And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
41. And while Jesus was sitting opposite to the treasury, he perceived how the multitude threw money into the treasury, and many rich persons put in much. 42. And a poor widow came, and threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43. And having called his disciples to him, he said, Verily I say to you, that this poor widow hath thrown in more than all who have thrown into the treasury: 44. For they all have thrown in out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty hath thrown in all that she had, all her living. 
1. And, lifting up his eyes, he saw those rich men who were throwing their gifts into the treasury. 2. And he saw also a certain poor widow throwing into it two mites. 3. And he said, Verily I say to you, that this poor widow hath thrown in more than all: 4. For all these, out of their abundance, have thrown into the offering of God; but she out of her poverty hath thrown in all the living which she had. 
Mark 12:43. Verily I say to you. This reply of Christ contains a highly useful doctrine that whatever men offer to God ought to be estimated not by its apparent value,  but only by the feeling of the heart, and that the holy affection of him who according to his small means, offers to God the little that he has, is more worthy of esteem than that of him who offers a hundred times more out of his abundance. In two ways this doctrine is useful, for the poor who appear not to have the power of doing good, are encouraged by our Lord not to hesitate to express their affection cheerfully out of their slender means; for if they consecrate themselves, their offering, which appears to be mean and worthless, will not be less valuable than if they had presented all the treasures of Croesus.  On the other hand, those who possess greater abundance, and who have received from God larger communications, are reminded that it is not enough if in the amount of their beneficence they greatly surpass the poor and common people; because it is of less value in the sight of God that a rich man, out of a vast heap, should bestow a moderate sum, than that a poor man, by giving very little, should exhaust his store. This widow must have been a person of no ordinary piety, who, rather than come empty into the presence of God, chose to part with her own living. And our Lord applauds this sincerity, because, forgetting herself, she wished to testify that she and all that she possessed belonged to God. In like manner, the chief sacrifice which God requires from us is self-denial. As to the sacred offerings, it is probable that they were not at that time applied properly, or to lawful purposes; but as the service of the Law was still in force, Christ does not reject them. And certainly the abuses of men could not prevent the sincere worshippers of God from doing what was holy, and in accordance with the command of God, when they offered for sacrifices and other pious uses.
 "Toute sa substance;" -- "all her substance."
 "Tout le vivre, ou bien, qu'elle avoit;" -- "all the living, or wealth, that she had."
 "Selon le prix qu'il vaut au monde;" -- "according to the price at which it is estimated by the world."
 "De Croesus, lequel on dit avoir est? si riche;" -- "of Croesus, who is said to have been so rich." -- The allusion is to Croesus, King of Lydia, whose vast wealth was a proverb among the Greeks and Romans. -- Ed.
And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
1. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple, and his disciples came to him, to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2. And Jesus said to them, Do you not see all these things? Verily I say to you, There shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. 3. And while he was sitting on the mountain of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things be? and what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4. And Jesus answering said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5. For many will come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and will deceive many. 6. For you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you be not troubled; for all these things must happen, but the end is not yet. 7. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in various places. 8. But all these things are the beginnings of sorrows.
1. And while he was going out of the temple, one of his disciples saith to him, Master, see what stones and what buildings! 2. And Jesus answering saith to him, Seest thou these vast, buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. 3. And while he was sitting on the mountain of Olives, opposite to the temple, Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, asked him privately, 4. Tell us, when will these things be, and what is the sign when all these things shall be accomplished? 5. And Jesus answering began to say to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 6. For many will come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and will deceive many. 7. And when you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be not troubled; for these things must be, but the end is not yet. 8. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be earthquakes in various places. These things are the beginnings of sorrows.
5. And while some were saying concerning the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts, he said, 6. The days will come, when of those things which you see there shall not be left one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down. 7. And they asked him, saying, Master, when shall these things be? and what is the sign when those things shall begin to take place? 8. And he said, Take heed that you be not deceived; for many will come in my name, saying, It is I; and the time approaches: do not therefore follow them. 9. But when you shall hear of wars and seditions, be not terrified: for these things must first take place; but the end is not immediately.  10. Then he said to them, Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines, and pestilences; and there will be frightful appearances and great signs from heaven.
Matthew 24:1. And Jesus went out. The disciples undoubtedly perceived that Christ was paying, as it were, his last adieu to the temple. It remained, therefor that he should erect a new temple far more magnificent, and that he should produce a more flourishing condition of the kingdom, as had been foretold by the Prophets; for he had nothing to do with that temple, in which every thing was opposed to him. But again, the disciples could not believe that the magnificent splendor of the temple would give way to Christ. And it ought to be carefully observed that, owing to the prodigious costliness of the temple, their eyes were so dazzled by the splendor of its present aspect, that they could scarcely entertain the hope that the kingdom of Christ would arise. They do not, indeed, in express terms acknowledge their hesitation, but they tacitly throw out a suggestion of it, when they allege, in opposition to Christ, the mass of stones which must be got out of the way, and which must indeed be utterly laid low if he intended to reign. Many simple persons of our own day are carried away by a similar admiration of Popery; for, perceiving it to be supported by very great wealth and by immense power, they are filled with absolute amazement, so as to despise a Church of mean and slovenly aspect. Many even think that we are mad in laboring to effect its destruction, as if this were nothing less than an attempt to draw down the sun out of heaven. And yet, there is no reason to wonder that a spectacle so imposing held the disciples of Christ in astonishment; for how great expense that building cost Herod, may be concluded from the single fact, that he kept ten thousand workmen employed on it for eight successive years. Nor is it without reason that they admire the stones which, Josephus tells us, were superlatively beautiful, and were fifteen  cubits in length, twelve in height, and eight in breadth. Besides, so great was the reverence entertained for the temple even in remote districts, that scarcely any person would venture to suppose that it could ever be destroyed.
2. Verily I say to you. As the vast size and wealth of the temple, like a veil hung before the eyes of the disciples, did not permit them to elevate their faith to the true reign of Christ, which was still future, so he affirms with an oath, that those things which occupy their attention will quickly perish. This prediction of the destruction of the temple, therefore, opened up a path for the ignorant and weak.  Now, though it was advantageous that the temple should be destroyed, lest its services and shadows might exercise an undue influence on the Jews, who were already too much attached to earthly elements, yet the chief reason was, that God determined, by this dreadful example, to take vengeance on that nation, for having rejected his Son, and despised the grace which was brought by him. And, therefore, this threatening must have intimidated the disciples from taking part with a rebellious people; as the punishments which Scripture denounces against the wicked ought now to deter us from those crimes which provoke the wrath of God. Every thing that it tells us, even about the fading and transitory aspect of the world, ought to correct the vanity of our senses, which too eagerly follow pomp, and luxury, and pleasure. But more especially, what it declares respecting the fearful destruction of Antichrist and his followers, ought to remove every obstacle which hinders us from pursuing the right course of faith.
3. And while he was sitting. Mark mentions four disciples, Peter, James, John, and Andrew But neither he nor Luke states the matter so fully as Matthew; for they only say that the disciples inquired about the time of the destruction of the temple, and -- as it was a thing difficult to be believed -- what outward sign of it God would give from heaven. Matthew tells us that they inquired about the time of Christ's coming, and of the end of the world. But it must be observed that, having believed from their infancy that the temple would stand till the end of time, and having this opinion deeply rooted in their minds, they did not suppose that, while the building of the world stood, the temple could fall to ruins. Accordingly, as soon as Christ said that the temple would be destroyed, their thoughts immediately turned to the end of the world; and--as one error leads to another--having been convinced that, as soon as the reign of Christ should commence, they would be in every respect happy, they leave warfare out of the account, and fly all at once to a triumph. They associate the coming of Christ and the end of the world as things inseparable from each other; and by the end of the world they mean the restoration of all things, so that nothing may be wanting to complete the happiness of the godly.
We now perceive that they leap at once to various questions, because they had given way to these foolish imaginations, that the temple could not fall without shaking the whole world; that the termination of the shadows of the Law, and of the whole world, would be the same; that it would be immediately followed by the exhibition of the glory of Christ's kingdom, which would make the children of God perfectly happy; that a visible renovation of the world was at hand, which would instantly bring order out of a state of confusion. But above all, a foolish hope which they entertained, as to the immediate reign of Christ, drove them to hasten to the attainment of happiness and rest, without attending to the means. Just as, when they see that Christ is risen from the dead, (Acts 1:6,) they rush forward to grasp at that happiness, which is laid up for us in heaven, and which must be attained through faith and patience.
Now though our condition is different, because we have not been educated among the shadows of the Law, so as to be infatuated by that superstition of an earthly kingdom of Christ, yet scarcely one person in a hundred is to be found who does not labor under a very similar disease. For since all men naturally shrink from annoyances, combats, and every kind of cross, the dislike of these things urges them, without moderation and without hope, to rush forward unseasonably to the fruit of hope. Thus no man wishes to sow the seed, but all wish to reap the harvest before the season arrives. To return to the disciples, they had indeed formed in their minds some good seed of faith, but they do not wait till it arrive at maturity; and holding, at the same time, erroneous views, they confound the perfection of Christ's reign with the commencement of it, and wish to enjoy on earth what they ought to seek for in heaven.
4. And Jesus answering said to them. They received an answer very different from what they had expected; for whereas they were eager for a triumph, as if they had already finished their warfare, Christ exhorts them to long patience. As if he had said, "You wish to seize the prize at the very outset, but you must first finish the course. You would draw down to earth the kingdom of God, which no man can obtain till he ascend to heaven." Now while this chapter contains admonitions highly useful for regulating the course of our life, we see that, by a wonderful purpose of God, the mistake into which the apostles fell is made to turn to our advantage. The amount of the present instruction is, that the preaching of the Gospel is like sowing the seed, and therefore we ought to wait patiently for the time of reaping; and that it arises from improper delicacy or effeminacy, if we lose courage on account of the frost, or snow, or clouds of winter or other unpleasant seasons.
Take heed lest any man deceive you. There are two charges which Christ expressly gives to the disciples, to beware of false teachers, and not to be terrified by scandals. By these words he gives warning that his Church, so long as its pilgrimage in the world shall last, will be exposed to these evils. But they might be apt to think that this was inconsistent, since the prophets gave a widely different description of the future reign of Christ. Isaiah predicts that all will then be taught of God, (54:13.) The words of God are:
I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
A still more abundant light of understanding is promised by Jeremiah.
No longer shall any man teach his neighbor, nor a man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all shall know me from the least to the greatest, (Jeremiah 31:34.)
And, therefore, we need not wonder if the Jews expected, that when the Sun of righteousness had arisen, as Malachi (4:2) had predicted, they would be entirely free from every cloud of error. Hence, also, the woman of Samaria said,
When the Messiah cometh, he will teach us all things, (John 4:25.)
Now we know what splendid promises of peace, righteousness, joy, and abundance of all blessings, are to be found everywhere in Scripture. We need not, therefore, wonder if they expected that, at the coming of Christ, they would be delivered from commotions of war, from extortions and every kind of injustice, and, in short, from famine and pestilence.
But Christ warns them, that false teachers will henceforth give no less annoyance to the godly than false prophets gave to the ancient people; and that disturbances will be not less frequent under the Gospel than they formerly were under the Law. Not that those prophecies which I have just mentioned will fail to be accomplished, but because the full accomplishment of them does not immediately appear in one day; for it is enough that believers now obtain a taste of those blessings, so as to cherish the hope of the full enjoyment of them at a future period. And, therefore, they were greatly mistaken, who wished to hay at the commencement of the Gospel, an immediate and perfect exhibition of those things which we see accomplished from day to day. Besides, that happiness which the prophets ascribe to the reign of Christ, though it cannot be altogether annihilated by the depravity of man, is retarded or delayed by it. It is true that the Lord, in contending with the malice of men, opens up a way for his blessings through every obstacle; and, indeed, it would be unreasonable to suppose that what is founded on the undeserved goodness of God, and does not depend on the will of man, should be set aside through their fault.
Yet, that they may receive some punishment for their ingratitude he drops upon them in small measure his favors, which would otherwise flow on them in the richest abundance. Hence arises a labyrinth of evils, through which believers wander all their life, though they are pursuing the straight road to salvation, having Christ for their guide, who holds out to them the torch of his Gospel. Hence arises a multitude of combats, so that they have a hard warfare, though there is no danger of their being vanquished. Hence arise disturbances so numerous and so sudden, that they are kept in perpetual uneasiness, though, resting on Christ, they remain firm to the end. And since Christ enjoins his disciples to beware of impostures, let us know that the means of defense will not be wanting, provided that they are not wanting to themselves.  And therefore, whatever arts Satan may employ, let us entertain no doubt that we shall be safe from them, if every one of us keep diligent watch on his own station.
5. For many shall come in my name. He does not as yet speak generally of false and perverse doctrines, but refers to one class which was sort of introduction to all errors, by which Satan has attempted, in various ways, to corrupt the pure doctrine of the Gospel. For shortly after Christ's resurrection, there arose impostors, every one of whom professed to be the Christ. And as the true Redeemer had not only been removed from the world, but oppressed by the ignominy of the cross, and yet the minds of all were excited by the hope and inflamed with the desire of redemption, those men had in their power a plausible opportunity of deceiving. Nor can it be doubted, that God permitted such reveries to impose on the Jews, who had so basely rejected his Son. Though those mad attempts speedily disappeared, yet God determined that disturbances of this kind should arise among the Jews; first, that they might be exposed to infamy and hatred; secondly, that they might altogether abandon the hope of salvation; and, lastly, that having been so frequently disappointed, they might rush to their destruction with brutal stupidity. For when the world turned away from the Son of God, to whom it belonged to collect them into holy union, it was right that it should be driven hither and thither by tempests; and by the same vengeance of God it was brought about, that more were carried away by a foolish credulity, than were brought by a right faith to obey God. This circumstance, too, was expressly stated by Christ, that believers might not faint at perceiving the crowd of madmen; for we know how prone we are to follow a multitude, especially when we are few in number.
6 For you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. He describes here those commotions only which arose in Judea, for we shall find him soon afterwards saying that the flame will spread much wider. As he had formerly enjoined them to beware lest any man deceived them, so now he bids them meet with courage rumors of wars and wars themselves; for they would be in danger of giving way when surrounded by calamities, especially if they had promised to themselves ease and pleasure.
For all these things must take place. He adds this, not for the purpose of assigning a reason, but of warning them that none of these things happened accidentally, or without the providence of God, that they may not uselessly kick against the spur; for nothing has a more powerful efficacy to bring us into subjection, than when we acknowledge that those things which appear to be confused are regulated by the good pleasure of God. True, indeed, God himself never wants proper causes and the best reasons for allowing the world to be disturbed; but as believers ought to acquiesce in his mere good pleasure, Christ reckoned it enough to exhort the disciples to prepare their minds for endurance, and to remain firm, because such is the will of God.
But the end is not yet. He now states in plainer terms the threatening which I have already mentioned, that those events which were in themselves truly distressing would be only a sort of preparation for greater calamities; because, when the flame of war has been kindled in Judea, it will spread more widely; for ever since the doctrine of the Gospel was published, a similar ingratitude prevailing among other nations has aroused the wrath of God against them. Hence it happened that, having broken the bond of peace with God, they tore themselves by mutual contentions; having refused to obey the government of God, they yielded to the violence of their enemies; not having permitted themselves to be reconciled to God, they broke out into quarrels with one another; in short, having shut themselves out from the heavenly salvation, they raged against each other, and filled the earth with murders. Knowing how obstinate the malice of the world would be, he again adds,
8. But all these things are the beginnings of sorrows. Not that believers, who always have abundant consolations in calamities, should consume themselves with grief, but that they should lay their account with a long exercise of patience. Luke adds likewise earthquakes, and signs from heaven, with respect to which, though we have no authentic history of them, yet it is enough that they were predicted by Christ. The reader will find the rest in Josephus, (Wars of the Jews, VI. 5:3.)
 "La fin ne sera point si tost;" -- "the end will not be so soon."
 Instead of fifteen, Josephus states the length of each of the stones to have been twenty-five cubits, (Ant. XV. xi. 3) -- Ed.
 "Afin qu'ils ne trouvassent aucun destourbier de ce cost?-la;" -- "that they might not find any impediment in that respect.
 "Pourveu qu'ils soyent songneux ? en user;" -- "provided that they are careful to use them."
As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
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?
And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
9. Then will they deliver you up to be afflicted, and will kill you; and you will be hated by all nations on account of my name. 10. And then will many be offended, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another. 11. And many false prophets will arise, and will deceive many. 12. And because iniquity will abound, the love of many will be cooled. 13. But he who shall persevere to the end will be saved. 14. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world for a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.
9. But take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils and synagogues; you will be scourged and will be brought before rulers and kings on my account, for a testimony to them. 10. And the gospel must first be preached among all nations. 11. And when they shall lead you away to deliver you up, do not think beforehand what you shall say, nor premeditate, but whatever shall be given to you at that hour, speak; for it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 12. And the brother will deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son; and the children will rise up against their parents and will cause them to be put to death. 13. And you will be hated by all men on account of my name. But he that still endures to the end will be saved.
12. But before all these things they will lay hands upon you, and will persecute you, delivering you up to synagogues and prisons, and dragging you before kings and rulers on account of my name. 13. But it will happen  to you for a testimony. 14. Settle it therefore in your hearts, that you must not premeditate your defense.  15. For will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all who oppose you will not be a le to contradict or oppose. 16. And you will also be delivered up by parents, and brothers, and relatives, and friends; and some of you they will put to death. 17. And you will be hated by all on account of my name. 18. And not a hair of your head will be lost. 19. In patience possess your souls. 
Matthew 24:9. Then will they deliver you up to be afflicted. Christ now foretells to the disciples another kind of temptation, by which, in addition to ordinary afflictions, their faith must be tried; and that is, that they will be hated and detested by the whole world. It is painful and distressing enough in itself that the children of God should be afflicted in such a manner as not to be distinguished from the reprobate and the despisers of God, and should be subjected to the same punishments which those men endure on account of their crimes; and it appears to be still more unjust that they should be severely oppressed by grievous calamities from which the ungodly are exempted. But as wheat, after having been beaten by the flail along with the chaff, is pressed down and bruised by the millstone, so God not only afflicts his children in common with the ungodly, but subdues them by the cross even beyond others, so that we might be apt to think them more unhappy than the rest of mankind.
But Christ treats here strictly of the afflictions which the disciples had to endure on account of the gospel. For, though what Paul stays is true, that those whom God hath elected are likewise appointed by him to bear the cross,
that they may be conformed to the image of his Son, (Romans 8:29,)
yet he does not distinguish all by this special Mark of enduring persecution from the enemies of the gospel. It is of this species of the cross that Christ now speaks, when it becomes necessary that believers should incur the hatred, meet the reproaches, and provoke the fury, of the ungodly for the testimony of the gospel. For he intended to warn his disciples that the doctrine of the gospel, of which they were to be witnesses and messengers, would never be pleasant or agreeable to the world, as he had formerly explained to them. He foretells not only that they will have to contend with a few enemies, but that, wherever they come, all nations will oppose them.
But it was monstrous and incredible, and was fitted to astonish and shake even the strongest minds, that the name of the Son of God should be so infamous and hateful, that all who professed it would be everywhere disliked. Accordingly, the words of Mark are, take heed to yourselves. By this expression he points out the end and use of the warning, which is, that they ought to be prepared for endurance, lest, through want of caution, they might be overwhelmed by temptation. The same Mark adds, that this will be for a testimony to kings and rulers, when the disciples of Christ shall be brought before their tribunal. Luke expresses it a little differently, this will happen to you for a testimony, but the sense is quite the same; for Christ means that his gospel will be so much the more fully attested, when they have defended it at the risk of their lives.
If the apostles had only given their attention to preaching the gospel, and had not stood so firmly in defending it against the furious attacks of enemies, the confirmation of it would not have been so complete. But when they did not hesitate to expose their lives, and were not driven from their purpose by any terrors of death, their unshaken constancy made it manifest, how firmly they were convinced of the goodness of their cause. It was therefore an authentic seal of the gospel, when the apostles advanced without terror to the tribunals of kings, and there made an open profession of the name of Christ. Accordingly, Peter calls himself
a witness of the sufferings of Christ, (1 Peter 5:1,)
whose badges he wore; and Paul boasts that he was
placed for the defense of the gospel, (Philippians 1:17.)
This is eminently worthy of attention, that those on whom God bestows so great an honor as to make them defenders of his truth, may not through base treachery fall from the faith.
Mark 13:11. Neither premeditate. This sentence, as well as the one which immediately follows, we have explained  under Matthew 10:19 Our Lord's design in these words is, to relieve the disciples from that anxiety which interferes with the cheerful discharge of our duty, when we doubt our inability to sustain the burden. Not that he wishes us to fall asleep in indolent security, for nothing is more advantageous than to have such a consciousness of our weakness as produces humility and excites to prayer. But Christ advises us to cast all our cares into the bosom of our Father, so that, relying on his promised aid, we may pursue our course with cheerfulness. The promise is stated in different words by Luke; not that Christ will deliver his people from death, (for this must not always be expected,) but that he will give them a mouth and wisdom, to confound their adversaries. Now though Christ supplies them both with presence of mind and with ability to speak, yet I look upon these two words as connected by that figure of speech which is called hypallage; as if Christ had promised that he would guide their tongues, so as to enable them to make a wise and suitable reply.
He adds, that this wisdom will be victorious against all their enemies, because they will not be able to contradict, or to oppose it. Not that their impudence will yield the palm to truth, but because that truth, which they in vain strive to oppose, will triumph over their mad presumption. Would that all who are called upon to make a confession of their faith would rely on that assurance; for the power and majesty of the Spirit would be displayed in a different manner for overthrowing the ministers of Satan. Now that we are partly carried away by our own feelings, and, swelled with pride, rush on heedlessly, or advance farther than is proper, and partly confine ourselves within the limits of improper timidity, sad experience shows that we are deprived of the grace of God and the assistance of the Spirit. As Christ affirms, according to Matthew and Mark, that it is the Spirit of the Father that speaketh in us, (Matthew 10:10; Mark 13:11,) and here declares that he will give a mouth, we infer that it is His prerogative to fortify us by the Spirit.
Luke 21:19. In your patience. Here Christ enjoins on his followers a different method of defending their life from what is dictated by carnal reason. For naturally every man desires to place his life in safety; we collect from every quarter those aids which we think will be best, and avoid all danger; and, in short, we do not think that we are alive, if we are not properly defended. But Christ prescribes to us this defense of our life, that we should be always exposed to death, and walk
through fire, and water, and sword, (Psalm 66:12.)
And, indeed, no man will commit his soul into the hands of God in a right manner, unless he have learned to live from day to day constantly prepared to die.  In a word, Christ orders us to possess our life both under the cross, and amidst the constant terrors of death.
Matthew 24:10. Then will many be offended. He now enumerates the temptations which will arise from bad examples. Now this is an exceedingly violent temptation, and difficult to overcome; for Christ is to many a stone of offense, (1 Peter 2:8,) on which some dash themselves, or by meeting which some are thrown back, and others fall away. In this expression Christ appears to me to include many kinds of troubles; for not only do they that had entered into the right course fall away, but many are exasperated against Christ; others, forgetful of moderation and justice, break out into rage; others grow profane, and lose every feeling of piety; and others, amidst the confusion which prevails, take upon themselves a liberty to commit crimes.
11. And many false prophets will arise. This warning differs from the former, in which Christ foretold that many would come in his name. For there he spoke only of impostors, who, shortly after the commencement of the Gospel, gave out that they were the Christ; but now he threatens that in all ages false teachers will arise, to corrupt sound doctrine, as Peter tells us (2 Peter 2:1) that the Church will be no less exposed to this evil under the Gospel than it anciently was under the Law. There is therefore no reason why error, and certain impostures of the devil and corruptions of piety, should strike pious minds with dismay; since no man is properly founded on Christ, who has not learned that we must stand firm against such attacks; for this is the undoubted trial of our faith, when it is in no degree shaken by the false doctrines which arise, or does he only say that false prophets will come, but likewise that they will be so crafty as to deceive and draw away sects after them.  No ordinary caution is necessary here; for the multitude of those who are going astray is like a violent tempest, which compels us to leave the course, if we are not firmly fixed on God. On this subject something was said but lately.
12 Because iniquity will abound. How far and wide this evil extends every person ought to know, but there are very few who observe it. For in consequence of the superior clearness with which the light of the gospel discovers the malice of men, even good and properly regulated minds grow cool, and almost lose the desire to exercise benevolence. Each of them reasons thus with himself, that the duties which they perform to one person, or to another, are thrown away, because experience and daily practice show that almost all are ungrateful, or treacherous, or wicked. This is unquestionably a weighty and dangerous temptation; for what could be more unreasonable than to approve of a doctrine, by which the desire of doing good, and the rigor of charity, appear to be diminished? And yet when the gospel makes its appearance, charity, which ought to kindle the hearts of all men with its warmth, rather grows cool. But we must observe the source of this evil, which Christ points out, namely, that many lose courage, because through their weakness they are unable to stem the flood of iniquity which flows on every hand. Christ requires from his followers, on the other hand, such courage as to persist in striving against it; as Paul also enjoins us not to be weary of performing deeds of kindness and beneficence, (2 Thessalonians 3:13.) Although, then, the charity of many, overwhelmed by the mass of iniquities, should give way, Christ warns believers that they must surmount this obstacle, lest, overcome by bad examples, they apostatize. And therefore he repeats the statement, that no man can be saved, unless he strive lawfully, (2 Timothy 2:5,) so as to persevere to the end
14. And the gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world. Our Lord, having delivered a discourse which gave no small occasion for sorrow, seasonably adds this consolation, to raise up minds that were cast down, or to uphold those which were falling. Whatever may be the contrivances of Satan, and how numerous soever may be the multitudes which he carries away, yet the gospel will maintain its ground till it be spread through the whole world. This might indeed appear to be incredible; but it was the duty of the apostles, relying on this testimony of their Master, to cherish hope against hope, and, in the meantime, to strive vigorously to discharge their office. As to the objection brought by some, that to this day not even the slightest report concerning Christ has reached the Antipodes and other very distant nations, this difficulty may be speedily resolved; for Christ does not absolutely refer to every portion of the world, and does not fix a particular time, but only affirms that the gospel--which, all would have thought, was immediately to be banished from Judea, its native habitation would be spread to the farthest bounds of the world before the day of his last coming.
For a testimony to all nations. He describes this to be the end of preaching; for although
God has never left himself (amarturon) without witness, (Acts 14:17,)
and although in special manner he testified to the Jews concerning himself, yet it was a testimony remarkable beyond all others when he revealed himself in Christ; and therefore Paul says, that he was manifested in due time, (1 Timothy 2:6,) because this was the proper season for calling the whole world to God. Let us, therefore, learn that, wherever the gospel is preached, it is as if God himself came into the midst of us, and solemnly and expressly besought us, that we may not wander in darkness, as if we knew not where to go, and that those who refuse to obey may be rendered inexcusable.
And then will the end come. This is improperly restricted by some to the destruction of the temple, and the abolition of the service of the Law; for it ought to be understood as referring to the end and renovation of the world. Those two things having been blended by the disciples, as if the temple could not be overthrown without the destruction of the whole world, Christ, in replying to the whole question which had been put to him, reminded them that a long and melancholy succession of calamities was at hand, and that they must not hasten to seize the prize, before they had passed through many contests and dangers. In this manner, therefore, we ought to explain this latter clause: "The end of the world will not come before I have tried my Church, for a long period, by severe and painful temptations," for it is contrasted with the false imagination which the apostles had formed in their minds. Hence, too, we ought to learn that no particular time is here fixed, as if the last day were to follow in immediate succession those events which were just now foretold; for the believers long ago experienced the fulfillment of those predictions which we have now examined, and yet Christ did not immediately appear. But Christ had no other design than to restrain the apostles, who were disposed to fly with excessive eagerness to the possession of the heavenly glory, and to show them the necessity of patience; as if he had said, that redemption was not so close at hand as they had imagined it to be, but that they must pass through long windings.
 "Et cela vous adviendra en (ou, servira pour) tesmoignage;" -- "and this will happen to you as a testimony, or, will serve for a testimony."
 "Mettez donc en vos coeurs de ne premediter comment vous respondrez;" -- "settle then in your hearts not to premeditate how you shall answer."
 "Possedez vos ames par vostre patience;" -- "possess your souls by your patience."
 Harmony, vol. 1, p.453.
 "Sinon qu'estant tousjours prest a mourir, il ait apprins de vivre comme le jour vient, sans faire son conte de demeurer jusques au lendemain;" -- "except that, being always ready to die, he has learned to live, as the day comes, without reckoning on being alive till tomorrow."
 "En sorte qu'ils auront des disciples, et feront des sectes;" -- "so that they will have disciples, and will form sects."
And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
In your patience possess ye your souls.
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
15. When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which is described by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, (let him that readeth understand,) 16. Then let them who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17. Let not him who is on the housetop go down to carry anything out of his house; 18. And let not him who is in the field return to carry away his clothes. 19. But woe to the women with child, and to them that give suck in those days. 20. And pray that your flight may not be in the winter, nor on the sabbath.  21. For there will then be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world till this time, nor will be. 22. And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved, but on account of the elect those days shall be shortened. 23. If anyone shall then say to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, do not believe it. 24. For false Christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall perform great signs and wonders, so that even the elect (if it were possible) will be led into error. 25. Lo, I have foretold it to you. 26. If then they shall say to you, Lo, he is in the desert, go not out; lo, he is in the secret chamber, do not believe it. 27. For as the lightning goeth out of the east, and shineth even to the west, so shall also be the coming of the Son of man. 28. For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles also be gathered together.
14. But when you shall see the abomination of desolation, which is described by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that are in Judea flee to the mountains; 15. And let not him who is on the housetop go down into the house, or enter into it, to carry away anything out of his house. 16. And let not him that is in the field return back to bring away his cloak. 17. But woe to the women with child, and to them that give suck in those days. 18. But pray that your flight may not be in the winter. 19. For in those days there shall be tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the creation which God created till this time, nor will be. 20. And unless the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh would have been saved, but on account of the elect whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. 21. And if anyone shall then say to you, Lo, here is Christ, or, lo, there, do not believe it. 22. For false Christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall perform signs and wonders to deceive (if it were possible) even the elect. 23. But take heed; lo, I have foretold to you all things.
20. And when you shall see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is at hand. 21. Then let them who are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them who are in the midst of it withdraw; and let not those who are in the fields enter into it. 22. For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23. But woe to women with child, and to them that give suck in those days; for there shall be great tribulation on the earth, and wrath on this people. 24. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
22. And he said to the disciples, The days will come when you shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and shall not see it. 23. And they will say to you, Lo, he is here, or, lo, he is here; do not go, nor follow them.  24. For as the lightning, flashing from one side which is under heaven, shineth to the other side which is under heaven, so shall be also the Son of man in his day. 25. But he must first suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.
Matthew 24:15. When you shall see the abomination of desolation. Because the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem, together with the overthrow of the whole Jewish government, was (as we have already said) a thing incredible, and because it might be thought strange, that the disciples could not be saved without being torn from that nation, to which had been committed the adoption and the covenant (Romans 9:4) of eternal salvation, Christ confirms both by the testimony of Daniel As if he had said, That you may not be too strongly attached to the temple and to the ceremonies of the Law, God has limited them to a fixed time,  and has long ago declared, that when the Redeemer should come, sacrifices would cease; and that it may not give you uneasiness to be cut off from your own nation, God has also forewarned his people, that in due time it would be rejected. Such a prediction was not only well adapted for removing ground of offense, but likewise for animating the minds of the godly, that amidst the sorest calamities--knowing that God was looking upon them, and was taking care of their salvation--they might betake themselves to the sacred anchor, where, amidst the most dreadful heavings of the billows, their condition would be firm and secure.
But before I proceed farther, I must examine the passage which is quoted by Christ. Those commentators are, I think, mistaken, who think that this quotation is made from the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel  For there we do not literally find the words, abomination, of desolation; and it is certain that the angel does not there speak of the final destruction which Christ now mentions, but of the temporary dispersion which was brought about by the tyranny of Antiochus.  But in the twelfth chapter the angel predicts what is called the final abrogation of the services of the Law,  which was to take place at the coming of Christ. For, after having exhorted believers to unshaken constancy, he fixes absolutely the time both of the ruin and of the restoration. 
From the time, says he, that the daily sacrifices shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation set up, there will be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who shall wait till he come to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days, (Daniel 12:11, 12.)
I am aware that this passage is tortured in a variety of ways on account of its obscurity; but I consider the natural meaning of it to be, that the angel declares that, after the temple has been once purified from the pollutions and idols of Antiochus, another period will arrive when it will be exposed to a new profanation, and when all its sacredness and majesty will be for ever lost.  And as that message was sad and melancholy, he again recalls the prophet to one year, and two years, and six months. These words denote both the duration and the close of the calamities; for, in an interrupted succession of calamities, the course of one year appears to us very long, but when that space of time is doubled, the distress is greatly increased. The Spirit therefore exhorts believers to prepare themselves for the exercise of patience, not only for a single year, that is, for a long period, but to lay their account with enduring tribulations through an uninterrupted succession of many ages. There is no small consolation also in the phrase, half a time, (Daniel 12:7) for though the tribulations be of long continuance, yet the Spirit shows that they will not be perpetual. And, indeed, he had formerly used this form of expression: The calamity of the Church shall last through a time, times, and half a time, (Daniel 7:25.) But now he reckons the period of three years and six months by days, that believers may be more and more hardened by a very long continuance of calamities; for it is customary with men in adversity to compute time, not by years or months, but by days, a single day being, in their estimation, equal to a year  He says that those will be happy who bear up to the end of that period; that is, who with invincible patience persevere to the end.
Now Christ selects only what suited his purpose, namely, that the termination of sacrifices was at hand, and that the abomination, which was the sign of the final desolation, would be placed in the temple. But as the Jews were too strongly attached to their present condition, and therefore paid little attention to the prophecies which foretold the abolition of it, Christ, as if endeavoring to gain their ear, bids them read attentively that passage, where they would learn that what appeared to them difficult to be believed was plainly declared by the Prophets.  Abomination means profanation; for this word denotes uncleanness,  which corrupts or overturns the pure worship of God. It is called desolation, because it drew along with it the destruction of the temple and of the government; as he had formerly said, (Daniel 9:27,) that the pollution introduced by Antiochus was, as it were, the standard of temporary desolation; for such I conceive to be the meaning of the wing, or, "spreading out."  It is a mistake to suppose that this expression denotes the siege of Jerusalem, and the mistake receives no countenance from the words of Luke, who did not intend to say the same thing, but something quite different. For that city having been formerly delivered, when it appeared to be in the midst of destruction, lest believers should expect something of the same kind in future, Christ declares that, as soon as it would be surrounded by armies, it was utterly ruined, because it was wholly deprived of divine assistance. The meaning therefore is, that the issue of the war will not be doubtful, because that city is devoted to destruction, which it will not be able to escape any more than to rescind a decree of heaven. Accordingly, Luke shortly afterwards adds, that Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, a mode of expression which denotes utter ruin. But as it might appear to be strange that the holy city should be thus given up to the Gentiles, to do with it as they pleased, he adds a consolation,  that it was only for a time that so much liberty was allowed to the Gentiles, till their iniquity was ripe, and the vengeance which had been reserved for them was fully displayed.
16. Then let them who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Having shown by the testimony of the prophet that, when the temple had been profaned, the services of the Law would soon afterwards be abolished, he adds, that fearful and appalling calamities will soon overtake the whole of Judea, so that there will be nothing more desirable than to withdraw a distance from it; and, at the same time, he states that they will be so sudden, that time will scarcely be time allowed for the most rapid flight. For such is the import of the expressions, Let not him who is on the house-top enter into the house; let not him who is in the field turn back; that is, lest, by attempting to save their property, they themselves perish. Again, Woe to the women with child, and to them that give suck; for they will not be in a fit condition for flight. Again, Pray that your fight may not be in the winter; that is, that neither a regard to the sacredness of the day, nor the roughness of the roads, nor the shortness of the clays, may prevent or retard your flight. The design of Christ therefore was, first, to arouse his followers, that they might no longer indulge the hope of ease and repose, and the enjoyments of an earthly kingdom; and, secondly, to fortify their minds, that they might not give way under ordinary calamities. Such an admonition, no doubt, was fir from being agreeable, but, in consequence of their stupidity, and the great weight of the calamities, it was highly necessary.
21 For there will then be great tribulation. Luke says also, that there will be days of vengeance, and of wrath on that people, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. For since the people, through obstinate malice, had then broken the covenant of God, it was proper that alarming changes should take place, by which the earth itself and the air would be shaken. True, indeed, the most destructive plague inflicted on the Jews was, that the light of heavenly doctrine was extinguished among them, and that they were rejected by God; but they were compelled--as the great hardness of their hearts made it necessary that they should be compelled--to feel the evil of their rejection by sharp and severe chastisements. Now the true cause of such an awful punishment was, that the desperate wickedness of that nation had reached its height. For not only had they haughtily despised, but even disdainfully rejected the medicine which was brought for their diseases; and, what was worse, like persons who were mad or possessed by the devil, they wreaked their cruelty on the Physician himself.  Since the Lord executed his vengeance on those men for their inveterate contempt of the Gospel, accompanied by incorrigible rage, let their punishment be always before our eyes; and let us learn from it, that no offense is more heinous in the sight of God, than obstinacy in despising his grace. But though all who in like manner despise the Gospel will receive the same punishment, God determined to make a very extraordinary demonstration in the case of the Jews, that the coming of Christ might be regarded by posterity with greater admiration and reverence. For no words can express the baseness of their criminality in putting to death the Son of God, who had been sent to them as the Author of life. Having committed this execrable sacrilege, they did not cease to incur the guilt of one crime after another, and thus to draw down upon themselves every ground of utter destruction. And, therefore, Christ declares that never afterwards will there be such tribulation in the world; for, as the rejection of Christ, viewed in itself, and especially as attended by so many circumstances of detestable obstinacy and ingratitude, was worthy of abhorrence above all the sins committed ill all ages, so also it was proper that, in the severity of punishment with which it was visited, it should go beyond all others.
22 And unless those days had been shortened. He presents an appalling view of those calamities, but at the same time mingles it with this consolation, that they would be sufficient to exterminate the very name of the Jews, if God did not look to his elect, and on their account grant some alleviation. This passage agrees with that of Isaiah:
Unless the Lord had left us a small seed, we would have been as Sodom, and we would have been like Gomorrah, (Isaiah 1:9.)
For it was necessary, as Paul assures us, that the vengeance of God, which had been displayed in the Babylonish captivity, should be again fulfilled at the coming of Christ, (Romans 9:29.) Nay more, in proportion as our wickedness was greater, it deserved a greater severity of punishment. And therefore Christ says that, unless God put a period to those calamities, the Jews will utterly perish, so that not a single individual will be left; but that God will remember his gracious covenant, and will spare his elect, according to that other prediction of Isaiah,
Though thy people were like the sand of the sea,
This affords us a striking proof of the judgment of God, when he afflicts his visible Church to such a degree, that we would be ready to conclude that it had altogether perished; and yet, in order to preserve some seed, he miraculously rescues from destruction his elect, though few in number, that, contrary to expectation, they may escape from the jaws of death. For, on the one hand, it is fitted to alarm hypocrites, that they may not, through reliance on the title and outward appearance of a Church, cherish the vain hope that they will pass unpunished, for the Lord will find some means of delivering his Church, when those men have been given up to destruction; and, on the other hand, it conveys a wonderful consolation to the godly, that God will never allow his wrath to proceed so far as not to provide for their safety. Thus, in punishing the Jews, the wrath of God burned to an extent which was truly awful, and yet, contrary to the expectation of men, he restrained it in such a manner, that not one of the elect perished. And it was a miracle which almost exceeded belief; that, as salvation was to proceed from Judea, out of a few drops of a fountain which was dried up God formed rivers to water the whole world; for, in consequence of the hatred of all nations which they had drawn upon themselves, they narrowly escaped from being murdered in all places, by a preconcerted signal, in one day. Nor can it be doubted, that when many persons entreated that they should be slaughtered in this manner, Titus was restrained by God from giving permission to his soldiers and to others who were excessively desirous to carry such a design into execution; and, therefore, when the Roman Emperor at that time prevented the utter destruction of the whole nation, that was the shortening here mentioned, for preserving some seed, (Isaiah 1:9.)
Yet it ought to be observed, that it was on account of the elect that God restrained the fierceness of his anger, that he might not consume them all. For why did he determine that a few should remain out of a vast multitude? and what reason had he for giving them a preference above others? It was because his grace dwelt in the people whom he had adopted; and, that his covenant might not fail, some were elected and appointed to salvation by his eternal purpose. Hence Paul ascribes to free election (Romans 11:5) the reason why out of an immense nation a remnant only was saved. Away then with human merits, when our attention is directed exclusively to the good pleasure of God, that the distinction between some persons and others may depend solely on this, that those who have been elected must be saved. To state the matter more clearly and fully, Mark uses a superfluity of words,  expressing it thus, on account of the elect, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. Certainly the use of the word elect might have been sufficient, if he had not intended to state expressly that God is not induced by external causes to bestow his favor on some rather than on others; but that, because he has elected those whom he will save, he ratifies the secret purpose of his grace in their salvation.
But a question arises, how was it on account of the elect that God set a limit to these calamities, so as not utterly to destroy the Jews, when many of those who were saved were reprobate and desperate? The reply is easy. A part of the nation was preserved, that out of them God might bring his elect, who were mixed with them, like the seed after the chaff has been blown off. So then, though temporal safety was bestowed equally on the reprobate and on the elect, yet, as it was of no advantage to the reprobate, it is justly ascribed to the elect alone, for it was to their benefit that the wonderful providence of God was directed.
23. If any one shall then say to you. He again repeats what he had said about impostors, and not without reason; for there was great danger arising from this temptation, that wretched men, while their affairs were in a troubled and desperate condition, would be deceived by false pretenses, would seek phantoms instead of Christ, and would embrace the delusions of Satan, as if they were assistance from God. As the Jews, when they were so severely oppressed on account of having despised redemption, needed, at least, violent remedies to restrain them from treachery, Satan cunningly held out to them new hopes, which would withdraw them still farther from God. And certainly, when we are left without direction in adversity, nothing is more pernicious than to be deceived, under the disguise of the name of God, by falsehoods which not only shut against us the door of repentance, but increase the darkness of infidelity, and at length overwhelm us with despair, and drive us to madness. The repetition of the statement, therefore, was far from being superfluous, when the danger was so great; and especially when Christ warns them that false prophets will come prepared with no ordinary instruments of deception, with signs and wonders fitted to confound weak minds. For since it is by miracles that God attests the presence of his power, and since they are therefore seals of the true doctrine, we need not wonder if impostors gain credit by them. By this kind of delusion God revenges the ingratitude of men, that they who rejected the truth may believe a lie, and that they who shut their eyes against the light which was offered to them may be plunged deeper and deeper in darkness. He exercises, at the same time, the constancy of his followers, which comes to shine with greater brightness, when they give way to no kind of impostures.
Again, since our Lord declares that antichrists and false prophets would be armed with miracles, there is no reason why the Papists should talk so haughtily on this ground, or why we should be terrified by their boasting. In support of their superstitions they plead miracles, -- those very miracles which, the Son of God predicted, would corrupt the faith of many, and which, therefore, wise men ought not to hold in such estimation as to be sufficient of themselves to prove either one or another kind of doctrine. If it be objected, that such reasoning would overthrow and set aside the miracles by which both the Law and the Gospel were ratified, I reply, that the Spirit engraved on them an undoubted mark, which removed from believers all doubt and fear of being mistaken. For when God displayed his power for the purpose of confirming his people, he did not act in so confused a manner as not to manifest the true and infallible distinction. Besides, the manner in which miracles seal doctrine is such, that the doctrine itself mutually shines before them, and dispels all the clouds by which Satan darkens the minds of the simple. In short, if we wish to guard against impostures, let us preserve the connection between miracles and doctrine unbroken.
24. So that even the elect (if it were possible) will be led into error. This was added for the purpose of exciting alarm, that believers may be more careful to be on their guard; for when such unbounded freedom of action is allowed to false prophets, and when they are permitted to exert such powers of deceiving, those who are careless and inattentive would easily be entangled by their snares. Christ therefore exhorts and arouses his disciples to keep watch, and at the same time reminds them that there is no reason for being troubled at the strangeness of the sight, if they see many persons on every hand led away into error. While he excites them to solicitude, that Satan may not overtake them in a state of sloth, he gives them abundant ground of confidence on which they may calmly rely, when he promises that they will be safe under the defense and protection of God against all the snares of Satan. And thus, however frail and slippery the condition of the godly may be, yet here is a firm footing on which they may stand; for it is not possible for them to fall away from salvation, to whom the Son of God is a faithful guardian. For they have not sufficient energy to resist the attacks of Satan, unless in consequence of their being
the sheep of Christ, which none can pluck out of his hand, (John 10:28.)
It must therefore be observed, that the permanency of our salvation does not depend on us, but on the secret election of God; for though our salvation is kept through faith, as Peter tells us, (1 Peter 1:5,) yet we ought to ascend higher, and assure ourselves that we are in safety, because the Father hath given us to the Son, and the Son himself declares, that
none who have been given to him shall perish (John 17:12.).
25. Lo, I have foretold it to you. Mark expresses our Lord's meaning more fully. But take heed: lo, I have foretold you all things. By these words we are taught that they who are dismayed by the stumbling-blocks which Christ predicted are altogether inexcusable; for since the will of God ought to be our rule, it is sufficient that we have received timely warning that such is his pleasure. Again, as he declares that
he is faithful, and will not suffer us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear, (1 Corinthians 10:13,)
we shall never be in want of strength to resist, provided that our weakness be not nourished by indifference.
26. Lo, he is in the desert. Luke connects this discourse with another reply of Christ; for, having been interrogated by the Pharisees about the coming of the kingdom of God, he replied, that it would not come with observation; and then follows in Luke's narrative that, turning to his disciples, he informed them that the days would come when they would no longer see a day of the Son of man. By these words he intended to charge them
to walls in the light before the darkness of the night overtook them, (John 12:35;)
for this ought to have been a very powerful excitement to endeavor to make progress, so long as they enjoyed the presence of Christ, when they 1earned that very serious disturbances were at hand. Whether or not Christ admonished his disciples twice on this subject is uncertain; but I think it. probable that Luke, while he was speaking of the coming of the kingdom of God introduced sentences taken from a different occasion, which he frequently does, as we have seen in other instances.
But as this passage has been, through ignorance, tortured in various ways, that the reader may ascertain the true meaning, he must attend to the contrast between a state of concealment and that extension of the kingdom of Christ far and wide, and which would be sudden and unexpected, as the lightning dashes from the east to the west. For we know that the false Christs--in accordance with the gross and foolish hope of that nation--drew along with them as large bodies of men as they could collect into the recesses of the desert, or into caverns, or other places of retirement, in order to throw off the yoke of the Roman government by force and by arms. The meaning therefore is, that every one who collects his forces into a secret place, in order to regain the freedom of the nation by arms, falsely pretends to be the Christ; for the Redeemer is sent to diffuse his grace suddenly and unexpectedly through every quarter of the world. But these two things are quite contrary, to shut up redemption within some corner, and to spread it through the whole world. The disciples were thus reminded that they must no longer seek a Redeemer within the small enclosure of Judea, because he will suddenly extend the limits of his kingdom to the uttermost ends of the world. And, indeed, this astonishing rapidity, with which the gospel flew through every part of the world, was a manifest testimony of divine power. For it could not be the result of human industry, that the light of the gospel, as soon as it appear, darted from one side of the world to the opposite side like lightning; and therefore it is not without reason that Christ introduces this circumstance for demonstrating and magnifying his heavenly glory. Besides, by holding out this vast extent of his kingdom, he intended to show that the desolation of Judea would not hinder him from reigning.
28 Wheresoever the carcass is. The meaning is, that by whatever methods Satan endeavors to scatter the children of God in various directions, still in Christ himself is the sacred bond of union, by which they must be kept united. For whence comes the dispersion, but that many depart from Christ, in whom alone our strength lies? Here then is a method laid down for promoting a holy union, that the separations produced by errors may not tear in pieces the body of the Church; and that method is, when we remain united to Christ. This ought to be carefully observed; for Christ does not restrict us either to the primacy of the Roman See, or to any other foolery, but employs this method alone for binding his Church together, that all in every quarter should look to him as the only head. Hence it follows, that those who are united to him by pure faith are beyond the risk of schism. Let the adherents of Rome now go, and exclaim that all are schismatics who do not allow themselves to be separated from Christ, that they may transfer their allegiance to a robber.
There also will the eagles be gathered together. When the Papists interpret the word carcass to denote the company of those who profess the same faith, and allegorically explain the eagles to represent acute and sagacious men,  it is excessively absurd,  for Christ had manifestly no other design than to call to himself, and to retain in union to him, the children of God, wherever they were scattered. Nor does Christ simply employ the word body, but (ptoma) carcass;  and he ascribes nothing to eagles but what we might apply to crows or vultures, according to the nature of the country which we inhabit. I attach as little value to the ingenuity of other commentators, who say that the death of Christ had a sweet savor, to draw the elect to God; for, in my opinion, Christ intended to argue from the less to the greater, that if birds have so great sagacity as to flock in great numbers from distant places to a single carcass, it would be disgraceful in believers not to assemble to the Author of life, from whom alone they derive their actual nourishment.
 "Ny an jour du Sabbath;" -- "nor on the Sabbath-Day."
 "Mais n'y allez point, et ne les suyvez point;" -- "but go not there, and do not follow them."
 "Dieu a limit? certain temps auquel ces choses prendrent fin;" -- "God has limited a certain time when those things shall be terminated."
 The passage here referred to, and from which CALVIN thinks that the quotation is not made, is Daniel 9:27, And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifices and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading or abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. The other passage, from which he supposes the quotation to have been actually made, is Daniel 12:11, And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. We have given both passages, as they stand in the authorized version. -- Ed.
 Antiochus, known in history by the surname Epiphanes, or, Illustrious, but more frequently denominated by the Jews who had beheld his cruelties, and by others who were shocked at the indecency of his public life, Antiochus Epimanes, or, Furious. -- Ed.
 "Du service et des ceremonies de la Loy;" -- "of the service and of the ceremonies of the Law."
 "Car apres qu'il avoit exhort? les fideles ? une constance ferme et bien assuree, et avoit predit que l'advenement de Christ mettroit fin aux ceremonies, et doan, pour signe la profanation externe du temple, finale-ment au chapitre treizieme (douzieme?) il determine un temps certain tant de la ruine que du restablissement." -- "For after having exhorted believers to a firm and assured constancy, and having predicted that the coming of Christ would put an end to ceremonies, and having given the outward profanation of the temple as a sign, finally, in the thirteenth (twelfth?) chapter he determines a fixed time both for the ruin and for the restoration."
 "Sans esperance de plus la recouvrer;" -- "without the expectation of ever again recovering it."
 In prophetic language one day stands for a year, a Jewish month (of thirty days) for thirty years, and a Jewish year (of three hundred and sixty days) for three hundred and sixty years. Thus a time, or Jewish year, stood for three hundred and sixty years; times, or two Jewish years, stood for seven hundred and twenty years; and half a time, or half of a Jewish year, stood for one hundred and eighty years; so that the time, times, and half a time, (Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7; Revelation 12:14,) or three years and a half, represented one thousand two hundred and sixty years. By a similar computation, forty-two months, (Revelation 11:2; Revelation 13:5,) of thirty days each, denoted the same period. -- Ed.
 "Sinon qu'on vueille prendre. ceci comme estant dit en la personne de l'Evangeliste; toutesfois il est plus vray-semblable que c'est Christ qui parle, et que suyvant son propos d'un fil continuel, il exhorte les siens estre attentifs a bon escient." -- "Unless we choose to take this as having been said in the person of the Evangelist; yet it is more probable that it is Christ who speaks, and that, following out his subject, he exhorts his followers to be earnestly attentive."
 "La pollution, immondicit, et souillure;" -- "pollution, uncleanness, and defilement."
 knph sqvtsym msmm, the wing (or, spreading out) of abominations which maketh desolate. -- Ed
 "Il adjouste quant et quant une consolation speciale pour le regard des fideles, (laquelle Daniel omet, pource qu'il parle ? tout le corps du peuple;)" -- "he adds to it a special consolation with respect to believers, (which Daniel leaves out, because he speaks to the whole body of the people.")
 "Il s'estoyent ruez cruellment, contre la personne mesme du Medecin, le mettant ? mort." -- "They had pursued with cruel rage the very person of the Physician, putting him to death."
 "Il use de redite, ou de paroles superflues;" -- "he makes use of a repetition, or of superfluous words."
 "Les gens subtils et de jugement, ? scavoir les docteurs;" -- "men of acuteness and judgment, namely, the doctors."
 "Il n'y a ne rime ne raison en cela;" -- "there is neither rhyme nor reason in it."
 "Aussi le mot Grec duquel use l'Evangeliste, ne signifie pas simplement un corps, mais un corps mort." -- "The Greek word, too, which the Evangelist employs, does not denote simply a body, but a dead body."
Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
29. And immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory. 31. And he shall send his angels with a loud sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one extremity of heaven to the other.
24. But in those days, after that tribulation, shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. 25. And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers which are in heaven shall be shaken. 26. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27. And then shall he send his angels, and gather together his elect from the four winds, from the extremity of the earth to the extremity of heaven.
25. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and on the earth the anguish of nations in despair, the sea and the waves roaring: 26. Men fainting through fear,  and expectation of those things which shall come on the world; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with great power and glory. 28. But when these things begin to take place, look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption is at hand.
Matthew 24:29. And immediately after the tribulation of those days. Christ comes now to speak of the full manifestation of his kingdom, about which he was at first interrogated by the disciples, and promises that, after they have been tried by so many distressing events, the redemption will arrive in due time. The principal object of his reply was, to confirm his disciples in good hope, that they might not be dismayed on account of the troubles and confusion that would arise. For this reason, he does not speak of his coming in simple terms, but employs those modes of expression which were common among the prophets, by which, the more attentively they were considered, so much the more severe would be the contest of temptation experienced by the reader, in consequence of the opposite character of the event. For what could be more strange than to see the kingdom of Christ not only despised, but oppressed by the cross, loaded with many reproaches, and overwhelmed by every kind of tribulation, that kingdom which the prophets had frequently described in such magnificent language? Might it not be asked, where was that majesty which would darken the sun, and moon, and stars, shake the whole frame of the world, and change the ordinary course of nature? Our Lord now meets these temptations, declaring that, though these predictions are not immediately fulfilled, they will at length be fully justified by the event. The meaning therefore is, that the predictions which had been formerly made about the miraculous shaking of heaven and earth, ought not to be restricted to the commencement of redemption, because the prophets had embraced the whole course of it, till it should arrive at perfection.
Having now ascertained Christ's intention, we shall have no difficulty in perceiving the meaning of the words to be, that heaven will not be darkened immediately, but after that the Church shall have passed through the whole course of its tribulations. Not that the glory and majesty of the kingdom of Christ will not appear till his last coming, but because till that time is delayed the accomplishment of those things which began to take place after his resurrection, and of which God gave to his people nothing more than a taste, that he might lead them farther on in the path of hope and patience. According to this argument, Christ keeps the minds of believers in a state of suspense till the last day, that they may not imagine those declarations which the prophets made, about the future restoration, to have failed of their accomplishment, because they lie buried for a long period under the thick darkness of tribulations.
The tribulation of those days is improperly interpreted by some commentators to mean the destruction of Jerusalem; for, on the contrary, it is a general recapitulation (anakephalaiosis) of all the evils of which Christ had previously spoken. To encourage his followers to patience, he employs this argument, that the tribulations will at length have a happy and joyful result. As if he had said, "So long as the Church shall continue its pilgrimage in the world, there will be dark and cloudy weather; but as soon as an end shall have been put to those distresses, a day will arrive when the majesty of the Church shall be illustriously displayed." In what manner the sun will be darkened we cannot now conjecture, but the event will show. He does not indeed mean that the stars will actually fall, but according to the apprehension of men; and accordingly Luke only predicts that there will be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars. The meaning therefore is, that there will be such a violent commotion of the firmament of heaven, that the stars themselves will be supposed to fall. Luke also adds that there will be a dreadful commotion of the sea, the sea and the waves roaring, so that men will faint through fear and alarm. In a word, all the creatures above and below will be, as it were, heralds to summon men to that tribunal, which they will continue to treat with ungodly and wanton contempt till the last day.
30. Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man. By this term Christ points out more clearly the difference between the present condition of his kingdom and its future glory; for it is a sort of admission that, amidst the darkness of tribulations, the majesty of Christ will not fully appear, and men will not perceive the redemption which he has brought. The confused mixture of things which we now perceive does certainly, on the one hand, darken our minds, and, on the other hand, bury the grace of Christ, and make it almost vanish from our sight, so that the salvation obtained by him, so far as relates to the perception of the flesh, is not comprehended. And therefore he declares that he will appear openly at his last coming and, surrounded by the heavenly power, which will be a sign erected on an elevated spot, he will turn the eyes of the whole world upon himself. 
Perceiving that the greater part of men would despise his doctrine and oppose his reign, he threatens also against all nations mourning and lamentation; because it is proper, that by his presence he should crush and destroy the rebels, who, while he was absent, despised his authority. He says this, partly to bring the haughty and refractory to repentance, by striking them with terror; and partly to confirm the minds of his followers amidst so great obstinacy existing in the world. For it is no slight ground of offense to see the ungodly living without concern, because they think that their mockery of God will remain unpunished; and again, there is nothing to which we are more prone than to be captivated by the allurements of the prosperity which they enjoy, so as to lose the fear of God. That the joy by which they are intoxicated may not excite the envy of believers, Christ declares that it will at length be turned into mourning and gnashing of teeth.
He alludes, I think, to Zechariah 12:11-14, where God, informing them that a striking display of his judgment will soon be made, declares that there will be lamentation in every family, such as is not usually seen at the funeral of a first-born son. There is no reason, therefore, why any person should expect the conversion of the world, for at length--when it will be too late, and will yield them no advantage--
they shall look on him whom they pierced,
Next follows the explanation of that sin, that they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds, who at that time was living on earth in the garb of a despised servant. And thus he warns them that the glory of his kingdom will be heavenly, and not earthly, as the disciples had falsely imagined.
And he shall send his angels. He describes the effect of his power, that he will send his angels to gather his elect from the most distant parts of the world; for by the extremity of heaven is meant the most distant region. But Christ speaks hyperbolically, in order to show that the elect, even though they were carried away from the earth and scattered in the air, will again be gathered, so to be united in the enjoyment of eternal life under Him as their head, and enjoy the expected inheritance; for Christ intended to console his disciples, that they might not be altogether discouraged by the lamentable dispersion of the Church. Whenever, therefore, we perceive the Church scattered by the wiles of Satan, or torn in pieces by the cruelty of the ungodly, or disturbed by false doctrines, or tossed about by storms, let us learn to turn our eyes to this gathering of the elect. And if it appear to us a thing difficult to be believed, let us call to remembrance the power of the angels, which Christ holds out to us for the express purpose of raising our views above human means. For, though the Church be now tormented by the malice of men, or even broken by the violence of the billows, and miserably torn in pieces, so as to have no stability in the world, yet we ought always to cherish confident hope, because it will not be by human means, but by heavenly power, which will be far superior to every obstacle, that the Lord will gather his Church.
Luke 21:28. And when these things begin to take place. Luke expresses more clearly the consolation by which Christ animates the minds of his followers; for, though this sentence contains nothing different from the words of Matthew, which we have just now explained, yet it shows better for what purpose the angels will come, as we are told, to gather the elect. For it was necessary to contrast the joy of the godly with the general sorrow and distress of the world, and to point out the difference between them and the reprobate, that they might not view with horror the coming of Christ. We know that Scripture, when it speaks not only of the last judgment, but of all the judgments which God executes every day, describes them in a variety of ways, according as the discourse is addressed to believers or to unbelievers.
To what purpose is the day of the Lord to you?
It is a day of darkness and gloominess,  not of light; of sorrow, not of joy; of destruction, not of salvation. On the other hand, Zechariah (9:9) bids the daughter of Zion rejoice on account of the coming of her King; and justly, for--as Isaiah (35:4) tells us--the same day which brings wrath and vengeance to the reprobate brings good-will and redemption to believers.
Christ therefore shows that, at his coming, the light of joy will arise on his disciples, that they may rejoice in the approaching salvation, while the wicked are overwhelmed with terror. Accordingly, Paul distinguishes them by this mark, that they wait for the day or coming of the Lord, (1 Corinthians 1:7) for that which is their crown, and perfect happiness, and solace, is delayed till that day, (2 Timothy 4:8.) It is therefore called here (as in Romans 8:23) redemption; because we shall then obtain truly and perfectly the consequences of the deliverance obtained through Christ. Let our ears therefore be awake to the sound of the angel's trumpet, which will then sound, not only to strike the reprobate with the dread of death, but to arouse the elect to a second life; that is, to call to the enjoyment of life those whom the Lord now quickens by the voice of his Gospel; for it is a sign of infidelity, to be afraid when the Son of God comes in person for our salvation.
 "Tellement que les hommes seront comme morts de peur;" -- "so that men will be as if dead through fear."
 "La puissance celeste, de laquelle il sera environn?, servira comme d'une enseigne desployee pour contreindre tout le monde ? le regarder;" -- "the heavenly power, by which he shall be surrounded, will serve as a standard displayed to compel the whole world to look at him."
 Our author -- quoting from memory, as he frequently does -- appears to have incorporated the words of the prophet Amos, (5:18,) To what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light, with a parallel passage in Joel, (2:1, 2) for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. -- Ed.
Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
32. Now learn a similitude from the fig-tree. When its branch is already tender, and putteth forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh. 33. In like manner, when you shall see all these things, know you that it is nigh, at the door. 34. Verily I say to you, This generation shall not pass away till all these things be done. 35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36. But of that day and hour no man knoweth, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father alone.
28. Now learn a similitude from the fig-tree. When its branch is still tender, and putteth forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh. 29. In like manner, when you shall see these things happen, know you that it is nigh at the door. 30. Verily I say to you, That this generation shall not pass till all those things be done. 31. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 32. But of that day and hour no man knoweth, not even the angels which are in heaven, nor the Son himself, but the Father alone.
29. And he addressed to them a similitude. Look at the fig-tree and all the trees. 30. When they are already putting forth buds, you perceive of yourselves and know that the summer is already at hand. 31. In like manner, when you shall see these things happen know you that the kingdom of God is at hand. 32. Verily I say to you, This generation shall not pass before all these things are done. 33. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Matthew 24:32. Now learn a similitude from the fig-tree. I do not suppose the meaning of this to be merely that, during the state of confusion which has been mentioned, there will be as evident a sign that the coming of Christ is nigh, as that by which we know with certainty that the summer is at hand, when the trees begin to grow green; but, in my opinion, Christ expresses something else. For as in winter the trees, contracted by the severity of the cold, show greater vigor, but in spring lose their toughness, and appear more feeble, and are even cleft asunder to open up passage for fresh twigs, so the afflictions by which, according to the perception of the flesh, the Church is softened, do not in any way impair its vigor. As the inward sap diffused through the whole tree, after having produced this softness, collects strength to throw itself out for renovating what was dead, so the Lord draws from the corruption of the outward man the perfect restoration of his people. The general instruction conveyed is, that the weak and frail condition of the Church ought not to lead us to conclude that it is dying, but rather to expect the immortal glory for which the Lord prepares his people by the cross and by afflictions; for what Paul maintains in reference to each of the members must be fulfilled in the whole body, that
if the outward man is decayed the inward man is renewed day by day, (2 Corinthians 4:16.)
What Matthew and Mark had stated more obscurely, know you that it is nigh at the door, is more fully explained by Luke, know you that the kingdom of God is at hand; and in this passage the kingdom of God is not represented--as in many other passages--at its commencement, but at its perfection, and that according to the views of those whom Christ was teaching. For they did not view the kingdom of God in the Gospel as consisting in the peace and joy of faith and in spiritual righteousness, (Romans 14:17,) but sought that blessed rest and glory which is concealed under hope till the last day.
34. This generation shall not pass away. Though Christ employs a general expression, yet he does not extend the discourses to all the miseries which would befall the Church, but merely informs them, that before a single generation shall have been completed, they will learn by experience the truth of what he has said. For within fifty years the city was destroyed and the temple was razed, the whole country was reduced to a hideous desert, and the obstinacy of the world rose up against God. Nay more, their rage was inflamed to exterminate the doctrine of salvation, false teachers arose to corrupt the pure gospel by their impostures, religion sustained amazing shocks, and the whole company of the godly was miserably distressed. Now though the same evils were perpetrated in uninterrupted succession for many ages afterwards, yet what Christ said was true, that, before the close of a single generation, believers would feel in reality, and by undoubted experience, the truth of his prediction; for the apostles endured the same things which we see in the present day.  And yet it was not the design of Christ to promise to his followers that their calamities would be terminated within a short time, (for then he would have contradicted himself, having previously warned them that the end was not yet;) but, in order to encourage them to perseverance, he expressly foretold that those things related to their own age. The meaning therefore is: "This prophecy does not relate to evils that are distant, and which posterity will see after the lapse of many centuries, but which are now hanging over you, and ready to fall in one mass, so that there is no part of it which the present generation will not experience." So then, while our Lord heaps upon a, single generation every kind of calamities, he does not by any means exempt future ages from the same kind of sufferings, but only enjoins the disciples to be prepared for enduring them all with firmness.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away. In order to secure greater confidence in his statements, he illustrates their certainty by this comparison, that it is more firm and stable than the entire structure of the world.  But this form of expression is explained by commentators in a variety of ways. Some refer it as the passing away of heaven and earth at the last day, by which their frail constitution will be brought to an end; while others explain it to mean, that sooner shall the entire structure of the world perish than the prophecy which we have just heard shall fail to be accomplished. But as there can be no doubt that Christ expressly intended to raise the minds of his followers above the contemplation of the world, I think that he refers to the continual changes which we see in the world, and affirms, that we ought not to judge of his sayings by the changeful character of the world, which resembles the billows of the sea; for we know how easily our minds are carried away by the affairs of the world, when it is undergoing incessant change. For this reason, Christ enjoins his disciples not to allow their attention to be occupied by the world, but to look down, from what may be called the lofty watch-tower of divine providence, on all that he foretold would happen. Yet from this passage we draw a useful doctrine, that our salvation, because it is founded on the promises of Christ, does not fluctuate according to the various agitations of the world, but remains unshaken, provided only that our faith rises above heaven and earth, and ascends to Christ himself.
36. But of that day and hour. By this sentence, Christ intended to hold the minds of believers in suspense that they might not, by a false imagination, fix any time for the final redemption. We know how fickle our minds are, and how much we are tickled by a vain curiosity to know more than is proper. Christ likewise perceived that the disciples were pushing forward with excessive haste to enjoy a triumph. He therefore wishes the day of his coming to be the object of such expectation and desire, that none shall dare to inquire when it will happen. In short, he wishes his disciples so to walk in the light of faith, that while they are uncertain as to the time, they may patiently wait for the revelation of him. We ought therefore to be on our guard, lest our anxiety about the time be carried farther than the Lord allows; for the chief part of our wisdom lies in confining ourselves soberly within the limits of God's word. That men may not feel uneasy at not knowing that day, Christ represents angels as their associates in this matter; for it would be a proof of excessive pride and wicked covetousness, to desire that we who creep on the earth should know more than is permitted to the angels in heaven. 
Mark adds, nor the Son himself. And surely that man must be singularly mad, who would hesitate to submit to the ignorance which even the Son of God himself did not hesitate to endure on our account. But many persons, thinking that this was unworthy of Christ, have endeavored to mitigate the harshness of this opinion by a contrivance of their own; and perhaps they were driven to employ a subterfuge by the malice of the Arians, who attempted to prove from it that Christ is not the true and only God. So then, according to those men, Christ did not know the last day, because he did not choose to reveal it to men. But since it is manifest that the same kind of ignorance is ascribed to Christ as is ascribed to the angels, we must endeavor to find some other meaning which is more suitable. Before stating it, however, I shall briefly dispose of the objections of those who think that it is an insult offered to the Son of God, if it be said that any kind of ignorance can properly apply to him.
As to the first objection, that nothing is unknown to God, the answer is easy. For we know that in Christ the two natures were united into one person in such a manner that each retained its own properties; and more especially the Divine nature was in a state of repose, and did not at all exert itself,  whenever it was necessary that the human nature should act separately, according to what was peculiar to itself, in discharging the office of Mediator. There would be no impropriety, therefor in saying that Christ, who knew all things, (John 21:17) was ignorant of something in respect of his perception as a man; for otherwise he could not have been liable to grief and anxiety, and could not have been like us, (Hebrews 2:17.) Again, the objection urged by some--that ignorance cannot apply to Christ, because it is the punishment of sin -- is beyond measure ridiculous. For, first, it is prodigious folly to assert that the ignorance which is ascribed to angels proceeds from sin; but they discover themselves to be equally foolish on another ground, by not perceiving that Christ clothed himself with our flesh, for the purpose of enduring the punishment due to our sins. And if Christ, as man, did not know the last day, that does not any more derogate from his Divine nature than to have been mortal.
I have no doubt that he refers to the office appointed to him by the Father as in a former instance, when he said that it did not belong to him to place this or that person at his right or left hand, (Matthew 20:23; Mark 5:40.) For (as I explained under that passage  ) he did not absolutely say that this was not in his power, but the meaning was, that he had not been sent by the Father with this commission, so long as he lived among mortals. So now I understand that, so far as he had come down to us to be Mediator, until he had fully discharged his office that information was not given to him which he received after his resurrection; for then he expressly declared that power over all things had been given to him, (Matthew 28:18.)
 "Que nous voyons aujourdhui advenir aux fideles;" -- "which we see in the present day happen to believers."
 "Que tout l'ordre de nature qui se voit au ciel et ? la terre;" -- "than the whole order of nature which is seen in heaven and in earth."
 "Aux anges de Paradis;" -- "to the angels in Paradise."
 "La Divinit? s'est tenue comme cachee; c'est ? dire, n'a point demonstr? sa vertu;" -- "the Divine nature was kept, as it were, concealed; that is, did not display `its power."
 Harmony, vol. 2, p. 421
When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.
31. Now when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32. And all the nations shall be assembled before him; and he shall separate them from one another, as a shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats. 33. And he shall place the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on the left. 34. Then will the King say to those who shall be on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you received me kindly; 36. I was naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me. 37. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38. And when did e see thee a stranger, and received thee kindly? or naked, and clothed thee? 39. Or when did we see thee sick, or in prison, and came to thee? 40. And the King answering will say to them, Verily I tell you, So far as you did it to one of these my brethren, you did it to me. 41. Then will he say also to those who shall be on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels: 42. For I was hungry, and you gave me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink. 43. I was a stranger, and you did not receive me kindly; I was naked, and you did not clothe me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me. 44. Then will they also answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not assist thee? 45. Then will he answer them, saying, Verily I tell you, So far as you did it not to any of the least of these, you did it not to me. 46. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into everlasting life. 
37. And he taught in the temple by day; but at night he went out, and lodged in the mountain, which is called the mountain of Olives. 38. And early in the morning all the people came to him, to hear him in the temple.
Matthew 25:31. Now when the Son of man shall come in his glory. Christ follows out the same doctrine, and what he formerly described under parables, he now explains clearly and without figures. The sum of what is said is, that believers, in order to encourage themselves to a holy and upright conduct, ought to contemplate with the eyes of faith the heavenly life, which, though it is now concealed, will at length be manifested at the last coming of Christ. For, when he declares that, when he shall come with the angels, then will he sit on the throne of his glory, he contrasts this last revelation with the disorders and agitations of earthly warfare; as if he had said, that he did not appear for the purpose of immediately setting up his kingdom, and therefore that there was need of hope and patience, lest the disciples might be discouraged by long delay. Hence we infer that this was again added, in order that the disciples, being freed from mistake about immediate and sudden happiness, might keep their minds in warfare till Christ's second coming, and might not give way, or be discouraged, on account of his absence.
This is the reason why he says that he will then assume the title of King; for though he commenced his reign on the earth, and now sits at the right hand of the Father, so as to exercise the supreme government of heaven and earth; yet he has not yet erected before the eyes of men that throne, from which his divine majesty will be far more fully displayed than it now is at the last day; for that, of which we now obtain by faith nothing more than a taste, will then have its full effect. So then Christ now sits on his heavenly throne, as fir as it is necessary that he shall reign for restraining his enemies and protecting the Church; but then he will appear openly, to establish perfect order in heaven and earth, to crush his enemies under his feet, to assemble his believing people to partake of an everlasting and blessed life, to ascend his judgment-seat; and, in a word, there will be a visible manifestation of the reason why the kingdom was given to him by the Father. He says that he will come in his glory; because, while he dwelt in this world as a mortal man, he appeared in the despised form of a servant. And he calls it his glory, though he elsewhere ascribes it to his Father, but the meaning is the same; for he means simply the divine glory, which at that time shone in the Father only, for in himself it was concealed. 
32. And all nations shall be assembled before him. He employs large and splendid titles for extolling his kingdom, that the disciples may learn to expect a different kind of happiness from what they had imagined. For they were satisfied with this single consideration, that their nation was delivered from the miseries with which it was then oppressed, so that it would be manifest that God had not in vain established his covenant with Abraham and his posterity. But Christ extends much farther the benefit of the redemption brought by him, for he will be the Judge of the whole world. Again, in order to persuade believers to holiness of life, he assures them that the good and the bad will not share alike; because he will bring with him the reward which is laid up for both. In short, he declares that his kingdom will be fully established, when the righteous shall have obtained a crown of glory, and when the wicked shall have received the reward which they deserved.
As a shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats. When our Lord says that the separation of the sheep from the goats is delayed till that day, he means that the wicked are now mixed with the good and holy, so that they live together in the same flock of God. The comparison appears to be borrowed from Ezekiel 34:18, where the Lord complains of the fierceness of the goats, which attack with their horns the poor sheep, and destroy the pastures, and pollute the water; and where the Lord expressly declares that he will take vengeance. And therefore Christ's discourse amounts to this, that believers ought not to think their condition too hard, if they are now compelled to live with the goats, and even to sustain many serious attacks and annoyances from them; secondly, that they ought to beware of being themselves infected by the contagion of their vices; and, thirdly, to inform them that in a holy and innocent life their labor is not thrown away, for the difference will one day appear.
34. Come, you blessed of my Father. We must remember Christ's design; for he bids his disciples rest satisfied now with hope, that they may with patience and tranquillity of mind look for the enjoyment of the heavenly kingdom; and next, he bids them strive earnestly, and not become wearied in the right course. To this latter clause he refers, when he promises the inheritance of the heavens to none but those who by good works aim at the prize of the heavenly calling. But before speaking of the reward of good works, he points out, in passing, that the commencement of salvation flows from a higher source; for by calling them blessed of the Father, he reminds them, that their salvation proceeded from the undeserved favor of God. Among the Hebrews the phrase blessed of God means one who is dear to God, or beloved by God. Besides, this form of expression was not only employed by believers to extol the grace of God towards men, but those who had degenerated from true godliness still held this principle. Enter, thou blessed of God, said Laban to Abraham's servant, (Genesis 24:31.) We see that nature suggested to them this expression, by which they ascribed to God the praise of all that they possessed. There can be no doubt, therefore, that Christ, in describing the salvation of the godly, begins with the undeserved love of God, by which those who, under the guidance of the Spirit in this life, aim at righteousness, were predestined to life.
To this also relates what he says shortly afterwards, that the kingdom, to the possession of which they will be appointed at the last day, had been prepared for them from the beginning of the world. For though it may be easy to object, that the reward was laid up with a view to their future merits, any person who will candidly examine the words must acknowledge that there is an implied commendation of the grace of God. Nay more, Christ does not simply invite believers to possess the kingdom, as if they had obtained it by their merits, but expressly says that it is bestowed on them as heirs.
Yet we must observe another object which our Lord had in view. For though the life of the godly be nothing else than a sad and wretched banishment, so that the earth scarcely bears them; though they groan under hard poverty, and reproaches, and other afflictions; yet, that they may with fortitude and cheerfulness surmount these obstacles, the Lord declares that a kingdom is elsewhere prepared for them. It is no slight persuasive to patience, when men are fully convinced that they do not run in vain; and therefore, lest our minds should be east, down by the pride of the ungodly, in which they give themselves unrestrained indulgences--lest our hope should even be weakened by our own afflictions, let us always remember the inheritance which awaits us in heaven; for it depends on no uncertain event, but was prepared for us by God before we were born,--prepared, I say, for each of the elect, for the persons here addressed by Christ are the blessed of the Father.
When it is here said only that the kingdom was prepared from the beginning of the world, while it is said, in another passage, that it was prepared before the creation of heaven and of earth, (Ephesians 1:4) this involves no inconsistency. For Christ does not here fix the precise time when the inheritance of eternal life was appointed for the sons of God, but only reminds us of God's fatherly care, with which he embraced us before we were born; and confirms the certainty of our hope by this consideration, that our life can sustain no injury from the commotions and agitations of the world.
35. For I was hungry. If Christ were now speaking of the cause of our salvation, the Papists could not be blamed for inferring that we merit eternal life by good works; but as Christ had no other design than to exhort his people to holy and upright conduct, it is improper to conclude from his words what is the value of the merits of works. With regard to the stress which they lay on the word for, as if it pointed out the cause, it is a weak argument; for we know that, when eternal life is promised to the righteous, the word for does not always denote a cause, but rather the order of procedure.  But we have another reply to offer, which is still more clear; for we do not deny that a reward is promised to good works, but maintain that it is a reward of grace, because it depends on adoption. Paul boasts (2 Timothy 4:8) that a crown of righteousness is laid up for him; but whence did he derive that confidence but because he was a member of Christ, who alone is heir of the heavenly kingdom? He openly avows that the righteous Judge will give to him that crown; but whence did he obtain that prize but because by grace he was adopted, and received that justification of which we are all destitute? We must therefore hold these two principles, first, that believers are called to the possession of the kingdom of heaven, so far as relates to good works, not because they deserved them through the righteousness of works, or because their own minds prompted them to obtain that righteousness, but because God justifies those whom he previously elected, (Romans 8:30.) Secondly, although by the guidance of the Spirit they aim at the practice of righteousness, yet as they never fulfill the law of God, no reward is due to them, but the term reward is applied to that which is bestowed by grace.
Christ does not here specify every thing that belongs to a pious and holy life, but only, by way of example, refers to some of the duties of charity, by which we give evidence that we fear God. For though the worship of God is more important than charity towards men, and though, in like manner, faith and supplication are more valuable than alms, yet Christ had good reasons for bringing forward those evidences of true righteousness which are more obvious. If a man were to take no thought about God, and were only to be beneficent towards men, such compassion would be of no avail to him for appeasing God, who had all the while been defrauded of his right. Accordingly, Christ does not make the chief part of righteousness to consist in alms, but, by means of what may be called more evident signs, shows what it is to live a holy and righteous life; as unquestionably believers not only profess with the mouth, but prove by actual performances, that they serve God.
Most improperly, therefore, do fanatics, under the pretext of this passage, withdraw from hearing the word, and from observing the Holy Supper, and from other spiritual exercises; for with equal plausibility might they set aside faith, and bearing the cross, and prayer, and chastity. But nothing was farther from the design of Christ than to confine to a portion of the second table of the Law that rule of life which is contained in the two tables. The monks and other noisy talkers had as little reason to imagine that there are only six works of mercy, because Christ does not mention any more; as if it were not obvious, even to children, that he commends, by means of a synacdoche, all the duties of charity. For to comfort mourners, to relieve those who are unjustly oppressed, to aid simple-minded men by advice, to deliver wretched persons from the jaws of wolves, are deeds of mercy not less worthy of commendation than to clothe the naked or to feed the hungry.
But while Christ, in recommending to us the exercise of charity, does not exclude those duties which belong to the worship of God, he reminds his disciples that it will be an authentic evidence of a holy life, if they practice charity, agreeably to those words of the prophet,
I choose mercy, and not sacrifice, (Hosea 6:6;)
the import of which is, that hypocrites, while they are avaricious, and cruel, and deceitful, and extortioners, and haughty, still counterfeit holiness by an imposing array of ceremonies. Hence also we infer, that if we desire to have our life approved by the Supreme Judge, we must not go astray after our own inventions, but must rather consider what it is that He chiefly requires from us. For all who shall depart from his commandments, though they toil and wear themselves out in works of their own contrivance, will hear it said to them at the last day, Who
hath required those things at your hands? (Isaiah 1:12.)
37. Then wilt the righteous answer him. Christ represents the righteous as doubting--what they know well--his willingness to form a just estimate of what is done to men.  But as this was not so deeply impressed on their minds as it ought to have been, he holds out to them this lively representation.  For how comes it that we are so slow and reluctant to acts of beneficence, but because that promise is not truly engraven on our hearts, that God will one day repay with usury what we bestow on the poor? The admiration which Christ here expresses is intended to instruct us to rise above the apprehension of our flesh, whenever afflicted brethren ask our confidence and aid, that the aspect of a despised man may not hinder us from treating him with kindness.
40. Verily I tell you. As Christ has just now told us, by a figure, that our senses do not yet comprehend how highly he values deeds of charity, so now he openly declares, that he will reckon as done to himself whatever we have bestowed on his people. We must be prodigiously sluggish, if compassion be not drawn from our bowels by this statement, that Christ is either neglected or honored in the person of those who need our assistance. So then, whenever we are reluctant to assist the poor, let us place before our eyes the Son of God, to whom it would be base sacrilege to refuse any thing. By these words he likewise shows, that he acknowledges those acts of kindness which have been performed gratuitously, and without any expectation of a reward. And certainly, when he enjoins us to do good to the hungry and naked, to strangers and prisoners, from whom nothing can be expected in return, we must look to him, who freely lays himself under obligation to us, and allows us to place to his account what might otherwise appear to have been lost.
So far as you have done it to one of the least of my brethren. Believers only are expressly recommended to our notice; not that he bids us altogether despise others, but because the more nearly a man approaches to God, he ought to be the more highly esteemed by us; for though there is a common tie that binds all the children of Adam, there is a still more sacred union among the children of God. So then, as those, who belong to the household of faith ought to be preferred to strangers, Christ makes special mention of them. And though his design was, to encourage those whose wealth and resources are abundant to relieve the poverty of brethren, yet it affords no ordinary consolation to the poor and distressed, that, though shame and contempt follow them in the eyes of the world, yet the Son of God holds them as dear as his own members. And certainly, by calling them brethren, he confers on them inestimable honor.
41. Depart from me, you cursed. He now comes to the reprobate, who are so intoxicated by their fading prosperity, that they imagine they will always be happy. He threatens, therefore, that he will come as their Judge, and that he will make them forget those luxurious enjoyments to which they are now so entirely devoted; not that the coming of Christ will strike them with terror--for they think that they
have made a covenant with death, (Isaiah 28:15,)
and harden themselves in wicked indifference--but that believers, warned of their dreadful ruin, may not envy their present lot. For as promises are necessary for us, to excite and encourage us to holiness of life, so threatenings are likewise necessary to restrain us by anxiety and fear. We are therefore taught how desirable it is to be united to the Son of God; because everlasting destruction and the torment of the flesh await all those whom he will drive from his presence at the last day. He will then order the wicked to depart from him, because many hypocrites are now mixed with the righteous, as if they were closely allied to Christ.
Into everlasting fire. We have stated formerly, that the term fire represents metaphorically that dreadful punishment which our senses are unable to comprehend. It is therefore unnecessary to enter into subtle inquiries, as the sophists do, into the materials or form of this fire; for there would be equally good reason to inquire about the worm, which Isaiah connects with the
fire for their worm shall not die,
Besides, the same prophet shows plainly enough in another passage that the expression is metaphorical; for he compares the Spirit of God to a blast by which the fire is kindled, and adds a mixture of brimstone, (Isaiah 30:33.) Under these words, therefore, we ought to represent to our minds the future vengeance of God against the wicked, which, being more grievous than all earthly torments, ought rather to excite horror than a desire to know it. But we must observe the eternity of this fire, as well as of the glory which, a little before, was promised to believers.
Which is prepared for the devil. Christ contrasts with himself the devil, as the head of all the reprobate. For though all the devils are apostate angels, yet many passages of Scripture assign thee highest authority to one who assembles under him, as in one body, all the wicked to perdition; in the same manner as believers assemble to life under Christ, and grow under him, till, having reached perfection, they are entirely united by him to God, (Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 2:19.) But now Christ says, that hell is prepared for the devil, that wicked men may not entertain the belief that they will be able to escape it, when they hear that they are involved in the same punishment with the devil, who, it is certain, was long ago sentenced and condemned to hell, without any hope of deliverance.
And his angels. By the devil's angels some understand wicked men, but it is more probable that Christ speaks only of devils. And so these words convey an indirect reproach, that men, who had been called to the hope of salvation through the Gospel, chose to perish with Satan, and, rejecting the Author of salvation, voluntarily threw themselves into this wretched condition; not that they were not appointed to destruction as well as the devil, but because in their crime is plainly seen the cause of their destruction, when they reject the grace of their calling. And thus, though the reprobate were devoted to death, by a secret judgment of God, before they were born, yet, so long as life is offered to them, they are not reckoned heirs of death or companions of Satan, but their perdition, which had been formerly concealed, is discovered and made evident by their unbelief.
44. Then shall they also answer him. The same kind of striking delineation which Christ had formerly employed is now repeated, in order to inform the reprobate, that their vain excuses, by which they now deceive themselves, will be of no avail to them at the last day. For whence comes the great cruelty of their pride towards the poor, but because they think that they will not be punished for despising them? To destroy this self-complacency, our Lord gives them warning, that they will one day feel--but when it will be too late--what they do not now deign to consider, that those who are now so greatly despised are not less esteemed by Christ than his own members.
 "Mais les justes iront;" -- "but the righteous will go."
 "Pource qu'en Christ elle estoit cachee et ne se monstroit;" -- "because in Christ it was concealed, and was not exhibited."
 "Elle ne touche pas tousjours la cause et le fondement de salut, mais plustost l'ordre et la procedure que Dieu y tient;" -- "it does not always refer to the cause and foundation of salvation, but rather to the order and procedure which God observes in regard to it."
 "La charit, qu'on exerce envers les hommes;" -- "the charity which is exercised towards men."
 "Il leur represente au vif, tout ainsi que si la chose se faisoit devant lcurs yeux;" -- "he represents it to them in a lively manner, quite as if the thing were done before their eyes."
And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.