[WRITTEN FROM CORINTH, A. D. 52.]
I.--PAUL, and Sylvanus, and Timothy, to the congregation of the Thessalonians, which is in God the Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Favor to you, and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
2.--We give thanks to God at all times for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; incessantly remembering your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God, even our Father; knowing, brethren, beloved of God, your election: for our gospel came not to you in word only, but also with power, and with the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance: as you know what sort of men we were among you. And you became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having embraced the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit. So that you are become patterns to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. Besides, from you the word of the Lord has resounded, not only in Macedonia and Achaia; but also in every place your faith in God is spread abroad, so that we have no need to speak any thing. For they themselves publish concerning us, what sort of entrance we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heven, whom he has raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath which is to come.
II.--For yourselves know, brethren, our entrance among you, that it was not in vain. For although we had before suffered, and were shamefully handled, as you know, at Philippi, we were bold through our God to speak to you the gospel of God, amidst a great combat. Besides, our exhortation ws not from error, nor from impurity, nor with guile. But as we were approved of God, to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God, who tries our hearts. For neither did we, at any time, use flattering words, or a pretext for covetousness; God is witness. Neither sought we honor from men; neither from you, nor from others. We might have acted with authority, as Apostles of Christ; but we were gentle among you, as a nurse cherishes her children:--so, having a strong affection for you, we were well pleased to have imparted to you, not only the gospel of God, but our own souls also; because you were become dear to us. For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; that laboring night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witneses, and God also, in what a holy, and just, and blameless manner, we acted towards you that believe. As also, you know, how we addressed every one of you, as a ftfather his own children, exhorting and comforting you; and testifying that you should walk worthy of God, who has called you to his kingdom of glory. On this account also we give thanks to God, without ceasing, that when you received from us this mesage of God, you embraced not the word of men; but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which indeed works effectually in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the congregations of God, which are in Judea in Christ Jesus; because you also have suffered like things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and have greatly persecuted us, and do not plase God, and are contrary to all men: hindering us to speak to the Gentiles, that they may be saved; so that they fill up their iniquities always: but the wrath of God is coming on them at length. Now we, brethren, being separated from you for a short time, in presence, not in heart, the more abundantly endevored, with great desire, to see your face. Tehrefore we would have come to you (even I, Paul,) once and again, but the adversary hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of glorying? Are not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, at his coming?--You, indeed, are our glory and our joy.
III.--Wherefore, no longer concealing our anxiety, we were well pleased to be left at Athens alone, and sent Timothy, our brother, and a minister of God, and our fellow-laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to exhort you concerning your faith: that no one should be moved by these afflictions; for yourselves know that we are appointed to them. For even when we were with you, we foretold you that we were to be afflicted; which also happened, as you know. For this reason also, no longer concealing my anxiety, I sent to know your faith; lest by some means the tempter may have tempted you, and our labor have become in vain. But now, when Timothy came to us from you, and gave us the good news of your faith and love, and that you have good remembrance of us at all times, ardently desiring to see us, ven as we also to see you; by this, brethren, we were comforted concerning you in all our affliction and necessity, even by your faith. For now we live, when you stand firm in the Lord. But what thanksgiving can we return to God concerning you, for all the joy with which we rejoice through you in the presence of our God? Night and day most earnestly requesting to see your face, and to supply the deficiencies of your faith. Now may God himself, even our Father, and our Lord Jesus Chrsit, make straight our way to you. And may the Lord fill you, and make you overflow with love to one another, and to all, even as we also to you; that he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, with all his saints.
IV.--As to what remains then, brethren, we beseech and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us, how you ought to walk, and please God, you would more abound in it. For you know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus; for this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from whoredom--that every one of you should know how to possess his own body in sanctification and honor;--not in the passion of lust, even as the Gentiles who know not God.--That no man should go beyond bounds, or defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger of all such; as we also formerly told, and fully testified to you: for God has not called us to impurity, but to holiness. Therefore, indeed, he who despises, despises not man, but God, who certainly has given to us his Holy Spirit.
9.--But, concerning brotherly love, you have no need that I write to you, for you yourselves are divinely taught to love one another. And, indeed, you do it towards all the brethren who are in all Macedonia: but we exhort you, brethren, still to abound, and earnestly to study to be quiet; and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you: that you may walk decently towards them who are without, and may have need of nothing.
13.--Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them who sleep; that you may not be grieved, even as the others, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died,and rose again; so also, them who sleep, will God through Jesus bring with him.--Besides this we affirm to you, by the word of the Lord, that we the living, who remain at the coming of the Lord, shall not anticipate them who are asleep: for the Lord himself will descend from heven, with a shout, with the voice of the Arch Angel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first; afterwards, we the living who remain, shallk at the same time with them, be instantly taken up in clouds to join the Lord in the air: and so we shall be fore ever with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.
V.--However, concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write to you: for yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.--When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should come on you like athief. You are all sons of light, and sons of day: we are not sons of night, nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, even as others; but let us watch and be sober. For they who sleep, sleep in the night; and they who get drink, get drunk in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ, wh died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we may live together with him. Wherefore comfort one another, and edify each other, even as also you do.
12.--Now we beseech you, brethren, to acknowledge them who labor among you, and who preside over you in the Lord, and instruct you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their works' sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Moreover, we exhort you, brethren, admonish th edisorderly, comfort the faint-hearted, support the weak, be of a long-suffering disposition towards all. Rejoice always.--Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God, by Christ Jesus, concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.--Despise not prophesying.--Prove all things.--Hold fast that which is good.--Abstain from all appearances of evil.
23.--And may the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your whole person, the spirit, and the soul, and the body, be preserved unblamable, till the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he who has called you; who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us.--Salute all the brethren with a holy kiss. I solemnly charge you by the Lord, that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. The favor of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
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