Julian Period, 4762, Vulgar Æra, 51.


§ 8. 1 THESS. iv. 13-18.

St. Paul warns them against those zealous Jews who would
deprive them of their Hope of a future Happiness-they
are called upon not to indulge as the Heathens did in immo-
derate Grief over their Dead, whom they supposed would
not rise again-As an additional Evidence of the great
Truth of the Resurrection, St. Paul describes its manner,
as he had been taught by Christ Himself.

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren,
concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not,
even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught
up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in
the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
9. 1 THESS. v. 1-11.

St. Paul shews the Necessity of Holiness from the sudden and
terrible Appearance of Christ, and the inevitable De-
struction of the Wicked, and of those who are not prepar-
ed for the Day of his Coming-Those who continue firm
in the Faith and Practice of the Gospel, are comforted
with the Assurance that this Day will be a Day of Salva-
tion to them through Jesus Christ.

1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have
no need that I write unto you.

2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

7 For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken, are drunken in the night.

8 But let us who are of the day, be sober, putting on

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Julian Pe- the breast-plate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the Corinth. riod, 4762. hope of salvation.

Vulgar Æra,


9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

10. 1 THESS. v. 12-28.

St. Paul admonishes them to have a due regard for their spi-
ritual Instructors, with various other impressive Exhor-
tations and concludes with Prayers and Salutations.

12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them
which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord,
and admonish you;

13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.


18 In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

19 Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly:
and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be
preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus

24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
25 Brethren, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.

27 I charge you by the Lord, that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.

35 St. Paul addresses himself to the whole Church in many of his epistles-in those to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians; but here he does it in a most solemn and peculiar manner-adjuring them “by the Lord, that it should be read to all the holy brethren." From this deviation from his usual manner, it is conjectured that the apostle might have had some cause of suspicion. It is possible that at this time the Scriptures were prohibited from the people at large, and that the adjuration of the apostle was directed to the


Julian Pe- 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Corinth. riod, 4762. Amen. Vulgar Æra,


The first epistle unto the Thessalonians was written from


"mystery of iniquity which then began to work." (Sce 2d Epis.
chap. ii.)

In the Romish Church, the Scriptures are, in general, with-
held from the people; or suffered to be read under such restric-
tions, and with such notes, as totally subvert the sense of those
passages on which this Church endeavours to build her unscrip-
tural pretensions. It is generally allowed that the Vulgate ver-
sion is the most favourable to these pretensions; and yet even
that version the rulers of the Church dare not trust in the
hands of any of their people, even under their general eccle-
siastical restrictions, without their counteracting notes and
comments. Surely truth has nothing to fear from the Bible.
When the Romish Church permits the free use of this book,
she may be stripped, indeed, of some of her appendages, but
she will lose nothing but her dross and tin, and become, what
the original Church at Rome was, "beloved of God, called to
be saints, and have her faith once more spoken of throughout
all the world," Rom. i. 7, 8. She has in her own hands the
means of her own restoration; and a genuine Protestant will
wish, not her destruction, but her reformation: if she consent
not to be reformed, her total destruction is inevitable.

It is evident, from this passage, that the epistles of St. Paul were not designed mercly for the teachers of the Churches. The Spirit of God, which gave the Scriptures of the Old Testament for the common benefit of the Jewish Church, was now completing the New Testament for the use of all mankind.. Wherever, therefore, the doctrines of Christianity are to be inculcated, the Scriptures are to be in the possession of the people. Their perusal is one means of grace. In this opinion all descriptions of Protestants are united. It is curious to observe the manner in which opposite errors meet. The Romish Church prohibits the universal perusal of the Scriptures, and the learned Semler, the Unitarian theologian, has argued that the epistles were not designed for the people at large (a.)

There has been, it is true, of late years, much discussion respecting the manner in which the Scriptures ought to be distributed. That the common people, however, should receive them, and read and study them, is the opinion of all Protestants. One class of religionists would distribute them in every way possible, whenever an opportunity presents itself; and would unite for that purpose every description of persons, whatever be their theological opinions, as in any other charitable labour. Another class, however, have decided, that in all our attempts to do good, regard must be paid to the means, as well as to the end; and that the indiscriminate union, for religious purposes, of the maintainers of every opposite opinion, sanctions error. The only controversy, therefore, between Protestants is not whether the people should read the Scriptures, but by whom they should be given to the people.

(a) Communis fuit doctrina, sed non fuit in omnium manibus epistolarum aut librorum aliorum exemplum: doctrina tradebatur a presbyteris, qui doctrinæ auctoritatem derivabant ex his libris, quos, ab apostolo alii atque alii acceperant. Itaque recte quidem epistolæ dicuntur destinari ecclesiæ seu ecclesiis, sed intelligitur doctrina, quam presbyteri, et doctores ex libris, vel epistolis apostolorum hauriunt; et Christianis, per partes commodas, impertiunt, Manserunt igitur omnes libri sacri in manibus clericorum, seu ministrorum; quidam tradeban


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riod, 4762. St. Paul being rejected by the Jews, continues at Corinth, Vulgar Æra,


Julian Period, 4763. Vulgar Era,


preaching to the Gentiles.

ACTS Xviii. 6—11.

6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads: I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.

8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord, with all his house and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized.

9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:

10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee, to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.

11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.


St. Paul writes his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, in
order to refute an Error which they had fallen into con-
cerning the sudden coming of the Day of Judgment-He
prophesies the rise, prosperity, and overthrow of a great
Apostacy in the Christian Church .


tur lectoribus; alii presbyteris et episcopis tantum patebant. Quod vel
istis narrationibus, de traditoribus confirmatur; nemo ex laicis unquam
traditor fuit, quia esse non potuit: nec enim libros sacros manibus suis
ipse umquam usurpavit. Semler Prologomena ad Galatas, p. 29.

36 The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians is generally sup-
posed to have been written by St. Paul a few months after the
former. It is dated from the same place, Corinth; and Silva-
nus and Titus are both mentioned in the Introduction. It was
most probably written a little before, or a little after, the insur-
rection of the Jews at Corinth, when St. Paul was dragged be-
fore Gallio, (Acts xviii. 12.) as the apostle, in 2 Thess. iii. 2.
seems either to apprehend, or anticipate this violence, or else
prays to be delivered from these unreasonable and unbelieving
persecutors. It has been already shewn, that the majority of
the Church of Thessalonica had been converted from among
the idolatrous Gentiles, and that the first epistle was addressed
to those who had been so, and had become Christians. It
seems no less evident, that the present epistle was sent to the
same persons, from the various allusions it contains to the first

St. Paul having been informed that some expressions in his first epistle had been either perverted or misunderstood by the Thessalonians, (sce 1 Thess. iv. 15. 17. v. 4. 6.) who supposed the end of the world and the coming of Christ to be at hand, immediately addresses them for the purpose of refuting this error; which, while resting on apostolical authority, would be


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§ 1. 2 THESS. i. 1, 2.
St. Paul's Salutation.

1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

§ 2. 2 THESS. i. 3—6.

St. Paul rejoices at their Constancy under Persecution; and
assures them that their patient endurance is an Evidence
of a future Judgment, when they will receive their Re-

3 We are bound to thank God always for you, bre-
thren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceed-
ingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward
each other aboundeth:

4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God, for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that endure ”;



5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you.

3. 2 THESS. i. 7—12.

St. Paul predicts the coming of Christ to Judgment, and
the everlasting Destruction of all who have rejected his

7 And to you who are troubled rest with us; when the
alike injurious to his Christian converts, and to the continued
propagation of the Gospel. Grotius would rather refer this
epistle to the year of our Lord 38, in the second year of the
reign of Caligula: but his arguments are overthrown by the
fact that Silvanus and Timothy, who joined with St. Paul in
the introduction to this epistle, were not converts to the Chris-
tian faith till long after the death of Caligula; and Timothy
was but a youth (1 Tim. iv. 12.) when St. Paul wrote his first
epistle to him, in the year of Christ 57, or 58, and of Nero four ;
and seems to have been converted by St. Paul and Barnabas,
in the year of Christ 46, and of Claudius six; and not to have
become the companion of Paul till about four years after ; at
which time Silvanus also became his fellow-labourer. The same
learned divine has also endeavoured to prove that this was not
the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, their order being in-
verted-but on this point he is sufficiently refuted by its own
internal evidence.

37 In the former epistle (1 Thess. i. 3. 6-10. ii. 14. and xiv. 9, 10.) the apostle thanks God for the beginnings of their faith, love, and patience-in this and the following verses he mentions their increase. In 1 Thess. i. 9. he speaks of their ready reception of the Gospel. St. Paul and his fellow-labourers now glory in them.



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