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and securing our wealth, for managing it wisely, for em- SERM. ploying it to its proper uses, and best advantages, (in the LI. service of God, in beneficence to our neighbour, in advancing public good ;) so that we may render a good account to him who hath entrusted us with the stewardship thereof: industry is very needful to guard us from the temptations and mischiefs to which wealth doth expose us, that it do not prove a treacherous snare, an unwieldy burden, a destructive poison and plague to us, throwing us into pride and vanity, into luxury, into stupidity, into distracting solicitude, into a base, worldly, and earthly temper of heart, into a profane oblivion of God, and of our own souls.
Are we in conspicuous rank of dignity, or in honour and repute among men? Then is industry requisite to keep us fast in that state, to hold us from tumbling from that pinnacle down into extreme disgrace; for then all eyes are upon us, strictly observing what we do, and ready to pass censure on our actions; so that great diligence is necessary to approve ourselves, and shun obloquy. Nothing is more brittle than honour; every little thing Vitrea fahitting on it, is able to break it, and therefore without ex- Eccl. x. 1. ceeding care we cannot preserve it. Nothing is more variable or fickle than the opinions of men, (wherein honour consisteth;) it is therefore no easy matter to fix or detain them in the same place.
Honour cannot live without food or fuel; it must be nourished by worthy actions; without a continual supply of them, it will decay, languish, and pine away: industry therefore is required to keep it; and no less is necessary to use it well, in a due subordination to God's honour, and reference to his service, that, instead of an ornament and convenience, it do not prove a baneful mischief to us; puffing up our minds with vain conceits and complacencies, inclining us to arrogance and contempt of others, tempting us by assuming to ourselves to rob God of his due glory; to decline which evils great care is requisite; we must have a steady ballast, and we must hold the rudder warily, when we carry so great sail.
On the other hand, are we poor and low in the world; LI. or do we lie under disgrace? Then do we much need industry to shun extremities of want and ignominy; that we be not swallowed up and overwhelmed by need or contempt; to support us under our pressures, to keep up our spirits from dejection and disconsolateness; to preserve us from impious discontentedness and impatience: industry is the only remedy of that condition, enabling us to get out of it, retrieving a competence of wealth or credit; or disposing us to bear it handsomely, and with comfort; so as not to become forlorn or abject wretches.
It is so needful to every condition; and it is so for all vocations; for,
Is a man a governor, or a superior in any capacity? Then what is he but a public servant, doomed to continual labour, hired for the wages of respect and pomp, to wait on his people; in providing for their needs, protecting their safety, preserving their peace and welfare: where is he but on a stage, whereon he cannot well act his part, without vigilant attendance to his charge, and constant activity in performing all the functions thereof? He is engaged in great obligations and necessities of using extreme diligence, both in regard to himself and others. Homer's description of a prince is a good one; One who hath much people, and many cares committed to him:
Ω λαοὶ τ' ἐπιτετράφαται, καὶ τόσσα μέμηλε.
He must watchfully look to his own steps, who is to guide others by his authority and his example. All his actions require special conduct, not only his own credit and interest, but the common welfare depending thereon. He must heedfully advise what to do, he must diligently execute what he resolveth on. He hath the most ticklish things that can be (the rights and interests, the opinions and humours of men) to manage. He hath his own affections to curb and guide, that they be not perverted by any sinister respects, not swayed by any unjust partiality, not corrupted by flattery or fear. He will find, that to wield power innocently, to brandish the sword of justice
discreetly and worthily, for the maintenance of right, and SERM. encouragement of virtue, for the suppression of injury, and correction of vice, is a matter of no small skill or slight
Industry is indeed a quality most proper for persons of high rank and dignity, or of great power and authority; who have special opportunities to employ it in weighty affairs to great advantage; whose undertakings being of vast moment, do need answerable efforts to move and guide them. The industry of a mechanic, or a rustic, acting in a low and narrow sphere, can effect no great matter, and therefore itself need not to be great: but the industry of a prince, of a nobleman, of a gentleman, may have a large and potent influence, so as to render a nation, a county, a town, happy, prosperous, glorious, flourishing in peace, in plenty, in virtue; it therefore for achieving such purposes need be, and should be proportionably great; a small power not being able to move a great weight, nor a weak cause to produce a mighty effect. Wherefore, Cicero recommending Pompey for a public charge, doth reckon these to be the imperatoriæ virtutes, qualities befitting a prince, or general, wherein he did excel, Labour in business, valour in dangers, industry in acting, nimbleness in performance, counsel in providing P. And Alexander the Great, reflecting on his friends degenerating into sloth and luxury, told them, that it was a most slavish thing to luxuriate, and a most royal thing to labour 9.
And for those who move in a lower orb of subjection or service, I need not shew how needful industry is for them. Who knoweth not that to be a good subject, doth exact a careful regard to the commands of superiors, and a painful diligence in observing them? that to make a good servant, fidelity and diligence must concur? whereof the first doth suppose the last, it being a part of honesty
P Labor in negotio, fortitudo in periculis, industria in agendo, celeritas in conficiendo, consilium in providendo, &c. Cic. pro lege Manil.
9 Δουλικώτατόν ἐσι τὸ τρυφᾷν, βασιλικώτατον δὲ τὸ ποιεῖν, Plut. in Alex,
SERM. in a servant to be diligent; whence doua tovngè nai buvngè, O LI. thou wicked and slothful servant, were in the Gospel well Matt. xxv. coupled; and the first epithet was grounded on the second, he being therefore wicked, because he had been slothful
Neither can a man be a true friend, or a good neighbour, or anywise a good relative, without industry disposing him to undergo pains in performing good offices, whenever need doth require, or occasion invite.
In fine, it is palpable, that there is no calling of any sort, from the sceptre to the spade, the management whereof with any good success, any credit, any satisfaction, doth not demand much work of the head, or of the hand, or of both.
If wit or wisdom be the head, if honesty be the heart, industry is the right hand of every vocation; without which the shrewdest insight and the best intention can execute nothing.
A sluggard is qualified for no office, no calling, no station among men; he is a mere nobody, taking up room, pestering and clogging the world.
11. It also may deserve our consideration, that it is industry, whereto the public state of the world, and of each commonweal therein, is indebted for its being, in all conveniences and embellishments belonging to life, advanced above rude and sordid barbarism; yea, whereto mankind doth owe all that good learning, that morality, those improvements of soul, which elevate us beyond brutes.
To industrious study is to be ascribed the invention and perfection of all those arts whereby human life is civilized, and the world cultivated with numberless accommodations, ornaments, and beauties.
All the comely, the stately, the pleasant, and useful works which we do view with delight, or enjoy with comfort, industry did contrive them, industry did frame them.
Industry reared those magnificent fabrics, and those commodious houses; it formed those goodly pictures and statues; it raised those convenient causeways, those bridges, those aqueducts; it planted those fine gardens with vari
ous flowers and fruits; it clothed those pleasant fields with SERM. corn and grass; it built those ships, whereby we plough the LI. seas, reaping the commodities of foreign regions. It hath subjected all creatures to our command and service, enabling us to subdue the fiercest, to catch the wildest, to render the gentler sort most tractable and useful to us. It taught us from the wool of the sheep, from the hair of the goat, from the labours of the silk-worm, to weave us clothes to keep us warm, to make us fine and gay. It helped us from the inmost bowels of the earth to fetch divers needful tools and utensils.
It collected mankind into cities, and compacted them into orderly societies, and devised wholesome laws, under shelter whereof we enjoy safety and peace, wealth and plenty, mutual succour and defence, sweet conversation and beneficial commerce.
It by meditation did invent all those sciences whereby our minds are enriched and ennobled, our manners are refined and polished, our curiosity is satisfied, our life is benefited г.
What is there which we admire, or wherein we delight, that pleaseth our mind, or gratifieth our sense, for the which we are not beholden to industry.
Doth any country flourish in wealth, in grandeur, in prosperity? It must be imputed to industry, to the industry of its governors settling good order, to the industry of its people following profitable occupations: so did Cato, in that notable oration of his in Sallust, tell the Roman senate, Cat. apud that it was not by the force of their arms, but by the industry of their ancestors, that commonwealth did arise to such a pitch of greatness. When sloth creepeth in, then all things corrupt and decay; then the public state doth sink into disorder, penury, and a disgraceful condition.
Sallust. in bello Catil.
12. Industry is commended to us by all sorts of examples, deserving our regard and imitation. All nature is a