The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 17 verses 245-264 Index

 Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary By Sor Marķa of Agreda


  INDEX            Book 1  Chapter  17    Verses:  245-264

244. The Immaculate Conception of the most holy
Mary contains such great and such exalted sacraments
that in order to make me more capable of understand
ing this admirable mystery, his Majesty opened up to
me many of the hidden meanings of the twenty-first
chapter of the Apocalypse of St. John and referred me
to it for my guidance. In recording some of the things
which were manifested to me I will divide this explana
tion into three parts, thus relieving the monotony which
too long a chapter might entail. And first I will give
the very words of that chapter which begins in the fol
lowing manner :
245. 1. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
For the first heaven and the first earth were gone, and
the sea was now no more.
2. And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven, from God, prepared
as a bride adorned for her husband.
3. And I heard a great voice from the throne say
ing: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and He
shall dwell with them. And they shall be his people
and God himself with them shall be their God.
4. And God shall wipe away all tears from their
eyes; and death shall be no more, nor crying, nor
mourning, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former
things are passed away.
5. And He that sat upon the throne said : Behold I
make all things new. And He said to me : Write, for
these things are most faithful and true.
6. And He said to me : It is done ; I am the Alpha
and the Omega; the beginning- and the end. To him
that thirsteth I will give of the fountain of the water
of life, freely.
7. He that shall overcome shall possess these things
and I will be his God ; and he shall be my Son.
8. But the fearful and the unbeliever and the abom
inable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcer
ers and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their
portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone,
which is the second death."
246. This is the first of the three parts of the literal
rendering of this chapter and I will begin to explain it
verse for verse. "I saw," says the Evangelist, "a new
heaven and a new earth." He speaks of the creation of
Mary by the hand of the Almighty and the formation of
that material, from which the most holy human nature
of the Word originated. With great propriety can that
divinely human nature and the virginal womb, where
and from which the Word was formed, be called a new
heaven ; for in that heaven, God began to dwell in a new
way (Jerem. 31,21), different from that in which He had
dwelt before in the old heaven and in any of his crea
tures. But also the old heaven after the mystery of the
Incarnation could be called new, for through it the nov
elty was made possible, that henceforth also mortal men
could dwell therein. Moreover the renovation, which
was wrought by the glory of the humanity of Christ
and that of his most pure Mother, was so splendid, that
in addition to its former essential glory, it renewed the
heaven and added to it unheard of beauty and splendor.
Although the good angels already dwelt there, that was
a thing as of old and of yore; therefore it was as it were
a new event, that the Onlybegotten of the Father should
by his death restore to men the glory lost through sin,
and merit for them admittance into heaven, whence they
had been expelled and incapacitated as inhabitants
through their own fault. And because all this renewal
of heaven had its beginning in most holy Mary, the
Evangelist, in speaking of Mary born without sin, said
that he saw a new heaven.
247. He saw also a new earth; for the old earth was
stained and laden with the guilt of sin and the reproba
tion; but the holy and blessed earth of most holy Mary
was a new earth without the fault or the malediction of
Adam ; and it was so new, that since the creation of the
first earth none other was seen until the creation of most
holy Mary. It was so new and free from the maledic
tion of the old earth that in this blessed earth were re
newed all the rest of the children of Adam. For on ac
count of the blessed earth of Mary and through it, and
in it, the earthly material of Adam was beginning to be
blessed, renewed and vivified, having until then re
mained cursed and grown old in malediction. All was
renewed in most holy Mary and in her innocence; and
therefore the Evangelist, seeing that in Her this renova
tion of the human and earthly elements took its rise,
says that in Mary conceived without sin he saw a new
heaven and a new earth. He continues :
248. "For the first heaven and the first earth were
gone." It naturally followed that as soon as the new
earth and new heaven of Mary and her Son the Godman
appeared in the world, the old heaven and the earth,
grown old by the sin-tarnished human and earthly mat
ter, should disappear. There was now a new heaven
for the Divinity in that human being, which, being pre
served from sin, could furnish a new habitation to God
through the hypostatic union of the person of the Word.
Already the first heaven ceased to exist, that one which
God had created in Adam and which had become de
ficient and unfit for the indwelling of a God. This dis
appeared and for it was substituted the other heaven in
the coming of Mary. Then also arose the new heaven
of glory for the human beings, not inasmuch as the
empyrean heaven was removed, but in so far as from
now on there would not be wanting the presence of men
therein, who had been excluded for so many ages. In
this respect it ceased to be the old heaven and it became
a new one through the merits of Christ, now beginning
to shine forth in the aurora of grace, most holy Mary,
his Mother. Thus vanished the first heaven and the
first earth, which until then was without hope of remedy.
"And the sea was no more." For the sea of abomina
tions and sin, which had flooded the world and destroyed
the earth of our being, ceased to exist with the coming
of most holy Mary and of Christ; for the sea of his
blood superabounded, overwhelming the sea of sin in
such an abundance, that no amount of guilt could pre
vail against it. If the mortals would only approach this
infinite sea of the divine mercy and merits of Jesus
Christ our Lord, all the sins of the world would cease
to exist, since the Lamb of God came to undo them
and take them away.
249. "And I, John, saw the holy city and the new
Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, pre
pared as a bride adorned for her husband." As all these
mysteries had their beginning in most holy Mary, and
were founded in Her, the Evangelist says, that he saw
the holy city Jerusalem, for under this figure he speaks
of Her. To Him was given to see Her, in order that
he might value so much more highly and watch with
befitting solicitude over the Treasure, which was con
fided to his care at the foot of the Cross. And although
nothing could ever fill up the void caused by the absence
of her Son, yet it was befitting that saint John should
be enlightened as to the dignity of the office, which he
was to assume, namely, that of a substitute for her
natural Son.
250. On account of the wonderful works, which God
had accomplished in the city of Jerusalem, it was a most
excellent symbol of Her, who was his Mother, the center
and the focus of all wonders of the Almighty. For a
similar reason it is also a figure of the works of the
Church militant and triumphant; both were revealed to
the eagle vision of saint John and he was shown the
correspondence and similarity which those two mystical
Jerusalems presented. But in an especial manner he
viewed as from a watchtower the exalted Jerusalem of
the most holy Mary, in which are portrayed and repro
duced all the graces, wonders, gifts and excellences of
the Church militant and triumphant. Whatever was
transacted in Jerusalem, the city of Palestine, and all
that it signified together with its inhabitants, is repro
duced in the most pure Mary, the holy City of God, and
with a greater and more marvelous excellence than in all
the rest of heaven and earth and their inhabitants.
Hence She is called the new Jerusalem, since all her gifts,
her greatness and virtues are new and are the cause of
new wonder to the saints. New also, because She came
after all the ancient Fathers, Patriarchs and Prophets,
and in Her were renewed and accomplished all their
clamors, their prophecies and promises; new, because
She came without the contagion of guilt and under a
new dispensation far from the law of sin; new, because
She entered into the world triumphant over sin, the
devil and the first deceit, thus being the greatest new
event since its beginning.
251. As all this was now on the earth and could not
have proceeded from earthly causes, She is said to "come
down from heaven. Although She was derived from
Adam according to the ordinary course of nature, She
did not tread the well-worn paths of sin in her coming,
as had been done by all the preceding children of that
first delinquent. For that Lady alone there was a special
decree of divine predestination and a new path was
opened, by which She should descend into this world
with Her divine Son, neither being Herself the com
panion of any other of the mortals, nor any of them
being found worthy of treading the same path as She
and Christ our Lord. Thus She, as a new creature from
the heaven of the divine mind, descended from the ex
alted spheres of divine forethought and pre-ordination.
Just as the other children of Adam, derived from the
earth, are earthly and tainted, so this Queen of all cre
ation comes from heaven derived from God himself by
innocence and grace; for ordinarily we say, that such
a one is descended from this or that house or family,
since he descends therefrom as from a source of his
being. Now the natural substance of Mary, which She
derived from Adam, scarcely comes into consideration,
when we take into account her dignity as Mother of God
with all that it imports as bringing Her so near to the
eternal Father by grace and participation of the Divinity.
This dignity causes her natural being to appear as mere
ly accessory and of minor importance. Hence the Evan
gelist directed his gaze upon that which was in Her
most exalted and heavenly, and not upon the insignificant
part of her being that came from the earth.
252. He continues saying that She came "prepared
as a bride adorned for her husband." For the day of
the espousal it is customary among mortals to procure
the most precious adornments and presents obtainable
for adorning the terrestrial bride, and the most precious
jewels will even be borrowed, in order that nothing
may be wanting to the array befitting her state and
condition. Therefore, if we admit, as we are indeed
forced to admit, that the most pure Mary was the Spouse
of the blessed Trinity, and Mother of the second Per
son, and that She was adorned and prepared for these
dignities by the omnipotent God, who is infinite and rich
without measure or limit: what adornments, what prep
aration, what jewels must those be with which He fitted
Her out in order that She might be a worthy Spouse and
Mother? Would He reserve any of his jewels in his
treasury? Would He withhold any grace that could
beautify and make Her precious? Would He permit
Her to be deformed, ill-favored, blemished in any way
or for the least instant? Would He be sparing and nig
gardly with his Mother and Spouse, when He so pro
digiously lavishes the treasures of the Divinity upon other
souls, who, in comparison, with Her, are less than ser
vants and slaves of his house? Let all confess with the
Lord Himself, that She alone is the chosen One (Cant.
6, 8) and the perfect One, whom the rest must recog
nize, proclaim and magnify as the immaculate and most
happy among women, of whom in wonder and with joy
ful praise they ask: Who is She that comes forth like
the morning, beautiful as the moon (Cant. 6, 9), and
terrible as the serried armies? This is the most holy
Mary, the only Spouse and Mother of the Almighty,
who descends to the world adorned and prepared as
the Bride of the blessed Trinity for her Spouse and her
Son. This coming and entrance was made memorable
by such great gifts of the Divinity, that the splendor
of them made Her more agreeable than the sunrise, more
beautiful than the moon, more exquisite and admirable
than the sun, and without equal among things created;
She came more valiant and powerful than the heavenly
hosts of saints and angels. She descended adorned and
prepared by God, who gave Her all that He desired, and
who desired to give Her all that He could, and who
could give all that is not the essentially Divine, namely,
all that is most approximate to the Divinity and farthest
removed from any blemish of a creature. Entire and
most perfect was this adornment, so that all defect was
excluded, which would not have been the case, if in any
regard She failed in grace and innocence. Without this
the treasures of grace would not suffice to make Her so
beautiful, since they would adorn but a distorted visage,
a nature infected with sin, or a garment soiled and be
smirched by guilt. Forever there would have been a
stain, a shadow and blot of guilt, which no diligence on
her part could obliterate. All this was unbefitting the
Mother and Spouse of God, and if it was unbefitting
Her, it was also unbefitting Himself ; for He would have
failed to adorn and prepare Her, with the love of a
Spouse, or the solicitude of a Son, if, having in his pos
session most rich and precious vestments, He would have
clothed his Mother and Spouse, and Himself, in soiled
and worn-out garments.
253. It is verily time, that the honor due to our great
Queen should be unveiled and made clear to human in
sight, and that whoever was misled by opposite opinions,
should hesitate and cease to belittle and deny Her the
adornments of her immaculate purity at the instant of
her heavenly Conception. Compelled by the force of
truth and by the light, in which I see these ineffable
mysteries, I proclaim over and over again, that (as far
as revealed to me), the privileges, graces, prerogatives,
favors and gifts of most holy Mary, not excluding even
that of her being the Mother of God, all depend upon,
have their origin, and are founded upon the fact, that
She was immaculate and full of grace in the moment
of her most pure Conception, hence all of them would
appear ill-proportioned and deficient without this favor,
like a sumptuous edifice without a solid and well-built
foundation. All depend and are founded in a certain
way upon the purity and innocence of her Conception
and on this account it was necessary to refer so often in
the course of this history to this mystery, especially when
treating of the divine decree, the formation of most holy
Mary, and the incarnation of her most holy Son. I will
not enlarge on this ; but I will give notice to all, that the
Queen of heaven so esteems the beauty and adornment
given to Her by her Son and Spouse in her purest Con
ception, that She will be correspondingly incensed against
those, who, with evil intention and obstinacy, try to de
spoil Her and debase Her in this point, while her most
holy Son had deigned to show Her to the world thus
adorned and beautified for his glory and for the en
couragement of the mortals. The Evangelist proceeds:
254. "And I heard a great voice from the throne say
ing: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and he
shall dwell with them. And they shall be his people
and God himself with them shall be their God." The
voice of the Most High is great and strong, sweet and
efficacious to move and draw toward Him all creation.
Such was the voice which saint John heard proceeding
from the throne of the most blessed Trinity and which
caused him to pay perfect attention, in order to under
stand thoroughly the mystery which was then shown to
him. He was privileged to see the dwelling of God
among men and that He lived among them, that He was
their God and they his people. All this was contained
in the mysterious figure of most holy Mary descending
from heaven in the form I have described. Since this
divine tabernacle of God had now come to the earth, it
followed, that God also dwelt among men for He lived
and remained in this tabernacle. It is as if the Evangel
ist had said : the King has taken possession and is hold
ing his court in the world and for no other reason than,
that He might remain and dwell on earth. And in such
manner, that from this tabernacle He was to assume
the human form, in which He was to be a Dweller
among men. In it He was to be their God and they
his people, as the inheritance of the Father and also for
his Mother. We were the inheritance of the Father to
his Son, not only because in Him were all things created
and because all was given to Him through the eternal
generation: but also because He redeemed us as man
clothed in our human nature, buying us as his people
and as the inheritance of the Father and making us
his brethren. For the same reason, namely, on account
of his human nature, we are the legitimate inheritance
of Mary most holy, since She gave Him the form of
human flesh by which He purchased us for Himself.
She, being the Mother and the Spouse of the Blessed
Trinity, was also the Mistress of all creation, which She
left as an inheritance of her Onlybegotten ; for the hu
man laws, are founded on right reason and therefore
need not be invalid in the divine order of things.
255. This voice proceeded from the royal throne
through an angel, who with a sort of holy envy seemed to
me to say to the Evangelist : Behold and see the tabernacle
of God among men, and He shall live with them and they
shall be his people ; He will be their Brother and He will
assume human form in this tabernacle Mary, whom thou
seest descending from heaven, by her conception and for
mation. But we can answer with equal joy to these
heavenly courtiers: indeed the tabernacle of God is with
us, for it is our tabernacle, and in it God becomes our
own; He will receive from it life and blood, which He
offers in purchase for us in order to make us his people.
He shall live in us as in his dwelling and habitation, since
receiving Him in the holy Sacrament we are made his
tabernacle (Joan 6, 57). Let those heavenly spirits be
content to be our elder brothers, less in need than we.
We are the frail little ones, who must be strengthened
and regaled by our Father and Brother. Let Him come
to the tabernacle of his Mother and to us; let Him as
sume human form in her virginal womb ; let the Divinity
be encompassed and live among us and in us. Let us
hold Him in our midst, in order that He may be our God
and we his people and his resting-place. Let the angelic
spirits break forth in wonder and praise at such great
marvels: but let us mortals enjoy Him, uniting with
them in praise and love toward Him. The text con
tinues :
256. "And God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes and death shall be no more, nor crying, nor
mourning, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former
things are passed away." In consequence of the Re
demption, of which the Conception of most holy Mary
has assured us, the tears, which sin has caused to flow
from the eyes of the mortals, shall be dried. Those
that avail themselves of the mercy of the Most High,
of the blood and merits of his Son, of his mysteries and
sacraments, of the treasures of his Church, of the inter
cession of his Mother, there is no more death, no sor
row, no tears: since the death of sin and all that re
sulted from sin is abolished and has ceased. The true
mourning is now left to the sons of perdition that dwell
in the abyss whence there is no deliverance. The sor
rows of labor are not a mourning, not a true sorrow,
but only an apparent one, entirely compatible with the
true and the highest kind of joy. For when accepted
with submission, it is of inestimable value and the Son
of God chose it as a loving pledge for Himself, his
Mother, and his brethren.
257. Nor will there be heard any clamor, nor the
voice of quarrel; for the just and the wise, following
the example of their Master and of his most humble
Mother, must learn to bear themselves with silence, like
the artless lamb, when it is slaughtered as victim of the
sacrifice (Is. 53, 7). They must renounce the right of our
weak nature to vent itself in cries and to complain, see
ing that his Majesty, their supreme Lord and model,
was slaughtered on the frightful Cross in order to re
pair the damages wrought by our impatience and want
of confidence (Phil. 2, 8). Why should our human na
ture be permitted to complain of labor and trouble, in
view of such an example? Or how can hateful distinc
tion and uncharitable sentiments be allowed among men,
when Christ has come to establish the law of eternal
charity? The Evangelist repeats: "and sorrow shall be
no more," for if any sorrows remained among men, they
are those of a bad conscience; but as a remedy of this
kind of sorrow, there is the sweet medicine of the in
carnation of the Word in the womb of the most holy
Mary, so that now this sorrow is become acceptable and
the cause of rejoicing, not any more meriting the
name of sorrow and containing within itself the high
est and the sincerest joy. With its introduction the
first things have passed away, namely, the sorrows and
the useless hardships of the ancient laws, which are now
sweetened and assuaged by the abundance of grace in
the new law. Therefore he adds: "And behold, I
make all things new." This voice proceeded from the
One, who is seated on the throne, because He declares
Himself as the Artificer of all the mysteries of the new
law of the Gospel. Since all this newness was to begin
with such an unheard of and such an inconceivable event,
as the Incarnation of the Onlybegotten of the Father and
the preservation of the virginity of his Mother, it was
necessary, that, just as in all things, so in this Mother,
there should be nothing old and worn-out. But original
sin clearly is as old as visible nature, and if the Mother
of the incarnate Word was to be infected with it, He
would not have made all things new.
258. And He said to me: "Write, for these things
are most faithful and true." And He said to me: "I
am the Alpha and the Omega: the beginning and the
end." According to our way of speaking, God was
deeply grieved, because the great works of love per
formed for us in the Incarnation and Redemption should
be so much forgotten; and as a remembrance of these
great benefits and as a satisfaction for our ingratitude
He commands them to be written. Therefore men
should write them in their hearts and should begin to
dread the offense, which they commit against God by
their gross and execrable forget fulness. Although it is
true, that the Catholics believe and trust in these mys
teries, yet by the contempt, which they show in their
want of esteem for them and in their forgetfulness, they
seem tacitly to repudiate them, living as if they did not
believe them. Protesting against their foul ingratitude,
the Lord says : "For these things are most faithful and
true." Let the torpid and listless mortals in their sloth
and listlessness understand, that these words are most
faithful as well as most powerful to stir the human heart
from its torpidity, as soon as they become fixed in the
memory, pondered and revolved in the mind as the most
certain truth. For God has made them true for each one
of us.
259. But as God does not repent of his gifts (Rom.
11, 29) and does not retract the good which He confers,
even if man makes himself unworthy, He says: "It is
done;" as if He wanted to say to us, that although by
our ingratitude we have offended Him, He will not turn
back from his course of love, but having already sent
into the world the most holy Mary free from original
sin, all that pertains to the Incarnation is already an
accomplished fact. Since the most pure Mary was now
on earth it appeared impossible, that the divine Word
should remain in heaven and not come to earth in order
to assume human flesh in the womb of the Virgin. And
He assured us again saying: I am the Alpha and the
Omega, the first and the last letter, the beginning and
the end, including the perfection of all things; for if
I give them a beginning, it is for the purpose of raising
them to the perfection of their ultimate end. This I will
do through Christ and Mary, commencing and perfect
ing in Them all the works of grace. In man I will raise
and draw all creatures toward Me, as to their last end
and their center, where they shall find repose.
260. "To him that thirsteth I will give of the foun
tain of the water of life, freely. He that shall overcome
shall possess these things." Who among creatures shall
presume to give counsel to God (Rom. 11, 34) or who
shall give so much to Him as to oblige Him to make a
return? So says the Apostle, wishing to make it under
stood, that all that God does or has done for men, was
of his free grace, and not through obligation toward
any one. The source of a fountain owes nothing to him
that drinks from its stream; freely and gratuitously it
flows for all that approach; and that all do not partake
of its blessings is not the fault of the fountain, but of
those that do not approach, for it invites all to partake
of its joyful abundance. And if they do not seek it, it
issues itself to seek such as will partake, flowing on
without ceasing, in order that freely and without reward
it might offer itself to all. O most reprehensible dull
ness of mortals ! O most abominable ingratitude ! If the
true Lord is in no way obliged to us, and if He has given
and gives all out of liberality, and if He has even ex
ceeded all his graces and benefits by becoming man and
dying for us, thus giving Himself to us entirely and
letting flow the stream of his Divinity until it meets our
human nature and unites Itself with us, how is it pos
sible, that we, being so desirous of honor, glory and de
light, do not hasten to drink from this freely flowing
fountain (Is. 55, 1)? But well I see the cause. We
do not thirst for the true glory, honor and happiness,
but we seek only for the apparent and deceitful ones,
despising the fountains of grace, which Jesus Christ has
opened for us by the merits of his Death (Is. 12, 3).
But to those that have thirst after the Divinity and its
graces, the Lord promises, that He will give freely of
the fountain of life (Jer. 2, 13). O what a great sor
row and pity it is, that having discovered the fountain
of life, so few are thirsting for it, and that there are so
many, who run after the waters of death! Those that
conquer the demon, the world, and their own flesh within
themselves, will certainly possess these things. And it is
moreover said, that He offers them, for it might be
doubtful, lest the waters of grace might at some time
be denied or withdrawn: therefore in order to assure
us, they are offered freely for our possession without
limit or restriction.
261. Over and above, the Lord hastens to certify all
this by another assurance, saying: "I shall be his God
and he shall be my son" (Apoc. 21, 7), and if He is to
us a God, and we are to Him as sons, it is clear, that we
are made to be sons of God, and being sons, also heirs of
all his goods (Rom. 8, 17) and being heirs (although all
our heirship is that of grace) we are made secure of our
inheritance, just as children are secure in the inheritance
of the possession of their parents. As He is Father and
God at the same time, infinite in his attributes and per
fections, who can estimate the goods, which He offers to
us in making us sons ? Therein is included the paternal
love, our preservation, our vocation, our enlivenment
and justification, all the means thereto, and finally our
glorification and the state of happiness, which neither
eyes have seen, nor ears have heard, nor ever has en
tered into the heart of man. All this is destined for
those that conquer and have shown themselves true and
courageous children.
262. "But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the
abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sor
cerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their
portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone,
which is the second death." On this formidable roster
innumerable sons of perdition have written their names
of their own accord, since infinite is the number of the
foolish, who blindly have chosen death, blocking up for
themselves the path of life. For this path is not hidden
to those who use their eyes, but only to those who wil
fully close their eyes and who have allowed and are al
lowing themselves to be fascinated and deceived by the
fraudulent tricks of satan. According to the different
inclinations and tastes he proffers them the poisonous
cup of vice, after which they seek. "The fearful"
are those, who continually hesitate, and thus fail to
taste of the manna of virtue and never enter into the
pathway of eternal life; to whom virtue appears insipid
and burdensome, though the yoke of the Lord is sweet
and his burden is light (Matth. 11, 30); deceived by
this fear they are overcome by their cowardice rather
than by the difficulties. Those other ones, "the unbe
lievers," neither admit that truths are revealed, nor
give belief to them, like the heretics, pagans and infi
dels; or if they do believe them, like the Catholics, it
seems as if they heard them from afar and only through
the faith of others, not giving full assent to the evident
truth contained therein. Thus they hold but a lifeless
belief and they live like unbelievers.
263. "The abominable," are those who follow vice
without distinction, without repentance or limit, and
rather boast of their wickedness and contempt, making
themselves hateful to God and drawing down his wrath
and curse. Thus they arrive at a state of rebellion and
become incapable of good works. They draw away from
the path of eternal life, as if they were not created for it,
they separate and become estranged from God and his
benefits and blessings, objects of disgust to God and his
saints. Likewise are mentioned "the murderers," who,
without fear or reverence for the divine justice, usurp
the right of the supreme Lord, the sole Governor of the
universe, and presume to chastise and avenge injury;
these deserve to be treated and judged according to the
same measure, which they use in treating and judging
others (Luke 6, 38). "The adulterers" are excluded
from that kingdom, since, for a short and impure pleas
ure, which is abhorred as soon as it is attained, and yet
in its disorder is never satiated, they despise the friend
ship of God and the eternal joys, which on being tasted
are the more sought and are an unfailing fountain of
undiminished delight. The "sorcerers" likewise, who
believe and testify to the false promises of the dragon,
hidden under the cloak of friendship; they are deceived
themselves and so perverted that they deceive and per
vert others. "The idolaters" cannot enter heaven for
they seek after and feel the presence of the Divinity
and do not find it, though He is in all our surround
ings (Act 17, 27). They ascribe Divinity to the works
of their own hands, which are only inanimate shadows
of the truth and empty cisterns, totally inapt to suggest
an idea of the grandeur of the true God (Jer. 2, 13).
"The liars" also, who standing in opposition to the high
est truth, which is God, are deprived of his rectitude
and virtue, occupying the opposite extreme, confiding
more in fraudulent deceits than in the Author of truth
and of all good.
264. Of all these the Evangelist says he heard the
sentence, "Their portion shall be in the pool of the fire
burning with sulphur, which is the second death." No
body can complain of divine justice and equity since He
has justified his cause by the greatness of his benefits
and numberless mercies. He descended from heaven to
live and die among men and rescue them by his own
life-blood. He opened up vast foundations of grace,
which are freely offered to us in the holy Church. In
addition to all this He gave us his Mother and the foun
tain of her most holy life, through which we may attain
it. Therefore, mortals cannot excuse themselves, if in
spite of all these gifts, they have not made use of his
grace, and if they have abandoned the inheritance of
eternal life in the pursuit of momentary delights of their
mortal life. No wonder that they harvest that which
they have sown, and that their portion shall be in the
terrible abyss of burning brimstone from whence there
is no redemption nor hope of life, when once the second
death of punishment has overtaken them. Although
this second death is infinite in its duration, yet more
wicked and abominable was the first death of their sin,
into which they voluntarily precipitated themselves. For
the death of grace caused by sin is opposed to the in
finite sanctity and goodness of God ; it offends Him, who
is to be reverenced and adored. The death of infernal
pains is the just punishment of these damnable souls and
is the equitable retribution of his most unerring justice.
Thereby this justice is exalted and proclaimed in the
same measure in which it was outraged and despised by
sin. Let it through all the ages be feared and adored.
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