The Four Last Things are extremely powerful incentives to practice virtue and avoid sin

April 3, 2022 • 2 min

#Doctrine #FourLastThings

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 76
By Venerable Louis of Granada

CHAPTER VII.

THE SEVENTH MOTIVE FOK PRACTISING VIRTUE: THE THOUGHT OF DEATH, THE FIRST OF THE FOUR LAST THINGS.

Any one of the motives we have just enumerated should be sufficient to induce man to give himself wholly to the service of a Master to Whom he is bound by so many ties of gratitude. But as the generality of men are more influenced by personal interest than by motives of justice, we will here make known the inestimable advantages of virtue in this life and the next.

We will first speak of the greatest among them: the glory which is the reward of virtue, and the terrible punishment from which it delivers us. These two are the principal oars which propel us in our voyage to eternity.

For this reason St. Francis and our holy Father St. Dominic, both having been animated by the same spirit, commanded in their rules the preachers of their orders to make vice and virtue, reward and punishment, the only subjects of their sermons, in order to instruct men in the precepts of the Christian life and to inspire them with courage to put them in practice.

Moreover, it is a common principle among philosophers that reward and punishment are the most powerful motives for good with the mass of mankind. Such, alas! is our misery that we are not content with virtue alone; it must be accompanied with the fear of punishment or the hope of reward.

But as there is no reward or punishment so worthy of our consideration as those that never end, we will treat of eternal glory and eternal misery, together with death and judgment, which precede them. These are the most powerful incentives to love virtue and hate vice, for we are told in Scripture: “In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou slialt never sin.” [Ecclus. vii. 40.]

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