For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 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. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Paul ranks among the bravest of the brave. We note also with admiration how the hero of so many dangers and conflicts, who could glow and burn with fervor, was yet among the calmest and quietest of spirits.
He had learned to live beyond those present circumstances that worry and disturb, he had stolen a march upon the shadows of time and entered into possession of the realities of eternity.
He looked not on the things that are seen, but he set his whole regard on the things that are not seen; and by this means he entered into a deep and joyful peace that made him strong, resolute, steadfast, immovable.
I would to God that we had all acquired Paul’s art of being “always confident”—his habit of having the inward man renewed day by day. Are we not too apt to live in the immediate present that is revealed by the senses?
The ox projects no thought upward or beyond: to stand in the cool brook or lie down in the fat pasturage is its all in all. Even thus is it with the mass of men; their souls are tethered to their bodies, imprisoned within circumstances of the day.
If we could be completely delivered from the thralldom of things seen and felt, and could feel the full influence of the visible and eternal, how much of heaven we might enjoy before the celestial shores are reached!1