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When a physician visits a patient that has thrown himself upon his bed and lies there groaning and refusing to eat, he feels his pulse and asks him some questions; [p. 297] and finding that he is not at all feverish, he tells him it is his mind that is distempered, and goes his way. When we see therefore a man pining away for more means and sighing sadly at any expenses, forbearing no sordid or painful course that brings him gain, when yet he hath houses and lands, herds and slaves, and clothes enough, what shall we call this man's disease but poverty of mind? For as for want of money, one friend, as Menander says, by being a benefactor to him can cure it; but as to this other of the mind, all a man's friends, living or dead, cannot satisfy it. It was therefore a good saying of Solon concerning such persons:
Those men that after wealth aspire
Set no fixed bounds to their desire.

To those indeed that are wise, the riches that Nature requires are limited, and confined within the compass of their rear needs, as within a circle drawn from a centre at a certain distance.

There is also this particular mischief in the love of wealth, that this desire hinders and opposes its own satisfaction, which other desires do procure. For no man abstains from a good morsel because he loves dainties, nor from wine because he thirsts after wine, as these men abstain from using money because they love money. Does it not look like madness and a piteous distemper, for a man not to make use of a garment because he shakes with cold, to refuse to eat bread because he is ready to famish with hunger, and not to use wealth because he is greedy of getting it? This is the evil case that Thrasonides describes: ‘I have such a thing within by me, I have it in my power, and I will this thing (like those that are madly in love), but I do it not. When I have locked and sealed up all, or have told out so much to the usurers and tradesmen, I scrape together and hunt after more; I quarrel [p. 298] and contend with the servants, the ploughmen and debtors. O Apollo, hast thou ever seen a more wretched man, or any lover more miserable?’

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