11 Sermons By Bishop Jean-Baptist Massillon
Authored by Bishop Jean-Baptist Massillon, Translated by Rev Edward Peach
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On the Last Day 4
On the Conditions and Consolations of True Repentance 17
On the Delay of Repentance 27
On the Dispositions Required for a Worthy Communion 38
On the Benefits Conferred on Man by the Birth of Christ I 50
On the Benefits Conferred on Man by the Birth of Christ II 62
Divinity of Jesus Christ I 73
Divinity of Jesus Christ II 84
On the Fast of Lent 94
The Small Number of the Elect I 105
The Small Number of the Elect II 115
On the Last Day
“And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud in great power and majesty”
THUS, my beloved friends, shall the revolutions and kingdoms of this world be brought to a conclusion for ever. Thus shall end all the earthly pursuits which either amused us by their novelty, or seduced us by their charms. Thus shall the Son of Man come. Thus shall be ushered in the great day of his manifestation, the beginning of his reign, the complete redemption of his mystical body. On this day the consciences of all mankind shall be exposed to view a day of calamity and despair to the sinner, but of peace, joy, and consolation to the just. On this day the eternal lot of the whole world shall be decided.
The constant recollection of these great truths animated the primitive Christian with patience in persecution, and inspired him with joy in the midst of sufferings and contempt. It was this that supported the courage of the martyrs, invigorated the constancy of virgins, and rendered sweet and agreeable to the recluse the dreary paths of solitude and retirement. You yourselves, perhaps, have sometimes felt sentiments of compunction and fear, on the recollection of what will come to pass on this day. But these sentiments were probably of short continuance: thoughts of a more cheerful nature soon effaced them from your mind, and restored you to your former tranquillity.
In the first ages it would have been deemed a kind of apostasy not to have sighed after the day of the Lord. The thought of this great event was a subject of consolation to these primitive disciples: the apostles were obliged to moderate the eager desires which they expressed for its arrival. But in these times the Church is obliged to call forth all the powers of her ministry to impress the thought of this awful day on the minds of the faithful; not indeed with the expectation of exciting within them the same holy and devout impatience for its speedy accomplishment that, I apprehend, is no longer possible, but with the hopes of awakening them to repentance by the fear and consternation, which all must feel who are sensible of the alternative that awaits them in the winding up of these general accounts, in the last trying scene of this awful and terrible catastrophe.
It is not my intention in this discourse to display the external terrors of this great day; I mean, the confusion of the elements, the irregular motions of the Heavenly bodies, the universal destruction of nature, and men withering away through fear. I shall confine myself to a subject more adapted to make a salutary impression on the minds of my audience. I shall confine myself solely to the consideration of what will naturally present itself to view on the opening of the book of conscience, when the secrets of all men’s hearts shall be revealed.