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.
We know man must have three different places of habitation, answering to the three different states of life. His first place of habitation is his mother's womb after his conception; his second is the world he lives in after his birth; his third is heaven, where he is placed after his death, if he has lived a good life. These three several places bear some sort of proportion to one another, so that the third has, in an infinite degree, all those advantages over the second, which the second has over the first, as well in duration, greatness and beauty, as in all other qualities whatsoever. As to the duration it is visible, for the length of life, in the first place, is nine months; in the second, it sometimes extends to a hundred years; but in the third, it lasts for eternity. The same is to be said of the largeness of the first place, which has no greater extent than that of a woman's womb; the second is no narrower than the whole world itself; and as for the greatness of the third, the best rule we have, whereby to judge of it is, the wide disproportion which is between the first and the second place: nor does it less excel those other places in beauty,'riches, and all other perfections and accomplishments, most proper to recommend it to us, than it does in extent and duration. If, therefore, this world of ours be so great and glorious as we have represented it, and if notwithstanding, the other we have been speaking of, be as far above it as we said it is, how charming must its beauty be, and how vast and spacious its extent!
This we may discover by the great difference there is between the inhabitants of both places, because the stateliness of a building should hold a proportion with the quality of the person that is to live in it. We are to consider, that the place we live in is the land of the dying, the other of the living; the one is the habitation of sinners, the other of saints; the one is the dwelling place of men, the other of angels; the one is a place for penitents, the other for those who are justified ; the one is the field of battle, the other the city of triumph. In the one, to conclude, there are enemies as well as friends; whilst there are none but friends in the other, and those are no other but the elect themselves. The same difference, that is between the inhabitants of these two places, is between the places themselves. For God has created all places suitable to the quality of the persons they are designed for. " Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God;" Ps. lxxxvi. Thou art unmeasurable in thy extent, and most stately in thy structure. The matter which thou art made of is most precious, the people that live in thee are most noble: all thy employments are delightful, all sorts of goods abound in thee, nor is there any kind of misery whatsoever, which thou art not entirely secure from. Thou art very great in every thing, because he who made thee is very great, because the end which he designed thee for is very noble, and because those citizens, for whose sake he had created thee, are the most honorable of all mankind.