Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dare We Hope... St. John Chrysostom Replies to Von Balthasar (Tonight's 2nd Nocturn)

From Matins of the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, 2nd Nocturn (Lessons V-VI):
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Let us be constantly mindful of that right awful judgment-seat ; the river of fire ; the chains that can never be unlocked ; the darkness that cannot be pierced ; the sound of teeth gnashing ; the deadly worm. But thou sayest : God is merciful. Are then all these things but idle words? Is there no punishment for the rich man which gave no heed to Lazarus? Doth the bridegroom open to the foolish virgins the door of the marriage chamber? They that have denied to Christ the necessaries of life, are they not to depart from him into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels? The man that cometh in to the marriage-supper, not having a wedding garment, shall he, or shall he not, be bound hand and foot, and taken away, and cast into outer darkness? The servant that hath no compassion on his fellow-servant, which oweth him an hundred pence, shall he, or shall he not, be delivered to the tormentors? It is said, concerning such as commit adultery, that their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched? Is that not true?  Think ye that these are perhaps only threats on God's part? Do ye answer, No doubt? How darest thou say such a thing out loud, and proffer a judgment which is nothing but thine own imagination? For in good sooth, I can prove to thee, from the things which God hath done, that thou art wrong. If thou wilt not believe on account on things to come, at least believe on account of things past. Of them at least it cannot be said that they are nought but threats and mere words, for they have happened, and have actually been realized in fact. Who was he which brought in a great flood, until the whole land was standing water, and our whole race perished, save eight persons? Who was he which rained Sodom brimstone and fire out of heaven? Who was he which overthrew all the host of Egypt in the Red Sea? Who was he which sent out a fire and consumed them that were of the faction of Abiram? Who was he which sent a pestilence upon Israel, because David had sinned, so that from the morning even to the time appointed, there died of the people seventy thousand men? Was it not God, and none other, which brought upon them all these things, and more also?

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