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18 In every thing give
thanks : for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus
19 Quench not the Spi
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all ap
pearance of evil.
18 Εν παντί ευχαριςείτε τουτο γαρ θελημα Θεου εν Χριςῳ Ιησου εις ύμας.
19 Το πνευμα μη σβεννυτε
20 Προφητειας μη εξου Πενειτε
21 Παντα δοκιμαζετε το καλον κατέχετε
22 Απο παντός είδους πουηρον απέχεσθε.
Ver. 18.-1. In every thing. This clause may be translated, For every thing give thanks. See Ephes. v. 20. note 1. But the preposition there, is jig, not ev, as here.
Ver. 19.-1. Quench not the Spirit. Here, the Spirit, denotes the miraculous gifts which were bestowed on the first Christians, called, Heb. ii. 4. Distributions of the Holy Spirit.-From this precept, as well as from that to Timothy, Stir up the gift of God which is in thee, 2 Tim. i. 6. it appears, that even the miraculous powers might be improved; and that the continuance of them with individuals, depended in a great measure upon the right temper of their minds, and upon the proper use which the spiritual men made of their gifts. The Greek words, in which the above-mentioned precepts are expressed, have a relation to those flames of fire, by which the presence of the Spirit was manifested, when he fell on the apostles and brethren, as mentioned Acts ii. 3. For in this passage, the banishing of the Holy Ghost is expressed by words, which signify the extinguishing of flame: To пvevμα un CervUTE, Quench not the Spirit. On the other hand, the strengthening the spiritual gifts, by exercising them properly, by banishing all vicious passions, and by cherishing inward purity, is expressed in words which denote the blowing up of fire into flame. 2 Tim. i. 6. I put thee in mind, avaζωπυρείν το χαρισμα το Θεό, to stir up the spiritual gift of God which is in thee, literally, to stir up as fire the spiritual gift. Some commentators suppose these precepts have a respect likewise to the ordinary influences of the Spirit, which, without doubt, equally with the extraordinary, are banished by resisting or abusing them, and by indulging sensual, malevolent, worldly dispositions; but are cherished by yielding to their influence, and by cultivating a virtuous temper of mind.
Ver. 20.-1. Despise not prophesyings. Mn severe, literally, do not set at naught. This precept, in a more general sense, is designed for those who neglect attending the public worship of God, on pretence that they are so wise, or so well instructed, that they can receive little or no benefit from it. But such should consider, that the spiritual life is maintained in
18 In every condition, whether prosperous or adverse, give thanks to God, by whose providence all things come to pass; for this is the will of God, made known by Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the gifts of the Spirit, by hindering others to exercise them, or by neglecting to exercise them yourselves, or by exercising them with strife and tumult.
20 Highly esteem the gift of prophesying; for it is the most useful of all the spiritual gifts, being that by which the church is edified, exhorted, and comforted.
21 Do not believe every teacher pretending to inspiration; but examine all things offered to you, comparing them with the doctrines of Christ, and of his apostles, and with the former revelations: And hold fast that which, upon examination, is found good.
22 Abstain from all such actions, as to yourselves, after examination, have an appearance of evil.
the soul, not so much by new knowledge, as by the recollection of matters formerly known, and by serious meditation thereon.
Ver. 21.-1. Prove all things. This precept may have been originally intended for those spiritual men, who had the gift of discerning spirits, and whose office it was to try those who pretended to prophesy, or to speak by inspiration; and to direct the church in their opinion concerning them. Nevertheless, it may well be understood in a more general sense, as requiring Christians in all ages, before they receive any religious doctrine, to examine whether it be consonant to right reason and to the word of God. On this precept, Benson's remark is, "What a glorious freedom of thought do "the apostles recommend! And how contemptible in their account is a "blind and implicit faith! May all Christians use this liberty of judging “for themselves in matters of religion, and allow it to one another, and to all mankind!"
2. KaTeXTE. This word signifies to hold a thing firmly in one's hand.
23 And the very God of 23 Αυτος δε ὁ Θεος της
peace sanctify you wholly and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
ειρηνης ἁγιασαι ὑμας ὁλοτε
Applied to the mind, it denotes the sincere approbation of a thing, and the close adherence to it.
Ver. 23.-1. Your whole person. So I have translated, inoxangov iμar, because the word signifies the whole of a thing given by lot; consequently the whole of any thing; and here the whole frame of our nature, our whole person. Accordingly, Chandler has shewed, that this word is applied to a city, whose buildings are all standing; and to an empire, which hath all its provinces; and to an army, whose troops are undiminished by any accident or calamity.
2. The spirit, the soul, and the body. The Pythagoreans, Platonists, and Stoics, divided the thinking part of a man into spirit and soul; a notion which they seem to have derived from the most ancient tradition, founded, perhaps, on the Mosaic account of the formation of man, Gen. ii. 7. and therefore it was adopted by the sacred writers. See Whitby's note here, who says, Gassendus and Willis have established this philosophy beyond all reasonable contradiction. But others are of opinion, that as the apostle's design was to teach mankind religion, and not philosophy, he might use the popular language to which the Thessalonians were accustomed, without adopting the philosophy on which that language was founded: consequently, that his prayer means no more, but that they might be thoroughly sanctified, of how many constituent parts soever their nature consisted. The passage of Genesis above referred to, runs thus: The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, that is, an animal. The same appellation is given to the beasts, Gen. i. 24. God said, let the earth bring forth the living creature, (Heb. the living soul) after his kind, cattle, &c. Wherefore, the formation of the animal part of our nature only is described, Gen. ii. 7. the formation of our spiritual part having been formerly declared, Gen. i. 27. So God created man in his own image. In the image of God created he him: Male and female created he them; both the male and the female of the human species, created he in the image of God. Moses's account, thus understood, implies, That we have both an animal and an intellectual nature: that in his animal nature, man is the same with the beast. For like the beast he hath a body united to his soul. And as the soul of the beast is the \seat of its sensations, and is endowed with appetites and passions, such as anger, hatred, lust, &c. so the soul of man is the seat of his sensations, appetites, and passions. And though his body, in its form, differs from that of a beast, it resembles it in being made out of the ground; its members
23 And may the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your whole person,' the spirit, and the soul, and the body, 2 be preserved unblameable, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
23 And that ye may be enabled to obey this, and every precept of the gospel, May God, the author of all happiness, sanctify you wholly; and may your whole person, your understanding, your affections, and your actions, be preserved by God, without any just cause of blame, until your trial is finished, through the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, to release you by death.
have a general resemblance to the members of a beast, the bodies of both are nourished by food; they grow to a certain bulk; they continue in their mature state a determined time; after which they gradually decay; and at length die, unless destroyed before by some accident. To the life of both, the presence of the soul in the body is necessary; and to the presence of the soul, it is requisite in both, that the bodily organs, called vital parts, be in a fit state for performing their several functions. Such is the life which man enjoys in common with the beast.
Because it hath been commonly supposed that God's words to Adam, dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return, were spoken to him as an animal, some have inferred, that not his body alone, but his animal soul was made of the dust, and returned to the dust. And in support of their opinion, they appeal to Solomon's words, Eccles. iii. 18, 19. where he affirms, that the soul both of man and beast is of the dust, and returns to the dust; on which account he calls man a beast. Others affirm, that dust, or matter, however modified and refined, is not capable of sensation, the lowest degree of thought and far less of imagination, and memory; faculties which the beast seems to partake of in common with man. And, therefore, they understand the above expressions as importing, not that the soul of man and beast is material, but that it is mortal; because it is no more contrary to reason, that an incorporeal soul should cease to be, than that it should have begun
But without pretending to determine, whether the soul which man is sup. posed to have in common with the beast, be material or not, I observe, that although God's words, Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return, should be meant to import the mortality of Adam's soul, as well as of his body, it will not follow, that there is nothing in man but what was made of dust, and is mortal. Besides an animal soul, the seat of sensation, appetite, passion, memory, &c. man has an higher principle, called Spirit, the seat of intellect, reasoning, and conscience. This appears from Gen. i. 26. Let us make man in our image: for the body of man made of the dust of the ground, can be no part of the image of God. As little can the animal soul which he hath in common with beasts, be any part of that image. This superior principle in man Solomon acknowledgeth. For after describing what man hath
in common with beasts, namely, one breath of life, he observes that their spirits are different, Eccles. iii. 21.
To comprehend the distinction between soul and spirit, which the sacred writers have insinuated, the soul must be considered as connected both with the body and with the spirit. By its connection with the body, the soul receives impressions from the senses; and by its connection with the spirit, it conveys these impressions, by means of the imagination and memory, to the spirit as materials for its operations. The powers last mentioned, through their connection with the body, are liable indeed to be so disturbed by injuries befalling the body, as to convey false perceptions to the spirit. But the powers of the spirit not being affected by bodily inju ries, it judges of the impressions conveyed to it as accurately as if they were true representations; so that the conclusions which it forms, are generally right.
Ver. 25.-1. Brethren, pray for us. This the apostle requested, because, whether he considered the prayers of the Thessalonians, as expressions of their earnest desire to have the gospel propagated, or of their good-will to him the apostle of Christ; or whether he considered the efficacy of their prayers with God, who to do honour to good men, heareth their prayers in behalf of others; he was sensible that their prayers might be of great use to him.
See Col. iv. 3. note 1.
Ver. 27-1. I adjure you by the Lord, that this Epistle be read to all the holy brethren. See Preliminary Essay 2. This being a command to the presidents and pastors of the Thessalonian church, it is evident that this epistle must have been first delivered to them, by his order, although it was inscribed to the Thessalonians in general. The same course, no doubt, he followed,