St Augustine of AfricaIn accordance with ancient prediction, he comes: the prom­ised Christ.

And in his birth, life, words, and actions, in his Passion, death, Resurrection, and Ascension, all that the prophets foretold is fulfilled.

He sends the Holy Spirit upon the believers as they are all gathered together in one place, waiting with ex­pectant longing for the promised gift.

And as soon as they are filled with the Holy Spirit, they begin to speak in the languages of every nation, to refute errors boldly, to preach the saving truth of the Gospel, to urge people to repent of their former sin­ful lives, and to promise them the grace of God’s forgiveness.

Their proclamation of the true religion and of God’s loving kindness is confirmed by signs and wonders.

Unbelievers stir up cruel persecution against them. They endure what they have been warned to expect, they hope for what they have been promised, and they teach what they have been commanded.

[…] Once a despised hand­ful of ignorant men, they become a noble company of en­lightened teachers, brilliantly gifted and of polished speech, who press into Christ’s service for the preaching of the Gospel all the skill and experience of the wise, the eloquent, and the learned.

Now in adversity, now in prosperity, they vigilantly prac­tice patience and self-control, and in the calamities which ex­haust the earth and herald the final consummation at the end of the world, they discern the fulfilment of prophecy and so look forward with increased confidence to the eternal happiness of their heavenly country.

Although in all these events unbeliev­ing and godless nations continue to rage against the Church of Christ, the Church gains the victory by its endurance and by the profession of a faith unshaken by the cruelty of its adversaries.

For long ages the truth lay hidden behind mysterious prophecies, but now it is revealed in the sacrifice of Christ, and those sacrificial rites which foreshadowed it are abolished by the destruction of the Jewish temple.

By degrees the temples of the heathen divinities are also being destroyed together with their images and impious rites, as the prophets foretold.

Under cover of Christ’s name heresies spring up against his very per­son. This too was predicted, but by means of such errors the doctrines of our holy faith are developed.

All these things we now see accomplished in fulfilment of the Scriptures, and from so many important instances of ful­filled prophecy we confidently look forward to the fulfilment of the remainder.

Is there anyone, then, longing for eternity and conscious of the shortness of this present life, who can resist such clear and perfect proofs of the divine origin of our faith?

Augustine of Hippo (354-430): Letter 137, 16 (PL 33:523-524); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Friday of the Fifth Week in Eastertide, Year 2.

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