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The Making of a Soul (8 of 23)
Series: The Hope of the Gospel
In your patience ye shall win your souls. -Luke 21:19 rv
I have quoted, as you will notice, from the Revised Version. The Revised Version, from the literary point of view, may have many defects, but it has at any rate one supreme and sovereign merit-it reproduces more exactly for us the sense of the original. In the Authorized Version my text reads, 'In your patience possess ye your souls.' That is to say, King James's translators treated this verse as if it were merely an exhortation to the disciples to be patient under the pressure of persecution and peril. But that is not what our Lord said at all. He did not bid these disciples possess their souls in patience. He said a far more striking and significant thing. He said that it was by patient endurance they were to win, to get possession of, their souls. 'Ye shall win your souls!' It is a notable and suggestive saying. It is perfectly true that some of the commentators take all the suggestiveness out of it by explaining that it really means nothing more than this: that if the disciples remain steadfast in the midst of all their troubles, and do not turn apostate, then they shall win life in the resurrection of the just. This is, indeed, how the twentieth-century Testament translates the verse: 'By your endurance you shall win yourselves life.' But I cannot help feeling that such a translation is a case of conventionalizing and stereotyping what is a very unconventional and unusual expression. At any rate, in this sermon I am going to take the phrase at its face value. Ye shall win-ye shall gain possession-of your souls. And the main and central suggestion of the phrase to me is this: our souls are not given to us ready-made, finished and complete. They have to be made. They are prizes to be won. We do not start with them-we gradually get possession of them. 'Life,' says Browning somewhere, 'is a stuff to try the soul's st ...
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