For the twelfth part of The Sermon on the Mount I will cover verses 15 through 19 of Chapter 7. The focus here is ough it may only be two verses, it covers a lot as you'll see and covers the punishment of hell. Thus I should like to continue to produce the commentaries only, without adding related Scripture to it. The reason for this, rather than skipping over the context, (we have read and interpreted chapter 5, 6 and the first fourteen verses of 7) is to get the meaning, without overwhelming the senses with a multiplication of electrical ink.
15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
In the clothing of sheep. Beware of hypocrites, with their outward appearance of sanctity, and sound doctrine --- by their fruits you shall know them. Such hypocrites can scarcely ever continue constant in the practice of what is good. (Witham) --- Heretics usually affect an extraordinary appearance of zeal and holiness, calling themselves evangelical preachers and teachers of the gospel, as if that Church which preceded them, and which descends by an uninterrupted succession from the apostles, did not teach the pure gospel of Christ. (Haydock) --- Beware of false prophets, or heretics. They are far more dangerous than the Jews, who being rejected by the apostles, are also avoided by Christians, but these having the appearance of Christianity, having churches, sacraments, &c. deceive many. These are the rapacious wolves, of whom St. Paul speaks, Acts 20. (St. John Chrysostom) Origen styles them, the gates of death, and the path to hell.
By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes off thorns, or figs off thistles?
As the true Church is known by the four marks of its being one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, so heretics and false teachers are known by certain vices, and the pernicious effects of their novelties in religion. As the true Church is one, by its members submitting with humility to the authority established by Christ, (he that will not hear the Church, let him be unto thee as the heathen and the publican. Matthew 18: 17) so are false teachers known by their separation from the ancient Church, and their divisions among themselves, the necessary consequences of rebelling against the authority established by Christ, and alone capable of determining controversies. The same pride and other secret vices which make them despise government, (2 Peter 2: 10) make them also not afraid to bring in sects of perdition, blaspheming, and this in civil government as well as ecclesiastical. Those that call themselves Reformers, in the beginning of the 16th century, of all others were remarkable in this. What bloody tumults and wars were there not produced in Germany, by the first Reformers in that country! Calvin overturned the government of Geneva; and his followers, under the name Hugonots, filled France for a great length of time with slaughter and civil wars, frequently shaking the throne itself. In this country (England - JG), the first cause of its separation from the universal Church, was the unbridled passion of a tyrant: the effects were adultery, and the murder of the successive queens that he had taken to his adulterous bed. In the reign of his successor, the insatiate avarice of a corrupt nobility, gratified with the sacrilegious plunder of the Church, established what is called the Reformation. The fear of being compelled to disgorge the fruits of their rapine (plundering; taking by force - JG), contributed much to the confirmation of that order of things in the reign of Elizabeth. She was inclined to it by the circumstances of her birth, which could not be legitimate, if her father's marriage with Catharine of Arragon was valid, as the first authority in the Catholic Church had declared. The natural spirit of this heresy, though checked a while and kept under by the despotical (tyrannical - JG) government of this queen, appeared in its own colours soon after, and produced its natural fruits in the turbulence of the times that succeeded, and the multiplicity of sects that are continually springing up to this very day.
As the true Church is holy, recommending various exercises of religion tending to purify human nature, and render men holy, as fasting, confession of sins, evangelical counsels, &c. so false teachers cast off all these, promising liberty, (2 Peter 2: 16) and giving full rein to the lustful passions, thus giving a liberty of living, as well as a liberty of believing. --- Another fruit of false teachers is, separation from what was the Universal Church before their time, and which continues to be still the far greater part, not being confined to one state or country. If some modern principles, of not allowing any communion of religion out of each state, were admitted, as many religions should have been established by Heaven as men think proper to establish different states; nor could Christ have given one for all mankind, under whatever state or form of government they might live. --- Finally, false teachers are to known by their not being able to shew, that they have received their doctrine and mission from the apostles, in a regular succession from them. Some of our modern divines would spurn at the idea of holding their doctrine and orders from the Catholic Church, such as it existed at the time of the Reformation, which is precisely such as it exists at the present moment. --- In answer to this it has been retorted, that the fruits of the Catholic religion have been as bad, or worse; and the horrors of the French revolution are particularly mentioned, as a proof. ... That great crimes have been committed by those who professed themselves Catholics, is not denied; but that they were prompted to them by the nature of their religion, is certainly not admitted. The revolution of France in particular, was the effect of the people falling off from their religion. As well may the Puritans, that brought Charles to the block, be said to be Catholics, because they or their parents once had been such: as well may the present bench of Protestant bishops be said to be Catholics, because the bishops of their sees once were so; or that Robespierre, Marat, and the Jacobins that persecuted catholicity in France, and brought its too indulgent sovereigns to the guillotine, were Catholics, or directed in the least by Catholic principles. (Haydock)
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the bad tree bringeth forth bad fruit.
It is not to be understood from this text, that a man who is once bad can never bring forth good fruit; but that as long as he remains in the state of sin, he cannot perform any meritorious action. (St. John Chrysostom)
18 A good tree cannot yield bad fruit, neither can an bad tree yield good fruit.
A good tree cannot yield bad fruit, &c. (Non potest Arbor bona, &c. St. Jerome on this place, brings divers examples to shew, that men's natures are not necessarily or unchangeably good or bad.) Not but that both good and bad men may change their lives. This, according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers, is only to be understood while they remain such. If a bad tree begin to produce good fruit, it becomes a good tree, &c. (Witham) --- For not those who do one or two good works are just, but those who continue permanently to do good: in the same manner, not those who commit one or two bad actions are wicked, but those who continue in evil. (Menochius)
19 Every tree that yieldeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire.
WHETHER THE BODIES OF THE DAMNED
WILL RISE AGAIN WITH THEIR DEFORMITIES?
It is written (1 Corinthians 15:52): "The dead shall rise again incorruptible"; where a gloss says: "The dead, i.e. sinners, or all the dead in general shall rise again incorruptible, i.e. without the loss of any limbs." Therefore the wicked will rise again without their deformities.
Further, there will be nothing in the damned to lessen the sense of pain. But sickness hinders the sense of pain by weakening the organ of sense, and in like manner the lack of a limb would prevent pain from affecting the whole body. Therefore the damned will rise again without these defects.
Deformity in the human body is of two kinds. One arises from the lack of a limb: thus we say that a mutilated person is deformed, because he lacks due proportion of the parts to the whole. Deformities of this kind, without any doubt, will not be in the bodies of the damned, since all bodies of both wicked and good will rise again whole. Another deformity arises from the undue disposition of the parts, by reason of undue quantity, quality, or place--which deformity is, moreover, incompatible with due proportion of parts to whole. Concerning these deformities and like defects such as fevers and similar ailments which sometimes result in deformity, Augustine remained undecided and doubtful as the Master remarks. Among modern masters, however, there are two opinions on this point. For some say that such like deformities and defects will remain in the bodies of the damned, because they consider that those who are damned are sentenced to utmost unhappiness wherefrom no affliction should be rebated. But this would seem unreasonable. For in the restoration of the rising body we look to its natural perfection rather than to its previous condition: wherefore those who die under perfect age will rise again in the stature of youth, as stated above (Question 81, Article 1). Consequently those who had natural defects in the body, or deformities resulting therefrom, will be restored without those defects or deformities at the resurrection, unless the demerit of sin prevent; and so if a person rise again with such defects and deformities, this will be for his punishment. Now the mode of punishment is according to the measure of guilt. And a sinner who is about to be damned may be burdened with less grievous sins and yet have deformities and defects which one who is about to be damned has not, while burdened with more grievous sins. Wherefore if he who had deformities in this life rise again with them, while the other who had them not in this life, and therefore, as is clear, will rise again without them, though deserving of greater punishment, the mode of the punishment would not correspond to the amount of guilt; in fact it would seem that a man is more punished on account of the pains which he suffered in this world; which is absurd.
Hence others say with more reason, that He Who fashioned nature will wholly restore the body's nature at the resurrection. Wherefore whatever defect or deformity was in the body through corruption, or weakness of nature or of natural principles (for instance fever, purblindness, and so forth) will be entirely done away at the resurrection: whereas those defects in the human body which are the natural result of its natural principles, such as heaviness, passibility, and the like, will be in the bodies of the damned, while they will be removed from the bodies of the elect by the glory of the resurrection.
Since in every tribunal punishment is inflicted according to the jurisdiction of the tribunal, the punishments which in this temporal life are inflicted for some particular sin are themselves temporal, and extend not beyond the term of this life. Hence although the damned are not pardoned their sins, it does not follow that there they will undergo the same punishments as they have in this world: but the Divine justice demands that there they shall suffer more severe punishment for eternity.
WHETHER THE BODIES OF THE DAMNED WILL BE INCORRUPTIBLE?
It is written (Apocalypse 9:6): "In those days men shall seek death, and shall not find it, and they shall desire to die, and death shall fly from them."
Further, the damned will be punished with an everlasting punishment both in soul and body (Matthew 25:46): "These shall go into everlasting punishment."
But this would not be possible if their bodies were corruptible. Therefore their bodies will be incorruptible.
Since in every movement there must needs be a principle of movement, movement or change may be withdrawn from a movable in two ways: first through absence of a principle of movement, secondly through an obstacle to the principle of movement. Now corruption is a kind of change: and consequently a body which is corruptible on account of the nature of its principles may be rendered incorruptible in two ways. First by the total removal of the principle which leads to corruption, and in this way the bodies of the damned will be incorruptible. For since the heaven is the first principle of alteration in virtue of its local movement, and all other secondary agents act in virtue thereof and as though moved thereby, it follows that at the cessation of the heavenly movement there is no longer any agent that can change the body by altering it from its natural property. Wherefore after the resurrection, and the cessation of the heavenly movement, there will be no quality capable of altering the human body from its natural quality. Now corruption, like generation, is the term of alteration. Hence the bodies of the damned will be incorruptible, and this will serve the purpose of Divine justice, since living for ever they will be punished for ever. This is in keeping with the demands of Divine justice, as we shall state further on (3), even as now the corruptibility of bodies serves the purpose of Divine providence, by which through the corruption of one thing another is generated.
Secondly, this happens through the principle of corruption being hindered, and in this way the body of Adam was incorruptible, because the conflicting qualities that exist in man's body were withheld by the grace of innocence from conducing to the body's dissolution: and much more will they be withheld in the glorified bodies, which will be wholly subject to the spirit. Thus after the general resurrection the two aforesaid modes of incorruptibility will be united together in the bodies of the blessed.
The contraries of which bodies are composed are conducive to corruption as secondary principles. For the first active principle thereof is the heavenly movement: wherefore given the movement of the heaven, it is necessary for a body composed of contraries to be corrupted unless some more powerful cause prevent it: whereas if the heavenly movement be withdrawn, the contraries of which a body is composed do not suffice to cause corruption, even in accordance with nature, as explained above. But the philosophers were ignorant of a cessation in the heavenly movement; and consequently they held that a body composed of contraries is without fail corrupted in accordance with nature.
This incorruptibility will result from nature, not as though there were some principle of incorruption in the bodies of the damned, but on account of the cessation of the active principle of corruption, as shown above.
Although death is simply the greatest of punishments, yet nothing prevents death conducing, in a certain respect, to a cessation of punishments; and consequently the removal of death may contribute to the increase of punishment. For as the Philosopher says, "Life is pleasant to all, for all desire to be . . . But we must not apply this to a wicked or corrupt life, nor one passed in sorrow." Accordingly just as life is simply pleasant, but not the life that is passed in sorrows, so too death, which is the privation of life, is painful simply, and the greatest of punishments, inasmuch as it deprives one of the primary good, namely being, with which other things are withdrawn. But in so far as it deprives one of a wicked life, and of such as is passed in sorrow, it is a remedy for pains, since it puts an end to them, and consequently the withdrawal of death leads to the increase of punishments by making them everlasting. If however we say that death is penal by reason of the bodily pain which the dying feel, without doubt the damned will continue to feel a far greater pain: wherefore they are said to be in "everlasting death," according to the Psalm (48:15): "Death shall feed upon them."
WHETHER THE BODIES OF THE DAMNED WILL BE IMPASSIBLE?
It is written (1 Corinthians 15:52): "And we shall be changed": and a gloss says: "We--the good alone--will be changed with the unchangeableness and impassibility of glory."
Further, even as the body co-operates with the soul in merit, so does it co-operate in sin. Now on account of the former co-operation not only the soul but also the body will be rewarded after the resurrection. Therefore in like manner the bodies of the damned will be punished; which would not be the case were they impassible (not able to feel pain - JG). Therefore they will be passible (able to feel pain - JG).
The principal cause of the bodies of the damned not being consumed by fire will be the Divine justice by which their bodies will be consigned to everlasting punishment. Now the Divine justice is served also by the natural disposition, whether on the part of the passive body or on the part of the active causes; for since passiveness is a kind of receptiveness, there are two kinds of passion, corresponding to two ways in which one thing is receptive of another. For a form may be received into a subject materially according to its natural being, just as the air receives heat from fire materially; and corresponding to this manner of reception there is a kind of passion which we call "passion of nature." In another way one thing is received into another spiritually by way of an "intention," just as the likeness of whiteness is received into the air and in the pupil: this reception is like that whereby the soul receives the likeness of things: wherefore corresponding to this mode of reception is another mode of passion which we call "passion of the soul." Since therefore after the resurrection and the cessation of the heavenly movement it will be impossible for a body to be altered by its natural quality, as stated above (Article 2), it will not be possible for any body to be passive with a passion of nature. Consequently as regards this mode of passion the bodies of the damned will be impassible even as they will be incorruptible. Yet after the heaven has ceased to move, there will still remain the passion which is after the manner of the soul, since the air will both receive light from the sun, and will convey the variety of colors to the sight. Wherefore in respect of this mode of passion the bodies of the damned will be passible. But the glorified bodies, albeit they receive something, and are in a manner patient to sensation, will nevertheless not be passive, since they will receive nothing to distress or hurt them, as will the bodies of the damned, which for this reason are said to be passible.
The Philosopher is speaking of the passion whereby the patient is changed from its natural disposition. But this kind of passion will not be in the bodies of the damned, as stated above.
The likeness of the agent is in the patient in two ways. First, in the same way as in the agent, and thus it is in all univocal agents, for instance a thing that is hot makes another thing hot, and fire generates fire. Secondly, otherwise than in the agent, and thus it is in all equivocal agents. In these it happens sometimes that a form which is in the agent spiritually is received into the patient materially: thus the form of the house built by the craftsman is materially in itself, but spiritually in the mind of the craftsman. On the other hand, sometimes it is in the agent materially, but is received into the patient spiritually: thus whiteness is materially on the wall wherein it is received, whereas it is spiritually in the pupil and in the transferring medium. And so it is in the case at issue, because the species which is in the fire materially is received spiritually into the bodies of the damned; thus it is that the fire will assimilate the bodies of the damned to itself, without consuming them withal.
According to the Philosopher, "no animal can live in fire." Galen also says "that there is no body which at length is not consumed by fire"; although sometimes certain bodies may remain in fire without hurt, such as ebony. The instance of the salamander is not altogether apposite, since it cannot remain in the fire without being at last consumed, as do the bodies of the damned in hell. Nor does it follow that because the bodies of the damned suffer no corruption from the fire, they therefore are not tormented by the fire, because the sensible object has a natural aptitude to please or displease the senses, not only as regards its natural action of stimulating or injuring the organ, but also as regards its spiritual action: since when the sensible object is duly proportionate to the sense, it pleases, whereas the contrary is the result when it is in excess or defect. Hence subdued colors and harmonious sounds are pleasing, whereas discordant sounds displease the hearing.
Pain does not sever the soul from the body, in so far as it is confined to a power of the soul which feels the pain, but in so far as the passion of the soul leads to the body being changed from its natural disposition. Thus it is that we see that through anger the body becomes heated, and through fear, chilled: whereas after the resurrection it will be impossible for the body to be changed from its natural disposition, as stated above (Article 2). Consequently, however great the pain will be, it will not sever the body from the soul.
WHETHER EVERY ACT OF WILL IN THE DAMNED IS EVIL?
An obstinate will can never be inclined except to evil. Now men who are damned will be obstinate even as the demons [Cf. I, 64, 2]. Further, as the will of the damned is in relation to evil, so is the will of the blessed in regard to good. But the blessed never have an evil will. Neither therefore have the damned any good will.
A twofold will may be considered in the damned, namely the deliberate will and the natural will. Their natural will is theirs not of themselves but of the Author of nature, Who gave nature this inclination which we call the natural will. Wherefore since nature remains in them, it follows that the natural will in them can be good. But their deliberate will is theirs of themselves, inasmuch as it is in their power to be inclined by their affections to this or that. This will is in them always evil: and this because they are completely turned away from the last end of a right will, nor can a will be good except it be directed to that same end. Hence even though they will some good, they do not will it well so that one be able to call their will good on that account.
The words of Dionysius must be understood of the natural will, which is nature's inclination to some particular good. And yet this natural inclination is corrupted by their wickedness, in so far as this good which they desire naturally is desired by them under certain evil circumstances [Cf. I, 64, 2, ad 5].
Evil, as evil, does not move the will, but in so far as it is thought to be good. Yet it comes of their wickedness that they esteem that which is evil as though it were good. Hence their will is evil.
The habits of civic virtue do not remain in the separated soul, because those virtues perfect us only in the civic life which will not remain after this life. Even though they remained, they would never come into action, being enchained, as it were, by the obstinacy of the mind.
WHETHER THE DAMNED REPENT OF THE EVIL THEY HAVE DONE?
It is said of the damned (Wisdom 5:3): "Repenting within themselves [Vulgate: 'Saying within themselves, repenting']."
Further, the Philosopher says that "the wicked are full of repentance; for afterwards they are sorry for that in which previously they took pleasure." Therefore the damned, being most wicked, repent all the more.
A person may repent of sin in two ways: in one way directly, in another way indirectly. He repents of a sin directly who hates sin as such: and he repents indirectly who hates it on account of something connected with it, for instance punishment or something of that kind. Accordingly the wicked will not repent of their sins directly, because consent in the malice of sin will remain in them; but they will repent indirectly, inasmuch as they will suffer from the punishment inflicted on them for sin.
The damned will wickedness, but shun punishment: and thus indirectly they repent of wickedness committed.
To wish one had not sinned on account of the shamefulness of vice is a good will: but this will not be in the wicked.
It will be possible for the damned to repent of their sins without turning their will away from sin, because in their sins they will shun, not what they heretofore desired, but something else, namely the punishment.
However obstinate men may be in this world, they repent of the sins indirectly, if they be punished for them. Thus Augustine says: "We see the most savage beasts are deterred from the greatest pleasures by fear of pain."
WHETHER THE DAMNED BY RIGHT AND DELIBERATE REASON
WOULD WISH NOT TO BE?
It is written (Apocalypse 9:6): "In those days men . . . shall desire to die, and death shall fly from them."
Further, the unhappiness of the damned surpasses all unhappiness of this world. Now in order to escape the unhappiness of this world, it is desirable to some to die, wherefore it is written (Sirach 41:3-4): "O death, thy sentence is welcome to the man that is in need and to him whose strength faileth; who is in a decrepit age, and that is in care about all things, and to the distrustful that loseth wisdom [Vulgate: 'patience']." Much more, therefore, is "not to be" desirable to the damned according to their deliberate reason.
Not to be may be considered in two ways. First, in itself, and thus it can nowise be desirable, since it has no aspect of good, but is pure privation of good. Secondly, it may be considered as a relief from a painful life or from some unhappiness: and thus "not to be" takes on the aspect of good, since "to lack an evil is a kind of good" as the Philosopher says. In this way it is better for the damned not to be than to be unhappy. Hence it is said (Matthew 26:24): "It were better for him, if that man had not been born," and (Jeremiah 20:14): "Cursed be the day wherein I was born," where a gloss of Jerome observes: "It is better not to be than to be evilly." In this sense the damned can prefer "not to be" according to their deliberate reason [Cf. I, 5, 2, ad 3].
Although "not to be" is very evil, in so far as it removes being, it is very good, in so far as it removes unhappiness, which is the greatest of evils, and thus it is preferred "not to be."
WHETHER IN HELL THE DAMNED WOULD WISH OTHERS WERE DAMNED
WHO ARE NOT DAMNED?
A gloss on Isaiah 14:9, "are risen up from their thrones," says: "The wicked are comforted by having many companions in their punishment."
Further, envy reigns supreme in the damned. Therefore they grieve for the happiness of the blessed, and desire their damnation.
Even as in the blessed in heaven there will be most perfect charity, so in the damned there will be the most perfect hate. Wherefore as the saints will rejoice in all goods, so will the damned grieve for all goods. Consequently the sight of the happiness of the saints will give them very great pain; hence it is written (Isaiah 26:11): "Let the envious people see and be confounded, and let fire devour Thy enemies." Therefore they will wish all the good were damned.
So great will be the envy of the damned that they will envy the glory even of their kindred, since they themselves are supremely unhappy, for this happens even in this life, when envy increases. Nevertheless they will envy their kindred less than others, and their punishment would be greater if all their kindred were damned, and others saved, than if some of their kindred were saved. For this reason the rich man prayed that his brethren might be warded from damnation: for he knew that some are guarded therefrom. Yet he would rather that his brethren were damned as well as all the rest.
Love that is not based on virtue is easily voided, especially in evil men as the Philosopher says. Hence the damned will not preserve their friendship for those whom they loved inordinately. Yet the will of them will remain perverse, because they will continue to love the cause of their inordinate loving.
Although an increase in the number of the damned results in an increase of each one's punishment, so much the more will their hatred and envy increase that they will prefer to be more tormented with many rather than less tormented alone.
WHETHER THE DAMNED HATE GOD?
On the contrary, It is written (Psalm 73:23): "The pride of them that hate Thee ascendeth continually."
The appetite is moved by good or evil apprehended. Now God is apprehended in two ways, namely in Himself, as by the blessed, who see Him in His essence; and in His effects, as by us and by the damned. Since, then, He is goodness by His essence, He cannot in Himself be displeasing to any will; wherefore whoever sees Him in His essence cannot hate Him. On the other hand, some of His effects are displeasing to the will in so far as they are opposed to any one: and accordingly a person may hate God not in Himself, but by reason of His effects. Therefore the damned, perceiving God in His punishment, which is the effect of His justice, hate Him, even as they hate the punishment inflicted on them [Cf. 90, 3, ad 2; II-II, 34, 1].
WHETHER THE DAMNED DEMERIT?
Punishment is contradistinguished from fault [Cf. I, 48, 5]. Now the perverse will of the damned proceeds from their obstinacy which is their punishment. Therefore the perverse will of the damned is not a fault whereby they may demerit.
Further, after reaching the last term there is no further movement, or advancement in good or evil. Now the damned, especially after the judgment day, will have reached the last term of their damnation, since then there "will cease to be two cities," according to Augustine. Therefore after the judgment day the damned will not demerit by their perverse will, for if they did their damnation would be augmented.
We must draw a distinction between the damned before the judgment day and after. For all are agreed that after the judgment day there will be neither merit nor demerit. The reason for this is because merit or demerit is directed to the attainment of some further good or evil: and after the day of judgment good and evil will have reached their ultimate consummation, so that there will be no further addition to good or evil. Consequently, good will in the blessed will not be a merit but a reward, and evil will in the damned will be not a demerit but a punishment only. For works of virtue belong especially to the state of happiness and their contraries to the state of unhappiness.
On the other hand, some say that, before the judgment day, both the good merit and the damned demerit. But this cannot apply to the essential reward or to the principal punishment, since in this respect both have reached the term. Possibly, however, this may apply to the accidental reward, or secondary punishment, which are subject to increase until the day of judgment. Especially may this apply to the demons, or to the good angels, by whose activities some are drawn to salvation, whereby the joy of the blessed angels is increased, and some to damnation, whereby the punishment of the demons is augmented [Cf. I, 62, 9, ad 3; II-II, 13, 4, ad 2; where St. Thomas tacitly retracts the opinion expressed here as to merit or demerit.].
It is in the highest degree unprofitable to have reached the highest degree of evil, the result being that the damned are incapable of demerit. Hence it is clear that they gain no advantage from their sin.
Men who are damned are not occupied in drawing others to damnation, as the demons are, for which reason the latter demerit as regards their secondary punishment [Cf. I, 62, 9, ad 3; II-II, 13 , 4, ad 2; where St. Thomas tacitly retracts the opinion expressed here as to merit or demerit].
The reason why they are not excused from demerit is not because they are under the necessity of sinning, but because they have reached the highest of evils. However, the necessity of sinning whereof we are ourselves the cause, in so far as it is a necessity, excuses from sin, because every sin needs to be voluntary: but it does not excuse, in so far as it proceeds from a previous act of the will: and consequently the whole demerit of the subsequent sin would seem to belong to the previous sin.
WHETHER THE DAMNED CAN MAKE USE OF THE KNOWLEDGE
THEY HAD IN THIS WORLD? [CF. I, 89]
It is said to the rich man who was damned (Luke 16:25): "Remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime," etc. Therefore they will consider about the things they knew here.
Further, the intelligible species remain in the separated soul, as stated above (70, 2, ad 3; I, 89, 5,6). Therefore, if they could not use them, these would remain in them to no purpose.
Even as in the saints on account of the perfection of their glory, there will be nothing but what is a matter of joy so there will be nothing in the damned but what is a matter and cause of sorrow; nor will anything that can pertain to sorrow be lacking, so that their unhappiness is consummate. Now the consideration of certain things known brings us joy, in some respect, either on the part of the things known, because we love them, or on the part of the knowledge, because it is fitting and perfect. There may also be a reason for sorrow both on the part of the things known, because they are of a grievous nature, and on the part of the knowledge, if we consider its imperfection; for instance a person may consider his defective knowledge about a certain thing, which he would desire to know perfectly. Accordingly, in the damned there will be actual consideration of the things they knew heretofore as matters of sorrow, but not as a cause of pleasure. For they will consider both the evil they have done, and for which they were damned, and the delightful goods they have lost, and on both counts they will suffer torments. Likewise they will be tormented with the thought that the knowledge they had of speculative matters was imperfect, and that they missed its highest degree of perfection which they might have acquired.
Although the consideration of knowledge is delightful in itself, it may accidentally be the cause of sorrow, as explained above.
In this world the soul is united to a corruptible body, wherefore the soul's consideration is hindered by the suffering of the body. On the other hand, in the future life the soul will not be so drawn by the body, but however much the body may suffer, the soul will have a most clear view of those things that can be a cause of anguish to it.
Time causes forgetfulness accidentally, in so far as the movement whereof it is the measure is the cause of change. But after the judgment day there will be no movement of the heavens; wherefore neither will it be possible for forgetfulness to result from any lapse of time however long. Before the judgment day, however, the separated soul is not changed from its disposition by the heavenly movement.
WHETHER THE DAMNED WILL EVER THINK OF GOD?
Man's most perfect thoughts are those which are about God: whereas the damned will be in a state of the greatest imperfection. Therefore they will not think of God.
One may think of God in two ways. First, in Himself and according to that which is proper to Him, namely that He is the fount of all goodness: and thus it is altogether impossible to think of Him without delight, so that the damned will by no means think of Him in this way. Secondly, according to something accidental as it were to Him in His effects, such as His punishments, and so forth, and in this respect the thought of God can bring sorrow, so that in this way the damned will think of God.
The damned do not hate God except because He punishes and forbids what is agreeable to their evil will: and consequently they will think of Him only as punishing and forbidding.
WHETHER THE DAMNED SEE THE GLORY OF THE BLESSED?
It is stated (Luke 16:23) that the rich man in the midst of his torments "saw Abraham . . . and Lazarus in his bosom."
The damned, before the judgment day, will see the blessed in glory, in such a way as to know, not what that glory is like, but only that they are in a state of glory that surpasses all thought. This will trouble them, both because they will, through envy, grieve for their happiness, and because they have forfeited that glory. Hence it is written (Wisdom 5:2) concerning the wicked: "Seeing it" they "shall be troubled with terrible fear." After the judgment day, however, they will be altogether deprived of seeing the blessed: nor will this lessen their punishment, but will increase it; because they will bear in remembrance the glory of the blessed which they saw at or before the judgment: and this will torment them. Moreover they will be tormented by finding themselves deemed unworthy even to see the glory which the saints merit to have.
The happenings of this life would not, if seen, torment the damned in hell as the sight of the glory of the saints; wherefore the things which happen here are not shown to the damned in the same way as the saints' glory; although also of the things that happen here those are shown to them which are capable of causing them sorrow.
Paul looked upon that life wherein the saints live with God, by actual experience thereof and by hoping to have it more perfectly in the life to come. Not so the damned; wherefore the comparison fails.
"Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition, even if they are reduced to but a handful, they are THE TRUE CHURCH" Saint Athanasius, "Apostle of Tradition" AD 373