SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.
SCRIPTURE AND TRADITION EXPOUNDED.
THE FOUR LAST THINGS EXPOUNDED.
Q. Which are the four last things ?
A. Death, judgment, hell and heaven.
Q. What is death ?
A. It is a separation of the soul from the body.
Q. Which are the most useful considerations concerning death ?
A. First, that we frequently consider that we must certainly die, and that but once. Heb. ix. 27. Secondly, that the time, place and manner of our death is uncertain. St. Matt. xxv. 13. St. Mark xiii. 35. Thirdly, that God commands us to be prepared; and always on our guard; and assures us that death will surprise those foolish people, who sleep and live in sin. St. Matt. xxiv. 44. Eccl. ix. 13. Fourthly, that generally speaking, we shall die as we have lived; if we spend our life in the state of grace, we shall in all appearance die in the state of grace; or if we pass our life in the state of sin, we shall in all likelihood die in the state of sin. Prov. i. 24; Eccl. xli. 1, Rom. ii. 5, 6, 7, 8. Fifthly, that our eternal lot depends on the hour of death. Eccl. iii. 8, 'et C. ix. 10. Lastly, that we ought to submit to its stroke, as being the punishment of sin; for had not man sinned, he had never died, but been translated alive to heaven.
Q. What is judgment, how many sorts, and what circumstances ?
A. It is the sentence upon men, pronounced by God. It is particular when man dies, and general at the end of the world. The circumstances are the signs that will forerun it, viz.: In the heavens, earth, and seas; antichrist will appear, and against him Enoch and Elias. The world will be converted and consumed by fire. The general resurrection, and union of body and soul. The qualities of the judge, severity of the examen, in thoughts, words, and actions; and general and particular duties. The strength of the proofs, from conscience and the devil.
Q. How ought we to think of judgment?
A. We ought, first, to consider that all our thoughts, words, actions, and omissions, since we came to the use of reason, shall be judged. St. Matt. xii. 36. Secondly, that there can be no appeal from, nor revoking of the judgment. St. Matt. xxv. 46. Thirdly, that the law of God, is the rule of our judgment, and that it will be put in execution upon the spot, without showing us either pity or mercy. Rom. ii. 16; Heb. x. 31. Lastly, that the punishment and reward appointed for us by our judge, shall be everlasting. St. Matt. xxv. 46. Q. What is hell ?
A. A place of eternal punishment, with the pain of separation from God, and the pain of sensible torments for all eternity, proportionable, as to heathens, Christians, ignorance and malice.
Q. How ought we to think of hell ?
A. First, we ought to consider that the damned shall never see the face of God ; Psalm xlviii. 12. That they shall burn and be tormented both in body and soul during eternity. Apoc. xx. 10. Secondly, that they shall suffer all the evils and all the misery that can be thought of, without any comfort or rest, and that the worm of their conscience shall be gnawing and tearing them as long as God shall be God. St. Mark xi. 43. 45.
Q. What is heaven ?
A. It is an eternal place of pleasures of body and mind, free from all evil, and enjoying all good, proportioned to every one's merits.
Q. How ought we to think of heaven?
A. We ought often to consider, that the blessed shall suffer no kind of evil; Apoc. vii. 16, etc., that they shall abound in all good things ; Ps. xxxv. 9. That they shall see God and his saints face to face; 1 Cor. xiii. 12. That their bodies shall be glorious, immortal, active, vigorous, and bright, 1 Cor. xv. 42. That they shall possess everlasting joys and happiness, without any danger or apprehension of ever losing them, St. John xvi. 22. In a word, that the eye hath not seen, nor the ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, what God hath prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor i. 9.
Q. Pray, what do you mean by purgatory?
A. A middle state, wherein such souls are detained who depart this life in God's grace, yet not without some venial sins, or without having made such satisfaction for their sins as God's justice requires.
Q. Why do you say that those who die guilty of lesser sins, go to purgatory ?
A. Because, such as depart this life, before they have repented for these venial frailties, and imperfections (as many Christians do, who either by sudden death, or otherwise, are taken out of this world, before they have repented for these ordinary failings), cannot be supposed to be condemned to the eternal torments of hell, since the sins of which they are guilty, are but small, and which even God's best servants are more or less liable to. Nor can they go straight to heaven in this state, because the Scripture assures us, that nothing that is defiled shall enter there. Rev. xxi. 27.