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XXIX.—To the Wicked and Unbelieving Rich Man.

Thou wilt, O rich man, by insatiably looking too much to all thy wealth, squander those things to which thou art still seeking to cling.  Thou sayest, I do not hope when dead to live after such things as these.  O ungrateful to the great God, who thus judgest thyself to be a god; to Him who, when thou knewest nothing of it, brought thee forth, and then nourished thee.  He governs thy meadows; He, thy vineyards; He, thy herd of cattle; and He, whatever thou possessest.  Nor dost thou give heed to these things; or thou, perchance, rulest all things.  He who made the sky, and the earth, and the salt seas, decreed to give us back again ourselves in a golden age.  And only if thou believest, thou livest in the secret of God.  Learn God, O foolish man, who wishes thee to be immortal, that thou mayest give Him eternal thanks in thy struggle.  His own law teaches thee; but since thou seekest to wander, thou disbelievest all things, and thence thou shalt go into hell.  By and by thou givest up thy life; thou shalt be taken where it grieveth thee to be:  there the spiritual punishment, which is eternal, is undergone; there are always wailings:  nor dost thou absolutely die therein—there at length too late proclaiming the omnipotent God.

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