1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.…
Plato makes Socrates say to his friends, after drinking the poison, "How singular is the thing called pleasure, and how curiously related to pain, which might be thought the opposite of it! For they never come to a man together; and yet he who possesses either is generally compelled to take the other! They are two, and yet they grow together out of one head or stem; and I cannot help thinking that, if AEsop had noticed them, he would have made a fable about God trying to reconcile their strife, and, when He could not, fastening their heads together; and this is the reason why, when one comes, the other follows." That is a heathen speculation on one of the great mysteries of human life. The mystery appears intensified in Christian life (2 Corinthians 6:10). Yet so far it is explained by that life's being an imitation of Christ. The believer, like his Master, being in world of sin, is encompassed with tribulation; but, being a citizen of heaven, he is also "girded with gladness." He hears the voice of loving authority, and he yields to it loving obedience. "If any man will come after him," etc. He knows that the via dolorosa which he thus has to tread is a path of true joy, for he recognizes his Saviour's steps in it. Hence he can "sing in the ways of the Lord," for fulness of consolation will be his at last. The stream of the renewed life is of two currents. As near Geneva, at the junction of the Rhone to the Arve, the two rivers, though joined, yet appear distinct — the blue stream of the one and the white stream of the other forming one volume of water, flowing within the same banks, at least for a time, towards the sea beyond — so it is with the Christian life. Its stream has two currents — distinct, yet united — of tribulation and joy, ever wending its course, troubled and calm, to the ocean of eternity beyond.
(J. Hutchison, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: