THE ETERNAL HAPPINESS OF THE SAINTS

OF THE VENERABLE CARDINAL BELARMINE

PREFATIO

ANNO superiore, ad meam præcipue spiritualem utilitatem, conscripsi mihi ipsum, libellum, De Ascensione Mentis in Deum, per Scalas Rerum Creatarum.”* Nunc, quoniam placet Deo senilem ætatem meam adhuc longius aliquantulum protrahere, subit animum de coelesti Patria, ad quam anhelamus omnes filii Adam, qui hanc vallem mortalitatis gementes et flentes incolimus, aliquid meditari, et meditationes stilo alligare, ne pereant. Igitur in Scripturis Sanctis, quæ sunt veluti Epistolæ Consolatorise de Patria Coelesti ad exilium nostrum à Patre transmissse, quatuor nomina reperio, ex quibus utcunque bona illius Loci nobis innotescere possunt. Nomina sunt, Paradisus, Domus, Civitas, Regnum, &c.

PREFACE

LAST year, for my own spiritual benefit especially, I composed a “Gradual to ascend unto God from the Contemplation of created objects.” Now, since it hath pleased God to prolong my old age a little longer, I wish to meditate on that heavenly country to which all the sons of Adam ardently aspire, who dwell, lamenting and weeping, in this valley of death; and these meditations I desire to write, lest they perish. Wherefore in the Holy Scriptures, which may be compared to “Consoling Letters” sent unto us in this our exile from heaven by our Father, I find four names mentioned, from which we may in a manner learn what are the good things of that land. The names are, -Paradise, Mansion, City, and a Kingdom. Of Paradise St. Paul speaks: “I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago such an one rapt even to the third heaven that he was caught up into paradise,” &c. Of the “Mansion” the Son of God himself speaks: ” In my Fathers house there are many mansions.” Of the “City” St. Paul speaks in his Epistle to the Hebrews: “But you are come to Mount Sion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” Of the “Kingdom” there is mention made in St. Matthew: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

This name is continually occurring in the Holy Scripture. The abode of the saints in heaven is called a “Paradise,” because it is a most beautiful place, abounding in delights. But because men might suppose that paradise was a garden placed near a house, which could contain but few people, the Holy Spirit has added the name, ” House,” because it is a royal mansion, a great palace, wherein, besides a garden, there are halls, couches, and many other excellent things. But because a house, however large, cannot contain many people, and lest we should think that very few will possess eternal life, the Scripture adds the word “City,” which contains many gardens and many palaces. But since St. John, speaking of the number of the blessed, saith: “After this I saw a great multitude which no man could number.” And as, moreover, no city can contain an innumerable multitude, the word “Kingdom” is used, to which is added, “the kingdom of heaven” than which no place in the whole universe is more boundless and extensive.

But, again, since in a most extensive kingdom there are many who never see each other, nor know their names, nor whether they ever existed; and since it is certain that all the blessed behold each other, and know each other, and converse familiarly with one another as friends and relations: therefore the Scriptures, not content with the name of “Kingdom,” added that of a ” City,” that we might know its inhabitants are truly citizens of the saints, and as familiar, and as closely united together, as the inhabitants of the very smallest city. But, in order that we might likewise remember, that these happy men are not only citizens of the saints, but also friends of God, therefore the Holy Spirit calls that a “House,” which it also named a ” City.” In fine, because all the blessed in heaven abound in delights, it is likewise called “Paradise.” Hence these four words Kingdom, House, City, Paradise mean one and the same thing; and the Paradise is so extensive, that it can truly be called a House, City, and Kingdom. Wherefore, concerning this most blessed place I will first, under the word “Kingdom”; then under that of a “City ;” afterwards under that of a “House ;” and, lastly, under the word “Paradise” meditate in the chamber of my heart; and, with God s assistance, commit to writing what He shall please to suggest unto me.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER I. THE EXTENT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

CHAPTER II. – THE INHABITANTS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

CHAPTER III. THE MONARCHICAL FORM OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

CHAPTER IV. ALL THE BLESSED ARE KINGS

CHAPTER V. THE HAPPINESS ENJOYED IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

CHAPTER VI. WHAT IMPORTANCE MEN ATTACH TO EARTHLY KINGDOMS, AND WHAT IMPORTANCE OUGHT TO BE ATTACHED TO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

CHAPTER VII. THE FIRST MEANS OF ATTAINING TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD

CHAPTER VII. THE SECOND MEANS OF ATTAINING TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD

CHAPTER IX. – THE THIRD MEANS OF ATTAINING THE KINGDOM OF GOD

CHAPTER X. THE FOURTH MEANS OF ATTAINING THE KINGDOM OF GOD

BOOK II

CHAPTER I. ON THE BEAUTY OF THE CITY OF GOD

CHAPTER II. ON THE CONCORD AND PEACE OF THE CITY OF GOD

CHAPTER III. ON THE LIBERTY OF THE CITY OF GOD

CHAPTER IV. ON THE SITUATION AND FORM OF THE CITY OF GOD

CHAPTER V. ON THE FOUNDATIONS AND GATES OF THE CITY OF GOD

CHAPTER VI. ON THE WALLS AND STREETS OF THE CITY OF GOD

CHAPTER VII. ON THE TEMPLE OF THE CITY OF GOD

CHAPTER VIII. ON THE MEAT AND DRINK IN THE CITY OF GOD

CHAPTER IX. ON THE MYSTICAL FOUNDATION OF THE CITY OF GOD

CHAPTER X. ON THE MYSTICAL GATE OF THE CITY OF GOD

CHAPTER XI. ON THE MYSTICAL STONES OF THE CITY OF GOD

CHAPTER XII. ON FLYING FROM THE CITY OF THIS WORLD

BOOK III.

CHAPTER I. ALL THE BLESSED ARE THE FAMILIAR SONS OF GOD

CHAPTER II. THE MAGNITUDE AND BEAUTY OF THE HOUSE OF GOD

CHAPTER III. THE CHAMBERS IN THE HOUSE OF GOD

CHAPTER IV. ON THE COUCHES IN THE HOUSE OF GOD

CHAPTER V. ON THE COURTS OF THE HOUSE OF GOD

CHAPTER VI. ON THE FIRST GATE OF THE HOUSE OF GOD, WHICH IS FAITH

CHAPTER VII. ON HOPE, WHICH IS THE SECOND GATE OF THE HOUSE OF GOD

CHAPTER VIII. ON CHARITY, WHICH IS THE THIRD GATE

CHAPTER IX. ON HUMILITY, WHICH IS THE FOURTH GATE

CHAPTER X. MORE CONSIDERATIONS ON FAITH

CHAPTER XI. MORE CONSIDERATIONS ON HOPE

CHAPTER XII. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS ON CHARITY

CHAPTER XIII. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS ON HUMILITY

CHAPTER XIV. THE NECESSITY OF ENTERING THIS GATE, HOWEVER NARROW, IF WE WISH TO BE SAVED

BOOK IV

CHAPTER I. TRUE JOY IS TO BE FOUND IN HEAVEN

CHAPTER II. ON THE JOY OF THE UNDERSTANDING

CHAPTER III. ON THE JOY OF THE WILL

CHAPTER IV. ON THE JOY OF THE MEMORY

CHAPTER V. ON THE JOY OF THE EYES

CHAPTER VI. ON THE JOY OF THE EARS

CHAPTER VII. ON THE JOY OF THE NOSTRILS

CHAPTER VIII. ON THE JOY THE SENSES OF TOUCH AND TASTE WILL HAVE

CHAPTER IX. THE JOYS OF HEAVEN COMPARED WITH THOSE OF EARTH

CHAPTER X. THE EARTHLY AND HEAVENLY PARADISE COMPARED

CHAPTER XI. THE GOODS OF THIS WORLD, AND THOSE OF THE EARTHLY PARADISE COMPARED WITH THE JOYS OF THE HEAVENLY PARADISE

CHAPTER XII. ON THE PRICE THAT PARADISE WAS PURCHASED AT, COMPARED WITH PARADISE ITSELF

BOOK V

CHAPTER I. ON THE TREASURE HIDDEN IN A FIELD

CHAPTER II. ON THE PRECIOUS PEARL

CHAPTER III. THE LABOURERS IN THE VINEYARD

CHAPTER IV. ON THE TALENTS

CHAPTER V. THE PARABLE OF THE SUPPER

CHAPTER VI. THE PARABLE OF THE WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS

CHAPTER VII. ON THE PRIZE

CHAPTER VIII. ON THE CROWN

 

 

 

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