And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?…
It should rather read, By your endurance ye shall gain possession of your lives. It is also "ye shall bring your spiritual life safely through the coming troubles." It was a sore trial for the early Christians to he severed from their holy places, from their city home. In that sundering of cherished ties there lay, we may well believe, an agony that changed the very nature of those who endured it. But it taught them to look far afield, to bow down at no single shrine, and sent them forth to evangelize the world. Out of the ruin of their most cherished relics there grew up a more noble conception of the Church. Age after age each time of change has seemed to bring with it the end; at each crisis have been heard the same appeals to heaven, the same despair of earth; and yet to those who had patience the evil time has passed away, and men have found themselves living in a fresh air of hope with expanded vision and larger powers for good. Our tranquility is little affected by news of distant suffering. It is the old Horatian difference between the eyes and the ears. We fancy that our own troubles are far the worst the world has ever been called on to undergo. Warnings come from older men to whom the dark cloud seems to cover the heavens. The young see the sunshine coming up with soft rich colours of promise from behind the storm. Are there any peculiar causes for alarm?
I. The alarm is as old as Christendom.
II. The existence of some life is a cheering thing.
III. We need more manliness in our religion; more that will attract bard-knit men.
IV. If the Christian faith is to declare its Divine origin in the face of vehement attack or learned contempt, it cannot be by shutting itself up in safe sanctuary and refusing to enter the field with its antagonists. It is not without anguish that we rise "out of our dead selves to better things." Yet there is no other way for the nobles of mankind.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?