1 Thessalonians 5

* The apostle exhorts to be always ready for the coming of

Christ to judgment, which will be with suddenness and surprise.

(1-11) He directs to several particular duties. (12-22) And

concludes with prayer, greetings, and a blessing. (23-28)

1-5 It is needless or useless to ask about the particular time

of Christ's coming. Christ did not reveal this to the apostles.

There are times and seasons for us to work in, and these are our

duty and interest to know and observe; but as to the time when

we must give up our account, we know it not, nor is it needful

that we should. The coming of Christ will be a great surprise to

men. Our Lord himself said so. As the hour of death is the same

to each person that the judgment will be to mankind in general,

so the same remarks answer for both. Christ's coming will be

terrible to the ungodly. Their destruction will overtake them

while they dream of happiness, and please themselves with vain

amusements. There will be no means to escape the terror or the

punishment of that day. This day will be a happy day to the

righteous. They are not in darkness; they are the children of

the light. It is the happy condition of all true Christians. But

how many are speaking peace and safety to themselves, over whose

heads utter destruction is hovering! Let us endeavour to awaken

ourselves and each other, and guard against our spiritual

6-11 Most of mankind do not consider the things of another

world at all, because they are asleep; or they do not consider

them aright, because they sleep and dream. Our moderation as to

all earthly things should be known to all men. Shall Christians,

who have the light of the blessed gospel shining in their faces,

be careless about their souls, and unmindful of another world?

We need the spiritual armour, or the three Christian graces,

faith, love, and hope. Faith; if we believe that the eye of God

is always upon us, that there is another world to prepare for,

we shall see reason to watch and be sober. True and fervent love

to God, and the things of God, will keep us watchful and sober.

If we have hope of salvation, let us take heed of any thing that

would shake our trust in the Lord. We have ground on which to

build unshaken hope, when we consider, that salvation is by our

Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, to atone for our sins and to

ransom our souls. We should join in prayer and praise one with

another. We should set a good example one before another, and

this is the best means to answer the end of society. Thus we

shall learn how to live to Him, with whom we hope to live for

12-15 The ministers of the gospel are described by the work of

their office, which is to serve and honour the Lord. It is their

duty not only to give good counsel, but also to warn the flock

of dangers, and reprove for whatever may be amiss. The people

should honour and love their ministers, because their business

is the welfare of men's souls. And the people should be at peace

among themselves, doing all they can to guard against any

differences. But love of peace must not make us wink at sin. The

fearful and sorrowful spirits, should be encouraged, and a kind

word may do much good. We must bear and forbear. We must be

long-suffering, and keep down anger, and this to all men.

Whatever man do to us, we must do good to others.
16-22 We are to rejoice in creature-comforts, as if we rejoiced

not, and must not expect to live many years, and rejoice in them

all; but if we do rejoice in God, we may do that evermore. A

truly religious life is a life of constant joy. And we should

rejoice more, if we prayed more. Prayer will help forward all

lawful business, and every good work. If we pray without

ceasing, we shall not want matter for thanksgiving in every

thing. We shall see cause to give thanks for sparing and

preventing, for common and uncommon, past and present, temporal

and spiritual mercies. Not only for prosperous and pleasing, but

also for afflicting providences, for chastisements and

corrections; for God designs all for our good, though we at

present see not how they tend to it. Quench not the Spirit.

Christians are said to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with

fire. He worketh as fire, by enlightening, enlivening, and

purifying the souls of men. As fire is put out by taking away

fuel, and as it is quenched by pouring water, or putting a great

deal of earth upon it; so we must be careful not to quench the

Holy Spirit, by indulging carnal lusts and affections, minding

only earthly things. Believers often hinder their growth in

grace, by not giving themselves up to the spiritual affections

raised in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. By prophesyings, here

understand the preaching of the word, the interpreting and

applying the Scriptures. We must not despise preaching, though

it is plain, and we are told no more than what we knew before.

We must search the Scriptures. And proving all things must be to

hold fast that which is good. We should abstain from sin, and

whatever looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it. He

who is not shy of the appearances of sin, who shuns not the

occasions of it, and who avoids not the temptations and

approaches to it, will not long keep from doing sin.
23-28 The apostle prays that they might be sanctified more

perfectly, for the best are sanctified but in part while in this

world; therefore we should pray for, and press toward, complete

holiness. And as we must fall, if God did not carry on his good

work in the soul, we should pray to God to perfect his work,

till we are presented faultless before the throne of his glory.

We should pray for one another; and brethren should thus express

brotherly love. This epistle was to be read to all the brethren.

Not only are the common people allowed to read the Scriptures,

but it is their duty, and what they should be persuaded to do.

The word of God should not be kept in an unknown tongue, but

transplanted, that as all men are concerned to know the

Scriptures, so they all may be able to read them. The Scriptures

should be read in all public congregations, for the benefit of

the unlearned especially. We need no more to make us happy, than

to know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is an

ever-flowing and an over-flowing fountain of grace to supply all

our wants.

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