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never to be disturbed by such happenings; were the outward helps of divine grace taken from us, God would easily find a new way of communicating His good things to us; and we know very well that the apparent desertion of the believer is only a testing of his faith: nothing can separate us from God but sin followed by impenitence.
3. And troubles, literally things which break one in pieces, ills which to us seem irremediable. The believer knows very well that there are none such. Sometimes we need to be thus troubled exteriorly in order that a broken and contrite heart may be developed within. But the broken and contrite heart is never deserted by God.
Third Thought.-The grievous things which it may be our lot now to experience are but the prelude to yet more trying things to come when Antichrist is revealed. The Master will not have any one's faith fail him for all that. The evils of the last days are the death-agonies of Satan and all his following—they have great wrath because they know that they have but a short time. The same evils are the birth-pangs of the redeemed creation, the fair regenerated kingdom of God-it cannot come into being without much tribulation. And it is not less certain that whatsoever pains and trials we have
to endure are but the throes through which we enter into eternal life. There is no other way; we cannot attain to the glory of the saints without participation in the sufferings of the saints ; we cannot follow Christ save along the way of the cross.
Let us then welcome whatsoever beginnings of sorrows God may send us here, that through them we may develope grace and strength to bear in purgatory the travail-pains of eternal life.
“But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the Gospel must first be published among all nations."—St. Mark xiii. 9, 10.
Exposition.-Swete says: “The term councils includes both the great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem, and the local courts of discipline described by Josephus, that is, the elders of the synagogues assembled for the purpose of exercising disciplinary powers. . The Lord foresees that His Apostles and disciples will be taken from the courts into the synagogues and there openly scourged. . . . For a testimony against them, the sense is that the appearance of the Christians before the magistrates on a charge of loyalty to the name of Christ would be in itself a proclamation of the name to those who might otherwise from their social position have failed to hear it. The Lord foresees the extension of
the Gospel to the whole Gentile world by the direct preaching of the Word: there was divine necessity that this should take place before the end came. The work which began in Galilee with the personal ministry of the Lord was to be carried forward by the Apostolic ministry to the ever expanding confines of the habitable world; and the execution of this purpose was perhaps the chief condition of the final issue being reached. The disclosure of this fact could not but be stimulating to the early preachers of the Gospel; they felt that it was in some sense in their power to hasten the end by extending the kingdom."
And Isaac Williams: “This term, for my sake, it is that gives the exceeding blessedness to this trial, as in the Sermon on the Mount, Blessed are ye, when men shall persecute you for my sake; rejoice, and be exceeding glad. And it was fulfilled in those very Apostles, when, on being beaten they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."
Sadler says: “Take heed to yourselves. This appears in St. Matthew as, Beware of men. It seems to mean that they must not rashly expose themselves to danger but when persecuted in one city flee to another. . . . For my sake. Not for the sake of a purer religion merely-nor for the sake of the Fatherhood of God; but for
my sake, because ye preach me. testimony against them. This should rather be unto them; when in the providence of God they pleaded before such men as Festus and Felix, is was that the very judges might hear their Gospel and be saved. . . . I cannot help thinking that this universal publication of the Gospel, insisted upon as taking place before a particular event, the siege and fall of a particular city, was especially for the sake of the Jews dispersed among all nations, whose ecclesiastical metropolis that city was. When the Gospel was preached unto them, there would be embodied in the account of the teaching and preaching of Christ this very discourse predicting the absolute and complete destruction of Jerusalem; so that the Jews everywhere would see the hand of God in fulfilling the prophecy of the Lord, and would be led to believe in Him."
Of the publishing of the Gospel among all nations, Alford says: "The Gospel had been preached through the whole orbis terrarum, and every nation had received its testimony, before the destruction of Jerusalem. This was necessary not only as regarded the Gentiles, but to give to God's people the Jews, who were scattered among all these nations, the opportunity of receiving or rejecting the preaching of Christ. But in the wider sense, the words imply that