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Detailed Table of Contents

Brief Table of Contents 3

Detailed Table of Contents 4

Important Notes to the Reader 12

Change Log 13

Editor’s Introduction 14

Helpful Background: Ashwood’s Style 14

Emotions: Goals or Indicators 16

The Translation Process 20

Contemporary Relevance of the Historical Background 20

Biography of Bartholomew Ashwood 22

The Epistle Dedicatory 24

Author’s Introduction — The Epistle to the Readers 27

The Heavenly Trade 40

The Occasion of the Discourse and Introduction to the Work 40

Introduction to the Doctrine and Scriptures Teaching It 42

Proof That the Heavenly Trade is the Best Trade 47

The Nature of Those Things about which Wisdom’s Merchants Deal 47

Scripture Proves That Heavenly Wares Are the Best in Their Own Nature 48

Experience Proves That Heavenly Wares Are the Best in Their Own Nature 49

Reason Proves That Heavenly Wares Are the Best in Their Own Nature 52

Heavenly Wares Are Rare 53

Heavenly Wares Are Expensive 54

Heavenly Wares Cost God Dearly 55

Heavenly Wares Are Often Costly to the Receivers 55

Heavenly Wares Are Worth Greatly More Than Their Price 56

Heavenly Wares Have Eternal Duration 58

The Person with Whom Heavenly Traders Deal 59

Christ’s Greatness 60

Christ’s Goodness 60

Christ’s Ability 60


Christ’s Faithfulness 62

The Terms of the Heavenly Trade 62

Goods Will Be Freely Given to Heaven’s Merchants 63

Wisdom to Manage Goods Will Be Given to Heaven’s Merchants 64

God Will Ensure a Blessing on the Good Use of These Goods 64

God Will Get All the Glory 65

The Heavenly Trade Is the Most Profitable Trade 66

The Heavenly Trade Brings Great Returns 66

The Heavenly Trade Brings Sure Returns 68

The Justice of God Assures the Returns 68

The Blood of Christ Assures the Returns 69

The Holy Spirit of God Assures the Returns 70

The Partnership of the Lord Jesus Assures the Returns 70

The Heavenly Trade Brings Quick Returns 71

But We Must Often Wait Patiently for God to Answer 71

God Will Help at Exactly the Best Time 72

God Will Repay Our Patience 72

The Saints Are Often the Cause of the Delay 73

Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade… 74

Personal Application 74

Cause for Lamentation, Repentance, and Labor 76

Symptoms of the Decay of the Heavenly Trade 76

Decline in the Price of Heavenly Goods 77

Fewness of Buyers of Heavenly Goods 78

Little Employment and Slothfulness of Spirit about Heavenly Things 79

The Poverty of Heavenly Traders 81

Little Investment in Heavenly Goods 84

Many Bankruptcies Show That Commerce Has Decayed 85

The Sad and Dangerous Effects of the Decay of Heavenly Trade 86

God and Souls Become Estranged 87

There is Poverty and Spiritual Wasting Away of Souls 88

Earthly Trading and Affairs Are Blasted 89

It Is an Easy Way to Ruin 90

It Makes One’s Accounts Payable Burdensome 91

The Blameworthiness of People’s Inordinate Pursuit of Earthly Things 93

Question: How May We Know When Pursuit of Earthly Things Is Inordinate? 94

When the Pursuit Uses Up Too Much of Our Time 94

When Earthly Things Consume Too Much of Our Hearts 95

Sign of a Worldly Heart: Our Desires Are Greedily for Worldly Things 95

Sign of a Worldly Heart: Our Thoughts Are Earthly 96

Sign of a Worldly Heart: We Labor Restlessly for the World 98

Sign of a Worldly Heart: We Overly Delight in Worldly Things 99

Sign of a Worldly Heart: We Will Not Part with Earthly Things for God and His Service 101

Sign of a Worldly Heart: Our Trust and Dependence Is on Worldly Things 103

More Reasons Why an Earthly Mind Is Evil 104

Your State Is Dangerous 105

Your Folly Is Great 108

Exhortation and Counsel to Strangers to the Heavenly Trade 112

Reasons to Pursue the Heavenly Trade 112

Strangers to the Heavenly Trade Are Lacking and Needy 112

Strangers to the Heavenly Trade Are in Great Danger 116

Strangers to the Heavenly Trade Are Neglecting Duties and Obligations 117

The Heavenly Trade Has Great Advantages 119

Christianity Will Support You in the Hardest Times 119

Godliness Will Secure You in Dangerous Times 121

Holiness Will Enrich You in the Impoverishing Times 122

Piety Will Cheer You during Your Greatest Distress 122

Wisdom’s Trade Will Make You Truly Honorable 123

How to Get the Heavenly Trade 124

Get the Ability and Heavenly Nature Needed for the Heavenly Trade 124

Stop Doing Your Own Works 126

Commit and Give Yourselves to the Lord in an Everlasting Covenant 127

Come Over into the Family of Christ 129

Be Dead to This Present World 132

Submit to All the Instructions of the Lord Jesus 133

Make Haste to Do It Now 136

Exhortation and Counsel to Professors of Christianity 138

Have and Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit 139

Properties of a Heavenly Spirit 139

Seek to See Heavenly Things 140

Seek to Delight in Heavenly Things 142

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit 143

Beware of Things That Weaken a Heavenly Spirit 143

Beware of Carnal Lusts 143

Beware of Admitting Earthly Things Too Near the Heart 145

Beware of Grieving the Holy Spirit 146

Get All the Nourishment You Can to Strengthen Your Heavenly Spirit 147

Spend Much Time in Communion with God 148

Cherish Heavenly Influences from the Holy Spirit in Your Hearts 149

Frequently Consider Heaven 150

Assiduously Practice Heavenly Actions 151

Make Secure Your Portion of Heavenly Treasures 152

How to Know That Heavenly Treasures Are Yours 155

Answer 1: By Your Communion with the Heir of Heaven 155

How Do I Know If I Am Married to Christ or Not? 159

You Have a Special Acquaintance with Christ 159

Your Love for Christ 161

You Are Willing to Leave All for Christ 163

You Cling to Christ and Are Supported by Him 165

You Have Fruitfulness in Christ 166

Answer 2: You Naturally Love Heavenly Treasures 167

Answer 3: You Care for and Pursue Heavenly Treasures 168

Answer 4: Your Spirit Is Suited to Heavenly Treasures 169

Work to Obtain Heavenly Treasures 170

What Should I Do to Get These Heavenly Goods? 181

Answer 1: Maintain a Sense of Your Own Needs 181

Answer 2: Believe in Christ’s Fullness 182

How to Know that Christ Will Furnish Me If I Come for These Heavenly Goods 183

Carry on Heavenly Work 186

Four Motives to Encourage You to Do Heavenly Work 187

There Is Much Good and Necessary Work to Be Done 187

Your Spiritual Nourishment Will Be According to Your Work 190

Your Companions Will Be According to Your Work 190

Your Eternal Wages Will Be According to Your Work 191

What Is This Heavenly Work That Christians Must Do? 195

Heavenly Work Has a Heavenly Source, Rule, and Purpose 195

Heavenly Work in Heavenly Matters 195

Heavenly Work of Worship of God 196

Heavenly Work on Ourselves 200

Heart Work 200

Mortification Work 207

Carry on Renovation Work 224

Keep Your Evidence for Entry to Heaven Unblemished and Unmistakable 227

Heavenly Work That Concerns Others 228

Another Part of Heavenly Work Is to Do Earthly Things in a Heavenly Manner 231

Do Earthly Things by Heavenly Rules 231

Be Sure the Matter Is Good and All You Do Is According to the Will of God 231

Engage in Earthly Things in Their Proper Place and Order 234

Keep Your Earthly Business within Appropriate Time Limits 235

Be Diligent in Using Your Working Time 236

While You Are Doing Earthly Work, Guard Your Hearts 238

Attend to Your Earthly Affairs with a Calm and Quiet Spirit 238

Follow Your Duty, But Cast Your Anxiety on God 241

In All Your Labors, Pray for Blessing 242

Although You Live in the World, Be Dead to the World 243

Do All Your Work in View of Death, Judgment, and Eternity 244

You Do Your Earthly Work in a Heavenly Manner When You Do It with a Heavenly Heart 245

A Heavenly Heart Is Enlightened to See Heavenly Things 246

A Heavenly Heart Delights in Heavenly Things 247

A Heavenly Heart Desires and Longs for Heavenly Things 248

A Heavenly Heart Has Heavenly Thoughts 248

A Heavenly Heart Will Be Full of Heavenly Projects 249

A Heavenly Heart Is Actuated and Influenced by Heavenly Motives and Reasoning 250

A Heavenly Heart Lives Off Heavenly Things 251

A Heavenly Heart Walks by Heavenly Rules 251

Earthly Things Are Done in a Heavenly Manner When Done for Heavenly Goals and Purposes 252

Keep Up Heavenly Thoughts 253

Keep Up Heavenly Conversations 256

Use Everything for Heavenly Advantages 258

Use Your Privileges for Heavenly Advantage 259

Use Your Natural Privileges 260

Use Your Providential Privileges 261

Use Your Spiritual Privileges 262

Get Good from Ordinances 263

Preparation Before You Attend Ordinances 264

Give Attention to Ordinances 265

Take Heed to Retain What You Gain from Ordinances 266

Obedience to the Lessons from Ordinances 266

Get All the Good You Can from Providences 267

Get Good from the World and the Things in It 268

Get Good from Your Callings and Employments 270

Get Good from Your Company 271

Get Good from Real Solitude 274

Get Good from Occasional Providential Things and Events 277

Get Good from Your Falls and Failures 279

Objection: If Souls May Get Good from Sin, Why Fight Against It? 280

Souls Who Have a Portion in Christ Cannot Live in or Allow Themselves to Practice Sin 281

Souls Who Are Rational Cannot Live in or Allow Themselves to Practice Sin 282

Sin Is Slave’s Work 283

Sin Has Bitter Fruit 283

Sin Has Horrible Wages 284

Conclusion to Getting Good from Falls and Failures 284

Exhortation and Counsel to Earthly Traders 286

Counsel One: Be Convinced of the Excellence of the Heavenly Trade 286

Counsel Two: See God in Your Afflictions 287

Counsel Three: Search for the Cause of Your Afflictions 288

Cause: Backsliding in the Christian Life and Decline in One’s Heavenly Trade 288

Cause: Decline in the Worship of God 289

Cause: Covetous Withholding from God 290

Cause: Greedy Desires for the World 291

Cause: Unfaithfulness in One’s Callings 293

Cause: God Does It to Bring People Down to His Feet and Bring Them Back to Himself 295

Counsel Four: Get the Breach between God and Your Souls Closed Up 296

Counsel Five: Get Advantage from Earthly Decays to Further Your Heavenly Trade 297

Advantage: Decays Help Convince You of the Vanity and Uncertainty of Things Lower than God 297

Advantage: Decays Help Uncover the Sins That Caused the Losses 298

Advantage: Decays Help You See the Necessity of Pursuing and Obtaining Better Treasure 299

Advantage: Decays Help, through Grace, Loosen the Heart from Things Below 300

Advantage: Decays Help Liberate the Soul from Things Below and Let It Grow 300

Advantage: Decays Help Make Heavenly Things Sweeter 301

Exhortation and Counsel to Those Who Began the Heavenly Trade But Have Backslidden 301

Advice: Be Deeply Affected by Your Evil Condition 302

Consider the Change Your Backsliding Has Brought upon You 302

Consider What an Ugly and Displeasing Object You Have Become in God’s Eyes 303

Consider How Undesirable You Are in People’s Sight 304

Consider That You Are a Big Loser 304

Consider That Your Case Is Dangerous and Your Recovery Very Difficult 305

Sign of Healing: Your Decline Is Not Your Choice, But Against Your Heart 305

Sign of Healing: Your Decline Troubles Your Soul and Burdens Your Heart 306

Sign of Healing: Your Decline Occurs after Your Conversion and Sincere Choice of God 306

Sign of Healing: Your Decline Makes You Restless until the Lord Heals You 307

Sign of Healing: Your Decline Is Not in Your Vitals 308

Sign of Healing: In Your Decline, You Still Find a Humble and Contrite Heart 308

Dangerous Symptoms That Your Falling Back Will Be Restored Only with Difficulty 309

Dangerous Symptom: You Fell Back before You Ever Committed Yourself to Christ 309

Dangerous Symptom: You Fell Off from the Foundations 310

Dangerous Symptom: Making Merchandise of the Truth, Selling Yourselves to Work Wickedness 311

Dangerous Symptom: Choosing and Delighting in Your Backsliding 311

Dangerous Symptom: You Are Prejudiced against the Means of Recovery 313

Advice: Search Out the Causes of Your Soul’s Decay and Get Them Removed 314

Cause: Entering the Heavenly Trade without a Stock of Goods with which to Set Up 314

Cause: Entering the Heavenly Trade without Skill to Manage It 315

Cause: Lack of Diligence in Following the Heavenly Trade 316

Cause: Great and Frequent Losses in the Heavenly Trade 316

Cause: Needless Expenses and Waste of Resources 317

Cause: Great Debts Cause Bankruptcy 319

Advice: Settle on Friendly Terms with Your Creditor 319

Advice: Set Up No More for Yourselves, But Become Factors for Christ 320

Trade with Another’s Stock of Goods 321

Trade by Another’s Instructions 324

Trade in Christ’s Best Interests, Not Yours 324

Advice: Follow Your Trade Better than You Have Done Previously 325

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity 327

Advice: Bless God for Good Trading 327

Bless God for Good Trading because a Thriving Soul Is a Great Mercy at All Times 327

Bless God for Good Trading Because a Thriving Soul Is a Singular Mercy in These Days 328

Bless God for Good Trading Because It Is a Pledge of Eternal Mercy 329

Question: How Do I Know If I Have Good Trading? 331

Sign of Good Trading: When You Do Not Backslide 331

Sign of Good Trading: When Wares Move Off the Shelves 333

Sign of Good Trading: When You Have Greater Inventory 333

Sign of Good Trading: When You Are Less in Debt than You Were 334

Sign of Good Trading: When You Have Much Owed to You and It Is Sure 335

Sign of Good Trading: When Present Income Is Enough to Live On 336

Sign of Good Trading: Investing as Well as Spending 337

Answer to Those Who See from These Things That They Are Not Good Traders 338

Things to Make You Thrive: Provident Care 338

Things to Make You Thrive: A Diligent Hand 339

Things to Make You Thrive: A Secret Trade of Holiness 341

Things to Make You Thrive: The Blessing of God on Your Labors 342

Things to Make You Thrive: Use Well Those Graces That Make You Thrive 343

Faith 343

Love to God, His Name, and Ways 344

Humility 345

Sincerity 346

Take Action That Leads to Prosperity of Soul 347

Take Action That Leads to Prosperity of Soul: Self-Examination 347

Take Action That Leads to Prosperity of Soul: Be Much with God in Prayer 348

Take Action That Leads to Prosperity of Soul: Engage God to Be with You in All You Do 349

Take Action That Leads to Prosperity of Soul: Follow Divine Counsel in All You Do 351

Objection: My Fear Remains That I Am a Barren Soul and Will Perish at Last 351

Objection: But May Not a Hypocrite Do All This by an Enlightened Conscience and Common Grace? 352

Objection: But Change from Nature to Grace Is Not Growth in Grace 354

Advice: Enlarge Your Trade 356

Advice: Lay In for Bad Times 362

Times of Temptation 363

Reason: Temptations Are Certain to Come 363

Reason: Temptations Are Shaking When They Come 365

Times When God Withdraws the Sense of His Presence from You 367

Times of Great Affliction 368

The Time of Death 370

Advice: Lay Out for God 372

To Lay Out for God Is Reasonable Work 373

To Lay Out for God Is Pleasing Work 374

To Lay Out for God Is Honorable Work 374

To Lay Out for God Is Profitable Work 375

To Lay Out for God Is Proof of Your Love for God 376

Direction: Lay Out Your Time for God 377

Motivation: Your Time Is Not Yours, But God’s 378

Motivation: Much of Your Time Is Lost Already 378

Motivation: Your Time Is Short and Uncertain 379

Motivation: You Cannot Put Your Time to Better Profit than to Lay It Out for God 380

Motivation: You Must Give an Account of Your Time to God 380

Motivation: How Can You Begrudge a Little Time for God Who Has Not Begrudged You an Eternity of Mercy? 381

Direction: Lay Out Your Strength for God 381

Direction: Lay Out Your Gifts and Graces for God 382

Direction: Lay Out Your Earthly Assets for God 384

Otherwise All Your Christianity Is in Vain 385

Acts of Charity Are Part of Christian Worship 387

God Is Greatly Glorified by Duties of Charity 387

Sincere Charity Will Be Evidence of Your Right to Glory 388

Charity Is the Sure Way to Blessing on Earth 390

Advice: Lay Up for Glory 392

Lay Up Sound Hopes for Glory 393

Sure Hopes for Glory Result from Union with Christ 395

Sure Hopes for Glory Are the Fruit of True Grace 397

Evidence of Sure Hopes for Glory: True Grace Makes a Believer Dead to the World 398

Evidence of Sure Hopes for Glory: True Hopes are Active Hopes 399

Evidence of Sure Hopes for Glory: Your Citizenship Is in Heaven 400

Evidence of Sure Hopes for Glory: You Willingly Endure Suffering Along the Way 400

Lay Up Desires for Glory 401

Lay Up All the Treasures You Can for Greater Glory 402

Several Things Tend to Greater Glory 403

Lay Up Preparations for Glory 405

Get Your Hearts More Loose from This Present World 405

Press Toward More Maturity in Your Graces 406

Get and Keep the Testimony of a Good Conscience 407

Maintain Walks with God Daily 408

Diligently Do Your Work on Earth 408

Last, Always Be Ready for the Coming of the Lord 409

Appendix A: The Open Manhole 411

Introduction 411

The Nightmare 411

The Cure Explained 412

Will You Take the Cure and Inherit Eternal Life? 416

Appendix B: Editorial Philosophy 418

Afterword 420

Scripture Index 421

Alpha Index 454

The original table of contents contained many errors. The table of contents above is the editor’s reconstruction obtained by comparing the original with divisions apparent in the text of the book itself.

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