Everyone is engaged in buying and selling in some way, shape, or form. Yet businessmen have been called by God to labor in these skills in a peculiar way for His glory and the good of their fellow men. With this calling comes great responsibilities, privileges, perplexities, and temptations. The 1856 book The Man of Business: Considered in His Various Relations, with contributions from a variety of men (including James Waddel Alexander), focused entirely on this calling and its particular spiritual needs.
Here is the introduction: "The following Essays have been written expressly for this work. They are intended to bear upon a very important class of the community—a class which in this
country is constantly increasing. The walks of business become more ramified and extended as the luxuries of civlization and the skill of human inventions become more multiplied and more widely displayed. Every description of commercial, mechanical, and executive business, excited and created by the new wants and new imaginations of advancing society, will call for the creation and extension of new agencies to accomplish the labors which they must demand. Thus the variety and number of business agencies of every kind must spread out in a constant increase. The earnestness of competition and the fertility of invention which characterize the walks of trade will also encroach more and more upon the previous comparative tranquillity of professional life. And men of all descriptions will, to a great degree, be transformed into business men. Their temptations, their principles of action, their rules of enterprise, their responsibilities, and their peculiar aspects of influence, will become, to a great degree, the common, aspects of the community of which, in earlier times, they have formed only a part. Such a work as the one now prepared for the publisher, who has assumed the responsibility of issuing this, will be one of general interest and usefulness. It will form an appropriate guide for the young man in his start in life. It will be an useful gift to a business friend in any period of his life of experiment. It will exercise an influence for the benefit of men, only limited by its own adaptation to usefulness; for the field upon which it enters is boundless, and the persons for whom it is calculated to be a guide and a friend, are innumerable. The
value of this particular book must be tested by the experiment of its character. It is fully believed by the publisher to be in an eminent degree adapted to be useful. He thinks that no reflecting person can read the table of contents, and remark the subjects proposed, and the character of the gentlemen who have severally written upon them at his request, without a thorough conviction of the value of the work, and the likelihood of its usefulness to those for whom it is designed. It is, therefore, with great confidence that he sends it forth, sincerely believing he is doing a public good in the provision of such a work for sale, which is far beyond the value of any personal advantage in the particular line of his own BUSINESS, or his private profit in honorable trade."