Religion has been brought into the sphere of ordinary and practical things, and made to consist in the right ordering of disposition and conduct in the usual duties of life.
The great duties of life as they are ordinarily distributed, both in the household and out of it, are indispensable to the development of the whole nature of man, and of the prime virtues; and they are the instruments, or, to employ the language of ancient times, the “means of grace,” in life.
The church, the lecture room, the prayer and conference meeting, the communion of saints, were once spoken of as “means of grace.”
They are means of grace when they produce grace; but it would seem, in the very use of them, as if they were meant to exclude common life, common duties, common occupations; whereas, in the divine economy, everything which pertains to the well-being of the individual, and the prosperity of the household, and the welfare of the community in which men live, tends to that amassing of force which results in civilization.
Everything which occupies thought, and ripens into enterprise, and ripens enterprise into success and fruitful achievement, is part and parcel of the divine scheme.
Therefore the man who bends over his bench may be as really worshiping God, fulfilling the will of God, and doing God’s service as he who reads from the Psalms or the Gospels. He who is rightly performing the duties of life is worshiping, if worship means rendering acceptable service to God.
One who gives the full activity of his nature to the things which concern him in the sphere where God has planted him, has his mind in that condition which it will ever be in communion with God.
Activity in business gives that vitality, that wholesome, fresh condition of mind, which is the very prime ingredient of fervency of spirit; and this fervency, this life which is produced by force, is to a very large extent the source of our strength; the source of our good moral judgment; the source of all those virtues which are to be developed in us.—BEECHER.