WHEN ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass." These are the words which Christ Jesus once spoke to his disciples in connection with the ultimate utter destruction of all things material. With the pride inborn in the devout Jew they had been calling his attention to the temple, "how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts," and his reply must have been one indeed to carry with it amazement and consternation. "As for these things which ye behold," he said, "the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." To the faithful Hebrew the destruction of his temple was a calamity well-nigh unthinkable, so one cannot wonder at the faltering response, "But when shall these things be?"
Jesus then proceeded to tell his disciples what must inevitably take place when old and time-honored beliefs should give way to a higher spiritual understanding, and to those bewildered listeners it must have seemed as if the very earth itself were about to crumble beneath their feet. Famine and pestilence were to come, he told them, great earthquakes in divers places, fearful sights and great signs in heaven, "the sea and the waves roaring," and "men's hearts failing them for fear." There should be "distress of nations, with perplexity," nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. With that tenderness which always accompanied even his most profound sayings, however, Jesus told them not to be terrified: "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
Today the Christian Scientists may well pray for that same serenity which can behold in any great stir and unrest only a sign of the times. Jesus once rebuked the dulness of those of his own generation who could read the face of the sky but could not perceive the deeper significance of spiritual things. The experience through which the world seems to be now passing is but the fulfilment of prophecy, the moral chemicalization which inevitably takes place when the old is giving way to the new. In Science and Health (p. 96) Mrs. Eddy says: "This material world is even now becoming the arena for conflicting forces. . . . The breaking up of material beliefs may seem to be famine and pestilence, want and woe, sin, sickness, and death, which assume new phases until their nothingness appears. These disturbances will continue until the end of error, when all discord will be swallowed up in spiritual Truth. . . . This mental fermentation has begun, and will continue until all errors of belief yield to understanding."