Friday, 16 December 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 187.



Now if this judgment day be so great a subject of all men's astonishment, what shame and confusion must sinners be then put to ? For all the wickedness they have ever committed, with so much caution and privacy in their most secret closets, and all the impurities they have ever been defiled with, and all the evil that has lain hid in the darkest recesses of their souls, shall be then made public, and exposed to the view of all the world. Is there any man now, whose conscience is so clear, as not to begin to blush and be afraid of this confusion? We see how often it happens, that men, upon no other motive but that of a sinful and criminal shame, will not discover their secret sins to their confessors, not even in confession, where the obligation to secrecy is so inviolable, and the tie so sacred. They, for no other reason but this, choose rather to let their souls be pressed down under the weight of their sins, than to undergo the shame of revealing them. How great, then, will that shame be, which men shall be put to before God, and in the sight of all ages, past, present and to come ? The prophet tells us this confusion will be so extraordinary, that the wicked " shall say to the mountains: cover us, and to the hills, fall upon us," that we may not be exposed to such shame; Hos. x. 8.

But what horror will they be filled with, at the hearing of this last sentence thundered out against them: " Depart from me, ye accursed, into everlasting fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;" Matt. xxv. 41. What will the damned think at the sound of those dreadful words? "If," says Job, "we can scarce endure the least sound of his voice, who shall be able to look against the thunder of his greatness ?" Job xxvi. 14. This word will carry such force along with it, that it will make the earth open in a moment, to swallow up and bury in its bowels those who, as the same Job says (ch. xxi. 12), "Take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ." St. John, in his Revelation, describes this fall in these words: "I saw an angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was enlightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, it is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird;" Rev. xviii. 1, 2. In the same place the holy evangelist adds: " And a mighty angel took up a stone like a mill-stone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all." After the same manner shall the wicked, who are to be understood here by Babylon, be flung into the dungeon of everlasting darkness and confusion.

But what tongue shall be able to express the multitude of torments they are to suffer there ? Their bodies shall burn in scorching flames, which shall never be extinguished; the worm of conscience shall perpetually gnaw and tear their very souls in pieces, without ever being tired or sated. It is there that weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, we are so often threatened with in holy Scripture, shall never cease. There it is that the damned, hurried on with rage and despair, shall vent their fury on God and themselves, biting off their flesh, bursting their hearts with sighs and grief, breaking their teeth with grinning and vexation, like madmen pulling their own limbs in pieces, and continually blaspheming that just God who has condemned them to such torments. There every one of them will a thousand times curse the hour of his birth, frequently repeating, though with a different spirit, these words of holy Job: "Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, A man-child is conceived. Let that day be turned into darkness, let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death obscure it, let a cloud overcast it, and let it be wrapped up in terror. As for that night, let a dark tempest seize upon it, let it not be reckoned among the days of the year, nor come into the number of the months. Why died I not in the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly ? Why was I placed upon the knee? or why had I the breast to suck?" Job iii. 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12. These are the complaints the damned shall make in hell for all eternity. O unhappy tongues, which shall never utter anything but blasphemies ! O wretched ears, which shall never hear anything but frightful shrieks and groans? O unhappy eyes, which shall never see anything but objects of misery! O wretched bodies, which, instead of being refreshed, shall be eternally burning in hell-flames I What a condition will those sensual persons be in then, who have spent all their days in sports and delights? O! for how short and how fleeting a pleasure have they brought on themselves an endless train of miseries? Foolish and senseless creatures! what do all your pastimes, which lasted so short a time, avail you, when the consequence is an eternity of pain and sorrow ? what is now become of all your riches and treasures? where are now your delights? Your seven fruitful years are now over, and they are followed by seven years of such barrenness that your former abundance is all swallowed up, and not the least sign or memory of it remains. Your honor is lost, and your happiness drowned, in that ocean of sorrow. You are reduced to such extremity as not to be allowed one single drop of water to quench the scorching thirst which parches up your very bowels ; nay, your last prosperity is so far from giving you any comfort now, that it is rather one of your greatest torments.