1 Thessalonians 4* Exhortations to purity and holiness. (1-8) To brotherly love,peaceable behaviour, and diligence. (9-12) Not to sorrow undulyfor the death of godly relations and friends, considering theglorious resurrection of their bodies at Christ's second coming.(13-18)1-8 To abide in the faith of the gospel is not enough, we mustabound in the work of faith. The rule according to which allought to walk and act, is the commandments given by the LordJesus Christ. Sanctification, in the renewal of their soulsunder the influences of the Holy Spirit, and attention toappointed duties, constituted the will of God respecting them.In aspiring after this renewal of the soul unto holiness, strictrestraint must be put upon the appetites and senses of the body,and on the thoughts and inclinations of the will, which lead towrong uses of them. The Lord calls none into his family to liveunholy lives, but that they may be taught and enabled to walkbefore him in holiness. Some make light of the precepts ofholiness, because they hear them from men; but they are God'scommands, and to break them is to despise God. 9-12 We should notice in others what is good, to their praise,that we may engage them to abound therein more and more. All whoare savingly taught of God, are taught to love one another. Theteaching of the Spirit exceeds the teachings of men; and men'steaching is vain and useless, unless God teach. Those remarkablefor this or any other grace, need to increase therein, as wellas to persevere to the end. It is very desirable to have a calmand quiet temper, and to be of a peaceable and quiet behaviour.Satan is busy to trouble us; and we have in our hearts whatdisposes us to be unquiet; therefore let us study to be quiet.Those who are busy-bodies, meddling in other men's matters, havelittle quiet in their own minds, and cause great disturbancesamong their neighbours. They seldom mind the other exhortation,to be diligent in their own calling, to work with their ownhands. Christianity does not take us from the work and duty ofour particular callings, but teaches us to be diligent therein.People often by slothfulness reduce themselves to great straits,and are liable to many wants; while such as are diligent intheir own business, earn their own bread, and have greatpleasure in so doing. 13-18 Here is comfort for the relations and friends of thosewho die in the Lord. Grief for the death of friends is lawful;we may weep for our own loss, though it may be their gain.Christianity does not forbid, and grace does not do away, ournatural affections. Yet we must not be excessive in our sorrows;this is too much like those who have no hope of a better life.Death is an unknown thing, and we know little about the stateafter death; yet the doctrines of the resurrection and thesecond coming of Christ, are a remedy against the fear of death,and undue sorrow for the death of our Christian friends; and ofthese doctrines we have full assurance. It will be somehappiness that all the saints shall meet, and remain togetherfor ever; but the principal happiness of heaven is to be withthe Lord, to see him, live with him, and enjoy him for ever. Weshould support one another in times sorrow; not deaden oneanother's spirits, or weaken one another's hands. And this maybe done by the many lessons to be learned from the resurrectionof the dead, and the second coming of Christ. What! comfort aman by telling him he is going to appear before thejudgment-seat of God! Who can feel comfort from those words?That man alone with whose spirit the Spirit of God bears witnessthat his sins are blotted out, and the thoughts of whose heartare purified by the Holy Spirit, so that he can love God, andworthily magnify his name. We are not in a safe state unless itis thus with us, or we are desiring to be so.
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