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still bound by that great chain wherewith our Lord restrains him for the thousand years of this present time. In the days of the impious Syrian king, who set up the abomination of desolation in the temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem, the faithful Jews rose in their indignation, burst the tyrant's yoke, and restored the house of God. It is often in the power of the faithful to resist successfully the inroads of heresy, or the shameful ways of a lax morality. Though the heresy of Arius, in the fourth century, seemed to sweep everything before it, the Church in a marvellously short time recovered herself. In many times of decadent manners, her ardent reformers have come to the rescue, and by God's grace have worked miracles of restoration. Every setting up of the abomination in the holy place has not been followed by the desolation of the Church, because there have been found in her those who sigh and cry for better things. What can we do in days of heresy and unholy living?
1. “Let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains.” Our Lord loved to pray on the mountain tops. We can accomplish more for the Church by determined and persevering prayer than we dream of.
2. “Let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein to
take any thing out of his house." Prayer must be accompanied by detachment; there are more important things than those of this world.
3. "Let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.” Zeal for the things of God leaves one no time to turn back after anything that has been left behind. We are to manifest that sort of zeal.
Third Thought.-It is quite conceivable that matters might become so bad in this or that part of the Church, through unrestrained heretical teaching, or laxity of morals, that the faithful could not but see that the abomination of desolation had been set up in the holy place by those authorized to act for the Church, her bishops in council assembled. What would be one's duty in such unhappy circumstances ?
1. To flee to the mountains, that is, to isolation and loneliness, if there were no other refuge. The believer could not seek shelter in any Communion of the Church which denied his Confirmation—that were to sin against the Holy Ghost. So Döllinger and other brave spirits lived in isolation after the Vatican Council had decreed papal infallibility.
2. To take nothing out of one's house, content to forego precious relationships, dear
friends, old loves, that one may keep one's heart wholly loyal to Christ.
3. Not to turn back even for the garment left behind, the blessed means of grace, one's confessions, one's communions; for one's flight might mean deprivation of even these. We are not to forget that God is well able to make up to us in His own way whatever we surrender for love of Him.
“But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom He hath chosen, He hath shortened the days."-St. Mark xiii. 17-20.
Exposition.-Swete comments as follows: “Alas for mothers with children at the breast, and those who are soon to become mothers, for whom a hasty flight is impossible, who cannot leave their burden. The horrors of the siege would convert the joy of maternity into a woe.
Those days shall be straitness the like of which hath not come to pass. The Greek word translated affliction is used almost in its literal sense for the daily tightening of the meshes of the siege . . . such as was not, represents the
fact as standing in its completeness on the page of history: ‘no such event has ever occurred'.
Not a soul could have escaped from Jerusalem had not the hand of God brought the siege to a speedy end. It lasted five months.
The elect for whose sake the siege was shortened, are probably the faithful members of the Church of Jerusalem, the salt of the earth whose intercession or whose presence secured this privilege, though it did not avail to save the city."
And Sadler: “The reader cannot fail to remember the warning words of the Lord : Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold the days are coming in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the
suck. It is implied that they were at liberty to flee, but would be in extreme danger from swiftly pursuing foes if their flight was in the least degree impeded. All this seems to imply a very swift destruction, not only of the doomed city, but of the whole country. And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. When the bye-roads and paths would be almost impassable; when there would be scanty foliage to conceal fugitives, and when there would be no ears of corn, or roadside fruit, to pluck for some