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Cause: Lack of Diligence in Following the Heavenly Trade

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Those Who Began the Heavenly Trade But Have Backslidden

Search Out the Causes of Your Soul’s Decay and Get Them Removed

Cause: Lack of Diligence in Following the Heavenly Trade}

Also, lack of diligence in the management of their heavenly trade throws back traders. “Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, And an idle person will suffer hunger” (Proverbs 19:15 NKJV). “Because of laziness the building decays, And through idleness of hands the house leaks” (Ecclesiastes 10:18 NKJV). Those who want to thrive in the world must be diligent and take all opportunities to carry on their work. “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich” (Proverbs 10:4 ESV). So it is in Christianity; when people slack off in their work and do not engage in it purposefully, they soon decay and become spiritually poor. This is the bane of many in these times.1319 Christianity is not their business. People do little [spiritual] work on the Lord’s Day, and they do scarcely any the rest of the week. They will hear the sermon on the Lord’s Day, and when that is done, their work is also done; they never think about what they hear or put it into practice from one Lord’s Day to another. All through the week, their heads, hearts, hands, feet, time, strength, conversations, and plans are completely consumed by the world. With this choice, what else can happen but they go down the hill and waste away in the concerns of their souls?

Christianity is one continual work that allows no intermission but has its work every day, and everything you do is part of that work. Break just one link of this golden chain of godliness and it weakens the whole. Oh, the slothfulness of Christians today in the business of their souls! Every day is filled up with neglects: neglect of prayer, reading [especially Bible reading], meditation, holy conversations, heart-watching, and other grace-cherishing work. It is forget this duty, pass by another, and do all in a cold, cursory, and formal manner. This spoils the prosperity of souls. The Galatians began well but did not hold out; they were soon weary. “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7 NASB). Most people’s journey to Heaven is full of stops, and what makes it most miserable is that it is their own fault. Who hindered you? People’s halts are inside their own hearts; they have no heart to do good (Hosea 7:11).1320 Love of Christianity is almost gone, and this makes people weary of these pleasant ways. While love of Christianity holds, souls are never weary, but when this love leaves the heart, everything is a burden. Such people will do no more than necessary to quiet their conscience and preserve peace and reputation; this starves godliness.

1319As then, it is true today in America in the year 2021.

1320Ephraim is like a dove, silly and without sense, calling to Egypt, going to Assyria” (Hosea 7:11 ESV).

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