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There is nothing very particular in the apostle's exhortations. His great
concern was the explanation which we have been considering. He prays that
God and the Lord Jesus Himself, who had given them the sure and everlasting
consolations of the gospel, would comfort their hearts and establish them
in every good word and work. He asks for their prayers that he may be
preserved in his labors. He could not but expect to find men unreasonable
and animated with enmity, for faith was not the portion of all. It was only
a case for the protecting hand of God. With regard to them he counted for
this end on the faith fullness of the Lord. He reckoned also on their
obedience, and prays God to direct their hearts to wards these two points,
of which we have spoken when studying the First Epistle, the love of God
and the patient waiting with which the Christ waited- the two points in
which the whole of christian life is summed up with regard to its objects,
its moral springs. Christ Himself was waiting-sweet thought! They were to
wait with Him, until the moment when His heart and the hearts of His own
should rejoice together in their meeting.
It was this which they needed. On the one hand, they had believed that the
dead saints would not be ready to go and meet the Lord; on the other, they
had thought the day of the Lord already come. The enjoyment of the love of
God, and peace of heart in waiting for Christ, was necessary for them.
This excitement into which they had been led had also betrayed itself in
some among them by their neglect of their ordinary labors, " working not at
all but being busybodies," intermeddling in the affairs of others. The
apostle had set them a very different example. He exhorts them to be firm,
and to withdraw from those who would not hearken to his admonitions, but
continued to walk disorderly and in idleness; not however in such a manner
as to treat them as enemies, but to admonish them as brethren.
It will be observed here, that there is no longer the same expression of
the energy of communion and of life as previously. (compare 3:16 with 1
Thess. 5:23.) Nevertheless the Lord was still the Lord of peace; but the
beauty of that entire consecration to God, which would shine forth in the
day of Christ, does not present itself to the apostle's mind and heart as
in the First Epistle. He prays for them, however, that they may have peace
always and by all means.
The apostle points out the method by which he assured the faithful of the
authenticity of his letters. With the exception of that to the Galatians he
employed other persons to write them, but he attached his own signature in
order to verify their contents to the church, adding the prayer or