The sons of Shelah son of Judah: Er the father of Lecah, Laadah the father of Mareshah and the clans of the linen workers at Beth-ashbea,
byssus, or fine linen. Others were occupied in tilling the estates and tending the herds and flocks of the king. Others, again, pursued the calling of the potter. Now, there is no reason for surprise in meeting with such references in a book of the canonical Scriptures. There is a religious side to all such useful and respectable vocations. Those who follow them may not always be aware of the fact; but a fact it certainly is.
I. HANDICRAFTSMEN AND HUSBANDMEN MAKE USE OF MATERIALS WHICH A KIND PROVIDENCE HAS SUPPLIED. The soil which is tilled, the vegetable substances which that soil produces, the minerals which are dug from it, are all of God. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof."
II. THE FACULTIES OF BODY AND MIND WHICH SUCH PERSONS EXERCISE AND EMPLOY ARE ENTRUSTED BY THE CREATOR. The limbs of the body, the strength of the muscles, the skill of the intelligent and designing mind, are all needed for the production of the results. Every artificer is himself a miracle of creative power and wisdom; and he who framed the workman is glorified in the handiwork.
III. THE WELFARE OF CIVILIZED HUMAN SOCIETY, WHICH IS THE CONSEQUENCE OF SUCH LABOURS, IS A PART OF THE DIVINE PLAN. The arts, useful and aesthetic, tend to the comfort and the development of humanity. All the conveniences of human life are instrumental in furthering the purposes of God.
IV. AMONG SUCH ARTIFICERS RELIGION OFTEN FINDS WARM ADHERENTS, SUPPORTERS, AND PROMULGATORS. The busy and useful classes of society furnish the largest proportion of strength to our Churches. These have often been the salt of society, when the wealthy, luxurious, and dissolute on the one hand, and the idle and predatory on the other, would have introduced corruption and death into the body politic. - T.
I. Useful arts EMANATE FROM THE WISDOM AND GOODNESS OF GOD.
For they were craftsmen... that wrought fine linen... those that dwelt among plants.
II. Useful arts ARE BENEFICIAL IN THEIR TENDENCY.
III. Therefore all engaged in useful arts PROMOTE THE WELFARE OF SOCIETY.
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