The Difference Between Temporal and Eternal Things

From Augustine’s On Christian Teaching:

So there are these three things which all knowledge and prophecy serve: faith, hope, and love.  But faith will be replaced by the sight of visible reality, and hope by the real happiness which we shall attain, whereas love will actually increase when these things pass away.  If, through faith, we love what we cannot yet see, how much greater will our love be when we have begun to see!  And if, through hope, we love something that we have not yet attained, how much greater will our love be when we have attained it!  There is this important difference between temporal things and eternal things: something temporal is loved more before it is possessed, but will lose its appeal when attained, for it does not satisfy the soul, whose true and certain abode is eternity.  The eternal, on the other hand, is loved more passionately when obtained than when desired.  No one who desires it is allowed to think more highly of it than is warranted (it would then disappoint when found to be less impressive); but however high one’s expectations while on the way, one will find it even more impressive on arrival.

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