[Wailing Wall]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 15: Morning


Yet in thy thriving still misdoubt some evil;

Lest gaining gain on thee, and make thee dimme

To all things els. Wealth is the conjurers devil;

Whom when he thinks he hath, the devil hath him.

   Gold thou mayst touch; but if it stick

   Unto thy hands, it woundeth to the quick.

     Yet in your prosperous state continue to beware of evil. If you don't, gaining in affluence will gain on you and make you insensitive to everything else. Wealth is the magician’s devil; when he thinks he can control his devil, the devil has him. You may touch gold; but if it sticks to your hands, it wounds to the quick.

     Success takes up our lives, directs and urges us to achieve. It embodies all we hope and work for. It carries our ambition, recognition and the fulfillment of our powers, perhaps even the root of our identity. It may hide from us what we wanted all our lives to escape. Prosperity has its own dangers. Achievement numbs us to the encroachment of other evils. It attacks opposition until, during the acquiring and succeeding, the importance of life and the reasons for success are lost. It will choose the means to your end. It changes perspectives and could lose the goal and comfort you worked toward.

     You may sacrifice what matters most to you. Having money is satisfying. Acquiring money is a pleasure. Wealth is success, power and possessions. Control intoxicates and diminishes the capacity to evaluate clearly. Assets may make you independent or dependent. You may possess the wealth, or the wealth may possess you, direct you, control your decisions and numb your sense of responsibility. You may touch and use gold, but when it is hard for you to let go, you are changed, addicted, wounded.

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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