SKEPTICS may ask, why don’t people follow the advice of numerous proverbs and maxims of forethought available for centuries? Instead, they conclude that these apply only after some rightful venture has gone “horribly wrong.” When, for instance, a person gambles and loses all they have, including their house, why didn’t they remember the old Scottish proverb, “willful waste leads to woeful want?” However, it wouldn’t have done much good because of the gambler’s greed. So, are the maxims of morality useless because people disregard them? For Christians and Jews, the Book of Proverbs is a great example. Yet, what about other religions and philosophers?
British religious poet Francis Quarles (1592-1644) once said: “In the height of thy prosperity expect adversity but fear it not. If it comes not, thou art the more sweetly possessed of the happiness thou hast and the more strongly confirmed. If it comes, thou art the more gently dispossessed of the happiness thou hadst, and the more firmly prepared.”
This has the familiar ring of the Apostle Paul’s advice: “This precious treasure – this light and power that now shine within us – is held in a perishable container, that is, in our weak bodies. Everyone can see that the glorious power within must be from God and is not ours. We are often pressed on every side by troubles but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are constantly being hunted, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).