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skirmishes; what shall then be the battle which they are to give unto sinners, when the heavens shall shoot its arrows, and give the alarm, with prodigious thunders, and shall declare their wrath with horrible apparitions?

In the last days, the sun shall hide his beams under a mourning garment; and the moon shall clothe herself with blood, to signify the wars, which all the creatures are to make with fire and blood, against those who have despised their Creator. When on one side, the earth shall rouse itself up against them, and shall shake them off her back, as unwilling to endure their burdens any longer; when the sea shall pursue and assault them within their own houses; and the air shall not permit them to be safe in the fields. Certainly, it shall then be no wonder, if they shall desire the mountains to cover them, and the hills to hide them within their caverns. What shall it be, then, when the Lord of all shall arm all the elements against man, and shall give the alarm to all creatures, to revenge him upon him, so ungrateful for his infinite benefits?

The creatures now groan, to see themselves abused by man, in contempt of his and their Creator; but they shall then shake off their yokes, and shall revenge themselves of the grievances which they suffer under him, and the injuries he hath done unto the Creator of all: all the elements, all creatures, the whole world, shalħbe up in arms against man; the summer shall be changed into winter, and winter into the summer; no creature shall observe the prefixed law, with him who hath not observed the law of his Creator, that so they may revenge both God and themselves: but more terrible, then, is that which follows, that, after so many calamities, the bottomless pit, which is hell, shall burst open, and out of his profound throat belch forth so thick a smoke, as shall wholly darken the sun and air; from which smoke shall sally forth a multitude of deformed locusts, which, in great swarms, shall disperse themselves over the face of the whole earth, and leaving the fields, herbs, and what is sown, fall upon such men as have been unfaithful unto God, and shall, for five months, torment them with greater rage than scorpions. Some doctors understand those locusts according to the

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letter; that they shall be a certain kind of true locusts, but of a strange figure and fierceness; others, that they shall be devils in hell, in the shape of locusts. And it is no marvel, that, in the destruction of the world, devils shall appear in visible forms; since, in the destruction of Babylon, they appeared in divers figures of beasts, as was prophesied by Isaiah.

But how shall it then fare with sinners, when, after all, shall come that general fire, so often foretold, which shall either fall from heaven, or ascend out of hell, or, (according to Albertus Magnus,) proceed from both, and shall devour and consume all it meets with? Whither shall the miserable fly, when that river of flames, or, (to say better,) that inundation and deluge of fire, shall so encompass them, as no place of surety shall be left; where nothing can avail but a holy life; when all besides shall perish, in that universal ruin of the whole world?

What lamentations were in Rome, when it burnt for seven days together! What shrieks were heard in Troy, when it was wholly consumed with flames! What howling and astonishment in Pentapolis, when those cities were destroyed with fire from heaven! What weeping was there in Jerusalem, when they beheld the house of God, the glory of their kingdom, the wonder of the world, involved in fire and smoke! Imagine what these people felt; they saw their houses and goods on fire, and no possibility of saving them; when the husband heard the shrieks and cries of his dying wife; the father, of his little children; and, unawares, perceived himself so encompassed with flames, that he could neither relieve them, nor free himself.

What then shall be the straits and exigencies of that general burning, when those who shall escape earthquakes, inundations of the sea, the fury of whirlwinds, and lightning from heaven, shall fall into that universal fire, that deluge of flames, which shall consume all, and make an end of men and their memories! Of those who lived before the flood, and were masters of the world for so long a time, except it be of some few, we know nothing. Those heroical actions, which, certainly, some of them performed, and gained by them incomparable fame, lie buried in the waters; and there remains no more memory of those who did them, than if

they had never been born: no more permanent shall be the fame of those, which now resounds in the ears of the whole world; Cyrus, Alexander, Hannibal, Scipio, Cæsar Augustus, Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Euclid, and the rest; no more world, no more fame; this fire shall end all the smoke.

And, indeed, the world may be said to be like a house full of smoke; which in such manner blinds the eyes, as it suffers not those within it to see things as they are; and so the world, with its deceits, so disguise the nature of human things, as we perceive not what they are; ambition and human honour, (which the world so much dotes after,) are no more than smoke, without substance, which so blinds our understandings, that we know not the truth of that we so much covet. It is no marvel, that so much smoke comes at last to end in flames.

What shall it then profit the worldlings, to have rich vessels of gold and silver, curious embroideries, precious tapestries, pleasant gardens, sumptuous palaces, and all what the world now esteems, when they shall, with their own eyes, behold their costly palaces burnt, their rich and curious pieces of gold melted, and their flourishing and pleasant orchards consumed, without power to preserve them or themselves? All shall burn, and with it the world, and all the memory and fame of it shall die; and that which mortals thought to be immortal, shall then end and perish.

No more shall Aristotle be cited in the schools, nor Ulpian alleged in the tribunals; no more shall Plato be read amongst the learned, nor Cicero imitated by the orators; no more shall Seneca be admired by the understanding, nor Alexander extolled among captains; all fame shall then die, and all memory be forgotten. O vanity of men, whose memorials are as vain as themselves, which in few years perish, and that which lasts longest, can endure no longer than the world! What became of that statue of massy gold, which Gorgias, the Leontine, placed in Delphos, to eternize his name; and that of Gabrion, in Rome; and that of Berosus, with the golden tongue, in Athens; and innumerable others, erected to great captains, in brass or hardest marble? Certainly, many years since they are perished: if not, they shall perish in this great and general conflagration; only virtue no fire can burn.

Three hundred and sixty statues were erected by the Athenians, unto Demetrius Phalereus, for having governed their commonwealth ten years with great virtue and prudence: but of so little continuance were those trophies, that those very emblems, which were raised by gratitude, were soon after destroyed by envy; and he himself who saw his statues set up in so great a number, saw them also pulled down; but he still retained this comfort, which Christians may learn from him, that, beholding how they threw his images unto the ground, he could say, at last," they cannot overthrow those virtues for which they were erected." If they were true virtues, he said well; for those neither envy can demolish, nor human power destroy.

And, which is more, the Divine power will not, in this general destruction of the world, consume them, but will preserve, in his eternal memory, as many as shall persevere in goodness, and die in his holy grace; for only charity, holiness, and Christian virtues, shall not end when the world ends.

The rich man shall not be preserved by his wealth, nor the mighty by his power, nor the crafty by his wiles; only the just shall be freed by his virtues. None shall escape terror of that day, by fast-sailing ships, or speed of horses; the sea itself shall burn, and the fire shall overtake the swiftest post; only holiness and charity shall defend the servants of God.

How then shall I, miserable sinner, in this universal conflagration, behave myself? What counsel shall I take in that extremity, when my own conscience shall be my accuser, and when I shall behold the world all on fire about me? Whither shall I flee for safety, when no place will afford it? Shall I climb unto the mountains? thither the flames will follow me. Shall I descend into the vallies? thither the fire

will pursue me. Shall I shut up myself in some strong castle or tower? But there the wrath of God will assault me, and the fire will pass the fosses, consume the bulwarks, and make an end of them and me. What shall I, poor wretch, do? Let thy power, O Lord, triumph over my misery, and glorify thyself in my greatest extremities; and thy will, O Lord, be done, if it be thy Divine pleasure, in my confusion.

CHAP. XI.

Of the last Day of Time, and of the Judgment which is to pass upon all Things in the World.

WE must suppose, that the coming of Christ to judgment is to be with greater terror and majesty, than hath yet been manifested by any of the Divine Persons, either in himself, or any of his creatures. If an angel which represented God, and was only to promulgate the law, came with that terror and majesty unto Mount Sinai, as made the Hebrew people, though purified and prepared for his coming, to quake and tremble; what shall the Lord of the law do, when he himself comes to take an account of the law, to revenge the breach of it? With what terror and majesty shall he appear unto sinners, and to such which are unprepared for his reception, who are then to be all present, and judged in that last day of time? For after those prodigious thunders, lightnings, earthquakes, and prodigies; after burning in that deluge of fire the sinners of the world, the saints remaining still alive, that that article of our faith may be literally fulfilled," From thence he shall come to judge both the quick and the dead;" the heavens shall open, and over the vallies of Jehosaphat, the Redeemer of the world, attended by all the angels of heaven, invisible forms of admirable splendour, shall, with a Divine majesty, descend to judge it.

Before the Judge shall be borne his standard, which Chrysostom and divers other doctors affirm, shall be the very cross on which he suffered. Then shall the just meet (as the apostle says,) their Redeemer in the air; who, at his issuing forth of the heavens, shall, with a voice that may be heard of all the world, pronounce this his commandment, "Arise, ye dead, and come unto judgment;" which shall be proclaimed by four angels, in the four quarters of the world, with such vehemence, that the sound shall pierce unto the infernal region; from whence the souls of the damned shall issue forth, and re-enter their bodies, which shall from thenceforward suffer the terrible torments of hell. The souls of the

a Chrysost. tom. iii. de Cruce.

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