The Hardships of Working Men
Isaiah 41:7
So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smoothes with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying…

If men in bad work can encourage each other, should not men engaged in honest artisanship and mechanism speak words of good cheer?

1. Men see in their own work hardships and trials, while they recognise no hardships or trials in anybody else's occupation. Every man's burden is the heaviest, and every woman's task is the hardest. We find people wanting to get other occupations and professions. Now, the beauty of our holy religion is that God looks down upon all the occupations and professions; and while I cannot understand your annoyances, and you cannot understand mine, God understands them all. I will speak this warning of the general hardships of the working classes. You may not belong to this class, but you are bound as Christian men and women to know their sorrows and sympathise with them, and as political economists to come to their rescue. You do a great wrong to the labouring classes if you hold them responsible for the work of the scoundrelly anarchists. You may do your duty toward your employes, but many do not, and the biggest business firm to-day is Grip, Gouge, Grind and Company. By what principle of justice is it that women in many of our cities get only two-thirds as much as men, and in many cases only half? Here is the gigantic injustice, that for work equally well, if not better, done woman receives far less compensation than man. Has toil frosted the colour of your cheeks? Has it taken all spontaneity from your laughter? Has it subtracted the spring from your step, and the lustre from your eye, until it has left you only half the man you were when you first put your hand on the hammer and your foot on the wheel? To-morrow in your place of toil, listen, and you will hear a voice above the hiss of the furnace, and the groan of the foundry, and the clatter of the shuttle — a voice not of machinery, nor of the task-master, but the voice of an all-sympathetic God, as He says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Let all men and women of toil remember that this work will soon be over. Have they not heard that there is a great holiday coming? Oh, that home, and no long walk to get to it! I wish they would put their head on this pillow stuffed with the down from the wing of all God's promises. "There remains a rest for the people of God."

2. Another great trial is privation of taste and sentiment. I do not know of anything much more painful than to have a fine taste for painting and sculpture and music and glorious sunsets and the expanse of the blue sky, and yet, not to be able to get the dollar for the oratorio, or to get a picture, or to buy one's way into the country to look at the setting sun and at the bright heavens.

3. Then there are a great many who suffer not only in the privation of their tastes, but in the apprehension and the oppressive surroundings of life.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.

WEB: So the carpenter encourages the goldsmith. He who smoothes with the hammer encourages him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, "It is good;" and he fastens it with nails, that it might not totter.

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