Consider this excerpt taken from “The Difference Between Temporal and Eternal” by the Reverend Eusebius Nieremberg, S.J. (Published in Philadelphia by Eugene Cummiskey in 1833 A.D.):
The time of this life is so precious,
that St. Bernardin dares give it this exaggeration, saying that ‘time is worth as much as God;’ because by it God is gained.
Let us not, therefore, fling away a thing of that value,
but let us make use of this cheap bargain; purchasing with time, eternity, and God Himself, the Lord of eternity;
fulfilling that which was said by Ecclesiasticus (Eccl. xx.):
‘Is there any who for a small price will redeem many things?’
Upon which words Galfridus says (Calfrid. in Cant.), ‘If there be due to thee eternal bitterness, and thou mayest escape it by suffering what is temporal, certainly thou hast redeemed great matters for a small price.’
In blessings eternal, it is likewise a great comfort to have them free from change, so as they can neither end nor diminish;
and that temporal goods changing and consuming themselves, they remain in the same firm and stable condition for all eternity.
Let a Christian compare the brevity and inconstancy of the things of this life,
with the immutability and eternal duration of those of the other:
let him seriously observe the difference between these two words, now and ever.
The fools of this world say,
‘Let us now rejoice!’
The wise, and virtuous say,
‘It is better that we forbear our pleasures now, that we may hereafter enjoy eternal happiness.’
The worldings say,
‘Let us now live daintily and fare deliciously!’
The servants of Christ say,
‘Let us now die in the flesh, that we may live for ever without change.’
The sinners say,
‘Let us now enjoy the world!’
They who fear God say,
‘Let us fly from this culpable world, that we may for ever enjoy the celestial.’
Compare these two, and judge who are the wiser;
those who aim only at that which endures but this momentary instant now,
or those who look after eternity, which lasts for ever;
those who should suffer eternally without any profit at all,
or those who are content to suffer a little in this world, for so great a gain as is the the kingdom of heaven.
O most miserable and disconsolate life of the damned!
who are neither to have end in their torments, change in their griefs, nor to reap profit by the pains which they suffer.
Three things only afford us comfort in the troubles of this life;
- that either they may end, or
- become more supportable by change, or
- at least that we shall be recompensed by some benefit for our sufferance;
all which will fail in eternal pains, in which there is no hope either of end, change or profit.
A fearful mistake!… to suffer for a whole eternity, without benefit hereafter, for not suffering a moment now, with so great a reward as in the eternal glory of God, and the kingdom of heaven.