14 Learn where there is wisdom, where there is strength, where there is understanding, so that you may at the same time discern where there is length of days, and life, where there is light for the eyes, and peace. 15 Who has found her place? And who has entered her storehouses? 16 Where are the rulers of the nations, and those who lorded it over the animals on earth; 17 those who made sport of the birds of the air, and who hoarded up silver and gold in which people trust, and there is no end to their getting; 18 those who schemed to get silver, and were anxious, but there is no trace of their works?
Clement of Alexandria The Instructor 2.3Paedagogus
For my part, I approve of Plato, who plainly lays it down as a law, that a man is not to labour for wealth of gold or silver, nor to possess a useless vessel which is not for some necessary purpose, and moderate; so that the same thing may serve for many purposes, and the possession of a variety of things may be done away with. Excellently, therefore, the Divine Scripture, addressing boasters and lovers of their own selves, says, Where are the rulers of the nations, and the lords of the wild beasts of the earth, who sport among the birds of heaven, who treasured up silver and gold, in whom men trusted, and there was no end of their substance, who fashioned silver and gold, and were full of care? There is no finding of their works. They have vanished, and gone down to Hades. Such is the reward of display. For though such of us as cultivate the soil need a mattock and plough, none of us will make a pickaxe of silver or a sickle of gold, but we employ the material which is serviceable for agriculture, not what is costly. What prevents those who are capable of considering what is similar from entertaining the same sentiments with respect to household utensils, of which let use, not expense, be the measure?
Notes and References
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