2 Corinthians 4:18

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
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Ambrosiaster

AD 400
Paul is saying that people who long for heavenly things despise the things of this world, because in comparison with what they want, these things are nothing. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.

Caesarius of Arles

AD 542
If you seek temporal things, you pray publicly and with your door open. If you ask for eternal things, your prayer is secret because you long to receive not the things which are seen but those which are not seen.

Clement Of Alexandria

AD 215
But us the Word enjoins "to look not on the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.". With such persecution, if you have worldly wealth, if you have brothers allied by blood and other pledges, abandon the whole wealth of these which leads to evil; procure peace for yourself, free yourself from protracted persecutions; turn from them to the Gospel; choose before all the Saviour and Advocate and Paraclete of your soul, the Prince of life. "For the things which are seen are temporary; but the things which are not seen are eternal." ...

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
The things which are seen are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. S. Augustine (Sentent. No270) says well: "There is this difference between things temporal and things eternal, that the former are loved more before they are obtained, but, seem worthless when they arrive. Nothing satisfies the mind but a true and certain eternity of incorruptible joy. But eternal joy is more ardently loved when obtained than when longed for. No one can value it above its true worth, so that when he attains it it seems vile in his eyes through having been too ardently longed for. But so great is the excellency of heaven that charity will obtain far more than faith has believed or hope desired." See also S. Gregory, Hom. in Evang, where he draws out at length this distinction between carnal and spiritual pleasures. > ...

Ignatius of Antioch

AD 108
"For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Our present afflictions will be light and our future will be glorious if we turn away from visible things and concentrate on spiritual ones instead. What excuse have we got if we choose the temporal instead of the eternal? Even if the present is enjoyable, it does not last, though the sorrow it engenders does last and cannot be alleviated. What excuse will they have if those who have been accounted worthy of receiving the Spirit and have enjoyed so great a gift grovel and fall down before the things of this earth? Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Consider, dearly beloved, that life’s troubles, even if distressing, are still of short duration, whereas the good things that will come to us in the next life are eternal and everlasting. “What we see is passing,” Scripture says, “but what is not seen is everlasting.” Accordingly, let us endure what is passing without complaint and not desist from virtue’s struggle so that we may enjoy the good things that are eternal and last forever. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Far from being surprised or troubled, let us endure developments with complete fortitude and endurance, having regard not to the distress but to the gain accruing to us from it. This transaction, you see, is spiritual. People intent on making money and being involved in a transaction of this life would succeed in increasing their wealth in no other way than by being exposed to great danger on land and at sea (they must, after all, put up with the onset of brigands and wiles of pirates), and yet they are ready to accept everything with great enthusiasm, having no sense of hardship through the expectation of gain. In just the same way must we keep our mind on the wealth and spiritual riches accruing to us from this. We must rejoice and be glad, considering not what can be seen but what cannot be seen, as Paul’s exhortation goes, “not considering what can be seen.” ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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