“Now we exhort you, brethren, etc.]”
This is said either to the ministers of the word that laboured among them, presided over them, and admonished them; and the rather, because some of these things here directed to are pressed upon the members of the church in (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and which otherwise must make a repetition here; or to the members in conjunction with their pastors:
“warn them that are unruly;”
Or disorderly, idle persons, working not at all, busying themselves with other men’s matters, and living upon the church’s stock, reprove them for their sloth, exhort them to work with their own hands, to do their own business, and with quietness eat their own bread; or such who keep not their places in the church, but are like soldiers that go out of their rank, desert their companies, and fly from their colours, or stand aside, rebuke these, and exhort them to fill up their places, to abide by the church, and the ordinances of Christ; or such who are contentious and quarrelsome, turbulent, headstrong, and unruly, that cause and foment animosities and divisions, check them, admonish them, lay them under censure, for such a custom and practice is not to be allowed of in the churches of Christ.
“Comfort the feebleminded:”
Such as are not able to bear the loss of near and dear relations; are ready to stagger under the cross, and at the reproaches and persecutions of the world; and are almost overset with the temptations of Satan; and are borne down and discouraged with the corruptions of their hearts, speak a comfortable word to them, encourage them with the doctrines of grace, and the promises of the Gospel.
“Support the weak;”
Who are weak in faith and knowledge, strengthen them, hold them up; or as the Syriac version renders it, “take the burden of the weak” and carry it, bear their infirmities, as directed in (Romans 15:1),
“be patient towards all men;”
Towards the unruly, the feebleminded, and the weak as well as to believers; give place to wrath, and leave vengeance to him to whom it belongs; exercise longsuffering and forbearance with fellow creatures and fellow Christians.
John Gill (1697-1771) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher and theologian. He was appointed the Pastor of Goat Yard Chapel, Horsleydown, Southwark, serving this position for fifty-one years. He was the first Baptist to write an exhaustive systematic theology, setting forth High-Calvinistic views and a clear Baptist polity which became the backbone for the churches subscribing to them. John Hazelton wrote of him:
”[Augustus] Toplady held in high regard Dr. John Gill (1697-1771), and applied to him and to his controversial writings what was said of the first Duke of Marlborough—that he never besieged a town that he did not take, nor fought a battle that he did not win. Gill's book on the Canticles is a beautiful and experimental exposition of Solomon's Song; his "Cause of God and Truth" is most admirable and suggestive; and his "Body of Divinity" one of the best of its kind. His commentary upon the Old and New Testament is a wonderful monument of sanctified learning, though it has been so used as to rob many a ministry of living power. It is the fashion now to sneer at Gill, and this unworthy attitude is adopted mostly by those who have forsaken the truths he so powerfully defended, and who are destitute of a tithe of the massive scholarship of one of the noblest ministers of the Particular and Strict Baptist denomination. The late Dr. Doudney rendered inestimable service by his republication, in 1852, of Gill's Commentary, printed at Bonmahon, Waterford, Ireland, by Irish boys. Gill was born at Kettering, and passed away at his residence at Camberwell, his last words being: "O, my Father! my Father!" For fifty-one years, to the time of his death, he was pastor of the Baptist Church, Fair Street, Horselydown, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. His Hebrew learning was equal to that of any scholar of his day, and his Rabbinical knowledge has never been equalled outside Judaism. His "Dissertation Concerning the Eternal Sonship of Christ" is most valuable, and this foundation truth is shown by him to have been a part of the faith of all Trinitarians for about 1,700 years from the birth of our Lord. In His Divine nature our blessed Lord was the co-equal and co-eternal Son of God, and as such He became the Word of God. The Scriptures nowhere intimate that Christ is the Son of God by office, or that His Sonship is founded on His human nature. This is not a strife about words, but is for our life, our peace, our hope. Dr. Gill's pastoral labours were much blest; to the utmost fidelity he united real tenderness, and at the Lord's Supper he was always at his best.
"He set before their eyes their dying Lord—
How soft, how sweet, how solemn every word!
How were their hearts affected, and his own!
And how his sparkling eyes with glory shone!"