Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist, Luca Signorelli, between 1499 and 1502

Translation of the Holy Gospel According to Matthew

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not every one that saith to Me: Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of My Father Who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

A Message From St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Lecture IV, On the 10 Points of Doctrine

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world

Many wolves are going about in sheeps’ clothing… clad in their soft skin, and deceiving the innocent by their appearance, they shed upon them from their fangs the destructive poison of ungodliness. We have need therefore of divine grace, and of a sober mind, and of eyes that see… lest from taking the wolf to be a sheep we become his prey, and from supposing the destroying Devil to be a beneficent Angel we be devoured: for, as the Scripture saith, he goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

For the method of godliness consists of these two things, pious doctrines, and virtuous practice: and neither are the doctrines acceptable to God apart from good works, nor does God accept the works which are not perfected with pious doctrines. For what profit is it, to know well the doctrines concerning God, and yet to be a vile fornicator? And again, what profit is it, to be nobly temperate, and an impious blasphemer? A most precious possession therefore is the knowledge of doctrines: also there is need of a wakeful soul, since there are many that make spoil through philosophy and vain deceit… the children of heretics, by their good words and smooth tongue, deceive the hearts of the innocent, disguising with the name of Christ as it were with honey the poisoned arrows of their impious doctrines…

It is well to make use at present of a short summary of necessary doctrines…

Of God.

First then let there be laid as a foundation in your soul the doctrine concerning God that God is One, alone unbegotten, without beginning, change, or variation… and that He is both good and just; that if ever thou hear a heretic say, that there is one God who is just, and another who is good, thou mayest immediately remember, and discern the poisoned arrow of heresy…There is then One Only God, the Maker both of souls and bodies: One the Creator of heaven and earth, the Maker of Angels and Archangels: of many the Creator, but of One only the Father before all ages,—of One only, His Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom He made all things visible and invisible.

He foreknoweth the things that shall be, and is mightier than all, knowing all things and doing as He will; not being subject to any [thing]; who hath prepared punishment for sinners, and a crown for the righteous.

Of Christ.

Believe also in the Son of God, One and Only, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who was begotten God of God, begotten Life of Life, begotten Light of Light, Who is in all things like to Him that begat, Who received not His being in time, but was before all ages eternally and incomprehensibly begotten of the Father: The Wisdom and the Power of God, and His Righteousness personally subsisting: Who sitteth on the right hand of the Father before all ages.

For the throne at God’s right hand He received not, as some have thought, because of His patient endurance, being crowned as it were by God after His Passion; but throughout His being,—a being by eternal generation,—He holds His royal dignity, and shares the Father’s seat, being God and Wisdom and Power; reigning together with the Father, and creating all things for the Father… that none knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any the Father save the Son.

Do thou neither separate the Son from the Father, nor by making a confusion believe in a Son-Fatherhood…

Concerning His Birth of the Virgin.

Believe then that this Only-begotten Son of God for our sins came down from heaven… and was begotten of the Holy Virgin and of the Holy Ghost, and was made Man, not in seeming and mere show, but in truth;… was of her made truly flesh, [and truly nourished with milk], and did truly eat as we do, and truly drink as we do. For if the Incarnation was a phantom, salvation is a phantom also. The Christ was of two natures, Man in what was seen, but God in what was not seen…

The Trinity with Christ Crucified, Austrian, cir. 1410.

Of the Cross.

He was truly crucified for our sins… He was crucified not for sins of His own, but that we might be delivered from our sins. And though as Man He was at that time despised of men, and was buffeted, yet He was acknowledged by the Creation as God…

Of His Burial.

He was truly laid as Man in a tomb of rock… He went down into the regions beneath the earth, that thence also He might redeem the righteous…

Of the Resurrection.

But He who descended into the regions beneath the earth came up again; and Jesus, who was buried, truly rose again the third day… and after He had risen was seen again of the disciples: and twelve disciples were witnesses of His Resurrection, who bare witness not in pleasing words, but contended even unto torture and death for the truth of the Resurrection…

Concerning the Ascension.

When Jesus… had redeemed mankind from their sins, He ascended again into the heavens, a cloud receiving Him up: and as He went up Angels were beside Him, and Apostles were beholding… All kings when they die have their power extinguished with their life: but Christ crucified is worshipped by the whole world. We proclaim The Crucified, and the devils tremble now…

Let us, therefore, not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ;.. do thou openly seal it upon thy forehead, that the devils may behold the royal sign and flee trembling far away. Make then this sign at eating and drinking, at sitting, at lying down, at rising up, at speaking, at walking: in a word, at every act…

Of Judgment to Come.

This Jesus Christ who is gone up shall come again, not from earth but from heaven: … But look thou for the true Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, coming henceforth no more from earth, but from heaven,… that He may judge both quick and dead, and reign in a heavenly, eternal kingdom, which shall have no end…. (there are many who [falsely] say that Christ’s Kingdom hath an end).

Of the Holy Ghost.

Believe thou also in the Holy Ghost… learn thou that this Holy Spirit is One, indivisible, of manifold power… Who knoweth the mysteries, Who searcheth all things, even the deep things of God… of Whose holiness also every intellectual nature hath need: against Whom if any dare to blaspheme, he hath no forgiveness, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come: “Who with the Father and the Son together” is honoured with the glory of the Godhead: of Whom also thrones, and dominions, principalities, and powers have need. For there is One God, the Father of Christ; and One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of the Only God; and One Holy Ghost, the sanctifier and deifier of all, Who spake in the Law and in the Prophets, in the Old and in the New Testament.

[Of the Faith]

Have thou ever in thy mind this seal… For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech… For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.

Of the Soul.

As man thou art of a two-fold nature, consisting of soul and body; and that… the same God is the Creator both of soul and body. Know also that thou hast a soul self-governed… made after the image of its Creator: immortal because of God that gives it immortality; a living being, rational, imperishable, because of Him that bestowed these gifts: having free power to do what it willeth. For it is not according to thy nativity that thou sinnest, nor is it by the power of chance that thou committest fornication, nor, as some idly talk, do the conjunctions of the stars compel thee to give thyself to wantonness. 

The soul, before it came into this world, had committed no [personal] sin, but having come in sinless, we now sin of our free-will.

The soul is immortal, and all souls are alike both of men and women; for only the members of the body are distinguished. There is not a class of souls sinning by nature, and a class of souls practising righteousness by nature.

The soul is self-governed: and though the devil can suggest, he has not the power to compel against the will.

Of the Body.

Suffer none of those who say that this body is no work of God: for they who believe that the body is independent of God, and that the soul dwells in it as in a strange vessel, readily abuse it to fornication.

Tell me not that the body is a cause of sin…The body is an instrument, and, as it were, a garment and robe of the soul: and if by this latter it be given over to fornication, it becomes defiled: but if it dwell with a holy soul, it becomes a temple of the Holy Ghost.

And to the doctrine of chastity… barter not away a great dignity for a petty pleasure: Enrolled henceforth in the Angelic books for thy profession of chastity, see that thou be not blotted out again for thy practice of fornication.

Nor… in maintaining thy chastity be thou puffed up against those who walk in the humbler path of matrimony…Because thou hast a possession of gold, do not on that account reprobate the silver. But let those also be of good cheer, who being married use marriage lawfully… who have entered upon matrimony for the procreation of children, but not for indulgence.

…Let all the other practices be banished afar, fornication, adultery, and every kind of licentiousness: and let the body be kept pure for the Lord, that the Lord also may have respect unto the body. And let the body be nourished with food, that it may live, and serve without hindrance; not, however, that it may be given up to luxuries.

Concerning Meats.

And concerning food let these be your ordinances… we fast by abstaining from wine and flesh, not because we abhor them as abominations, but because we look for our reward; that having scorned things sensible, we may enjoy a spiritual and intellectual feast… In abstaining then from these things, abstain not as from things abominable… but as being good things disregard them for the sake of the better spiritual things set before thee.

Of Apparel.

But let thine apparel be plain, not for adornment, but for necessary covering: not to minister to thy vanity, but to keep thee warm in winter, and to hide the unseemliness of the body…

Of the Resurrection.

Be tender, I beseech thee, of this body, and understand that thou wilt be raised from the dead, to be judged with this body… Cannot He who brought the non-existent into being, raise up again that which already exists and has decayed?…

But though to rise again is common to all men, yet the resurrection is not alike to all… for the just receive them, that through eternity they may join the Choirs of Angels; but the sinners, that they may endure for ever the torment of their sins.

Of the Laver [of Baptism].

For this [that we might join the Choirs of Angels] the Lord… has granted repentance at Baptism, in order that we may cast off the chief—nay rather the whole burden of our sins, and having received the seal by the Holy Ghost, may be made heirs of eternal life…

Of the Divine Scriptures.

Now these the divinely-inspired Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament teach us. For the God of the two Testaments is One, Who in the Old Testament foretold the Christ Who appeared in the New; Who by the Law and the Prophets led us to Christ’s school… And if ever thou hear any of the heretics speaking evil of the Law or the Prophets, answer in the sound of the Saviour’s voice, saying, Jesus came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it. Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testament, and what those of the New. … Read the Divine Scriptures, the twenty-two books of the Old Testament, these that have been translated by the Seventy-two Interpreters [the Septauigent Old Testament].

… Being, therefore, a child of the Church, trench thou not upon its statutes. 

Then of the New Testament there are the four Gospels only, for the rest have false titles and are mischievous. The Manichaeans also wrote a Gospel according to Thomas, which being tinctured with the fragrance of the evangelic title corrupts the souls of the simple sort. Receive also the Act of the Twelve Apostles; and in addition to these the seven Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude; and as a seal upon them all, and the last work of the disciples, the fourteen Epistles of Paul. 

But shun thou every diabolical operation, and believe not the apostate Serpent, whose transformation from a good nature was of his own free choice: who can over-persuade the willing, but can compel no one. Also give heed neither to observations of the stars nor auguries, nor omens, nor to the fabulous divinations of the Greeks. Witchcraft, and enchantment, and the wicked practices of necromancy, admit not even to a hearing. From every kind of intemperance stand aloof, giving thyself neither to gluttony nor licentiousness, rising superior to all covetousness and usury. Neither venture thyself at heathen assemblies for public spectacles, nor ever use amulets in sicknesses; shun also all the vulgarity of tavern-haunting. Fall not away either into the sect of the Samaritans, or into Judaism: for Jesus Christ henceforth hath ransomed thee. Stand aloof from all observance of Sabbaths, and from calling any indifferent meats common or unclean. But especially abhor all the assemblies of wicked heretics; and in every way make thine own soul safe, by fastings, prayers, almsgivings, and reading the oracles of God; that having lived the rest of thy life in the flesh in soberness and godly doctrine, thou mayest enjoy the one salvation which flows from Baptism; and thus enrolled in the armies of heaven by God and the Father, mayest also be deemed worthy of the heavenly crowns, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to Whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Sheep with two Magpies, Charles Jones, 1881