Attainment is followed by neglect, and possession by disgust. The malicious remark of the Greek epigrammatist on marriage may apply to every other course of lifethat its two days of happiness are the first and the last.
Possession, why more tasteless than pursuit? Why is a wish far dearer than a crown? that wish accomplished, why the grave of bliss? Because in the great future, buried deep, beyond our plans of empire and renown, lies all that man with ardor should pursue; and He who made him bent him to the right.
The right of individual property is no doubt the very corner-stone of civilization, as hitherto understood; but I am a little impatient of being told that property is entitled to exceptional consideration because it bears all the burdens of the state. It bears those, indeed, which can be most easily borne, but poverty pays with its person the chief expenses of war, pestilence, and famine.
The only test of possession is use. The talent that is buried is not owned. The napkin and the hole in the ground are far more truly the mans property, because they are accomplishing something for him, slothful and shameful though it be. And what is a lost soul? Is it not one that God cannot use, or one that cannot use God? Trustless, prayerless, fruitless, lovelessis it not so far lost? So may a man have a soul that is lost and be dead while he lives.