6. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
6. Et vos imitatores nostri facti estis et Domini, dum sermonem amplexi estis in tribulatione multa, cum gaudio Spiritus sancti:
7. So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
7. Ita ut fueritis exemplaria omnibus credentibus in Macedonia et in Achaia.
8. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
8. A vobis enim personuit sermo Domini: nec in Macedonia tantum et in Achaia, sed etiam in omni loco, fides vestra quae in Deum est manavit: ita ut non opus habeamus quicquam loqui.
6 And ye became imitators. With the view of increasing their alacrity, he declares that there is a mutual agreement, and harmony, as it were, between his preaching and their faith. For unless men, on their part, answer to God, no proficiency will follow from the grace that is offered to them -- not as though they could do this of themselves, but inasmuch as God, as he begins our salvation by calling us, perfects it also by fashioning our hearts to obedience. The sum, therefore, is this -- that an evidence of Divine election shewed itself not only in Paul's ministry, in so far as it was furnished with the power of the Holy Spirit, but also in the faith of the Thessalonians, so that this conformity is a powerful attestation of it. He says, however, |Ye were imitators of God and of us,| in the same sense in which it is said, that the people believed God and his servant Moses, (Exodus 14:13 ) not as though Paul and Moses had anything different from God, but because he wrought powerfully by them, as his ministers and instruments. While ye embraced. Their readiness in receiving the gospel is called an imitation of God, for this reason, that as God had presented himself to the Thessalonians in a liberal spirit, so they had, on their part, voluntarily come forward to meet him.
He says, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, that we may know that it is not by the instigation of the flesh, or by the promptings of their own nature, that men will be ready and eager to obey God, but that this is the work of God's Spirit. The circumstance, that amidst much tribulation they had embraced the gospel, serves by way of amplification. For we see very many, not otherwise disinclined to the gospel, who, nevertheless, avoid it, from being intimidated through fear of the cross. Those, accordingly, who do not hesitate with intrepidity to embrace along with the gospel the afflictions that threaten them, furnish in this an admirable example of magnanimity. And from this it is so much the more clearly apparent, how necessary it is that the Spirit should aid us in this. For the gospel cannot be properly, or sincerely received, unless it be with a joyful heart. Nothing, however, is more at variance with our natural disposition, than to rejoice in afflictions.
7 So that ye were. Here we have another amplification -- that they had stirred up even believers by their example; for it is a great thing to get so decidedly the start of those who had entered upon the course before us, as to furnish assistance to them for prosecuting their course. Typus (the word made use of by Paul) is employed by the Greeks in the same sense as Exemplar is among the Latins, and Patron among the French. He says, then, that the courage of the Thessalonians had been so illustrious, that other believers had borrowed from them a rule of constancy. I preferred, however, to render it patterns, that I might not needlessly make any change upon the Greek phrase made use of by Paul; and farther, because the plural number expresses, in my opinion, something more than if he had said that that Church as a body had been set forward for imitation, for the meaning is, that there were as many patterns as there were individuals.
8 For from you sounded forth. Here we have an elegant metaphor, by which he intimates that their faith was so lively, that it did, as it were, by its sound, arouse other nations. For he says that the word of God sounded forth from them, inasmuch as their faith was sonorous for procuring credit for the gospel. He says that this had not only occurred in neighboring places, but this sound had also extended far and wide, and had been distinctly heard, so that the matter did not require to be published by him.