1 Thessalonians 1

Verse 25. But he that doeth wrong] It is possible for an

unfaithful servant to wrong and defraud his master in a great

variety of ways without being detected; but let all such remember

what is here said: He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong

which he has done; God sees him, and will punish him for his

breach of honesty and trust. Wasting, or not taking proper care

of the goods of your master, is such a wrong as God will resent.

He that is unfaithful in that which is little, will be unfaithful

in much, if he have opportunity; and God alone is the defence

against an unfaithful servant.

There is no respect] God neither esteems nor despises any man

because of his outward condition and circumstances; for there is

no respect of persons with him. Every man is, in the eye of God,

what he is in his soul: if holy, loved; if wicked, despised and

rejected.

THE

FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE

TO THE

THESSALONIANS.

Chronological Notes relative to this Epistle.

-Year of the Constantinopolitan era of the world, or that used

by the Byzantine historians, 5560.

-Year of the Alexandrian era of the world, 5554.

-Year of the Antiochian era of the world, 5544.

-Year of the Julian period, 4762.

-Year of the world, according to Archbishop Usher, 4056.

-Year of the world, according to Eusebius, in his Chronicon,

4280.

-Year of the minor Jewish era of the world, or that in common

use, 3812.

-Year of the Greater Rabbinical era of the world, 4411.

-Year from the Flood, according to Archbishop Usher, and the

English Bible, 2400.

-Year of the Cali yuga, or Indian era of the Deluge, 3154.

-Year of the era of Iphitus, or since the first commencement of

the Olympic games, 992.

-Year of the era of Nabonassar, king of Babylon, 799.

-Year of the CCVIIth Olympiad, 4.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Fabius Pictor,

799.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Frontinus, 803.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to the Fasti

Capitolini, 804.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Varro, which was

that most generally used, 805.

-Year of the era of the Seleucidae, 364.

-Year of the Caesarean era of Antioch, 100.

-Year of the Julian era, 97.

-Year of the Spanish era, 90.

-Year from the birth of Jesus Christ according to Archbishop

Usher, 56.

-Year of the vulgar era of Christ's nativity, 52.

-Year of Ventidius Cumanus, governor of the Jews, 4.

-Year of Vologesus, king of the Parthians, 3.

-Year of Caius Numidius Quadratus, governor of Syria, 2.

-Year of Ananias, high priest of the Jews, 8.

-Year of the Dionysian period, or Easter Cycle, 53.

-Year of the Grecian Cycle of nineteen years, or Common Golden

Number, 15; or the first after the fifth embolismic.

-Year of the Jewish Cycle of nineteen years, 12, or the first

after the fourth embolismic.

-Year of the Solar Cycle, 5.

-Dominical Letters, it being Bissextile, or Leap Year, BA.

-Day of the Jewish Passover, according to the Roman computation

of time, the Calends of April, i.e. April 1st, which happened

in this year on the Jewish Sabbath.

-Easter Sunday, April 2.

-Epact, or the moon's age on the 22d of March, or the Xth of the

Calends of April, 4

-Epact, according to the present mode of computation, or the

moon's age on New Year's day, or the Calends of January, 11.

-Monthly Epacts, or the moon's age on the Calends of each month

respectively, (beginning with January,) 11, 13, 12, 14, 15, 16,

17, 18, 18, 20, 20.

-Number of Direction, or the number of days from the

twenty-first of March (or the XIth of the Calends of April) to

the Jewish Passover, 10.

-Year of Claudius Caesar, the fifth emperor of the Romans, 12.

-Roman Consuls, Publius Cornelius Sylla Faustus, and Lucius

Salvius, Otho Titianus; and for the following year, (which is

by some supposed to be the date of this epistle,) Decimus

Junius Silanus, and Quintus Haterius Antoninus.

CHAPTER I.

The inscription by Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus, to the Church

of the Thessalonians, 1.

St. Paul gives thanks to God for their good estate, and prays

for their continuance in the faith, 2-4.

Shows how the Gospel came to them, and the blessed effects it

produced in their life and conversation, 5-7,

How it became published from them through Macedonia and Achaia,

and how their faith was everywhere celebrated, 8.

He shows farther, that the Thessalonians had turned from

idolatry, become worshippers of the true God, and were waiting

for the revelation of Christ, 9, 10.

NOTES ON CHAP. I.

Verse 1. Paul, and: Silvanus, and Timotheus] Though St. Paul

himself dictated this letter, yet he joins the names of Silas and

Timothy, because they had been with him at Thessalonica, and were

well known there. See Ac 17:4, 14.

And Silvanus] This was certainly the same as Silas, who was

St. Paul's companion in all his journeys through Asia Minor and

Greece; see Ac 15:22; 16:19; 17:4, 10. Him and Timothy, the

apostle took with him into Macedonia, and they continued at Berea

when the apostle went from thence to Athens; from this place St.

Paul sent for them to come to him speedily, and, though it is not

said that they came while he was at Athens, yet it is most

probable that they did; after which, having sent them to

Thessalonica, he proceeded to Corinth, where they afterwards

rejoined him, and from whence he wrote this epistle. See the

preface.

Verse 2. We give thanks] See Php 1:3, 4, and Col 1:3;

where the same forms of speech are used.

Verse 3. Your work of faith] This verse contains a very high

character of the believers at Thessalonica. They had FAITH, not

speculative and indolent, but true, sound, and operative;

their faith worked. They had LOVE, not that gazed at and became

enamoured of the perfections of God, but such a love as laboured

with faith to fulfil the whole will of God. Faith worked; but

love, because it can do more, did more, and therefore

laboured-worked energetically, to promote the glory of God and the

salvation of men. They had HOPE; not an idle, cold, heartless

expectation of future good, from which they felt no excitement,

and for which they could give no reason, but such a hope as

produced a satisfying expectation of a future life and state of

blessedness, the reality of which faith had descried, and love

anticipated; a hope, not hasty and impatient to get out of the

trials of life and possess the heavenly inheritance, but one that

was as willing to endure hardships as to enjoy glory itself, when

God might be most honoured by this patient endurance. FAITH

worked, LOVE laboured, and HOPE endured patiently.

It is not a mark of much grace to be longing to get to heaven

because of the troubles and difficulties of the present life; they

who love Christ are ever willing to suffer with him; and he may be

as much glorified by patient suffering, as by the most active

faith or laborious love. There are times in which, through

affliction or other hinderances, we cannot do the will of God, but

we can suffer it; and in such cases he seeks a heart that bears

submissively, suffers patiently, and endures, as seeing him who is

invisible, without repining or murmuring. This is as full a proof

of Christian perfection as the most intense and ardent love.

Meekness, gentleness, and long-suffering, are in our present state

of more use to ourselves and others, and of more consequence in

the sight of God, than all the ecstasies of the spirits of just

men made perfect, and than all the raptures of an archangel. That

Church or Christian society, the members of which manifest the

work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope, is

most nearly allied to heaven, and is on the suburbs of glory.

Verse 4. Knowing-your election of God.] Being assured, from

the doctrine which I have delivered to you, and which God has

confirmed by various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, that

he has chosen and called the Gentiles to the same privileges to

which he chose and called the Jews; and that, as they have

rejected the offers of the Gospel, God has now elected the

Gentiles in their stead. This is the election which the

Thessalonians knew; and of which the apostle treats at large in

his Epistle to the Romans, and also in his Epistles to the

Galatians and Ephesians. No irrespective, unconditional, eternal,

and personal election to everlasting glory, is meant by the

apostle. As God had chosen the Jews, whom, because of their

obstinate unbelief, he had now rejected; so he had now chosen or

elected the Gentiles. And in neither case was there any thing

absolute; all was most specifically conditional, as far as their

final salvation was concerned; without any merit on their side,

they were chosen and called to those blessings which, if rightly

used, would lead them to eternal glory. That these blessings

could be abused-become finally useless and forfeited, they had an

ample proof in the case of the Jews, who, after having been the

elect of God for more than 2000 years, were now become reprobates.

Verse 5. For our Gospel] That is, the glad tidings of

salvation by Jesus Christ, and of your being elected to enjoy all

the privileges to which the Jews were called, without being

obliged to submit to circumcision, or fulfil the rites and

ceremonies of the Mosaic law.

Came not unto you in word only] It was not by simple teaching

or mere reasoning that the doctrines which we preached recommended

themselves to you, we did not insist on your using this or the

other religious institution; we insisted on a change of heart and

life, and we held out the energy which was able to effect it.

But also in power] ενδυναμει. With miraculous

manifestations, to your eyes and to your hearts, which induced you

to acknowledge that this Gospel was the power of God unto

salvation.

And in the Holy Ghost] By his influence upon your hearts, in

changing and renewing them; and by the testimony which ye received

from him, that you were accepted through the Beloved, and become

the adopted children of God.

And in much assurance] ενπληροφοριαπολλη. The Holy Spirit

which was given you left no doubt on your mind, either with

respect to the general truth of the doctrine, or the safety of

your own state. Ye had the fullest assurance that the Gospel was

true, and the fullest assurance that ye had received the remission

of sins through that Gospel; the Spirit himself bearing witness

with your spirit, that you are the sons and daughters of God

Almighty.

What manner of men we were] How we preached, and how we lived;

our doctrines and our practices ever corresponding. And for your

sakes we sustained difficulties, endured hardships, and were

incessant in our labours.

Verse 6. Ye became followers of us] Ye became imitators,

μιμηται, of us-ye believed the same truths, walked in the same

way, and minded the same thing; knowing that our doctrine was of

the Lord, and that the way in which we walked was prescribed by

himself, and that he also suffered the contradictions of ungodly

men.

Having received the word in much affliction] That they

received the doctrine of the Gospel in the midst of much

persecution we may learn from the history in general, and from

Ac 17:5, 6.

With joy of the Holy Ghost] The consolations which they

received, in consequence of believing in Christ, more than

counterbalanced all the afflictions which they suffered from their

persecutors.

Verse 7. Ye were ensamples] τοπους. Types, models, or

patterns; according to which all the Churches in Macedonia and

Achaia formed both their creed and their conduct.

Verse 8. From you sounded out] As Thessalonica vas very

conveniently situated for traffic, many merchants from thence

traded through Macedonia, Achaia, and different parts of Greece.

By these, the fame of the Thessalonians having received the

doctrine of the Gospel was doubtless carried far and wide. And it

appears that they had walked so conscientiously before God and

man, that their friends could speak of them without a blush, and

their adversaries could say nothing to their disgrace.

Verse 9. How ye turned to God from idols] This could not be

spoken either of the Jews or of the devout persons, but of the

heathen Greeks, and of such it appears that the majority of the

Church was formed. See what is said on this subject in the

preface to this epistle.

To serve the living and true God] The living God; in

opposition to the idols, which were either inanimate stocks or

stones, or the representations of dead men.

The true God-In opposition to the whole system of idolatry,

which was false in the objects of its adoration, false in its

pretensions, false in its promises, and false in all its

prospects.

Verse 10. And to wait for his Son from heaven] To expect a

future state of glory, and resurrection of the body, according to

the Gospel doctrine, after the example of Jesus Christ, who was

raised from the dead, and ascended unto heaven, ever to appear in

the presence of God for us.

Delivered us from the wrath to come.] From all the punishment

due to us for our sins, and from the destruction which is about to

come on the unbelieving and impenitent Jews.

This was the news, the sounding out, that went abroad

concerning the converted Thessalonians. Every where it was said:

They have believed the Gospel; they have renounced idolatry; they

worship the living and true God; they have received the gifts and

graces of the Holy Spirit; they are happy in their souls,

unspotted in their lives, and full of joy; expecting an eternal

glory through that Christ who had died for and purged their sins,

and who shall fashion their degraded bodies and make them like to

his glorious body, and give them an eternal residence with himself

in a state of blessedness.

These were glorious news; and, wherever they were told,

prepared the way of the Gospel among the heathen. The mere

preaching of the Gospel has done much to convince and convert

sinners, but the lives of the sincere followers of Christ, as

illustrative of the truth of these doctrines, have done much more:

Truth represented in action seems to assume a body, and thus

renders itself palpable. In heathen countries, which are under

the dominion of Christian powers, the Gospel, though established

there, does little good, because of the profane and irreligious

lives of those who profess it. Why has not the whole peninsula of

India been long since evangelized? The Gospel has been preached

there; but the lives of the Europeans professing Christianity

there have been, in general, profligate, sordid, and base. From

them sounded out no good report of the Gospel; and therefore the

Mohammedans continue to prefer their Koran, and the Hindoos their

Vedas and Shasters, to the Bible. It should now ever be

acknowledged, to the glory of God, that of late years a few

apostolic men in that country are turning the tide in favour of

the Gospel; and several eminent Europeans have warmly espoused the

doctrine of Christ, and are labouring to circulate the word of God

through the whole of British India.

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