Mark 13:12-13. The brother shall betray the brother to death The unbelieving Jews and heathen shall discover, betray, and deliver to be imprisoned, tortured, and put to death, their believing relatives, even their brethren, fathers, or children. With respect to the Jews in particular, their known zeal and cruelty render it abundantly credible that, in the persecution of the Christians, the bigots to the law of Moses, overlooking the ties of nature, would be instrumental in putting their own relations to death, who followed the standard of Christ. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake That the disciples of Christ were hated of all men in the first ages of Christianity, is well known. Their opposition to idolatry was the cause of the ill-will which the heathen bore toward them; their preaching that the law of Moses was abrogated, enraged the Jews: and in this temper both Jews and heathen continued during the first three centuries, till Constantine, declaring himself a Christian, put an end to the cruelties that had been so long exercised upon the disciples of Christ. “That not only the apostles,” says Dr. Doddridge, “but all the primitive Christians, were in general more hated and persecuted than any other religious sect of men, is most notorious to all who are at all acquainted with ecclesiastical history: a fact which might seem unaccountable, when we consider how inoffensive and benevolent their temper and conduct was, and how friendly an aspect their tenets had on the security of any government under which they lived. The true reason of this opposition was, that while the different pagan religions, like the confederated demons honoured by them, sociably agreed with each other, the gospel taught Christians, not only, like Jews, to bear their testimony to the falsehood of them all; but also with the most fervent zeal to urge the renunciation of them, as a point of absolute necessity, requiring all men, on the most tremendous penalties, to believe on Christ, and in all things to submit themselves to his authority: a demand which bore so hard, especially on the pride and licentiousness of their princes, and the secular interests of their priests, that it is no wonder they raised so violent a storm against it; which, considering the character and prejudices of the populace, it must be very easy to do.” But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved He who is neither made to apostatize by the persecutions I have described, nor led astray by the seduction of unbelieving Jews or false Christians, shall escape out of the destruction that is about to fall on this land; and, persevering in faith and piety to the end of his life, shall be saved eternally.
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