William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

A Christian At His Calling

by Cotton Mather

Every Christian ordinarily should have a calling. That is to say, there should
be some special business, and some settled business, wherein a Christian should
for the most part spend the most of his time; and this, that so he may glorify

There is a variety of callings in the world; even as there are various objects,
about which the callings of men are conversant, and various designs unto which
the callings of men are intended. Some callings, are more immediately, to serve
the souls of our neighbors; and some their safety and some their defense; and
some their bodies; and some their estates; and some their delights. But it is
not lawful for a Christian ordinarily to live without some calling or another,
until infirmities have unhappily disabled him. Indeed a man cannot live without
the help of other men. But how can a man reasonably look for the help of other
men, if he be not in some calling helpful to other men?...

A Christian should have it contrived, that his calling be agreeable, as well as
allowable. It is a wonderful inconvenience for a man to have a calling that
wont agree with him. See to it, O parents, that when you choose callings for
your children, you wisely consult their capacities, and their inclinations; lest
you ruin them...

It is the singular favor of God, unto a man, that he can attend his occupation
with contentment and satisfaction. That one man has a spirit formed and fitted
for one occupation, and another man for another, this is from the operation that
God, who forms the spirit of man within him... Count not your business to be
your burden or your blemish. Let not a proud heart make you ashamed of that
business wherein you may be a blessing. For my part, I cant see an honest man
hard at work in the way of his occupation, be it never so [insignificant] (and
tho perhaps driving of a wheel barrow) [without finding] my heart sensibly
touched with respect for such man. It is possible, you may think, that you may
see others in some greater and richer business; and you may think that you might
be, yourselves greater and richer, if you were in some other business. Yea, but
has not the God of heaven cast you into that business, which now takes you up?


Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas