The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 234.
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.
All these thorns gore the wicked at once, as one of holy Job's friends declare at large, whose words I will add, as a clearer proof of what I have asserted: "The wicked man," says he, " spends his whole life in pride, notwithstanding that he is uncertain how soon his tyranny may be put to an end. The noises of fear and terror are continually rattling in his ears" (Job xv. 20, 21, 22), which are nothing but the cries of his guilty conscience, accusing and reproaching him every moment; and in the very midst of peace, he is afraid of the snares and treacheries of his enemies : because let him live ever so quiet, his wicked conscience never fails of putting him into continual apprehensions. He cannot persuade himself that he can possibly return from darkness to the light; that is to say, he does not believe there is any possibility of his getting out of dreadful darkness he lives in, to enjoy the tranquillity of a good conscience, which, like a comfortable and clear light, rejoices and enlightens the most secret parts of the soul; for which way soever he turns himself, he fancies he sees a naked sword pointed at him; so that, even whilst he is at table, which is, generally speaking, a place of mirth and joy, he is racked with all kinds of fears, distrusts and jealousies, " and imagines he is just beginning the day of darkness" (ver. 23), that is, the day of death and judgment, and on which his last sentence is to be passed on him. "He shall be frightened with tribulation, and surrounded on all sides with misery, as a king is with his guards, when he is going into the field of battle;" ver. 24. This is the description which Job's friend gives of the dreadful torments those unhappy wretches suffer within; for to make use of. the saying of a philosopher, "God, by his eternal law, has ordained that fear should be the constant companion of the wicked;" which agrees very well with a sentence of Solomon, who says, " that the wicked man fleeth, when no man pursueth ; but the just, bold as a lion, shall be without dread;" Prov. xxviii. 1. St. Augustine has the same thing, in short, when he says, " Thou, O Lord! hast commanded, that every soul that is irregular should be its own executioner, and we find that it is so;" St. Aug. L. i, Conf. c. 12. There is nothing in nature that does not convince us of this truth; for can you tell me of any thing in the world which is not disturbed when out of its order? what sensible pain a man feels if he has but a bone out of joint ? what violence does the element suffer which is out of its centre? and what sickness does not follow when the humors of our bodies are out of their due proportion and temperament ? Since, therefore, it is so natural to a rational creature to live a a regular, orderly life, how can its nature choose, but suffer and be uneasy when life is irregular and contrary to reason ? Job had a deal of reason to say, "Was there ever any man that resisted God, and yet lived in peace?" Job ix. 4. Upon which words, St. Gregory says " that the order in which God has disposed of all things for the continuing and preserving of them in their being, is no less the matter of our admiration than the power with which he has created them ;" St. Greg. Moral. L. 9, c. 12. Whence it follows that no one can disturb the order of the Creator, without breaking that peace which he has intended should be the effect of this order; because it is impossible for any thing to be at rest when it is out of the place where God had put it. And thus we see, that those things which were undisturbed, whilst they submitted to the order of God, no sooner break off from this subjection than they lose the peace they enjoyed before.