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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 19

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 19.—27.  Let us therefore not flatter the Catholic who is hemmed in with all these vices, nor venture, merely because he is a Catholic Christian, to promise him the impunity which holy Scripture does not promp. 459 ise him; nor, if he has any one of the faults above mentioned, ought we to promise him a partnership in that heavenly land.  For, in writing to the Corinthians, the apostle enumerates the several sins, under each of which it is implicitly understood that it shall not inherit the kingdom of God:  "Be not deceived," he says:  "neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1450   He does not say, those who possess all these vices together shall not inherit the kingdom of God; but neither these nor those:  so that, as each is named, you may understand that no one of them shall inherit the kingdom of God.  As, therefore, heretics shall not possess the kingdom of God, so the covetous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  Nor can we indeed doubt that the punishments themselves, with which they shall be tortured who do not inherit the kingdom of God, will vary in proportion to the difference of their offences, and that some will be more severe than others; so that in the eternal fire itself there will be different tortures in the punishments, corresponding to the different weights of guilt.  For indeed it was not idly that the Lord said, "It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee." 1451   But yet, so far as failing to inherit the kingdom of God is concerned, it is just as certain, if you choose any one of the less heinous of these vices, as if you choose more than one, or some one which you saw was more atrocious; and because those will inherit the kingdom of God whom the Judge shall set on His right hand, and for those who shall not be found worthy to be set at the right hand nothing will remain but to be at the left, no other announcement is left for them to hear like goats from the mouth of the Shepherd, except, "Depart into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;" 1452 though in that fire, as I said before, it may be that different punishments will be awarded corresponding to the difference of the sins.



1 Cor. 6:9, 10.


Matt. xi. 24.


Matt. xxv. 41.

Next: Chapter 20

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