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Divisions in the Church make way for Antichrist.

LECT. While the heart is planning guile, and plotting mischief with XIV. words of peace?

Ib. v.14.

Fourth 8. Thou hast this sign also. And this Gospel of the kingsign. dom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come. And as we see, nearly the whole world is now filled with the doctrine of Christ.

9. And what comes to pass after this? When ye therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, stand in the Holy Place, (whoso readeth, let him Ib. v.23. understand.) And again, Then if any man shall say unto you,

Lo, here is Christ, or, there, believe it not. Hatred of the brethren makes room next for Antichrist; for the devil prepares beforehand divisions among the people, that he who is to come may be acceptable to them. But God forbid that any of Christ's servants here, or elsewhere, should side with the enemy! Concerning this matter the Apostle Paul writing 2 Thess, has given a manifest sign, saying, For that day shall not



come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exulteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work, only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. Thus wrote Paul, and now is the rora-falling away. For men have fallen away from the right virar. faith; and some preach the identity of the Son with the ρίαν. Father, and others dare to say that Christ was brought into ioux being, from a substance which had a beginning. And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise. For men have fallen away 2 Tim.4, from the truth, and have itching ears. Is it a plausible



Ib. v.15.

Satan forestalled the Truth in paganism,to prejudice men against it 189

theory? all listen to it gladly. Is it a word of correction? all turn away from it. Most have departed from right words, iäv. and rather choose the evil, than desire the good. This therefore is the falling away, and the enemy is soon to be looked for: and already he has begun to send forth his forerunners", that being ready, he may then come upon the prey. Look therefore to thyself, O man, and watch over thy soul. The Church now charges thee before the Living God; she declares to thee the things concerning Antichrist before they arrive. Whether they will happen in thy time we know not, or whether they will happen after thee we know not; but it is well that, knowing these things, thou shouldest be on thy guard.


10. The true Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, comes (4.) no more from the earth. If any come seeing visions in the wilderness, go not forth; if they say, Lo, here is Christ, lo, Mat. 24, there, believe it not. Downwards and to the earth look no longer; for the Sovereign descends from heaven, not alone as before, but with many, attended by tens of thousands of Angels; nor secretly as the dew on the fleece; but shining v.Ps.72, forth openly as the lightning. For He hath said Himself, As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto Mat. 24, the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be; and again, And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the Ib. v.30. clouds with power and great glory, and He shall send His Angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and the rest.



11. But as, when formerly he was to take man's nature, and God was expected to be born of a Virgin, the devil, to create prejudice against this, craftily spread fables beforehand among the idol-worshippers, of false gods, begetting and born of women, that, the falsehood having got possession of the ground, the truth also, as he supposed, might be disbelieved; so now, since the true Christ is to come a second time, the adversary, taking advantage of the expectation of the simple, and especially of them of the circumcision, brings in a certain man who is a wizard, and most expert in the beguiling craftiness of sorceries and enchantments; who shall seize

Ο τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ προδρόμους. The Arian troubles; this was the common opinion of the Fathers of the day. Vid. Áthan. Apol. contr. Arian. fin. Basil. Ep. 264. Hilar. in Auxent. 5. Hence Pope Gre

gory calls the Bishop of Constantinople
of his day a " forerunner of Antichrist,"
as being ambitious of the title of Univer-
sal Bishop, and creating divisions in the
Church. Vid. Epist. vii. 33.

190 Antichrist a king; his reign three years and a half.

LECT. upon the power of the Roman empire, and shall falsely style XV. himself Christ; by this name of Christ deceiving the Jews,

who are looking for the Anointed, and seducing those of the Gentiles by his magical illusions.

Τις καὶ συνετός.

12. But this aforesaid Antichrist comes when the times of the Roman empire shall have been fulfilled, and the end of the world is now drawing near. There shall rise up together ten kings of the Romans, reigning in different parts perhaps, but all about the same time; and after these shall arise Antichrist, the eleventh king, who by his magical craft shall seize upon the Roman power; and of the kings who reigned before him, three he shall humble, and the remaining seven he shall keep in subjection to himself. At first indeed aóziós he will put on a shew of mildness, (as though he were a learned and discreet person,) and of soberness and benevolence and having by the signs and lying wonders of his magical deceit, beguiled the Jews, as though he were the expected Christ, he shall afterwards characterize himself by all kinds of excesses of cruelty and lawlessness, so as to outdo all unrighteous and ungodly men who have gone before him; displaying against all men, but especially against us Christians, a spirit murderous and ruthless, merciless and crafty. And he shall perpetrate such things for three years and six months only; and then he shall be destroyed by the glorious second advent from heaven of the only-begotten Son of God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus, the true Christ, who 2Thes.2, shall slay Antichrist with the spirit of His mouth, and shall deliver him over to the fire of hell.





(5.) 13. Now these things we teach, not of our own ingenuity, ixxan but having learned them out of the divine Scriptures of the Church, and chiefly from the prophecy of Daniel in the text; as Gabriel also the Archangel interpreted it, speaking thus; Dan. 7, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall surpass all kingdoms. And that this kingdom is Sept. that of the Romans, has been the tradition of the Church's interpreters. For as the first kingdom which became renowned was that of the Assyrians, and the second, that of the Medes and Persians together, and after these, that of the Macedonians was the third, so the fourth kingdom now is that of the Romans. Then Gabriel goes on to interpret, saying,

Antichrist will pretend to miracles; he will abhor idols.

And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that ver. 24. shall arise; and another king shall rise up after them, and Sept. he shall surpass in wickedness all who were before him; (he says, not only the ten, but also all who were before him;) and he shall subdue three kings; (manifestly out of the ten former kings, but it is plain that having subdued three, he will be the eighth king;) and he shall speak great words against v. 25. the Most High. A blasphemer is he and an outrageous person, not inheriting his kingdom from his fathers, but usurping power by means of sorcery.



14. And who is this, and of what sort of working? Interpret to us, O Paul. Whose coming, he says, is after the 2Thes.2, working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying` wonders; implying, that Satan uses him as an instrument, working personally through him: for knowing that his judg-arorgoment hath now no longer respite, he henceforth wages war no more by his ministers, as is his wont, but by himself more openly. And in all signs and lying wonders; for the father of falsehood will make a shew of the works of falsehood, that the multitude may think that they see a dead man raised, when he is not raised, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing, when the cure has not been wrought.

2 Thess.

15. And again he says, Who opposeth and exalteth himself (6.) above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; (above 2, 4. every God; Antichrist therefore will abhor the idols,) so that he sitteth in the temple of God. What temple? He means the Temple of the Jews which has been destroyed. For God forbid that it should be the one in which we are! Wherefore say we this? lest we should be supposed to favour ourselves. For since he comes to the Jews as Christ, and desires to be worshipped by the Jews, he will make great account of the Temple, that he may more completely beguile them; making it seem that he is the man of the race of David, who shall build up the Temple which was erected by Solomon. And Antichrist shall come at the time when there shall not be left one stone upon another in the Temple,

"And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." Rev. 17, 11.

d Vid. Iren. Hær. v. 26. 2.

e This was the common opinion of the early Fathers. vid. Iren. Hær. v. 25.30. Greg. Naz. Orat. 47. 14. &c. Cyril wrote this before Julian's attempt to rebuild the Jewish Temple.

The persecution under Antichrist.

LECT. according to the doom pronounced by our Saviour'; for XV. when, either through decay of time, or demolition for the use of new buildings, or ensuing from other causes, every stone shall have been overthrown, not merely of the outer circuit, but of the shrine also, where the Cherubim were, then shall he come with all signs and lying wonders, exalting himself against all idols; at first indeed feigning a philanthropic, but afterwards displaying his relentless temper, and that chiefly against the Dan. 7, Saints of God. For he says, And I beheld, and the same horn Dan. 12, made war with the saints; and again elsewhere, and there shall



be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time. Dreadful is that beast, a mighty dragon, unconquerable by man, ready to devour; concerning whom though we have more things to speak out of the Divine Scriptures, yet we will content ourselves with thus much, in order to keep within compass.

16. Wherefore the Lord knowing the mightiness of the adversary, extends his indulgence to the religious, saying, Mat. 24, Then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains. But if any man is conscious that he is very stout-hearted, to encounter Satan, let him stand; (for I do not despair of the Rom. 8, Church's nerve,) and let him say, Who shall separate us from



the love of Christ. Thus, let those of us who are fearful provide for our own safety; and let those of us who are of a Mat. 24, good courage, remain: for there shall be great tribulation,


such as was not since the beginning of the world, no, nor ever shall be. But thanks be to God who hath confined the v. 22. violence of that tribulation to a few days; for He says, But for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened; and Antichrist shall reign for three years and a half only. We speak ȧrongú. not from Apocryphal books, but from Daniel; for he says,


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f Even S. Chrysostom, after the awful defect of Julian's attempt, which was attended by a considerable disturbance of the ground on which the Temple had stood, pronounces that the prophecy against one stone on another' was not yet fulfilled. vid. Hom. 75. in Matt. Ed. Ben.

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"Some have thought that Cyril here alludes to the Apocalypse." (vid. note a on Catech. iv. 33. p. 48. Ibid. note c on 36. p. 51.)" which is not improbable... All those ancient writers, whom he follows in this Lecture, in their description

of Antichrist always appeal to the Apocalypse as well as to Daniel. Vid. Iren. v. 26. 1. Hippol. de Antichr. 34. &c. Cyril then must have intentionally omitted mention of the Apocalypse in treating this subject; and he here seems to give the reason of it. At the same time he may be alluding to other Apocryphal works, e. g. those of the Millenarians, &c." Ed. Ben. The Canonicity of the Apocalypse is sufficiently established by its general reception by the Church in the fifth century, whatever doubts before existed in particular parts of Christendom.

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