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tain a rich treasure of wholesome instruction, such as every tradesman should write upon his heart, and practice in his shop and family, with the greatest readiness I lend my name to the piece ; and heartily wish it could borrow much greater advantages, as to its perusal and usefulness, than I am capable of giving it by my recommendation.
As the age in which we live is much degenerated from the virtue and piety of our forefathers, I should be heartily glad if I might see the salvation of God, in a general repentance and reformation : And should this begin in the shop and the exchange; how wide and amazing would be its influence ? No more would our eyes be witnesses of the base practices of overreaching, and various other iniquities ; nor would our ears be so often shocked with the tremendous bankruptcy and ruin, brought by idleness, luxury and vice, not only upon single persons, but whole families left destitute and wretched forever after.
That the following pages may be blest to these purposes, is the desire and prayer of the Reader's hearty well wisher and
ISAAC WATTS. Newington, Jan. 24th, 1747.
AS trade and commerce employ a very considerable part of mankind, an attempt to render the conduct of those who are engaged in it more happy and successful, will appear
to be, at least, a benevolent undertaking; and I to this end it is evident, that moral as well as
prudential directions may contribute. Certainly to discharge in a proper “manner the respective duties of the common callings of life, which take up six parts of our time in seven, l'equires greater attention of mind than is usually paid to them, for the regular discharge of their respective duties ; and may admit of more assistance than has been yet offered to the world in any treatise now extant. There is, indeed, an excellent piece which has met with considerable and deserved acceptance, called the Complete English Tradesman, which I could wislı were in the hands of all that are concerned to appear in that character with honor or success ; but as it is chiefly employed in considerations of a prudential' nature, it leaves room for an attempt of the present kind.
Instead therefore of useless speculations, or perplexing controversies in religion, which neither
enrich the mind, nor reform the manners of men ; I shall endeavour to direct the conscientious tradesman in the duties of his daily calling, wherein he is surrounded with manifold temptations and difficulties, and stands in need of all the assistance he can obtain from God or man. He hath the same depraved nature to bias him, and the same malicious spirit to tempt him as others; and he hath a much greater variety of trials and temptations from the world, than either the scholar, or gentleman. The particular circumstances of trade and the duties flowing from thence, are indeed too numerous to be contained in so small a tract as this ; yet I doubt not, but the principles and Jules here laid down, being faithfully applied to particular cases, will generally be found sufficient for his direction ; though after all it must bo owned, that the religious fear of God, and a sincere love to our neighbour, will do more to direct us in many doubtful and critical cases, than can be expected from any treatise whatsoever.
Let me beg that the reader would take into serious and mature consideration the hints that are here suggested, and if he meets with any thing which recommends itself to his conscience, as agreeable to the laws of God, and the nature and reason of things, that he would not fait immediately to put it in practice. Surely, no one can be so absurd as to think it
sufficient to appear religious on the Lord's day, or to be serious in the devotions of the closet, and then leave conscience asleep all the intermediate time; since these religious duties were designed as the means of producing and maintaining those principles of wisdom and justice, virtue and goodness, which are to be in continual exercise; and the infinite Creator and proprietor of the universe, claims our constant obedience to his laws, as well as our devout ascriptions of worship and adoration.
It may be fit to acquaint the world, that the substance of this piece is taken from a book entitled, The Tradesman's Calling ; which though it has lain some time in obscurity, is thought by many judicious persons to be very deserving of the public regard. The publisher could have wished it had been revised, and sent into the world by a more able hand ; and the sense he had of its deficiency, was the chief cause of its lying so long unpublished ; but he does not absolutely despair of its being in some degree useful, since as a learned writer observes, 6. Truth influences the mind of man more by its own authority, evidence and excellency, than by any ornaments of wit and eloquence in which it may be drest.” And such ornaments are in this case the less needful, as the subjects are chiefly addressed to persons of plain sense and understanding ; if the God of the spirit of all flesh, is pleased to smile upon it so
far as to render it effectual to reform the practices, and improve the tempers of those that read it, the Publisher will have the full reward he hopes for from this essay of benevolence to his fellow beings; and a thousand encomiams on the elegance of the composition, without these effects, would afford him little satisfaction. He has added some passages of scripture at the conclusion of each subject, that they might have the sanction of divine authority to enforce them ; firmly believing that however men inay despise it, if ever the blessed God is pleased to reform a sinful world, He will honor His own word as the instrument of producing such a happy event.