« Prev Argument:  Righteous and Pious Men Shall Be… Next »

Chapter XXXV.—Argument:  Righteous and Pious Men Shall Be Rewarded with Never-Ending 195Felicity, But Unrighteous Men Shall Be Visited with Eternal Punishment.  The Morals of Christians are Far More Holy Than Those of the Gentiles.

“And yet men are admonished in the books and poems of the most learned poets of that fiery river, and of the heat flowing in manifold turns from the Stygian marsh,—things which, prepared for eternal torments, and known to them by the information of demons and from the oracles of their prophets, they have delivered to us.  And therefore among them also even king Jupiter himself swears religiously by the parching banks and the black abyss; for, with foreknowledge of the punishment destined to him, with his worshippers, he shudders.  Nor is there either measure or termination to these torments.  There the intelligent fire18281828    πῦρ σωφρονοῦν is an expression of Clemens Alexandrinus, so that there is no need for the emendation of “rapiens” instead of “sapiens,” suggested by one editor. burns the limbs and restores them, feeds on them and nourishes them.  As the fires of the thunderbolts strike upon the bodies, and do not consume them; as the fires of Mount Ætna and of Mount Vesuvius, and of burning lands everywhere, glow, but are not wasted; so that penal fire is not fed by the waste of those who burn, but is nourished by the unexhausted eating away of their bodies.  But that they who know not God are deservedly tormented as impious, as unrighteous persons, no one except a profane man hesitates to believe, since it is not less wicked to be ignorant of, than to offend the Parent of all, and the Lord of all.  And although ignorance of God is sufficient for punishment, even as knowledge of Him is of avail for pardon, yet if we Christians be compared with you, although in some things our discipline is inferior, yet we shall be found much better than you.  For you forbid, and yet commit, adulteries; we are born18291829    “Are known as” is another reading. men only for our own wives:  you punish crimes when committed; with us, even to think of crimes is to sin:  you are afraid of those who are aware of what you do; we are even afraid of our own conscience alone, without which we cannot exist:  finally, from your numbers the prison boils over; but there is no Christian there, unless he is accused on account of his religion, or a deserter.

« Prev Argument:  Righteous and Pious Men Shall Be… Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |