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- 1 Thessalonians
by Robert Hawker
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS
THESSALONICA, the chief city of Macedonia, is said to have derived its name from Philip, king of Macedon, in consequence of a victory which he obtained in Thessalia. From such corrupt and sinful causes, do sometimes, and not infrequently, spring, the memorable records of men. It is indeed in correspondence with our fallen nature. Sin hath introduced all the baleful effects, which that nature, unregenerated by grace, is subject to in the multiform fruits of it, from the womb to the grave. And names of places, and monuments, to perpetuate what is called the splendid victories of heroes, both ancient and modern, perpetuate more generally their sin, and shame.
The city of Thessalonica, at the time when the Apostle wrote this blessed Epistle, was a large, flourishing, and much peopled place. Now, for many centuries past, it hath been overrun with the impostures of the false prophet; and is in the possession of the Turks. Here once, the Lord had a portion of his Church. But, as he himself said of other places, so here, he hath removed the Candlestick, Revelation 2:5 . We have great cause to bless God for our mercies, in this review of the divine judgments. While we contemplate our high privileges as a nation, in this particular: we may hear, and ought to feel, the strong expostulating words of the Apostle: Are we better than they? And, with the immediate answer: No, in no wise! All are under sin. Romans 3:9 .
The date of this Epistle is generally marked as early as the year 52; and as such, must have been the first, in point of time, of all Paul's writings.
The distinguishing feature which marks every Chapter, like all the Apostle's Epistles, and preachings, is Christ. And, oh! how sweetly, and blessedly, hath he held him forth to the Church, through the whole of it. Reader! what a mercy was it to you, to me, to the whole Church of the Lord, that the Holy Ghost called Paul by a vision to visit Macedonia? Acts 16:9 to the end, and Acts 17:0 . And, what a mercy was it, for all the Church of God, that the Holy Ghost prompted the Apostle to write this Epistle, and endited the blessed contents of it? And what a mercy, to preserve the precious records safe to this present hour, and cause them to be handed down to us? And, (shall I add,) what a mercy of mercies, in all these things, if the Lord hath given us the enlightened understanding, in the apprehension of them; so that, as Paul said to this very church, in the opening of this Epistle, our election of God is known, because the Gospel is come unto us, not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance! 1 Thessalonians 1:4-52.1.5 . Oh! Lord the Spirit! direct, and guide the heart and pen, in this feeble work, of the Poor Man's Commentary, and cause it to minister to the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.
the First Week of Advent