The happiness of this world is false, and it resembles Hell

October 22, 2021 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 305

You have here, dear Christian, a true picture of the world, however contrary it is to what the world appears to be. Judge, therefore, of its happiness, so brief, so uncertain, so dangerous, and so delusive.

What is this world, then, but a land of toil, as a philosopher has wisely said, a school of vanity, an asylum of illusions, a labyrinth of errors, a prison of darkness, a highway of thieves, a stream of infected water, an ocean of perpetual storms?

It is a barren soil, a stony field, a thorny wood, a meadow whose flowers conceal serpents, a garden full of blossoms but yielding no fruit, a river of tears, a fountain of cares, a deceptive poison, a perfect fiction, a pleasing frenzy.

Its good is false, its evil real, its peace is restless, its security unfounded, its fears groundless, its labor profitless, its tears fruitless, its hope vain, its joy false, its grief real.

Behold what a striking representation of hell the world affords. Hell is a place of sin and suffering, and in the world these evils also abound. “Day and night iniquity shall surround it upon its walls, and in the midst thereof are labor and injustice.” [Ps. liv. 11.]

These are the fruits the world produces, labor and injustice; these are the merchandise in which it traffics. On every side we behold sin and its punishment. Hence St. Bernard said that were it not for the hope of a better life there would be little difference between this world and hell.

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