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ON INDUSTRY IN GENERAL.
ECCLES. ix. 10.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy
Iv St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, among divers excel-
2 Cor. viii.
Industry, I say, in general, touching all matters incident, which our hand findeth to do, that is, which dispensation of Providence doth offer, or which choice of reason embraceth, for employing our active powers of soul and body, the Wise Man doth recommend; and to pressing the observance of his advice (waving all curious remarks either critical or logical upon the words) I shall presently apply my discourse, proposing divers considerations apt to excite us thereto; only first, let me briefly describe it, for our better apprehension of its true notion and nature.
By industry we understand a serious and steady application of mind, joined with a vigorous exercise of our active faculties, in prosecution of any reasonable, honest, useful design, in order to the accomplishment or attainment of some considerable good; as for instance, a merchant is industrious, who continueth intent and active in driving on his trade for acquiring wealth; a soldier is industrious, who is watchful for occasion, and earnest in action toward obtaining the victory; and a scholar is industrious, who doth assiduously bend his mind to study for getting knowledge.
Industry doth not consist merely in action; for that is incessant in all persons a, our mind being a restless thing, never abiding in a total cessation from thought or from design; being like a ship in the sea, if not steered to some good purpose by reason, yet tossed by the waves of fancy, or driven by the winds of temptation somewhither. But the direction of our mind to some good end, without roving or flinching, in a straight and steady course, drawing after it our active powers in execution thereof, doth constitute industry; the which therefore usually is attended with labour and pain; for our mind (which naturally doth affect variety and liberty, being apt to loathe familiar objects, and to be weary of any constraint) is not easily kept in a constant attention to the same thing; and the spirits employed in thought are prone to flutter and fly away, so that it is hard to fix them; and the corporeal instruments of action being strained to a high pitch, or detained in a tone, will soon feel a lassitude somewhat offensive to nature; whence labour or pain is commonly reckoned an ingredient of industry, and laboriousness is a name signifying it; upon which account this virtue, as involving labour, deserveth a peculiar commendation; it being then most laudable to follow the dictates of reason, when so doing is attended with difficulty and trouble.
Such in general I conceive to be the nature of industry; to the practice whereof the following considerations may induce.
· Ἡ γὰρ ψυχὴ φύσιν ἔχουσα τῷ κινεῖσθαι διαπαντός, οὐκ ἀνέχεται ἠρεμεῖν, ἔμε πρακτον τὸ ζῶον τᾶτο ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεὸς, &c. Chrys, in Act, Or. 35.
1. We may consider that industry doth befit the consti- SERM. tution and frame of our nature; all the faculties of our soul L. and organs of our body being adapted in a congruity and tendency thereto: our hands are suited for work, our feet for travel, our senses to watch for occasion of pursuing good and eschewing evil, our reason to plod and contrive ways of employing the other parts and powers; all these, I say, are formed for action; and that not in a loose and gadding way, or in a slack and remiss degree, but in regard to determinate ends, with vigour requisite to attain them; and especially our appetites do prompt to industry, as inclining to things not obtainable without it; according to that aphorism of the Wise Man, Επιθυμίαι ὀκνηρὸν ἀποκτείνεσιν-The desire of Prov. xxi. the slothful killeth him, for his hands refuse to labour; that is, he is apt to desire things which he cannot attain without pains; and not enduring them, he for want thereof doth feel a deadly smart and anguish: wherefore in not being industrious we defeat the intent of our Maker; we pervert his work and gifts; we forfeit the use and benefit of our faculties; we are bad husbands of nature's stock.
25. xiii. 4.
2. In consequence hereto industry doth preserve and perfect our nature, keeping it in good tune and temper, improving and advancing it toward its best state. The labour of our mind in attentive meditation and study doth render it capable and patient of thinking upon any object or occasion, doth polish and refine it by use, doth enlarge it by accession of habits, doth quicken and rouse our spirits, dilating and diffusing them into their proper channels. The very labour of our body doth keep the organs of action sound and clean, discussing fogs and superfluous humours, opening passages, distributing nourishment, exciting vital heat: barring the use of it, no good constitution of soul or body can subsist; but a foul rust, a dull numbness, a resty listlessness, a heavy unweildiness must seize on usb; our spirits will be stifled and choked, our hearts
• Πάντα γὰρ ἡ ἀργία βλάπτει, καὶ τὰ μέλη σώματος αὐτὰ, &c. Chrys. in dete Orat. 35.
Πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ τοιέτε τὸ σῶμα ἔκλυτον, &c. Ibid,
SERM. will grow faint and languid, our parts will flag and decay; the vigour of our mind and the health of our body will be much impaired.
It is with us as with other things in natures, which by motion are preserved in their native purity and perfection, in their sweetness, in their lustre, rest corrupting, debasing, and defiling them. If the water runneth, it holdeth clear, sweet, and fresh; but stagnation turneth it into a noisome puddle: if the air be fanned by winds, it is pure and wholesome; but from being shut up, it groweth thick and putrid; if metals be employed, they abide smooth and splendid, but lay them up, and they soon contract rust; if the earth be belaboured with culture it yieldeth corn, but by lying neglected, it will be overgrown with brakes and thistlesd; and the better its soil is, the ranker weeds it will produce: all nature is upheld in its being, order, and state, by constant agitation; every creature is incessantly employed in action conformable to its designed end and use; in like manner the preservation and improvement of our faculties depends on their constant exercise.
3. As we naturally were composed, so by divine appointment we were originally designed for industry; God did not intend that man should live idly, even in his best state, or should enjoy happiness without taking pains, but Gen. ü. 15. did provide work enough even in Paradise itself; for the Lord God, saith the text, took man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it; so that had we continued happy, we must have been ever busy, by our
industry sustaining our life, and securing our pleasure ; otherwise weeds might have overgrown Paradise, and that Prov. xxiv. of Solomon might have been applicable to Adam; I went 30, 31. by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof.
ο Ποῖος ἵππος χρήσιμος, ὁ τρυφῶν, ἢ ὁ ἐργαζόμενος ; ποία ναῦς, ἡ τελέουσα, ἤ ἡ ἀργῆσα ; ποῖον ὕδωρ, τὸ τρέχον, ἢ τὸ ἐξώς; ποῖος σίδηρος, ὁ κείμενος, ἢ ὁ ἐργαζό pesvos, &c. Chrys. in Act. Orat. 35.
d Neglectis urenda filix innascitur agris. Hor. Ser. i. 3.
4. By our transgression and fall the necessity of industry SERM (together with a difficulty of obtaining good, and avoiding evil) was increased to us; being ordained both as a just punishment for our offences, and as an expedient remedy of our needs: for thereupon the ground was cursed to bring Gen. iii. 17. forth thorns and thistles to us; and it was our doom pronounced by God's own mouth, In the sweat of thy face Gen. iii. 19. shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground: so that now labour is fatally natural to us; now man, as Job Job v. 7. saith, is born to labour, as the sparks fly upward, (or, as the vulture's chickens soar aloft, according to the Greek interpreters e.)
5. Accordingly our condition and circumstances in the world are so ordered, as to require industry; so that without it we cannot support our life in any comfort or convenience; whence St. Paul's charge upon the Thessalonians, that if any one would not work, neither should he cat, is in 2 Thess. iii. a manner a general law imposed on mankind by the exi- 10. gency of our state, according to that of Solomon; The idle Prov. xix. soul shall suffer hunger, and, The sluggard, who will not Prov. xx. 4. plough by reason of the cold, shall beg in harvest, and have nothing.
Of all our many necessities, none can be supplied without pains, wherein all men are obliged to bear a share; every man is to work for his food, for his apparel, for all his accommodations, either immediately and directly, or by commutation and equivalence; for the gentleman himself cannot (at least worthily and inculpably) obtain them otherwise than by redeeming them from the ploughman and the artificer, by compensation of other cares and pains conducible to public good.
The wise Poet did observe well when he said,
Pater ipse colendi
Haud facilem esse viam voluit.
And St. Chrysostom doth
Virgil. Georg. i.
e’Αλλ ̓ ἄνθρωπος γεννᾶται κόπῳ· νεοσσοὶ δὲ γυπὸς ὑψηλὰ πέτονται. LXX. Interp. Now great travail (as the Son of Sirach saith) is created for every man ; (ἀσχολία μεγάλη ἔκτισαι παντὶ ἀνθρώπῳ, &c. Ecclus, xl. l.) and a heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam, &c.