I gathered for myself also silver and gold, and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces: I got men singers and women singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all sorts.
All Commentaries on Ecclesiastes 2:8 Go To Ecclesiastes 2
Gregory of Nyssa
What hope is there, that someone who lives amid so much gold will thereby become wise, sagacious, reflective, learned, a friend of God, prudent, pure, passionfree, detached and aloof from all that draws him toward evil? Or, alternatively, physically strong, pleasant to look at, extending life for many centuries, free from aging, disease and pain, and all the things sought for in the life of the flesh? But nobody is so absurd or so unobservant of our common humanity as to think that these things would come to human beings, if only money were poured out before everyone in vast quantities on demand. Even now one may see many of those already better endowed with much wealth living in a pitiful state of health, so that if their servants were not at hand they would not be able to go on living. If, therefore, the abundance of gold proposed in our argument offers no benefit in body or in soul, it is far more likely that when it is available on a small scale it will prove useless to those who possess it. What benefit would there be to its owner in the substance itself, which is inert to taste and smell and hearing and which feels to the touch of the same value as all its rivals? Let nobody put as an objection the food or clothing obtained by purchase with gold. For someone who buys bread or clothes with gold gets something useful in exchange for something useless and lives because he has made bread his food, not gold. But if a person gathers this stuff for himself through such transactions as these, what joy does he have of his money? What practical advice does he get from it? What training in public affairs? What prediction of the future? What comfort for the pains of the body? He gets it, he counts it, he stows it away, he stamps it with his seal, he refuses it when asked, he even swears by it when disbelieved. That is the blessedness, that is the object of endeavor, that is the benefit, that is the extent of the happiness.