As full ears load and lay down corn, so does too much fortune bend and break the mind. It deserves to be considered, too, as another disadvantage, that affliction moves pity, and reconciles our very enemies, but prosperity provokes envy, and loses us our very friends.
If adversity hath killed his thousands, prosperity hath killed his ten thousands; therefore adversity is to be preferred. The one deceives, the other instructs; the one is miserably happy, the other happily miserable; and therefore many philosophers have voluntarily sought adversity and commend it in their precepts.
Faith is the backbone of the social and the foundation of the commercial fabric; remove faith between man and man, and society and commerce fall to pieces. There is not a happy home on earth but stands on faith; our heads are pillowed on it, we sleep at night in its arms with greater security for the safety of our lives, peace, and prosperity than bolts and bars can give.
We must distinguish between felicity and prosperity; for prosperity leads often to ambition, and ambition to disappointment; the course is then over, the wheel turns round but once, while the reaction of goodness and happiness is perpetual.
Depend on this one fact: The future of mankind, peace, progress and prosperity must be finally determined by the extent to which men can be brought to a state of common and honest understanding.
We may naturally believe that it is not the singular prosperity of the few, but the greater well-being of all that is most pleasing in the sight of the Creator and Preserver of men. What appears to me to be man’s decline, is His eye, advancement; what afflicts me is acceptable to Him. A state of equality is perhaps less elevated, but it is more just: and its justice constitutes its greatness and its beauty. I would strive, then, to raise myself to this point of the divine contemplation and thence to view and judge the concerns of men.