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of Divine charity, preached openly the name of Jesus in Jerusalem, where many of the Jews were converted to Christ and received into the Church. Afterwards, from Judea, they spread themselves through all nations, and brought everywhere the happy tidings of salvation.
Soon after the preaching of the Apostles, a new and most striking spectacle appeared upon earth, wonderful to the angels of God no less than to men. A vast multitude of
every age, sex, and condition, subdued by the power of truth and grace, enrolled themselves under the standard of Christ, and submitted to the yoke of His Gospel, withdrawing their affections from this world. Then it was that a holy society sprung up, and the face of the earth was renewed. The spirit of dark. ness, which could not bear the triumph of holiness and justice, employed the cruelty of tyrants, the sophistry of false philosophers, and the malice of heretics, to overthrow it, but in vain: the fervour of the new believers, and their ardent love for Jesus, overcame all difficulties, so that in the space of a few centuries the Gospel was seen to reign not only over individuals, but also over entire nations and kingdoms. Christ crucified, once a scandal to the Gentiles, became their greatest glory. Animated by a lively faith and glowing piety, the fervent disciples of the crucified Nazarene, from the highest to the lowest, from the humble peasant in the cottage to the powerful monarch on the throne, bowed down in deep and humble adoration and love to their crucified Lord. But in process of time this great fervour of piety
began to decay: the followers of Christ crucified, who used to account it their greatest glory to be crucified to the world, and to live only to God, began
to undervalue the treasures of grace; they made light of the blessings of faith; they grew cold in the love of Jesus ; they became ashamed of His cross, and turned away from Him to fix their affections on the vanity and glory of the world. No doubt, the Church of Jesus, which is the great instrument of His glory, never has, and never will cease to yield to her Divine Spouse fruits of holiness and justice, until the consummation of ages. Yet who can deny that the spirit of religion and piety, which shone so conspicuously in old times, is now greatly diminished; that the spirit of the world which, to the Christians of old, was abomination, is now loved and cherished everywhere? Alas! the love and reverence for holy Church now no more engages the best affections and thoughts of the nations and their kings; the exaltation and triumph of Christ's kingdom no longer forms their greatest glory; the enchantment of worldly glory, the idol of Pagan greatness, has now obtained their worship and love. And if we have reason now to bewail the abomination of desolation which the evil spirit has spread everywhere, what will be the case in the last days, when wickedness shall so abound as to endanger, if possible, even the salvation of the elect? But when things shall have reached this point, when it shall appear that the wicked one has nearly succeeded in overcoming Christ and His saints, then the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the strong, the powerful, the almighty-He who has written on His thigh, King of kings, and Lord of lords—will come in the clouds of heaven, with much power and majesty, to rule the nations, and to judge the living and the dead.
Yes, He shall come with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him.
THE END OF THE WORLD.
And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail them: selves because of Him." 1
O come, Lord Jesus, make haste, break the chains and release the bands of thy people Israel !
Apoc. i. 7.
ON THE TIME OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST,
AND ON THE MODE OF HIS COMING.
Our blessed Lord, after declaring to His disciples the signs of His coming, as well as the coming itself, thus continues : “ But of that day and hour no one knoweth; no, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone.” 1 It would, therefore, be worse than temerity to attempt to determine with anything like certainty the exact time of Christ's second advent. This, however, does not hinder us from making some conjecture on the subject; knowing especially that some of the holy fathers have done the same long before us.
OPINION OF SOME OF THE HOLY FATHERS RESPECTING THE TIME
OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
ST. BARNABAS, in the first century, commenting on those words of Moses, “And God made in six days the works of His hands, and He finished them in the seventh day, and He rested in it and sanctified it," writes thus: “Consider, children, what that signifies, He finished them in six days. It signifies, that the Lord God will finish all. things in six thousand years. For a day with Him
I Matt. xxiv. 36.
is a thousand years; as He Himself testifies, saying: Behold, this day shall be a thousand years. Therefore, children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, shall all things be consum. mated. And He resteth the seventh day; this signifies, that when His Son shall come, and shall abolish the season of the wicked one, and shall judge the ungodly, and shall change the sun and the moon, and the stars, then He shall rest gloriously in that seventh day.”
St. Jerome, in the fifth century, commenting on those words of holy David, “A thousand years in Thy sight are as yesterday which is passed,” writes thus: “I think that a thousand years are here said to be but one day, to signify that as the world was created in six days, so it will last six thousand years, after which will follow the seventh and the eighth number, in which a true sabbatism will take place.” ?
St. Gaudentius, Bishop of Brescia, thus writes in the tenth century : “We are in expectation of that truly holy day of the seventh thousand years which will follow after these six days, namely, after these six thousand years; which being completed, there will be a rest to real sanctity and to the true believers in the resurrection of Christ. For then there will be no fight or struggle against the Devil, who will be kept bound in the infernal
St. Barn. Epist. cap. xv.
Ego arbitror ex hoc loco mille annos pro una die solitos appellari
, ut scilicet quia mundus in sex diebus fabricatus, sex millibus tantum annorum credatur subsistere ; et postea venire septenarium et octonarium numerum, in quo verus exerceatur sabbatismus. (In Epistolari Explicat. Psalmi 89, ad Cyprian.)
Expectamus illum vere sanctum septimi millesimi anni diem, qui adveniet post istos sex dies, sex millium videlicet annorum