Julian Pe



riod, 4762. St. Paul writes his First Epistle to the Thessalonians, to
Vulgar Æra,
establish them in the Faith, when they were exposed to
the Attacks of the Unconverted Jews, by enforcing the
Evidences of Christianity".

34 Silas and Timothy, with St. Paul, had preached the Gospel to
the Jews at Thessalonica, in the synagogues of that place, (Acts
xvii. 1.) They were interrupted in this work, and compelled to
leave the city, by the persecution there raised against them; they
then proceeded to Berea, whither they were followed by the same
unbelieving Jews. St. Paul then went to Athens, but Silas and
Timothy remained at Berea, till they received orders from Paul
to follow him to that city, (Acts xvii. 15.) Timothy, we learn,
(1 Thess. i. 2.) was then immediately dispatched to Thessalonica,
and it is most probable Silas accompanied him, as they generally
were commissioned two and two, according to the first appoint-
ment of our Lord. It is not, however, expressly asserted how
Silas was employed at this time; they both rejoined Paul at Co-
rinth, (Acts xviii. 5.) and it is natural to suppose they there
gave him a full account of their labours: when, as we read
(Acts xviii. 5.) "he was pressed in spirit;" or, as it may be
read, he was deeply affected with the account brought to
him by his coadjutors, which, from the nature of the first Epis-
tle to the Thessalonians, and the previous occurrence which
occasioned St. Paul's separation from them, it appears probable,
related to the unceasing persecutions to which the Thessalo-
nians were exposed. Under the influence of this impression, I
believe the apostle to have composed this epistle. That it was
written from Corinth, during his present residence, in the year
51, or soon after, may be considered as almost the unanimous
opinion of commentators; although the particular occasion is
disputed. The general object of the epistle is certainly to con-
firm the Thessalonians in their faith, by enforcing the evidences
of the Christian religion, while he opposes some opinions held
by the Heathens.

The immediate design of St. Paul in writing this epistle, seems to have been to supply the converts with arguments against the reasonings of the philosophers and men of learning, who might have endeavoured, as mere theoretical speculatists have uniformly done, to argue against facts, by suggesting their improbability or have called the doctrines of Christianity foolishness-its precepts severe-its discipline superstition. The exceeding utility of this epistle to the preachers of Christianity, is particularly evident. In all his epistles, or, as they may be called, his written sermons, he uniformly enforces Christian morality, upon Christian principles; but in this epistle he enters into the evidences on which those principles were founded.

In the Greek Vulgate, the present reading of Acts xvii. 4. is Tuv σεβόμενων "Ελληνων πολυπλῆθος, which is rendered by our translators "Of the devout Greeks, a great multitude." The Codex Alex. and Codex Beza, with some others, read тwv oɛbóμɛvwv kai

ŋvwv, which Dr. Paley would render-those who worshipped the true God, and of the Greeks-that is, of those who had been previously Heathens, (1 Thess. i. 9.) He would infer, from the passage thus translated, that the Church at Thessalonica consisted of some few Jews, many who worshipped the one true God, and many of the Heathens, and of the chief women. It was highly necessary therefore that St. Paul, under these circumstances, should strengthen the faith of these his converts, who bad turned to God from idols," by every possible argument and encouragement.


[blocks in formation]

§ 1. THESS. i. 1-4.

The Introduction and Salutation.

1 Paul and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians, which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

§ 2. 1 THESS. i. 5-10.

St. Paul derives his first Argument for the Truth of Chris-
tianity, from the Miraculous Gifts of the Holy Spirit
-He rejoices in, and commends their steady Adherence,
to the Christian Faith.

5 For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but
also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much as-
surance; as ye know what manner of men we were among
you for your sake.

6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost;

7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God;

10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

§ 3. 1 THESS. ii. 1-13.

From the Character, Conduct, and Sufferings of the
Preachers of the Gospel, St. Paul demonstrates its
Truth-and thanks God that the Thessalonians had re-
ceived it, not as a System of Philosophy, but as the Word
of God-which was shewn by its Influence on their

1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto
you, that it was not in vain :

2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were


Julian Pe- bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God Corinth. riod, 4762. with much contention.

Vulgar Æra,


3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile :

4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:

6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

7. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear

unto us.

9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail : for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and
justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you
that believe:

11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and
charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath
called you unto his kingdom and glory.

13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing,
because, when ye received the word of God which ye
heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but,
as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually work-
eth also in you that believe.

§ 4. 1 THESS. ii. 14-20.

St. Paul shews the persecuting Spirit of the Jews, by
which the Power of the Gospel, and the Faith of Converts
is tried their Repugnance to the Gospel being preached
to the Gentiles-their Iniquity and Destruction-He de-
clares his Love for them, and his Desire to see them, which
has only been prevented by the Influence of Satan over
the Hearts of his Opponents.

14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches
of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also
have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even
as they have of the Jews;

15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men ;

Julian Pe

16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they Corinth. riod, 4762. might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath Vulgar Æra, 51. is come upon them to the uttermost.

17 But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.

18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

20 For ye are our glory and joy.

§ 5. 1 THESS. iii. 1-5.

St. Paul declares his Anxiety for the Thessalonians, and
reminds them that he had sent Timotheus to confirm their
Faith, and comfort them in those various Afflictions to
which all Christians, as they had been before warned,
were exposed,

1 Wherefore, when we could no longer forbear, we
thought it good to be left at Athens alone;

2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow-labourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith;

3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.

§ 6. 1 THESS. iii. 6—13.

St. Paul declares himself to be comforted by Timothy's
Account of them-He desires another Opportunity of
seeing them again-and prays for their Perseverance in
Holiness till the coming of Christ.

6 But now, when Timotheus came from you unto us,
and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and
that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring
greatly to see us, as we also to see you;

7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you, in all our affliction and distress, by your faith:

8 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.

9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;

[blocks in formation]

10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might Corinth. see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.

12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

13 To the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

§ 7. 1 THESS. iv. 1-12.

St. Paul shews the Gentile Converts the Necessity of Holi-
ness and Purity, and warns them against those Vices to
which they had been before addicted, and which were still
practised by the Heathens-He exhorts them to Bro-
therly Love, and Industry in their Callings.

1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and
exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of
us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would
abound more and more.

2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by
the Lord Jesus.

3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification,
that ye
should abstain from fornication:

4 That every one of you should know how to possess
his vessel in sanctification and honour ;

5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter; because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

9 But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you; for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more:

11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

« ElőzőTovább »