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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT
2 THESSALONIANS 3
Ver. 1. May run. That is, may spread itself, and have free course. Ch.
Ver. 2. From troublesome, or importunate men. In the Greek, is signified men who act unreasonably, absurdly, &c. Wi. — For all men have not faith. Faith is a gift of God, which he is not obliged to give but to whom he will. S. Paul here assures us that he finds nothing but obstacles in his great work, nothing but enemies of the truth, and nothing but men who resist the inspirations and calls of God, opposing the preaching of the gospel. He exhorts them not to be scandalized at what they see him suffer, but to return thanks to God, who has vouchsafed to call them, giving them an understanding and docile heart. Calmet.
Ver. 3. From evil. It may either signify evil things, or the evil one, the devil. Wi.
Ver. 5. Or, according to the Greek, may the Lord direct and carry your hearts to the love of God, and to the expectation of Jesus Christ.
Ver. 6. Charge, or declare; or by the Greek, we command. — In the name of our Lord. This may signify a separation by excommunication. Wi. — That you withdraw, &c. S. Chrysostom upon this place, S. Austin, Theophylactus, and others understand S. Paul as speaking of a kind of excommunication. But S. Chrys. on v. 13. and 14. seems to restrain its meaning to a prohibition for the guilty to speak to any body, unless they spoke to him, if their conversation tended to exhort him to repentance. Theophylactus likewise remarks that this punishment was formerly much dreaded, though now not in use.
Ver. 8. Burthensome. By the Greek, he understands those who being idle, and not keeping themselves employed, lead a disorderly life. Wi.
Ver. 9. If I, to whom you are indebted for the preaching of the gospel, have yielded my claims, unwilling to receive any thing from you, and even labouring with my own hands for the necessaries of life, how are those to be borne with who do nothing, and yet will be supported at another's expense? for S. Paul had witnessed amongst them some of this idle disposition. Estius.
Ver. 10. Not work. By prying with curiosity into other men's actions. He that is idle, saith S. Chrys. will be given to curiosity. Wi. — The apostles, like our Lord, were fond of introducing popular saying or axioms. Another, and not unlike the former, is found in one of the Jewish rabbies, Zeror:
Qui non laboraverit in Prosabbato, nè edat in Sabbato.
Ver. 12. Eat their own bread, which they work for, and deserve, not that of others. Wi.
Ver. 14. Here the apostle teaches that our pastors must be obeyed, and not only secular princes; and with respect to such as will not be obedient to their spiritual governors, the apostle, (as S. Austin affirmeth) ordains that they be corrected by admonition, by degradation, or excommunication. Cont. Donat. post Callat. c. iv. 20. & l. de correp. & grat. c. iii.
Ver. 15. Do not regard him as an enemy. A necessary introduction for those whom Providence has placed over others, to admonish and correct them, but with charity and peace; so that we neither be, nor give them occasion to think we are their enemies. Wi. — He is your brother; compassionate his weakness; he is a sick member of the same body of which you are one of the members; the greater his infirmity, the greater should be your charity and anxiety for his cure; the greater excommunication separated the delinquent from the communion of the Church, making him in our regard as a heathen or a publican. But he is not here speaking of this kind, for he allows the faithful to speak to him for his spiritual advantage. Calmet.
Ver. 17. The salvation of, &c. The apostle gives them this caution, for fear the faithful might be deceived by fictitious letters. For they had already received one of this kind, which had terrified them, by foretelling that the day of judgment was at hand. This deception he is here anxious to remove, signing the present communication with his own hand, and sealing it with his own seal. For although the rest of the epistle had been written by another, these words to the end were written by himself. Estius. — All the civilities of this great doctor of grace terminate in wishing it to his friends. This is his genuine character, because it is the love and continual effusion of his heart. V. — Amen. This the congregation added after the epistle had been read, and from this circumstance alone has it found a place here. Polus synopsis Criticorum, p. 1003, vol. 4.