Chapter XIII.—Retribution Here or Hereafter.
“But some one will say, Many have committed even murder, and adultery, and other crimes, and have suffered no evil. This indeed rarely happens to men, but to those who know not the counsel of God it frequently seems to happen. But God, who knows all things, knows how and why he who sins does sin, and what cause leads each one to sin. This, however, is in general to be noticed, that if any are evil, not so much in their mind as in their doings, and are not borne to sin under the incitement of purpose, upon them punishment is inflicted more speedily, and more in the present life; for everywhere and always God renders to every one according to his deeds, as He judges to be expedient. But those who practise wickedness of purpose, so that they sometimes even rage against those from whom they have received benefits, and who take no thought for repentance—their punishment He defers to the future. For these men do not, like those of whom we spoke before, deserve to end the punishment of their crimes in the present life; but it is allowed them to occupy the present time as they will, because their correction is not such as to need temporal chastisements, but such as to demand the punishment of eternal fire in hell; and there their souls shall seek repentance, where they shall not be able to find it.