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XCVI.

"And then shall they see the son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall He send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven."-St. Mark xiii. 26, 27.

Exposition.—Isaac Williams says: “The sensible beholding of the Son of man is, we know, often spoken of in Scripture: as Job says, Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold; and St. John, We shall see Him as He is; and Zechariah, They shall look on Him Whom they have pierced. And He is often recognized in His risen and glorified Body; as by the disciples, by St. Stephen at his death, by St. John in the Apocalypse. It may also be observed that our Lord's coming is often said expressly to be with clouds, both by Himself frequently, and by His prophets and Apostles. As St. John says, Behold, He cometh with clouds: as when He ascended, a cloud received

Him out of their sight. And the angel declared He should so come in like manner as they had seen Him go. St. Paul says that the saints shall be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.. He comes now mystically in clouds of prophets, and ministers, and saints. He will also come, with them visibly attending Him, on the last day, and also literally in the clouds of heaven, as of old. And thus St. Ambrose explains it even of the coming out of Egypt, not only that the presence of God was in the material cloud, but also that He was revealed through Moses and Joshua, who led them as clouds that veiled His presence, which was with them. However nature itself affords no emblem more remarkable, if we might without irreverence consider it as such. It will be evident to all, that there is no sight which our eyes witness more beautiful and magnificent than the movement of clouds in the resplendency of the sun, nor more awful than the same when bringing up the storm; and fully charged with lightnings and thunder. . observe that the day of judgment is seldom spoken of without the distinct mention of angels; as, the Son of man shall send forth His angels; and, the Son of man shall come, and all the holy angels with Him. In one parable the angels draw the net to shore; in another they

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are the reapers that gather in the harvest. . . In the visible Church, even now, Christ hath sent forth His ministers, whom He designates His angels, and also His reapers, to gather His elect; for this word elect is applied to His visible Church on earth, as well to that in heaven. And their gathering from the four winds into the Christian Church is expressly spoken of: He hath delivered them from the hand of the enemy, and gathered them from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. And Isaiah: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth. From the uttermost part of the earth, to the uttermost part of heaven, may imply the bodies which are laid in earth, and the spirits of the just which God will bring with Him from the furthest heaven."

And Swete: “This time of unrest and fear will culminate in the Vision of the Son of man foreshadowed by Daniel. In Daniel the Man Who comes in the clouds represents the kingdom of the saints which is to supersede the heathen empires indicated by the four Beasts. The Lord had from the beginning of His ministry assumed the title of the Son of man, and

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now at length He identifies Himself with the object of Daniel's vision: in Him the kingdom of regenerate humanity will find its Head, and His manifestation in that capacity is to be the crowning revelation of the future.

The phrase, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven is unusual and difficult. The sense seems to be, from any one to any other opposite meeting point of earth and sky. As Bengel puts it, ‘from the end of heaven and earth in the east even to the end of heaven and earth in the west,' that is, round the whole horizon of the world. But the phrase is perhaps colloquial rather than exact, and intended only to convey the impression that no spot on the surface of the earth where any of the elect may be will be overlooked.”.

St. Augustine says, in St. Thomas: “The vision of the Son of man is shown even to the bad, but the vision of the form of God to the pure in heart alone, for they shall see God. And because the wicked cannot see the Son of God, as He is in the form of God, equal to the Father, and at the same time both just and wicked are to see Him as Judge of the quick and dead, before Whom they shall be judged, it was necessary that the Son of man should receive power to judge.”

And Sadler: "By saying that He will come

in the clouds of heaven, He declares that He will come visibly, openly, manifestly, in the greatest possible contrast to His first coming, when He came in a stable, and was laid in a manger. It is only fitting that this Son of man, Who in the sight of this visible world endured such unspeakable humiliation, should in the sight of the same visible world be manifested in such unspeakable glory.”

First Thought.Some day every one of us shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great glory and power. Yet though that last day may be long delayed, His loyal ones ought to behold Him, by faith, even now, in this present life, coming in the clouds, with the fulness of glory and power.

1. In the ways of holy Church. We believe that He surely comes in her to His elect, in the days of their waiting here. It is in clouds, not showing Himself outwardly, but veiled in His ministers, and in the supernatural ordinances of His religion. Because of the clouds His coming is often disappointing to us; we would see Him as He is, not in His ministers only, with all their failings and human imperfections; nor yet in His ordinances only, with all that in their administration by earthly hands makes them often unattractive and seemingly ineffi

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