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النشر الإلكتروني

LECTURE I.

NEHEMIAH'S MASTER PRINCIPLE.

“But so did not I, because of the fear of God.”—Neu. v. 15.

THE religion of the Bible is not a sickly plant, which requires the forcing-house to keep it alive. It is a hardy tree, which flourishes best in the open field. The servant of God anywhere, is the servant of God everywhere. Few notions have done more mischief than the imagination, that godliness belongs to the closet and the sanctuary, the cloister and the cell; that it is a thing of sabbaths and sacraments, of forms and creeds; that it is too ethereal to be interfused into the occupations of secular life. How fond the fancy! For what a man is in his Counting-house, or on the Exchange, in the midst of his mercantile pursuits—that he is in the house of prayer, in the closet of devotion

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-in the sight of Him who will judge him at the last day. How unscriptural, therefore, the sentiment, so current in the world, “Religion is well in its place, but has nothing to do with the warehouse or the workshop—with the senate or the cabinet!” On the same false assumption, many men of business will affirm that it is impossible to carry out the principles of the gospel in the details of commercial life. They look upon religion as a garment which may be put on and off as occasion requires, not as the divine weft on which the whole warp

of character is to be woven. To refute such fallacies, and dispel such illusions, there is no more effectual means than holy example. For example shows what can be done, and at the same time points out the way in which it may be accomplished. It teaches whilst it stimulates; and whilst it encourages it directs. At the same time, example, that it may be powerful, must be pertinent—it must come home to the consciences and the circumstances of those whom it is to influence. Hence, the force of an example will greatly depend on the relation which it bears to the persons whom it is intended to affect. For this reason, of all the examples which Holy Scripture exhibits—and it is rich in them, as the midnight sky is in the stars which gem its bosom—there is none more appropriate for men occupied in the

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