It has been said that Happiness consists of three things—i. something to love: ii. something to do: iii. something to hope for. For the believer, Christ is the One he loves; His service is the something he has to do: and His approval and eternal companionship the what he hopes for.—Scripture Truth
(Phil. 4. 4, 5; Col. 3. 24)
Augustine Birrell was Secretary of State for Ireland in the early days of the Asquith administration, and among the most brilliant essayists of the closing days of the nineteenth century. He and his wife were driving through London one day and came to a mansion of magnificent proportions that took their breath away. Mrs. Birrell looked at it enviously, asked whose it was, and remarked how happy the owner must be to possess such a place. Mr. Birrell said it belonged to 'Barney Barnato', one of the world's richest men and partner with Cecil Rhodes. 'Perhaps,' he added, 'for all his wealth he is not happy.' In recording the incident later, Mr. Birrell stated that it was almost at that hour that Barnato jumped overboard from a boat coming from South Africa to end his unhappy life. Wealth does not bring happiness.
(Eccl. 5. 12, 13; 1 Tim. 6. 9, 10)
Where is happiness found? NOT IN WEALTH.—John B. Rockfeller, a Christian millionaire, said, 'I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness. I would barter them all for the days I sat on an office stool in Cleveland and counted myself rich on three dollars a week.' Broken in health, he employed an armed guard.
W. H. Vanderbilt said 'The care of 200 million dollars is too great a load for any brain or back to bear. It is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it.'
John Jacob Astor left five million, but had been a martyr to dyspepsia and melancholy. He said, 'I am the most miserable man on earth.'
Henry Ford, the automobile king, said, 'Work is the only pleasure. It is only work that keeps me alive and makes life worth living. I was happier when doing a mechanic's job.'
Andrew Carnegie, the multi-millionaire, said, 'Millionaires seldom smile.'
(Dent. 33. 29; Eccl. 5. 12; 1 Pet. 4. 14)
Lord Byron, the poet, wrote:
My days are in the yellow leaf:
The flowers, the fruit of love are gone:
The worm, the canker and the grief
Are mine alone.
(Eccl. 2. 10, 11)
There is an Eastern tale of a wealthy king who ruled a vast domain, lived in a magnificent palace and had a luxurious court. In spite of all his authority and power, and in spite of his extensive possessions, he was very unhappy. Among the servants in his court there was a renowned sage whose counsel the king frequently asked in times of difficulty and crisis. This sage was summoned to the king's presence. The monarch asked him how to get rid of his anxiety and depression of spirits, how he might be really happy, for he was sick in body and mind. The sage replied, 'There is but one cure for the king. Your Majesty must sleep one night in the shirt of a happy man.'
Messengers were dispatched throughout the realm to search for a man who was truly happy. But everyone who was approached had some cause for misery, something that robbed them of true and complete happiness. At last they found a man—a poor beggar—who sat smiling by the roadside and, when they asked him if he were really happy and had no sorrows, he confessed that he was a truly happy man. Then they told him what they wanted. The king must sleep one night in the shirt of a happy man, and had given them a large sum of money to procure such a shirt. Would he sell them his shirt that the king might wear it? The beggar burst into uncontrollable laughter, and replied, 'I am sorry I cannot oblige the king. I haven't a shirt on my back.'
(Eccl. 2. 3-11)
Happiness is not our being's end and aim. The Christian's aim is perfection, not happiness; and every one of the sons of God must have something of that spirit which marked his Master.—F. W. Robertson
Lord Tankerville, in New York, said of the international school question:
"The subject of the American versus the English school has been too much discussed. The good got from a school depends, after all, on the schoolboy chiefly, and I'm afraid the average schoolboy is well reflected in that classic schoolboy letter home which said:
"'Dear parents—We are having a good time now at school. George Jones broke his leg coasting and is in bed. We went skating and the ice broke and all got wet. Willie Brown was drowned. Most of the boys here are down with influenza. The gardener fell into our cave and broke his rib, but he can work a little. The aviator man at the race course kicked us because we threw sand in his motor, and we are all black and blue. I broke my front tooth playing football. We are very happy.'"
Mankind are always happier for having been happy; so that if you make them happy now, you make them happy twenty years hence by the memory of it.—Sydney Smith.