I have said before, that by this consolation all sorrow which we might conceive, because of Christ’s absence, is mitigated, yea, utterly taken away, when as we hear that he shall return again. And also the end for which he shall come again is to be noted; namely, that he shall come as a Redeemer, and shall gather us with him into blessed immortality.
For as he doth not now sit idle in heaven, (as Homer signifieth, that his gods be busied only about their bellies;) so shall not he appear again without profit.
Therefore, the only looking for Christ’s coming must both restrain the importunate desires of our flesh, and support our patience in all our adversities; and, lastly, it must refresh our weariness. But it worketh this only in the faithful, which believe that Christ is their Redeemer; for it bringeth unto the wicked nothing but dread, horror, and great fearfulness.
And howsoever they do now scoff and jest when as they hear of his coming, yet shall they be compelled to behold him sitting upon his tribunal-seat, whom now they will not vouchsafe to hear speak. Furthermore, it were but frivolous to move any question about his apparel wherewith he was then clothed, whether he shall come again being clothed with the same or no.
Neither am I now determined to refute that which Augustine, in his Epistle unto Consentius, doth touch, (August. ad Con. Epist. 146;) notwithstanding, it is better for me to omit that thing which I cannot unfold.*
In the last sentence Calvin is referring to the fact that Mark 13 insists that no one knows the day or hour of Christ’s coming. Accordingly, Calvin refuses to ‘unfold’ a future which can’t be unfolded by anyone but the Father.
*J. Calvin, Commentary upon the Acts of the Apostles (pp. 53–54).