Chapter XXVII.—Creatures Take Vengeance on Sinners.
“But this also I would have you know, that upon such souls God does not take vengeance p. 150 directly, but His whole creation rises up and inflicts punishments upon the impious; and although in the present world the goodness of God bestows the light of the world and the services of the earth alike upon the pious and the impious, yet not without grief does the sun afford his light, and the other elements perform their service, to the impious. And, in short, sometimes even in opposition to the goodness of the Creator, the elements are wearied out by the crimes of the wicked; and thence it is that either the fruit of the earth is blighted, or the composition of the air is vitiated, or the heat of the sun is increased beyond measure, or there is an excessive amount of rain or of cold. Thence pestilence, and famine, and death in various forms stalk forth, for the creature hastens to take vengeance on the wicked; yet the goodness of God restrains it, and bridles its indignation against the wicked, and compels it to be obedient to His mercy, rather than to be inflamed by the sins and the crimes of men. For the patience of God waiteth for the conversion of men, as long as they are in this body.