Does it Pay?

The hope of gain and the fear of loss are ever restless thoughts which give mankind but little peace, for no material conditions have been found that can satisfy the one or subdue the other. Along every line of human aim or effort the incentive is to accumulate, whether it be riches or knowledge, whatever is deemed desirable. The sense of constantly adding to present possession, of pulling down barns and building greater, is perhaps the nearest approach to satisfaction which mortals have reached; but it is only an approach, for the instability of earthly things is a bridge less gulf between them and content. The pathos of worldly riches is the shadow of uncertainty that constantly attends them. Mortals do not know the day whose close may not see them bereft of their material treasures. An accident, a panic on 'Change, fire or flood,—these take place in an hour and have no mercy. Mortal existence, even at its best, is a pitiful thing to pin one's happiness to, for its gilded pomp is but a passing show, and the moth and rust invade its treasures.

The ideal of life which Christianity embodies is the only one which excludes the elements of chance and change through separating the true man from matter and sin, and presenting to mortals a way of spiritual living whose gains are permanent and whose losses are salutary. The measure of success achieved by the different religions of Christendom has depended solely upon the degree in which this ideal has been accepted and practised.

Upon Judging and Condemning
August 8, 1903

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