1 Thessalonians 5* The apostle exhorts to be always ready for the coming ofChrist to judgment, which will be with suddenness and surprise.(1-11) He directs to several particular duties. (12-22) Andconcludes with prayer, greetings, and a blessing. (23-28)1-5 It is needless or useless to ask about the particular timeof Christ's coming. Christ did not reveal this to the apostles.There are times and seasons for us to work in, and these are ourduty and interest to know and observe; but as to the time whenwe must give up our account, we know it not, nor is it needfulthat we should. The coming of Christ will be a great surprise tomen. Our Lord himself said so. As the hour of death is the sameto each person that the judgment will be to mankind in general,so the same remarks answer for both. Christ's coming will beterrible to the ungodly. Their destruction will overtake themwhile they dream of happiness, and please themselves with vainamusements. There will be no means to escape the terror or thepunishment of that day. This day will be a happy day to therighteous. They are not in darkness; they are the children ofthe light. It is the happy condition of all true Christians. Buthow many are speaking peace and safety to themselves, over whoseheads utter destruction is hovering! Let us endeavour to awakenourselves and each other, and guard against our spiritualenemies. 6-11 Most of mankind do not consider the things of anotherworld at all, because they are asleep; or they do not considerthem aright, because they sleep and dream. Our moderation as toall 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 Godis always upon us, that there is another world to prepare for,we shall see reason to watch and be sober. True and fervent loveto 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 thatwould shake our trust in the Lord. We have ground on which tobuild unshaken hope, when we consider, that salvation is by ourLord Jesus Christ, who died for us, to atone for our sins and toransom our souls. We should join in prayer and praise one withanother. We should set a good example one before another, andthis is the best means to answer the end of society. Thus weshall learn how to live to Him, with whom we hope to live forever. 12-15 The ministers of the gospel are described by the work oftheir office, which is to serve and honour the Lord. It is theirduty not only to give good counsel, but also to warn the flockof dangers, and reprove for whatever may be amiss. The peopleshould honour and love their ministers, because their businessis the welfare of men's souls. And the people should be at peaceamong themselves, doing all they can to guard against anydifferences. But love of peace must not make us wink at sin. Thefearful and sorrowful spirits, should be encouraged, and a kindword may do much good. We must bear and forbear. We must belong-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 rejoicednot, and must not expect to live many years, and rejoice in themall; but if we do rejoice in God, we may do that evermore. Atruly religious life is a life of constant joy. And we shouldrejoice more, if we prayed more. Prayer will help forward alllawful business, and every good work. If we pray withoutceasing, we shall not want matter for thanksgiving in everything. We shall see cause to give thanks for sparing andpreventing, for common and uncommon, past and present, temporaland spiritual mercies. Not only for prosperous and pleasing, butalso for afflicting providences, for chastisements andcorrections; for God designs all for our good, though we atpresent see not how they tend to it. Quench not the Spirit.Christians are said to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and withfire. He worketh as fire, by enlightening, enlivening, andpurifying the souls of men. As fire is put out by taking awayfuel, and as it is quenched by pouring water, or putting a greatdeal of earth upon it; so we must be careful not to quench theHoly Spirit, by indulging carnal lusts and affections, mindingonly earthly things. Believers often hinder their growth ingrace, by not giving themselves up to the spiritual affectionsraised in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. By prophesyings, hereunderstand the preaching of the word, the interpreting andapplying the Scriptures. We must not despise preaching, thoughit is plain, and we are told no more than what we knew before.We must search the Scriptures. And proving all things must be tohold fast that which is good. We should abstain from sin, andwhatever looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it. Hewho is not shy of the appearances of sin, who shuns not theoccasions of it, and who avoids not the temptations andapproaches to it, will not long keep from doing sin. 23-28 The apostle prays that they might be sanctified moreperfectly, for the best are sanctified but in part while in thisworld; therefore we should pray for, and press toward, completeholiness. And as we must fall, if God did not carry on his goodwork 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 expressbrotherly 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, buttransplanted, that as all men are concerned to know theScriptures, so they all may be able to read them. The Scripturesshould be read in all public congregations, for the benefit ofthe unlearned especially. We need no more to make us happy, thanto know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is anever-flowing and an over-flowing fountain of grace to supply allour wants.
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