How powerfully do the martyrs cry out to us by their example, exhorting us to despise a false and wicked world! What have all the philosophers and princesfound by all their researches and efforts in quest of happiness in it! They only fell from one precipice into another. Departing from its true center they sought it in every other object, but in their pursuits only wandered further and further from it. A soul can find no rest in creatures. How long then shall we suffer ourselves to be seduced in their favor, be always deceived, yet always ready to deceive ourselves again! How long shall we give false names to objects round about us, and imagine a virtue in them which they have not! Is not the experience of near six thousand years enough to undeceive us! Let the light of heaven, the truths of the gospel, shine upon us, and the illusions of the world and our senses will disappear. But were the goods and evils of the world real, they can have no weight if they are compared with eternity. They are contemptible, because transient and momentary. In this light the martyrs viewed them. Who is not strongly affected with reading the epitaph which the learned Antony Castalio composed for himself, and which is engraved upon his tomb in the cathedral of Florence.
That peace and rest, now in the silent grave,
At length I taste, which life, oh! never gave.
Pain, labor, sickness, torturer, anxious, cares,
Grim death, fasts, watchings, strife, and racking fears
Adieu! my joys at last are ever crown”d;
And what I hoped so long, my soul hath found.
(Source: Butler”s Lives of the Saints)