« PreviousContinue »
“ He who testifieth these things saith, Surely, I come quickly.” To this book also he specially recommends attention, and promises a double blessing to those who shall study and observe the words of the prophecy it contains : "Blessed,” saith he, “is he that readeth and heareth the words of this prophecy, and keepeth those things which are written in it." And again : “ Blessed is he who keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book.”3 A particular curse is also pronounced against him who takes away from the words of this prophecy: "If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from these things that are written in this book." 4
Such being the example and such the doctrine of the Apostles, such the hope of the children of the Church, I trust I shall not be thought presumptuous if, after many years of meditation on this great truth, and in perfect submission to the authority of the Church, “which is the pillar and ground of the truth," I put forth the following pages.
For the sake of clearness I have divided the whole matter into five parts :
1stly. The principal events which, according to
| Apoc. xxii. 20.
Apoc. xxii. 7.
Apoc. i. 3.
scriptural predictions, must precede the second coming of Christ.
2ndly. The state of the world at the time of His coming.
3rdly. The mode of His coming.
4thly. The principal events coincident with His coming
And, 5thly. The principal events which will follow His coming.
The nature of this treatise will lead me to embody with truths of faith some matters of opinion, which are of mere probability. For these I only ask a deliberate consideration.
ON THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS WHICH, ACCORDING
TO PROPHECY, MUST PRECEDE THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
« Let your
Our Lord tells us to be always watching, and not to be weary in expecting His coming. loins be girt,” says He in St. Luke," and your lamps burning in your hands. And yot yourselves like to men who wait for their Lord, when He shall return from the wedding; that when He cometh and knocketh, they may open to Him immediately."
Now, although there is no sign by which we may determine with certainty the exact time and moment of the second coming of Christ, there are several facts indicated in the Scripture, and interpreted by tradition, which throw some light on this subject. We will here refer to the principal of them.
FIRST EVENT_THE COMING OF THE ANTICHRIST AND THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF HIS WICKED KINGDOM.
AMONGST the various events which, according to the scriptural predictions, are destined to precede our Lord's second advent, the coming of the Antichrist, and the establishment of his wicked kingWe
| Luke xii. 35, 36.
dom, hold a conspicuous place.
In this all Christians unhesitatingly agree, and this their belief is grounded on the infallible oracles of Holy Writ, as well as on the authority of Christian antiquity.
The beloved disciple of Christ, in his first epistle, thus writes: "Little children, this is the last hour; and as ye have heard that the Antichrist cometh, even now there are become many Antichrists."i Here the Apostle begins to state, as an undoubted fact well known to the faithful to whom he writes, that the Antichrist was to come. cannot suppose that St. John would thus refer his disciples to a mere idle unauthorized fancy that, sooner or later, a person or a power, denominated the Antichrist, should come. The expression, ye have heard, has plainly all the force of a direct reference to some prophecy with which the primitive Church was familiarly acquainted. After declaring that the Antichrist would certainly come, the Apostle adds, that there were already, even then, many Antichrists ; because, even in his own time, there existed already many heretics, who, by their opposition to Christ and to his Church, shared in the spirit of the great Antichrist, and were his types and forerunners. These, participating in the characteristics of the true and real Antichrist—the complete and perfect pattern of all wickedness—were termed, not inappropriately, so many Antichrists.
The principal subjects which are deserving of our consideration, as regards the Antichrist and his wicked kingdom, may be comprehended under the six following heads :- 1. The scriptural predictions concerning the Antichrist and his kingdom. 2. The marks which, according to prophecy, must characterise the Antichrist and his kingdom. 3. The contrast of these marks with the characters of the Popes. 4. The bearing of these marks on the character of Mahomet and his kingdom. 5. The duration of the kingdom of the Antichrist. 6. The final destruction of the Antichrist and of his kingdom.
1 1 John, ii. 18.
kingdom. The principal predictions of Holy Writ concerning the Antichrist and his kingdom are those of Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John, which we shall consider in order.
SECTION I. Predictions of the Prophet Daniel. The coming of the Antichrist, and the establishment of his wicked kingdom, was shown in a vision to Daniel, under the figure of a little horn which springs up out of a beast, terrible and wonderful, and exceedingly great — signifying the Roman empire-and then it becomes itself powerful and mighty, and blasphemes against the Almighty, and crushes the saints of the Most High. "I considered,” says he, “ the horns, and behold another little horn sprung out of the midst of them: and three of the first horns were plucked up at the presence thereof; and behold, eyes like the eyes of a man were in this horn, and a mouth speaking great things.” Afterwards the angel tħus explains to him the meaning of the vision : “ The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be greater than all the