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COULD A PERSON WITHOUT FAITH IN GOD EVEN APPRECIATE THE BLISS OF HEAVEN?

30 Apr

WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO PRAY DAILY FOR THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS

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BY BL. JOHN HENRY NEWMAN

“Even supposing a man of unholy life were suffered to enter heaven, he would not be happy there; so that it would be no mercy to permit him to enter…

Supposing, then, instead of it being said that no irreligious man could serve and attend God in heaven (or see him, as the text expresses it), we were told that no irreligious man could worship, or spiritually see him in church; should we not at once perceive the meaning of the doctrine? viz. that, were a man to come hither, who had suffered his mind to grow up in its own way, as nature or chance determined, without any deliberate habitual effort after truth and purity, he would find no real pleasure here, but would soon get weary of the place; because, in this house of God, he would hear only of that one subject which he cared little or nothing about, and nothing at all of those things which excited his hopes and fears, his sympathies and energies.

If then a man without religion (supposing it possible) were admitted into heaven, doubtless he would sustain a great disappointment. Before, indeed, he fancied that he could be happy there; but when he arrived there, he would find no discourse but that which he had shunned on earth, no pursuits but those he had disliked or despised, nothing which bound him to aught else in the universe, and made him feel at home, nothing which he could enter into and rest upon. He would perceive himself to be an isolated being, cut away by Supreme Power from those objects which were still entwined around his heart.

Nay, he would be in the presence of that Supreme Power, whom he never on earth could bring himself steadily to think upon, and whom now he regarded only as the destroyer of all that was precious and dear to him. Ah! he could not BEAR the face of the Living God; the Holy God would be no object of joy to him. ‘Let us alone! What have we to do with You?’ is the sole thought and desire of unclean souls, even while they acknowledge his majesty. None but the holy can look upon the Holy One; without holiness no man can endure to see the Lord.”

 

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