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mind, by the bye: other pleasures, or amusement, or business, will not be entirely forgotten; but still they will be only indulged, as secondary objects; and not allowed to interfere with his one great plan, the one main business of his life, that of becoming a wealthy man.

It will be the same with a traveller on a journey, whose aim and wish are to arrive safe and early at his home. You will not see him wandering far and wide about the country, after every object, which may catch an idle fancy; or loitering in his inn, while the hours of daylight are wasting fast away, and the dangers of the road, and the darkness of the night lie before him in their united terrors. He must, indeed, occasionally stop for refreshment; he will not shut his eyes to the beauties of the prospect, or to the rarities of the country, through which his path conducts him; he will not neglect the usual civilities to those with whom he journeys; his road will sometimes be rough, and sometimes smooth; he will often have occasion to tread with care, and will be anxious to pick his way, as clean and as safely as possible; but not one of these subjects will tempt him to unnecessary delays, or to dangerous wanderings. No entertainment, with which he may meet, by the way, will make him forget that he is still a traveller; and that the main and leading thought, which he should have

in view, is a safe and speedy and happy arrival at his journey's end.

What I have now said of the man who seeks for wealth, and of the man who is going a journey, may be applied to every pursuit and profession of life. He, who seeks for knowledge, must give up his main attention to books and study: he, who is occupied in trade, or in farming,—to the different means of improving his soil, or enlarging his capital. The husbandman, if he wish to thrive, will have little time for books; and the priest, or lawyer, cannot spare many moments for gardening and farming. Every man must follow his own proper business; and that time is little better than lost, which is not conducive to whatever he has fixed upon, as the object of his life and labour.

Thus, then, in our worldly pursuits, every man has some one thing needful, to which his main attention must be given; and in comparison of which, all other things are trifling and unnecessary. But, while almost every man has his separate worldly object, there is, we find by the words of Christ, one common interest, in which all men are equally concerned; one thing which is really needful to all; when compared with which, the most serious cares, the most urgent wants of our mortal nature, sink into as utter insignificance to a rational being, as the

daisies and pebbles by the roadside, to the traveller hastening to his home.

And what this is, we may easily understand, when we recollect the occasion on which the words of my text were spoken.

We read in the Second Lesson for this morning, that our Saviour was entertained on a certain occasion, in the house of two devout sisters: one of these was anxiously employed in making entertainment for such a guest; the other sat at our Saviour's feet, wrapt up in attention to the doctrines of salvation, which He preached. The elder, finding herself unable to do all the service alone, desires our Lord to command her sister to come and help her: upon this Jesus gently reproves her, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; but one thing is needful:" and what that thing was, He declares in the next words: "and Mary," He continues, "has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

He must not be understood as blaming altogether the necessary and hospitable employment, to which Martha was giving her mind; she was careful, and properly careful, in making entertainment for her Lord and his disciples; but He must be understood, as blaming the excess to which these cares were carried. She was not wrong in being diligent in her household; but she was completely so, when she paid

so much attention to it, as to neglect the care of her soul, and those heavenly discourses, and advice, which Christ was then delivering.

Better had it been for her to have finished her work a little sooner, and have shared with her sister in the words of eternal life, and in that care which was of all things the most important, and most indispensable.

A less splendid preparation might have served, or supper might have waited a little, till our Lord's discourse was finished: but the salvation of her soul could not be stayed for; and when Christ was in the house, and speaking as never man spake, the choice of Mary was, no doubt, the wisest; who considered, that such an opportunity might never come again; and that, when eternal happiness was to be obtained, all other things might rest a while, and be considered as of no importance. If Christ had not been preaching, Mary would have been no less diligent than her busy sister.

Our Saviour's meaning then is plain; that the care of our souls is the one thing necessary; which every man should, in the first place, attend to and that all other pursuits, labours, or wishes, are only to be allowed, in an inferior degree; and so as not to interfere with our religion. Christ does not forbid us to be diligent in our calling; - forbid, do I say? - He commands us repeatedly, by His holy Apostles,

to do the best to provide for our families: "He, that provideth not for his


is worse than an infidel:"1- and while we are to be "fervent in spirit," we are cautioned also not to be "slothful in business:"2- but we must never forget that, however useful such worldly cares may be, yet still one thing is needful; and we must "seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness."

Alas, my friends, how many are there in the world, whose thoughts, and wishes, and behaviour, are directly contrary to this solemn truth; who, like Martha, are careful and troubled about many things; yea, about every thing, but one alone; and that one, the most important which a human being can think upon, or labour to obtain.

They will rise early, and labour late, in the pursuit of a livelihood; to make the trifling profit of a few pounds: they will not grudge long journeys, or laborious thought: they will risk cheerfully their lives, or limbs, for a little worldly praise, or an advantageous situation; and yet, when the care of their souls is the object, how idle do these active men become. Ask such to walk a little mile, to worship in the house of God: and he will tell you, the roads are deep; or the weather foul; or he has some trifling business to settle; he is tired, or

1 1 Timothy, v. 8.


2 Romans, xii. 11.

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