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TO THE READER.
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 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, requires 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 yet been 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 wish were in the hands of all that are concerned to appear in that character with honour or success; but as it is chief. ly employed in considerations of a pruden. tial 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
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 husband. man, scholar, or gentleman. The particular circumstances of trade, and the duties Aowing from thence, are indeed too numerous to be contained in so small a tract as this; yet I doubt not, but the principles and rules here laid down, being faithfully applied to particular cases, will generally be found sufficient for his direction; though after all it must be 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 recommend itself to his conscience, as agreeable to the laws of God, and the nature and reason of things, that he would not fail immediately to put in practice. Surely, no one. can be so absurd as to think it sufficient to appear religious on the Lords day, or to be serious in the devotions of the closet, and then leave conscience asleep all the in
termediate 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 ob scurity, 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, “Truth influences the mind