THE FOUR LAST THINGS ---- DEATH, JUDGMENT, HELL and HEAVEN
FATHER MARTIN VON COCHEM, O.S.F.C.
Father Martin von Cochem was born at Cochem, on the Moselle,
in the year 1625, and died at Waghausel in 1712.
“Remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.”
HOLY REDEEMER LIBRARY
Nihil Obstat: Thomas L Kinkead, Censor Liborium
Imprimatur: Michael Augustine --- Archbishop of New York (New York October 5, 1899)
Copyright, 1899, by Benziger Brothers
PART II. THE LAST JUDGMENT.
IV. How all Men will Await Christ’s Coming in the Vale of Josaphat.
LET us now contemplate the multitudes gathered together in the place of judgment. All mankind, every human being who has ever lived upon earth, as well as all the rebellious spirits who were cast out of Heaven, will be compelled to appear here before the judgment seat of Christ.
Who can attempt to enumerate these countless multitudes? The number of the earth’s inhabitants living at this present moment amounts to about 1,400,000,000. This vast multitude will have disappeared in less than half a century, and another generation, no less numerous, will have taken their place and filled the earth anew. So it will go on and on until the Last Day. What countless hosts there will be arraigned before the judgment seat of Christ!
The good will be all together, rejoicing in the certainty of their eternal salvation. They are adorned with glorious apparel, and shine like the stars of Heaven. They know one another, they greet one another, and exchange mutual congratulations respecting their happy lot.
Not so the wicked. The good stand on the right hand, and they upon the left. Unfortunately the number of the wicked is far, far larger than that of the good. Both before and after the coming of Christ the prince of darkness held sway over a much greater number of subjects than Christ Himself. Alas ! my God, what an immense multitude there will be on the left hand! The mourning and misery amongst them will be so unparalleled that the good who are on the right hand would, were it possible, be deeply touched with compassion.
For all these countless millions of human beings will pour out their excessive sorrow and anguish in piteous lamentations. Awaiting the coming of the supreme Judge, they stand together, apart from the just, full of confusion at their own hideousness, and especially at their sinfulness, now evident to all.
Yet above and beyond all this misery is the consternation that prevails on account of the coming of the Judge; it is beyond the power of words to express. For now these unhappy creatures first become fully aware how terrible are the judgments of God, which they during their lifetime heeded so little. Now for the first time they recognize what a fearful disgrace it is for them to have their sins made manifest in the presence of all the Angels and Saints, in the presence likewise of the devils and of the lost. Now for the first time they are conscious of the awful nature of the sentence that will be passed on them by the Judge whom they have often insolently set at naught. These and many other things contribute to imbue them with such an unutterable dread of the coming of their Judge, that they quake in every limb with terror, and almost swoon away with apprehension and alarm. They will say to one another in plaintive tones: "Alas, what have we done! How terribly we have deceived ourselves ! For the sake of the few and transitory joys of earth, we must undergo an eternity of anguish. What good are all the riches, the voluptuous pleasures, the pride, the honours of the world to us now? We fools have trifled away celestial and eternal goods for the poor and paltry things of earth. Alas, what will become of us when our Judge appears! Ye mountains, fall on us, and ye hills, cover us, for truly it would be less intolerable for us to be crushed under your weight, than to stand before the whole world covered with shame and confusion, and behold the wrathful countenance of the just Judge!"
Unhappy sinner, whoever thou art who readest this book, do not flatter thyself with the vain hope that this description of the misery of the lost is exaggerated. They will complain a thousand times more loudly, and their pain and misery will be unutterable. Avail thyself of the short and precious season of thy earthly existence, do penance, do now all that thou wouldst desire to have done at the Day of Judgment. Ask of God grace to amend thy sinful life, in order that the day of Christ s coming may not be a day of unspeakable terror to thee.
My God, I acknowledge that by my sinful life I have deserved to be banished from Thy presence forever. Yet I sincerely repent of my sins and pray Thee for the grace of a true conversion, so that I may not await Thy coming among the number of the lost. Amen.