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 have an example hereof in our first parents and the fallen angels, who, as soon as ever they disobeyed the will of God, to follow their own, and went out of the order he had put them in, were deprived of their former happiness, and lost that content they had before. And man, who, whilst he continued obedient, was absolute over himself, when he cast off that obedience, found a war and rebellion within himself.
This is the torment the wicked, by God's just judgment are perpetually racked with, and of the greatest miseries they can suffer in this life, according to the opinions of all the saints, amongst whom St. Ambrose, in his Book of Offices, asks, " Is there any greater torment in the world than the inward remorse of a man's own conscience? Is it not a misery we ought to fly more than death itself, or the loss of our estates, our health, or our liberty ?" L. iii. c. 4. And St. Isidore tells us, " There is nothing in nature which man cannot fly from but himself; for let him run where he will, he will still carry the sting of his own wicked conscience along with him;" St. Isid. in St. L. ii. c. 36. The same saint says in another place, "The greatest punishment that can be inflicted is that of an evil conscience; if, therefore, you desire to live in peace, follow virtue and piety;" Idem, L. ii. Sinom. c. 36. This is so undeniable a truth, that the very heathen philosophers themselves acknowledged it, though they neither knew nor believed any thing of those pains, which our faith teaches us the wicked are to suffer; and therefore, Seneca asks, "What avails it to fly from the conversation of others ? A good conscience calls all the world to witness for it, ( whilst a bad one is always tormented, though in the midst of a desert. If what you do be good, you need not be ashamed to let the whole world know it; but if, on the contrary, it be bad, what matter is it whether any body knows it or not, as long as you know it yourself ? Your condition will be miserable if you take no notice of such an evidence, since every man's own conscience is as good as a thousand witnesses;" Sen. Epist. 97. The same author tells us, in another place, "That the severest punishment which can be inflicted for any crime is, the very committing of it;" Epist. 98. And he repeats the same elsewhere, saying, "If you have been guilty of any crime, you ought not to fear any witness that can come against you so much as your own self, because you may find out some means or other to fly from every body else, but you will never be able to fly from yourself, for every wicked action you do is its own executioner;" Epist. 45. Cicero has something to the same purpose, in one of his orations, where he says, " There is nobody so able as a man's own conscience is, either to cast or to acquit him ; and, therefore, an innocent man is never afraid, whilst the guilty lives always in apprehensions ;" St. Isid. in St. L. ii. c. 36. This, therefore, is one of those torments which the wicked are never free from: it begins in this life, and will remain for all eternity in the next: it is the never-dying worm, as Isaias (lxvi. 24) calls it, that shall never cease to gnaw the consciences of the wicked. And it is in this sense St. Isidore interprets those words of the psalmist (Ps. xli. 8): "One abyss calls upon another; that is," says he, " wicked shall be carried from the sentence which their own consciences pass against them, to that of eternal damnation St. Isid. in Sent. L. ii. c. 26.