who have a regard to religion attend to this! The same 13. xiii. 19. 39. Eph. vi. 16.--The apostle assured the Thessalonians charge is repeated, ver. 14. See note 2. on that verse. that the Lord Jesus would establish and keep them from the evil 2. Tradition which he received from us.}-See chap. il. 15. Col. une. Ir prevent their being too much distressed with fear for their ii. 6. notes.
7 For yourselves know how ye ought to 7 My own conduct entitles me to rebuke the disorderly. For imitate us; because we did not walk disorder yourselves know that ye ought to imitate me, because I did not go ly among you;
about in idleness among you, meddling in other people's affairs ; 8 Neither did we eat bread as a gift from 8 Neither did I eat meat as a gift from any one, but with great any oire, but with labour and toil we wrought labour and fatigue I wrought daily for my own maintenance, and night and day, in order not to overload any for the maintenance of my assistants, (Acts xx. 34.), in order that
I might not overload any of you with maintaining us. 9 Not because we have not right, but that 9 This course I followed, not because I had not right to mainwe might give ourselves to you for a pattern, tenance from you as an apostle, but that I might give myself, to to imitate us.
such of you as are disposed to be idle, for an example of industry,
in which ye ought to imitate me. 10 (K26788, 93.) And therefore when we 10 And therefore, when I was with you, this I commanded, that were with you, this we commanded you, that if any person among you capable of working, will not work for his if any one will not work, neither let him eat.1 own maintenance, let him not eat of your meat, lest it encourage
him in his idleness. 11 For we hear that there are some who 11 This injunction I now renew, because I hear that there are STILL walk among you disorderly,' not work 80me who still walk among you disorderly, contrary to reason and ing at all, but prying into other people's affairs. to the gospel, applying themselves to no useful labour, but going
about prying into other people's affairs ; misrepresenting what
they have heard and seen. 12 Now, them wHO ARE such, we command 12 Now, such idle parasites I command, by the authority, and and beseechl by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with eseech by the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, forbearing medquietness they work, and eat their own bread. dling in any shape with other people's affairs, and remaining quiet
ly at home, they work, and feed themselves with their own meat. 13 And ye, brethren, be not weary in well 13 And ye, brethren, who hitherto, by your honest industry, doing.
have not only fed yourselves, but the poor, do not flag in that good
work. 14 (ae) Now, if any one do not obey our 14 Now, if any one do not obey our command given to all in (agger, 60.) command in this letter, point out this letter, that they work for their own maintenance, do ye, the that man,' and keep no company with him, that rulers of the church, point out that man to the rest, that, as I said he may be ashamed.2
before, ver. 10. none of you may keep company with him, in order that, being shunned by all as an evil doer, he may be ashamed of
his conduct, and amend. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but 15 Yet do not behave towards him as an infidel, who is incoradmonish him as a brother.
rigible, but in your public discourses, and in private, as ye have op
portunity, admonish him as a brother, who may still be reclaimed. 16 And may the Lord of peace himself, 16 And may Christ, the author of all happiness, himself give you give you peace always, in every shape. The happiness in every shape, by bestowing on you diligence in your
Ver. 9.-1. Not because we have not right. ]-When our Lord first brought him a letter from some of the pastors of the church, where sent out the twelve to preach, he said to them, Matt. x. 9. "The in they informed him of their state. The things mentioned chap. ii. workman is worthy of his meat;' and by so saying, conferred on 1, 2. afford another proof of this. Besides, the apostle would not so his apostles a right to demand maintenance from those to whorn soon have wrote a second letter to the Thessalonians, if he had they preached. See 1 Cor. ix. 4. note. This right Paul did not in. not been informed of some particulars which made it necessary. sist on among the Thessalonians, but wrought for his own mainte Ver. 12. We command and beseech.)
To his command the nance while he preached to them. Lest, however, his enemies apostle added earnest entreaty; and he did so by the authority Inight think this an acknowledgment that he was no apostle, he and direction of Christ. The meaning may be as in the commenhere asserted his right, and told them, that he had demanded no tary. inaintenance from them, to make himself a pattern to them of Ver. 13. Be not weary in well-doing. )-Mn *****HOWTI properly prudent industry.
signifies, do not flag through sloth or cowardice. See Eph. iii. 13. 2. That we might give ourselves to you for a pattern.)-The apos note I. The Thessalonians were not to flag in the performance tle's working for his maintenance ought to have put the idle among either of their civil or of their religious duties. the Thessalonians to shame, who perhaps excused themselves Ver. 14.-1. Point out that man.} A like direction is given, Rom. from working, on pretence they were attending to their neigh. xvi. 17. 1 Cor. v. 9. 11. 13. Phil. iii. 17. Beza thinks the word bours' affairs. For, if the apostle did not make the necessary and TAMTours, put a mark upon that man, means ercommunicate laborious work of preaching the gospel an excuse for not working, him; to which meaning the subsequent clause seems to agree. the Thessalonians had no reason to excuse themselves from work Grotius construes the words δια της επιςολης with τουτον σημειους. ing, on pretence of their minding other people's affairs; which in $, 'Give me notice of that man by a letter.' But the phrase in that truth was but officious meddling.
sense is not common. See Benson on the passage. Ver. 10. If any one will not work, neither let him eat.)–From this 2. Keep no company with him, that he may be ashamed.}-From precept of the gospel we learn, that all men, without distinction, this and other passages, particularly Matt. xviii. 15–17. Tit. iii. 10. ought to employ themselves in some business or other which is and ver. 6. of this chapter, it appears that Christ hath established a useful; and that no man is entitled to spend his life in idleness. wholesome discipline in his church, to be exercised by the pastors From the lower classes of mankind it is required, that they employ and people for reclaiming those who sin. This discipline does not themselves in agriculture, or in the mechanic arts, or in such other consist in corporal punishment, imprisonments, fines, and civilin. services as are necessary to society; and from them who are in capacities; but in the administration of admonitions and rebukes. higher stations, such exercises of the mind are expected, as may When these are without effect, and the offender continues impeni. advance the happiness of others, either in this life or in that which tent, he is to be excluded from joining the church in the offices of is to come. Whether, therefore, we fill higher or lower stations, religion. In that case, however, the faithful must not lose, either let us apply ourselves diligently to such useful occupations as are their affection for the offending party, or their hope of his recovery; suitable to our particular rank, that when we give account of our. but must continue to admonish him as a brother, till he appears selves to God, we may be found to have lived not altogether use. incorrigible. When this happens, he is to be cast out of the lessly in the world. This passage of the word of God ought like. society, and avoided as a person with whom to bave any interwise to be regarded by such as go about begging their bread, course, except in the offices of humanity, would be dangerous notwithstanding they are able, and have opportunity, to work for Matt. xviii, 17. their own maintenance. In the apostie's judgment, such have no Ver. 16.-1. The Lord of peace.)-The apostle calls Christ 'the right to maintenance, and therefore to give them alms is to en. Lord of peace,' in allusion to Isa. ix. 6., where he is foretold under courage them in vice, a practice which the apostle has forbidden, the character of the Prince of peace,' because he was to reconcile ver. 6. and should be aroided by all conscientious Christians, lest Jews and Gentiles to God and to one another, making peace between by supplying such disorderly persons' wants, they make them. God and them; and 'making of two one new man,' whose members selves accessaries to their idleness and wickedness.
are to live in peace with one another.—This prayer the apostle Ver. 11. We hear that there are some who still walk among you subjoins to the foregoing command, to intimate, that if the rulers disorderly.)-Froin this it appears, i bat, after writing the former of the church are faithful in their exhortations and admonitions, it letter, the apostle bad received a particular account of the state of is to be expected that the Lord will follow their
labours with his the Thessalonian church. Probably the messenger who carried blessing, and make them effectual for producing peace and rightothat letter gave hiin an account of their affairs at his return, or ousness among the members of his body.
Lord be with youà all.
worldly business, concord among yourselves, and good agreement with your heathen neighbours. The Lord be with you all, to direct
you. 17 The salutation of Paul with mine own 17 The salutation of me, Paul, written with mine own hand, hand, which is the token' in every epistle: which is the token in every epistle by which ye may distinguis thus I write.
my genuine letters. In this manner I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ Be 18 May the graces which shone in our Lord Jesus Christ, rewith you all. Amen.
main with you all. Amen. See Eph. vi. 24. note 2.
2 The Lord be with you all. This wish is founded on Christ's the faithful at Thessalonica might be able to distinguish his genuine promise, Matt. xxviii. 20. 'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the letters from such as were forged, he desired them to take particular end of the world. With this promise Paul may have been made notice of that mark. It seems the apostle's converts were generally acquainted by revelation.
acquainted with his handwriting.- Doddridge insinuates, that Paul Ver. 17. The salutation, &c. which is the token in every epistle.) may have dictated some of his epistles, while his hands were ein. -Paul commonly employed one to write, or at least to make a fair ployed in the labours of his occupation of tent-making; and says, copy of his letters, especially if they were of any length. Where. This may account for some small inaccuracies of style at which fore, as impostors had now begun to forge letters in his name, little minds have been offended, but which good judges easily know (2 Thess. ií. 2.), to prevent the ill consequences of that fraud, he how to excuse. wrote the salutation in all his letters with his own hand. And that
As the first epistle to the Thessalonians contains a formal proof of the divine original of the gospel, founded on the knowledge and experience of the persons to whom it was addressed, its primary intention was to establish them in the faith of the gospel. Yet, like the other inspired writings, it was calculated for the benefit of all the churches of Christ to the end of the world. Accordingly, it has been of singular use to them in every age; for from it we learn what the facts and circumstances were on which the apostles built their pretensions to a divine commission, and by which they persuaded mankind to embrace the gospel. And our knowledge of these facts and circumstances leads us to believe, that the rapid progress of the gospel was owing neither to fraud nor to enthusiasm, nor to the power of the sword, but to the excellent nature of the gospel; the holy lives of its first preachers and professors ; the undeniable miracles which the apostles wrought in proof of their mission from God; the gifts of the Spirit which they bestowed on their converts; the witness which they bear to the resurrection of their master; and their appealing to that great miracle, in proof that, according to his promise, he will return from heaven to reward the righteous, and to punish the wicked. For these being matters of fact, obvious to the senses of mankind, the vulgar, equally with the learned, were able to judge of them; and, being strongly impressed by them, great numbers of them became Christ's disciples. Wherefore, although no miracles are now wrought in confirmation of the gospel, and the spiritual gifts have long ago ceased in the church, we have still abundant evidence of the divinity of our religion. The first epistle to the Thessalonians affords a convincing proof, that the gospel was established in the chief city of the province of Macedonia by its own intrinsic excellence, accompanied with miracles and with the exercise of the spiritual gifts, notwithstanding the philosophers, of whom there were many in Thessalonica, endeavoured to overturn it by reasoning; and the unbelieving Jews, to stop its progress, stirred up the heathens to persecute those who professed it. For the miracles and spiritual gifts which accompanied the preaching of the gospel, rendered it superior to all opposition.
The second epistle to the Thessalonians, although it was written to correct a particular error, being an illustrious monument of the inspiration of its author, affords to us who live in these latter times an additional, and I may say an increasing evidence of the truth of our religion. Certain false teachers, by misinterpreting an expression or two in the apostle's first epistle, had made the Thessalonians believe, that the coming of Christ to raise the dead and carry the righteous into heaven was at hand, and thereby had occasioned them to neglect their worldly affairs. To undeceive them, the apostle, in his second epistle, assured them, that before the coming of Christ a great apostasy or defection from the true faith and practice of the gospel would take place in the church; that that defection would not happen all at once, but would proceed by slow degrees to the height and extent determined ; and that to carry it to that height, a long series of ages was requisite. "And to shew that the apostasy would be of a long continuance, the apostle foretold the particulars of which it was to consist, described the persons by whom it was to be introduced, and discovered the vile arts by which they were to establish it. Withal, that the Thessalonians might not be too much afflicted with the foresight of the evils which the apostasy would occasion, and that the faithful who beheld these evils might not be tempted to think God had cast off all care of his church, the apostle foretold that the apostasy would be destroyed—but in as gradual a manner as it had been introduced ; and even described the means by which it would be destroyed; naniely, by the scriptures put into the hands of the people, and by the preaching of the true doctrine of the gospel oui of the scriptures; so that the eyes of the people, long blinded by the arts of the deceivers, being opened, they would at length discern and acknowledge the truth.—No events similar to these having ever taken place in any prior age of the world, the prediction of them by the apostle, and their happening exactly as they were foretold to us, who have seen the rise and progress, and begun destruction of the apostasy, are such a demonstration of the inspiration of St. Paul, and of the truth of our religion, as cannot be gainsaid.
The matters contained in the two epistles to the Thessalonians being of such importance, we may believe that the presidents of the Thessalonian church, in obedience to the apostle's adjuration in his first epistle, took care to have both of them frequently read to the people in their public assemblies; who, considering them as expressions of their spiritual father's love to them, and of his earnest concern for their salvation, would hear them read with pleasure, and be greatly strengthened and comforted by them.—May the reading of these excellent writings have the same happy effects on the disciples of Christ, to the end of time !