I was putting together these quotations for Prof. to read and consider but I thought others might like to read them too and not see them on the other thread so here they are:
About Hell. All I have ever said is that the N.T. [New Testament] plainly implies the possibility of some being finally left in "the outer darkness." Whether this means (horror of horror) being left to a purely mental existence, left with nothing at all but one's own envy, prurience, resentment, loneliness & self conceit, or whether there is still some sort of environment, something you cd. call a world or a reality, I wd. never pretend to know. But I wouldn't put the question in the form "do I believe in an actual Hell." One's own mind is actual enough. If it doesn't seem fully actual now that is because you can always escape from it a bit into the physical world-look out of the window, smoke a cigarette, go to sleep. But when there is nothing for you but your own mind (no body to go to sleep, no books or landscape, nor sounds, no drugs) it will be as actual as-as-well, as a coffin is actual to a man buried alive.
Though Our Lord often speaks of Hell as a sentence inflicted by a tribunal, He also says elsewhere that the judgement consists in the very fact that men prefer darkness to light, and that not He, but His "word," judges men. We are therefore at liberty-since the two conceptions, in the long run, mean the same thing-to think of this bad man's perdition not as a sentence imposed on him but as the mere fact of being what he is. The characteristic of lost souls is "their rejection of everything that is not simply themselves."
We must picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.
"A damned soul is nearly nothing: it is shrunk, shut up in itself. Good beats upon the damned incessantly as sound waves beat on the ears of the deaf, but they cannot receive it. Their fists are clenched, their teeth are clenched, their eyes fast shut. First they will not, in the end they cannot, open their hands for gifts, or their mouths for food, or their eyes to see."
"Then no one can ever reach them?"
"Only the Greatest of all can make Himself small enough to enter Hell. For the higher a thing is, the lower it can descend-a man can sympathise with a horse but a horse cannot sympathise with a rat. Only One has descended into Hell."
"And will He ever do so again?"
"It was not once long ago that He did it. Time does not work that way when once ye have left the Earth. All moments that have been or shall be were, or are, present in the moment of His descending. There is no spirit in prison to Whom He did not preach."