Romans 12:11
Do not let your zeal subside; keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Sermons
A Cheerful Word to Tired PeopleT. De Witt Talmage, D.D.Romans 12:11
A Consecrated MerchantClerical LibraryRomans 12:11
A Fervent PietyJ. Logan.Romans 12:11
A Royal Rule of LifeR. S. Storrs, D.D.Romans 12:11
A Triplet of GracesAlexander MaclarenRomans 12:11
Business and GodlinessD. Moore, M.A.Romans 12:11
Business and ReligionH. Melvill, B.D.Romans 12:11
Business and ReligionJ. Parker, D.D.Romans 12:11
Diligence and Fervour in Serving the LordW. Tyson.Romans 12:11
Diligence in BusinessJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 12:11
EnthusiasmArchdn. Farrar.Romans 12:11
Fervency a Test of SpiritualityH. G. Salter.Romans 12:11
Fervency of SpiritJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 12:11
Fervour of SpiritH. W. Beecher.Romans 12:11
IndustryJ. Hamilton, D.D.Romans 12:11
Industry, Power OfA. Farindon.Romans 12:11
Labour and ReligionJ. J. S. Bird, B.A.Romans 12:11
On IndustryW. Moodie, D.D.Romans 12:11
On the Obligations to Fervour of SpiritG. Milligan.Romans 12:11
Religion and BusinessW.Gurnall.Romans 12:11
Religion and BusinessT. Watson.Romans 12:11
Religion and Business: the Necessity of Combining ThemJ. N. Norton, D.D.Romans 12:11
Religion in Common LifeJ. Caird, D.D.Romans 12:11
Religion in Daily LifeH. W. Beecher.Romans 12:11
Religious FervourR. Walker.Romans 12:11
Sanctified ToilJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 12:11
Serving the LordBp. Beveridge.Romans 12:11
Serving the LordJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 12:11
Serving the LordRomans 12:11
Serving the LordC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 12:11
The Busy ManS. Smiles, LL.D.Romans 12:11
The Christian At His WorkA. J. Morris.Romans 12:11
The Happy CombinationJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 12:11
The Influence of Great Truths on Little ThingsCanon Garbett.Romans 12:11
The Relative Importance of Religion and BusinessJ. Garwood, M.A.Romans 12:11
Worship At WorkJ. Lyth, D.D., Bp. Beveridge.Romans 12:11
Christian LoveT.F. Lockyer Romans 12:9-21
Christian SocialismR.M. Edgar Romans 12:9-21
The Christian's Duty to His Fellow-MenC.H. Irwin Romans 12:9-21
The Christian's Duty to HimselfC.H. Irwin Romans 12:11, 12
While we are to think of others, we are to think of ourselves also. Herbert Spencer has contrasted the "religion of enmity," or the religion of heathenism, with what he calls the "religion of amity," or the religion of Christianity. But he speaks as if the Christian precept was, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour better than thyself." It is not so. The command is, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

"To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man." The apostle enumerates some duties which the Christian owes to himself.

I. DILIGENCE IN BUSINESS. Each man should have some definite work or business in life. Especially should the Christian be free from the sin of idleness. Whatever our work is, let us be diligent in the performance of it. "The hand of the diligent maketh rich." "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men."

II. EARNESTNESS OF SPIRIT. "Fervent in spirit." It is a strong phrase. Fervent means "burning," "on fire." Yes, we need more Christians who are on fire. It is the enthusiasts who have done the best and most lasting work in the world. They are usually called fanatics at first, but the day comes when their memory is blessed. St. Paul was a fanatic to Festus. Festus could not understand the fire that burned in Paul's heart and in his words. "Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning cloth make thee mad." William Wilberforce, the emancipator of the slaves; John Howard, the prisoner's friend; Samuel Plimsoll, the sailor's friend; Lord Shaftesbury, the friend of the overworked artisan; - all these men at first were sneered at and ridiculed by the multitude of indifferent and interested men. Earnestness and enthusiasm may be incomprehensible to the world, but they are indispensable to the true Christian.

III. A RELIGIOUS SPIRIT. "Serving the Lord." That spirit consecrates life, sweetens life, saves life. Serving the Lord does not lead us to the drunkard's degradation, the disgrace of the dishonest or fraudulent, the cell of the murderer or the grave of the suicide. The Christian will serve the Lord in every relationship of life - in his home, in his business, in his amusements. Can we all say as St. Paul did (Acts 27:23), "Whose I am, and whom I serve"?

IV. HOPEFULNESS AND JOY. "Rejoicing in hope." The apostle elsewhere in this Epistle uses the same phrase, "And rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:2). Dr. Chalmers has somewhere said, "That which distinguishes wisdom from folly is the power and habit of anticipation." The Saviour himself, in his earthly life, was sustained by the hope of what lay beyond. "Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2). So it was with St. Paul. He looked forward to the crown of righteousness. Therefore the Christian should be full of joyousness. Why should we groan under life's heavy burdens when we think of the rest that remaineth to the people of God? Why should we be unduly distressed by life's trials when we remember that they that are tried shall receive the crown of life? This, too, is a duty the Christian owes to himself. Work becomes no longer a burden when it is done with hopefulness and joy.

V. PATIENCE UNDER TROUBLE. "Patient in tribulation." The true Christian will know how to suffer. He knows that trials have their meaning and their place in the discipline of the children of God. He knows that whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and that "though no chastisement for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby."

VI. PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER. "Continuing instant in prayer." Prayer is the beginning and the end of the Christian life. We should ever go forth to the discharge of our duties, humbly asking for the Divine guidance and the Divine help. And then, when the duties are performed, we should not forget to pray that the Divine blessing should follow the work that we have done. This thought is well brought out by St. Paul in his description of the Christian's armour (Ephesians 6:11-18). Having exhorted his readers to put on the whole armour of God - the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit - he adds, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit." This is the fitting climax of the whole. It is the fitting conclusion of any exhortation about Christian warfare or Christian work. "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it." Such, then, are the Christian's duties to himself. Diligence. Earnestness. Religious spirit. Hopefulness. Patience. Prayerfulness. Let us cultivate them. - C.H.I.







Not slothful in business.
These words constitute an incomplete quotation, and I use them only as representing the entire passage of which they form an organic part. The whole extends from the third verse onwards to the close of the chapter, and contains in all twenty-six clauses, expressive negatively or positively of twenty-three graces of the Christian character. I invite attention, in the first place, to the relation in which they all stand to the life and hope of the Christian. The connecting word with which the chapter opens — "therefore" — "I beseech you, therefore" — looks both backwards to the chapters preceding and forwards to the verses that follow. In the look backwards we find the grand Christian motive. The life of holiness is to be lived, not that we may be saved, but because we are saved. Having laid down this obligation, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God," the apostle next expresses, in the second verse, the grand principle of all holiness. It can only have its spring in a total change of heart and life, wrought in us by the mighty Spirit of God — in the gift of a new nature with its own spiritual senses and experiences. And then, in the remainder of the chapter, he traces this great change into its details. It is as if we watched the beginning of some great river rising, like the springs of the Jordan, where the strong clear waters rush upwards in their strength, and then followed them as they flowed into a hundred divergent streams, carrying beauty and abundance through the smiling land, till they meet again to flow into the ocean. With what rich abundance the apostle heaps grace upon grace: "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer."

I. We may learn from these words THE INFLUENCE OF GREAT TRUTHS ON THE DETAILS OF CHRISTIAN PRACTICE. The truths, explained in the previous part of the Epistle, are almost the grandest that can possibly occupy human thought. Not only does the apostle explain in detail the method of salvation, but in doing so he takes in the full breadth of the Divine action. But I think we must be conscious of a danger arising from the very greatness of these truths. The distance between them and the apparently trivial details of daily life and conduct is so immense that we fail to bring the greatness of the one into contact with the littleness of the other. We get as far as the second verse of the chapter; but there we stop. We admit that a Christian, the object of such a love, tainted with a fatal crime, but redeemed by such a price as the precious blood of Christ, made inheritor of such a glory, should act worthy of his calling, and that, as he is different from other men in his hopes, so he ought to differ from them also in his life and in his modes of thinking, speaking, and acting; but when the time and occasion come for applying this to practice we fail. We have not faith enough to link the grand hope to the little actions. It seems to me that the whole of this chapter, and the energy with which the apostle presses the great motive into the details of the life, is one long witness against it. How minute are the graces enumerated! They do not belong to the few grand opportunities which occur now and then, but to the practical familiarities which enter into the daily life of all. The constancy of little occasions is an incalculably greater trial of faith than a few occasional opportunities, which, as it were, rally effort, and stimulate by their greatness the courage and zeal which become weary and evaporate amid the details of daily obedience. Nor is it only that the occasions are small in themselves, but it is also that so many secondary motives and influences become mixed up with them, and intervene between our clear sight of duty and the occasion of practising it as to throw us off our guard. Just as in a piece of machinery the moving force must be strong in proportion to the distance at which it needs to act, so the smallest occasions that lie, as it were, on the edge and outer confines of our life need the mightiest of motives to reach them and keep them in motion.

II. We may extend the same truth a step further, and learn that EVERY GRACE HAS ITS CORRESPONDING TEMPTATION — the shadow, as it were, thrown by it on the sunshine of the other world. For instance, in giving, is there not danger of the affectation of an air of superiority and a disposition to magnify our gift? Therefore we are warned, "He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity." When we are placed in a position of authority are we not often tempted to relax effort and yield to self-indulgence? Therefore, he "that ruleth" let him do it "with diligence." In showing mercy is there not a danger in forgiving unwillingly, as if we reluctantly yielded to the duty of mercifulness? Therefore, "he that showeth mercy" let him do it "with cheerfulness." In cultivating love to all men is there not danger of insincerity? Therefore, "Let love be without dissimulation." So, on the other side, "be not slothful in business"; for such I still believe to be the true meaning of the words, in spite of criticism. Is there not danger of becoming absorbed in it? Therefore, "be fervent in spirit." Yet, may not an enthusiastic energetic temper take a wrong direction? Therefore let it be "serving the Lord." So in another way, "rejoicing in hope," and therefore, because a bright hope should give us strength to bear and constancy to endure, whereas we often see persons of a bright and buoyant temperament easily depressed in sorrow, "be patient in tribulation." Then, as this twofold grace of cheerfulness and patience is not easy to human nature — though, thank God, we often see them combined in the saints of Christ — therefore let us seek strength where alone it can be had, "continuing instant in prayer." Thus there is a strict connection everywhere, and we need to learn from it. A little self-knowledge will convince us that, even when we do the right thing, we are apt to do it in the wrong way. The shadow and taint of our corrupt nature cling to us everywhere, and nothing but the most generous love of God sweeping away little temptations, as the strong river carries the fallen leaves upon its surface, will enable us to get rid of it.

(Canon Garbett.)

Every Christian —

I. SHOULD HAVE SOME BUSINESS TO DO. If not in the world —

1. In social life.

2. In the Church.

II. SHOULD DISCHARGE IT WITH DILIGENCE.

1. As a Christian duty.

2. As a part of his moral education.

3. As responsible to the great Master for the use of his ability.

III. IS PROMPTED TO THIS COURSE BY THE MOST IMPRESSIVE CONSIDERATIONS.

1. Life is the time for work.

2. Is soon ended.

3. Is followed by a just reward.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Christianity addresses itself to man as he is — as a citizen of the world, having work in the world to do. But as he belongs to another, and owes duties to it — the perfection in obedience consists in maintaining a just equipoise between the two. Religion is a discipline for the whole man. The workshop may be made as good a sanctuary as the cloister.

I. A LIFE OF ACTIVE USEFULNESS IS OBLIGATORY UPON ALL OF US.

1. Neither rank nor wealth can confer a prerogative to be idle. All God's gifts to us are for some beneficial use, and we dishonour them by allowing them to lie idle. Circumstances may determine for each what his work shall be. But the command to work is universal, and came in with the Fall.

2. And, for a fallen being, there is no reason but to believe such a command is merciful and wise. Continual employment keeps the soul from much evil. Active engagements, so long as they are not so engrossing as to draw our hearts away from better things, give a healthy tone to the mind and strengthen moral energy. Next to devotion (and a man cannot be engaged in that always), there is no relief against wearing anxieties so effectual as the necessity of engrossing work. With nothing to do but to sit still and hear the enemy of souls make the most and worst of our troubles, we should soon get to think ourselves the most ill-used people in the world, and murmur in secret both against God and man.

II. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE BUSIEST LIFE, AS SUCH, WHICH IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE CLAIMS OF PERSONAL RELIGION.

1. Scripture teems with examples of those who, while laborious in the duties of their station, were most exact in the duties which they owed to God. Leaving the greatest of all, look at Joseph, Moses, David and Daniel. And like examples the Church has had in all ages. Xavier among churchmen, Sir Matthew Hale among judges, Wilberforce and Buxton among statesmen, Gardiner and Havelock among soldiers, have all left records that prayer never spoiled work, and that work must never interfere with prayer.

2. But this compatibility of business with godliness does not rest upon specific acts or examples, though Hebrews 11 is full of them. Religion consists not so much in the super-addition of certain acts of worship to the duties of common life, as in leavening the latter with the spirit of the former, and life's common work will be accepted as worship if we set about it in a religious spirit. The husbandman when he tills the ground with a thankful heart, the merchant when for all success he gives God the glory, the servant who in all fidelity discharges the duties of his trust, each offering to God a continual sacrifice.

III. SO FAR FROM THE ACTIVE DUTIES OF LIFE PRESENTING ANY BARRIER TO OUR PROFICIENCY IN PERSONAL RELIGION, THEY ARE THE VERY FIELD IN WHICH ITS HIGHER GRACES ARE TO BE EXERCISED, AND ITS NOBLEST TRIUMPHS ARE TO BE ACHIEVED. We sometimes repine at the spiritual hindrances connected with our outward lot: but the hindrance is in ourselves. We have not practised ourselves in the worship of God in the world; the religion of the toiling hand or brain. Yet this is what is required of us, and that which has always distinguished the hard-working saints of God from the common run of men. Every lot in life will serve us with occasions of serving God. We may be diligent in business — even more diligent than other men — and yet the world will soon be able to take note of us that we have been with Jesus. Conclusion: Wherefore be it ours to find out the golden mean. "Be not righteous over much," as if saying prayers were everything. Be not careful over much, as if bread for the body were everything. We cannot neglect either, and may not disparage either; and therefore that which God hath joined together let no man put asunder.

(D. Moore, M.A.)

I. IT IS A FALSE OPINION WHICH WOULD MAKE LABOUR THE CONSEQUENCE OF SIN.

1. Labour was God's ordinance whilst man was in paradise. The curse provoked by disobedience was not work, but painful work.

2. Employment is appointed to every living thing. The highest of heaven's angels has his duties to fulfil; and the meanest of earth's insects must be busy or perish. It is the running water which keeps fresh; it is the air fanned by winds which is wholesome; it is the metal that is in use that does not rust.

3. There is wisdom and goodness in the difference placed between man and animals. From man, the lord of this lower creation, there is demanded labour, and ingenuity, before he can be provided with the common necessaries of life. Whatsoever is beautiful in art, sublime in science, or refined in happiness, is virtually due to the operation of that law of labour, against which so many are tempted to murmur. The unemployed man is always dissatisfied and restless.

II. WHATEVER IS WORTH DOING AT ALL IS WORTH DOING WELL. You frequently meet with persons who occasionally will exert much diligence to produce something excellent, but who, at other times, care nothing, so long as a duty be performed, how slovenly may be the performance. And it is against this temper that our text directs its emphasis. What a man is in one thing, that in the main will he be in another. If industrious only by fits and starts in business, he will be industrious only by fits and starts in religion — a habit injurious to both. If I fritter away my time through being "slothful in business," fewer hours are employed than I might have had for providing for eternity.

III. THERE CANNOT BE A GREATER MISTAKE THAN TO DIVIDE EMPLOYMENTS INTO SECULAR AND SPIRITUAL. The businesses of life are so many Divine institutions, and, if prosecuted in a right spirit, are the businesses of eternity, through which the soul grows in grace, and lasting glory is secured. If men are but "fervent in spirit," then are they "serving the Lord" through their very diligence in business. And if this be so, then is diligence in business to be urged by precisely the same motives as diligence in prayer, in the study of the Bible, or in works of piety and of faith. For our earthly callings are the appointments of God; and are therefore means through which you are to work out your salvation; and consequently the servant, the mechanic, the merchant, and the scholar must "do with their might whatsoever their hand findeth to do."

IV. BUT THERE ARE DUTIES WHICH ARE MORE OPENLY CONNECTED THAN OTHERS WITH THE SAVING OF THE SOUL. It is not the representation of Scripture that religion is an easy thing; so that immortality may be secured with no great effort. Admitting that we are justified simply through faith, nevertheless the Christian life is likened to a battle, a race, a stewardship; so that only as we are "not slothful" in religion, have we right to suppose that we have entered on its path. Be not then slothful in the great prime business of all. Is temptation to be resisted — be "not slothful" in resistance: a half-resistance courts defeat. Is prayer to be offered — be "not slothful" in offering it: a languid prayer asks to be unanswered. Is a sacrifice to be made — be "not slothful" in making it: a tardy surrender is next akin to refusal. Be industrious in religion. We can tolerate indolence anywhere rather than here, where an eternity is at stake. Work, then, "with your might," give all diligence to make "your calling and election sure." If, by industry hereafter, you might repair the effects of indolence here, we could almost forgive you for being "slothful in business"; but now that probation is altogether limited to the present brief existence, and that the boundless future is given wholly to retribution, what are ye, if ye work not "with all your might"?

(H. Melvill, B.D.)

I. BUSINESS MEN REQUIRE SYMPATHY. We often hear that "business is business," as if it were some lonely island at which no ship of religion ever called, or if it did call it would find but scant welcome. This morning, however, the ship calls at the port, and the captain asks what he can do for you. You are now face to face with one who understands you, in your difficulties, disappointments, and temptations. By so much I would claim your confidence. When you therefore come up out of the market-place into the church, what do you want? If you had been spending the week in gathering violets and in cultivating orchids, I should address you in a very different tone; but the most of you have just laid down your tools, you have not shaken the world from you yet, and therefore you cannot enter into high speculation and transcendental imaginings, or even into fine points of criticism. You want a broad, sympathetic gospel, standards by which you can at once adjust yourselves to God's claim upon you. Therein is the preacher's great difficulty. He is not an academic lecturer surrounded by persons who have been spending six days in preparation for the seventh. Probably there are not six men in this house who have been able to say to the world at the door of the church, "Stand thou here, whilst I go up and worship yonder," and the world permitted to come over the threshold remains to throw a veil between the preacher and his hearer, to excite prejudice and throw the music of revelation into discord. What a weary life is that of the man of business! Always beginning, never ending. He writes a letter that is to form a conclusion, and behold it only starts a more voluminous correspondence. What with orders half completed, money half paid or not paid, responsibilities ignored, discoveries of untrustworthiness on the part of the most trusted, the wonder is that business men can live at all. The Christian preacher, therefore, must recognise their difficulties, and not regard them as if they and he had been living all the week in a great cloud full of angels.

II. BUSINESS HAS ITS BOUNDARIES. You are limited by health, time, the incapacity of others, by a thousand necessities.

1. Thank God, therefore, if Parliament takes hold of you and says, "You shall rest to-day." It is your commercial, intellectual, and moral salvation. You recover yourselves within those four-and-twenty hours: the very act of closing the book and saying, "I cannot open that until Monday morning" is itself the beginning of a religious blessing. What then have you to do? You have to meet that from the other side by sympathy, by joyful acquiescence, so as to get the most and the best out of the arrangement.

2. You brought nothing into the world, and it is certain you can carry nothing out. What; is the end, therefore, of all this anxiety and toil and sleeplessness? Christ says, "Which of you by multiplying worry and fret can accomplish anything beyond the limits that God has imposed upon you?" If you could show that to-day's anxiety would bring to-morrow's success, then it would be justified.

III. BUSINESS IS A GREAT SCIENCE. No business man can be an uneducated man. He may never have been at school, but we do not get our education at school: there we get the tools, hints, and suggestions which we may turn to profit subsequently; but our education we get in the world, in social collisions, in having to work out the great practical problems of life and time. Why, the medical man tells me, after I have read all my books, that I must go to the bedside to learn to be a doctor. And the navigator tells me that after I have studied all the mathematics of navigation I must go to sea in order to be a high nautical authority. And so we must go into the practical, real engagements of life in order to be truly educated.

IV. BUSINESS SUCCESS DEPENDS ON DILIGENCE. It is possible for a man of the very finest capacity to be put in circumstances which overpower him; to pass in at the wrong door, and not get back again. Such men have my sympathy. But there are others who often come to me in distress, whose criticism upon life would be comical if it were not too sad in its unreality and untruth. Let me suppose that I am a business man in your sense of the term. I plan, scheme, go to my work, upbraiding the light for being so long in coming, and leave it — upbraiding the light for going away so soon. I succeed, retire, and am a rich man. What does the individual referred to say? "You have been very fortunate." Is that true? What did he do? Went to business at nine with his hands in his pockets, looked over the door, came back and gossiped with the first person that was fool enough to waste his time with him — was very anxious to know from the papers what was going to be done fifteen thousand miles away from his place of business, went home at four o'clock, and he calls me a fortunate man! Fortunate? No — "be not deceived; God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap." The men who like their work, do it joyfully, and when it is done are proud of it, and those who engage them are proud of them and their work too — those men deserve success.

V. I CLAIM BUSINESS MEN FOR CHRIST. Let me tell you why.

1. Without faith you could not conduct your business; you deal with men whom you have never seen, you base your connection upon written authority; you venture and incur risk. By such experiments and engagements you enter into the very spirit of faith. In the Christian kingdom we walk by faith, and not by sight; we venture upon Christ — we risk it.

2. You know what preparation is. You have apprenticeships, you say that a certain seed sown will produce a certain result — but not to-morrow: you have to wait and trust in the outworking of great eternal laws. In the Christian kingdom we have to do just the same.

3. I claim you business men for Christ, men with clear understandings, resolute wills, and ask you to accept the great mystery of this Christian kingdom. It will go with you through all your engagements, it will turn your water into wine, it will relieve your perplexities, and be the solace of your solitude. Let Christ be head of your firm, The Lord thy God giveth thee power to get wealth — praise God from whom all blessings flow. Conclusion: Diligent in business — not absorbed in, anxious about, overmastered by it. Let your object be not to gain the mere wealth, but to gain something that is better — the discipline, patience, solidity of character, which such engagements of yours tend to work out. He who comes out of business rich in gold only will soon die.

(J. Parker, D.D.)

Diligence in business should not hinder fervency in spirit. Like the pure mettled sword, that can bend this way and that way, and turns to its straightness again, and stands not bent, that heart is of the right make that can stoop and bend to the lowest action of its worldly calling, but then return to its fitness for communion with God.

(W.Gurnall.)

The Christian must not only mind heaven but attend to his daily calling. Like the pilot who, while his eye is fixed upon the star, keeps his hand upon the helm.

(T. Watson.)

The common practice is to reverse these words. Business is the chief concern, and religion only secondary; whereas the text teaches us that business is to be attended to as well as the duty of our calling, but religion is to be the object of our holy enthusiasm. There is a vast distinction between the expressions "not slothful" and "fervent." The one simply denotes that there is to be no loitering, or trifling, but a steady perseverance; the other denotes that there is to be an intensity of ardour. And if we give either a greater degree of attention to business than "not to be slothful" in it, or a less degree of attention to religion than to be "fervent" in it, neither our works of business nor our works of religion are a "serving the Lord."

I. THE GRACE INCULCATED, "fervour in spirit." The great propriety of this is apparent, if we call to mind —

1. The infinitely important matters with which it has to do. "It is not a light thing, but it is your life." "One thing is needful."

2. The regard which is due by you to your own interest. Religion has to do with the soul, and business with the body, and therefore religion is just as much more important than business as the soul is than the body.

3. That this is the great end for which you were sent into this world. The primary object of God's giving you being, was not that you might be men of business. You have a soul to save, and God created you that you might show forth His praise.

II. THE SECULAR DUTY WITH WHICH THE EXERCISE OF RELIGION IS CONNECTED. Even when man was innocent, God allowed him not to be idle. It is not good, therefore, for man to be unemployed, and it is more advantageous to the exercise of piety that our entire time is not to be given to religious employments. Be this, however, as it may, the command is explicit that we be not slothful in business. "Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work." The Book of Proverbs contains many striking exhortations on the will of God in this matter. "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings," etc. The apostle also gives his command that we "study to be quiet, and to do our own business."

III. THE NECESSITY OF THE CONNECTION BETWEEN BEING FERVENT IN SPIRIT AND NOT SLOTHFUL IN BUSINESS.

1. For the purpose of bringing down God's blessing upon our secular employments. "Godliness is profitable unto all things," etc.

2. Because activity in the concerns of business tends to deaden the mind to the claims of religion. Worldly objects are good, but they are good only as they are "sanctified by the Word of God, and by prayer"; and he who spends a portion of his time in prayer shall sooner arrive at the attainment of his object than he who has been the most diligent, but has neglected prayer.

3. Because the principles of the gospel are intended for illustration in the common every-day occurrences of life.

(J. Garwood, M.A.)

A poor barefooted brother once presented himself at the gate of a convent, and finding all the monks at work, gravely shook his head and remarked to the abbot, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth." "Mary hath chosen that good part." "Very well," said the abbot, with undisturbed composure, and ordered the devout stranger to a cell, and gave him a book of prayers to occupy his time. The monk retired, and sat hour after hour, until day had passed, wondering that no one offered him the slightest refreshment. Hungry and wearied out, he left his cell and repaired to the abbot. "Father," said he, "do not the brethren eat to-day?" "Oh, yes," returned the other, with a quiet smile playing over his aged face, "they have eaten plentifully." "Then, bow is it, Father, that you did not call me to partake with them?" "For the simple reason," said the abbot, "that you are a spiritual man, and have no need of carnal food. For our part, we are obliged to eat, and on that account we work; but you, brother, who have chosen 'the good part,' you sit and read all the day long, and are above the want of 'the meat that perisheth.'" "Pardon me, Father." said the mortified and confounded stranger, "I perceive my mistake."

(J. N. Norton, D.D.)

One would have supposed that with such a large and rapidly increasing business, George Moore would have had little time to attend to the organising of charitable institutions. But it was with him as with many other hardworking men. If you wish to have any good work well done, go to the busy not to the idle man. The former can find time for everything, the latter for nothing. Will, power, perseverance, and industry enable a man not only to promote his own interests, but at the same time to help others less prosperous than himself.

(S. Smiles, LL.D.)

There is no war between Bibles and ledgers, churches and counting-houses. On the contrary, religion accelerates business. To the judgment it gives more skilful balancing; to the will more strength; to industry more muscle; to enthusiasm a more consecrated fire. We are apt to speak of the moil and tug of business life as though it were an inquisition or a prison into which a man is thrown, or an unequal strife where, half-armed, he goes to contend. Hear me while I try to show you that God intended business life to be —

I. A SCHOOL OF CHRISTIAN ENERGY. After our young people have left school they need a higher education, which the collision of every-day life alone can give. And when a man has been in business for twenty or thirty years, his energy can no longer be measured by weights, plummets, or ladders. Now do you suppose that God has spent all this education on you for the purpose of making you merely a yard-stick or a steelyard? He has put you in this school to develop your energy for His cause. There is enough unemployed talent in the churches to reform all empires in three weeks.

II. A SCHOOL OF PATIENCE. How many little things there are in one day's engagements to annoy. Men will break their engagements; collecting agents will come back emptyhanded; goods will fail to come, or come damaged; bad debts will be made; and under all this friction some men break down, but others find in this a school for patience, and toughen under the exposure. There was a time when they had to choke down their wrath, and bite their lip. But now they have conquered their impatience. This grace of patience is not to be got through hearing ministers preach about it; but in the world.

III. A SCHOOL FOR THE ATTAINING OF KNOWLEDGE. Merchants do not read many books, nor study many lexicons, yet through the force of circumstances they get intelligent on many questions. Business is a hard schoolmistress. If her pupils will not learn, she smites them with loss. You went into some business enterprise, and lost five thousand dollars. Expensive schooling, but it was worth it. Traders in grain must know about foreign harvests; in fruits must know about the prospects of tropical production; in imported goods must know about the tariff. And so every bale of cotton, and raisin cask, and tea box, becomes a literature to our business men. Now do you suppose that God gives you these opportunities of increasing your knowledge merely to get a grander business? Can it be that you have been learning about foreign lands, and yet have no missionary spirit? about the follies and trickeries of the business world, and yet not try to bring to bear upon them this gospel which is to correct all abuses, arrest all crime, and lift up all wretchedness? Can it be that, notwithstanding your acquaintance with business, you are ignorant of those things which will last the soul long after invoices and rent rolls have been consumed in the fires of a judgment-day?

IV. A SCHOOL OF CHRISTIAN INTEGRITY. No age ever offered so many inducements for scoundrelism as are offered now. It requires more grace to be honest now than it did in the days of our fathers. How rare it is that you find a man who can from his heart say, "I never cheated in trade"; but there are those who can say it, who are as pure and Christian to-day as on the day when they sold their first tierce of rice or their first firkin of butter, and who can pray without being haunted with the chink of dishonest gold, and look into the laughing faces of their children without thinking of orphans left by them penniless.

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

Every Christian ought to be a worker. If he were not one before he became a Christian, Christianity should have made him one. There is a grievous heresy wrapped up in the phrase, "the working classes." It is just as possible to be sycophantic to the poor as to the rich. The term properly understood includes many besides those destined to the drudgery of material labour.

I. THE CHRISTIAN AT HIS WORK MAY FEEL THAT WORK IS A GOOD AND NOBLE THING. Christianity greatly honours honest industry. Of our race there have been two heads — the one was a gardener in Paradise, the other a carpenter in Nazareth.

1. There is a natural voice of self-respect whose tones Christianity deepens and empowers. It is honourable to be independent. There is no disgrace in deriving riches and renown from ancestors, but there is virtue and glory in obtaining them from ourselves, and that religion which makes everything of the will and nothing of accidents, which aims ever at deepening personal interest and impressing personal responsibility, smiles ineffably at the Christian at his work.

2. Christianity attaches great importance to the exercise of the faculties. The value of daily toil is that it prevents the evils of stagnation, the wretched results of indolence. And here comes in the blessedness of the law that to eat men must work. The merely meditative often go wrong. Many have fallen into wretched theories and more wretched moods, because their thinking powers have not been yoked to their active energies. And, therefore, Christianity, which seeks the maturity and wholesome state of our nature, looks benignly on the Christian at his work.

3. Christianity, in elevating man, elevates his engagements. It cares comparatively little for the sphere and form of our outward life, but attaches every importance to its spirit and its power. It is the "good man" that makes the good, the great man that makes the great, deed. The worker is more than the work; and it is as he is. A slave, according to Paul, may do his work "unto the Lord," and make a divine service of his hard drudgery. And therefore the gospel, which makes everything of what a man is, and raises and refines him, constituting him a servant and a child of God, has only words of impressive approbation for the Christian at his work.

II. THE CHRISTIAN AT HIS WORK MAY FEEL THAT HE IS FILLING THE SPHERE INTENDED FOR HIM.

1. He is not only doing what, in general, is worth doing, but he is, or should be, able to realise the appointment of God. The Bible teaches a present providence as well as an original ordinance in reference to work. But providence is not fatalism. God's appointment does not interfere with our free agency, or release us from responsibility. "Whatever is, is right," so far as it is done by God; but it may be wrong, so far as it is done by us. It is true that, in a sense, we cannot frustrate God's purpose; but there is a limit to our right of inferring our duty from its ordinations and permissions. Our worldly lot may be a matter of volition. We need not stay in a state which necessitates transgression. If we cannot live without sinning, it is a sin to live.

2. It is, then, our duty to ascertain the will of God in reference to our worldly pursuits. That which is presented to us; that which we are fitted for; that to which we are directed by circumstances; these are the evidences, interpreted by a just and godly spirit.

3. Of course, the calling must be a lawful one. A man must be satisfied of this before he can take comfort from the thought that he is "in his place." As a general rule, it is not difficult for any Christian to distinguish between lawful and unlawful callings. He who wishes to be right may be so. If a man cannot pursue his calling without violating the law of God, his course is plain. If others do wrong, that is no excuse for us. Nor is it any excuse for us if quite as much wrong will be done, whether we do it or not. We are accountable for our actions in themselves, and for our moral example. Nor may we ask Cain's question, "Am I my brother's keeper?"

4. And is it not a soul-inspiring thought for any toiler in this hard world, that he is doing the work of his heavenly Father? It is not the nature of the service, but the Being that is served, that gives importance to it.

III. CHRISTIANITY WILL EXERT A DIRECT AND POWERFUL INFLUENCE ON THE CHRISTIAN AT HIS WORK.

1. It will regulate it — especially it will make work subservient to godliness. The Christian will not permit himself to be so engrossed with it as to hinder the higher work of eternal redemption. Work is a blessing; but it may become a curse. It is quite necessary that even lawful business should have its limits and intermissions. Speaking spiritually, it is good only with something else. It has to the direct means of spiritual growth the relations of exercise to food. Exercise is healthy; but it is no substitute for nourishment(1) In this light, what a blessing is the Sabbath! It is, to take the lowest view, the drag-chain on the wheels of the soul on its secular incline. It is, to take the highest view, the replenishing it with power from on high.(2) Christianity should make us endeavour to abridge the labouring hours, when excessive, of our brethren as well as our own. The excessive toil of multitudes is, if not fatal to religion, a terrific obstacle to it. One thing at least can be done — there is no earthly need why the thousands who serve in our shops should not be earlier released from their daily drudgery.

2. The Christian at his work may be with God. "Let every man wherein he is called therein abide with God." There is no necessity for the exclusion of religious things from the mind during secular engagements. It is a strange occupation which has no moments of intermission; and to fill these with Christian meditations and prayers is the great privilege of the saint. A mind thus kept spiritual will be able to make some use of work for the purposes of the soul. How much of the carnality of worldly things, which we lament, is owing to our own want of a fresh and lively grace? How many water-pots are there in our earthly life which, if filled by us with water, would be filled by Christ with wine? We have to do with —(1) Men. What a field of profitable thought is human nature!(2) Things. And these are suggestive. Objects, places, times, all may be yoked to the soul's chariot. He who has put his lessons of Divinest wisdom into parables taken from agriculture and commerce has taught us how we may make our secular labour the mirror and voice of most spiritual truth.

3. God may be with him. "Acknowledge Him in all thy ways, and He shall direct thy steps." And if the guidance of God may be had, His prospering blessing may be had also. "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it." And may there not be the presiding sense of the Divine love, "the love of God shed abroad in the heart," whatever the course of providential events, giving strength in adversity, and infusing a nobler joy in prosperity?

(A. J. Morris.)

Clerical Library.
When a certain New England merchant waited on his pastor to tell him of his earnest desire to engage in work more distinctively religious, the pastor heard him kindly. The merchant said, "My heart is so full of love to God and to man that I want to spend all my time in talking with men about these things." "No," said the pastor; "go back to your store, and be a Christian over your counter. Sell goods for Christ, and let it be seen that a man can be a Christian in trade." Years afterwards the merchant rejoiced that he had followed the advice, and the pastor rejoiced also in a broad-hearted and open-handed brother in his church, who was awake not only to home interests, but to those great enterprises of philanthropy and learning which are an honour to our age.

(Clerical Library.)

1. The word rendered "business" is rightly rendered "diligence" (ver. 8), "haste" (Mark 6:25), "care" (2 Corinthians 7:12), "carefulness" (2 Corinthians 7:11), "earnest care" (2 Corinthians 8:16), "forwardness" (2 Corinthians 8:8). It properly denotes promptness in action, earnestness in effort, and zeal in execution. Its special reference in this place is not to secular, but to Christian work.

2. It is quite true that the two first clauses express the manner in which the third is to be obeyed; but this third does not denote a distinct service, but rather requires that all service shall be rendered as unto the Lord.

I. IN RESPECT TO EVERY KIND OF SERVICE, TO WHICH AS CHRISTIANS YOU ARE CALLED, LET THERE BE NO SLOTHFULNESS, BUT, ON THE CONTRARY, PROMPTNESS AND ZEAL. This exhortation will apply to

1. The conduct of secular business, inasmuch as that implicates Christian character and duty (1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12). The religion of Christ gives no countenance to an idle and thriftless spirit (Proverbs 6:6-8; Proverbs 10:4; Proverbs 24:30-34). Only it will have a man to attend to his secular business in another than a secular spirit.

2. To the work of our own religious life. This will no more survive continued neglect and starvation than will the bodily life. There is for us the work of searching the Scriptures for spiritual food; of prayer and meditation for the assimilation of that food; of securing fresh air and healthful exercise by the "work of faith and labour of love."

3. To the manifestation of the graces of the Christian life. The apostle has just written of love and brotherly kindness, and he presently gives examples of the conditions under which these graces must be exercised with special care. But both involve active service (James 2:15, 16; Proverbs 3:27, 28).

4. To all church work. In whatever department of spiritual ministry you may find your appropriate sphere of activity — whether in teaching, administration, etc. — be punctual, resolute, diligent.

II. IT IS REQUIRED THAT THE INNER DISPOSITION SHALL CORRESPOND WITH THE OUTWARD ACTIVITY. As to the spirit in which the active service shall be rendered, let it be fervent. Christ was "clad with zeal as with a cloak" (Isaiah 59:17; John 2:17; Psalm 69:9). Apollos "being fervent in spirit, he taught diligently the things of the Lord" (Acts 18:25). And wherever there is true fervour of spirit, there will certainly be diligence in service. But there may be diligence without fervour: diligence from servility, pride, ambition, selfishness (Revelation 3:15, 16). It is important that our "zeal of God" should be "according to knowledge" certainly, but still more important that zeal there should really be (Galatians 4:18).

III. BE THUS DILIGENT AND FERVENT AS THOSE WHO ARE SERVING THE LORD. It is our boast and glory that we are the servants of the Lord Christ. We are His by right, by consent, and by open avowal. Even in our secular work, if we live up to the spirit of our profession, we are still serving Him (Ephesians 6:5-8). This it is which imparts to all labour its true dignity.

(W. Tyson.)

Industry denotes the steady application and vigorous exercise of our active powers in the pursuit of some useful object. Our minds, indeed, by their own nature, are active and restless; while we are awake they are never wholly unemployed — they are continually thinking, contriving, and imagining even in those seasons in which we are scarcely conscious of their operation. But there is a negligent state of mind in which some waste a great proportion of their time. To this negligence industry stands directly opposed.

I. That if you would cultivate the industry which Christianity recommends you MUST SELECT PROPER OBJECTS OF PURSUIT.

1. It is the nature of the objects which we pursue that characterises our industry as useful or frivolous, as virtuous or vicious. The wicked sometimes discover the most unwearied activity in executing their schemes of guilt. They who are most negligent of their own affairs are often officially attentive to the affairs of their neighbours. There is a frivolous industry which others display in the pursuit of vanity and folly. They fly from scene to scene, seeking in every amusement a relief from that languor of mind with which indolence is always accompanied. Such persons forget that amusement ceases to be innocent when it is followed as the business of life.

2. The things which are innocent and useful are the only proper objects of that industry which the text recommends. What are these? Religion and morality.

3. But as our minds cannot be continually fixed on those great and interesting concerns; there are a variety of inferior objects in the pursuit of which our industry may be usefully exercised. Our worldly affairs, for example, demands a portion of our attention and care. It is surely pitiful in any person who is capable of exertion to be altogether ignorant of his own concerns, and to acknowledge himself unworthy of the station which he fills by committing to others the whole arrangement of his interests. He who attends not to his own affairs is not prepared either to reward the services of the faithful or to check the encroachments of the dishonest; he becomes a prey to the indolence of one, to the profusion of another, and the rapacity of a third: his wealth is dissipated he knows not how. Those who are placed in stations of trust will find in the discharge of the duties which more particularly belong to them an extensive sphere of employment, and for the faithful performance of these every person to whom they are committed is accountable to himself, to the world, and to his Maker. There are also works of general utility which, though not immediately connected with the duties of any particular station, may exercise the industry of the higher classes of men, and which their extensive influence may enable them to forward. To them it belongs to reform public abuses, to encourage useful arts, and to establish such wise regulations as may contribute to maintain the order and advance the happiness of society.

4. Even in his hours of relaxation from the more serious concerns of life the industrious man finds a variety of engagements in which he may exert the activity of his mind.

II. That in the pursuit even of such objects as are innocent and useful in themselves you cannot hope to be successful unless you PURSUE THEM ACCORDING TO A REGULAR PLAN.

1. Among the objects in the prosecution of which our industry may be lawfully exercised there are some which claim our first attention, and there are others to which only a secondary regard is due. Religion first. To cultivate useful knowledge is also a proper exercise of our powers. But we value knowledge too highly if we suffer the love of it so completely to fascinate our minds as to leave to us neither leisure nor inclination for performing the duties of active benevolence; and our benevolence itself becomes excessive when we indulge it beyond the limits of our fortune, so as to involve ourselves in distress or bring misery and ruin on those who are more immediately committed to our care.

2. If you wish, then, that your industry may be successful, let it be conducted with order and regularity. Assign to every duty a suitable portion of your time. Let not one employment encroach on the season allotted for another. Thus shall you be delivered from that embarrassment which would retard your progress. Your minds, when fatigued with one employment, will find relief in applying themselves to another. The seasons which you consecrate to devotion will hallow your worldly cares; and your worldly business, in its turn, will prevent your piety from degenerating into moroseness, austerity, or enthusiasm.

III. Having selected proper objects of pursuit and arranged the plan according to which you resolve to pursue them, it will be necessary that you ACT ON THIS PLAN WITH ARDOUR AND PERSEVERANCE. There may, indeed, be an excess of ardour in the pursuit even of the most valuable objects. Too close an application of mind wastes its strength, and not only unfits us for enjoying the fruits of our industry, but also obstructs our success. When our faculties are fatigued and blunted, we are no longer in a condition to make advancement in any pursuit.

IV. I proceed now to suggest some arguments, with a view to RECOMMEND THE DUTY which I have thus endeavoured to explain.

1. Consider that industry is the law of our condition. Nothing is given us by God but as the prize of labour and toil. The precious treasures of the earth lie hid from human view, and we must dig in order to find them. Our food, our raiment, our habitations, all the conveniences that minister to the defence and the comfort of our lives, are the fruits of those numberless arts which exercise the ingenuity of mankind. The circumstances in which we are placed declare the purpose of Heaven with regard to the human race, and admonish us that to abandon ourselves to sloth is to forget the end of our being.

2. Nor is industry to be chosen by man only for the sake of the many advantages which cannot otherwise be attained. It is itself a source of happiness. The mind delights in exercise. The comforts which industry procures have a relish peculiar to themselves. Business sweetens pleasure as labour sweetens rest. Recreation supposes employment; and the indolent are incapable of tasting the happiness which it is fitted to yield.

3. Industry contributes to the virtue no less than to the happiness of life. The man whose attention is fixed on any useful object is in little danger of being seduced by the solicitations of sinful pleasure; his mind is pro-engaged, and temptation courts him in vain. Among the lower orders of men idleness leads directly to injustice. It first reduces them to poverty and then tempts them to supply their wants by all the arts of dishonesty and baseness. In the higher ranks of life it leads to dissipation and extravagance.

(W. Moodie, D.D.)

1. Business made an act of religion.

2. Religion made a business.

3. Both sanctified to the service of God.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

I. THIS PRECEPT IS VIOLATED —

1. By those who have no business at all. You may have seen attached to an inundated reef in the sea, a creature rooted to the rock as a plant might be, and twirling its long tentacula as an animal would do. This plant-animal's life is somewhat monotonous, for it has nothing to do but grow and twirl its feelers, float in the tide, or fold itself up on its foot-stalk when that tide has receded, for months and years together. But what greater variety marks your existence? Does not one day float over you like another, just as the tide floats over it, and find you vegetating still? Are you more useful? What real service to others did you render yesterday? And what higher end in living have you than that polypus? You go through certain mechanical routines of rising, dressing, visiting, dining, and going to sleep again; and are a little roused by the arrival of a friend, or the effort needed to write some note of ceremony. But as it curtseys in the waves, and vibrates its exploring arms, and gorges some dainty medusa, the sea-anemone goes through nearly the same round. Is this a life for a rational and responsible creature to lead?

2. By those who are diligent in trifles — whose activity is a busy idleness. Fancy this time that instead of a polypus you were changed into a swallow. There you have a creature abundantly busy. Notice how he pays his morning visits, alighting elegantly on some house-top, and twittering politely to the swallow by his side, and then away to call for his friend at the castle. And now he is gone upon his travels, gone to spend the winter at Rome or Naples, or perform some more recherche pilgrimage. And when he comes home next April, sure enough he has been abroad — charming climate — highly delighted with the cicadas in Italy, and the bees on Hymettus — locusts in Africa rather scarce this season; but upon the whole much pleased with his trip, and returned in high health and spirits. Now this is a very proper life for a swallow; but is it a life for you? Though the trifler does not chronicle his own vain words and wasted hours, they are noted in the memory of God. And when he looks back to the long pilgrimage, what anguish will it move to think that he has gamboled through such a world without salvation to himself, without any real benefit to his brethren.

3. By those who have proper business, but —(1) Are slothful in it. There are some persons of a dull and languid turn. They trail sluggishly through life, as if some adhesive slime were clogging every movement, and making their snail-path a waste of their very substance. They do nothing with healthy alacrity. Having no wholesome love to work, they do everything grudgingly, superficially, and at the latest moment.(2) Others there are who are a sort of perpetual somnambulists: not able to find their work, or when they have found it, not able to find their hands; too late for everything, taking their passage when the ship has sailed, locking the door when the goods are stolen.(3) Besides these there is the day-dreamer. With a foot on either side of the fire, with his chin on his bosom and the wrong end of the book turned towards him, he can pursue his self-complacent musings till he imagines himself a traveller in unknown lands — the solver of all the unsolved problems in science — the author of something so stupendous that he even begins to quail at his own glory. The misery is, that whilst nothing is done towards attaining the greatness, his luxurious imagination takes its possession for granted; and a still greater misery is, that the time wasted in unprofitable musings, if spent in honest application, would go very far to carry him where his sublime imagination fain would be. Some of the finest intellects have exhaled away in this sluggish evaporation, and left no vestige except the dried froth, the obscure film which survives the drivel of vanished dreams; and others have done just enough to show how important they would have been had they awaked sooner, or kept longer awake at once.

II. TO AVOID THIS GUILT AND WRETCHEDNESS —

1. Have a business in which diligence is lawful and desirable. The favourite pursuit of AEropus, king of Macedonia, was to make lanterns. And if your work be a high calling, you must not dissipate your energies on trifles which, lawful in themselves, are as irrelevant to you as lamp-making is to a king. Those of you who do not need to toil for your daily bread, your very leisure is a hint what the Lord would have you to do. As you have no business of your own, He would have you devote yourself to His business.

2. Having made a wise and deliberate selection of a business, go on with it, go through with it. In the heathery turf you will find a plant chiefly remarkable for its peculiar roots; from the main stem down to the minutest fibre, you will find them all abruptly terminate, as if shorn or bitten off, and superstition alleges that once it was a plant for healing all sorts of maladies, and therefore the devil bit off the roots in which its virtues resided. This plant is a good emblem of many well-meaning but little-effecting people. All their good works terminate abruptly. The devil frustrates their efficacy by cutting off their ends. But others there are who before beginning to build count the cost, and having collected their materials and laid their foundations, go on to rear their structure, indifferent to more tempting schemes. The persevering teacher who guides one child into the saving knowledge of Christ is a more useful man than his friend who gathers in a roomful of ragged children, and after a few weeks turns them all adrift on the streets again. So short is life that we can afford to lose none of it in abortive undertakings; and once we have begun it is true economy to finish.

(J. Hamilton, D.D.)

There is no art nor science that is too difficult for industry to attain to: it is the power of the tongue, and makes a man understood all over the world. It is the philosopher's stone, that turns all metals and even stones into gold, and suffers no want to break into its dwelling. It is the north-west passage, that brings the merchant's ships to him by a nearer and shorter path. In a word, it conquers all enemies, and gives wings to blessings.

(A. Farindon.)

"Business" means everything which occupies our attention, but more particularly our temporal pursuits.

I. SLOTH IS INFAMOUS. It draws after it a multitude of vices and a load of sorrows. Man's nature proves that he is made for action. Without being employed, his faculties are spoilt like metals eaten by rust, but polished by use. No condition is exempt from labour. The mind is a fertile soil, and if not cultivated will bring forth weeds. God brings men into judgment for neglecting to cultivate mind, body, talents, and conveniences of life which He has bestowed.

II. LABOUR IS PROFITABLE. It restrains from sin, keeps from temptation, and satisfies cravings which could only otherwise be gratified by dissipation.

III. PIETY IS COMPATIBLE WITH INDUSTRY.

1. The fervent spirit is one that desires to please God. It is the same disposition directed to higher objects as actuate those who are in love with any earthly object.

2. Serving the Lord means doing good. Earthly affairs must not employ all our time.

IV. ARGUMENTS TO URGE THIS.

1. The character of Him we serve.

2. The nature of the service.

3. The reward which ensues.

(J. J. S. Bird, B.A.)

1. To combine business with religion is one of the most difficult parts of the Christian's trial. It is easy to be religious in church, but not so easy in the market-place; and passing from one to the other seems often like transition from a tropical to a polar climate.

2. So great is this difficulty that but few set themselves honestly to overcome it. In ancient times the common expedient was to fly the world altogether; the modern expedient, much less safe, is to compromise the matter. "Everything in its place." Prayers, etc., for Sundays, practical affairs for weekdays. Like an idler in a crowded thoroughfare, religion is jostled aside in the daily throng of life as if it had no business there. But the text affirms that the two things are compatible; that religion is not so much a duty as something that has to do with all duties, not for one day, but for all days; and that, like breathing and the circulation of the blood and growth, it may be going on simultaneously with all our actions.

3. True, if we could only prepare for the next world by retirement from this, no one should hesitate. But no such sacrifice is demanded. As in the material world, so in the moral, there are no conflicting laws. In the latter there is a law of labour, and as God has so constituted us that without work we cannot eat, so we may conclude that religion is not inconsistent with hard work. The weight of a clock seems a heavy drag on the delicate movements of its machinery, but it is indispensable for their accuracy; and there is an analogous action of the weight of worldly work on the finer movements of man's spiritual being. The planets have a twofold motion, in their orbits and on their axes — the one motion being in the most perfect harmony with the other. So must it be that man's twofold activities round the heavenly and earthly centres jar not with each other. And that it is so will be seen from the following considerations —

I. RELIGION IS A SCIENCE AND AN ART, a system of doctrines to be believed and a system of duties to be done.

1. If religious truth were like many kinds of secular truth, hard and intricate, demanding the highest order of intellect and learned leisure, then to most men the blending of religion with the necessary avocations of life would be impossible. But the gospel is no such system. The salvation it offers is not the prize of the lofty intellect, but of the lowly heart. Christianity affords scope indeed for the former, but its essential principles are patent to the simplest mind.

2. Religion as an art differs from secular acts in that it may be practised simultaneously with all other work. A medical man cannot practise surgery and engineering at the same time, but Christianity is an all-embracing profession — the art of being and doing good, an art, therefore, that all can practise. It matters not of what words a copy set a child learning to write is composed; the thing desired is that he should learn to write well. So when a man is learning to be a Christian, it matters not what his particular work in life may be, the main thing is that he learn to live well. True, prayer, meditation, etc., are necessary to religion, but they are but steps in the ladder to heaven, good only as they help us to climb. They are the irrigation and enriching of the spiritual soil — worse than useless if the crop become not more abundant. No man can become a good sailor who has never been to sea, nor a good soldier by studying a book on military tactics; so a man by study may become a theologian, but he can never become a religious man until he has acquired those habits of self-denial, gentleness, etc., which are to be acquired only in daily contact with mankind.

II. RELIGION CONSISTS NOT SO MUCH IN DOING SACRED ACTS AS IN DOING SECULAR ACTS FROM A SACRED MOTIVE. There is a tendency to classify actions according to their outward form rather than according to their spirit. We arbitrarily divide literature and history into sacred and profane; and so prayer, Bible reading, public worship, etc. — and buying, selling, etc., are separated into two distinct categories. But what God hath cleansed, why should we call common? Moral qualities reside not in actions, but in the agent and his motive. A musical instrument may discourse sacred melodies better than the holiest lips, but who thinks of commending it for its piety? Just as there is no spot on earth but a holy heart may hallow, a base one desecrate; so many actions materially great and noble may, because of the spirit that pervades them, be ignoble and mean, and vice versa. Herod was a slave though he sat on a throne, but what kingly work was done in the carpenter's shop at Nazareth! A life spent among holy things may be intensely secular, and a life spent in the throng may be divine. A minister's preachings may be no more holy than the work of the printer who prints Bibles, or of the bookseller who sells them, and public worship may be degraded into work most worldly. But carry holy principles with you into the world, and the world will become hallowed by their presence. A Christlike spirit will Christianise all it touches. Marble or clay, it matters not with which the artist works, the touch of genius transforms the coarser material into beauty, and lends to the finer a value it never had before. Rude or refined as our earthly work may be, it will become to a holy mind only material for a godlike life. Your conversation may not consist of formally religious words, but if it be pervaded by a spirit of piety it will be Christian nevertheless. To promote the cause of Christ by furthering every religious enterprise is your duty, but you may promote it as effectually in the family and society. Rise superior, in Christ's strength, to all equivocal practices in trade; shrink from meanness, and let the abiding sense of Christ's love make you loving, and then, while your secular life will be spiritualised, your spiritual life will grow more fervent.

III. As bearing on the same topic, note THE MIND'S POWER OF ACTING ON LATENT PRINCIPLES.

1. In order to live a religious life every action must be governed by religious motives. True, we cannot always be consciously thinking of religion, yet unconsciously we may be always acting under its control. As I do not think of gravitation when I move my limbs, or of atmospheric laws when I breathe, so with religion and daily work. There are undercurrents in the ocean which act independently of the movements of the waters on the surface: so there may dwell the abiding peace of God beneath the restless stir of your worldly business.

2. Remember, too, that many of the thoughts and motives which govern our actions are latent. While reading aloud, e.g., we are often carried along by the secret impression of the presence of a listener. So while business is being prosecuted may there not be a latent impression of the presence of God?

3. Have we not all felt anticipated happiness blending itself with busy work? The labourer's evening release from toil, the schoolboy's coming holiday, may illustrate that rest which remaineth for the people of God, the anticipation of which intermits not but gives zest to faithful service.Conclusion:

1. The true idea of Christian life is not periodic observances, or acts of heroism. It is a great thing to be ready to die for Christ, but it is equally great to live for Him.

2. All who wish to live that life must —(1) Devote themselves heartily to God through Christ. Life comes before growth. The soldier must enlist before he can serve.(2) Continue with Christ. You cannot live for Him unless you live much with Him.(3) Carry religious principle into everyday life. Then will your life be —

(a)Noble;

(b)Useful;

(c)Permanent. No work done for Christ ever perishes.

(J. Caird, D.D.)

I. THE GREAT DUTIES OF DAILY LIFE ARE INDISPENSABLE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE WHOLE NATURE OF MAN. The prayer-meeting, etc., were once spoken of as "means of grace," and they are such when they produce grace. But it would seem as if they were meant to exclude common occupations; whereas, everything that pertains to the well-being of the individual and the community is part and parcel of the Divine scheme. Therefore the man who bends over his bench may be as really worshipping God as he who bends over the altar. Let us look at a few points which are needed to constitute a true manhood.

1. Order. How will you learn that? Not by hearing sermons about it or thinking of it; but by the conduct of business. Business trains. Punctuality and exactitude are learned in life.

2. Carefulness, frugality, benevolence, also spring out of dealing with practical life. If you shield your child from all avocations, he may learn a small round of such things in the family; but no such education does he receive as one that is pushed out into life. One may learn boating on a pond; but a man who does well on a pond may do poorly on the Atlantic. I am not one of those who revile the denizens of Wall Street. If some sink nearly to the bottom of the scale, others rise nearly to the top. If a man in that street goes steadily on with fidelity and trustworthiness, I think he reaches about as high a mark of honesty as any man on the globe. On the other hand, there may be many who are virtuous in the farmhouse, who, when they are brought into the street and under its influence, have been destroyed. They have not been drilled in street operations. How is it with soldiers? Raw recruits are easily scattered. Why? Because they have not had drill. So, in worldly affairs, a man cannot be trusted who has not been trained in the school of those affairs. When the spiritual disposition goes with diligence in business, men find more that follows manhood in its essential elements than can be found in any temple.

II. EVERY MAN OUGHT TO FIND HIS CHRISTIAN LIFE IN CONNECTION WITH THAT WHICH GOD HAS MADE HIS DAILY BUSINESS.

1. There be many with whom religion is a kind of luxury, and business a necessary evil. They mean to be religious, therefore, on the Sabbath and in the church. But religion is right-acting as well as right-thinking. The schoolboy's religion must lie in the duties of the schoolboy; the sailor's in those of the mariner; the merchant's in commercial life. You have no business to touch a thing which it is not right to do; and whatever it is right to do is compatible with fervency of spirit; and real service to the Lord.

2. How cold and cheerless is the palace where there is no love; but the old brown house where you were brought up, and the old fields over whose hills you have climbed — homely as these scenes are, is there anything so beautiful when you go back to them? It is what you have put on to these old things that makes them so dear to you. So the duties of life become more agree able by their association with that which is dear to us. The service of a mother to a child is invested with a feeling which makes it to the mother one of the most delightful of occupations; but the same service performed by any other would be odious to her. And that which we see in the mother extends more or less through every part of life. That to which you bring diligence, conscience, taste, and gladness becomes transformed. A noble-spirited man can redeem many duties which are in themselves unattractive, and make them beautiful.

3. There is no place where God puts you where it is not your duty to say, "How shall I perfume this place and make it beautiful as the rose?" If you are a boy in school you are to perform the duties which are assigned you by your master, by reason of your allegiance to Christ. You are working in a joiner's shop; you are a shoemaker, a street-sweeper, or a boot-black; but, whatever you are, unless in some business that you know is wrong, you are not to say, "How shall I get out of this occupation in order that I may be made a Christian?" but, "How, being a Christian, shall I work grace out of this occupation?"

4. Exactitude, trustworthiness, where there is no eye but God's to see. These things constitute taking up the cross. Parents say, "Now, my son, if you won't eat any sugar or butter for six months in order that you may give to the missionaries, that will be taking up the cross." But there are enough crosses to take up without resorting to such modes as that. When a boy does not want to get up in the morning, and he gets up, he takes up the cross. When a person is cross before breakfast, that is a good time for him to take up the cross, by keeping his temper. Where one does not like to be punctual, there is a good opportunity for him to take up the cross. It is better to take up the cross in things that mean something. Men often seek artificial crosses to take up; but mostly we have crosses enough to take up in subduing the recreancy of our selfish nature to true kindness, and noble enterprise, and faithful manhood.

III. MARK THE STRANGE AND INCONGRUOUS ETHICS WHICH MEN INTRODUCE INTO DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS OF THEIR LIVES. Men say that you cannot expect one to act in politics as he does in private life. Why not? Are there ten commandments for politics different from the ten commandments for the rest of life? Was the Sermon on the Mount given for men unknown to politics? It is said that you cannot expect a man to act in business as he would in his household. Why not? A man should be the same under all circumstances; and that which is true, honest, fair in the household, is true, honest, fair in the store and in the state. The scrupulousness of honour ought to augment in proportion to the enlargement of the sphere in which one acts. You cannot be a man of honour, though you tell the truth in your household and neighbourhood, if you lie without scruple in public affairs.

IV. NOTE THE MISTAKE AND UNREASONABLENESS OF THOSE WHO PROPOSE TO LEAD A CHRISTIAN LIFE BEFORE THEY DIE, BUT WHO THINK THEY CANNOT FOR THE PRESENT ENTER UPON IT ON ACCOUNT OF THEIR BUSINESS. If religion were something apart from daily life, there might be some validity in this excuse; but if religion is the right conduct of a man, then everything is religious that tends to build up men in perfect manhood. Then why should one wait? Religion is to the soul what health is to the body. One does not say in respect to health, "I will wait till I have perfected this or that before I recover." On the contrary, he says, "In order that I may perfect my plans, I will seek health." A man's capacity to do business is improved by religion. There is nothing that one is called to do in life that he will not do better with a conscience void of offence and a heart at peace with God.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. CHARACTER COMES OUT OF WORK. It is what we do that educates us, rather than what we read or speculate about. Integrity of act cultivates integrity of heart; enthusiasm in effort resupplies the founts of enthusiasm in the will, and sympathetic activities nourish the emotion out of which they flow. As the roots of the oak reach down and out in the soil to the slenderest end, so strength of character is found in those unseen acts that run through the moments of each day.

II. DAILY WORK ASSISTS US TO LARGER AND CLEARER VIEWS OF DIVINE TRUTH. The crazy fancies that have shattered or darkened communities came not from artisan, miner, or sailor, but from recluses. Work gives strength to the mind, and brings it to that point to which the gospel makes its appeal. Leisure has a charm, and inquiry a zest after toil. The best scholars have been trained in cities. In the country there is something of languor, but in the emulous activities of metropolitan life we make our faculties more acute and our inquisition of truth is more successful.

III. BY WORK WE ENABLE OURSELVES TO INFLUENCE OTHERS FOR GOOD. In society every one affects all. There is indeed peril in this fact. An unfaithful workman may introduce into your dwelling disease and death. A negligent pilot may plunge hundreds into sorrow. A bludgeon is not needed to destroy the eye, or a hammer to ruin a watch. A grain of dirt is sufficient in either case; and so it is with secret influences at work in society. Noble work will bless those we may never see, and give progress to what is best in human life. It is not wealth inherited that is the mightiest lever, but that which is gained by work. He who lays aside for Christ a portion of his daily wage of work, preaches to the world and thereby advances the cause of the Redeemer.

IV. IF WE ARE OBEDIENT TO THIS RULE OF LIFE, WE SHALL GAIN THE CLEAREST IMPRESSION OF IMMORTALITY. It is not in dreams that we come under the full power of the world to come; but often in toil we feel the dignity of manhood within us that is not yet revealed. The philosopher may doubt, and the enthusiast may feel that he has not grasped it; but the mother, busied with her humble service, does feel that a time is coming when her work wilt be recognised and rewarded. Of course, we may be so ardent in earthly pursuits as to forget everything else; but to the thoughtful worker this truth comes as an inspiring impulse. Conclusion: We gaze on the loveliness and quiet of the country, and fancy that there is the place to lead an unworldly life. Nay, there is worldliness there as truly as in Wall Street. Men fight about fences as we do about contracts. Here, indeed, in wealth and fashion and sensuality, worldliness takes root with satanic force; but here also are the finest specimens of Christian character illustrated.

(R. S. Storrs, D.D.)

1. The rights of wealth are secured by diligence.

2. The snares of wealth are obviated by a fervent spirit.

3. The responsibilities of wealth are discharged by serving the Lord.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Here is —

1. The diligent hand.

2. The fervent heart.

3. The single eye.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Fervent in spirit. —

I. WHAT IS IT TO BE FERVENT IN SPIRIT? To be serious and earnest in —

1. The exercise of graces; in our —

(1)Love to God (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37).

(2)Desires of Him (Psalm 42:1, 2).

(3)Trust in Him (Job 13:25).

(4)Rejoicing in Him (1 Peter 1:8).

(5)Zeal for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31), which yet must be —

(a)Tempered with knowledge (Romans 10:2).

(b)Regulated by His Word.(6) Repentance (Job 42:5, 6).

(7)Faith in Christ (James 2:26).

2. The performance of duties in —

(1)Prayer (1 Corinthians 14:15).

(2)Hearing (Ezekiel 33:31).

(3)Meditation (Psalm 22.).

II. WHY THUS FERVENT IN SPIRIT?

1. The end of God's giving us such active spirits is that we might employ them for Him (Proverbs 16:4).

2. These are businesses of the greatest concern (Deuteronomy 30:15).

3. Whatsoever is not done fervently is no good work (Ecclesiastes 9:10).Conclusion:

1. Bewail your former indifference.

2. Be more serious for the future. Consider

(1)They are great works you perform (2 Corinthians 2:16).

(2)You cannot be too serious in them (Luke 17:10).

(3)Heaven will recompense all your labours (1 Corinthians 15:58)

(Bp. Beveridge.)

I. WHEREIN IT CONSISTS —

1. In zeal for God's glory.

2. Prompted by God's love in the heart.

3. Awakened and sustained by God's Spirit.

II. WHAT ARE ITS EVIDENCES?

1. Diligence.

2. Fidelity.

3. Cheerful effort.

4. Constancy.

III. WHERE IS IT NECESSARY? Everywhere.

1. In the Church.

2. In the world.

3. In the family.

4. In retirement.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Among the wonders which science has achieved, it has succeeded in bringing things which are invisible and impalpable to our senses within the reach of our most accurate observations. Thus the barometer makes us acquainted with the actual state of the atmosphere. It takes cognisance of the slightest variation, and every change is pointed out by its elevation or depression, so that we are accurately acquainted with the actual state of the air, and at any given time. In like manner the Christian has within him an index by which he may take cognisance, and by which he may measure the elevation and degrees of his spirituality — it is the spirit of inward devotion. However difficult it may seem to be to pronounce on the invisibilities of our spirituality, yet there is a barometer to determine the elevation or depression of the spiritual principle. It marks the changes of the soul in its aspect towards God. As the spirit of prayer mounts up, there is true spiritual elevation; and as it is restrained and falls low, there is a depression of the spiritual principle within us. As is the spirit of devotion and communion with God, such is the man.

(H. G. Salter.)

The word "fervent," in our tongue, would seem to indicate heat that prevails to such an extent as to break into a flame. In the Greek it is to be boiling hot. But whether it be the dry heat or the wet, it comes to the same point — namely, feeling, carried up to the point of disclosure.

I. FERVENCY IS THE LAW OF CHRISTIAN CONDUCT, FEELING, AND LIFE. We are to have "fervid charity"; not languid and somnolent charity, but a charity that flames, that boils. There is no feeling which answers to the test of the Word of God that is not fervent.

1. But are not the deepest feelings often voiceless? Yes, and latent feeling is often the deepest and the best; and there are ether expressions of it besides those of the tongue. The eye expresses it, the hand expresses it. The best mother is not the one who kisses her babe the oftenest, but the one that takes care of it the best. The best friends are not those that for ever hang upon your neck, but those whose whole life and occupation have found out how to serve you by the ten thousand amenities of love. But feeling must develop itself somehow. Feeling that does not do anything is like a candle unlighted, or a fire of green wood that smokes and does not burn.

2. The religious side of human nature must glow. "Let your light shine before men." We must carry the light of feeling out to a boisterous world; and the feeling is to be carried up to an intensity such that it will burn or shine out, and be able to withstand the influences that are streaming from life on every side. Therefore you see it coupled with "Not slothful in business." You are to carry your fervency into business; you are to adapt it to your business; you are to make it a part of your business, and so a part of your religion.

3. A great many Christians claim that there is a living force in them; but when you look you never see it — it is never disclosed. For the law of force is fervency, and no man can work with any great competency except by strong feeling.

II. THE GREAT TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL ARE TO BE ACCEPTED IN THEIR PLENITUDE AND REALITY ONLY IN A FERVENT STATE OF MIND. As I understand faith, it is such a quickening of the mind, such an expansion of its power, such a luminousness shining through it of the fires of a sanctified imagination working on moral and spiritual elements, that the whole man is lifted up into a higher sphere, and reasons upon things that are not in the vulgar court of a mere justice of the peace, but in the spiritual court of the Holy Ghost. What is God to the great mass of men? A fate; a fear; a dread; an abstraction; a machinist; a power hid behind government; a law; a something; a nothing. But when the soul has been kindled, and the understanding is regnant, and all the best affections cluster around the reason to give it expression, the heavens cannot contain God, and the earth is full of His glory and companionship. There is but one way in which you can have a sound theology, and that is by living so near to God that you have the witness of the Divine Spirit in you that you are the sons of God. If you can breathe into the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ such a vitality of faith as that the members of it are living in a fervent and burning zeal of Christian charity, you need not trouble yourself about doctrinal beliefs; they will take care of themselves. But if you spend all your force upon the externalities of doctrine and of church organisation, you will have a huge casket with a spurious jewel in it.

III. ALL UNFERVENT, DULL, AND DROWSY PREACHING IS HERETICAL. Anything that turns people out of the way, and imperils their souls, is heresy; and of all heresies there is none more deadly than a drowsy preacher. And yet, when a man comes that wakes up the congregation, there are a great many men that look up and say, "Who knows whereunto this thing will grow?" Why, yes, if sleep be piety, what will become of religion if men wake up? But life is above all price; and a man who is fit to preach at all, must be fit to preach because he has the power of inflammation. A man that cannot boil, and that cannot make anybody else boil; a man that cannot be blown into a flame, and cannot kindle a flame in others, is not fit to preach.

IV. ALL THE CONCEPTIONS OF RELIGIOUS LIFE THAT ESTEEM STRONG FEELING TO BE VULGAR ARE UNCHRISTIAN AND UNPHILOSOPHICAL; they are utterly unallied to the whole nature of grace, or to the disclosure of God's feeling in the human soul; and yet there are a great many who have such a conception. The substitution of decorum for emotion, of polish for deep feeling, of taste for conscience — in other words, the worship of culture — there can be nothing wider from the true spirit of the gospel than that. When men are thoroughly trained and cultivated, and have religious feeling, and have it fervently and deeply, it is a great deal better that they should express it with refinement and with genius, if it can be so expressed; but to have decorum, and taste, and cold intellectuality, and none of the fire of feeling, is to be idolatrous. It is to worship the senses, and that on a very low plane of life. It is better, a hundredfold, that there should be the utmost tumult of revival than that there should be simply a decorous stupor. Conclusion: "And now, are you, that are grouped into a church, living, with real glow and fervour, a religious life? Do you love God, or do you only say you love Him? Do you love your fellow-men as yourself, or do you only say that you do in routine? Do you enjoy religion? Are you working in your several spheres with fervour? Is it not time that you should wake out of your sleep? The Master is going by, and the cry, "The Bridegroom cometh," will sound in your ears before long. Are your lamps filled and burning? Do men feel the fire and the flame? Are you a power among men? May the Spirit of light, life, fire, and power come down into the hearts of every one of the members of this church, and of all disciples of every name gathered together this morning, brushing the ashes of the past away, kindle on the old altar a new flame that shall never go out.

(H. W. Beecher.)

1. Fervour of spirit is, in general, opposed to lukewarmness and indifference. It denotes an uncommon application of mind, and a warmth of zeal bordering on transport, that moves every faculty of the soul, and carries all before it in the pursuit of what we highly value and desire. It does not consist merely in a few emotions of natural piety, neither is it a sudden blaze of religious fervour, which flashes for a moment like a meteor and as quickly disappears. It is a permanent and abiding principle of action, a beam from the Sun of Righteousness, which, bright at the outset, shineth more and more, till it reaches the fulness of its meridian splendour.

2. When this is displayed in its fullest extent, it is one of the noblest ornaments of the Christian. It is to the spiritual life what health is to the natural. It renders that active and spirited which, without it, were dull and almost lifeless.

3. As to our obligations to be fervent, note that —

I. IT IS ENJOINED BY GOD'S POSITIVE COMMAND. The Scriptures abound in exhortations not merely to serve the Lord, but to do so with fervency and zeal, to work while it is day, for the night cometh, when no man can work. Many are the precepts which require us to be up and doing, to be zealous in good works, etc. There is nothing so offensive to God as lukewarmness and indifference.

II. GOD HAS A JUST RIGHT TO IT. He gave us our being at the first; by His providence our lives are daily sustained. Is it possible to render unto God more than His goodness gives Him a right to claim? All this, however, is but a small part of the obligation which His mercy has laid you under. Think only on the wonders of redeeming love. Can you, then, exceed in gratitude to such a Friend, and serve Him with too much zeal?

III. THE DIFFICULTIES CONNECTED WITH THE SERVICE OF GOD REQUIRE IT. Religion is not a matter of easy acquirement. The enemies we have to encounter are numerous and powerful, and, through them, we must fight our way to the ground which shall be our reward. Within, our hearts are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; then we have depraved appetites to restrain, and passions fed by indulgence to subdue. Has any of you made the attempt, and do you find it an easy matter? Besides, all who would love God and Christ Jesus must expect to meet with persecution. Amid so many perils, what need is there of fervour! Amid such obstacles, what but a zeal that knows no bounds would enable us to resist and overcome the enemies of our salvation!

IV. LET THE EXAMPLE OF THE SAINTS ANIMATE YOU TO CULTIVATE IT. What was the distinguishing characteristic of Abraham, of Elijah, of Samuel, of Daniel, and of the others? It was zeal for the Lord, manifesting itself by obedience, holy, fervid, and strenuous exertion to promote the glory of God. In none, however, did this spirit more immediately display itself than in our blessed Lord and Saviour. "The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up."

(G. Milligan.)

I. WHAT IS ENTHUSIASM? Enthusiasmos means the fulness of Divine inspiration, an absorbing, a passionate devotion to some good cause, the state of those whom St. Paul here describes as "fervent," literally boiling in spirit, the spirit of man when transfigured, uplifted, dilated by the Spirit of God. Without enthusiasm of some noble kind a man is dead, and without enthusiasts a nation perishes. There are two forms which enthusiasm has assumed — the enthusiasm for humanity, and the enthusiasm for individual salvation. When the two have been combined; when the sense of devotion has been united with the exaltation of charity, it has produced the most glorious and blessed benefactors of the world. What was Christianity itself but such an enthusiasm? Learnt from the example, caught from the Spirit of Christ, the same love for the guilty and the wretched, which brought the Lord of glory down to the lowest depths, was kindled by His Spirit in the heart of all His noblest sons. Forgiven, they have longed with others to share the same forgiveness, and they have been ready to do all, and to dare all, for His sake who died for them. Again and again this Divine fire has died out of the world; again and again has it been rekindled by God's chosen sons. What would the world have been without them? Ask what the world would be without the sun.

II. THE ENTHUSIASM OF THE STUDENT, ARTIST, DISCOVERER, MAN OF SCIENCE — what else could have inspired their infinite patience and self-sacrifice? It plunged Roger Bacon into torture and imprisonment; it made Columbus face the terrors of unknown seas; it caused years of persecution to Galileo, to Kepler, to Newton, to the early geologists, to Charles Darwin. What supported them was the fervency of spirit which prefers labour to sloth, and love to selfishness, and truth to falsehood, and God to gold.

III. THE ENTHUSIASM OF THE REFORMER. Think what Italy was fast becoming when Savonarola thundered against her corruption and apostacy. Think how an intolerable sacerdotal tyranny would have crushed the souls of men had not Wycliffe braved death to give the people of England their Bible. Think what truths would have been drowned in deep seas of oblivion if Huss had not gone calmly to the stake. Think what a sink of abominations the nominal Church of God might now have been if the voice of Luther had never shaken the world. Think how the Church of England might now be settling on her lees if such men as Wesley and Whitefield had not driven their fellows back to the simplicity which is in Christ Jesus.

IV. THE ENTHUSIASM OF THE MISSIONARY. In the first centuries every Christian looked on it as a part of his life to be God's missionary, and for centuries the Church produced men like and Columban. Then for one thousand years the darkness was only broken by here and there a man like St. Louis of France, or St. . It is to Count Zinzendorf and the that we owe the revival of missionary zeal. In the last century missionaries were regarded as foolish and rash, and I know not what. When Carey proposed to go as a missionary to India, he was told that if God wished to convert the heathen He would doubtless do so in His own way. Think of John Eliot, the lion-hearted "apostle of the Indians," and his motto that prayer and painstaking can accomplish everything. Think of young and sickly David Brainerd going alone into the wild forests of America and among their wilder denizens, with the words "Not from necessity but from choice, for it seems to me that God's dealings towards me have fitted me for a life of solitariness and hardship." Think of Adoniram Judson and the tortures he bore so cheerfully in his Burmese prison. And we, too, in these days have seen Charles Mackenzie leave the comforts of Cambridge to die amid the pestilent swamps of the Zambesi, and Coleridge Patteson, floating, with his palm branch of victory in his hand, over the blue sea among the Coral Isles. Nor do I know any signs more hopeful for the nation than these, that our public schools are now founding missions in the neglected wastes of London, and our young athletes are going out as poor men to labour in China and Hindustan.

V. THE ENTHUSIASM OF OUR SOCIAL PHILANTHROPISTS. Who can measure the good done by St. when he founded his Sisterhoods of Mercy? What man has done more for multitudes of souls than John Pounds, the Plymouth cobbler, who became the founder of ragged schools? What a light from heaven was shed on countless wanderers by Robert Raikes, John Howard, and Elizabeth Fry! Think, too, of the effort of Clarkson, Wilberforce, Sharp and Garrison in their efforts to liberate the slave. Conclusion: There are questions even more pressing and vital now than the slave trade was in the days of our fathers. Shame be on us if we prove ourselves degenerate sons! There are two particular evils which we must either conquer or be ruined by them. One is drink, the other is uncleanness. Are we to be such cowards as to leave these arrows to rankle and gangrene in the heart of England? If the Parliament of England will not deal with them, then the people of England must deal with them.

(Archdn. Farrar.)

I. THE IMPORTANCE AND THE ADVANTAGES OF SERVING THE LORD. Piety is enforced in these respects. Its obligation is indispensable; its beauty is supreme, and its utility is universal. It is not so much a single virtue, as a constellation of virtues. Here reverence, gratitude, faith, hope, love, concentre their rays, and shine with united glory. The most illiterate man, under the impressions of true devotion, and in the immediate acts of Divine worship, contracts a greatness of mind that raises him above his equals. Thereby, says an admired ancient, we build a nobler temple to the Deity than creation can present. Piety is adapted to the notions of happiness and chief good which all men entertain, although these notions were as various in themselves as the theories of philosophers have been about their object. Hither let the man of the world turn, that he may find durable riches, more to be desired than gold and all earthly possessions. Piety is the foundation of virtue and morality. True devotion strengthens our obligations to a holy life, and superadds a new motive to every social and civil duty. A good man is the guardian angel of his country. I shall only add on this head, that by serving the Lord here, we have an earnest and anticipation of the happiness of the heavenly state. Here the sun faintly beams, as in the dubious twilight; there he shines forth in full meridian glory.

II. TO EXPLAIN THAT FERVOUR OF SPIRIT SO REQUISITE IN THE EXERCISES OF DEVOTION, AND ENFORCE IT WITH A FEW ARGUMENTS.

1. By fervour of spirit, in general, is meant an uncommon application of mind in the performance of any thing, a warmth bordering upon transport, that moves every spring of the heart, and carries all before it, to gain its end. So that by a fervency of spirit in serving the Lord must be understood an ardent and active desire of loving the Lord, of worshipping Him in sincerity, and obeying His commands with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. True fervour of spirit proceedeth from above. It is a beam from the Father of lights, pure and benign, which at once enlightens and warms the mind.

2. To engage us more effectually to the performance of this part of our duty, let us consider the general obligations we lie under, as rational creatures, to serve the Lord with fervency of spirit, and then the particular obligations that arise from Christianity.(1) In the first place, as the Almighty is the Creator of the world, and the Father of the human race, He is likewise their Preserver, and the Author of order and harmony in the universe. Seeing then He upholds our existence, and is the Parent of so many mercies, has He not, as our supreme Benefactor, a title to the service of our whole lives, and to all the fervent of our spirits?(2) This will appear still more when we consider the superior obligations which we are laid under by Christianity. While many nations are sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, on us hath the Sun of Righteousness arisen in full glory. What thanks, what services, shall we not then render to our Supreme Benefactor, who has translated us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His Son!

(J. Logan.)

I. FERVOUR, in general, is opposed to lukewarmness or indifference, and denotes that edge or keenness, that activity and diligence, which we commonly exert in the pursuit of any object we highly value and wish to possess. Now the fervour whereof my text speaks hath religion, or the service of God, for its object. Love to God is the principle, the law of God is the rule, and His glory the end of all its operations. But as there are several counterfeits of this gracious temper, I shall endeavour to exhibit the properties of true Christian fervour.

1. That as the service of God is the proper object of true Christian fervour, this renders it necessary that we be thoroughly acquainted with the laws of God, that we may know what particular services He requires of us, and will accept at our hands.

2. As our fervour should be employed in the service of God, or in those duties that God hath plainly commanded, so it ought likewise to aim for His glory, otherwise it is unhallowed passion, which debaseth everything that proceeds from it. If God is glorified by his sufferings, the fervent Christian hath gained his end.

3. That this gracious temper extends its regards to all God's commandments. It declines no duty that bears the stamp of His authority.

4. The distinguishing property of true Christian fervour is this: It will make us peculiarly attentive to our own behaviour, and begin with correcting what is faulty in ourselves.

5. Though true fervour begins at home, yet it is not always confined there. It was the speech of a wicked Cain, "Am I my brother's keeper?" The warm-hearted Christian extends his good offices to all around him, and useth all that power and influence which his station gives him to discourage vice and to advance the kingdom of Christ in the world.

6. That this fervour must be always under the direction of Christian prudence, that it may not break out into indecent heats, and carry us beyond the limits of our office or station in the society to which we belong.

II. TO RECOMMEND AND ENFORCE THIS GRACIOUS TEMPER. Consider —

1. That God deserves the most zealous and active service we can pay to Him.

2. God not only deserves such service as I am pleading for, He likewise demands it, and will not be put off with anything less. If any imagine that Christ came into the world to relax their obligations to a holy life, they are grossly mistaken; and if they act upon that principle, they shall find themselves fatally disappointed at last.

3. A motive to fervour and diligence in the service of God ariseth from the difficulties that attend our duty. It is no easy matter "to pluck out a right eye, and to cut off a right hand." Besides, in the ordinary course of events, "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution" in one kind or other. Such are the difficulties that attend religion; and do not these make zeal or fervour necessary.

4. That we should be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; because it is absolutely impossible that we can do too much. One thing is certain, that the most serious Christians, when they came to die, have always lamented their former negligence; and the time is at hand when all the world shall confess that holy diligence was the truest wisdom.

(R. Walker.)

Serving the Lord
I. WHAT IS IT TO SERVE GOD? It implies —

1. Our devoting ourselves wholly to Him and His way (2 Corinthians 8:5; Matthew 6:24).

2. Subjecting ourselves to His will and laws (Psalm 2:11, 12).

3. Worshipping Him (Matthew 4:10; Luke 2:37).

4. Walking in holiness and righteousness before Him (Luke 1:74, 75).

5. Improving all for His glory.

II. HOW SHOULD WE SERVE HIM?

1. Reverently (Hebrews 12:28, 29; Psalm 2:11).

2. Obediently (1 Samuel 12:14).

3. Sincerely (John 4:24; Psalm 51:6).

4. Readily and willingly (1 Chronicles 28:9).

5. Only (Matthew 4:10).

6. Wholly (Deuteronomy 10:12; Psalm 119:6).

7. Continually (Luke 1:75).

III. WHY SERVE THE LORD?

1. He made us (Proverbs 16:4).

2. Maintains us (Acts 17:28).

3. Has redeemed us (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).Conclusion:

1. Unless you serve Him you must serve sin and Satan (Matthew 6:24).

2. His service is the only liberty (Romans 8:21), and the highest honour (1. Samuel 2:30).

3. You vowed to serve Him in baptism (Deuteronomy 26:17, 18).

4. All you can do is much less than you owe Him (Luke 17:10).

5. If you serve Him He will cause all things to serve you (Romans 8:28).

6. He will reward you hereafter.

(Bp. Beveridge.)

I. WHAT THIS IMPLIES.

1. Self-consecration.

2. The repudiation of all other service.

3. Complete devotion to His cause.

4. A steady aim at His glory.

II. WHY SHOULD WE UNDERTAKE IT? It is —

1. Due.

2. Reasonable.

3. Honourable.

4. The end of our being.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

It is said of Sister Dora that no matter at what hour the hospital door-bell rang, she used to rise instantly to admit the patient, saying, "The Master is come, and calleth for thee."

The harmony of Scripture is admirable. He who weighed the mountains in scales has had a clear eye to the adjustment of truth in His Word. While the doctrinal part of Scripture is exceeding full, the practical part is not one whit less copious. In this verse this harmony is noteworthy. The Christian is not to be a worse tradesman because of his religion, but a better. At the same time, we must not neglect the spiritual because of the pressing demands of the temporal. The holy fire within our souls is to be constantly burning.

I. THE ESSENTIALS OF ALL TRUE SERVICE TO GOD.

1. Divine acceptance. If a stranger should of his own accord visit your farm, and should commence driving the horses, milking the cows, reaping the wheat, and so on, if you had never employed him he would be fulfilling the part of an intruder rather than the office of a servant. Now it is not every man who is fit to be a servant of God. How should the thrice holy God be served by hands unwashed from sin? Unto the wicked God saith, "What hast thou to do to declare My statutes?"(1) Hast thou then been bought with the great Master's money? Only the redeemed ones are reckoned by the Lord as servants in His household. The ungodly are slaves to Satan.(2) God's servant has been won by power as well as bought with price. Hast thou been compelled by Divine grace to leave thy sins? Israel would for ever have made bricks in Egypt if the Lord had not brought them forth with an outstretched arm.(3) God's servants are always such as are born in His house as well as bought with His money. Preliminary to all holy service must be regeneration. That which cometh from the crab will still be sour, plant the tree where you will. A sinner is unsuitable for service till he be new-created.

2. We must render our obedience to the Lord Himself. Much that is done religiously is not done unto God. Whose honour do you seek? for remember that which is uppermost in thy heart is thy master. Sinister motives and selfish aims are the death of true godliness.

3. We must serve God in the way of His appointment. If anything be done without orders, it may be excessive activity, but it is not service. How many think they are serving God when they have never turned to His commandments 1 What God doth not bid you hath no power over your conscience, even though pope and prelate decree it.

4. We must serve God in His strength. Those who attempt to perfect holiness without waiting upon the Holy Spirit for power, will be as foolish as the apostles had they commenced preaching without power from on high. Nothing will last but that which is wrought by Divine power.

5. We must stand continually ready to obey the Lord's will in anything and everything without distinction. He who enlists surrenders his will to the discipline of the army and the bidding of the Captain. What hast thou to do with likings and dislikings? Servants must like that which their masters bid them.

II. SOME OF THE MODES IN WHICH WE MAY SERVE THE LORD.

1. It was an ordinance of David that the soldiers who watched by the stuff should be accounted to be as true soldiers as those who joined in the actual conflict. Hence I would say a word to those of you who cannot serve the Lord in direct activities. If the tongue speak not, yet if the life speak thou shalt have done God no small homage. If thou canst not help the cause of God in any other mode, at any rate there is open to thee that of fervent prayer. I doubt not that many sick beds are doing more for Christ than our pulpits. But in addition to this, the very weakest and worst circumstanced can speak at least now and then a word for Christ. Mother, with those babes around you, you have a field of labour among them. You whose occupations engross your time, I cannot imagine that God has given even to you a light which is quite covered with a bushel. They who give thousands to the cause of Christ do well, but they do no better than the widow who, having two mites, gave all.

2. But while we make room for comfort for those who abide by the stuff, we do not desire to console the idle; we are —(1) To make known the gospel of Christ. It is a sad proof of our want of zeal that London is still so grossly ignorant of this. We are not responsible that the Hindoo or African worships his idols, but we are responsible that he has not heard of the atoning sacrifice of Christ.(2) Through this we should aim at the conversion of sinners. We are not to be self-complacently content with having merely spoken the truth, we are to look for signs following.(3) The reclamation of backsliders.(4) The edification of one another.

III. THE COMMENDATION WHICH IS DUE TO THIS SERVICE. To serve God is —

1. The natural element of godliness. Heavenly spirits enjoy unbroken rest, but they find their rest in serving God day and night. Surely it is as much the element of a Christian to do good as for a fish to swim, or a bird to fly, or a tree to yield her fruits.

2. The highest honour. How men pride themselves on being attached to the train of great men! But what must it be to have God for your Master.

3. The highest pleasure. The happiest members of any church are the most diligent.

4. Soul education. No man grows to be a perfect Christian by lying on the bed of sloth. Our manhood is developed by exercise.

IV. THE PRESENT NEED OF THIS SERVICE. There is need enough of it in this city. The ignorance, poverty, misery, iniquity of London reek before God, and yet we gather in a little quiet place by ourselves, and we use the rosewater of self-complacency, and think that everything goes well.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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