Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Heavenly Bliss

Frederic W. Farrar (1831-1903), Eternal Hope: Five Sermons Preached in Westminster Abbey, November and December, 1877 (New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1894), pp. 65-66 (from Sermon III):
Thomas of Aquinum lent his saintly name to what I can only call the abominable fancy that the bliss of the saved may be all the more keen because they are permitted to gaze on the punishment of the wicked.1

1 "Unumquodque ex comparatione contrarii magis cognoscitur ... et ideo ut beatitudo sanctorum eis magis complaceat, et de ea uberiores gratias Deo agant, datur eis ut poenam impiorum perfecte videant!"—St. Thom. Aquin. Summa Theol. iii. Suppl. Qu. 94, art. I.

Compare the language of Peter Lombard:—"Egredientur ergo electi ad vivendum impiorum cruciatus, quos videntes non dolore afficientur, sed laetitia satiabuntur, visa impiorum ineffabili calamitate."—Sentent. iv. dist. 5, 9.

Strange influence of system and dogma! Can any one with a heart, any man worthy of the name of Christian, any man worthy of the name of man, fully realise the meaning of such words with a soul unblinded by prejudice and unsteeled by custom, without calling it inhuman language, and wondering that any could have uttered it who thought that they were preaching a gospel of infinite love?
The quotation from Peter Lombard is incorrect. For "ad vivendum" read "ad videndum." Here are translations.

Thomas Aquinas (tr. Fathers of the English Dominican Province):
Now everything is known the more for being compared with its contrary...Wherefore in order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned.
Peter Lombard (tr. Giulio Silano, adapted by me):
The elect shall go out to see the tortures of the impious. In seeing them, they shall not be stricken with sorrow; but they shall be filled with rejoicing, after seeing the ineffable calamity of the impious.


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