Twenty Seventh Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Matt. 24. v. 15.Wednesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Matt. 24:15-35At 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."
The Prophet Daniel hath this plain prophecy: After three score & two weeks, to wit of years from re edifying of Jerusalem, Christ should be slain, and his people which shall deny him,shall not be: and a people shall come with their Captain,and shall destroy the City and the Sanctuary,and the end thereof shall be destruction, and after the end of the war an appointed desolation.
This prophecy was uttered by Daniel of purpose, that the Jews might know certainly by the destruction of Jerusalem (though out of contumacy they would not before) that Christ whom they had killed and rose again,was the promised Messiahs of salvation: Yet they are so blind and obstinate, that they acknowledge it not, though it were so plainly prophesied by a Prophet of their own,and performed to lamentable view of all the world.
The like prophecy have we in this Gospel, cited out of the same Prophet as evident as that, of the false Teachers of these times,and yet they being blinded with pride and arrogance of their own private wit and understanding the Scriptures, contrary to the common received sense and understanding of the whole universal Catholic Church, cannot see it, no more then the Jews the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, till the destruction of their souls come upon them, which will undoubtedly happen, unless they return to the obedience of the Catholic Church again, from whence they digressed , as all heretics do, the Catholic Church being of that antiquity, universality, and interrupted continuance that she may truly say these words of St John (for he spake then in the person of the church) They went out from us, because they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us.
The prophecy is this: When you see, as it is related here in the Gospel, the abomination of desolation, standing in the house of God,then let him that readeth understand, to wit, that Antichrist is at hand.
And although this Abomination of desolation, doth literally signify the Image of Cain, or Adrianus Emperors of Rome, set up in the holy place, to wit, in the Temple or Sanctuary, to be adored as God, and Desolation doth signify the abolishing of the legal Sacrifices of the true God, there so solemnly celebrated: yet the mystical abomination is the Idol of Heresy, which is as it were the Image of a man, because it is mans invention out of the Scripture, interpreted according to the private opinion of some few, against the common received and practiced doctrine of the universal Catholic Church: and (Desolation) is the abolishing of the holy of the Mass, which is instituted of Christ instead of all those legal Sacrifices of the Jews, whereof they were but a figure.
We seeing now this abomination desolation so plainly here in our Kingdom, let us understand it better then the Jews did their abomination of desolation, and beware of it, following the Counsel of Christ in this Gospel , as shall be said in the next Meditation.