TWENTY FIFTH AND LAST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST THE GOSPEL MATT. 24. V. 15 THURSDAY MEDITATION: A PLAINE PATH-WAY TO HEAVEN THOMAS HILL 1634
GOSPEL Matt. 24:15-35
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: "When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand. Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains: And he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house: And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat. And woe to them that are with child and that give suck in those days. But pray that your flight be not in the winter or on the sabbath. For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened. "Then if any man shall say to you, 'Lo here is Christ,' or 'there': do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you, beforehand. If therefore they shall say to you, 'Behold he is in the desert': go ye not out. 'Behold he is in the closets': believe it not. For as lightning cometh out of the east and appeareth even into the west: so shall also the cowling of the Son of man be. Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together. "And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light and the stars shall fall from heaven and the powers of heaven shall be moved. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven. And then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. And he shall send his angels with a trumpet and a great voice: and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them. "And from the fig tree learn a parable: When the branch thereof is now tender and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh. So you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors. Amen I say to you that this generation shall not pass till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass: but my words shall not pass."
In regard of the great danger of Antichrist, whose ministers and forerunners as St Paul sayeth, do by craftiness, and circumvention of errors; go about to seduce people, and especially by preaching liberty, and dissolution of life, transferring the true liberty of the Gospel, which is to live free from sin, unto sin & naughtiness, which maketh way unto his kingdom; In regard I say, of this, before he commeth, which is a strong preparation for his coming, and of his false seeming miracles, power, wealth, persecution, and fair promises when he is come, though his kingdom be to last but three years & a half, by all conjecture and calculation of Prophecies, and other Scriptures: yet if his days should not be abbreviated, he would seduce and deceive, if it were possible, even the very elect, and no flesh should be saved.
If the day of doom be so terrible, as that Christ counsaileth them that be in Judea, to fly unto the mountains for refuge, and that, he that is above in the house shall not come down to take away his coat, and that men should pray their flight be in winter or upon the Sabbath day, when either they could not travel at all,as upon the Sabbath day,or make any hast in their way as in winters and pronounced, woe unto women with child & nurses, because their impediments were such as they could not shake off, and all this to save their corporal life, and yet could not save it neither: If the general day of doom, I say, be so terrible, and fearful; how terrible is the danger of Antichrist, and his forerunners, such as heretics and wicked people be, for the destruction of our soul, at our particular day of doom, to wit at our particular death? and more fearful is our particular doom, at our death then the general, at the dissolution of the world, because we are uncertain of the general, whether we shall see it or no, but the particular we are sure of; but how soon, where, & how, we are uncertain, which is the most fearful thing of all: yet this comfort we have, that vigilance and care will prevent the danger thereof, if it be used in time.
Wherefore let us use the counsel of Christ here for the same of which in the next Meditation.