Forgotten Truths
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When the Measure of Guilt Is Filled,
God Chastises the Sinner

This excerpt continues the sermon of St. Alphonsus of Ligouri on the danger of abusing God’s mercy. Here he gives examples from Scriptures showing that the sins of a man are limited and, at a certain point, the mercy of God ceases for that man and His justice begins.

It is a good warning for us in our days not to presume on God’s mercy, even when many progressivist Prelates pretend that all will be saved.

St. Alphonsus of Ligouri

3. Be not without fear about sin forgiven, and add not sin to sin. (Eccl 5:5) Therefore - oh sinner! - do not say, “Since God has forgiven me other sins, so He will pardon me this one if I commit it.” Say not this, for, if to the sin that has been forgiven you add another, you have reason to fear that this new sin shall be united to your former guilt, and that, thus, the number will be completed, and that you shall be abandoned.

Behold how the Scripture unfolds this truth more clearly in another place: The Lord patiently waits that when the day of judgment shall come, He may punish them in the fullness of their sins. (2 Mac 6: 14) God waits with patience until a certain number of sins is committed but, when the measure of guilt is filled up, He waits no longer, but chastises the sinner. Thou hast sealed up my offenses as it were in a bag. (Job 14:17)

Sinners multiply their sins without keeping any account of them, but God numbers them; then, when the harvest is ripe, that is, when the number of sins is completed, He may take vengeance on them. Take ye up the sickles, for the harvest is ripe. (Joel 3:13)

4. Of this there are many examples in the Scriptures. Speaking of the Hebrews, the Lord in one place says: All the men that have tempted Me now ten times ... shall not see the land. (Num 14: 22-23) In another place, He says that He restrained His vengeance against the Amorrhites because the number of their sins was not completed: For as yet the iniquities of the Amorrhites are not at the full. (Gen 15:16)

We have again the example of Saul who, after having disobeyed God a second time, was abandoned. He entreated Samuel to interpose before the Lord in his behalf: Bear, I beseech thee, my sin, and return with me, that I may adore the Lord. (1 Kings 15:25) But, knowing that God had abandoned Saul, Samuel answered: I will not return with thee, because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee, etc. (5: 26) Saul, you have abandoned God, and He has abandoned you.

We have another example in Balthassar who, after having profaned the vessels of the Temple, saw a hand writing on the wall, Mane, Thecel, Phares. Daniel was requested to expound the meaning of these words. In explaining the word Thecel, he said to the King: Thou art weighed in the balance, and art found wanting. (Dan 5:27) By this explanation, he gave the King to understand that the weight of his sins in the balance of divine justice had made the scale descend. The same night Balthassar, the Chaldean King, was killed. (Dan. 5:30)

Oh! How many sinners have met with a similar fate! Continuing to offend God till their sins reached a certain number, they have been struck dead and sent to Hell! They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment they go down to Hell. (Job 21:13) Tremble, brethren, lest if you commit another mortal sin, God should cast you into Hell.



Blason de Charlemagne
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(Alphonsus Liguori, Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year,
London: James Duffy & Sons, 1882, pp. 113-115)
Posted June 21, 2014