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figure and glory in the world, he is no longer serving God in his employment; he is acting under other masters, and has no more title to a reward from God, than he that gives alms, that he may be seen, or prays that he may
be heard of men. For vain and earthly desires are no more allowable in our employments, than in our alms and devotions. For these tempers of worldly pride and vain glory, are not only evil, when they mix with our good works, but they have the same evil nature, and make us odious to God, when they enter into the common business of our employment.
If it were allowable to indulge covetous or vain passions in our worldly employments, it would then be allowable to be vain-glorious in our devotions. But as our alms and devotions-are not an acceptable service, but when they proceed from a heart truly devoted to God, so our common employment cannot be reckoned a service to him, but when it is performed with the same temper and piety of heart.
Most of the employments of life are in their own nature lawful; and all those that are so, may be made a substantial part of our duty to God, if we engage in them only so far, and for such ends, as are suitable to beings, that are to live above the world, all the time that they live in the world. This is the only measure of our application to any worldly business, let it be what it will, where it will, it must have no more of our hands, our hearts, or our time, than is consistent with an hearty, daily, careful preparation of ourselves for another lite.For as all Christians, as such, have renounced this world, to prepare themselves by daily devotion and universal koliness, for an eternal state of quite another nature, they must look upon worldly employments, as upon worldly wants and bodily infirmities ; things not to be desired, but only to be endured and suffered, till death and the ressurrection has carried us to an eternal state of real happiness.
Now he that does not look at the things of this like in this degree of littleness, cannot be said either to feel believe the greatest truths of Christianity. For if he thinks any thing great or important in human business, can he be said, to feel or believe those Scriptures which
represent this life, and the greatest things of life, as bubbles, vapours, dreams, and shadows ?
If he thinks tigure, and shew, and worldly glory, to be any proper happiness of a Christian, how can he be said to feel or believe this doctrine ? Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil for the son of man's sake. For surely, if there was any real happiness in figure, and shew, and worldly glory; if these things deserved, our thoughts and care, it could not be matter of the highest joy, when we are torn from them by persecutions and sufferings.If, therefore, a man will so live, as to shew, that he feels and believes the most fundamental doctripes of Christianity, he must live above the world; this is the temper that must enable him to do the business of life, and yet live wholly unto God, and to go through some worldly employment with a heavenly mind. And it is as necessary, that people live in their employments with this temper, as it is necessary that their employment itself be lawful.
The husbandman that tilleth the ground is employed in an honest business, that is necessary in life, and very capable of being made an acceptable service unto God. But if he labours and toils, not to serve any reasonable ends of life, but in order to have his plough made of sil. ver and to have his horses harnessed in gold, the honesty of his employment is lost as to him, and his labour becomes his folly.
A tradesman may justly think that it is agreeable to the will of God, for him to sell such things as are innocent and useful in life ; such as help both himself and others to a reasonable support, and enable them to assist those that want to be assisted. But if instead of this, he trades only with regard to himself, without any other rule than that of his own temper, if it be his chief end in it to grow rich, that he may live in figure and indul. gencies, and be able to retire from business to idleness and luxury, his trade, as to him, loses all its innocency, and is so far from being an acceptable service to God, that it is only a more plausible course of covetousness, self-love, and ambition. For such a one turns the
necessities of employments into pride and covetousness, just as the sot and epicure turn the necessities of eating and drinking into gluttony and drunkenness. Now he that is up early and late, that sweats and labours for these ends, that he may be some time or other rich, and live in pleasure and indulgence, lives no more to the glory of God, than he that plays and games for the same ends. For though there is a great difference between trading and gaming, yet most of that difference is lost, when men once trade with the same desires and tempers, and for the same ends that others game. Charity and fine dressing are things very different; but if men give alms for the same reasons that others dress fine, only to be seen and admired, charity is then but like the vanity of fine clothes. In like manner, if the same motives make some people painful and industrious in their trades, which make others constant at gaming, such pains are but like the pains of gaming.
Calidus has traded above thirty years in the greatest city of the kingdom; he has been so many years constantly increasing his trade and his fortune. Every hour of the day is with him an hour of business; and though he eats and drinks very heartily, yet every meal seems to be in a hurry, and he would say grace if he had time. Calidus ends every day at the tavern, but has not leisure to be there till near nine o'clock. He is always forced to drink a good hearty glass, to drive thoughts of business out of his head, and make his spirits drowsy enough for sleep. He does business all the time that he is rising, and has settled several matters before he can get to his compting-room. His prayers are a short ejaculation or two, which he never misses in stormy tempestuous weather, because he has always something or other at sea. Calidus will tell you with great pleasure, that he has been in this hurry for so many years, and that it must have killed him long ago, but that it has been a rule with him, to get out of the town every Saturday, and make the Sunday a day of quiet and good refreshment in the country.
He is now so'rich that he would leave off his business, and amuse his old age with building and furnishing a fine house in the country, but that he is afraid he should
grow melancholy if he was to quit his business. He
of life is at such a distance from all the docirine and discipline of Christianity, that no one can live in it through ignorance or frailty. Calidus can no
more imagine, that he is born again of St. John iii. the spirit ; that he is in Christ a new 1 Pet. ii. 11. creature ; that he lives here as a stranColoss. iii. 1. ger and pilgrim, setting his affections
upon things above, and laying up treasures in heaven. He can no more imagine this, than he can think that he has been all his life an apostle, working miracles and preaching the gospel.
It must also be owned that the generality of trading peon ple, especially in great towns, are too much like Calidus. You see them all the week buried in business, unable to think of any thing else ; and then spending the Sunday in idleness and refreshment, in wandering into the country, in such visits and jovial meetings, as make it often the worst day of the week.
Now they do not live thus, because they cannot support themselves with less care and application to business ; but they live thus because they want to grow rich in their trades, and to maintain their families in some such figure and degree of finery, as a reasonable christian life had no occasion for. Take away but this temper, and then people of all trades, will find themselves at leisure to live every day like Christians, to be careful of every duty of the Gospel, to live in a visible course of religion, and be every day strict observers both of private and pub
Now the only way to do this, is for people to consider their trade, as something that they are obliged to devote to the glory of God, something that they are to do only in such a manner, as that they may make it a duty to
Col. iii. 22,
him. Nothing can be right in business, that is not under these rules. The apostle commands servants to be obedient to their mesters in Ephes. vi. 5. singleness of heart as unto Christ. Not with eye-service as men-pleasers, but as the ser- 23. vants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will doing service as unto the Lord, and not unto men. This
passage sufficiently shews, that all Christians are to live wholly unto God in every state and condition, doing the work of their common calling in such a manner, and for such ends, as to make it a part of their devotion or service to God. For certainly if poor slaves are not to comply with their business as men pleasers, if they are to look wholly unto God in all their actions, and serve in singleness of heart, as unto the Lord, surely men of other employments and conditions must be as much obliged to go through their business with the same singleness of heart; not as pleasing the vanity of their own minds, not as gratifying their own selfish, worldly passions, but as the servants of God in all that they have to do. For surely no one wiit say that a slave is to devote his state of life unto God, and make the will of God the sole rule and end of his service, but that a tradesman need not act with the same spirit of devotion in his business. For this is as absurd, as to make it necessary for one man to be more just or faithful than another.
It is therefore absolutely certain, that no Christian is to enter any further into business, nor for any other ends, than such as he can in singleness of heart offer unto God, as a reasonable service. For the son of God has redeemed us for this only end, that we should by a life of reason and piety, live to the glory of God; this is the only rule and measure for every order and state of life. Without this rule, the most lawful employment becomes a sinful state of life.
Take away this from the life of a clergyman, and his holy profession serves only to expose him to a greater damnation. Take this from tradesmen, and shops: are but so many houses of greediness and filthy lucre. Take
away this from gentlemen, and the course of their life becomes a course of sensuality, pride and wanton