Page images

before the first council of the Church assembled in Jerusalem, to prove that according to the prophetical predictions, the Gentiles were to be taken into the Church, and that after the nations should have entered into the Church, the kingdom of David, which was then fallen, would be restored. James answered, saying: “My brethren, hear me. Simon hath related how God first visited to take of the Gentiles a people to His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written : After these things I will return, and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down, and the ruins thereof I will rebuild, and I will set it up."

We must not, however, think that the king. dom of Israel, which Christ seems destined to restore in a time and moment appointed by His Divine Father, is merely the kingdom of Judea, and His reign over the Jewish nation converted to Christianity. It will be a dominion over all people, and tribes, and tongues, which by their faith in Christ will all be engrafted in the good olive-tree, and will become heirs of the promises made to Abraham and to his children.? “ For all are not Israelites," says St. Paul, “that are of Israel; neither are all they that are the seed of Abraham, children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called : that is to say, not they that are children of the flesh are the children of God: but they that are the children of the promise, are accounted for the

1 Acts xv. 14-16.

? The Church in her office for the first Sunday of Advent makes use of the following words of the prophet Daniel :Aspiciebam in visu noctis, et ecce in nubibus cæli Filius homi. nis veniebat, et datum est ei regnum et honor. Et omnis populus, tribus, et linguæe servient ei. (Noct. i. Reg. 2.)

seed."1 And again: Abraham received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the justice of the faith which he had, being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe being uncircumcised, that unto them also it may be reputed to justice. And might be the father of circumcision, not to those only, who are of the circumcision, but to them also that follow the steps of the faith that is in the uncircumcision of our father Abraham. For not through the law was the promise to Abraham, or to his seed, that he should be heir of the world, but through the justice of faith. .... Therefore, it is of faith that, according to grace, the promise might be firm to all the seed: not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. As it is written: I have made thee a father of



[ocr errors]


On the condition of the saints who shall live and reign with

Christ upon earth for a thousand years. “ The just shall shine and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds. They sball judge nations and rule over people, and their Lord shall reign for ever." 3 In order to avoid misunderstanding, I have yet to draw attention summarily to some important propositions which bear

upon this subject. I need not remind the reader that what has been said as well as what follows concerning the kingdom of Christ upon earth together with His saints for a thousand years is a mere exposition of the opinion of the Millenarians, which, as I · Rom. ix. 7.

2 Rom. iv. 3 Wis. üi, 7, 8.

have already remarked, I regard only as a matter of probability; this being presupposed, I

say : I. It is of faith that those holy souls that have fully satisfied the divine justice for their sins, and are entirely purified from all, even the slightest stain, are after death immediately admitted to the beatific vision of God, even before the resurrection of their bodies.

II. The dead who shall rise to life soon after the second coming of Christ, and the living who shall be changed into a state of incorruption, and shall be taken up to meet Christ in the air, will enjoy with Christ the beatific vision in a glorified body. Their condition will be similar to that of our Blessed Lord, between His resurrection and His ascension, when He lived upon earth in His glorified humanity.

III. It is probable that they will not be conti. nually visible to the inhabitants of the earth, but will appear here and there, as it may be needful for the good of the Church and the welfare of Christ's kingdom, just as Christ manifested Himself from time to time, during the forty days which He spent on earth after His resurrection.

IV. The just who shall live and reign with Christ after the resurrection will enjoy the purest spiritual delights suitable to their glorified state, without any mixture of sensual gratification."

It is related in St. Matthew's gospel, that our blessed Lord, after celebrating the last supper with His disciples and distributing the holy eucharist to them, spoke thus "I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the king. dom of my Father.” (Matt. xxvi. 29.) The Millenarians are of opinion that this prediction of our Lord will be entirely fulfilled at His second coming, when He shall reign in glory here upon earth, together with His saints. They interpret in the same manner the passage of St. Luke, where our Lord says, “Blessed


On the condition of those men who shall live upon earth during

the kingdom of Christ with His saints. In order to remove as much as possible all danger of misunderstanding on this subject, I invite attention to the following considerations :

The men who shall live during the kingdom of Christ and of His saints upon earth, in nature will be, like us, frail, weak, mortal, prone to evil from their infancy, and subject to the war of the flesh against the spirit, and therefore liable to fall into sin and damnation. Yet from the particularly happy circumstances in which they will live they will be so strengthened by grace, that the generality of them will walk faithfully in holiness and justice all the days of their life. These favourable circumstances are

I. Their freedom from the influence of the devil, who will be bound up and cast into the bottomless pit, so that he may no more seduce the nations. This freedom will deliver them from the principal source of tempations. “For our present wrestling," as the apostle St. Paul teaches, “is not against flesh and blood; but against princi. palities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in high places.” 1

are those servants, whom the Lord, when He cometh, shall find watching. Amen, I say to you, that He will gird Himself, and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister unto them.” (St. Luke xii. 37.) Be this as it may, certain it is that our Lord will not minister any earthly or corruptible food to His saints, but He will only impart to them a divine and heavenly food.

· Ephes. vi. 12.

wolves.” 1

earth.” 2

II. The absence of false prophets and false teachers, who, as our Lord says, come in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening

These have always been the chief instruments or ministers of the powers of darkness; like thieves they have ever tried to enter into Christ's fold, “to steal, to kill, and to destroy." But when our Lord shall come, these wicked ones shall be for ever destroyed together with their head --Antichrist

with the spirit of His mouth and by the brightness of His coming. “In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, I will destroy the name of idols out of the earth, and they shall be remembered no more. And I will take away the false prophets, and the unclean spirit out of the

III. The beneficial influence of the presence of Christ and of His saints. After our Lord rose from the dead, during the forty days from His resurrection to His ascension, He not only appeared to His disciples, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, where it is said that He showed Himself alive after His passion by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them and speaking of the kingdom of God; but he also appeared to a great multitude of the faithful, as St. Paul testifies in the first letter to the Corinthians, where

that He was seen by more than five hundred at once." 4 We read the same of the saints who rose with Christ, of whom it is said, in St. Matthew, that "coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they came into the Holy City and appeared to many.” 5 This great spec

he says

i Matt. vii. 15.
3 Acts i. 3.

2 Zachar. xiii. 2,

4 1 Cor. xv. 6. 3 Matt. xxviii. 53.

« PreviousContinue »