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remembered her affliction, and perpetuated it in the name which she gave to her child; and she remembered along with that, the manifestations of tenderness, the mercy, and the kindness of God: and this might lead her to look on that son with constant, religious, grateful, devout associations; and it might lead her to present a thank-offering, an offering of prayer, which the son thus learnt to present for himself, that he might be " kept from evil, that it might not grieve him." As it were dwelling upon the very name she had given him: "The son of my sorrow :" keep him from evil, that he may not become the son of sorrow indeed, that it may not grieve him-till the child caught the tone and the feeling, the principle and the desire, and perpetuated this prayer here, that he might be kept from evil, that it might not grieve him. I should think it very likely that he owed much to the influence of the prayers of his mother, and the deep devotional feeling that was fixed in his heart of the remembrance of his mother's sorrow. O ye mothers, ye are not sufficiently aware of the moral influence which you have, and how you may impress your own image upon your children by your constant intercourse with them-the constant influence you are exerting upon them by your prayers, your examples, and your pious instruction. The world and the church alike owes much to the mothers of our race they have given sages to the world; they have given saints to the church; they have given many of the blessed to heaven. Let parents all feel the importance and the responsibility of the parental relation, and the great influence which they may exert upon the formation of the principles and the character of their offspring.
We learn also, that piety towards God, the possession of the principles and the manifestation of scriptural religion, is in the sight of God essential to the possession of a true and honourable character. The terms "honourable,” and "honourable character," have very different senses among men. That which is highly approved among men in this respect is often an abomination in the sight of God. There is many a man distinguished by this epithet in society, that is loathed in the society of heaven, and by those who take just views of character, and who look at the principles of that character. A merely honourable character in society, means often nothing but a man of integrity. He is honourable so far, in the relations of common life, and his intercourse with Some men are very honourable, feel very much of principle. Under the influence of their principle, they are led to pay debts which they have contracted by vice, but to starve and to crush the honest tradesman, and neglect to pay other debts which they have accumulated upon themselves. And yet they are "honourable men!" Such are the perversions abroad in the world, and the absurdities in society. But I would have you to remember, that there may be all the principles of integrity, all the principles of true secular honour in the character, and yet there may be wanting the principle that makes a character honourable in the sight of God-the principle of integrity towards Him, paying debts to Him, giving him that heart which is his due, and those affections that he claims, devoting ourselves to Him, and coming to Him in the way and through the medium that he has appointed for the approach of his children.
Another thought is impressed on us by the passage: the importance that God attaches to faith and piety, and the character that flows from it. The importance that God attaches to it is proved by the very circumstance of there
being this abrupt introduction of the character of Jabez, in the midst of this dry genealogical detail. It reminds one of a similar passage in Gen. v., in which the same idea is illustrated, where there is a similar catalogue of names, verse after verse, just the repetition of the same words with respect to two different individuals—that they lived, that they begat sons and daughters, and that they died; and so the passage goes on for a great number of verses; until the writer pitches upon the name of Enoch; and there there is an additional idea introduced, that "Enoch walked with God;" impressing a glory and distinction upon the character of the man, and making it stand out prominently from the midst of those with which it is connected. And so here there is just the same representation, that we may mark the importance which God attaches to this character, when he arrested the pen of the scribe, as he was advancing through this dry detail, made a pause and detained the name of Jabez, gave a description of his character and marked it out as an object of devout meditation, setting it before us as a model for our resemblance.
Now, my brethren, if your genealogies were made out, would the scribe have to pause at your name? Is there any thing about you of this character and these principles, that in a similar scroll or writing to this, there may be this reason to pause and to dwell upon you? Your genealogies are written: if they are not written on earth, if you cannot take your parchment and shew generation after generation of men from whom you have descended, and if the line will not go on, and be carried forward to distant posterity, your genealogies are written in the mind of God, in that book which ever lies before the eye of God; and he sees whether there is any thing in the principles of your character to detain, so to speak, his eye, and to draw down the complacency of that eye, in looking at any part or particle of his own image in you.
Another thing which you may draw from this subject is, the possibility of the combination of secular enterprise and activity with eminent piety. I think these seem to be indicated as having met in the character of Jabez. This piety towards God; his faith, his devotion, the time that he gave for prayer, did not render it impossible with him to give time to active duty. Perhaps, so to speak, he had a sanctified ambition, to combine both activity and enterprise with religion. And my brethren, both these may be combined-diligence in business with fervour of spirit, activity in the fulfilment of the duties of every day life, in connexion with the cultivation of those principles and feelings which keep us near to God, and which sanctify the activity and direct it. In fact, the man who is sluggish and indolent about his secular duties, will very likely be sluggish and dead in the other too. A man's mind may be actively employed with respect to the duties of secular life, and he will be safe if his heart is kept with all diligence: the heart-the heart! With Jabez, I doubt not, that every secular blessing he received, every success, every enlargement of his coast, only deepened his piety; and he felt, doubtless, that he increased his influence and his ability to serve God. And that is the way that it ought to be with you.
Now I think it is likely that Jabez was a young man when this prayer was offered; that there was this formation of his character comparatively early; that he thus started in life, that he thus acted. We therefore recommend it to young men, that they should thus combine activity and enterprise in the duties of life, with devoted and consecrated piety to the service of God. I do not
know but that I am wrong in defending great activity about business; for I know you do not want to be encouraged to that; the danger is all on the other eide: there is plenty of enterprise; plenty of attention to business in a city like this we have to dread that. Very few men in this great city have to complain of their powers and their principles in business: very few of them are chargeable with that sort of infidelity, which consists in neglecting to provide for themselves and their own household. I wish that this activity were sanctified In another way.
I met with the case of a young man the other day that I should like to recommend to your imitation. Nathaniel Ripley Cogg displayed the character of a Christian merchant, in all its varieties of excellence. He was born November the 3d, 1798; after several weeks of debility he expired May 22d. 1834, in the thirty-sixth year of his age "—just a young man. "He was one of the few noble-hearted men of wealth, whose affluence is constantly proved by their munificence. Yet it was not always from what is strictly denominated affluence that he was benevolent, inasmuch as a vow of God was upon him, that he would never become rich: and he redeemed the holy pledge that he had given, by consecrating his gains to the Lord. In November, 1821, he drew up the following remarkable document: By the grace of God I wili never be worth more than fifty thousand dollars. By the grace of God I will give one-fourth of the net profits of my business to charitable and religious uses. If I am ever worth twenty thousand dollars, I will give one-half of my net profits: if I am ever worth thirty thousand dollars, I will give three-fourths: and the whole after fifty thousand dollars. So help me God, or give to a more faithful steward, and set me aside.' He adhered to this covenant with conscientious fidelity. At one time finding that his property had increased beyond fifty thousand”—for God blessed him, and granted him that which he requested, if he ever requested secular success-" finding that his property had increased beyond fifty thousand dollars, he at once devoted the surplus, fifteen thousand dollars, as the foundation for a professorship in the Newton institution, to which on various occasions during his short life, he gave at least twice that amount." (It is said that Jabez founded a school or a college.) "Though a Baptist. and ever ready to perform any service for the church and the denomination to which he belonged, yet he was prompt to aid all whose designs might appear to have claim upon him as a Christian. He was a generous friend to many young men, whom he assisted in establishing themselves in business. Seldom was this excellent man absent from any meetings of the church even amidst the greatest pressure of business"-uniting the principles to which I refer. "He rejoiced in the conversion of sinners, and constantly aided his pastor in the important duty. His temper was pliant, his manners affable, his integrity entire. He was distinguished by great business talents, and by acute penetration into the character of men. Energy and activity were his element. We could willingly transcribe his diary before us: but a very few short sentences uttered in his last illness must suffice. Within the last few days I have had some glorious views of heaven. It is indeed a glorious thing to die' "—(a young man, of the age of thirty-six, prosperous, successful, happy, with his wife and his little ones, God blessing him in every way!" It is indeed a glorious thing to die: I have been active and busy in the world; I have enjoyed it as much as any one. God has prospered me; I have every thing to tie me here: I am
happy in my family: I have property enough; but how small and mean does this world appear when we are on a sick bed! Nothing can equal my enjoyment in the near prospect of heaven. My hope in Christ is worth infinitely more than all other things. The blood of Christ; the blood of Christ; none but Christ!'— and thus he died." This man of business, this man that was active and busy in the world; a man of enterprise, enjoying it as much as any one; having this success in his pursuits-it was thus that his heart was kept warm by his habitual intercourse with heaven; and thus that God honoured him by his communication of joy and peace when he came to be taken away from that world in which he had moved so much, and which by the grace of God he had used so well. "By the grace of God I determine that I will never be rich :" such was the language of Mr. Cogg; that he would devote his property ic God. So that you see he did not go on accumulating, and accumulating, and accumulating, and waiting for the mature respectability of advanced life, to give something of his time, and talents, and property to God. Why, if this man had determined to be very useful when he came to be fifty or sixty, he never would have been useful at all; for he died at thirty-six.
"Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast; but keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me." Unite activity and enterprise with devotedness to God. I should like to see some noble-minded spiritual merchants, like the one I just read to you of, that should rise up, and after providing fully and fairly for themselves and their families, still to go on with their activity and enterprise, devoting all after to God: then the world would be converted, and nations would be born, and the church would go forth in her strength, and all would be given that is requisite for the fulfilment of his purposes.
Another remark we make is this, that certainly one of the best ways to preserve your speculations, your pursuits, your secular activity, and enterprise, from being offensive to God an injurious to yourselves, is to enter upon none, and to engage in none, but such as you can bring, like Jabez, and lay at the footstool of the throne of God, and ask God to bless. All your enterprise and activity, and speculations, let them be such as you can look at, in the light of the sanctuary and God's countenance; and which you can lay down before God at his feet, and ask for his hand to be with you, and his power to go with you, to give you success. What a prayer that would be to ask of God, to bless fraud, to bless a contemplated act of peculation! Suppose any man should say "Bless my usual habit of depreciating beyond the truth, and beyond what I know to be the truth, every thing I wish to purchase; and elevating by my language far above what I know to be the truth every thing I wish to dispose of: or any other of the petty vices which enter much into the commerce of the world. Now only fancy a man taking all this, and asking God to bless it! O how it would bring the heart and the head to look keenly, and narrowly, and conscientiously, at what we do, if we were in the habit, like Jabez, of bringing the thing to God!
But it seems to me the prayer would be just as bad, if the man were to say "O Lord, bless me, O Lord, enlarge my coast; O Lord, increase and give me secular success, in order that I might rob thee, that I might keep back tay property, and offend and grieve thy Spirit." Now that is a bad prayer. Is it not the prayer of many professors, think you? It is. We are shocked when
we think of a man asking for the blessing of God upon the robbery of man; but we do not shrink and shudder when we think of a man habitually asking strength of God to be enabled to rob God; and yet wherever there is the prayer for secular success, in connexion with the keeping back of what belongs to God, that is virtually the prayer as I have given it in words; I only translate the feeling, and the principle, and the character, of the man.
It is not wrong, I would observe again, as I think appears from this passage, to ask for temporal mercies and blessings as well as spiritual. And it is not wrong to pray to be kept from sin, because of its pernicious effects upon ourselves: because I think that Jabez does both these; and they are both placed here by the pen of inspiration. He authorizes our praying for temporal things: our Saviour does the same in his prayer. The prayer of Jabez authorizes us to pray to be kept from sin, not merely from the abstract feeling of what it is, in the sight of God, but he allows the feelings of the man, the natural feelings of the heart to come in; and he allows us to pray to be kept from sin, on account of what we know to be its pernicious and painful consequences to ourselves : "Keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me." O there is something beautiful and touching about that. It may mean, and does I dare say mean, all the forms in which sin is pernicious, and all the forms of pain that it brings after it. But to a Christian man, to a devout man, it is the feeling of unutterable grief and of deep pain and sorrow of heart on account of sin. It grieves him that he should thus have offended God, acted unworthily of his relationship, and what he has enjoyed of God's grace, and what he has possessed of God's service. It is like the tender representation of the review which the Spirit of God takes of his people; that he is grieved, and has sorrow of heart, on account of the inconsistencies of his children.
You may erect upon this another principle-that sin in the long run is always a miscalculation. It may be sweet in the mouth, but its effects are bitter. It is a momentary impression, a mere vapid satisfaction; but it will sting like a serpent, and bite like an adder. And there is not merely grief, not merely the grief at present, and the painful effects on the heart and mind now, but there is the loss of the soul, the damnation of hell, the grief that is to be felt through the weeping, and the wailing, and the gnashing of teeth there. Have you ever thought what it is for a soul to be lost? Men and brethren, have you ever thought of what it is for the soul to be lost-lost, damned, cast away by God, as an unclean and polluted thing, and left to that pollution; lost to life, knowledge, joy, and holiness; lost to the prospect of the hope of mercy, the expectation of recovery and restoration to God? O, have you ever tried to realize what it is? "What can a man give in exchange for his soul?" This is the miscalculation of sin. If a man should gain the whole world and lose that, what can be given in exchange? Keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me:" that I may not lose myself, and lose all, for the sake of a momentary gratification.
In the last place, let us learn from this subject the gratitude that we ought to feel for the clear discovery that we have in Scripture, of God's covenant relation to his children; that we can go to him, not merely as the God of Israel, but the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in him reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to men their trespasses. Let us rejoice that we know, far more clearly than Jabez, with knowledge far more ample and exact, that