Early Christian Quotes on Punishment and Discipline from God
The Shepherd of Hermas (1st or 2nd Century), Similitude 6, Chapter 3:
“This,” he [the angel] replied, “is the angel of punishment; and he belongs to the just angels, and is appointed to punish. He accordingly takes those who wander away from God, and who have walked in the desires and deceits of this world, and chastises them as they deserve with terrible and diverse punishments.” “I would know, sir,” I said, “Of what nature are these diverse tortures and punishments?” “Hear,” he said, “the various tortures and punishments. The tortures are such as occur during life. For some are punished with losses, others with want, others with sicknesses of various kinds, and others with all kinds of disorder and confusion; others are insulted by unworthy persons, and exposed to suffering in many other ways: for many, becoming unstable in their plans, try many things, and none of them at all succeed, and they say they are not prosperous in their undertakings; and it does not occur to their minds that they have done evil deeds, but they blame the Lord. When, therefore, they have been afflicted with all kinds of affliction, then are they delivered unto me for good training, and they are made strong in the faith of the Lord; and for the rest of the days of their life they are subject to the Lord with pure hearts, and are successful in all their undertakings, obtaining from the Lord everything they ask; and then they glorify the Lord, that they were delivered to me, and no longer suffer any evil.”
The Shepherd of Hermas (1st or 2nd Century), Similitude 7:
“I know, too,” he [the angel] answered, “that they have repented with their whole heart: do you think, however, that the sins of those who repent are remitted? Not altogether, but he who repents must torture his own soul, and be exceedingly humble in all his conduct, and be afflicted with many kinds of affliction; and if he endure the afflictions that come upon him, He who created all things, and endued them with power, will assuredly have compassion, and will heal him; and this will He do when He sees the heart of every penitent pure from every evil thing: and it is profitable for you and for your house to suffer affliction now.
Clement of Alexandria’s Miscellanies, Book 4 (Early 3rd Century) Chapter 24, Paragraph 3:
But punishment does not avail to him who has sinned, to undo his sin, but that he may sin no more, and that no one else fall into the like. Therefore the good God corrects for these three causes: First, that he who is corrected may become better than his former self; then that those who are capable of being saved by examples may be driven back, being admonished; and thirdly, that he who is injured may not be readily despised, and be apt to receive injury. And there are two methods of correction -- the instructive and the punitive, which we have called the disciplinary. It ought to be known, then, that those who fall into sin after baptism are those who are subjected to discipline; for the deeds done before are remitted, and those done after are purged. It is in reference to the unbelieving that it is said, "that they are reckoned as the chaff which the wind drives from the face of the earth, and the drop which falls from a vessel."
Cyprian’s Address to Demetrianus (Mid-3rd Century) Paragraph 7:
Behold, the Lord is angry and wrathful, and threatens, because you turn not unto Him. And you wonder or complain in this your obstinacy and contempt, if the rain comes down with unusual scarcity; and the earth falls into neglect with dusty corruption; if the barren glebe hardly brings forth a few jejune and pallid blades of grass; if the destroying hail weakens the vines; if the overwhelming whirlwind roots out the olive; if drought stanches the fountain; a pestilent breeze corrupts the air; the weakness of disease wastes away man
Novatian’s On the Trinity (Mid-3rd Century) Chapter 5:
For that God is angry, arises from no vice in Him. But He is so for our advantage; for He is merciful even then when He threatens, because by these threats men are recalled to rectitude. For fear is necessary for those who want the motive to a virtuous life, that they who have forsaken reason may at least be moved by terror.
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Find more of what the early Christians thought on my Christian History page!