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mind a body lying rotting, eaten by foul worms, or a body thrown on a fire to be burnt, as we would burn the carcass of a dog, and by this concrete figure we rise to some idea of the sad estate of those who have died enemies to God. It would be vain to try to deduce from this teaching that there are real worms in hell, or that the fire of hell is a real combustion as we understand fire. In fact, we know nothing about the exact nature of the state of hell. We know that it is punishment, awful punishment, and that it is eternal, and the rest is dark.

The teaching of Christ concerning the eternity of hell is so explicit that the only way to deny such dogma is to impeach the veracity of Christ. The doctrine of hell's eternity is a main issue with Christ. Repeatedly, and with all the emphasis of which human speech is capable, has he propounded the awful truth. In speaking of the state of the damned, he always excludes all hope, he speaks of it as an eternally fixed state; the opposite of the fixed state of Heaven.

Man says it is hard to believe. What right has man to judge the works of the Almighty? To be able to judge of God's judgments, man must needs see things with the infinite comprehension of God's knowledge. As long as we stand down at this infinite distance from God, it is wicked presumption to question the ways of God. We can not comprehend the nature of sin, the universal fall of man, the need of a vicarious atonement, and the justice of God in creating hell. We accept these things on faith. If all things could be comprehended, there would be no need of faith, there would be no faith. We believe on the authority of God things which we see now only dimly, but which we hope to see one day face to face. Then, and not till then, shall we understand how divine justice and infinite love are combined in God's dealings with man.

The forty-ninth verse of Mark is proper to Mark alone. It is very obscure, and has been made the subject of many different interpretations. The Vulgate version adopts the reading: “and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.” It is a clear allusion to Leviticus, II. 13: “With all thy oblations thou shalt offer salt." We suspect, however, that the clause is an interpolation of the sciolists to render the sense of the verse easier to comprehend. We grant that the words of the Lord contain a tacit allusion to the Levitical passage. The salt of the sacrifices of the Old Law preserved the flesh from putrefaction, but we believe also that it had a symbolic import. The life of every Christian is intended to be an oblation to the Lord. Man exists for no other purpose. Hence, we extend the signification of the every one to comprise every man redeemed by Christ. Every one of these must be salted with fire. The key to the proposition lies in the ascertaining of what is meant by the salting with fire.

Without going into the mazes of what has been written on this point, we believe that this fire is the probation to which a man is subjected to fit him for Heaven. This probation is the object of our present life. The angels were tried, and we must be tried. God could have created us in Heaven, if he so willed; but he decreed that we must be tried; and for this cause he placed us on earth on probation. This probation continues till one of two eternities is reached. Out of our probation we must finally come into Heaven or into Hell. The last act of this probation is the judgment, wherein all men's deeds shall be examined and judged by the Supreme Judge of the living and of the dead. This probation is called fire, because as fire tests the quality of metals, so this probation tests the virtue of men. St. Paul spoke of a certain phase of this fire in I. Cor., III. 13. This probation includes temptation, tribulation, and pain. The world is God's threshingfloor, and by the flail and the winnowing-shovel does he separate the grain from the straw and chaff. Or more appositely to the present figurative language of Christ, humanity is like a mass of ore, from which the pure metal can only be extracted by fire. No one is exempt,-every one must be salted by the fire of probation. Hence, we believe that the fire with which men must be salted includes all those things which constitute the matter of man's probation, including also the last actthe judgment.

In the tenth verse of Matthew, the Lord warns men not to despise the little ones of Christ, who have advocates among the angels of God. The beatific vision of the angels is affirmed by the declaration that they always see the face of God. The existence of angels as guardian spirits of nations and cities is proven by Exod. XXIII. 20; Dan. X. 13, XII. I. It is also abundantly proven that the servants of God are assisted and defended by the ministry of angels (Gen. XVI. 7, XXIV. 7, XXXII. 1, XLVIII. 16; I. Kings (Vulg. III. Kings) XIX. 5; Tob. III. 25; Judith XIII. 20; Ps. XCI. 11; Dan. III. 49, and II. Maccab. XI. 6). The doctrine of Christ is even more explicit, by which it is affirmed that the humblest of Christ's followers on earth has the powerful protection of angels in Heaven. To say that one has an angel as protector is equivalent to saying that such a one has in effect all the advantages which can result from such help, for an angel confirmed in grace can not be false to his trust.

Even among mortals, men fear to do injury to a man who has a powerful protector. A fortiori ,men should fear to despise those who have the mighty angels of God as protectors.

The belief of the apostolic age concerning the ministry of angels is made known by Acts XII. 15. The opinion of St. Jerome seems to have become the common opinion of the faithful, that every one that is born into this world has a guardian angel appointed to his special care. We must observe however, that the Scriptures do not teach that every individual soul has one distinct guardian angel. Neither is there anything in the authentic teachings of the Church to substantiate such belief. It is only taught that every soul is provided with the ministry of angels, and one angel may have the care of many mortals. Such angel would have the relation of guardian spirit to every one committed to his care, and hence, in effect, it would be the same as though every soul had a separate distinct angel. These secrets of the spirit world are not revealed to us, and we ean, therefore, only determine in this question the range within which opinions are free to roam.

The Lord next proceeds to illustrate his care of his little ones by an example from the life of the shepherd. It is an easy illustration from the pastoral life of the people. The shepherd is pasturing a hundred sheep on the hillsides of Palestine. He becomes aware that one of his sheep has strayed away from his flock. He does not say: "What matters it

of men.

that I lose one sheep? I have ninety-nine left. But leaving for a time the ninety-nine, the shepherd goes in search of the wanderer. And if he finds it, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that had not strayed away. Not that the shepherd prizes one sheep more than ninety-nine; but that the grief of loss giving place to the joy of finding the lost one awakens a feeling of rejoicing that would not have been experienced had he remained in quiet possession of many times as many sheep. It is a very simple example, but it illustrates a great truth. The shepherd goes in search of his sheep, because he prizes them all so highly that he can not lose one; and in infinitely greater degree God prizes the souls

He wills not that one of them be lost. He goes after them, as the shepherd seeks his lost sheep. God also commands his representatives to go after the ones that have strayed from the fold. How wonderful it is that God came down to earth and talked to men in this manner? that he sought from the familiar events of their own lives examples to tell them how much he loved them, and how he valued their souls? It is more wonderful that the world still refuses to give itself up to God.

It would seem that the tenderness of God's paternal love here proclaimed would compel men to give themselves to God. The infinite God who created all things goes after a wanderer, and calls him back, and if the wanderer will go with God, God helps him back. What a message of hope to the soul that is weighed down by the consciousness of sin? If free will is to be left to man, God can do no more. It would be mercy in God to receive the strayed one back, if he came by his own act. But God does more. Even though God has been gravely offended by the erring one, God goes after him, and if such a one be finally lost, it is because he has resisted God's infinite love, and has refused to go back with God. In marvelous and multifarious ways God goes after the lost sheep. The soul can not get away from the action of God. The ministers of God fulfill God's will to bring back the strayed one.

God uses second causes with infinite wisdom to bring back his sheep, and with their external ministration there is always coupled the immediate action of God upon the soul. But men harden their hearts, and perish by the perverse use of their free will. Whenever a man is lost, God's will has been defeated by human malice. There are men who count for very little in the world's estimate. In the world they only fill up a place. But in the mind of God every man is precious: and God would not that the least of men be lost.

Following the order of St. Luke, we believe that it was at the end of Jesus' discourse that John informed the Master that they had sought to prohibit one who was casting out devils in the name of Jesus. The persuasion of the Apostles was that the man was a usurper in using this power, since he did not belong to those who were commissioned by Jesus.

Jesus at once shows the Apostles the narrowness of their position. Faith in Jesus was not confined to the Apostles. It is true that they and they alone were divinely commissioned to be the founders of the Church. No other man could participate in their power unless called by a direct call of Jesus. But this man, whose identity is absolutely unknown, was not usurping any power by right belonging to the apostolate. He had believed in Jesus to the extent that his faith was strong enough to drive out demons, and Jesus declares to them that this man is not an opponent but their ally. The very fact that he was able to drive out the demons shows that his faith was genuine and that therefore he was on the side of Jesus.

There is great significance in the words of Jesus recorded in the thirty-ninth verse of Mark: “—there is no man who shall do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me.

A man may do many mighty works in the name of Christ, and then turn away from Christ, and become an apostate; but he can not be thus at one and the same time. A man can not at the same time drive out demons in the name of Christ, and be against Christ; and all men who were with Christ promoted the cause of the Apostles. Christ leaves no place in the world for indifferent men. He divides all men into two classes, those that are for him and those who are against him. A man may wish to be indifferent, but by that very act he places himself with those who are against Christ

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