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Now whilft Silas and Timothy were with St. Paul at Corinth, the Apostle writ his firft Epistle to the Theffalonians; as appears from the firft verfe of it. And he probably writ it, as foon as ever Silas and Timothy came thither to him; because he exprefly calls the whole space between his leaving Theffalonica, and his writing that Epiftle, a short time, 1 Thef.
From what has been faid it appears very plainly, that the stay of St. Paul, Silas and Timothy, at Thef falonica, when the Inhabitants of that place were first converted; and the ftay of Timothy alone at the fame place, when he was fent thither by St. Paul from Athens; and indeed the whole fpace between the first Converfion of the Theffalonians,and St. Paul's writing his firft Epiftle to them, were all so very fhort, that a thorough experience of the New Converts lives cou'd not be had at the time of his writing his Epiftle. For that reafon the Apostle does not as yet pronounce of them in general terms, that they were taught of God their whole duty. For tho' their whole duty had been preached to them,
Theff. 4.1, 2. yet it did not in fo fmall a compafs of time plainly appear, that they were in all refpects fo effectually wrought upon already by the Doctrine they had heard, that they had heartily embraced every part of Chriftianity, and were aAtually obedient to it. For their being taught of God implies, as I have already fhewn, their being effectually wrought upon by God's teaching. And confequently, they could not be faid to be taught af God their whole duty; unless they were in all points conformed to the Gofpel rules. But this did not as yet fo evidently appear, as that the Apostle should think it advisable to give them fo great and general a Commendation, as his Declaration that they
were taught of God their whole duty wou'd certainly have been. Nay, he rather hints the contrary; for he prayed night and day exceedingly, to fee their face, that he might perfect that which was lacke ing in their faith, 1 Theff.3.10.
And yet, that a great many of them were con verted, was notorious. For their faith to Godward was spread abroad in every place, i Theff. 1. 8. And one main branch of Religion, and which was a moft bleffed and promifing Omen of all the reft, viz. Charity or Brotherly Love, was extremely remarkable in them; for they expreffed it towards all the brethren in all Macedonia, 1 Theff. 4. 10. Of these things Timothy had brought glad Tidings to St. Paul, 1 Theff. 3. 6. fo that the Apostle pofitively declares, that they were taught of God to love one another; that is, as for that particular branch of Christian Religion, they were without all doubt already become great Proficients in it. And he proceeds to give a fubftantial Reason for his Judgment concerning them, faying, For (and not and indeed, as our Tranflators have rendred) ye do it towards all the brethren, &c. v. 10. that is, your moft exemplary practice of Brotherly Love, is an unquestionable evidence of your being taught of God as to this particular.
So that St. Paul's faying they were taught of God to love one another, and his proving the truth of what he faid by their notorious practice, can imply no more than this, viz. that they were undoubtedly obedient to the precept of Brotherly Love, which God had given them by St. Paul. And had they been as remarkable for any othér duty, as they were for Brotherly Love, St. Paul might very well have faid, had he thought it conyenient, that they were taught of God that duty alfo.
alfo. But he paffes over all other branches of Christianity, and fixes upon this one, which was fingularly eminent in them; fo eminent, that they needed not that he fhould write unto them concerning it, v. 9. And by this fo ample a Commendation of their practice he encourages them, 1. to increase more and more, v. 10. even in that which they did already practife in great perfection : 2. to be equally diligent in all other parts of Holiness, that they might deferve the like Praises in all refpects whatsoever.
1 Cor. 2. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. explained.
14. Say they, the Apoftle tells us, that God Ay bath revealed (the things of God) unto us by his Spirit. For the Spirit fearcheth all things; yea, the deep things of God. For what Man knoweth the things of a Man, fave the Spirit of Man which is in him? Even fo the things of God knoweth no Man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the Spirit of the World, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God: Which things also we Speak, not in the Words which Mans Wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghoft teacheth; comparing Spiritual things with Spiritual. But the natural Man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually difcerned. But he that is Spiritual, judgeth all things; yet he himself is judged of no Man, 1 Cor. 2. 10, c. From
thefe Words our Adverfaries endevor to prove, that God has refolved, and fo difpofed Matters, that a saving Chriftian Faith shall be always built upon immediate Revelation. But before I confider those particular Expreffions upon which their Arguments are built, I think it neceffary to fhew the true meaning of the whole paffage.
St. Paul had been faying, that he preached the Gofpel among the Corinthians, not with excellency of words, v. 1. or with enticing words of man's wifdom, v. 4, that is, not with fuch Rhetorical flourifhes, and Arguments of mere natural Reason, as the Philofophers ufed, to perfuade their Auditors into the belief of what they taught; but in demonftration of the Spirit, and of Power, v.4. that is, he proved by the Spirits affifting him to work Miracles among them, that he was a Messenger sent from God, to declare to the World God's purpofes concerning the Salvation of Mankind by Chrift Jefus. Which purposes of God could not be known by the light of mere natural reason, without the Revelation of the Spirit of God; they being the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the bidden wifdom, which God ordained before the World unto our glory, which none (even) of the Princes of this World (that is, none of the Roman Governors or Learned Jews) knew, for had they (viz. the Roman Governors or Learned Jews) known it, they would not have Crucified the Lord of Glory, v. 7, 8. But, as it is written, Eye hath not feen, nor Ear heard, neither have enter'd into the heart of Man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, v. 9. that is, none did ever discover or know these wonderful Truths.
v. 10. But, tho' they were never difcovered or known by Man, yet God hath revealed them unto us (who
(who preach the Gospel to you) by his Spirit. For the Spirit fearcheth all things; yea, the deep things of God, and particularly thofe mysterious Truths which we preach.
v. 11. For what Man knoweth the things of a Man, fave the Spirit of Man which is in him? Even fo the things of God knoweth no Man, but the Spirit of God. That is, as none but the Perfon himself can know the fecret purposes of any Man's mind, unless he is pleased to difcover them: fo none but the Spirit of God, who is God himself, can know the fecret purposes of God's mind, unless God is pleafed to difcover 'em.
v. 12. Now God hath been pleased to discover to us, who preach the Gospel among you, his fecret purposes concerning the Salvation of Mankind by Christ Jesus; for we have received, not the Spirit of the World, but the Spirit which is of God; that by his Revelation of them, we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
v. 13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which Man's wisdom teacheth, that is, not in fuch pompous ftrains of Human Eloquence, as Men admire, and endevor by much Art and Labor to exprefs themselves in but in words which the Holy Ghoft teacheth, that is, in fuch fimplicity and plainnefs of Speech, as the Holy Ghoft directs us to ufe; comparing Spiritual things with fpiritual, or rather, either 1. interpreting fpiritual things by fpiritual; that is, explaining the ancient fpiritual things, or Prophecies delivered by the Spirit in the old Teftament, by thofe fpiritual things which we now make known to the World: or, 2. interpreting fpiritual Things to fpiritual Perfons, that is, fuch Perfons as do receive and admit of the Authority of Revelation. For συγκρίνο