IT seems that some things in Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians were not properly understood by them, and so it became necessary for him to write again. In this second letter he says, "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward one another aboundeth; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your

persecutions and tribulations that ye endure." He tells them that this experience is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that they might be accounted worthy of the kingdom of God. He further tells them that God will recompense tribulation to those that persecute them, and that they who suffer patiently for Christ's sake shall have rest, together with all the faithful, when the Lord Jesus Christ shall be revealed from heaven. He says that Christ at that time will be accompanied with his mighty angels, and will in flaming fire take vengeance on the wicked, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power.

The righteous, however, will receive him with joy; for the apostle says, "He shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe."

Paul earnestly prays that his Thessalonian brethren may, in that day, be accounted worthy, so that the Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in them and they in him.

After thus encouraging his brethren by noticing their growth in the Christian graces of faith, love, and patience, -as well as their steadfastness under persecution,-and also depicting, with awful vividness, the fearful retribution that will come upon their persecutors, Paul proceeds to carefully correct their errors, addressing them as follows:-

"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand."

Their ardent hope of the coming of Christ had been the means of leading them into error, and now Paul appeals to that very ardor, and to their fond hopes of meeting their loved ones, as a motive to induce in them the greatest carefulness in reference to making any mistake in so important a matter. They were now looking for the Lord to come in their day. This mistake they could not afford to cherish; for the disappointment that would finally come would be likely to cause many to give up in discouragement. So Paul goes on to instruct them, saying:-

"Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."

After making this plain reference to the development and work of that terrible persecuting power known as the Papacy, he says to them, "Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" Then he tells them that this mystery of iniquity has already begun to work, and that when the power that restrains it is taken away, then shall that Wicked, or the lawless one, be revealed, and shall continue until the Lord Jesus shall come, who will consume him with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming. He also fore-tells the strong delusion that shall mislead those who love not the truth, but take pleasure in unrighteousness. He is thankful that, since his brethren believe the truth, it is the pleasure of God that they should be sanctified through the Spirit, and be glorified with eternal life at the coming of their Lord. He then admonishes them to stand fast, and most earnestly implores both Father and Son to comfort their hearts, and establish them in every good word and work. He asks them to pray for him and his companions, that their preaching may be successful, and that they may be delivered from their persecutors.

It appears that, notwithstanding Paul's admonition in a former letter, there were some who persisted in idleness, and busied themselves in other men's matters. Of such, Paul says, "We command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread;" and further-more he adds: "If any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."

He then closes his letter with words of extreme tenderness, admonishing them not to become weary in well-doing, and imploring the richest blessings upon them.







PAUL'S stay at Thessalonica was not long. The envious Jews, ever ready to stir up sedition against those who came in the name of the despised Jesus of Nazareth, soon set the city in an uproar against these men, who, they claimed, had "turned the world up-side down," and, withal, were enemies of Caesar. So the brethren took the apostles by night, and sent them

on their way to Berea, a town some sixty miles south-east, on the slopes of the Olympian mountains. If the journey from Thessalonica to Berea was at all like what it is now, it may be briefly described as follows: "After leaving the gardens which are in the neighborhood of Thessalonica, the traveler crosses a wide tract of cornfields, and comes to the shifting bed

of the wide-flowing Axius." Between the Axius and the Haliacmon there intervenes another wide extent of the same continuous plain. The banks of this second river are confined by artificial dikes to check its destructive inundations. All the country round is covered with a vast forest, with intervals of cultivated land and villages concealed among the trees. The road extends for many miles through these woods, and at length reaches the western base of the mountains, where a short ascent leads up to the gates of Berea." Berea is a very pleasant town. Plane trees spread a grateful shade over its gardens, and streams of water are in every street. Indeed, its very name, Berea, is said to have been derived from the abundance of its waters. The town still boasts of some eighteen or twenty thousand inhabitants, and is placed second in rank among the cities of European Turkey.

Its modern name is Kara-Verria.

The apostles were well received by the noble-minded Bereans, and their labors met with much success; but when the Jews of Thessalonica heard what they were doing, they came like hunters upon their prey, as they had done before from Iconium to Lystra. So, feeling that his stay in the city was no longer safe, the brethren hurried Paul away, but Silas and Timotheus were left at Berea, perhaps to organize and confirm the new church. Paul, meanwhile, accompanied by some of his new converts, made his way to the sea, and from some convenient point on the coast, took ship for Athens.

The voyage to Athens was along a coast eloquent with historic interest. For a distance of some ninety miles the coast is protected, as it were, by the long, narrow island of Eubwa. Over against the northern part of the island, where the waters of the AEgean Sea retreat far within the land, is the pass of Thermopylae, where a handful of Greek warriors defied all the hosts of Asia. On the shores of a crescent-shaped bay, at the southern part of the same island, is the plain of Marathon, where was gained the famous victory of Marathon by the Athenian Greeks over the vast armies of Persia. Soon after passing the island, the high promontory of Colonna comes in view, still crowned with the white marble columns of the temple of Minerva, which was the landmark to sailors, and betokened a near approach to Athens.

At Athens, Paul tarried a few days to await the coming of his fellow-laborers, Silas and Timotheus.

We can imagine a feeling of loneliness coming over the apostle as he wandered through the streets of the proud city, and saw it "wholly given to idolatry."

He was not to be dazzled by the riches, and beauty, and show of earthly wisdom; and he was indeed, as he says in his epistle to the Thessalonians, "left at Athens alone." But he shrank not from the duty, which, being within her precincts, he owed to the "eye of Greece." In the midst of the Areopagus, among the wise men and philosophers of Athens, and everywhere surrounded by temples and altars to heathen deities, he boldly reproved their idolatry, and declared that the "Lord of heaven and earth dwelleth not in temples made with hands."

And leaving Athens, the apostle, after traveling along the coast of the Saraeenic Gulf for about fifty miles, came to Corinth, the city of the isthmus. Here, though he greatly desired to go to his converts at Thessalonica, who for some reason appear to have been especially near to him, it seemed in the providence of God that he should find his field of labor for a longer

time than at any previous stopping-place.



E. B. C.