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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

XVI TAKING ONE'S SHARE OF HARDSHIPS

2 Timothy ii.3.

Here is one of the passages where the Revised Version brings out more clearly the meaning. The Old Version says: |Endure hardness;| as though it were an appeal to an individual. The Revised Version in the margin says: |Take thy part in suffering hardship;| take, that is to say, your share of the hardship which belongs to the common cause. |Come in with the rest of us,| it means, |in bearing the hard times.| There were plenty of hard times in those days. Paul was a prisoner in Rome; Nero's persecution was abroad. When the aged Paul, however, writes to the young man whom he affectionately calls his beloved child, he does not say to him: |I hope, my beloved child, that you will find life easier than I have, or that the times will clear up before you have to take the lead.| He says, on the contrary: {45} |The times are very hard. Come in with us then and take your share of the hardship.|

A great many people in the modern world are trying to look at life in quite an opposite way. They want to make it soft and easy for themselves and for their sons. The problem of life is to get rid of hardness. Education is to be smoothed and simplified. Trouble and care are to be kept away from their beloved children. Young people are to have a good time while they can. The apostle strikes a wholly different note. Writing to a young man of the modern time he would say: |There is a deal of hardship, of poverty, of industrial distress in the world, and I charge you to take your share in it! Are you not old enough to enlist in Christ's army? At your age, college men twenty-five years ago were brigadier-generals, dying at the head of their troops. Take your place, then, in the modern battle. Be a good soldier, not a shirk or a runaway.|

When that extraordinary man, -- perhaps the most inspiring leader of men in our generation, -- General Armstrong, was first undertaking his work for the negroes in Virginia, he wrote a letter to a friend in the North, {46} saying: |Dear Miss Ludlow: If you care to sail into a good hearty battle, where there is no scratching and pin-sticking, but great guns and heavy shot only used, come here. If you like to lend a hand when a good cause is short-handed, come here.| Could any brave man or woman resist a call like that? It was a call to arms, a summons to a good soldier of Jesus Christ. The problem of a soldier is, not to find a soft and easy place in life, with plenty to get and little to do, but |to take his share of hardship,| and as the passage goes on, |to please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.|

This change of reading is finely commented on by F. Paget, The Hallowing of Work, p.57. Longmans, 1891.

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