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Words of Wisdom

The Last Judgment: From “The City of God” by Saint Augustine of Hippo (vegetarian), Part 2 of 2



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We will now continue with a selection from Saint Augustine’s Book 20, in “The City of God.” “That, therefore, which the whole Church of the true God holds and professes as its creed, that Christ shall come from Heaven to judge the quick and the dead, this we call the Last Day, or Last Time, of the Divine Judgment. For we do not know how many days this judgment may occupy; but no one who reads the Scriptures, however negligently, need be told that in them ‘day’ is customarily used for ‘time.’ And when we speak of the Day of God’s Judgment, we add the word last or final for this reason, because even now God judges, and has judged from the beginning of human history, banishing from paradise, and excluding from the Tree of Life, those first men who perpetrated so great a sin.”

“And men are punished by God for their sins often visibly, always secretly, either in this life or after death, although no man acts rightly save by the assistance of Divine aid; and no man or devil acts unrighteously save by the permission of the Divine and most just judgment. For, as the apostle says, ‘There is no unrighteousness with God;’ and as he elsewhere says, ‘His judgments are inscrutable, and His ways past finding out.’ In this book, then, I shall speak, as God permits, not of those first judgments, nor of these intervening judgments of God, but of the Last Judgment, when Christ is to come from Heaven to judge the quick and the dead. For that day is properly called the Day of Judgment, because in it there shall be no room left for the ignorant questioning why this wicked person is happy and that righteous man unhappy. In that day, true and full happiness shall be the lot of none but the good, while deserved and supreme misery shall be the portion of the wicked, and of them only.” “But when we shall have come to that judgment, the date of which is called peculiarly the Day of Judgment, and sometimes the Day of the Lord, we shall then recognize the justice of all God’s judgments, not only of such as shall then be pronounced, but of all which take effect from the beginning, or may take effect before that time.”

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