2 Thessalonians 1

Verse 18. Comfort one another with these words.] Strange

saying! comfort a man with the information that he is going to

appear before the judgment-seat of God! Who can feel comfort from

these words? That man alone with whose spirit the Spirit of God

bears witness that his sins are blotted out, and the thoughts of

whose heart are purified by the inspiration of Gods Holy Spirit,

so that he can perfectly love him, and worthily magnify his name.

Reader, thou art not in a safe state unless it be thus with thee,

or thou art hungering and thirsting after righteousness. If so,

thou shalt be filled; for it is impossible that thou shouldst be

taken away in thy sins, while mourning after the salvation of God.

They that seek shall find.





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,


-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,


-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 Cesarean 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 second year 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 XIth 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, of the moon's age on the Calends of each month

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

16, 17, 18, 18, 20, 20.

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

twenty-first of March (or the XIIth 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.


The salutation of St. Paul and his companions, 1, 2.

The apostle gives thanks to God for their faith, love, and

union; and for their patience under persecutions, 3, 4.

Speaks of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the punishment

of the ungodly, and the glorification of the righteous, 5-10.

Prays that God may count them worthy of their calling, that the

name of Jesus may be glorified in them, 11, 12.


Verse 1. Paul, and Silvanus, &c.]

See Clarke on 1Th 1:1.

This epistle was written a short time after the former: and as

Silas and Timothy were still at Corinth, the apostle joins their

names with his own, as in the former case.

Verse 3. Your faith groweth exceedingly] The word υπεραυξανει

signifies to grow luxuriantly, as a good and healthy tree planted

in a good soil; and if a fruit tree, bearing an abundance of fruit

to compensate the labour of the husbandman. Faith is one of the

seeds of the kingdom; this the apostle had sowed and watered, and

God gave an abundant increase. Their faith was multiplied, and

their love abounded; and this was not the case with some

distinguished characters only, it was the case with every one of


Verse 4. We ourselves glory in you in the Churches of God] We

hold you up as an example of what the grace of God, can produce

when communicated to honest and faithful hearts.

For your patience and faith] From Ac 17:5, 13, and from

1Th 2:14, we learn, that the people of Thessalonica had

suffered much persecution, both from the Jews and their own

countrymen; but being thoroughly convinced of the truth of the

Gospel, and feeling it to be the power of God unto salvation, no

persecution could turn them aside from it. And having suffered

for the truth, it was precious to them. Persecution never

essentially injured the genuine Church of God.

Verse 5. A manifest token of the righteousness judgement of

God] The persecutions and tribulations which you endure, are a

manifest proof that God has judged righteously in calling you

Gentiles into his Church; and these sufferings are also a proof

that ye are called in; for they who enter into the kingdom of God

go through great tribulation; your going through that tribulation

is a proof that ye are entering in, and God sees it right and just

that ye should be permitted to suffer before ye enjoy that endless


The words, however, may be understood in another sense, and

will form this maxim: "The sufferings of the just, and the

triumphs of the wicked, in this life, are a sure proof that there

will be a future judgment, in which the wicked shall be punished

and the righteous rewarded. "This maxim is not only true in

itself, but it is most likely that this is the apostle's meaning.

That ye may be counted worthy] Your patient endurance of these

sufferings is a proof that ye are rendered meet for that glory on

account of which ye suffer and, in a true Gospel sense of the

word, worthy of that glory; for he who is a child of God, and a

partaker of the Divine nature, is worthy of God's kingdom, not

because he has done any thing to merit it, but because he bears

the image of God; and the image is that which gives the title.

Verse 6. Seeing it is a righteous thing] Though God neither

rewards nor punishes in this life in a general way, yet he often

gives proofs of his displeasure, especially against those who

persecute his followers. They, therefore, who have given you

tribulation, shall have tribulation in recompense.

Verse 7. And to you who are troubled, rest with us] And while

they have tribulation, you shall have that eternal rest which

remains for the people of God.

When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed] But this fulness of

tribulation to them, and rest to you, shall not take place till

the Lord Jesus come to judge the world.

With his mighty angels] The coming of God to judge the world

is scarcely ever spoken of in the sacred writings without

mentioning the holy angels, who are to accompany him, and to form

his court or retinue. See De 33:2; Mt 25:31; 16:27; 26:64;

Mr 8:38.

Verse 8. In flaming fire] ενφλογιπυρος. In thunder and

lightning, taking vengeance-inflicting just punishment on them

that know not God-the heathen who do not worship the true God, and

will not acknowledge him, but worship idols; and on them that obey

not the Gospel-the Jews, particularly who have rejected the

Gospel, and persecuted Christ and his messengers; and all nominal

Christians who, though they believe the Gospel as a revelation

from God, yet do not obey it as a rule of life.

Verse 9. Who shall be punished] What this everlasting

destruction consists in we cannot tell. It is not annihilation,

for their being continues; and as the destruction is everlasting,

it is an eternal continuance and presence of substantial evil,

and absence of all good; for a part of this punishment consists in

being banished from the presence of the Lord-excluded from his

approbation, for ever; so that the light of his countenance can be

no more enjoyed, as there will be an eternal impossibility of ever

being reconciled to him.

The glory of his power] Never to see the face of God

throughout eternity is a heart-rending, soul-appalling thought;

and to be banished from the glory of his power, that power the

glory of which is peculiarly manifested in saving the lost and

glorifying the faithful, is what cannot be reflected on without

confusion and dismay. But this must be the lot of all who

acknowledge not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus


Verse 10. When he shall come to be glorified in his saints]

As the grace of God is peculiarly glorified in saving sinners and

making them into saints, this gracious power will be particularly

manifested in the great day, when countless millions will appear

before that throne who have come out of great tribulation, and

have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the


And to be admired] οαυμασθηναι. To be wondered at among and

on the account of all them that believe. Much as true believers

admire the perfections of the Redeemer of mankind, and much as

they wonder at his amazing condescension in becoming man, and

dying for the sins of the world; all their present amazement and

wonder will be as nothing when compared with what they shall feel

when they come to see him in all his glory, the glory that he had

with the father before the world was. In reference to this we may

apply those words of St. John: "Beloved, now are we the sons of

God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that

when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as

he is." 1Jo 3:2.

Instead of τοιςπιστευουσιν, them that believe, τοις

πιστευσασιν, them that have believed, is the reading of ABCDEF,

many others, the later Syriac, Slavonic, Vulgate, and Itala, with

most of the Greek fathers. This reading is undoubtedly genuine.

Because our testimony-was believed in that day.] The members of

this sentence seem to have been strangely transposed. I believe

it should be read thus: "In that day, when he shall come to be

glorified in his saints, and admired among all them that have

believed; for our testimony was believed among you." The

Thessalonians had credited what the apostles had said and written,

not only concerning Jesus Christ in general, but concerning the

day of judgment in particular.

Verse 11. We pray-that our God would count you worthy] It is

our earnest prayer that God would make you worthy, αξιωση, afford

those continual supplies of grace by his Holy Spirit, without

which you cannot adorn your holy vocation; you are called into the

Christian Church, and, to be proper members of this Church, you

must be members of the mystical body of Christ; and this implies

that you should be holy, as he who has called you is holy.

Fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness] 1. The goodness

of God-his own innate eternal kindness, has led him to call you

into this state of salvation. 2. It is the pleasure of that

goodness to save you unto eternal life. 3. It is the good

pleasure; nothing can please God more than your receiving and

retaining his utmost salvation. 4. It is all the good pleasure of

his goodness thus to save you; this he has amply proved by sending

his Son to die for you, beyond which gift he has none greater. In

this, all the good pleasure of his goodness is astonishingly

manifested. 5. And if you be faithful to his grace, he will

fulfil-completely accomplish, all the good pleasure of his goodness

in you; which goodness is to be apprehended and is to work by

faith, the power of which must come from him, though the act or

exercise of that power must be of yourselves; but the very power

to believe affords excitement to the exercise of faith.

Verse 12. That the name of our Lord] This is the great end of

your Christian calling, that Jesus who hath died for you may have

his passion and death magnified in your life and happiness;

that ye may show forth the virtues of him who called you from

darkness into his marvellous light.

And ye in him] That his glorious excellence may be seen upon

you; that ye may be adorned with the graces of his Spirit, as he

is glorified by your salvation from all sin.

According to the grace] That your salvation may be such as God

requires, and such as is worthy of his grace to communicate. God

saves as becomes God to save; and thus the dignity of his nature

is seen in the excellence and glory of his work.

1. IT is an awful consideration to the people of the world,

that persecutions and afflictions should be the lot of the true

Church, and should be the proof of its being such; because this

shows more than any thing else the desperate state of mankind,

their total enmity to God; they persecute, not because the

followers of God have done or can do them hurt, but they persecute

because they have not the Spirit of Christ in them! Men may amuse

themselves by arguing against the doctrine of original sin, or the

total depravity of the soul of man; but while there is religious

persecution in the world, there is the most absolute disproof of

all their arguments. Nothing but a heart wholly alienated from

God could ever devise the persecution or maltreatment of a man,

for no other cause but that he has given himself up to glorify God

with his body and spirit, which are his.

2. The everlasting destruction of the ungodly is a subject that

should be continually placed before the eyes of men by the

preachers of the Gospel. How shall a man be induced to take

measures to escape a danger of the existence of which he is not

convinced? Show him the hell which the justice of God has lighted

up for the devil and his angels, and in which all Satan's children

and followers must have their eternal portion. All the

perfections of God require that he should render to every man his

due. And what is the due of a sinner or a persecutor, of one who

is a determinate enemy to God, goodness, and good men? Why,

everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the

glory of his power. And if God did not award this to such

persons, he could not be the God of justice.

3. The grand object of God in giving his Gospel to mankind is

to save them from their sins, make them like himself, and take

them to his eternal glory. He saves according to the measure of

his eternal goodness; the scanty salvation contended for and

expected by the generality of Christians, it would be

dishonourable to God to administer. He saves according to his

grace. His own eternal goodness and holiness is the measure of

his salvation to man; not the creeds and expectations of any class

of Christians. To be saved at all, we must not only be saved in

God's way, and upon his own terms, but also according to his own

measure. He who is not filled with the fulness of God cannot

expect the glory of God.

4. Another proof of the fall and degeneracy of men is, their

general enmity to the doctrine of holiness; they cannot bear the

thought of being sanctified through body, soul, and spirit, so as

to perfect holiness in the fear of God. A spurious kind of

Christianity is gaining ground in the world. Weakness,

doubtfulness, littleness of faith, consciousness of inward

corruptions, and sinful infirmities of different kinds, are by

some considered the highest proofs of a gracious state; whereas in

the primitive Church they would have been considered as evidences

that the persons in question had received just light enough to

show them their wretchedness and danger, but not the healing

virtue of the blood of Christ.

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