THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS.
It does not appear to me probable that this Epistle was sent from Rome, as the Greek manuscripts commonly bear; for he would have made some mention of his bonds, as he is accustomed to do in other Epistles. Besides, about the end of the third Chapter, he intimates that he is in danger from unreasonable 1 men. From this it may be gathered, that when he was going to Jerusalem, he wrote this Epistle in the course of the journey. It was also from an ancient date a very generally received opinion among the Latins, that it was written at Athens. The occasion, however, of his writing was this--that the Thessalonians might not reckon themselves overlooked, because Paul had not visited them, when hastening to another quarter. In the first Chapter, he exhorts them to patience. In the second, a vain and groundless fancy, which had got into circulation as to the coming of Christ being at hand, is set aside by him by means of this argument--that there must previously to that be a revolt in the Church, and a great part of the world must treacherously draw back from God, nay more, that Antichrist must reign in the temple of God. In the third Chapter, after having commended himself to their prayers, and having in a few words encouraged them to perseverance, he commands that those be severely chastised who live in idleness at the expense of others. If they do not obey admonitions, he teaches that they should be excommunicated.
1 "Importuns et malins;"--"Unreasonable and wicked."