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Sinners Will Not Believe In The Divine Threats Until The Chastisement Has Come Upon Them, Part 1 ~ Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Typhoon Usagi (2013) 

SECOND DISCOURSE: 


Sinners Will Not Believe in the Divine Threats Until the Chastisement Has Come Upon Them, Part 1


"Except you do penance, ou shall all likewise perish." -----Luke 13:5.
 
After our Lord had commanded our first parents not to eat of the forbidden fruit, unhappy Eve approached the tree and was addressed from it by the serpent who said to her: Why has God forbidden you to eat of this delightful fruit? Why hath God commanded you? Eve replies: God hath commanded us that we should not eat, and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. -----Gen. 3:3. Behold the weakness of Eve! The Lord had absolutely threatened them with death, and she now begins to speak of it as doubtful: Lest perhaps we die. If I eat of it, she said, I shall perhaps die. But the devil, seeing that Eve was little in fear of the Divine threat, proceeded to encourage her by saying: No, you shall not die the death -----Gen 3:4; and thus he deceived her, and caused her to prevaricate and eat the apple. Thus, even now, does the enemy continue to deceive so many poor sinners. God threatens: Stop, sinners, and do penance, because if not you shall damn yourselves, as so many others have done: "Except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish." The devil says to them: "No, you shall not die the death." Fear nothing, sin on, continue to enjoy yourselves, because God is merciful; He will pardon you by and by, and you shall be saved. "God," says St. Procopius, "inspires one with fear, the devil takes it away." God only desires to terrify them by His threats, in order that they may depart from sin, and thus be saved. The devil wishes to destroy that fear, in order that they may persevere in sin, and thus be lost. Many are the wretches who believe the devil in preference to God, and are thus miserably damned. At present, behold the Lord displays His anger and threatens us with chastisement. Who knows how many there may be in this country who have no thought of changing their lives, in the hope that God will be appeased, and that it will be nothing. Hence the subject of the present discourse: SINNERS WILL NOT BELIEVE IN THE DIVINE THREATS, UNTIL THE CHASTISEMENT SHALL HAVE COME UPON THEM. My brethren, if we do not amend, the chastisement will come; if we do not put an end to our crimes, God will.

When Lot was warned by the Lord that he was about to destroy Sodom, Lot at once in formed his sons-in-law: Arise! get you out of this place, because the Lord will destroy this city. -----Gen. 19:14. But they would not believe him: And He seemed to them to speak as it were in jest. They imagined that he wished to sport with their fears, by terrifying them with such a threat. But the punishment overtook them, and they remained to be the sport of the flames. My brethren, what do we expect? God warns us that chastisement hangs over us; let us put a period to our sins, or shall we wait for God to do it? Hear, O sinner! what St. Paul says to you: See, then, the severity and goodness of God-----towards them, indeed, that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.----Rom 11:22. Consider, says the Apostle, the justice which the Lord has exercised towards so many whom He has punished, and condemned to Hell; towards them, indeed, that are fallen, the severity, consider the mercy with which He has treated you; but towards thee the goodness of God. You must abandon sin; if you change your ways, avoid the occasions of sin, frequent the Sacraments, and continue to lead a Christian life, the Lord will remit your punishment, if you abide in goodness; if not, you shall perish, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.  God has already borne with you too long, He can bear with you no longer. God is merciful, but He is just withal; He deals mercifully with those who fear Him; He cannot act thus towards the obstinate.

Such a person laments when he sees himself punished, and says, why has God deprived me of my health? Why has He taken from me this child, or this parent? Ah, sinner! what have you said, exclaims Jeremias, your sins have withholden good things from you. -----Jer. 5:25. It was not the desire of God to deprive you of any blessing, of any gain, of your son, or your parent; it would have been the wish of God to make you happy in all things, but your sins have not allowed Him. In the book of Job we read these words: Is it a great matter that God should comfort thee? But thy wicked words hinder this. -----Job 15:11. The Lord would fain console you, but your blasphemy, your murmuring, your obscene words, spoken to the scandal of so many have prevented Him. It is not God, but accursed sin, that renders us miserable and unhappy. Sin maketh nations miserable. -----Prov. 14:34. We are wrong, says Salvian, in complaining of God when He deals hardly with us. Oh! how much more hardly do we deal with Him, repaying with ingratitude the favors which He has bestowed on us!

Sinners imagine that sin procures them happiness; but it is sin which makes them miserable, and afflicted in every respect. Because thou didst not serve the Lord thy God, saith the Lord, in joy and gladness of  heart, . . . thou shalt serve thy enemy, whom the Lord will send upon thee, in hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and in want of all , things, . . . till He consume thee. -----Deut. 28:47. Because thou hast not wished to serve thy God in the peace which all those taste who serve Him, thou shalt serve thy enemy in poverty and affliction, until he shall have finished by making thee lose both soul and body. David says that the sinner by his crimes digs himself the pit into which he falls. He is fallen into the hole he made. -----Ps. 7:16. Recollect the prodigal son: he, in order to live without restraint, and banquet as he pleased, left his father; but then, for having left his father, he is reduced to tend swine; reduced to such a degree of misery, that of the vile food with which the swine are filled, he has not wherewithal to fill himself: And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him. -----Luke 15:16. St. Bernardine of Sienna, relates that a  certain impious son dragged his father along the ground. What happened to him afterwards? One day he was himself dragged by his own son in like manner, when, arriving at a certain place, he exclaimed, "No more -----stop here, no more -----thus far did I drag my own father -----stop." Baronius mentions a circumstance of a like nature, concerning the daughter of Herodias, who caused John the Baptist to be beheaded. He tells of her, that one day as she was crossing a frozen river, the ice broke under her, and she remained with her head only above the aperture. By dint of her struggles to save herself from death, she had her head severed from her body, and thus died. Oh, how just is not God, when the time of vengeance arrives! He causes the sinner to be caught, and strangled in the net which his own hands have made. The Lord shall be known when He executeth judgments, the sinner hath been caught in the works of his own hands. -----Ps. 9:17.

Let us tremble, my brethren, when we see others punished, knowing as we do, that we ourselves have deserved the same punishments. When the tower of Siloe fell upon eighteen persons and killed them, the Lord said to many who were present: Think you that they also were debtors above all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem. -----Luke 13:4. Do you think that these wretches alone were in debt to God's justice on account of their sins? You are yet debtors to it; and if you do not penance, you shall be punished as well as they: Except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish. O, how many unfortunate men damn themselves by false hope in the Divine mercy? Yes, God is merciful, and therefore assists and protects them who hope in His mercy: He is the protector of all that trust in Him. -----Ps. 1Z'31. But He assists and protects those only who hope in Him, with the intention of changing their lives, not those whose hope is accompanied by a perverse intention of continuing to offend Him. The hope of the latter is not acceptable to God, He abominates and punishes it: Their hope the abomination of the soul. -----Job 11:20. Poor sinners, their greatest misery is, that they are lost, and do not know their state. They jest, and they laugh, and they despise the threats of God, as if God had assured them that He should not punish them. "Whence," exclaims St. Bernard, "this accursed security?" Whence, O blind that you are, whence this accursed security? Accursed, because it is this security which brings you to Hell. I will come to them that are at rest, and dwell securely. -----Ezech. 28:11. The Lord is patient, but when the hour of chastisement arrives, then will He justly condemn to Hell those wretches who continue in sin, and live in peace, as if there were no Hell for them.


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