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tacle, which must have filled with joy and spiritual strength the disciples of Christ in those days, will be renewed in a still more remarkable manner after His second coming during His kingdom upon earth. For although Christ and His saints will not be continually visible to men, they will not fail to come to their assistance in time of need, appearing to them, and helping them in their trials. Moreover, the manner in which Christ and His saints will rule and govern the people and nations of the earth will be so essentially impressed with the stamp of holiness and justice, that it will produce in the hearts of men the greatest horror of sin, together with the most intimate sense of virtue and sanctity.
IV. The good example of the generality of Christians, which will spread like a sweet perfume. The nations of the earth, renewed by the efficacy of divine grace, will form in an especial manner a clean and “ acceptable people, pursuer of good works.” “ A chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people, that they may declare His virtues, who hath called them out of darkness into His marvellous light.”
These particular graces added to those mani. fold blessings which are now commonly enjoyed in the Church will render the yoke of Christ most easy and His burden most light; so that men will take wings as eagles, and run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.” 1
· When we speak of new helps to salvation and perfection which men will then enjoy, we do not intend to say that any of those which are now enjoyed by them will cease, much less those that are of divine institution ; such as the seven sacraments, the ecclesiastical hierarchy both of order and jurisdiction, the doctrine, the precepts, the counsels of the gospel, the teaching of
Characteristics of the kingdom of Christ upon earth. The particular marks which, according to the Millenarians, will characterize the kingdom of Christ upon earth, are, perfect union, universal justice, and continual peace.
Pirst Characteristic. Perfect Union.--The divine word became incarnate “to gather together in one the children of God that were dispersed;" uniting them so closely, by the sacred bond of charity, that they should form but one family under one head, and animated by one spirit. To accomplish this great object, after preaching the gospel of the kingdom during His life, and after choosing twelve apostles, who were to disseminate the happy tidings through the whole world, in the last prayer which He made to His divine Father on the eve of His death, Christ begged of Him, in an especial manner, so to keep His present and future disciples in His name that they might be one, as They also are one. ' Holy Father," said He,“ keep them in Thy name, whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, , the pastors, and generally the whole system of Christian faith and morality. There is no doubt that these things, which are more than sufficient for our perfection and sanctification, as the example of the saints especially testify, will last as long as there are mortal men upon earth. But besides these means of salvation which we enjoy, it seems that some other additional helps are reserved for the children of the Church at the second coming of Christ, when He shall actually rule over all peoples and nations as their sovereign Lord.
as We also are, and not for these only do I pray, but for those also who through their word shall believe in Me. That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee: that they also may
be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou hast given Me, I have given to them; that they may be one as We also are one. I in them and Thou in Me: that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast also loved Me." This prayer of Jesus, whereby He begged the divine Father to keep His disciples in perfect union and peace, was heard by the Father, who is well pleased in His dearly beloved Son, for soon after the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles at the first establishment of Christianity, that great spectacle was seen, wonderful to the angels of God no less than to men, by which persons of all classes were united together by such heavenly ties, as to attract the attention of the very pagans, who could not understand how men of different habits, edụcation, and country, could love each other as brethren, renouncing all self-love, and only contending which should do most good to the other.
The apostle St. Paul, in accordance with the doctrine of His divine Master, was most particular in urging upon Christians the most perfect unity of spirit. "I beseech you, brethren,” he writes to the Corinthians, " by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment." "I a prisoner in the Lord,” 1 John xvii.
2 1 Cor. 1. 10.
he writes to the Ephesians," beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called. With all humility and mildness, with patience supporting one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one spirit: as you are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.” 1
The commission which the Church has received from her Divine Spouse, of bringing mankind to a perfect union, she has fulfilled till now, and will ever continue to fulfil until the end, namely, until her Divine Spouse shall have brought to nought all principality, and power, and virtue, until He shall have put all His enemies under His feet, until He shall have gathered together, in one, all the children of God that were dispersed, until he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and the Father, until all the elect shall have assembled together in the heavenly Jerusalem to reign in union and peace for ever and ever. “ When all things shall be subdued unto Him," says the apostle St. Paul. “Then the Son, also Himself, shall be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” 2
But although the efforts of the Church in bringing mankind to perfect union have already been attended with success, she has not as yet attained the full and entire object of her wishes. For whilst she has worked for the establishment of union, the spirit of evil has laboured with all his might to destroy it. Nor has he laboured in vain, for scarcely a single century has elapsed, or can any single place be found, where he has not sucEphes. iv, 1–6.
2 1 Cor. xv. 28.
ceeded to disseminate, more or less, awful schisms and heresies, and to spread the spirit of disunion amongst the children of God. To this we must refer the many errors and divisions which at present desolate the face of Christendom, and grievously afflict the immaculate Spouse of Jesus Christ.
But thanks be to God; the time will come when Jesus will wipe away all tears from His beloved, and repay her with great joy. The time will come when Satan shall be bound and confined to the bottomless pit, lest he should seduce any more the nations; and then the clouds of error will be fully dissipated, and all men will assemble together under the standard of their sovereign Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Then all seduction will cease, and all the tribes and nations of the earth will be gathered into one perfect society. Then the whole human race will meet in the unity of faith, all men having but one faith, one baptism, and one God. Then the Catholic Church will attain her highest triumph upon earth; for, besides being spread, as now, through the whole world, she will also reign at one and the same time as a queen and sovereignly everywhere. Then will be literally fulfilled what our Saviour says in the Gospel of St. John: “ There shall be one fold and one shepherd.” 1
Second Characteristic. Universal Justice.-Christ by His passion and death aimed at destroying ungodliness, and making holiness and justice reign everywhere.
1 John x. 16.