SAINT AUGUSTINE called the thought of eternity the great thought: Magna cogitatio. This thought has brought the saints to count all the treasures and greatness of this life as nothing more than straw, dust, smoke, and refuse. This thought has sent many anchorites to hide themselves in deserts and caves, and so many noble youths, and even kings and emperors, to shut themselves up in cloisters. This thought has given courage to so many martyrs to endure the torture of piercing nails and heated irons, and even of being burnt in the fire.
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