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City of God: Book Twenty-One

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Argument—Of the end reserved for the city of the devil, namely, the eternal punishment of the damned; and of the arguments which unbelief brings against it.

Of the Order of the Discussion, Which Requires that We First Speak of the Eternal Punishment of the Lost in Company with the Devil, and Then of the Eternal Happiness of the Saints. Whether It is Possible for Bodies to Last for Ever in Burning Fire. Whether Bodily Suffering Necessarily Terminates in the Destruction of the Flesh. Examples from Nature Proving that Bodies May Remain Unconsumed and Alive in Fire. That There are Many Things Which Reason Cannot Account For, and Which are Nevertheless True. That All Marvels are Not of Nature’s Production, But that Some are Due to Human Ingenuity and Others to Diabolic Contrivance. That the Ultimate Reason for Believing Miracles is the Omnipotence of the Creator. That It is Not Contrary to Nature That, in an Object Whose Nature is Known, There Should Be Discovered an Alteration of the Properties Which Have Been Known as Its Natural Properties. Of Hell, and the Nature of Eternal Punishments. Whether the Fire of Hell, If It Be Material Fire, Can Burn the Wicked Spirits, that is to Say, Devils, Who are Immaterial. Whether It is Just that the Punishments of Sins Last Longer Than the Sins Themselves Lasted. Of the Greatness of the First Transgression, on Account of Which Eternal Punishment is Due to All Who are Not Within the Pale of the Saviour’s Grace. Against the Opinion of Those Who Think that the Punishments of the Wicked After Death are Purgatorial. Of the Temporary Punishments of This Life to Which the Human Condition is Subject. That Everything Which the Grace of God Does in the Way of Rescuing Us from the Inveterate Evils in Which We are Sunk, Pertains to the Future World, in Which All Things are Made New. The Laws of Grace, Which Extend to All the Epochs of the Life of the Regenerate.

Of Those Who Fancy that No Men Shall Be Punished Eternally. Of Those Who Fancy That, on Account of the Saints’ Intercession, Man Shall Be Damned in the Last Judgment. Of Those Who Promise Impunity from All Sins Even to Heretics, Through Virtue of Their Participation of the Body of Christ. Of Those Who Promise This Indulgence Not to All, But Only to Those Who Have Been Baptized as Catholics, Though Afterwards They Have Broken Out into Many Crimes and Heresies. Of Those Who Assert that All Catholics Who Continue in the Faith Even Though by the Depravity of Their Lives They Have Merited Hell Fire, Shall Be Saved on Account of the ‘Foundation’ Of Their Faith. Of Those Who Fancy that the Sins Which are Intermingled with Alms-Deeds Shall Not Be Charged at the Day of Judgment. Against Those Who are of Opinion that the Punishment Neither of the Devil Nor of Wicked Men Shall Be Eternal. Against Those Who Fancy that in the Judgment of God All the Accused Will Be Spared in Virtue of the Prayers of the Saints. Whether Those Who Received Heretical Baptism, and Have Afterwards Fallen Away to Wickedness of Life; Or Those Who Have Received Catholic Baptism, But Have Afterwards Passed Over to Heresy and Schism; Or Those Who Have Remained in the Catholic Church in Which They Were Baptized, But Have Continued to Live Immorally,—May Hope Through the Virtue of the Sacraments for the Remission of Eternal Punishment. What It is to Have Christ for a Foundation, and Who They are to Whom Salvation as by Fire is Promised. Against the Belief of Those Who Think that the Sins Which Have Been Accompanied with Almsgiving Will Do Them No Harm.