From Sermon on the Gospel for the Second Sunday in Advent
There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the Earth. (Luke 21:25)
There are some who think that there shall be great eclipses, against the course of nature; and you know that there have been strange things seen in the elements many times. Sometimes there has been seen a ring about the sun; sometimes there have been seen three suns at once; and such like things have been seen in times past: which no doubt signifies that this fearful day is not far off in which Christ will come with his Heavenly host, to judge and reward every one of us according to our desserts.
“People will faint from fear and foreboding,” (Luke 21:26); people will be wonderfully fearful; they will pine away for fear: and no doubt they will be good people who will be thus troubled, with such a fear of this day: for you know the worldlings care not for that day; yes, they will scant believe that there will be such a day, that there will be another world, or at the least they would not wish that there will be another world. And no doubt there have been here in England many already, who have been so vexed and turmoiled with such fear.
Therefore let us begin to strive and fight now with sin: let us not set all our hearts and minds upon this world; for no doubt this day, whenever it will come, will be wonderfully fearful to all mankind, and especially to the wicked. There will be great alterations at that day; there will be hurly, burly, such as you see when someone dies. So will it be at this fearful, horrible day: there will be such alterations of the Earth, and the elements; they will lose their former nature, and be endued with another nature.
“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory,” (Luke 21:27). Certain it is, that he shall come to judge, but we cannot tell the time when he will come: therefore, seeing that he will come, let us make ready, lest he find us unprepared. And take this for a rule, that as he finds us, so he will judge us. Saint Paul says to the Thessalonians, when he speaks of the resurrection of the good, that on the same day the trumpet will blow, and all will rise who died since the world began: “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air,” (v. 4:17). All those, I say, who are content to strive and fight with sin, who will not be ruled by sin, these will in this way be taken up in the air and meet with Christ, and so will come down with him again. But as for the other sort, who are wicked, and have a delight in wickedness, and will not leave it, but rather go forward in all mischief, they will be left upon the Earth with the devils, until they are judged. And after they have received their sentence, they will go to hell with the devil and all his angels, and there be punished for their sins in hellish fire, world without end. I pray God, that we may be of the number for those, who will hear this joyful and most comfortable voice of Christ our Savior when he will say, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” (Matthew 25:34).
There are a great number among the Christian people, who, in the Lord’s prayer, when they pray, “Thy kingdom come,” pray that this day may come; but yet, nonetheless, they are drowned in the world: they say the words with their lips, but they cannot tell the meaning of it; they speak it only with their tongue: which saying is to no purpose. But that man or woman who says these words, “Thy kingdom come,” with a faithful heart, no doubt they desire indeed that God will come to judgment, and to amend all things in this world, and to pull down Satan, that old serpent, under our feet. But there are a great number of us who are not ready. Some have lived in this world fifty years, some sixty; yet for all that they are not prepared for his coming; they think always that he will not come yet. But I tell you that though his general coming is not yet, yet for all that he will come one day, and take us out of this world. And, no doubt, if he find us ready, and in the state of salvation, no doubt we shall be saved forever, world without end. Therefore it is right for every one of us to take heed. Let us not tarry too long with our amendment, lest we come too short.