Then said Peter: 'O Master, tell us how the lost shall be tormented, and how long they shall be in hell, in order that man may flee from sin.'
Jesus answered: 'O Peter, it is a great thing that thou hast asked, nevertheless, if God please, I will answer thee. Know ye, therefore, that hell is one, yet hath seven centres one below another. Hence, even as sin is of seven kinds, for as seven gates of hell hath Satan generated it: so are there seven punishments therein.
`For the proud, that is the loftiest in heart, shall plunged into the lowest centre, passing through all the centres above it, and suffering in them all the pains that are therein. And as here he seeketh to be higher than God, in wishing to do after his own manner, contrary to that which God commandeth, and not wishing to recognize anyone above him: even so there shall he be put under the feet of Satan and his devils, who shall trample him down as the grapes are trampled when wine is made, and he shall be ever derided and scorned of devils.
`The envious, who here chafeth at the good of his neighbour and rejoiceth at his misfortune, shall go down to the sixth centre, and there shall be chafed by the fangs of a great number of infernal serpents.
`And it shall seem to him that all things in hell rejoice at his torment, and mourn that he be not gone down to the seventh centre. For although the damned are incapable of any joy, yet the justice of God shall cause that it shall so seem to the wretched envious man, as when one seemeth in a dream to be spurned by some one and feeleth torment thereby - even so shall be the object set before the wretched envious man. For where there is no gladness at all it shall seem to him that every one rejoiceth at his misfortune, and mourneth that he hath no worse.
`The covtous shall go down to the fifth centre, where he shall suffer extreme poverty, as the rich feaster suffered. And the demons, for greater torment, shall offer him that which he desireth, and when he shall have it in his hands other devils with violence shall snatch it from his hands with these [words: "Remember that thou wouldest not give for love of God; so God willeth not that thou now receive."
`Oh unhappy man! Now shall he find himself in that condition when he shall remember past abundance and behold the penury of the present; and that with the goods that then he may not have he could have acquired eternal delights!
`To the fourth centre shall go the lustful, where they that have transformed the way given them by God shall be as corn that is cooked in the burning dung of the devil. And there shall they be embraced by horrible infernal serpents. And they that shall have sinned with harlots, all these acts of impurity shall be transformed for them into union with the infernal furies; which are demons like women, whose hair is serpents, whose eyes are flaming sulphur, whose mouth is poisonous, whose tongue is gall, whose body is all girt with barbed hooks like those wherewith they catch the silly fish, whose claws are those of gryphons, whose nails are razors, the nature of whose generative organs is fire. Now with these shall all the lustful enjoy the infernal embers which shall be their bed.
`To the third centre shall go down the slothful who will not work now. Here are built cities and immense palaces, which as soon as they are finished must needs be pulled down straightway, because a single stone is not placed aright. And these enormous stones are laid upon the shoulders of the slothful, who hath not h is hands free to cool his body as he walketh and to ease the burden, seeing that sloth hath taken away the power of h is arms, and his legs are fettered with infernal serpents.
`And, what is worse, behind him are the demons, who push him, and make him fall to earth many times beneath the weight; nor doth any help him to lift it up: nay, it being too much to lift, a double amount is laid upon him.
`To the second centre shall go down the gluttonous. Now here there is dearth of food, to such a degree [that there shall be nought to eat but live scorpions and live serpents, which give such torment that it would be better never to have been born than to eat such food. There are offered to them indeed by the demons, in appearance, delicate meats; but for that they have their hands and feet bound with fetters of fire, they cannot put out a hand on the occasion when the meat appeareth to them. But what is worse, those very scorpions which he eateth that they may devour his belly, not being able to come forth speedily, rend the secret parts of the glutton. And when they are come forth foul and unclean, filthy as they are, they are eaten over again.
`The wrathful goeth down to the first centre, where he is insulted by all the devils and by as many of the damned as go down lower than he. They spurn him and smite him, making him lie down upon the road where they pass, planting their feet upon his throat. Yet is he not able to defend himself, for that he hath his hands and feet bound. And what is worse, he is not able to give vent to his wrath by insulting others, seeing that his tongue is fastened by a hook, like that which he useth who selleth flesh.
`In this accursed place shall there be a general punishment, common to all the centres, like the mixture of various grains to make a loaf. For fire, ice, thunderstorms, lightning, sulphur, heat, cold, wind, frenzy, terror, shall all be united by the justice of God, and in such wise that the cold shall not temper the heat nor the fire the ice, but each shall give torment to the wretched sinner.