1 Thessalonians 1:7
As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
Manifestation of InterestR. Finlayson 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
A Gospel of PowerProf. James Legge.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
Degrees of Power Attending the GospelC. H. Spurgeon.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
How the Gospel Came to the ThessaloniansW. Jay.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
Luther's AssuranceC. H. Spurgeon.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
Much AssuranceProf. Jowett.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
Power of the GospelD. Chamberlain.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
Power Through the SpiritC. White.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Coming of the Gospel and its EffectsJ. Stratten.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Gospel in PowerRobert Newton, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Gospel in WordC. H. Spurgeon.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Gospel in WordG. Barlow.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Gospel the Only Power unto Salvation1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Might of the GospelR. W. Hamilton, LL. D.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Penetrating Power of the GospelC. H. Spurgeon.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Power and Assurance of the GospelG. Douglass, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Power of a Felt GospelT. Guthrie, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Power, Spirit, and Assurance of the GospelT. B. Baker.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Powerful GospelW. F. Adeney, M. A.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Practical Application of the GospelH. Allen, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Quiet Power of the GospelW. Antliff, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Subduing Power of the GospelJ. Macgowan of Amoy.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
Word and PowerJ. Jenkins.1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
Affliction and JoyJ. Hutchison, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
Christ the Only Sufficient Exemplar1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
Christ's Example the Universal RuleG. Macdonald, LL. D.1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
Followers of the Apostles and of the LordD. Mayo.1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
Not Disciples Merely, But ImitatorsCanon Mason.1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
Stimulating Example1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
The Divinity of a True ManD. Thomas, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
The Indispensableness of Following ChristW. Gladden, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
The Motive for Following ChristPercy.1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
The Noble Army of MartyrsBaldwin Brown, B. A.1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
The Possibility of Following ChristCanon Liddon.1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
The Power of ExampleW. Jay.1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
The Practical Result of a True Reception of the GospelG. Barlow.1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
The Profound Impression Made by the Conversion of the ThessaloniansT. Croskery 1 Thessalonians 1:7, 8
A Body of DivinityC. H. Spurgeon.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
A Summary of ExperienceC. H. Spurgeon.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Absurdity of Idol Worship1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
AchaiaSir G. Grove, LL. D.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
And to Wait for His Son from Heaven1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Believers Kept Waiting Till Death that Men May Witness Their PietyH. W. Beecher.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Christian Example and CharacterJ. Hutchison, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Christian Influence DiffusiveBp. Jewell.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Different Types of BelieversProf. Jowett.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Example: ConvertingRowland Hill., F. Morse, M. A., S. S. Times.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Example: its Influence InstructiveJ. Scott., C. H. Fowler.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Example: its Nature and ValueI. Barrow, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Example: its Superiority to Mere PreceptI. Barrow, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Example: Self-PropagatingH. Melvill, B. D.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Example: StimulatingPhillips Brooks, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Folly of Idolatry1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
God's TrumpetA. Maclaren, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Idolatry Swept AwayJackson Wray.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Joyfully Awaiting ChristT. B. Baker.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
MacedoniaDean Howson.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Pulpit Reflectors1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Repudiating Idols1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Bible's Exposure of IdolatryEarl of Chichester.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Character of Ministers Involved in the Conduct of ProfessorsC. H. Spurgeon.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Coming of the RedeemerDr. Belfrage.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Fame of Christian Character Better than Worldly RenowBp. Jewell.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Great DelivererT. Kelly.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Happy Results of the Conversion of the ThessaloniansB.C. Caffin 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Living and True GodCanon Liddon.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Means of Securing FameT. Chalmers, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Notion Entertained of the Christian ReligionT. Sherlock, D. D.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Second Advent of ChristE. Bayley, M. A.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Sounding Forth of the WordBp. Alexander.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Word of the Lord Sounding ForthJames Owen.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Wrath -- Principle1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Wrath to ComeR. S. Barrett.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Wrath to ComeC. Bradley, M. A.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
True FameCharles Sumner.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Vanity of IdolsFamily Treasury1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
WaitingH. W. Beecher.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Waiting for the Second Coming of ChristE. P. Hood.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Witnessing for Christ to the Whole WorldJohn Harris.1 Thessalonians 1:7-10

Having become imitators of the apostles and of our Lord, they soon became examples for the imitation of other Churches. Their conversion lifted them up into a sudden and distinct visibility in two directions.

I. THE GOSPEL WAS TITUS CARRIED THROUGH NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN GREECE LIKE THE RINGING SOUND OF A TRUMPET. "For from you hath sounded out the Word of the Lord in Macedonia and Achaia." These two divisions of Greece, included in the Roman empire, received the report of the gospel, which went forth like a joyful sound, proclaiming with no uncertainty liberty to the captives.

1. A work of grace in one place quickly leads to a work of grace in other places. The tale of wonder is repeated with solemn surprise, gratitude, and expectation.

2. Churches already in existence were stirred and stimulated by the visible work of grace at Thessalonica.

II. THE REPORT OF THEIR FAITH RECEIVED A WIDE PUBLICITY EVERYWHERE, EVEN OUTSIDE THE LIMITS OF GREECE. This was not wonderful, for the city was, as Cicero says, in the very bosom of the Roman empire, a center of business and influence which touched its furthest limits. Their faith must have had the solid stamp of reality to produce such a widespread sensation. It must have been practical and self-mantles-tattoo, for they did not hide it in their own breasts, but declared it by words and deeds. There was, therefore, no necessity for the apostle speaking about it - "so that we need not to speak anything." - T.C.

So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia

1. Christians are first followers, then leaders; first imitators and then imitated (cf. ver. 6). They first look to Him who is the Light of the world; they then shine with reflected lustre, becoming lights of the world themselves. This is implied in the original, which means the impress of a seal. Believers are stamped with Christ's likeness, and thus become a die for others.(1) This is the law of the communication of the truth. Each Christian becomes a living Epistle, a new Bible. Example brings home more powerfully than precept the lessons of faith (Acts 12:24).(2) In this the Thessalonians were most conspicuous. Other churches looked up to them as their model —

(a)A noble dignity.

(b)A sacred duty.

(c)A constant danger.

2. This example is explained and defined by ver. 8. By this we are to understand —(1) Not the report of their conversion, or the influence of their example merely; but(2) Their missionary zeal. The figure of the trumpet, spreading as echo-like it repeated itself, is found nowhere else in Scripture, except in the silver trumpets of the Jews. It may suggest to us the watchman's voice or horn, which from some high watchtower amid surrounding midnight darkness swells forth over town and village and plain, or the pealing forth, from some humble church crowning the brow of an Alpine hill, of the melody of bells, floating on the undulating air over valley and mountain and lake, summoning to prayer.

3. But it is possible to see here an allusion to a special missionary service. They had received a call to this (ver. 4); and because theirs was a centre of commanding influence. We must remember that these were Paul's first Epistles. Converts from heathenism needed such teaching. They needed also some historical record of our Lord's life and death and resurrection. It is not unlikely therefore that Luke wrote his Gospel for their use. That evangelist was Paul's companion in Macedonia, and Thessalonica was, from its position and commercial connections, peculiarly suitable for the work of circulating that Gospel. In this "labour of love" the Thessalonian Church became widely known and honoured. The praise which Paul gave to Luke (2 Corinthians 8:18) was theirs. As the Waldensian peasants wandered over the plains of Lombardy and Italy, carrying secretly many copies of the Word, and offering them along with their merchandise wherever "an open door presented itself," so possibly these early Christian traders carried copies of St. Luke's Gospel with them from Thessalonica, and thus from thence sounded out the Word of the Lord.


1. Faith. This was conspicuous and widespread. It had extended over a broader area than even their direct exertions. Paul was now in Corinth, where varied streams of travellers met, and so had ample opportunity for knowing it. Aquila and Priscilla had just come from Rome (Acts 18:2), and to be known there was to be known everywhere, and they having heard it would naturally tell the apostle of it; so that any special mention of it was unnecessary. This is true fame, found when unsought, the natural reward of self-denying labour and abiding faith. These Christians in simply doing their duty "left their name, a light — a landmark on the cliffs of fame."

2. Conversion from idols. The heart of every man serves idols. Everything away from God in which he seeks his satisfaction is a phantom, an image, not reality. "Keep yourselves from idols" is what all need.

3. Serving God and waiting for Christ. One clause distinguishes the Thessalonians from the heathen, the other from the Jews; but more, they represent the universal Christian life in its two most prominent aspects, ceaseless action and patient waiting. The hope of Christ's coming gives strength for and perseverance in service, and faithful service justifies and consecrates hope. Service without its hope would merge into dry and formal routine; hope without its service would pass into indolent, sentimental, or restless excitement.

(J. Hutchison, D. D.)

Mathematicians demonstrate their theorems by schemes and diagrams, which, in effect, are but sensible instances; orators back their enthymemes (or rational argumentations) with inductions (or singular examples); philosophers allege the example of Socrates, Zeno, etc., to authorize their doctrine; politics and civil prudence is more easily and sweetly drawn out of history than out of books. Artificers describe models, and set patterns before their disciples, with greater success than if they should deliver accurate rules and precepts; for who would not more readily learn to build by viewing carefully the parts and framework of a well-contrived structure, than by a studious inquiry into the rules of architecture? or to draw, by setting a good picture before him, than by merely speculating upon the laws of perspective? or to write fairly and expeditely by imitating one good copy, than by hearkening to a thousand oral prescriptions, the understanding of which, or faculty of applying them to practice, may prove more difficult and tedious than the whole practice itself as directed by a copy?

(I. Barrow, D. D.)

A system of precepts, though exquisitely compacted, is, in comparision, but a skeleton — a dry, meagre, lifeless bulk; exhibiting nothing of person, place, time, manner, degree, wherein chiefly the flesh and blood, the colour and graces, the life and soul of things consist, whereby they please, affect, and move us; but example imparts thereto a goodly corpulency, a life, a motion; renders it conspicuous and active, transforming its notional universality into the reality of singular subsistence.

(I. Barrow, D. D.)

There is no doubt but a good example doth far more effectually instruct than good precepts; because it not only expresses the same virtues that precepts enjoin, but with far more grace and emphasis. For whereas precepts and discourses of virtue are only the dead pictures and artificial landscapes and descriptions of it, a virtuous example is virtue itself, informed and animated, alive and in motion, exerting and exhibiting itself in all its charms and graces. And therefore as we know a man much better when we see him alive and in action than when we see him only in a picture; so we understand virtue better when we see it living and acting in a good example, than when we only behold it described and pictured in precepts and discourses.

(J. Scott.)The best teachers of humanity are the examples of great men.

(C. H. Fowler.)

No man or woman of the humblest sort can be strong, gentle, pure, and good, without the world being the better for it, without somebody being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness.

(Phillips Brooks, D. D.)

We can do more good by being good than in any other way.

(Rowland Hill.)A young infidel was one night in bed, contemplating the character of his mother. "I see," he said, within himself, "two unquestionable facts. First, my mother is greatly afflicted in circumstances, body and mind; and I see that she cheerfully bears up under all by the support she derives from constantly retiring to her closet and her Bible. Secondly, that she has a secret spring of comfort of which I know nothing; while I who give an unbounded loose to my appetites, and seek pleasure by every means, seldom or never find it. If, however, there is any such secret in religion, why may not I attain to it as well as my mother? I will immediately seek it of God." Thus the influence of Christianity, exhibited in its beauty by a living example before him, led Richard Cecil to know Christ Himself, and to glorify Him by a most successful and devoted life.

(F. Morse, M. A.)When native converts on the island of Madagascar used to present them selves for baptism, it was often asked of them, "What first led you to think of becoming Christians. Was it a particular sermon or address, or the reading of God's word?" The answer usually was, that the changed conduct of others who had become Christians was what first arrested their attention. "I knew this man to be a thief; that one was a drunkard; another was very cruel and unkind to his family. Now they are all changed. The thief is an honest man, the drunkard is sober and respectable, and the other is gentle and kind in his home. There must be something in a religion that can work such changes."

(S. S. Times.)

Example is like the press: a thing done is the thought printed, it may be repeated if it cannot be recalled; it has gone forth with a self-propagating power, and may run to the ends of the earth, and descend from generation to generation.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

is the first part of Europe which received the gospel directly from St. Paul, and an important scene of his subsequent labours. So closely is this region associated with apostolic journeys, sufferings, and epistles, that it has been truly called by Clarke, the traveller, a kind of Holy Land. Roughly speaking, it is the region bounded inland by the range of the Haemus or the Balkan northwards, and the chain of the Pindus westwards, beyond which the streams flow respectively to the Danube and the Adriatic. It is separated from Thessaly on the south by the Cambunian Hills, and on the east from Thrace by a less definite mountain boundary. Of the space thus enclosed, two of the most remarkable physical features are two great plains; one watered by the Axius, which comes to the sea at the Thermaic Gulf, not far from Thessalonica; the other, by the Strymon, which, after passing near Philippi, flows out below Amphipolis. Between the mouths of these rivers is a peninsula on which Mount Athos rises nearly into the region of perpetual snow, and across the neck of which Paul travelled more than once. This was the territory over which Philip and Alexander ruled, and which the Romans conquered from Perseus. At first the conquered country was divided by AEmilius Paulus into four districts. Macedonia Prima was on the east of the Strymon, and had Amphipolis for its capital. Macedonia Secunda stretched between the Strymon and the Axius, with Thessalonia for its metropolis. The third and fourth districts lay to the south and west. This division was only temporary. The whole of Macedonia along with Thessaly and a large tract along the Adriatic was made one province and centralized under the jurisdiction of a proconsul at Thessalonica. We have now reached the definition which corresponds to the usage of the term in the New Testament (Acts 16:9, 10, 12 and elsewhere, and in the Epistles). Nothing can exceed the interest and impressiveness of the occasion (Acts 16:9) when a new and religious meaning was given to the well-known man of Macedonia of Demosthenes, and when this part of Europe was designated as the first to be trodden by an apostle (Acts 16; Acts 17). The character of the churches then planted is set before us in a very favourable light. The candour of the Bereans is highly commended; the Thessalonians were objects of Paul's peculiar affection; and the Philippians, besides their general freedom from blame, were remarkable for their liberality and self-denial. It is worth noting, as a fact almost typical of the change produced by Christianity in the social life of Europe, that the female element is conspicuous in the records of its introduction into Macedonia (Acts 16:13, 14; Philippians 4:2, 3). It should be observed that in St. Paul's time, Macedonia was well intersected by Roman roads, especially by the great Via Egnatia, which connected Philippi and Thessalonica, and also led toward Illyricum.

(Dean Howson.)

signifies a Roman province, which included the whole of the Peloponnesus and the greater part of Hellas proper, with the adjacent islands. This, with Macedonia, comprehended the whole of Greece. Hence both are frequently mentioned together. A narrow slip on the north coast was originally called Achaia, the cities of which were confederated in an ancient league, which was renewed, B.C. 280, for the purpose of resisting the Macedonians. This league subsequently included several of the other states, and became the most powerful political body in Greece; and hence it was natural for the Romans to apply the name of Achaia to the Peloponnesus, and the south where they took Corinth and destroyed the league, B.C. 146. In the division of the provinces by Augustus, between the Emperor and the Senate in B.C. 27, Achaia was one of the provinces assigned to the latter, and was governed by a proconsul. Tiberius, in A.D. 16, took it away from the Senate and made it an imperial province, governed by a procurator. Claudius restored it to the Senate. This was its condition when Paul was brought before Gallio, the proconsul (Acts 18:12).

(Sir G. Grove, LL. D.)

For from you sounded out the Word of the Lord
The apostle employs a word never used anywhere else in the New Testament to describe the conspicuous and widespread nature of this testimony of theirs. He says, "The Word of the Lord sounded out" from them. That phrase is one most naturally employed to describe the blast of a trumpet. So clear and ringing, so loud, penetrating, melodious, rousing, and full was their proclamation, by the silent eloquence of their lives, of the gospel which impelled and enabled them to lead such lives. A grand ideal of a community of believers!

I. This metaphor suggests THE GREAT PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH. It is God's trumpet. His means of making His voice heard through all the uproar of the world. As the captain upon the deck in the gale will use his speaking trumpet, so God's voice needs your voice. The gospel needs to be passed through human lips in order that it may reach deaf ears. The Church is worse than "sounding brass," it is as silent brass and an untinkling cymbal, unless the individuals that belong to it recognize God's meaning in malting them His children, and do their best to fulfil it. "Ye are My witnesses," saith the Lord. You are put into the witness box, see that you speak out when you are there.

II. Another point that this figure may suggest is THE SORT OF SOUND THAT SHOULD COME FROM THE TRUMPET.

1. A trumpet note is, first of all, clear. There should be no hesitation in our witness; nothing uncertain in the sound that we give.

2. The note should be penetrating. There is no instrument, I suppose, that carries further than the ringing clarion that is often heard on the field of battle, above all the strife. And so this little church at Thessalonica, a mere handful of people, just converted, in the very centre of a strong, compact, organized, self-confident, supercilious heathenism, insisted upon being heard, and got itself made audible, simply by the purity and the consistency of the lives of its members. A clear voice will fling words to a distance that a thick, mumbling one never can attain. One note will travel much farther than another. Do you see to it that your notes are of the penetrating sort.

3. And then, again, the note should be a musical one. There is nothing to be done for God by harshness; nothing to be done by discords and jangling; nothing to be done by scolding and rebuke. The ordered sequence of melodious sound will travel a great deal further than unmusical, plain speech. You can hear a song at a distance at which a saying would be inaudible. Which thing is an allegory, and this is its lesson. Music goes further than discord; and the witness that a Christian man bears will travel in direct proportion as it is harmonious and gracious and gentle and beautiful.

4. And then, again, the note should be rousing. You do not play on a trumpet when you want to send people to sleep; dulcimers and the like are the things for that purpose. The trumpet means strung up intensity, means a call to arms, or to rejoicing; means, at any rate, vigour, and is intended to rouse. Let your witness have for its inmost signification, "Awake! thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."

III. Then, still further, take another thought that may be suggested from this metaphor, THE SILENCE OF THE LOUDEST NOTE. If you look at the context, you will see that all the ways in which the Word of the Lord is represented as sounding out from the Thessalonian Church were deeds, not words. The context supplies a number of them. Such as the following are specified in it: their work; their toil, which is more than work; their patience; their assurance; their reception of the Word, in much affliction with joy in the Holy Ghost; their faith to Godward; their turning to God from idols, to serve and to wait. That is all. So far as the context goes there might not have been a man amongst them that ever opened His mouth for Jesus Christ. We know not, of course, how far they were a congregation of silent witnesses, but this we know, that what Paul meant when he said, "The whole world is ringing with the voice of the Word of God sounding from you," was not their going up and down the world shouting about their Christianity, but their quiet living like Jesus Christ. That is a louder voice than any other. I do not mean to say that Christian men and women are at liberty to lock their lips from verbal proclamation of the Saviour they have found, but I do mean to say that if there was less talk and more living the witness of God's Church would be louder and not lower; "and men would take knowledge of us, that we had been with Jesus"; and of Jesus, that He had made us like Himself.

IV. And so, lastly, let me draw one other thought from this metaphor, which I hope you will not think fanciful playing with a figure; and THAT IS THE BREATH THAT MAKES THE MUSIC. If the Church is the trumpet, who blows it? God! It is by His Divine Spirit dwelling within us and breathing through us that the harsh discords of our natural lives become changed into melody of praise and the music of witness for Him. Keep near Christ, live in communion with God, let Him breathe through you, and when His Spirit passes through your spirits their silence will become harmonious speech; and from you "will sound out the Word of the Lord."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)


1. Paul did not despise the power of words; he was a master of them; but he contrasted words with power. Words — the air is stirred by them, as it is by raindrops, but they pass away, perhaps not forgotten, the memory lives forever, stinging like a serpent or ministering like an angel, blasting as the lightning or refreshing as the dew. "The words of the wise are as nails fastened." Paul did not despise the marvellous Greek language as a vehicle of thought and feeling, but he said there was something more. The word is the organism which contains the life, the body that holds the soul, the frame that surrounds the picture. Knowledge is power, and truth, and love.

2. We have the Word of God in power. Have we an infallible interpretation of it? Rome says she has, but we say that she has tampered with it, and reject her forgery. In order to the right understanding of the Word, we need —(1) A correct version.(2) The exercise of our own powers in its study. Christ demands not a blind credulity, but says, "Come and see."(3) The help of those who are able to throw light on it.(4) Prayer for the help of the Holy Spirit.


1. Power always carries responsibility. The learned are to teach the ignorant, the strong to help the weak, the brave the timid. This may not be according to the law of "natural selection," by which the weak go to the wall, but it is according to the law of love, of Sinai, of Christ, which says, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour," etc. God's disapproval of selfishness is seen in this, that it is only by using His gifts that we can retain and improve them. Hoarded wealth is useless; stored grain is mildewed; the buried talent is forfeited. We get by giving and learn by teaching. God speaks to us that we may speak to others.

2. The gospel had been in this case conveyed through the land and other lands. The same joyful sound has been heard in this country. All that is happy in the condition and noble in the character of our people is owing to this. Let England be true to her vocation, and pass the blessing on.


1. Negatively.(1) Not by force. When the knights of Germany offered their swords to Luther, he replied, "No, the Word shall do it." You cannot destroy error or propagate spiritual truth by swords or Acts of Parliament. You may make rules of music, but you cannot impose them on the songsters of the wood. You may guide the little brook that comes chattering through the fields, but who can cut channels for the dew? Men's thoughts are as free; they cannot be prevented by violence.(2) Not by ceremonies. An attempt is being made to undo the Reformation, and send back the dial on English civilization and freedom. All forms are mischievous which come between us and Christ. As some foolish people covered grand pictures and frescoes on church walls with plaster, superstition has covered over the faith which is "placarded before our eyes" with Roman cement. It was the work of Luther and others to chip off the crust and reveal the work of the Divine Artist; and it is our work to protest against all that would bind the Word or hide the Saviour.(3) Not by sensational worship or teaching. A truly earnest man will be ready to welcome almost anything that will arouse the indifferent and win attention to the truth. Paul was ready to be all things to all men; but I do not think he included absurdities in the means he would employ. There are two dangers attending religious excitement: one, that while the surface of the nature is affected men will be satisfied with that; the other, that when the excitement is over there will be a hurtful reaction. The crowds that cried "Hosanna" also cried "Crucify."

2. Positively.(1) With a spontaneity that will be of itself a presage of success. "From you sounded forth," etc., as a natural effect of reception.(a) It is difficult to hide truth, for it naturally tends to show itself. When a scientific discovery has been made it is unnatural for the discoverer to keep it to himself, the strong conviction being that truth is not the property of an individual, society, nation, but of the race. It is as difficult to hide truth as to hide light; if there is a crevice anywhere it will dart forth. It may be buried like seed, and the storms of a long winter may pass over it until it is almost forgotten; but the elements go in search of the seed; the dew asks, "Where is it?" The rain says, "I will find it"; and the sun stretches forth his long fingers of light to feel it, and the seed is vitalized, and comes forth; so truth rises again, perhaps in a new form, but with multiplied power.(b) This is especially illustrated in the history of spiritual truth. When the truth has free course in a man's nature it will sound forth spontaneously as fragrance from a June rose, as heat from the fire, as lustre from a diamond, as music from an AEolian harp.(c) There are some who receive and never give. They are like a blank object that absorbs the light and never reflects it. They are not like that little spring upon the hill slope, that receives from the cloud, and then gives refreshment and beauty to moss and nodding fern, gives itself for the use of the world, singing as it gives. But they are like the stagnant pool, that receives the showers, and remains in the same place, to poison the atmosphere, until at length the hot summer sun dries it up. There are others who give, but never cheerfully, with a bad grace that spoils the gift. There are others again who give so readily that it is like breathing the balmy air of May to ask them for a contribution.(2) By a holy life. "Ye were ensamples." A holy life is the best transcript of the Word. Gibbon attributes the early success of Christianity to "the pure and austere morals of the Christians." And Christian life is the most powerful argument the Church can use today. It may be that of a friendless young man in London who, in the midst of temptations, dares to live a pure life; or that of a domestic servant who "sweeps under the mats" because she acknowledges a Master in heaven. To pray in the sanctuary and cheat on the Exchange is what the world regards with disgust.(3) By active effort. From the seaport of Thessalonica merchants and sailors would carry with them the good tidings. The news of their faith was so widespread that the apostle had no need to speak of it. What a commendation! There are some whose faith is so small that you are obliged to advertise it if you want it known. Our names too frequently, not our faith, are spread abroad. The message of the Church has often failed because there has been so little of living faith in it. The earnestness of our piety is the best answer to the worldliness and scepticism of the day.

(James Owen.)

The Greek commentators in this picturesque word observe a metaphor derived from the trumpet's brilliant tone and power of distant resonance. Thus : "The resonance of the trumpet fills the whole vicinity; but the fame of your excellence fills the world, and reaches all and everywhere with equal sound. Great deeds are celebrated with the distinctest commemoration where they were performed. They are indeed often celebrated far away, but not so much. It is not so with you. The glorious sound has gone through the earth." It can scarcely be doubted that St. Paul was thinking of the geographical position of Thessalonica, which had been particularly noted by Cicero ("It is placed in the bosom of our Empire"). It was indeed by land a chief station on the great Roman Military Road (Via Egnatia), as Cicero also observes; while by sea it had a principal share in the commerce of the Levant, and was in constant communication with almost every shore of the known world. When we take into account St. Paul's subtle tact in dealing with men, there seems to be much reason for finding an allusion also to a history of which every Thessalonian must have been proud — an historical blended with a geographical reference. The apostle may have lightly touched upon a new fame in the gospel, succeeding to and surpassing the ancient Macedonian glory. In the verse generally, and more particularly in the vivid words, "Your faith is spoken as if of a living thing," Chrysostom seems to trace a reminiscence of the elastic and bounding symbol of Alexander's Macedonian Empire in Daniel 8:5-8. Rarely, indeed, could such words have afterwards been applied to the Church of Thessalonica. Cyril and Methodius, however, belonging to the Sclavo-Bulgarian nationality, which extends from the Danube to Thessaly — Hellenized Sclaves — evangelized Moravia, Bohemia, and Pannonia. They were born in the ninth century at Thessalonica.

(Bp. Alexander.)

If a man carry in his hand a lighted burning candle, it giveth not light to him only that carrieth it, but to all those which be in the house; and they also see it which are without. Even so, if any be the child of knowledge, and carry about him the light of God, he doth not only taste of the comfort thereof himself, and work comfort to those that appertain to the Church of God, but lighteneth also the hearts of pagans and infidels which are abroad. Such as are bathed or perfumed with precious ointments or powders have not only the pleasure to themselves, but the savour thereof casteth itself out, and is pleasant to all those which stand by. The gospel is the light of God; it shineth in the darkness of this world; it is the sweet incense and savour of God; wheresoever the breath thereof is received, it bringeth life.

(Bp. Jewell.)

n: — As the lightning is seen from one part of the air to the other, and as the sound of great noise spreadeth itself far and wide, so doth the light of good conversation in the godly shew itself forth. And therefore he telleth them they have filled all the country of Macedonia with knowledge and with wonder at their faith and stedfastness in the truth. As if he had said, Great is the renown of your king, Alexander, and your country is famous. He hath overrun the whole world, and subdued it. He hath conquered Greece, Asia, Arabia, Phrygia, Armenia, Scythia, and India. Kings and princes fell down before him: the whole world stood in awe of his name. Yet Alexander had but the power and force of men. He had great treasures of gold and silver; he had numbers of horses and camels and elephants; he had swords, bills, spears, and darts, and suchlike artillery and armour. These where the things wherewith he overcame his enemies; hereby both he and his people were renowned. What, then, may he said of the battle which you have fought? or of the victory which you have gotten? You have won that Alexander could never win. You have overcome yourselves; you have overcome the world. He conquered the bodies of many, and had them at commandment; but their souls stood out, and would not be conquered. You have subdued your souls, and brought them to the obedience of the gospel. You have overrun all the country, and triumphed among the people. And all this is brought to pass without force, without policy, without armour, without artillery, only by your patience and suffering for the gospel's sake.

(Bp. Jewell.)

It was a very suggestive saying of Dr. Lyman Beecher, that the reason why he was so blessed to the conversion of men was that he had so many pulpit reflectors, who lived out and diffused everywhere the gospel.

Never was there a land blessed with such peculiar facilities as Britain for acting as a witness for Christ to the world. Why is it that the gospel is at this time in trust with a people whose ships cover the sea, who are the merchants of the world? Has He who drew the boundaries of Judea with His own finger, who selected the precise spot for the temple, who did everything for the Jewish Church from design, abandoned the Christian Church to accident? And, if not, if He has placed the gospel here with design, what can the nature of that design be, but that it should he borne to the world on the wings of every wind that blows? Say, why is it that Britain, and her religious ally America, should divide the seas, should hold the keys of the world? Oh, were we but awake to the designs of God, and to our own responsibility, we should hear Him say, "I have put you in possession of the seas; put the world in possession of My gospel." And every ship we sent out would be a Missionary Church, like the ark of the deluge, a floating testimony for God, and bearing in its bosom the seeds of a new creation. Christians, ours is, indeed, a post of responsibility and of honour! On us have accumulated all the advantages of the past; and on us lies the great stress of the present. The world is waiting breathless on our movements; the voice of all heaven is urging us on. Oh, for celestial wisdom, to act in harmony with the high appointments of Providence — to seize the crisis which has come for blessing the world.

(John Harris.)

In every place your faith to Godward Is spread abroad
No true and permanent fame can be founded except in labours which promote the happiness of mankind. The highest greatness surviving time and stone is that which proceeds from the soul of man. Monarchs and cabinets, generals and admirals, with the pomp of courts and the circumstances of war, in the lapse of time disappear from sight; but the pioneers of truth, though poor and lowly, especially those whose example elevates human nature, and teaches the rights of man, so that "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, may not perish from the earth"; such a harbinger can never be forgotten, and their renown spreads coextensive with the cause they served so well.

(Charles Sumner.)

Live for some thing! Do good and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storm of time can never destroy. Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy on the hearts of the thousands you come in contact with year by year, and you will never be forgotten. Your name, your deeds, will be as legible on the hearts you leave behind as the stars on the brow of evening. Good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

For they themselves show what manner of entering in we had unto you
I. THE ENTERING IN OF THE WORD. When we preach you listen, and so far the Word is received. But the preacher often feels that he is outside the door, because Christ has not entered the heart. In responding to a knock a man will sometimes open the door a little way to see and hear before admittance. The King's messenger has thus been treated, and has even got his foot in the doorway, but has received painful hurt when the door has been forced back with angry violence. But he has also heard the joyful cry, "Come in." The truth has many ways of entrance.

1. It affects the understanding. Men discover that the gospel is the very thing for which they have been waiting.

2. Then it works upon the conscience, that being the under standing exercised on moral truth. The man sees himself a sinner, and is thus made ready to receive Christ's pardoning grace.

3. Then the emotions are aroused — fear is awakened and hope excited. Repentance calls forth one after another of her sentinels. The proud man is broken down, the hard heart softened.

4. By and by the entrance is complete, for the truth carries the central castle of Mansoul, and captures the heart. He who once hated the gospel now loves it — at first he loves it hoping that it may be his, though fearing the reverse; then he ventures to grasp it, encouraged by the Word which bids him lay hold of eternal life.

II. CONVERSION. "Ye turned." Conversion is the turning completely round of a man to hate what he loved and love what he hated. It is to turn to God distinctly by an act and deed of the mind and will. In some senses we are "turned," in others we "turn": not promise or resolve, Reformation is not enough, there must be a revolution: old thrones must fall, and a new king must reign.

1. They turned from idols. The streets of London are crammed with fetish worship.(1) Multitudes are worshipping, not calves of gold, but gold in a more portable shape. Small circular idols are much sought after. The epithet "almighty" is applied to an American form of these idols.(2) Many worship rank, name, pleasure, honour.(3) Most worship self, and there is no more degrading form of worship. No wooden image is more ugly.(4) Men worship Bacchus still. There is a temple to him at every street corner. Other trades are content with shops, this fiend must have a palace.(5) The gods of unchastity and vice are yet among us. If you love anything better than God you are idolaters.

2. Some turn from one idol to another. If a man turns from Bacchus and becomes a teetotaler, he may become covetous. When men quit covetousness they sometimes turn to profligacy. Nothing will serve but turning to the living and true God.


1. The object of this service is —(1) The living God. Many have a dead God still. They do not feel that He hears their prayers, nor take Him into their calculations. A living God demands a living service.(2) The true God, and therefore cannot be served with falsehood. Many evidently serve a false God, for they pray without their hearts. When men's lives are false and artificial, they are not fit service for the God of truth. A life is false when it is not the true outcome of the soul, when it is fashioned by custom, ruled by observation, restrained by selfish motives, and governed by a love of human esteem.

2. Notice the order. The entering in of the Word produces conversion, and conversion service. If you are converts without the Word you are unconverted; if professing to receive it you are not turned by it, you have not received it; if you claim to have been converted and are not serving God, you are not converted; and if you boast of serving God without being converted you are not serving Him.


1. Salvation is not a thing which only requires a few moments of faith and then all is over; it is the business of our lives. We receive salvation in an instant, but we work it out with fear and trembling all our days.

2. This waiting is also living in the future. The Christian looks for the second advent with calm hope; he does not know when it will be, but he keeps himself on the watch as a servant who waits for his Lord's return. He does not expect to be rewarded by men, or even by God in temporal things, but by Christ with heaven.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In this general talk (ver. 8) the converts and the preachers were greatly mixed up — "For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you." I do not know that it is possible for the preacher to keep himself distinct from those who profess to be converted by him. He is gladly one with them in love to their souls, but he would have it remembered that he cannot be responsible for all their actions. Those who profess to have been converted under any ministry have it in their power to damage that ministry far more than any adversaries can do. "There!" says the world, when it detects a false professor, "this is what comes of such preaching." They judge unfairly, I know; but most men are in a great hurry, and will not examine the logic of their opponents; while many others are so eager to judge unfavourably, that a very little truth, or only a bare report, suffices to condemn both the minister and his doctrine. Every man that lives unto God with purity of life brings honour to the gospel which converted him, to the community to which he belongs, and to the preaching by which he was brought to a knowledge of the truth; but the reverse is equally true in the ease of unworthy adherents. Members of Churches, will you kindly think of this? Your ministers share the blaine of your ill conduct if ever you disgrace yourselves. I feel sure that none of you wish to bring shame and trouble upon your pastors, however careless you may be about your own reputations.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A large Chinese heathen temple has lately been turned into a Christian place of worship in the north of China. At a place called Shih-Chia-Tang the missionaries, Stanley and Smith, looked at the gulley where, at the dead of night, the gods were hustled in. The summer rains had caused a bit of a large god to crumble off. The men call it "divine mud!" so the missionaries took up a handful of the moistened clay, and threw it down, saying, "Dust to dust, mud to mud!" The temple looks very pleasant in its changed character. The two large bells now call the people to worship the living God, instead of calling the idol, as they supposed, from his feast and slumbers. In the front temple quaint pictures of flying spirits and genii, painted on the walls, still remain. The larger temple makes a very neat mission chapel, with its whitened walls and scarlet-painted posts and beams. The wooden incense table has been cut down into a preaching table, and the benches are made from the platform which supported the larger idols. On the temple front hangs a large tablet, with "Jesus' Chapel" in beautiful Chinese characters, replacing the old Taouist sign. This temple now stands a distinct witness to the truth that God is a Spirit, and His glorious gospel is proclaimed in it.

A Cingalese boy living at Baddegamma, in Ceylon, went one day into a Buddhist temple to offer his evening flower. When he had done so, he looked into the idol's face, expecting to see a smile of approval; but as the great eyes stared on without any expression of pleasure in them, he thought that so great a god would not condescend to accept a child's offering. Soon after, a man came in, laid down his flower, turned his back, and walked carelessly away. The boy again looked into the idol's face, and thought he should see an angry frown at this disrespect; but the eyes stared as before. He then began to realize the fact that the image had no life in it, and was alike powerless to punish or reward. As soon as a mission school was opened in the neighbourhood he became one of the pupils and was converted to God, together with several of his family. He afterwards became a zealous and devoted minister. His name was Abraham Gunasekara. He died, and his son is now the minister of a congregation of Cingalese Christians in Kandy.

Not long ago a young man came from Raratonga to this metropolis, and he was taken to see the British Museum. Among the rest of the wonders he there saw was a row of idols, and amongst others there was a Raratonga god. He looked with wondrous curiosity, and asked permission to take it in his hands. He looked at it all round for a while with great interest, and passed it back to the guide, and said, "Thank you; that is the first idol I ever saw in my life." In the time of the honoured John Williams there were more than 100,000 individual gods in Raratonga; and so clean a sweep has the gospel of Christ made of the whole abomination, that a young lad of nineteen had never seen one of them from the day of his birth.

(Jackson Wray.)

The early account of the Christian religion, so universally received, and so well approved by the apostles, consists of two chief parts:


1. Religion, considered in this light, can be no other than natural religion. This was the original religion of man, but had been so corrupted and abused that there was hardly any sign of it when our Saviour appeared in the world. The preaching of the gospel revived the true ancient religion of nature, and prepared men for the reception of it; and has, by the additional supports of revelation, maintained it for many ages, and probably will maintain it to the end and consummation of all things.

2. These additional supports make the next great branch of Christian doctrine. These are revived upon the authority of revelation, and stand upon the evidence of external proofs: that we ought to turn from idols, and serve the living God; that we ought to serve Him in holiness and purity, in conforming ourselves to the example of His justice, equity, and goodness, are truths which every man may feel to be such who has any reason or natural feeling about him; but that we have been delivered from the wrath to come by Jesus the Son of God; that God raised Him from the dead, and hath appointed Him to be judge both of the dead and of the living, are articles which no man's reason can suggest; which, when suggested, reason cannot receive upon any internal evidence, but must take them upon an authority sufficiently confirmed upon external evidence.

II. OUR FAITH IN CHRIST, AND OUR HOPE AND EXPECTATION GROUNDED ON THAT FAITH.1. The patience of faith. St. Paul teaches us to wait for God's Son from heaven. But this waiting implies not only the patience of faith, but well-doing, in expectation of the coming of our Saviour and Judge; which sense is completely expressed in the Epistle to the Philippians — "Be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example; for our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself."

2. The expectation of Christ coming to judge the world is peculiar to Christians; and it is supported by the belief of the resurrection of Christ — that great and main point of faith, which the Apostles were commissioned to teach and establish in the Church of God. This designation of Christ to be judge of the world is no impeachment of the authority of God. The Son acts by the Father's commission, who hath given all judgment to Him; but this makes no change in the nature of the judgment itself. Did the article of the resurrection make any alterations in our notions of God or religion; did it bring any new burden upon us of any sort, it would be no wonder to see men very careful how they admitted it; but now that it requires nothing at our hands but what reason and nature require, what pretence for being scrupulous concerning it. Admit the article, and our hopes are much improved, while our duty is the same; reject the article, and our duty is the same, while our hopes are much less.

(T. Sherlock, D. D.)

I was told by that distinguished missionary, John Williams, that he found the simple reading of Isaiah 44 more effectual in convincing the natives of the folly and sin of idolatry than any of his own teaching. Ver. 17, "And the residue thereof he maketh a god," were the words which at once laid hold of their understanding and their conscience.

(Earl of Chichester.)

According to Jewish tradition, Terah was a maker and seller of idols, and being one day obliged to leave home, he charged his son Abram to attend to business in his absence. Presently an elderly man came in, and taking a fancy to an idol asked the price. In reply, Abram said, "Old man, what is thy age?" "Threescore years," replied the visitor. Whereupon Abram exclaimed, "Threescore years! And thou wouldest worship a thing that has been fashioned by the hands of my father's slaves within the last four and twenty hours! Strange that a man of sixty should be willing to bow down his grey head to a creature of a day!" At these words the man, overwhelmed with shame, went away.

Family Treasury.
A missionary and his wife, some thirty years ago, went from Manchester to Samoa. Children were born to them there, and to one of these was sent, by an old servant of the family, a splendid doll, which opened and closed its eyes, and was richly clothed. Meantime, Roman Catholic priests had attempted to establish a mission in Samoa, and had gained a foothold. Among their wares was an image of the Virgin Mary, doubtless richly dressed; but unfortunately its eyes were fixed. While the priests and this object of worship were still under discussion, it became known that the English people had received a box of gifts from their own country. The natives crowded to the sight, of which by far the most attractive part was the old servant's doll. After watching for a time the wonder of its opening and closing eyes, they began to say to one another, without any suggestion from the missionaries, "We have seen the God of the Roman Catholics; we have also seen the plaything of the English children; the plaything opens its eyes, but the eyes of the Catholic god are fixed: greater is the plaything of the Protestants than the idol of the Romanists. What must the God of the Protestants be?" The priests were absolutely driven from the island by the doll, while the word preached by the missionaries had free course, and was well listened to.

(Family Treasury.)

What a strange yet pregnant phrase! Surely the Author of life must live; yet here is an expression which hints that there are deities who are not alive. It was thus that the Hebrews distinguished between the true God and the false gods of the nations around them (Psalm 96:5). The heathen deities were so much carving, sculpture, and colouring; or they were so much human imagination or speculation; they had no being independent of the toil, whether of the hands or the brains of men. It was true that evil spirits, by lurking beneath the idol forms, or draping themselves in debasing heathen fancies, might contrive to appropriate the homage which the human heart lavished on its own creations (Psalm 106:37). But the broad contrast, latent in the expression "the living God," is the contrast between an imagination and a fact; between an existing Being and fancy personages; between a solemn truth and a stupid and debasing unreality. Some truth, however, there certainly was in the most degrading forms of heathen worship; since a religion which is undiluted falsehood could not continue to exist as a religion, and the false religions which do exist, only exist by virtue of the elements of truth which in varying proportions they severally contain. And this intermixture of truth yields the best starting point for convincing heathens of the errors which they admit, and of the truths which they deny beyond. In this sense undoubtedly the science of comparative theology may be made really serviceable to Christian truth. It is a widely different thing to start with an assumption that all the positive religions in the world, Jewish and Christian included, are alike conglomerate formations in very varying degrees, partly true, partly false; and that the religion of the future — an etherealized abstraction, to be distilled by science from all the creeds and worships of mankind — will be something beyond and distinct from all of them. Certainly heathenism is not treated, either in the Old Testament or the New, with the tenderness which would befit such an anticipation as this. Practically speaking, and as contrasted with revealed truth, heathenism is represented as a lie. To live within its range is to live in the kingdom of darkness (Isaiah 60:2; 1 Peter 2:9); to practice its rites is to be an enemy of God by wicked works (Colossians 1:21); to go after false gods is to have the earnest of great trouble, and to provoke the anger of the real Lord of the universe (Psalm 78:59, 60; Psalm 106:36-40).

(Canon Liddon.)

And to wait for His Son from heaven

II. HIS HUMANITY. "Whom He raised." Christ could not have been raised had He not died, and could not have died had He not been man.



1. Men are guilty, lost, or they could not have needed a deliverance by Jesus, the Saviour.

2. Christ died for men that He might deliver them.

3. His death was accepted by the Father, "Whom He raised."

V. HIS RESURRECTION. We must not think of Christ as dead, or centre our faith wholly on the Cross. "He is not here; He is risen."

VI. HIS ASCENSION. "From heaven." Hence He must have gone thither.

1. He has gone first as our forerunner, and secured for us the Spirit.

2. He remains in heaven.

(1)To prepare a place for us.

(2)To intercede.

(3)To watch His Church's conflicts, and to deliver it.

3. He is there with saving power — "Delivereth." He is at this moment delivering.


1. Certain and uncertain. He will come, but when we know not.

2. Sudden, as a thief in the night.

3. To deliver His people from the coming wrath.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE CERTAINTY OF THE ADVENT. Of this, according to the unbroken statements of the New Testament, there is not the shadow of a doubt; but I would observe —

1. The time of the coming is an uncertainty. If you examine a few of the statements with reference to that uncertainty, you will find a statement in the New Testament as to that coming being a thing near. In the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, the fourth chapter, and the fifteenth verse, you read — "For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep." Whereas, in the second Epistle, the second chapter, and the third verse, you find the statement which implies that that coming was not immediate: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first." You will find in the Epistle to the Hebrews the same apparently contradictory statements. Then you find in the seventh verse of the fourth chapter of the first Epistle of Peter — "The end of all things is at hand." Again, in the third chapter, the ninth verse, of the second Epistle of Peter, you find the apostle speaking of the Lord being "long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish." You have the same apparent conflict of statement in our blessed Lord's own words. Thus in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, and the thirty-fourth verse, He says — "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled;" which seems to intimate a near approach of the second coming. Then you find in the nineteenth verse of the twenty-fifth chapter, in the parable of the talents — "After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them." Again there is another class of statements which expressly and distinctly aver that the time of the second coming is left in uncertainty. Thus, you find in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, and the forty-second verse — "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." And you find a still more remarkable statement in the Gospel of St. Mark — "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, Hot the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father;" that is — the Lord Jesus in His human nature was not at that time acquainted with the day of His Second Advent. What, then, is the result which the Word of God seems intended to produce by this apparent conflict of statement? I believe the result which it intends to produce is this — that we should be always on the watch for the second coming of our blessed Lord. There is a tendency in some minds to anticipate that coming, to affirm and believe that that coming is immediately at hand. The Christians at Thesalonica were in danger of thus putting away temporal duties, and neglecting the present calls of life, in order that they might be ready for that which they immediately expected. There is a tendency in other minds to defer and put off that day, to think that it is sure not to take place soon; and thus to live an indolent, a listless and a comparatively indifferent life, as regards that grand object of our hope. Now, if we read the New Testament aright, and if we receive the impression which these various passages are intended to leave upon our minds, with reference to the certainty of the fact and the uncertainty of the coming, I believe that the effect produced will be to make us feel that the Lord's coming, though uncertain at any moment, is possible at any moment. It will produce that state of expectancy, and that state of preparedness and desire with reference to it, in which our Lord sees to be the fittest condition for the spirits of His people to live and be.

2. The grand object presented. I can hardly read without emotion of the anticipation of the first Advent, on the part of the pious Jews, who preceded that advent. But how much grander and more sublime is that which is the object of our hope — the Second Advent; the Lord Jesus coming, not in humiliation, but in glory; not in weakness, but in power; not to suffer, but to reign I And when we think of all the attendant circumstances which are predicted — the rapture of the saints, the descent of the Lord from heaven, the Judgment, the binding of Satan, the renewal of this earth, and all those grand scenes to be produced by His glory — who can look at this great object of our hope without feeling his spirit awed and solemnized, without feeling that we have presented to us in the Bible one of the sublimest and most glorious objects which it is possible for the mind of man to conceive, as that upon which our hope is to rest, as that to which our expectations are to tend?


1. Holiness. "Every man that hath this hope purifieth himself, even as he is pure." Now, it is impossible for a person who is living in daily anticipation of the second coming of Jesus, impossible for a believer in Christ whose mind is constantly turning towards that glorious appearing, to do otherwise than endeavour to have his moral image conformed, as highly as it can be, to the moral image of Him whom he is expecting; and that it lies in the very essential nature of man, that if in love and hearty faith he is expecting the coming of the Lord, he must seek to purify himself even as his Lord is pure.

2. Gratitude and love. There is a very emphatic word at the close of our text, where the Apostle says that we are expecting Jesus "which delivered us from the wrath to come." Consider what that wrath is! Who it is that has delivered us! CONSIDER HOW He has delivered us — not by handing over some mercenary ransom, but by giving Himself to suffer and to die; and that it is through this purchase Christ has paid that He has accomplished this mighty deliverance; and then say whether the anticipation of meeting Him must not produce, in the mind of him who has this hope, an earnest feeling of gratitude and devoted love to Him, to whom he owes his salvation and his glory.

3. Unworldliness. If a man is living in anticipation of the advent of Christ, it is impossible for him to be so wholly immersed in the cares and pleasures and businesses of this world, as is the case with too many professing Christians. If we were certain that the coming of the Lord were nigh at hand, would any Christian be unduly en grossed with the things of the world? No. "Use the world, and not abuse it."

(E. Bayley, M. A.)

A minister once entered an ancient almshouse, of which an aged couple were the inmates. Beside a little round table, opposite the fire, sat the husband, too paralyzed to move at his entrance, and with his hat on his head to keep off the gusts of wind which sifted through his chinky dwelling. His wooden shoe pattered on the floor unceasingly, keeping time to the tremour of his shaking frame; and, as he was very deaf, his visitor shouted in his ear — "Well, what are you doing? Waiting, sir." "For what? For the appearing of my Lord." "And what makes you wish for His appearing?" "Because I expect great things then. He has promised a crown of righteousness to all them that love His appearing." Some further questions were asked as to the foundation of his hope, when he slowly put on his spectacles, and, turning over the leaves of the large Bible already open before him, he pointed to the text — "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God."

(E. P. Hood.)

I. OUR DANGER, "Wrath."

1. Deserved.

2. Destructive.

3. Dreadful.

4. Unavoidable.

5. "To come."

II. OUR DELIVERER, "Jesus." He stepped into the awful breach, took our place, was "bruised for our iniquities." His deliverance was therefore —

1. Honourable.

2. Costly.

3. Vicariously effected.

4. Great:

(1)It saves from unutterable gloom.

(2)It conducts to unutterable glory.

5. Complete in its nature.

6. Free in its bestowments.

7. Eternal in its duration.

8. Race-wide in its purposes.

(T. Kelly.)


II. OUR DELIVERANCE. Out of love to us Christ assumed our nature, placed Himself under our curse. By this He rescues us.


IV. CHRIST'S FUTURE COMING. It is certain even if delayed — therefore we must not be impatient but wait for it. Conclusion:

1. Be thankful for your redemption.

2. Do not fret because you are not released from present evils.

3. Patiently discharge every present duty, and so wait for the coming of the Lord from heaven.

(Dr. Belfrage.)

It appears remarkable that St. Paul should make the essence of the gospel here consist, not in the belief in Christ or the taking up of His Cross, but in the hope of His coming again. Such, however, was the faith of the Thessalonian Church, such is the tone and spirit of this epistle. Neither, in the Apostolic times nor in our own, can we reduce all to the same type. One aspect of the gospel is more outward, another more inward; one seems to connect with the life of Christ, another with His death; one with His birth, another with His coming again. If we will not insist on determining the times and the seasons, or on knowing the manner how, all these different ways may lead us within the veil. The faith of modern times embraces many parts or truths; yet we allow men, according to their individual character, to dwell on this truth, or that as more peculiarly appropriate to their nature. The faith of the early Church was simpler and more progressive, pausing in the same way on a particular truth which the circumstances of the world or the Church brought before them.

(Prof. Jowett.)

The figure is of a sentinel, who at night walks backwards and forwards, and is tired and faint, and longs for rest, and watches anxiously for the morning, when the guard will be relieved. Or it is of the watcher of the sick, who wearily passes the night in the sick room, where the tick of the clock and the groaning of the patient alternate and measure the long hours, and watches, as star after star rises above the horizon, for the morning star to appear.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Sometimes the sun seems to hang for a half hour in the horizon, only just to show how glorious it can be. The day is done; the fervour of the shining is over, and the sun hangs golden — nay, redder than gold — in the west, making everything look unspeakably beautiful, with the rich effulgence which it sheds on every side. So God seems to let some people, when their duty in this world is done, hang in the west, that men may look on them, and see how beautiful they are. There are some hanging in the west now!

(H. W. Beecher.)

It was an old woman who said — "Is He not a precious Saviour? so great and good, and willing to save all us poor sinners!" She was lying on a hard bed in the dreary infirmary ward of a workhouse; and the power of faith and love to create a happiness independent of circumstances came out with almost startling force in her answer to the inquiry, "You know Him then, and love Him?" "Yes; I do know Him, and love Him: His presence makes a heaven of this room. If you heaped up my bed with gold and silver," she added; "and if you could give me the queen's carriage and horses, and her palace and her garden, and all her beautiful flowers, and health and strength to enjoy it all, I would not take them, if they would hinder me from going home to my Saviour. They talk of the pains of dying: what will they be to me? They will but hurry me to heaven and to Jesus." Delivered from the wrath to come: —


1. The actual infliction of the Divine displeasure (Psalm 11:6). Shut out —

(1)From heaven.

(2)From God.

(3)Into miseries.

(4)And torments.

2. This wrath will respect body and soul (Matthew 10:28).

3. This intense fierceness of wrath is to come (Romans 2:5).

4. This punishment will be eternal (Mark 9:44).


1. From the sentence of wrath (Romans 8:1).

2. From meetness to this wrath (Romans 6:14).

3. From the gloomy forebodings of wrath (1 John 4:18).

4. From the possibility of wrath (Colossians 3:3).


1. Meritoriously by Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:14);

2. Instrumentally by His Word (John 8:32);

3. Efficiently by His Spirit (Romans 8:14);

4. God will deliver us personally and eternally (2 Timothy 4:8).

(T. B. Baker.)

Men in these times seem unwilling to hear of future punishment. Hell is no longer a word for ears polite. They talk as if "a certain class of preachers" invented hell and kept it burning to enforce their precepts. I was in Naples in 1884, the year that cholera was epidemic. The Neapolitans accused the physicians of bringing the cholera. The physicians predicted it; they told the people that unless they cleaned up their city the scourge would come. They laid down rules and gave warning. So when the cholera came, the people thought the physicians brought it to intimidate them into washing themselves and keeping their backyards clean, so they threw stones at the physicians and drove them out of the city. These physicians had come to risk their lives for the ungrateful people who rejected them. Thus, when preachers begin to talk of the scourge which will follow sin, the people — that is, some of them — begin to think the preachers are in some way responsible for this scourge. The preachers are assailed as cruel, fanatical, behind the times, and all that. Our Lord is a Physician. He came and found the disease of sin and its fatal consequences here already. He did not bring them. He left His home to improve the sanitary condition of this world, to cleanse its filth. And in order to induce men to submit to His treatment, He warns them to flee from the wrath to come.

(R. S. Barrett.)

The most delightful and encouraging subject on which a sinner can fix his thoughts is the overflowing mercy of an offended God; but he will also often be thinking of the awful justice of the Being from whom he has received it, and the fearfulness of that wrath from which it has rescued him. Thus a longing after the coming of the Saviour, and an expectation of heaven, will ever be connected with the recollection of danger escaped and wrath incurred.


1. It is Divine wrath. Not the anger of a creature whose power is limited and whose duration is finite, but the displeasure of One who fills heaven and earth with His power, and eternity with His existence.

2. It is unmingled wrath; that is — judgment without mercy, justice without the least mixture of goodness. "They shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation."

3. It is provoked wrath. It was not the original inheritance of man. He who made us, loves us; He visits us every hour with goodness, and sends us in His Gospel the freest and most gracious offers of reconciliation. But if we reject a salvation which cost Him the blood of His Son, we provoke Him to anger, and stir up His wrath.

4. It is accumulated wrath. Every repeated act of sin increases it, and will aggravate our misery in eternity. "After thy hardness and impenitent heart," says St. Paul, "thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God."

5. It is future wrath. "Wrath to come," and when we have borne it millions of ages, it will still be "wrath to come," no nearer an end than it was at first, nor easier to be endured. It is eternal wrath, lasting as the holiness of Him who inflicts it, and the guilt of the sinner who bears it.

II. THE WAY OF ESCAPE FROM THIS WRATH. The Apostle speaks of some who have actually escaped from it.

1. The deliverance from it is undeserved. It is true that they who have received it are a people who "have turned from idols to serve the living and true God;" but what led them to choose His service? No natural love. It was the power of the Word, accompanied by the Holy Ghost, which turned them. The deliverance, therefore, was not deserved by them, but was owing to the free and distinguishing grace of the very God whom they had long braved and hated.

2. Though undeserved, it is complete deliverance. "The wrath to come" can never touch those "whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." They are as perfectly delivered from wrath as though it had ceased to burn, or they had ceased to deserve it.

3. Hence the deliverance is an eternal deliverance. The salvation of all believers in Jesus is an eternal salvation, making a final separation between them and all possibility of condemnation.

4. The author of this deliverance. "Even Jesus." It is certain that man cannot be his own deliverer. "No man can redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him." Neither can the angels, though they" excel in strength," help him. The eternal Son, the sharer of the Father's own omnipotence, proposed Himself as the Mediator between heaven and earth, and arrested the sword of justice. "He bare our sins in His own body on the tree." And now, in consequence of His obedience unto death, "all that believe in Him are justified from all things;" their liability to punishment is done away, and done away forever; they have "passed from death unto life." So that when "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven," they will lift up their heads with joy, and shout — "Lo! this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation!"

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

Dr. Watts has left on record the fact that of all who have been led to a saving faith under his ministry, he could recall but one who had been first awakened by the amiable attributes of the Divine character. All the rest were first aroused by fear of the Divine anger. "The love of God," he said, "had been the suasive power, but the wrath of God had been the awakening power." The same succession of convictions in the order of time is confirmed by the history of conversions in the great revivals of the past. Before men discover in its saving power that "God is love," they discover in its condemning power that "God is a consuming fire." Dr. Bushnell has put this fact incisively. He says: "One of the things most needed in the recovery of men to God is this very thing — a more decisive manifestation of the wrath principle. Intimidation is the first means of grace. No bad mind is arrested by love and beauty till such time as it is balked in evil and put on ways of thoughtfulness. And nothing can be so effectual for this as a distinct apprehension of 'the wrath to come.'" There are of course exceptions to this rule. Wilberforce records that he never experienced a sense of the Divine anger till after he was persuaded to repentance by the love of Christ. But such cases are not relatively numerous in the histories of conversion.

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