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The Heavenly Trade


The Best Commerce

The Only Way to Live Well in

Impoverishing Times

A discourse occasioned by the decay of earthly commerce and the visible decline of practical piety in the present time in which we live. Necessary for all families, it offers reasons and counsel to all toward a speedy revival of dying godliness and timely prevention of the resultant impending disastrous consequences.

The Second Edition, Corrected


Bartholomew Ashwood, Minister of the Gospel,

Author of The Best Treasure

Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal” (John 6:27 ESV).

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 ESV).

London, Printed for William Marshall at the Bible in Newgate Street 1688.

Translated into Twenty-First-Century American English

by Tom Sullivan, Editor

Edition: February 12, 2021, v1.0.2

Translated From:

The Heavenly Trade, or the Best Merchandizing: The Only Way to Live Well in Impoverishing Times by Bartholomew Ashwood.1

Copyright 2021: Tom Sullivan, Editor

The editor hereby grants to all without restriction full freedom to copy and distribute this work without limitation, in part or in whole, provided that the text shall be unmodified and that all copyright notices are included. The edition of The Heavenly Trade, by Bartholomew Ashwood, from which this work was translated, was first printed around 1688 and is in the public domain. Those who wish to publish this work must obtain for themselves any necessary permissions from the Bible publishers below. Also, the Open Manhole tract reproduced in Appendix A has its own copyright:

Copyright 1998, 2015 General permission to duplicate and distribute granted, providing that the text of this tract is unaltered, Scripture passages are in larger type than other text, and this copyright notice is included. All Scripture text from the New King James Bible.

Those Scripture passages enclosed in quotation marks and followed by a version designator (ESV, NASB, or NKJV) are exact quotes used by generous special permission under the following publisher copyrights:


Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


The editor would not have troubled to translate the present work if he did not think it valuable. Nonetheless, the opinions and views of the author do not always reflect those of the editor, who has sought to translate faithfully the ideas and thoughts of the author. Any serious exceptions taken by the editor are in footnotes; let the reader, led by the Holy Spirit, be as the Bereans (Acts 17:10–11).2

1Bartholomew Ashwood, The Heavenly Trade, or the Best Merchandizing: The Only Way to Live Well in Impoverishing Times (London: William Marshall, 1688). Copy from Early English Books Online ( File from Huntington Library Copy Ashwood_Bartholomew-The_heavenly_trade_or_The_best-Wing-A4001-731_02-p1to248.pdf (Access credentials required). In cases of illegible or questionable copy, reference was made to the 1697 edition: Bartholomew Ashwood, The Heavenly Trade, or the Best Merchandizing: The Only Way to Live Well in Impoverishing Times (London: Samuel Lee, 1679). Copy from Early English Books Online ( File from Union Library Copy Ashwood_Bartholomew-The_heavenly_trade_or_The_best-Wing-A4000-341_10-p1to259 (Access credentials required). The editor has chosen to translate Merchandizing into Commerce since the modern word Merchandising pertains largely to retail operations, not commerce generally as seems to have been Ashwood’s intent.

2These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11 NKJV).

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