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SERMcomfort, deposited in the memory and conscience of him LI. that practiseth it. It will ever, upon his reviewing the
passages of his life, be sweet to him to behold in them testimonies and monuments of his diligence; it will please him to consider, that he hath lived to purpose, having done somewhat considerable; that he hath made an advantageous use of his time; that he hath well husbanded the talents committed to him ; that he hath accomplifhed (in some measure) the intents of God's bounty, and made fome return for his excellent gifts. What comfort, indeed, can any man have, yea, how fore remorse muft he feel, in reflecting upon a life fpent in unfruitful and un
profitable idleness? How can he otherwise than bewail Diu fuit, his folly and baseness in having lived (or rather having non diu
only been) in vain; as the shadow and appearance of a man; in having lavished his days, in having buried his talents, in having embezzled his faculties of nature, and his advantages from Providence ; in having defeated the
good-will of God, and endeavoured no fequital to the Matt. xxv. munificent goodness of his Maker, of his Preferver, his
benign Lord and Master, his gracious Saviour and Re-
7. Let us confider, that industry doth argue a generous
the Lord Jesus Chrif. 12.
Of this cenones they work, and
courage, by its own forces, through difficulties and ob- SERM. stacles.
..... . LI, · It fignifieth in a man a heart, not enduring to owe the sustenance or convenience of his life to the labour or the liberality of others; to pilfer a livelihood from the world; to reap the benefit of other men's care and toil, without rendering a full compensation, or outdoing his private obligations by considerable service and beneficence to the public.
A noble heart will difdain to fubfist like a drone upon the honey gathered by others’ labour; like a vermin to filch its food out of the public granary; or like a fhark to prey on the leffer fry; but will one way or other earn his fubfiftence: for he that doth not earn, can hardly own his bread, as St. Paul implieth, when he faith, Them that i Theff. iii. are fuch we command and exchort by our Lord Jefus Chrif, tilave that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. đprev.
Of this generous ingenuity we have a notable instance in that great Apostle himself; which he doth often repre- 1 Cor. is. sent as a pattern 'to us, profeffing much complacence* therein. He with all right and reason might have challenged a comfortable fubfistence from his disciples, in re- 2 Theft iii. compense for the incomparable benefits he did confer on.com them, and of the exceffive pains he did endure for their 11. good: this he knew well; but yet did rather choose to ..' support himself by his own labour, than anywise to feem burdensome or troublesome to them: These hands, faid Ads XI. he, have ministered to my necessities, and to them that are 34;
e xviii. 3. with me. I have fhewed you all things, that fo labouring i Theff. ii. ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the wordsTheff. iii. of our Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blefed to give 8.
1 Cor. iv, than to receive. This was the practice of him, who was 12.**. in labours most abundant ; and such is the genius of every? Cor. si. man, who upon principles of conscience, reason, and how nour, is industrious. Of him it may be said, as of Solomon's good housewife, She seeketh wool and flax, and Prov. xxxi. worketh willingly with her hands; She is like the merchants" tos ship, Me bringeth her food from afar ; She looketh well to her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness,
1 Theft. ii.
SERM. Sloth is a base quality, the argument of a mind wretchLI. edly degenerate and mean; which is content to grovel in
a despicable state; which aimeth at no worthy thing, nor pursueth any thing in á laudable way; which disposeth a man to live gratis (precariously) and ingratefully on the public stock, as an insignificant cypher among men, as a burden of the earth, as a wen of any society; sucking aliment from it, but yielding no benefit or ornament thereto.
8. Industry is a fence to innocence and virtue ; à bar to all kinds of fin and vice, guarding the avenues of our heart, keeping off the occasions and temptations to vicious practice. When a man is engaged in honest employment, and seriously intent thereon, his mind is prepossessed and filled, so that there is no room or vacancy for ill thoughts, or base designs, to creep in; his senses do not lie open to ensnaring objects; he wants leisure and opportunity of granting audience to the solicitations of sinful pleasure ; and is apt to answer them with a non vacat l; the Devil can hardly find advantage of tempting him, at least many devils cannot get access to him, according to that obfervation in Cassian, A working monk is assaulted by one devil, but an idle one is Spoiled by numberlefs bad Spirits m.
The case of men ordinarily is like to that of Ægisthus, -. Ovid. de
ne nil ageretur, amavit ; Remed.
rather than do nothing, he was ready to do ill; he not having business to employ his thoughts, wanton desires did insinuate themselves into his heart, and transported him to that disastrous wickedness, which supplied matter to
so many tragedies; and the like instance the sacred history 2 Sam. xi, fuggefteth in King David, who, walking, it is said, on the
roof of his house, his mind then roving, and being untacked from honest cares, that temptation seized on him, whereby he was plunged into that woful misdemeanout, which did create to him so much forrow, did make such
| Semper te diabolus inveniat occupatum. Bern. Form. Hor, v. cap. 7.
m Operans monachus uno dæmone pulfatur, otiofus vero innumeris fpiritibus devastatur. Cal. de Inftit. x. 23. .
a spot in his life, and leave such a blur on his memory; SERM. whence yet we may draw some benefit, taking it as a LI. profitable document and warning, how idleness doth expose the best men to danger.
Idleness is indeed the nursery of fins, which as naturally grow up therein as weeds in a neglected field, or insects in a standing puddle; Idleness teacheth much evil. It is Ecclus. the general trap, whereby every tempter affayeth to catch ***11 our soul : for the mind being loose from care, Satan is ready to step in with his suggestions, the world presenteth its allurements, feshly desires rise up; proud, froward, wanton cogitations flip in; ill company doth entice, ill example is regarded, every temptation doth object and impress itself with great advantage and force; men in such a case being apt to close and comply with temptations, even to divert their mind, and entertain themselves, to cure their listlessness, to pass their time n, committing fin for want of better occupation. Hence in places where there is least work, the worst fins do most prevail; and idleness therefore was by the Prophet reckoned one of the three great fins of Sodom, parents of the rest: Behold, faith Ezekiel, this was the iniquity of thy Ezek. xvi. fifter Sodom ; pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of 49. idleness was in her : hence it seldom doth happen in any way of life, that a Nuggard and a rakehell do not go together; or that he who is idle is not also diffolute.
9. Particularly industry doth prevent the sins of vain curiosity, pragmaticalness, troublesome impertinency, and the like pests of common life, into which persons not diligently following their own business will assuredly fall. We hear, faith St. Paul to the Thessalonians, that there are some who walk among you disorderly; working not at all, but are busy-bodies. It is no wonder, if they did not work at all, that they should walk disorderly; or that
Invidia vel amore vigil torquebere--. Hor. Ep. i. 2.
SERM. quite neglecting their own concerns, they should wegrapy.cz
Leo Jaby over-work, or be too busy in matters not belonging to them, intruding themselves into the affairs of their neighbours : for there is a natural connection between these things, fince every man must be thinking, must be doing, must be saying somewhat, to spend his leisure, to uphold conversation, to please himself, ảnd gratify others, to appear somebody among his companions; to avoid the shame of being quite out of employment : wherefore not having the heart to mind his own affairs, he will take the boldness to meddle with the concerns of other men: if he cannot have the substance, he will set up an idol of business, and seem very active in his impertinency; in order thereto, being curiously inquisitive, and prying into the discourse, actions, and affairs of all men. This men are apt to do in their own defence : and besides, idleness doth put men into a loose, garish, wanton humour, difposing them without heed or regard to meddle with any thing, to prattle at any rate. In fine, whoever hath no
work at home, will be gadding to seek entertainment 1. Tim. v. abroad, like those goffips of whom St. Paul faith, They
learn to be idle, wandering about from house to houfe ; and
Are we rich? Then is industry requifite for keeping