rTIHE ancient name of Thessalonica1 was Therme or Therma* -*- 'the hot-spring,' and there are still warm springs in the neighbourhood, though not at Thessalonica itself3. At the time of the Persian invasion it was apparently only a small town4, but it gradually grew in importance and appears occasionally in history. It was at all events sufficiently influential to give its name to the bay on which it stood5.
On the site of Therma, the city of Thessalonica" was founded by Cassander. It was probably at the same time that he rebuilt the city of Potidaea7.
1 On the geography and antiquities of Thessalonica, see Cousinery Voyage dans la Mac€doine i. p. 23 sq. (1831); Leake Northern Greece m. p. 235 sq. (1835); Koch Comm. iib. den ersten Brief an die Thessalonicher (1855) Einleit. § 1, 2; Tafel Historia Thessalonicae (Tubing. 1835) and de Thessalonica dissertatio geographica (Berl. 1839); Pocooke Description of the East u. (2) p. 148 sq. (1743); Belley Observations sur Vhistoire et sur les monuments de la ville Thessalonique; Texier Description de VAsie Mineure (183949); and for its ecclesiastical history Texier Byzantine Church p. ITl sq. (1864). I have not been able to investigate the work by Burgerhoudt de coetus Christ. Thessalonicensis ortu (1825), referred to by Koch, p. 8.
2 .Machines (de Falt. Legat. §§ 31, 36) calls it Qipiia, Herodotus (vii. 121, 123 etc.), Thucydides (i. 61, ii. 29) and Scylax (Geog. Min. p. 26 ed. Hudson) Bipfiri.
* See Tafel H. Th., p. 3, and Pococke, p. 149, quoted by Koch, p. 2. For the name compare Crenides, 'Wells,' the ancient name of Philippi.
* So Tafel (p. 13), but Herodotus (vii. 127) speaks of it as a roXit.
5 Herod, vii. 121.
8 The Greek form is Qeaaa\ovUTi (Steph. Byzant. s.v.), or -tela (Strabo vii. §10).
The name Thessalonica first occurs in Polybius (xxiii. 4. 4, 11. 2, xxix. 3. 7).
7 Diod. Sic. xix. 52.
If so, the date of the foundation of the new city was apparently about the year B.C. 315l. Therma was named Thessalonica after Cassander's wife, the daughter of Philip and half-sister of Alexander: Potidaea he called Cassandreia" after his own name. Of the twin cities Thessalonica was destined far to outstrip her rival3.
Its natural advantages were indeed great, both as regards the sea and as regards the land. It was situated, as Pliny describes it4, in the middle of the bend of the Thermaic gulf. It had a good natural harbour, so excellent indeed that Xerxes, when on his march against Greece, had chosen it as his naval stationIts dockyards are mentioned by Livy'. Nor did its excellence as a military and commercial centre fall short of the prominence which its situation as a seaport gave to it. It was the key to the whole of Macedonia. It commanded by a good land route the two levels—the level of the plain of the Strymon on the one hand, and on the other the level of the converging plains of the Axius, Haliacmon and Echedorus7. It was likewise conveniently situated with respect to that excrescence of Macedonia, the Chalcidic peninsula. For the purpose of inter-communication with more distant centres its situation was all that could be desired.
1 See Niebuhr Ethnol. i. 293.
5 Cassandreia was probably his capital. Tafel (p. 8) quotes a coin K Ac AN Apoy OeccAAoNiKHC. Both however attained great prominence; thus Livy \1 v. 30 says ' Secunda pars celeberrimas urbes Thessalonicam et Cassandream habet.'
3 Another account of the city is that it was founded by Philip to commemorate a victory over the Thessalians. This does not deserve any credit. It appears first in Julian Oral. iii. about seven centuries after the event, and it is there given as a conjecture. In later writers it takes its place with the other account, e.g. Steph. Byzant. ».t>. A third story combines the two former. It represents the city as founded by Philip in honour of his daughter Thes
salonica. All three are given in a passage of Tzetzes quoted by Tafel (p. 5).
4 Pliny N. H. iv. 10. 17 'medio litoris flexus [sinus Thermaici].'
8 Herod, vii. 121.
'Livy xliv. 10. In a moment of despair Perseus had ordered them to be burnt. Five centuries later Constantine the Great, on the eve of his conflict with Licinius (a.d. 322), had the harbour enlarged for the reception of his fleet (Zosimus Hut. ii. 22).
7 On the fertility of the Macedonian plain see Cousinfiry Ii. p. 5, Perrot in the Revue Archtologique (1860) n. p. 49, and compare Appian Bell. Civ. iv. p. 105, Athen. xv. p. 682 B.
8 On this great military road see a treatise of Tafel De via militari Romanorum Egnatia (Tubing. 1837).
The Via Egnatiathat great highroad between Italy and the East which spanned the peninsula, passed through its walls—an advantage the full force of which is appreciated only when we recollect that, owing to the imperfect knowledge of navigation of the ancients, communication by sea was at all times precarious, and at some seasons of the year entirely closed. Such advantages fully justified Cicero's description of its inhabitants as 'lying in the lap' of the Roman Empire
The city grew and flourished. In Strabo's time, a generation or two before St Paul, it was the most populous of the Macedonian cities2. A century later than the Apostle, Lucian speaks to the same effect3. And in spite of invasion, misrule and disaster, it has enjoyed from that time to this a continuous, if comparative, prosperity; fully bearing out Meletius' dictum upon it 'So long as nature does not change, Thessalonica will remain wealthy and fortunate4.' It narrowly escaped being made the capital of the world5. At one time its population seems to have risen above two hundred thousand. At present it has fallen to about a third of that number. It still retains its ancient name, corrupted in Turkish into Selanik, in vulgar Greek into XaXoviitrj, but the educated continue to call it, as of old, ®eo-aa\oViitT) *.
In illustration of the history of St Paul's labours in these parts, two points deserve to be considered (1) its political status, (2) its moral and religious condition.
1 Cio. de prov. conrul. 2 'Thes- Constantinople, Thessalonica is men
salonicenses positi in gremio imperii tioned by Cedrenus (p. 283), and Sar
nostri.' Cicero resided at the place dica by Zonaras, as the intended
when in exile (pro Plane. 41). capital.'
• Strabo vii. 6. 4 ij w niXujta rur 5 Leake in. p. 238. In the West it
&Wuv tvavSpei. was called by the early German poets
> Lucian Asinus § 46 ii. p. 613 (ed. Salneck, Salonicia occurs in a twelfth
Hemsterhus.) T6\tus Tuv iv Ma/eeJoWp century Italian chronicle (Muratori
rrjt luylarrft GeffffaWiK^t. Script, rer. Ital. vn. 876), but Sa
'Cousinery i. p. 24. loniohi is the name by which it is
9 Gibbon ch. xvii. (u. p. 183, ed. now known in Western Europe: sec
Bohn) 'Before the foundation of Koch Einl. p. 3.
1. The political importance of Thessalonica commences with the decline of Greece. It was the capital of the second of the four districts in the first quadripartite division of Macedonia1. At a later re-arrangement of the province it would seem to have been made the capital of Macedonia.
Its native poet Antipater about the time of the Christian era3 says of it
Sot fie, ®pi]iitir}5 <TKvXrjtpope, %eaaa\ov'ucq,
fi.rjrrjp 17 irdari<i irifiyfre MaKT)8oviT]<;.
On coins (though of a much later date) it is styled the metropolis. In the civil wars it had the good fortune to take the winning side, espousing the cause of Octavius and Antony*. It would appear that it owed its privileges as a free city to the services thus rendered to the future master of the world4.
Pliny speaks of it as liberae conditionis*, and there are coins with the inscription GeccAAoNiKeooN eAeyeepiAc (or -piA)5. In the enjoyment of this constitution we find it at the time of the Acts.
Its chief magistrates are iroXirapxai7, a word not known elsewhere in classical literature, but the account of St Luke is remarkably confirmed by an inscription still to be seen at Thessalonica on an arch at the western end of the town8. The Politarchs appear to have been seven in number9.
1 Livy xlv. 18.
* Jacobs Anthol. Or. ii. p. 98, no. sir.
3 Appian Bell. Civ. iv. p. 118, Plutarch Brutus 46. Brutus before Philippi appears to have held out to his soldiers the sacking of the city as an incentive to their valour in action.
* Tafel, p. 20.
3 Pliny, N. H. iv. 10. 17.
* See Cousinery 1. p. 28 and the reff. in Tafel, p. 20.
7 Acts xvii. 6.
8 The inscription is given in Boeckh C. I. G. n. p. 53, no. 1967; Leake Hi. p. 236; Cousinery 1. p. 27; Conybeare and Howson (p. 258), and elsewhere. Quite recently a paper was read on it by Mr Vaux before the Eoyal
Geographical Society, July 4,1866, and a photograph of it produced.
'Not six, as stated by Tafel, p. 21, followed by Dean Howson in Smith's Dictionary of Geography. The latter is correct in his article' Thessalonica' in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible and in his life of St Paul (p. 259). At least there must have been seven, if Boeokh's copy of the inscription is correct, but no two copies that 1 have seen agree.
This inscription illustrates St Paul and St Luke in other respects; first, in the prominence given to women, a fact noted elsewhere [see Philippians, p. 54 sq.]; secondly, in the names, Secundus, Gaius, Sosipater, see above, p. 246.
There is mention also in this inscription of a steward (rafiia<;) of the city, and a gymnasiarch (yvfivaaiApxrj^)1. There was likewise a popular assembly (ov)/ko?) a. The whole city then is essentially Greek, not Roman as Philippi was. As a free city it was spared the ignominy of a permanent Roman garrison within its walls3.
2. The moral and religious condition of Thessalonica was probably not worse than that of any ordinary Greek town, perhaps better, for there was a more sterling moral basis in the Macedonian character than in the Greek4. Still it would be open to all the ordinary temptations of a Greek city and especially of a Greek seaport. Against such St Paul had to warn his converts both orally and by letter5. But no inference of especial immorality in Thessalonica can be drawn from the expressions which he employs. Scarcely a single Epistle of St Paul is without similar warnings.
There was however one element of immorality in Thessalonica which must not be passed over—of immorality which shielded itself under the protection of religion—the worship of the Cabiri, the mystic deities of Satnothrace".
1 The date of the inscription is uncertain. As read by Boeckh, it has the name P. Flavins Sabinus, which, as he truly remarks, points to a date not earlier than Vespasian. As read by others, only the Sabinus remains. Cousineiy (i. p. 28) on very insufficient grounds assigns the arch to the age of Augustus, supposing that it was erected to commemorate the battle of Philippi. Leake (in. p. 236) considers it to be later. The writer of the article in Macmillan't Magaxine alluded to already (see above, p. 243) informs me that it was his impression that the inscription need not be part of the original arch.
1 The word Sfjfios likewise occurs in St Luke's narrative in reference to Thessalonica (Acts xvii. 5 itfrow aiV robs rpoayayuv fit T6v Sijfiov). He uses
it also twice in the analogous case of Ephesus (Acts xix. 30, 33).
3 See Dirksen Vertuche zur Kritik ia. p. 140 sq. (Lips. 1823).
4 The story in Lncian (Asinus § 49 -56) has been put in evidence, as showing a very low state of morals in Thessalonica. This is unfair, as Tafel justly remarks (p. 25).
5 1 Thess. iv. 3—6.
• On the Cabiri see especially Lobeck Aglaoph. in. c. 5, p. 1202 sq. (and esp. p. 1256 sq., where he treats of their worship in Macedonia), Creuzer's Symiolik und Mythologie in. p. 1736, p. 159 sq. (3rd ed.). The article in Pauly Real-Encycl. der clatt. AlterMm. n. p. 2, by K. W. Mttller, contains an abstract of the opinions of the principal writers on this subject.
This worship had been patronised by Philip1, and by Alexander*. It is especially identified with the Macedonians', and more particularly still with the Thessalonians4. About the time of St Paul a political sanction was given to the worship—or rather, a religious sanction to the political system as derived from the worship—by deifying the Emperor as a Ka/3ei/>o?'.
To these Cabiric rites, in which gross immorality was promoted under the name of religion, we may suppose that St Paul alluded, when he deprecated any connexion between his gospel and uncleanness", a disclaimer which happily would sound strange from the lips of a minister of any religious denomination now, but which is quite intelligible in St Paul's day, when read in the light of the foul orgies of the Cabiric worship or of similar rites7.
1 Plut. Vit. Alex. o. 2.
2 Philostr. ii. 43. 94.
'Laotant. Div. Inst. i. 15, Summa veneratione coluerunt...Macedones Cabirum.
* Firniicus de Err. Prof. Rel. o. 11, Huno eundem Macedonum colit stulta persuasio. Hie est Cabirus, cui Thessalonioenses quondam cruento [ore] cruentis manibua supplicabant. Cabiric coins of Thessalonica are not infrequent (see Cousinery i. p. 28, PI. L). On the Cabiric games see Tafel, p. 24.
Cousinery supposes that this worship was not introduced into Thessalonica before the reign of Claudius, on the very insufficient ground that no Cabiric coins are found at an earlier date (i. p. 35 sq.). It is in the highest degree improbable that a worship which is especially connected with the Greek kings of Macedonia should not have found its way into the principal city of Macedonia earlier.
On less slender grounds still he finds a temple of Hie Cabiri in an ancient building still existing (2. c).
4 See the coins and esp. Cousinery i. p. 38.
« 1 Thess. ii. 3.
7 On the Jewish population of Thessalonica something has been said already; see above, p. 243. In the present day the Jews are probably the most numerous section of the inhabitants. They have a quarter of their own. Various estimates of their numbers are given (see Conybeare and Howson, p. 383), the largest being that of W. G. C. in Macmillan's Magazine Feb. 1863, see above, p. 243. The writer of the article informs me that he heard it on the spot, on authority that he cannot question. He adds moreover that the Jews have an interest in representing themselves as fewer than they are, owing to the polltax. Many of the Jews of modem Thessalonica settled there in the fifteenth century, having been driven out of Spain by the persecution in that country, but they must have been induced to settle there by the fact that there was already a large Jewish population. On the Rabbinical school at Thessalonica see Milinan History of the Jews in. p. 419 (ed. 1866), and on the whole question see Cousinery i. pp. 19, 49; Leake in. p. 249 sq.
Fresh from the insults and sufferings he had undergone at Philippi, but nothing daunted, he arrives at Thessalonica *. With the Jews he commences his labours8. On the Sabbath day he enters the synagogue. The details may be supplied from the similar scene recorded as having taken place at an earlier period in Antioch of Pisidia3. The law and the prophets read, he is invited, we may suppose, by the rulers of the synagogue to offer a word of exhortation. He avails himself of the opportunity, and preaches, arguing from the Scriptures. He sets himself to prove two things: (i) That it was ordained that Messias should suffer; (ii) that Jesus whom he preaches is the Messias. For three successive Sabbath-days (eVi rpia adfUfiara') he preaches5.
Of his missionary labours in the course of the week St Luke says nothing. We may supply the omission from his conduct at Athens (Acts xvii. 17). He would appear in the market place, engaging in conversation and trying to interest persons in his message. The account of St Luke however is silent as to his labours beyond the first three weeks of his stay. Had we merely the historian's narrative we might have supposed that he only stayed so long. It is plain however from the Epistles that the length of his sojourn was much greater8. At the close of these three weeks we may suppose that he devoted himself more exclusively to the heathen7.
1 1 These, ii. 2.
3 Acts xvii. 1 sq.
3 Acts xiii. 15; and cf. Lake iv. 16 sq.
4 It matters little whether we translate ffo/3/9ata ' weeks' or 'sabbath-days.' The meaning is the same, viz. that (or three weeks he repeated his preaching in the synagogue on the sabbath.
5 We may imagine him doing so, as at the Pisidian Antioch, at the request of some of the congregation who, interested in his teaching, thronged about him as he left the synagogue (Acts xiii. 42), and requested him to resume his preaching; or he may even have
found favour with the ruler of the synagogue, as at Corinth. From whatever cause, however, he was allowed to repeat his message.
8 We gather this (1) from the success of his labours among the Gentiles; (2) from the mention of the way in which he was engaged, especially his working 'day and night'; (3) from the notices given in Phil. iv. 16 of contributions sent to him more than once (turat "al Sit).
7 The incidents at the Pisidian Antioch are here again a parallel (Acts xiii. 45, 46).
But meanwhile it was necessary that he should find means of support. He did not wish to hinder the Thessalonians. He did not wish to clog his message with the suspicion that would attach to it, if he sought any return for his labours. He would not appear to preach under 'a cloke of covetousness V His wants were supplied in two ways, by the labours of his own hands *, and by contributions received from Philippi3.
Meanwhile he preached zealously. He alludes more than once to the subject of his preaching in the Epistles: and thus we are enabled to supplement the notice in the Acts, already alluded to, which refers mainly to his labours in the synagogue.
His preaching seems to have turned mainly upon one point —the approaching judgment, the coming of Christ. They had been invited at their conversion to await the Son of God from heaven4. They were warned that He would come, as a thief in the night5. At the same time they were told that many things must happen first, that Antichrist must gather strength, that 'the Restrainer' must be removed'. Around this one doctrine the Apostle's practical warnings and exhortations had clustered. He warned them that they must suffer tribulation', the tribulation which was to usher in the end of all things, the persecution from the power of Antichrist. He bade them abstain from impurity lest they should find vengeance in the day of the Lord's coming". He had charged them to walk worthily of God who was calling them to His kingdom and glory'.
But the flood of new experiences, poured in upon them, threatened to unsettle the foundations on which the social structure was built. In the immediate presence of the great crisis which was to change all things, why should they attend to the petty details, the common avocations, of daily life? In the flush of fresh and glorious hopes, was it right, was it possible, to care for the things of this world? There were some, doubtless, who honestly drew this inference from the Apostle's teaching. There were many who, without examining their own motives, would greedily seize hold of so lofty a pretext for shirking the manifold responsibilities of their social position. This restless and feverish spirit had appeared while the Apostle was still at Thessalonica; and he had set himself to counteract it. He told them that their true ambition should be to keep quiet, to attend to their business, to labour with their own hands1. The bread of the Church was not for those who refused to work*. Laborare est orare is the true maxim of the Christian, be the Advent far or near.
In such spirit the Apostle preached. Of the results of his preaching we have ample evidence. 'His entrance in to them was not in vain3.' They received the word in much affliction with joy of the Holy Ghost4. The fame of their conversion spread throughout Macedonia and Achaia, and 'in every place5.' Among the Jews indeed his success appears not to have been great*, yet among these two are mentioned by name, whose faithful adherence to the Apostle is placed on record. Jason _ whose correct name was Jesus7, but who had assumed the heathen name which most nearly resembled it, calls down the wrath of his countrymen upon himself by entertaining the Apostle while at Thessalonica. Aristarchus, another convert from the Circumcision8, is his constant companion, suffering for him at Ephesus, and apparently sharing his imprisonment at Rome.
1 1 These, iv. 12. 'lovSaluv, iirtiaBitaav.
2 2 Thess. iii . 10. 7 Cf. Josepb. Ant. xii. 5. 1,6 ftiv ov v
* 1 Thess. ii. 1. 'it7<to0s Uauva iavriv utruvoiiaaer; cf.
'1 Thess. i. 6. also Aristn of Pella in Kouth R. S. i.
5 1 Thess. i. 8. This is an indirect pp. 97, 107; fiud see the article by
testimony to the central position of B. F. \V. in Smith's Diet, of the Bible
Thessalonica noticed above (p. 294). t. v. Jason.
5 Acts xvii. 4, nvit i% airuv, i.e. Tuc a Col. iv. 10, 11; see above, p. 246.
With the proselytes and with the heathen his success was greater1. It was from the last-mentioned however that the vast majority of the new disciples were drawn3. They turned from idols to serve the living and true God3. Among his converts were many ladies of the first rank4.
These successes provoke the hatred of the Jews. They enlist on their side the profligate idlers of the city, of which in a seaport town there would be many, the lazzaroni of Thessalonica*. They besiege the house of Jason, where Paul and his companions were lodged, wanting to drag them before the people, probably in the theatre5. Not finding them there, they carry Jason and certain converts before the Politarchs. They accuse them of high treason. They are setting up a rival to the Roman Emperor, a king Jesus7. The main topic of the Apostle's preaching had given the handle to their accusation. He had, as we saw, laid great stress on the coming judgment, on the kingdom of Christ. Ignoring or misapprehending his true meaning, they represented him as setting up a temporal kingdom8.
1 Acts xvii. 4, Tuv rt fftfiofUvtav [kqx\ EXXi)ruk Tx^9os To\6. The received text is Tuv re aefiofUvuv 'EXXijrw 'of devout Greeks' Le. of Greek proselytes (so also N). For this Tcw re aepofUruv Kal "BXMpor is read by AD vulg. eopt., but not by B, as Koch states. This brings the account into more direct agreement with the language of the Epistles; and in its favour may be urged (Koch Einl. p. 8) that aefi6nevoi elsewhere stands by itself (Acts xvii. 17) for proselytes. Koch refers to Burgerhoudt (p. 93); see also Paley Horte Paul. p. 281.
3 This appears from the evidence of the Epistles. For (i) he addresses his readers distinctly as having been converted from idol-worship, 1 Thess. i. 9, quoted below, cf. ii. 14, 16; (ii) he refrains from any direct allusion to the O. T., which would certainly have
occurred had he been addressing Jews chiefly or proselytes.
• 1 Thess. i. 9.
4 Acta xvii. 4.
e Acts xvii. 5 'certain lewd fellows of the baser sort' (A.V.). This archaic use of the word 'lewd,' as equivalent to 'ignorant,' is not uncommon in early English literature: 'the leude man, the grete clerke Shall stonde upon his owne werke' Gower Con/. Am. i. £84; 'the lered and the lewed' Piers Ploughman's Vis. 2100, and other instances given by W. A. Wright Bible Word-book, s.v.
'As in the riot at Ephesus, Acts xix. 29, 30, 31.
7 The exact parallel to John xix. 12, 15 is worth noticing.
8 This is rightly regarded as an undesigned coincidence of a striking kind. The history supplies the account of the charges brought against 1 1 Thess. ii. 17.
him. The Epistles supply the matter 3 1 Thess. ii. 18 araf <tai Sit.
of his preaching (see esp. 1 Thess. ii. 3 1 Thess. i. 6; ii. 14, 15; iii. 3, 5, 7.
12; 2 Thess. i. 6). The two coincide 4 1 Thess. iii. 1, 2, 5.
The magistrates no less than the populace are alarmed at these representations. They take securities from Jason and the rest, as persons who had disturbed, or were suspected of disturbing, the public peace. The Apostle had hitherto lain concealed. Seeing that events had taken a turn so unfavourable to the continuance of his labours, he left Thessalonica in company with Silas under cover of night.
These events occurred on St Paul's second missionary journey —probably in the year 52. From Thessalonica he went to Beroea. Thence he was driven out at the instigation of some Jews from Thessalonica, who, hearing of his successes there, followed him. From Beroea he went to Athens, and from Athens to Corinth. As he does not seem to have remained long at either of these intermediate places, it was not many months—probably not many weeks—after he left Thessalonica that he entered Corinth.
But meanwhile his anxiety for his Thessalonian disciples was increasing daily1. He had made more than one unsuccessful attempt to revisit them3. The storm of persecution was gathering while he was yet at Thessalonica. He knew that he had left to his new converts a heritage of suffering. He had warned them of what awaited them. Would they yield to persecution and renounce their allegiance3? At length the suspense became too terrible. He could no longer contain himself4. He denied himself the services of Timothy, and despatched him—whether from Beroea or from Athens is uncertain —to visit Thessalonica and report to him of the condition of his new converts.
The Apostle is now at Corinth; Timothy returns. The report of the Thessalonian Church is most favourable. Their personal affection for the Apostle is as strong as ever; and undaunted by persecution they had remained steadfast in a very remarkable way.
faith and in deeds of love1. It was as new life to the Apostle to hear these glad tidings*. In the first flush of joy and gratitude he wrote to the Thessalonians to encourage them to persevere and to advise them on certain matters, where they seemed to need his advice. This is the First Epistle to the Thessalonians.
For notwithstanding that Timothy's report was so cheering, there were some points on which they required correction or instruction.
These points were as follows:—
(1) The error, of which he had discerned the beginnings while he was still in Thessalonica, and which he had striven to check, had gained ground meanwhile. The very intensity of their Christian faith, dwelling too exclusively on the day of the Lord's coming, had been attended with evil consequences. A practical inconvenience of some moment had arisen. In their feverish expectation of this great crisis, some had been led to neglect their ordinary business8. There was a spirit of restlessness manifest in the Thessalonian Church. The Apostle rebukes this.
(2) In connexion with the doctrine of the Lord's advent another difficulty had arisen—not a practical one, but a theoretical one—which had troubled the minds of many. Certain members of the Church had died, and there was great anxiety lest they should be excluded from any share in the glories of the Lord's advent4. The Apostle sets himself to quiet this anxiety.
(3) An unhealthy state of feeling with regard to spiritual gifts was manifesting itself. Like the Corinthians at a later day8, they needed to be reminded of the superior value of 'prophesying,' compared with other gifts of the Spirit which they exalted at its expense".
» 1 Thess. iii. 6; cf. i. 5 sq.; iv. 10. 4 1 Thess. iv. 13-18.
3 1 Thess. iii. 8 rCr finev iitv iiuU 8 1 Cor. xiv. 3, f, 5, 22, 24.
<rHiKtrt. ■ 1 Thess. v. 19, 20. 1 1 Thess. iv. 11.
(4) There were symptoms of a tendency to despise lawfully constituted authorities, and generally a spirit of unruliness was showing itself—not unconnected, as I have already hinted, with that independence of temper which was characteristic of the Macedonians1.
(5) There was the danger, which they shared in common with most Gentile Churches, of relapsing into their old heathen profligacy*. Against this the Apostle offers a word in season. We need not suppose, however, that Thessalonica was worse in this respect than other Greek cities.
The letter was written partly to correct these errors, but still more to express his satisfaction with his converts, and to cheer them under persecution3.
Between the First and the Second Epistles no long interval seems to have elapsed. Some information as to the state of the Thessalonian Church has reached the Apostle meanwhile, by what source it is not known. Some of the vicious tendencies, which he had endeavoured to check, were still further developed. And some misunderstanding as to his teaching had arisen.
To meet these he wrote the Second Epistle. The two prominent points in the Epistle are as follows:—
(i) Misapprehension had spread as to the nearness of the Advent. It was maintained that the Apostle had declared it to be imminent4.
(ii) The restles i and unruly spirit, which he had before rebuked, was gaining ground8.
At the same time, and not unconnected with these errors, St Paul's personal relations with the Thessalonians had become less satisfactory. His authority had been tampered with, and an unauthorised use was made of his name. It is difficult to ascertain the exact circumstances of the case from casual and indirect allusions, and indeed we may perhaps infer from the vagueness of the Apostle's own language that he himself was not in possession of definite information; but at all events his suspicions were aroused.
1 1 Thess. v. 12-14; tee above, p. 248.
8 1 Thess. iv. 3-8.
* 1 Thess. ii. 14; iii. 2, 4.
4 2 Thess. ii. 1 sq.
3 2 Thess. iii. 6-12.
Designing men might misrepresent his teaching in two ways, either by suppressing what he actually had written or said, or by forging letters and in other ways representing him as teaching what he had not taught. St Paul's language hints in different places at both of these modes of false dealing. He seems to have entertained suspicions of this dishonesty even when he wrote the First Epistle. At the close of that Epistle he binds the Thessalonians by a solemn oath,'in the name of the Lord,' to see that the Epistle is read 'to all the holy brethren'1—a charge unintelligible in itself, and only to be explained by supposing some misgivings in the Apostle's mind. Before the Second Epistle is written, his suspicions seem to have been confirmed, for there are two passages which allude to these misrepresentations of his teaching. (1) In the first of these he tells them in vague language, which may refer equally well to a false interpretation put upon his own words in the First Epistle, or to a supplemental letter forged in his name, 'not to be troubled either by spirit or byword or by letter, as coming from us, as if the day of the Lord were at hand.' They are not to be deceived, he adds, by any one, whatever means he employs (icara firjBeva rpoirov, ii. 2, 3). (2) In the second passage at the close of the Epistle he says, 'The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is a token in every Epistle: so I write' (iii. 17), evidently a precaution against forgery'.
And not only so. If there were unscrupulous persons, who tampered with his authority, there were also unruly ones who denied it, or were disposed to deny it.
1 1 These, v. 27. /i6\ov drdoroXoi frfavluv ytyipuKav' a
3 That such precautions were not p&v i^aipovrres, a Si rpoartderrff ots ri unnecessary is proved by the complaint oial Ktitm. oi davfuurr6v &pa el itoJ Tuv of Dionysius of Corinth (in Eus. H. E. Kvpiaituv f>aSiovpyijatd nves Hipippitai iv. 23, see Bouth R. S. i. p. 181), irur- ypatpuv, irire itaJ rais oi twoirrais iriroXas yip dSe\<pu>u iJ-uurivtuv lu fitpov\evKaai.
ypixfiai fypo^a. ita! tatfrat oi rod 4ia
St Paul asserts his office much more strongly in this Epistle than in the former1. Yet still these were but slight blemishes on a Church with which generally the Apostle was thoroughly satisfied. The errors were confined to a few, and had not assumed a virulent form. The Apostle is bound to thank God for the exceeding growth of their faith and the abundance of their love3.
The Thessalonian Church is now but a very few months old —a little more than a year at most. From this time forward it disappears from the Apostolic history. As regards the Churches of Macedonia generally we have the Apostle's testimony to their satisfactory condition, and we can well believe that the Thessalonians were included in his commendation. But of Thessalonica especially we know absolutely nothing. Even the name occurs but twice in the New Testament at a later date3. One of these passages refers to incidents within the period of its infancy which I have already considered: in the other it occurs quite incidently. Neither throws any light on its condition.
And this is true of its subsequent ecclesiastical history. The Church of Thessalonica passes through a period of thick darkness, from which it emerges at length in the fourth century. So far as I know, there are but two notices of it during two centuries and a half or more, and these are of the briefest and most meagre character4. From Melito's Apology it appears that the Emperor Antoninus Pius had written to the people of Thessalonica, among other places, telling them to take no new steps against the Christians*. This would seem to show an important and a struggling Church at Thessalonica in the middle of the second century. At the beginning of the next century, Tertullian' couples it with Philippi as a Church where the letters of the Apostles are read in the original.
1 2 Tliess. iii. 14, 15; of. ii. 15, iii. 4. * Melito Apology, firiSiv veurepltet v
3 2 These, i. 3. irepl V"3r (1-6. riiv Xpurruuiuv). The • Phil. iv. 16, 2 Tim. iv. 10. passage is given above, p. 244, from
4 On the other hand Conybeare and Eus. //. E. iv. 26: it has escaped the Howson (p. 250) speak of Thessalonica diligence of Tafel, pp. 9, 30. 'boasting of a series of Christian annals 5 Tertull. de praescr. 36, 'apud quas unbroken since the day of St Paul's ipsae authenticae literae eorum reoiarrival.' tantur.'
Of its early bishops two are mentioned, Aristarchus in Bede's martyrology1, and Gaius by Origen", if this latter be not a confusion with Gaius of Macedonia3. It could boast of a martyr in the Diocletian persecution*, and the church raised in his honour, the church of St Demetrius, now a mosque, is the most splendid in Thessalonica*. Nor does Demetrius appear to stand alone, if an epithet ((piXofidprvpe^) applied to the congregation at large be something more than a complimentary title'. More than once the names of its bishops appear on the records of ecclesiastical councils, and at the Council of Sardica (A.D. 343) its bishop Aetius claimed for the metropolis of the people of Thessalonica the consideration due to its importance and its population'. While the glories of Antioch and Alexandria gradually pale, Thessalonica rises into splendour. In the fourth century Theodoret in a striking passage8 points to the city as the greatest and most populous in the district.
1 On Aug. 4; see Le Quien Or. Chr. a. p. 27.
2 Origen on Bom. xvi. 23; see above, p. 247.
3 Acts xix. 29.
* The year of the martyrdom of Demetrius must be fixed at A.d. 303 or 306, according as the Maximianus mentioned in the acts of his martyrdom (Anastatius Bibliothecarius p. 88; Photius Biblioth. 255) is considered to be Herculius or Oalerius. Simeon the Metaphrast (for Oct. 8, pp. 90, 96) and an anonymous biographer of the sixth century call him Maximianus Herculius, but on the other hand he is represented as having conquered the Sarmatians, which was done, not by Herculius, but by Galerius (Oros. Hist. vii. 25; see Cornelius Byeus Acta Sanctorum Octobrii iv. Brussels 1780). Demetrius' festival is kept by the Western Church on Oct. 8 (Martyrol.
Roman. Vet.), by the Eastern Church on Oct. 26. His cult sprang rapidly into prominence in the fifth century. He received the title of fivpoftMtrjs from the streams of holy oil, which were said to issue from his relics and to cure diseases.
° Cousinery i. p. 41, Leake in. p. 242.
5 It occurs in an anonymous writer quoted by John of Thessalonica (Act. Sanct. iv. 48, p. 121). A little lower down, one saint, a virgin called Matrons, is mentioned by name.
7 Canon, xvi. 'AMos Mtfkotos eTrev , Ovk d-yroen-f irrota Kal 7rijX//oj rvyx^1 i) tuv Beaffdkovixivr ^vrpdro\ts K.t.\. (Mansi ConciL iu. p. 17; cf. Hefele Conciliengesch. i. p. 577).
8 Theodoret H. E. v. 17, Btwa\oVlkri roXti tori fieyltmj Kal ro\vdrdpuros. The whole passage is important.
Its resistance to the successive attacks of the barbarian hordes—whether Goths or Sclavonians—and the noble share which it took in the conversion to Christianity of each successive tribe of invaders won for it the proud title of' the orthodox city1.'
At present its population represents more fully the creed of the adversaries of St Paul than the creed of St Paul himself— the Jewish than the Christian faith. Only a minority of the inhabitants are Christians'. But the memory of the great Apostle lives and is honoured by those who deny the truths which he first taught within its walls. Two pretended relics of St Paul the city possesses in two rival pulpits which stand in two of the principal mosques, and contend for the honour of having been the place from which the Gospel was first preached by the Great Apostle of the Gentiles3.
1 This title was given to it by (a.i>. 1430). Cameniata in the tenth century [ri - For a most interesting account of
5ofoc airrrir Kal efrai xal bvofiafea- Jewish life in those parts, and on the dan § 3). Tafel, who has studied the general relation of Judaism and Chrismedieval history of the city with great tianity, see Benan Les Apotrea p. 284 sq. care, couples it with Constantinople (ed. 1866). On the present eoolesiastias the twin bulwark of Eastern Chris- cal organization of the district see tendom. Though frequently besieged, Leake in. p. 250. the city was only captured three times, * Macmillan's Magazine Feb. 1863 by the Saracens (a.d. 904), the Nor- pp. 314, 5. mans (a.d. 1185), and finally the Turks