THERE are few persons who do not hope to attain greater happiness and more enduring harmony than they now enjoy. Some merely hope for a favorable turn of the wheel of fortune, while others believe they know what is necessary to bring about the desired result and they labor to that end. If the realization of their hopes seems nearer, they fancy they are making progress; and if they continue in the future as they have labored in the past, they conclude that success will reward their efforts. The goal is worthy of attainment, and the labor and sacrifice required is not a greater price than the truly deserving person is willing to pay. If one is not content to receive "a just recompense of reward" for the effort he puts forth, he has not learned that actual progress is the result of work well done, and that true success is attained only when all that is necessary to success has been accomplished.
From the human point of view it seems that it is impossible to have harmony apart from a supply of material necessities, and one is inclined to judge his success according to his ability to provide these things. If he is able to do this, he is not a failure, and is regarded by his neighbors as a successful man. It is true that there is occasionally an exception to the rule. One is found who is more concerned about the accomplishment of the work in hand than he is about the reward he is to receive, but there are few who consider the assurance of work well done a sufficient reward for their labors.
The common practice of measuring success according to the abundance of worldly possessions, is due in part at least to the belief that life is affected by material conditions and subject to material law. During the last century especially, there has been wonderful progress in providing the things which minister to human comfort, but thoughtful persons are sometimes led to question whether mortals have a higher sense of good or enjoy a greater degree of harmony because of these improved conditions. The careful observer will be ready to admit that the result in harmony and practical goodness is not what could be reasonably expected, and the question arises whether, after all, there is any real progress in what has been called progress; whether humanity is actually nearer the realization of harmonious being. If not, then progress along material lines may have led mortals to build their house on the sand instead of on the rock.