« PredošláPokračovať »
my brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding SERM. in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord?
1 Cor. iii. 8.
12. ii. 23. Matt. xxv.
May it not also much encourage us to industry, to be assured, that not only the kind of our work, but the degree of our labour shall be considered and requited, in just proportion; so that the harder we work, the higher we shall be rewarded; for to each one, saith our Lord, the Son of Aridwou izásw. Man shall render a reward κατὰ τὴν πράξιν αὐτῇ, according to Muti. xvi. his performance. Every one, saith St. Paul, shall receive ἴδιον μισθὸν κατὰ τὸν ἴδιον κόπον, his proper reward according to his proper work ; whence we have reason to observe St. John's advice, Look to yourselves, that ye lose not those 21. things which ye have gained, but that ye receive a full reward. To be negligent or slothful in such a case, for want of a Milovan ρη ἀπολάlittle care and pains to forfeit such advantages, what a pity, ens. what a folly is it! Were an opportunity presented, by a 2 John 8. little minding our business, and bestirring ourselves, to procure a fair estate, or a good preferment, would not he be deemed mad or sottish, who should sit still, and forego that his advantage? How much more wildness is it to be drowsy and sluggish in this case, thereby losing eternal bliss and glory! Well therefore might the Apostle say, How shall we Heb. ii. 3. escape, if we neglect so great salvation? How shall we escape, not only the sin and guilt of basest ingratitude toward him that graciously doth offer it, but the imputation of most wretched folly, in being so much wanting to our own interest and welfare?
Is it not a sad thing, a woful shame, to observe what pains men will throw away upon things of small or no concernment to them? yea, what toil and drudgery they will sustain in the service of Satan, in pursuit of sin, in the gratification of their vanities and lusts?
What pains will a covetous wretch take in scraping for pelf! How will he rack his mind with carking solicitude to get, to keep, to spare it! How will he tire his spirits with restless travail! How will he pinch his carcase for want of what nature craveth! What infamy and
SERM. obloquy will he endure for his niggardly parsimony and sordidness!
How much labour will an ambitious fop undergo for preferment, or vain honour! To how many tedious attendances, to how pitiful servilities will he submit! What sore crosses and disappointments will he swallow! What affronts and indignities will he patiently digest, without desisting from his enterprize!
How will a man, as St. Paul observed, ára żyngarsúJa, endure all painful abstinence and continence, in order to the obtaining a corruptible crown, a fading garland of bays, a puff of vain applause!
What diligence will men use to compass the enjoyment of forbidden pleasures! how watchful in catching opportunities, how eager in quest of them will they be! What difficulties will they undertake, what hazards will they incur, what damages and inconveniences will they sustain, rather than fail of satisfying their desires!
What achings of head and heart; what pangs of mind, and gripes of conscience; what anxieties of regret and fear, will every worker of iniquity undergo! So faithful friends hath this vain and evil world; so diligent servants hath the accursed lord thereof; so careful and laborious will men be to destroy and damn themselves. O that we could be willing to spend as much care and pains in the service of our God! O that we were as true friends of ourselves! O that we could be as industrious for our salvation! that is, in the business of our general calling: which having considered, let us proceed to the other business belonging to us, which is, II. The business of our particular calling; that in refer1 Cor. vii. ence whereto St. Paul doth prescribe, Every man as the Lord hath called him, so let him walk. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called; let him so abide, as faithfully to prosecute the work, and discharge the duty of it; the doing which otherwhere he
1 Thess. iv. termeth gan rào, to do our own business, (working
Eph. iv. 28. with our hands,) and enjoineth it in opposition to those
two great pests of life, sloth and pragmatical curiosity;
1 Cor. ix. 25.
Chrys. άνδρα πο
or the neglect of our own, and meddling with other men's SERM. affairs.
This the Apostle nameth our calling, because we are called or appointed thereto by divine Providence; for he supposeth and taketh it for granted, that to each man in this world God hath assigned a certain station, unto which peculiar action is suited; in which station he biddeth him quietly to abide, till Providence fairly doth translate him, and during 1 Cor. vii. his abode therein diligently to execute the work thereof.
Every man is a member of a double body; of the civil commonwealth, and of the Christian church in relation to the latter whereof St. Paul telleth us, (and what he saith by parity of reason may be referred likewise to the former,) that God hath set the members every one in the 1 Cor. xii. body, as it pleaseth him; and as it is in the natural, so it is in every political and spiritual body, every member hath its proper use and function; All members, saith St. Paul, Rom. xii. have not rǹv avrà reağı, the same office, or the same work and operation; yet every one hath some work. There is no member designed to be idle or useless, conferring no benefit to the whole; but the whole body, saith the Eph. iv. 16. Apostle, fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying itself in love; each member doth conspire and co-operate to the strength, nourishment, thriving, and welfare of the whole.
Every man (who continueth a man, in his senses, or in 'Exás sèany good degree of natural integrity) is by God endowed. with competent abilities to discharge some function useful 17. to common good, or at least needful to his own sustenance; to every one some talent is committed, which in subordination to God's service he may improve, to the benefit of the world, God's temporal, or of the church, God's spiritual kingdom.
It is plainly necessary, that the greatest part of men should have a determinate work allotted to them, that they may support their life and get their food, without
SERM. being injurious, offensive, or burdensome to others; for LII. their living they must either follow some trade, or they must shark and filch, or they must beg, or they must starve.
And the rest are obliged to do somewhat conducible to public good, that they may deserve to live; for a drone should not be among the bees, nor hath right to devour the honey. If any man doth pretend, or presume, that he hath nothing to do but to eat, to sleep, to play, to laugh, to enjoy his ease, his pleasure, his humour, he thereby doth as it were disclaim a reasonable title of living among men, and sharing in the fruits of their industry; he, in St. Paul's 2 Thess. iii. judgment, should be debarred of food, for this, saith the holy Apostle, we commanded you, that if any man would not work, neither should he eat.
Such an one in the body of men, what is he but an unnatural excrescence, sucking nutriment from it, without yielding ornament or use? What is he but a wen deforming and encumbering the body, or a canker infesting and corrupting it?
As no man (at least with decency, convenience, and comfort) can live in the world, without being obliged to divers other men for their help in providing accommodations for him; so justice and ingenuity, corroborated by divine sanctions, do require of him, that in commutation he, one way or other, should undertake some pains redounding to the benefit of others.
So hath the great Author of order distributed the ranks and offices of men in order to mutual benefit and comfort, that one man should plough, another hrash, another grind, another labour at the forge, another knit or weave, another sail, another trade, another supervise all these, labouring to keep them all in order and peace; that one should work with his hands and feet, another with his head and tongue; all conspiring to one common end, the welfare of the whole, and the supply of what is useful to each particular member; every man so reciprocally obliging and being obliged; the prince being obliged to the husbandmen for his bread, to the weaver for his clothes,
to the mason for his palace, to the smith for his sword; SERM. those being all obliged to him for his vigilant care in protecting them, for their security in pursuing the work, and enjoing the fruit of their industry.
So every man hath a calling and proper business; whereto that industry is required, I need not much to prove, the thing itself in reason and experience being so clearly evident: for what business can be well dispatched, what success can be expected to any undertaking, in what calling can any man thrive, without industry? What business is there that will go on of itself, or proceed to any good issue, if we do not carefully look to it, steadily hold it in its course, constantly push and drive it forward? It is true, as in nature, so in all affairs, Nihil movet non motum, nothing moveth without being moved.
Our own interest should move us to be industrious in our calling, that we may obtain the good effects of being so in a comfortable and creditable subsistence; that we may not suffer the damages and wants, the disappointments and disgraces ensuing on sloth: but the chief motive should be from piety and conscience; for that it is a duty which we owe to God. For God having placed us in our station, he having apportioned to us our task, we being in transaction of our business his servants, we do owe to him that neces- 1 Cor iv. 2. sary property of good servants, without which fidelity cannot subsist; for how can he be looked on as a faithful servant, who doth not effectually perform the work charged on him, or diligently execute the orders of his master?
St. Paul doth enjoin servants, that they should in all Col. iii. 22. Eph. vi. 5. things obey their masters, with conscientious regard to 1 Cor. vii. God, as therein performing service to God, and expecting 22, 23. recompense from him: and of princes he saith, that they, in dispensation of justice, enacting laws, imposing taxes, and all political administrations, are the ministers of God, Rom. xiii. προσκαρτεροῦντες, goonagregouvres, attending constantly upon this very thing: and if these extremes, the highest and lowest of all vocations, are services of God; if the highest upon that score be tied to so much diligence, then surely all middle places,