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.
CHAPTER X. OF THE TENTH MOTIVE THAT OBLIGES US TO LOVE VIRTUE, WHICH IS, THE FOURTH OF THE FOUR LAST THINGS, THAT IS, THE PAINS OF HELL.
The least part of this great reward we have now spoken of, should be more than sufficient to inflame our hearts with the love of virtue. But if, to the fullness of that glory which is reserved for the just, we further add, the severity of those torments that are prepared for the wicked, what an effect should this have on us, especially there being no middle state between these two! The wicked man cannot comfort himself by saying, "All that can come of my living wickedly is, that I shall never enjoy God; as for the rest, I expect neither happiness nor misery." The sinful man shall not escape thus. One of these two opposite conditions must be his lot: he must either reign with God for all eternity, or burn for ever with the devils in hell. These are the two baskets the Lord in a vision showed the prophet Jeremiah, before the gates of the temple (Jer. xxiv. 1, 2), one of which had very good figs, and the other very naughty ones, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. God's design by this was to let his prophet know that there were two sorts of persons, the one, objects of his mercy, the other of his justice. The "first cannot be in a more happy condition, nor the latter in a more miserable; because the happiness of the first consists in seeing God, the perfection of all goodness, while the misery of the other is to be deprived of his sight, the greatest misfortune that can possibly befall poor man.
This truth, well considered, would make those men who sin so unconcernedly, sensible what a weight they lay on themselves. They who get their living by carrying of burdens, observe first what they carry, and lift it up a little, to see if it is not too heavy for them; and will you, who are brought up amidst the delights and charms of sin, let your sensual desires draw you away so far, in opposition to the will of God, as to oblige you to carry the heavy burden of sin, without any hope of ease or rest, and all this for the enjoyment of a base, infamous pleasure? Try first its weight, that is consider the punishment attending it, that you may see whether you are able to bear it. That you may the better conceive how painful this torment is, and how weighty a burden you lay on your shoulders, as often as you sin, I will propose to you the following considerations: and though I have treated of this matter elsewhere, yet I cannot pass it over without saying something on it again in this place, though quite different from what I have said before; for the subject is so copious, there is no exhausting it.
Consider first the immense greatness of God, who is to punish sin. He is God in all his works, that this, great and wonderful in them all, not only in heaven, earth and sea, but even in hell, and in all other places. Now if this Lord is God, and show himself God in all his actions, he will certainly appear so no less in his wrath, in his justice, and in the punishment he inflicts on sin. This is what he means, when he says, by the prophet Jeremiah, "Fear ye not me? Will ye not tremble at my presence, who have placed the sand for the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it, and though the waves toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it ?" Jer. v. 22. As if it had said more plainly, Is it not highly requisite that ye should fear the strength of that arm, which has wrought so great a miracle; which will be neither less powerful nor less wonderful in the punishment it inflicts, than in all its other works ?