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A N D W e a lth B y A lbert A . H yde
A Vice-President of the American Bible Society, and a successful banker and busi ness man who has made it a practice to give away the bulk of a large income. I s it n o t significant for the times that the one whom both Christendom and non-Christendom are now recogniz ing as the greatest prophet and teacher of all the ages had much more to say about the worries and troubles of the rich, and the bad influences of wealth on human life and progress, than about the evils of poverty? While we all know that material poverty has been, and is today, the cause of untold suffering, poverty is far from being the greatest evil of the world, notwithstanding much contem porary thought and writing to the con trary. “ A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth,” said Jesus. And A gu r’s prayer was doubtless a wise one— “ Give me neither poverty nor riches.” G od has given mankind this whole world to use, develop and dominate— certainly infinite riches and an endless calling. Almost H is first commission to man was to “ subdue” the earth, with all its stored wealth and unknown forces, for the common good. Obedience to this command has brought, and is bringing, great happiness to man— as well as un told misery through our “ covetousness,” which the Bible says is that old, old sin of “ idolatry.” The first commandment still applies to all the nations. So rapidly is the world now moving, that more has probably been accomp lished in the last hundred years toward “ subduing” the earth than in all the pre ceding centuries and millenniums of hu man existence. Behold! in every direc tion, riches! Earth’s products in such abundance that virtually every important market of the world is glutted, and prices are depressed beyond cost or precedent. Slowly but surely, we think, disillusion ment as to the reality and true worth of possessions is coming. Material things, .wealth, riches, have their economic value; but their perpetual ownership and true worth have never changed, and never will. Gradually we are recognizing the truth of the statement o f the beloved disciple, “ For all that is in the world, the lust o f the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is o f the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” No, we think, it is not the problems of poverty, but rather those connected with wealth, and its right eous use and distribution, which real prog ress has to solve. Perhaps the present cata clysm has come in order that we may learn what are the “true riches.”
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