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SERM. copy thereof, and the whole world a glass, wherein we may LI. behold this duty represented to us.
We may easily observe every creature about us incessantly working toward the end for which it was designed, indefatigably exercising the powers with which it is endued, diligently observing the laws of its creation. Even beings void of reason, of sense, of life itself, do suggest unto us resemblances of industry; they being set in continual action toward the effecting reasonable purposes, conducing to the preservation of their own beings, or to the furtherance of common good.
The heavens do roll about with unwearied motion; the sun and stars do perpetually dart their influences; the earth is ever labouring in the birth and nourishment of plants; the plants are drawing sap, and sprouting out fruits and seeds, to feed us and propagate themselves; the rivers are running, the seas are tossing, the winds are blustering, to keep the elements sweet in which we live.
Prov. vi. 6, &c.
Solomon sendeth us to the ant, and biddeth us to consi"der her ways, which provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. Many such instructors we may find in nature; the like industrious providence we may observe in every living creature; we may see this running about, that swimming, another flying in purveyance of its food and support.
If we look up higher to rational and intelligent natures, still more noble and apposite patterns do object themselves
Here below every field, every shop, every street, the hall, the exchange, the court itself (all full of business, and fraught with the fruits of industry) do mind us how necessary industry is to us.
If we consult history, we shall there find, that the best men have been most industrious; that all great persons, renowned for heroical goodness, (the worthy Patriarchs, the holy Prophets, the blessed Apostles,) were for this most commendable; that, neglecting their private ease, they did undertake difficult enterprises, they did undergo painful labours for the benefit of mankind; they did pass
their days, like St. Paul, iv xóris xal μóxd015, in labours and SERM. toilsome pains, for those purposes.
Our great example, the life of our blessed Lord himself, 2 Cor. xi. what was it but one continual exercise of labour? His mind 27. did ever stand bent in careful attention, studying to do good. Acts x. His body was ever moving in wearisome travail to the same divine intent.
If we yet soar farther in our meditation to the superior regions, we shall there find the blessed inhabitants of hea ven, the courtiers and ministers of God, very busy and active; they do vigilantly wait on God's throne in readiness to receive and to dispatch his commands; they are ever on the wing, and fly about like lightning to do his pleasure. Psal. ciii. They are attentive to our needs, and ever ready to protect, xxxiv. 7. to assist, to relieve us! Especially, they are diligent guar-xci. 11. dians and succourers of good men; officious spirits, sent Heb. i. 14. forth to minister for the heirs of salvation: so even the seat of perfect rest, is no place of idleness.
never John v. 17.
Yea, God himself, although immoveably and infinitely happy, is yet immensely careful, and everlastingly busy : he rested once from that great work of creation; but yet Gen. ii. 2. My Father, saith our Lord, worketh still; and he will rest from his works of Providence and of grace. eyes continue watchful over the world, and his hands Zech. iv. 10. stretched out in upholding it. He hath a singular regard 2 Chron. to every creature, supplying the needs of each, and satisfy- Psal. cxlv. ing the desires of all.
His Psal. cxxi.
3. cxxvii. 1.
15, 16. (Prov. v. are so 21. xv. 3. stretch Psal. xxxiv.
world Gen. xxxi.
And shall we alone be idle, while all things busy? Shall we keep our hands in our bosom, or ourselves on our beds of laziness, while all the about us is hard at work in pursuing the designs of its Jer. xxxi creation? Shall we be wanting to ourselves, while so 18.) many things labour for our benefit? Shall not such a cloud of examples stir us to some industry? Not to comply with so universal a practice, to cross all the world, to
ο Σῷ δὲ θρόνῳ πυρόεντι παρετᾶσιν πολύμοχθοι
O tu bone omnipotens, qui sic curas unumquemque nostrum tanquam soIum cures, et sic omnes tanquam singulos. Aug. Conf iv. 11.
SERM. disagree with every creature, is it not very monstrous and extravagant?
I should close all this discourse with that, at which, in pitching on this subject, I chiefly did aim, an application exhortatory to ourselves, urging the practice of this virtue by considerations peculiar to us as scholars, and derived from the nature of our calling. But the doing this requiring a larger discourse than the time now will allow, I shall reserve to another occasion; adding only one consideration
13. Lastly, if we consider, we shall find the root and source of all the inconveniences, the mischiefs, the wants of which we are so apt to complain, to be our sloth; and that there is hardly any of them, which commonly we might not easily prevent or remove by industry. Why is any man a beggar, why contemptible, why ignorant, why vicious, why miserable? Why, but for this one reason, because he is slothful; because he will not labour to rid himself of those evils? What could we want, if we would but take the pains to seek it, either by our industry, or by our devotion? For where the first will not do, the second cannot fail to procure Jam. i. 5. any good thing from him, who giveth to all men liberally, and hath promised to supply the defect of our ability by his free bounty; so that if we join these two industries (inAings ing dustrious action, and industrious prayer) there is nothing γαμένη. Jam. v. 16. in the world so good, or so great, of which, if we are caIlgonagri. pable, we may not assuredly become masters: and even for Eph. vi. 18. industry itself, especially in the performance of all our duties toward God, let us industriously pray: even so, The God of peace sanctify us wholly, and make us perfect in
Rom. xii. 12.
Col. iv. 2.
1 Thess. v. every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight; through our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom forever be all glory and praise. Amen.
OF INDUSTRY IN OUR GENERAL CALLING,
ROM xii. 11.
Not slothful in business. a
INDUSTRY is a very eminent virtue, being an ingredient, SERM. or the parent, of all other virtues, of constant use upon all LII. occasions, and having influence upon all our affairs.
For it is in our nature framed; all our powers of soul and body being fitted for it, tending to it, requiring it for their preservation and perfection.
We were designed for it in our first happy state; and upon our lapse thence were farther doomed to it, as the sole remedy of our needs and the inconveniences to which we became exposed. For,
Without it we cannot well sustain or secure our life in the enjoyment of any comfort or convenience; we must work to earn our food, our clothing, our shelter; and to supply every indigency of accommodations, which our nature doth crave.
To it God hath annexed the best and most desirable rewards; success to our undertakings, wealth, honour, wisdom, virtue, salvation; all which, as they flow from God's bounty, and depend on his blessing; so from them
a Tỹ cxvòñ μà invngaí. Solicitudine non pigri. Vulg.
SERM. they are usually conveyed to us through our industry, as LII. the ordinary channel and instrument of attaining them.
It is requisite to us, even for procuring ease, and preventing a necessity of immoderate labour.
It is in itself sweet and satisfactory; as freeing our mind from distraction, and wrecking irresolution: as feeding us with good hope, and yielding a foretaste of its good fruits.
It furnisheth us with courage to attempt, and resolution to achieve things needful, worthy of us, and profitable to
It is attended with a good conscience, and cheerful reflections, of having well spent our time, and employed our talents to good advantage.
It sweeteneth our enjoyments, and seasoneth our attainments with a delightful relish.
It is the guard of innocence, and barreth out temptations to vice, to wantonness, to vain curiosity, and pragmaticalness.
It argueth an ingenuous and generous disposition of soul; aspiring to worthy things, and pursuing them in the fairest way; disdaining to enjoy the common benefits, or the fruits of other men's labour, without deserving them from the world, and requiting it for them.
It is necessary for every condition and station, for every calling, for every relation; no man without it being able to deport himself well in any state, to manage any business, to discharge any sort of duty.
To it the world is indebted for all the culture, which advanceth it above rude and sordid barbarism; for whatever in common life is stately, or comely, or useful, industry hath contrived it, industry hath composed and framed it.
It is recommended to us by all sort of patterns considerable; for all nature is continually busy and active in tendency toward its proper designs; heaven and earth do work in incessant motion; every living creature is employed in progging for its sustenance; the blessed spirits are always on the wing in dispatching the commands of