Ask Croesus

And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. -Ecclesiastes 2:19

There is another way of gaining the whole world, not so much by power, but by something next door to it, namely-riches. Croesus shall be my specimen here. He amassed a world of riches, for his wealth was beyond estimation. As for his gold and his silver, he kept little account of them, and his precious stones were without number. He was rich, immensely rich; he could buy an empire, and after that, could spend another empire’s worth. Perhaps you think that to be immensely rich is a great gain; but I believe that to be enormously rich is in itself far from desirable. Ask Croesus. Dying, he exclaimed, “O! Solon, Solon.” And when they asked him what he meant, he replied, that Solon had once told him that no man could be pronounced happy until death; and, therefore, he cried “O! Solon, Solon,” for the misery of his death had swept away the joys of his life. Such is the slavery of great riches; such are its anxieties; and such, too often, is that miserly avarice which wealth doth beget, that the rich man is often a loser by his wealth, even apart from the loss of his soul. Many a man would be happier if he had walked the pavement in rags, than if he rode through the streets in his chariot. “Many a heavy heart rides in a carriage,” is an old saying, but a marvelously true one. Well said the poet,

“If thou art rich, thou art poor;
For like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear’st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee.”

Agur was right, when he said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches.” Great wealth is certainly no great gain.~ C.H. Spurgeon


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