Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,
In J.C. Ryle’s book “Practical Religion,” in his chapter on happiness (Chapter 10), he calls a succession of witnesses who prove that pursuing happiness in the wrong things only leads to emptiness and misery. Here is one of his witnesses, Lord Chesterfield (a man previously unknown to me), in his own words:
“I have seen the silly round of business and pleasure, and have done with it all [meaning he is finished with it all]. I have enjoyed all the pleasures of the world, and consequently know their futility, and do not regret their loss. I appraise them at their real value, which in truth is very low; whereas those who have not experience always overrate them. They only see their gay outside, and are dazzled with their glare; but I have been behind the scenes. I have seen all the coarse pulleys and dirty ropes which exhibit and move the gaudy machine, and I have seen and smelt the tallow candles which illuminate the whole decoration, to the astonishment and admiration of the ignorant audience. When I reflect on what I have seen, what I have heard, and what I have done, I cannot persuade myself that all that frivolous hurry of bustle and pleasure of the world had any reality. I look on all that is past as one of those romantic dreams which opium occasions, and I do by no means wish to repeat the nauseous dose for the sake of the fugitive dream.”
Think about that. A world of people are chasing happiness on the wide road that leads to destruction, while those who have “been there, done that” have learned by experience that those pleasures never deliver what they promise.
May we be a people who think about the spending of our days and are wise!