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8 But we being persons for whom the day of judgment is appointed, let us be sober; and being surrounded with enemies, let us wear the breastplate of faith and love, as a defence to our heart, the seat of the passions, and for an helmet the hope of salvation, which will defend our head, the seat of reason. See Rom. xiii. 12.
9 This hope of salvation is well founded; for God (8× EDETO) hath not appointed us to destruction, as he hath appointed the wicked, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
10 Who died for us, that whether we are of the number of them, who at his coming are alive, or of them who are dead in their graves, we may live with him in heaven, for
11 Wherefore, by these glorious discoveries, comfort one another under
Helmet. The exhortation to the Thessalonians to arm themselves, teaches us, that the sons of light must not only watch, but fight. See Ephes. vi. 17. note 1.
Ver. 9.-1. God hath not appointed us to wrath. The design of God in sending his Son, was not to condemn, but to save the world; they, therefore, who are appointed to wrath, are such only who wilfully and obstinately refuse to believe and obey the gospel.
Ver. 10-1. Wake or sleep. Because the word here used is, Kadeuda, and not aμal, Whitby thinks the apostle is speaking of natural sleep, and not of death; and that yogaus, means being on their guard. But Benson hath shewed, that the two first-mentioned words are used indifferently, both by sacred and profane writers, for death. Farther, he observes, that if payogwμev, signifies to be on our guard, it is not true, that if we are found asleep, that is, off our guard, we shall live with Christ. The antithesis, therefore, requires that ypayopɛv, here should signify to live.
2. Live together with him. In the opinion of some commentators, this imports, that the righteous in the state of the dead, still live with Christ. But, in my opinion, the apostle is here speaking of their living with Christ after the resurrection.
edify one another, even as ληλους, και οικοδομείτε εις
12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13 And to esteem them
τον ένα, καθως και ποιείτε.
12 Ερωτωμεν δε ύμας, αδελφοι, ειδεναι τους κοπιωντας εν ύμιν, και προιςαμενους ύμων εν Κυρίῳ, και νουOeTovvTas vuas
13 Και ἡγεσθαι αυτους
very highly in love for ὑπερεκπερισσου εν αγαπη
their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now, we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded,support the
το έργον αυτων. Ειρηνευετε εν ἑαυτοις.
14 Παρακαλουμεν δε υ μας, αδελφοι, νουθετείτε τους ατακτους, παραμυθείσθε τους
Ver. 11.-1. Edify each the other, even as also ye do. This being the exhortation with which the apostle concluded his discourse, chap. iv. 18. concerning Christ's carrying with him into heaven, those who are alive at his coming, and those who are then raised from the dead, it shews that the expression, ver. 10. Whether we wake or sleep, means, Whether we are alive or dead. It were much to be wished, as Chandler observes, that Christians, entering into each other's true interests, would banish from their conversation that calumny, slander, folly, and flattery, which engrosses so much of this short transitory life: and by discoursing of things of substantial worth, endeavour to fortify each other against the snares of life, and those innumerable temptations which lie in wait to ruin us. With what comfort should we meet each other at the great day, were we on that occasion able to recollect that in general we had managed our conversation to our mutual advantage! For we should then be sensible, that in some measure we owe our glory to our concern for, and fidelity to each other. Besides, the remembrance of this, will enlarge the love of the saints to each other, in the future state.
Ver. 12.-1. Know them who labour among you, &c. Though the church of the Thessalonians was but newly planted when the apostle left them, he had before his departure, given it its full form; for he had appointed them Elders, to perform the ordinary functions of the ministry, and to preside in their religious assemblies, as he appointed elders in the newly planted churches, mentioned Acts xiv. 23.-Farther, from this passage it appears, that the eldership, in the apostle's days, was distinguished into three orders. 1. Tos no@iwvtas sv úμw, Those who laboured among them, in the work of -the ministry, by preaching, catechising, and dispensing the sacraments. 2. Tas poisameras iμav, Those who presided over them; that is, who, in their public meetings for worship, shewed in what order individuals were
Tov iva, literally, one the other) each the other, even as also ye do.1
12 Now we beseech you, brethren, to know them who labour among you, and who preside over you in the Lord, and admonish you.1
13 And to esteem them very highly (ev) with love, for their work's sake.1 Be at peace among yourselves.2
14 (A) On the other hand, we exhort you brethren, Admonish the disorderly,1 (chap. iii. 11.)
the afflictions of life, and edify each the other in faith, temperance, fortitude, hope, joy, and watchfulness, even as also, I know, ye do.
12 Now we beseech you, brethren, to submit yourselves to them who labour in the word among you, and who preside over you in your religious assemblies agreeably to the will of Christ, and who reprove you for your faults, and exhort you to amendment.
13 And to esteem such very highly with love for their work's sake; which indeed is honourable in itself, and beneficial to mankind, but attended with great danger.-Live in peace with one another.
14 On the other hand, we exhort you, brethren, who are pastors and rulers, Admonish the disorderly, by shewing them the sin and danger of
to exercise their spiritual gifts; and appointed the places and times of these meetings. 3. Tos 18Deтovтas iμas, Those who observed the behaviour of individuals, and gave to such as were faulty the admonitions and reproofs necessary to their amendment. For, vaderew, signifies to admonish with reproof. See Tit. iii. 10. note 2.-Perhaps this office belonged to the bishops.
Ver. 13.-1. And to esteem them very highly with love, for their work's sake. From this we learn, that the respect due from Christians to their ministers, is founded upon their diligence and faithfulness in preaching the word, and in admonishing those who err, rather than upon the dignity of their character, as rulers of the church.
2. Be at peace among yourselves. Some ancient MSS. and versions read here, w autois, with them. Be at peace with them who preside over you, &c. But as the clause is not joined with what goes before, by any copulative, I rather think it a distinct precept to avoid discord, which is the ruin of any society.
Ver. 14.-1. On the other hand, we exhort you brethren, admonish the disorderly. Arantes, is a military term, and signifies those who break their ranks, or desert their post, so that they cannot perform their duty as soldiers, especially in battle. It is fitly used, to denote those who neglect the proper duty of their office or station. The beauty of this passage is well illustrated by Mr. Blackwall, who says, "It is as admirable for the purity "of its moral, and the diffusiveness of its charitable meaning, as for the
weak, be patient toward ολιγοψύχους, αντέχεσθε των ασθενων, μακροθυμειτε προς
"elegance and force of its words, and the delicate turn of its structure. "The union of the words within each comma or stop, and their mutual rela❝tion and assistance, is exquisitely proper and natural. The noble period "runs on with strength and smoothness, and ends close and full. Both the "ear and judgment are satisfied." Sac. Class. vol. i. p. 257.
2. Comfort the faint-hearted. Onofʊxo, according to Grotius, are persons, who in adversity are dejected. But in Chandler's opinion, they are persons who entertain worse thoughts of themselves than they ought to do. Of this sort, there may have been some among the Thessalonian brethren, who, having been great sinners, were oppressed with sorrow for their former offences, and afraid, lest the continued persecution to which they were exposed, should make them renounce the gospel.
3. Support the weak. Avtexeodai, is to bear a thing on the side opposite to a person who bears it at the same time. In this place, it signifies our assisting the weak in understanding, with our advice, when they are at a loss how to direct themselves.
Ver. 16.-1. Always rejoice. Here, and in what follows, the apostle turns his discourse to the people.—In advising us always to rejoice, he does not mean that we should be insensible of our afflictions; but that in affliction we should not lose the joy which the glorious discoveries of the love of God and of Christ, made to us in the gospel, are fitted to yield. The truth is, affliction is the time when God gives the most abundant measures of his Spirit to his children, and raises their faith in the promises of the gospel, and strengthens their trust in his providence; by all which they obtain such peace and joy as nothing can overcome.-See Philip. iv. 4. note.
Ver. 17.-1. Pray without ceasing. This does not mean, that we should never intermit praying, but that we should observe the stated seasons of prayer. Thus Luke xxiv. 53. They were continually in the temple praising God, means, that they resorted to the temple at the time of the morning and evening sacrifice; and, according to the custom of the Jews, offered their prayers and praises while the incense was burning. See Rev. viii. 3. . And
as the morning and evening sacrifice is called the continual burnt offering, Exod. xxix. 42. they who regularly observed that season of prayer, were said to pray continually, and night and day. Acts xxvi. 7. Our twelve tribes instantly serving God night and day, &c.-But besides outward worship, there is due to God worship also in spirit, consisting in habitually cherishing just conceptions of his character and government; in placing our affections on him as their highest object; in submitting our will to his in all things; and in relying upon him for our happiness, both in prosperity and in adversity. Where these dispositions prevail, the person may be said to pray without ceasing and to make them habitual, care in performing the outward acts of worship is of great use. Farther, frequently and humbly to ask the assistance and protection of God, and to return him thanks for the blessings we derive from his providence, are duties so natural, and so necessary to our happiness, that one would think no person or family could live in the habitual neglect thereof. And yet how many are there who do so!