The first Epistle to the Thessalonians dealt with a mistake of the saints there as to those who fall asleep in Christ. In their immature and absorbing occupation with the coming or presence of the Lord, they had too hastily affirmed that such saints as were not found alive and waiting for Him would lose their part, not of course in eternal life and salvation, but at that blessed moment of His advent. This error was dissipated, not only by bringing in the grand principle of a dead and risen Christ with whom we are associated, and of especial cheer to those who are put to sleep by Him, but by a special revelation which discloses the Lord descending to raise the dead in Christ, and change the believers surviving till His coming, in order to their all coming together along with Him.
In the second Epistle, the delusion which false teachers sought to foist on the saints, and even with the claim of the Spirit, and a pretended letter of the apostle, concerned the living whom the enemy endeavoured to shake and trouble under the apprehension of the presence of the day. All knew that the day of the Lord is to be ushered in by darkness and divine judgments, and these Satan sought to inflict on the saints so as to fill them with terror and distress. Clearly this is the natural expectation of a Jew, who even if he fully confided in the faithfulness of God, cannot but look for an awful season of tribulation and of judicial dealings to precede the kingdom of glory for Israel on the earth. (Isa. 2 - 4: 13; Jer. 30, Joel 2, 3. Amos 5; Zeph. 1 - 3). As the enemy is ever at work to draw back the heart of the Christian to the law, if he cannot entice him into lawlessness, so did he at Thessalonica, and ever since, put forth his wiles to judaise the hope, presenting the Lord as about to appear in judgment, instead of letting him rejoice in His coming as the Bridegroom for the bride. The deception is the more perilous, because the day of the Lord is a weighty truth in itself, and the revealed period of divine intervention and blessing for the ancient people of God. How the coming of the Saviour, for us who now believe and wait for Him from heaven, would fit in with the prophetic testimony, must have been as yet vague, for there was no written word to define the matter or solve the difficulty. Hence the importance of this fresh communication. For the question was raised by Satan's attempt to pervert the saints from the enjoyment of their own proper hope. They were agitated under the false alarm that the day was actually come. This more or less completely obscured from their eyes their bright and longing expectation of the Saviour's coming to receive them to Himself, and present them, perfectly like Him in glory, before the Father with exceeding joy.
As in the first Epistle, the apostle does not immediately grapple with the error, but prepares the hearts of the saints gradually and on all sides so as to clench the truth and exclude the error once it is exposed. This is the way of divine grace and wisdom; the heart is set right, and not the mere point of error or evil dealt with. The very snare is thus made the occasion of fresh and deeper blessing; and as all truth is consolidated, so the Lord is more enjoyed.
"Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the assembly of Thessalonians in God our Father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace from God [the] Father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ."
"We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, even as it is meet, because your faith increaseth exceedingly, and the love of each of you all toward one another aboundeth; so that we ourselves glory in you in the assemblies of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and the tribulations which ye are enduring" (ver. 1-4).
It is impossible to accept as sound and satisfactory Chrysostom's remarks on the address to "the church" rather than to "the saints," as in other epistles. (Field's ed. v. 314, Oxon. 1855). It has nothing to do with comparative paucity of numbers, and their aggregation in a single company. For in no city perhaps were the saints more numerous than in Jerusalem, when we read of the church or assembly there (Act_5:11; Act_8:1; Act_11:22; Act_15:4; Act_15:22). A similar remark applies to Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, or to any other place where we know the numbers were great comparatively, and there might be, as in Jerusalem, not a few houses where the saints met to break bread, but all composed "the assembly" there. Never, in short, whatever the number do we in Scripture hear of "assemblies" in a city (as of a province), but always of "the assembly." No doubt the apostle addresses those at Ephesus and Colosse and Philippi and Rome as "saints", but this, because of the truth he was communicating by the Spirit of God, and not because of their greater numbers. In fact, we read of "the assembly in Ephesus" (Rev_2:1) after his Epistle to "the saints" as well as before (Act_20:17). Nobody can deny that a long time had passed and the organisation was complete, when St. John wrote to "the assembly" there; and therefore Chrysostom's reason is invalid. The true ground lies in the perfection of wisdom with which the Holy Spirit addresses according to the nature of that which He is making known.
Thus the apostle again associates with himself in the salutation those dear fellow-labourers whom the saints in Thessalonica knew already when the assembly was founded there: and he again characterises the assembly as in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: the one severing them from Gentiles, as the other from Jews. Indeed at bottom both contrasted them with both. For what did a Jew more than a Gentile know of such a new living, and intimate relationship with God as Father? And what knew a Gentile more than a Jew of a rejected but risen Lord and Saviour in heaven? "Our" is added here, as compared with the opening formula in the first Epistle. Is is not to rivet emphatically those saints, who, however well they walked in most respects, needed to be reminded more than ever of their common relationship with him who wrote, and with all saints, to Him whose grace is the source of all blessing?
Thanks as before he owns as due to God always for them, not simply because they were objects of His grace, but as was meet because their faith was greatly growing, and the love of each individually and of all mutually was abounding. This was much; but what of their joy of hope in the Holy Ghost? Of this he says nothing. And the absence is the more striking, because in the introduction to the first Epistle he had spoken of remembering without ceasing, not only their work of faith and labour of love, but also their patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Here, to the close observer, there is an ominous silence on any such enduring constancy of hope. Yet there is nothing said to damp their hearts, but all he could say to encourage. The fact is that their hope of Christ was consciously but seriously undermined and clouded, not by undue excitement but by agitation and trouble of mind as if the awful day of the Lord were upon them. This brought in fear which darkened their experience of persecution and of outwardly trying circumstances, though the apostle could boast in them among the assemblies of God for their patience and faith in all their persecutions, and the tribulations they were sustaining.
But patience and faith need the power of hope to sustain in freshness. There will and must be a lack when Christ is not personally before the heart as One who may at any moment come to receive His own to Himself. But yet more, there cannot but be an exposure, as we shall find here, to the counter and disturbing influence of fear, which leaves the soul open to the positively delusive power of the enemy. Even in the first Epistle the apostle was not without apprehension on that side; and therefore did he send Timothy to establish them and comfort them concerning, their faith, that none might be moved by these afflictions; knowing as they did that hereunto we are appointed. For they had surely not forgotten that Paul, when with them, told them beforehand that we are to suffer affliction, even as, they knew full well, it came to pass. But this did not hinder, rather did it draw out, the solicitude of the apostle on their behalf, "lest by any means the tempter had tempted you, and our labour should be in vain" (1Th_3:5).
For the enemy has, of course, no real good or blessing to hold out; but he can and does work most effectively through fear of evil, especially where the conscience is bad or gets troubled. Therein lies his great power in awakening terror, availing himself of God's own threatened judgments on a guilty world. He may deceive the unbeliever by flattering him with false peace and false hopes from this the believer is freed by the gospel, but if not filled with the hope of Christ, he might easily be distressed by the pressure and the variety and the continuance of affliction, especially if Satan got him under the fear that they were judicial inflictions from God on the world in which he was involved like others. Where the heart is kept in peace and confidence before God, the mind can judge soundly. Fear unnerves the soul that is occupied with painful circumstances and throws all into confusion; for God and the word of His grace no longer guide, in the calm trust of a love that never fails, and that gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The apostle, on the contrary, would have them take fresh courage from all their persecutions and the afflictions they were enduring, as he lets them know that he himself was boasting in them on that very account. So he bade the Philippians at a later day be in nothing affrighted by the adversaries which is for such an evident token of perdition, as it is for the saints of salvation, and this from God; because it is a real privilege on the behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him but also to suffer for His sake. It is part of the great conflict ever raging between Satan and those who are of Christ. This the Thessalonians had to learn more perfectly; and we shall see in what follows how skilfully the apostle sets their souls right on general grounds before he broaches the direct correction of the error in the second chapter.
It would seem that the Thessalonian saints had been engrossed with the day of the Lord, as indeed it occupies a large part, and is the grand issue, of Old Testament prophecy. If grace, righteousness, and blessing characterise that day, there can be no doubt that darkness, trouble, change and judgments beyond all previous experience are to usher it in. Hence the apostle felt the need of preparing the way, by a just determination of its true nature, for his correction of this special error foisted on them. This he proceeds to set before them that they might be clear in what was indisputable, and so the better able to judge the delusion.
Their endurance and faith in all their persecutions and the distresses they were then enduring had been already treated as, to him and those like-minded, an object of glorying in them among the assemblies of God. He adds now, "a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, to the end that ye be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which ye also suffer; if so be that it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to those who trouble you, and to you that are troubled rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with angels of his power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to those that know not God and to those that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus" (ver. 5-8).
This moral dealing with their troubles was of the deepest moment. For even saints easily miss their way in the prophetic word: but God abides and cannot deny Himself, as these saints ought not to have forgotten. Now they might be to the uttermost tried, and evil in unrighteousness, deceit, or oppression, might prosper for awhile; but even so the faithful are called to trust confidently and rejoice exceedingly, reaping better blessings far than if all ran smoothly as the heart could wish. But the righteous judgment of God is unshaken, and faith rests on it without wavering, but with a solemn sense of what is at hand for violence no less than corruption, and especially for the hatred which cannot endure the objects of God's love in an evil world, where they, however unwelcome, are seen as lights, holding forth the word of life, not overcome of evil but overcoming it with good, and so much the more intolerable to the evil heart of unbelief which either rejects God or departs from Him.
Does God then regard with indifference His children's persecutions and distresses? On the contrary their patience and faith in all they are enduring is a demonstration of the just judgment of God; who, if He tries the righteous, loves righteousness, beholds the upright, and will surely rain fire and brimstone and a tempest of burning on the wicked. If he sees mischief, it is to requite it with His own hand. But His children meanwhile are being disciplined in the ways of Christ; and as faith perseveres without a sign, it may be, so patience must have its perfect work, that they may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. And is it not well worth while? "To the end that ye be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which also ye suffer." So it is His good and holy will: through many tribulations we must enter into that kingdom. It was Christ's way, it is or should be ours. In that day the darkness will pass for the world. All will be plain that is now obscure: uncertainty and complication will be no more. For us the darkness passes away and the true light now shines; and we who were once darkness are light in the Lord. Then for the world, and especially for that portion of it which is now darkest and most embittered, the light will have come and the glory of Jehovah be risen there.
But the very contrariety of the world now to God and to His children only the more proves that the righteous Lord will surely intervene and vindicate in that day all that looks tangled now. One understands easily that, if Satan is as God calls him the god of this age, it can only be in the age to come when the Lord Jesus governs publicly and in power, that as a rule the wicked shall be put down and the righteous prosper. The unbeliever is hardened at the sight of the just man perishing in his righteousness, and of a wicked man prolonging his life in his wickedness. The believer awaits the kingdom of God and suffers for its sake. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Unto the sons of God it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him but to suffer for Him. When the day comes all will be changed.
"If so be [it is] a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to those that trouble you, and to you that are troubled rest with us." This none can dispute who believes that God is, and that He is a rewarder of those that seek Him out, and an avenger of all wrong against God and man. He is now dealing in grace; in that day He will judge the habitable world (and the dead also in due time) in righteousness by the Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance to all men in that He hath raised Him from the dead. In that day, as even a godly Jew did know, He will be merciful to His land and to His people, as surely as He will render vengeance to His enemies and reward those that hate Him. What then will be His attitude toward the persecutors of His children and to those of them who thus suffered? He will dispense to such as troubled them tribulation, and rest to His now troubled children - rest with Paul and His companions in loving service for their sakes.
The danger is of allowing in this day of grace a judicial spirit, and this not only in our own minds like the sons of Zebedee who would have called down fire from heaven to consume the adversaries, but also in our interpretation of God's dealings with others if not with ourselves. The apostle would have the saints bright in their severest troubles, joyfully anticipating the day of requital when the sufferings of the saints shall be swallowed up in the glorious rest of the saints, the rest of God we may add, while their troublers become the objects of His unsparing judgment. For it will be the day of God's righteous award, in reversal of this day when Satan blinds princes and peoples, as he did when they crucified the Lord of glory.
This being so, persecutions and trouble were no indications of the day of the Lord; rather were they proofs that that day had not yet dawned and that grace still calls and would arm the saints unto all endurance with joyfulness. How different it will be for saints and for sinners when that day of the Lord is really come! How solemn yet blessed the change when the wicked fall into the hands of the living God, who is not unrighteous to forget the work of faith and the labour of love on the part of His children meanwhile called as they are to endure a great fight of afflictions!
For in that day of righteous judgment it will be a "revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with angels of His power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to those that know not God, and to those that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus."
It will be observed that not a word here hints that this is the moment when the Lord comes to gather the saints to Himself. It is not the action of sovereign grace which translates the saints waiting for Him to heaven, but the display of judicial righteousness by the Lord when He appears in glory. Then, and not till then, will be the day of divinely apportioned trouble to the troublers, and of rest to the troubled who suffered for Christ's sake and for righteousness. How unsuitable to be revealed "in flaming fire with angels of power" to receive unto Himself the children of God, His bride, and to present them with Himself in the Father's house!
Here it is a question of rendering vengeance, not to unbelievers distinguished by two marks, as Calvin says, but to two distinct objects of judgment, "to those that know not God," the Gentiles, described thus expressly in 1Th_4:5, and in substance throughout Scripture; "and to those who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus," as the Jews might well be regarded, who, outwardly owning the true God and boasting of His law, were now the most resolute, whether vehement or sullen, in disobeying the gospel.
God is never indifferent to good or evil, and His children learn this and bow to it in His word now knowing that, if they suffer with Christ, they shall also reign together. Their adversaries despise, hate, and persecute His unwelcome witnesses of grace and truth, who seek to adorn the teaching of their Saviour God in all things. Is this day of grace to go on indefinitely? Not so; that day hastens when His judgment will be revealed. And as glory, honour, and peace will be the portion of every soul that does good, so tribulation and anguish upon every one that doeth evil, to Jew and Gentile, for there is no respect of persons: evil will be treated as nothing but evil, when the Lord arises to judge, and this in the most manifest way before the universe.
Hence the importance, not only that sovereign grace should take to heaven the saints that are awaiting Him, but that righteous judgment should be displayed at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with angels of His power in flaming fire. For the day will then have come to render vengeance to His and their enemies, whether they be Gentiles that know not God or they be Jews, who (if not so ignorant as the nations) cannot deny that they obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
As a man cannot shake off his responsibility according to what he once knew of God (Rom_1:19-21) and his conscience also as well as the law (Rom_2:12-15), so he must then be made to feel the guilt of his unbelief in his insubjection to God's glad tidings concerning His Son. And this suitably comes into manifestation before the world when Christ is no longer hidden in God but revealed from heaven, in order to bring out and display the government of God in power and righteousness and peace; as all the prophets bore witness from early days, and now the New Testament (so-called) sets its seal to the Old.
Thus was the balance of truth readjusted in the souls of the Thessalonians, who had been led to fear that their grievous troubles were the beginning of the day of the Lord. They were now to learn that this could not possibly be true from the essential character of that day, as one of rest to the troubled saints and of retributive trouble to their foes. For as it will be the time of divine recompence, so infallibly the Judge of all the earth will do right. It is not that the saints might not individually go to be with Christ meanwhile, nor even that He might not previously come for our gathering together unto Him. But there will be no public display of their righteously awarded rest and of vengeance on their adversaries till He is revealed thus in flaming fire. Such is the solemn fact, and this the distinctive principle therein, and the result of the revelation of the Lord from heaven, as here made known to the agitated saints in Thessalonica. The apostle too knew what tribulation was, and looked for this rest with them, as they were entitled to expect it with him, in that day which was still before them all. But as yet he and they were exposed to pass through trouble, and their persecutors were for the present in honour and ease and power without God. In that day the tables will be turned, His friends at rest and His enemies in trouble. It will be the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven in judgment of the quick.
We have had the objects of the Lord's dealing at His revelation from heaven; and they are clearly His enemies, in no way or degree His friends. It is His judgment of all the earth, Who cannot fail to do right. This is made yet more apparent by the solemn description which follows: - "Who (οἵτινες, men of the class which) shall pay as penalty everlasting destruction from [the] presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be wondered at in all that believed (because our testimony unto you was believed) in that day. Whereunto we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of the calling and fulfil every good pleasure of goodness and work of faith with power; so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and [the] Lord Jesus Christ." (Ver. 9-12).
Present tribulation then through persecutors differs essentially from the trouble of that day, which shall fall not on saints but on those that hate and injure them. In that day their persecutors shall pay the penalty of everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. Like Mat_25:31-46, it is not the great white throne judgment of the wicked dead; it is the judgment of the quick, yet is it final. Their perdition is irretrievable, being everlasting from His presence and from the glory of His power; the wicked here (like apostates in Israel, Dan_12:2) are abandoned to shame and everlasting contempt.
On the other hand, the Lord shall have come at that time to be glorified in His saints and to be wondered at in all those that believed. Blessed prospect "in that day!" and comforting in this day for the Thessalonians to hear themselves included, among those to be thus a marvel to His praise, for this appears to be the gracious motive of the parenthesis, "because our testimony unto you was believed." The saints in Thessalonica might have erred as to the dead, and been misled as to the living; yet the apostle fails not to confirm their souls by the intimation that the divine testimony borne by himself and others had not been in vain, but had really taken effect upon them.
The careful reader will observe that the Lord is not said in that day to come for the saints and receive them to Himself, and present them in the Father's house, as in John 14. Here He will have come to be glorified in them, and to be marvelled at in all those that believed. It is an evidently different and subsequent part of His advent: not the hidden scene, so near to the Lord's desire, that where He is, they also may be with Him, that they may behold His glory which the Father had given Him, but the outer display, Christ in them and the Father in Him, when they are in glory thus perfected in one. So we see in Rev_21:23-24. The world will then know thereby that the Father sent the Son and loved the saints, appearing with Him in glory, even as He loved Him. Compare Joh_17:22-23. The translation of His saints to heaven is one thing; quite another and subsequent is their appearing with Him in glory and judgment of the world.
Further, it is interesting to notice the accuracy of the preterite "believed," instead of the "believe" of the Received Text, in verse 10. The former is not only the reading in the Complutensian edition, but that of all the uncials, almost all cursives, as well as the ancient versions and Fathers, unless a Latin copy or two. Erasmus seems to have misled Stephens, Beza, and others, and so our Authorised translators. No doubt the present is much the most frequent, but when the aorist occurs, there is always a special propriety as here. For the glorious display, which is predicated of the saints, refers with this reading expressly to the past believers' The importance of this becomes the more impressive, on our learning that the great harvest of blessing for man on earth follows, He and the glorified reigning over the world, when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah (and of His glory, Hab_2:14) as the waters cover the sea, Isa_11:9. In that day it will be no longer a question of faith as now, and hence the monstrous error of the Peschito (not the Philoxenian) Syriac, etc., which connect the believing of "our testimony" with that day, and thus make it future, in Pat contradiction of the very Scripture before them. Whatever may be the dealings of grace in that day, the apostle carefully restricts the faith and the glorious reward here described to a reception of the testimony before the display of glory and of righteous judgment arrives.
Thus was the way gradually made plain for the more complete and decisive correction of the error which had been foisted in at Thessalonica. The true nature of God's intervention has been cleared. That day will be characterised by the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of His power in flaming fire. This it would be hard for the most resolute spiritualiser to apply to any such providential events as were then in progress, of which the enemy was taking advantage to mislead the saints. Nor had men gone so far in those early days as in later, for such as Macknight to say, that, when the apostles wrote, there were four comings of Christ to happen - three of them figurative, but the fourth a real and personal appearing; that these different comings are frequently spoken of in Scripture; and that, although the coming of Christ to destroy Jerusalem (!), and to establish His everlasting kingdom! be represented by His apostles as then at hand, no passage from their writings can be produced in which His personal appearance to judge the world is said or even insinuated to be at hand! The truth is that it is one and the same appearing of the Lord which shall overthrow the last head of Gentile power, destroy the man of sin, and display the saints in glory, as He will judge the world in righteousness in that day also. Nothing can be farther from the truth than that the Spirit does not speak of one and the same day, which is invariably declared to be at hand, not at a great distance. Moreover, the presence of the Lord to gather His own to be with Him on high is not separate from the various aspects of His appearing we have just enumerated, though necessarily anterior to them; for they follow Him out of heaven for that day and appear with Him in glory, instead of being just then caught up to meet Him. His coming for the saints is sovereign grace completing its work for us; His revelation from heaven is to render vengeance to His enemies and be glorified in His saints in the righteous and retributive government of that day.
Now the apostle lets the saints know his prayer for them, of course in view of their existing circumstances and need. "Whereunto we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of the calling, and fulfil every good pleasure of goodness and work of faith in power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." He had already, while introducing the preliminary topic of their persecutions, sought to lift up their hearts by speaking of their endurance and faith in all such troubles. It was a manifest token of God's righteous judgment to the end of their being counted worthy of His kingdom, for which they too suffered, as the apostle might well remind them, instead of their tribulation being an indication that God's judgments were let loose upon them. So now he also prays always for them that God would count them worthy of the calling. Elsewhere we hear of "His" calling, and of "your" calling, and again of "the calling wherewith ye are called." Here it seems better to leave "the" in its own generality than to restrict it simply to "your."
The next clause is that He would bring to completion every good pleasure of goodness end work of faith in power. Certainly this could not be, if they were driven from their steadfastness by listening to the delusions of false teachers. Confidence in the Master's grace produces faithful service, and loves to own that, whatever purpose of goodness may be, whatever work of faith, it is only God that fulfils each and all in power; "so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." As He is not here in fact nor yet reigning over the universe, the name of our Lord, the revelation of Himself, is given us that it may in the power of the Spirit be glorified in us, as we serve the true God and await His Son from heaven. It is a question of keeping His word and not denying His name, whatever the difficulty or discouragements.
But the apostle adds, "and ye in him," for his eye was ever on the bright day, and he would have theirs drawn from their troubles, and every possible misconstruction of them, to that manifestation of the glory of His might and righteousness. For as surely as His name is glorified in the saints now, still more fully, yea absolutely, in that day shall they be glorified in Him, as He is in them (ver. 10). It is no mere iteration of the previous intimation of the apostle, but fresh thoughts completing all, such as only the inspiring Spirit could furnish. To say "in it," for "in Him," would be havoc with the truth in general as well as the context; yet it has been said, doubtless through rage for novelty and lack of appreciating the truth. May we be kept walking firmly in the truth according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ, even as the apostle prayed for his dear Thessalonians. It is an admirable introduction, before directly touching the error by which they had been drawn aside from the freshness of hope into agitation and fear, the result of a misjudgment of the deep trials that were pressing on them.
It is needless to discuss here at length the true bearing of the last clause, which some, out of zeal for the divine glory of our Lord, would have to designate His person only: "of our God and Lord Jesus Christ." But, though this be grammatically a quite possible construction, as it is dogmatically also true in itself, its contextual suitability is another matter. That one article in the singular rightly in Greek designates even distinct persons if the object be to express their union in a common category (as here in "grace"), ought to be known not only to scholars in general, but familiarly to all students of the later body of revelation in its original tongue. Supposing God the Father to be here meant, as well as the Lord Jesus Christ, the insertion of the Greek article was not required, though English needs "the" before Lord Jesus Christ. On the contrary, its insertion in Greek would have been an intrusive error, if both were expressly to be united in a common object; for the repeated article would have had for its effect to present the persons as separate agents rather than as joined. And the nature of the case, as well as the clearly revealed truth of Scripture, shows abundantly that the joint agency of these blessed persons could not be, save in - that which lies behind all - the unity of the divine nature.