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9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.

11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 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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9 For what thanksgiving. Not satisfied with a simple affirmation, he intimates how extraordinary is the greatness of his joy, by asking himself what thanks he can render to God; for by speaking thus he declares that he cannot find an expression of gratitude that can come up to the measure of his joy. He says that he rejoices before God, that is, truly and without any pretense.

10 Praying beyond measure. He returns to an expression of his desire. For it is never allowable for us to congratulate men, while they live in this world, in such unqualified terms as not always to desire something better for them. For they are as yet in the way: they may fall back, or go astray, or even go back. Hence Paul is desirous to have opportunity given him of supplying what is wanting in the faith of the Thessalonians, or, which is the same thing, completing in all its parts their faith, which was as yet imperfect. Yet this is the faith which he had previously extolled marvelously. But from this we infer, that those who far surpass others are still far distant from the goal. Hence, whatever progress we may have made, let us always keep in view our deficiencies, (ὑστερήματα,) 559559     “Τστερήματα πίστεως. —Afterings of faith, as it may be significantly enough rendered, let but the novelty of the expression be pardoned.” —Howe’s Works, (London, 1822,) volume 3 page 70.—Ed that we may not be reluctant to aim at something farther.

From this also it appears how necessary it is for us to give careful attention to doctrine, for teachers 560560     “Les Docteurs et ceux qui ont charge d’enseigner en l’Eglise;” — “Teachers and those that have the task of instructing in the Church.” were not appointed merely with the view of leading men, in the course of a single day or month, to the faith of Christ, but for the purpose of perfecting the faith which has been begun. But as to Paul’s claiming for himself what he elsewhere declares belongs peculiarly to the Holy Spirit, (1 Corinthians 14:14) this must be restricted to the ministry. Now, as the ministry of a man is inferior to the efficacy of the Spirit, and to use the common expression, is subordinate to it, nothing is detracted from it. When he says that he prayed night and day beyond all ordinary measure, 561561     “Night and day praying exceedingly—Supplicating God at all times; mingling this with all my prayers; ὑπὲρ ἐχπερισσοῦ δεόμενοι, abounding and superabounding in my entreaties to God, to permit me to revisit you.” —Dr. A. Clarke.Ed we may gather from these words how assiduous he was in praying to God, and with what ardor and earnestness he discharged that duty.

11 Now God himself. He now prays that the Lord, having removed Satan’s obstructions, may open a door for himself, and be, as it were, the leader and director of his way to the Thessalonians. By this he intimates, that we cannot move a step with success, 562562     “Nous ne pouuons d’vn costé ne d’autre faire vn pas qui proufite et viene a bien;” — “We cannot on one side or another take a step that may be profitable or prosperous.” otherwise than under God’s guidance, but that when he holds out his hand, it is to no purpose that Satan employs every effort to change the direction of our course. We must take notice that he assigns the same office to God and to Christ, as, unquestionably, the Father confers no blessing upon us except through Christ’s hand. When, however, he thus speaks of both in the same terms, he teaches that Christ has divinity and power in common with the Father.

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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