Considerations For Monday Why The Gospel Of DOOMBS-DAY Is Read Upon The First Sunday in Advent: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Luke 21. 25-33
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: "There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves: men withering away for fear and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved; and then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud with great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand." And He spoke to them a similitude: "See the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh; so you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen I say to you, this generation shall not pass away till all things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away."
Although the day of general doom be most dreadful for the terrible signs before mentioned: yet the day of every mans particular doom, which is given immediately after his death,is in one respect more dreadful.
For the day of general doom cometh not so suddenly upon us,but that we may have some fore knowledge thereof,by many precedent signs, and so provide for it; in so much that St.Paul writing to the Thessalonians (c.2.v.3) against some that feared them with the near & present expectation of the day of judgement, in prejudice of the truth which he had taught them: he exhorted them not to be terrified with the day of doom, as thought it were at hand: for manifest sign shall go before it, to wit a general revolt from the Roman Empire, & obedience of the Church,and such like.
But our particular day of doom, no man knoweth when where, and in what manner it will be, but most commonly it stealeth upon us like a their in a dark night,and this happeneth as well to good as to the bad.
The world is to every one in particular at the day of his death like as it will be to all at the day of general doom; the sun, the moon, and the stars will then seem unto him as if they had lost their light; and every creature will cease to serve him, because he will not be able to use them any longer.
Yea peradventure they will not only cease to serve him, but will even be a torment unto him in leaving them, if he bear an inordinate love and liking unto them; much more if he have abused them, according to that fearful sentence of holy scripture, in the book of wisdom (c.v.18.)
In that day God will arm every creature to revenge him of his enemies.
Let us therefore be vigilant; let us watch and pray for we know not the day nor the hour. Math.25.13. It is time for us now (saith St.Paul 2.Philip.v.12.in the epistle for this day) to awake out of our sleep, if we have been slack and cold in the service of God, & in working our salvation; for our salvation is nearer now, then when we first received our belief; that is, we draw nearer & nearer to the day of our particular judgement, which will be immediately after our death, & will be the day either of our salvation, or of our damnation.
And therefore if we have not spent our former years so well in Gods service; and in working our salvation, as well we might having been every year called upon by our holy mother the Church on this first Advent Sunday, by this present gospel of the dreadful day of judgement: Let us now at least prepare ourselves from this a Advent Sunday to spend the ensuing year better, since we know not whether it shall be our last year, or no.
For (as the gospel conclude) the heavens and the earth shall pass, and the time of our life, doth continually pass: but the day of our judgement shall not pass, nor be avoided by us.