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12And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.

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12 And the Lord fill you. Here we have another prayer — that in the mean time, while his way is obstructed, the Lord, during his absence, may confirm the Thessalonians in holiness, and fill them with love. And from this again we learn in what the perfection of the Christian life consists — in love and pure holiness of heart, flowing from faith. He recommends love mutually cherished towards each other, and afterwards towards all, for as it is befitting that a commencement should be made with those that are of the household of faith, (Galatians 6:10) so our love ought to go forth to the whole human race. Farther, as the nearer connection must be cherished, 563563     “Il faut recognoistre et entretenir;” — “We must recognize and maintain.” so we must not overlook those who are farther removed from us, so as to prevent them from holding their proper place.

He would have the Thessalonians abound in love and be filled with it, because in so far as we make progress in acquaintance with God, the love of the brethren must at the same time increase in us, until it take possession of our whole heart, the corrupt love of self being extirpated. He prays that the love of the Thessalonians may be perfected by God, intimating that its increase, no less than its commencement, was from God alone. Hence it is evident how preposterous a part those act who measure our strength by the precepts of the Divine law. The end of the law is love, says Paul, (1 Timothy 1:5) yet he himself declares that it is a work of God. When, therefore, God marks out our life, 564564     “Nous prescrit en ses commandemens la regle de viure;” — “Prescribes to us in his commandments the rule of life.” he does not look to what we can do, but requires from us what is above our strength, that we may learn to ask from him power to accomplish it. When he says — as we also towards you, he stimulates them by his own example.




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