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and vigor for life's great work. But he does not seek amusement, or lie idle, for want of something to do, or because he feels that he has time to spare. “Time is money,” to the man of business : to the Christian it is more-it is growth in holiness; it is works of benevolence : it is the salvation of souls ; it is the conquest of the world, for Christ; it is an immortal crown. He who attaches such a value to time can never be remiss, can never be idle.
But it may be said that though the Christian religion in these *ways commends and favors industry, it yet interferes with the business of life, by the frequevey of religious observances, by drawing men away from business to religious meetings, and by appropriating one-seventh part of time to that use alone.
But if we compare the Christian religion in this respect with any other, or with irreligion, we shall see that the objection has no force. If you will take the pains to reckon up the number of festivals and other religious days, among the Greeks and Romans, days on which men were drawn aside from the ordinary pursuits of life, by religious observances, you will find, I think, that more than half the year was thus appropriated. The same is true of some pagan nations, to this day. And in Roman Catholic countries, where Christianity is corrupted till it is little more than a baptized paganism, you will find perhaps two-thirds of the year, or four days out of six, appropriated to religious ceremonies. When Atheism had sway in France, it was not much better ; the fete took the place of the holy-day, and the decade of the Sabbath. The Jewish system, though of Divine origin, demanded a much larger proportion of time for religious observances than the Christian. In this respect, therefore, the world has gained greatly by the introduction of Christianity, and must gain wherever a pure Christianity prevails. The reason of this is, that Judaism, Romanism, and Paganism, are all alike ritual, ceremonial systems. Under those systems, men are to be saved by rites and ceremonies, and so the more of them the better. But Christianity is a spiritual system ; men are saved under it by faith and holy living. It has but one sacred day—the Sabbath, and that not ceremonially, but morally sacred. All other observances are voluntary.
Now, as to the effect of the Sabbath on industry, let facts speak. These show us that both man and beast need this stated season of rest, and can do more work with it in six days, than without it in seven. It is a benevolent and an economical provision. Where the Sabbath is observed, individuals, the community, the nation, are more prosperous and thrifty than where it is not observed. The Sabbath strengthens good habits. It does not, when religiously observed, encourage idleness and vice, or leave any of those demoralizing influences that follow in the train of a pagan festival. The Sabbath is the great
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regulator of human industry ; the balance-wheel in a well ordered political economy. Under every aspect, then, the Christian religion is found to favor industry. By precept, by motives and influences, direct and indirect, and by its own positive institutions.
In accordance with this, was the greeting of the Apostle John to the beloved Gaius. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” So far from regarding temporal prosperity as necessarily adverse to religion, he wished that his frieud might be as prosperous in his temporal affairs and in bodily health, as he was in his soul. , · But while religion thus favors industry, it would infuse into all the business of life the leaven of piety. Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. The fervor here spoken of is not necessarily a religious, or devotional fervor, but an earnestness such as an ardent mind brings to any object upon which it is intent. Do not be slothful, but warmly enyaged, fervid, active in what is before you. Do the business of the hour, whatever it may be, in serious earnest, and that as il part of the great work of life. “Let each hour be busily filled up with its own proper empl yment," and that in subordination to the will of the master whom you serve. Let all the business of life be conducted as a part of your Christian duty, not as distinct from it; but in the spirit of Christianity, in obedience to the commands of God; for the glory of your Saviour ; for the good of mankind. This comprehensive precept is given in other forms. “Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service as men pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." ..... “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men.” “Whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” That is the rule of the Christian life. To some it may seem hard to be understood, and almost impossible to be obeyed. Yet nothiug can be plainer, for nothing is more common among men, than to have some one governing motive, some ruling purpose, running through all their conduct, shaping all their plans, and influencing all their actions,
The father toils year after year to provide for his family ; perhaps goes to some distant region, or foreign land, and there amid hardships and privations, digs and delves, or buys and sells, that he may lay up something for the comfort of the dear ones at home. They are not momently in his thoughts ; his mind is occupied with business, and he carries on the details of business' just as other men. Yet there is in his soul a deep
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spring of action unknown to the youthful adventurer, who la. bors at his side. When prospered, he rejoices for their sakes who are far away ; when unsuccessful, his sorrow is deepened on their account: when weary and almost disheartened he thinks of them, and his spirits rally and his strength returns. Thus is he ever acting, not mecnanically nor from impulse, but from one fixed motive, a motive which does not lie upon the surface, but is deeper and stronger even than the love of gain.
Another, under that sordid motive, will transmute the very virtues of social life into ministers of avarice.
A toird, moved by a more generous passion, will make every plan and action of his life subordinate to its gratification. Thus the hero of romance, and often the hero of real life, who for lack of fortune or fame, is denied the hand of her he loves, will traverse seas and continents, make any sacrifice, meet any danger, undergo any privation, perform prodigies of labor or valor, and even hazard life itself, to secure his end. In these and a thousand other instances, men know what it is to act under one ruling motive, which gives color and direction to all that they do, even when it is not apparent to others, and even at times when they themselves are not distinctly conscious of it. So should it be with the Christian; the one grand absorbing object of his life should be to serve the Lord. With a view to this, not his religious exercises merely, but his daily business should be conducted. He should leaven that with the spirit of the gospel.
How this is done may be best learned by illustration. A minister goes into his study in a prayerful spirit, to prepare a discourse for the pulpit. His great desire is to bring the Word of God before the minds of his hearers with distinctness and power. In order to get at the full meaning and spirit of his chosen text, he studies it critically in the original tongue. Wishing to avail himself of the help of German scholarship and · criticism, he studies also the German language. If, while he is thus engaged, a friend should enter his study and ask him why he is studying German, he might answer truly, “to save souls.” But how so? Does he expect to preach in German ? No. But by consulting the Biblical scholars and grammarians of a country pre-eminent in Biblical criticism, he hopes to get a clearer insight into the meaning of his text, and thus to ex. hibit more clearly and convincingly the truth as it is in Jesus. A minister may be intent upon the salvation of souls, while turning over the leaves of a Greek or German lexicon.
The young student who has devoted himself in heart to the missionary work, in studying each lesson during his long preparatory course, is doing what he can for the glory of Christ and the salvation of the heathen. He may not reflect that each lesson is designed to fit him for his chosen work; other local and temporary influences may contribute to make him
studious ; but after all, the main-spring of his every-day diligence in study, is the work which he has in view at the close of his course.
The merchant whose mind is intent on the advancement of Christ's kingdom is not merely selling cotton, cloth, and calico, all the day long, but in doing that-if that is his business-besides providing for his own support and that of his family, giving employment to others, and contributing to the general welfare of society, he is also sustaining a church, supporting a missionary or a colporteur, founding a college, doing whatever the avails of that business shall do to promote Christ's kingdom.
A compositor or a pressman in the Bible-house may work merely for his daily bread ; and it may be to him a matter of indifference whether he prints the Bible or Paine's age of Reason. But if he is living for Christ, it will be a matter of great satisfaction to him, that, while laboring for his daily bread, he is also contributing to multiply copies of the Word of God. And in like manner, any lawful and useful occupation may be pursued as a religious duty, and with constant reference to the glory of God, though it may be simply mechanical and may terminate wholly in physical effects.
A minister calling early one morning on a parishioner, a currier by trade, the latter apologized for being in his working dress. "May I be found so," replied the minister, “when the Master shall come for me.” “What!” exclaimed the other," in such a filthy dress ?” “When Christ comes,” rejoined the pastor, “may I be found about my business.”
In view of the subject, I remark : 1. That the Christian who makes his attention to business a pretext for inattention to the duties of religion, takes a wrong view both of business and religion, and sets against each other, things that were meant to be in harmony. True, indeed, it is, sadly true, that worldly employments often, perhaps commonly, draw off the mind from God. Sometimes this is owing to the nature of the employment; but it is often the case where the business is lawful, because it is looked upon as a thing distinct from the service of God, a sort of necessary bondage to the world, or a necessary temptation and discipline. And even those who aim to do business on Christian principles, do not always regard the doing of business as itself a duty to be performed in its own time and place, for the glory of God, as truly as the duty of prayer. " The right discharge of our duties in the various employments of life, is to be regarded as serving God. He has arranged the order of things in this life to promote industry; he has made industry essential to happiness and success. He has required that all our employments should be conducted with reference to his will and to his honor." He who so conducts his business will not find it a hindrance to piety, and will
be relieved of the painful strife between the claims of busiTress and the claims of God.
2. In a time of general prosperity, we should seek the reviv. ing of religion. It is a common saying, and a more common feeling, that nothing can be done for reviving religion in a busy season. Is tbis so ? Has God subjected us to temporal necessities and laws which conflict with our spiritual welfare ? The farmer, at certain sesuns, must be engaged in husbanding his crops ; is this incompatible with the due performance of religious duties? Is there inny s'ich necessary confiict be. tween the temporal and the spiritual ? Viewing the busy seaHon as a temptation, you should resolve that you will not be drawn off from God. But why not regard your increasing prosperity with gratitude, as sent from God, and make it a new incentive to activity in his service? Do not bargain with conscience to serve the world so hard, and so long, with the promise of serving God when you shall have nothing else to do. Let others see that, in being diligent in business, you are working for God. Do not conduct your business on selfish principles; and while you are making money, give, give, give, as God prospers you. .
3. Men of the world may understand what we mean, when we call upon them to give ip the world and become Christians. We do not ask them to give up their business, unless that business is an immoral and unlawful one. We do not ask them to be any less industrious and thrifty. But we show them how they may subbordinate their business to a higher end ; and instead of toiling for self and pelf, may labor for an object that shall last for ever. We show them how they may ennoble life, and enjoy it, and link it to heaven besides. What is it to make money ? For whom do you make it? What shall it profit you to gain the whole world, and lose your own soul? Oh, live to to do good! live for God !-then shall you live forever, and when you are gone hence, your works shall follow you in lines of fadeless glory to the skies.