Lot Fleeing with his Daughters from Sodom - by DÜRER, Albrecht - from National Gallery of Art, Washington
|This Panel depicts Lot and his Two (2) Daughters, Fleeing-from the Destruction-of Sodom. In the Story-from Genesis, Two (2) Angels warn Lot that he should Escape, before God Destroys the City, for its Sins. Lot is told that his Family must not Look-back, otherwise they will be Turned-into Pillars-of-Salt. Far behind them, near the Towering Rocks, is Lot's Wife, Transformed-into a Brown Pillar-of-Salt. In the Distance, the Town-of Sodom, Explodes-with Brimstone and Fire; huge Columns-of Smoke, Belching-up into the Sky. Gomorrah, in the Far Distance, Suffers a similar Fate. Lot's Son-in-laws, did not Believe-in Lot's Warning-of God's Chastisement, and were Destroyed-by Fire.|
Except you do Penance,
you shall all likewise Perish - Luke 13:5.
Let us Tremble, my Brethren, when we see others Punished, Knowing-as we do, that we ourselves, have Deserved the same Punishments. When the Tower-of-Siloh fell-upon Eighteen (18) Persons, and Killed them, the Lord said to-many, who were present: "Think you that they also were Debtors, above all the Men that dwelt-in Jerusalem" - Luke 13:4. Do you think that these Wretches alone, were in Debt-to God's Justice, on-account-of their Sins? You are yet Debtors-to it; and if you do not Penance, you shall be Punished as-well-as they: "Except you do Penance, you shall all likewise Perish" - Luke 13:5. O, how many Unfortunate Men, Damn themselves by False Hope in the Divine Mercy? Yes, God is Merciful, and therefore Assists and Protects them, who Hope-in His Mercy: "He is the Protector-of All, that Trust-in Him" - Psalm 17:31. But He Assists and Protects those only, who Hope-in Him, with the Intention-of Changing their Lives; not those, whose Hope is Accompanied-by a Perverse Intention-of continuing-to Offend Him. The Hope-of the Latter, is not Acceptable-to God, He Abominates and Punishes it: "Their Hope, the Abomination-of the Soul" - Job 11:20. Poor Sinners, their Greatest Misery is, that they are Lost, and do not-Know their State. They Jest, and they Laugh, and they Despise the Threats-of God, as if God had 'Assured' them, that He should not Punish them. "Whence", exclaims Saint Bernard, "this Accursed Security?" Whence, O Blind that you are, whence this Accursed Security? Accursed, because it is this Security, which brings you to-Hell. "I will come to them that are at-Rest, and dwell Securely" - Ezekiel 38:11. The Lord is Patient, but when the Hour-of Chastisement Arrives, then will He Justly Condemn to-Hell, those Wretches who Continue-in Sin, and Live-in Peace, as-if there were no Hell for them.
Let Sin be no-more for us, my Brethren; let us be Converted, if we wish-to Escape the Scourge, which hangs-over us. If we do not Cease-from Sin, God will be Obliged-to Punish us: "For Evil-doers shall be Cut-off" - Psalm 36:9. The Obstinate are not-only Finally Shut-out from-Paradise, but Hurried-off the Earth, lest their Example should 'Draw' others into-Hell. And let us Reflect-that these Temporal Scourges are nothing, in-comparison-with those Eternal (∞) Chastisements, Hope-of Relief-from which, there is None. Give-Ear, O Sinner! my Brother, give-Ear! "For now the Axe is laid-to the Root-of the Trees" - Luke 3:9. The Author-of the "Imperfect Work", in his comment-upon this Passage, says: "It is said that the Axe is-Laid, not to the Branches, but to the Root, so that it will be Irreparably Exterminated". He says that when the Branches are 'Lopped', the Tree continues-still to-Live; but when the Tree is Felled-from the Root, it then Dies, and is Cast-into the Fire. The Lord Stands-with the Scourge in His Hand, and you still continue in-Disgrace with Him. The Axe is Laid-to the Root. Tremble, lest God should make you Die-in your Sins, for if you Die thus, you shall be Cast-into the Fire-of-Hell, where your Ruin shall be Hopeless for Eternity (∞).
But, you will say, I have Committed many Sins during the Past, and the Lord has Borne-with me. I may, therefore, Hope that He will Deal mercifully-with me for the Future. God says, do not Speak-so: "Say not, I have Sinned, and what Harm hath Befallen me? For the Most High is a Patient Rewarder" - Ecclesiasticus - 5:4. Do not Say-so, for God Bears-with you now, but He will not always Bear-with you. He Endures-to a Certain Extent, and then, Pays-off All. "Now, therefore, stand up, that I may Plead in Judgment against you, concerning all the Kindnessof the Lord" - 1Kings 12:7, said Samuel to the Hebrews. Oh how-Powerfully does not the Abuse-of the Divine Mercies, Assist-in Procuring the Damnation-of the Ungrateful! "Gather them together, as for the Day-of-Slaughter" - Jeremiah 12:3. In the End, the Herd-of those who will not be Converted, shall be Victims-of Divine Justice, and the Lord will Condemn them to Eternal (∞) Death, on the Day-of-Slaughter, when the Day-of His Vengeance shall have Arrived (and we have Reason always, to be in-Dread, as-long-as we are not Resolved-to 'Abandon' Sin, lest that day should be already Near). "God is not Mocked, for what things a Man shall Sow, these also shall he Reap" - Galations 6:7-8. Sinners expect to-Mock God by Confessing at-Easter, or Two (2) or Three (3) Times-a-Year, and then Returning-to their Vomit, and Hoping after that, to-Obtain Salvation. "He is a Mocker, not a Penitent", says Saint Isidor, "who continues to do that, for-which he is Penitent"; but God is not Mocked.
What Salvation? ----- what Salvation do you Expect? "For what Things a Man shall Sow, them also shall he Reap". What Things do you 'Sow'? Blasphemy, Revenge, Theft, Impurity: what then do you Hope for? He who Sows-in-Sin, can Hope to-reap Nothing, but Chastisements and Hell. For he that Soweth-in his Flesh, continues the same Apostle, of his Flesh also, shall Reap Corruption. Continue, Impure Wretch! continue-to Live, Sunk-in the Mire-of your Impurity, your Impurities will be Converted-into Pitch, within your Bowels. "A Day shall come", says Saint-Peter-Damian, "a Day shall come, or rather a Night, when your Lust shall be turned-into Pitch, to-feed an Eternal Flame, within your Bowels".
Saint-John-Chrysostom says that some 'Pretend' not to-see; they see the Chastisements, and 'Pretend' not to-see them. And then others, Saint Ambrose says, have no Fear-of-Punishment until they see it has 'Overtaken' them. To all these it will happen, as it did to-Mankind at the Time-of the Deluge. The Patriarch Noah, Foretold and Announced to them, the Punishments which God had Prepared-for their Sins; but the Sinners would not Believe him, and notwithstanding that the Ark was Building-before their Eyes, they did not Change their Lives, but went-on Sinning, until the Punishment was-Upon them, until they were Smothered in the Deluge. "And they Knew-not, till the Flood-came, and Took them all-Away" - Matthew 24:39. The same happened-to the Great Babylon, in the "Apocalypse", who said: "I sit a Queen, and I shall not see Grief" - Apocalypse 18:7. She Persevered-in her Impurity, in the Hope-of not being Punished, but the Chastisement at-length came, as had been Predicted! Therefore shall her Plagues come-in one day, Death and Mourning, and Famine, and she shall be Burnt-with-Fire.
Brother, who Knows whether this is not the Last Call, which God may Give you? Our Lord says that a certain Owner-of a Vineyard, finding a Fig-Tree for the Third (3rd) Year without Fruit, said: "Behold, for these Three Years I come seeking Fruit on this Fig-tree, and I find None; cut it down therefore, why Cumbereth it the Ground"? - Luke 13:7. Then the Dresser-of the Vine replied: "Lord, let it alone this Year also . . . and if Happily it Bear Fruit ----- but if not, then, after that, thou shalt cut it down" - Luke 13:8-9. Let us enter-into ourselves, my Brethren; for-Years has God been-Visiting our Souls, and has found no-other Fruit therein, than Thorns and Thistles; that is to say, Sins. Hear how the Divine Justice exclaims, Cut it down therefore, why Cumbereth it the Earth? But Mercy 'Pleads': Let it alone this Year also. Have Courage, let us give it One (1) Trial-more; let us see whether it will not be Converted, at this other-Call. But Tremble, lest the same Mercy may not have Granted-to Justice, that-if you do not Now Amend, your Life shall be Cut-off; and your Soul, Condemned to Hell. Tremble, Brother, and take-Measures that the Mouth-of the Pit, does not Close-over you. Such was the Prayer-of David: "Let not the Deep, Swallow me up, and let not the Pit, Shut her Mouth, upon me" - Psalm 68:16. It is that which Sin 'Effects', Causing the Mouth-of-the-Pit, that is, the State-of-Damnation, into which the Sinner has Fallen, to-Close-over him by-Degrees. As-long-as that Pit is not entirely-Closed, there is some Hope of-Escape; but if it Once-shut, what further Hope remains-for you? By Closing-of-the-Pit, I mean the Sinner's being Shut-out from every Glimmer-of Grace, and Stopping-at-Nothing; that, being the Accomplishment-of what the Wise Man has said: "The Wicked Man, when he is Come-into the Depth-of-Sins, Contemneth" - Proverbs 18:3. He Despises the Laws-of-God, Admonitions, Sermons, Excommunications, Threats - he Despises Hell itself; so-that Persons have been Known to-say, Numbers go-to Hell, and I amongst the Rest. Can the Man who Speaks-so, be Saved? He can be Saved, but it is Morally Impossible he should. Brother, what do you say? Perhaps you have yourself come-to the Contempt-of the Chastisements-of God. What do you say? Well, and if you had, what should you do? Should you Despair? No; you know what you have to do. Have 'Recourse-to' the Mother of God.
Although you should be in-Despair, and Abandoned-by God, Blosius says, that Mary is the Hope-of the Despairing, and the Aid-of the Abandoned. Saint Bernard says the same-thing, when he Exclaims, The Despairing Man who Hopes in thee, Ceases to be Desperate. But if God Wishes-that I should be Lost, what Hope can there be for me? But, says God, no, My son, I do not Wish to-see you Lost: "I Desire not the Death-of the Wicked" - Ezekiel 33:11. But what then do You Desire, O Lord? I Wish him to be Converted, and 'Recover' the Life-of My Grace: "But that the Wicked, turn-from his Way, and Live" - Ezekiel 33:11. Hasten then, Brother, fling yourself at the Feet-of Jesus Christ; Behold Him! see how He stands-with His Arms open, to-Embrace you.