« AnteriorContinuar »
SER M. us, but to strive against hn, to work righteousness, to per1. form duty with earnest intention of mind, and laborious
activity? God, faith St. Chryfoftom, hath parted virtue with us, and neither hath left all to be in us, left we should be elated to pride, nor himself hath taken all, left we should decline to Nothi:
Indeed the very nature and essence of virtue doth consist in the most difficult and painful efforts of foul; in the extirpating rooted prejudices and notions from our understanding; in bending a stiff will, and rectifying crooked inclinations ; in overruling a rebellious temper; in curbing eager and importunate appetites; in taming wild paffions; in withstanding violent temptations; in furmounting many difficulties, and sustaining many troubles; in struggling with various unruly lusts within, and encountering many stout enemies abroad, which assault our reafon, and war against our Soul : in such exercises its very being lieth; its birth, its growth, its subsistence dependeth on them; so that from any discontinuance or remiffion of them it would soon decay, languish away, and perish. .
What attention, what circumspection, and vigilancy of mind, what intention of spirit, what force of resolution, what command and care over ourselves doth it require, to keep our hearts from vain thoughts and evil defires; to guard our tongue from wanton, unjust, uncharitable dif
course; to order our steps uprightly and steadily in all the Chryf. in paths of duty? Kai zí oủx ÉTÍTOVOV Tūv tñs apstñs ; and what, Joh. Or.36. as St. Chrysostom asketh, of all things belonging to virtue
is not laborious ? It is no small talk to know it, wherein it consisteth, and what it demandeth of us; it is a far more painful thing to conform our practice unto its rules and dictates.
i 'Eusgiouto argos suces Tay ágirno ó sòs, xaà ours i mpeño de pñrs to sãy divar, ίνα μή εις άπόνοιαν έπαιρώμεθα, ούτε αυτός το παν έλαβεν, ίνα μή εις ραθυμίαν άπαraóvepesy đaa', &c. Chryf. Tom. 5. Or. 28.
oidi yag ý Tigà tè xadá tão é v I pas awy lyxrignois dixu tñs ārwatsy Bondilas τελειωθήσεται» έδε και άνωθεν χάρις επί τον μη σπεδάζοντα παραγένοιτ' άν, αλλ' ix & Sea Guys128GSau sac xe, sày Tt eSpoogíay, xe: Tày Trà Gises yo948 xadúrsony puppeæxías sis asasiwon ágsrñs. Baf. Conft. Mon. cap. 15.
If travelling in a rough way!; if climbing up a steep SERM. hill; if combating stern foes, and fighting sharp battles; L. if crossing the grain of our nature and desires; if continually holding a strict rein over all our parts and powers, be things of labour and trouble, then greatly such is the practice of virtue.
Indeed each virtue hath its peculiar difficulty, needing much labour to master it: Faith is called špyou míSEW, the 1 Thes. i. 3.
2 Thef, i. work of faith; and it is no such easy work, as may be ii. imagined, to bring our hearts unto a thorough persuasion John vi. 29. about truths crossing our sensual conceits, and controling our peevish humours ; unto a perfect submission of our understanding, and resignation of our will to whatever God teacheth or prescribeth; to a firm resolution of adhering to that profession, which exacteth of us so much pains, and exposeth us to so many troubles.
Charity is also a laborious exercise of many good works; and he that will practise it, must in divers 'ways labour hardly; he must labour in voiding from his soul many difpofitions deeply radicated therein by nature, opinion, and custom; envy, frowardness, stubbornness, perverse and vain selfishness; from whence wrath, revenge, spite, and malice do spring forth. He must labour in effectual performance of all good offices, and in catching all occasions Gal. vi.10.
i Thef. i. 3. of doing good; he must exert that xómov åránns, that labour Heb. vi. 10. of love, whereof St. Paul doth speak ; he must (as that Eph. iv. 28. holy. Apostle directeth, not only in precept, but by his * own practice) work with his own hands, that he may supply the wants of his neighbour.
Hope itself (which one would think, when grounded Arduñ. well, should be a no less easy than pleasant duty) doth Heb: vi. 19. need much labour to preserve it safe, straight, and stable, 1 Thes. i. 3.
Heb. X. 36. among the many waves and billows of temptation assaying Heb.vi. 11.
af handicre 'Eydsix yuoboko to shake and subvert it; whence a patience of hope is re-"
oroudáv. commended to us;, and we so often are exhorted to hold Heb. ii. 6, it fast, to keep it sure, firm, and unshaken to the end. "
2 Pet. i. ro. . Tõs úgstas ideāra Isoi argon úgos dev ?Inxay
''ASáva tol, yaxpós Ti xaà öeJoos oluns ia' aurin,
- Hef. 'Egy.. VOL. III.
Acts xx. 35.
SERM. Temperance also surely demandeth no small pains m; it : L.' being no slight business to check our greedy appetites, to
Thun the enticements of pleasure, to escape the snares of company and example, to support the ill-will and reproaches of those zealots and bigots for vice, who cannot
tolerate any nonconformity to their extravagances; but, 1 Pet. iv. 4, as St. Peter doth express it, think it ftrange, if others do ... not run with them to the same excess of riot, Speaking ill of
. them for it. . What should I speak of meekness, of patience, of humi
lity, of contentedness? Is it not manifest how laborious those virtues are, and what pains are necessary in the obțaining, in the exercise of them? what pains, I say, they require in the voidance of fond conceits, in the suppression of froward humours, in the quelling fierce passions, in the brooking grieyous crosses and adversities, in the bearing heinous injuries and affronts ?
Thus doth all virtue require much industry, and it therefore necessarily must itself be a great virtue, which is the mother, the nurse, the guardian of all virtues; yea, which indeed is an ingredient and constitutive part of every virtue; for if virtue were easily obtainable or practicable without a good measure of pains, how could it be virtue ? what excellency could it have, what praise could it claim, what reward could it expect? God hath indeed made the best things not easily obtainable, hạth set them high out of our reach, to exercise our industry in getting them, that we might raise up ourselves to them, that being obtained, they may the more deserve our esteem, and his reward. ·
Lastly, The sovereign good, the last fcope of our actions, : the top and sum of our desires, happiness itself, or eterna)
life in perfect rest, joy, and glory; although it be the suRoni. vi. 23. preme gift of God, and special boon of divine grace, (rò Sè Eph. ii. 8. xúpruce toũ kü, But, faith St. Paul, the gift of God's
grace is eternal life ;) yet it also by God himself is de: clared to be the result and reward of industry; for we are
m Πάντες εξ ενός σώματος ύμνύσιν, ως καλόν μεν η σωφροσύνη τε και δικαιοσύνη, DETòv n'sy Toi xaÌ ÉTítovo, Plat, de Rep. 2. *
hich taketh the climbeth the hole Heb. xii.
commanded to work out our salvation with fear and trem- SERM. bling, and to give diligence in making our calling and _ election fure, by virtuous practice; and God, faith St. Paul, Phil. ii. 19. will render to every man according to his works ; to them Rom. who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek glory, and 7, 10. vi.' honour, and immortality, eternal life; and, in the close of 2. God's book, it is proclaimed, as a truth of greatest moment, and special point of God's will, Blessed are they that Rev. xxii. do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree Heb. xii. of life. It is plainly industry, which climbeth the holy 22.
Matt. xi. mount; it is industry, which taketh the kingdom of heaven 12.** by force; it is industry, which so runneth as to obtain the 1 Cor. ix. prize, which so fighteth as to receive the crown, which fo Jam, i. 12. watcheth as to secure our everlasting interest to us.
42. xxv. 13. Thus do the choicest good things, of which we are Luke xii. capable, spring from industry, or depend upon it; and no Rev. iii. 3 considerable good can be attained without it: thus all the gifts of God are by it conveyed to us, or are rendered in effect beneficial to us, for the gifts of nature are but capacities, which it improveth; the gifts of fortune or providence are but instruments, which it employeth to our - use; the gifts of grace are the supports and succours of it; and the very gift of glory is its fruit and recompence.
There are farther several other material considerations and weighty motives to the practice of this duty, which meditation hath suggested to me: but thefe, in regard to your patience, must fuffice at present; the other (together with an application proper to our condition and calling) being reserved to another occafion. .
Eccles. ix. 10.
might. SERM. INDUSTRY, which the divine Preacher in this text re
commendeth to us, is a virtue of a very diffufive nature and influence; stretching itself through all our affairs, and twisting itself with every concern we have; so that no business can be well managed, no design accomplished, no good obtained without it: it therefore behoveth us to conceive a high opinion of it, and to inure our souls to the practice of it, upon all occasions : in furtherance of which purposes I formerly, not long since, did propound several motives and inducements; and now proceeding on, shall represent divers other considerations serviceable to the same end.
I, We may consider that industry is productive of eafe itself, and preventive of trouble : it was no less solidly, than acutely and fmartly advised by the philosopher Crates a, Whether, said he, labour be to be chosen, labour ; or whether it be to be eschewed, labour, that thou mayest not labour ; for by not labouring, labour is not escaped, but is rather pursued ; and St. Chrysostom b doth upon the same consideration urge industry, because Sloth, faith he, is wont