LUKE xxi. 19. “In your patience
possess ye your souls.”
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 be 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 tranquillity is little affected by news of distant suffer-
ing. 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 hard-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.
G. W. Kitchin, M.A.