« PreviousContinue »
hitherto been awfully deficient, you have of course greatly offended God, and stand in need of his forgiveness. Attend therefore to frequent and fervent prayer; entreating of him these favours. Improve your leisure hours in reading your bibles. Think also upon the importance of having all your sins pardoned-of being strengthened for every christian duty by the Spirit of God-of being made fit to die of being ready to go to heaven!. O, surely these considerations will animate you to seek the Lord without delay! Come, be persuaded to do it. Jesus invites you to himself, and declares for your encouragement" They that seek me early shall find me."
The Duties of Tradesmen.
MICAH, CHAPTER VI. PART OF VERSE 8.
GREAT caption is necessary in enforcing moral duties, lest the doctrines of grace be thereby depreciated. Truly excellent and important as those duties are, they must not be represented in any degree as the ground of our admission to the divine favour. This would be an absurdity which could only be equalled by describing the fruit of a tree, as the cause, rather than the effect, of its existence. Hence we find the sacred writers uniformly enforcing the duties of morality as evidences of an interest in salvation, and of a sincere love to God. This mode of instruction is adopted in the passage connected with the text. A most interesting representation is there given of a convinced
penitent, making inquiry respecting the best means, and proposing the most costly sacrifices, for expiating the sin of his soul. The prophet to whom the enquiry
was addressed, replied “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good." -As if he had said, “ He hath shewed thee in the Holy Scriptures what is good, for the atonement of thy transgressions. Every levitical sacrifice seems to say, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.' Scriptural predictions declare, that He bare the sin of many, and made reconciliation for iniquity. Inspired invitations encourage the penitent sinner to look by faith unto Jesus to be saved. And many precious promises encourage him to expect, that
by his Saviour's stripes his soul shall be healed.' Thus he hath shewed thee, O man, that the good which is necessary, asanatonement for the sin of thy soul, does not consist in thousands of rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil ; but in the costly sacrifice of the Messiah. And now what doth the Lord require of thee,' for having provided this inestimable good, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
Thus it is manifest, that the various duties of morality ought to be exhibited in our conduct, as so many evidencesof our interest in the meritorious sacrifice of the redeemer; and as so many proofs of our love to him, in return for the enjoyment of so great a blessing Requesting that this may be particularly kept in view, we will hasten to consider that branch of morality, which is inculcated in the text-Do justly.
This is a duty, it will be recollected, which is chiefly applicable to men of business.And as you, my beloved brethren are, for the most part, persons of this description, it is hoped the subject will be found peculiarly interesting: În discoursing upon this duty I shall call your attention to
An explanation and an application of it.
Inexplaining this duty Iobserve, first, that it requires us to be industriously engaged in some lawful occupation. The generality of mankind cannot do justly, either to themselves or their families, if they neglect to be occupied in some useful and becoming employment. Idleness proves exceedingly injurious to a man's character; it exposes him to innumerable moral evils ; leads to the formation of the most pernicious habits; renders life itself a burden ; is a dreadful waste of time; is highly offensiveto Almighty God; and an effectual obstacle to a preparation for an eternal world. Now idleness is almost a necessary consequence of not having a regular calling in life to attend to. Every character therefore that neglects such a calling, is doubtless acting most unjustly to himself. The effects of his conduct extend also to his family. It is his duty,
according to scripture authority, to provide for his own house : And nature itself demands it. His wife is bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh,and has forsaken father, and mother, and every near relation, to be one with him. His children also are a part of himself, and are brought into the world by him, in a most helpless and dependant state. Hence if he neglect to provide for his family, by not diligently engaging in some suitable earthly employment, he is evidently acting unjustly to them. The propriety of an industrious attention to a lawful calling will be still more manifest by referring to a few scripture-examples. Even Adam in a state of innocence, had an occupation assigned him. He was placed in the garden of Eden to dress it, and to keep it*. His two sons were appointed to separate employments, Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain was a tiller of the ground.f Of the Saviour himself it was said, “ Is not this the carpenteri?" His disciples were fishermen-Luke was a physician and Paul was a tent-maker. And thus that great Apostle writes in several Epistles-“Not slothful in business"-" This we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat,” –Do your own business, and work with your own
• Gencsis, chap. ii. ver. 15. † Clap. iv. VCF. 2.
Mark, chap. vi. ver 3.