LUKE xii. 15. “And He said
unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man’s
life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he
I SHALL try to keep in view the chief risk to the moral
and religious nature which are incident to a business life;
and my aim will be to show you where the best safeguard
against it is to be sought.
I. The chief dangers, what are they?
It is a misfortune in the path of a commercial
trader to be kept in perpetual contact with the purely
material value of all possible substances. The public senti-
ment of great business centres is apt to reckon a man’s
worth by his business profits. It is always tempted to
erect an ignoble or defective ideal of success in life. I do
not speak of the vulgar dangers to honesty and truth-
fulness, which indeed beset men in all professions and
II. What are the safeguards?
1. Cultivate to the utmost a youthful thirst for truth, and
a youthful sympathy with what is ideal, unselfish, grand in
2. Cultivate a sympathising contact with men and
women in other than mere business relationships.
These are safeguards of the secondary order.
3. The only primary and sufficient safeguard for any of
us is the religion of Jesus Christ. See how the Christian
man is guarded against settling down into a selfish world-
(1.) Religion opens the widest, freest outlook for the
mind into the eternal truth, enlarging a man’s range of
spiritual sight, and enabling him to judge of all things in
both worlds in their true proportion.
(2.) It supplies us for that reason with the only true and
perfect standard by which to test the value of things, and
so corrects the one-sided materialistic standard of business.
(3.) It transforms business itself from an ignoble to a
noble calling, because it substitutes for the principle of mere
profit the ideal of service.
J. Oswald Dykes, D.D.