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SERM. comfort, deposited in the memory and conscience of him LI. that practiseth it. It will ever, upon his reviewing the passages of his life, be sweet to him to behold in them testimonies and monuments of his diligence; it will please him to consider, that he hath lived to purpose, having done somewhat considerable; that he hath made an advantageous use of his time; that he hath well-husbanded the talents committed to him; that he hath accomplished (in some measure) the intents of God's bounty, and made some return for his excellent gifts. What comfort, indeed, can any man have, yea, how sore remorse must he feel, in reflecting upon a life spent in unfruitful and unprofitable idleness? How can he otherwise than bewail his folly and

Diu fuit, baseness, in having lived (or rather having only been) in

non diu vixit.

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vain; as the shadow and appearance of a man: in having lavished his days, in having buried his talents, in having embezzled his faculties of nature, and his advantages from Providence; in having defeated the good-will of God, and Matt. xxv. endeavoured no requital to the munificent goodness of his Maker, of his Preserver, his benign Lord and Master, his gracious Saviour and Redeemer? How, without confusion, can he in his mind revolve, that he hath nowise benefited the world, and profited his neighbour, or obliged his friends, or rendered to his country (to the society or community of which he is a member) amends for all the safety and quiet, the support, the convenience, and the pleasure he hath enjoyed under its protection, and in its bosom? that he hath not borne a competent share in the common burdens, or paid a due contribution of his care and labour to the public welfare? How can such a man look inward upon himself with a favourable eye, or pardon himself for so loathsome defaults?

7. Let us consider, that industry doth argue a generous and ingenuous complexion of soul.

It implieth a mind not content with mean and vulgar things, (such as nature dealeth to all, or fortune scattereth about,) but aspiring to things of high worth, and pursuing them in a brave way, with adventurous

courage, by its own forces, through difficulties and ob- SERM. stacles.

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It signifieth in a man a heart, not enduring to owe the sustenance or convenience of his life to the labour or the liberality of others; to pilfer a livelihood from the world; to reap the benefit of other men's care and toil, without rendering a full compensation, or outdoing his private obligations by considerable service and beneficence to the public. A noble heart will disdain to subsist like a drone upon the honey gathered by others' labour; like a vermin to filch its food out of the public granary; or like a shark to prey on the lesser fry; but will one way or other earn his subsistence: for he that doth not earn, can hardly own his bread, as St. Paul implieth, when he saith, Them that 2 Thess. iii. are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, TaurÑY that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. ἄρτον.

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Of this generous ingenuity we have a notable instance in that great Apostle himself; which he doth often repre- 1 Cor. ix. sent as a pattern to us, professing much complacence therein. He with all right and reason might have challenged a comfortable subsistence from his disciples, in re- 2 Thess. iii. compense for the incomparable benefits he did confer on 1 Cor. ix.

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1 Thess.

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them, and of the excessive pains he did endure for their 11. good this he knew well; but yet did rather choose to 6. support himself by his own labour, than any wise to seem burdensome or troublesome to them: These hands, said Acts xx. 34, 35. he, have ministered to my necessities, and to them that are xviii. 3. with me. I have shewed you all things, that so labouring 1 Thess. ii. ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words 2 Thess. iii. of our Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. This was the practice of him, who was 12. in labours most abundant; and such is the genius of every 3, 23. man, who, upon principles of conscience, reason, and honour, is industrious. Of him it may be said, as of Solomon's good housewife, She seeketh wool and flax, and Prox. xxxi. worketh willingly with her hands; she is like the merchants, 13, 14, 27. ship, she bringeth her food from afar; she looketh well to her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

1 Cor. iv.

2 Cor. xi.

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Ovid de
Remed.

Sloth is a base quality, the argument of a mind wretchedly degenerate and mean; which is content to grovel in a despicable state; which aimeth at no worthy thing, nor pursueth any thing in a laudable way; which disposeth a man to live gratis (precariously) and ingratefully on the public stock, as an insignificant cypher among men, as a burden of the carth, as a wen of any society; sucking aliment from it, but yielding no benefit or ornament thereto.

8. Industry is a fence to innocence and virtue; a bar to all kinds of sin and vice, guarding the avenues of our heart, keeping off the occasions and temptations to vicious practice. When a man is engaged in honest employment, and seriously intent thereon, his mind is prepossessed and filled, so that there is no room or vacancy for ill thoughts, or base designs, to creep in; his senses do not lie open to ensnaring objects; he wants leisure and opportunity of granting au dience to the solicitations of sinful pleasure; and is apt to answer them with a non vacat1; the Devil can hardly find advantage of tempting him, at least many devils cannot get access to him, according to that observation in Cassian, A working monk is assaulted by one devil, but an idle one is spoiled by numberless bad spirits m. The case of men ordinarily is like to that of Ægisthus, -ne nil ageretur, amavit;

rather than do nothing, he was ready to do ill; he not having business to employ his thoughts, wanton desires did insinuate themselves into his heart, and transported him to that disastrous wickedness, which supplied matter to so many tragedies; and the like instance the sacred history sug2 Sam. xi. gesteth in King David, who walking, it is said, on the roof

2

of his house, his mind then roving, and being untacked from honest cares, that temptation seized on him, whereby he was plunged into that woful misdemeanour, which did create to him so much sorrow, did make such a spot in his

1 Semper te diabolus inveniat occupatum. Bern. Form. Hon. v. cap. 7.

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Operans monachus uno dæmone pulsatur, otiosus vero innumeris spiritibus devastatur. Cass. de Instit. x. 23.

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life, and leave such a blur on his memory; whence yet we SERM. may draw some benefit, taking it as a profitable document and warning, how idleness doth expose the best men to danger.

xxxiii. 27,

Idleness is indeed the nursery of sins, which as naturally grow up therein as weeds in a neglected field, or insects in a standing puddle. Idleness teacheth much evil. It is the Ecclus. general trap, whereby every tempter assayeth to catch our soul; for the mind being loose from care, Satan is ready to step in with his suggestions, the world presenteth its allurements, fleshly desires rise up; proud, froward, wanton cogitations slip in; ill company doth entice, ill example is regarded, every temptation doth object and impress itself with great advantage and force; men in such a case being apt to close and comply with temptations, even to divert their mind and entertain themselves, to cure their listlessness, to pass their time", committing sin for want of better occupation. Hence in places where there is least work, the worst sins do most prevail; and idleness, therefore, was by the Prophet reckoned one of the three great sins of Sodom, parents of the rest: Behold, saith Ezekiel, this was the ini- Ezek. xvi quity of thy sister Sodom; pride, fullness of bread, and 49. abundance of idleness was in her: hence it seldom doth happen in any way of life, that a sluggard and a rakehell do not go together; or that he who is idle is not also dissolute.

9. Particularly, industry doth prevent the sins of vain curiosity, pragmaticalness, troublesome impertinency, and the like pests of common life, into which persons not diligently following their own business will assuredly fall. We hear, saith St. Paul to the Thessalonians, that there are some who walk among you disorderly; working not at all, but are busy-bodies. It is no wonder, if they did not work at all, that they should walk disorderly; or that, quite

si non

Intendes animum studiis et rebus honestis,

Invidia vel amore vigil torquebere

Hor. Ep. 1. 2.

• 2 Thess. iii. 11. Μηδὲν ἐργαζομένους, ἀλλὰ περιεργαζομένους· working nothing, but over-working.

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SERM. neglecting their own concerns, they should eggyáda, over-work, or be too busy in matters not belonging to them, intruding themselves into the affairs of their neighbours: for there is a natural connection between these things, since every man must be thinking, must be doing, must be saying somewhat, to spend his leisure, to uphold conversation, to please himself, and gratify others, to appear somebody among his companions; to avoid the shame of being quite out of employment: wherefore not having the heart to mind his own affairs, he will take the boldness to meddle with the concerns of other men: if he cannot have the substance, he will set up an idol of business, and seem very active in his impertinency; in order thereto, being curiously inquisitive, and prying into the discourse, actions, and affairs of all men. This men are apt to do in their own defence; and, besides, idleness doth put men into a loose, garish, wanton humour, disposing them, without heed or regard, to meddle with any thing, to prattle at any rate. In fine, whoever hath no work at home, will be gadding to seek entertainment abroad, like those gossips of Tim. v. whom St. Paul saith, They learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also, and busy-bodies, speaking things which they ought not. If, indeed, we consider all the frivolous and petulant discourse, the impertinent chattings, the rash censures, the spiteful detractions, which are so rife in the world, and so much poison all conversation, we shall find the main root of them to be a want of industry in men, or of diligent attendance on their own matters; which would so much take up their spirit and time, that they would have little heart or leisure to search into or comment upon other men's actions and concerns.

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10. Let us consider, that industry is needful in every condition and station, in every calling and way of life; in all relations, for our good behaviour, and right discharge of our duty in them. Without it we cannot in any state act decently or usefully, either to the benefit and satisfaction of others, or to our own advantage and comfort.

Are we rich? Then is industry requisite for keeping

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