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Now whilst Silas and Timothy were with St. Paul at Corinth, the Apostle writ his first Epistle to the Thessalonians; as appears from the first verse of it. And he probably writ it, as soon as ever Silas and Timothy came thither to him; because he expresly calls the whole space between his leaving Thessalonica, and his writing that Epistle, a short time, I Thes. 2.17
From what has been said it appears very plainly, that the stay of St. Paul, Silas and Timothy, at Thefsalonica, when the Inhabitants of that place were first converted; and the stay of Timothy alone at the same place, when he was sent thither by St. Paul from Athens; and indeed the whole space between the first conversion of theThessalonians,and St. Paul's writing his first Epistle to them, were all so very short, that a thorough experience of the New Converts lives cou'd not be had at the time of his wri. ting his Epistle. For that reason 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, 1 Thefl. 4. 1, 2. yet it did not in so small a compass of time plainly appear, that they were in all respeas fo effe&tually wrought upon already by the Do&rine they had heard, that they had heartily embraced every part of Christianity, and were a&ually obedient to it. For their being taught of God implies, as I have already shewn, their being effectually wrought upon by God's teaching. And consequently, they could not be said to be tanght af God their wbele duty; unless they were in all points conformed to the Gospel rules. But this did not as yet so evidently appear, as that the Apostle should think it advisable to give them so great and general a Commendation, as his Declaration that they
were taught of God their whole duty wou'd cer• tainly have been. Nay, he rather hints the contra
ry; for he prayed night and day exceedingly, to fee their face, that he might perfećt that which was lacks ing in their faith, i Thefl.3. 10. And
yet, that a great many of them were cona 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 most blessed and promising Omen of all the rest, viz. Charity or Brotherly Love, was extremely remarkable in them; for 'they expressed it towards all the brethren in all Macedonia, i Theff. Of these things Timothy had brought glad Tidings to St. Paul, 1 Theff. 3.6. so that the Apostle politively 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 substantial Reason for his Judgment concerning them, saying, For (and not and indeed, as our Translators have rendred wj q5) it towards all the brethren, &c. v. 10. that is, your most exemplary practice of Brotherly Love, is an unquestionable evidence of your being taught of God as to this particular.
So that St. Paul's saying they were taught of God to love one another, and his proving the truth of what he said 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 other duty, as they were for Brotherly Love, St. Panl might very
well have said, had he thought it conyenient, that they were tanght of God that duty
also. But he passes over all other branches of Christianity, and fixes upon this one, which was fingularly eminent in them ; so eminent, that they needed not that he should write unto them concerning it, v. 9. And by this so ample a Commendation of their practice he encourages them, 1. to increase more and more, v. 10. even in that which they did already practise in great perfection : 2. to be equally diligent in all other parts of Holiness, that they might deserve the like Praises in all respects whatsoever.
1 Cor. 2. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. explained. 14. Sy they, the Apostle tells us, that God
hath revealed (the things of God) unto us by his Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things; yea, the deep things of God. For what Man knoweth the things of a Man, Save the Spirit of Man which is in him ? Even so 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 ihings also we Speak, not in the Words which Mans Wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing Spiritual things with Spiritual. But the natural Man receiveth not the ihings of the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is Spiritual, judgeth, all things ; yet be himself is judged of He Man, 1 Cor. 2. 10, ÉCa From
these Words our Adversaries endevor to prove, that God has resolved, and so disposed Matters, that a saving Christian Faith shall be always built upon immediate Revelation. But before I consider those particular Expressions upon which their Arguments are built, I think it necessary to shew the true meaning of the whole passage.
St. Paul had been saying, that he preached the Gospel among the Corinthians, not with excellency of words, v. 1. or with enticing words of man's wife dom, v. 4, that is, not with such Rhetorical Hourishes, and Arguments of mere natural Reason, as the Philosophers used, to persuade their Auditors into the belief of what they taught; but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of Power, v.4. that is, he proved by the Spirits allifting him to work Miracles among them, that he was a Messenger sent from God, to declare to the World God's
purposes concerning the Salvation of Mankind by Christ Jesus. 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 hidden wisdom, 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 Fews) known it, they would not have Crucified the Lord of Glory, v. 7, 8. But, as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, neither have enter'dinto 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 won. derful Truths.
V. 10. But, tho'they were never discovered or known by Man, yet God hath revealed them unto us
(who preach the Gospel to you) by his Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God, and particularly those mysterious Truths which we preach.
v. 11. For what Man knoweth the things of a Man, save the Spirit of Man which is in him ? Even so the things of God knoweth'no Man, but the Spirit of God. That is, as none but the Person himself can know the secret purposes of any Man's mind, unless he is pleased to discover them : so none but the Spirit of God, who is God himself, can know the fecret purposes of God's mind, unless God is pleafed to discover '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 such pompous strains of Human Eloquence, as Men admire, and endevor by much Art and Labor to express themselves in but in words which the Holy Ghost teacheth, that is, in such simplicity and plainness of Speech, as the Holy Ghost directs us to use ; comparing spiritual things with spiritual, or rather, either 1. interpreting fpiritual things by spiritual ; that is, explaining the ancient spiritual things, or Prophecies delivered by the Spirit in the old Testament, by those fpiritual things which we now make known to the World: or, 2. interpreting spiritual Things to spiritual Persons, that is, such Persons as do receive and admit of the Authority of Revelation. For