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 understanding 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 explanation 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 saying: 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 abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers 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 creatures. But also the old heaven after the mystery of the Incarnation could be called new, for through it the novelty 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 Only-begotten 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 reprobation; 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 malediction of the old earth that in this blessed earth were renewed 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 remained 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 renovation 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 God-man appeared in the world, the old heaven and the earth, grown old by the sin-tarnished human and earthly matter, 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 deficient and unfit for the indwelling of a God. This disappeared 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 abominations 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 prevail 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 confided 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 reproduced 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 reproduced in the most pure Mary, the holy City of God, and with a greater and more marvellous 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 companion 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 exalted 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 creation 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 there from 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 merely accessory and of minor importance. Hence the Evangelist 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 preparation, 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 niggardly with his Mother and Spouse, when He so prodigiously lavishes the treasures of the Divinity upon other souls, who, in comparison, with Her, are less than servants 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 recognize, 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 Conception, 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 encouragement of the mortals. The Evangelist proceeds:
254. “And I heard a great voice from the throne saying: 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 Evangelist had said : the King has taken possession and is holding 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 Only-begotten ; for the human 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 formation. 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 assume 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 continues :
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 Redemption, 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 sorrow, no tears: since the death of sin and all that resulted 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 sorrows 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, seeing 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 nature be permitted to complain of labor and trouble, in view of such an example? Or how can hateful distinction 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 highest 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 Only-begotten 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 forgetfulness. Although it is true, that the Catholics believe and trust in these mysteries, 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 perfecting 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 fountain 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 dullness 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 exceeded 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 possible, 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 sorrow 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 perfections, 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 entered 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 sorcerers, 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 wilfully 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 unbelievers,” neither admit that truths are revealed, nor give belief to them, like the heretics, pagans and infidels; 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 pleasure, 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 surroundings (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 fountain 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. Amen.