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the same account of conscience toward God, do exact
If he that hath one talent, and he that hath ten, must both improve them for God's interest; then he that hath two, or three, or more, is obliged to the same duty proportionably.
Every one should consider the world as the family of Eph. iii. 15. that great Paterfamilias, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, and himself as an officer or servant therein, by God's will and designation constituted in that employment, into which Providence hath cast him; to confer, in his order and way, somewhat toward a provision for the maintenance of himself, and of his fellowMatt. xxiv. servants. Of a superior officer our Lord saith, Who is Luke xii. that faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made
ruler over his household, to give them their meat in due seaSo the greatest men are as stewards, treasurers, comptrollers, or purveyors; the rest are inferior servants, in their proper rank and capacity.
1 Cor. xiv.
And he that with diligence performeth his respective duty (be it high and honourable, or mean and contemptible in outward appearance) will please God, as keeping good order, and as being useful to his service; so that, upon the reckoning, God will say to him, Well done, good and Matt. xxv. faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things ; I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. But he that doeth otherwise (behaving himself carelessly or sluggishly in his business) will offend God, as committing disorder, and as being unprofitable.
He committeth disorder, according to that of St. Paul;
2 Thess. iii. We hear there are some, which walk among you disorderly, not working at all. His sentence and doom will be, acMatt. xxv. cording to our Lord, O thou wicked and slothful servantCast the unprofitable servant into utter darkness; which words are spoken in relation to one, who being a slatterer, or sluggard in his calling, did not improve the special talent intrusted with him for God's service.
In fine, if we are conscientiously industrious in our vo
cation, we shall assuredly find the blessing of God thereon; SERM, and that he thereby will convey good success, comfort, competent wealth, a fair reputation, all desirable good unto us; for as all these things are promised to industry, so the promise especially doth belong to that industry, which a man doth exercise in an orderly course of action in his own way; or rather in God's way, wherein divine Providence hath set him.
An irregular or impertinent laboriousness, out of a man's calling or sphere; a being diligent in other men's affairs, invading their office, (as if I a priest will be trading, a layman preaching,) may not claim the benefit of those promises, or the blessings of industry; but a husbandman, who, with conscientious regard to God, and confidence in him, is pain- Prov. x. 4, ful in tilling his ground, may expect a good crop; a merchant, who (upon the same principle, with the like disposition) earnestly followeth his trade, may hope for safe voyages and good markets; a prince carefully minding his affairs may look for peace and prosperity to his country; a scholar studying hard may be well assured of getting knowledge, and finding truth: all, who with honest diligence constantly do pursue their business, may confidently and cheerfully hope to reap the advantages suitable to it from the favourable blessing of God. So that we have all reason to observe the Apostle's precept, Not to be slothful in business.
I should apply this doctrine to our own case, urging its practice by considerations peculiar to our vocation: but having already passed the bounds of time, I reserve the doing it to another opportunity.
Now the God of peace sanctify you wholly, and make 1 Thess. v. you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in 23. you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through our 20. blessed Saviour Jesus Christ; to whom for ever be all glory and praise. Amen.
OF INDUSTRY IN OUR PARTICULAR CALLING,
ROM xii. 11.
Not slothful in business.
I SERM. HAVE largely treated upon the duty recommended in LIII. this precept, and urged the observance of it in general, at a distance: I now intend more particularly and closely to apply it, in reference to those persons who seem more especially obliged to it, and whose observing it may prove of greatest consequence to public good; the which application may also be most suitable and profitable to this audience. Those persons are of two sorts; the one Gentlemen, the other Scholars.
I. The first place, as civility demandeth, we assign to Gentlemen, or persons of eminent rank in the world, well allied, graced with honour, and furnished with wealth: the which sort of persons I conceive in a high degree obliged to exercise industry in business.
This at first hearing may seem a little paradoxical and strange; for who have less business than Gentlemen? who do need less industry than they? He that hath a fair estate, and can live on his means, what hath he to do, what labour or trouble can be exacted of him, what hath he to think on, or trouble his head with, but how to invent recreations and pastimes to divert himself, and spend his waste leisure pleasantly? Why should not he be allowed to enjoy himself, and the benefits which ną
ture or fortune have freely dispensed to him, as he thinketh SERM. best, without offence? Why may he not say with the rich LIII. man in the Gospel, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for Luke xii. many years: take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry? Is 19. it not often said by the Wise Man, that there is nothing Eccles. ii. better under the sun, than that a man should make his soul 24. iii. 22. to enjoy good in a cheerful and comfortable fruition of his 15. estate? According to the passable notion and definition, What is a Gentleman but his pleasure?
v. 18. viii.
If this be true, if a Gentleman be nothing else but this, then truly he is a sad piece, the most inconsiderable, the most despicable, the most pitiful and wretched creature in the world: if it is his privilege to do nothing, it is his privilege to be most unhappy; and to be so will be his fate, if he live according to it; for he that is of no worth or use, who produceth no beneficial fruit, who performeth no service to God, or to the world, what title can he have to happiness? What capacity thereof? What reward can he claim? What comfort can he feel? To what temptations is he exposed! What guilts will he incur !
But in truth it is far otherwise: to suppose that a Gentleman is loose from business, is a great mistake; for indeed no man hath more to do, no man lieth under greater engagements to industry than he.
He is deeply obliged to be continually busy in more ways than other men, who have but one simple calling or occupation allotted to them; and that upon a triple account; in respect to God, to the world, and to himself.
1. He is first obliged to continual employment in respect to God.
He, out of a grateful regard to divine bounty for the eminency of his station, adorned with dignity and repute, for the plentiful accommodations and comforts of his life, for his exemption from those pinching wants, those meaner cares, those sordid entertainments, and those toilsome drudgeries, to which other men are subject, is bound to be more diligent in God's service, employing all the advantages of his state to the glory of his munificent Be
SERM. nefactor, to whose good providence alone he doth owe them; LII. for who maketh him to differ from another? And what hath 1 Cor. iv. he that he did not receive from God's free bounty?
In proportion to the bulk of his fortune, his heart should be enlarged with a thankful sense of God's goodness to him; his mouth should ever be filled with acknowledgment and praise; he should always be ready to express his grateful resentment of so great and peculiar obligations.
He should dedicate larger portions of that free leisure which God hath granted to him, in waiting upon God, and constant performances of devotion.
He, in frequently reflecting on the particular ample favours of God to him, should imitate the holy Psalmist, that illustrious pattern of great and fortunate men; saying after him, with his spirit and disposition of soul; Thou Psal. Ixxi. hast brought me to great honour, and comforted me on every side; therefore will I praise thee and thy faithfulness, O God.
12. xvi. 5, 6, 7.
Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to 7. xxxi. 5. stand strong: Thou hast set my feet in a large room: Thou preparest a table before me :-Thou anointest my head with Psal. xxx. oil, my cup runneth over ;—to the end that my glory may sing praise unto thee, and not be silent: The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup; thou maintain.. est my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places ; yea, I have a goodly heritage; therefore, I will bless the Lord.
In conceiving such meditations, his head and his heart should constantly be employed; as also in contriving ways of declaring and discharging real gratitude; asking him
Ps. cxvi.12. self, What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits? What shall I render to him, not only as a man, for all the gifts of nature; as a Christian, for all the blessings of grace; but as a Gentleman also, for the many advantages of this my condition, beyond so many of my brethren, by special Providence indulged to me?
He hath all the common duties of piety, of charity, of