Text of De Anticristo
The Latin text De Anticristo
The Latin text De Anticristo is largely a translation of Wulfstan's Latin text. In its presentation, the "homily" is an outline or set of notes rather than an actual sermon, and the five eschatological homilies in Old English are all, in one way or another, indebted to the Latin outline. The main sources are Adso, Augustine, Gregory and the Bible. The text exists in six manuscripts:
Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 201, pp. 66-7;
Cambridge, St. John's College 42, f. 94r;
Bodleian, Hatton 113, ff. 31b-33;
British Library, Cotton Vespasian D.ii, ff. 28b-29;
Copenhagen Gl. Kgl. S. 1595, ff. 51-52; et
Madrid, Real Biblioteca del Escorial T.I.12, ff. 176r-v.
All those who profess true Christianity, but do not live by it or teach it to others as is proper, are Antichrists, because according to this meaning they are called by that name. Antichrist means "against Christ". Many people of this time will not see Antichrist, yet many of his limbs may be found, as is read in the gospel: "False Christs and false prophets will arise, who will show great signs, so that, if it were possible, they would lead even the elect into error." Understand that when he said "if it were possible," it was not that the Lord, who knows both past and future, was uncertain about anything, but rather that if they are the elect it is not possible. But if it were possible, they would not be the elect. Therefore he said "if it were possible," for although they will be anxious because of the multitude of signs, because they will not fall they may be called the elect. Indeed, there will then be tribulations and hardships such as there never were from the day the human species began up until that time. And if his days are not shortened, no one will be able to be saved; but for the sake of the elect his days will be shortened, lest they be led into error.
Therefore the time of the Antichrist will be three and a half times, as is signified and made manifest in scripture: "and the holy city," that is, holy church, "will be tread underfoot for forty-two months," at which time Enoch and Elias will come, as it is written: "And I will give to my two witnesses [and they shall prophesy 1260 days clothed in sackcloth]." And the beast that will rise from the abyss will conquer them and kill them and throw their bodies into the streets of the city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, and which is also where our Lord was crucified, that is, that Jerusalem that was the first holy city, but that afterwards was renamed because of sin and error.
Therefore each one who preaches in church must each day warn the people about that time, because, as it is written, the last days will be a dangerous time, so that when those dangerous days come the faithful will not be found unprepared, but will have been taught and educated against the enemy, the ancient serpent who is the adversary, and will be prepared to resist him. For then there will be such persecution of the church that, as the Lord predicted, brother will betray brother to death, and the father his son, and sons will rise up against their parents, and they will have personal hatred for each other. And then many will be made to stumble and will fall into faithlessness before the magnitude of the signs and because of the greatness of the punishments and torments with which Christians will be afflicted by the Antichrist and his ministers, who will be endured by the entire world; but, as it is written, "he who strives until the end, he will be saved." And the wise will shine like the stars, and those who teach many will shine like the splendor of the firmament in unending eternity.
Therefore it is necessary that each priest, or whoever may read sacred scripture, teach those who do not know their danger, so that a double reward may be earned from the Lord, both for the priests and for those they teach, and no one die through ignorance. And although many will not live to see this persecution, still they should warn everyone in their earlier preaching, so that when the Antichrist comes, who is the son of perdition, he will find the Christian people, without exception, prepared to resist him and his followers and strengthened by their faith in Christ, amen. faith in Christ, amen.