And for children, no less. I can only imagine the nightmares this induced.
From Pat McNamara comes this piece from the time capsule: an Advent sermon from 1900.
The day will surely come when there will be an end to all the wickedness that exists in the world, and no more insults will be offered to God. On this day, almighty God will appear in all His glory and terrible majesty as the just Judge of the living and the dead. It will be a day of terror; the sun will be obscured, covered with a thick black veil; the moon will not give light; she will shine blood red; the stars will fall from the heavens; the whole universe will be shaken to its very foundations. On that day, it will rain fire from the skies, burning coals will descend and destroy all that is on this earth. That day has been called by the prophets a cruel day, the day of wrath, the day of darkness, of tribulation, and of no mercy. On that day, God will pour out His wrath, and sinners will have to drink this chalice of bitterness to the dregs. Of this terrible day,the Gospel of this Sunday speaks. It ought to be enough for Christians to hear the announcement of these dreadful occurrences once to make them sin no more, but on the contrary they hear these threats repeated several times during the year, and still they do not repent of their sins nor amend their lives.
I hope, my dear young people, that you are not of this number, but reflecting today on these solemn words, you will make a firm resolution not to commit a single mortal sin, and thus that dreadful day, so terrible for the sinner, will be for you a day of joy, of glory, of triumph, and the beginning of your eternal reward. When the hour of the great judgment shall arrive, St. Michael, accompanied by many other angels, will give a blast from his trumpet which shall be heard in all parts of the earth, because the sound shall be winged forth by the power of God’s omnipotence. And they shall hear the voice of the Son of God, “Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment.” Great and small, kings and princes, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, all shall obey that summons. At the first sound of this blast, the bodies which for centuries have been reduced to dust will return to their former shapes, and will be reanimated by the voice of the Son of God. All shall come forth from their graves, but there will be a great difference among them. The elect will rise with bodies more brilliant than the stars, and like to the angels as St. Matthew says. Then the just shall shine like the sun. The wicked shall be there in their former bodies, too, but so loathsome that it will be to them as well, as to their companions, a day of horror. No wonder, for the just have risen to a new life, but the wicked to eternal death.
Dear children, what would be your feelings if you should see yourselves in such an abominable body. And yet, how many there are among the young, who, through an inordinate love of their body, never go contrary to their passions, because they wish to indulge in unlawful pleasures.
Then the angels will separate the good from the bad. Oh, what a dreadful separation: the wicked to the left, the good to the right, the good father to the right, the wicked son to the left, the good brother to the right, the wicked one to the left; now is the time to separate the wheat from the cockle. Now is the time to bind the cockle into bundles to burn. That young man who looked so deceptively innocent in his life, who appeared so good to his parents, is now the cockle, because he was wicked, he and his companions; another seemed so devout, but he too is the cockle, because his heart was full of sin. Ah, the most hidden sins will then be manifest, those sins which were committed in the dark, and in secret places, those sins, which through shame, were withheld from the knowledge of the confessor, and those sins, mark it well, which were confessed, but without sorrow, and without the resolution to do better. Yes, father, mother, sisters, brothers and friends shall know all our secrets. Nahum the prophet says, “I will discover thy shame to thy face, and will show thy wickedness to the nations, and thy shame to kingdoms.”
And that’s just the beginning. Check out the rest. It’s the kind of pulpit-pounding preaching you don’t hear anymore.