Seventh Meditation: On Hell

October 2, 2021 • 2 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 29
By St. Francis de Sales


Seventh Meditation.—On Hell.


  1. Place yourself in the presence of God.
  2. Humble yourself and implore the assistance of his grace.
  3. Represent to yourself a city covered with darkness, all burning with brimstone and stinking pitch, and full of inhabitants who cannot escape from it.


  1. The damned are in the depths of hell, within this woeful city, where they suffer unspeakable torments in all their senses and members; because, as they have employed all their senses and members in sinning, so shall they suffer in them all the pains which are due to sin. The eyes, for having indulged in lascivious looks, shall be afflicted with the vision of hell and devils. The ears, for having delighted in vicious discourses, shall hear nothing but wailings, lamentations, and desperate howlings; and so of all the rest.

  2. In addition to all these torments there is yet another even greater, that is the loss and privation of God’s glory, from the sight of which they are excluded for ever. Now, if Absalom found it more grievous to be deprived of the loving face of his father David than to be banished, O God, what grief would it not be for me to be for ever excluded from beholding thy most sweet and gracious countenance!

  3. Consider principally the eternity of those pains, which above all things make hell intolerable. Alas! if an insect in the ear, or the heat of a slight fever, makes one short night seem so long and tedious, how terrible will the night of eternity be, accompanied with so many torments? From this eternity proceeds everlasting despair, infinite rage, blasphemy, &c.


  1. Terrify your soul with the words of Job: O my soul, art thou able to live for ever in everlasting flames, and amidst a devouring fire? Wilt thou renounce the sight of thy God for ever?

  2. Confess that you have deserved it, yea, oftentimes: From this time forward I will adopt a new course; for why should I descend into that bottomless pit? I will therefore endeavour to my utmost to avoid sin, which alone can condemn me to this eternal death.

Give thanks; make an offering; pray. Pater, Ave, Credo.

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