"It is evident that the revolt of man's will from that of God
constitutes sin, and while that revolt continues, man's guilt
remains. Those, therefore, that are in hell, having passed from
this life with perverse wills, their guilt is not remitted, nor
can it be, since they are no longer capable of change. When this
life is ended, the soul remains forever confirmed either in good
or evil according as she has here determined. As it is written:
Where I shall find thee, that is, at the hour of death, with the
will either fixed on sin or repenting of it, there I will judge
"From this judgment there is no appeal, for after death the
freedom of the will can never return, but the will is confirmed in
that state in which it is found at death. The souls in hell,
having been found at that hour with the will to sin, have the
guilt and the punishment always with them, and although this
punishment is not so great as they deserve, yet it is eternal.
Those in purgatory, on the other hand, suffer the penalty only,
for their guilt was cancelled at death, when they were found
hating their sins and penitent for having offended the divine
goodness. And this penalty has an end, for the term of it is ever
approaching. O misery beyond all misery, and the greater because
in his blindness man regards it not!
"The punishment of the damned is not, it is true, infinite in
degree, for the all lovely goodness of God shines even into hell.
He who dies in mortal sin merits infinite woe for an infinite
duration; but the mercy of God has made the time only infinite,
and mitigated the intensity of the pain. In justice he might have
inflicted much greater punishment than he has done.
"Oh, what peril attaches to sin willfully committed! For it is so
difficult for man to bring himself to penance, and without
penitence guilt remains and will ever remain, so long as man
retains unchanged the will to sin, or is intent upon committing