Female Peddlers of the Word
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?-- Matthew 6:24-25
In 1844, in the midst of a market revolution that was transforming both rural and urban America, Harriet Livermore decried the increasing commercialization of American culture. Addressing the American public in the pages of her book The Counsel of God, she complained that far too many people valued material wealth over Christianity. A man could not go to heaven "with golden weights upon his breast, and silver shackles about his feet," she argued. Claiming that speculating on stocks was "criminal," she pointed out that Christ himself had told his disciples, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eve of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."1 Christians who had grown rich by exploiting the poor, who had chosen to worship mammon rather than God, were not truly Christians at all.
Livermore was a congressman's daughter who had been raised in a prosperous household, but after deciding to become a preacher, she deliberately chose the hardships of itinerant life over the world's comforts and luxuries. Although her education and refinement set her apart from other female preachers, she was linked to them by her devotion to "the Lord's outcasts,"