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Christian conversation.

COLOSSIANS IV.

Mark commended.

CHAPTER IV.

in the Lord: Whom I have sent to you for 8 A. D. 63. He exhorteth them to be ferrent in prayer; to walk so as to

this purpose, that he may know your affairs, gain those who are not yet converted; and concludes with salutations. and comfort your hearts;

Together with 9 2 Persevere in prayer, watching therein with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, 3 thanksgiving; Praying at the same time for who is one of you. They will make known

us also, that God would open to us a door of to you all things which are done here.

utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner saluteth you, 10 4 for which I am even in bonds: That speak- and Mark, son of the sister of Barnabas,

ing as I ought to speak, I may make it (respecting whom ye have received com5 manifest. Walk in wisdom towards them mands: if he come to you, receive him ;) 6 that are without, redeeming the time. Let And Jesus, who is called Justus, who are 11 your discourse be always well-pleasing, sea

of the circumcision, These have been my soned with the salt of wisdom, that ye may only fellow-labourers as to the kingdom of know how ye ought to answer every man.

God; and they have been a comfort unto 7 All things concerning me Tychicus will Epaphras, who is one of you, a ser- 12

declare to you, who is a beloved brother, vant of Christ, saluteth you, always earnestly and a faithful minister and fellow-servant striving for you

in
prayers,

that

ye may

me.

its commencement or completion, will be taken from us, as it is of Christ; and while this presides in the conscience, it will regulate secured beyond the reach of malice, and the power of earth and bell our conduct towards our fellow-members of the church. It is hidden with Christ in God; secured by the mediation of Christ, 3. We are taught our duties to one another in the various and the purpose and grace of the Father.

relations of social and civil life. In our religious intercourse we should 2. What obligations are believers under, not only to avoid gross study the word of Christ, and teach and encourage one another. sins, but all kinds of immorality. Assuredly no christian should live and the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs we sing should be instruc like the heathens, in fornication, undeanness, in the indulgence of the tive; and while we join in them with our voices, gratitude should most depraved passions. Nor is habitual covetousness, the prevailing dwell in our hearts.

dwell in our hearts. In the domestic circle, let the influence of the love of money or earthly things, consistent with the christian character, gospel appear. Let husbands and wives maintain that fidelity and as it may jusly be regarded as giving the heart to the objects of it exercise that mutual respect, which so close and endearing a relation instead of God. Well may those who practice such things tremble; demands. Forget not, Oye children, your manifold obligations to for the wrath of God is not only revealed against them, but is ready your parents ; but show to them all due reverence and honour. And, to burst forth upon them. Let us put off, and put far from us, the ye parents, command nothing but what is just and proper ; nor on any vices of our unregenerate stale ; and let it appear that we are renewed occasion try to irritate your children ; for this is the way to make as to knowledge, according to the image of him who created us; and them disobedient. Let christian servants be obedient to their masters, who is the model of all moral excellence. We should entertain and not only because they require obedience, but because it is the will of preserve just views of the christian economy, in which all distinction their Lord and Saviour. And if such are faithful, the Lord will of nations, or attainments, or ranks, is done away, and Christ is all reward them; but if any do wrong, they will experience due punishthings to his people, and in, and with them all by his Spirit. As the ment, And finally, let masters treat their servants with justice and chosen of God, we are called to imitate him, and to exercise mercy, kindness, remembering that they have a master, who will measure out kindness, meekness; and to forgive one another as we have been for- lo them as they have measured to others. Thus the

peace, comfort, given. And if we abound in christian love, we shall also in the peace and happiness of families will be secured.

CHAP. IV. 3. Door of utterance, &c. Being surrounded as they were 7-9. Tychicus, &c. Paul commends him as a beloved christian brother with difficulties and enemies, they ought to watch and pray; and when they

fellow-servant, and faithful minister of Christ; and he had sent him with Onedid so Paul desired that they would remember him, and that blessed cause to simus, one of themselves, that they might be informed of their affairs, and be which he was devoted, and for which he was now a prisoner; that he might useful to them by their instructions. This notice of Onesimus renders it cerhave full opportunity of preaching and making known the gospel to the Gen- tain that Philemon, his master, was a Colossian, one who probably had heard tiles, and their right to all its privileges.

Paul, and been converted in some other place. 5. Are without, $c. The unconverted heathens. -Redeeming the time. 10, 11. Aristarchus, 8c. This person, and Mark and Justus, were Paul's By your diligence and by your meek and christian behaviour, avoiding or pre- fellow-labourers at Rome, and all Jews by descent, though not born in Judea. venting persecution, and thus gaining time to spread the gospel.

Aristarchus was a native of Macedonia, and at this time a fellow-labourer with 6. Well-pleasing. Mild, becoming and good, so as to gain the favour of Paul. those with whom you converse. I take o xapısı as used adverbially, and have 12, 13. Epaphras, $c. This good man, though absent from his natire given the sense. -Seasoned with the salt, &c. Tempered with wisdom, of city, was anxiously concerned for the christians there. Perfect, &c. In which salt is the symbol. Matt. v. 13. Mark ix. 50.

CHAP. IV.

Nymphas saluted.
COLOSSIANS IV.

Charge to Archippus. stand perfect and complete in all the will Laodiceans also; and do ye likewise read 13 of God. For ( bear witness for him, that the epistle from Laodicea. And say to Ar- 17 he hath a great concern” for you, and for chippus, “ Take heed to the

“ Take heed to the ministry which those at Laodicea, and for those at Hiera- | thou hast received in the Lord, that thou 14 polis. Luke, the beloved physician, and

and fully discharge it.” 15 Demas, salute you. Salute the brethren that The salutation by the hand of me Paul. 18 are at Laodicea; and Nymphảs, änd the Remember my

iny bonds. Grace be with you. . 16 church which assembleth in his house. And

Amen. when this epistle hath been read among you, Written from Rome to the Colossians by cause it to be read in the church of the

Tychicus and Onesimus.

"

13. Griesb. Others, zeal. Reflections UPON CHAPTER IV. 1. We are reminded love, and mutual care, ihen abounded. Nothing afforded the apostle that it is not only our duty to pray, but to abound and persevere in this a more sublime pleasure than to hear of the peace and prosperity of holy exercise. Jesus delivered a parable to this end, that men the churches; and when a prisoner himself, he, sent some of his should pray always and not faint. Luke xviii. 1. He who neglects attendants and fellow-labourers to impart information, inquire into the this duty has no claim to the christian character, as he is living in the state of their affairs, and to give them suitable advice and encourageviolation of so many express injunctions and commands; and his con- ment. On this occasion Tychicus' and Onesimus were employed to duct is forcibly condemned by the practice and example of Christ and visit them, and comfort their hearts. Aristarchus was a prisoner with all his real disciples. Let us then cultivate the spirit of prayer, and Paul; bu: Mark, to whom the apostle had been reconciled, enjoyed daily and fervently seek that we may find God gracious, and ask that his liberty, and was about to go to them. He notices Justus, who we may receive suitable favours and blessings

. Let praises be together with the two before mentioned, had not only laboured in the mingled with our petitions; and when we approach the throne of grace gospel at Rome, but had been a comfort to the apostle. How amiable ever let us remember the Ministers of the gospel, that a door of ulter- the Spirit of Epaphras, who, though now far removed from his dear ance may be opened for them, that they may make known the freeness believing brethren, did not forget them, but wrestled and earnestly and riches of grace as displayed in the gospel, and as now exhibited to strove for them in his prayers. And how excellent were his petitions ! all nations. We ought to conciliate, hy a humble and peaceful be- That they might not only be sincere, but persect and complele in all haviour, ihose who are without the pale of the church; and being the will of God;" wholly conformed to it in spirit and deportment. well-instructed in the principles of the doctrine of Christ, and feeling we learn that though this epistle was sent to the Colossians, it was their practical influence on our hearts, our discourse ought to be well- designed to be of general use; and was to be read and communicated pleasing, attractive, and edifying. Nothing contributes so much to to other churches. All inspired scripture is for the general good ; this as perseverance in prayer, for it powerfully controls our passions, and none should be .deprived of it. Let us then devoutly regard it ; and adds grace to our lips.

and if called to believe on the Son of God, or to the ministry of the 2. In the salutations of the apostle and his fellow-labourers, and word, let us fully discharge the duties of our calling, that we may bis commendations of them; we learn how much christian sympathy, be approved by our Lord at his appearing. Amen.

maintaining your christian liberty, and understanding the whole counsel of God in the gospel.

16. From Laodiceå. From this verse we learn that it was customary for the christian churches to send the letters of the apostles to one another, ainong the members of which they were read, and most probably copied for

their edification. They were intended for general good. The epistle from Laodicea might be a copy of that sent to Ephesus.

17. Tuke heed, $c. This faithful admonition to Archippus should re. mind every teacher of his duty, and how diligent he ought to be in the discharge of it.

Vol. III. PART XXIII.

3 A

369

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE

TO THE

THESSALONIANS. ,

4

INTRODUCTION.

Paul and Silas visited Thessalonica after they quitted Philippi ; and for some time preached the gospel with great success both among the Jews and Gentiles. Acts xvii. 1—4. The unbelieving Jews at length, not able to resist the truth by argument, had recourse to violence and persecution : and they raised such a disturbance in the city, as obliged the believing brethren to send away Paul and Silas ; but they continued stedfast in the doctrines of the gospel. This conduct of the Jews was probably owing to the circumstance that Paul had withdrawn himself from the synagogue, and preached to the Gentiles. The design of the Epistle is to confirm them in the faith which they had received ; and while be adverts to their past conduct, as reflecting honour on themselves, he encourages them to perseverance. This is the first of Paul's Epistles ; and was inost certainly written from Corinth. See Acts xviii. 5, where we are infornied that Timothy and Silas came to Paul, and they join him in this epistle. See Introd. Part I. p. 6.

CHAPTER I.

your election; Because our gospel came 3

not unto you in word only, but in power A. D.. 63. Paul states his good opinion of their faith, love, and patience ; and then ofers' various things for their comfort and joy in their afflictions. also, even with the Holy Spirit, and with the

fullest confirmation; as ye know what manner I Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, to the of men we were among you for your sake.

church of the Thessalonians which is in God And ye became imitators of us, and of the 6 the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ ; Grace Lord, having received the word amidst much and peace be to you, from God our Father, affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit: and our Lord Jesus Christ.

So that ye have been examples to all that 7 We give thanks to God always for you all, believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from 8 3 making mention of you in our prayers; Re- you sounded forth the word of the Lord, not

membering without ceasing your work of faith only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every and labour of love, and patience of hope in place your faith toward God is spread abroad ;

our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and so that we need not to speak any thing 4 Father; Knowing, brethren, beloved of God, | concerning it. For they themselves declare 9

2

CHAP, I. 1. Paul and Silvanus, 8c. That Silvanus was a Jew is evident from Acts xv. 22, where he is called by his Hebrew name Silas; and that he was a Roman citizen also, appears from Acts xvi. 37.; and it is probable that Silvanus was his Roman name. He was the fellow-traveller and labourer with Paul in the gospel. See Acts xvii. 4-15.; xviii. 5.; Xxvii. 32–40, and 2 Cor. i. 19, and 2 Thess. i. 1, and i Pet. v. 12. Silvanus and Timothy had been left at Berea, when Paul went to Atheus; but after some time they joined him there, whence he sent the letter to Thessalonica, to establish the church there, while he and Silvanus went to Corinth. He abode there two full years; and here Timotby returned to him and gave him a good account of the Thessalonian converts; and he wrote to them, joining with himself these two excellent men whom they so well knew.- -In God the, &c. The church which professes to believe in, and be subject to, God the Father, &c.

2-44. Work of faith, &c. The fruit of your faith, and the labour which your christian love induces you to sustain, to do good in any manner to your brethren; and the patience you exercise under your persecutions, through the hope of the gospel. Your election. Many confine this to God's election of

the Gentiles to be his people, which indeed is a truib, but I conceive not the whole trath. That God hath chosen men to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, and even these Thessalonians, Paul asserts 2 Thess. ii. 13.; and the apostle was assured of their election of God, frodi the fact that they were called, and did believe in Christ and serve and obey God. He speaks of them all in the judgment of charity; not that every indi. vidual might be what he professed.

57. But in power. It was attested by miracles, and it made deep ard lasting impressions on your hearts, Acts x. 38.; xvi. 14.- In the Holy, $e. Whose various gifts were conferred upon some of you, such as speaking in other languages, prophecy, &c.- Confirmation. And it produced a full and entire conviction in your minds of its truth, importance, and divinity. 2 Tim. iv. 17. Heb. vi. 11. In much affliction. Attended with much opposition and persecution from your unbelieving fellow.citizens; but you were sup. ported by the joy you had through the gifts and gracious influence of the Spirit.

8–10. Sounded forth, &c. Your ready recej on of it, and its influence on your conduct, forsaking the idols you had been accustomed to worship, and

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Idols forsaken.
I THESSALONIANS II.

Paul's holy conduct. of us what kind of admission we had among our hearts. For we did not at any time use 5

you, and how ye turned to God from idols, flattering words, as ye know, nor'a pretence jo to serve the living and true God; And to for covetousness; (God' is witness :)

Nor 6 look for his Son from heaven, whom he from men sought we glory, either from you, raised from the dead, even Jesus, who de- or from others; though we might have used livereth us from the wrath to come.

authority, as 'apostles of Christ; But we 7

were gentle among you. Even as a nursing CHAPTER II.

mother who' cherisheth her children; So we 8 A. D. 63. In what manner the yospel was brought to them, and how they being affectionately desirous of you, were had received it; a reason why he was so desirous to see them.

willing to bestow on you, not the gospel of 1 For yourselves, brethren, know that our God only, but our own lives also, because 2 admission among you was not in vain; But ye had become dear unto us. For ye - re- 9

even after that we had suffered before, and member, brethren, our labour and toil; how were shamefully treated, as ye know, at Pbi- | working night and day, that we might not lippi, we were bold through our God to be burdensome to any of you, we preached

speak to you the gospel of God amidst a to you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, 10 3 great conflict. For our exhortation was not and God also, how holily, and justly, and from error, nor from

uncleanness, nor

in unblameably, we behaved ourselves among 4 guile: But as we were approved of God you that believe : As ye know how we li

to be entrusted with the gospel, we so speak exhorted, and comforted, and charged every not as pleasing men, but God, who trieth one of you, as a father doth his children,

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER 1. 1. We see here the saving 2. We learn in what manner we may be assured of our interest influence of the gospel, and the nature of genuine conversion. In our in the love and special favour of God. It is when the gospel has sinful state we are devoted to the service of some improper object, some come to us, “not only in word, but in power; even with the Holy idol or other ; but when the gospel enlightens our minds, and reaches Spirit,” who by his work in our souls, destroys the strong-holds of sin, our hearts, we forsake such things, and devote ourselves to the service breaks our fetters, and imparts to us spiritual liberty. Then will it be of the living and true God. Being ignorant of the way of pardon and

; acceptance, we trust to our works as the ground of hope; but when

en shall we become imitators of Christ, both in his holy conduct and in we form just notions of the glories and perfections of God, his holiness, his sufferings. When ministers have such an admission among a peopurity, and justice, we see the propriety and feel the necessity, of the ple, and effects so important are produced, then is the word of the mediation of Christ. As delivering us from the wrath to come, by his Lord sounded forth in all directions, not by the tongues of men only, atonement, he becomes the object of our confidence, and the ground of but by their actions. And how honourable is it when med become exour hope. Hence the genuine convert lives by faith in hinı, and is amples to others by their works of faith, labours of love, and patience looking for the coming of Jesus from heaven, to raise the dead, judge of hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ ! May we enjoy this honour, and the world, and for ever establish his own disciples in the glorious, then grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus, will heavenly kingdom prepared for them.

abound towards us.

becoming the servants of the living and true God, believing on his Son as your glory or honour, either from you or others; though we had a right to mainSaviour, and professing his name, have been sounded forth to very distant re- tenance as apostles of Christ. I Cor. ix. 4.-Even as a, &c. For this puncgions, but more especially in Macedonia and Achaia.

tuation, see Griesbach, Dr. Chandler, &c. As an affectionate mother cherishes CHAP. JI. 1, 2. Was nôt in vain. Without influence ; but on the con. her child, and imparts to it the breast, so we being affectionately desirous of trary had the happiest effects.--Shamefully treated, &c. See Acts, xvi. 23. you, were willing, &c.

-We rere bold. Dr. Chandler remarks that the word signifies to speak $_12. How working, 8c. This leads us to think that Paul and Silas openly and publicly before others, to speak with full persuasion of the truth abode at least some few weeks at Thessalonica, as otherwise they would have of what is said, and that here it includes all these senses. Acts xvii. 10. had no need to labour for their own support. -Ye are witnesses. This ap

3, 4. Not from error, &c. We were pot deceived in what we preached peal to them as to their conduct among them, and the affectionate manner in to you, nor did we do it from impure motives, por in any guile; but as we which they had exhorted and taught them shows that the apostles lived acwere approved, &c.

cording to the gospel, as well as preached it.--Kingdom and glory. Some 5–8. As ye know, &c. No arts to gain your favour, as ye well know; consider this as a hendiadis for “glorious kingdom;" but as it may refer to oor did we preach under the guise of sincerity, while we were really coveting the gospel state here, and to the glory of heaven, 1 retain the common other men's goods; and of this God is witness. Nor from men sought we version. 3 a 2

371

A minister's joy.

Unbelieving Jews.

I THESSALONIANS III. 12 That ye should walk worthy of God, who wrath is overtaking them to utter destruction

, called you to his kingdom and glory: Now we, brethren, being taken from you 17 13 For this cause we thank God also without for a short time in presence, not in heart

, ceasing, that, when ye received the word of have the more abundantly endeavoured with God which ye 'heard from us, ye embraced great desire to see your face. Wherefore 18 it, not as the word of men, but (as it is in we would have come to you, even i Paul,

truth,) the word of God, which effectually once and again; but Satan bath hindered 14 worketh also in you that believe.

For ye, us. For what is our hope, or joy, or will be 19 brethren, became imitators of the churches of our crown of glorying? Will not even ye God in 'Judea, that are in Christ Jesus: for in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at ye 'also have suffered like things from your his coming ? For ye are indeed our glory 20

own countrymen, even as they have from, and our joy. 15 the Jews; Who both killed the Lord Jesus,

CHAPTER III. and the prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are against A. D. 63. Paul testifies his love to them by sending Timothy to exhort and

comfort them, and by praying for them, and desiring to see them. 16 all'men; Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved; thus always

WHEREFORE when we could no longer 1 filling up the measure of their sins, while bear, we thought it good to be left at Athens

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REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER 11. 1. What a lovely example that waving bis authority as an apostle of Christ, he exercised the does the apostle exhibit of ministerial zeal, courage, sincerity, and meekness and gentleness of Christ towards them. Not even the fond faithfulness! No dangers, no sufferings, appalled him ; but when mother could cherish with more tenderness and care the child that sucks opportunity served he was ready to seize it, and still to plead the cause at her breast, than he did the spiritual children of his ministry. While of his dear Lord. He had suffered much at Philippi, but was no sooner

abounding in labours, and living holily and justly, it is not surprising released and enjoyed his liberty, ihan he went to Thessalonica, and that he should be successful. Let all ministers thus preach with love, contended with all the enemies of the gospel, with the same boldness thus live, and they will not labour in vain. and perseverance." And while labouring here, what benevolence and 3. The reality of a divine change among the Thessalonians was simplicity did he display! With such courage, benevolence, and proved by their constancy amidst their sufferings and persecutions

. regard to truth, should every minister preach the gospel; and his exhor- They were deeply impressed with the word which they heard, and tation and address should not be from any erroneous principles or im- embraced it by a cordial faith as the word of God ; and thus being moral tendency; nor should he practise the least guile in the statement mixed with faith it wrought effectually in them, producing repentance, of divine truth. Being entrusted with the gospel, he should so speak, | and a holy life. They became the followers of Christ, and associated not as pleasing men, but God, who trieth the heart, and to whom an as a church in conformity with believers in Judea. There the wicked account must be rendered.

Jew's had killed the Lord Jesus, as they had the prophets, and were 2. We see what, under God, contributed to Paul's success, and now persecuting the apostles and disciples; and in the same manner what may

contribute to the success of other labourers in the vineyard. were the Thessalonian believers treated by their unconverted heathen He never used flattering words, but by a plain statement of the gospel, brethren ; but as the Jews were filling up the measure of their sias, commended himself to every man's conscience; and he so conducted so were heathen persecutors. Let then believers be firm and courageous himself as to be above all suspicion of any mercenary design, or of being | amidst their trials; for in the end they will triumph. What will be inluenced by the love of applause. Feeling the most tender concern the joy now, or the crown hereafter, to ministers but their converts! for the wellare of souls, love breathed in his words and actions ; so O that each may have abundant joy and glory, at the coming of Christ!

13. Ye embraced it, fc. Not as a doctrine contrived by men, or resting they were filling up the measure of their sins, and the wrath of God was on the opinion of men, but as it is in truth, the word and doctrine revealed by about to overtake them as a nation in a most awful manner. See Matt. and sanctioned of God, &c.

xxiv. 1, &c. 14–16. Churches of God, &c. Hence we learn that in spite of all the 17–20. Satan hath, $c. By his instruments, wicked men. That :s power of the Jewish priesthood, and of their opposition to Christ and the gos- our hope, &c. What is the source of my hope, what produces present jos, pel, numerous christian societies existed in Judea. -Suffered like, &c. what will be at last my crown of glorying? Will not, &c. Paul alludes to Suffered in their reputation, persons, goods.--Killed the Lord Jesus, &c. the famous Grecian games, the victors at which were crowned and celebrated. Paul does not hesitate to charge his countrymen with this murder, and with Paul considers that his converts would be his crown in the day of Christ's others, as well as continuing to persecute him and other christians.-For- appearing. bidding us, &c. Hindering as much as possible the salvation of Gentiles, and CHAP. III. 15. To be left at Athens, &c. See note, Ch. i. 1.on this account they may be said to be against all men; but by this conduct Fellorc-worker, fc. One called and appointed of God to labour in the ministry

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