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For the First Sunday in Advent: Augustine on the Two Comings of Christ

November 27, 2016

This being the First Sunday in Advent, here again is a passage from Augustine of Hippo, on the Two Comings of Christ.  This comes from the book Faith and Life: readings compiled from ancient writers, by W. Bright, that I have mentioned before.

I. THE TWO COMINGS OF CHRIST.

Our Lord Jesus has been prophesied of in this Psalm, wherein we have heard and sung, “God will come manifested, our God, and will not keep silence’.” For the Lord Christ Himself, our God, the Son of God, in His first Advent came hidden, in His second will come manifested. When He came hidden, He was known only to His own servants; when He will come manifested, He will be known both to good and bad. When He came hidden, He came to be judged; when He will come manifested, He will come to judge. Lastly, when at that time He was judged, He kept silence; and of His silence the prophet had foretold, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer, so He opened not His mouth.” But He will not be silent when He is to judge, as He was when He was to be judged. Even now, if there is any one to listen, He is not silent; but, it is said, then “He will not keep silence,” when even those who now contemn His voice shall recognize it. But even now every one ought to observe that God, when He pleases, looks on things and judges them, and does not delay judgment for an hour; and, again, when He pleases, He does delay it. Why is this?  Because if He were to judge nothing now, He would not be believed to be God; if He were to judge every thing now, He would reserve nothing for the judgment. For to this end are many things reserved for the judgment and some things judged at present, that they whose cases are deferred may fear, and be converted. For God does not love to condemn, but to save; and the reason why He is patient with bad men is that He may change them into good ones.

–St. Augustine, Sermon xviii.

This Advent, let us thank Him for His long-suffering patience towards us – exemplified in the coming of His Son, which we remember in this season.

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