Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 176.

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. 


There remains another benefit, to which the rest tend and are directed; it is the right and title those that are justified have to eternal life. For God, who is no less merciful than he is just, as he on the one side condemns impenitent sinners to everlasting torments, so, on the other side, he rewards them who are truly penitent with everlasting happiness. And though he could forgive men their sins, and restore them to his friendship and favor, without raising them so high as to partake of his glory, yet he would not do so, but out of the excess of his mercy justified those whom he had pardoned, adopted those whom he had justified, and made them his heirs, giving them a share in his riches and an inheritance with his only Son. Hence proceeds that lively hope, which comforts the just in all their tribulations, because they are assured beforehand of this inestimable treasure. For though they see themselves surrounded with all the troubles, infirmities and miseries of this life, they know very well that all the evils they can possibly suffer here are nothing, in comparison of the glory which is prepared for them hereafter; nay, on the contrary, they assure themselves, that "our present tribulation, which is momentary and light, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory;" 2 Cor. iv. 17.

These are the advantages comprehended under that inestimable benefit of justification, which St. Augustine, with a great deal of reason, prefers before the creation of the whole world; because God created all the world with one single word: but the justifying of a man after his fall was at the expense of his blood, and of those other most grievous pains and torments he endured. Now, if we are so strictly obliged to the Almighty's goodness for having created us, how much more do we owe his mercy, for having justified us; a favor we stand so much the more indebted for, as it cost him more than the other?

And though no man can certainly tell whether he be justified or not, yet he may give a probable guess, especially by the change of his life; as, for example, when one that before never scrupled at committing a thousand mortal sins, would not now commit one, though it were to gain the world: let him that perceives he is in such a happy condition, consider what an obligation lies upon him to serve his Lord, for having thus sanctified him, and at the same time delivered him from all those miseries, and heaped all those favors on him which we spoke of. But if he happen to be in a state of sin, I know nothing that can more efficaciously excite him to a desire of being freed from it, than the consideration of those misfortunes which sin draws after it, and of those treasures of blessings which go along with the incomparable benefit of justification.