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as if it were so. The same standard of Christian duty is ours in all places, and at all times.
“ Truth is not local : God alike pervades
And fills the world of traffic and the shades,
Or scorned where business never intervenes." This view of religion Mr Lawrence reduced to practice with the utmost devotion. He always appeared to feel that God had as much to do with a bargain as with a prayer—that He might be glorified as really in the way of transacting business as in performing direct acts of worship. On January 1, 1827, he wrote the following in his Diary :
“The principles of business laid down a year ago have been very nearly practised upon. Our responsibilities and anxieties have greatly diminished, as also have the accustomed profits of business; but there is sufficient remaining for the reward of our labour to impose on us increased responsibilities and duties, as agents who must at last render an account. that mine be found correct."
True, it is far more difficult to carry religion into the avocations of life than to the prayer-meeting; for, it is in them we meet with all forms of sin and temptations. Here the “ tricks of trade,” and the evasions of truth prevalent in every pursuit, are met. The labourer may toil in the same shop with the scorner and infidel. He may be compelled to hear and see their wickedness day after day; or, he may encounter the more seductive forms of sin there. Acts, which have the semblance of correctness, but which are really sinful, he may witness, and be pressed by custom and popular favour to per
God grant form. The youth may here be influenced by the pernicious example of employers, and others high above him in experience and position, in the employment of his choice.
We have just read of a case. A youth entered the shop of a trader who required his clerks to practice what is called “ drumming;" that is, looking up customers and bringing them to the house for traffic. To accomplish this, they find purchasers at the hotels and elsewhere, treat them with spirituous liquors, invite them to the theatre, and do whatever else is necessary to be done, to get into their good graces, so as to sell them a large lot of goods. This is a well-known practice, and the efficiency of clerks is judged of by their expertness in this matter. This young man lost his character and situation, and when he left his employer, he uttered these cutting words :
“Sir, I came into your service uncorrupt in principles and in morals. But the rules of your
house required me to spend my evenings at places of public entertainment and amusement, in search of customers. To accomplish my work in your service, I was obliged to drink with them, and join with them in their pursuit of pleasure. It was not my choice, but the rule of the house. I went with them to the theatre and the billiard table; but it was not my choice. I did not wish to go; I went in your service. It was not my pleasure; but I was the conductor and companion of the simple ones,' void alike of understanding, and of principle, in their sinful pleasures and deeds of deeper darkness, that I might retain them as your customers. Your interest required it. I have added hundreds of pounds to the profits of your trade, but at what expense you now see, and I know too well. You have become wealthy; but I am poor, indeed. And now this cruel dismissal from your employ is the recompense I receive for a character ruined and prospects blasted, in helping to make you a rich man.'
Yes ! it is far niore difficult to live religiously amid the cares and temptations of worldly business; but this is no excuse for disregarding the claims of God. If we have not moral stamina enough to resist the evil, then we must seek some other employment-we must labour where we can carry and live our religion, or our religion will be only sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.
The way of the world is to live without reference to life hereafter. But when religion comes in with its imperative claims, it points the toiler to another world. It keeps him ever mindful of the future, with its throne of judgment, and its dispensations of unerring justice. He feels that there is something higher and nobler for which to live than the perishing things of this world. Silver and gold, influence and power, become the means to a great and glorious end. With these views and feelings, he can follow any innocent business, and make its duties and its cares subservient to the higher interests of the soul.
We have spoken of Roger Sherman. His life is an illustration of religion carried into political duties, where it has been so generally ignored. His first inquiry upon any and every subject was not: “What will my constituents think ?” nor“ What will meet public favour, or party approbation ?" but “What is the mind of God ?” Dr Edward says :—“He was not ashamed to befriend religion, to appear openly on
openly on the Lord's side.
We cite the following, not only as an illustration of the subject of this chapter, but also for the valuable hints and lessons it contains. It is that of Stephen Allen, mayor of New York, a man whose moral and religious character resembled that of Lawrence in more than one particular. He prosecuted an extensive business, upon Christian principles, and won for himself a spotless reputation. He was lost when the steamer “Henry Clay” was burned on the Hudson river, and the following rules were found in his pocket-book, upon his person, a few days after the disaster :-
Keep good company or none. Never be idle. If your hands cannot be usefully employed, attend to the culti‘ation of your mind. Always speak the truth. Make few promises. Live up to your engagements. Keep your own secrets, if you have any. When you speak to a person, look him in the face.
Good company and good conversation are the very sinews of virtue.
Good character is above all things else.
Your character cannot be essentially injured, except by your own acts.
If any one speaks evil of you, let your life be such that none will believe him.
Drink no kind of intoxicating liquors.
When you retire to bed, think over what you have been doing during the day.
Make no haste to be rich, if you would prosper.
Never play at any kind of game of chance.
These maxims by no means contain all that Mr Allen regarded as important. They omit some of the higher principles and precepts of experimental religion which he did not fail to observe. But they are interesting to shew the aim of a religious man in the transaction of his business.
Perhaps we cannot terminate this chapter better than to contrast the closing scene of the life of Lawrence with that of a nobleman, who lived amid wealth and splendour, and died in darkness and agony. The contrast will shew the beautiful end of religion in business, and the painful results of business without it.
The sudden attack which finally carried Mr Lawrence to his rest came on less than an hour before he expired. Yet everything was ready, both in his secular and his religious interests. He was accustomed to transact any special business that came before him without delay, adding, “I may not be here to-morrow.” Four days before, he executed a codicil to his will, and attended to such other matters as needed adjustment, as if he was making particular preparations for this event.
On the morning of his death the followiug lines of Pope were found on his table, copied in his own hand