All unbaptized persons unbelievers, apostates, heretics,and all excommunicated persons. But how do we know that unbaptized persons are not saved? We know it, because Jesus Christ has said : "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John iii, 5.) Heaven is the union of Almighty God with the elect, those who are quite pure, without the least stain of sin. But God, who is holiness itself, cannot unite himself to a soul that is in sin. Now, as those who die without baptism remain forever stained with original sin, they can never be united to Almighty God in heaven. And why are unbelievers and apostates lost ? Unbelievers and apostates are lost, because it is said that, "without faith, it is impossible to please God." In our day and country, it is become fashionable for a large number of men to have no religion, and even to boast of having none. To have no religion is a great crime ; but to boast of having none is the height of folly. The man without religion is a slave to the most degrading superstition. Instead of worshipping the true, free, living God, who governs all things by his providence, he bows before the horrid phantom of blind chance or inexorable destiny. He is a man who obstinately refuses to believe the most solidly established facts in favor of religion, and yet, with blind credulity, greedily swallows the most absurd falsehoods uttered against religion. He is a man whose reason has fled, and whose passions speak, object, and decide in the name of reason. He is sunk in the grossest ignorance regarding religion. He blasphemes what he does not understand. He rails at the doctrines of the Church, without knowing really what her doctrines are. He sneers at the doctrines and practices of religion, because he can not refute them. He speaks with the utmost gravity of the fine arts, the fashions, and matters the most trivial, while he turns the most sacred subjects into ridicule. In the midst of his own circle of fops and silly women, he utters his shallow conceits with all the pompous assurance of a pedant.
But why is it that he makes his impious doctrines the subject of conversation on every occasion? It is, of course, first to communicate his devilish principles to others, and make them as bad as he himself is; but this is not the only reason. The good Catholic seldom speaks of his religion ; he feels assured, by the grace of God, that his religion is the only true one, and that he will be saved if he lives up to it. Such is not the case with the infidel; he is constantly tormented in his soul : "There is no peace, no happiness for the impious," says the holy Scripture. He tries to quiet the fears of his soul, the remorse of his conscience, so he communicates to others, on every occasion, his perverse principles, hoping to meet with some of his fellow-men who may approve of his impious views, that he thus may find some relief for his interior torments. He resembles a timid man, who is obliged to travel during a dark night, and who begins to sing and cry out, in order to keep away fear. The infidel is a sort of night-traveller ; he travels in the horrible darkness of his impiety. His interior conviction tells him that there is a God who will certainly punish him in the most awful manner. This fills him with great fear, and makes him extremely unhappy every moment of his life; he cannot bear the sight of a Catholic church, of a Catholic procession, of an image of our Lord, of a picture of a saint, of a prayer-book, of a good Catholic, of a priest, in a word, he cannot bear anything that reminds him of God, of religion, of his own guilt and impiety : so, on every occasion, he cries out against faith in God, in all that God has revealed and proposes to us for our belief by the holy Catholic Church. What is the object of his impious cries ? It is to deafen, to keep down, in some measure, the clamors of his conscience. Our hand will involuntarily touch that part of the body where we feel pain ; in like manner, the tongue of the infidel touches, on all occasions, involuntarily as it were, upon all those truths of our holy religion which inspire him with fear of the judgments of Almighty God. He feels but too keenly that he cannot do away with God and his sacred religion, by denying his existence. The days of the infidel are counted. What a fearful thing it is for him to fall into the hands of God in the hour of death ! He knows this truth, and because he knows it, he dies in the fury of despair, and, as it were, in the anticipated torments of the suffering that awaits him in hell. Witness Voltaire, the famous infidel of France ! He wished to make his confession at his last hour. But the priest of St. Sulpice was not able to go to his, bedside, because the chamber-door was shut upon him. So Voltaire died without confession. He died in such a terrible paroxysm of fury and rage, that the marshal of Richelieu, who was present at his horrible agony, exclaimed: "Really, this sight is sickening ; it is insupportable !" M. Tronchin, Voltaire's physician, says : "Figure to yourself the rage and fury of Orestes, and you ll still have but a feeble image of the fury of Voltaire in his last agony. It would be well if all the infidels of Paris were present. Oh ! the fine spectacle that would have met their eyes ! "Thus is fulfilled in infidels what God says in holy Scripture :
"I will laugh at the destruction of those who laughed at me during their life."
Witness Tom Paine ! A short time before he died he sent for the Rev. Father Fenwick. Father Fenwick went, in company of Father Kohlman, to see the infidel in his wretched condition. When they arrived at Paine's house, at Greenwich, his housekeeper came to the door and inquired whether they were the Catholic priests : "For," said she, "Mr. Paine has been so annoyed of late by ministers of different other denominations calling upon him, that he has left express orders with me to admit no one to-day but clergymen of the Catholic Church." Upon assuring her that they were Catholic clergymen, she opened the door, and invited them to sit down in the parlor. "Gentlemen," said she, "I really wish you may succeed with Mr. Paine; for he is laboring under great distress of mind ever since he was informed by his physicians that he cannot possibly live, and must die shortly. He sent for you to-day, because he was told that if any one could do him good, you might. He is truly to be pitied. His cries, when he is left alone, are truly heart-rending. O Lord ! help me ! he will exclaim during his paroxysms of distress. God, help, Jesus Christ, help me ! repeating the same expressions without any the least variation, in a tone of voice that would alarm the house. Sometimes he will say, "God ! what have I done to suffer so much ? Then shortly after : "If there is a God, what will become of me? Thus he will continue for some time, when on a sudden he will scream as if in terror and agony, and call out for me by name. On one of these occasions, which are very frequent, I went to him and inquired what he wanted. "Stay with me," he replied, "for God s sake ; for I cannot bear to be left alone."I then observed that I could not always be with him, as I had much to attend to in the house. Then, said he, "send even a child to stay with me ; for it is a hell to be alone. I never saw,"" she concluded, "a more unhappy, a more forsaken man. It seems he cannot reconcile himself to die." The fathers did all in their power to make Paine enter into himself, and ask God s pardon. But all their endeavors were in vain. He ordered them out of his room, in the highest pitch of his voice, and seemed a very maniac with rage and madness. "Let us go," said Father Fenwick to Father Kohlman. "We have nothing more to do here. He seems to be entirely abandoned by God. Further words are lost upon him. I never before or since beheld a more hardened wretch." (Lives of the Catholic Bishops of America," p. 379, etc.) To the infidel and evil-doer these examples present matter worthy of serious reflection, while the believer will recognize in them the special judgment of God, which is too clearly indicated to be doubted by any honest mind. Let the unbeliever remember that the hour will come when he shall open his eyes to see the wisdom of those who have believed, when he also shall see, to his confusion, his own madness in refusing to believe. "Oh ! that he would be wise, and would understand that there is none that can deliver out of the hand of the Lord !" (Deut. xxxii, 39.)
To be continued . . . . . . . . .