The Spirit of Church
By Gary Amirault
Prior to the Dark Ages, the believers in Christ believed in apokatastasis, that is, the restoration of all things as spoken by the prophets. They were universalists. They believed that Jesus Christ was indeed the Savior of all mankind.
When Constantine made Christianity the religion of the Roman empire, the power of love for all was replaced with military and political power. The Church became a tyrant. Those church leaders who embraced universalism were eliminated. The pagan concept of a Hell of eternal damnation was injected. I believe this was the primary reason the Western world went into the Dark Ages. The teaching of Hell perverted the minds of those in Church.
The following quotes are from Christian leaders who used the pagan concept of Hell to keep the poor masses in subjection to power-hungry and often very evil political and religious men and women. The Church has often been a more effective means of enslaving the masses than military might. There are hundreds of thousands of other Church leaders throughout the centuries who could be quoted expressing similar thoughts to the ones below.
Compare these words to Jesus' words to the poor of this world and it should become very obvious from which spirit these men were speaking. Satan has controlled the Church for a long time. It's time for a great change. It is time for YOU to add your voice to the many that are coming out of the thousands of denominations of Church and stepping into the one Body of Christ.
We will begin with a few choice quotes followed by a whole army of God defamers. There are some Christian spokespersons who have taught that God predestined most of mankind for eternal torture so that the handful of “elect” would appreciate their salvation more fully as they see what they were spared from. Sick? I think so. Here are some examples of the reasoning of these well-known church leaders:
St. Thomas Aquinas
“That the saints may enjoy their beatitude more thoroughly, and give more abundant thanks to God for it, a perfect sight of punishment of the damned is granted them.” Summa iii Suppl. Qu 93, i.
Peter Lombard, the Master of Sentences
“Therefore the elect shall go forth…to see the torments of the impious, seeing which they will not be grieved, but will be satiated with joy at the sight of the unutterable calamity of the impious.” Sent. Iv 50, ad finMartin Luther (when questioned whether the Blessed will not be saddened by seeing their nearest and dearest tortured answers),
“Not in the least.”
“…the Blessed will see their friends and relations among the damned as often as they like but without the least of compassion.”
Andrew Welwood (speaks of the saints as being)
“overjoyed in beholding the vengeance of God,” and their beholding of the smoke of the torment of the wicked as “a passing delectation.”
“This display of the divine character will be most entertaining to all who love God, will give them the highest and most ineffable pleasure. Should the fire of this eternal punishment cease, it would in a great measure obscure the light of heaven, and put an end to a great part of the happiness and glory of the blessed.”
“The door of mercy will be shut and all bowels of compassion denied, by God, who will laugh at their destruction; by angels and saints, who will rejoice when they see the vengeance’ by their fellow-suffer the devil and the damned rejoicing over their misery.” Catechetical Sermons
Minucius Felix, fl. 230 AD
“Nor to these torments will there be any measure or termination. There the sentient fire burns limbs and renews them feeds on them and nourishes them.” –Octav. 35.
Cyprian 258 AD
“The wretched bodies of the condemned shall simmer and blaze in those living fires.”
“At that greatest of all spectacles, that last and eternal judgment how shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; so many magistrates liquefying in fiercer flames than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sages philosophers blushing in red-hot fires with their deluded pupils; so many tragedians more tuneful in the expression of their own sufferings; so many dancers tripping more nimbly from anguish then ever before from applause."
What a spectacle. . .when the world. . .and its many products, shall be consumed in one great flame! How vast a spectacle then bursts upon the eye! What there excites my admiration? What my derision? Which sight gives me joy? As I see. . .illustrious monarchs. . . groaning in the lowest darkness, Philosophers. . .as fire consumes them! Poets trembling before the judgment-seat of. . .Christ! I shall hear the tragedians, louder-voiced in their own calamity; view play-actors. . .in the dissolving flame; behold wrestlers, not in their gymnasia, but tossing in the fiery billows. . .What inquisitor or priest in his munificence will bestow on you the favor of seeing and exulting in such things as these? Yet even now we in a measure have them by faith in the picturings of imagination. [De Spectaculis, Chapter XXX]
Augustine 430 AD
That fire is more deadly than any which man can suffer in this life.”
They who shall enter into [the] joy [of the Lord] shall know what is going on outside in the outer darkness. . .The saints'. . . knowledge, which shall be great, shall keep them acquainted. . .with the eternal sufferings of the lost. [The City of God, Book 20, Chapter 22, "What is Meant by the Good Going Out to See the Punishment of the Wicked" & Book 22, Chapter 30, "Of the Eternal Felicity of the City of God, and of the Perpetual Sabbath"]
Caesarius of Arles 430
Speaking of Purgatory, he writes of it in these terms: “A person may say I am not much concerned how long I stay in purgatory, provided I may come to eternal life. Let no one reason thus. Purgatory fire will be more dreadful than whatever torments can be seen imagined, or endured in this world. He who is afraid now to put his finger into the fire, does he not fear lest he be then all buried in torments for a long time?” Hom. I. p. 5
Thomas Aquinas 1274
“The same fire” (which he decides to be material) “torments the damned in hell and the just in purgatory…The least pain in purgatory exceeds the greatest in this life.” Summa Theo. Suppl. Qu. 100, acts. 2, n. 3.
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. . .So that they may be urged the more to praise God. . .The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens. . .to the damned.
[Summa Theologica, Third Part, Supplement, Question XCIV, "Of the Relations of the Saints Towards the Damned," First Article, "Whether the Blessed in Heaven Will See the Sufferings of the Damned. . ."]
“One damned soul, if he came into the world, would suffice to infect the entire of it.”
Fray Luis De Granada 1588
“There will the condemned in cruel rage and despair turn their fury against God and themselves, gnawing their flesh with their mouth, breaking their teeth with gnashing, furiously tearing themselves with their nails, and everlastingly blaspheming against the judge…Oh wretched tongues that will speak no word save blasphemy! Oh miserable ears that will hear no sound but groans! Oh unhappy eyes that will see nothing but agonies! Oh tortured bodies that will have no refreshment but flames…We are terrified when we hear of executioners—scourging men, disjointing them, dismembering, tearing them in pieces, burning them with plates of red-hot metal. But these things are but a jest, a shadow compared with the torments of the next life.” Sermons 1. 72 (Translated by Rev. Orby Shipley.)
Thomas More 1535
(Speaking only of Purgatory) “If ye pity the blind, there is none so blind as we, which are here in the dark save for sights unpleasant and loathsome. If ye pity the lame, there is none so lame as we, that can neither creep one foot out of the fire, nor have one hand at liberty to defend our face from the flame. Finally, if ye pity any man in pain, never knew ye pain comparable to ours, whose fire as far passeth in heart all other fires that ever burned on earth as the hottest of all that passed a feigned fire painted on a wall. If ever ye lay sick, bethink you then what a long night we sely souls endure that lie sleepless, restless, burning and broiling in the dark fire one long night or many years together. You walk peradventure and totter in sickness; we lie bound to brands, and cannot lift up our heads…Your keepers do you great ease; our keeper are such as God keep you from—cruel, doomed spirites, odious, envious, and hateful, despiteous enemies and despiteful tormentors, and their company more terrible and grievious to be in than is the pain itself; and the intolerable torment that they do us, wherewith form the top to toe they cease not continually to tear us.” Supplication of Souls
Ignatius Loyola 1548
“Let us fancy we see hell, and imagine what is worst to behold—a horrible cavern full of black flames. Sulphur, devils, dragons, fire, swords, arrows, and innumerable damned who roar in despair. Imagine the worst you can, and then say, ‘All this is nothing compared to hell.’ …In that voracious subterranean cavern all the filth of the world is collected and inclosed, without exhalation or air, which must produce a most foetid pestilence…The sight is tormented by frightful devils; a holy religious saw at death two so monstrous and ugly devils, that he cried out that rather than see them again he would walk till the day of judgment on fire of sulphur and melted metal.” Spiritual Exercises, Medit. 12 (This is one of the commonest books of Roman Catholic devotion.)That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtedly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same ...Rules for Thinking with the Church, Spiritual Exercises, II
By Ignatius Loyola
Jonathan Edwards (A Calvinist of the "Great Awakening" fame. Newspapers reported people leaving his sermons and committing suicide from the fear he instilled in them.)
“Reprobate infants are vipers of vengeance, which Jehovah will hold over hell, in the tongs of his wrath, till they turn and spit venom in his face!”
“The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardour of the love and gratitude of the saints of heaven.”
"The world will probably be converted into a great lake or liquid globe of fire, in which the wicked shall be overwhelmed, which will always be in tempest, in which they shall be tossed to and fro, having no rest day and night, vast waves and billows of fire continually rolling over their heads, of which they shall forever be full of a quick sense within and without; their heads, their eyes, their tongues, their hands, their feet, their loins and their vitals, shall forever be full of a flowing, melting fire, fierce enough to melt the very rocks and elements; and also, they shall eternally be full of the most quick and lively sense to feel the torments; not for one minute, not for one day, not for one age, not for two ages, not for a hundred ages, nor for ten thousand millions of ages, one after another, but forever and ever, without any end at all, and never to be delivered."
“For ever harassed by a dreadful tempest, they shall fell themselves torn asunder by an angry God, and broken by the weight of His hand, and transfixed and penetrated by mortal stings, terrified by the thunderbolt of God. So that to sink into any gulf would be more tolerable than to stand for a moment in these terrors.”1785
“Here all judges have a mixture of mercy, but the wrath of God will be poured out upon the wicked without mixture. Imagine yourself to be cast into a fiery oven…and imagine also that your body were to lie there for a quarter of an hour, full of fire, as full within and without as a bright coal fire, all the while full of quick sense; what horror would you feel at the entrance of such a furnace? Oh! Then how would your heart sink if you knew that after millions and millions of ages your torment would be no nearer to an end than ever it was. But your torment in hell will be immensely greater than this illustration represents.” Works, vol. Iii. 260“The pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive the wicked: the flames do now rage and glow. The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much in the same way as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect, abhors you and is dreadfully provoked…He will trample them beneath His feet with inexpressible fierceness; He will crush their blood out, and will make it fly, so that it will sprinkle His garment and stain all His raiment.” Works, vii. 499.
“You cannot stand before an infuriated tiger even; what then will you do when God rushes against you in all His wrath?” Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” (Do not suppose this kind of preaching no longer fills the pulpits of the world. This sermon is still continuously printed even to this day.)
The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. . .Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell. . . I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss.
["The Eternity of Hell Torments" (Sermon), April 1739 & Discourses on Various Important Subjects, 1738]
Jeremy Taylor of the Church of England
"The bodies of the damned shall be crowded together in hell, like grapes in a wine-press, which press one another till they burst; every distinct sense and organ shall be assailed with its own appropriate and most exquisite sufferings."“Husbands shall see their wives, parents shall see their children tormented before their eyes…the bodies of the damned shall be crowded together in hell like grapes in a wine-press, which press on another till they burst…”“This temporal fire is but a painted fire in respect of that penetrating and real fire in hell.”
“We are amazed at the inhumanity of Phalaris, who roasted men in his brazen bull; this was joy in respect of the fire of hell, which penetrates the very entrails without consuming them.” Pains of Hell
Francis De Sales 1622
“Represent to yourself a dark city all burning and stinking with fire and brimstone. The damned are in the depth of hell within this woful city, where they suffer unspeakable torments in all their senses and members. Consider above all the eternity of their pains, which above all things makes hell intolerable.” Garden of the Soul.
“Our bodies will be afflicted continually by the sulphureous flame, piercing the inmost sinews.”
John Bunyan 1688
“Their bodies will be raised from the dead as vessels for the soul—vessels of wrath. The soul will breathe hell-fire, and smoke and coal will seem to hang upon its burning lips, yea the face, eyes, and ears will seem to be chimneys and vents for the flame, and the smoke of the burning , which God, by His breath, hath kindled therein, and upon, them, which will be held one in another, to the great torment and distress of each other.” Works, ii 136.
“Is it an intolerable thing to burn part of thy body by holding it in the fire? What then will it be to suffer ten thousand times more for ever in hell?” Saints Rest
“Every lash which God then gives the sinner shall be with a scorpion, every pain which He inflicts shall be more eager than appetite, more cruel than revenge; every faculty both of soul and body shall have its distinct property, and peculiar torment applied to it, and be directly struck there where it has the quickest, the sharpest, and the tenderest sense of any painful impression…But I shall use no other argument to evince the greatness of their torment but only this, that the devil shall be the instrument of their execution. And surely a mortal enemy will be a dreadful executioner; and the punishment which an infinite justice inflicts by the hands of a implacable malice must needs be intolerable.” Sermons, vii. 143
Thomas Boston, Scottish preacher, 1732
“God will hold sinners with one hand over the pit of hell, while He torments them with the other.” Fourfold State."God shall not pity them but laugh at their calamity. The righteous company in heaven shall rejoice in the execution of God's judgment, and shall sing while the smoke riseth up for ever."
Alban Butler 1773
“Do we think that God can find torments in nature sufficient to satisfy His provoked vengeance? No, no; He creates new instruments more violent, pains utterly inconceivable to us. A soul for one venial sin shall suffer more than all the pains of distemper, the most violent colics, gout, and stone joined in complication,--more than all the most cruel torments undergone by malefactors, or invented by the most barbarous tyrants,--more than all the tortures of the martyrs summed up together. This is the idea which the Fathers give us [even?] of Purgatory. And how long souls may have to suffer there we know not.” Lives of the Saints, November 2
John Whitaker 1783
“The bodies of the damned will all be salted with fire, so tempered and prepared as to burn the more fiercely, and yet never consume.” Sermon on Death, Judgment, and Eternity.
John Wesley 1791
“Is it not common to say to a child, ‘Put your finger in that candle, can you bear it even for one minute?’ How then will you bear Hell-fire? Surely it would be torment enough to have the flesh burnt off from only one finger; what then will it be to have the whole body plunged into a lake of fire, burning with brimstone?” Sermon 73In sermon 15, he says that the wicked, “will gnaw their tongues for anguish and pain; they will curse God and look upwards. There the dogs of hell, pride, malice, revenge, rage, horror, despair, continually devout them.”“Consider that all these torments of body and soul are without intermission. Be their suffering ever so extreme, be their pain ever so intense, there is no possibility of their fainting away, no, not for one moment … They are all eye, all ear, all sense. Every instant of their duration it may be said of their whole frame that they are ‘Trembling alive all o’er, and smart and agonize at every pore.’ And of this duration there is no end … Neither the pain of the body nor of soul is any nearer an end than it was millions of ages ago.” John Wesley, Sermon 73
During America's "Great Awakening" the popular hymn writer, Isaac Watts (1674-1748), even set Christians' feet to tapping with this crisp little verse:What bliss will fill the ransomed souls,
When they in glory dwell,
To see the sinner as he rolls,
In quenchless flames of hell.
ST. ANTHONY MARY CLARET
Once [a soul] is condemned by God, then God's friends agree in God's judgment and condemnation. For all eternity they will not have a kind thought for this wretch. Rather they will be satisfied to see him in the flames as a victim of God's justice. ("The just shall rejoice when he shall see the revenge . . ." Psalm 57:11) They will abhor him. A mother will look from paradise upon her own condemned son without being moved, as though she had never known him.
"The Pains of Hell," Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, consisting of thirty-five meditations from The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius as explained by St. Anthony Mary Claret. St. Claret's "explanations" were written in Spanish in the late 1800's.
Dean of Glouchester
“There is the cup of trembling and of wrath. Your hands must take it, your mouth must drink it. But you can never drain it. There is no last drop. Infinite vengeance ever fills it to the brim. Eternal wrath is ever bringing more. What is the curse? It is the endless accumulation of all the miseries which God’s resources can command and God’s power can inflict. It is the fiery torrent from the lake of fire. It is the pain which cannot be keener, despair which cannot be blacker, and anguish which cannot be more bitter. It is eternity in the oneness of all torment.” Christ in all.
Bishop Oxenden—Late Metropolitan of Canada
“For ever! Torments for ever! Lost for ever! It would be difficult to measure the waters of the sea; but it is impossible to reckon the ages of a boundless eternity. After millions of years it will only begun. God’s wrath in hell will be always ‘wrath to come.’ Few are so tossed in this world but they have some rest. There are few tempest without some lull between the storm. But there is no pause in that storm which falls upon the inhabitants of hell.” Great Truths
Dr. Gardiner Spring
“When the omnipotent and angry God, who as access to all the avenues of distress in the corporeal frame, and all the inlets to agony in the intellectual constitution, undertakes to punish, He will convince the universe that He does not gird Himself for the work of retribution in vain.”
John Calvin (Who had some of his theological enemies burned to death in green slow-burning wood):
Calvin describes hell as: "Forever harrassed with a dreadful tempest, they shall feel themselves torn asunder by an angry God, and transfixed and penetrated by mortal stings, terrified by the thunderbolts of God, and broken by the weight of his hand, so that to sink into any gulf would be more tolerable than to stand for a moment in these terrors.""There are babies a span long in hell."
The Reverend C. H. Spurgeon (in his sermon Sermon on the Resurrection of the Dead)
"When thou diest, thy soul will be tormented alone; that will be a hell for it, but at the day of judgment they body will join they soul, and then thou wilt have twin hells, thy soul sweating drops of blood, and thy body suffused with agony. In fire exactly like that which we have on earth thy body will lie, asbestos-like, forever unconsumed, all they veins roads for the feet of pain to travel on, every nerve a string on which the devil shall forever play his diabolical tune of 'Hell's Unutterable Lament.'" Sermon on the Resurrection of the Dead
“These unhappy children of wrath not only suffer during eternity, but they suffer eternity during each moment of their existence. Eternity is engraven on the flames which torment them…O tormenting thought! O miserable condition! To burn for ever! To weep for ever! To rage for ever!” Meditations, translated for English Roman Catholics
John Foster 1843
“It is infinitely beyond the highest archangel’s faculty to apprehend a thousandth part of the horror of the doom to eternal damnation.”
Night Thoughts by Young
"Father of Mercies! Why from silent earth didst thou awake and curse me into birth, tear me from quiet, banish me from night, and make a thankless present of Thy light, push into being a reverse of Thee and animate a clod with misery?"
(Quoted in "The Bible Hell" by J.W. Hanson, page 28)
Reverend J. Furniss, C.S.S.R (in his book The Sight of Hell - A Catholic book for children)
"Little child, if you go to hell there will be a devil at your side to strike you. He will go on striking you every minute for ever and ever without stopping. The first stroke will make your body as bad as the body of Job, covered, from head to foot, with sores and ulcers. The second stroke will make your body twice as bad as the body of job. The third stroke will make your body three times as bad as the body of Job. The fourth stroke will make your body four times as bad as the body of Job. How, then, will your body be after the devil has been striking it every moment for a hundred million of years without stopping? Perhaps at this moment, seven o'clock in he evening, a child is just going into hell. To‑morrow evening, at seven o'clock, go and knock at the gates of hell and ask what the child is doing. The devils will go and look. They will come back again and say, the child is burning. Go in week and ask what the child is doing; you will get the same answer, it is burning; Go in a year and asks the same answer comes‑‑it is burning. Go in a million of years and ask the same question, the answer is just the same--it is burning. So, if you go for ever and ever, you will always get the same answer--it is burning in the fire.)‑‑
(Quoted from Christ Triumphant by Thomas Allin)
More from Reverend J. Furniss, C.S.S.R
"The fifth dungeon is the red hot oven. The little child is in the red hot oven. Hear how it screams to come out; see how it turns and twists itself about in the fire. It beats its head against the roof of the oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor."
The Sight of Hell)
(Quoted from Christ Triumphant by Thomas Allin)
Reverend E.B. Pusey, D.D.
"Gather in one, in your mind, an assembly of all those men and women, from whom, whether in history or in fiction, your memory most shrinks, gather in mind all that is loathsome, most revolting * * * conceive the fierce, fiery eyes of hate, spite, frenzied rage, ever fixed on thee, looking thee through and through with hate * * * hear those yells of blaspheming concentrated hate, as they echo along the lurid vault of hell; everyone hating everyone * * * Yet a fixedness in that state in which the hardened malignant sinner dies, involves, without any further retribution of God, this endless misery."
(Quoted from Christ Triumphant by Thomas Allin)
"Ver. 49. For every one shall be salted with fire, &c.] That is, every one of those that transgress the law of God, offend any that believe in Christ, retain their sins, and sinful companions; every one of them that are cast into hell, where the worm of conscience is always gnawing, and the fire of divine wrath is always burning, with that fire every one of them shall be salted: that fire shall be to them, what salt is to flesh; as that keeps flesh from putrefaction and corruption, so the fire of hell, as it will burn, torture, and distress rebellious sinners, it will preserve them in their beings; they shall not be consumed by it, but continued in it: so that these words are a reason of the former, showing and proving, that the soul in torment shall never die, or lose any of its powers and faculties; and particularly, not its gnawing, torturing conscience; and that the fire of hell is inextinguishable; for though sinners will be inexpressibly tormented in it, they will not be consumed by it; but the smoke of their torments shall ascend for ever and ever; and that they will be so far from being annihilated by the fire of hell, that they shall be preserved in their beings in it, as flesh is preserved by salt." Expositor
"...love and pity for hell's occupants will not enter our hearts." J.I. Packer in article "Hell's Final Enigma" in "Christianity Today Magazine, April 22,2002."
From the Catholic Encyclopedia
V. POENA DAMNI
The poena damni, or pain of loss, consists in the loss of the beatific vision and in so complete a separation of all the powers of the soul from God that it cannot find in Him even the least peace and rest. It is accompanied by the loss of all supernatural gifts, e.g. the loss of faith. The characters impressed by the sacraments alone remain to the greater confusion of the bearer. The pain of loss is not the mere absence of superior bliss, but it is also a most intense positive pain. The utter void of the soul made for the enjoyment of infinite truth and infinite goodness causes the reprobate immeasurable anguish. Their consciousness that God, on Whom they entirely depend, is their enemy forever is overwhelming. Their consciousness of having by their own deliberate folly forfeited the highest blessings for transitory and delusive pleasures humiliates and depresses them beyond measure. The desire for happiness inherent in their very nature, wholly unsatisfied and no longer able to find any compensation for the loss of God in delusive pleasure, renders them utterly miserable. Moreover, they are well aware that God is infinitely happy, and hence their hatred and their impotent desire to injure Him fills them with extreme bitterness. And the same is true with regard to their hatred of all the friends of God who enjoy the bliss of heaven. The pain of loss is the very core of eternal punishment. If the damned beheld God face to face, hell itself, notwithstanding its fire, would be a kind of heaven. Had they but some union with God even if not precisely the union of the beatific vision, hell would no longer be hell, but a kind of purgatory. And yet the pain of loss is but the natural consequence of that aversion from God which lies in the nature of every mortal sin.
CATHOLIC TRUTH SOCIETY
What will it be like for a mother in heaven who sees her son burning in hell? She will glorify the justice of God.
- Catholic Truth Society pamphlet from the late 1960s, part of a catechismal teaching [cited in an essay by the English poet, Stevie Smith, "Some Impediments to Christian Commitment"]
"How will you spend eternity -- Smoking or Nonsmoking?" A sign in front of a church (The list will be expanded as time goes by. If the reader knows of any other quotes which would be appropriate to add to this list, please send them giving detailed references so they can be verified. Send them to: info at tentmaker.org)