Thursday, December 16, 2004

On December 16, 1849...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

On the Last Times of the World

1. INTROD.—Two Advents of Christ.

2. The difference between them: (1) the latter sudden; the former, a long course of preparation, so that He could not have come sooner than He did—the latter, hardly any preparation—Antichrist alone—else it may come any day.

3. (2) An apostasy before the second—quote 2 Thess. ii. 3-4 ; yet this no infringement on its suddenness, for the apostasy began working even in apostolic times .

4. On the contrary, since it is always working, the contemplation of it may be useful to us.

5. Characteristic of the apostasy—not idolatry, not presumption, as 'the Temple of the Lord,' etc. Not despair, as 'why should I wait on the Lord,' 2 Kings vi. 33, but infidelity—quote 2 Thess. ii. 4, 'Shewing himself,' etc.

6. Particular sins have particular punishments, as fire for Sodom and Gomorrah. (1) Parallel of flood, first destruction of the world: (i) An apostasy—filii Dei ad filias hominum; a new state of things followed; a sort of perfection—viri famosi; (ii) St. Peter called it the world of the impious; (iii) St. Paul, by faith Enoch and Noe endured the world; (iv) St. Jude, Enoch's prophecy against the impious; (v) remarkable; Tubal-cain and Jubal—useful and fine arts ; and so [anomos], 2 Thess. ii., with iniquitas, Gen. vi. 13 .

7. (2) Description of the last apostasy in the New Testament: (i) St. Paul, 'depart (apostatise) from the faith'; (ii) St. Paul, 'wax worse and worse' ; (iii) St. Jude, 'mockers,' etc. A still more remarkable passage, 2 Peter ii. 4-9, where the state of antediluvian and last days (unbelief) are connected. They thought nature must go on as hitherto,—'Where is the promise of the coming?' etc. Nature all-sufficient, all in all, that it should come to nought—an idle tale.

8. This further illustrated by the miracles of Antichrist, in whom the apostasy will terminate, 2 Thess. ii., Apoc. xiii. 13. Now the devil cannot do real miracles, therefore they are miracles of knowledge. Knowledge is power—parallel of Tubal-cain above—and they say power is but knowledge, i.e. the revealed miracles are not real ones.

9. Hence so plausible, that even the elect might be deceived by the sophism.

10. Such the apostasy, and while it is brought before us by the season, it concerns us because St. Paul says, 'It already worketh.' It is in all ages, and surely not the least in this—open infidelity, specious objections, various kinds of argument from long ages, geology, history of civilisation, antiquities, etc.

11. You may say it doesn't concern us; it does—specious objections. But let us ask our hearts, do not they speak for religion in spite of these?

12. It is all founded on pride. Pride is dependence on nature without grace, thinking the supernatural impossible. Eating the forbidden fruit was pride and unbelief; thus the world will end with the sin with which it begins.


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